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

Notes:  Duo finally makes an appearance again.  Enjoy.



Choices of the Heart



Part Eight


Duo yawned, feeling so very tired.  He sat in one of the empty seats of the restaurant’s dining room.  Angelo’s was closed for
the night and Duo was waiting for Howard to pay him.

As he waited, he started picking at the edge of a pizza box that was sitting on the table in front of him.  Someone had made a
prank order . . . but Duo wasn’t about to let a good pizza be wasted. Besides, he hadn’t eaten anything all day, so he’d eat it no
matter what the toppings were.

“Here you go, Duo.”  Howard announced, stepping over to Duo, holding a wad of cash in his hand.

Duo grinned and took the money.  He stood, shoving the cash into one of his pockets, not bothering to count it.  He could
always do that later and he knew that Howard wouldn’t cheat him.

“Thanks.” Duo said, picking up the pizza box.

“You’re really going to eat that?”  Howard asked, gesturing to the box.

Duo smiled.  “Can’t go around wasting food.”  He replied.

Howard nodded.  “You need a ride home?”

“No . . . but hey . . . Do you know where a kid named Quatre Winner lives?”  Duo asked.

“I thought he was your friend.  Shouldn’t you already know where he lives?”  Howard questioned.

Duo shook his head.  “He is my friend . . . but I’ve only known him for less than a day.”  Duo replied, thinking back on how he
had met the blonde, crashing into him in the hallway, on how he had made Quatre giggle during the biology assignment.

Duo was pulled back from his thoughts when Howard started speaking again.  “The Winners live on Cherrywood Avenue.”  He
pulled out a pad and pen, which he always kept in his shirt pocket.  Once he finished writing, he tore the page off and handed it
to Duo.  “We get a lot of orders from there.  I think the father works a good deal of the time.  Before Hilde started working
here, I used to do the deliveries myself.  Those two boys seemed like nice young men.  I hope your friend is okay.”

“Thanks, Howard.”  Duo said, taking the paper.  He turned and walked away, waving back before he walked out the door.  “See
you tomorrow, Boss.”

Only minutes later, Duo stood outside the gates of a large white house.  It wasn’t big enough to be called a mansion, but it was
still a good-sized house.  He glanced down at the paper in his hand, checking to make sure that he had the right address.  He did.

Duo tried to open the gate and frowned when he found that it was locked.  He looked around, his lips curling into a smile at the
sight of a tree right next to one of the stone walls.  He could use that to get in, so he walked over to it.

Duo jumped, grabbing onto the lowest branch that he could reach.  He pulled himself up as much as he could with that one arm,
just enough to slide the pizza box onto the top of the wall.  He grabbed the branch with his other hand and he easily pulled
himself up into the tree.  Then he just stepped from the tree branch and onto the wall.

Grabbing his pizza, he hopped over to the other side of the wall and looked up at the house again.  There was only one window,
he could see, that had a light on inside.  He hoped it was Quatre’s room.  He glanced around again and saw a ladder hidden
behind some bushes.  Well, that would definitely come in handy.


*****


Quatre tossed and turned in his sleep, lost in the midst of a nightmare.  The events that had played out that day, were tormenting
him with memories of his attack.  However, in his nightmares, the events became twisted, distorted with memories of things
that had never actually happened.

The school yard and everything else were gone, replaced by nothing but blackness, a dark void surrounding him completely,
although he could still feel the wall behind him, could feel the pavement beneath his feet.  There was only Alex and Mueller, and
the way that they were hurting him . . . with their words . . . with their actions.

Alex’s hands roughly stroked Quatre’s body, his tongue invading his mouth.  Suddenly, unlike what had actually happened,
Mueller was behind Quatre, whispering hurtful words into his ear, telling him how disgusting he was for enjoying what Alex was
doing to him.  Telling Quatre that he was sick for liking other boys.

Quatre closed his eyes briefly, and when he opened them, his father was standing behind Alex, just watching.  Heero then
appeared beside Father, disgust clear in his features, hatred in his eyes.  Wufei and Meiran were shaking their heads as they
watched, as if they didn’t care what was going on.  And Duo . . . Duo just turned away, leaving him where he was, whimpering
as Alex’s hands continued their torment, sending jabs of pain throughout Quatre’s groin as he roughly stroked Quatre’s length.

Quatre cried out, sitting up in bed rapidly, his heart pounding in his chest as the nightmare slowly faded away from his
thoughts.  Pain shot throughout his body, every wound and bruise feeling as if they were throbbing.  Some things about the
nightmare had to be true, he was sure of it.  Heero was disgusted with him, he still believed that, no matter how nicely Heero
had been treating him these past few hours.  When Duo found out . . . he’d be just as disgusted with Quatre as Heero was.

Tears sprang to Quatre's eyes and he roughly wiped them away, causing himself to wince as the action sent pain throughout his
bruised face.  He reached over and turned on the lamp that was set on his night stand, forced to close his eyes as the brightness
stung like needles.  Once he was able to open his eyes again, he looked at his clock, frowning when he saw what time it was.  It
was a little after one in the morning.  How would he ever get back to sleep now?

“Quatre?  You okay?”  Iria asked, slowly opening the door and stepping into the room, wearing a nightgown and a robe, both of
which were a pale shade of pink.

“It was just a nightmare.”  Quatre mumbled, a whimper escaping his throat as more tears fell from his eyes.

Iria was beside him in an instant.  She sat on the bed, and gently embraced him, her one hand stroking the back of his head,
while the other ran in soothing circles on his back.  Quatre threw his one arm around her, grateful that she was there to hold
him.  After a few moments, Quatre’s tears ceased.

Iria pulled away from him slightly, although her arms never left him.  “Are you okay?”  She asked, concerned.

Quatre nodded.  “I . . . I just had a nightmare, that's all.”  Quatre replied, wiping a hand over his eyes, a little more gently than he
had the last time.  He still winced though, as pain radiated across his face.

“Are you in a lot of pain?”  Iria asked, brushing her fingers through his hair in a tender show of affection.

Quatre nodded again.  To tell the truth, his body felt worse than it had when he had been in the hospital.  He was so sore, his
ribs aching, his face almost throbbing in pain.

Iria reached over and grabbed a pill bottle, which had been sitting beside a half-full glass of water.  “This is your pain
medication.  Just follow the directions on the label.  If you want to take it now, you can . . . but it will make you drowsy.”

“I don't want to go to sleep right now.”  He replied, fearful of that nightmare returning to haunt him once again.

Iria brushed her fingers through his hair, smiling at him slightly as she set the plastic bottle back onto the table once again.  
“Well, when you do want to go back to sleep, take your medication.  It’ll help you sleep.  I don't want you taking another
sleeping pill though.”

“Okay.”  Quatre replied.  “C-Can you get my backpack?  I have homework to do.”

“Quatre, you are in no condition to be going to school tomorrow.  There’s no need to worry about homework right now.”  Iria
replied, her fingers lightly tracing the edge of his face.

“I know, but I want to get it out of the way.  I just need something to do.”  Quatre answered.

“Well, Heero left it in the car earlier, but I know Father brought it in when he got home from work.”  Iria replied, as she stood.  
“I’ll go see if I can find it.”

“Thank you.”  Quatre said, watching as Iria walked out of the room.

Only minutes later, she walked back in, carrying Quatre’s backpack in one hand.  “Here you go.”  She said, placing it on the bed
in front of Quatre.  She yawned, covering her mouth with one hand.

“Why don’t you go back to sleep?  I’ll be fine.”  Quatre smiled slightly, not wanting to deprive his sister of sleep.

Iria smiled in return.  “You sure you’ll be okay if I leave you alone?”

Quatre nodded.  “If I need anything, I’ll come to your room, or Heero’s, or Father’s.  You don’t have to keep a twenty-four-
hour vigil over me.”

Iria leaned over and placed a gentle kiss to Quatre’s forehead.  “Okay, little brother.  You know where to find me if you need
me.”  She replied, slowly turning and leaving.  She paused at the door, as if she were hesitant to leave.  But eventually, she did
walk out, silently closing the door behind herself.

Quatre smiled briefly, grateful that she did care about him.  Then he opened his backpack and pulled out a notebook and his
history text book.  He wasn’t really tired, so there was no point in going to sleep just yet.  Besides, he didn’t want to take the
chance of that nightmare starting up once he fell asleep again.

A gentle rapping drew his attention and he looked over to his window.  He didn’t see anything, but of course it was dark
outside.  His curiosity got the better of him and he carefully climbed out of bed, slowly walking over to the window.  It was
difficult to open it with one hand, but eventually he was able to.

“I thought she’d never leave.”  A voice called out.

Quatre jumped back, surprised and not to mention a little frightened.  Then he saw Duo’s face pop up outside his window, and
sighed a little, out of relief.  However, then he wondered what Duo was doing there.

“Duo?”  He asked, stepping forward again.

“Hey, Quatre.  I just thought I’d stop by and see how you’re doing.”  Duo answered, smiling brightly.  “Mind if I come in?”

“Not at all.  Come in, Duo.”  Quatre nodded, then used his one good arm to help Duo get in.  That’s when he noticed the pizza
box.

“Let’s see, you ordered a pineapple, anchovy pizza with extra jalapenos, right?”  Duo grinned, holding up the pizza with one arm.

“Huh?”  Quatre asked, slightly confused.

“Pizza, my man . . . the only food, besides cheeseburgers with lettuce, that contains all four of the basic food groups.”  He
paused.  “This one was never picked up, so I thought we could share it, if you want to.”

Quatre nodded, realizing for the first time that he was quite hungry.  He hadn’t had any dinner.  He had just gone right to bed
when he had gotten home, well after a shower anyway.  “I’d like that.”

Duo smiled again, then quickly plopped down on the floor, placing the pizza down in front of himself.  Quatre also sat, only
taking it a good deal slower.  Everything hurt as he moved, and he unintentionally groaned, but he eventually was sitting.  He
took a few deep breaths, closing his eyes against the throbbing aches, before he finally opened them again to look at Duo.

Duo looked so concerned, his smile missing from his face.  “Are you okay?”  Duo asked, reaching out a hand and carefully
laying it on one of Quatre's shoulders.

Quatre lowered his head, keeping his gaze focused on the floor, ashamed of his injuries, of what Duo might think of him.  “I’ll
be okay.  I’m just a little sore.”  He answered, meekly.

Duo reached out with his other hand, hooking his fingers under Quatre’s chin and gently tipping his head up, forcing him to
meet his gaze briefly.  Quatre looked away after only a few moments, afraid of what Duo thought of him.  He unintentionally
started shivering, a single tear forcing its way out of one eye and trailing along his cheek.

“They really messed you up, huh?”  Duo whispered, tenderly brushing that tear away with gentle fingers.  He took his hand
away, then stood, leaving Quatre for only a brief moment.  “Here.”  He said quietly, draping a blanket around Quatre’s shoulders.

“Thanks.”  Quatre said, keeping his attention focused on the pizza box.

Duo sat again.  For a moment there was a long silence, but then Duo spoke again.  “I-I heard rumors about what happened to
you.  Some kids came into the pizza place and said you were raped.  If you don't wanna talk about it, I’ll understand.  I just
want you to know that if you ever want to talk, I’ll be there.  Anytime you think you need someone, I’ll be glad to come over
and cheer you up.”  He said, obviously rambling.

Quatre appreciated his kindness, feeling himself foolish for thinking that Duo would hate him for what had happened to him.  He
should have known that Duo wasn’t so petty.  “I . . . I wasn't raped.  Alex and Mueller cornered me, they beat me up.”  Quatre
said, feeling an overwhelming need to explain to Duo.  “Alex . . . he . . . he did try to rape me.  He was groping me and kissing
me.  I’m sure that if Heero and Wufei hadn’t stopped him he would have done more.”  He looked away again, ashamed, his tears
falling more freely now.

Quatre felt a pair of warm arms circle around him, just barely touching him.  Duo was holding him, and he felt glad that his new
friend cared so much about him.  He let himself cry, burying his face against Duo’s shoulder as he let his own arm wrap around
Duo’s body.  Duo whispered soothing words into his ear, repeatedly assuring him that he would be okay, that nothing was his
fault.  His arms remained around Quatre, gently rubbing across his skin, for some reason never once aggravating his injuries.

After a few moments, Quatre was able to pull himself back together again.  “Thanks.”  He whispered as he pulled himself away
from Duo’s calming embrace, glad that Duo was there to comfort him.  It felt good to have someone who wasn’t a family
member hold him like that, hush his fears and stroke his back in a consoling gesture.

“No problem, buddy.  I want you getting better.”  Duo replied, grinning once again.  “Ready to eat?”

Quatre nodded, carefully wiping away the last of his tears.

Duo flipped open the pizza box.  Quatre looked over the toppings with a dubious expression, not sure if he could eat it.  Duo
hadn’t been kidding about the toppings earlier.  There were pineapples, anchovies, and jalapenos.

“Yuck!”  Duo commented, looking down at the pizza.

Quatre picked off an anchovy.  “I tried one of these once.”  Quatre said, just looking at the anchovy.

“Oh?  How was it?”  Duo asked.  He picked off a pineapple piece and quickly popped it into his mouth.  His face immediately
twisted into a grimace since the pineapple probably tasted like anchovy.  “Gross!”

“That was basically what I said when I tried an anchovy.”  Quatre commented, dropping the anchovy back onto the pizza.  
“You know . . . we really can’t eat this.  Even if we pulled everything off, we would STILL taste the anchovies and jalapenos.”

Duo nodded.  “True.”  He said, popping another pineapple into his mouth and making another face at the taste.

“Why are you eating the pineapples if you think they taste gross?”  Quatre asked.

Duo shrugged.  “Don’t know . . . I guess I’m a little hungry.  I didn’t eat lunch today . . . or dinner.”  He replied, looking away.

Quatre frowned.  “That’s not good for you.”  He struggled to stand, groaning as he moved, letting the blanket fall from around
his shoulders.  “Come on.”

“Where are we going?”  Duo asked, rising to his feet.

“To the kitchen.  You should eat something you like, not force yourself to eat something gross like that pizza.”  Quatre
commented.  “But be quiet. I think everyone else is asleep.”

Duo grabbed the pizza box and followed Quatre out of the room.  “Might as well get rid of this while we’re at it.”  Duo
commented.

Quatre nodded, then led Duo out of the room and downstairs.  He stepped quietly, each step he took paining his bruised legs, not
to mention causing the ache in his ribs to increase.  He had to pause halfway downstairs, sweat beading on his skin as he tightly
clutched the railing in his one hand.  Everything hurt.  He closed his eyes against the pain, taking in several deep breaths and
letting them out slowly to try and ease the soreness he felt.

“You okay?”  Duo asked, quietly, his hand lightly landing on Quatre’s back.

“J-just give me a moment.”  Quatre replied, trying to stop the shudder from running throughout his body.

“Yeah, sure.”  Duo replied, just standing there, continuing to run his hand along Quatre’s back, probably in an attempt to be of
some help.

Quatre sighed, feeling as the pain slowly ebbed away.  He loosened his grip on the railing and took a step again, beginning to
walk downstairs once more.  He was startled when he felt Duo touch his arm, not to mention hurt as pain lanced up his arm.  
Duo had, unfortunately, touched the part of Quatre’s arm that he had rubbed raw in the shower.  Quatre hissed in pain,
reflexively pulling away from Duo.

“I’m sorry.”  Duo apologized.  “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”  Then suddenly Duo gasped as he pulled his hand away, staring
down at his fingers as if in shock.

Quatre looked too, and paled at the sight of a dark liquid staining Duo’s hand.  The house was dark, and difficult to see, since
Quatre hadn’t bothered to turn on a light, but Quatre was sure that it was blood, his own blood, that he saw on Duo’s hand.  He
looked down at his own arm, flinching at the sight of blood soaking through the sleeve of his pajamas.  “There’s a first-aid kit in
the kitchen.”  Quatre said.  “Y-you’ll help me right?”

Duo smiled, although Quatre was sure that it was faked.  “Of course I’ll help.  You’re my friend.”  Duo replied.  He wrapped his
arm around Quatre’s waist, moving slowly.

“Thank you.”  Quatre said, allowing Duo to help him down the stairs.  He wasn’t sure if he could have made it all the way on his
own anyway, even after taking that brief rest.  He was tired, not to mention incredibly sore.

Even after they had stepped off the last stair, Duo’s arm remained around his waist, helping him along.  Quatre didn’t mind.  In
fact, the contact was reassuring in a way, making Quatre believe that maybe he wasn’t as disgusting as he thought himself to
be.  Quatre and Duo walked to the kitchen.  Quatre flipped on the light as they stepped into the large room, wincing at the
sudden brightness.

Duo helped him over to one of the kitchen chairs.  “You sit here.  I really don’t think you are in any condition to be walking
around.”

Quatre nodded slightly.  “Okay.  The trash can is over there.”  He said pointing over to the tall, white can that stood beside the
back door.  “And the first-aid kit is under the sink.”

Duo nodded, smiling brightly as he nearly bounced over to the trash can, depositing the pizza into it.  Then he went over to the
sink and retrieved the first-aid kit, hastily returning to Quatre’s side.  He pulled one of the chairs around the table so that he
could sit beside Quatre.

Quatre sighed, wishing he could do more, but he had just barely been able to roll up his sleeve, while Duo was rifling through the
kit.  Even that slight action had left his shoulder aching, and that sling had kept getting in his way, since it left him little room to
maneuver his right arm.

“Here, let me.”  Duo said, gently grasping Quatre’s wrist.  He carefully removed the old bandage, just placing it onto the kitchen
table.  He frowned at the sight of the wound on Quatre’s arm, but didn't say a word about it.

Quatre didn’t like the silence, and felt he had to explain, had to say something.  “I-I did that to myself.”  He whispered, his voice
barely audible.

“What?”  Duo gasped, snapping his head up to look at Quatre, his face showing how shocked he really was.

“I couldn't help myself.  I felt . . . dirty.”  Quatre lowered his head, ashamed of his earlier actions.  What would Duo think of
him now?  A hand brushed through his hair, and Quatre flinched away from the contact, his body beginning to tremble.  “I’m
sorry.”  Quatre whimpered, afraid that Duo would leave him now.  He didn’t want to be alone.

“Quatre, you have nothing to be sorry about.”  Duo said, his tone soothing.  “Those creeps hurt you, did . . . stuff . . . that
made you feel horrible.  It’s actually a common response to feel dirty, or so I’ve heard.  You just have to remember that you
aren’t dirty, and go to someone when you need help . . . talk to someone when you get that feeling again.”

“I know.  Heero basically told me the same thing.”  Quatre replied, nodding slightly.

Duo smiled, once again brushing his hand through Quatre’s hair.  “Then I guess you should listen to us.”  He said.

Quatre looked up.  “I won’t do it again . . . I promise.”  Quatre replied, meaning every word of it, just like he had when he had
promised the same to Heero and Iria.  He would talk to someone if he felt he needed to, at least he hoped he would.

Duo nodded.  “Let’s take care of that wound, okay?”  Duo said, although he didn’t wait for a reply.  He just cleaned the wound,
using some antiseptic and some gauze pads.  Then he applied some antibacterial cream and bandaged it, making sure he didn’t
wrap too tightly or too loose.

“There ya go, buddy.”  Duo smiled, rolling Quatre’s sleeve back down.  He then put everything back in the kit and took the used
gauze and bandages over to the trash, also putting the kit back where he had gotten it since he was already up.

Quatre felt useless.  He didn’t like sitting around with nothing to do.  He stood, although it took some effort to manage it.  He
kept his hand on whatever surface available as he walked, not sure if he could stay standing on his own or not.  Quatre was
starting to feel quite tired.

“I thought I told you to sit down.”  Duo stated, stepping in front of Quatre and blocking his path.

“You don’t know where anything is.”  Quatre replied.  “Besides, I don’t want to feel useless.”

Duo smiled and stepped aside.  “All right.  But I don’t want you doing too much.”

Quatre nodded.  He opened the fridge and looked around, knowing that Duo was standing right behind him, peering over his
shoulder.  “What do you want to eat?”  Quatre asked.

“How about sandwiches?”  Duo replied, reaching past Quatre and grabbing a jar of mayonnaise. “You get the bread and I’ll find
everything else.”

“Okay.”  Quatre agreed, leaving Duo at the fridge and stepping over to the breadbox.  He pulled out a loaf of sliced bread and set
it on the counter.  “How many sandwiches do you want?”  Quatre asked, opening the plastic around the bread with some
amount of difficulty.

“One’ll be enough.”  Duo replied.

“But you said you didn’t eat dinner or lunch . . . you’ve got to be hungry.”  Quatre replied, knowing how hungry he himself was
and he had only missed dinner.

Duo turned and smiled at Quatre, his arms full of lunch meat, condiments, and other items from the fridge.  “Okay, two then.”  
He said, carefully hefting everything onto the counter beside Quatre and the bread.  “Knives . . . where are the knives?”

“Second drawer on your left.”  Quatre said, not even looking in Duo’s direction.  He pulled out six slices of bread, four for Duo
and two for himself.  

“Okay . . . Now, you go and sit.  I can handle the rest of this.”  Duo said, gently pushing Quatre toward the kitchen table.  “I'll
ask if I need to know where anything else is.”

Quatre didn’t reply.  He just silently obeyed.  He sat, making sure he could see Duo from where he was.  “There’s milk in the
fridge if you want something to drink.”  He said.  “The plates are in the cabinet right above you, and the glasses are in the one
directly to the left of that one.”

“Gotcha.”  Duo said, reaching up to those cabinets and pulling out two plates and two glasses.  Then he went back to making
the sandwiches.  “You want mayo or mustard on yours?”  

“Both.”  Quatre replied.  

“Turkey good for you?”  Duo asked.

Quatre nodded.  “Yup.  Oh, and American cheese if you got it.”

“Got it.”  Duo said.  “Just be a minute.”  

Duo finished making the sandwiches quickly, then brought the plates over to the table, setting Quatre’s down in front of him.  
Quatre looked down at his sandwich, noticing the lettuce and tomato.  Good, it was just how Quatre liked it.

Duo walked back over to the counter, and returned everything to the fridge or putting the used knives into the sink.  Once he
was done there, he returned to the table and sat, sliding a glass of milk over to Quatre, while he took a sip from his own glass.

Quatre picked up his sandwich.  He lifted it, only to have almost half of the insides fall out onto the plate.  Quatre sighed, setting
the rest of it down.

“Need some help?”  Duo asked.

Quatre sighed again, then nodded.  “Yeah, I just can’t seem to get a good grip on it.  If I could use my other hand, I’d be fine.”

“Don’t worry about it.”  Duo said, putting Quatre’s sandwich back together.  “I’ll just help you get a better handle on it so you
can feed yourself.  Okay?”

Quatre nodded, grateful that Duo was being so nice.  “Thank you.”

Duo carefully took hold Quatre’s hand with one of his own, then picked up the sandwich with the other.  He moved Quatre’s
fingers around, making sure that he had a good grip on it, also making sure that all the insides wouldn’t fall out as soon as
Quatre took a bite.  “There ya go.”  Duo said, smiling brightly as he picked up his own sandwich again.

“Thanks.”  Quatre replied.  Then he lifted the sandwich again, this time able to take a bite out of it.  He watched Duo as he ate,
just glad that his friend was there.  

However, he had to put the sandwich down before he had finished it, unable to take another bite.  Oddly enough, he just wasn’t
that hungry, despite the fact that he hadn’t eaten dinner.  He set the sandwich down, and reached out for his glass of milk, lifting
the glass and taking a long drink of the cool liquid.

Meanwhile, Duo was munching away at his food, already working on his second sandwich, smiling at Quatre around
mouthfuls.  After he took one particular bite, Quatre snickered, almost spitting out his drink.  He swallowed the milk and smiled,
noticing a dollop of mayonnaise on the tip of Duo’s nose.  His smile only grew as Duo looked at him with a bewildered
expression.  But all too soon, the smile began to hurt his split lips and he winced, covering his mouth with his hand as he
whimpered.

“You okay?”  Duo asked, dropping his sandwich to the plate.

“Yeah.  I guess I shouldn’t smile that much with these cuts.”  Quatre replied.  Then he grinned, noticing that the mayo was still
there.

“What did you find so funny?”  Duo asked.

Quatre snickered again.  “You have mayonnaise on your nose.”  He said, a slight, and unpainful, grin tugging at his lips.

Duo crossed his eyes, looking down his nose.  He reached up and wiped the mayo off, then gave Quatre a huge grin.  “I’m
happy I made you laugh . . . although I wish it hadn’t hurt ya.”

Before Quatre could reply, a voice from behind him startled him, hissing out in a venomous tone.  “Who the hell are you?”  
Quatre realized with a good deal of fear that it was Heero’s voice he had heard.

Heero, dressed only in his navy blue pajamas, stalked past Quatre, and grabbed Duo by the collar, yanking him out of his seat.  
“Hey, man . . .”  Duo replied, trying to pry Heero’s hands away from him, without having any success.  “I was just visiting my
friend.”

Quatre stood, knowing that he couldn’t let this continue.  As Heero drew his arm back, probably getting ready to deliver a
punch, Quatre grabbed his arm.  “Please, stop this, Heero.”  Quatre whispered, not wanting to awaken the entire household.

Heero turned, his eyes wide as if this was the first time he had noticed Quatre’s presence in the room.  “What are you doing
down here?  You should be in bed.”  Heero said, his hand still bunched up in Duo’s collar.

“I had a nightmare and woke up.  Iria talked to me for a bit then left.  I was doing my homework and Duo stopped by for a
visit.  We got hungry and came down for something to eat.”  Quatre replied, summarizing the events of the night.  “Now, will
you please let go of my guest?”

Heero looked back at Duo, then released his grip on Duo’s clothes.  Duo straightened out his garments, smiling slightly in Quatre’
s direction.  Then he returned his attention to Heero.  “I know you want to protect him, but do you really think someone out to
hurt him would make him a sandwich and converse with him in his own kitchen?”

Heero just glared at Duo, not bothering to answer.  

After a few moments of silence, Quatre yawned, unable to stifle it.  Apparently, Heero saw the yawn, and he commented.  “You
really should be in bed, Quatre.”

“Yeah . . . I do want you to get better, buddy.”  Duo grinned.  “And don’t worry about school assignments . . . I’ll be happy to
get them for you.”

“Thank you, Duo.”  Quatre replied.

“I’ll escort your . . . friend . . . out.”  Heero said, keeping his gaze focused on Duo.  “Then I’ll clean up in here.”

“Okay, Heero.”  Quatre nodded.  He smiled slightly at Duo.  “Thank you for visiting me, Duo.  It was very nice of you.”

“See ya tomorrow, Quatre.”  Duo replied.

Quatre turned, and slowly walked out of the room.  He carefully walked up the stairs, pausing and turning for a moment to
watch as Heero escorted Duo out of the house.  Then he continued on his way to his room.  However, he paused at his door,
for some reason unable to bring himself to go in.

He would be alone again if he went in there.  And if he went to sleep, then that nightmare might come back.  He started
shivering, a sickening feeling beginning to spread throughout his stomach.  Quatre just didn’t think he could go in there and face
being alone.

Quatre turned away from his room, then walked a few more yards down the hallway.  He paused outside a door, hesitantly
reaching out and turning the knob to his father’s bedroom door.  He was unsure of himself, thinking that perhaps this was a
mistake to attempt.  But Quatre just didn’t want to be alone.  Besides, he didn’t want to impose on Heero anymore, and Iria
needed sleep and shouldn’t have to worry about him.

Quatre slowly opened the door, and stepped into the dark room.  He closed the door behind himself and just stood there for a
moment, letting his eyes adjust to the darkness that surrounded him.  Soon, he could make out the furnishings in Father’s room,
the outlines of various things, including the bed.

Swallowing the lump that had formed in his throat, Quatre started walking again, shuffling his feet as he approached his father’s
bed.  He felt foolish about doing this, but didn’t want to be alone.  He climbed into the bed, burrowing himself under the covers
and he curled closer to his father’s body, shivering out of fear of his father’s reaction.  Quatre hadn’t done this in years, not
since his own mother had died and he felt the need for comfort.

“Quatre?”  Father’s deep voice whispered, his warm breath brushing across Quatre’s head.

Quatre shuddered, sniffling as he thought that his father would ask him to leave.  “I’m sorry . . . I just didn’t want to be alone.  
I-I’ll go if you want me to.”  He whimpered, beginning to maneuver his body away from his father’s.

Father curled his arms around Quatre, holding gently while keeping Quatre from getting too far away.  “I wouldn’t ask you to
leave.  I should have realized how afraid you’d be.”  Father replied, raising one hand to brush across Quatre’s bruised cheek in a
featherlike touch.  “Now, go to sleep.”  He said, gently.

Quatre didn’t reply, he just lay his head against his father’s chest, allowing himself to quickly slip into unconsciousness.  He had
been very tired, and now everything was catching up with him.  He just hoped that his father’s presence would keep that
horrible nightmare at bay.



To Be Continued . . .