Disclaimers: (sigh) Don't own any part of them--just enjoy watching what they do from time to time.

Warnings: After the war, mention of 1x2x1, Heero POV.

Summary: Yet another quiet little exploration of the relationship between Heero and Duo. Number seventeen in a very loosely connected set.

The Little Things Arc
Part Seventeen: On The Way Home
by D.C. Logan

This motel was definitely third class. His first clue was the rate per night--he'd never stayed at a motel that charged by the fractional evening before. The battered and sorely used locking mechanism on the door had seen better days sometime in the previous century. The lock pick set that Duo had given him for Christmas three years ago worked both more efficiently and faster than the magnetic key that had come with the lease of the room. His suitcase, scuffed and abused from a young lifetime of continuous travel, looked pristine when compared to the outfitting of the room. He set it on the edge of the bed with some trepidation, but nothing leaped out at him from the folds of the linens or from under the mattress.

He hated traveling with a magnitude and vehemence that he applied to little else now that the war was over. His life had long been a continual series of interchangeable hotels, motels, safe houses, and dormitories. He'd just wanted a place of his own. He'd been tired of carrying his life's worth of possessions in two hands. Duo had helped him change all that.

The shower spat at him when he twisted the handle experimentally; at least the water ran acceptably hot after the first few moments. As far as he could tell upon his initial explorations, it was the only positive aspect of the room.

His appointment was at eight in the morning, and if his clients matched the room they'd reserved for him, well, it would be a short meeting. So, only about eighteen hours until he could turn around and head back home. He sat on the edge of the bed, as the only chair in the room appeared to be carefully balanced against the wall; he doubted it would have supported his weight.

Heero couldn't remember having this strong an urge to race through his business before Duo had moved in. But then again, he hadn't had a good reason to rush home before Duo had become part of his everyday life. Heh, who was he kidding, wherever Duo was, that's where his home was--all the rest of it was just window dressing. He'd finally reached the point were the time spent apart from him no longer felt like a vacation--it was quiet torture. For the first time in his life, he was leaving someone behind that cared whether or not he came back. It had been and continued to be a humbling experience for him.

He'd never felt needed, necessary... wanted before. At first he'd found the realization terrifying, and he'd run from it by traveling on business far and often. Now it was a comfort to him, and the travel a heavy burden.


What was it with people today? He couldn't come up with a good reason for it--but it seemed as if, for whatever reason, on this particular day at this particular place--everyone was simply angry. Angry and eager and ready and willing to take out their combined aggression on whomever was convenient or did anything, however small, to provoke them. Heero remembered seeing this, or something very much like it, while traveling during the war. It was almost as if whatever general tolerance had been granted to each person had been used up in the general anxiety of everyday activities, and they had none to spare on fellow travelers.

All he wanted to do was get home to Duo. With a minimal amount of interference from the crowds around him if that was at all possible. It didn't feel like it would be a peaceful flight though. The crowd had a surly edge to it, and people were pushing against each other without apology or excuse. It grated on his nerves.

He wrangled his way over to the bank of seats in the staging area by his shuttle dock. He didn't sit though, preferring to find a sheltered corner for his back by a structural support. He carefully set his travel bag--he traveled with only the one--between his feet and stepped on the fabric extensions to deter theft. Not that it was really necessary, but if he looked ready to comfortably handle anything that would dare come along to bother him, nothing would. That was the way the underculture on this colony worked.

He passed his waiting minutes watching the crowds move in small bursts of activity through the concourse. A young girl caught his attention. She was perhaps five or six, and was being towed along almost as an afterthought by the long casual arm of her mother. She in turn was dragging a piece of wheeled luggage through the concourse like a disobedient pet--it tipped, then righted itself every few strides.

It was enough to make him smile, however briefly. It had to last him for the remainder of the trip though. Well, that and thoughts of what Duo was doing. It was a quiet diversion he'd come up with to pass the time while away from his partner. 'What was Duo doing at this very moment back in the apartment?' He had a thousand answers for that little question--most of them wrong, he knew. But the thought of Duo brushing his teeth, making his coffee, running errands...doing the mundane things that were a part of each day of his life whether Heero was there or not--brought him simple pleasure for which there was no price.

"Hang on Duo, I'm on my way home..."


on to 'unsigned cards'

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