Hmm... is it time to wake up? Well he might as well do it before the pain seized him and made him stay in the bed longer. He had some stretching exercises to do in order to keep his body in fit condition to carry little Shinigami. After all, his body wasn't born to carry the little child. Duo's child... He would cook some breakfast for the little one after exercises. Thank God that he wasn't nauseous after the first few months.
Omelet. He would make an omelet today. It wasn't Duo's omelet ...
but it was...
Strange, why did his body feel lighter? Little Shinigami was quite heavy and he was usually moving his limbs in the morning.
uhhuu... sniff... huu...
Someone was crying...
This voice... Solo?
Heero opened his eyes quickly and winced in pain. His head felt heavy and his skull pounded. However he ignored the pounding as his memory flashed back. Knife, Hilde, Solo. Where was Solo? Was he safe? Hilde didn't manage to take him away again, did she? He sat up and looked in the direction of the sobbing. Ah Solo. There he was. His little Shinigami wasn't little. Never little to him.
Why was he crying?
He stood up slowly, cursing his weak legs. He would have to train more often so he could be as strong as before. That way no one could take Solo from him again. Feeling his legs become steady, he walked toward his son. The pain in the back of his head made him slow, but he wouldn't give up because of it. Not before he made sure Solo was okay.
"Heero?" Milliard was saying his name in surprise. Midii who was hugging his son, withdrew her hands. He also heard some surprised gasps from around him, but he wasn't concerned about them. Solo was the important one. It was a good thing that Milliard said his name. Solo lifted his head and looked at him with teary eyes.
"What happened?" Looking worriedly at his son, he reached out and swept Solo's tears away. The boy had stopped crying and was looking at him as if stunned. He then remembered Solo hated him and quickly withdrew his hand and put it behind his back. The pain in his head doubled at his quick movement. He winced and swayed slightly.
He heard several people shout his name and felt a pair of hands pull his body forward, preventing him from falling. Looking down, he found his son sobbing against his chest. "Sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm really, really sorry."
Duo watched as his son sobbed as he leaned against Heero. The Japanese boy was confused, not expecting this kind of reaction from his son. "Why are you sorry?"
Solo sobbed louder at Heero's question. While Heero was busy trying to calm down his son, Duo gestured to the others to leave them alone. Wufei caught Duo's gesture and nodded. He ushered the others out and within a minute, Duo was left alone with his family.
His true family.
A sharp intake of breath came from the Japanese boy. Duo watched as Heero looked down at the blue book on Solo's lap. Those Prussian blue eyes widened at recognition.
"Heero." He called out the Japanese boy. "Come here."
"Come here." Duo cut quickly. "Solo, let go of Heero."
Solo shook his head in refusal and buried his face deeper into Heero's chest.
"Solo." Duo growled. "Let. Go. Now."
Still sobbing, Solo reluctantly released the Japanese boy. Duo cursed his weak condition as he watched Heero walk to him hesitantly, looking ready to bolt. The Japanese boy must have thought he would be angry with him. Didn't Heero know how much he wanted to stand up and take Heero into his arms? Never in his life that he wanted this much to hold his beloved, the one who had given him his son.
Duo waited till Heero was standing next to him and grabbed his hand, a precaution so Heero wouldn't be able to escape, not that he could. Wufei and the others on the outside wouldn't let Heero out of the room. "Get in." He gestured toward his bed.
"Duo, I don't..."
"Get in." He repeated urgently, feeling his resolve was about to break. "Or I'll get out." He was relieved when the Japanese boy climbed in immediately. It was obvious that Heero knew the extent of his injuries and didn't want him to damage them further. The Japanese boy tried to sit on the edge of the bed, but Duo was having none of that. He pulled Heero closer and spread his legs, placing Heero between them. Once Heero was settled with his back against Duo's chest, Duo hugged him tightly, crossing his hands over Heero's stomach.
It was difficult to believe that Solo came from this flat surface.
"Duo?" Heero asked hesitantly.
"Heero..." Duo shook as his hands caressed the flat stomach of his beloved. He could feel Heero's warmth and smell the unique scent of Heero. "Heero.." Duo felt his resolve slowly melt as he kissed every inch of bare skin he could find on Heero. "Heero, Heero, Heero..." He kissed his cheek, his neck, his shoulders and then buried his face in the messy hair of the Japanese boy.
Heero was alive.
Heero was here, in his arms, safe and alive.
"I'm sorry." Duo sobbed and shook violently. He tightened his arms around the Japanese boy, afraid that Heero would suddenly disappear. Heero was here with him now. Heero wasn't lying on the floor with his stomach sliced open. "I'm sorry." Duo sobbed out the words and then buried his face in Heero's shoulder. "So sorry." And he let go of all his resolves.
Solo watched his father crying his heart out on Heero's shoulder, letting out animal like wails. He never saw his father break down like this. His proud and strong father, the man who always smiled and grinned all the time. The sadness, pain, betrayal, helplessness, and so many other emotions were reflected on his father's wails. Solo's own body was still shaking, still trying to adapt to the violence that had been revealed before him.
Not wanting to be alone, Solo picked up the blue diary, left his bed and walked toward his father's bed. His wounds would have protested and stopped him from moving, however the painkiller the nurse had given him dulled the pain. He knew he would catch hell later when the medic found him, but right now he didn't care.
He wanted to be with his parents.
Solo looked up and noticed he had reached the edge of his father's bed. Heero was looking at him worriedly. His father had stopped wailing by now and was sobbing lightly against Heero's back. The man spared him a glance from where his face was buried in Heero's hair and grunted out a hoarse 'get in'. Solo wasted no time in climbing in after putting the blue book next to his father's pillow. He lay down between Heero's slightly spread legs and rested his head on Heero's left thigh. Solo sighed and felt his trembling assuage as he felt Heero's warmth around him.
Heero was warm. Heero was alive...
"Solo?" Heero spoke again, confusion was obvious in his voice.
"I want to be here..." Solo hesitated. "...mother..."
There was a sharp intake of breath from about him. Solo looked up cautiously, noticing the shock on the Prussian blue eyes. " ... should I call you father instead?"
Heero's fingers shook when he touched Solo's cheek. Solo thought Heero was angry but then the fingers caressed him gently. "Whatever...Call me whatever you want... "
Solo turned to the fingers and kissed them lightly. "Mother...."
"Aa..." Heero ran his fingers over Solo's face. " My son..." He touched Solo's forehead, down to his nose, lips, and chin and lingered on his cheek. "My son......"
"Our son." Duo said hoarsely and caressed Heero's stomach. "Solo is our son."
Heero nodded as one tear rolled down onto his cheek. "Our son."
"Mother..." Solo smiled slightly. "Father..." He felt his trembling die down, replaced by the warmth radiating from Heero. He closed his eyes and was out within seconds, knowing both of his parents were watching over him.
Trowa stuck his head into the room an hour later. His jade eyes went wide with worry when he noticed Heero and Solo's beds were empty, but they soon softened in relief when he noticed the missing pair in Duo's bed. Solo was lying on Heero's lap while the Japanese boy was leaning against Duo, who leaned against the bed. The three all wore similar peaceful expressions on their face. A slight smile of happiness graced their faces.
"We have to tell the doctor to get a queen sized bed." The brunette looked down at his right side where the voice had come from and saw Android J standing there, also looking at the trio. "I'm glad the boy finally found his happiness."
"You know that they still have a lot of problems ahead of them, don't you?" Wufei appeared behind them.
"I know. But the boy will have his loved ones to support him this time." J replied.
"And us." Trowa added. "Heero has us now."
"Yes, he does." J smiled slightly. "Now let's go before our voices wake them up."
"Might as well put a 'do not disturb' sign on the door. I'm sure they will want some time for the three of them only." Trowa spoke up as they walked out of the room.
Wufei nodded in agreement. "I'll ask Sally to do that."
"Father!" Midii called out as she walked hurriedly toward her father. For a few seconds, Trowa was worried that something else bad had happened. But his daughter's next words erased his worries.
"Dad has awakened!"
Trowa forgot everything else as he raced toward his husband's room. He had so much news to tell his love.
"Oh bummer." Midii exclaimed as her father left her with Uncle Wufei and the android.
"Well that's your father. Tell him something about your Dad and he will forget everything else." Wufei chuckled. "Don't you want to go with him?"
Midii shook her head. "I think father wants to be with Dad for a while."
"You're a nice child." Android J looked at the blonde girl. "How are you and your friends handling what you have seen?"
Midii's face darkened. "It's not easy... Everything we have all know since we could remember was turned upside down. It will take us some time to recover. But... we'll be fine eventually."
Android J nodded in understanding. "I'm glad to hear that."
"There's still something that I'm wondering about." Wufei spoke up. "Why did Philip help Heero?"
The android sighed bitterly. "Guilt."
"Just guilt?" Wufei frowned.
"Philip was a good man, but his flaw was that he was too greedy." The android explained and then walked away. "Let's go. I think you and your family will want to go home. It's quite late in the night."
Later when the others had left the hospital, the android entered Maxwell's room and sat on the chair near the bed. He replayed what Philip had said to him last night as he watched over the sleeping trio.
"I have lost count how many times I read that diary. That book held so many feelings and such passion from a boy you had trained into Perfect Soldier. I thought he was a cold blooded killer before. I was greedy at that time ... I regretted everything I have done to him. You maybe don't believe me, but I find myself envying Duo Maxwell for all the love and passion your boy gave to him. I think I have fallen in love with the boy just by reading his diary."
The Android looked at the Japanese boy and murmured softly. "Love can make people do anything huh? You, Hilde, Philip... it's all about love......."
Duo sighed happily as he gradually awakened. It had been a long time since he last awakened to such warm fuzzy feeling. He stirred slightly and felt a light brush of hairs beneath his chin. Opening his eyes, he was confronted with the white ceiling. Duo frowned then. His ceiling was a creamy color and supposed to be carved in gold. He wasn't in his house.
He was in the hospital.
At the realization, Duo quickly looked down and sighed in relief as he noticed the messy brown bundle which he recognized as Heero's head. The Japanese boy was lying on his side, half of his upper body resting on Duo's chest. Duo tightened his arm around the sleeping boy and noticed in happiness the steady raise of Heero's chest. Heero was alive. Heero was with him.
Duo looked across the chocolate bundle and saw his sleeping son's face. It looked like the three of them had fallen asleep on his bed last night. He smiled as he inhaled Heero's scent. Duo couldn't help but feeling very contented, knowing he had his family with him.
He wouldn't mind if time stopped right at this very second.
On second thought, he preferred not to have have time stop. There were still so many things he wanted to do with Heero and Solo. To see Heero's smile again was on top of his list of things to do.
Duo shifted his free hand and felt something solid. Frowning, he lifted the solid thing and noticed it was the blue book Solo had been hugging yesterday.
Heero's true feelings.
Duo didn't even stop to think that it was a personal thing, that he should have asked Heero's permission first. He opened the book and chose a page randomly.
25th of June, AC 196
Duo hasn't been home yet, Odin. He used to come home at 6:00 PM at least, but now he likes to work late. He also often talks about Hilde this, Hilde that, Hilde is so good at doing this, Hilde looks stunning doing that.
I don't want to hear it. I don't want to!
I know I can't be compared to her. I can't smile as freely as her, I can't laugh, I can't move as gracefully as her, and I'm not pretty either.
I can't protest if Duo chooses her over me. Why would he want a person like me anyway if he can get a nice pretty girl? He's never said he loved me, never said he cared for me. He only told me that he loved to have me at his side.
I know I can offer nothing to him, but I don't want to lose Duo either.
I need Duo...
Ne Odin. Tell me... what should I do so he keeps wanting me at his side? Should I try to laugh or attempt to joke like Hilde does? I don't think I can do that... The more I think, the more I feel useless. What can I do, Odin? What can I do to make him stay with me?
I don't want to lose Duo...
Duo put the blue book down next to him shakily and closed his eyes to prevent his tears from falling. He had just read one entry, but it was enough to raise fifteen years of guilt and regret within him, not to mention his heart was torn apart when he realized how badly he had treated Heero.
Duo's eyes snapped open at the voice. He looked down and was greeted with a pair of Prussian blue eyes. "Morning, how are you feeling?"
"Uhm... just my hand..."
Heero rolled slightly so he was lying on his back now and thus freed Duo's hand from beneath him. Duo retrieved his numb hand and flexed it for a while. He then put it above Heero's head and rolled to his side to look upon his beloved. "Heero... gomen... Hontouni gomen..."
"...You still can speak Japanese huh?"
"I learned from the best." Duo kissed Heero's cheek gently. "You're the best, Heero. I'm sorry I drove you away, I left you alone to bear our child, I..." A hand covering his lips halted what was just the beginning of his apologies.
"Stop it." Heero looked away. "You don't have to feel guilty. It was my decision alone. And moreover, you're not supposed to read people's diaries."
"I know, but I can't help it. I want to know what you were thinking back then." Duo smiled bitterly as he caressed Heero's face. "I was very, very selfish, huh?"
Heero leaned against the stroking fingers. "Not really."
"You know how selfish I am, but yet you love me still."
Heero mumbled. "No one's perfect, Duo."
Three words. Only three words, but they had great impact for Duo. No one's perfect. Heero knew he wasn't perfect. Heero knew he was selfish but yet Heero accepted him as he was. Heero loved him despite his selfishness and his other weaknesses. Duo could feel his eyes burning as he looked back fifteen years ago. He had wanted Heero to change, to be more expressive and cheerful like he was. He wanted Heero to be more talkative. He wanted Heero as he saw fit, not Heero who spoke sufficiently. Heero, who liked gardening and cooking. Heero who liked sitting on his lap and cuddling in silence.
Not like him, Heero wanted Duo as he was. Heero never wanted to change him, never hoped him to change. Heero loved him with all his weakness and his strengths.
Duo whispered hoarsely as he tightened his embrace around the Japanese boy. "I don't deserve you."
"But I can't let you go." Duo interrupted and kissed Heero desperately. "I love you so much. Don't ever leave me......"
"... I never want to leave you."
"I'm going to marry Hilde."
"When do you want me to move out then?"
Duo couldn't hold his tears as he recalled the past event. He still remembered how tense Heero was, how his face was so expressionless. It was obvious to him now that the Japanese boy had been masking his real feelings. No, Heero never wanted to leave him. It was him who asked Heero to leave. Duo buried his face in Heero's hair and cried silently. He couldn't remember why he favored Hilde over Heero. He must have been so blind and stupid that he had asked Heero to go away.
"Duo?" Heero sounded worried.
Duo quickly stopped his tears and pulled away a little to look at Heero's face. "How could I deserve a perfect being like you?"
"I'm not perfect, Duo." Heero looked away from Duo. "If I was perfect, I would have been strong enough to tell you of my feelings for you. I would never have stepped back when Hilde appeared. I would..."
Duo stopped him, putting his fore finger on Heero's lips. "Point taken." He stared at Heero, trying to convey all his love for the Japanese boy. "I will never leave you again, Heero."
Heero looked at Duo for some time as if savoring the moment between them. Time stretched in silence between them until Heero blinked as if he just remembered something important. "Give me my diary back."
Duo smiled sadly, knowing Heero still didn't believe he would never leave the Japanese boy. Oh well, he had a lifetime to convince Heero anyway. In answer to Heero's request, Duo shook his head. "I want to read it first."
"You haven't read it yet?"
"No. Solo has."
Heero looked annoyed and inwardly Duo was cheering that Heero felt quite safe now to show his true emotions on his face. It had been a long time since he saw indifference on the Japanese boy's face. Now he just had to persuade his love to let him read the diary.
Duo cupped Heero's cheek and caressed it gently. "Please, let me read it. I want to know what you were feeling at that time so I won't make the same mistakes again."
"... if you haven't read the diary, how did you know..."
So Duo told him about Dr. Philip and J's interferences. He spoke slowly while his hands caressed Heero who got tenser as the story progressed. When he finished, Duo stayed silent, still caressing Heero all over. He knew Heero needed time to accept that a lot of people now knew his secrets.
"... I don't want your pity." Heero spoke finally after being silent for almost half an hour.
Duo hugged him tighter and nuzzled his hair lovingly. "I never pity you. I love you. Even without the video, I won't leave you." He delivered small kisses to Heero's face. "Love you, love you so much, the mate of my soul, the mother of my son..."
Solo awakened to Duo's tender murmurs. He opened his eyes and watched his father kiss Heero lovingly. He himself was snuggling into Heero's back, one arm draped on Heero's waist, below his father's arm. The boy smiled and greeted his parents. "Morning Dad, morning... uhm... Heero..."
Solo knew that he had said the wrong thing when he felt Heero tensing. He swallowed nervously.
"I think I heard you called him mother yesterday, why now revert back to Heero?" His father's sharp voice told Solo that Duo didn't like what he just said.
Solo gulped and quickly explained to Heero. "I'm sorry. I wanted to call you mother, but the face that flashed in my mind when I was about to say the word was mother's ... uhm... Hilde's face. I felt awkward, so I used your name instead."
Duo's face had darkened when Hilde's name mentioned. He looked at his son sharply. "That bitch is not your mother. I don't want to hear her name ever again!"
Solo winced at his father's hated tone. Somehow he felt hurt by his father's words.
"I'm going to divorce that bastard bitch. Damn it, she should burn in..."
"Duo..." Heero put a hand on Duo's mouth. "Stop."
"Don't stop me." Duo kept ranting. "That whore will suffer when I..."
Duo shut up in surprise at his son's outburst.
"Please stop, Dad." Solo wiped his tears angrily. He wasn't supposed to cry over a cruel woman but he couldn't help it. His father's words felt like knives stabbing at his heart.
"What the hell, why are you crying for that... OW..." Duo moaned in pain as Heero probed his bullet wound.
"Calm down, Duo. It's not Solo's fault."
Duo blinked in confusion and shut up, waiting for the Japanese boy to explain further.
Heero turned around so he was facing Solo. He watched his son's face for a while and then closed his eyes. After taking a deep breath, he opened his eyes back and looked straight at Solo. "It's okay. I know no matter how bad she wass, you will always think Hilde as your mother." Heero's gentle and understanding words broke Solo's wall.
The boy sobbed and nodded, leaning his head against Heero's one. "I know I shouldn't feel like that after what she had done to you but still... still..."
"How could you still think her as a mother?" Duo shouted angrily.
"Duo, calm down." Heero took Duo's hand and caressed it to make the older man calmer. "It's expected for Solo to feel like that." The Japanese boy smiled bitterly to his son. "As much as it hurts for me to admit it, Hilde has been your mother for fourteen years. I saw the photos and I knew she was there when you first walked and when you celebrated your birthday. She was present at every important event of your life." Heero took a breath and looked at his son longingly. "I wished I had been there instead of her. But it was her who stood at your side as you grew up. I know your father had greater role in your life. Still, together with your father, she made you into this fine young man you are now." Heero caressed Solo's cheek. "I didn't have any hand in raising you. It's Duo and Hilde that made you what you are now. Hilde is your mother. I am... merely the person who bore you."
"Why do you defend her?" Duo growled, not liking the truth he found in Heero's words. "Don't you hate her for taking Solo from you? For trying to kill you?"
"I wanted to hate her." Heero whispered. "She had taken both of you from me. I really wanted to hate her. But when I got to see how healthy and fine Solo is, I can't hate her." Heero let his hand rest on Solo's cheek. "She let you live. She let you grow up so that I have a chance to see you."
Tears rolled down from Solo's eyes to his cheeks and wet the tip of Heero's fingers. The boy opened his mouth and spoke throatily "Mot... moth..."
Heero shook his head. "Don't force yourself to..."
"Mot... Mom." Solo blinked when his mouth said the last word firmly. He then smiled and grabbed Heero's hand on his cheek. "You will be my mommy from now on."
"Mommy...?" Heero repeated, a little stunned.
Duo couldn't help but chuckle at the word. His Heero, a great soldier and the world's hero, was being called a mommy by their son. While Heero still could accept to be called 'mother', Duo didn't think the Japanese boy ever thought of being called 'mommy'. There were still plenty other names to call Heero, such like father, otousan, pop, papa, but out of all the names, Solo chose 'mommy'. It could be because Heero's condition since he was awakened gave Solo an impression of a shy and fragile boy. Well, Solo was in for a surprise. When Heero recovered, Solo would know why Heero once had been called 'perfect soldier'. Duo could imagine how Heero would corner Solo in fencing, teach him martial arts and also be his rival in sports. Solo would think twice about calling Heero mommy then.
"Mommy it is." Duo extended one hand to ruffle his son's hair in affection while whispering to Heero to not protest for the title because Solo would change it soon. Their conversation was halted then when Android J entered, followed by Relena who squealed in happiness and dragged her spouse toward Heero. Dorothy just rolled her eyes as Relena spoke rapidly to Heero, trying to tell him what she had been saving for years. Sally, Wufei, Zechs, Noin and Lady Une entered after them, together with the four teens of M-five.
The teens quickly detached themselves from the adults and went to fuss over Solo. Last came Trowa and Quatre. The blonde man, whom had been told the whole story by Trowa, knocked Relena away and hugged Heero, sobbing in relief for finally meeting his friend after almost fifteen years. Trowa had to pry his husband away to let the others have their time with Heero. Although sulking a little at having to release Heero, Duo smiled as he watched his friends gathering around them.
Heero was there in the center.
They were finally complete now.
Years later proved Duo wrong about Solo. Despite being beaten in fencing and some other sports, despite Heero being the strongest of them all, Solo still called Heero 'mommy'.
And so did his younger sibling.
Duo would smile with Heero as they watched their children laughing and growing up with the other children of their comrades.
They had moved back into their old house. The oak tree was still standing gloriously in the backyard, surrounded by the lavenders. When Duo returned home from work, he would often find his husband in the garden, sleeping under the oak tree like he used to do. Duo would then carry Heero back to the house. The first time he did that, Heero was awakened and smiled at him. The Japanese boy then leant forward and whispered the words Duo had longed to hear for years.
I love you.
Author's note : Okay, one question I often gets when I first post this fic is 'what is Te Amo?' Some of you may have figured it out and some haven't. Te Amo means 'I love you' in Latin. I also put 'I love you' in different languages in ff.net before the fic was removed. When I made the basic plot of this story, I chose love as the main plot. As Android J has said, it's all about love. The main characters in this fic aka Heero, Duo, and Hilde *gets kicked by Hilde for making her villain* did what they did based on love, whether it's right or wrong.
Thank you to Lady Nagisa for betaing it and to Jam for inspiring it. I also want to say thank you to you all who have reviewed and encouraged me in writing this fic.
Now before you start questioning me, yes there will be epilogue. Multi chapters epilogue. I end Te Amo here because this is where the angst moments end. (hopefully ^^; I love Hee-chan so much to stop torturing him)