The Hopeless Battle
by Dev-Aki Basaa
I've been waiting for a day like this for six months,
I swear! It's sunny, bright, warm - but not hot - the
first real sign of a promised Spring. And all I can
think about is tearing off the far end of the porch
and starting in on the addition. Heero and I have
been talking about it all Winter. We've put so many
additions on this place, the neighbors must think
we're considering starting up some kind of hostel
business eventually. Though, The Ex-Gundam Pilots'
Bed & Breakfast might be a little too strange, even
If someone had told me this was how my life would end
up - I would have laughed them right into space, you
know? Owning a house with Heero Yuy in some slightly
twisted domestic heaven; waking up next to him -
holding him, kissing him - everyday of my life; not
worrying about my next meal or the next safe harbor,
but living comfortably on an early-retirement pension
from Preventers; taking unholy glee - even after all
these years - in being able to make Heero's ears turn
red when I kiss and/or grope him in public, with my
biggest frustration being said doting lover nagging me
about taking my blood pressure meds every morning...
I couldn't have asked for something better than this.
I wouldn't have hoped for so much.
Quatre and Trowa mentioned maybe visiting this
weekend, and they'd be bringing the Kid, Galen (who I
can hardly call 'The Kid' anymore considering he's
just graduated from the Academy). We could do
something special for it. I might even be able to
harass Wufei into taking a break from being a
Preventers head-honcho long enough to enjoy something
from our grill and help me sink posts for the porch
extension. Heero can work whatever magic he does on
Relena and convince her to visit as well, walking away
from the stacks of files that never seem to diminish
on her desk. They all need the break.
And we enjoy the company...provided they leave
eventually so we can go back to enjoying our privacy.
The air is as fresh as I expected it to be - the birds
chirping, the wind rustling the beginnings of little
buds on the trees. It's so clich? - and I love every
moment of it. The grass is a mix of new green sprouts
and dried brown blades, crackling under my step. I'm
figuring I could have this section of the porch down
by the end of the day, and get started on the base
with what wood I already have - save myself a trip to
the lumber yard on such a beautiful day.
Heero just yelled for me - I must have a vid-call.
It's a silly thing to take such pleasure in walking up
our sidewalk to see him waiting impatiently for me at
the doorway, a half scowl, half-grin greeting me.
Only, the sight of him wavers.
I take my next step, stumble and suddenly know
something is terribly wrong. My head begins pounding,
so painful that I wince. My stomach drops and the
walkway rushes up to greet me. I don't feel myself
hit the ground as much as I hear it - a strange crunch
in my shoulder.
Heero's shouting, but all I can see is this blackness
creeping into my vision.
I've never gotten a call like this in my life.
"Come to the hospital, it's Duo."
Trowa can be so succinct sometimes, it borders on
Duo talked of working on that dilapidated porch of his
come the first nice day - did he hurt himself? If so,
why call me in the middle of a workday?
I suppose a part of me thinks this will turn out to be
just another Maxwell blunder and he asked for me for
some 'Duo-logic' reason, and Heero only ever humors
him, which would explain why Trowa didn't elaborate,
just played along. I should just dismiss it and get
there when I can.
Yet, the gravity of Trowa's voice had a profound
affect on me. I told my secretary to contact Noin's
office and see about rescheduling the afternoon
meeting. I wonder if she'll even let me do such a
thing, considering how important this meeting is.
She's more likely to try and compromise a way to keep
the meeting intact - perhaps bumping it up or later in
However, as I am already managing mid-day traffic, I
won't be there to find out.
I don't know if I should grab Heero and make him stop
pacing, or stand up and join him myself. I can't say
if the illness in my stomach is from a buildup of
nervous energy that needs to be exercised, or if the
activity will just cause me to puke sooner. A quick
glance over Wufei's way tells me he's probably
contemplating the same thing.
The waiting room of the Intensive Care Unit was not
where any of us expected to spend our afternoon.
I look up when Trowa enters the room. He crosses to
me, slowing just enough to let Heero pass, before he
sits down next to me and takes my hand.
I give him an expectant look and he knows what I am
"Iria will be at the shuttle port to pick up Galen.
She'll just tell him there's been a change in plans
and we'll see him soon. No sense in worrying him
until we know what there is to worry about."
I couldn't help but notice the slight hitch in Heero's
even strides. His hearing never has waned any. Trowa
squeezes my hand to bring my attention back to him.
His ever penetrating gaze speaks so well for him - I
know the others don't see it as I do. He silently
says that everything is going to be all right. I
squeeze his hand back.
I love him, but I don't believe him.
He looks... asleep. Peaceful, content, his light
lashes lying perfectly against the arch of his cheek.
Just like at home, when I've woken in the night to
watch him sleep.
There is a woman dressed in light blue scrubs asking
us question upon question. Quatre seems to be
handling the interrogation and I'm grateful for that.
My brain doesn't seem to want to work. The excursion
through the ER was a blur, but right now all I can see
is him and the shallow rise and fall of his chest.
Every once in a while, there's this pregnant pause and
I know they need to me to answer one of the questions,
something Quatre, or Wufei - who has interjected a
response here and there - can't answer.
I think the question was of medication.
"He takes Lotensin and Lipitor and a multi-vitamin.
All just once a day."
The woman - a nurse - nods and moves on to the next
question. Quatre must answer it because I can't see,
hear or think of anything beyond him again. I take
his hand, warm, but limp in mine.
What are you doing, Duo? Please, snap out of this.
I need you.
'Malignant hypertension'. That's what the doctor
called Duo's form of high-blood pressure. This
particular variety comes with a high risk of
cerebral-vascular damage and renal failure. A fancy
way to say 'stroke and kidney shut-down'.
By the look on Yuy's face, I'd say he didn't know Duo
had anything more than the normal everyday variety of
high-blood pressure, easily controlled by drugs and
diet. I'm sure Duo never suspected either. I have to
wonder if some other doctor has a malpractice suit on
his or her hands in the near future.
This doctor added it was probably hereditary and asked
about Duo's family history. Seems the man doesn't
know who we are - hasn't read one of the numerous
"unofficial" biographies that circulated for a time.
Heero just told him Duo'd been orphaned and his family
history is unknown, leaving it at that.
And, I suppose, that's nothing less than the truth.
Who can make a decision like that? I can't say if I
could. The medicine that could protect Duo from
another stroke could also kill him with a brain
By the pained look Quatre is giving me, he's wondering
the same thing. Could he risk my life to protect it?
What would we decide if it were Galen? Aside from
Quatre, he's my life's joy - this amazing gift of a
young man that I'm beyond blessed to have call me
Father. To lose him; to lose Quatre, over my
decision, or lack thereof...
What am I supposed to do, Duo? You always had the
right answer; you always knew what to say.
I'm afraid I'm losing my perspective in this. They
say "could protect" and that's all I hear, it's all I
can stand to hear.
And the others...
They're so afraid to say anything, thinking they may
sway me too much with their input, and... And, I
think, they're just as lost and confused as I am.
I'm hardly naive. I knew, of course, that someday you
would die. For how many years did we risk our lives
daily? It was always a variable.
...it was never supposed to be like *this*. We have
plans, we have a life. This is...too soon. What
about your porch, Duo? Who's going to rebuild your
What am I supposed to do? I wish you could somehow
let me know.
"I love you; you can't leave me."
I can hear him, but I can't see him.
"I love you; have I ever told you how beautiful you
are to me?"
Yes, Heero you have - in your own way, you always
I try to say it, but the words don't come. I try to
open my eyes, but they don't respond.
But I can feel my hand in his and I can feel my own
fingers tighten around his. He answers it with a sob.
Don't cry, Heero. I love you too; I always have. I
don't know where this darkness leads, but I will find
I pull the blanket up on him higher; he doesn't even
shift. He must be so tired. He's not left since they
brought his husband in here. The best I could do for
him was get the comfortable recliner and set it as up
close to the bed as possible. Even asleep, he has his
arm stretched out to hold Mr. Maxwell-Yuy's hand.
If it weren't so sad, it'd be the cutest thing I'd
Report on this one wasn't good. With the way his SAT
 is dropping, he'll be on a vent soon. As of a few
hours ago, he's only responding to pain stimuli.
It's not a good sign.
They're playing Brahms' Lullaby again.
It's absurd, but I hold your hand just a little
tighter when I hear it. It means life was born
somewhere in the hospital - they pipe the music though
the halls in announcement.
Sometimes I fear that this new life needs balance, and
it calls for your death. I dread those first tinny
notes, wondering if it's time for you to be taken from
I just can't let you go like that. Not so simply, not
without a fight.
Suddenly those wars of our youth seem like nothing
compared to this battle.
Something has changed and the nurses know it. Though
I suspect they can't say anything until they tell the
doctors first. Trowa said he heard them calling for
pages to be sent out for various doctors.
They talked of possibly taking Duo down for another
head CT. It would be his third this week.
When we arrived today, Heero told us that the nurse
had talked to him about whether he wanted everything
that could be done for Duo, or have a No CPR, no
extraordinary measures, order. I would suspect she
knew his answer before she even asked the question.
The look in his eyes even relaying the exchanged told
all. He also said he wanted Duo to be intubated - put
on a breathing machine - if necessary.
None of this bodes well, but what worries me most, is
that Heero seems even more determined now as things
look worse, than when this first began.
Wufei is right. He's not thinking clearly anymore.
"What's going on in Bed 8?"
The clerk glanced up at her replacement, a little
surprised to find her standing there. She then
checked the clock and found it was almost time to go
home. She gave a little sigh of relief. Thank God -
it had been a long one.
She nodded towards the corner room. "He's being
"Oh, damn. Not doing so good, eh?"
The clerk shook her head. "Yeah, and the family isn't
taking it well. Er, the husband, anyway. The rest of
them have that 'knowing look', you know what I'm
The other clerk nodded as she sat down. "It's never
easy. And if it were, I'd really wonder about the
What could I tell them? My medical background is all
field medicine and military doctoring - not on a
comparable level with that of the neurology specialist
consulting on Duo's case.
But Heero wanted my opinion, the trust was in his
eyes. He even had Wufei contact me, knowing only too
well that I couldn't say no to my dear old friend.
So, I told them what they didn't want to hear - that
the neurologist was right. There is bleeding in Duo's
brain. What's worse, it's left sided, with a shifting
in that direction, obliterating all personality
If Duo were even to wake - which is doubtful - he
would no longer be Duo.
It's all downhill from here.
I won't... I can't give up on you. You never once
gave up on me. You fought through every barrier I
tossed in your way. I can't give up on you now.
Just... don't give up on yourself.
I've never felt about anything so strongly.
We tried to talk to Heero about this. The doctors
have all approached him about changing Duo's code
status to 'No CPR'. Now that he's gone into renal
failure, he would have to have hemo-dialysis soon.
The doctors admit the prognosis looks hopeless, but if
Heero wants everything done, that's what they
Duo should not have this done.
His body is shutting down, it's a sign. The nurses
have commented that Duo's dependency on the vent makes
the transfer to another hospital with a dialysis unit
very risky, if not impossible.
However, the call is Heero's and he can't let go.
He needs to.
I've never seen anything like it before. The
shouting; the utter chaos. The nurses pumping oxygen
though Duo's vent tube with a bag, a doctor
stiff-armed pushing down on Duo's chest in rhythm,
counting his depressions.
"13, 14, 15!"
And the nurse squeezes the bag again. I should be
paying more attention to Heero, but... I feel riveted,
horrified, fascinated all at once.
I can hear Quatre almost shouting at Heero behind me.
Wufei is oddly silent as well - I think he walked
away. One minute they were preparing to transfer Duo
to the new hospital, the next it was...like this.
"Do you want to let him go through that again, if he
even makes it though this one!? Is this how you want
him to die?"
It's so violent, so...
"I have a rhythm!"
I turn to look at Heero then, and I see the anger in
He wanted them to stop. He wanted them to stop
hurting Duo. I clench my teeth and turn away from
feeling his pain.
"Where do I sign?"
His voice is so... hollow.
The clerk typed in the message to the Respiratory
department. The family of Bed 8 has decided to turn
off the vent.
"We have an order for a terminal ween." 
"Bradycardia. Heart Rate 30"
"Bradycardia. Heart Rate 14"
I can't believe he's gone.
He was life itself.
How can he be gone?
...one of my...
...dearest friends. You will be forever missed.
I hadn't visited much. I'm not sure why. Perhaps the
feeling of such utter hopelessness. Or helplessness.
It's not a feeling I'm used to. My whole life has had
a purpose and my actions have made a difference.
I couldn't even find the right words in this.
Wufei told me that Duo didn't survive off the
respirator very long. Minutes, only. Heero stayed by
his side for a long time after he'd gone.
It's just so sad. If I could take away this pain from
him, I would do it in an instant. Through the years,
it has been in Heero that I've often found my
strength. I want so much to be that for him now.
However, I don't know how to say it that wouldn't come
across ill-intentioned. And I would never mean for it
to be anything but comforting a friend in need.
He looked so empty, standing there though the eulogy,
dressed in a dark suit. He let me hug him for a long
time afterward, but there was nothing on the other end
of that hug. Not for me; not for anyone.
Is he letting anyone comfort him? Is he even letting
Oh Heero. No one has ever or will ever doubt how much
you love Duo. But, please, don't let your world end
I didn't know what to say to Uncle Heero. I was too
lost in my own grief. I just hugged him for a long
time. I think he even squeezed me back, though I may
have been the only one by the looks of things.
I had thought that Uncle Duo would be calling me 'Kid'
well into my fifties.
What I would give to hear it just one more time.
What any of us would give to hear him laugh just one
more time. It's so not fair. To me, to my fathers,
Uncle Wufei, to any of us...
...to Uncle Heero.
Goodbye, Uncle Duo, we will all miss you so much.
I'm worried about Heero.
He's been so stoic. Too stoic. Quatre says to give
him time and while I appreciate that, I see things
that worry me. He's confessed to doing things that
are typical when one loses a spouse - calling for them
when they think of something they'd meant to tell
them, waking up and expecting to see them there in bed
beside you, speaking and thinking in 'we' instead of
'me'. It's not those things that worry me, though.
It's this... hollowness about everything he does. A
blankness that has seeped into every expression.
I told Relena that I'd wished he'd not left Preventers
so soon. At least that would give him some sense of
And, of this, I don't know if I should be more
alarmed, or take it as a sign of improvement...
He's rebuilding that damned porch.
I'm worried about Heero.
I tried to convince him to join Galen and myself for
the day, but... He just had this strange look in his
He said he would be busy.
Gods, I didn't expect to be back to the hospital so
soon. I couldn't get a hold of Trowa, but I left
messages everywhere I could. Galen was still so
broken up; they'd planned on spending the day together
and just not thinking too much. He must have turned
off his com-phone.
When I arrived and Heero spoke...it was almost not his
voice. Too weak and defeated to have been his. But
the words... The words told of his devastation
greater than any behavior he's exhibited in the past
"It's my heart," he says. I nod. The nurse had told
me as much. Ventricular Fibrillation, an irregular
rhythm. They said he stabilized, which is why they
hadn't admitted him to the ICU, just a monitored bed
on another floor. I was surprised that Heero even
brought himself to the hospital at all. He has a long
history of being a self-healer, I wouldn't have
guessed this before...well, before Duo died.
"My heart", Heero began again, "I think it's broken
for good." He held my gaze for a long moment before
he looked away and closed his eyes. I dropped down
onto the chair at his bedside and squeezed my eyes
tight, they stung so. What could I tell him that
could make this better? Nothing.
Though I'd never thought it before, I suddenly wished
that Duo and Heero had decided to adopt. At least
he'd have a child to live for now. Galen would be the
only thing keeping me going if something were to
happen to Trowa.
Gods, what were we going to do? What was Heero going
to do? He'd not let me offer him a place at our home,
but I hardly expected him to leave the house that had
meant so much Duo. Maybe after this episode, he will
consent to come stay with us, if only for a time.
Life goes on; we would find a way - together.
I open my eyes to see if Heero had fallen asleep -
would I wake him to discuss this now, or wait until a
better time? Was there really a better time?
Only, when I looked, his face was so...slack. Then
the alarms were ringing. I almost didn't have a
chance to breathe before there were people rushing
into the room and pushing me aside. A woman reached a
fist up high and brought it crashing down on Heero's
chest, all the while a young man tried to rouse him.
"Mr. Maxwell-Yuy! Are you all right?"
The one nurse yelled about calling the code button and
soon another person was physically directing me out of
the room as another rolled a red crash cart into the
room. Overhead, a bell rang.
"CPR, room 3328A, CPR room 3328A, CPR room 3328A."
Nurses and doctors seemed to come out of the woodwork.
I couldn't see Heero for the people that crowded
around him. I stood in the hall, frozen with shock,
watching until the curtain was pulled, then listening
to the random too-familiar words caught from the blur
They worked on him for thirty minutes or more. I
wanted to tell them to stop, to not bother. To stop
pounding on his chest as I only could imagine them
doing, remembering the sight from Duo's crash. Only I
knew, unlike Duo had, Heero wasn't coming back.
Regardless of what the monitors might have told them,
Heero Yuy died two weeks ago.
The nurse sighs, walking back to the ICU after she'd
been pulled away for the CPR call. She sets down her
stethoscope and the unit clerk looks up, an expectant
expression on her face.
"Are we getting that one?"
The nurse shakes her head. "Didn't make it," she
says. After a moment, she adds, "it was Bed 8's
The clerk's eyes widen. "You're kidding me? Damn."
The nurse sits down hard in one of the computer
chairs, stretching her aching arm. Chest compressions
always take so much out of her. She looks up to see a
slip of paper taped to the clerk's computer. She nods
in that direction. "Is that another ER admit?"
"Oh, yeah," the clerk answers, turning to grab the
paper and then handing it to the nurse. "Unstable
angina, rule out M. I. Never stops."
The nurse glances at the scrawled name, then bumps the
computer mouse to activate the screen and look up the
Overhead, Brahms' Lullaby plays.
 Oxygen Saturation - a measurement of oxygen
delivery to the blood, a sign of how well someone is
breathing on their own.
 A terminal ween is equivalent to turning off
 This is an example of nurses notes, kept in
military time, noting the heart rhythm. The time
begins at 8:34 PM. Brady-cardic is a heart rate that
is slower than normal. Asystole is flat line.