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

Notes:  Duo wakes up with a hangover and finds Solo talking to someone familiar.



Coming Home



Part Four


Duo awakened with a headache . . . scratch that, it was more like a spike was repeatedly being driven in and out of his skull,
throbbing in time with his heart beat.  He groaned as he rolled over and sat up, wondering just how much he had drank the
previous night.  He didn’t really remember much after necking with that guy in the corner then going back to where Solo was
standing.

Duo swung his legs over the edge of the bed, clamping his hands over his head as dizziness and nausea crashed into him.  He
did not like this feeling . . . maybe he shouldn’t have had so much to drink.

Mumbled voices made themselves known.  Duo took a moment to breathe deeply, not wanting to fall over the first time he got
up this morning, then he went off in search of the source of those voices.  He didn’t even bother to look and see what he was
wearing, not that it really mattered anyway . . . he had probably embarrassed himself and Solo last night.

When he stepped out of his room, he knew that it was Solo’s voice that he heard talking, and there was someone else that
sounded oddly familiar.  “Who’re ya talkin’ to?”  Duo asked, staggering over to where Solo was talking on the vid-phone.

“Duo?  Is that you?”  That familiar voice called out.

Duo turned and looked at the vid-screen, his eyes widening when he saw the face of a friend.  Duo blinked, placing a smile on
his face.  “Quatre!  My man!  What’s happening?”  Duo asked, ignoring the pain shooting through his skull.

“I’ve been worried SICK!  THAT’S what’s happening!”  Quatre glared, sounding annoyed.  “Where have you been?  You didn’t
even stick around to say hello to Wufei and Trowa!”

Duo’s smile faded.  “I’d really rather not discuss it, Q-man!”  Duo said, making it clear that he didn’t want to continue with the
current discussion.  It might just lead to Quatre asking about what happened, why he had left so quickly.  Duo didn’t want to
go there right now.

“You know Quatre Raberba Winner?”  Solo asked, sounding completely shocked.

Duo turned to his friend and nodded.  “He’s another one . . . an ex-Gundam pilot.”  Duo turned back to the vid-screen, only to
see Quatre’s wide eyes, apparently fearful that Duo had divulged his secret.  “Don’t freak out, Quatre . . . Solo was all for us
during the war!  I found that out last night when one of the old gang recognized me from when OZ posted my mug all over the
place.”  

“No way!  I cannot believe that this guy . . .”  Solo pointed at Quatre’s image, sputtering.  “was a pilot!”

Quatre chuckled, blushing slightly out of embarrassment.  “Believe it or not . . . I was.”  Quatre smiled.  “Hey, Wolfson . . .
look after Duo for me.  He can be a handful, and he gave us quite a scare when he disappeared after . . .”  Quatre suddenly
paled, his smile vanishing quickly.  He looked at Duo, his face conveying deep concern.  “Oh!  Oh, Duo!  I’m so sorry.  I didn’
t realize it before . . .”

Duo interrupted, stopping him before he could continue.  “It isn’t your fault, Quatre.  These things happen.  How are things
going with you?  Did you have better results than I did that night?”

Quatre sighed.  “No, neither of us had much luck it seems.  I didn’t say anything to Trowa, even when I had obvious chances.”

“Why do I get the feeling that I’m missing something here, Kid?”  Solo asked, shaking his head.

Duo smirked at Solo.  “Because you are.  I’ll explain everything some other time . . . after my wounds have healed, okay?  
Suffice it to say, I just suffered from an attack of a broken heart.  Besides . . . you were always in the dark when it came to
what I was thinking.”

“Great!”  Quatre said, looking amused.  “Now, I’m missing something.  How do you know Solo Wolfson?”

Duo smiled sadly.  “He saved my life when I was a kid.”  Memories flooded him, the time he had spent with Solo on the streets,
then the plague, the way Solo had looked the last time Duo had seen him.  Duo pushed the thoughts from his mind, wanting to
get away.  “Ack!  I’m tying up the phone lines!  Tell Trowa and Wufei that I said ‘Hi!’  Take care of yourself.”  Then he turned
and walked away, heading into the bathroom.

Once safe behind a closed door, Duo began to shiver, feeling so unbearably cold even though he was fully clothed.  Despite the
raging hangover he had, he felt like he needed a drink . . . anything to chase away the pain that ate at his heart.


*****


Solo watched for a moment as Duo left.  Something seemed off about him.  Sure, he was dressed in the same clothes he had
been in last night and he reeked of alcohol, but there was something else about him.  Solo couldn't put his finger on what it was,
but he knew that he would have to keep a close eye on the Kid from now on.

“I’m serious, though.”  Quatre said, bringing Solo’s attention back to him.  For a while now, Solo had known Quatre Winner,
his adoptive parents and the Winners had been good friends.  Now Quatre was helping Solo to refurbish the colony, financing
his attempts whenever he could.

“Duo is very sensitive . . . even though he puts forth that ‘I don’t care what happens’ front.  He must be feeling very vulnerable
right now . . . more so than ever if he didn’t come to one of us.  He must be hurting very deeply if he ran.”  Quatre said, his
voice oddly sad.  In all the time that Solo had known the young Mr. Winner, he had never sounded so forlorn.

“That was our old creed.”  Solo replied.  “We run, we hide, but we never tell a lie.  Very useful when you’re a street rat.  Lying
was the worst thing you could do.”  He sighed.  “I’ll keep an eye on the Kid, though.  Maybe he just needs to be away from you
guys for a while.  I’ll let you know if anything happens.”

“Thank you, Solo.  If there isn’t anything else, I unfortunately have a meeting to attend.”  Quatre said.

“I apologize for keeping you.  Goodbye.”  Solo smiled.

Quatre smiled in return, then cut off the transmission.

Solo sighed, switching off his vid-phone.  He stepped into the kitchen and opened the fridge, rooting around inside for anything
edible.  He grumbled when he saw that he really didn’t have much of anything that could be called a breakfast food.  He still had
to go shopping this week.

“Hey, Kid?”  He turned to see Duo walking in and looking as if he had just washed his face.  “I hate to say it, but there’s
nothing in here for breakfast.  I was going to go out later in the week . . .”

Duo shrugged.  “I’ll go get some stuff.  I might as well if there’s nothing here besides . . .”  He glanced in the fridge and curled
his nose.  “Moldy cheese.”

Solo rolled his eyes.  “It’s bleu cheese.  It’s supposed to be moldy.”

“Ah . . . sorry.  I never saw bleu cheese that looked like it needed a shave before.”  Duo smirked.

Solo blinked and looked into the fridge at the cheese that Duo was referring to.  “Um . . . you’re right.  That is moldy.  I don’t
want you to be put out though, Kid.  You’re a guest here.”

“It’s no problem, really.  I have to go into town anyway.”  Duo shrugged again, closing the door of the fridge.

Solo wondered about the soft tone that Duo was using.  “Why?  Is something wrong?”

Duo shook his head.  “Nothing I can’t handle.”  There was a pause there, as if Duo was adding something mentally to that
comment.  “I just need to check up on some stuff I left behind when I bailed from the old hangouts, just before I went to
Earth.  A few items I think I’ll need.  I was thinking of going out tonight and visiting a few of my old . . . haunts.”

Solo frowned at that.  Duo didn’t look like he was up to going out . . . he still looked beat from last night’s bash.  “Kid . . . you’
re upset.  Maybe you shouldn’t go out tonight.  From what Quatre said . . .”

Duo suddenly spun on him, pure fury burning in his eyes.  “Who the Hell died and made YOU the boss of me?  I’m not a little
kid anymore, dammit!  I DON’T need you AND Quatre trying to mother hen me to death!  You don’t know shit about my life
after the plague!  So don’t presume to tell me what I need or what I should and shouldn’t do!”

Solo watched with his mouth open and eyes wide as Duo stormed out of the apartment.  He honestly didn’t know what he had
said to make him so angry.  “Damn, Kid!  Who did this to you?”  He asked to the silent, empty apartment.


*****


Duo took a deep breath when he got outside the apartment building.  He leaned back against one of the walls, raking his hand
through his unkempt hair.  ‘Shit!’  He hadn’t wanted to snap at Solo . . . but it was either that or start bawling like a baby, and
he did NOT want Solo’s pity.  He had NEVER wanted Solo to pity him . . . not even when he had been a half-starved, nearly
frozen, and severely dehydrated little waif who couldn’t even stand on his own.

“Shit.  I messed that up big time.”  Duo sighed to himself, closing his eyes and taking a breath.  “I’ll just go out like I planned
and come back after Solo goes to work.”

He sighed again, pushing himself away from the wall.  Sure he was still dressed in the clothes he had worn last night, and
smelled horrible, but it was good enough to do what he needed to do.  He had left some clothes and stuff in a storage locker not
too far away, close to where Professor G’s lab had once been.  When he’d been training, he had often gone out to clubs and
partied, to relieve the stress that G put on him . . . all those tests . . . he had needed something else to do, an escape from the
madness that had threatened to collapse around him.

It looked as if he needed that stuff again, all of it.  He couldn’t stand the pain in his own heart, had to get some fun in his life.  
Even if he never let Solo in on his nightly habits, he just had to do something to kill the ache in his soul, to deaden the pain left
behind by Heero’s rejection . . . he just had to.

Pushing away from the wall, Duo raked his hands through his hair, trying to arrange it somewhat.  He walked along the street,
heading quickly and with purpose to his destination.  Tonight he would go out, and he’d get rid of the hurt . . . if only for a few
hours.



To Be Continued . . .