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

Notes:  Heero wakes Duo up, then makes his thoughts about Duo clear.  Duo goes home and helps Catherine with taking care of

Choices of the Heart

Part Fifteen

Duo was startled awake by a sudden pain in his shoulder.  His eyes snapped open, only to see Quatre’s stepbrother, Heero,
glowering down at him.  “Wha?”  He asked, stifling a yawn and confused as to why Heero looked so angry.

“Get up.  It’s time for you to leave.  Move it!”  Heero hissed, his tone and glare telling Duo that he wasn’t all that welcome
anymore.  Duo wondered what he had done wrong.

Duo was fuzzily aware of a weight resting against him, and turned to see Quatre snuggled up to his side a little.  The blonde was
asleep, his face laying against Duo’s chest, his legs entangled with Duo’s.  Duo blinked, then looked up at Heero, now knowing
why Heero was glaring so angrily at him.  “Um . . . this . . . this isn’t what it looks like.”  He whispered nervously, gently trying
to get out from under Quatre without much luck.  The blonde merely cuddled closer, moaning lightly in his sleep as he tried to
stay close to Duo.

Quatre slowly opened his eyes, awakening as a result of Duo’s attempts to extricate himself from this awkward moment.  The
blonde yawned, rubbing his eyes tiredly.  When his eyes met with Heero, he smiled, but said nothing.  He yawned again,
apparently still tired.

Duo cleared his throat, not really knowing what he could say in this situation.  It would have been easier if he was alone with
Quatre like this . . . but with Heero glaring at him, Duo felt a bit nervous.  There was probably nothing he could say that wouldn’
t be taken badly by Heero at this moment.  Being caught in a bed with Quatre snuggling up against him probably didn’t make
Duo look all that good.

Quatre blinked, turning his gaze to look at Duo.  The moment he saw where he was and how close he was to Duo, Quatre
pulled away, a dark blush staining his bruised face.  “Sorry, Duo . . . I didn’t realize.”  He apologized, his eyes cast downward.

“No problem, Quatre.”  Duo replied, sliding out of bed.  “I gotta go to work now, so I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?  We do have
to get that biology homework done.”  He smiled, leaning over and delicately brushing Quatre’s bangs away from his eyes.

“Yes . . . I’d like to see you again.  Sorry we couldn’t get to that homework today.”  Quatre said, smiling shyly.

Heero grasped Duo’s arm tightly.  “Come on, you don’t want to be late for work, do you?”  He hissed, his fingers clenching
uncomfortably around Duo’s arm, digging into his skin hard enough to leave a bruise.  “Quatre, you go back to sleep . . . I’ll
wake you when dinner’s ready.”

“Okay, Heero.”  Quatre nodded, snuggling against his pillow as he yawned yet again.

“Bye, Quatre . . . see ya tomorrow.”  Duo smiled, giving one last wave to the blonde before he was pulled out of the room.

Heero let go of his arm as he was crossing through the doorway.  Duo turned, smirking at Quatre’s sleeping form before closing
the door behind himself.  As he was turning, Heero grabbed Duo by the collar and slammed him up against the wall.  Heero’s
eyes were blazing with barely veiled fury.  His voice was a seething whisper as he spoke.  “I’m really grateful for you being
friends with Quatre.  But if I ever find you in bed with Quatre again, I’ll tear your heart out and force feed it to you.”

Duo gulped, believing each and every one of Heero’s bitter words.  He swallowed, taking a moment to breathe before speaking.  
“Chill, Heero . . . I offered to sleep on the floor.  It was Quatre’s idea for us to share the bed.”

Heero narrowed his eyes, but released his grip on Duo’s shirt.  “Fine . . . just see that it doesn’t happen again.  I don’t want to
see Quatre hurt again.”  He replied, the anger slowly fading from his eyes.

“Neither do I, Heero.”  Duo replied, raking a hand through his loose hair.  “Quatre’s a sweet guy.  You gotta know I would
never do anything to hurt him.”

Heero looked at Duo, then shook his head.  “No, I don’t know that, Duo.”  He said, then turned and walked away, heading into
what was probably his own bedroom and closed the door behind himself.

Duo lowered his head, taking a deep breath.  He couldn’t really blame Heero for his mistrust, his brother had nearly been raped
after all.  Duo understood . . . he couldn’t be angry with Heero for saying those things to him, for threatening him or anything.  
Heero was just trying to protect Quatre.

A tremor passed through Duo’s body as he yawned.  Pulling some of his hair over his shoulder, he frowned, it was loose,
tangled and still mostly damp.  Well, he’d definitely have to brush it before work.  Actually, he should change his clothes before
work too, he had been wearing the same thing since last night, when Trowa had needed to go to the hospital.

He started down the stairs, pulling his hair back into a ponytail, not caring that it ended up looking messy and haphazard.  He
used the elastic band that had previously held his braid intact to keep his hair up.  He sighed, trying to ignore the nausea roiling in
his stomach.  It had been too long since he had taken a pill.  He was achy and tired . . . he just felt horrible.  He had to get home,
that’s where his stash of pills was, then he could go to work.  Without the pills, he probably wouldn’t be able to make it through
work tonight.

Duo didn’t relish the idea of losing more money, not when Trowa needed it so badly.  He had to help his friend, had to provide
money for that operation.  Maybe he could get Howard to front him some money . . . the guy was nice, he might pay Duo a
couple weeks in advance if he asked nicely enough.  Duo did have a good reason for needing the money . . . Trowa was dying,
his heart failing on him.  Time was quickly running out.

Rasid was standing by the door.  “Would you like a ride home?”  He asked.

Duo nodded, smiling.  “Yeah, thanks.”  He replied.  “You don’t really have to though, I can walk.”

“It’s no trouble, really.  I have to return to my own home . . . if only to collect a few of my belongings for my stay here.”  
Rasid replied, leading Duo out to his car.

“Isn’t your wife pissed about you staying away so long?  I mean she’s gotta be upset about not seeing you.”

Rasid chuckled.  “Yes, we have had arguments on this subject on several occasions.  But she knows that my work is important
to me, and she does understand my reasons.  I would rather spend my time safeguarding someone, instead of only investigating
a crime after it is too late to save the victim’s life or dignity.  Plus not being shot at, does appeal to my wife.  She never did like
the risks I took as a police officer.”

Duo nodded, taking a seat in Rasid’s car.  He waited until Rasid had gotten in as well, before continuing with the conversation.  
“So, you were a cop huh?”

“Yes, I took an early retirement after my son was killed . . . it was too difficult to go back to the job after that.”  Rasid replied,
letting out a long breath.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to bring up any harsh stuff.”  Duo said, casting his gaze downward.  He hadn’t meant to upset the guy . .
. all he had wanted to do was just have a conversation, to pass the time as Rasid drove him home.

“Do not worry about it.”  Rasid replied, saying nothing further on the subject.  He turned the key in the ignition, starting the car
then drove Duo back home.

The ride was thoroughly awkward now.  Duo felt that he had definitely pissed the guy off, and everything he said came out
sounding lame.  Still, getting a ride from Rasid was better than walking.  It would mean that he would have time to brush his hair
before going to work, maybe even catch a bite to eat.

“This is it.”  Duo said, pointing out the house.  Rasid pulled over to the curb, stopping the car in front of the house.  “Thanks
for the ride.”  Duo got out of the car, not waiting for Rasid to reply or even say goodbye.  He jogged over to the front door,
taking his key out of his pocket and letting himself in with it.

As soon as the door was closed behind him, he tore off at a run to his bedroom.  He grabbed his backpack, unceremoniously
dumping the contents onto his bed.  Dropping to his knees, he rummaged around through everything searching for what he
wanted, what he needed.  When he finally found the bottle, his hands were shaking too badly for him to get the top off.  
Frustrated, he tore the top off with his teeth, dumping a number of pills into his palm and swallowing them dry.

Sighing to himself, he lay back on the floor of his room, allowing them to take effect.  He hadn’t known that he had been so
desperate for those pills.  Maybe he should cut back on them.  But no, he couldn’t . . . if he cut back on the pills, then he’d
never be able to go to school and work those long hours at Angelo’s.  

He couldn’t afford to cut back on his hours at work either.  Trowa needed the money for that operation.  Duo wasn’t about to
just sit by and watch his friend die when he could do something to save him.  He just had to work, at least until he had enough
money to help Catherine out.  He knew that she had some money saved up for Trowa’s operation, whatever wasn’t spent on
bills or medication, or other needs, was put into a savings account.  There wasn’t much, but it was there.  Duo had a similar
savings, although not in a bank.  He didn’t trust banks.  He had hidden his money . . . in a safe place, the safest place he knew

Duo sat up, hearing the familiar sound of Catherine’s car pulling into the driveway.  She’d had it so long, Duo had memorized
the noise it made when parking.  He jumped to his feet, already feeling somewhat better.  He capped the pill bottle and stuffed it
deep into a pocket, grabbing his hairbrush and taking his hair down as he headed to the front door . . . he had to look as if he
had been doing something.

He opened the door and stepped out, a smile spreading across his face as he saw Catherine getting out of her car.  His smile
faded though, when Catherine went around to the other side of the car and helped Trowa out.  Trowa looked positively
exhausted.  He was leaning heavily against his sister as she all but held him up.  Duo ran over, wanting to help.  He took Trowa's
arm, swinging it around his own neck as he took his weight off of Catherine.  “I’ll get him inside.”  Duo said, helping his friend
to walk to the house.

Catherine smiled, closing the car door and following along behind the two of them.  “Thanks, Duo.  Trowa’s very tired.  You
know how he is when they change his medication . . . takes him awhile to get used to it.  He’ll be fine with some rest.”  

“Yeah, I know.”  Duo sighed, his only concern for Trowa.  

He did remember each and every time they had changed Trowa’s medication.  Either he was moody or tired for days on end,
sometimes both, while his body adjusted to the change in medication.  It was sometimes heartbreaking to watch, seeing Trowa
struggling to even sit up while his body was growing accustomed to a new dose or a different prescription.

Catherine closed the door once they were all in the house.  “Can you get him in bed?  He hasn’t eaten for a while and I want to
get some food into him before he falls asleep.  I think soup is about all he can handle right now.”

“Sure, I’ll get him all settled in bed.”  Duo grinned.  “Come on, Trowa . . . let’s get you out of these clothes and into bed, then
you can have a nice home cooked meal before bed.”

“I’m not hungry.”  Trowa whispered tiredly, his eyes already falling shut.  “Just wanna go to sleep.” He grumbled, his voice
weary and barely audible.

Duo shook his head.  “No can do, buddy . . . if Cathy says you need to eat, then you need to eat something.”  He stated,
knowing that Trowa did have to eat.  

It wasn’t good to take medication on an empty stomach . . . which Trowa had probably already done a couple times today.  
When he was tired, Trowa sometimes refused to eat, especially when he was on new medication or taking different doses.  
They’d had this problem in the past and both Duo and Catherine knew better than to let Trowa go without eating.

Trowa made no reply . . . he was probably too tired to.  Duo sighed, hefting his friend to his bedroom, while Catherine went to
the kitchen.  Trowa was getting heavier, probably falling asleep against Duo . . . and Trowa wasn’t all that light to begin with.

Carefully, Duo sat Trowa down on the bed.  He quickly helped Trowa to shed his clothes, then got him settled underneath the
blankets, his back and head propped up by the pillows.  Duo took a few minutes to brush out his hair and braid it again, then sat
on Trowa’s bedside . . . he kept talking to Trowa throughout his hair care ritual though, trying to keep his friend awake.

When Catherine finally came in, Trowa was just barely awake.  “Duo, would you mind feeding him?  I want to get a shower in
while I have the chance.”  She held up her hand, stopping him from arguing.  “I know full well that you have to go to work.  
But if you do this, I’ll give you a ride.”

Duo smiled, accepting her kind offer.  “All right.  Go on, but make it quick, I don’t want to be late.”  Duo replied.

“Thanks, Duo.”  Catherine smiled, leaning forward and giving Duo a quick kiss on the cheek before handing him the bowl of
soup and a spoon, as well as a napkin.  “Make sure he eats as much as he can.”  She said, then left the room.

“Okay, buddy . . . time for dinner.”  Duo grinned.  He tucked the napkin under Trowa’s chin, knowing that sometimes feeding
his friend got a little messy.  He looked in the bowl, stirring the contents around with the spoon for a few moments.  “Chicken
noodle . . . not too hot either, just the way you like it.”

“No, Duo . . . don’t want to eat.”  Trowa argued tiredly, his brow furrowed a little.  He raised his hand, weakly pushing the
bowl away.

“Trowa, now you know I love ya, but I won’t let you go without eating just because you’re too tired.”  Duo said, frowning at
his friend.  “You have to eat, and you have to eat now.”  He said firmly.  “Now, open your mouth like a good boy.”

Trowa frowned, glaring as best as he could despite his tiredness.  However, he did open his mouth and allow Duo to feed him.  
Duo smiled, glad that Trowa had seen things his way.  He said nothing more, quietly spoonfeeding his tired roommate, hoping
for his health.  Trowa was so pale, his green eyes, dull and weary.  He looked ready to give up . . . Duo hoped that he wouldn’t
do that.  He didn’t want to lose Trowa.

Trowa slowly ate the contents of the entire bowl.  Duo smiled at him when it was empty, wiping away what had escaped his
mouth with the napkin.  He tossed the used napkin into the bowl along with the spoon and set it aside.

Then he helped Trowa to lie down.  Still, Trowa was propped up somewhat by the pillows on the bed, but he was supposed to
sleep that way, doctor’s orders.  Duo sat there, idly brushing a hand along the side of Trowa’s face as the tall young man
quickly fell into a deep slumber.  He frowned then, when Trowa was sleeping, knowing that he didn’t have much time left to get
that money for his operation . . . Trowa was just running out of time.

To Be Continued . . .