Heero leaned against the door frame of the playroom in the orphanage, watching Duo as he entertained the children. Each small face watched mesmerized, as he animatedly told a story, a few kids having to duck out of the way to avoid being hit by Duo's flailing arms. Heero smirked as yet another child had to lean backwards to avoid getting a black eye from Duo as he made his way slowly across the room towards the group.

Duo was bringing the story he was telling to an end when he felt someone settle down behind him and sawtanned arms wrap around his waist. He turned to see his boyfriend and gave him a smile to which Heero returned. He leaned back against his chest and finished the story.

"…and we lived happily ever after." he said softly a serene smile on his face, which widened considerably when Heero planted a kiss on his temple and tightened his arms around his waist briefly. There was a chorus of 'awwww's from the children gathered around them.

"Duo, is this the same story that you told last time you were here? And the time before that? And the time before that?" Heero questioned, an eyebrow raised.

He smiled sheepishly, "Well what can I say? They love the story!" He then turned to the orphans, a grin still fixed firmly on hid features, "Hey would you lot like to play outside?" The answering cry was deafening and there was a stampede as the children hurried toward the back door that led them to the back garden. Heero and Duo took their time getting up; Duo clambering to his feet the extending an arm down to Heero who grasped it around the forearm and hauled himself up, purposefully stumbling forward a bit in order to plant another kiss, this time on Duo's lips. He then snaked an arm around Duo's waist and they made their way outside, stopping by the glass back door and leaning against it.

Watching the children having fun, playing freely in all innocence, brought a sense of calm over Duo. He thought back to what happened after that last confrontation: Relena never talked to them or so much as bothered them again. For someone who was convinced that she was in love she sure got over Heero quickly. That didn't mean that she stopped hating them. No, that final rejection seemed to plant an unyielding loathing in her heart for the six of them.

Duo actually did go back to Richard's house to pick up a few clothes that he'd left behind. On his way out though, he was stopped by his mother who'd wanted to reconcile. Apparently she'd heard from Relena that he was living with someone who was richer than Richard and was hoping to gain access to more money through her son – who'd she'd neglected for over ten years – obviously she didn't essentially say that but that's what she alluded to . Duo'd walked by without saying a word, slamming the door behind him, and had never looked back.

They would all be graduating soon and they'd all sent off their college applications. Heero had even convinced Duo to apply for some in the colonies; apparently L1 has some of the best there are. He'd also made sure that their friends had all applied for off-world colleges so they had a greater chance of all staying together. Quatre was definitely going to an off-world college; his father wanted him to take over the business (and get as far away from his friends and their 'bad' influence as possible) and there was a college on L1 that had a fantastic business studies department. Heero wanted to be a systems analyst; Wufei was trying to go into law; Meiran surprised everyone when she said that she wanted to be a psychologist but now it was impossible to see her as anything else. Duowas studying to become an architect, finally finding something to do with his artistic skills and Trowa wanted to be an engineer.

As Duo waved goodbye to all the children and let Heero pull him towards the exit and out to the car, Duo looked at their joined hands and grinned. He'd been through hell over the last ten years and he hadfigured that thatwas the plan for the rest of his life. But then Heero had entered his life and had become his 'knight in shining armour' so to speak. He'd been put through hell and come through only stronger. As he walked out of the orphanage, he felt that that chapter of his life was over; he would never dwell on it again. There was only the future to look forward to, with his friends behind him all the way and Heero by his side.


Wow, it's finished. It's all strange when you finish a fic. It's like you've just watched your baby grow up and move out. Anyway there will be a sequel, keep an eye out for. It hasn't got a title yet but I'm working on it. Perhaps The Beautiful Swan? You know from 'The Ugly Duckling'? Sound good? Give me your opinions!

I love all of you reviewers you have all been great! But this isn't goodbye, merely 'see ya next time'.

(And I expect to see each and every one of you next time! –glares-)