Disclaimers:  I do not own Gundam Wing or any of its characters.

Notes:  Solo takes Duo out for some fun and has a pleasant surprise for him.  Some more Duo torment in this part, not to
mention some flirting and other fun stuff.



Coming Home



Part Three


Duo followed as Solo led him down the streets, not exactly knowing where his friend was taking him.  The area seemed familiar
to him, probably because he had basically grown up around here, but he just couldn’t place where he was exactly.

“Here we are.”  Solo announced, gesturing toward a building across the street from them.

Duo looked up, then frowned at the neon sign he saw.  ‘They destroyed a church, but they left a dance club standing?  I was
right  . . .  there is no God!’  He sighed at the throbbing music he could hear even outside.

“Hey, Kid . . . what’s wrong?”  Solo asked.

Duo shook his head at the concerned tone in Solo’s voice.  “It’s not important.”  He plastered a smile on his face.  “Well  . . .  
let’s go!  If I remember correctly, I always wondered what was inside!”

Solo did not look convinced, but he nodded anyway before the two of them entered the dance club known as ‘The Cage’.

As soon as he stepped inside, Duo was in his element.  True to the club’s name, it looked as if a chain link fence was set up
around the dance floor.  Lights flashed in time with the loud music.  Solo said something that Duo didn’t quite hear, and was
gone the next moment.  With a shrug, Duo stepped out onto the dance floor and let the music and the mob of gyrating bodies
direct his movements.

He was finally getting into it when someone screeched.  “Oh my GOD!!!!  BRAID BOY!!!  You’re ALIVE!!!!!!”

Duo grunted as someone tackled him from behind, almost knocking him over.  “What the?”  He spun and came face to face
with a girl about his age.  It took him a moment to figure out why she seemed to be so happy, then he saw it.  Her ebony hair
that was still in a page-boy cut around her impish face and her clear cerulean eyes that bespoke of so much.  He remembered
her now. “ANNIE?”  He returned the heartfelt hug she gave him.  “It’s been YEARS!”  He had to yell over the music.

Annie nodded and yelled back.  “TELL me about it!  GOD!  Let me look at you!”

Duo felt himself blush as she ran her eyes over him, holding him at arms’ length to get a better look at him.

“You look HOT!  You were a cute kid, but WOW!  You single?”

Duo laughed uncomfortably.  “Much to my dismay!”

Annie glanced over Duo’s shoulder.  “SOLO!  DUDE!  Where did you FIND him?  I thought he DIED!  NOT that I’m
COMPLAINING.  He’s a major HOTTIE!” Her eyes twinkled and she suddenly laughed for some unknown reason. “See you in
the back!”

Duo shook his head as Annie disappeared.  “Anyone else here that I know?”

Solo nodded.  “Yeah!  The whole gang meets here every so often.  Come on!  We can talk in the back without having to
scream!”

Duo felt his smile grow as he and Solo threaded their way through the crowd.  He hoped he’d get a chance to dance some
more.  He needed to do something that would help him forget the ache Heero had left in his heart.  He heard Solo gasp and
peeked his head in.

A chorus of voices cried out.  “SURPRISE!!!”

Duo blinked as Annie walked forward and grabbed his wrist.  “C’mon!  I TOLD you guys he was still alive!”

Duo recognized the old gang in the group in front of him as they stepped in.  The group surged toward them.  Before he could
ask what was going on, he was in the center of a sea of arms . . . all of which seemed intent on hugging him tightly.  He had to
swallow several times as they all murmured how glad they were that he was still alive.  When the lights went out, he was aware
of a soft glow behind him.  He turned and fought his old rule of boys not crying.  Someone stood in the doorway holding a
cupcake with a tiny candle.  When one started, the whole group joined in.

“Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday, dear Duo!
Happy birthday to you!”

The figure handed the tiny morsel over.  “Sorry it’s not as much as Sister Helen did.  Short notice, and all.  We’ll go out for a
real party later.  Now make a wish, Duo!”

Duo closed his eyes.  Someone had remembered . . . and it touched him more than he would ever admit.  He took a breath and
blew out the single candle.  ‘Please let me find someone who won’t leave me!’  He grinned at the applause, but that grin faded a
little when the lights came back on and he saw the puzzled look on Solo’s face.  He blushed as Solo approached, and looked
down as he put the cupcake on a table.

Solo’s voice was filled with bewilderment.  “Duo?  Your name is Duo?”

Duo took a deep breath.  “Well . . . I thought you were dead, and that the only reason I lived through the plague was because
you were watching over me.”  He blinked as he found himself engulfed in a comforting hug.

“I’m honored that you would name yourself in my memory, Kid.”  Solo smiled warmly.

“Okay!”  Annie grinned at Duo.  “So . . . Whatcha been up to?  The last time I saw you was when I was being carried away
from the Maxwell Church by my new parents, and that was the day before the massacre!”  She shuddered.  “How in Sister
Helen’s name did you survive?”

Duo’s eyes darkened.  “I survived because I wasn’t there at the time.” He hated remembering what had happened.  There were
still times when he would wake up screaming.  He hung his head.  “I’d rather not talk about it.”

“Hey  . . .  wait a second!”  A blonde boy stepped forward.  “Do that again!”

Duo frowned.  “Do WHAT again?”  He blinked as the boy . . . Timothy, that was his name . . . as Timothy directed two others
to take Duo's arms. “Wha?”

Timothy stared hard at Duo.  “Hang your head again!”

Duo frowned but complied.  ‘Why on earth would someone want me to . . . ?’ Then it hit him a split second before Timothy
spoke.

“I THOUGHT that looked familiar!  Okay . . . let him go.”  He placed an arm around Duo’s shoulder.  “You’ve got guts, Duo!  
Let me tell you something . . . I supported you guys all the way.  We ALL did!  We believed in what you were doing, even if the
bureaucrats and cowards didn’t.”

Annie frowned at Timothy.  “What are you talking about, Timmy?”

Timothy grinned at Duo and turned to the group.  “Guys . . . didn’t you ever watch the news during the war?”

Solo frowned slightly, and studied Duo as if trying to figure out where the youngest member of the group was going.  “What do
you mean?”

Duo sighed and leaned against a wall.  He really didn’t want to say anything, but he knew if he didn’t . . . then Timothy would.  
“What he’s trying to say is that I was a Gundam pilot.  I got careless once and ended up getting captured.  I was all over the
news.  Although . . . careless isn’t the word.  My self-detonation switch didn’t work.”  He closed his eyes and prepared to be
thrown out, beat up, or both.  He was not prepared when hands grasped his arm.  He opened his eyes and looked into Annie’s
smiling face.  “What?”

“I’m GLAD it didn't work, Duo!  If it had, women of the universe would miss out on looking at that gorgeous bod of yours!  
Did you think we would throw you out of the group for that?  HAH!  If anything . . . Solo?”

Duo glanced at Solo, who was smirking.  “What?  Am I missing something?”

Solo nodded.  “Ever hear of the Lone Wolf and his Wolf Pack?”

Duo shrugged.  “Rumors have been spreading around the Prevent . . .”  His eyes widened as it hit him.  “YOU?”

Solo nodded.  “There are still a lot of people . . . kids . . . who are just like you were when I first found you.  We do what we
can on the poorer colonies to help them.”  His eyes bored into Duo’s soul.  “No kid should be stuck on the streets.  No kid
should have to steal for a meager meal of stale bread and metallic-tasting water.”

Timothy walked up and smiled.  “You showed us that one person can make all the difference.  While the rest of us were sick
and weak, you risked your neck to get us the medicine that would save our lives.  And when you HAD the medicine, you
distributed it to everyone, but you hadn’t gotten enough for yourself.  Then you made sure we were all moved so the Feds
wouldn't find us.”

Solo placed a hand on Duo's shoulder.  “Whaddya say, Duo?  Will you join the Wolf Pack?”

Duo looked around at the group.  Faces that were familiar and strange all at the same time looked back at him.  He smiled as
memories, good AND bad, swam through his mind.  “Yeah . . . I’ll join.”  He blinked as Annie hugged him.

Her mouth was a breath away from his ear as she whispered to him. “Sister Helen would be proud of you.”

“No, she wouldn’t.”  Duo whispered back, before he had even known he had spoken.

Annie blinked as she pulled away from him, staring at him with concern in her eyes.  But if she had wanted to say something,
she couldn’t.  The group surged around him again, Timothy wrapping his arm around Duo’s shoulders.

“Come on, let’s get to that party.”  Timothy announced.


*****


Solo stood against a wall, just watching as Duo had fun.  He still couldn’t believe that the kid had named himself to honor him.  
He smiled, watching as some girl shyly stepped over to Duo, interrupting a conversation between him, Timmy, and Annie.  Duo
grinned, taking her hand and nearly bounced over to the dance floor.

“Does something seem off to you about Duo?”  Annie asked as she stepped over beside Solo.

Solo narrowed his gaze, watching Duo for anything unusual.  Duo was dancing, just as he had been only seconds ago.  He
seemed completely engrossed in the sound, his body moving in perfect sync with the music that blared.  However, he did look
to be ignoring the girl he danced with, just lost in his own world with his eyes closed, his face blank.

“Yeah . . . now that you mention it . . . but I can’t put my finger on what it is.”  Solo replied.  “Do you know something I don’
t?”

Annie frowned.  “Yeah.  When I hugged him in the backroom earlier, I told him that Sister Helen would be proud of him.  But
he whispered back to me that she wouldn’t.  Something has to be wrong for him to say something like that.  It just didn’t seem
like Duo to say that.”

“I’ll go talk with him.”  Solo said, stepping away from the wall.

Solo quickly crossed to the dance floor, leaving Annie behind.  He stepped over to Duo, and the girl who had asked him to
dance.  “Mind if I cut in?”  Solo asked the girl.

“Sure . . . doesn’t look like he’ll care whether or not I leave.”  The girl replied, glaring at Duo.

Duo just smiled.  “Sorry, Babe.”

The girl just huffed, then turned on her heel and quickly left.  Solo shook his head, then turned back to Duo.  “Having fun?”  He
asked.

“Yeah!  It’s so great seeing the old gang again.”  Duo smiled, nearly laughing.  He paused, then gave Solo a sly smile.  “Well,
you gonna dance with me or not?”

Solo smirked.  ‘Like I would pass up a chance like this!’  He nodded and waited to make sure he was on the beat.  It took him a
moment to get his rhythm, but when he did . . . he was able to keep an eye on Duo while dancing.  Halfway through the song,
he noticed what really seemed off.  Duo . . . it was like he wasn’t there.  Sure the kid stayed in step, so to speak, but it was like
his heart was a million miles away.

“Kid!”  Solo stopped his dancing and gently grabbed Duo’s arm.

“Huh?”  Duo blinked in what seemed to be surprise . . . like he was waking up from a dream.

Solo smiled gently.  “Duo . . . where are you?  It’s like you’re a million miles away.”

Duo looked guilty.  “I’d rather not talk about it.”

“I understand.  I won’t pry, but . . . when you dance with me . . . dance with ME, not a dream, okay?”  Solo nodded and
resumed his dancing, noticing Duo falling into the music with him.  This time, Duo met his eyes every so often.  There was
appreciation there.  Whether it was for the dancing skills or for pulling Duo to the here and now, he wasn’t sure.

As soon as the song ended though, Duo seemed to vanish into thin air.  One moment Duo was smiling up at him, then someone
bumped into Solo, gaining his attention, and when Solo looked back, Duo was gone.  He looked around, but nothing . . . He just
couldn’t see Duo anywhere.

Solo saw Annie, and walked over to her, weaving his way through the massive crowd on the dance floor.  “Did you see where
Duo went?  I kinda lost sight of him.”

“Sorry, but my attention was elsewhere.”  She replied.

Solo followed her gaze, only to see that she was currently ogling some dark-haired kid at the end of the bar.  “He’s cute.”  He
said to her.

“Yeah . . .”  Then she looked up at Solo and blushed.  “Sorry, Solo.  I just wasn’t watching Duo when there are so many other
cuties to look at.  I know I don't have a chance with Duo if you’re interested in him.”

“Who says I’m interested?”  Solo argued, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Oh, please.  I saw how you two were dancing with each other, and how you were looking at him, checking him out.  I’m not
blind you know.”  Annie replied, smiling.

Solo shook his head, not bothering to put up any kind of an argument.  He knew better then to start a fight with Annie.  He
wouldn’t win, couldn’t win.  There wasn’t a chance that he could try and talk himself out of that.  So he just shut his mouth
and leaned back against the wall again, looking out at the club, while keeping an eye out for any sign of Duo.


*****


Duo stood at the bar, surrounded by a group of other people.  It was the best way to stay hidden, to be in a crowded area.  And
at the moment he would rather not be found by Solo or any of the gang.  He just wanted to sit there and drink, maybe drown
his sorrows in the alcohol he was consuming.  Good thing he had that fake ID with him, one of the best he’d ever made for
himself, or else he wouldn’t have gotten those drinks tonight.  He didn’t want Solo to see him like this, didn’t want Solo to
know how miserable he felt at the moment.

“Hey,”  A strange voice said, from right next to Duo.  “What’s a gorgeous creature like you doing in a dump like this?”

Duo rolled his eyes.  That had to be the OLDEST pick-up line in the universe.  He couldn’t believe that somebody would
actually use it on him.  He turned, ready to shoot down the guy’s weak attempt at flattery.  However, his breath was stopped in
his throat, his eyes widening in shock.  He dropped his glass, not noticing until it shattered and the liquid inside splashed onto
him.  Then he shook himself out of his imagining, blinking and taking a second look at the man before him.

At first he had thought it was Heero, but when he blinked, it was apparent that it was some other young man.  Sure, the hair
was the same color.  Add the fact that he was also wearing a green shirt, and a pair of black slacks, and there was a strong
resemblance to Heero Yuy.  But the eyes were brown instead of blue, his body just not quite as muscular as Heero’s, although
he was still well toned.

“Wanna go somewhere where we can be alone?”  The guy asked, smiling, his every move telling Duo that he wanted to do
more than just talk.

Normally, Duo would just reject a guy like this, or slug him for daring to think he was worthy of Duo’s attention.  But not
tonight . . . no, tonight Duo wanted attention.  He wanted to be touched, wanted to feel like he was worth something more than
dirt.

“Sure.”  Duo replied, letting a seductive smile curl his lips.  He grabbed the guy’s arm, dragging him off to a dark corner of the
club.

Duo spun around, then took a couple steps back until he hit a wall.  He reached up, wrapping his hand around the back of the
slightly taller man’s neck and pulled him down.  Duo kissed him roughly, just wanting to feel the heat of his mouth, wanting the
pleasure and nothing more.  He didn’t care about who this guy was, didn't want to know his name or anything about him.  He
just wanted to feel something other than hate for himself right now.

The man’s tongue sought entrance to his mouth, and Duo happily complied.  He kept his one hand on the guy’s neck, his other
wandering across his chest, just stroking his muscles and caressing him through the shirt he wore.  The man’s hands weren’t
idle either.  As he and Duo’s tongues sparred, the man also let his hands travel over Duo’s body.

Duo arched into the touch, wanting to feel more.  The man eagerly touched him, stroking Duo’s chest, his fingers toying with
his nipples through his shirt, making Duo gasp at the sensations coursing through his body.  One of his hands continued lower,
catching on the edge of Duo’s jeans.  The button was quickly popped open, the zipper undone just as fast.  And then the
nameless man’s hand was stroking Duo through his boxers, working Duo into a quick frenzy.

However, Duo pushed him away, knowing nothing could happen tonight.  He was here with Solo, and he wouldn’t just ditch his
friend for a quick one night stand, no matter how attractive the guy was.  He pushed the man away, reaching down to fasten
his jeans.  “Sorry buddy, some other time.”  Duo smiled, licking his lips as he slipped past the guy and walked away, ignoring
the man’s shouted protests.

He stopped at the bar before searching for Solo again, getting himself a drink.  He gulped it down quickly, placing the empty
glass on a vacant table as he walked by it.  “Hey, Solo!”  Duo smiled happily, placing the mask on once again.  He’d do anything
to make sure his friend remained happy, even if that meant he had to pretend that his life wasn’t as miserable as it was.



To Be Continued . . .