Disclaimers:  I do not own Gundam Wing or any of its characters.  This is just for entertainment purposes.  I am making no
money from this.

Notes:  Quatre wakes up and has breakfast with his family.  Duo stops by for a visit after having spent the whole night at
Trowa’s side.



Choices of the Heart



Part Fourteen


Quatre was warm and comfortable . . . he was in high spirits and he wasn’t sure why.  He came to wakefulness as he felt the
bed shift and opened his eyes as his father stood up.  “Father?”  He asked, blinking tiredly as he turned his gaze to his father.  He
had been feeling somewhat nervous last night, a nightmare had left him jittery, and when he had heard his father come home, he
had asked if he could sleep in his bed again.  Of course Father hadn’t declined his request.

Mr. Winner turned and smiled gently as he tied the sash to keep his robe closed.  He sat on the edge of the bed, reaching out and
combing Quatre’s bangs away from his eyes.  “How are you feeling this morning, Quatre?”

Quatre smiled back, although it left his mouth a little sore.  “I feel . . . better, Father.  Where are you going?  It’s Saturday, you
don’t have to work today, do you?”

“Down to breakfast.  Do you want me to bring something up for you?”  He gently tucked the blankets around Quatre’s body,
being careful with his injured form.

Quatre thought for a moment.  “No . . . I . . . I’d rather go and join everyone.  I mean, if that’s okay?”  He replied shyly.

The disappointment on Mr. Winner’s face turned to pure joy.  “I’m sure that everyone will be quite happy to see you.”  Mr.
Winner said, pulling the blankets down and away from Quatre’s body.

Quatre sat up, with his father’s help.  Quatre winced, groaning as his ribs throbbed in pain.  He curled his uninjured arm around
himself.  Father’s hands settled on his back, holding him steady as he regained his breath.

“Are you sure you want to do this?  You don’t have to force yourself to do anything to please me if you’re not ready.”  Father
said.

“No, I want to.  I’m going to have a visitor later . . . so I might as well get something to eat now and be awake enough to
actually have a visitor.  Besides, I don’t want to stay in bed all day.”  Quatre replied, casting a small smile to his father.  
“Please?”  He asked, hoping that his father wouldn’t make him go back to bed.

“How could I possibly say no?”  He chuckled, assisting Quatre in getting out of bed.  He stayed nearby as Quatre walked out of
the bedroom, offering support as he slowly made his way through the hall.  When Quatre nearly collapsed on the stairs, his
father was there to catch him, holding him without aggravating even one of his injuries.

Quatre paused at the bottom of the stairs, taking long deep breaths as he tried to regain his composure.  He was sweating quite
profusely, the meager amount of activity wearing him out quickly . . . stairs weren’t easy for him to handle yet.  A brief wave of
dizziness made him feel like he was falling, but it faded after a moment.  

His father’s hands were at his back, stroking in gentle circles.  “Take your time, Quatre.  Don’t push yourself.  Just let me
know when you’re ready to get going again.”  He said, his voice laced with kindness.  He was glad that his father was a patient
man.

Quatre nodded, not feeling up to a verbal reply.  He stood there, one hand braced on the railing, his other confined in a sling.  He
concentrated on his breathing and slowing his heartbeat to a more normal pace, fighting back the waves of pain that were
throbbing in various parts of his body.  After a few more moments of rest, Quatre nodded.  “I’m ready.”  He said, confident that
his body wouldn’t collapse if he continued on his way to breakfast.

“Are you sure?”  Mr. Winner asked, concern evident in his tone.

Quatre nodded.  “I’ll be fine once I can sit down.”  He said, smiling a little.  Mr. Winner once again stayed close as Quatre
headed to the kitchen where he could hear the voices of his other family members conversing.

All conversation died the instant that Quatre and Mr. Winner entered the room.  All eyes turned on them.  “Quatre!”   Heero
exclaimed, springing to his feet, only to be halted by his stepfather.

Mr. Winner held up a hand.  “Sit back down, Heero.”  He said calmly.  Heero complied, but the expression on his face betrayed
that he didn’t look all that happy about it.

Iria smiled warmly at her baby brother.  “It’s so good to see you, Quatre.  Do you want anything special for breakfast?”

Quatre looked down, feeling self-conscious.  “You make it seem like my joining the family for breakfast is a big deal.  I’ve done
it countless times before.”  He said, not liking that he was the center of attention.

Rasid, the only one who hadn’t really jumped or said anything before, nodded.  “Leave the boy be.  While it is good that he’s up
and about . . . paying too much attention to him will only make him feel awkward and possibly drive him back to his room.”  He
nodded to Quatre.  “Did you sleep well?”

“For the most part, yes.”  Quatre said honestly, hoping that the topic of his nightmares would not be brought up.  He didn’t
want to think of them right now, although he was sure that he would have to tell someone about them sooner or later.

He took a seat, smiling and thanking his sister when she piled a helping of scrambled eggs onto his plate.  He also helped himself
to some toast and Rasid assisted him in dishing up the home fries . . . Rasid holding the bowl while Quatre scooped some out on
his own.  He liked being allowed to do things on his own, even if it was awkward since he was only able to use one arm and not
all that effectively either.


*****


Heero watched Quatre without making his notice of the young blonde obvious.  He was concerned of course, but he respected
that Quatre did have to do things on his own if he was to be able to get back on his own two feet again.  Even though he wanted
to jump up and help with ever whimper that Quatre made, whether it was because he had bent in the wrong direction or for
some other reason . . . but he held back, allowing Quatre to take care of himself, certain that Rasid or Mr. Winner would help if
Quatre really needed it.

The conversation throughout breakfast picked up after Quatre began eating.  Quatre even joined in now and then, not saying
much but at least he was participating.  Heero smiled to himself, seeing that Quatre’s appetite had apparently returned.  The
blonde packed away two helpings of eggs and three pieces of toast, not to mention the home fries.

When he was finished eating, Quatre pushed himself up from his seat.  Everyone turned their attention to him.  Quatre looked
nervous with all eyes watching his every movement.  “I’m going to get dressed.”  He said, offering an explanation.  “Duo is
coming over today . . . he said he would.”

“Heero, why don’t you help your stepbrother?”  Rasid suggested.  “If only to be sure he does not fall down the stairs.”

Heero nodded without wasting a moment.  He rose from his seat, stepping around the table and walking next to Quatre as the
blonde left the room and headed for the stairs.  He climbed silently, grunting now and then from exertion.  Heero stayed close,
not helping unless Quatre obviously needed it or asked for it.  He did want Quatre to get used to doing things on his own.

When they were in his bedroom, Quatre dropped to his bed, sighing deeply as he tried to regain his breath.  He looked tired, after
walking only a short distance.  “Heero, could you help me with the bandages?  I can’t reach some of them.”  Quatre requested,
looking up at his brother.

Heero nodded and offered a half-smile.  “Of course.  Why don’t you get those pajamas off and I’ll get you something to wear
today, okay?”

Quatre nodded, reaching up and carefully removing his own sling.  He set it on the bed beside him, then slowly worked on
getting the buttons unclasped.  By the time his shirt was open completely, Heero had returned with a pair of sweat pants and a T-
shirt.  It was the easiest thing for him to wear right now, loose and not difficult to get on and off.

Quatre stood and shrugged off the top.  Meanwhile, Heero went about gathering the necessary ointments and bandages, the tape
to keep the gauze on.  Quatre raised his one arm, wincing as he did so, and held onto his shorts while he pushed the pajama
bottoms down and off.  He stepped out of them, letting out a long breath as he took a seat again.  He smiled up at Heero with a
sheepish expression on his face.  “At least I was able to get them off on my own this time.”  He said, blushing slightly.

Heero chuckled lightly.  “You’re getting better then.”  He said.  Then he knelt in front of Quatre, slowly peeling away the old
bandages.  It took a few minutes, but eventually Heero had tended to his wounds.  Then he helped his brother to get dressed,
allowing Quatre to do as much as he could, only helping when he faltered.

As Heero was helping Quatre to put his sling on again, the doorbell rang.  Heero looked up at the sound, smiling when Quatre’s
face lit up in happiness.  “I think Duo’s here.”  Heero said, giving his brother a smirk.  “I’ll take care of tidying up, you go greet
your guest.”

“Thanks, Heero.”  Quatre beamed, then strode past his brother and out of the room.  

Heero watched his brother leave, then shook his head.  He was happy to see Quatre so pleased about something again.  He bent,
picking up the pajamas, taking the used bandages in hand.  He disposed of the bandages, tossing the pajamas in the hamper, all
the time hoping that Quatre would continue to recover.


*****


Duo felt gritty from head to toe . . . inside and out.  He was tired and needed a shower . . . it didn’t help that he didn’t have his
pills with him.  He had been at the hospital all night, right by Trowa’s side, not wanting to leave him there.  ‘I probably should
have just gone back to Trowa’s place.’  Duo thought to himself.  He dismissed that idea quickly though.  

He had told Quatre that he would visit today, and he never lied.  Besides, if he hadn’t come, Quatre might think that Duo was
avoiding him.  Duo was not about to let that happen . . . it was the last thing that the young blonde needed right now.  Quatre
had been through enough without thinking that a brand-new friend had just ditched him for no apparent reason.  ‘He’ll probably
feel bad as it is, but at least with me here he knows I care enough to show up even if I do look like I could sleep for a week.’

His eyesight was fuzzy and he had to go by landmarks to get to the house.  When he got to the door, he squinted and reached
forward.  ‘Damn, I must really be tired.  I missed the doorbell.’ After two more tries, he managed it and tried to plaster a smile
on his face.

Rasid was the one that answered the door.  Duo blinked up at him, trying to clear his eyes.  “Hey, how ya doing?”  Duo grinned,
hoping he was pulling off the act of wakefulness.

Rasid said nothing, he merely stepped aside and allowed Duo to enter the house.  A happy welcome caught his ear and he looked
up, smiling when he saw Quatre at the top of the stairs.  Duo started for the stairs, but was stopped by a hand clasping his
shoulder.  He found himself staring at a stranger.

“Dad, this is Duo Maxwell.”  Quatre said from the top of the stairs . . . he didn’t seem all that willing to come down.  Duo
understood why though, it was difficult for him to get up and down those things.  It would just be easier for Duo to meet him
up there.

“It’s nice to meet a friend of my son.”  Mr. Winner stated holding out his hand.

Duo grasped the extended hand, shaking it.  “Thank you, sir.”  He said politely, fighting off the yawn that was building in his
throat.

“Are you well?  You look a bit haggard.”  Mr. Winner commented.

“Nah, I’m fine.  I was just up late last night.  A friend got sick and had to be taken to the hospital.”  Duo said . . . well he was
speaking the truth.  He was just leaving out a few things, like the fact that the ‘friend’ he was speaking of was his roommate.  “I
spent the night watching out for him.”

“Duo, you could have stayed home and gone to sleep.  You could have called and said you weren’t feeling well.  I would have
understood.”  Quatre said, from somewhat closer than Duo remembered him being.  Duo turned, only to find that Quatre was
now almost all the way down the stairs.  Although he looked tired, he was at least making his way on his own.

“No, I said I’d come to visit you today and I never lie.”  Duo said, smiling a little.  “I’m fine, really I am.”  His words would
have held more meaning had Duo not yawned at that precise moment.  “I’ll get some sleep later, after work tonight.”

“Nonsense.”  Mr. Winner stated.  “You shouldn’t go without sleep like this, it isn’t good for your health.  I insist that you get a
shower and take a nap.  I’m sure Heero would lend you something clean to wear.  Visiting with Quatre can wait until later.”

“Yes, I’d much rather have your company when you’re well rested.”  Quatre smiled.  “Besides, you came over to help with
homework, and if you’re not thinking clearly, mistakes could be made.”

Duo smiled and nodded.  “Yeah, okay.  But I can’t sleep too long . . . I do have to go to work tonight.  I took off yesterday, I
can’t afford taking off too many days.”  He replied.  “Lead me to the shower, Quatre my man.”  He grinned, taking the stairs
two at a time until he was standing next to Quatre.

Quatre smiled and giggled a little.  “This way.”  He said, then turned and slowly made his way up the stairs.

Before they had reached the top, Mr. Winner spoke again.  “Quatre, tell Heero that I want him to lend some clothes to Duo.”

“Yes, Father.”  Quatre replied, continuing on his way up the stairs.  

Heero was walking out of Quatre’s bedroom when he was asked to lend Duo some clothes.  He grumbled, but didn’t say ‘no.’  
Still, he didn’t look thrilled about handing his clothes over to one of Quatre’s friends, even if he had been asked nicely.  Duo
thanked Heero politely when he handed him a pair of jeans and a T-shirt.  Then Quatre showed him to the bathroom, pointing
out where the towels were kept and left Duo to his shower.

Duo stripped and tossed his clothes in the hamper, trusting that his stuff would be returned to him sometime later.  He kept his
boxers though, deciding to rough it and wear the same pair that he had on earlier instead of going without any while in Heero’s
jeans.  He set the boxers on the pile of clothes.  The last object he took off was a simple gold cross . . . he’d had it for years, he
wasn’t about to lose it now.  He set that with his house-keys, the couple of dollars that he had, and his cell phone . . . the phone
was only used for emergencies, like when Catherine or Trowa needed him for something.

He reveled in the feel of the water raining down on him.  He quite enjoyed the shower, washing away the grit and grime that felt
like it was coating his body.  He shampooed and conditioned his hair, rinsing when necessary.  He hoped that Quatre wouldn’t
mind that he had used all that shampoo . . . he’d hate to make a bad impression with his family so soon.  

When he felt that he was sufficiently cleaned off, he got out of the shower and dried himself, dressing in the garments that
Heero had lent to him.  The jeans were the right length, since he and Heero were the same height, but the shirt and jeans were a
bit loose on him.  Of course, he wasn’t really taking all that good care of himself right now, so that could be the reason for the
extra room in the clothes.

With a towel wrapped around his hair, Duo looked around at the bathroom.  He’d left everything as he’d found it, albeit wetter
than it had been, but that was to be expected since he had just showered.  He left the bathroom, carrying his shoes with him as
he entered Quatre’s bedroom.  The blonde was sitting on the bed, yawning when Duo walked in.

“Tired?”  Duo asked, smirking.

Quatre looked over at him, blushing a bit as he nodded.  “Yeah, I was hoping to be more awake today, but walking up and down
the stairs really sapped my energy.”

“Hey, since I’m napping, there’s no reason for you to stay awake just watching my lazy ass.”  He grinned.  “You can get some
sleep too.  I bet you’ll feel better tomorrow . . . you do look better and better every time I see you.”

“Sleep . . . with you?”  Quatre asked, his eyes going wide.

Duo shook his head, chuckling a bit at the shocked expression on Quatre’s face.  The kid was just so innocent, even after what
he had been through.  “Not like that, Quatre . . . I’ll take the floor, you get the bed.  Just give me a pillow and I’ll be fine.”

Quatre rose from his seat.  Duo watched him, although his hands were busy running the towel through his hair.  The blonde
smiled pleasantly, although shyly.  “No . . . I insist that you sleep in the bed.  It’s big enough for the both of us.”  He said, his
cheeks aflame with embarrassment.  He looked rather cute that way, despite the bruises.  “What time do you have to be at
work?”

“I have to be in by five.”  Duo replied, shrugging.  “Dinner rush.”

Quatre turned and headed over to the door, leaving briefly.  When he came back in, he was still smiling.  “I told Heero to wake
us up at four.  That should be plenty of time I hope.”

“Perfect.”  Duo said, returning the smile.  He walked over to the bed and threw himself onto it, maneuvering until he was on one
edge.  Quatre laid down more slowly, groaning in pain as he reclined.

“Rest well, Duo.”  Quatre said as he let out a deep breath.

Duo nodded, yawning one last time.  “Thanks.  You too, Quatre.”  He replied, then closed his eyes.  It wasn’t long before he fell
asleep.



To Be Continued . . .