*looks guilty* i might hit 30. dammit, stupid plot that keeps going on and on and on.... (think energizer bunny. huh.) and as usual, i'm finishing this part late at night. i do that. crazy of me. generally 'cos i wanna get the stupid part out before i sleep. so excuse any stupid errors, okay?

*grins* don't worry, sap abounds. the angst basically doesn't come 'til the last few parts, and then i believe it's going to be piled on, so enjoy it while it lasts. ^_____^


Find Me (17/almost 30-ish maybe sorta kinda i dunno)


By the time they'd finished sightseeing, Heero was ready to collapse. Duo, when cheerful, seemed to have an unlimited energy source, driving Heero to the edge. They'd literally gone over the whole of Manhattan in that day and Heero was exhausted.

In fact, when the managed to drag themselves away from the 5th Avenue stores and into the hotel, all Heero wanted was a hot bath and a nap. He threw himself onto a couch and just breathed for a moment. Duo shut the door behind them then stopped short, seeing Heero flopped on the couch.

Duo's statement was immediately contrite, and a little frightened. 'Nice,' he thought to himself sarcastically. 'Wear him out with stupid stuff like this and he'll regret having ever taken you off the streets'.

Heero's gaze migrated down from the ceiling to Duo. The intent stare was making Duo slightly uncomfortable so he scuffled his feet on the carpet.

"What was wrong before?" The fact that the tone wasn't reproving or angry was enough to startle Duo. But the question in itself made him blink twice and run the words through his head again. He actually cared?

Thinking that Duo had no intention of answering, Heero sat up and beckoned slightly. "Don't tell me if you don't want to," he said.

Eyes focused anywhere but on Heero, Duo dragged himself forward, then tumbled into a pile on the floor in front of Heero. His head was tipped up lightly and he got the benefit of Heero's beautiful blue eyes pooling into his violet. In Heero's eyes Duo caught a trace of confusion, as well as a tinge of unhappiness.

'Why can't I make him happy?' floated through Heero's mind. Frustratedly, he let go of Duo's face with an almost exasperated gesture, and threw himself onto the back of the couch.

Duo winced, and pulled backwards. He curled up his knees and hugged them to himself, unsure of what to say. Taking a deep breath, he figured he better apologize.

"Hey, um, I'm sorry I dragged you out all over the city," he began, speaking rapidly and in a low tone. "I guess I annoyed you and I really didn't mean to and I know I made you spend all that money on me and I'm really not worth it and I'm sorry I was in a sort of lousy funk this morning, I'd just left someone I considered my sister for the last 6 years and I mean I'm glad to be here and with you and I get to see Solo and everything but I'll just miss her, y'know, and-"

Heero rocked forward and silenced Duo with a probing kiss that Duo eagerly returned. One of Heero's hands cupped Duo's chin while the other trickled down a cheek, caressing a coo out of the boy.

"Shh," the soothing sound echoed in the tiny distance between their lips as Heero pulled away ever so slightly. "You never, ever, have to apologize to me." He pulled himself off the couch and knelt in front of Duo. "I don't own you, you don't owe me anything. And you don't have anything to be sorry about." Heero kissed Duo again, lightly. "I liked sightseeing with you," he added quietly. "I liked spending money on you, I liked being with you." The last phrase was said with such intensity that Duo's eyes widened at the powerful words.

Violet eyes blinked slowly, in surprise. Duo realized that maybe the crazy feelings coursing in and out of his mind were truly reciprocated, and Heero wasn't asking him to be a pet or a fucktoy... but maybe something more.

For the second time in the same number of days, Duo buried his face into Heero's chest and began to weep softly.

Considerably startled, Heero pulled the boy closer and wrapped his arms around the precious bundle against his chest.

"Get. A. Room."

Trowa mock-glared back at Heero's smirk and defiantly snuggled closer to Quatre, who smiled sweetly at Heero.

Heero, pretending to be completely exasperated, threw his head back onto the back of the lawn chair and inspected the sky for while during which time it was apparent that Quatre and Trowa were inspecting each other.

"You don't have to be so bitter," Quatre teased. "Just because Wufei is on a mission."

Heero sneered at Quatre. Quatre smiled back, undaunted.

"Hn." Heero finally gave up. He took off his shirt and shorts and threw himself into the pool, creating a huge splash and evoking a satisfying, "YOW!" out of Trowa and a "EEP!" out of Quatre. Smug, Heero stayed under water for as long as he could, not daring to come up.

Finally, running out of air, he poked his head out of the water. He only had time to suck in a quick breath before ducking various projectiles aimed at his head. Namely, a water shoe, a rubber ducky, and several other pool toys, all of which floated beatifically on top of the water. Heero snickered under water and moved to the other side of the pool before shooting out and hurriedly pulling himself out.

A pair of green eyes and a pair of sea eyes watched him. Then everything else remotely soft on their side of the pool came flying at him.

Laughing, the three friends began a game of catch.

Duo woke up the next morning again dressed in borrowed boxers. This time, though, Heero was still in bed, an arm around him, and watching him wake up.

"Morning," Duo said, somewhere in the midst of a yawn. Heero smiled slightly.


"Means 'good morning', right?" Duo prompted. Heero's smile got a little bigger. He nodded slightly.

In a slow fluid motion, Heero pulled out of bed dragging Duo with him. "We're leaving this afternoon for San Francisco, remember?"

A light shone in Duo's eyes as he obviously recalled it. "Yeah," he breathed. A world-weary half-grin graced his face. "Wonderfluff," whispered through his lips. "Just... wow. Thank you."

"Don't thank me," Heero said gruffly. He began to make his way to the shower, gently dropping Duo off at the couch. Duo clung onto him slightly, for a moment, before letting go. "Thank Quatre, of course."

"That I'll have to do," Duo affirmed. "But. I oughta thank you. I mean, if you hadn't... hadn't..."

Heero came back in two strides and pressed a kiss onto Duo's lips. "I'm going to take a shower; I'll be right back." He disappeared into the bathroom.

Two seconds later he came right back out. Stood by the bathroom door as if impatiently, a small smile flickering across his face. With a hint of suggestion, "Want to join me?"

He didn't have to ask twice.

"Dory, can you hand me that p- thanks."

"No prob. I'm going out for lunch, want anything?"

"Where you going?"

Dorothy flicked long blond hair backwards as she turned to look to her best friend. "Pick a place, Relena," she laughed. "I'm not sure."

Relena grinned. "Wanna drop by Chinese and get me something from there?"

Dorothy nodded, picking up her purse. "Sure." She stuck her head out of their office. "Hey!" she yelled. "Anyone else want Chinese?"

In moments she was bombarded with written requests and handfuls of credits.

"Chinese food," Wufei muttered, pretending to be miffed. "Slop."

"You eat it," Heero teased.

Wufei grinned. "I know. Never said I didn't eat slop."

Between meals and packing, and kissing Heero, the day flew by very quickly for Duo and it was all a whirl in his head as they were actually boarding the plane back to San Francisco.

'Damn... I'm going home. Not really home... but at least on the same side of the country.'

He settled comfortably into the first class seat, his fingers absently tapping lightly on the set of buttons next to him. A warm hand settled on his, cradling the palm and letting fingers intertwine. Duo looked up, smiling. Heero smiled back.

"I," Duo began softly, then paused. "I can't believe... that I'm going home. Or, something like home. To the life I had before life went down the drain. And I can't believe I've found my best friend as a kid again. It's just... amazing." He ended slightly breathy, in his own levels of oblivion, gazing almost dreamily into Heero's eyes.

Heero rubbed Duo's hand gently with his thumb, reassuringly. "I'm glad I found you then." Quietly.

"Flight will be taking off in 5 minutes. Please fasten seatbelts."

Duo rolled his eyes lightly and clasped his seatbelt with one hand, Heero doing likewise. Neither wanting to let go of the others' hand.

Flight attendants walked up and down the aisles, checking that people had their seatbelts on, that the overhead carriers were closed, and doing various other little jobs. Duo leaned back into the comfortable cushioning, closing his eyes.

"Quatre said he'd pick us up at the airport."

Duo's eyes flew wide open in surprise. "When did he say that?"

Heero smiled slightly. "Well, he told Trowa and Trowa told me." Duo's eyes were shining. "They're going to take us back to Quatre's house first, then to my apartment." He hesitated. "Would you prefer to stay with Quatre? I realize you two were childhood friends and maybe you could catch u-"

"No way." The words were spoken softly, but with fervor. "No way, Heero. I - I'd rather stay with you." Duo untangled his fingers from Heero's, then slid his arm into the loop of Heero's arm. He clung on, leaning his head on Heero's shoulder.

Surprised, and pleased, Heero reached over with the other hand to fondle Duo's hair again.

"Flight will be taking off in 1 minute."

"Solo and I were best friends from practically the day we were born. Our parents knew each other and we had the same tutors and everything. Then, when I was 9, our parents had a huge fight, and they forbid us from seeing each other. But we'd sneak out from our houses and arrange meetings, pretending we were playing with other friends. We'd go into the woods and pretend we were pirates or pioneers or whatever." Duo laughed quietly at the memory. "We gave ourselves our nicknames when we were little; he was a little older than me, so he insisted on being Solo, and I got to be Duo." A pause. "That's all I am now, though. The person I was before Duo doesn't exist anymore. Duo is the little boy who had a best friend named Solo, and Duo is the kid who ran away to New York City when his parents died, visiting a family friend, and Duo is a teenage hooker that lived in the red light district of the city."

A rough voice interrupted him, murmuring into his ear. "And Duo is the beautiful person who I love."

Duo looked up, eyes a little bright, threatening to spill a tear. Heero leaned over and carefully kissed the edges of his eyes.

Quatre pulled Trowa aside discreetly at a small party he'd thrown. It was mostly a get together of businessmen, but there were some close acquaintances there, too. Trowa included. Heero included.

"Heero looks like I invited him to a torture chamber," Quatre lamented.

Trowa touched his lover's hand soothingly. "He's like that, love." He grinned slightly. "Never happy unless he's making me miserable."

"I wish I could do something to make him smile," Quatre fretted. "Do you think he'd be interes-"

"Don't bother setting him up with anyone," Trowa interrupted, looking bemused. "He'd only scare the poor girl."

"Boy, then?"

Trowa's eyebrow rose. "You know, I really don't know about that."

Quatre grinned. "Maybe you ought to ask. Men don't scare off as easily and I'm sure I could find someone to make him smile."

"That would be a miracle," Trowa replied, smiling himself. "Maybe I should find out anyways.

His lover nodded, then placed a quick kiss on his cheek. "Diplomats await me," he said wearily. Glancing back over at Heero, he stopped. "I think he's been consoling himself with the liquor," Quatre said warily. "Want to drive him home?"

Trowa looked to where Quatre was looking. A little alarmed, he nodded and began walking over to his friend.

Heero turned his head to look at Duo, sleeping on his shoulder. "Duo," he whispered, shaking his lover slightly. "Duo."

"Mmmrphs," was the only answer he got.

Smirking, "Duo," a little louder.


Almost a giggle from Heero, this time. "Duo, we're going to be landing soon. You're going to want to be awake, while we descend."


This time Heero began to laugh lightly. He tried to pull his arm out, but Duo had it in a death grip. "All right, then. I'll wake you when we land."


Heero smiled.


As the plane set down, Quatre watched with barely concealed anticipation in his personal vehicle, Trowa sitting beside him. Scarcely was the door to the plant opened that Quatre leaped up and virtually dragged Trowa and some of his body guards with him to the waiting area.

"Could you go find their luggage?" Quatre requested of the body guards, his eyes glued to the stream of people coming out. They nodded to Trowa, because Quatre wasn't paying any attention to them, and wound their way to the luggage pick up area. Meanwhile, Quatre was jumping up and down like a 7 year old; Trowa hid a smile.

Suddenly, an earsplitting cry of "DUO!" sent Trowa flying for cover. Immediately after echoed "SOLO!!", causing Heero to make sure he retained all his hearing. Then it was a free-for-all as two eager boys launched themselves at each other through a crowd of a couple hundred people. Persons and luggage alike were knocked over, brushed by with hasty "Sorry"s and passed by. Everyone around turned to look as two teenagers threw themselves at each other, hugging furiously, and beginning to cry in joy.

Heero and Trowa walked up at a more reasonable pace and nodded a hello to each other.

"Oh my God, Solo, I never thought I'd see you again," Duo was saying tearfully.

"We thought you were dead," Quatre answered, crying just as much. "We looked for you for years."

"Damn it, Solo. I went to New York; found Father Maxwell."

Quatre shook his head, angry at himself. "I can't believe we never thought about looking there."

Duo smiled sadly. "Doesn't matter. As of 6 months after I got there, Maxwell Church didn't exist anymore. You know what I've been doing for the last 6 and a half years."

Gripping Duo's arms, Quatre demanded, "Are you okay now? Healthy? Did Heero feed you okay?" Heero looked offended for a moment, before Trowa poked him. "Are you going to stay with me?"

"Hey, Solo, I'm staying with him," Duo said quietly. He tossed his head slightly in the direction of Heero, who pretended to be engrossed in a deep conversation with Trowa. A deep conversation of silences.

It was then that the bodyguards came up with the luggage and requested they take their reunion to the car, where there weren't so many people around.

"Father died a year ago," Quatre related sadly, as they began walking towards the car. "Mother - Mother died a year after you disappeared, she was so upset."

"I'm sorry." Duo's face was ashen from the news. "I'm so sorry, Quatre."

Quatre turned and hugged Duo furiously. "Allah help me," he murmured. "Don't ever say you're sorry. I still had my family left; I still have my sisters left. You - you had nothing. You have nobody. Except us, now. I'm sorry for you."

Duo began to cry again. This time, Heero asked Quatre a question with his eyes, and the latter nodded. Gently, Heero wrapped his arms around Duo's waist and pulled him close. Startled for a moment, Duo hiccuped and stopped crying. Then he folded himself into Heero's embrace and let himself be half-carried to the car, where they all piled in. Quatre and Duo in the middle, Heero and Trowa holding their respective lovers.

"You're coming home with me first," Quatre said firmly. "We'll go out shopping for you; get you clothes and everything."

"I could always raid Heero's closet," Duo said cheekily, tucking his head under Heero's chin. Quatre grinned, wiping his tears away. Duo copied the motion.

"You could," Trowa agreed from behind Quatre. "But he has almost no variety in his clothing. What he brought to New York City was what I packed for him.

There was a bit of snickering as Heero gave Trowa a mock-glare.

"We'll go shopping," Quatre insisted. "Or I'll send a few of my sisters shopping."

"How are they all?" Duo inquired, smiling at the thought of Quatre's sisters.

Quatre made a face. "All fine, all around me constantly. Sometimes, I think I'm their nephew or something, the way they fuss over me."

"They love you," Trowa said fondly.

"They fuss," Quatre insisted without bitterness. He smiled. "They're doing wonderfully. You know, T-"


Quatre stopped, startled. "Huh?"

Violet eyes dimmed in sadness as Duo said, "I'm not who I was before. All I have left is Duo. Just call me Duo now."

After a moment, Quatre gave a quick, abrupt nod. There was a moment of silence, then Quatre continued. "You know, Duo, you're still my adopted brother. So you're an uncle to about," he thought for a moment, "oh, 17 kids."

Duo blinked owlishly for a moment, at a loss for words.


One of the bodyguards in the front seat turned around. "Mr. Yuy, what hotel were you at in New York City?"

Heero looked at him, puzzled. "Crystal Lake Hotel and Plaza, why?"

The bodyguard gave him a funny look. "You're awfully lucky you got out today, sir. Radio just says it was bombed today. Whole place blew up. There's absolutely nothing left of it."

All four young men in the back seat froze, color draining out of their faces.

Then Duo whispered, "Oh my God."


Back to Part 16

On to Part 18