Genre: Gundam Wing FanFiction, AU
Pairings: 6x2, 1xR, 3x4, hints of 5x2,
Warnings: m/m, possibly OoC Wufei.
A/N: Thank you to Marasmine for beta-ing, for encouraging me, and for
all the other stuff, too.
Entropy of Memory +
Zechs' bed was empty when Duo
woke up in the morning, empty and neatly made-up. It was like he'd never
been there. Duo blinked but the scent of coffee was wafting upstairs from
the kitchen along with other sounds and odors that said, ‘breakfast.'
Duo hurried into the bathroom to take a shower.
He showered, too quickly again, wishing he weren't too hungry to spend
more time just standing under the hot water and letting the pulsating
shower wipe away all his aching, knotted muscles. Like all of Quatre's
homes this one was well appointed and luxurious. Finishing reluctantly,
Duo wrapped a towel loosely around his hips, and rubbed his hair with
another towel before he combed it out. Tangles and snarls removed along
with most of the water Duo walked out of the bathroom thinking about breakfast.
Stepping into the bedroom wearing nothing but a towel, his still damp
hair falling loosely over one shoulder and down his back, and Duo was
pretty sure a deer-in-the-headlights stare as he found Zechs draped decoratively
over a chair by the small corner table; neatly dressed, long legs crossed,
sipping coffee if the odor wafting across the room was any indication.
Zechs didn't look in the least startled or bothered by Duo's state of
undress. In fact his eyes swept over Duo in a bold appraising glance.
An appreciative glance Duo thought as to his dismay he felt himself flush
from head to toe in a response that was not entirely due to embarrassment.
Duo's hormones were doing a sudden unexpected dance that embarrassed and
confused him even more. He cursed the space-baby paleness that made the
total body blush even more evident. And he thought, I'm standing there
like an idiot, caught completely off guard and in danger of losing the
towel as he blinked at Zechs who was wearing a pleased smile.
Zechs had the good grace to at least pretend he hadn't noticed the blush
and switched his gaze to the table, picking up a cup and a thermos and
offering, "Coffee?" in his pleasantly deep voice. Duo's mind, completely
of its own volition supplied the rest, ‘or tea, or me.' Duo's body responded
with a wave of heat as he scrambled to think without an adequate blood
supply to his brain. His usual knack for snappy retorts seemed to have
"Yeah, thanks," Duo finally dredged up from the depths of confusion as
he tried to regain some sort of control.
"Are you getting dressed or will you be having breakfast in your…towel?"
Zechs inquired politely, one pale eyebrow arched wryly. "Although I must
say you look quite…charming that way." To Duo's horror the man positively
leered, running his eyes over him, head to toe. The little voice in Duo's
head pointed out that he obviously liked what he saw, too.
Shocked out of his frozen state and taking a firm grip on the towel, Duo
regained enough control to snatch his clothes off the bed and make a dignified
retreat to the bathroom to dress; it might have looked like he ran to
the uninformed observer but honest, he thought to himself, it was a dignified,
albeit very fast, walk. It didn't help that he heard Zechs laughing in
Safely in the bathroom Duo glared at his reflection in the vanity mirror
and sternly instructed his hormones to go back to whatever dark corner
they'd leaped out of, and informed them haughtily that They. Were. Not.
Needed. Hormones resolutely stomped, clothes firmly in place, hair brushed
and braided, and a measure of dignity regained Duo opened the door and
stepped back into the room.
The smell of breakfast greeted him, a nice, solid, reassuring smell. Zechs
was apparently back to normal, no hot glances, no leering; he was sipping
coffee and reading some official looking papers. He picked the thermos
back up and filled a coffe cup gesturing with the papers in his hand to
the other chair. A small cart filled with covered dishes had made its
appearance while Duo was in the bathroom, that's where the wonderful smells
were coming from.
Zechs treated Duo to a calculating gaze that swept completely over him
and covered him with a wash of heat. "Quatre thought you might prefer
breakfast in quieter surroundings," was all he said. Duo had hoped they
were going to pretend he hadn't just walked out practically naked a few
minutes earlier, then run, blushing like a virgin bride on her wedding
Duo was used to locker room situations and wasn't particularly modest
but something about standing there in nothing but a towel and his hair
down in front of Zechs had caught him off guard. He'd shared the Preventors
locker room with Zechs, changed, showered and never felt so vulnerable
before. Of course if Zechs had stared at him, looked at him that way in
the locker room Duo would have punched his lights out. You don't look
at someone like that in the locker room, not that Duo hadn't looked, he
was just circumspect about it. Duo was pretty sure you didn't look at
your partner that way either but he was very sure he didn't want to have
that discussion with Zechs.
Duo wanted to go back to the cool, professional relationship they'd had
since Une forced them to work together. He didn't want this… whatever
it was… that he'd become aware of, a change in Zechs since that lunch
with Quatre to become a problem. Thinking back he wasn't sure that it
hadn't begun before the lunch. Duo wasn't sure when he'd first noticed;
when might, or might not be important. But what was important was ignoring
it, what ever it was. He was going to ignore all of it, including the
"Thanks for breakfast." Duo said, reaching for the cup of coffee Zechs
had set down in front of him.
"You're welcome but I can't take credit, it was Quatre's idea." Zechs
"Nice of Quatre, I'm sure. What's he hiding downstairs that I'm not supposed
to see?" Duo said. Zechs gave him a quick glance but didn't answer.
Quatre was probably being thoughtful but sometimes he got a bit overprotective.
Duo's gut suddenly clenched, maybe Heero and Relena had decided to come
after all and Quatre wanted to break it to him gently. He'd have to lock
me up to keep me here, Duo said to himself and was making escape plans
in his head when he realized Zechs was speaking.
"Duo, smoke is starting to come out your ears," he drawled in that uppercrust,
aristocratic voice that belonged to Milliardo and not Zechs Merquise.
Duo didn't like that voice much but it got his attention. Duo narrowed
his eyes and looked at Zechs, frowning.
"Whatever you think is happening downstairs, it's nothing bad." Zechs
usual crisp tones were back in place and Duo almost relaxed until he realized
how easily Zechs had read him.
Zechs continued, "Quatre's security people are coordinating things with
the agents Lady Une sent, they've taken over the dining room. She's making
too much of it, but you know how Une can be." He smiled in a way that
he might have meant to be reassuring but somehow made Duo uneasy. Or maybe
it was the way his clear blue eyes were fixed on Duo, as if he were waiting,
as if he were looking for something.
"What did you think Quatre was hiding from you?" He tilted his head, his
eyes never leaving Duo's face, "Or was it someone you were thinking about?"
Duo knew he must have gaped like a fish but quickly snapped his mouth
shut and glared as he reached for the coffee. Duo ignored Zechs while
he poured more coffee and took a sip.
"Cat is overprotective. Ever since he got taller than me he thinks of
me as his younger brother, and he gets a bit carried away with his role
sometimes." Duo wasn't going to lie but wasn't going to answer him either.
Zechs didn't seem annoyed by the evasiveness. The man actually smiled
like Duo had said exactly what he'd expected. Zechs was getting on Duo's
nerves, he decided. Duo was about to say something rude when there was
a sharp knock on the door. Before Duo could shout come in, Zechs was on
his feet, and headed towards the door. He wasn't quite there when it opened
and Wufei stepped into the room. The two men eyed each other warily.
"Fei!" Duo shouted as he jumped up from the chair and moved across the
room. He hadn't seen Chang in weeks, he'd been off on an assignment. Duo
was delighted to see his friend and pleased to have his conversation with
Duo quickly stepped around Zechs to embrace Wufei. "Oh, Fei, it's good
to see you. When did you get back? Quatre didn't tell me you were coming!"
Duo was babbling to cover his discomfort with Zechs but he was glad to
see Wufei, he'd missed 'Fei. Chang Wufei was someone he could talk to
and, unlike Quatre, 'Fei didn't try to baby him or get all-overprotective;
well, not as much as Quatre and never on assignments. While Wufei was
always willing to help Duo, he didn't try to ‘fix' things for him.
Wufei hugged back with enthusiasm -- he'd changed, a lot, since the war.
"Quatre didn't know I was coming. My shuttle arrived late yesterday, you
were already on your way here."
Then he held Duo at arms length and looked at him critically. "Duo, you
look terrible. You are too thin and you have circles under your eyes."
Wufei glanced over at Zechs as if he were looking for someone to blame.
"Gee, thanks Fei. You know how to make a guy feel good." Duo grumped and
tried to pull away but Wufei held on. Wearing a crisp Preventor's uniform,
his hair sleeked back in the usual tail, Wufei looked like the Preventor
poster boy, deadly, dangerous, and exotic. His black eyes were filled
with amusement and concern.
"Quatre said you weren't taking care of yourself." And honest to god,
Chang Wufei glared at Zechs and added, "You don't seem to be doing a very
good job, Merquise."
Duo's mouth dropped open, he was going to have to work on that, he thought.
"Fei, I'm standing right here and it's not Zechs' job, and besides, I'm
fine!" He rushed the words out, puzzled and rather horrified by the accusation
'Fei had aimed at Zechs.
"You weren't hurt last night?" Wufei went on, ignoring Duo's protests
and Zechs growing scowl.
"NO! I'm fine, we over reacted." Duo was more than horrified by Wufei's
suggestion and the expression on Zechs face that was part anger, part
chagrin, and something else Duo couldn't quite pin down. The air was suddenly
charged and he wanted things to calm down. Duo tried to smooth things
over not completely understanding what had created the need for smoothing.
Duo added, "It was nothing, Fei. Une is blowing it out of proportion."
Wufei just smiled at him, a scary sort of smile that was aimed at Zechs,
too, and didn't answer.
"Fei, have you had breakfast? Quatre sent food up to keep me busy and
all the nice Preventor agents safe from me." Duo joked as he wrapped an
arm around 'Fei's waist and grinned up at him.
Yes, up. That was such a sore point with Duo. He'd managed to grow a bit
but either genetic make up or the early years of being perpetually underfed
kept him at a slightly below average 5'8", shorter than everyone but Heero.
Wufei wasn't as tall as Zechs but he was no longer the delicately built
boy he'd been when the war first began. Years of katas and martial arts
training, not to mention piloting a Gundam had built muscle. He was all
lean muscles, hard and rippling even through the uniform, not bulky but
no slender reed, either. Duo was still in his stocking feet and both Zechs
and Wufei were wearing boots, giving them extra height.
"Come on guys, let's sit down. I'm getting a kink in my neck," Duo laughed
and pulled Wufei towards the table, he resisted for a moment. Duo glanced
around to see that he and Zechs were staring at each other, eyes locked.
"Wufei?" Duo said, a bit unsure about what was happening. Wufei looked
away first, his smile returning as his eyes met Duo's.
"I've eaten already but I have orders form Quatre to be sure you eat."
He allowed Duo to finish pulling him to the table as he realized there
were only two chairs.
"Pull up an armchair 'Fei or I'll have to sit on your lap and you can
feed me." For just a moment, Duo thought, Wufei actually looked like he
was considering the joking remark. Duo thought he heard Zechs make a choking
sound. Of course, Duo thought, he was probably horrified at his behavior
and had no clue that Duo was only teasing Wufei or that 'Fei was only
teasing back. Fei winked as he pushed Duo down in the chair.
"You are a messy eater, Maxwell. You'd have your breakfast all over me."
He retorted before moving an upholstered chair from the other side of
the room and placing it next to Duo's chair. "Now eat before it gets cold."
Fei's ease with touching and affection and his sense of humor was something
that happened after the war, too. After the Mariemaia uprising, Fei's
part in it had threatened to separate them all. They'd tried to show Wufei
that they understood, that he was one of them, always. Somehow that, or
something, had broken down whatever barriers Wufei had built up over the
Someone who must be the real Wufei had appeared; still honorable, still
fighting for justice but able to let the others in and be human. Wufei
and Duo had become closer than ever since Heero left but recently Wufei's
job had forced him to be away a lot. He'd expressed his unhappiness about
that and worked hard to keep in touch. He called Duo frequently and came
to see him often. Duo had appreciated Wufei's steadfast friendship, especially
after the wedding.
Zechs had said not a word during the exchange with Wufei but had returned
to his own chair and poured more coffee for both himself and Duo before
remarking, "I'm afraid there's not another cup, Chang." The tone of his
voice said he was not really sorry at all and was rather tense. Duo wasn't
sure what was going on but realized those were the first words Zechs had
spoken since Wufei had stepped into the room.
"No problem, Merquise. I only came in to say hello to Duo and make sure
he was well. He doesn't take care of himself; his friends have to watch
out for him." They were locking eyes again. Duo tried to distract them,
joking and talking as he ate.
"Fei, don't be such a mother hen, I'm fine." His expression said he'd
be the judge of that, and he didn't take his eyes off Zechs. The tension
was interesting, Duo wasn't sure exactly what was going on but kept talking,
not waiting for answers.
"When did you get back? Une didn't make you come up here before you had
a chance to rest? You should have some time off. How was your assignment?
You were gone a long time. Trowa finished his case up." Duo rattled inanities
and joked until the atmosphere seemed less tense. At least Wufei and Zechs
stopped whatever it was they were doing and quit looking at each other.
Wufei joked with Duo and talked about his last assignment while Zechs
studied his papers and ignored them. When Duo finished eating they went
downstairs together to speak to Quatre. Wufei with his arm over Duo's
shoulders and Zechs following behind with an enigmatic expression on his
[ch. 6] [ch. 8] [back
to BleedToBlues' fic]