Author: Merula
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is not mine.

Run and Hide + Part 9

Chapel first. Always. I needed to be calm to tell Leo's 'family' what had happened to him. Of course, they might already know. But I still needed to perform this duty. The tiny flame flared to life in the darkness.

"Ave Maria, gratia plena," I murmured, letting the familiar syllables roll out of my mouth. Did it do any good? I didn't know if Leo had just gotten a bad dose or had OD'd on purpose. Would Mother Mary intervene for a 14-year-old kid dead by his own stupidity? Sister Helen would've said yes. That was enough to make me at least ask for her help. Leo had already met my other deity- face to face as it were.

I finished and turned around, nearly running smack into Heero. I stared at him for a long moment.

"What are you doing here?" I asked him, without thinking.

"Not letting you out of my sight," he replied as if the answer was obvious.

"Aren't you supposed to be watching Relena?" I countered.

"Quatre and Trowa are with her. She's fine." He met my gaze evenly and I sighed internally. I knew that I owed Heero an explanation at the very least- but I had a duty to discharge.

"I have to go- I have an errand to run."

"The nun explained. I'll go with you." I almost argued, but the thought of having his company on this particular errand was comforting. Besides, what were my chances of convincing him otherwise?

"All right," I agreed.

We walked silently down the street. I don't know what was on his mind, but mine was a horrible mess. I stopped in front of a run-down building. The child sitting on the steps gave me a half-smile.

"Hey Mr. H- you come bout Leo?"

"You all heard?" The girl nodded.

"Don't feel bad, Mr. H. Leo liked the stuff too much- y'know? It was gonna catch up with him sooner or later."

"I didn't think he was on it anymore."

"Cravin got too bad. He told Angel that he was going out for a hit- she tried to talk him out of it, but he said no- just this last time," her smile disappeared. "You know how it is."

"I do. Anything I can do for you guys?"

"Nah, we'll be fine. Govt takin care of Leo?"

"Yep- Dr. Frank's handling it."

"He's a good guy. You too, Mr. H. Thanks."

"Thanks Stace. Let me know if you come up short on rent."

"Will do." She rose gracefully to her feet and went inside.

I turned and went back down the street, Heero a silent presence next to me.

"So, do you think you killed that boy?" He asked me bluntly after a few blocks. I looked at him, startled.

"I didn't sell him the drugs, Heero."

"But that's why you left us, isn't it? You were afraid that we'd die."

"Everyone I love dies." I told him flatly.

"Everyone dies, Duo. That's how it is. It can't be just because of you." That made me stop in my tracks.

"Oh?" I choked out. "It's not? Why do you think the alliance attacked the church that day? Because I stole a mobile suit from their base for the people hiding in the church."

"What?" He looked at me, puzzled. "Duo, you were what- 6? 7?"

"How should I know? I have no idea how old I am. But I did steal that suit and the Alliance leveled the church." I snapped.

"What about Solo and the others? How is a plague your fault?" Heero changed tactics. It wasn't going to work.

"I found a boy in an alleyway. He was sick and feverish so I took him to Solo. I thought Solo could help him." I stopped, fighting for control.

"And instead Solo got sick?" Heero asked quietly.

"Everyone got sick. Everyone but me."

"Ah gods, Duo." Heero tugged me into his embrace, heedless of the fact that we were in the middle of the street where anyone could see us. I clung to him for a long moment before I pulled myself together.

"We're almost home," I managed and led him the last block or so to the safety of my apartment. I unlocked the door and then locked it again behind us. Heero stood in the middle of my shabby studio apartment and looked out of place. Gods, he was gorgeous.

"So, Wufei got married?" I asked him in a small voice. He turned around and regarded me thoughtfully, his expression giving nothing away.

"After you left we started to fight all the time. We tried, but we just couldn't make it work." He shrugged. "It was mostly my fault, I think. It's hard to rely on anyone when one of the people that your world revolves around leaves you." His voice was matter-of-fact, his mission voice. It made me feel guilty, well, guiltier, I had expected him to just beat the crap out of me, or yell, or something other than stand in my apartment and talk to me calmly. "I kept expecting him to leave. One day he finally did."

"I'm sorry, Heero." It didn't seem like enough somehow.

"It's all right," Heero's mouth lifted slightly in a smile. "You never saw how Sally and Wufei were around each other at work. Even before, I used to think..." He shrugged slightly. "We weren't meant to keep him."

"He's happy?" I asked cautiously.

"Yes, I think he's very happy. He calls occasionally." Heero smiled faintly. "He and Sally do very well together." I found the courage to ask the next question.

"Are you happy? Did you find someone?" I wasn't sure which answer I was hoping for.

"No." He stepped closer to me. "I haven't been happy since you left. How could you do that to me, Duo?"

[part 8] [part 10] [back to Merula's fic]