Disclaimers:  I still own nothing.

Notes:  Part two of this fic.  No real notes.



Coming Home



Part Two


Solo stepped into the bathroom, wiping the sleep out of his eyes.  As he stepped over to the sink, he caught sight of light
reflecting off of some surface.  He glanced down to see a cross laying on the edge of the sink.  He picked it up by the chain,
watching as it spun around.  Must be the Kid’s, he thought.

He walked out of the bathroom, silently walking down the hallway.  It was pretty early in the morning and he didn’t want to
wake the Kid up.  It was obvious that he needed the rest.  Carefully, he opened the door and crept into the Kid’s room.

He looked so beautiful when he slept, Solo thought, as he gazed at the young man sleeping in the bed.  The Kid was half
uncovered, the top of the pajamas having fallen from his body sometime during the night.  His blankets lay strewn about him,
twisted around one of his legs.

Solo frowned, seeing the numerous scars on the Kid’s back, and the few on the upper arm that Solo could see.  If there were
any more, Solo couldn’t tell by the way the Kid was laying on his side.  

“Who hurt you, Kid?”  Solo whispered, gently brushing his fingers along one of the long thin scars on the Kid’s back.

The Kid murmured in his sleep, rolling over onto his back.  Now Solo could see his chest, and the scars that marred his smooth
skin there.  He also saw more of his arm.  There were old marks on his arm.  Solo knew a needle mark when he saw one, and
he grimaced, thinking that the Kid had taken drugs sometime in his life.  They weren’t recent, but they were still there.

Solo backed away from the Kid, laying the cross on the bedside table.  He turned and left the room, knowing that he would have
to ask the kid about those scars later.  There was no point in waking him up now.  The Kid needed sleep, and Solo could wait
for the answers to his questions.

Solo walked down the hallway, on his way to the kitchen to pour himself a cup of coffee.  He heard his doorbell.  Quickly, he
walked to his door, pulling his robe shut as he reached for the doorknob.

When he opened the door, he was greeted by an odd sight.  A strange man was standing there, wearing a pair of sunglasses,
and a bright pink Hawaiian shirt with little palm trees on it.

“Yes?  Can I help you?”  Solo asked, looking at the odd character before him.

Solo heard a sound behind him and glanced back.  He had to fight the grin tugging at his mouth.  The Kid was standing there,
yawning and rubbing at his eyes wearily.  He sure did look adorable when he woke up.  The Kid was once again wearing the
pajama top.  He had it all buttoned up, but it still hung from his body loosely.

The Kid took his hands away from his eyes and looked over at Solo and his guest.  “Huh? Howard?”  He said, walking over.  
“So, Hilde sent you to do her dirty work, eh?”

Howard laughed as Solo stepped aside to let him in.  Solo closed the door behind him.  “Well, kid . . . you said you didn’t want
anyone else to know where you were.  By that, she figured she knew who you meant.  It must have been something really
extreme if you ran away from home.”

The Kid made a face.  “Hardy har har, Howard.  I'd really rather not talk about it.  Where’s my stuff?”

Howard gestured to a rather large duffle bag he had set down beside his feet.  “You really ought to extend your wardrobe a bit,
Kid.”

Solo watched as the Kid shook his head.

“After years of not having more than I can easily carry . . . I'm not about to go on a shopping spree.”  The Kid said, as he dug a
red tank top and a pair of white shorts from the bag.

The Kid turned.  However, he stopped before taking a step.  He glanced back.  “By the way . . . Howard, this is Solo.  Solo, this
is Howard.”

Solo watched as the Kid walked into his room, before turning to Howard.  “I have some questions regarding the Kid.”  He said.

Howard frowned slightly.  “What?”

Solo nodded, satisfied that Howard seemed willing to answer any reasonable question.  “About a minute after I found him, he
passed out.  When I asked him when the last time he ate was, his answer was that it had been two . . . maybe three days.  I
want to know if that’s a regular occurrence.”

Howard laughed.  “I don’t believe he made it three days without eating.  If you’re worried about that, then stop.  He usually can’
t go more than three HOURS without raiding the fridge.”  He looked to the door that the Kid had disappeared through.  His face
showed concern.  “I was wondering why he seemed so subdued.  He usually bounds into a room and pounces people.”

Solo chuckled, remembering when the Kid had recovered, when they were children, and had started doing just that.  “Okay.  
Next thing I want to know about are his clothes.  He was wearing a pair of leather pants and a red silk shirt last night . . .”

Howard interrupted.  “That’s his ‘I wanna look HOT because I’m trying to catch someone’s eye’ outfit.  One of his friends had
to bully him into getting something more dressy than his usual clothes.  You’ll know what I mean sooner or later.  That kid
doesn’t have all that much . . . says he doesn’t need it.  Lemme guess . . . you were worried that he might have stolen them.”  
Howard smiled.  “He doesn’t have to steal anymore . . . even though he was a damn good thief at one time.”

Solo nodded.  “Did he ever take drugs?  When I brought his cross into his room this morning, I noticed needle marks on his
arm.”  He noticed that an odd, angry expression crossed Howard’s face.  “What?”

Howard lowered his sunglasses slightly, to look Solo in the eye.  “I won’t lie to you.  That kid has been to Hell and back . . . but
he never took drugs.  He's terrified of needles, and those marks are probably why.  Ask him about them sometime.  Anything
else?”

Solo felt angry as well, but decided to bring up one last thing while the Kid wasn’t in the room.  “Could you find a pin in the
shape of a wolf for me to give to him?  I want it so that it will remind him that he has a friend when he needs one.”

Howard grinned, and something akin to mischief entered his eyes for a moment before he pushed his glasses back up.  “I’ll up
you one.  I’ll make one that will hold special significance for him.  He’ll tell all in time.”  His grin faded.  “Look after him.  He’ll
put up a happy-go-lucky front, but I think he’s much more vulnerable than he’s willing to let on.”

“You guys talking about me when I'm not here?  That’s not really polite.”  The Kid said, walking into the room.

Howard chuckled.  “You’re trying to give lessons on being polite, Kid?  That’s a new one!”

Solo had to bite lightly on his bottom lip to keep his mouth from dropping open.  The scars on the Kid’s body still concerned
him, but any worry he’d had about the Kid eating improperly was waylaid when he saw the muscles on his lithe form.  The Kid
was slender, but healthy.  Did he ALWAYS look this good, Solo wondered.

The Kid stuck his tongue out, then flopped down into an armchair.  “Very funny.”  He chided, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Well, I better get going.  Work won’t wait forever, and Hilde’ll probably yell at me for taking so long with your stuff when
there’s work to do back at the shop.”  Howard said.

The Kid jumped up from his seat.  “Aw man, Howard, I forgot about the shop.  Maybe I should just go back with ya.  Me and
Solo can have this little get-together some other time.”

Howard held up his hand.  “No way.  You obviously need rest.  Me and the guys can handle the shop for a few days.  You take
all the time you need and relax a little.”  He smiled, then turned and left, not giving the Kid a chance to argue.

Solo closed the door behind Howard, still holding his robe shut with one hand.  He turned back to the Kid.  “Question . . . Does
he wear those sunglasses to protect his eyes from the glare of the sun or from the shirt?”

The Kid broke out laughing.  It took him a moment to contain his giggling, holding his hands to his sides while biting his lip.  
Solo just thought he looked all the more adorable when he smiled.  

“Honestly, I have NO idea.  It’s one of those great mysteries . . . like why Hilde insists on washing the dishes before we put
them in the dishwasher.”  The Kid replied.

Solo smiled, glad that he had been able to make his friend laugh.  Then he saw the cross dangling from around his neck.  “I see
you found your cross.  You know, you really shouldn’t leave it lying around in the bathroom.  I might not have seen it, or
knocked it over into the trash or something.”

The Kid looked down, letting his hand drift to lay over the cross.  His fingers stroked the surface lovingly, and Solo knew that it
must hold special meaning to him.  “Yeah . . . I guess you could say it was a gift, from someone I really cared about.”  He
whispered quietly, a faint smile crossing his features briefly as he gazed down at the shiny surface.  “Thanks for leaving it
where I would find it.”

“No problem.”  Solo replied.  He glanced down at his watch, his eyes widening when he saw what time it was.  “Damn, I’m
going to be late for work!”  He muttered.

“Hey, Solo . . . What exactly do you do?”  The Kid asked, flopping down in the armchair once again.

“I’m an intern in a local hospital.”  Solo smiled.

“Gonna be a doctor, huh?”  The Kid smiled, “Well the job does suit ya.”

“Thanks, Kid.”  He walked away, pausing before he reached the hallway.  He turned back.  “Hey, Kid, what do ya say we go
out tonight?  No reason to stay locked up inside . . . we might as well have some fun while we get caught up with each other’s
lives.”

“Yeah!  I’d like that a lot, Solo.”  The Kid smiled.  

“Great, we’ll go out after I get home from work.”  Solo smiled, then left the room.  

He got dressed as quickly as he could, not really wanting to be late for work.  As he was on his way out the door, he turned
back to look at his friend.  The Kid was yawning, his eyes almost all the way closed.  Solo knew he was probably still tired.  
After not eating or sleeping for three days, it was amazing that he had gotten up so early that morning.

“Why don’t you go back to sleep?  If you get bored, you can always watch any of my vids, or listen to what little music I
have.”  He gestured to his entertainment center, which unfortunately was in need of being cleaned and sorted through.  “And
help yourself to anything you find in the fridge.”

“Okay.”  The Kid replied, rising from his seat, slowly.  “See you later.”  He said, waving back at Solo as he headed back to his
room.

“We’ll go out as soon as I get home . . . Promise.”  Solo said, then left, closing the door behind himself.  Great, he could take
the kid with him to the meeting.  There were going to be so many people thrilled to see the Kid again.


*****

Duo groaned, opening his eyes.  He wanted to sleep a little longer, but he just couldn’t ignore the rumbling in his stomach
anymore.  He swung his legs over the edge of the bed, wincing and covering his stomach with one hand as hunger pains hit him
hard.  Now he remembered why he had hated going hungry as a kid.  It was definitely a mistake to forget to eat for three days.

He stood, and shuffled his way to the kitchen.  Opening the fridge he just grabbed the first thing he saw, an apple.  It would do
for now.  He couldn’t overdo it by eating too much now, or else he might get sick.  

Duo bit into his apple as he stepped out of the kitchen, his eyes shifting to look around at Solo’s apartment.  He hadn’t really
gotten a good look at it last night when he first woke up, only having one thought running through his mind at the time . . . Why
the hell was Solo still alive?  But now that he had an answer to his question, he looked around, just to look.

He turned and walked down the hallway, deciding to start his observations with the room furthest away from him.  He opened
the last door and stepped in, taking another bite of his apple as he walked.  This looked like an office of some kind.  

Duo wandered over to the desk, admiring the state-of-the-art computer that sat atop the surface.  He opened a door on the side
of the desk, finding a printer inside, the drawer beneath that had several files and various tax documents for the past few years .
. . just normal stuff a guy would have in his desk.  Strewn about the top of the desk were several books on various computer
programs and . . . Duo chuckled at the sight . . . a hacker’s guide.  Who knew that Solo was into hacking?  Beside the desk,
was a small table and on it a fax machine.  A copier stood next to the table.  And then there were several bookcases filled with
medical and law books, not to mention more books on computer programs and hacking.

Duo shook his head and left the room, depositing his apple core in the trash can he passed as he walked out the door.  He
opened the door across from the office.  He saw what he expected to see, just the bathroom.  He remembered it from when he
had used it the previous night.

The next door led into what looked like the Master Bedroom, Solo’s room.  Duo walked in, just wanting a simple look around
the place.  He wouldn’t do too much snooping into Solo’s privacy, just a little.  

There wasn’t anything fancy about Solo’s room.  He was a busy guy, what with medical school and all, so he probably just
used the room for sleeping and changing clothes.  There was a comforter on the full-size bed that had a nice geometric pattern
to it in various shades of grey.  Duo liked it.  On his night stand was an alarm clock and a phone.  There wasn’t a lot of
furniture in the room, guess Solo really didn’t need much.

He stepped over to the dresser, which was done in natural wood coloring.  He opened a drawer, finding nothing but boxers and
various other types of underwear.  He quickly closed the door, knowing that he had no business to be looking through Solo’s
underwear drawer.  The next drawer he pulled open contained plain T-shirts, and there were sweatshirts in the one below it.  In
the last drawer, Duo found jeans and other pants.  Duo moved on over to the closet and pulled open the door.  Duo whistled at
all the fancy clothes he found inside . . . suits, dress shirts, overcoats, leather jackets.  Must be where he keeps his good
clothing, probably for work and other important stuff.

Duo turned and left the room, feeling that he had invaded enough of Solo’s privacy.  Then he entered the last door in the
hallway, his own room.  Well he hadn’t really looked around all that carefully when he was in there earlier, so he looked now.  
It was a little brighter in coloring than Solo’s room, in shades of blue.  There was a nice view from the window.  The only
other thing he saw in the room, was an empty set of shelves, probably in case any of his guests had any trinkets or baubles.

He glanced in the kitchen as he walked back toward the living/dining room area.  It was loaded up with cooking equipment, but
judging by looking through the glass doors on the cabinets above the counter, Solo didn’t have a lot of food.

The first thing he saw as he entered the living room, was the huge entertainment center.  It was cluttered, various vids and
discs lying about in disarray.  He stepped over to the entertainment center, glancing about him as he walked.  There was a rather
large bookcase against one wall, filled with various books . . . romance, Sci-Fi, Horror, Mystery, various other genres.   Solo
seemed to have varied tastes.

The floors were wood without carpeting, and Solo had a throw rug on the floor in the living room area.  A sofa, where Duo had
lounged the previous night, was just at the edge of that throw rug, an armchair positioned diagonally from the sofa, so that
whoever sat there could either talk to whoever sat on the sofa or watch TV.  There were a lot of throw pillows lying around on
the sofa and armchair, magazines on the coffee table in front of the sofa.  Everything in this room just looked cluttered.  Duo
guessed that Solo didn’t keep up with the housekeeping much.

Duo picked up a random disc from atop the pile on the stereo.  He turned on the stereo system, then popped the disc into it.  He
set it for random play, not really caring what he listened to, just needing some form of distraction to keep from thinking about
Heero and how there was no one on the Earth or colonies that could ever love him.

The first words of the song, sounding more like a poem to Duo’s ears, immediately caught his attention.  Duo blinked thinking it
odd that the first words would seem to fit his situation so perfectly.

//I am solo in this world of water//

What a coincidence, he had just found Solo, and here some guy in a song was talking about being solo . . . not as a name, only
as a numerical designation, but still it was strange.

//Only the tip of a sunrise visible
Like the morning light in a little girl’s eyes//

He moved over to the sofa, flopping down on the soft cushions.  He lay his head back against the arm of the chair, stretching
out his legs along the length of the sofa.  He was just going to lie there and relax for a bit, listen to the song, try not to think of
his own misery.

//I crave this freedom
I find it only in this little ship
Just my soul and this bread and butter
I am comfortable//

Duo wished that he were comfortable, that he had freedom.  But that wasn’t to be.  He seemed to be doomed to live alone,
without love in his life.  Everyone seemed to leave him just when he grew to love them.  And Heero had been no exception.  
Well, his plan to relax seemed to be ruined and the song had only just begun.

//But there is a treason at sea
Is it me?
It is a wonder, supernatural cover of war
The dark ones who eternal in damnation grow
Set about me now
How they whine and crow//

Duo rolled over onto his side, the words of the song just bringing depression to him.  He was a ‘dark one’  and he would be
damned eternally to a loveless life.  Who could ever love him after the life he had lived, after all the suffering he had caused?  He
was the God of Death, and no one could love him when all he brought to the world was pain and suffering . . . death.

//I am solo
In this world of wet
And bitter is my temperament
I close the door to sentiment
And I relish all my youth
I realize that I am doomed//

Duo was alone, alone and bitter, just like whoever was singing.  And he was doomed to remain that way forever.  No one
would ever love him.  Maybe listening to music had been a bad idea, considering it was only making him feel worse than ever
before.

//Fear of love and fear of you
But you give me the keys to paradise
It is you who sympathize
You and your perfection grow
I am cradled in your ocean’s throw
I crave your freedom in this little ship
For you alone can chart my trip
And like these waves I lose my grip
And I sink into your arms//

“Heero . . .”  Duo whispered, choking back a sob.  He wouldn’t cry, no matter how much his heart ached.  Heero felt nothing
for him, hated him probably.  Why else would he have shattered Duo’s heart so horribly?  There was no friendship there,
nothing, or else he would have let Duo down a little easier.

He forced back his tears, stifling his sobs, and slowly he drifted off to sleep, his body already exhausted although he had done
very little.  His dreams were plagued with nightmares.  Heero stood before him, always out of reach, his gaze boring through
him with their intensity.  He didn’t speak, didn’t say anything, but he always stayed just out of touch, only a breath away from
him, the warmth of his body continually taunting Duo.  The images of his friends consumed by fire, their bodies being burned
alive, although they continued to scream out his name, pleading for help when there was nothing that Duo could do to save
them.  And then there was Solo, smiling . . . alive.  But when Duo touched him, he too became engulfed in the flames, his shrill
cries breaking Duo’s heart in half, tearing him apart from the inside because of pure self-hatred.


*****


Solo opened the door and stepped into his apartment.  He was thankful that it had been a slow day at the hospital, the ER being
particularly empty all day.  Now he could take the Kid out.  And he had everything planned out.  First a trip to a little club Solo
frequented, where they would meet up with some friends, then they’d get down to celebrating the Kid being brought back into
Solo’s life.

Solo stopped, feeling that something was off about the apartment.  The stereo was on, playing something from one of his CDs,
but that wasn’t the problem.  There was also an odd sound, a strange whimpering coming from the living room.

He slowly stepped over to the sofa, peering over the edge.  The Kid was laying there, his body trembling, his arms wrapped
tightly around his own body.  His fingers dug deeply into the skin of his arms, as he whimpered in his sleep.  Solo knew this
was a nightmare, he’d had enough of his own to know that the Kid would probably appreciate being awakened right now.

Solo walked around, kneeling beside the sofa.  He reached out, grasping the Kid’s shoulder and shaking it gently.  “Hey, Kid . . .
wake up.”  He said gently.

Solo gasped, taken aback when the Kid lashed out, his hand flashing out and grasping his throat tightly.  He had never seen
someone move so quickly before.  But at the moment he wasn’t going to wonder where he’d learned that.  He was just focused
on trying to keep the Kid was snapping his neck.

“Kid!”  He exclaimed, trying not to panic, although the hand around his throat was tightening, nearly suffocating him.

The Kid’s eyes snapped open.  He pulled back his hand, trembling.  “Oh God, Solo, I didn’t mean to . . . I’m sorry.”  He said,
his voice wavering, as he got up and ran from the room.

Solo took a few deep breaths to calm himself, his hand covering his now sore throat.  Then he stood, knowing that he had to go
after the Kid.  He found his friend in the guest room, sitting on the bed, rocking back and forth, his head in his hands.

“Kid?”  Solo asked, from the doorway, thinking it would better to make sure the Kid knew he was there before he approached.  
He really didn’t want a repeat of what had happened just a few moments ago.

The Kid looked up, his expression clearly conveying how sorry he felt.  “I’m sorry, Solo.  I just don’t like people sneaking up
on me.”  He said, feigning a slight smile.

Solo stepped over to his friend, sitting on the bed beside him.  “Don’t worry about it.  Now that I know better I won’t be
making that mistake again.”

“If you want me to leave, I’ll understand.”  The Kid mumbled.

“Nonsense.  That was just an accident.”  Solo replied, narrowing his gaze as he wondered why the Kid seemed to feel so
guilty.  It wasn’t his fault that Solo had startled him.

The kid looked up at him, fear and worry in his gaze.  “I-I could have killed you.  I’m too much trouble to be around.”  He
lowered his head, looking down at the floor.

Solo shook his head, wrapping an arm around the Kid’s shoulders.  “You are not trouble, Kid.  You are my friend.  And that
was just an accident.  I am not going to kick you out over that,”

The Kid laughed, and then there was an awkward silence.  A few minutes later, the Kid looked up.  “Hey, what time is it
anyway?”

“Time for us to go out . . . If you’re still up for it.”  Solo answered, smiling.  

The Kid grabbed Solo’s wrist, turning it so that he could see his watch.  “Damn!  I slept all day long.”  He gasped.

Solo chuckled, rubbing a hand along the Kid’s back.  “I’m not surprised.  If you say you haven't eaten or slept for days, it’s
only natural that your body wants to rest and regain some of its strength.  But when we go out, I want you to eat something.”

“Got it!”  The Kid smiled up at him.  “Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to get changed.  Can’t really go out dressed like this.”  
He grinned, tugging at the red shirt and gesturing to the white shorts he wore.

Solo nodded.  “Fine, I really should get changed too.  See you in a few minutes.”  Solo got up, then left the room, looking back
once, only to see the Kid rifling through his duffle bag.


*****


Duo pulled on his semi-bleached jeans, tucking the red poet’s shirt into them.  He looked at himself in the full-length mirror,
making sure that he looked good.  Of course he did, but he just wanted to be sure.  His braid was neat.  His face a little pale, but
otherwise he didn’t look as exhausted as before.  

Suddenly, a shiver flowed through his body, a frown marring his features.  A deep sense of dread filled his heart, wondering
why Heero didn’t want him.  He must be ugly . . . why else would no one care for him?

A glint from the cross he still wore caught his eye, and he grasped it, smiling down at the golden surface.  Sister Helen would
hate what he’d become, all the death he had caused.  A memory floated to the surface of his mind, and he faintly smiled.

“Happy birthday to me.
Happy birthday to me.
Happy birthday dear Duo.
Happy birthday to me.”  

He murmured the tune to himself, realizing that today was the day that Sister Helen had declared his birthday.  “Forgive me
Sister, I know you’d hate what I’ve become.”  He said, dropping the cross back to his chest.

Duo turned, quickly putting on his shoes before checking his reflection one last time.  Well, he was as ready as he would ever
be.  Might as well get it over with.  Tonight he would have fun, whether he liked it or not.  Solo deserved to be happy, so Duo
would at least pretend to be having a good time.  He took in a deep breath, opening the door and walking out of the room.



To Be Continued . . .



The Song that Duo was listening to is entitled:  “There is a Treason At Sea”  By dc Talk