Duo Maxwell stared at the scene that greeted him once he opened the door to his and Heero's apartment.
Heero Yuy, the rigid perfect soldier was fussing over a baby kitten. Oh Heero had told him about picking up a stray when they chatted through the net messenger, but knowing and seeing were not the same thing. The purrfect soldier (pun intended) was trying to feed milk to the small kitten. Duo watched as Heero cautiously inserted the tip of the pipette into the kitten's mouth only to be thwarted by the kitten's flailing limbs.
His snicker caught Heero's attention. His Japanese lover turned to him and amazingly, he looked sheepish.
"Hi," said Heero.
"Hi yourself," Duo smiled. "You're home early."
"Uh, yeah." Heero didn't elaborate and focused on feeding his baby instead.
"So how is the newest member of our household?"
Heero smiled slightly. "She sounds okay."
Ah, a female. One day and she already had Heero wrapped around her paw. And judging from the loud wailing and flailing limbs, she was definitely okay.
Duo plopped himself down on the couch and watched fondly as Heero tried his best to feed the newborn kitten. He noticed that Heero rarely touched the kitten, making it difficult to control the kitten's movements.
"Maybe you should hold her in one hand while feeding her," Duo commented.
"She is so fragile..." Heero trailed off.
Duo's eyes softened. He approached his lover and scooped the still wailing and flailing kitten. "Here, hold her like this so you can feed her."
"You won't crush her, Heero." Duo added when Heero still hesitated.
With great care, Heero tentatively took the small kitten and managed to feed her a couple more drops of milk before he put her down back to her box. The kitten wailed for a few seconds before she settled to sleep.
"Wow, that was fast, " Duo grinned at his lover. "So what's next on the agenda?"
"We need to go out and buy milk for her."
"Didn't you buy that?" Duo pointed at the small glass of milk Heero had used to feed the kitten.
Heero shook his head. "I got this from the woman next door. She is very kind."
Who wouldn't be kind to a gorgeous guy who looked lost with a small kitten in his hand? Duo wondered. He was certainly weak against the gorgeous guy himself. Add a small kitten to the mix and Duo knew he was totally lost.
"Don't we need to buy some equipment for her?"
"Not now. She is still a baby. A box to sleep in and milk to drink are enough for now," Heero said.
Duo had no doubt that Heero had already researched anything and everything about cats on the net. He grinned and slung an arm around Heero's shoulder. "Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go buy our baby her milk."
Duo felt an arm slip around his waist and squeeze lightly. Heero's way of saying thanks. Duo smiled and kissed his lover, happy that Heero was happy.
Ah well, the downside of having a baby was you have to share your spouse with her, Duo made a note to himself, partly amused, partly irritated.
"Heero, it's 8 PM already. Stop fussing over her. I think she has had enough milk, judging from her wailing protests and wants to sleep already."
"But she's only had a few drops.."
"What do you expect from a kitten as small as she is?"
Heero looked sheepish. "I guess you are right." He tidied up the pipette and the milk glass then joined Duo in the bedroom.
Duo wasted no time, pouncing on his lover. They went sprawling on the bed and Duo gave Heero a long, steamy kiss. "You are so cute, Heero!"
"I'm not cute!" Heero gasped, out of breath from the kiss, and struggled from beneath him.
"Only you would search a baby name website for his kitten's name."
"I still don't know what to name her.... " Heero trailed off then blushed at admitting doing such cute thing.
Duo laughed and bestowed another long, steamy kiss. Soon the kiss turned into something hotter. Clothes went flying and Duo soon found himself enclosed in his lover's body.
"I'm so proud of you, Heero, " Duo whispered as he nipped at Heero's earlobe. "And only you would want to castrate the nearest male cats around, just to keep his baby safe."
"As if you wouldn't...." Heero panted then gasped as Duo prodded something inside him. "Duo!"
"Love you, " Duo murmured.
"Love you too, " Heero replied softly.
No more words were uttered as they concentrated on driving each other over the edge.
Much much later, after loud groans and screams, Duo detached himself and went out to pick up a towel to clean both of them. He passed the box where the kitten was asleep and took a peek at her.
She was jerking stiffly. Her mouth was open but no sound coming out.
Duo's heart stopped for a beat before resuming in rapid pace. "Heero!" He shouted. "The baby!"
Duo woke up the next morning only to find Heero missing from the bed. Feeling worried, Duo hurriedly put his clothes and went to find his lover.
He found him in the living room, sitting on the couch, staring at a small brown box.
The box which had held their baby last night.
It was empty now.
Duo silently sat down next to Heero and pulled him into an embrace. Last night's events came back to him like a blurred nightmare.
The night was filled with worry and fear for their little baby; A call to the woman next door who couldn't help the kitten this time; Heero cradling the kitten as he drove them to the nearest vet only to find it closed already; Heero shaking the kitten and asking her to move and get better; Duo listening to Heero making a call to the vet and state the kitten's symptoms; Duo watching Heero's shoulders slump as the vet said there was nothing she could do.
Duo had taken the phone from Heero and asked the vet a few more questions, but in the end the answer was the same.
It was too late.
"It's my fault." Heero's subdued voice brought Duo back to the present.
"It's not your fault, Heero," Duo whispered and tightened his embrace. "The vet said it was a big possibility that she had gotten the head injury because her mother dropped her from somewhere high when trying to move her to another place."
"I left her alone in the rain for more than an hour."
"Even if you had picked her up earlier, there was nothing you could do. The damage was already done." Duo kissed Heero's cheek gently and felt it damp. "It's not your fault, Heero."
"The vet also said, it could be because she choked on the milk. I must have been impatient when feeding her." Heero sounded so hoarse.
"No, we found out that her nose was bleeding afterwards. It was the head trauma, Heero."
Heero buried his face in Duo's shoulder. He didn't say anything else but Duo knew he still blamed himself. Duo felt his heart breaking at the misery Heero radiated.
"It's not your fault, Heero. You did all you could. She had been happy and safe in your care for her short life."
"I thought she was getting better, " Heero mumbled.
"I thought so too." Duo rested his head on Heero's. He let the silence settle around them for a few minutes while something damp and warm spread on his shoulder where Heero had buried his face. He closed his eyes and felt a tear slide down his own cheeks.
Caring for something could hurt like hell when it was torn away from you so suddenly.
Oh, they would bounce back. They would go on with their life and find something to smile at again. But for now, they would mourn together for their baby.