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

Notes:  Heero goes to the Hospital to fulfill the promise he made to Duo.  Solo is left to take care of the ailing Duo.



Valentine Blues



Part Seven


Heero tried not to scowl as he recognized the nurse from the vid phone conversation he had had with her earlier that morning.  
“Good afternoon.  I’m here to fill in for Duo Maxwell.  I’m his roommate.”  He opted not to tell the nurse that he and Duo
were in an intimate relationship.  From her attitude, he figured that she’d give Duo a hard time when he came back to work if
she knew he was a homosexual.

The nurse snorted, rolling her eyes.  “We don’t usually let other people fill in for volunteers.”

Another nurse approached.  “Oh, stuff a sock in it, Theresa!  It is perfectly acceptable for someone to fill in if the volunteer is
incapable of coming in.  But you’re so stuck-up that you think EVERY volunteer is some homeless person trying to get warm.”

Heero interceded.  “Oh . . . so her badmouthing Duo was normal for her?”  He wouldn’t normally get involved, but he didn’t
want ANYONE putting his Duo down.  Duo had been through enough heartache without having to put up with people like the
nurse, Theresa.

The second nurse, a pleasant-faced young woman with sparkling green eyes, turned to him.  Her name tag stated that her name
was Lilia.  “Oh!  You’re Duo’s roommate?  He wouldn’t stop talking about you yesterday.”  From the way that she winked, it
was obvious that she knew there was more to the relationship than Heero was letting on.

Heero flushed.  “Well . . . I came to check up on a little girl.  Duo had promised to visit her, but he got sick this morning . . .
he foolishly went outside without his coat on and caught a cold.  He felt very bad about going back on his word . . . so I came
here to give him some peace of mind.”

“Oh!  Little Laurel?”  Lilia sighed sadly.  “Good . . . she would have been crushed had he not shown up today.  The people
who were going to adopt her were rejected.  It seems . . .”  She paused and pulled Heero aside, then lowered her voice.  “Let’s
just say that they weren’t fit parents and leave it at that.”

Heero nodded, understanding.  “Then I am glad that I came here.  I would not want a child to suffer.”

Lilia smiled at him.  “Come on.  We’ll need you to fill out some paperwork and sign a few papers.  We also have to do a
background check, but that’ll only take a few minutes . . . computers nowadays can do most anything.  I’m sure there will be
no trouble.  Then we’ll get you a temporary name tag and a smock and you can get to work.  Duo helps out in the Children’s
Ward . . . he likes entertaining the kids.”

“I know . . . he loves children very much.”  Heero nodded.  He hoped that he would do a sufficient job filling in for Duo.  
Although he doubted that he would be very entertaining to a bunch of ill children.


*****


“Who’re you?”

Heero smiled at the little girl.  He could see why Duo had promised to visit her.  She seemed to be a sweet little thing.  “My
name is Heero.  I’m a good friend of Duo’s.  He caught a cold this morning and couldn’t make it in today.  He DID promise a
visit to you, though, so I decided to come instead so that he could get better.”  He sighed.  “I’m afraid I’m a bad replacement
though.”

Laurel looked Heero up and down with what COULD have been a critical eye . . . then she folded her arms in front of her.  
Although she moved carefully, considering that one of her arms was wrapped in bandaging . . . probably due to the injury that
she had been admitted for.

“How do I KNOW you know Mr. Duo?”  Laurel asked, narrowing her gaze at Heero.  “You could be someone they pulled in to
lie to me.”

Heero was astounded at the pain in her young voice.  ‘She probably thinks that the people who were going to adopt her were
doing just that . . . lying to her.’  Heero smiled and reached into his pocket.  “I have proof.”  He assured her as he pulled out his
wallet and flipped it open to his favorite picture.  It had been taken on New Year’s Day, and Duo was positively glowing with
happiness in the photo.  Then again, since he and Heero were hugging each other . . . Heero had been glowing as well.  He
showed the picture to Laurel with a small smile.  “See?”

Laurel took the photo and gave Heero a bright smile as she held the picture in her hands.  “So YOU’RE the one who loves Mr.
Duo!”  She exclaimed happily.  “You make him very happy!”

Heero couldn’t stop himself from smiling back at the adorable little girl, nor did he want to try.  “Yes . . . I do love him very
much.  He makes me just as happy.”

“Good.”  Laurel turned her attention back to the picture in her hand.  Her smile turned into a frown as she looked, a worried
look entering her eyes.  “Is Mr. Duo sick in this picture?  He looks awful pale to me.”

Heero nodded.  It was true though . . . since the picture had been taken not too long after Duo’s suicide attempt, he wasn’t
looking his best in the picture.  Even though happy, he had been ill for a while . . . the signs of that illness had not been quick to
leave.  “Yes, he was very sick for a long time . . . he almost gave up around Christmas time.”  Heero said sadly, taking the
picture back from Laurel.  “But he’s doing better now . . . a lot better.”

“That’s good.  I don’t want Mr. Duo to be sick.”  She smiled up at Heero.  “You go home and make sure he gets all better.”

“I will, Laurel . . . but not until I’ve spent some time with you.  I promised Duo that I’d visit with you for a while . . . I won’t
go back on my word.”  He held up his hand as he saw the child was about to argue, already knowing what her concern was.  
“Don’t worry, I left someone to look after him while I’m here with you.  If there’s any trouble, he’ll call me.”

Laurel smiled again.  “Okay.”  She paused in thought.  “So . . . what do we do now?”

Heero thought about that for a moment.  Just what could he do to entertain a little girl.  Then he thought of something.  “Do
you have any paper?”

Laurel nodded.  “Yup!  The nurses brought me a pad of paper and stuff to draw with . . . they said I shouldn’t get out of bed
for a while yet.”  She reached over and grabbed a pad of paper and a box containing different drawing tools.

“Okay then.  How would you like it if I drew a picture of you?”

Laurel’s eyes simply lit up.  “Really?  Me?”  She asked, disbelieving and yet hopeful.  She handed the items over to Heero.  
“Yes, please.”

Heero smiled, flipping the pad to a clean sheet of paper.  Choosing a pencil from inside the case, Heero began a sketch, finding
it relatively easy.  She was adorable, a wonderful model.  Time flew by unobserved . . . Heero was focused only on drawing.  
It was common for Heero to lose himself like this . . . he tended to block most everything else out when he was working.

When he was finished, he looked at it.  It wasn’t a masterpiece, but it was a good drawing.  He smiled and handed it over to
Laurel, watching as the girl’s eyes filled with tears.

“I’m sorry.  Did I do something to upset you?”  Heero asked, concerned that he had been the cause of this.

“It . . . it’s beautiful!”  She exclaimed, all but throwing her tiny body against Heero.  “No one ever did somthin’ so nice for me
before!”  She started crying, clinging to Heero.  “I-Is that really what I look like?”

Heero smiled.  “Duo asks that same question whenever I draw him.”  He said, wrapping his arms around the girl gently.  “Yes .
. . it’s exactly what you look like in my eyes.  Had I better supplies, the image would be of a better quality  . . .   more detailed .
. . but I think it came out well.  Don’t you?”

Laurel nodded emphatically.  “Yeah!”

“Laurel . . . time for you to take your meds and get some rest.”  A nurse said, as she entered the room, carrying a small tray in
her hands.  Heero recognized her right away as Lilia, the kind nurse who had shown him around earlier.

“Awww, do I have to?”  Laurel pouted, pulling her body away from Heero’s.  “I dun wanna go to sleep yet . . . I want Mr.
Heero to draw me a kitty!”

Heero smiled, a slight chuckle escaping him.  “I’ll make a bargain with you.”  Heero said, waiting until Laurel turned to face
him.  “You get some sleep now, and I’ll come back tomorrow and draw you that kitty.”

“Promise?”  Laurel asked, her eyes full of happiness.

“Of course.  Even if Duo is well enough to come back to work, I will come in and draw for you.”  He assured the girl.

Laurel looked as if she was considering it.  However, she did nod eventually.  “Okay.  But you better keep your word, Mr.
Heero.”  Laurel warned, her tone betraying that she was fearful of being let down again.

“Don’t you worry.  I’ll be here tomorrow.”  Heero smiled.  “You just get some sleep now.”

“Okay.  Take good care of Mr. Duo.”  Laurel replied.

“I will.”  Heero nodded, rising to his feet.  He left the room, giving Laurel one last wave goodbye from the doorway.


*****


Duo coughed.  Man, he hated this . . . hated being sick.  He felt like his head was about to explode . . . even the ends of his hair
felt like they hurt.  He was miserable and tired . . . and cranky.  He was tired of laying around . . . he couldn’t take the
boredom anymore.  He just had to get up and do something . . . anything.  Of course, he had other reasons to want to get up . .
. nature was calling.

He threw aside the blankets and swung his legs over the side of the bed.  He was about to push himself up, when a small voice
spoke up, halting him.

“Where do you think you’re going?”  Solo’s young voice asked from the doorway.  “Mr. Heero said you’re not supposed to
get out of bed.”

Duo looked over to see the kid standing there, his arms folded across his chest.  There was a glare on the boy’s face that
simply demanded answers.  With a slight chuckle, Duo shook his head.

“Look, either I get up, or there’s going to be a real mess in these sheets.”  He replied.

Solo frowned.  “Okay . . . but you better not fall down . . . I don’t think I can pick you up.”

Duo smiled.  “I promise not to faint.”  He nodded.  Then he very carefully pushed himself to his feet, trying not to put too
much pressure on the wounds on his feet.  They still hurt like a bitch . . . especially when he walked on them.

He moved slowly.  Solo ran over and offered help, letting Duo put some of his weight on the boy’s shoulders.  Of course, Duo
didn’t lean too heavily against the kid . . . he was just a boy after all.

Solo helped Duo to the bathroom, then cleared his throat as they reached the door.  “Um . . . I’ll leave you alone now . . . to
ummm . . .”  Solo turned a bright pink as he backed away.  “Call me when you’re done and I’ll help ya walk back to bed.  Mr.
Heero trusted me to look out for ya and he’ll be upset if you get sicker.”

Duo nodded in understanding.  Solo was worried about being kicked out, and Duo couldn’t blame him for his fears.  He smiled
kindly at the boy.  “I promise to let you know when I’m done.”  Then he closed the door behind himself and went about his . .
. business.


*****


Solo could feel his blush . . . his face felt so very warm.  Mr. Duo was a nice guy and all, but Solo didn’t want to even
contemplate Mr. Duo using the boy’s room.  He leaned back against the wall by the door and played with his hair, twisting it
around his fingers.  ‘Time for a cut.’  He thought to himself, biting into his lip.  ‘Maybe I can do it with a decent pair of
scissors this time, and not a crappy pair of kids’ scissors that had been tossed.’

He was still contemplating his hair when the door opened and Mr. Duo limped out.  “Hey . . . what’s up, little man?  You look
upset.”

Solo shook his head.  “I’m not upset, but I was wondering if you guys had some scissors I could borrow.  My hair is gettin’
too long and it keeps falling in my face.”

Mr. Duo smiled and brushed Solo’s hair aside in a gesture that reminded him of someone . . . maybe his mother.  After a
moment, Mr. Duo nodded.  “How about you help me to bed, I tell you where the scissors are, and I trim your hair for you?”

“Would you?  That’d be great!”  Solo exclaimed.

He eagerly helped Mr. Duo back to bed, making sure he was settled ok before he went to get the things Mr. Duo requested . . .
the scissors, a mirror, a comb and a hairbrush . . . as well as a towel and a spray bottle filled with water that Duo apparently
used to water his plants.  Mr. Duo thanked him when he returned and got things ready.  He spread the towel out on the bed and
told Solo to sit on it, then got behind the boy and brushed his hair out, being careful with the tangles.

Solo sat patiently and waited while Mr. Duo worked.


*****


Duo smiled in satisfaction as he set the scissors to the side.  He wasn’t a hairstylist, but he had to admit that this had come out
nice . . . not quite what he had expected, but still rather good.

He leaned forward a little, gently ghosting a breath over Solo’s face to get rid of the tiny bits of hair that had remained behind.  
He brushed his fingers over the boy’s cheek, smirking as he raised his hand to flip the child’s freshly cut bangs.

The boy’s hair was neat now . . . well as neat as it would get.  It still hung long in the back . . . not as long as Duo’s, only
reaching to the middle of his back if that much at all . . . but at least it wasn’t wild or matted with knots anymore . . . and the
ends were even.  Duo was particularly fond of the bangs the boy now had.  It kinda looked as if he had Heero’s bangs . . . if
you looked at him the right way that is . . . they seemed wild and intent on going where they wanted, no matter how hard Duo
tried to set them straight.

“Okay, open your eyes.”  Duo said, holding up the hand mirror so that the boy could inspect Duo’s work.

The boy’s eyes widened with a happy surprise, a bright smile coming to his face.  “Wow!  Thanks!”  He exclaimed, pressing
forward and hugging Duo with enthusiasm.

Duo smiled, returning the embrace lightly, not wanting to scare the kid off.  “You like it?”  He asked.

“Yeah!”  Solo replied, pulling himself away from Duo’s arms.  He smiled shyly, biting his lip before he opened his mouth
again.  “Um, you think you could braid it for me?  Like you have your hair?”

“I’d be happy to.”  Duo grinned, urging the kid to turn around with a gentle hand.  He reached over and opened the drawer in
the bedside table, rummaging around blindly until he found one of the many hair ties he kept stashed away in there.

With practiced ease, Duo brushed the kid’s hair and wove it into a braid, tying it off at the end so that it wouldn’t unravel.  
When he was done, Duo yawned tiredly, although he had tried to suppress it.

“You better get some sleep, Mr. Duo.”  Solo said, his eyes swimming with worry.  

He slid off the bed, carefully gathering the hair-covered towel and folding it up.  He set it down on the floor by the bed, then
moved the rest of the items that had been used . . . the brush and comb, the spray bottle and mirror . . . over to the bedside
table.

“I don’t want Mr. Heero gettin’ upset.”  Solo said, his little hands pushing at Duo’s body to get him to lie down.

“All right, all right.”  Duo grumbled.  With a deep sigh, Duo settled himself in bed.  He did hate being sick.


*****


Solo watched worriedly as Mr. Duo quickly fell into a peaceful sleep.  Poor guy must have been exhausted . . . probably
because he’s sick.  Seeing Mr. Duo sleeping made Solo feel tired.  He yawned widely, covering his mouth with his hand.

Still . . . he didn’t feel like going all the way out to the living room to curl up on the sofa again.  He bit into his bottom lip as he
tilted his head to the side, wondering if he could get away with sleeping next to Mr. Duo.  The bed was big enough . . . and it
looked very comfortable.

Solo didn’t think that Mr. Duo was too much of a threat right now, not when he was sick.  Besides, if the guy wanted to hurt
him, he probably would have done it already.  Mr. Duo had had lots of opportunities anyway, and he hadn’t taken advantage of
Solo in the least.  In fact, he had been nothing but kind . . . cutting his hair for him, letting him stay here . . . he had even given
Solo a name to call his own.  No one else had been so nice to him before, not that he could remember anyway . . . with the
exception of his mother.

With a shrug, Solo decided.  There would be no harm.  Being careful not to jostle the bed too much, Solo climbed up to lay
beside Mr. Duo.  He squirmed under the blankets, keeping an eye on Mr. Duo from where he lay, to be sure that nothing would
happen.  Mr. Duo was still asleep, so Solo decided it was safe enough.

Yawning again, Solo allowed his eyes to close, snuggling into the warmth of the blankets around him, his hands clutching at the
pillow that Mr. Heero most likely used.  

It didn’t take him long to fall asleep.



To Be Continued . . .