As I Lay Dying
Duo pried his eyes open, blinking at the blurry image of his lover
above him. He reached up with one weak hand to touch Heero's
face, brush a stray lock out of his lover's eyes... beautiful blue
eyes. He choked, wheezing, and finding it hard to breathe.
"Heero..." he gurgled, wishing his lover would bend down so he
could taste Heero's lips one last time...
"Duo," Heero replied tenderly, taking Duo's raised hand in his,
squeezing it gently before leaning over to wipe the mess oozing
out of Duo's nose.
"I love you... so much," Duo said, wincing as his voice sounded
like gravel rubbing together. "I'm so sorry..."
"For what?" Heero pushed Duo's sweaty bangs out of his face.
"You don't have to be strong for me," Duo said firmly, trying to
show a brave face. "I know I'm dying."
"Don't lie to me, Heero. My eyelids feel like sandpaper. My chest
feels tight and my nose doesn't work anymore. My ears are full of
cotton and..." Duo coughed and tried to swallow the gunk in the
back of his throat. "My throat feels like I've swallowed acid. I know
when the jig is up Heero. This is it for me."
"Duo, you're not going to die," his lover said firmly, taking him by
the shoulders and shaking him a little.
"My Heero," Duo sighed, turning his head to rub his cheek
against Heero's wrist. "So brave. Don't mourn me. I want you to
live... a full, healthy life."
"I will," Heero promised with a sigh. "With you at my side, until
we're old and gray."
Duo smiled. What a nice dream. He didn't want to leave Heero,
and despite being the self-proclaimed God of Death... he was
afraid to die. "What do you think heaven will be like?" he asked,
sniffing, or trying to, then coughing as more gunk clogged his
Heero picked up a glass of water, but Duo shook his head. "You
need to drink, Duo," his lover said, holding the glass to his lips.
"You need to keep hydrated."
"What's the use?" Duo wailed, but taking the glass anyway. "I'm
not long for this world."
"There was so much I wanted to do," the dying boy lamented,
pushing the glass away after one badly attempted swallow. "I
wanted to take long walks on the beach with you..."
"We do that every weekend," Heero muttered, setting the glass
"I wanted to go skydiving..."
"You once jumped off a sixty-story building."
"I wanted to have your babies..."
"There's still ti... wait a minute."
"Okay, maybe just pick out a puppy with you..."
"Now, that we can do, just as soon as you get well," Heero said,
leaning down to kiss him on the forehead.
"No, Heero, don't get too close. You shouldn't even be sitting
here now. You could catch what I have!"
"Oh god! The irony! I survived the L2 plagues... or did I? Maybe
that's what's killing me. God! Heero! Get away! I must have
carried the virus, all this time... and it's only now surfacing!"
"You had a full viral screen after the war. You were clean," Heero
Duo groaned. "They must have missed something. My head
feels like it's in a vice. The pressure... oh Heero, it's almost
"I brought you a pill for that," Heero said. "But you said you can't
swallow it. I could crush it up for you..."
"What's the use? Heero... Heero..." Duo whimpered and closed
his eyes. "Know that I loved you, more than anything else in this
"Even more than cheese fries?"
Duo paused. "I think... yes. Even cheese fries."
"I'm flattered." There was more dabbing at Duo's face. "Do you
want to sleep a while or do you think you could eat some broth?"
"I'll never eat cheese fries again!" Duo wailed, letting his body go
limp. "Why god? Why?"
"You're exhausted. Sleep now, Duo," Heero said, pulling up the
"Don't want to sleep. I might not wake up," Duo whispered,
curling into a big ball of misery.
"You're not dying, Duo," Heero said, rubbing his back.
"It's not good to cling to false hope..."
"Duo, you have a cold."
"It's the plague!"
Heero let out a long, suffering sigh. "It's just a cold. On top of a
sinus infection. It's quite common."
"There's nothing common about this. It's agony! My head hurts..."
"Your sinuses are blocked."
"My eyes were stuck together..."
"Part of the infection."
"Is stuffy. And running. You're really a mess."
"All that gunk draining down the back of your throat isn't good for
it. You should drink more water."
Duo sniffed, looking pitifully up at Heero. "Am I really going to get
Duo punched him weakly on the leg. "'S not funny!"
"You're right, snot isn't funny," Heero said, chuckling before
leaning down to kiss him again. "It may take a week, but yes, I
promise you'll get better. You've never been sick before, have
you? It's hitting you hard."
"I don't like this."
"Most people don't."
"How do they stand it?"
"Usually they go to the doctor instead of wallowing dramatically
in their beds."
Duo stuck his tongue out at Heero. "But that means getting up..."
"I'm sure Sally would come over if I asked her nicely."
Duo's bottom lip trembled. "Would you?"
"I will after you fall asleep. I won't leave you until then, okay?"
"Okay." Duo snuggled under the covers and wiped his nose on
the back of his hand. "Are you sure I'm not dying?"
"You might be in danger of bodily harm, but no, you're not dying."
Duo glared at his lover, then sighed "I'm being a baby, aren't I?"
"I think, under the circumstances, it's allowed. Go to sleep. I'll
wake you in a couple of hours and we'll try some chicken soup.
How does that sound?"
"I'd rather have cheese fries."
"When you're better."
Duo let his eyes droop. "You take good care of me."
"Just remember that. Next week, I'll probably be the one in bed
with a cotton head and a nose full of snot."
"I'll bring you tissues and cheese fries..." Duo mumbled as he let
the blessed oblivion of sleep overtake him.
And on the outer edge of his consciousness he heard Heero
say, "Something to look forward to, then."