Author: Merula
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing.

BTW I could kick myself. I remembered my Norse mythology wrong. Frey is not the son of Odin- he's actually his brother-in-law. But I am not changing Frey to Balder- I like Frey better. So, we're just going to say that Heero got it wrong.

WARNINGS: Angst.

Afterwards + Part 12

That night, as I cradled him against me, I wondered why I wasn't as happy as I thought I would be. When Duo had told me that he loved me on the beach, I could've died right then and been contented. He kissed me, laughing at my shell-shocked expression and told me again.

I'd kissed him back, held him against me, and told him how happy he'd made me. We'd gone back to the house and to bed at his insistence.

It had been wonderful; beyond what I had hoped for but- something was wrong. Something was tugging at the fringes of my brain, the old war alert that something seemed out of place.

I ran over Duo's behavior in my head. He had been willing, eager, and responsive to my caresses. He'd whispered loving words in my ear, caressed me in return... no, there was nothing wrong there. I couldn't find anything to doubt there.

So what was it? I looked at the man curled up on my chest with a smile curving his lips. He was content, happy, if I was any judge. His arms were tight around me, his hair covering us both.

Maybe it was me. I had doubted we'd ever get to this point. Maybe I was having a hard time believing it. Duo shifted in his sleep, murmuring my name as he moved closer.

I was being silly. I firmly told myself to get to sleep. I had to go to work in the morning.

It was Thursday. Four days after Duo's confession on the beach. I stared at the computer screen, reading the article again, a small chill running down my spine. I glanced over at Duo. He was intent on whatever assignment Wufei had sent him and didn't notice my glance.

I looked back at the screen. I had finished my work early today and decided to skim through the L2 news articles for a while. Sheer luck had made me happen upon these little items. A random search for 'survivor children' and I had found my Duo. In a list of 40 articles, he was in three.

The first article I found had been on a disaster called the 'Maxwell Church Destruction'. Only one of the orphans from the church had survived. I could easily recognize Duo in the picture. Now I knew where he got the 'Maxwell' and why he didn't want to talk about it. Now I knew why he had worn that priest's uniform in the first war.

The second article was on the plague and the street children. There were pictures of the surviving children, huddled in doorways and hunched into corners on the streets. Duo was among one group- his unbraided hair a dead giveaway, a younger version of his Maxwell Church self. The article called for reform, wanted the government to do something about the children on the street. I guessed the church had been the answer in Duo's case.

The last article had been about a fire in a low-income apartment building. Most of the people inside had died, but one little boy survived. A woman had dashed past the firefighters and into the burning building. She had come back out again with the little boy held tight in her arms, a handkerchief around his face.

She had died moments later when she had again dashed back into the building, presumably to save someone else.

There was a picture of the little boy and a description. Older than two, but not three yet, with chestnut hair, violet eyes and a small birthmark on the back of his knee.

The same place Duo had one.

The little boy knew that he lived with his mommy and daddy and he pronounced his name as 'Kit'. The article asked for help in identifying the boy. Further searches turned up nothing. No one had stepped forward to claim him. There were no records of the families that had lived in the building.

No wonder he had called himself the God of Death.

I thought back to the way Duo's fingers had caressed my palm when he told me that he loved me. The same palm I had cut earlier and he had watched as the nanites mended it. I wondered if that was why he said he loved me. Was it only that? I squashed the thought, dismissing it from my mind. Not now.

I looked over towards Duo again. He was smiling now, tapping away on his keyboard and I was almost loath to say anything to him at all. I didn't know how he'd take this news. But I couldn't not tell him either.

"Duo?"

"Hmm?" He asked, his fingers not pausing.

"I think I found you."

Without speaking he got to his feet and came to stand beside me. I leaned back and let him read the article. He read it through twice, and I saw his lips form the word 'Kit'.

He sat down on my lap, eyes still focused on the screen, even as he leaned into my embrace.

"Do you recall it at all?"

"Kitten," he said in a soft voice. "She called me kitten." His eyes were wide as his fingers touched the screen.

"Who did?" His brow furrowed.

"I don't remember. Not well." He took in a deep breath. "Just- kitten. Not Kit."

"Hn." I frowned. Duo's fingers caressed the screen.

"Will you save this for me?"

"Of course," I told him and tapped a few keys. His lips brushed my cheek.

"Thank you Heero." Then he smiled faintly. "Your turn now."

"We didn't really find you," I protested.

"We found enough." He told me.

[part 11] [part 13] [back to Merula's fic]