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

Afterwards + Part 16

I woke up the next morning before Duo as I always did. He was curled up next to me, one arm over my chest, that gorgeous hair of his spread out over us like a blanket.

I let my fingers slide through the strands gently. Duo didn't even twitch. He had been exhausted by the time we finally had fallen asleep. I think the both of us felt that we had something to prove, and in typical male fashion, went overboard. I cuddled him closer to me, reminding myself of my resolution. I had come so close to destroying our relationship with my doubts. I needed to be more careful from now on.

I didn't want to get up. It was comfortable and warm in our bed and I was tempted to stay here for a while longer.

Val must've felt me move though, because a cold nose touched my elbow a minute later. She was sitting next to the bed, her eyes focused on me and I could hear the slight thump of her tail against the floor. I squinted at the clock. It was after nine. No wonder she was right there. I was surprised that she hadn't jumped on the bed and tried to wake us up.

"Sorry girl," I whispered to her and slid out from under Duo's arm. Her tail wagged faster as I located a pair of pajama pants and put them on.

I let her out and then went to get her breakfast. I paused to stretch, thinking that maybe I'd be very lazy and go back to bed afterwards. Duo and I didn't have any plans for the day, and the thought of a bed with a warm Duo in it was very tempting.

I let Val back in and she headed towards her food bowl with happy enthusiasm. I was heading back to bed with the same feeling, but the phone rang before I got there.

I went to answer it wondering who'd be calling so early on Saturday. Then I laughed at myself. When had I started thinking that 9 was early?

"Heero!" Relena smiled at me. "I'm sorry- did I wake you?"

"No, Val did, about 10 minutes ago. What's up?" Relena looked aglow with happiness. Something good must've happened.

"Congratulate me," she laughed with delight. "I'm a mommy."

"You are?" I smiled back at her. "When?"

"As of 2 am this morning."

"Everything go okay?"

"Just great." She laughed happily again.

"What's going on?" Duo sat up in bed and blinked at me.

"Hilde had the baby," I told him. He practically jumped out of bed so he could join me by the phone. He pushed me over a bit so he could look at Relena too.

"How's Hilde? How's the baby?" He asked eagerly.

"She's fine. She's sleeping now, or I'd let you talk to her." Relena told him. "The baby is doing great. She's sleeping too, or I'd let you see her."

"I'm sure we'll get tons of pictures," I teased Relena. "When can we come see the new arrival?"

"Next weekend?" Relena asked hopefully. "I'd say this one, but Hilde is exhausted and..."

"Of course she is," Duo interrupted. "Besides, you want some time to adjust to being a family." Relena nodded.

"Exactly. So, can we count on her godfathers coming to visit next weekend?" I blinked.

"You mean it 'Lena?" I asked. I knew Duo was one already...

"Of course," she smiled at me. "Godparents are supposed to protect the child and step in if anything happens to the parents, right? I think you qualify on the 'protect' alone." She tilted her head to the side. "You did a good job with me after all. My brother and Lu are the other set, so Iren will have plenty of protectors."

"Is that the name you decided on?" Duo asked, saving me from having to make a reply. I was still in shock.

"It is. Isn't it pretty? It means 'peace'."

"I like it," he nudged me with his elbow. "I bet you've got some other calls to make..."

"Tons," Relena grinned. "I'll email you the details for the weekend, okay?"

"Okay. Give our love to Hilde." Duo grinned back.

"I will! Bye-bye!" Relena hung up. Duo turned to look at me.

"You okay there, lover?"

"I didn't think she'd want me to..."

"Why not?" Duo kissed my cheek. "We'll be the best godparents ever."

I laughed at his assured tone. "If you say so, Duo."

"I do." His expression changed. "Speaking of parents- isn't it time for us to start your search?"

"Duo, we really didn't find..."

"I told you. We found enough." He slid an arm around me. "Now it's time to look for you. Where do we start?"

"Well," I frowned over at the computer. "With space accidents I guess. Look for survivors in the right age range."

"Will we run the birth certificate search too?"

"We can. But I don't know where to start on that one. Dr. J was on L1, but I don't think Odin and I were from there."

"Maybe Odin would be a good place to start then too." Duo got to his feet and stretched. "Why don't we have breakfast, grab a shower and look? I'll look for Odin, you can look up space accidents." There was no arguing with Duo in this mood. He was determined to start my search, despite the lack of a true answer for his.

"All right," I agreed.

+

Space accidents are never fun things to read about. Especially when you were born in space. After about ten of them I was feeling thankful that I lived on Earth and was wondering if I ever wanted to go to space again.

Duo made a startled noise and I looked over at him, hoping that he'd found something on Odin. Granted, we'd only been looking for a few hours, but it would give me something else to look at. Even if he didn't, I was going to suggest that we quit and go for a run or get lunch or something. Anything!

"What?" I asked him.

"You said Odin died right?"

"Yeah," I stood up and went to go lean over his shoulder. "Why?"

"Look," Duo tapped the screen. "I forgot to filter the list with the deceased variable when I was running the search on Earth."

"He can't be alive," I stared at the screen. It was a residential listing for an Odin Lowe. Current bills were paid, utilities kept up... no. He had died in front of me! Even then I had known what death looked like. "It must be another Odin Lowe."

Duo's fingers flew over the keys. "Let's see if we can get... ah, here."

Odin Lowe's identification information appeared on the screen. Name, birthdate, address and picture. No date of death was listed.

My eyes went immediately to the picture.

Odin.

"Oh gods..." I reached out to touch the screen hesitantly. "It's Odin. How?"

"I don't know." Duo leaned back into me. "Do you want to go for a visit? It's just a quick hop to the next continent."

"I..." Did I want to see Odin? He might have the answers I needed, but still- how had he survived? I had seen him die, damn it!

"Heero?" Duo had turned around in his seat so that he could face me. "We don't have to do it right away you know." I looked down at him. His eyes met mine, level and steady. "We can go whenever you're ready."

I managed a smile for him. "I think I need to go." I told him. "You don't mind coming with me?"

"You know I don't, lover." He reached up and kissed me. "Call Marie and ask her to watch Val. I'll call the airport. We can be there tomorrow morning."

"Work?"

"Oops, yeah, we'll call them too. We might not be back before Monday. We're owed some time anyway, right?"

"Right." I relaxed a bit. I could do this. Duo would be with me.

I looked back at the screen as he went to call Une. Odin's picture looked back at me, that odd half-smile of his floating around his lips.

Was he really still alive?

[part 15] [part 17] [back to Merula's fic]