by Dev-Aki Basaa
"Absolutely not," the charge nurse spoke, her words as stern as her expression. "Visiting hours end at 9pm."
Lady Une folded her arms across her chest and shifted her weight from one foot to the other. She narrowed her gaze at the nurse and began tapping her toe, impatient and annoyed. The noise her sole made against the linoleum echoed down the corridor, sounding to her like the click of a gun being re-loaded.
"I'm sorry," she said, her tone sharp and her words clipped, "we seem to have a misunderstanding. That wasn't a request, I was informing you of how it's going to be."
The nurse blanched under the fierce gaze of the Lady of Preventers. Her mouth opened as if to speak, but shut it, raising her chin - indignant, but silent. The beeps of monitors and the bustle of hospital staff continued unabated as the two women stared each other down. After a long stretching moment, Une continued.
"Mr. Maxwell will be staying all night in Mr. Yuy's room and you will grab the first orderly you see and have him deliver a cot to room 1286."
The nurse pursed her lips and mumbled, "He already has a guard at the door, I don't see why he needs another inside the room."
Une's face turned red. "It's not about guarding, it's about knowing what's best for MY team and this is what's best for BOTH Mr. Yuy and Mr. Maxwell. Now, would you *please* see to this or do I have to go over your head? But let's be clear, shall we?" Une held out her hand, a mocking gesture of conversation. "If I am forced to go over your head, I'll be going FAR over your head, far over your supervisor's head - over HER supervisor's head. Do we understand each other?"
The nurse hesitated, her lips still pursed, but no longer making eye contact with Une.
"It will be taken care of," she finally answered.
"Good, and thank you."
Une turned and marched away, absolutely flabbergasted. Taking over that terrorist bunker had been easier than getting the hospital staff to cooperate! At least she knew how much both Duo and Heero would appreciate her effort.
Duo looked up at the sound of the cot being rolled in, two orderlies pushing it into place between Heero's bed and the door. They unfolded the frame and already made mattress and left even as Duo offered his thanks.
"Oh wow, a bed!" he said, standing up from the chair he had placed at Heero's bedside. He took Heero's left hand in his and reached up with his other hand to brush blonde bangs off his forehead. Heero, propped up on a pile of pillows, his right shoulder fully bandaged and arm in a sling, turned into the touch.
"See, even the nursing staff could see there was no way I was letting you out of my sight tonight," he added.
Heero let out a soft sigh and shook his head. "Baka," he said, the corner of his lips turning up slightly. Duo's smiled widened and he leaned in and kissed Heero, their lips lingering, mixing their breath. Duo threaded his fingers through Heero's bangs, the heel of his hand brushing across Heero's brow. It felt damp.
Duo broke the kiss and looked at his palm and the few droplets of moisture there. He then glared at Heero.
"You're in pain. You're breaking out in a sweat!"
"I'm fine," Heero insisted, turning away to stare out into the hallway. Duo frowned, reaching out to grab at the collar of Heero's hospital gown. Hooking his finger in the seam, he gave it a little tug and Heero looked back towards him, his features displaying a touch of bemusement at the fierce expression on Duo's face. Duo tugged again and the gown ties above the bandage and under Heero's arm started to loosen.
"Listen, Mr. Steel. You've had a foreign object forcibly impaled into your shoulder. There's bound to be some pain. Now," he released his grip on the collar, smoothing it into place as he spoke, "be a good boy and consent to taking something for it or you'll leave me no choice but to nab some contraband from Sally's office and crush it up into your food like I do for Mari."
Heero cocked his head to one side. "How is she, by the way?"
Duo sat back down in the chair, giving a dismissive wave of his hand. "Oh Hell, she's a trooper," he said, and then winked. "She's not our dog for nothing."
Heero reached out between the side-rails of the bed and Duo took his hand, smiling as he continued.
"But she missed you, I could tell. We had many the arguments about who missed you more. I still say I won."
Heero raised one brow. "And how much have you been talking to the dog?"
Duo looked away, grinning broadly and fiddling with Heero's fingers in his hand. "Ah, more than you want to know?"
He felt Heero wrap his fingers firmly around his palm and tug him closer. Pulled with the momentum, he stood and leaned in for another kiss, Heero's head was tilted back, awaiting him.
Their lips met and he wanted to whimper for how good it felt, how soft Heero's skin felt against his own. Their lips parted and he could feel the heat of Heero's mouth calling to him, drawing him in...
"Are You Two Decent!?"
Duo jolted at the loud yell, stepping back from the kiss and Heero's bed. What the Hell!?
Waitaminute. He knew that voice...
"Come on in, Wufei," Heero called back.
Duo scowled. Oh, he'd kill him for that - interrupting what was about to be a damn fine kiss! Still holding Heero's hand, Duo sat back down hard in the chair, staring daggers at Wufei as he and Sally walked in.
Sally was also frowning at Wufei, who seemed to be explaining himself. "You never know what you could be scared with if you walk in on these two unannounced. I learned that the hard way," he grumbled at the end.
"Sally, Wufei." Heero nodded to each in greeting. Wufei came to stand on the opposite side of the bed than Duo's. He raised a brow at the cot, but didn't say a word, instead giving a small bow to Heero in return for his welcome.
Sally stopped at the end of Heero's bed. "How are you feeling?" she asked.
"He's not taking his pain meds," Duo announced, earning himself a glare from Heero. Duo ignored it, instead fiddling with Heero's fingers, a distraction (though a distraction for him or Heero, he couldn't say), threading them in and out of his own fingers of both hands. Sally smiled and nodded, turning to walk towards a computer mounted on the far wall.
"No pain meds, hm? Why am I not surprised," she said, standing before the screen and keyboard, giving it a good study.
Wufei's gaze lingered on Sally for a while before turning back to Heero and Duo. His slight smile twisted into a frown.
"I see you still have your hair dyed."
"Yup," Duo answered for Heero, sounding proud. "And he's still got the tongue piercing too. Stick out your tongue, Heero."
Heero glared at Duo again, but Duo just smiled and shrugged. Heero turned back to Wufei. "I haven't had a chance to alter any of the changes."
"But you're going to," Wufei said. It wasn't a question. Heero smiled.
"I actually hadn't decided yet."
The lines of Wufei's brow creased into darker, heavier lines. "It's rather unprofessional, don't you think?"
Heero gave a slight shake of his head. "Not really."
The computer beeped and they all glanced Sally's way. She was scowling at the screen, but she said nothing. With a collective sigh, they returned to their conversation, leaving her to her own devices.
"It's a lot more common than you think," Heero continued.
Duo stood up then, moving even closer to Heero's bedside, a crazed grin splitting his face. "Plus," he began, a cocky edge to his tone. "I'm considering getting some work done myself. Maybe a piercing too."
Heero glanced Duo's way, his brow furrowed in question. "Since when?"
Duo didn't take his gaze off Wufei, his grin turning into a sneer. "Since right now because Wuffie's being an ass." Duo accented his words wish a jerk of his chin in Wufei's direction.
"Duo..." Heero's tone sounded a bit like a warning, but there was the curl of a smile on his lips. Wufei just frowned and raised one brow. "Bakayaro," he mumbled.
The computer beeped again.
Already scowling from Duo's comments, Wufei snapped at Sally. "Woman! What are you doing over there?"
"I'm trying to see Heero's charts," she answered, plain and calm. She then turned away from the screen. "Duo, do you think you can get me into this system?"
Duo brought Heero's hand to his lips and kissed his knuckles before releasing him, getting up and heading over to Sally. "What is it?"
"A basic DOS-based OS," she said, turning back to the keyboard.
Duo scoffed. "Challenge me sometime, will ya?"
Soon the click-clack of the keyboard rang through the room.
Heero had drawn his hand back through the side-rail and looked at the back of his hand for a moment, imagining he could see the imprint Duo's lips must have left on his skin at the chemical level. Warmth still radiated from that spot.
Wufei cleared his throat.
Heero looked up and nodded. "Right, where were we?"
Lifting his chin with a touch of indignation, Wufei answered. "Your lover was being a smart mouth."
Heero looked to the mounted computer and Sally and Duo leaning over the keyboard. Duo's braid hung midway down his back then curled up and over his shoulder. He was absently playing with the tail with one hand while studying the computer screen with Sally, pointing with the other. The warmth Heero felt at being able to just look up and see him there - not a specter, not a dream - there, real, made him feel something he didn't often acknowledge. Happiness.
He smiled. "Yes, he was being a bit of a smart ass, wasn't he?" He was one of the best at it, of course.
"Yes, but..." Just with those two words and slight hesitation, Heero could sense the grave change in Wufei's tone. He turned away from Duo and gave his focus to Wufei, his expression returned to the serious countenance he usually held.
"I actually wanted to discuss Zechs."
"Oh?" Heero frowned, shifting in his bed to better face Wufei, but then felt stuck. He used his free hand to tug at his hospital gown, now skewered out of place and wrapped around his waist, constricting him. Damn this thing. He glanced over at Duo and wondered if he could get his actual help to untangle without sparking a session of 'Where's my hand now?'. Heero paused at that thought, suppressing the urge to groan. He'd rather just engage Duo in a fondle or two and lose the gown altogether. Heero looked up, greeted with the concerned expression on Wufei's face and realized now was not the time to worry about such things. At least, not yet. He gave the material another hard tug and nodded for Wufei to continue.
"He's still here in the hospital."
Wufei rocked on his heels, clasping his hands behind his back. "Yes, since he has no external wounds, he only had to pass a physical work-up to mollify Preventers. They're going to be releasing him in just a little while.
Heero sighed softly and then repeated, "external wounds."
Wufei nodded. "Yes, it's a lot simpler to heal when it's just getting shot by your lover."
Heero smiled at the comment but shook his head. "Don't say that in front of him. He puts on a good show, but he's torn up over this." He motioned to his bound shoulder.
Wufei raided his hands in an appeasing gesture. "Not one snide remark, I promise."
Heero's smile broadened for just a moment before his lips curled into a frown. "But Zechs and Reth..." A wave of guilt rushed over him and he looked to the blue sky out the room's window, clenching his jaw. Why had he been so difficult? Why hadn't Zechs explained the situation to him? Just because he was dumb-lucky enough to have Duo, didn't mean he had any sense about these things.
"He's getting the official Preventer's escort out," Wufei continued. "I could see that he's brought around your way first."
Heero relaxed and looked back to Wufei. "Thank you," he said and gave a nod.
Wufei bowed in return. "Certainly."
A loud beeping followed his words.
Wufei scowled. "Woman! What are you doing over there now?"
Sally sighed, her gaze still on the computer screen. Duo was taking the reprieve from his services to make eyes at Heero. He winked and raised his brows repeatedly.
The beeping grew louder.
"It's your com, Wufei," Sally said. "HQ must need you."
"K'so!" Wufei's brow creased deeper. He looked down to this belt to read the display.
Heero watched Duo in utter fascination, only a slight twitching of his lips betraying his reaction to Duo's, at times, licentious gestures.
Duo stopped when he realized Wufei had looked up in time to see what he was doing with his tongue and fingers. Wufei blanched.
"Sally. It's time to leave."
It was the first time he'd used her name since they'd been there. She looked over at him, seeing how pale he looked and then let her gaze dart between Heero and Duo. Heero shifted in the bed while Duo pretended to whistle innocently and fiddle with the end of his braid. She smiled.
She tapped at the computer a few more times before turning towards the front of the room.
"Well, you're getting the best possible care." She walked towards Heero's bed. "And though they've noticed how unusually well you're healing, no one's raised a flag about it. If anyone so much as makes a mumble to you about that, you direct them straight to me, okay?"
Heero nodded. Duo, as he sat back down on his chair at Heero's beside, nodded as well. "You've got it, Doc," he said as he took Heero's offered hand again. He then raised Heero's hand to his lips and kissed his knuckles as he had before.
Heero's cheeks tinted just ever so slightly pink.
Wufei covered his smile with his hand and turned away, Sally moving to his side as they walked towards the door.
"Goodbye Heero, Baka," Wufei called over his shoulder.
"See you on the mat, Wufei," Duo called after him.
And then, they were alone again.
Duo paused, listening to the silence for a moment. Then he scooted his chair, moving it closer to Heero's bed.
"So," his voice soft and seductive, "where were we?" He twined Heero's fingers with his own.
"I seem to recall," Heero began, his own voice a huskier tone, "you were kissing me and there was a promise of more in that kiss."
"Oh yeah," Duo stood, leaning over Heero, "that sounds about right."
He drew their joined hands closer and pressed them to his chest. His tongue darted out and licked across Heero's lips just before he closed the distance between them. Heero moaned as Duo's tongue slipped past his teeth.
Duo and Heero broke apart, panting, as the sound of Quatre's voice rang in the room. He was standing at the end of the bed, clutching Trowa's arm, beaming. Trowa looked like he was trying not to laugh.
Duo always found it really hard to glare at Quatre and mean it. He tried anyway.
Quatre just smiled broader. "It's so wonderful to see you two back together again."
Duo sighed and dropped back down in his chair. That hardly worked.