Author's Note: Ok, this is my first Gundam Wing fiction attempt. I'm new to the fandom, having just watched the entire series a short while ago. Please read and review this story. Let me know if I should continue with them, or just give it up, and stick to reading lol. Take care, and I hope you like it. :)

The Zeus and Hades Arc

"The Myth of Creation" - Zeus and Hades Arc: 1

195 AC

Acquiring target....tracking.... Heero Yuy positioned himself to take the shot, aiming Wing's buster rifle carefully. There was only one more storage facility left housing mobile suits on the OZ base, and it was in his line of fire. Wing's proximity alarm went off alerting him that an enemy mobile suit was approaching. He rolled his eyes at the distraction, he'd just lined up his shot. He hated being messy, but now there was no way he going to get a clean shot of that hanger without taking out some of the wooded area that worked to obscure the base from civilian curiosities. He checked his timer, he had 30 seconds to complete his task and evacuate before more OZ mobile suits came in to back up their fallen allies. He was about to swing his Gundam around and deal with the nuisance, when he heard the explosion from behind letting him know that his partner had finished with his tasks, and had come to assist him. He took his careful shot, pleased with himself when the hanger practically dematerialized in the heat of the beam. "Mission complete."

He prepared Wing for flight mode, 15 seconds until reinforcements arrived. As he took to the air, he looked to see the black Gundam that from afar resembled the Grims Reaper himself, known as Deathscythe leave the vicinity in a blaze of blue fire. It disappeared from sight within seconds using its amazing cloaking capabilities. He and the Deathscythe's pilot, Duo Maxwell would be meeting up at safe house #23 to rest after their mission.

The 15 year old Japanese pilot, though trained to deal with heavy fatigue, hunger, and physical injury during battle as something that can be turned off and on, was indeed very tired and ready for a decent night's sleep. He may have been programmed by his benefactor Dr. J to be a machine, but he certainly wasn't one. Sometimes he wished he were, human physiology was too fragile for some of the things he had to do. Sometimes it was hard to block out human emotions like pain, or even, to his surprise, comradery. Heero had never been in contact with people his own age in environments where he would have to interact with them for long. He had never experienced what it might be like to have a friend, or at least some one who cared that he returned unhurt from a mission. Comradery was a set back, a distraction from the ultimate mission he was on to defend the colonies, but he found he could not avoid it. Dr. J. had not trained him for it, and he feared he was becoming less of the Perfect Soldier he was brought up to be. He was coming to trust that others would watch his back, and come to his rescue if he looked like he was being overwhelmed. He was also coming to feel some loyalty to them, his comrades in arms, his fellow Gundam pilots, and would watch their backs, and even come to their aid if it was not in conflict with his main purpose. He even found he preferred being in the designated safe houses the private guerilla organization who funded and initiated Operation Meteor had provided and stationed around the globe for the Gundam pilots, when one or more of the other pilots were present.

Would Dr. J disapprove of his behavior? He wasn't sure. Dr. J was a funny old man, no one could ever tell just what he had envisioned for Heero other than victory. Perhaps he'd wanted Heero to team up with the other four, and to let them affect him. He frowned sitting with his arms folded over his chest in Wing's pilot seat, his Prussian blue eyes serious as always. One day he'd ask, he decided, if he ever got the chance.

The flight to the safe house took approximately 6 hours, 18 minutes, 27.3 seconds. It was located in a rural community in the state of Kansas on the continent of North America. The base destroyed had been on one of the Hawaiian islands. The safe house, Heero looked over its blue prints as he pulled up data on it, was a two story farm house with a large barn big enough to house 2 Gundams , and a hilly area good to camouflage 3 more. Three bedrooms, 2 and a half baths, a full-sized kitchen with modern appliances, living room, den area, laundry room complete with washer and dryer, fully furnished, with plenty of open space compassing it. There were no neighbors for miles around, the nearest town nearly an hour away. There would be one working before colonies model of automobile for their usage to get into town to buy supplies. Heero closed the information as his system alerted him it was time to prepare for a landing.

He guided Wing to the ground expertly near the barn, then put it in battle mode so it could walk the short distance inside. The barn was dimly lit, and Deathscythe was already inside couching imposingly on one side of the barn. It seemed to glare at Wing as Heero guided it inside and set beside the black mecha. Once he ran a full diagnostic on Wing's systems he shut them down and opened the hatch. He gathered his duffle bag filled with a change of clothes and bare essentials for grooming and medical care, and lowered himself down from the kneeling Gundam's belly using a tether line. When he had both feet on the ground, he released the line and reviewed his surroundings in satisfaction. He left the barn shutting off the light Duo had no doubt left on for him, and latched the doors shut. He extracted the key for safe house 23 from his pocket, and used it to open the back door and enter through the kitchen.

The home was dark and seemed uninhabited, which was strange if Duo Maxwell had come in before him. After sharing a few safe houses, and even a few dorm rooms with the strange American pilot, Heero knew Duo was a very lively person and made his presence known wherever he went. To hear no music, or no flashing lights from a television screen, or to not have the slender boy slightly shorter than himself waiting to greet him at the door was odd. Had he been injured? Heero frowned, the talkative pilot had certainly been unusually quiet during their mission, in fact Heero had forgotten he was there at times until he heard the explosions that were not directly associated with him. Duo was very vocal, whooping and giving maddened war cries, and attempting to tell jokes during battle. Why hadn't Heero noticed then how quiet his partner was being? He supposed maybe he was enjoying hearing himself think for once during a duel mission. He made his way through the kitchen, checking over the downstairs perimeters before venturing upstairs to check the bedroom, and to seek out Duo. Maybe he was outdoors...the American did love the Earth's terrain, and was probably pleased they were getting to spend some time in a peaceful countryside environment.

He checked the bathrooms, and the bedrooms. He found Duo in the second bedroom lying face down on one of the twin beds on top of the blankets, his long braid loose and tailing the floor along with one of his arms. Heero entered the room setting his duffle bag down on the second bed, and unzipping it to pull out his labtop for set up. He had to be ready at all times to receive new information and accept missions. After he was through with his settling in process, he decided to check over his roommate and make sure he had no injuries that needed to be treated right away. It wouldn't do to have a damaged pilot when they may need him for a mission. He approached the bed quietly, and carefully rolled the American over to do the standard checks for broken bones, and scan for suspicious bruising that could signify internal injury. Duo moaned a bit, his odd dark violet eyes opening a crack to catch a glimpse at Heero, "About time you got here, slow poke," he breathed, his voice husky with fatigue. Heero finished his check, and looked at the other 15 year old, studying his features. He seemed pale in the scarce light, his forehead beaded with sweat. Heero frowned as he remembered the heat of the boy's skin that met his hands as he checked him. "Are you well?" he asked, his voice cool and level.

The skin on Duo's forehead wrinkled a bit, as if pained, "Don't think so, no. But I'll be ok in a little while, just need some sleep. When do the others get here?"

"In two days Trowa will arrive, and one day later Quatre and Wufei."

"Ok," the strange eyes closed again, and Heero placed a hand on Duo's brow. Above average temperature, his mind told him, piloting skills could be impaired. Aspirin was needed, or some other form of fever reducer, and fluid. Food would be essential as well, the American had lost weight since Heero had dealt with him last. He had already been thin, lying on the bed then he looked a poster child for malnutrition.

"Duo, in an hour I will require you to awaken and come downstairs to eat, have some water, and take Aspirin to reduce your fever."

"Mmm, don't worry about me Heero."

"You will not be in any shape to take on a new mission."

"Don't worry about that either, I'll be fine," He rolled onto his side entangling himself in his long toasted almond rope of brown hair. He clutched at the end of his braid like a child holding a teddy bear and bought his knees to his chest. Heero sighed, but did not relent, this was duty, "I will wake you in one hour."



In one hour precisely Heero was manhandling a very cranky Duo Maxwell into the large kitchen and seating him at the table. He had found cans of various soups in the cupboard among other things, and deduced that the sick pilot would probably have no qualms over eating it. He let Duo choose which he would like to eat, and raised an eyebrow when the American's pale skin turned slightly green at seeing the cans of flavored soups. "Uh..Heero, maybe food right now isn't such a good idea. My stomach has been acting really funny, and just thinking of food makes me feel like I'm gonna throw up."

"When is the last time you ate?"

Duo frowned and appeared to be deep in thought, he sat hunched over a bit arms folded protectively over his stomach, "Uh, I had a ration bar yesterday, I think. I haven't been feeling so good lately, Heero. I think it's all the traveling around in Scythe. Maybe I got motion sickness or something, who knows? I bet I'll be fine in the morning."

"Hn," Heero grunted, "Choose a soup, or I will pick one for you."

Duo groaned, dropping his head to his chest momentarily, "You're not gonna give up until I eat something are you?"


"Fine, something plain without a lot of junk in it. You have broth?"

Heero gazed at their choices, beef stew, chicken noodles, tomato, and vegetable. "Tomato soup?"

"Fine...but could you... Hey, look. I'll make it. I can make my own food, Heero. It's nice of you to volunteer, but I... well I don't want to inconvenience you man." Duo pushed his chair away from the table and stood to take the can of tomato soup from Heero.

"You rest, if you receive a mission in the morning you must be able to depart," Heero said firmly. "I will do what is adequate to ensure you regain your health." He watched as the American studied him, a thought process going on behind those eyes that bothered Heero. What was that expression on his face? Had Heero somehow managed to offend braided teen?

"Oh," Duo sat again. "I'm flattered that you find my piloting abilities so beneficial to the mission that you'd actually spend an evening taking care of me to make sure I can perform." He chuckled bitterly, a tone Heero was not used to hearing from his normally cheerful companion. "I don't know why I start letting myself think that you might actually just be worried about me. You know, like you cared or something. It's not like we're friends or anything, huh?"

"Hn," Heero put the tomato soup on to boil, deciding that he would have some as well. He pondered what Duo had said. Heero was confused. How could his actions of caring for Duo be taken as something offensive? It was emotion again. Duo wanted feeling behind Heero's actions other than duty. But it was his duty to make sure Duo was fully operational. How could any emotion be put behind that? He watched the bubbles rise in the soup.

"I think that's done," Duo said softly, his eyes sullen and weary.

"Hai," Heero agreed, and got down two bowls to fill with the red liquid. He bought the steaming bowls to the table, setting one before Duo and one at the place he planned to sit at across from Duo. Next he retrieved two spoons and two cups which he filled with tap water. He set all of those down on the table accordingly. He began to eat his meal, pausing to let the soup cool before each spoonful. He gazed up at his partner when his bowl was nearly empty to see that the amethyst eyed boy hadn't eaten a bite. He simply sat stirring the soup, staring disinterestedly down into it. He took small sips of his water while twirling his spoon idly.

"Eat," Heero commanded, and blinked at the hard look given to him.

"Not hungry. Sorry you went to all the trouble," Duo muttered his low voice, pushing away from the table again.

"Maxwell..." Heero growled in warning.

"Look, I sit in here and smell that any longer, you're gonna see yesterday's ration bar on the table," Duo snapped. He took the cup of water and left the kitchen. Heero heard his footsteps on the stairs. Baka. He finished his soup, his appetite decreased by his irritation with Duo, but he ate any way to provide his body with sufficient nutrients. He drank his water mechanically. The baka was upset because Heero had a job to do. The baka was compromising the mission. The baka...wanted Heero to be his friend.

That last thought popped out of nowhere. Heero rinsed out bowl and spoon, and covered Duo's untouched portions to store in the refrigerator. Heero thought he was considered a friend. He saw him more than he saw anyone else, and they always roomed together, and they worked missions together in better sync with one another than any of the other pilots. The comradery felt strong to him between he and the Deathscythe pilot, maybe there was more to it than Heero thought there was. Just being in the same place with the same goals it seemed wasn't enough. Duo had wanted to think Heero was concerned about him. Was he concerned? Duo might make a careless mistake in battle if he was ill. He would endanger himself and anyone partnering him. The mission would fail. He frowned then, but Duo did not have the mission in mind when he wanted to think Heero was concerned. If the mission was not involved in his thought process, then Heero supposed he should be worried about Duo's discomfort. After all, he was a comrade, and it wasn't comfortable to see an ally in pain. Should Heero tell him that? Would that make him stop sulking and eat?

He cleared the table and left the rinsed dishes in the sink. He rummaged around in the cabinets to find a fever reducer, Aspirin. He took the small bottle upstairs with him. He entered the room to find Duo curled up in bed once again, that time under the covers. His eyes opened at Heero's entrance, "You didn't take anything for your fever. I've brought some Aspirin."

"Allergic. I already took something."

"Allergic to Aspirin....noted," Heero nodded to himself, and Duo rolled his eyes. "Look Heero, I won't be requiring your services tonight, ok? Why don't you just worry about taking care of yourself. You look beat, you should sleep."

"You should eat."

"Good night Heero," Duo's voice was monotone, he shut his violet eyes and changed his breathing to take on the pattern rhythms of sleeping to induce slumber. Within moments Heero knew his roommate was asleep. He saw no use in waking him again to insist he ate, so instead Heero stripped down off his tank top and crawled into his own bed. He was tired.

His sleep was light as always, tainted by dreams of his past. They were like old movies, rewound and played again and again for his viewing displeasure. Every night he saw the little girl and her puppy, the ones he'd murdered... He saw Doctor J's maniacal grin, his eyes gleaming behind the goggles he always chose to wear, as he held out his steel claw to him to give him his gun. He saw Odin Lowe, the assassin, the only father he ever knew, leaving him behind. He never woke feeling rested, sometimes he wondered why he even bothered to sleep at all. It seemed to be a waste of his time, he could be getting more work done in the time he spent inefficiently trying to rest his body.

He opened his eyes, rousing from the thin veil of lucid dreams at the noise of rustling sheets from the other side of the room. He heard the sound of a body hitting the floor heavily, and feet moving swiftly. The creaking sound of hinges let him know the bathroom door had been opened, and the slam, let him know it was closed again. He sat up in bed, and turned to look at his roommate's then empty bed.

Why had the baka felt it necessary to make all that noise just to go to the bathroom? He narrowed his eyes a bit at the soft sounds coming from the closed door, and slid out of his bed. As he moved closer he realized his roommate was being ill, and regretted his previous thoughts. He inched toward the door and knocked on it softly when he reached it. "Duo?" he asked.

There was no verbal response only a watery cough and the sound of liquid splashing as it struck the surface of standing water. He opened the door, peering in to see his long haired roommate kneeling before the toilet clutching its rim as he heaved. He came into the bathroom and leaned against the sink studying the ill teen. The boy wore a thin white undershirt that was soaked through with sweat, and loose black gym shorts. His body shivered as it heaved and retched.

Finally his roommate came up for air, gasping and spitting bile into the toilet. He grimaced at the taste in his mouth and looked over to the sink, "S...sorry to wake you Heero." "Will you be ill again?" Heero asked, his voice cool.

"I don't have anything else to offer to the Porcelain God tonight, Heero. I paid my tithe...and yours, and maybe even Quatre's, Trowa's, and Wufei's too."

Heero frowned as he contemplated what Duo said, "You were not ill for long, 6 minutes 33 seconds precisely."

Duo grunted, "Felt longer than that.... gods it burned."

"Hn," Heero stood and approached the sink running some cook water and moistening a towel. He handed the small face towel to his sweaty roommate, "Is there anything you think you require? Water, medicine...?"

Duo took the towel gratefully bathing his forehead and cheeks with it, "Water... but I can get it myself." Before Duo could finish speaking Heero was filling an idle glass by the sink with water. He held it to Duo who stared at him.

"What? This is your cup. I've watched you drink from it after you brushed your teeth before."

Duo blinked, and took the glass, his hands shaking a bit. "I know it's mine... I..uh...thanks." He sipped the water slowly, gazing at Heero curiously as the Perfect Soldier stared back. His eyes narrowed slightly as he seemed to suddenly remember something, "I'll be fine in the morning."

Heero simply blinked, "Do you need assistance back to your bed?"

"No, I'm fine." He winced then and curled in on himself. "Oh gods..." he gagged spitting up the water he'd just drunk.

Heero frowned slightly, "You are going to dehydrate." Duo could not answer him as he continued to heave, his body trembling with the force of the violent act. He sat back wiping unconsciously at his mouth, giving sharp little hiccups that rattled his frame. Heero was at a loss, he was tutored in how to give field dressings and other first aid techniques in that sense. He did not know how to deal with sickness. "Duo..." He was supposed to be doing something, Duo was his ally, his partner. He felt somewhat responsible for making sure he wasn't uncomfortable...and he was. Duo, Duo had not received the same training as him, maybe he would know what to do, and could instruct Heero, "What do I do for you?"

Duo was swallowing and taking deep breaths, he looked to be battling another bout of nausea. His purple eyes grazed Heero momentarily before sinking back to the tiled floor, "What?"

"I am not equipt with the knowledge to treat an illness such as this. I can give you an IV to stop dehydration, perhaps an anti-nausea drug would help. I do not know if one could be sold to me that could be used intravenously though, and I do not have the material to set up an IV for fluids. An over the counter medicine you would have to swallow would be the safest, and bottled water. But you seem to be..."

Duo held up a hand, chuckling lightly at Heero's dilemma, "Heero, stop. If..If I didn't know better, I'd think you were nervous." There was no reply from Heero as he thought over Duo's statement. Was nervousness that fluttering sensation he felt in his gut? He did not like being unprepared and not knowing what to do... was this the beginning of a panic? He had to calm himself, but he found he had trouble doing so every time he gazed at the pallor of the other pilot's skin, " are nervous aren't you? Heero?"

"Hn," it was weak. Heero could not believe his voice could sound so...hollow, even in one syllable.

"Aw geez, Heero. I... And here I was thinking you didn't care at all, maybe you do just a bit. Or maybe you just don't like not being in control, ne?" Duo tried to give him a grin, but the pain flashing in the violet orbs weakened any solace the smile may have given Heero's soul. Was Duo right? Was he scared of not being in control? Yes, yes he was. He did not like feeling helpless in a situation. This...this was not a mission, he realized suddenly. This was something different, it was one of those odd things that came along with comradery that he hadn't experienced yet. This had to be what Duo was so upset about, the fact that Heero hadn't experienced this yet. He did not like seeing his partner in pain, because.... because he.... he... that fluttering feeling... the nervousness, the...fear for a friend. Friend, Duo was a friend, he had mistaken Heero. Or rather, Heero just was too late to understand the term friend and his feelings wrapped around it, to correct Duo in his assumption. "Duo.."

"It's ok, Heero. I've been taking care of myself for a long time, k? I can handle a little nausea. You don't have to stay here, if it's making you that uncomfortable," he tried to appear stronger, but the tremor in his voice gave his weakness away. He shuddered before giving way to another bout of heaves, loose strands of his hair dangled precariously into Duo's line of fire, and Heero, not thinking, quickly reached to brush back the rogue hair and hold it back with his hands. As he leaned forward to hold Duo's hair back he was able to see the clear fluid Duo was bringing up. More water, he was vomiting precious water. When the worst of the heaves was over Duo sat back flat on his butt gasping for air, and rubbing his stomach, "Oh God, what did I do to deserve this punishment? Never mind, you don't have to answer that one, Big Guy, I know already."

Heero frowned, "Are you delirious? Who are you talking to?" Heero placed a hand on Duo's warm neck, the only skin exposed nearest to his hand since Do had his head bowed. Duo gave a small cough before answering, "God, Heero, I was talking to the Father. I know I said I didn't believe in Him, but sometimes I just feel like something's watching me...besides you, you know. I figured, it has to be Him. He wants to be see me punished."

"Why?" The fluttering was intensifying, and Heero felt he might be sick. Duo's skin burned against his fingertips. "For claiming to be a god....for acting as Shinigami, Heero."

Heero still did not understand. Duo was becoming delirious perhaps. Fluids, he needed fluid...but he kept throwing up. "Duo...I think you need to drink something. But..."

"Something clear... water's not gonna do, but for now it's ok."

"What else should I be giving you?"

"Um... maybe some sort of electrolyte restoring drink, like that pediatric-stuff mothers give to their toddlers when they're dehydrating. Ginger ale...or warm Sprite. I'd also include Sports drinks, but they have too much sugar for me right now."

"Hai," Heero nodded at the list of supplies, "and...and plain broth?"

Duo blinked, a little startled, "Not for now, Heero. I've got to keep down fluids first, but later on, yes plain broth."


"I'm allergic to a lot of stuff Heero, any medication would have to be mild. Baby Tylenol, baby anti-nausea drugs. I don't weigh much, and drugs usually effect me pretty strongly no matter what the dosage. Pediatric medication usually works just fine."

"Hai," acknowledged. The American gave another groan, his face graying as he gagged again lunging back at the toilet. Nothing came up as he wretched and heaved loudly for 5 minutes. He sat back shivering from exertion, and chills. Gooseflesh had broken out across his skin, Heero stared in amazement. Duo's skin was so warm, it was odd to see the little pimples that appeared when the skin was experiencing a chill. "You are cold?" He watched the long haired teen's teeth chatter lightly, and he gave a nod.

"I will bring your blankets."

"Pillow too please, I want...I need to lie down," Duo's voice was unsteady, his eyes cloudy. He was already curling his small frame on the cool floor near the toilet, and Heero felt something inside him tighten. His eyes widened in surprise, and he almost gasped at the new sensation. Duo.. He looked so small lying there, and Heero felt....protective of him? Did he wish to protect Duo from what was causing him pain? He could not see how that would be plausible, the feeling was ridiculously unsound., but it wouldn't leave him. He wanted to... before he could stop himself he placed a hand on Duo's comfort him? He'd seen Quatre, another comrade in arms, do it numerous times to Duo, and Trowa. It seemed to be a show of affection for the coolness in Trowa's eyes melted at the touch, and Duo's smiles seemed to reach his eyes. Quatre...Quatre should be here, or even Trowa. They could care for Duo in the way Heero was stumbling over. He was performing horribly. He needed someone to tell him what to do. Duo was trying, but Duo shouldn't have to be the one. He was suffering, but still trying to help Heero. Heero realized Duo hadn't been giving those instruction so that Heero could help *him* to feel better, he'd given those instruction to help *Heero* feel less helpless. To fill those orders, Heero would have to leave the safe house, therefore getting to reestablish his control in completing a task he was fully competent at doing. He left the small bathroom to pull the comforter and pillow from Duo's rumpled bed. He reentered the bathroom, kneeling to cover Duo with blanket and to tuck the pillow under his head. Duo thanked Heero softly, then told him, "I'm ok now Heero. Go get those supplies for me; I'll be fine until you get back."

Heero frowned, Duo would be alone for more than an hour. The nearest store was an hour away, in town. What if something happened, and Heero.... well Heero hadn't proved to be much of a help anyway, what could he do if something happened? He frowned, what if their location was compromised, Duo could not fight. "You would have to come along, if I left."

"Heero, I don't think I can move right now. Sorry buddy," Duo drawled, closing his eyes on a grimace of pain.

"I will help you, and you can sit in the car while I go inside the store to get you these things." Heero was firm. Duo needed fluid, and nourishment. Heero had to get them, but he could not leave him in his condition. It would be dangerous, as well as stupid. Heero was...he was afraid to leave Duo in his condition. What if he lost consciousness on his back, and he vomited and could not turn himself over? Heero shook his head, no, too dangerous. "You will come. We will take your pillow and blanket, and you can lie in the backseat. A waste basket will do for you to hold if you are ill again."

Duo's eyes opened a slit and he watched Heero curiously, "You're worried...about me. You're scared. You really do care."


"W...won't argue with that then. Whatever you feel more comfortable doing with me, Heero. I'll go with you to the store if it makes you feel better."

"Arigato," Heero thanked the bundle on the floor, before kneeling to help him to his feet. The American swayed in Heero's strong hold around his waist, and leaned on him a bit, "S...sorry, Heero. I'm a little dizzy. It's ok if I put a little of my weight on you, isn't it? I don't weigh much."

"You don't," Heero agreed. He could probably carry Duo if needed, but decided to let the American make the decision if he felt it necessary. Heero leaned Duo against the wall so he could gather the blanket and pillow. He draped the blanket over the shivering boy's body like a royal cloak, and bundled the pillow under one arm. He then wrapped a steadying arm around Duo's waist and he led him from the bathroom, sitting him on his bed. Heero dressed quickly and stuffed a few green bills into his pocket, they were mostly 20's in American currency of course. He glanced at Duo deciding he needed to be dressed properly as well just in case something happened and they both needed to vacate the vehicle. "Your clothes, Duo? You need to be dressed as well."

Duo moaned a bit, "Under the bed., still in my bag... My shorts are ok for outdoor wear Heero... I'll just get on my socks and shoes, ok?"

"Alright," Heero let Duo dress himself. Once the American had donned his usually black combat boots and black socks, lacing them halfway and wrapping the rest of the string around the high ankle of the boot, he announced he was ready. He looked light-headed, and sweaty as Heero approached him, and helped him from the bed. He guided Duo carefully down the stairs, and locked the door behind them as they fumbled in the dark to the garage where the old car was stashed. Heero had pocketed the car keys and fished them out as they approached the relic.

"A classic," Duo purred, not sick enough to not enjoy the sight of an old car kept in good running shape. "All it needs is a little paint job...maybe some new upholstering. If I could keep this car Heero, the things I'd do to fix it up. I wish I could drive..." Heero frowned, knowing it would be a hazard if Duo drove in his present state.

"I will drive," Heero said, opening the door to the backseat for Duo who shook his head, "I'll ride in front with you. I'll get carsick in back."

Heero nodded, frowning as he'd forgotten to grab a small trash can. "Get into the car, I need to acquire a waste basket."

"There's one above your head on that shelf," Duo said softly pointing to a wooden shelf laden with tools jut above Heero's head mounted on the garage wall. Duo had good night vision, Heero documented for future reference. The garage was still rather dim, even with the working lights that had come on when the garage door was opened. Heero stood on his tip toes to reach the small blue trash can. It was dusty and littered with cobwebs, but it would suffice. They would throw it away even if Duo did not make use of it. Heero climbed into the driver's side of the car, at the same time Duo placed himself in the passenger seat. He passed the trash can to Duo who set it on the floor in between his feet. He placed the pillow in his lap clutching it against his stomach, and slumped low in the seat, trembling under his blanket.

Heero started the car, and backed out of the driveway turning on the headlights once they reached the road. He let down the garage door with the automatic controller clipped to the driver's side mirror fold down just above his head. They rode in soft silence for a minute before Duo requested Heero turn on the radio. Duo liked music of any kind. Heero found Duo's musical selections changed in different settings. In his Gundam, Duo liked to play heavy metal music that screamed and screeched over Deathscythe's speakers, sometimes interfering with communications. In his rooms in safe houses, he listened to mellower music with softer guitars and smooth vocals, alternative rock he called it, or rhythm and blues. In the dorm rooms they shared sometimes, he listened to music without words, only soft melodies that seemed to tell stories of breezes and mountains, and lost fairies. There was so much to Duo that Heero hadn't even known he'd admitted into his mental file on the pilot. He searched for a radio station that played something similar to what Duo liked to listen to in his rooms, as Duo reclined in the passenger seat a strangely soft expression on his face, in his Heero had only seen him give to Quatre, and to Trowa on occasion. Heero stopped on a station, and stole another glance at his...friend. "What?"

Duo shook his head, and smiled lightly, "You knew to stop at a Tom Petty song, Heero."

Tom Petty? "Who is Tom Petty?"

"He's an old rock and roll musician, a classic from before the colony dates.'ve been paying attention to me all along, Heero."

"You've been my roommate quite often Duo. It is hard not to learn some things about you."

"But I know so little about you," Duo admonished softly, "though it's probably because you never show me anything about yourself."

Heero accepted that. There was nothing to show. Duo was a complex and rather interesting anomaly that had crossed Heero's path, he was something to study and behold. Heero was not that interesting, and did not feel he stood out in a crowd the way Duo did. He seemed to attract people to him like a super magnet, even when not trying to. It was the same with Quatre. He wondered if Trowa or the elusive Wufei ever felt pale in comparison to the other two pilots. "Do you like music?"

Heero blinked, he hadn't been expecting a question directed at his person. "Nani? Music?"

"Yeah, you like rock, or classical like Quatre and Trowa, or jazz, blues?"

"Jazz? What is jazz? I've heard you listen to rock, and blues, and Quatre listen to and play classical instruments with Trowa. I do not recall jazz."

Duo gave a light chuckle, and his small hand went toward the radio. He began to fiddle with the stations until he found one that suited what he was talking about. The gentle stylings of an alto saxophone followed by soft piano accompaniment flooded the car. "That's jazz."

Heero nodded, "Hn." was soothing. "Sometimes it's without words, sometimes it is. Sometimes people sing it, other times people speak to the music. It's really nice to experience it live. When I was of the few good memories that I have was when S...a friend and I, to seek temporary refuge from the cold would slip into this small juice bar on L2. It was a dive really, and they would have live music, and poetry interpretations. I remember the soft blue lights, and the smooth voices. This waitress and the bartender, they liked us, and always gave us small mugs of some carbonated beverage with a sweet artificial cherry juice mixed in it, called Shirley Temples, or sometimes even warm teas with hints of something wild in their flavor, and soft cookies that we could half and take back to... uh never mind. Anyway it was nice, and I remember feeling safe and warm. So until this day, jazz makes me feel that way when I hear it."

"I've never heard you listen to it before," Heero said, feeling a strange warmth at being told something that seemed so personal to Duo. Duo never really spoke of his past, but from the tiny hints of things he would let slide to the others, Heero knew it had been unpleasant. How such an unpleasant past brought about such a person as Duo Maxwell was yet another mystery that revolved around the boy. Heero got the notion that Duo was not always as happy as he projected himself to be, but the boy did seem to have a genuine love and respect for life.

"Headphones... I listen to it when I sleep," Duo breathed, his voice low and drowsy sounding. The music was having a soporific effect on him.

"Hai. Maybe tonight, we will put it on your general music system and we can both listen to it."

Duo smiled as his eyes closed, "I've found something you like. Score one for me."

"Score two for you," Heero corrected him as the boy was lost into the world of dreams. He'd forgotten to add the second thing he'd discovered Heero liked, which was him. It was funny how one night of weakness for the both of them had evolved into something much deeper. He wondered if Duo felt it too, he probably did. He probably felt it, and knew just how to sort and deal with his feelings because he knew what they all were. Heero was still coming up for labels for the emotions that ran him over with the force of a large truck. Damn you Dr. J for not preparing me for impact. Learning from experience was not an easy task.


They arrived in town after a long 58 minute drive. Duo had not awoken from his slumber though he did mumble and shift around in discomfort often. Once or twice Heero was ready to pull off the road thinking the boy was going to be ill in his sleep. Heero tapped Duo's shoulder to wake him, "I'm going inside, you better get in the backseat for now. Is there anything else you want or need?"

Duo shook his head sleepily while climbing into the backseat to curl into a ball, arms around his stomach, "Oh...crackers, the square pale ones, please."

"Alright." Heero got out of the vehicle and double checked to make sure he had locked all of the doors. He entered the 24 hour convenience store casually. He picked up a small hand basket and went to the pharmacy aisle where he might find the medications he was looking for. While traveling the aisles pulling down various children's medication for fever and stomachaches, he also began to collect some for other ailments. They would come in handy to give to Duo to keep in his duffle bag since he could not take what Heero carried obviously. He also got a thermometer. As he approached the second aisle a middle aged man joined him in his stride. Heero felt himself tense at the stranger's presence, he was looking at him, "Can I help you with anything son?"

Heero frowned, he hated interacting with people. He knew he came off as rather awkward, and when he was with Duo or Quatre he let them do the speaking. "I..."

"You've got a lot of medication in there son... you sick?"

Heero blinked, then shook his head, "My little brother... We're new here, and our parents have gone out of town for the week. They said I was old enough to look out for myself and my brother. They weren't planning on him getting sick. We don't have any medicine in the house, and he's so miserable."

The older man smiled sympathetically, a mesomorphic frame and a jolly smile that crinkled his eyes behind his small rounded glasses let Heero know the man was friendly, and also that he'd done a good acting job. "What are his symptoms, son, maybe I can help you out here? I was watching from the counter thinking to myself, what's a boy your age doing out by himself at the store this late. Didn't recognize you, and figured you might need some sort of help."

"Well," Heero recalled Duo's symptoms. He probably couldn't tell the man everything, because he might request they go to a hospital to see a doctor. Duo probably did need a doctor, but hospitals were too risky, especially for Duo who could be so easily tagged by his long hair. Though no OZ soldiers had ever gotten a good enough look at any of them yet. Some still weren't aware they weren't dealing with adults. But too many questions could be asked about two teenagers at a hospital in the middle of the night with no parents to call. "He's got a fever, and he's really nauseous."

The man nodded his brow furrowing, "Throwing up?"

Heero nodded. The man began to shift through Heero's basket studying what he had, "It looks like you got some of everything son."

"Well I figure we should stock up on the household medicine. But if you recommend something I could give him..."

"Well, there is really no medication that's going to stop a child from tossing his cookies, I don't care what they say. Sometimes you just have to let viruses run their course. Now to ease his stomach a little, you might want to try a little warm Ginger Ale. Come on son, let me help you fill your basket. Do you have a budget you need to keep? I can keep all of this under 20 dollars."

Heero shook his head, he felt sure he had stuffed well over 200 dollars in his pockets, "Anything you think may be of help, I'll buy."

"Alright," the man placed his hand on Heero's back, and Heero fought to uncoil and relax his muscles at the touch, and allowed the man to guide him through the store.


Heero returned to the car holding under 20 dollars worth of items. He believed the man hadn't charged him for a few of the items he placed in the bag. He unlocked the back door and shook Duo gently to let him know he was back. Duo woke hazily, his face shimmering with perspiration, his glazed eyes took Heero in quietly. "You can move back to the front if you need to."

Duo nodded, and sluggishly climbed over the seat again, wrapping himself tightly in his blanket. Heero set the bag full of Ginger Ale, Saltines, flavored Pedialite, Nursery Water, clear chicken and vegetable broths, digital thermometer, children's fever, cold, cough, and pain relievers, alcohol, baby bath, and candy ( now he knew he didn't put those on the counter...), on the floor in back. "Damn Heero, you buy the store?"

"No," Heero replied. "The man inside was very nice. He helped me pick out what you might need, and even put some things I did not purchase into the bag."

"Your people skills must be improving Heero, my man," Duo said with a light laugh. "You get any free candy?"

"Yes I did."

"Sugoi," Duo murmured with a weak grin. Heero put the key in the ignition and brought the car back to life. The soothing jazz started again, a female singer with a throaty voice began to croon dramatically about a lost love to the soft tinkling of a piano.


Duo threw up twice during the drive back, each time insisting Heero kept driving. Heero practically had to carry him from the car, he was so weak by the time they reached the house. He did carry him up the stairs, Duo holding onto him for dear life, "Heero, you sure about this?" he kept asking, his lavender eyes wide with fright. Heero did not understand his fear. Duo had seen Heero lift and carry much heavier things than himself. Duo couldn't have weighed more than 90 pounds.

He placed Duo back in bed, only to have to take him back into the bathroom minutes later so that he could be sick again. He sat with the braided teen offering him the various beverages the man at the store had suggested, Ginger Ale and crackers to ease his stomach, Pedialite to prevent dehydration. Duo's stomach rejected everything Heero and Duo tried to give it. Heero even waited patiently only giving Duo the supplements by the hour like the man had suggested to give his stomach a rest.

He sat behind Duo near the toilet, letting Duo rest his overheating body against his chest. He had fallen into an uncomfortable sleep moaning and tossing often. Heero sat still not wanting to disturb Duo by moving... What would Quatre do to comfort him? He tried to recall something he had seen... his hair. Quatre would play with Duo's hair. Heero began to run his fingers through Duo's damp hair. The strands he pulled loose from their braid curled finely around his fingers. It was so soft and silky, even when moist with sticky sweat.

He needed to take Duo's temperature, but in between frequent bouts of vomiting and trying to get fluids into him, Heero had forgotten. He would do it when Duo woke again, which he feared would be soon. Duo seemed to throw up on the hour. He wondered what time it was, he glanced over at the watch on his wrist...nearly 5 am. He would normally be waking at that time. His finger caught in a dark tangle, and he worked to free it. When his finger came free, he smoothed the chaos he'd created out of Duo's mane. Duo gave a small moan, and his stomach gave a loud gurgle... he would be waking up shortly.

Not more than a moment later Duo was gagging, his eyes snapping open and his body fighting to lean towards the toilet again. Heero supported him as he threw up, his hand over Duo's stomach feeling it convulse painfully. Duo sat back after spitting into the toilet when he was done, resting his head against Heero's shoulder, "Morning."

"Good morning, Duo."

"I feel nasty."

"Would you like a bath?" Heero took the statement literally. Duo didn't smell very nice anymore. His body smelled of sweat, and his hair was starting to smell of sickness. "Please," Duo breathed. "I think my body odor is making me sick."

Heero nodded, standing and letting Duo's body rest against the wall with his blanket. "I'll run some bath water."

Heero pulled the light blue shower curtain away from the white porcelain tub and began to fill it with tepid water. The man at the store had told him not only was hot water bad for fever, but it might work to nauseate Duo further. He went to the plastic bag he had set on his desk and pulled out the baby bath oil. The man said it would be soothing against Duo's skin, and it was odorless so it wouldn't upset his stomach anymore. He poured two capfuls into the tub, as Duo watched him in amusement, "Baby bath?"

"Hn," Heero nodded.

"You trying to match my shampoo?"

Heero blinked. He then recalled the brands of shampoos Duo usually used. They all sported pictures of cartoon characters or small children on the bottle, and read No Tears formula. "I don't like using harsh soaps or chemicals in my hair. I never had them growing up, and my hair is just fine, so why start?"

"Hn, would you like for me to wash your hair with that shampoo?"

"Yes please," Duo said with a slight incline of his head. "It''s in my bag under the bed, my shampoo and conditioner...and detangler. I never had detangler growing up either, but I figure that's one indulgence I will risk." Heero was already under the bed digging through Duo's bag for the hair maintenance products he'd requested. He found the detangler to be a No Tears brand as well. "You only need to spray that in after you wash it, and are ready to comb it all out," Duo informed him when he brought the three bottles in and frowned at the detangler's instructions.

"Hai," Heero acknowledged, then stopped the bath water. It was about waist high. Duo had begun to undress himself already, and stood tottering in his boxers to get into the bath. "You are going to keep those on?" Heero asked.

" offense Heero, but uh... I'm not too comfortable with other people getting full views of me in my birthday suit. The last person that saw me naked was Sister Helen, and it was only because she was a real harpy about baths, and had to bathe me herself to make sure I got clean enough. Oh I used to hate baths," Duo chuckled, letting Heero help him lower himself into the water. He shivered a bit, "A little cool isn't it?"

"Tepid water is best," Heero said softly. "Who is Sister Helen, Duo?"

"She...she was my mother. Or the closest thing I ever had to a mother. She took care of me in the church orphanage I used to live at. There are so many war orphans on L2, not all of us found good places like the Maxwell Church to go to."

"Maxwell Church?" Heero asked, he was getting a wash cloth down from the towel closet. Maxwell, Duo's last name. Did the church have anything to do with it?

"It was run by a guy named Father Maxwell," Duo said softly, his eyes deep indigo in reverie. "He was really tall, and always smelled like peppermint. It was his aftershave, I think. He... took me in, when no one else wanted me, saved me from the streets. After dear friend, the one who took care of me for the first part of my life starting from when I was too young to find food for myself, died, I found myself lost."

Heero dipped the towel in the lukewarm water and ran it across Duo's back gently, "Solo? He's the one you named yourself after?"

"Yes," Duo smiled, "before and with Solo I had no real name, after him, I became Duo. When I lived at the Maxwell Church, I was known as Maxwell's Demon. I would raise all sorts of hell, snitching things from little vendor carts, or tiny stores, and playing practical jokes on teachers and on the other orphans. A little imp, that's what I was, but Sister Helen and Father Maxwell, they...they loved me anyway. I think even more than the other kids. I was their son, I felt. They were both married to God, but if they could have married each other, I believe they would have had me, adopted me. I saw the way they looked at each other sometimes. I was really young, but I knew a lot of things I shouldn't have too soon anyway. I recognized those looks even then."

Heero moved on to add a little more soap to the towel and went across Duo's chest, then his arms. "She had a little song she made up just for me, and she would sing it to me before bedtime. And Father, Father always let me help him with Mass. Even when I told him I didn't believe in God... in fact when I told him that, he gave me his cross, his golden cross."

The cross that Duo always wore under his priest shirt and collar. The costume was now explained, Heero thought to himself, and another part of the enigma of Duo Maxwell was unraveled. Why such a crude and dynamic person would wear such an outfit that denoted such solemn piety had been beyond all of their grasps.

"I... " his voice stopped, breaking a bit before evening out, "I still remember the way the candle light brushed over his face the night he gave it to me. He unclasped it from around his neck and placed it in my tiny little hands, and folded my fingers around it delicately. Told me 'Though [I didn't] believe in God, God believes in [me], and would always be with [me.]'"

"After that..after that I never saw him again...." he stopped talking then, his breath coming in deep sighs. "What about you Heero? You have any stories to tell?" He evened out his tone with much effort, his eyes remaining dry, but bright with tears that wanted to be shed.

Heero dampened the towel again, and ran it over Duo's legs, careful to keep a hand on Duo's back to keep him sitting upright. "Stories? There really isn't much to tell about me, Duo. I was raised for the first part of my life by a cold blooded assassin, and then passed off to Doctor J for training. I have no warm childhood memories of anyone who ever showed me love. I only have memories of training sessions, and a wrongful death."

He was finished washing his body. He reached for the rubber band on the end of Duo's braid only to find the large purple eyes staring at him, "Heero..."

"It was entirely my fault, my miscalculation. I accept it," Heero said briefly, he pulled at the rubber band and began to unravel Duo's sloppy braid.

"Is that what you dream about at night, when you toss and turn?"

Heero paused in running his hands through the tangles of Duo's rich brown hair, "Nani?"

"You talk in your sleep sometimes, Yuy, sometimes cry."

Heero stared, his hands still locked in Duo's thick hair. "I tried to wake you once,'s like you're in a coma. I just have to watch, and when you wake up its like you don't remember the dreams anyway. You never say anything, or look overly tired like you'd been restless. Me, you can always tell when I've had a nightmare."


Duo smirked, "I've woken you up before, haven't I?"

"Yes, " Heero nodded. "You talk in your sleep too, Duo. What did you do that causes you so much pain?"

Duo bowed his head a bit, not answering, and Heero frowned fearing he'd been too forward. He was still so new at conversation, especially ones with...friends. He had friends. He went back to straightening Duo's chaotic mane of waves and curls, "How do manage so much hair by yourself everyday without tiring of it?"

Duo shrugged, "It doesn't bother me. My's... every inch of it, is a memory. Every new knot I can braid is a new year, a new experience. It's my personal journal or scrap book, and as long as I have it, I'll never forget anything, or anybody who's ever touched it. Solo found me.... the last link at the bottom, the part underwater, that was the part he touched... Sister Helen, she's a few notches up, as is Father Maxwell. I'll never cut them out of my life Heero. I want to remember them forever."

"And me?"

"You've touched it now, too. I'll be braiding you into my memories after I get out of the bath. You, and Quatre, and Trowa...Wufei has yet to touch my memories, but he will."

"That's...that's..." Beautiful, he wanted to say. It was beautiful to think of becoming a part of someone forever in that way, and it made him feel incredibly important to be remembered among all of those people who had made such an impact in Duo's early life. "Duo.... what happened to them? Onegai?"

Duo blinked, and gave a sad little smile. He closed his eyes as Heero began to massage in the first handful of shampoo, "They died, Heero. They all were killed in cold blood, and their bodies were cremated by the fire set to the church by the damn Earth Sphere Alliance. I was conned into stealing a mobile suit from an Alliance hangar by some rebels, and as punishment my family and my home was taken from me, destroyed. Shinigami was born after that, Heero. I wanted blood, and still want it. I stowed aboard the Sweeper's ship shortly after that, and met Dr. G. He trained me, further fueled my hatred of the Alliance, and now Oz. I became the God of Death for them, Heero. I wear the collar to symbolize my being the intercessor between a person....and Death. That's why I wear the cross under my clothes. With it showing, I'd be an intercessor for the people and God... but I don't work for him Heero, and I don't think I ever could. He's too cruel. He plays with people too much. At least when Shinigami comes, he comes to collect, there are no games. He doesn't give any disillusionment to his true purpose. When you see him, you die."

Heero shivered at Duo's words, he spoke so calmly. This was something he'd worked out within himself years ago, before he met Heero, or any of the others. He hated that someone like Duo thought that way, appeased himself by masquerading as Death. "Lean back Duo, all the way. I'm going to rinse the soap from your hair."

"Ok," Duo's voice was a whisper, the act of Heero massaging his scalp was apparently making him sleepy. Heero helped Duo arrange himself so that he was reclining in the tub, and Heero gently dunked his hair into the water massaging and scrubbing his scalp clean. He then collected cupfuls of water in the palm of one of his hands to pour over the top of Duo's head to get the suds off of his forehead. He worked in the conditioner next, letting Duo bask in the cooling bath for a few moments as the conditioner set it. It made his hair softer than silk when he washed it out. He sat Duo back up delicately, and wrapped his long hair in a large towel. Then he began to drain the bath tub. He grabbed another large towel from the closet and helped Duo to stand wrapping his entire body in it. Duo leaned against Heero for support, his head drooping towards his shoulder. He was falling asleep. Heero hurriedly dried Duo's body, and lifted him out of the tub. He bought him to his desk chair and sat him down wanting to comb out Duo's wet locks before the dried and became impossibly tangled. He blotted Duo's hair a bit with the large towel to stop it from drenching the carpet, and then added a good amount of detangler to the shower of waves. Then he went to Duo's duffle bag to find his brush. Heero pulled the old brush from the bag staring at the missing bristles...he needed a new one. He came back to Duo whose head was tilted slightly back over the chair as he dozed, and starting from the bottom as he had seen Duo do, began to stroke the brush through the curtain.

The finished product gleamed like polished silver when he was done. He stood back to stare at the waterfall of chestnut hair, proud of his work. Now for the braid...though it almost seemed a sin to disturb the beauty of the hair in its natural state of freedom. Besides....Heero had never braided hair before, he felt certain he would only tangle it again. But then Duo couldn't sleep with his hair down, he got tangled up in it. Perhaps a ponytail would suffice, Heero could do that. That way his hair would at least be bound back by something. He came forward to tango with the hair again, but was startled when Duo's own hands had come around his back, and began to weave the silk into the intricate pattern of a braid with such deft Heero could do nothing but watch in awe. It was like watching a tapestry being made. "Can you find me a rubber band please Heero?"

Heero jumped, his trance broken, "Here..." he came to the chair pulling the rubber band he had taken from Duo's hair in the bathtub from his jeans' pocket. Duo took the rubber band and wound it around the end of his long braid pulling it over his shoulder. When he was done he sagged with exhaustion. "Bed?"


Heero took Duo's outstretched hands and pulled him up from the chair, catching him when he stumbled forward into his chest. "I've got you," Heero gently led his friend to bed, and tucked him under his sheet before going to fetch his pillow and blanket. He covered him then sat on Duo's bed, as Duo lie curled on his side staring at Heero's knee. Heero ran his hand over Duo's back in light circles, he'd seen Trowa do this to Quatre before when he was upset and it seemed to soothe him. It was working for Duo as well. His eyes began to close, but before he could totally drift off to sleep, he gazed up at Heero's face, "Arigato, Heero," and Heero smiled.


He sat with Duo all that following day and all the next night, holding his hair back for him and rubbing his back when he threw up. He gave him fluid, and medicine for his fever. He comforted him the best he could by rubbing his back, coming up with stories of his past to tell, and by listening to Duo. Duo did like to talk, and he learned more about Duo than anyone else in the world would ever have the privilege of knowing, and Duo could say the same about Heero.

He lie on Duo's bed next to him listening to the soft sounds of the early morning seeping in from the outside world with Duo's warm head resting on his chest. His bed clothes were soaked through with sweat, his hair was soggy, and his face shone. Heero didn't know what to do. Duo needed a hospital and doctors with IVs and pretty nurses. Heero and baby Tylenol wasn't cutting it, but they both knew that Duo could not go to a hospital.

His breathing was soft and erratic, and he moaned a bit each time he exhaled. His face was so gaunt, his eyes so shadowed, the noisy exhales were partially what told Heero his dear friend was still alive, and sleeping right beside him. He stroked Duo's hair with one hand, and used the other to rub his belly. Duo hadn't vomited or dry heaved in hours since he'd gotten him to drink a fourth of a bottle of Pedialite. He supposed that was a good thing. He looked curiously at Duo's strangely peaceful expression, his mouth was turned slightly upward in a half smile. What was he so pleased about? Maybe he was having good dreams. Heero sighed, and did something that surprised even himself. He brought his lips to Duo's forehead to check his temperature instead of his hands...the lips were more susceptible to changes in temperature. He, Duo's forehead was cool. His fever had broken. He pulled his lips away with a sigh of relief, he was out of danger and would be getting better.

He lie on his back playing with Duo's braid reflecting on the two days he'd spent being Duo's nurse maid. It had been an revelation for him, and he would never be the same again. All of his relationships with the other pilots would have to change. He'd have to let them all know that he cared, but he did believe he cared about Duo a little more than the rest.

He listened to the sounds of a Gundam landing in the distance and laying itself down to rest. Trowa had arrived. His labtop was beeping, as it had been for hours, but he'd been ignoring it. He sat up then, arranging Duo's head carefully on the pillow he'd been monopolizing, and went to his desk. He clicked the flashing icon on the screen knowing full well that he had a mission to accept and complete. He read over the details of the mission and estimated how long it would keep him away from his temporary home for the month. Two days, he sighed. He looked back to the bed, at his sleeping Duo. He had curled himself around the pillow and was chewing on the end of his braid in his sleep. Heero gave a small smile, and stood as he heard the backdoor to the house being opened. He left the room, leaving the door open slightly and ventured downstairs to greet Trowa, taking his duffle bag with him.

"Hello Heero," Trowa greeted Heero when he entered the kitchen. Trowa had wasted no time in locating the coffee. The tall teen with the honey colored hair obscuring one emerald eye leaned on the counter before the coffee pot, his duffle bag sat on the floor beside the kitchen table, looking absolutely exhausted.

"Hello Trowa, you look tired," Heero greeted him back, taking the coffee from Trowa's tired hands and going about the task of making it. Trowa stared at him in shock, his mouth working but no sound coming out. "Sit down, I'll tell you when it is done. Are you hungry?"

"," Trowa recovered quickly and took a seat at the table. He spotted Heero's duffle bag at the foot of the other side of the table, "Mission?"

"Aa," Heero said with a curt nod, as he measured the water and poured it into the coffee pot, after scooping out just the right amount of ground coffee from the tin and placing it in the filter. "I will be gone for two days at the least."

"It's a shame, it seems like we're always running by each other."

"It does, doesn't it?" Heero agreed, feeling saddened. It now hurt him to know that he may not be able to know some of his comrades as well as he knew others of them. He might never get the chance. He'd never really thought about it before, but after spending those two days with Duo, it had crystalized in his mind that they really could die at any time...and he would care. He set the coffee pot under the machine so it could catch the brewing coffee as it rained from the maker. He made his way to the table and walked behind Trowa, but instead of taking a seat, he placed a hand on Trowa's shoulder, "Hopefully one day we'll get to stay under the same roof for more than a few moments, and we'll get to talk."

Trowa's cool eyes melted for a bit, and Heero felt elated to recognize the same look Trowa gave to Quatre and Duo now being given to him as well, "I hope for that too, Heero. Hope it's one day soon. I want you to tell me what has happened to make you act so...differently all of a sudden. Where is Duo? Still asleep?"

Heero sobered, and looked up as the coffee pot gave a snort and began to spew coffee into the waiting pot, "He's been very ill for the past two days, Trowa." Trowa's green eyes flared with concern, "His fever broke sometime in the night... I have to leave soon, before he wakes. Would you please look after him while I'm away? Make sure he eats something, and drinks plenty of fluid? Make sure he rests, and takes no missions until I get back?"

Trowa's face was filled with confusion, but also fondness, "Of...of course Heero. I'll look after Duo...for you."

"Thank you Trowa," Heero said softly. The coffee pot was full, and Heero had to leave. "Tell him I said goodbye."

"I will."

Heero's hand still rested on Trowa's shoulder, and his eyes smiled when Trowa's hand came up to cover his, "Goodbye Trowa."

Heero lifted his duffle bag, "Oh, your coffee's ready."

Trowa smiled.


Heero returned from his mission in the estimated time interval, having to camouflage his Gundam in the hills next to Wufei's Gundam Shenlong, for Quatre 's Gundam Sandrock currently inhabited Wing's old place next to Deathscythe in the barn. Heero entered the farm house quietly, not surprised to find the den dim lit only by the flashing blue screen of the television. He wandered into the den carrying his duffle bag to find the blond haired, blue-eyed, Arabian, Quatre Winner curled up on the couch beside Duo, with a large bowl of popcorn sitting between them.

Heero made a small noise to announce his presence, and both heads peeped over the couch to spy him, "Heero!" Duo cheered, even in the dim light Heero could tell the boy was still pale, and see the telltale bags under his eyes letting him know he still wasn't completely well. The violet orbs were questioning, his cheerful greeting and broad smile were for show. Had everything changed over the course of the two days Heero was gone?

Heero decided to answer their question with a smile that was mostly in his eyes, "Duo. Quatre."

"Hello Heero," Quatre was beaming at him strangely, his smile overly friendly. "Duo told me how you took care of him. Thank you, Heero." He gave Duo a small smack over the head, "I knew he was getting sick, but this knucklehead won't admit to anything!" Duo grinned apologetically at Quatre, "Sorry Quat. I didn't think it was anything serious."

"Yeah, well next time I ask you something, you better not find some lame reason to go running off, like I have a mission with Heero."

Duo laughed, "That's not a lame reason, is it Heero?"

"No," Heero agreed, "sounds like a very good reason to me. We make the best team."

"We do."

"Oh, you two have bonded... How disgusting," Wufei Chang snorted as he entered the room, his dark slanted eyes glinting with good humor. The Chinese teen was pulling his shoulder length jet black hair back into its usual low ponytail.

"Ah shut up Wu, you're just jealous."

"Of you Maxwell, never!" Wufei looked offended, and Duo laughed, "And why not?" he continued to bait Wufei, and Quatre rolled his eyes at the impending banter war that was about to commence.

Heero smiled, these... were his friends, Quatre Winner, Wufei Change, and his best friend...Duo Maxwell. "Where is Trowa?"

"Took a mission for me," Duo stopped the banter momentarily to answer Heero, "He'll be back tomorrow."

Heero nodded, and wanted to chuckle as Duo fell right back into the debate pattern with Wufei. Perhaps he was still a little out of place with them. He was still new at dealing with people, and conversation, and was slow to understand jokes. Would he only serve to inhibit the mood until he could learn to handle himself better? He was turning to leave the room, when a hand grabbed his arm and pulled him over the couch until he ended up in a tangle of arms and legs with Duo and Quatre. Duo wrapped his arms around Heero's waist once they'd untangled themselves to keep Heero firmly in place, "Ah, ah, ah... and just where do you think you're going, Yuy? You gotta help Quatre play referee for when Wu here starts cheating."

"I do not cheat Maxwell! You simply cannot hold up your end of an argument well enough to..."

Heero grinned, and turned his head to watch Duo as he tossed his head back to laugh at Wufei's insult and to throw one right back. The bluish glow from the television cast an odd light about him that Heero found absolutely breathtaking and knew at that moment that he would never again have to feel as if he didn't belong as long as Duo Maxwell was somewhere near him.

The End

Be kind and review :) I'll give you gummy bears if you do. **Looks in bag, and notices only green ones are left. "Well, they don't have to know that." Begins to whistle and look innocent** ;)