DISCLAIMER: I don't own gundam wing or any of it's characters. I don't even own my car so don't sue me*_*
By: Lara Winner
Pulling on his leather jacket Duo climbed astride his motorcycle. The moon gave him just enough light as he zipped up the jacket covering the old faded T-shirt he wore underneath. With a quick glance he made sure what few possessions he was taking with him was secured to the bike, prepared for the long ride ahead of him. He was only taking the essentials. This was the fresh start he'd been craving for ever since graduation.
Turning to the figure standing on the porch steps he grinned. "Wish me luck."
"Good luck son." His father said quietly, his own smile tinted with the faintest hint of sadness. "And don't forget to call every now and then."
"I will I promise."
With in seconds the bike roared to life feeding the excitement nearly bursting inside of him. Maybe he was crazy for doing this. He had a full tank of gas, a dollar in his pocket and little else besides the clothes on his back. But he could make due with that. He already had the most important thing, his dream of an independent future, one with no limits and no restrictions but the ones he placed on himself.
Duo revved the engine taking one last glance at the small white ram-shackled house he grew up in. Giving his father a half wave and took off into the darkness chasing his dream.
Creeping silently down the hall Hilde quietly pushed open the bedroom door. She could barely see in the darkness as she made her way over to the bed. Her eyes misted as she looked at the sleeping little girl, her dark curls spread across her pillow giving her look of an angel. Her little angel.
Tenderly she brushed at the child's hair. For a second she debated waking her up but instead she sighed glancing at the clock beside the bed. It was nearly two. Time for her to leave. Lightly so not to wake her up she pressed a kiss the child's head whispering, "Bye Annie. Be a good girl for Mom and Dad okay. I love you."
Before the tears started to really fall she turned away. She made her way down the stairs in silence. Almost nervously she shifted the backpack from one shoulder to the other, the light pack feeling like it weighed a ton. Her hands shook slightly as she placed the carefully written note on the kitchen table. She knew it wasn't fair of her to leave like this but she had no other choice. It was time she made the decisions for her life. Her parents were never going to understand, well, at least not now. She could only hope that one day they would realize why she was forced to take such drastic measures.
She jerked out of her thoughts as the low rumble of an engine sounded in the distance. Swallowing hard she took a deep breath feeling the beginnings of excitement stir along with a rush of uncertainty. She didn't know what the future would hold. Maybe she was making the biggest mistake of her life. But she needed to do this. Somehow, deep in her heart, she knew that this was going to work. It was an uncertain venture but certainly not a mistake.
Not letting herself hesitate any longer she crept from the house without a sound. True to his word Duo was waiting for her at the corner. She couldn't help but smile to herself. They were insane and she wouldn't change it for the world. Feeling as if she had wings on her feet she ran down the driveway. In the back of her mind she almost expected to hear her Father's enraged voice any second. She wouldn't feel at ease until they were well on their way.
She reached Duo pressing a quick kiss to his lips. As she pulled away she paused seeing the strange expression that crossed his face. "What's wrong?" She asked, her voice strained with tension.
"You're absolutely sure about this, right babe?" He asked softly.
"As sure as I'll ever be." She smiled giving him another quick peck. "Let's got out of here."
She slid onto the seat behind him seeing him grin in relief. She barely heard his soft command, "Hold on.", before they were speeding off. She wrapped her arms around his waist tightly. Closing her eyes she rested her cheek against the soft leather of his jacket, just enjoying the wind blowing through her short dark hair and the feeling of freedom as they drove off together into the night.
Hours passed as they continued to ride. Mile after mile the interstate signs became a blur. After what seemed like forever Duo took the next exit. He felt Hilde shift against his back knowing she had to be uncomfortable. As it was, he was stiff as hell and down right exhausted.
The sky was gray, the sun still just below the horizon. There was hardly anyone out on the streets on this Sunday morning. If he weren't so tired he would have actually taken the opportunity to see this little town from one side to the other. This was going to be their home now so they might as well learn where everything was.
Instead he drove to a tiny apartment complex on the edge of town, the only other place he actually knew how to get to besides the scrap yard where he would be working from now on. They had been planning this for months, ever since Hilde parents had outright told them they couldn't see each other anymore. Her Father claimed he was just watching out for his daughter's best interest but Duo knew the truth. They didn't approve of him. He wasn't rich, he wasn't on the honor roll and he didn't put on airs and kiss anybody's ass. He just didn't fit within their social circle. Hilde's father had taken one look at him and disliked him instantly. The feeling had been mutual.
The final draw was when William caught them making out in Hilde's bedroom and threatened to have him arrested if ever dared to come near her again. The next day they ditched school early and ended up at the park. She told him that she didn't care what they said she'd find a way to continue seeing him. And just like that this idea struck him and he half asked half begged her to come with him. It was so perfect, just her, him and a new start. Everybody else could go to hell for all he cared.
He still couldn't quite believe they were really doing this.
They were both silent s they made their way to the second floor apartment. The hinges groaned as he opened the door and he winced. The place wasn't grand by any means. It was only two rooms bare of furniture and anything else that would make it more like a home. The walls looked like they'd seen better days, the paint peeling and cracked in various spots. The floor made noise as they walked and the landlady told him the ceiling leaked when it rained. Still it was livable and fixable. Right now it was the only thing he could afford.
It had taken all of his life savings just to get this apartment. It was a miracle he was able to find a job too. A little time and it wouldn't be so bad. He would have to work long hours but the pay was good. Pretty soon they'd be able to buy furniture and everything else. Right now they'd just have to make due.
He watched Hilde's face as she looked around making her own estimations. Not for the fist time he wondered if he was doing the right think by asking to leave her up-scale home and her loving family just to be with him. Her father was right about one thing. There were certain things he'd never be able to give her and she deserved so much better than what little he could offer her. He sighed.
"I tried to warn you. It might be a little better when we fix it up." No sooner had he spoken, when irony struck and the walls seemed to rattle and the sound of rushing water broke the silence. He winced again realizing that someone in another apartment was running the water. With another sigh he muttered, "Then again maybe not."
She surprised him by chuckling. Dropping her backpack against the wall she turned to him and grinned, "I don't care what we have to do to it. This is our place, our very own place." She laughed giddily throwing her arms around his waist.
He looked down at her thinking that she had never looked prettier with her hair all windblown and her blue eyes sparkling with happiness and excitement. Pulling her tighter against him he leaned his head down kissing her soundly. After a moment he pulled away smirking as she looked up at him almost dazed.
"What was that kiss for?" She breathed softly.
"Just my way of saying thank you."
Her brow wrinkled with an adorable frown as she asked curiously, "Thank you?"
"For everything," he shrugged lightly, "for coming with me."
She shook her head, her tone sounding almost scolding, "Like I would have said no."
"I wouldn't have blamed you if you had." He said hoping she understood why this bothered him.
Her expression remained curious as she weighed his words. He felt her arms tighten around him as she smiled slightly. "Maybe you wouldn't have but I would never have forgiven myself if we didn't at least try. And I don't care if this place falls down on top of our heads. As long as were together I can deal with that and anything else."
"God I love you." He smiled feeling better at her reassurance.
"Love you too." She said leaning up and pressing a light kiss on his lips. She snuggled closer against him stifling yawn.
"Your even okay with sleeping on the floor till we get a bed?" He asked incredulously.
"You know we can always do other things to make ourselves more comfortable."
"Duo!" She gasped smacking him lightly on the back. "It figures you'd have to say it"
He just laughed.
Hilde rolled her eyes as Duo turned the radio up louder. Come tomorrow the neighbors would probably complain but right now she didn't care. The tiny living was crammed with bodies as everyone found a comfortable place to lounge. Heero and Relena had the floor in front the couch. Wufei and Sally were sprawled on the one end of the worn sofa they'd just bought two months ago while Trowa occupied the other end. The only one missing was Quatre. He had a date tonight with some girl she'd never met before.
It was the usual crowd. Duo met the guys working at the salvage yard and it was almost a nightly thing for them to come over for a few hours and hang out. It wasn't like they minded the company. Now that they finally had their little apartment in some semblance of order it was fun.
The night seemed to fly by as they goofed off and joked around. Trowa supplied the alcohol and it wasn't long before they grew more boisterous and just little more obnoxious. It was a sight watching Heero and Duo attempt to arm wrestle after a few beers. It made her wish they had a camera.
It was well past midnight when Relena practically dragged Heero off the floor and out the door. Hilde almost groaned as she caught site of the beer bottles and kernels of popcorn that was littering the linoleum floor. She really wasn't in the mood to clean up. And Duo didn't seem to be in the mood to let her as he came up behind her slipping his arms around her waist. She leaned against him smiling as he hummed softly to the song playing on the radio.
"Let's dance." He whispered suddenly.
His only reply was turning her around in his arms as he began swaying to the music. She shook her head in bemusement but didn't say anything. The last time they'd danced was the night of senior prom. They went to the prom and she had had so much fun that night, dancing with him and mingling with their friends. She smiled to herself as she remembered that after the dance instead of going out with everyone else they went back to his house. His Dad had been asleep on the sofa so they went in his room and tried to be quiet. He had the radio on low and they started dancing right there in the middle of his bedroom. She started giggling when he pointed out that the hard core alternative music that he liked wasn't exactly the best thing to slow dance to. The more she laughed the more he kept shushing her with kisses. Before she knew it they'd stopped dancing and were getting on to more important things like undoing clothing and making it to the bed before they fell on the floor.
It was a memory she cherished. It had been the first time for the both of them. They spent the rest of the night at his house curled up in his bed. They never did get any sleep and her parents had nearly killed her when she finally made it home at six in the morning. It was just one of the many reasons that led up to her Father forbidding contact between them.
Forcing the thought out of her mind she let him lead her around the floor in circles. Popcorn crunched under their feet and the radio was as much static as it was music but she didn't care. There were some things that were priceless and this was one of them. She laid her head against his shoulder closing her eyes. He smelled like he always did, a combination sandalwood and soap. She breathed in deeply just following his lead.
It was raining. The steadily pounding water on the roof was a comforting sound as Duo rolled over pressing up against Hilde's back. He loved falling asleep to the sound of the rain. This time however they were prepared. He could hear the slow dripping as water leaked from the ceiling into various containers positioned on the floor.
The room lit up for a second as lightning danced across the sky. Hilde flinched in her sleep as thunder followed, making even the walls rattle. He pressed a soft kiss to the back of her neck holding her just a little tighter. One hand rested on her protruding stomach and lightly he began to rub her bare skin soothingly. He couldn't be any more content. His girlfriend was five months pregnant, he had just gotten a dollar raise last month, and he'd finally sold the bike and bought a halfway decent pick up truck in its place.
Life was good.
It still amazed him that they made it this far. It hadn't been easy, there were plenty of set backs. Sometimes it seemed like there just wasn't enough money to go around. Sometimes he wouldn't get to see her at all because their work schedules just didn't mix. He smiled to himself. That was one problem they didn't have anymore. Now that she was staying at home he had her right where he wanted her.
The only real complaint he had was that they couldn't get married just yet. They didn't have the extra money. Hilde swore it wasn't important, they loved each other and that was all that should matter and he knew she had very good point but still, he couldn't shake the feeling that it just wasn't right. But in the end it really didn't matter. They were going to be parents regardless of a ring or not.
Another crash of thunder rumbled in the distance and this time Hilde stirred moaning softly as she leaned back against his chest. He continued dropping light nipping kisses on her neck till she laughed, her voice husky with traces of sleep.
"And your point is?" He asked softly moving his lips down to the soft skin of her shoulder.
She let him kiss her till she shivered. Shifting her position she moved onto her back so she could look at him. "What's the matter, can't sleep?"
"I'm not really tired." He said softly nuzzling her ear as he remained holding her. Lightening flashed and he felt her tense a little. After a moment more thunder rolled breaking the relaxing sound of the rain.
Minutes ticked by, neither of them saying anything. He wasn't sure if she'd fallen asleep again or not. The clock read a quarter to four and his mouth twisted knowing he'd have to get up for work in less than an hour. The thought of going out into the rain was less than appealing in comparison to remaining under the covers cuddling with the warm body pressed against his. But he had realized long ago that at some point everyone had to grow up, some people earlier than others.
He didn't know what made him start thinking but his mother's image filled his mind and he smiled. She died when he was nine. He remembered her a little, sometimes he could recall the sound of her voice and sometimes the memory eluded him. The thing that stood out the most was the way his father changed after her death. He seemed to be a shadow of his former self. He tried his best to raise his son right and Duo thought he did an exceptional job considering the circumstances.
It wasn't like he'd ever made it easy. With his father always working long hours trying perhaps to drown out the pain, that was his guess, he had searched for attention and got into serious trouble on more occasions than he'd like to remember.
He had just started high school when his father told him he needed to get a job. There just wasn't enough money as always. So he'd started working. In the process he made new friends and it kept him out of trouble. Now that he thought about it he couldn't imagine himself not working. Just the thought of staying home was enough to make him stir crazy. Of course that didn't mean he didn't enjoy his days off. God how he wished today was one of 'em.
"Penny for your thoughts." Hilde said quietly sounding alert and awake.
He started at her question for a second thinking her asleep. Shaking his head he sighed, "I'm just thinking about everything and nothing."
He saw her smile in the darkness. Gently she ran her fingers through his hair saying, "Usually I'm the one who can't sleep."
"Don't worry about it." He replied leaning against her resting his chin on her chest.
She looked thoughtful for a moment then laughed flicking at his ear lightly. "I still can't believe you got your ear pierced. What in the world is Howard gonna say when you show up to work like that?"
"He ought to be glad I stuck with the ear and not my tongue or my eyebrow. Although I am getting my tongue done next." He grinned.
"Oh lord, next thing ya know you're gonna come home covered in tattoos and God knows what else. I swear I'm scared when I let you go off with Heero. Who the hell knows what you two are gonna come up with next." She sighed.
"Aww baby, you know me."
"Exactly that's my point. Sometimes I know you too well." She laughed. Then her voice turned scolding as she muttered, "Your going to be a father in a few months and here you are running around like hoodlum piercing your ears and driving like a lunatic, and I just know I'm gonna get a call one night saying you've been arrested. I'm telling you now I'm not coming to bail you out of jail. You're own you own with that one…"
He cut off her mock ranting by pressing his lips to hers. Despite his high handed method of gaining her silence he felt her smile against his lips as she kissed him back with equal passion. He loved her so much. He tried to tell her and he tried to show her and sometimes he couldn't help but wonder just what she ever saw in him. She could've done so much better than some punk kid from the wrong side of the tracks. But she was still here through everything. She was his life now. He imagined he could finally understand how his Dad felt about his Mom.
If he loved her half as much as I love Hilde…
Hilde watched Duo through the corner of her eye. He was sitting at the kitchen table looking at the piece of paper in front of him with frown. She said nothing as she just watched him, his concentration fixed solely on what ever he was writing. His image tugged at her heart. The boy just didn't know how handsome he was. With that thought her eyes fell down the sleeping child in her arms. Their son was only three months old and he was already quite the charmer. He looked just like his father and she knew that he was going to be a heartbreaker one day too.
Smiling to herself at the thought, she noticed the plain thin gold band that adorned her finger. They had gotten married just three days before. His Father had been present along with their friends. The judge had pronounced the legalities and they'd signed the proper papers that that was that.
They were husband and wife.
Though he hadn't said it out loud she knew that in his mind they were a real family now. She knew it bothered him that they couldn't get married sooner but at first they didn't have the money and then with the birth of their son there just wasn't any time or energy to get around to it. She had reassured him time and time again that she was perfectly happy just as they were but he was stubborn and he was determined and she loved him all the more for it.
Gently and quietly she tiptoed across the room placing Jamie in his crib. Pressing a light kiss to his head she felt a fierce rush of love and protectiveness for her tiny little son. She made sure he was settled and with one last kiss she wandered over to where Duo was seated.
She walked up behind him slipping her arms around his neck. Kissing his jaw she felt the rough stubble of his cheek scratch her skin and she smiled raising fingers to his face. "You need to shave. You're all prickly." When he smiled slightly she reached over turning the paper so she could get a better view. Peeking over his shoulder she asked curiously, "What are yo-"
The first words she read made her pause, her mouth opening to say something but nothing seemed to come forth. She couldn't stop herself from continuing. Her eyes misted as his words hit with their impact…
We're both real sorry that it had to turn out this way. But ya know, there ain't no point in talking when there's nobody listening so we just ran away. It kinda put everything into perspective now that we're the parents of an amazing baby boy.
When she didn't say anything he sounded apologetic as he tried to explain, "I'm writing your parents. I think it's only fair to let them know about everything. You never want to talk to them so I thought I'd do it for you. I was going to surprise you." He waited a moment for her response and all he received was warm wet drops falling on his shirt. "I'm sorry babe. This was a bad idea."
"No!" she cried shaking her head. Tightening her hold on him she dragged in a ragged breath. "You're right I just…I…it's been so long, almost two years. I don't what to say to them."
She let him pull her into his lap. She curled up against his chest squeezing her eyes shut tight. "What if they don't care? What if they don't want to have anything to with Jamie or us? I love them, I really do but what if they hate me?" she choked through her tears.
"Hey, if they can't forgive and forget then to hell with them!" He hissed stroking her hair gently. "Your parents are supposed to love you, unconditionally. If they can't let go and deal with everything then it's their loss. But you have to give them a chance first. Believe me baby, I've always hated making you chose between them and me."
She let him hold her, burring her face against his neck soaking the collar of his shirt. She knew he really didn't care one way or the other if they ever saw her parents again but he was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for her. He didn't know just how much that meant to her. They never understood what she saw in him. He never pressured her about appearances like they did. The only expectation he ever placed on her was to love him and he made that so easy. Why couldn't they have been more like him?
Sniffling, she lifted her head slightly and whispered, "You didn't make me chose Duo, they did, and even if you had I'd do it all over again."
"I love you." He smiled kissing the top of her head. "You two are my whole world."
"I love you too." She replied feeling better with his faith and love to give her all the support she ever needed.
A.N.- Okay, I needed something happy and sappy so here it is. I hope you like. To all my readers thanks for reading and remember I luv you guys!!!!*_*