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

Notes:  Heero does a favor for Duo and leaves the kid to look after his ill lover.  The boy does a few chores and does his best
to take care of Duo.  The boy gets a name.



Valentine Blues



Part Six


Heero was watching the child sleep again.  He had started a sketch not too long ago, the child was a wonderful inspiration to
him.  Since he knew that the kid wouldn’t be asleep forever though, Heero had also taken a photograph to spark his memory
when he decided to begin his work again.

Right now though, he was more interested in watching the child before him, pondering over various thoughts.  The poor boy
had obviously been exhausted.  Heero didn’t have to wonder if Duo had ever looked so tired and hungry . . . he knew that Duo
had.  He’d seen it himself first-hand only about a month ago.

He looked up at a sound that came from the bedroom.  The sounds were not really good ones . . . it sounded as if Duo was
coughing badly.  Heero got up and walked to the bedroom, pausing only to pick up the cough medicine.  He pushed the door
open and frowned when he saw that Duo was trying to get to his feet.

“What are you doing?”  Heero asked, crossing his arms over his chest.

Duo wheezed as he collapsed to the bed with a groan.  “I almost forgot.  There’s a little girl at the hospital I have to visit.  I
promised her!”

Heero smiled in spite of himself at Duo’s kind heart.  “You stay in bed.  I’ll go later after the boy has awakened and done some
chores.  Okay?”

Duo didn’t look too happy, but he relented.  He was probably too tired to put up a real argument about it.  “Thanks.  Be sure
you explain things to her.  Even though she’s a kid, she’s been through enough heartache.”  Duo sighed.  “Her mother just put
her up for adoption.  I don’t want her to think I’ve abandoned her too.”

Heero gently helped Duo to lie down in a comfortable position and covered him with the warm blankets again.  “I’m sure she’ll
understand . . . I’ll explain the situation . . . I’ll stay with her.  You just take care of yourself.  Okay, Duo?”

Duo smiled at Heero’s words.  “Love you.”

Heero tenderly kissed Duo on his fevered forehead.  “I love you, too.”  He said, brushing Duo’s bangs to the side as he smiled
a smile reserved only for Duo.  “I am so lucky to have you in my life.  I don’t know what I’d do if you left me.”

Duo smiled back.  “Well, we’ll never find out, because only death will ever be able to take me away from you . . . and I’m not
gonna die any time soon.”

Heero felt a lump forming in his throat as he took hold of Duo’s hand and raised it.  He kissed his lover’s wrist where the scar
was still fresh and pink.  “Promise me again, Duo.”  Heero whispered, his voice coming out shaky.  Just thinking of Duo
leaving him left him scared.  “Please?”  He knew that Duo would understand that Heero was not questioning the promise itself .
. . but Heero HAD been worried that Duo was leaving him in one way.  Seeing Duo like that . . . his eyes so blank . . . it had
hurt Heero deeply.

“Oh, Heero . . .”  Duo sighed, reaching up and caressing Heero’s cheek gently.  “I swear, by all that I hold dear, that I will not
try to kill myself ever again.  You’re stuck with me until we’re old and gray and eating strained peas for dinner.”  Duo’s voice
was so full of love that even though the words were joking, the tone told Heero that Duo meant each and every word.

“Thank you.  And I swear to you, that even death itself will not take me from you.”  Heero pressed another kiss to Duo’s
head.  “Now, go to sleep and get better.”

Duo nodded, smiling up at Heero.  Heero snugly tucked the blankets in around Duo and brushed the back of his hand against
Duo’s cheek in an affectionate manner as Duo’s eyes fell closed.  He stayed there for a while longer, waiting until his lover was
peacefully slumbering.

Once he was certain that Duo was asleep, Heero walked out of the room to do a few things.  He had to leave some things for
the boy to do, but that didn’t mean that he wasn’t going to do any of the chores himself.  He went into the bathroom and
started to clean the slight mess that he and the boy had made earlier.

“Why didn’t you wake me?  I coulda done this for ya.”

Heero turned, only to see the boy standing in the doorway, rubbing his eyes sleepily.  Heero had to smile at the sight.  “It
seemed cruel to wake you.  However . . . if you wish to clean the bathroom, then feel free to do so.  I only have a few
conditions.”  He took out a rag and sprayed some cleaner on it.

The child blinked at him with a slight frown on his face.  “What conditions?”

Heero knelt to look the boy in the eyes.  “Do not climb on anything so you can reach a higher place.  I’ll get a step stool out so
you can reach the sink.  I also want you to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after cleaning.  The cleaner
I use is all natural . . . mostly made from oranges, but you would still get sick if you were to swallow any, and I don’t want
you to get sick.  Do you understand?”

The boy nodded solemnly.  “I did see some commercials for this stuff . . . they gave me an idea about how to use it.  What do
you want me to do with the rag when I’m done?”

Heero stood up.  “Once you finish wiping the tub out, leave it in the sink.  Then you may go back to your nap or watch TV . . .
amuse yourself in some way.  If you need anything, go to Duo.  He won’t be able to get out of bed, but he WILL be able to
call me should something happen.  I have to go to the hospital for a little while.  I promised Duo that I’d look in on a little girl
there for him.  He volunteers there in his free time and apparently got acquainted with a child.  Will you be all right for a few
hours?”

The boy smiled and took the rag.  “Yep!  Just clean out the tub, put the rag in the sink, and wash my hands after.  I can do
that.”

“Good.”  Heero nodded.  Then he thought for a moment, pondering over what the child would do after finishing this chore.  
Sure he had given him some options, but he wanted to make sure there was something to occupy his time.  “Do you like to
draw?”  Heero asked.

“I guess . . . I found some chalk once and got to draw a little on the cement . . . but the rain washed it all away.”  The boy
replied, shrugging his little shoulders.

“Well, if you do want to draw when you’re finished in here, there’s a room next to the bedroom.  I use it as my studio.  You’ll
find paints and pencils . . . chalks . . . various other supplies.  Use what you want and don’t worry about cleaning the brushes,
I can do that when I get home.  I usually don’t like it when other people use my equipment, but I think it’s best that you have
something to do with your time.”  He smiled a little, watching as a shimmer of light entered the child’s eyes . . . he looked
happy.  “I only have one request.”

“What’s that?”  The boy asked, looking up at Heero curiously.

“If you do use my supplies, only use blank sheets of paper . . . nothing with an image already on it.  I have several works in
progress.”

The boy nodded.  “Don’t worry.  I won’t touch ‘em.”

“Thank you.”  Heero smirked.  “When I get back, I’ll fix some dinner.”

“Great!  I’ll see you later, Mr. Heero.”  The boy said, then turned and all but hopped over to the bathtub.  He hummed
pleasantly as he used the rag to scrub away the dirt, a smile on his face the entire time.  Heero had to wonder if it was just the
notion of dinner that made him so happy . . . or if there was more to it than that.  Whatever it was truly didn’t matter though.  
Heero was simply pleased to see that the boy was happy.

Heero had a sudden flash of thought.  He went and grabbed the nearest piece of paper and a pen, scrawling down the number
to his cell phone.  He left it in an easily located area . . . next to the phone . . . then returned to the bathroom.

“One last thing . . .”  He said, waiting until the boy turned to look at him.  “If there is an emergency, you can call me.  I left the
number to my cell phone next to the phone in the bedroom.”

“Okay.”  The boy said, nodding his head.

With a smile affixed on his own face, Heero went to fetch his coat and car keys, as well as his cell phone so that the boy could
call him should anything happen.  He retrieved a step stool from one of the closets and quietly set it in the bathroom, so that the
boy would be able to reach the sink when he needed to.  Then he left the bathroom again.

Briefly, he stopped to look in on Duo again, brushing his hand along Duo’s feverish forehead before he strolled from the room.  
He hoped that it wasn’t a mistake to leave his beloved . . . he didn’t want anything to happen to him.


*****


The nameless child sighed as he finished cleaning the bathtub.  He’d never cleaned anything before, but it looked okay to him.  
He shrugged, deciding that it at least looked better than it had when he’d started scrubbing.

Done with his chore, the boy went to the sink and dropped the rag in, being sure that it didn’t block the drain.  He smiled in
appreciation, glad that Mr. Heero had left the stool for him to stand on.  He wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise.  He
turned on the water and grabbed the soap, lathering up his hands real good.  He rubbed them together, making sure not to
forget between his fingers as he cleaned himself off.  Then he rinsed his hands off, watching as the suds were washed away
down the drain.

He hopped down off the stool after turning off the water, then dried his hands off on the hand towel that was hanging from the
rack nearby.  With a smile on his face, he strolled out of the bathroom.

His smiled faded quickly though.  He had a fleeting worry and crept to the bedroom.  He was worried about Mr. Duo.  These
people were nice, the first nice people he had met since his mother . . . he shook his head, not wanting to think about her.  If
he thought about her, he’d just miss her.

Instead, he continued to dwell in his worry of Mr. Duo.  If something bad happened to him, would Mr. Heero make him leave?  
He didn’t want that.  He found that he liked having a roof over his head . . . he liked being warm and secure, not worrying
about the wind blowing away his shelter or that the snow would be too heavy and collapse the top of his beaten old cardboard
box in.

He didn’t like being cold.  It hurt sometimes.  And here he had gotten his first real meal . . . a whole sandwich all to himself.  It
hadn’t been eaten by something else before he found it . . . it hadn’t been cruddy or moldy.  The sandwich given to him had
been fresh and good, the bread wasn’t stale.  It had been delicious.  He hadn’t known that anything could taste so good.

Then there was this feeling of cleanliness to consider.  It felt good not having a layer of grime covering his body.  His skin felt
tingly all over and he smelled different . . . smelled kinda nice.  But he decided that he liked this too.  Being clean was nice . . .
so was having clothes that didn’t make him itch all the time.  He smiled to himself, nodding his head.  He liked it here . . .
maybe he should stay awhile.  He hoped that he could.

His smile faded though as he stepped into Mr. Duo’s bedroom.  He quietly padded over to the bed, biting his lip as he observed
the sleeping young man.  Timidly, he reached out, setting his small hand over Mr. Duo’s forehead.  Wow, he felt so warm . . .
must be what a fever feels like, he thought.  ‘He needs to be cooled off, I bet.’  He thought, then looked around.

He found a damp cloth sitting on a tray on the bedside table.  Maybe this was what Mr. Heero used to help fight off the fever.  
He picked up the cloth, finding that it was somewhat dry.  Nodding his head, the boy ran back to the bathroom, using the sink
to soak the cloth in water again.  He rung it out a couple times, making sure that it didn’t drip anymore, before he hurried back
to the bedroom.

Folding the soft cloth, he carefully set it over Mr. Duo’s forehead, arranging it so that it wouldn’t cover his eyes.  Mr. Duo
mumbled something in his sleep, his eyes fluttering for a moment . . . but he didn’t awaken.  The boy then covered Mr. Duo
more thoroughly with the blankets, tucking them in around him as best as he could.

Satisfied that Mr. Duo would be okay, the boy turned and left the room.  He wandered around the house for a while, just to
look around and get to know the place better.  He watched television for a bit, got himself a drink of milk from the fridge in the
kitchen . . . taking the step stool from the bathroom and using it so that he could reach the glasses in the cabinet.  He was very
careful as he poured the drink, even more so as he drank it.  He didn’t want to spill anything or drop the glass.  Surely he
would get into trouble for that.

When he got bored with watching TV, he went into the studio that Mr. Heero had mentioned.  He glanced at the paintings
around the room, the ones on the floor that leaned against the walls and the few that were hanging on the walls . . . most of
them had images of Mr. Duo in them.  The boy figured that Mr. Heero loved Mr. Duo very much to paint images of him so
often.

The child was very careful not to touch anything.  A lot of those paintings were bigger than him . . . and he didn’t want to risk
damaging them.  He was sure Mr. Heero would get mad at him if he messed anything up.

Then the boy found a sketch pad set on an easel in the very center of the room.  He pushed a tall stool closer to the easel,
climbing up onto it when he was close enough.  What he found there on the very first page caused him to stop and stare.

There was a drawing on the pad  . . . a sketching, unfinished, but a drawing nonetheless . . . and it was of him.  Was this what
he really looked like?  He could scarcely believe it.  He had never really taken a look at himself before . . . with the exception of
store windows . . . but he’d never really gotten a good look.

The boy blinked, looking up at the corner of the pad, finding a snapshot of him taped up there.  It was of him . . . when he had
fallen asleep on the sofa in the other room.  Mr. Heero was painting pictures of him?  Did that mean that Mr. Heero liked him?  
He liked Mr. Duo and he painted pictures of him . . . wasn’t it the same?  This confused the boy . . . but he decided that it was
okay for Mr. Heero to paint pictures of him for now.  But if things got weird, he’d have to ask the guy to stop.

As he was flipping through the other pages of the pad, the boy heard the first whimper.  He jerked in his seat, his hand
faltering.  He looked around, his eyes settling on the door leading out of the room.  Fear crept into his heart, making him shiver
fearfully.  There was something wrong with Mr. Duo.

Had he done something wrong?  Had he caused Mr. Duo some pain?  The boy jumped from his seat and ran out of the room,
heading as fast as he could to the bedroom.  He had to help Mr. Duo . . . he didn’t want to get thrown out . . . not when he
was just beginning to like it here.

He stopped dead in his tracks . . . very nearly falling flat on his face . . . as he entered the room.  Mr. Duo was thrashing on the
bed, whimpers of pain and fear coming from his throat.  The damp cloth was lying on the floor, his blankets twisted around his
body.  He was sweating profusely, his breath coming out in harsh pants as he clawed at the bedding beneath him.

The boy ran forward, forgetting his own fears as he climbed up onto the bed.  He firmly grasped Mr. Duo’s shoulders, shaking
him roughly.  “Mr. Duo . . . wake up!”  The boy cried out, fearing for the nice man that had taken him in.  “Please, wake up.”

Mr. Duo’s body jerked beneath the boy’s hands.  The kid sat back, watching as Mr. Duo’s eyes snapped open, a sharp cry
leaving his lips.  Mr. Duo’s eyes were unfocused when he turned his attention on the boy, glassy and distant . . . as if he weren’
t really looking at the boy but at someone else, a remnant of his nightmares perhaps.

Mr. Duo reached up, his hand shaking badly as he set his sweaty palm against the boy’s face.  “Solo . . .”  He whispered in a
slight voice, a faint smile coming to his pale face.  “Solo?  You won’t leave me, will you?  You promised.”

The boy frowned.  He didn’t want to say anything . . . not wanting to upset Mr. Duo.  But he couldn’t just let Mr. Duo think
he was this Solo guy.  “Umm . . . Mr. Duo . . . it’s me.  Are you okay?  You were having a nightmare.”

Mr. Duo blinked, shaking his head a little.  He looked at the boy again, his smile curling a little wider as he sighed.  “Sorry . . . I
guess I didn’t know where I was for a moment.”  He fell back against the pillow, closing his eyes briefly.  “Man, my head is
killing me.”  He raised his hand to his forehead, rubbing his right temple a little.  “I hate being sick.”

“Who . . . who is Solo, Mr. Duo?”  The boy asked, biting his lip . . . he was concerned about Mr. Duo, worried that he might
be sicker than Mr. Heero thought he was.

Mr. Duo’s smile fell quickly.  “Solo . . . Solo was my savior . . . my caretaker for a couple years when I was a kid.  He led the
gang I was in when I lived on the streets . . . he protected us all.”  His eyes grew distant again, a haunted look entering the
violet orbs.  “He got sick . . . very sick . . . and he died.”

Mr. Duo shook his head as he let out a breath, smiling as he looked to the boy again.  “You know, this gives me an idea.”  He
said, ghosting his hand over the boy’s cheek.  “You need a name . . . and I think . . . I think Solo would suit you well . . . you
look so much like he did.”

The boy blushed, ducking his head.  “Y-You want to name me?”  He asked, shyly.  “I ain’t never had a name before.”

“Then I was right to think of this.  You need a name.  And this one isn’t being used by anyone else that I know.  I’m sure my
old friend wouldn’t mind . . . so, from now on, I think I’ll call you, Solo.  Is that all right with you?”

The boy thought about this for a moment.  He didn’t remember ever having a name.  Well . . . his mother had given him a
name . . . but he didn’t remember it anymore.  It had been so long since anyone had called him by it.  As he continued to think,
he decided that he would like a name . . . and this one was good enough.  With a smile on his face, he nodded.  

“Yeah . . . I think I’d like that.”

Mr. Duo smiled widely.  “Welcome home, Solo, my friend.”



To Be Continued . . .