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

Notes:  Solo sets off looking for Duo when his friend storms out.  Trowa gets a surprise late-night visitor.



Coming Home



Part Seven



Solo yawned as he opened the door to his apartment.  It had been a long day and he was looking forward to just spending time
with Duo.  His old friend had been staying here for just over a month now and Solo was still eager to spend as much time with
him as possible.  Granted, the Kid still went out from time to time, but he stayed home if Solo expressed an interest in just
hanging out watching vids and eating take-out.  Tonight, Solo wanted to try a little place that specialized in Polish foods.  He
would have to go pick the food up, but he thought he'd bring Duo along with him and make a date of it.  He'd be lying if he said
he didn't find his old friend attractive.

Solo stepped in and frowned at the abrupt noises coming from Duo's room.  "Duo?  You okay, Kid?"  He blinked as Duo came
stalking out of his room toward the front door, looking like sex-on-legs.  "Hey!  What's the rush?  I thought we could ..."

"Not tonight, Solo.  Maybe tomorrow.  But I have to go out tonight."  There was a tenseness in Duo's voice that hadn't been
there for a while.  Duo was out the door before Solo could respond.

With a frown, Solo walked into Duo's room.  He knew that his old friend would probably get upset when he found out that Solo
had been snooping, but Solo had to find out what had upset Duo so much.  There had to be something.  

He looked around the disaster area that was the Kid's room.  Clothes, bed covers, and other things were strewn about the room
as if Duo had thrown everything in the room that wouldn't break.  Solo sighed as he turned to leave.  He wouldn't be able to find
anything in the room of any value as a clue.  The whole room was a clue, attesting to the fact that Duo was angry and hurt
about something.  The Kid just wasn't that messy a person.

As he was passing through the doorway, he caught sight of a bit of white paper crumpled up in the corner of the room.  He
knelt down and picked it up.  He carefully smoothed it out and read the cover.  It was an invitation of some kind, but from
who?  Then he opened the card and saw a picture of the Vice Foreign Minister with a very handsome, if solemn-looking young
man.  He read the names and swore out loud.  The Kid had mentioned this Heero person, and Solo wanted to reach out and
strangle the heartless bastard for hurting his friend like he had.  A wedding invitation, Solo shook his head.  No wonder the Kid
was as upset as he was, if Heero had meant to Duo as much as Solo gathered he did.

Without a second thought, Solo got up and rushed out of the apartment.  He had to find Duo and stop him from doing anything
stupid.  Right now, he needed comfort and gentleness, not a night out drinking and partying.



*****



Trowa frowned as he turned off the all-news network.  Relena Peacecraft had been appearing in public quite a bit lately.  And
Heero was always with her, standing in the sidelines.  As her fiancé, that was natural enough.  But something always seemed
off.  Trowa didn't have any evidence, or anything to back up his feelings, but there was just something wrong with their
relationship.  Whenever they stood together, Heero looked like he was posing for an old picture.  The kind where the people had
to sit with their clothes fastened to boards to keep their backs perfectly straight.  Stiff and fake.  Heero had good posture, but
the way he stood in those pictures was just unnatural.  And the one picture of him and Relena kissing looked as if Heero had
been kissing a snake.  Of course these were Trowa's own interpretations.  The press just loved every moment of them together,
going on and on about their upcoming nuptials.  Something was just not right and Trowa couldn't convince himself otherwise.

Just that morning he'd received the wedding invitation.  Trowa would go.  He might not know what was wrong with this whole
mess, but he wouldn't miss his friend's wedding just because of an unsubstantiated feeling.

He absently scratched his stomach as he got up from his sofa and went into the kitchen to fix some warm milk.  He'd been
having trouble sleeping lately, and warm milk helped a great deal.  As he took out a pot and went to get the milk from his fridge,
he puzzled over Heero's proposal.

Heero had disliked Relena as a person, but admired her ideals.  Trowa couldn't begin to understand why Heero had proposed to
Relena in the first place.  And there was the way he HAD proposed.  The speech he had said had been full of lovely words, but
no true emotion.  It had been delivered as if being spoken by a drone.  Trowa had meant to ask Heero that night, but the former
pilot of Wing had seemed to be glued to Relena's side for the remainder of the party.

Trowa was abruptly pulled from his musing at the sound of his doorbell chiming.  With a frown, he set the carton of milk on
the counter.  He supposed his drink would just have to wait until after he found out who was visiting him in the middle of the
night.  He doubted a burglar would bother knocking.  However, he was surprised when he opened his door to find Heero
standing on his welcome mat.

"Heero?"

Heero blinked, his eyes drifting down along Trowa's body, only to stop at his midsection and focus there.  "You're pregnant," he
said with a blunt calmness.

Trowa arched an eyebrow at that very obvious assessment.  He looked down at himself, silently cursing his decision to go
without a shirt that night.  But it had been a warm night and feeling the cool sheets against his skin was much more
comfortable.  At four months pregnant, there was already a visible bulge forming in his belly.  He was naturally slim, so losing
his muscle definition was a bit of an annoyance, but it was unavoidable considering his condition.

He'd been a test subject before the wars.  He'd needed the money and they'd paid well enough for his help.  As a result, his
genetic makeup had been altered, as well as his body.  It had taken him several months to get used to the new changes,
especially the fact that he was forced to endure a menstrual cycle.  From his understanding though, it wasn't as lengthy as a
woman's, but the cramps he suffered bordered on sheer torture.

The procedure wasn't so experimental anymore, though not many men went through with all of it.  There was an easier way for
men to conceive and grow a child within them, and it didn't take several invasive surgeries to achieve it.  It required only the
implantation of a womb and fertilized embryos.  Those men would also be spared the actual birthing process, as the only way to
remove their children would be through c-section.  Trowa on the other hand, wasn't as lucky as those men.  The very thought
of going to Lamaze class had him cringing.  The looming birth ahead of him left him filled with abject horror.  He was going to
go with a c-section himself.  Nowhere was it written in stone that he would be giving birth naturally just because he physically
could.

He looked back to Heero and shook his head.  Heero was still staring blankly at his stomach.  "You came here at ..." he glanced
around to the clock on the wall.  "At three in the morning to tell me that?  I've honestly known about it for a few months now."

Heero broke his attention away from Trowa's stomach and looked at the ground.  His arms wound around himself, a nervous
habit Trowa had never before seen in the usually calm youth.

He frowned, worrying for his friend.  "Not that I'm complaining, but why are you here?  Heero?"

Heero shook his head, flicking his eyes up for barely an instant before they were dragged to the floor again.  "I ... please ... can
I stay the night?  Please?"  He looked uneasy, a faint tremble beginning to shake his wiry frame.  "Please.  I'll be gone in the
morning, but there's nowhere else."

Trowa stepped aside to admit Heero into his home, his worry only growing as the seconds ticked by.  "Of course you can stay.  
And you don't have to leave tomorrow.  You can stay as long as you want."  He really wanted to ask why Heero looked as if he
were a hunted man, but guessed that those questions could wait until morning.  At the very least, Heero should be calmer when
Trowa confronted him.

"Come in," he urged, reaching out to grasp his friend's elbow.  He didn't miss the way Heero flinched away from the contact,
but decided not to say anything about it either.  "Why don't you take a shower while I get you something to wear?"

Heero nodded, wordlessly moving into the apartment.  Trowa closed and locked the door behind him and showed Heero to the
bathroom.

"There are towels in the linen closet.  I'll be right back with some clothes."

Heero disappeared into the bathroom without saying a word.  Trowa stood there outside the closed door, simply staring at it.  
From inside he heard the rustle of clothing, then the inevitable sound of his shower being turned on.

He broke away from his worried musings then.  Quickly, he went to his kitchen and put away his milk, not wanting it to spoil.  
Then he went to his bedroom and rummaged around until he found a loose pair of pajama bottoms he'd bought for the
upcoming months when his current clothing began to grow too snug.  He was already having that problem with his jeans and
had been forced to switch to loser pants.  There was a lack of quality men's maternity-wear.  This pair would be a bit long on
Heero, but the waist was about right.  He hadn't bought much, and considering his weight gain, he'd likely have to purchase
more clothes soon.

He sighed and headed back to the bathroom.  Listening as he approached the door, he didn't hear the shower running, so he
assumed Heero to be finished.  "Heero?" he called, knocking lightly.  When there was no answer, he reached for the doorknob
and turned it, gently pushing the door open.  "I'm coming in."

He stopped dead in his tracks only a moment later.

Heero was finished with his shower, his damp body and dripping hair testifying to that fact.  But he was just standing there, not
making a move to dry himself, the towel still folded where he had obviously left it on the counter.  The Japanese youth was
simply standing there, staring into the mirror above the sink as if it held some monumental revelation that Trowa couldn't see.  
But it wasn't this odd behavior that had Trowa concerned.  No, it was the sight of the bruises riddling his friend's body that
caused his worry.

His face, alone, was unscathed by marks.  Dark purple contusions littered his abdomen.  Cuts of varying degrees were scattered
across his torso and limbs.  A particularly deep wound was found on his shoulder.  It looked as if something had been driven
straight through and out the other side.  Vibrant red lashes were painted across his back in a sickening crisscross pattern.  
Faintly, a few trickles of blood seeped from the fresh-looking marks on his back.

When Heero turned to face him, Trowa found his eyes drawn to the young man's middle, his brain quickly deciphering the
meaning of the scars that he saw.  It wasn't difficult.  Trowa had those same scars on his own body, a faint line low on his
body where the scientist who had paid him had made his first crucial incision.

"Oh, God," Trowa whispered, reaching out a hand to steady himself as he took in every wound and injury marring his friend's
body.  Heero's scar was too new, and judging by the condition of his body, he didn't think it was something that Heero had
consented to.

Trowa had made his own decisions.  Heero had apparently not.  "W-Who did this to you?" he risked asking, not sure if Heero
would answer.

Heero dropped his eyes, his body shivering faintly.  "Does this make me a freak?" he asked softly, his fingers grazing the
surgical scar.

Trowa rushed across the room.  Taking Heero's hand in his own, he shook his head.  "No.  No, it doesn't."  He brought Heero's
hand to his own belly then lower below the rim of his pants until Heero's eyes flickered up to his face at the feel of the identical
scar on Trowa's body.

He let go of Heero's hand, allowing the other man to step back.  He moved slowly as he reached over and grabbed the forgotten
towel, not knowing how Heero would react to anything.  Unfolding it with a shake, Trowa gently wrapped the large towel
around Heero's shoulders and ran his hands along the other's arms.

"You'll get sick if you stand around dripping wet," Trowa commented, flipping a portion of the towel up and briskly rubbing his
hair.  "Are you hungry?  I can make something if you want."  He hadn't missed how eerily thin Heero's body was.  Did his
friend never eat?

Heero shook his head.  "I was told I was a freak.  I was told that you and the others would hate me if you found out."  He
blinked up at Trowa, then down at his stomach again.  "I don't understand.  If you have the same organs implanted in your
body, how could you hate me?"  His brow furrowed, his fingertips lightly touching Trowa's stomach.

Trowa slid the towel down around Heero's waist.  He'd taken care of Heero before when the young pilot had self-destructed his
Gundam, so he wasn't seeing anything he hadn't seen before as he helped to dry him off.  "I don't hate you," he answered,
dropping to his knees to rub the soft cloth over Heero's legs.  He faltered as his hand came up between Heero's thighs and the
youth winced in pain.  If this was new for him, then the implanted vaginal cavity located just behind his testicles was
undoubtedly still a sore area for him.  "Was this something you wanted done?"  He moved more gently.

"No.  I don't know," Heero responded, confusion evident in his voice.  "I am merely a soldier.  It is my duty to obey the orders
of my controller."

"J is dead, Heero."  He dropped the towel and helped Heero into the pajama pants.  "Who are you taking orders from?"  The
frightened look that entered Heero's eyes worried Trowa.  He held up his hand, shaking his head.  "No, you don't have to
answer me.  Come on, I'll show you to the guest room."

Heero allowed him to take hold of his wrist and followed obediently as the taller youth escorted him from the room.  His
behavior disturbed Trowa, but Heero's words brought him to a halt.  "J is not dead."

Trowa spun to face his friend in the hallway.  "What?  But ..."

Heero's head was bowed.  "J is not dead.  He ordered me to follow the directions of my new controller.  He performed the
operations to allow me to conceive, at my controller's request."  He looked up at Trowa, his eyes full of misery.  "I must obey."

A strange thought came to Trowa's mind then.  It was ridiculous.  It just couldn't be true.  But it came to his mind anyway,
teasing and taunting him until he finally voiced the insane theory.  "It's Relena, isn't it?"

Heero's eyes never wavered as he spoke.  "I have been ordered not to reveal the name of my controller."

"But SHE didn't order you to deny it if I guessed, did she?"  Trowa hoped his weak ploy would work.  He just needed some
confirmation of the truth.

Heero furrowed his brow.  Then for a brief flicker, a light of hope appeared in the sorrowful blue orbs.  "I have been ordered
not to reveal the name of my controller.  She ... she would be displeased with me and it would incite a punishment."

Trowa's heart lurched.  In his own way, Heero had confirmed what Trowa had been dreading.  He hadn't voiced her name, but
it was enough that he had let slip what he had.

"I should take you to a doctor," Trowa said, his gaze roving over Heero's body again, taking stock of the injuries.

"Nothing is life threatening."  Heero shook his head.  "Please show me to a bed.  I am weary and would like to rest."

Taking hold of Heero's wrist again, Trowa resumed the trek to the guest bedroom.  He flicked on the light as he entered the
room and let go of Heero as he approached the bed.  He turned down the blankets, trying to find a reason to stay.  Heero
shouldn't be left alone, but he wouldn't force his presence on the other man.

"Don't leave in the morning," Trowa said, facing his friend again.  "At least, not until you've had a good breakfast.  Please?"

Heero gave a hesitant nod.  He walked to the bed and sat, staring down at his hands as he clasped them together over his lap.

There was nothing else left for Trowa to do. He had no reason to stay. Still, he fidgeted, not wanting to leave Heero alone,
worrying for the welfare of his friend. With a sigh, he turned and headed for the door, hoping that Heero wouldn't leave before
he woke up the next morning.

"Please," came the soft voice behind him, frail and unsure.

Trowa turned. "Do you need something?"

Heero was sitting there, his hands tightly clasped together. His head was bowed again, looking more fragile than Trowa had ever
seen him before. When he spoke again, his voice was barely loud enough to hear.

"C-Could you stay? Please?"

Trowa didn't bother to answer with words. He nodded and closed the bedroom door. Turning off the light, he went to the bed,
only able to see due to the street lamp outside pouring light through one of the windows.

Heero was already in bed when Trowa got to it. He was lying stiffly on one side, staring straight up at the ceiling. Trowa sat,
then lay down, dragging the blankets up with him from the end of the bed as he reclined.

In the darkness, Heero spoke again. "Trowa? Can I ... M-May I touch ... it?"

Trowa turned, giving Heero a quizzical look. He knew what the man was referring to, but it was the last thing he'd thought he'd
ever hear from him. From his experience with women and a random few pregnant men he had met, he knew there was some
strange fascination with touching their enlarged stomachs and he knew that he'd have to get used to it eventually. But he hadn't
been expecting it, least of all from Heero.

He pushed himself up a little so that his back was reclined against the headboard. "Sure, go ahead. You won't feel much though.
It's too early for there to be any kicking." He pushed the blankets down to his hips, leaving his stomach exposed.

Heero shifted over, his body sliding up along Trowa's side and pressing close. He raised his hand, letting it hover shakily over
Trowa's stomach. Hesitantly, he slowly lowered it until his fingers softly caressed Trowa's skin.

Trowa chuckled, pressing his hand over Heero's. "You don't have to be so cautious. I won't break that easily." He took his hand
away.

"I don't want to harm you," Hero replied, his palm pressing more firmly. It felt quite nice actually. He didn't think he'd like
having someone else's hands groping his stomach as if checking to see if he was a ripe melon or something.

"Don't worry. I'd stop you if it began to hurt."

Heero nodded mutely. His attention was clearly focused on Trowa's belly.

Trowa closed his eyes, content to enjoy the feel of Heero's fingers stroking his skin. He hadn't been sleeping well lately, so it
was easy to doze off under the gentle ministrations of Heero's hand. He was vaguely aware of Heero's pushing the blankets
down further, his warm fingers brushing over the healed surgical scar, but he thought nothing of it. It wasn't until that hand
slipped lower still and a pair of moist lips pressed against the side of his neck that he returned to reality.

Trowa's eyes snapped open as Heero's hand curled firmly around his limp member and gave it a teasing squeeze before drawing
down along the length. "Heero ... what?" He gasped, his words silenced by Heero's hot lips claiming his mouth.

He bucked his hips up, the blood in his body quickly rushing southward to fill his burgeoning arousal. He jerked back, grabbing
Heero's shoulders and pushing him away, his breath coming out in a pant as his eyes focused on kiss-bruised lips.

"What are you doing?" Trowa asked, tearing his focus away from that tempting mouth. He groaned as Heero's fingers tightened
around his shaft, never ceasing to caress and fondle him.

Heero frowned, a confused expression crossing his features. "I am thanking you for your kindness." His fingers dipped lower,
cupping his balls and massaging them lightly with his palm.

Trowa closed his eyes, a shudder coursing through his body at the feel of those calloused fingers. It had been quite a while
since anyone had touched him. Months in fact, the very night that he had been given the gift of the life that grew within him.
But it wasn't right that Heero was doing this. Even though his body ached for it to continue, Trowa gently grasped Heero's wrist
and pulled it away from his body.

"Stop, please," he whispered, licking suddenly dry lips.

"Did I do something wrong? Would you rather I use my mouth? I have been forbidden to engage in intercourse, but I assure
you that my oral skills are adequate."

Trowa swallowed. "W-Why do you think you have to thank me like that?"

Heero's brow furrowed in confusion again. "My Controller orders that all acts of kindness toward me are to be rewarded with
pleasure. She and her assistant are not often kind, but I have been taught how I am expected to show my gratitude."

His arousal was quick to abate at the cold and monotonous tone Heero used to describe what was expected of him. Trowa
swallowed against a feeling of nausea and shook his head. "You don't have to show your gratitude to me."

Heero blinked. "B-But I don't know what else I can offer you. I don't have anything.  I don't understand what you want from
me."

"I don't want anything from you.  I'm your friend, Heero."

He looked confused by that.  "Friends.  I don't remember having friends before.  Are Quatre and Wufei my friends too?"

"And Duo," Trowa nodded.

"No.  Duo's not my friend.  He hates me."

Now Trowa was confused.  "How could you possibly think that?  Whatever happened, I'm sure Duo would forgive you.  Duo
couldn't possibly-"

"He came up to me at the party and told me he loved me and I walked away from him.  He said he loved me and I turned around
and announced my engagement to Relena."   He looked up at Trowa with tears streaking his cheeks. "How can you forgive the
person who broke your heart?"

The pregnant brunette honestly didn't know how to respond. All he could think of was to ask an honest question. "Why did you
push him away?" It was obvious that this was causing Heero a great deal of distress.

Heero's answer was short and quiet, but it said volumes. "Orders."

Trowa stroked Heero's hair. "Perhaps if you explained to him."

Heero shook his head. "No, he'd be better off without something like me ruining his life."

Trowa gently shook Heero. "Now you listen. I don't know Duo as well as you do, but I do know that he's not free with his
deeper feelings. His friendship is a hard thing to earn.  I can only guess that earning his love would be harder. I doubt that you
could do anything to lose that. He's probably hurting, but if you explain it to him, you're not the one he's going to be mad at."

A brief flicker of light entered Heero's eyes. But he remained silent. He pressed his face into Trowa's shoulder, his arm shaking
a good deal as he draped it lightly across Trowa's frame.

Trowa let out a soft sigh, allowing the topic to drift away. Heero was obviously too tired to carry on like this anymore. He
wrapped his fingers around Heero's wrist, pushing it down more firmly. The muscles tightened beneath his touch.

"It's okay, Heero. We don't have to talk anymore. Just get some rest."

"Affirmative."

Trowa reached over and switched off the light.  He lay quietly, holding Heero gently in his arms.  It took awhile, but slowly the
Japanese youth began to slip off to sleep.  His breathing grew soft and his tense muscles went slack.

Only when he was certain that Heero was asleep did Trowa allow himself to fully relax and drift off as well.  He could only
hope that Heero would still be there in the morning.



*****



Solo entered the club with a sense of urgency. He saw signs of his young friend traveling down a path of self-destruction, and
he really wanted to stop Duo from making a horrible mistake that could cost his life. He scanned the bar and felt relief when he
didn't see who he was looking for. At least Duo wasn't drowning his sorrows with alcohol. But there were limits to what
emotional abuse the human heart could take.

There out on the dance floor, with his slender arms twined around the neck of another man, was Duo, looking as if he were
promising anything and everything to his current partner. Solo had come to grips with what he felt for the child Duo had been
and the man that Duo was becoming and if anyone should be caressing that graceful figure, it should be him.

With that thought in mind, Solo made his way through the dancers that were mimicking activities that people did while
undressed and in the privacy of their own bedrooms. When he found himself behind the pair he was seeking, he tapped the
stranger on the shoulder. "If I may cut in?"

Expressive eyes widened in shock and Duo opened his mouth, but the brute with him growled. "Back off, twerp! This pretty
piece of ass is with me."

He fought the urge to roll his eyes. Duo was much more than a pretty piece of ass ... although he was that, too. "Not to seem
rude, but I was talking to my friend."

With a smile, Duo pushed away from the jerk. "I can speak for myself, and don't call me a piece of ass.  I'll kick yours if you
do. Don't think I can't.  A lot of idiots out there can't have kids now because they messed with me." He faced Solo squarely and
tilted his head as if to gage his friend's mood. "You're mad."  The spurned dance partner wandered off, his departure ignored by
the two young men.

Letting out a breath that contained a brief laugh, Solo shook his head. "No, just relieved to find you in one piece. Join me in a
booth? I'll get you something to drink and we'll chat." He walked to the booths, which were far enough from the speakers to
allow conversation, and was pleased that Duo walked with him. "What would you like?"

Duo gave a little half-smile. "Actually, I really wasn't in the mood to get plastered again. Forgetting for about twenty minutes
really isn't worth feeling like shit for all of the next day, so a water will be good. I had a couple of drinks a while ago."

He ordered the water for Duo and a cola for himself as they were passing by the bar.  He looked around for an empty booth,
but didn't see one.  Not wanting to lose his nerve, he decided to get it over with right there at the bar and turned the brunette to
face him.

"Duo, don't do this to yourself. You're good if you survived the war, but there are people out there who might be better at
fighting than you and corner you someplace you really don't want to be. You're hurting and that's understandable considering
you were rejected by someone you were in love with.  But there are people out there who would love to be in his shoes if you'd
just give them a chance." He reached over and gently took Duo's hand and met his eyes so he would see the sincerity. "A person
like me. I've always cared about you, and I'd be stupid to ignore this chance fate has thrown my way." He was glad that Duo
didn't yank his hand away and caressed those slender, calloused fingers with his thumb. "So, what do you say? Do you want to
give us a chance?"

Duo was silent for so long that Solo feared what the other man's answer would be. However, Duo surprised him not with his
words, but with his actions.

He grabbed a hold of Solo by the shoulders, looking grim. And not a moment later he launched himself from the ground and
wrapped his slim legs around Solo's waist. Solo had to quickly adjust his footing to avoid falling on his ass as he threw his arms
around Duo's body to keep him aloft. Before he could take a breath to talk, his voice was stolen from him as Duo's lips sealed
against his own.

When they parted, both were breathing heavily. "Should I take that as a yes?"

Duo grinned, his eyes sparkling with happiness. "Absolutely."

To the whoops and hollers of the amused crowd, Solo carried his fiery little wildcat out of the club and back home. Now that
he had Duo back in his life, he wasn't about to waste a moment of their precious time together.



To Be Continued ...