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

Notes:  Duo and Heero talk.  Then Duo goes home.  That’s basically it.  Enjoy.



Choices of the Heart



Part Nine


Duo sighed as he was escorted out of the house by Quatre’s stepbrother, Heero.  He was worried about Quatre, having seen for
himself how hurt and scared the blonde was.  And the thought that Quatre had hurt himself by causing that wound on his arm
was quite unnerving.  Duo wanted to pound Alex and Mueller for ever hurting someone as sweet and kind as Quatre.

“Quatre said that you saved him.”  Duo commented, just trying to get rid of the silence that had fallen between the two of them.

“Yeah . . . I guess,” was Heero’s quiet reply.

Duo stopped walking, standing on the steps just outside the front door.  Then he turned to face Heero.  “It’s obvious that you
need to talk to someone . . . Why not talk to me?”

Heero glared at him.  “I don’t know you.  Why should I tell you anything?”

Duo grinned.  “It’s better than keeping everything all bottled up inside.”  Duo paused, seeing that Heero was still glaring at him.  
“Look, I know that you want to help Quatre.  But if you’re distracted by your own problems, then you won’t be of any help to
him.  You may only make things worse if you suddenly snap for no apparent reason because your problems get to be too much
for you to handle.”

“Why do you care?”  Heero asked.

“Quatre is my friend and I’ll do anything it takes to see him healthy again.  He’s emotionally fragile . . . I’d prefer to see him
smiling and happy rather than broken down crying or shivering out of fear of how someone will react to something he says.”  
Duo answered, his smile having disappeared from his face.  “I’ve lost enough friends . . . too many.  If Quatre doesn’t get
better then I’ll lose him too.  If not by death then because his spirit was destroyed.  It would be a terrible shame to lose someone
as kind as Quatre.  He deserves to be happy again.”

Heero nodded.  “Is that why you broke in?”

Duo smiled again.  “I didn’t exactly break in.  I just hopped over your wall and climbed up to Quatre’s window.  He let me in.  
But yes . . . I did visit to see how hurt he was.  And I was heartbroken to see how scared he is.  He’s nothing like the giggling
young man I met this morning.”

“You met him this morning?”  Heero asked, sounding surprised.  “You mean to tell me that you’ve only known him a day and
you’re this concerned about him?”

“Yeah . . .”  Duo smiled.  “You’re got to admit, he does leave a lasting impression.  He’s a great guy.”

Heero nodded.  “Yeah . . . he is.”  He replied, bowing his head.

Duo grew concerned.  He laid a hand on Heero’s shoulder.  “You sure you don’t want to talk about your problems?”  He asked.

Heero sighed, raising his gaze to stare deep into Duo’s eyes, as if looking for deceit.  “I guess.  If I don’t, then Quatre will only
suffer for it.  But I’m only doing this for him.  I don’t consider you a friend.  And if you ever breathe a word of this to anyone,
I will make your life a living hell.”  He glared, his intense gaze portraying just how serious he was.

“I understand completely.”  Duo replied.  He sat on the front steps, motioning for Heero to do the same.

Heero sat, but for a few moments stayed silent.  It was obvious that he wasn’t exactly sure what to say, or how to start this
conversation.  However, he did talk eventually.  “It’s my fault.”  Heero whispered.

Duo shook his head.  “I don’t believe that.”  Duo replied.

“But it’s true.”  Heero insisted.  “If I hadn’t been a jerk about him making us late for school, we all would have been walking
home together.”

“You’re not the only one who can blame himself.”  Duo said.  “I could just as easily do the same.”

“What do you mean?”  Heero asked.

“Well, I had a little run in with Alex and Mueller at lunch today.  If they stuck around somewhere, then they probably saw
Quatre joining me for lunch.  For all I know, this was all just some way for them to get back at me for making them look like
fools.”  Duo said.  “But I don’t blame myself, not when I know that it won’t do any good.  It’s not like I can go back and
change things . . . and neither can you.”

“I know . . . Meiran basically told me the same thing earlier.  I just can’t help but think I could have done more.  I stopped the .
. . the rape . . . but he was still hurt.  I just feel helpless.”  Heero replied.

“I understand.”  Duo said, laying his hand against Heero’s back.  “But I assure you that you are helping him.  Just be there for
him, let him cry on your shoulder, comfort him, but don’t let him get too dependent on.  Don’t let him lock himself away from
the world.  Let him do some things on his own.  The last thing he needs is to be smothered by you with your worry or fears.  
Don’t pamper him . . . Just help him get back to his normal self.”

Heero nodded.  “Okay . . . I’ll do that.”  He replied, rising to his feet.

Duo also stood, yawning.  “I guess I’d better get going.  We do have school in the morning.”

“Yes.”  Heero replied.  “And the next time you visit . . . ring the doorbell.”  He led Duo over to the gate and opened it for him.

Duo chuckled.  “Sure thing, Heero.”  He waved before turning and leaving, heading once again for home.


*****


As soon as Duo stepped into the house, he knew that he was in trouble.  Both Catherine and Trowa were sitting on the couch,
staring at him.

“What’s up?”  Duo asked, smiling as he closed the front door.

“Where have you been?”  Catherine asked, standing.  She walked over to him and grabbed his arm.

Duo flinched and pulled away, the rough contact bringing memories to his mind.  He stepped back, inadvertently starting to
shiver.  “I-I’m sorry.”  He whispered reflexively, bowing his head as he backed himself against a wall.  Flashbacks fluttered
through his mind . . . the beatings . . . the way he had lived in fear of his life.

“Oh, Duo . . . no, I’m so sorry.”  Catherine said, stepping forward and wrapping her arms around Duo’s body.  “I should have
remembered to keep my temper under control.”

Duo returned the embrace.  “You were waiting up for me?”  Duo asked, changing the subject.

“Yeah.”  Trowa said, rising from his seat and stepping over.  “You are pretty late tonight.”

“I know . . . I guess I should have called, huh?”  Duo sighed, pulling himself away from Catherine’s warm embrace.  “I just had
to visit a sick friend.”

“Who?”  Catherine asked.  “And at this late hour?”

Duo turned to Trowa.  “You remember Quatre . . . the blonde that joined us for lunch today?”

“Yeah.”  Trowa nodded.  “He seemed nice.  Did something happen to him?”

“Alex and Mueller . . . they beat him . . . tried to rape him.”  Duo said, his memories returning to how hurt and frightened Quatre
was.

Trowa visibly paled.  He stumbled back and collapsed bonelessly into a nearby chair.  “Oh, God . . .”  He gasped.

Catherine laid a hand on Duo’s shoulder, gaining his attention.  “Is he okay?”  She asked.

Duo shook his head.  “No . . . I don’t think so.  He’s a mess . . . beaten and bruised . . . And he’s so scared.”  He took in a deep
breath.  “I’m gonna call Howard tomorrow, tell him I can’t come in.  I’m going to visit Quatre again.  Maybe I’ll be of some
help.”

“I’m sure you will.”  Catherine reassured him.

Duo smiled, then looked at Trowa.  He grew concerned, noticing that Trowa didn’t look all that well.  “Tro?  You okay?”  Duo
asked, quickly stepping past Catherine to kneel before his ill friend.

“I just can’t believe it.”  Trowa muttered, short of breath.  “I mean, I knew Alex and Mueller were jerks, but I never thought
that they would try to rape someone . . .”  He trailed off, apparently unable to continue.

“Trowa, just calm down.”  Duo said, worrying for his friend’s health.

Trowa nodded, forcing himself to take a few deep breaths.  After a moment, he spoke again.  “I-I’m tired.  Can we just go to
sleep now?”  Trowa asked, closing his eyes briefly.

Duo feigned a smile.  “Yeah . . . we do have school in the morning.”  Duo said, helping Trowa up.  To be honest, Duo was
exhausted.  But he wanted to be sure that Trowa was comfortable before he went to sleep himself.

He wrapped an arm around Trowa’s waist, helping him to walk to his room.  Catherine followed behind them, switching off the
lights as they left the living room.  “Goodnight, guys.”  She said, before slipping into her own room, leaving the hall light on for
Duo.

“Goodnight.”  Both Duo and Trowa replied.

As they stepped into Trowa’s bedroom, Duo flicked on the light, then helped Trowa further into the room.  Trowa flopped
down on his bed, just sitting there slightly hunched over.

Duo was concerned.  “Trowa?”  He asked, watching as a single tear fell from Trowa’s eye.

“They were harassing me today.  What if they had gone after me instead of Quatre?”  Trowa sniffled, never once looking up.  
“Maybe that blonde wouldn’t have been hurt.  It wouldn’t have mattered it if was me . . .”

Duo knelt down and roughly grasped Trowa’s cheeks, cupping his face in his hands.  “Don’t you dare start talking like that!”  
Duo seethed, hoping to stop Trowa from wondering about things like that.  “Yes, it’s a shame that Quatre got hurt . . . a terrible
shame.  But it would be just as bad if it had been you.  God, Trowa . . . you’re my best friend.”

“You really care, huh?”  Trowa asked, a hint of a smile on his face.

“Of course.”  Duo replied, smiling in return as he took his hands away from Trowa’s face, brushing those bangs back so that he
could catch a glimpse of both of Trowa’s eyes for a brief moment.  “Now, let’s get you ready for bed.”

Trowa nodded.  “Okay.”  He said, grabbing the hem of his shirt.  However, he only got it halfway off before he dropped his
hands, sighing tiredly.

“Need some help, buddy?”  Duo asked.

“Yeah . . . I’m just tired I guess.”  Trowa replied.

Duo shook his head, reaching down to untie Trowa’s shoes.  “You know, you really shouldn't have waited up for me.”  He
slipped Trowa’s shoes off, then pulled off his socks.

“I couldn’t go to sleep when I didn’t know where you were.”  Trowa said.  “We were just about ready to start driving around
looking for you.”

Duo stood.  “Sorry . . . I know I should have called.”  He said, grabbing Trowa’s shirt.

Trowa lifted his arms, making it easier for Duo to pull the shirt off.  He waited until Duo had pulled it from him, before he
spoke.  “It’s okay.  You’re home now, and that’s all that matters.”

Duo tossed the shirt aside, smiling at his friend.  He unfastened Trowa’s jeans, pulling down the zipper.  Duo cleared his throat,
always finding this part difficult to do when he had to help Trowa undress.  It wasn’t that he was nervous . . . no, he had seen
Trowa in less than just his boxers, like during those rough spells when Trowa had been too weak to even go to the bathroom on
his own.  He just wanted to offer Trowa some amount of modesty and this was his way of letting Trowa know what he was
about to do.  He waited while Trowa raised his hands to grip the waistband of his boxers.  Then he pulled Trowa’s jeans down
to his ankles.

Trowa sat on the bed.  Duo lifted his legs, swinging them over onto the bed as he removed the jeans completely.  Trowa laid
back, his upper body propped up slightly by the pillows behind him.  Duo smiled, pulling the blankets over Trowa’s body,
noticing that his friend’s eyes were almost completely closed already.

“Sleep well, Trowa.”  Duo said, turning and walking over to the door.

Just as he switched off the light, Duo heard a mumbled, “Goodnight.”

Duo smiled, silently closing the door behind himself.  He walked to his own room, turning off the hall light as he walked.  He
yawned as he closed his own door behind himself, stumbling over to his bed.  He just let himself fall, collapsing in a boneless
heap.  He was asleep before his head had even hit the pillow, letting his exhaustion claim his consciousness as he quickly fell into
a deep slumber.



To Be Continued . . .