Warnings: sad.... spoilers for Duo's Episode Zero.

*GW belongs to other people, not me *pout* Please don't sue, all you'll get are my dust-bunnies*

**"Bring Him Home" from 'Les Miserables,' Composed by Alain Boubail, Claude-Michael Schvnberg, Herbert Kretzmer. Doesn't belong to me, either**

/.../ lyrics


Bring Him Home


/God on high;
Hear my prayer.
In my need,
You have always been there/

A figure dressed in black kneels before the altar of a dim chapel. The light of memorial candles sparks gold off his short, silvered hair. Weathered hands that have seen decades of labor are clasped in the gesture of prayer. The man's head is bent, forehead resting against his knuckles and his lips move in silent supplication.

/He is young, he's afraid.
Let him rest, heaven blessed./

The image of a young boy dances in his mind's eye. He can clearly make out a long braid of gold-kissed chestnut hair, unkempt bangs dripping into wide violet eyes. A child that should be innocent but has seen too much death and destruction to be so. The man had seen the hastily covered stab of pain and fear in those deep, ancient eyes as the last of his playmates had been taken in by a young couple, leaving him alone. Again.

And so he began his evening ritual, prayer and litany for the sake of this young boy he had come to love.

/Bring him home.
Bring him home.
Bring him home./

Father Maxwell watched from the rectory window as Duo came up the walk from another day at the school. His hair was disheveled; long tendrils hanging loose from the braid that Sister Helen had woven this morning. His black tunic and pants were scuffed and dirtied, more so than usual. He had been in another fight.

He sighed.

/He's like the son I might have known,
If God had granted me a son./


Without words, Father Maxwell greeted the boy at the door, taking his books by their leather strap, and one, small and tender hand as they walked upstairs. Duo sat in silence on his thin cot as the man doctored a small scrape on his cheek, eyes defiant and yet frightened.

A small ache started in the older man's chest. Duo, so fierce, so determined not to be beaten by the life he had been handed.

/The summers die, one by one.
How soon they fly, on and on.
And I am old,
And will be gone./

He watches the boy in the yard, playing tag with some of the younger orphans, caring for them as an older brother would... a protector.

Youth should be joyous, free of the heavy trappings of adulthood that weigh about thin shoulders serving to bend them to life's will before their time... not like this one boy now standing on a hill in the rain, raising his hands to the heavens in a proud, but useless show of defiance.

/Bring him peace.
Bring him joy.
He is young.
He is only a boy./

He watches again, from the doorway of a darkened room, as a young boy sleeps in a room of empty cots. He is the last, all the others have been taken to better homes, better lives, save this one. Too stubborn and set in his ways to change and too proud to care.

Long lashes lay over sun-kissed cheeks, hiding large, bright eyes; long caramel-colored hair lay in a tangled cloud about his head, and small fingers curl into a fist even now, as they lay upon the pillow.

The old man takes a seat at the boy's bedside, softly combing strands of hair from the rounded face. A gentle touch on his shoulder marks the presence of the only other resident of this house, God's House. He turns to see her, blond curls peeking from the edge of her habit, a light he knows all too well clearly visible in her eyes as she looks upon the boy. It is love. A mother's love.

/You can take. You can give.
Let him be. Let him live.
If I die, let me die.
Let him live. Bring him home/

Once again the man kneels before the altar, head bowed, a corona of candlelight offering him no comfort on this night as he prays for the child he loves as his own. A figure settles beside him, her profile soft and pale in the glow of warmth, as she, too, prays.

The shuffle of booted footsteps alerts them to the presence of another, and his herald is the muzzle of a contraband rifle, gently pressed into the base of an old man's neck.

Thunder rolls out in the distance, the artificial thunder of large, unwieldy mobile suits... and all too soon the thunder is upon them. The man's last thought is neither for his own life, nor for that of his tireless companion, but for a pair of ancient eyes in a young face.

Let him live.

/Bring him home./

/Bring him home./