Disclaimers:  Like I’ve said many times before, I don’t own anything.

Notes:  This is a shounen-ai 2+? fic.  You’ll find out who it is at the end of this part.  I’ll give you a hint.  It isn’t Heero or
any of the other Gundam pilots.  Well, enjoy.  This fic is a collaboration between me and Tenshi-Chan.



Coming Home



Prologue


He silently walked along the street, his eyes cast downwards.  The V08744 L-2 colony was just as he remembered it, poor.  So
there really was no reason to look up, nothing for him to see.

He mumbled an apology as he bumped into somebody.  But he didn’t look up, didn’t stop walking.  He just didn’t care anymore.

He turned and stepped into an alley, wanting to get away from people.  No one out there cared about him, not one person.  He
sighed, leaning back against the side of a building.  He remembered the events that had brought him back here, why he had
returned to the place where the person known as Duo Maxwell had begun.


*Flashback*


Duo nearly jumped for joy when he got that invitation.  A party was being held, celebrating the anniversary of the declaration of
peace.  Finally, after all these years, he was going to see the guys again, and more specifically, he was going to see Heero.  

Duo was eighteen now, at least somewhere around eighteen.  He really didn’t remember his actual birth date.  But he did
remember that day Sister Helen had given him his first hug, the day she told him that he didn’t smell after those kids had teased
him.  It wasn’t his fault that water was rationed, and things like baths were a rare occurrence.  Sister Helen had pulled him into
a hug, and Duo had been so surprised, so unused to someone showing him affection, that he didn’t return it immediately.

And then, Sister Helen had done the kindest thing he could remember, although that hug came in a close second.  She declared
that day his birthday, and was even able to scrounge up enough ingredients in the kitchen to make him a small cake.  And to top
it off, she placed one of the church candles in the center of it.  It was the ugliest cake ever made, but to Duo it was also the
only cake he could remember getting for his birthday, so that made it the best cake in his young mind.  

She had left for a few minutes, while he and the few other children, that had still yet to be placed in homes, shared his cake.  
When she came back, Sister Helen held a present in her hands.  It was a small package, wrapped in plain paper, nothing
spectacular.  But to a boy that had never gotten a present that he could remember, it was the most amazing thing.  He had
carefully unwrapped it, wanting to savor every moment.  He wanted to keep every memory forever, not wanting to forget his
first present.  

Duo remembered looking down in shock at the sight of the present.  It was a bible, but it wasn’t just any bible, it was Sister
Helen’s bible.  Sister Helen had once told him that it was given to her by her mother, one of the few things she had left of her
life before she had become a nun.  It was old and worn out with several pages either creased or torn.  And it never left her
room, always sitting on a small table beside her bed.

“But I can’t take this.”  Duo had said, trying to hand the bible back to her.

“Nonsense, of course you can.”  She replied, gently pushing it back into his hands.  “Now you have something that you can
truly call yours.”

“But it means so much to you.  Your mother gave it to you.  Wouldn’t she want it to stay in your family?”

“Duo, I have no other family.  My mother died long ago, and my father soon after her.  I have no brothers or sisters, and no
other relatives.”  She wrapped her arm around him and smiled warmly.  “My family . . . my children . . . are the children here
at the church.  And I am sure that my mother would be happy to see this bible in the hands of such a good-hearted boy.”

Duo sighed, remembering that day so long ago, the happiest day of his life at the Maxwell Church.  It was the day he had come
to realize that someone actually cared about him.  After losing Solo to that virus, he had been sure that no one would ever care
about him again.  But that day had changed his mind.  Of course, he had lost Sister Helen and Father Maxwell too.  The day
they died, he lost those hopes of ever being loved again.  At least he had lost those hopes for a few years, until the day he had
met Heero.

He looked back to the invitation in his hand, smiling at the thought of seeing Heero once again.  Maybe now he could tell Heero
how he felt, let the other pilot know that he loved him.  He should have done it long ago, but he wouldn’t put it off any longer.  
He couldn’t live wondering if there could ever be anything between him and Heero.   He had already chickened out too many
times.  The party was going to be different.  He was going to tell him.

The night of the party came slowly for Duo.  He had never been the most patient person and he could barely wait to see his old
friends again.  But today he was restless.  He even skipped a few meals because he was so nervous.  He looked in the mirror at
least a dozen times, even though he already knew he looked great.  He was wearing black leather pants and a red silk shirt.  
Several of the buttons at the top of his shirt were undone, and his hair was styled in his usual braid.

The moment he walked into the ballroom, he felt several eyes turn to him.  He was always able to tell when someone was
watching him.  And boy, did he love the attention.  He looked around, scanning the crowded room for Heero.  Heero was the
only one he wanted to see, needing to tell him what was in his heart.

Of course, when Quatre approached him, he greeted him kindly.  “Hey, Quatre.  How have you been?”  Duo asked, shaking
hands with the blonde.

Quatre pulled him into a hug.  “It’s so good to see you again.  I wish we had been able to stay in contact.”  He said, breaking
off the hug.

“Yeah, guess we kind of all drifted away, huh?”

“Well, I couldn’t keep track of either Heero or Wufei.  But I did know that Trowa was still with the circus.  However, since he
traveled so much, it made it kind of hard to stay in touch.  Besides none of the others were ever very talkative people.”  Quatre
said with a sigh.

“I know what you mean.”  Duo said, turning his attention back to the ballroom.  “Hey, have you seen Heero anywhere around
here?”

“No.”  Quatre replied.  “And since we’re speaking of silent, unemotional pilots . . . Have you seen Trowa?”

Duo just shook his head, taking a step away from Quatre.  “I’ll catch you later, Quatre.  I really have to find Heero.”

After walking around for about five minutes, Duo started getting impatient.  It had only been a few minutes, but he hadn’t even
caught a glimpse of Heero yet.  “Man, Heero, where the heck are you?”  He mumbled to himself.

“You could try turning around.”  A voice said from behind him.  

Duo spun around, only to be faced with the person he had been searching for.  “Heero, I’ve been looking all over for you.”

“Why?”  Heero asked, raising an eyebrow quizzically.

“I have something I need to tell you.”  Duo said, glancing around.  His eyes settled on a pair of doors.  He grabbed Heero by the
wrist and dragged him out onto the balcony.  

“What are you doing?”  Heero asked, pulling his wrist away from Duo.

“I told you.  I have something to tell you.  So just listen.”  Duo replied.  

“Fine.  Talk.”

Duo took in a deep breath, lowering his gaze to the floor.  He had practiced this so many times, saying each word, that he
wanted to say to Heero, to a mirror.  But now that he was actually about to do it, it wasn’t so easy.  He pulled his braid over his
shoulder, and began fiddling with the ends of his hair.  But no matter how nervous he was, he had to do this, had to tell him
before he completely lost his nerve.

“I . . . uh . . . I just wanted to tell you . . . that I love you.  And I was wondering . . . if maybe . . . there was any chance . . .
for us.”  He looked up at Heero, his heart pounding in his chest.  “Is there?”

Heero blinked, apparently fumbling around for words.  “Well, that was nice . . . but I’m planning to propose to Relena later.  
Sorry.”  Heero said.  

Then Heero just walked away, leaving Duo standing there alone, his heart feeling as if he had been stabbed with an icepick.  He
could only gawk at Heero as the ex-pilot walked away.  His legs felt like jelly, and he clutched the railing of the balcony to keep
himself from falling.  He kept the burning tears back, not wanting to cry.  No, he never cried.  Why start now?

He didn’t know how long he had stood there, if it had been a few hours or only minutes.  He just stood there, staring at the
place where Heero had been, not knowing what to do.  He couldn’t go back into that party.  He couldn’t pretend that
everything was still okay, not when everything was so very wrong.  Heero didn’t love him, didn’t care one little bit.  If Heero
had cared, he would have been kinder, would have let him down easy.  But no, he just said that he was going to marry Relena
and left.

Duo choked back a sob, as he heard the beginning of an announcement.  “Ladies, Gentlemen, may I have your attention
please?”  Called out the voice of Relena.

Duo turned, and hopped over the railing of the balcony, knowing he couldn’t bear to hear the rest.  He knew what was going to
be said.  It was a wedding announcement, the end of his world.  No one cared.  No one loved him.  Everyone he loved either
left him or died.  So why had he thought Heero would be any different?  Heero had left him alone in a cold, uncaring world, just
like everyone else he had loved.


*End of Flashback*


Duo shook off the memories, not wanting to think of Heero.  He wanted to stop the pain, to end all the heartache.  He just
wanted to die.

“Hey . . . Are you lost, kid?”  A stranger’s voice asked.

Duo didn’t look up, didn’t move away from the wall.  He didn’t care who was talking to him.  It really didn’t matter to him
anymore.  But he did answer whoever it was, although he kept his voice low, just loud enough to be called a whisper.  “Yeah . .
. have been for a long time.  Hope I’m not crashing in your space.”

“Nah.  It’s okay.”  The voice replied.  “You look down in the dumps, and like you could use some company.”

Duo chuckled, “Yeah  . . . well unless you want a date with your maker, I’d suggest that you stay far away from me.”  And
then he added in an even softer voice, “I’m cursed.”

“What makes you say that?”

Memories flashed through Duo’s mind, all of the people that had died because of him, Solo, Sister Helen, Father Maxwell.  
They all died because of him.  “Everything I touch dies.  I either kill it, or it leaves me before I get the chance.  Everyone I
loved died because of me.”

“I’m sure that isn’t true.”  The voice said, obviously trying to cheer him up.

“Yeah, well it is.”  Duo replied.  He pushed himself away from the wall.  “I'll get going . . . Nice to have met you.”  He replied,
although he hadn’t even seen the face of the person who had talked to him.

He turned and took a few steps away.  But before he could get too far, a hand grabbed his arm and spun him around.

“What is your problem?”  Duo shouted, as he was pulled around to face the man that had talked to him.  His eyes locked on the
other man’s hazel eyes, for the first time seeing who had been speaking to him.  He gasped, not knowing if he could truly
believe his eyes.  “Solo?  But . . . but you’re dead!”

The hair was right, the same scruffy blonde color, although it was cleaner and shorter.  He had a slim build, but he definitely
was not a weakling.  That grasp he held on Duo’s arm was pretty strong.  He was taller than Duo, only by a few inches, but
still, Duo had to look up to see into his eyes.

Solo smirked, an expression Duo remembered well.  “Funny . . . I thought the same about you.”

Suddenly, all of the stress caught up with Duo, all the days of not eating or sleeping. He hadn’t had any food or sleep since
before that party two days ago.  In fact he hadn’t even bothered to change his clothes.  He had just hopped on the first shuttle
to L-2, not caring that his clothes would make him a perfect target for any street gangs or muggers that saw him.  And on top
of that was the shock of seeing the friend he had thought was long dead, was in fact still alive and standing right in front of
him.  It was all too much to handle all at once.

His vision grew fuzzy, his world started spinning, and he felt himself falling.  The last thing he was aware of was the feel of
Solo’s arms around him, the strength keeping him from hitting the ground.  Then all sensation disappeared as darkness
surrounded him.



To Be Continued . . .