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

Notes:  Quatre and Trowa on their way to the colonies.  Naptime ends.

Valentine Blues

Part Fifteen

Trowa settled deeper into his First Class shuttle seat with a sigh of contentment.  It wasn't going to be a long trip, but he knew
that even short trips could be hell if you didn't have the connections that Quatre did.  After all, not many people could arrange
transportation to the colonies on just a few hours notice.

A rustle of paper drew Trowa's attention to the pale blonde, who was reading one of the many magazines he subscribed to.  It
looked to be centered on the medical field, a topic that Trowa himself was not very interested in.  The fact that Quatre was
reading it was no surprise though.  The beautiful blonde had a wide variety of interests.  However, the way he was flipping
through the pages so rapidly made Trowa curious.  He couldn't be digesting any of the information, nor doing anything more
than scanning the contents.

"Quatre?  What are you doing?"

Quatre glanced at Trowa briefly, before returning to his magazine, his eyes roving almost feverishly over the pages.  "Where is
it?  Ah!  Here!"  With that, the paper was all but shoved into Trowa's face, a pale finger pointing emphatically at one article in

Trowa sighed and read the article.  It was all about a procedure to enable men to produce eggs and carry children being
legalized and made safer.

Quatre beamed proudly.  "See?  I wasn't just spouting nonsense."  He took the magazine back and kept speaking his mind.  
"Professor Fletcher Thornton created the procedure when reproductive problems began occurring in the women of the
colonies.  It says here that his son perfected the procedure shortly before the wars and continued his research until he could
publish his findings.  A lot of colony men have already undergone the procedure and are doing quite well, as are their children."  
He sighed, dropping the magazine to his lap.  "Our children would be beautiful, don't you think?"

Trowa paused a moment before thinking carefully.  A pit of fear had just developed in his stomach and swallowing had
suddenly become difficult.  "Well ... I think that children shouldn't even be considered until after we get married."

The blonde gasped and grabbed one of Trowa's hands between his own.  "You mean you want to MARRY me?"

Trowa could swear that he felt the sweat beading on his skin.  He tried to get the words out, but they wouldn't come.  He loved
Quatre, without doubt, but he was still getting his mind wrapped around the fact that he and Quatre were a couple.

Quatre let out a laugh as Trowa was grabbling frantically for any coherent thought.  "I was only kidding.  But I must say, that
look of utter terror on your face is hardly flattering."  He casually took a sip from his water glass.  "Don't worry, Trowa.  I
know marriage isn't too near.  I hope it isn't too far though."

Trowa relaxed.  It was amazing how well they could read each other.  "I just ... want to savor what we have.  I don't begrudge
Duo and Heero for their decision to jump right in to having a family, but it's not the road I would take."

Quatre hummed and nodded, looking through the magazine again.  "Duo has always yearned for a family ... a sense of
belonging.  Plus, he's always been one to reach out and grab what he wants when he thinks it's attainable."  He tapped the
article with his fingers.  "I highly doubt that Duo would be unwilling to have this procedure done on him to give Heero a blood-
related child."

The brunette chuckled and had to agree with Quatre.  "Heero ... he's good for Duo.  He's a stable presence and Duo always
seemed to need something that would steady him."  He reached over and pulled the magazine from Quatre's slender fingers.  
"Let's not tell him about this article?  I don't think even Heero would be able to cope with yet another child at this point."  He
leaned forward, kissing his beautiful lover.

With a soft, cool hand, Quatre stroked Trowa's cheek and pulled back.  He was smiling, but it faltered as a furrow creased his
brow.  Absently, he reached to his chest, pressing his palm over his heart and rubbing through the expensive suit he wore.

"Quatre?"  Trowa asked, worried for his lover.  Quatre didn't respond right away, his eyes having gone somewhere distant.  
Trowa reached out, his hands beginning to tremble with concern as he gripped slim shoulders and gave a soft shake.  "Quatre?"

"Huh?  Oh, it's nothing."  Quatre shook his head, a forced smile curling his lips.

"Don’t lie to me, Quatre.  I can tell."

Long lashes fluttered shut over aquamarine gems, a soft breath escaping those tempting pink lips.  "I'm not eavesdropping.  I
wouldn't do that to them."  He looked to Trowa, worry etched on his features.  "I just got a sense that there's something
wrong.  But I'm blocking myself to it."

The memory of Quatre lying sick in bed sprang to Trowa's mind unbidden.  He didn't want to have to go through that again, to
feel so helpless - useless - while his lover suffered in front of his eyes.  He didn't ever want to see that again, to know there
was nothing he could do while his lover's health deteriorated before him.

This time it was Quatre's turn to bring Trowa out of his thoughts.  He brushed his fingers along Trowa's neck, toying lazily
with the high collar of his turtleneck.  "I'm not sick, Trowa," he reassured, bringing his other hand up to Trowa's cheek, urging
the taller man to turn his way.  "No one is suicidal, Trowa.  There's no bone-deep agony.  Just a sense that something is not
quite right, a vague darkness taunting the edges of their joy.  Even if I were fully open to them, I wouldn't get sick from feeling
it along with them."

Trowa reached up and held Quatre's hand to his cheek.  "Are you sure?"  He turned slightly, pressing a soft kiss to that delicate

Quatre softly smiled.  "I'm certain.  I'm not stressed to the point of exhaustion like I was at Christmas.  You, the Maguanac and
my sisters have effectively put a stop to my workaholic ways.  Between all of you taking away some of my tasks I never even
get to put in thirty hours a week anymore."

Trowa smoothed his hand across Quatre's cheek again.  "You hated all those boring business trips anyway.  And working
yourself to death, even when you were at home simply wasn't good for your health."

"Well, I never had someone waiting for me at home before," Quatre sighed.  "You've given me a reason to leave my work
where it belongs ... at work."


Heero flinched as he snapped fully awake.  He took in a sharp breath, holding a trembling hand across his mouth to stifle any
sound he might make.  Slowly, he eased his chest from beneath Duo's head, though he didn't remember when Duo had gotten
into bed with him.

He was grateful to see that Duo was still asleep.  At least he hadn't woken his lover with this latest nightmare.  More screams.  
More terror that echoed through him even as he lay beside his beautiful Duo.

Letting out his breath slowly, Heero eased himself out of Duo's embrace.  With the utmost care, he managed to get out of bed
without waking Duo or the two children who slept so peacefully.  He looked to the clock and frowned when he saw the time.  
He'd only been asleep half an hour at most.  No wonder he didn't feel rested.  He shook his head.  It didn't really matter.  He
wasn't going back to bed.

He rubbed his eyes as he left the bedroom, padding barefoot down the hall and into his studio.  He was yawning as he picked
up a pencil and began a rough sketch.  Already he knew that he would be hiding this painting, just as he had the countless ones
before it.  No one would ever see these images.  Not even Duo.


Solo blinked his eyes sleepily at the feel of a soft hand shaking his shoulder.  He smiled a little at his new sister.  He couldn't
remember ever being happier before.  Not even when his Mama had been alive.  He'd always wanted a little sister.

He glanced over to Duo, who was sound asleep.  Not wanting to wake him, Solo made sure to keep his voice low as he spoke
to Laurel.  "What's up?"

Laurel wrinkled her nose.  "I'm tired of sleeping.  Slept a lot at the hospital.  Is there anything else we can do without bothering

Solo thought for a moment, furrowing his brow as he gave it serious consideration.  They could play a game.  But he didn't
know what kind of games she liked.  And there was her arm to think about.  It was in a cast, so she probably couldn't do
much.  He didn't want to accidentally hurt her.  Then he'd only get in trouble with his Dads and she might have to go back to
the hospital.

"Well ... I have paper and stuff.  Maybe we can color.  Or there's the TV.  We can watch something.  Dad brought me a
couple movies one of the times he came back from working at the hospital.  Daddy made sure to put them where I could reach
them in case I wanted to watch 'em while he was sick and resting."

"You sure we won't get in trouble?  We're supposed to be napping," Laurel whispered.

"Go on, you two," Duo said in a yawn, his eyes open a mere slit as he slid his hand along Laurel's back.  "The only one getting
in trouble for cutting their nap short is your other dad."  He smiled.  "You two have fun.  I'll get lunch started."  He blinked at
the clock.  "Or maybe I should call it dinner."  He shoved the blankets off himself and all but jumped from the bed.  "Great ...
we have company coming and I oversleep.  Just perfect."

Solo sat up, blinking.  "We have company, Daddy?"  He vaguely noticed that Laurel sat up as well.

Duo stopped where he was rummaging through his dresser for something to wear.  He moved back to the bed and sat on the
edge, a gentle smile fixed on his face.  "Yeah.  Your uncles Quatre and Trowa are stopping by to meet you two.  I was so
excited earlier that I just had to call everyone I'd ever met to tell them what a proud papa I am.  And how happy Heero and I
are to have the two of your in our lives."

Solo found himself blushing, though Laurel was bouncing excitedly beside him.  "Uncles?!" she squealed.  "I got even more

Duo chuckled.  "Well, we're not blood related or anything.  But they're as close to me and your Dad Heero as anyone can get.  
Them and your Uncle Wufei, but he might not get to stop by for a while.  He's doing important work right now so it might be
difficult for him to get away so quickly."

"Oh, okay."  Laurel stopped bouncing.  "So we can go watch TV now?"

"Go ahead.  I'll fix up a snack for you two after I hunt down your Dad."  He ruffled Solo's hair.  "Do me a favor though?  Get
washed up and get dressed.  I don't know for certain when your uncles will get here, but I'd rather you be ready to greet them
when they do."

"Daddy," Laurel said, and then bit her lip briefly.  "Umm ... Nurse Lilia said I couldn't get my cast wet."

"Okay.  I'll help you, if you want," Duo offered.

Laurel smiled brightly.  "Okay, Daddy!"

"Solo, you go ahead and I'll help out your little sister.  Once I'm done with that, I'll go find your Dad and fix that snack for you
guys.  Sound like a good plan?"

Solo nodded briskly.  "Yup!"


Duo smiled as Solo scampered out of the bedroom, probably heading to his own room to find something to get dressed into
once he had washed up.  Then he turned his attention to Laurel.  "Now, to get you cleaned off without getting your cast wet.  
Shouldn't be too hard if I remember a time I'd gotten a broken arm."  He silently added that it had been after the war and he'd
been able to chance walking into a hospital without worrying about being arrested.  "We got some supplies from the hospital.  I
think there was something in there to keep your cast dry while you get cleaned off."  He walked with Laurel to the bathroom
and rummaged through a cabinet he'd shoved everything Nurse Lilia had handed him earlier.  He hadn't really paid much
attention then, or when he'd put it away.

"Ah!"  He pulled out a package.  "Here we are.  One cast protector."  He opened the packaging and pulled out what just looked
like a plastic bag to him. "Now, do you want me to help you, or do you think you can manage washing up alone?"

Laurel seemed to consider it a moment, then she smiled a little shyly.  "You can help me if you want to, Daddy."

Duo smiled warmly as he nodded.  "All right, sweetie.  Now, let's get everything ready.  I know these things are made to be
water-resistant, but I think we'd better not tempt fate."  He quickly helped Laurel undress.  Accusatory words floated in his
mind, but he ignored them.  There was nothing sick about helping Laurel bathe.  She was a child, she was a girl ... but she was
also his daughter.  He would never do anything to hurt her.

He put a small stepstool in the tub and helped Laurel sit down on it.  He was glad that they had a shower with a detachable
head.  It would make this a whole lot easier and it would reduce the risk of Laurel's cast getting wet.

"We'll wash your hair later.  Right now, let's get the rest of you cleaned up."  He soaked a soft sponge with water and poured
some body wash onto it, getting it all soapy.  "You know, I used to bathe like this when I was little," he said as he worked.  
"Not enough water on L-2 back then to submerge myself in a tub of water.  And I had to share it with all the other orphans."

Laurel turned a bit to look at him with wide eyes.  "How didja get clean then?"

Duo lifted Laurel's good arm.  With a melancholy smile he remembered those days and how much he missed them.  "Rarely got
clean."  He rubbed the soapy sponge on her skin.  "I got into a lot of fights because I was teased at school due to my smell."  
He tapped her on her adorable nose.  "I don't want you to follow my example though.  If someone bothers you at school about
anything, you are to go to a teacher.  And if the teacher won't listen, then you come to me or Heero.  Got it?"

Laurel beamed at him.  "Got it, Daddy!"

"That's my girl."  He finished up by rinsing her thoroughly.  When he was done, he got a towel and held it open.  Laurel
practically threw herself in his waiting arms, then laughed and squirmed as Duo dried her off and purposely tickled her in the
process.  This was what he wanted ... little moments with his children.  He couldn't love either of them more if they were his
own flesh and blood.

He turned at the sound of someone knocking softly on the bathroom door.  "Come on in, Solo."  He knew it had to be his son,
since Heero wouldn't be knocking.  He smiled as the boy entered, carrying two small piles of clothes.  "Whatcha got there?"

Solo smiled shyly and handed one pile to Duo.  "I, umm, picked out some clothes for Laurel.  I think she'll look nice in it."

Duo set the clothes on the bathroom counter and shook out the dress.  It looked like a peach-colored jumper over a long-
sleeved shirt with a sparse flowery print, but it was a single piece of clothing.  "I agree."  He was pleased to notice that Solo
had remembered undergarments as well, so he set about the task of helping Laurel into her clothes after removing the cast
protector.  He unbuttoned one sleeve and rolled it up to accommodate her cast.

Laurel was perfectly behaved as Duo helped her, giggling again as Duo tickled her little feet while getting her white tights on.  
Once she was dressed, except for shoes, Duo had to agree with Solo's appraisal.  Laurel was positively adorable.  Peach went
beautifully with her coloring.  "There.  It is a very cute dress."  He played idly with her lightly shaded brown hair.

Laurel giggled and the cast on her arm didn't prevent her from spinning in a dainty circle.  "My mommy bought it for me."  She
nibbled on her bottom lip a little.  "She ... she gave me some hair clips before she left me at the hospital.  Her mommy gave
them to her when she was little."  She smiled a little.  "Wanna see them?  I hid them real good, just like mommy taught me to.  
I didn't want them gettin' taken from me."

Duo nodded.  "I would love to.  We have to let Solo get ready, too.  So why don't I fix your hair for you while he washes up?"

As Laurel nodded, Solo smiled.  "Oh!" Solo announced.  "If you wanted to know, Dad is in Laurel's room.  I peeked in."  His
eyes went far away for a moment.  "He's started drawing on the walls.  It ... it's going to be beautiful."  He smiled at Laurel.  
"You're going to love it as much as I love my room."

"Okay, little lady.  You go on and get those clips and wait for me in Solo’s room while I talk to your Dad."  Duo grinned at his
children.  "And you, my young man; you get in that bathtub."

"Yes, Daddy!" both children chimed nearly at the same time.  Laurel hurried out of the room while Solo set his own bundle of
clothing on the counter.

Duo silently slipped out of the room as Solo was undressing, leaving his son to his task.  He quickly made his way to what
would be Laurel's room and sighed as he reached the open doorway.

There was Heero, just as Solo had said.  He had finished making his sketches along the walls and was standing there with a
paintbrush in hand.  Already, there was paint splattered across his clothing and some smudges on his cheek, so Duo was sure
that Heero had been painting in his studio before coming in here.  Which of course meant that he had been awake a good while,
probably several hours.

"How long did you sleep?"  Duo asked, leaning against the doorframe.

Heero shrugged just before making a broad stroke across the wall with his brush.  "A half hour, maybe more."

Duo raised an eyebrow.  "Uh-huh ... and what did I say about leaving bed before I said you could?"

Heero sighed, but didn't turn his attention away from the mural he was painting.  "I didn't want to disturb you or the kids."  He
motioned to the walls.  "What do you think?"

Duo took a glance around at the sketches.  "Nice, but you're changing the subject.  The whole purpose of napping is so you
could rest."  He shook his head.  "We don't have time to discuss this now.  Quatre and Trowa will be here any moment ... I
called them and invited them over before we went to sleep ... and you're a mess."  Heero looked purely exhausted, and it
worried him a great deal.  "If you aren't up to dinner, I'm sure the guys will understand."

Shaking his head, Heero let out a soft breath.  "No, the kids are looking forward to it and I'd hate to disappoint them.  You did
tell them we'd celebrate.  Besides, if I know Quatre, he'll either have Trowa drive us or hire someone else to do it."

Duo nodded.  "True, but once we get home you're going straight to bed and getting some sleep."  He walked over and placed a
hand on Heero's shoulder, grazing the fingers of his free hand along his lover's cheek.  "You're looking somewhat haggard,
though the paint splatter look is good on you.  If you'd just tell me what's bothering you, maybe that would help ..."

Any further conversation was interrupted by the doorbell.  

Duo sighed.  "That'll be Quatre and Trowa.  You let them in while I help Laurel with her hair."  He started to turn, but held up a
finger as he met Heero's weary eyes.  "Don't think this discussion is over."  He quirked his lips.  "You took care of me, Heero.  
Let me take care of you."  

He turned fully and walked into Solo's room where Laurel was impatiently waiting.  She was nervously holding a small box in
her hands, biting her lip and glancing between it and Duo every few seconds.  He smiled as he approached her, dropping to his
knees so that he could see the hair clips better.  The silver barrettes were old but so well cared for that they were barely
tarnished.  The small flowers on the clips almost matched the flowers on Laurel's dress.

With a  smile, Duo started fixing Laurel's hair.  He picked up Solo's hairbrush from the dresser, thinking it would do well
enough for now.  "You know, I have some jewelry cleaner that I use to keep my cross shiny.  Maybe later, we can use it to
polish these to make them look just like new."  He put them in her hair, smiling as they clicked closed.  "They're so pretty."  He
hugged her gently.  "Almost as pretty as you."

Laurel giggled and returned the hug.  "Thank you, Daddy."  Then she pulled back and bounced a little.  "I heard the doorbell!  
Is that my uncles?"

Duo nodded.  "I bet it is.  Your Dad went to answer the door.  So, why don't we go get your brother and go out to meet
them," he said as he rose to his feet, keeping Solo's hairbrush in his hand.

They found Solo where they had left him, in the bathroom.  He was dressed simply in a pair of jeans and a clean button-down
shirt, though a couple of the top buttons had been left undone.  He looked nervous as he stood there, twisting his fingers in his
loose and rather tangled hair.  It tugged at Duo's heart to see him like this.

"Something wrong?" he asked, kneeling down in front of the boy.  Laurel stayed near the door, biting her bottom lip as she
watched the two of them.

"I-I ... what if they don't like me, Daddy?"

Duo smiled and ran his hand over Solo's head.  Gently, he turned the boy and began running the brush through his hair,
patiently working out the knots.  "They'll adore you and your sister, just like Heero and I do.  You have nothing to worry
about."  He lost himself in nostalgia.  He remembered Sister Helen braiding his hair and giving him the same kind of
reassurances whenever someone had come to adopt him.  He shook himself out of it.  "Quatre likes just about everybody as
long as they have a good heart.  And Trowa ..." He chuckled and shook his head as he parted Solo's hair and began braiding it.  
"Trowa is an excellent judge of character, just like me.  So, as I said, you have nothing to worry about."

He wrapped an elastic around the end of the braid and snuck in a quick tickle.  He smiled when Solo squirmed, a giggle
escaping the nervous little boy.

"There.  Now, come on and meet your uncles.  I'm sure they're excited to meet you."  Remembering how Solo had reacted to
meeting Relena; Duo simply picked his son up and walked towards the living room while Laurel ran on ahead.


Heero had felt slightly uncomfortable about answering the door, not only because he was only wearing a pair of pajama
bottoms and his body was splattered with paint.  He remembered full well how ill Quatre had become in response to Duo's pain
just a little over a month ago.  He had no wish to see the blonde in that position again.  Regardless of his reservations though,
he was there facing Quatre and Trowa while they waited for Duo.

Quatre tilted his head.  "You look like you haven't been sleeping well."  He held up his hands as Heero opened his mouth.  "I'm
speaking from recognition of what I look like after several days of board meetings, not out of any empathic waves."

Heero nodded, accepting that answer.  However, he didn't respond to Quatre's earlier statement.

They all turned their attention to the hallway as Laurel ran out.

Despite his fatigue, Heero had to smile at the exuberance she was emitting.  "Laurel, this is your Uncle Quatre and your Uncle

With all the boldness of the affectionate child that she was, Laurel made a beeline straight to them and hugged Trowa's leg.  "Hi
Uncle Trowa an' Uncle Quatre!"

Quatre chuckled and knelt down to get his own hug.  "Oh, she's adorable, Heero!"

Trowa snorted and gently patted Laurel's head.  "But I seem to remember hearing that you and Duo got a matching set.  
There's only one here."

Duo cleared his throat and walked over with Solo in his arms.  "Solo's a little shy."

Heero bit his lip to keep from chuckling when Solo simply peeked at Quatre and Trowa before hiding his face against Duo
again.  The boy was just too adorably shy for words.

"If you'll excuse me, I'm feeling quite underdressed," Heero commented softly, a moment before he turned and headed to get
some clothes on.


Duo sighed as he watched Heero leave the room.  He was worried terribly about his lover.

"He hasn't been sleeping well, has he?" Quatre asked softly.

"Yeah, something's bugging him but he won't talk about it," Duo admitted.  He smiled then, not wanting to dwell on the bad,
when he had so many good things to celebrate right now.  "So, where are you taking us for dinner?"

To Be Continued...