Author: BleedToBlue
see chapter 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer

Just A Wedding + Chapter 2

It was just a wedding, even if the guest list included every politician in the Earth Sphere, and all their hangers-on. CEO's of every major corporation, too; all jockeying for some advantage by being there, being seen. Another overdone social event used to promote someone's political agenda, instead of a private celebration of love and fidelity; just a ripe carcass for the press vultures to pick. Zechs suspected he was a hopeless cynic to feel that way about his own sister's wedding. He supposed she'd felt it necessary to do it this way.

The bride was triumphant, the groom looked resigned, and the best man looked absolutely lost to the perceptive observer. Zechs had escorted the bride down the aisle, 'given her away,' said the appropriate words at the appropriate time; had looked every inch the Prince that he was, and hated almost every minute of it. He'd stared at the best man during the ceremony; watching Duo as he stood at attention in his stylish tux, positively radiating tension if you knew what to look for, and Zechs did. Zechs was able to look as much as he wanted at Duo for once, while everyone else's attention was focused on the star of this production, the bride. Zechs admired the one thing that made the whole occasion bearable. Duo.

He'd been intrigued from the moment they'd been introduced at one of the many parties given for the couple. No, he'd been intrigued before they were introduced; he'd been mesmerized since they'd actually met. Zechs had wanted to meet the pilot of Deathscythe but had thought of it as a novelty. He'd wondered if Maxwell would live up to his reputation as a hard living party boy or if it was just so much hype. The way his own image was portrayed and manipulated by the pack of rabid wolves called 'the media.'

Once Zechs had seen Duo, met him, he'd been captivated. Maxwell was neither a demon, nor the god of death; he wasn't even the grinning, joking, fearless Preventer agent featured in the news vids. He was more attractive in person, the vids didn't do him justice, couldn't catch the quality of him. Lean, wiry, hard muscled; even with the long auburn braid that danced behind him, he was most definitely male. But it was something almost intangible, indefinable, that drew Zechs in and completely captured him.

Duo was like a bright, shining light. At least that's how Zechs saw him. Shy, with a sharp intelligence, and a dry, self-deprecating wit; he was smart, funny, and though he tried to hide it, in a great deal of pain. The vulnerability of the infamous Shinigami, who hid it behind a smile and a joke completely undid Zechs. He didn't think anyone else noticed how hurt Duo was; except his best friend and the cause of all the damage, Heero. Well, Relena knew of course; she'd been the one to tell Zechs.

When the introductions had been made, he'd looked down into Duo's oddly coloured eyes and been graced with a shy smile, not the brash grin he'd expected. Zechs took Duo's extended hand to shake it; it was warm, his grasp was firm, the palm and fingers slightly calloused. Zechs held onto Duo's hand and felt himself slide right over the edge of interest into lust.

Zechs had stood there, trapping Duo's hand in his own, staring with what he expected was a stupefied grin until Duo had removed his hand, murmured some vague pleasantry, and turned away. Zechs just stared and realized that he was in serious lust with a man he'd only just met. Zechs followed Duo with his eyes as he walked across the room, hypnotized by the cinnamon braid that just brushed the swelling curves of that tantalizing ass.

"Brother dear, you are drooling." The laughter in Relena's voice snapped him back to the present.

"Nonsense. And mind your own business." There was no point in arguing; he'd been caught fair and square. He found he didn't even care, much.

"He's in love with Heero, you know." That short statement was electrifying; the implications even more so.

"What?" was the best he could do in way of response.

"Duo. He's in love with Heero. This has all been very difficult for him." Relena took his arm and guided him into a quiet corner as she spoke.

"Does Heero know and how do you know?" Zechs choked out, surprised at Relena's information and pleased to have this bit of information about Duo. Pleased to know he had a chance with Duo.

"Yes, Heero does, and I'm not stupid, you know. Anyone with two eyes can see it." Relena sounded genuinely regretful. "He's Heero's best friend but for Heero that's all it can be. If he'd been able to love Duo that way, I'd never have had a chance."

"And why are you telling me all this?" He'd asked cautiously.

"I love Heero. Heero cares for Duo, it hurts him that Duo is sad and he can't fix it." Relena sighed. "It's more in the way of a warning actually."

"A warning?" He really had to stop repeating things, he sounded like a parrot.

"I saw how you looked at Duo. Heero would be very …distressed… if Duo were….upset in any way." Relena watched him carefully as she spoke.

"Thank you for thinking I'm that sort." Zechs managed to spit out.

"Now, now, Milliardo." Relena smiled. "I never thought any such thing. I just wanted you to be aware of how things are. I'm very fond of you and it would pain me if Heero felt compelled to take you apart."

Relena winked to show that she was joking. At least he thought that's what she was doing. She continued, "Just have a care how you proceed, Milliardo." Then she'd presented a smooth cheek to be kissed before she left him standing there, bemused and bewildered.

It hadn't taken him long to pull himself back together and look for Duo. He'd tracked him to a small alcove away from the noise of the party. Zechs resisted the urge to simply press Duo against the wall and kiss him; his hormones seemed to be a war with his common sense.

He made small talk and thought about his hands slowly unbuttoning Duo's shirt and slipping inside that shirt to caress Duo's pale, smooth skin; he invited Duo for drinks the next evening and thought about slowly stripping Duo out of his snug slacks exposing creamy flesh; he suggested dinner while imagining Duo naked and writhing under him on a table top. When Duo said he'd had a long day and excused himself it was all Zechs could do not to throw the man over his shoulder and carry him off to his bed. Zechs went back to the party and had much too much champagne. His dreams were filled with Duo and all the things he wanted to do to him; with him.

Morning came with a hangover and an invitation to join his sister for breakfast. Where, much to his surprise, they were joined, not by Yuy but by Duo Maxwell. Zechs' headache was overruled by his libido. Duo looked pale and tired but smiled as he said good morning. Zechs forgot his headache and was enchanted.

Relena was charming and worked hard to put Duo at ease. Knowing what he did about Duo's feelings for Heero, Zechs was captivated by Duo's sweetly smiling response to Relena's conversation. He almost didn't believe Relena's claim that Duo had feelings for Heero. Duo smiled and flirted gently with Relena until Zechs was almost….jealous.

Half way through breakfast a waiter brought a message for Relena, who read it, made a slight face, and announced that she was 'so very sorry' but she had 'business to attend to' and was gone, almost before Duo and Zechs could find their feet. Zechs was delighted by this piece of good fortune; Duo didn't look quite as pleased and immediately tried to excuse himself.

"I'm really not very hungry. I didn't want to hurt Relena's feelings but I think I'm going back to my room. I'm kind of tired." Duo made his speech without looking at Zechs but Zechs had no intention of letting him escape.

"You're just going to abandon me?" Zechs asked, counting on Duo's innate good manners. That earned him another twenty minutes of Duo's company and an opportunity to ask Duo to dinner. Duo refused and the dance began; Zechs suggested, Duo refused; Zechs asked, Duo declined. It didn't matter to Zechs; he had no plans to give up and no intent of accepting defeat. He wanted Duo Maxwell and that want was escalating with every encounter.

By the time the rehearsal dinner rolled around even Zechs was beginning to doubt. Duo had refused drinks, dinner, walks in the moonlit garden. But, he'd stopped hiding from Zechs and had even blushed when Zechs complimented him. Duo stopped flinching when Zechs touched him and Zechs touched him as often as possible. Zechs had never been so thoroughly and completely refused or so completely and thoroughly enthralled. It was more than lust Zechs had begun to realize.

The rehearsal seemed almost too much for Duo. Zechs noted the stiff set of his shoulders; the almost palpable tension that radiated from the man. Zechs almost felt guilty for wanting to take advantage of Duo's distress….almost; 'all's fair in love and war' he told himself. So after the practice, after the dinner, after he'd watched Duo reduced to a jangling mass of nerves by the imminent and undeniable fact of Heero's impending nuptials, he'd pressed his advantage.

Duo had started his usual subtle, easy slide out of the room; Zechs knew from keeping him under observation all week that Duo would find a quiet corner, a place to hide until he could gracefully take his leave of the festivities. Zechs had stalked him like the predator he was, looking for opportunities, weaknesses.

By now Zechs had realized that it was more than hormones, more than attraction, more than lust. He was in love and losing Duo was simply not an option. He would pursue Duo until Duo accepted him. Zechs caught up with Duo as he disappeared into a small alcove and followed him into its dim interior.

"Are you leaving already, Duo?" Zechs stepped closer and noted that Duo had to work to keep from twitching. Duo answered without turning around.

"Yeah, I'm tired, you know. Got to be up early tomorrow." Duo was edging towards the door, Zechs moved with him, and Duo turned to face him.

"What do you want?" Duo's voice was wary and he sounded tired.

Zechs moved in, leaned towards Duo. "Let me show you the gardens? Some fresh air will do you good. I promise to be a perfect gentleman." Duo stepped back; hitting the wall Zechs had been maneuvering him towards. Zechs bracketed Duo's head with his hands, moving until his face was a scant few inches from Duo's. Eyes widened but Duo didn't blink, didn't appear to be breathing, the pulse in his neck visible even in the low light of the alcove.

"Have a drink before you go?" Zechs breathed softly across Duo's cheek. "Dance with me?" All suggestions Zechs had made repeatedly and all suggestions that had been refused. He leaned closer and spoke, almost against Duo's mouth. "Kiss me," as he brushed his lips across Duo's; he was unprepared for Duo's response.

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