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

Notes:  Heero is anxious to get home and check on Quatre’s welfare.  Duo is rushing to see his new friend.  And Quatre is still
locked in his own room.



Choices of the Heart



Part Eleven


Heero sighed as he stepped out of the school, his last class of the day having just ended only minutes ago.  After a quick trip to
his locker, he was ready to go home, wanting to get there as quickly as he could so that he could check on Quatre.

He looked around, searching out a particular person, Duo.  Then he saw him, standing by another set of doors, obviously
waiting for someone to come out.  Heero wove his way through the crowd and over to the long-haired young man, wanting to
speak with him.  “Duo?”  Heero called out.

Duo spun and smiled, waving when he saw that it was Heero that had spoken to him.  “Hey, Heero.”  Duo replied, crossing the
remainder of the distance between them.

“You got Quatre’s assignments, right?”  Heero asked, getting to the point as quickly as he could.

Duo raised his backpack, patting it with his other hand.  “Yup, it’s right here.”  He smiled.  “As soon as I take a friend home, I’ll
be over to your place to give them to Quatre.”

Heero nodded accepting that answer.  “Fine.  I will see you later then.”  He turned and left.  He stopped mid-step and turned
back to Duo.  “Thank you for earlier . . . for knocking out that jerk.”

Duo smiled.  “No problem.  Quatre isn’t here to protect his own reputation, so I guess his friends have to do it for him.  I was
only glad to see to it that a jerk like that doesn’t get away with trashing a nice guy like Quatre.”  He took a breath.  “You best get
going.  I’m sure Quatre would like some company by now . . . especially after being in that huge house by himself all day.”

“He wasn’t by himself.  His sister, Iria wouldn’t have left him alone.”  Heero replied.  “But I will leave . . . I want to see how
Quatre is doing anyway.”

“Knew you would.”  Duo grinned.

Heero didn’t reply to that.  Instead he just turned and left, shaking his head as he walked away from Quatre’s new friend.  He
didn’t get too far however, as he was called out to before he could leave the school grounds.  He turned, watching as Meiran
and Wufei crossed the courtyard to stand in front of him.  He sighed, although he had known that he wouldn’t get through the
day without having to talk to them.

“How is he?”  Meiran asked, her face showing nothing but concern.

Heero sighed, lowering his head for a brief moment.  “Hurt, scared, but otherwise he is fine.”  Heero replied, his voice barely
above a whisper.  

A firm hand settled on his shoulder and Heero looked up only to see Wufei smirking slightly at him.  “I am sure that he will
recover.”  The Chinese youth said.

Heero nodded.  “Yes, many people have assured me of that within the past day.”

“Then you should believe us.”  Meiran said, a false smile on her face.  “He will get better . . . you’ll see.”

“Do you need anything from us?  Does Quatre?”  Wufei asked.  “We’ll do anything to help.”

“Yes, we will.  Anything at all . . . errands, sitting with him after school . . . anything at all just ask and we’ll do it.”  Meiran
added.

“A friend of Quatre’s is handling his assignments.”  Heero replied, but upon seeing the seriousness of his friends’ faces, he
added.  “But I am sure that Quatre would appreciate you visiting him to wish him well.  He should be around friends now.  I am
on my way home.  Perhaps you would care to join me?”

Wufei and Meiran both nodded eagerly.  “Yes, thank you, Heero.”  Meiran said.

The three of them then walked to the edge of sidewalk and got into the car that had been waiting for Heero.  Although Heero
usually walked home, Mr. Winner had insisted that he get a ride, that was why Terri, a maid in their house, was giving Heero a
ride.  Terri was happy to do it though, since she was fond of the family she worked for.  She didn’t like seeing Quatre hurt, and
would rather take time out of her schedule to drop off and pick up Heero from school if it meant making sure that he wouldn’t
get hurt as well.    

A short time later, Heero and the others walked into Heero’s home.  Heero frowned immediately, knowing that something was
wrong, since he could hear Iria calling out Quatre’s name.  He dropped his backpack and ran up the stairs, sure that Meiran and
Wufei were following behind him.  He stopped short as he was met by a stranger . . . a huge man wearing a fez.

“What’s going on here?”  Heero demanded.  “Who are you?”

The man bowed slightly. “I am Rasid Kurama.”  He said.  

“Father hired him as a bodyguard until the two jerks that attacked Quatre are caught.”  Iria said, stepping over beside Rasid.  

Heero nodded, then frowned.  “Where’s Quatre?”  He asked.

Iria sighed.  “He’s locked himself in his room.  When he saw Rasid, he panicked.  It’s been hours, but he won’t come out.”

“Let me try.”  Heero said, quickly stepping past both Rasid and Iria to get to Quatre’s bedroom door.  He knocked sharply.  
“Quatre?  It’s me, Heero.  Open the door.”  Heero said, trying to keep his tone calm.  Inside though he was panicking . . . it was
wrong for Quatre to be so frightened.

“G-go away.”  Quatre said, his voice muffled slightly by the door.  “Just leave me alone.”

“Quatre, please come out.  Wufei and Meiran are here.  They came to visit you.”  Heero said, not sure he knew what he was
doing.

“I don’t want to see them . . . please just leave me alone.”  Quatre replied, still not opening the door.

“Perhaps it would be best to just do as he wishes for the time being.”  Rasid announced.  “If he does not want to come out, then
he will not open the door.  And I think it would be unwise to force him out if he is already as frightened as he is.”

“Rasid’s right.”  Iria said.  “We can’t force him.”  She turned to the door, raising her voice slightly.  “Quatre, we’ll be
downstairs if you need us.”  She said.  Then she sighed, turning and walking down the stairs.  Rasid followed her.

Heero sighed, shaking his head.  He didn’t like this.  It still seemed so wrong in his mind for Quatre to lock himself away.  He
hoped something would be able to get him to come out of hiding.  


*****


Duo walked alongside Trowa, worry present in his mind.  He was worried about Quatre, worried about Trowa . . . just plain
worried.  He didn’t like seeing people in pain, but they were all around him.  He didn’t even notice that he had stepped into the
house, until something was thrust into his arms.  

He blinked, looking down and seeing a cookie tin in his hands.  “What’s this?”  Duo asked, looking up at Catherine who stood in
front of him.

“Brownies . . . I baked them . . . for your friend.”  Catherine said, offering a kind smile.  “I just wanted to be of some help.”

“Thanks.  I’m sure he’ll love them.  You make the best brownies.”  Duo replied, trying to pry the tin open.

Catherine slapped his fingers.  “Now, those are for Quatre.  If he wants to share with you then you can have one.”

Duo nodded.  “Okay, okay.”  He turned, slapping Trowa on the back, worriedly noticing how pale his friend was.  “See you two
later.”  He said, dropping Trowa’s backpack by the sofa and shouldering his own, carrying the tin out under one arm.

As he walked to Quatre’s home, he couldn’t help but worry about Trowa.  Trowa hadn’t looked all that well . . . in fact, his
health had been getting worse and worse lately.  Duo was unsure if Trowa was doing okay or not.  He brushed aside the
thoughts as he saw Quatre’s home in the distance, forcing himself to put on a cheerful mask if only to make Quatre more at
ease.


*****


Heero heard the doorbell ring, but stayed in his seat in the living room.  Rasid was the one to go answer the door.  Whoever it
was, Heero wished they would go away.  He was just overwhelmed with worry for his stepbrother, unsure of what he should
be doing.  He just hated waiting around.  Wufei and Meiran were sitting on a sofa beside each other, talking quietly.  Iria was
staring out of the window, as if there was something out there of interest.

Heero tapped his foot impatiently, wishing there was something he could do.  Quatre was frightened, had locked himself in his
room, and Heero didn’t know what to do.  It was just infuriating to have to wait around like this.

A familiar voice rang through the house and Heero shot out of his seat, hoping that he was right about the owner of that voice.  
As he approached the front door, he sighed in relief, seeing Duo standing there.  He listened from a distance as Rasid and Duo
spoke to each other, frowning slightly.

“How many times must I tell you that he is NOT receiving visitors?”  Rasid said, his tone annoyed.  “Now . . . will you leave
peacefully or do I call a squad car?”

Heero shook his head.  “What’s going on?”  He asked as he stepped closer to the door.

“Hey, Heero!  Will you tell this guy that I can come in?”  Duo asked, glaring at Rasid.

Heero smirked.  “Ah . . . Rasid . . . This is Duo.  He’s okay.  As a matter of fact, I’m glad you’re here.  Rasid scared Quatre
and now he’s locked himself in his room.”

Duo chuckled lightly.  “Gee . . . I wonder how THAT happened?”  He said sarcastically.

Heero reached out and grabbed Duo’s wrist, pulling him into the house.  “You seem to be able to keep Quatre calm, can you get
him out of there?”  Heero asked, pulling Duo up the stairs to stand in front of Quatre’s door.

“I’ll see what I can do.  But if he’s too scared, there probably won’t be anything I can do.”  Duo replied.

Heero nodded.  “I understand.  Just try.”  He said, then turned and walked away.  “I’ll let you two be alone.”  He muttered as he
walked downstairs.


*****


Duo watched as Heero walked away.  Then he turned his attention to Quatre’s door.  He knocked lightly.  “Hey, Quatre . . . it’s
me.”  Duo said.

“D-Duo?”  Came the timid reply from the other side of the closed door.  

“Yeah, buddy.  And I got a present for you.”  Duo said, forcing a smile on his face.  “But you’re going to have to open the door
if you want it.”

“I don’t know, Duo.  I-I’m scared.”  Quatre said.  Duo could hear the tremors in his friend’s voice, and worried for him.

“Hey, I could always go around and climb in your window like I did last night.  But I’m gonna respect your privacy.  If you don’
t trust me enough to open the door, I’ll understand.  I can go back home.”  Duo said.

“No!  Please, please don’t leave, Duo.”  Quatre pleaded.  “I’ll open the door.”  

A moment later, Duo heard the click as the door was unlocked from the other side.  Then slowly, the door was pulled open.  
Quatre peered out through the barely opened door, obviously to make sure it was Duo and that he was alone before he opened
the door further.  With trembling and insistent fingers, Quatre reached out and pulled Duo into the room, hastily closing and
locking the door behind him.

Duo sighed, then turned to look at his friend.  Quatre looked positively terrified.  His pale body was shivering, dried tear stains
marring his bruised cheeks.  Duo slowly reached out, pulling Quatre into a gentle hug as he soothed him with quiet murmurs that
everything would be okay.  Quatre reacted by clutching at Duo’s body tightly, nodding against him in reply to his kind words.

When Duo pulled away, Quatre was crying again.  Smiling, he reached out, gently brushing his fingers along Quatre’s face,
wiping aside the tears.  “Quatre . . . I got something for you.”  Duo said, keeping a kind smile on his face.

“Really?  For me?”  Quatre asked, watching Duo intently.

Duo smiled and pulled off his backpack.  He knelt and opened the bag, reaching in and pulling out the tin of brownies that
Catherine had made.  He didn’t remember exactly when he had put it in there, probably sometime when he had been walking to
Quatre’s house.  “One of my roommates made these, when she heard you got hurt.”  Duo said, holding the tin out to Quatre.

Quatre’s demeanor visibly brightened, watching as Duo pried the lid off of the tin for him.  “I love brownies!”  Quatre
exclaimed, reaching in and taking one.  He ate it quickly, making a move to reach for another.

Duo pulled the tin back away from Quatre’s hand.  “Quatre, just how long have you been in here?”  Duo asked.

“Um, almost all day.”  He said, lowering his gaze out of shame.

“And you haven’t eaten anything, right?”  Duo asked, closing the lid of the tin.

“No . . . nothing.”  Quatre admitted.

Duo shook his head.  “Now, Quatre . . . you know that isn’t good for your health.”  He set his hand on Quatre’s shoulder.  
“Why don’t we go downstairs and get you some dinner?  Then you can have more of these brownies, or share them with the
people downstairs who are all worried sick about you.”

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to worry anyone.  But when I saw that man . . . he’s just so huge . . . I didn’t know what to do and I
ran.  I’m sorry.”  Quatre sniffled, wiping a hand over his face.

Duo pulled Quatre into another hug, holding him gently.  “It’s okay, Quatre.  It’s understandable for you to be frightened.  Hell,
that guy scared me too.”  Duo chuckled.  “But you can’t keep yourself locked up here forever.”

“I know.”  Quatre sighed.

“If you want, I can stay for dinner.  Will that help?”  Duo asked.

Quatre pulled back.  “Will you . . . really?”  He asked, his expression hopeful.

Duo smiled.  “Of course.  Anything to help you, buddy.”  He looked down at Quatre’s clothes, or lack thereof.  “But first, I
think you should change into something else.”

Quatre looked down at himself, blushing.  He was only wearing his pajamas, probably had been all day.  “Yes, I think you’re
right.  B-but I can’t really manage it on my own.  Heero helped me last night.”  Quatre said sadly.

“I’ll help if you want.”  Duo offered.

Quatre looked at him, smiling ever so slightly.  “Yes, I would appreciate that.”  He said.

Duo smiled, and nodded.  “Okay, let’s get you dressed.”  

Quatre walked over to his dresser, opening a drawer and pulling out a plain pair of gray sweat pants.  He opened another drawer
and pulled out a white T-shirt.  Duo took both garments from Quatre, setting them on the top of the dresser, along with the tin
of brownies that he had in his own hands.

Duo knelt down, gently tugging Quatre’s pajama bottoms down with him.  He helped Quatre to step out of the garment, then
reached up and grabbed the sweat pants.  Without saying a word, he helped Quatre put them on, pulling them up for him.  When
he looked at Quatre’s face, he saw that the young man was blushing, his eyes looking away.

“Are you embarrassed?”  Duo asked, smirking.

Quatre’s blush deepened.  “I’m sorry . . . It’s just that no one but Heero or my other family members have ever seen me
without clothes.”  Quatre whispered.

“Quatre, you weren’t exactly in the nude.  You did still have your boxers and top on.”  Duo pointed out.

“I know, but still . . .”  he trailed off.

Duo chuckled.  “No need to explain, I understand.”  Duo said, rising to his feet.  “Let’s get that top off.”

Quatre nodded.  Duo removed the sling, moving carefully and cautiously as he removed the beaten blonde’s top.  He fought to
keep the frown from his face as he saw the multitude of bruises, biting his lip as he wished for Alex and Mueller to get what
they deserved . . . a good beating.

As soon as Quatre was dressed, Duo wrapped his arm around the blonde’s waist, grabbing the tin from the dresser as they
began walking to the door.  “Don’t worry, Quatre . . .”  Duo said, trying to calm his friend.  “Everything will be okay.  You just
have to give yourself time to heal.”

Quatre nodded, “Thank you, Duo.”  He said, his hand resting on the door.

“For what?”  Duo asked.

Quatre smiled up at him.  “For being my friend.”  

Duo smiled back.  “Anytime.”  



To Be Continued . . .