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

Notes: Duo, Heero and Solo go to pick up the newest member of their family.


Valentine Blues

Part Fourteen


Duo glanced over at Heero from time to time as he drove to the hospital. Although he had fought it, Heero was now dozing
quietly. Duo kept quiet about it. Heero was a stubborn ass, and refused to listen to reason sometimes. It was one of the things
that often infuriated Duo while at the same time endeared Heero to him all the more.

Solo leaned forward in the backseat where he was safely buckled in. "Should ... do you think he'd like it if I called him Dad?
Maybe it would make him feel better?" He paused a moment and swallowed. "I mean ... 'Pop' sounds wrong and 'Father'
sounds too hoity toity for him. I already call you Daddy, so ..."

Duo smiled warmly at Solo in the rearview mirror, feeling a small thrill at the thought. "I'm sure he'd love it if you called him
'Dad.' Maybe later, if Laurel comes with us, the four of us will go someplace to celebrate." He looked back to the road and then
glanced to the passenger's seat. "Heero? We're here."

Tired eyes surrounded by dark circles flickered open. He moaned lightly, closing his eyes again in weariness. "Hmmm? Oh!
Okay. That was fast." Heero rubbed his eyes before opening them again as Duo parked. He then sighed. "I hope that one nurse
isn't here today. I'm not in the mood to put up with her." He yawned, leaning heavily against his seat. His body language
dictated the extent of his weariness. Duo had to wonder if Heero hadn't been sleeping well for a while now, not just last night.

Duo didn't even ask who Heero was talking about. He knew the woman from his all-too brief experience with her. "Don't let
her bug you so much, Heero. What's she going to do? Fire me because I got sick? Not that she can since I'm a volunteer
anyway. She can't have me arrested for trespassing since this is a public place and we're here on official business. I don't think
even she is stupid enough to try anything. I may not be able to kill a civilian, but I'm not about to allow some stuck up prude
keep me from getting our daughter."

Heero's face softened and pride shone in his eyes. "How you can keep that spirit is beyond me." He unbuckled his seatbelt and
turned to face Solo. "Come on ... let's go get your sister."

Solo beamed. "Sure thing ... Dad." A small blush blossomed on the boys cheeks.

At any other time, Duo would have chuckled at Heero's dumbstruck expression, but he knew that now was not the time. Heero
had paused with his hand on the buckle of his seatbelt. He blinked, his eyes locked on Solo's young face, his expression one of
pure surprise.

Solo fiddled with his own seatbelt and bit at his lower lip nervously. "Is ... Is it okay for me to call you Dad? If you'd rather I
call you something else I can."

Heero didn't say anything as he got out of the car. He stepped around to the back and opened it, smiling as he crouched down
to be level with the child. Duo watched from his seat as Heero reached out to lay his hand on Solo's head. "I don't mind you
calling me 'Dad'. Actually ... it makes me happy."

Duo grinned. It made him happy to know that their family was becoming more solid with every passing day. Now they were
going to get Laurel, and that warmed him in a way he never thought anything would. He had a family. A real family. The one
regret he'd had about being with Heero was that he couldn't give the man he loved children. Adoption had seemed a good plan,
but he'd never thought he'd be allowed to take in even one child, let alone two. As he got out and walked around the car to join
Heero and Solo, he could barely contain his happiness. He watched with a pleasantly skipping heart as Heero helped Solo out of
the backseat, his hand on the boy's shoulder for a moment as he guided Solo aside enough to close the door.

A smile easily graced Duo's face as he stood watching them. Slowly and shyly, Solo slid his small hand up into Heero's to
lightly clasp his palm. His head stayed ducked down, his bottom lip caught between his lips again. The child looked so
vulnerable in that moment, it left Duo wanting to run over and just cuddle him to death.

Heero, during the war, would have yanked his hand away like it was being burned. That much, Duo was certain of. But now,
he simply paused a few moments before tightening his fingers a little to hold the boy's hand. Both were so shy of each other,
but Duo knew that the shyness would fade over time. Without prompting, Duo strode forward and took up Solo's other hand,
smiling down at the boy. "Come on. After this, we go home and maybe I'll order take-out for dinner."

Together, the three of them entered the hospital.

-----

Duo grimaced internally as he spotted the dreaded nurse who thought he was nothing more than dirt to be trampled on. Still, he
managed a smile and waved at her. "Good morning, Theresa. How have you been?"

Instead of returning the smile, the nurse narrowed her eyes and looked from Duo to Heero to Solo and then back to Duo.
"What's with the boy? Are you a pedophile as well as a degenerate pervert?"

Duo bit his tongue hard to keep his scathing comments to himself. It took all his restraint to not go over and punch her in that
pig snout she called a nose. Had she accused him of being anything else, he probably wouldn't have minded so much. He'd
been called a lot of things in life, but he'd never been accused of being a child molester.

He took a deep breath, holding himself back, trying to remain calm. "Solo is my son," he said tersely. "Not that it is really any
of your business." He was stopped from continuing when a more welcoming voice spoke up.

"Duo! Oh, I'm so glad to see you!" the kind nurse Duo had met on his first day there said as she came over. Her name was
Lilia, if Duo remembered correctly. She was smiling brightly, her countenance the exact opposite of the bitchy nurse that
oversaw this ward. "When Heero mentioned you were ill, I ..."

"You bought that story without a second thought, didn't you?" Theresa snapped, glaring at the younger nurse. "Don't you have
something you should be doing?"

Lilia glared right back at her. "No. I've made my rounds. I'm not going to make yours, as well." Then her glare melted away
and she knelt down to see Solo, who had moved to hide behind Heero's legs. "And who is this adorable little fellow?"

Duo had to smile, glad for her demeanor. "This is my son, Solo. We're just here to pick up Laurel and bring her home."

Lilia blinked and easily rose to her feet. "Oh, Duo!" she cried out with a gasp. "You mean you're the nice people adopting her?"

Theresa once again broke in with her unwanted opinions. "NICE people? More like a couple of sick pedophiles who aren't
satisfied with a little boy. I have it in my mind to contact the authorities right now and have them arrested."

Duo growled low in his throat, letting go of Solo's hand to take a step forward. "What is your problem? What did I ever do to
you to make you treat me with so much contempt?"

Theresa sniffed in obvious disdain. "I've seen your type too many times. Deadbeats who can't get a paying job, so they
volunteer, just so it will look good on any application for the local burger joint."

Duo snorted at the ignorance the woman was showing. "And it never occurred to you that these so-called 'deadbeats' were
volunteering with the simple desire to bring comfort to their fellow man?"

Lilia laughed before Theresa could make a reply. "Of course not, since she has no desire to do the same. If she did, she'd
actually do her job instead of delegating her responsibilities to others who are more overworked than she is."

Theresa growled at Lilia. "Hold your tongue." Then she turned to Duo. "You are causing a disturbance and I have to insist that
you leave this instant."

Duo folded his arms over his chest and gave Theresa a level look. "Not without Laurel."

Theresa walked out from behind the nurse's station and approached Duo menacingly. "Listen you lowlife bum, you leave this
instant, or I will contact the authorities. And take your snot-nosed brat and boy-toy with you!"

Duo pulled the adoption papers from his back pocket and shook them in the bitch's face. "No, YOU listen! I have the
paperwork here that says I can take my daughter home, so get out of my way before I call the authorities!"

Theresa sneered at them, not moving from her position. "You queers make me sick," she spat.

Solo tugged on Duo's pant leg, gaining Duo's attention. "Daddy, what's a queer?"

Theresa shook her head. "Ignorant little brat! These two ... men who love other men! It's sick and wrong! I plan on calling
Social Services and letting them know what's really going on!"

Solo screwed up his face, and then started crying. "No!" he wailed, his tears thick as they ran down his flushed cheeks. "You
won't take me away from my dads! I won't let you!"

Duo growled and narrowed his eyes as the nurse approached him, and then stepped between her and Heero, who was picking
Solo up to comfort him. He wasn't about to let anyone hurt his family. Especially not an ignorant bitch like this. Out of the
corner of his eye, Duo noticed a couple of people approaching from behind Theresa, but didn't pay them much mind. He had
other things to worry about.

Lilia came forward and stood at Duo's side. "That was totally uncalled for and out of line. We've put up with a lot from you,
but this is too much. I'm reporting your behavior today. I don't care if you think you can pull every string in this hospital to get
your way. You have no right to insult and threaten the people who come in here!"

Theresa pulled back her hand and struck Lilia soundly, knocking the slight young woman to the floor. Duo was quick to come
to her side, laying a hand on his friend's arm and helping her back up again. "Little bitch! I'll have you fired for talking to me
like this!" Theresa barked.

"No you won't," came a voice from behind her. Everyone's attention diverted to the two men who had approached. One was
wearing a rather expensive-looking suit. The other was obviously a security guard. "I've received far too many complaints
about your behavior and I can't say I'm pleased about it. And now to find you assaulting other employees, I'm afraid this can't
be overlooked," the man in the suit said.

Duo was about to add his own complaint when Solo let out a loud wail. "Noooooooo! I don't WANNA be taken away!"

The man in the suit blinked as Solo clung to Heero and cried so hard that the boy was becoming dangerously close to making
himself sick. His sobs were heartbreaking to hear. "What's all this about?"

Lilia spoke up. "Theresa threatened to call Social Services to take the boy away from his adoptive parents. Mr. Maxwell here is
a volunteer ... one of the very few who were willing to come back after being on the receiving end of Theresa's attitude. He
even made sure to send someone to fill in for him when he fell ill." She motioned toward Heero. "They came in today to get
Laurel, a little girl in our care, when Theresa prevented them. She seems to be of the opinion that since these two are a couple,
that they don't have the same rights as any other prospective parents do."

Theresa spat on the floor. "Sick freaks, that's what they are!"

The man in the suit snorted. "I think you should let her call Social Services. I was informed of the girl's adoption myself by the
very person who sanctioned it. She'll be laughed at over the phone or in person to even suggest that a couple deemed suitable
by Relena Dorlian could even think to harm a child in their care." Then he walked over and placed a gentle hand on Solo's head.
"There, there, little one. I'm not taking you away from your fathers. And I highly doubt anyone in their right mind would go
against Miss Relena Dorlian's judgment in this matter."

Solo, though he stopped wailing, remained as close to Heero as possible and continued sobbing, his choked cries breaking
Duo's heart. Duo decided that the boy would be sleeping with Heero and himself for a few nights to stave off any nightmares
from that cruel woman's threats. He turned to the man in the suit. "I take it you're some sort of hospital official or something?"

The man nodded. "Yes, I am the superintendent here. And I feel I must apologize for the unkind treatment you and your family
may have received at the hands of this nurse."

Duo shrugged and offered the man a small smile. "One bad apple and all that. I just want to get my daughter and go home so
my companion can get some rest. He didn't sleep well last night, and I think he could use a nap," he said, casting a glance
Heero's way. He didn't like what he saw either. Those dark circles around Heero's eyes really had Duo worried.

The Superintendent frowned a little. "Would you like someone to have a look at him before you leave? Perhaps, it would be best
if he stayed the night for observation. If he's unwell, I would hate to allow him to leave without care."

Duo shook his head. "No, but I thank you for the offer. If it seems to be more than just a lack of sleep, then I'll have him
looked at. Right now, I'm not overly concerned ... just worried."

There was a nod from the other man and he motioned to the security guard who stood at his side to step forward, even as he
spoke. "Then I won't detain you any longer. Mr. Richards, please escort this woman off of the premises. She is no longer
employed here."

Lilia sighed in what could only be relief as Theresa was taken by the arm and led away, the bitter woman sputtering angrily.
"I'm glad she's gone. Maybe now I can contact some of the past volunteers and they'll come back. We lost some really good
people due to her." She smiled at Duo. "I doubt you'll be back, though. You'll have your hands full."

Duo smiled and shook his head. "Solo and Laurel will have school, so I'll be in for a few hours in the mornings at least. Umm,
where is she?"

Lilia smiled and motioned down the hall. "Same room as the last time she was here. You remember, right?"

Duo nodded and walked down the hallway, pausing outside Laurel's door to turn to look back at his lover and Solo. At least
Solo had calmed down. He wasn't crying any longer, but his face was splotchy and he hiccupped now and again as he rubbed
at his runny nose. "Ready to meet your little sister?" Like magic, Solo's face brightened and the boy nodded. "Okay then. Give
me a moment before you come in."

Heero and Solo both nodded in reply. Feeling satisfied that Heero and Solo would both wait, he turned to the hospital room and
peeked in the door. There she was, just as he had been assured she'd be. She was sitting there on the bed, fiddling with her
cast. Duo casually strolled in.

"Aww, you didn't have to get your arm broken just to see me again." He smirked, feeling a warmth in his heart as he watched
her face light up.

"Mr. Duo!" she cried happily. "I was scared I wouldn't see you again! This nice lady came by to see me yesterday and she said
my new parents were coming for me today!"

Duo smiled, knowing exactly who that 'nice lady' had been. He moved across the room to sit at her bedside. "Oh? Have you
met them?"

Laurel shook her head. "No, but the nice lady ... Miss Relena ... she said they were nice. And Lilia said that Miss Relena was
one of the most important people in the world."

Duo nodded. "Yes, she is. She talks to a lot of people to keep them from fighting, and that is important." He reached forward
and brushed her hair out of her eyes. "What else do you know about your new parents?"

Laurel bounced a little. "I know I already have a big brother! Isn't that great? I always wanted a big brother! He'll protect me
from the meanies!"

Laughing, Duo nodded. "I'm sure he will." He watched as Laurel's expression fell. "What's wrong?"

The little girl bit her lip and sniffled, looking down at the blankets. "I'm only said 'cause ... I won't be able to see you or Mr.
Heero any more. He did a nice drawing for me, see?" She held up a pencil sketch of Heero's, depicting not only Laurel, but
Duo, Heero and Solo as well. It was a family portrait, their family. She rubbed her eyes. "As much as I want parents ... I want
this, too. I like you and Mr. Heero and I know you like me. What if I don't like my new parents and they don't like me? What if
they change their minds and they don't want me anymore?" Then she started sobbing. "I'll be sent back, and I dun wanna go
back!"

Duo easily pulled Laurel into his arms and cradled her close. "Hey, no more of that, okay?" he soothed, rubbing his hands
across her back. "You're wanted, and you'll be loved. I promise you that."

Laurel sniffled and rested her head against Duo's chest, curling her arms around his body. "But ... but how can you be so sure
about that, Mr. Duo? Have you met my new parents?"

Chuckling, Duo pressing a kiss to the little girl's head. It was time to tell her the full truth. "Laurel, Heero and I ARE your new
parents."

Laurel gasped and pulled away from him, looking up at Duo with wide eyes. "Really?" she squeaked out, as if she were being
told the best thing in the world was going to happen to her.

Duo nodded. "Really. So we can frame this nice picture and hang it in your roo-OOF!" He laughed outright as Laurel hugged
him as hard as she could with her one good arm. "I take it you're happy with this?"

Laurel nodded. "Oooo! Yes, yes, yes! Now I get to see you and Mr. Heero every day! Ooooo! I get to call him and you daddy!
That's the bestest! And I have a brother? When can I meet him?"

Duo made a show of glancing over his shoulder. "Well, he's just outside the door. Heero and I wanted to be sure that you'd
want us as parents before introducing you to Solo."

Laurel blinked up at him as if he'd said something nearly impossible to believe. "Who wouldn't want you and Mr. Heero as
parents?" She bounced a little, her smile bright enough to light up the entire room. "So, can I meet my brother now?"

Once again, Duo found himself chuckling. He walked over to the door and opened it, pleased to see Solo looking much more
cheerful. His tears were still flushed and his eyes puffy from crying, but he looked far better than he had. Heero - who was
standing just beside Solo with his hand on the boy's shoulder - seemed to only look worse. He looked unbelievably tired. There
was no way Duo was letting him get out of taking that nap.

"Hey," he said, turning his attention away from Heero and smiling at Solo. "Come on in and meet your little sister."

Solo grinned widely as he walked in, pausing briefly to give Duo a smirk that just screamed the words, 'told you so!' Once he
was in the room, the boy made a beeline for Laurel and smiled at her as he clamored up onto the bed to sit next to her. "Hi! I'm
Solo! You must be my kid sister!"

Laurel nodded happily, a pink blush colored her cheeks. "Yeah! I'm Laurel! I'm really happy to meet you." She turned her
attention to Heero as he was walking in and spoke without any hesitation. "Can we go home now, Daddy Heero?"

Duo bit his lip at the shocked expression on Heero's face. He just wasn't used to people calling him 'Dad' or 'Daddy' yet. He
quickly recovered from his surprise and schooled his features, nodding his head to her.

The fact that Laurel had used his name as well was not all that surprising to Duo. Duo guessed that Laurel would decide what
to call each of them when the excitement wore off, but her easy acceptance pleased him. "Yeah," Duo added. "As soon as we
sign your release forms, we'll be good to go. As soon as we get home, I'll call the orphanage and arrange to have your stuff
brought to the house." He didn't want her to have to go back into the building that had caused her nothing but sorrow.

Laurel's expression suddenly became a sad one. "I don't have anything that's mine ... not really. They wouldn't let me keep
anything when they took me away to the orphanage."

Duo knew the feeling. L-2 orphanages were notorious for that kind of thing. Take any belongings the kid had and sold them
off, that's what most of them did. It didn't happen so much any more, but there were a few places that resorted to looting kids'
belongings. To know that Laurel had been in such a place, just left Duo feeling sympathy for her. He walked over and sat on
the bed across from where Solo was sitting and pulled the little girl into his arms. "That's okay. If you just have a few clothes,
then that will be enough until we can get you some things of your very own."

Laurel nodded, but remained quiet. She settled her head against his chest, her little fingers moving to grasp at the front of his
jacket.

Duo easily lifted her into his arms. She was already dressed and wearing a threadbare old coat. Apparently, she had gotten
ready in anticipation of her new parents bringing her home. "Don't dwell on it, Laurel. Losing the past hurts, I know. But your
future is more important." He smiled over at Heero, who looked just about ready to collapse at any moment. "Come on; let's get
her signed out so we can go home." While Heero moved out of the room, Duo gave his new daughter a loving smile. "Are your
clothes all packed, Laurel?"

"Yeah ... the nice nurse came by earlier and put all my clothes and my crayons in the suitcase in the closet."

Duo bounced her just a little, and turned to face Solo. "Will you get her suitcase for her?"

Solo nodded eagerly, sliding off the bed. "Sure thing, Daddy!" He did as he was told and they were heading for the nurse's
station in no time at all, where they filled out all the paperwork needed to release Laurel.

As they were heading out, Duo noticed that Laurel was looking in the gift shop at the stuffed toy display in the window. With a
smile of understanding, he set her down. "Go ahead and pick something." Solo had toys of his own. The least Laurel could
have was something to cuddle.

Laurel blinked and looked to Heero for confirmation that it was really okay, then ran into the shop with Duo following close
behind when he nodded to her.

He couldn't keep the smile off his face as he watched Laurel walk straight past several pink stuffed creatures of various types
and picked up a dark brown bear. With a smile to match Laurel's, Duo took that bear and handed it to the cashier to be rung
up. In almost no time at all, the bear was safe in Laurel's possession and the new family was walking out of the hospital
building.

Duo saw to it that the children were buckled safely into the back seat before getting in the front with Heero, who was rubbing
his forehead with one hand. "Headache?"

Heero nodded with a grunt, falling back against his seat and closing his eyes. "We should stop by the schools and get them
registered."

Duo shook his head with a sigh. "That can wait until tomorrow. Today, I want to get Laurel settled in. Besides, you are in no
condition to be going all over the city. I want you home and in bed as quickly as possible. You'll get sick if you keep neglecting
yourself."

There was nothing but a tired sigh from the passenger seat. That, in and of itself, testified to just how weary Heero was. For
him not to make any arguments, he had to be damned tired.

The long-haired ex-pilot smiled and started the car. "Later on, I'm going to order some dinner for us. Any suggestions?"

Heero frowned, his eyes remaining closed. "Duo ..."

He grinned, shaking his head at his lover before returning his attention to the task at hand. He turned in his seat, looking behind
him as he backed out of his parking space. "Heero, this is a special occasion. I promise we won't make it a habit, but I think
eating take out or going to a restaurant should be done on special occasions. Right?"

"I suppose," Heero replied with a soft sigh. "But make sure you get something healthy along with whatever grease-filled
aberrations some of those places serve."

Duo nodded and started the drive home. "I'll do one better. I'll make a salad. We have some vegetables that are still good."

"Cucumbers?"

Duo glanced in the rear-view mirror to smile at Laurel. "Yeah, we have cucumbers. If you want them, then you can have them.
Any special requests from you, Solo?"

Solo grinned, bouncing a little. "Tomatoes!"

Laurel responded to that with a grimace. "Ewwwww! Tomatoes are icky!"

Solo frowned at her. "Are not!"

"Are so! They're all squishy and goopy inside. Bleh!" Laurel sniffed and looked out the window. Then she gave a little shudder.

Duo chuckled and shook his head. "That's enough, you guys. Your Daddy Heero isn't feeling well right now. Besides, everyone
is entitled to their own likes and dislikes."

Hearing that Heero was unwell was enough to shut up both kids. Duo smiled at their consideration and took a glance at his
lover only to find that Heero was asleep again. He shook his head and looked to the road, staying quiet for the remainder of the
drive, feeling happy with his life.

-----

"Ah, home sweet home." Duo said, as he unlocked the door and pushed it open, his hand resting on the small of Heero's back.
Heero was barely aware of where he was walking, staggering along the pathway that led up to the house. He was rubbing his
eyes tiredly and yawning. Duo hoped he'd make it to the bedroom before he collapsed. He was about to tell Heero to get to bed.
But before he could, Solo had reached forward and grabbed Heero by the hand, dragging him toward the bedroom. Laurel was
helping, her one hand curled around Heero's other wrist and tugging at it.

Duo followed them out of curiosity and amusement.

Once inside the room, Solo started pushing at Heero. "You gotta nap, Dad! You look sleepy!"

Heero, having not expected the sudden pushing, sat down on the bed with little fuss. He opened his mouth to say something,
but looked down when Laurel plopped onto the floor and started tugging one of his shoes off with her good hand.

"Solo's right, Daddy Heero! You look like that bully punched you, too!" Laurel then managed to tug on the shoe so hard that
she rolled back a little when it came off. Determined, she got right back to work on the other shoe.

Heero looked to Duo. "Duo?"

Duo's response was to walk over and pull Heero to his feet once Laurel was finished. "Go wash up and change into something
more comfortable."

Heero frowned. "This is unfair," he muttered. "Three against one is bad odds."

Duo shrugged and gave Heero a gentle shove toward the bathroom. "Call it tough love and deal with it. You have a family that
will worry about you now. I'll call for dinner later." He looked down at the kids, thanking them for their help. "Hey, why don't
you show your little sister around, Solo? I bet she'd like a tour from you." The two of them scampered off without a word.

While Heero was in the bathroom, Duo fluffed the pillows and turned the blankets down. Solo and Laurel walked back into the
room wearing their sleepwear at almost the same time Heero came out of the bathroom wearing just a pair of pajama bottoms.
Heero sat down with a sigh and grudgingly allowed himself to be pushed down against the comfortable mattress. Then he
blinked as his eyes caught sight of the kids. "Why are the two of you ready for bed?"

Solo blushed and looked down. "Well, I was so excited last night that I couldn't sleep. And I woke up really really early."

Laurel bit her lip, waiting as Solo finished before she gave her explanation. "I usually nap now. The nurses say it's good for
me." She held her bear close to her chest as she looked at Heero pleadingly, as if expecting to be rejected. "Can we stay and
nap with you?"

Duo grinned as Heero gave a bewildered nod and the two children crawled up onto the bed with him. Heero scooted over to
made room for them and stiffened slightly in surprise as Laurel timidly cuddled close against his chest. The way she held onto
him, made Duo certain she was just as nervous as Heero was about this. It was really sweet the way Heero was being extra
careful of Laurel's broken arm and the few scrapes and cuts she had. He wrapped an arm around her, and Solo as well since
Solo had chosen to sleep just behind little Laurel.

"I'm gonna go lock up," Duo said softly, leaning close to adjust the blankets and kiss both kids on the forehead. Heero got
similar attention, though his kiss was less than fatherly, involving tongue and a happy sigh from both parties as they separated.
"I'll be back soon to check in on you." He shook his head. Heero was already asleep.

Duo fiddled with the blanket a little more, then turned and walked out of the room, keeping his footfalls soft. He closed the
door quietly, and then sagged against the wall in relief. Maybe the kids staying with Heero would be enough comfort to help
him rest. Duo certainly hoped so.

He did the few tasks he felt like he had to do. He cleaned up the remains of breakfast, washing the dishes. Then he did the
laundry and went about unpacking Laurel's few belongings, placing them in a drawer Solo had cleaned out for her use. It was
sweet of him doing that and Duo was going to be thanking him for that later.

A thought came to him abruptly and he smirked. Finishing up with his latest chore, he set Laurel's little suitcase in the hall
closet and stopped by the hall phone. It was still very early where Quatre and Trowa were, but he guessed it wouldn't be too
early to call. He pressed the quick dial button for Quatre's number and hummed a slight tune as he waited. He grinned as
Quatre's flushed face flashed onto the screen, then his eyes fell on Trowa who sat on the bed in the background. Duo squinted,
blinking at the sight, and then a wide smile spread across his face. "You have a few boy scouts camping over, buddy? Or are
you just REALLY happy to see me?"

Trowa looked down at himself, swore and covered his obvious problem with a pillow. "Duo! You have the worst timing!"

Duo blinked and glanced at his watch. "It's 6:37 where you are and you two are already at it?"

Quatre - in the foreground of the display - shrugged. "He's an early riser," he blurted out, then turned beet-red as he realized the
dual meaning of his statement.

Duo couldn't help it, he burst out laughing. "I can see that!"

Trowa growled, stomping over to the phone with the pillow still obscuring the more interesting bits of his slender body. "Did
you just call to frustrate and laugh at us?" he glared, wrapping an arm around Quatre's shoulders. Quatre blushed faintly, then
settled himself comfortably in Trowa's gentle embrace.

Duo shook his head and smiled at the loving couple who were still exploring their relationship. "Nah. I just called to say that
congratulations are in order. I'm a father!"

Quatre blinked. "You knocked Heero up?"

Duo and Trowa both stared at Quatre a moment before Duo started laughing again. "No ... no, buddy. Heero and I adopted. A
boy, he's six and his name is Solo. And we just picked up Laurel. She's four." Without knowing he was doing it, Duo started
bouncing lightly, his smile wider than any he'd had before. "God, I can't believe how happy I am. You gotta come meet them!"

Quatre's smile was brilliant. "I'm so happy for you." He glanced to Trowa, receiving a nod from his tall lover, then turned back
to Duo. "We'll be on the first available flight. If that's all right with you."

"Hell yah!" Duo said excitedly, forcing himself to keep his voice below a yell. He didn't want to wake Heero or the kids. "I don't
know where you'll be sleeping ... we kinda got a full house now. Though there is that one room upstairs we can convert I
guess."

"Duo, don't worry. I have an apartment on L-2. Not too far from your house." Trowa announced.

"I didn't know you had an apartment," Quatre muttered softly, a soft glare on his face.

Trowa responded with a reply too soft for Duo to really hear, followed by a reply just as soft from Quatre. Duo shook his
head. "Look, if you two are done with your little tiff, we've got a lot of work around here. Gotta get Laurel's room painted and
all. I'll let you two get back to your morning workout now. Bye!" He didn't wait for an answer as he disconnected the call,
smiling to himself. He toyed with the idea of calling Wufei, then went ahead and did it, only to get his voicemail. Leaving a
rather manic message, in which he did deliver his good news, Duo then went around calling everyone else he knew that might
be remotely interested in the fact that he was now a father. His only regret was that he couldn't get a hold of Hilde. Her home
phone was disconnected and her cell was apparently out of service. He frowned, ending his series of calls. He shrugged off his
concern. Maybe his numbers for her just weren't up to date.

Yawning, he decided he might as well get some rest and returned to the bedroom. He changed his clothes quickly and quietly
slid into bed behind Heero. Heero made a slight little nonsensical sound, his brow furrowing as he rolled over onto his back, his
face turning toward Duo.

Smiling, Duo leaned forward and kissed those soft lips, whispering gently as he pulled back. "It's okay, it's just me."

Heero's features immediately relaxed, his tempting lips parting in a bare breath of Duo's name. He reached out blindly, throwing
his arms around Duo's shoulders. Duo allowed himself to be tugged down and happily settled himself along Heero's side, his
head pillowed on Heero's chest. It wasn't long before he gave into slumber along with the rest of his family.


To Be Continued ...