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

Notes:  Heero returns home to find Duo and Solo resting.  Hilde awakens on the cold floor to a terrible tragedy.



Valentine Blues



Part Eight


Heero entered his house with some difficulty, juggling the bags that he carried with a rueful smile.  He knew he shouldn’t have
stopped on the way home, but the boy needed warmer clothes.  Heero shook his head as he dropped three of the bags on the
sofa, and then went into the kitchen with the other two, leaving them on the counter briefly.

After putting the groceries away . . . leaving out the ingredients needed to make the soup that Duo loved so much . . . he
noticed that the little homeless boy was nowhere in sight.  Had the boy left?  Heero frowned in concern and went in search of
the child.  He didn’t call out, partially because he really didn’t want to wake Duo if his lover was sleeping . . . and also because
he didn’t know what to call, it wasn’t as if the boy had any name that Heero knew of.

He smiled when he checked in on Duo.  Duo was fine, sleeping peacefully, and the little boy was fast asleep beside him.  Heero
ducked out of the room and picked up his camera.  He quietly moved back to the room and smiled as he focused on the scene
his beloved Duo made . . . peaceful in slumber and holding the boy as if to protect the child from all the world.  The boy’s face
had lost all of its hostility and skepticism, softening as if he felt as ease.  Heero swallowed against the swell of affection that he
felt for Duo at that moment, and took the picture.

The flash woke both slumberers up.  Duo blinked sleepily and smiled softly at Heero.  “Hey . . . when did you get home?”  He
asked, bringing his hand to his face as he yawned widely.

Heero put the camera down and walked over to place a hand on Duo’s forehead.  “Just a few minutes ago.  I was about to fix
dinner.”  He glanced at the boy, who was rubbing his eyes sleepily.  “I bought some things for you . . . as a thank you for
looking after Duo for me when I wasn’t home.”

The boy blinked before scrambling off the bed and running out of the room.  Mere seconds later, he returned.  “Which one’s
for me?”

Heero turned to face the boy, smiling.  “All of the bags on the sofa contain things for you.”

The boy’s eyes went wide.  “ALL of ‘em?”  Then they narrowed, looking at Heero skeptically.  “I didn’t do THAT much.”

Heero shook his head.  “Maybe not, but you deserve to have clothes that will keep you warm, even if you choose not to stay
with us for too much longer.  Winter nights can get cold.  I . . . and I’m sure that Duo feels the same . . . we want you to stay
healthy.”

The boy pursed his lips as he seemed to search Heero’s face for something.  After a moment, he blinked, his eyes sparkling
with a sense of awe.  “W-Why do you care?”

Heero smiled warmly at the boy.  “Because you’re a good kid, and you deserve it.”

The child’s eyes began to glisten with unshed tears, his lip quivering a little.  Then he turned and ran from the room, a happy
smile all but glued to his young face.

Heero smirked once, then turned back to face Duo, caressing his lover’s cheek.  “Feeling any better, my love?”  He asked,
taking a seat on the edge of the bed.

Duo nodded.  “A little bit.  What are you making for dinner?”

Heero leaned forward to kiss the top of Duo’s head.  “That chicken soup you couldn’t seem to get enough of the first week
after you moved in with me.”  He chuckled as Duo’s eyes lit up.  “When I was out, I also ordered a bed to be delivered tonight
. . . so the boy will have someplace to sleep.  That sofa isn’t the most comfortable place.”

“Solo will like that.”  Duo nodded again.  “How was Laurel?  Was she disappointed?”

Heero blinked.  “Solo?  Is that the boy’s name?”  At Duo’s happy nod, Heero took in a deep breath and sighed.  “I was told that
Laurel is doing much better . . . however, something was discovered about the people who were going to adopt her and they
were rejected.”

Duo’s smile fell.  “So she’ll be going to an orphanage?  Poor kid.  Although, she is still young . . .”  He sighed and shook his
head.

“It’s all right.”  Heero said, running his hand along Duo’s arm.  “I’m sure she’ll be well.”  Deciding it would be best to change
the subject, Heero rose from the bed.  “You lie down and rest . . . I’ll go make that soup.  Maybe the kid . . . maybe Solo can
help me.”

“Okay.”  Duo grinned, snuggling down into the blankets.

Heero chuckled, letting his fingers trail across Duo’s soft hair.  He quietly left the bedroom, intending to go to the kitchen.  On
his way past the living room, he stopped, a smile coming to his face as he viewed the scene before him.  There sat Solo,
surrounded by piles of clothing and toys, all of which Heero had bought for him today.  The clothing, so that Solo would have
something to wear to stay warm . . . and the toys to keep him entertained whenever he chose to stay here.

Heero approached the boy, chuckling lightly.  “Do you like them?  I had to guess on your sizes, and for the most part bought
things larger than I think you are . . . but with proper nutrition and care you should grow and be able to fit in them.”

Solo blinked up at him, clutching a stuffed dog close to his chest.  It had been an impulse buy, something that had caught
Heero’s eye as he had walked along the aisle . . . it was white with large black spots, its eyes a sharp green shade.  Heero
hoped that the boy would approve of these things.

“You sure these are all for me?”  Solo asked, a quiver to his voice as he hugged the dog.

Heero nodded.  “Of course.”  He said, moving to sit cross-legged on the floor in front of Solo.  “It’s cold out there, you’ll need
good warm clothes.  And when you’re here, you have pajamas to wear and . . . in a few hours, a bed to sleep in.”

“You . . . you bought me a bed?”  Solo gasped.

“Yes.”  Heero smiled, reaching into one of the bags and pulling out a set of sheets.  “Flannel sheets . . . they’ll help keep you
warm when you sleep here.  I wasn’t sure if you would prefer any specific cartoon character or some other pattern, so I
decided to just purchase solid colors.  I hope you don’t mind.”

Any worries Heero might have had about the boy’s approval, instantly vanished when he found his arms full of a softly crying
child.  Heero shook himself out of his shock and wrapped gentle arms around the young boy, wondering why he was getting
such an enthusiastic hug.

“Thank you, Mister!”  Solo cried out, curling his legs closer to his own body.

“You are very welcome.”  Heero said, smoothing his hand through Solo’s soft hair, smirking at the new haircut the boy was
sporting.  “Come on, let’s put this stuff back in the bags and you can help me with the cooking.”

“Okay.”  Solo replied, slowly pulling himself from Heero’s arms.  He went about picking up his things, Heero helping him to
put everything back in the bags he had taken them from.  When the living room was clear of clothing and toys, Heero led the
boy into the kitchen, where the two of them began to make dinner.


*****


Cold.  It was cold.  That was the first thing she was aware of.  And then there was the pain, the sweeping waves of agony that
were drifting throughout her entire being.  She wasn’t sure if she wanted to regain consciousness . . . not sure if she wanted to
risk remembering what had happened.  Still . . . there was nothing she could do to prevent it . . . and a few moments later, her
eyes began to flutter open.

Hilde gasped in pure pain as awareness filled her.  She shuddered, clawing at the flooring beneath her broken body.  The
bastard . . . she had trusted him . . . had given her love to him . . . and this was how she was repaid.  Tears fell in harsh trails
from her eyes, her body aching as she forced herself from the cold floor beneath her, kneeling there in a warm pool of her own
blood.

Stabs of pain shot through her stomach and she sobbed, remembering the sharp kick that her husband had delivered to her mid-
section as he had passed by her on the way out of the house.  Her eyes widened then.  There was blood soaking her skirt . . .
blood covering the floor, seeping into the carpet not too far away from where she sat.  She shook her head in denial, not
wanting to even think of the possible cause for this.  No . . . it couldn’t be.  But in her heart, she knew what this meant . . .
and it left a crack in her soul, an ache that would never be healed.

With a shaking hand, she reached up and grabbed the phone from a nearby table, dialing 911 without really looking at the
buttons.  When an operator answered, she spoke with shuddering breaths, feeling so very dizzy.  She wanted to return to the
darkness, to fall into unconsciousness and never awaken again.

“Please . . . help.”  She pleaded, sobs wracking her slight form.  “M-My baby . . . I . . . I fell . . .”  Even now she protected
him . . . she didn’t understand why.  He had done this . . . but it had been her fault, hadn’t it?  She had gotten him angry again.  
It must have been her fault.

She shook her head, crying as she fell to the floor again.  She dropped the phone, hearing as the voice on the other end called
out to her.  Hilde ignored it . . . she didn’t care anymore.  What was there left for her to care about?  She was so confused.  
What was right and wrong?  Had she been such an awful wife to deserve this?  Or was the fault her husband’s?

Maybe . . . maybe she should have gone with Wufei when he had tried to help.



To Be Continued . . .