Title: Building A New Life

Chapter: 1

Rating: Mature

Betaed by Skippyscatt

Warnings: Lemons, fighting, blood, explosions, swearing, slight kink. Nothing else.

Parings: 1X2, 3X4, 5X6. Relena as friend to all the boys.

Disclaimer: I do not own or hold any rights to Gundam Wing. Those rights belong to Bandai, Sunrise, and the Sotsu Agency. These fan fictions were written for fun, not profit. However, this story does belong to me. Please don't snitch it.

Summary: Sequel to The Price They Paid – The Pilots fought for peace for the Colonies and the Earth. With peace and the freedom to begin new lives they now are faced with new threats, not from politicians, but from the hard, cold space around them and the men and women they work with. Construction work is dangerous and the people involved in colonial construction are hardened and rambunctious. Building a colony is not at all like building a city. As the boys are about to find out.

Duo was floating in his chamber in the hospital. You really couldn't call it a room as it was a zero-g healing chamber. There were all kinds of instruments and equipment hidden in the walls, or floor, or ceiling. That depended on your orientation. Duo snickered a bit as he appended, physical not sexual to that.

He was waiting, not very patiently, for Heero to come. He was going into his first day of physical therapy and Heero had promised to be there with Binky. This would be his first time in any gravity for any length of time since he'd been hurt. He was looking forward to it. He wanted to play with his dog.

It was all well and good to be able to pet her, but she was helpless in zero-g. And she didn't like it much. She whined a lot when she was floating. She had to be held or she was miserable. Duo loved holding her warm little body but he hated her to be unhappy. So, he was glad to be going into gravity. He grinned suddenly. They could play catch. Binky liked that.

The door opened with a soft whoosh and Heero floated in.

"Hey, Heero. Glad you're here." Duo held out a hand so Heero could come to him. "Where's Binky? Didn't you bring her?"

Heero put one arm around Duo and caught the 'tree' with the other, steadying both of them. "Yeah. I brought her. She's in the therapy gym, or maybe in your new quarters. I didn't see any sense in bringing her in here then dragging the poor thing all the way over there. Trowa's with her. Quatre is talking to your head therapist."

"Where are Wufei and Zechs?"

"Not really sure. Wufei is taking a test and Milliardo is in court, signing the final papers."

"Milliardo? What's with that? I thought he changed it to Zechs legally."

Heero shrugged slightly. "Relena found out that some politician or other convinced him to change it. Guess she really had a royal fit. She insisted that he change it back. She's proud of him and wants everyone to know it. He decided to do it just this morning." Heero smirked at Duo. "I wanted to be the one to tell you."

Duo grinned at Heero. "You just wanted a good excuse to neck. Admit it."

Heero put his other arm around Duo, relying on Duo to keep them both from drifting. "I don't need an excuse, do I?"

Duo shook his head. "No. Not really. But not now. I'll be late for my appointment. We better go."

Heero sighed. "Damn. I was hoping ... disappointed again." He hung his head in mock despair. He squawked when Duo tickled him. "Stop that."

Duo just smirked, kicked off and floated to the door. "Ok. For now. I'm holding you to that promise. Later. Come on, we're going to be late."

Heero smiled and followed Duo. "You're going to fall flat on your face, if you're not careful."

"I know. I've been in zero-g for ... three weeks? That I really remember. That means more than a month."

Heero caught Duo's ankle and pulled himself to the railing in the hallway. "Yes, but you needed that much time to regenerate. The doctor says that you've recovered beautifully."

"Good genes, and G's tinkering. But mostly great doctors. Q will be broke."

Heero snorted. "I think he took it out of pocket change. Have you talked to him yet?"

"Not really. Most of the time I was kind of out of it, due to the drugs. But he said something about building a colony? What's with that? I know he told me about it but I don't really remember."

"He realized you weren't getting it so he quit. He'll be around to talk to you again soon. Just so you know. I'm taking him up on his offer."

Duo guided them both around a corner. "Well, in that case so am I. If it's good enough for you, it's good enough for me."

"You don't even know what he's offering."

"I think I do. I remember dreaming that someone had offered me a salvage job. Q had to have done it one of those times I was drifting in and out. Why do you think ... never mind. I'll ask him."

They drifted easily and quickly, pulling themselves along by the hand rails. This area was small enough that there were no zip lines, small rapidly moving handles in tracks along the walls.

"Good. I don't want to put any words into his mouth." Heero pulled himself to a stop at a door. It hissed open automatically. "We're almost there. Down this corridor and third door from the end on the left. You want to go first or would you rather I took over."

Duo shook his head. "No. I'll go first. I need the exercise. I haven't gotten any in a month. Man, am I going to be sore when I'm done with this. Ouch." Heero winced in sympathy. He'd been in Duo's position often enough that he was well aware of how sore Duo was going to be.

"I'll give you a massage when you get done. Ok?"

"More than." Duo stopped at the door. "We're here. I hope the therapist is nice. This is going to be bad enough without the guy being some kind of drill sergeant or something."

Heero nodded, remembering his therapist from not so long ago. Duo wouldn't deal well with that sort of attitude. He was more the kind who went with freeform exercises. If you left him alone, he'd work himself half to death. If you nagged at him, he'd bull up and you'd never get him to do anything. Heero decided to have a talk with the therapist before he put his foot in it.

Heero let the door open on it's own. Duo entered the room and sighed, this was not going to be fun. They had to cross the room carefully as it was a transition room. A room that let them go gradually from zero-g to a gravity field. There were bumpers on the floor to keep people who were disoriented from falling and hurting themselves. Duo floated over to the first gravity station and held onto a pole. He eased around the pole and settled carefully onto his feet. Heero followed him, keeping an eye on him to make sure that he didn't hurt himself. It wouldn't do to undo all the healing he'd done in one careless moment.

Duo grinned at Heero and carefully walked to the next section. Each line on the floor indicated a 10 change in the gravity field, doors at the end of the room led to exercise rooms. Duo was expected in the room at 30. Heero idly wondered if they'd let him look at the gravity apparatus.

Duo eased into the room carefully hanging onto the doorframe. He glanced around the room and smiled. It didn't look that much different from the rooms he'd trained in when he was under Dr. G's care. He wondered where his therapist was.

"Hello, Mr. Maxwell, please be seated. I'll be right there. I'm downloading some data from old training sessions you've done."

Duo relaxed and sat down. The therapist was small, oriental and female. Perhaps this wasn't going to be so bad.

The therapist came around the head high console and eyed Duo. "I'm Kelly Yu and I'll be your therapist. If you do what I tell you to when I tell you to do it. You'll recover nicely. If you slack off or try to dodge your therapy, I don't think you'll be happy with the results. I hate nagging so I don't do it. I tell you what I expect and then I'm around to help you if you get stuck. I don't think you'll do that. I'll be over here, at my desk. This chip contains all your exercises for this session. Just stick it in the machine numbered one. When that machine is done torturing you, it'll beep and you go on to number two, and so on down the line. This session should take you about an hour to complete. If you feel like doing more, just be aware that the machine will keep track of your vitals, if they get too far out of the range we want, the machine will shut down. You got a problem, give me a holler. So, go."

Duo just threw his head back and laughed. "Yes, ma'am. On my way." Duo headed for the first machine. He looked around for Heero and found him at one of the machines. Trust Heero to be unable to pass an exercise machine by. He ambled over, the weak gravity no stress to his unused muscles.

"Hey, love. Here's my first session. What do you think?"

Heero got up and went to the first machine. He inserted the chip into the small socket and waited while the machine loaded the data. "Not much. You're going to have to do at least twice that to get well." Duo snickered. "What?"

"I don't think that lady really believed the data she got from the central computer. Why don't you see if you can't do better? I'll just go ahead and start on this. Just for something to do. Ok?"

Heero grunted, already in mission mode, and headed for the therapist's console.

Duo felt sorry for the therapist, especially if she argued with Heero. He wondered idly if Heero had ever considered getting his therapists certificate, he was sure Heero would pass any test. And it would be convenient for them to have a certified therapist on hand. He shrugged and settled on the machine to begin his workout.

o

Heero stepped in behind Miss Yu, glanced at Duo's workout schedule on her screen and sighed. "Miss Yu, did you read Duo's workout records at all?"

"Yes I did, but they're obviously corrupted. I don't know how but they have to be. No one could keep up this sort of regime. It's inhuman."

"Some say that I am." Heero reached out and tapped a few keys. "This was my daily routine for several years of my life. I started when I was about nine and it ended the day before Operation Meteor started. Please do not assume. You know what that breaks down to."

Miss Yu stared at the records for a moment then sighed. "No, I don't."

Heero picked up a pad and pen. He wrote 'assume' on it. "When you assume, you make an ass of you and me." He neatly circled the letters, a. s. s. then the u and m. e. "Don't do it again. Excuse me while I redo Duo's training ... I mean therapy, schedule."

Miss Yu just nodded vaguely, and stared at her screen again.

Heero set to work on Duo's schedule. He didn't take it too easy on him, nor did he demand more than Duo was capable of. The balance was just right, at least Heero thought it was. He'd have to talk to Duo about it to make sure.

Duo, meanwhile, was working out on a weight machine. He was idling and he knew it. But the machine had its orders and it was following them. He sighed. He was never going to be better at this rate. He wondered if he could convince his therapist to allow him to return to full gravity. He knew he might have to be in a chair for a while if he did that but he thought he had a better chance at recovery if he did so.

"You're frowning. Are you tired already, or hurting?"

Duo looked up, smiled at Heero's concerned face and explained what he was thinking. Heero grimaced a bit, then explained, "You might what to wait on returning permanently to full grav. Give your body time to accommodate to 30 first. You're going to stay at this level for now. If you really want to, you could spend a few hours at full grav. Just don't get your heart set on it. You'll have to be in a chair for one thing and for another, the doctors might not allow it. I'll see what they advise."

"Ok. But, if I'm going to stay at 30 let's not worry about it. I just want to be at some gravity. And when can I see Binky. I miss the little gal."

"Trowa is going to bring her as soon as you're done. I miss her too."

Duo eyed the data display and snorted. "I'm already done here. Next machine."

Heero watched as Duo nimbly hopped off the machine and immediately staggered. Heero gasped and started to reach for him but Duo managed to keep his feet under himself and grabbed onto the next machine to steady himself.

"You didn't see that! Swear."

Heero solemnly crossed his heart with his index finger. "Swear. Just take it easy. You nearly gave me a heart attack."

"Sorry. I feel good. But my body isn't used to grav anymore. I've got space legs just now and it's really frustrating. I'll be ok."

Heero watched carefully as Duo completed his therapy. Miss Yu never left her station. Heero didn't like that much and resolved to talk to the head doctor as soon as he could. Duo finished the last rep of the last exercise and pulled the chip out of the machine. He carried it to Miss Yu and tossed it into the basket at her station.

"All done. There's the data. Bye."

All he got was a cursory wave of one hand. She never took her eyes off her data screen.

"Well, thanks and good-bye. I thought she was going to be good. Not a hoverer, but there when I needed her. Could she be any more indifferent?"

"No."

o

Trowa sat in Duo's new room, holding Binky. The little dog was ecstatic, she had been missing contact with the six men she loved the best. Now she'd been with Trowa for the last three weeks. And she'd been able to see Duo every day. She was also very fond of Wufei and Heero. She hadn't seen Quatre very much but he seemed nice.

Binky licked at Trowa's chin, trying to get him to put her down.

Trowa put a hand on Binky's neck. "Not yet, little one. I'm afraid you'll trip Duo. We can't afford that. Hush."

Binky obediently settled in Trowa's lap again.

It didn't take but a few more minutes for Duo and Heero to show up.

Duo was looking over his shoulder at Heero as they entered the door. His head snapped around when Binky gave a joyous bark. Heero made a quick grab at Duo as he dropped to the floor then he realized that Duo hadn't fallen. He was just so glad to be able to play with Binky that he'd flopped on the floor on his stomach without a thought.

Binky rushed to Duo and jumped all over him. Since Duo was flat on the floor, she could lick his face which she did with abandon. Duo laughed and caught her up, holding her over his head. She wriggled and yelped indignantly, she wanted her human. Duo lowered her to his chest and hugged her.

Trowa dropped the small ball Binky loved to fetch and she wriggled out of Duo's arms and snatched it up. Triumphantly bringing it to Duo she dropped it and waited for him to toss it for her. Duo picked up the ball and grinned at Trowa.

"Sorry, Tro', little lady comes first." He rolled the ball for Binky, who trotted after it and brought it back. He rolled it again, smiling at Heero as he stepped carefully over the dog to seat himself in a recliner against the wall. "Are Wufei and Zechs coming?"

Trowa shook his head. "No, Wufei is being interviewed for that job he wants. And don't ask me because he wants to keep it secret until he knows, one way or the other. Zechs is with him, moral support. Quatre will be here in..." he glanced at his watch. "... Twenty minutes. Plus or minus five."

Duo sighed, "Gravity. Yay. And now, ow! My back hurts already. Heero, will you help me up? Much as I hate to admit it, I don't think I'll make it on my own."

Heero managed to look pleased without looking pleased. Duo snorted. "Gloat all you want buddy. I really don't care anymore. I think it's a sign of growing up. Ugh!"

Heero smirked at Duo allowing his pleasure to show on his face. Duo grabbed his hand and pulled, Heero pulled back, helping Duo to his feet. He wrapped an arm around his waist and held onto Duo's elbow, supporting him carefully.

"Nope, not working. I'm ok at 30 but anything more and I'm in trouble so this 100 is killing me."

Heero scooped Duo up and carried him to the bed. "Is that better? Do you need anything?"

"No, I'm fine. I'm going to need a chair, though. It's nice, I think."

Trowa and Heero both gave Duo puzzled looks. "What's nice?"

"Oh, hell, Heero. How many times did we have to patch ourselves up as best we could and head right back out to kill again? Ridiculous. Now, I have all the medicines I need and all the help I would want. And all the time. Nice."

Heero grinned, remembering. "You're right. And real doctors. With Ph.D's and everything."

"Hey! I resent that. I have a Ph.D! Several, in fact." Quatre's cheerful voice from the door made Binky bark. "Well, little one, glad to see Duo?" Quatre squatted to pick Binky up.

Duo laughed, "Yeah, all Ph.D.'s in business administration an' stuff like that. How ya doin'?"

"Good, good. Just read your chart. I'll have a chair here tomorrow."

"Good thing. I nearly busted my butt gettin' here. Heero let me try it on my own and I did good. But now, everything hurts. I'm not taking a chance on screwin' up my rehabilitation by pushin' things. Did too much of that during the wars. I'd really rather not be anymore messed up than necessary."

Quatre smiled happily at Duo. "I'm so glad you feel that way. And, I understand that there was some sort of trouble with the therapist? Miss Yu."

"Don't like her much. Didn't seem too interested in who, what or how. Just set up a program and stuck her nose back in her computer. I thought that this place was supposed to be the best? So what's with that?"

"I don't know. Trowa, would you be so good as to find out?" Trowa just nodded and pulled out his phone.

Trowa spoke on the phone for a moment or two, then turned. "It seems that Miss Yu is not happy with her new job. She's an Earther and doesn't like space much. She's one of the best at the job but she's not doing well here. She spends most of her time online in chat rooms with her earth-bound friends. She's returning to Earth in three days. We'll have to find Duo a new therapist. One more cognizant of his needs. And I asked the Head Therapist to find out why she'd even been assigned a new patient."

Duo rolled over on his side so he could see the others more easily. "How 'bout Heero? He did today's session."

Heero shook his head. "I'm not qualified. What if I hurt you?"

Duo snorted rudely. "Oh, yeah, I can see that. Mr. Anal hurts his lover? Don't think so. Why don't you at least try? I'll tell you if I feel anything wrong. And maybe we could get a supervisor to check in. Wha'da'ya say?"

Heero knew Duo really wanted him to try. His accent was coming to the fore. "Ok. I'll try. As long as we have a supervisor to check in and make sure I'm not doing something really wrong."

Binky barked, she wanted someone to roll her ball some more. Heero sat down on the floor to roll it, smiling gently at the dog.

Trowa smiled too. They all settled down to talk, seated for the first time since Duo had gotten hurt, two months ago.

o

Heero settled down with his computer. He put the keyboard projector on the table and the screen module behind it. The whole thing was as small as a pack of cards. The two projectors tucked into one end in separate slots. He'd made one for each of them over the last three months. Duo's was his pride and joy. Quatre and Trowa declared theirsirreplaceable and Wufei and Milliardo treasured theirsand said so. He had to smile. He'd enjoyed doing it so much and given so much pleasure. It felt nice.

Duo wriggled around to see what he was doing. "Heero, company? Do that later, ok?"

Heero continued to type for a moment. "I just wanted to start a crawler. I'm going to try to gather all your medical files together. It'll take awhile. It can be working while we talk."

"Ok, sorry. Just ... we haven't seen Trowa or Q for ... what four months? I'd like to do some catching up."

Heero just smiled and settled on the bed with Duo. They spent the next hour or more playing with Binky and catching up.

Binky happily ran after her ball, did all her tricks on command and in general loved them all. Trowa brushed her, which she loved. Quatre gave her treats. Heero rolled her ball until she finally wore out and settled on the bed with Duo to nap.

"She's done in. Poor little girl. She must be so bored with no one to play with except Trowa. No offence."

Trowa just shrugged. "No offence taken. She's a nice little thing and no trouble. But she needs more exercise than I can give her. Quatre keeps me busy enough. I'm glad she can stay with you now. You need the exercise and so does she."

Duo had to sigh. "It's not fair to her. Isn't there a doggy park or something I can take her to? So she could play with other dogs?"

Quatre rubbed his forehead. "No, there's only four dogs on the whole station. It's actually a giant hospital and dedicated to healing. All the station personnel are either medical staff or support staff. I'll see what I can do about getting her some ... one? Something? Well, I'll see."

Duo looked sad for a moment then brightened. "I have to take at least two walks a day. I'll take her with me. That'll help. Won't it?"

Trowa sighed softly. "It'll have to, won't it? I'll see about getting her some new toys."

Heero shifted uncomfortably, something nagged at the back of his mind. He couldn't quite pin it down and he knew better than to force it, so he just let it be, for now.

Quatre cleared his throat. "I'd like us all to take some tests. I have a severe shortage of qualified people and ... well, we're some of the best in the known universe. I need to know what we know. It's important. I need trouble shooters very badly. People who know a great deal about a lot of different sciences. The colony I'm building is ... difficult. I have the very best scientists there are... but ... they don't communicate very well, with each other, or with the construction staff. I need people who can understand the scientists and the workers. Someone the workers can respect. I need US. I need The Gundam Pilots. All of us. Will you help me?"

Duo blinked for a moment. "Well, sure. I'm not entirely sure what you want but you got it anyway."

Heero smiled a tiny self-satisfied smile. "I'm in."

Trowa just snorted.

Quatre smiled his most brilliant smile. "Good, good. As soon as Wufei and Milliardo come back, I'll talk to them too. I hope Wufei passes his test. And Milliardo. I'm so excited. We'll be able to do a great deal of good. Tea?"

Everyone took tea, but Duo was drooping visibly so they drank rather quickly. Quatre smiled at Duo and nodded to Heero. "I'll come back in a couple of days. We'll talk more then. Ok?"

Duo mumbled, " 'M Kay. Night." And Heero smiled at him.

"I'll tell Duo more when he wakes up. I think it's a good idea. How are we going to get the authority?"

"I own the whole place. My word is literally law. If I say they cooperate, they will. Or they'll be on the next shuttle out."

Heero gazed at Quatre for a moment. He didn't look like the genial young man of the gossip rags. He looked like the pilot of Sandrock, just before he blew something up. "Ok. But we need papers. Everyone is impressed by paper ... except us."

"I'll figure out something. You take the tests and I'll have some leverage. See you."

Heero nodded to Trowa as he followed Quatre out the door. He had to grin a bit. 'Personal assistant my ass.'

Trowa's voice floated back to him. "I heard that."

o

The next day the therapist's station was empty. There was a note to Heero asking him to down load his session plan for the supervisor to check over. It also asked that Duo do the same exercises he'd done yesterday. Duo gave Heero a sour look.

"I don't like this. They're messing around too much. You set my schedule. I'll follow it. If something doesn't feel right, I'll tell you."

Heero glared at the note for a moment. "Ok. Just like during the wars, looks like we're on our own again."

Duo shrugged. "Yeah, only we still have Q on our side. And now he has access to all his resources. I'm not worried. Are you?"

Heero thought about that for a moment or two. "Not really. And, we need Wufei. He's very good at Tai Chi, or Qui Gong. He could set up a series of kata that would be good for you."

Duo brightened. "Great. I love Tai Chi. And my Yoga will be good for me too, don't you think. As for weight training, I know plenty about that myself. So, we're good to go."

"I think so too. I'll set up a weight training schedule, on the easy side, I think. And I'll get Wufei to figure out some kata. Here, first machine."

Duo took the PDA and looked over the series of machines and weight settings. He nodded and went to the first machine. Heero watched as he set it up himself and nodded. Duo was already looking much better.

Duo worked his way through the machines as Heero kept a sharp eye on him. It didn't take him long to work up a sweat so Heero brought him a drink. Sports drinks had gone out of fashion years ago in favor of nutritive drinks with balanced protein to carbohydrate ratios and plenty of vitamins and minerals. Duo was especially fond of green tea-peach. Heero made sure that there was plenty and made sure that Duo drank enough. Duo accepted the drinks with a smile then returned to his workout.

o

After the work out, Heero went to check the station again, just incase there was another Memo for him.

There was, it included an approval of his schedule, with some additions. One welcome addition was the prescription for massage, whirlpool, and infrared treatments. Directions to the proper rooms were included.

Heero pulled Duo behind him with a soft laugh. Duo was sweaty and whining that he wanted a shower.

"Ok, ok. Shower it is. Come on."

Duo settled back in the chair Quatre had sent them. Itsearly morning arrival had set Duo to snickering. The thing had every possible accessory available, from a cup holder to a bell. Heero had nearly hurt himself trying not to laugh.

The note Quatre had sent told Duo that, if he wanted anything else for the chair, he was demented. That had made them laugh even harder.

Now Duo was grateful for it. He ached and wanted the whirlpool bath badly. He maneuvered the chair out the door and down a hall with Heero pacing along beside him. Heero opened the door for him and he entered the room. It was a rather large room with several different stations and a bit cold. Duo shivered and grumbled, "They need to do something about the heat in this place. With all the exchange in a place like this, you'd think there'd be plenty."

Heero nodded. "Yeah, but you know these older stations waste a lot of heat because of transport problems."

Just then a huge man came over. "Hi, name's Joe. Cold? Sorry, the heat exchanger is bust. I'm trying to get it fixed but they're strangling me in red tape ... again. I'll see if I can't find a screen or something. It's actually the draft from the open vent over there that's the problem. Cool air, wet skin, cold. But you're so small, I'm sure it's worse for you."

Duo gave the man one narrow eyed look but he held up his hands in mock surrender and smiled. "Hey! Don't mean a thing by that. You're just ... small. Don't produce enough body heat. Come on, let's get you in a tub."

Duo looked at the man again and decided that he'd meant no offence by the small remark. "Ok. But I really do think I'm gonna need that screen. What's wrong with the exchanger?"

"Don't really know. It groans like a bitch when I turn it on and it stinks. Let's use that tub over in the corner." He started to lead Duo to a tub and massage table in a corner when the exchanger came on with a groan and a grumble. Heero wrinkled his nose at Duo, the smell of burning belting was overwhelming.

Joe just shook his head. "We'll have to put up with the smell, it's getting too cold in here. Sorry."

Duo just aimed his chair at the exchanger module and rolled over to it. He eyed the panel and held out a hand. "Screwdriver, in the back of my pack."

Heero fished it out and opened the panel himself. Joe objected. "Hey! Better not mess with that. You might get a shock or something."

Heero just glared at him. Duo snorted. "Go take a look at my file. Maxwell, Duo. And yeah, I'm him. An' I'm not freezin' my ass off. It's just a loose belt or I'll take my little self out of it."

Joe blinked, took a really good look at Heero and shrugged. "Ok. I'm gonna take a look at your chart." His emphasis made Duo snort. "Then I'm going to hope you actually fix that sucker."

Duo rolled closer to the now open panel and stuck his hand in the guts of the exchanger. "Yup, loose belt. Heero, I need another hand in here." His conversation went technical enough that Joe quit listening.

"Well, that was easy. It was just a loose belt. All it needed was to tighten the pulley a bit. What now?"

Joe got up from the desk and smiled. "Now we put you in the whirlpool bath and loosen up those stiff muscles. Then a nice massage and a nap."

Duo just nodded and sent his wheelchair scooting back to the bath. Heero took his time following. He wanted a good look at Joe.

Joe leaned over and easily scooped Duo out of his chair. Duo yelped in surprise and stiffened.

"Easy there, kiddo, I won't drop you. You don't weigh anything. Need more meat on your bones, but I'm sure it'll come back. Now, I'm gonna put you on the table and help you undress."

Heero just watched, even though his fingers twitched. They had to trust this man, he wasn't OZ, but Heero's every instinct screamed at him to grab Duo away. Duo grinned at him over Joe's shoulder. Heero managed a grimace back.

"Um ... Joe? You better be a little more careful. Heero ... he doesn't like having someone just grab me. Makes him really nervous. And twitchy. Not good. I'm not too fond of it either. But we're working on it."

Joe glanced over his shoulder at Heero and flinched slightly at what he saw. Heero looked like he could cheerfully murder, mangle or maul someone. "Easy there. I'm not going to do him any harm. See?" he moved away from Duo slowly. "Just me. Just Joe. Come take a look for yourself."

Heero gave Joe a disgruntled frown. "I'm not crazy. My shrink says I'm within normal parameters. I just would like to know what you're going to do before you do it."

Joe shrugged. "Ok. I haven't had time to read the whole chart yet. So why don't you explain things to me while I get Duo... you don't mind me calling you Duo, do you?" Joe turned to Duo who just grinned and shook his head. "...Undressed. I'll help you undress then I'll carry you to the tub. You'll stay in it for about twenty minutes. Then I'll give you a massage. The doctor will come in here to examine you, and that's it."

While he'd been talking Joe had been helping Duo get out of his jeans. Duo stripped off his t-shirt himself and tossed it aside. That revealed his torso to Joe's level gaze. "Well shit. That's a hell of a scar. What'd you do?"

"Terrorist attack on Miss Relena. Got hit in the back. Nearly severed my spine. What part of the chart were you reading?"

"Just the part recommending treatments. I figured I'd read the rest after I got you in the tub. I heard about that. But the only person that I heard got hurt bad was one of the Gundam boys."

Duo let Joe pick him up and help him into the tub while Heero watched carefully. He was going to learn everything he could about Duo's treatment, just in case. Duo sighed as he leaned back.

"Yeah, one of them. Me. And that guy you just so trustingly turned your back on is another. Not that he'd do anything. But you're sure a bit on the trusting side."

Joe just laughed. "Yeah, you're like 02 and he's 04. Nice one. You boys just crack me up."

Duo laughed, glanced at Heero's expression and nearly choked himself he laughed so hard. Heero's expression of disgust was priceless. He wasn't very happy about being mistaken for Quatre.

"Nohe's 01. But I am 02. Go read your chart. I'll just settle back here and relax. I'll have to admit that I'm really sore. Spending that much time in zero-g left me a bit weak."

Joe blinked at Duo's casual seriousness, was this boy really a Gundam pilot? Unthinkable, but Joe was thinking it.

Heero watched Joe carefully, there were still men and women who didn't like the Gundam pilots much. Some just glared, but there were others who took more active measures to express their dislike. Most of them were on Earth but there was no sense in taking chances, especially when Duo was at less than optimal levels. He pulled a chair over and a screen. He set the screen up to keep drafts off of them, nodding at Joe when he called over a 'Sorry, I forgot, thanks.' He settled on the chair and Duo mumbled something about a deck of cards. Heero snorted. They spent the next twenty minutes talking softly about not much of anything.

o

Joe came over and checked on Duo. He laughed and announced, "Well, we better get you out of there before you turn into a prune. Up you go."

Duo laughed and held up his arms to be helped out of the tub. Heero hovered. He couldn't help it, he wanted to be the one to lift Duo, massage him. But he wasn't sure what to do. He could help with the therapy, the weight training, the kata, but not the massaging. He was afraid that he'd hurt Duo.

Joe noticed the expression on Heero's face. "Hey! Easy there. I'm just the therapist. Nothing else. No need to be jealous. I'll teach you how to do it if you like."

Duo glanced up then turned his head away. The longing in Heero's eyes made him wince. He accepted a towel and started to dry himself off.

"Better not. I might go too hard and hurt him."

Joe grinned. "I doubt that. You'd have to be really strong. You could give him a twinge. All he'd have to do is tell you it's too hard. But it's up to you."

Duo sighed. "He's right. It's really dangerous. He could give me a bone deep bruise in a second. He's actually strong enough to break a rib or something."

Joe helped Duo onto the massage table and arranged him, draping a dry towel over his backside for modesty's sake. He poured some oil into his hand and rubbed it down the middle of Duo's back. "Quite the scar. Nasty looking still. I've got some cream for that. It'll help reduce the redness and eventually it'll disappear. I'll give it to you. All you have to do is pat it on. I'm sure Heero can do that."

Heero brightened, this he could do. It made him feel better. Joe went over everything he'd read in Duo's chart and started putting two and two together. He didn't like his four.

"I've read your chart. So you're really 02, that's ... incredible. Not that I don't believe you, but I don't believe them. The scientists. Mad men, the lot of them – And if Heero ..." Joe nodded in Heero's direction. "...is really 01. Well, I've heard some things. You said that you're too strong to give a proper massage?" Heero gave a jerky nod. "Don't believe it. It's not a matter of strength, massage. It's control. See, if I press here, it feels good. But if I press here, it'll hurt. I can teach you, if you're willing to learn."

Duo took that moment to moan in pleasure as Joe's hands found an especially sore spot and worked on it. Heero watched carefully. Joe was pressing fairly hard. Much harder than Heero would have thought comfortable, but Duo was obviously enjoying it.

He decided to at least try.

"Ok. I think I'd like to try. But first." Heero pulled a steel slug from his pocket. It was one of the things that had been keeping the pulley from tightening properly. Someone had dropped it into the works. Probably when they'd knocked it out of the control box to attach the cable pipe at the top. He showed it to Joe. "I'm very strong." He bent the slug around his index finger, using his thumb and middle finger. Joe just gaped.

Duo snickered. "He does tend to understate a thing."

Joe just shrugged. "So you're a lot stronger than I thought. But you can pick up a coffee cup without crushing it. You don't break everything you touch. You just need to work a bit more carefully than I do. I could bruise him too, I'm just trained. So, yes or no?"

Heero looked at Duo, Duo just announced, "yes." So they left it at that. Heero spent the rest of the session watching every move Joe made.

When it was time, Heero helped Duo get dressed and back into his chair.

Heero smiled as they walked back to Duo's rooms. He was going to be able to help Duo more than he'd thought. It was nice.

"How do you feel, now that you've had your first session?"

Duo thought about it for a bit. "Good, really good. I feel like I'm actually going to be better."

"Need anything before we go back? There's a small shopping area down that corridor. We could stop in the concourse."

Duo thought about it for a moment. "No, I'm tired. Let's go back to the room. Maybe I'll feel more like it tomorrow. Maybe it'll be a good place for me to walk. What do you think?"

Heero thought about it. "Well, it will certainly be more entertaining than walking up and down a hall. And there's some plants and stuff. I'll give it a good once over after I get you settled."

Duo smiled tenderly at Heero. The man, in what Duo thought of as mother-hen mode, was so gruffly kind it was unbelievable.

"Ok, and, Heero, get yourself some ice cream or something, you need it."

Heero smiled and nodded. "Ok. And I'll see if I can't find Binky some kind of treat. Here we are."

The door opened and Heero got Duo back into his bed with Binky settled beside him. Heero gave Duo a tender kiss and tucked him in carefully before walking to the door. He would come back in a while to sit with Duo, but, for now, he needed to sleep.