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

Just A Wedding + Chapter 4

Duo sat in his office at Preventer headquarters, staring across the room at Heero's empty desk, and wondering what the hell he was going to do now. That desk couldn't stay empty much longer; it had been months since Heero left. It had been a month since Heero's wedding. A month since he'd seen Zechs.

He was startled to hear someone call his name. Wufei was standing in the door way, the scowl on his face matched his tone of voice, and told Duo that he'd probably been there for sometime.

"Duo!" Wufei sounded exasperated. "Where were you? Are you still staring off into space?" Wufei walked into the room still talking. "I've been calling your office for the last ten minutes. Don't you ever answer your phone?"

Duo glanced down and saw the blinking light that told him he had messages. He ducked his head sheepishly, "Sorry, Wufei."

"Don't apologize; I just wanted to know if you wanted to get some lunch." Wufei's tone had softened, his scowl replaced by a look of concern that made Duo feel a bit wary. His friends were being positively relentless in their concern about him since the wedding.

Wufei in particular had seemed incensed on his behalf; angry with Heero. He'd spent time with Duo, kept him company, tried to cheer him up. Duo had noticed a distinct coolness toward Heero from their friends.

Duo knew they were wrong; it wasn't really Heero's fault that Duo had fallen in love with him, or that Heero couldn't offer more than friendship. It wasn't like Heero knew, not like Duo had ever told him. And who else would you ask to be best man at your wedding than your best friend? Heero hadn't meant it to be cruel.

Duo hadn't known that anyone else knew how he felt and hoped that the other guys would never say anything to Heero, or to him about it. It was all very embarrassing. He didn't want to ever think about it again. He still hadn't spoken to Heero, not since the wedding. He'd avoided his calls and answered emails with the briefest of replies. He needed to patch things up.

If his friends only knew the rest, Duo thought, he'd never hear the end of it. So far no one had mentioned Zechs, or asked a question he couldn't answer or at least dodge. The others had only arrived for the ceremony and he thought Heero had been to pre-occupied to notice.

"Duo! You're zoning out again!" Wufie's voice startled him.

"Sorry, 'Fei. Lunch, right?" Duo answered.

"Duo, I..." Wufei began, and Duo thought he seemed nervous.

"You're buying? Right?" Duo asked, grinning shamelessly and interrupting whatever Wufei had been about to say; then laughed as the scowl returned to Wufei's face for just a moment.

"Yes, and I get to pick the restaurant, too. I'll meet you in a half hour, downstairs." Wufei recovered quickly. Duo grinned his agreement and watched Wufei relax. Now all he had to do was keep the topic of conversation off his personal life.

"Thirty minutes, Maxwell, don't be late. I'll meet you downstairs." Wufei repeated over his shoulder as he walked out of the office.

He should have known it wouldn't be easy, nothing in his life ever was. At least Wufei hadn't used the dreaded 'we need to talk' phrase. Wufei stuck his head back in the office, he had an odd expression.

"And Duo, we need to talk."

Duo groaned. Wufei waited a beat, til Duo recovered, and with an evil grin, added.

"Quatre's meeting us for lunch."

Duo dropped his head into his hands. Wufei disappeared down the hall calling back over his shoulder.

"Lady Une wants to see you after lunch. She wanted me to tell you since you didn't answer your phone."

Duo thought he might just catch a freighter to Mars. He was doomed, but first he had to face his friends and Lady Une. And he had to stop thinking about Zechs. He couldn't stop thinking about Zechs; couldn't get Zechs voice out of his head.

+

"Let me take you home." Zechs' deep, seductive baritone had rolled over him, through him. "Come home with me," he urged.

'Home?' Duo had wondered. He'd stared at Zechs' outstretched hand wanting nothing more than to grab hold and hang on for dear life. Looking up he'd been caught in the heated gaze. How could he have ever thought those eyes were icy? That Zechs was cold.

Maybe it was the vodka, maybe it was Duo's overwhelming feeling of loss and abandonment but suddenly going home with a sexy, desirable man that wanted him seemed like a very good idea. Zechs reached out and took Duo's hand in his own much larger, very warm hand. "I told you last night what I wanted." Zechs reminded him. "It wasn't casual."

Duo stared as Zechs stroked his hand, felt himself nod his head in agreement, watched a pleased, possessive look come over Zechs' face. That look shook Duo, he needed to take back some control, not to be in such a vulnerable position, not so filled with wanting or needing. Sex was one thing, acting like it was more was too much. Too much, too soon, too frightening.

"I have to get something from my room." he blurted out.

Zechs looked at him appraisingly, tilting his head to one side as if he were considering something. "I'll go up with you."

"No, no...it won't take me long." Duo tried not to sound defensive. "You can wait for me, in the lobby."

"If that's what you want; I'll have the car brought around." Zechs agreed slowly. Then added, fixing Duo with a very knowing look. "But if you aren't down in five minutes I'll come up."

"Fifteen minutes. I need to pick up my bags. Change out of this tux." Duo countered with a smile, gesturing at his clothes.

"I'll meet you in the lobby in ten. Have them hold your luggage, you can send for it later." Zechs answered.

Duo nodded and replied with a vague, "This won't take long."

Duo walked quickly to the elevators, took several deep breaths as he rode up, and by the time he reached his room was beginning to shake off the effects of the vodka; the influence of Zechs' voice and eyes, his touch. He needed to be in control, Zechs was pushy. Duo realized he was already making plans to leave; 'to run away' a small voice jeered from inside his head.

He couldn't imagine why he'd agreed to go anywhere with Zechs. Tall, blond, sexy... Charming and persuasive…oh, yes, Duo knew what he saw in Zechs, but that didn't explain why Zechs was interested in him. Didn't explain why Zechs had teased and flirted and well, pursued him all week. He didn't know why and he wasn't willing to find out.

They'd had sex, what did Zechs want with him now? At least Zechs had wanted him in his bed. But one disaster in his life was enough. Zechs could have anybody; he didn't need Duo; couldn't really want him. Duo didn't need Zechs; didn't want to risk anymore pain.

There was no time for the shower he wanted. Just enough time to change into clean slacks and a fresh shirt. He checked his watch and knew he didn't have long before Zechs might come looking for him. He called the desk, told them he was leaving, and made arrangements for his luggage.

Duo stared at the bed, already re-made, no trace of what had happened there. He saw a vision of twisted sheets, tangled limbs; Zechs' white-blond hair spread out, head thrown back, eyes closed, his expression almost pain. He heard Zechs' growls of pleasure, his whispered promises; felt himself go hard at the memory of Zechs' kisses, his hands on Duo's body.

No, he wasn't going to think about it. It was a one-time thing; it was over; he needed to go back. He'd already made the mistake of falling for someone who couldn't love him; he wasn't going to make the same mistake twice.

Duo shook his head to clear out the vision of Zechs' smooth skin, the memory of how Zechs long, lean body felt against his; blinked to dispel echoes of the things Zechs had breathed into his ear. Things he'd wanted to believe.

Duo looked around the hotel room once more, checking for anything he might have left behind. The small voice in his head asked what he was waiting for, 'just go and save yourself the grief.' Duo sighed, picked up his small bag, made his way out the door, and down the hall to the service elevator. Duo didn't see any point in speaking to Zechs; there really wasn't anything to say. He went out the back entrance and caught a cab to the airport. Zechs' voice echoed in his head. "Come home with me." Duo hadn't looked back.

+

Lunch was better than he'd hoped for. Quatre and Wufei talked about work and Wufei's newest assignment that would keep him off planet for a few weeks. They talked about books, movies, talked about everything but Heero; talked about everything but how Duo was feeling; they didn't even ask him if he was seeing anybody. They were almost through the meal when Duo realized that the laughing and joking; all the small talk was to distract him. He'd been too relieved, too willing to go along, too hopeful that they were going to stop meddling in his life.

"What's up guys?" he asked, right in the middle of Quatre's joke.

"What do you mean, Duo?" Quatre had a good poker face but Wufei looked guilty as hell.

"What is it that you're not telling me?" Duo asked as Wufei glared at Quatre.

"I told you it wouldn't work." Quatre sighed and said.

"Wufei told you that Une wanted to see you?" Oh, yeah, he'd forgotten. What had he done now?

"Just tell me!" Duo almost shouted, he'd been on edge for weeks, months. He swallowed his annoyance. "Come on guys, I'm a big boy, I can take it."

Wufei and Quatre looked at each other. Duo gave them an exasperated grin and tried again.

"What ever Une says I did, I didn't do it." The pair of conspirators relaxed a bit."It's nothing like that, Duo. Une is going to introduce you to your new partner." Quatre smiled as he said it. Duo was sure there was more to it.

"My new partner." he repeated. "Why did you guys hear about it first?" That didn't sound too bad, there had to be more to it.

Wufie looked at his watch and announced, "You didn't answer your phone, remember? You're expected in Une's office in ten minutes...you need to hurry."

Duo couldn't get anymore information out of them and he didn't have a great feeling about it. Une probably stuck him with some loser, or a new kid, or a loser new kid. He was pretty sure Une didn't like him much if the other partners she'd saddled him with were any indication.

Wufie walked with him to Une's office, talking about his latest assignment off-world and things they'd do together when Wufei returned. Duo was too tense to listen but appreciated Wufei's efforts to distract him. Wufei stopped walking two doors down the hall from Une's office.

"Don't worry about anything, Duo. We'll talk when I get back." Wufei looked...Duo couldn't put his finger on it. So he smiled and nodded, and squeezed Wufei's shoulder reassuringly.

"Thanks for lunch, 'Fei, and thanks for being my friend." He squared his own shoulders and headed for Une's office. Wufei watched for a moment before he sighed in frustration and went back to his own office.Duo wasn't comfortable with Une at the best of times. Heading into her office knowing that he was about to meet another unsatisfactory replacement for Heero was uncomfortable. He put a big grin on his face as he knocked on Une's door; never let them see that you were nervous. He heard Lady Une's voice.

"Come in." Duo opened the door; his smile frozen on his face.

"Duo, I want you to meet our newest agent." Lady Une gestured at the man sitting by her desk. "I think you know each other."

The man rose, smiling, and offered Duo his hand. "Agent Maxwell, I'm looking forward to working together."

Duo shook the extended hand, felt the electric sizzle run through him at Zechs' touch, and thought the freighter to Mars sounded better and better.

[ch. 3] [ch. 5] [back to BleedToBlue's fic]