A Test of Friendship - Part 7
Duo's Friendship Arc 4
by Dyna Dee
It was late in the evening three days later, just as the rain began to fall when Heero walked into the cottage. The rain continued on for two days and so did Duo's silence.
Quatre had taken Heero aside his first evening at the cottage and appraised him on Duo's improved condition and how each of them had gotten him to speak to them once again. "It's up to you if you want him to talk to you again, Heero." the Arabian informed the other pilot, unsure of Heero's reaction. In fact, he hadn't reacted or commented at all during the Arabian's report. Heero appeared to take in the information, process it, and store it for later use.
The small blonde decided to try again. "Duo won't speak as long as your present, and to tell you the truth, we all want him to be a part of us; to talk, laugh, and tease again. We want him to be himself and for our team to be whole. You need to see that it happens." he finished emphatically, his hands on his hips in a show of determination.
Heero listened, looking impassive, and nodded his head in understanding.
Wufei had removed his things from the bedroom he had shared with Duo at Heero's arrival. He would sleep on the couch for the remainder of their stay in the cottage. It was an unspoken, but understood rule that Heero always roomed with the pilot of Deathscythe, even if they weren't speaking.
The rain seemed to pause on the third day after Heero's arrival. Duo woke that morning to the sound of Heero's fingertips tapping on his keyboard. He turned his head to the Wing pilot next to him, fully dressed and sitting up in the bed, laptop positioned in front of him.
A slight knock sounded from the closed bedroom door.
"Come in." Heero's voice seemed loud and abrupt in the stillness of the morning.
The door opened and Quatre popped his head in. "Morning!" he said brightly seeing both pilots awake.
Heero mumbled something incoherent and Duo smiled, albeit weakly, as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes.
"There seems to be a break in the weather, so the three of us are walking into town. Do you want anything in particular?" Quatre smiled as he informed them of their desertion.
Duo's eyes opened wide. He shook his head emphatically and put his hand out imploringly.
The Arabian ignored him and continued. "Breakfast is in the oven keeping warm, and there's enough food in the refrigerator for lunch. We'll bring back dinner." he told them.
Duo shook his head and lifting his hand, pointing his index finger and then pressed his two fingers together. His eyes were begging for the blonde boy's help.
Quatre sighed. He shouldn't give in, but Duo looked desperate.
"All right, I'll help you to the bathroom before I leave." he said grudgingly as he moved into the room an towards the bedridden boy.
No sooner had the bedroom door closed behind them, when Duo began to speak in a rushed whisper. "Don't leave me here all day with him. I'll go crazy. He won't feed me or help me to the bathroom. Quatre this is just cruel and unwarranted punishment."
The blonde Arabian firmly shook his head. "You two need to work this out." he replied, trying hard to be unsympathetic to the other's pleas.
"He doesn't want to be my friend." Duo hissed.
"Then why does he always room with you, Duo?" Quatre asked. "If anyone comes close to being his friend, it's you."
The braided boy shook his head sadly. "The only thing he seems to need is that damn laptop and a mission."
"He needs more than that." Quatre scolded him as they continued down the hall . "We all do. We need each other."
Duo jumped on one foot to grab hold of the edge of the sink in the bathroom to steady himself. "I won't speak to him if he doesn't show me he wants to hear me." he said determined.
"That's up to you." Quatre answered passively. "However, the three of us are going to town, and I'm trusting you to be fair if he makes a gesture. Remember, Heero is rather handicapped in this area, try to cut him some slack."
Duo shut the door firmly in front of his friend's face, unhappy with the whole situation.
When he opened it a short while later, the braided boy looked freshly washed and brushed and was ready to return to his room.
"Please don't go." he pleaded looking quite pitiful to Sandrock's pilot who had been patiently waiting for him to come out to help him back to his room.
"Save it for Heero." Quatre answered remarkably and uncharacteristically unsympathetic.
He helped the now petulant boy back to his bed and the three pilots exited the cottage soon after, leaving the Japanese boy with a schedule for Duo's medicine, meals, a strong admonition for Duo to stay off his leg, and that Heero work on the strained situation.
To his credit, Heero did bring breakfast to Duo which consisted of an omelet, toast, and a glass of juice. He also cleared away the dishes when he finished eating but didn't return to the room for an hour.
The bedridden boy was about to pull his hair out from boredom when he finally came back.
"What do you need?" Heero inquired seeing his apparent distress.
Duo pointed to his laptop next to his duffel bag, which Heero brought to him. Both boys opened their computers and sitting on the bed, worked away the morning.
Duo had just finished his twentieth game of solitaire when he shut down his lap top and closed the lid. It was 2:00 p.m and Heero was still working. He'd obviously forgotten about lunch and his antibiotics. With a sudden loud growl from the empty organ, Duo clutched his stomach as if to silence the noise.
Heero looked up. "You're hungry?" It was more of a statement than a question.
The American gave him an exasperated look as he stated the obvious, his eyes looked heavenward as if to say "Why me?"
Heero stood up from the bed and walked out of the room. Only slight noises came from the kitchen, yet in ten minutes, he returned with a plate of grilled cheese sandwiches, two apples and two glasses of milk on a tray which he set in the middle of the bed. Moving over to his side and climbing on top of the bed, he pushed the tray up to rest between the two of them. They ate in silence, but Duo was acutely aware of the other boys scrutiny of him as he tried his best to ignore him. Finally, he turned his head to return Heero's gaze, his eyebrows arching up in a questioning pose.
Unabashed by the look, Heero studied his face, and the penetrating, curious eyes finally caused the braided boy to break eye contact, unable to bear the others scrutiny any longer.
"Why are you still angry with me?" Heero's voice made him jump with it's suddenness. Duo could tell from the tone and the look on his face that his roommate was honestly puzzled.
Shrugging in reply, the American realized the other just didn't get it, and probably never would, and sighed deeply with regret thinking they could never be friends again.
Realizing an answer wasn't forthcoming, Heero picked up the empty tray and returned it to the kitchen.
When he returned from cleaning up a half hour later, he found the bed empty. Following the sounds he easily determined his charge had hopped down to the bathroom while he was in the kitchen. He waited outside the door until it opened. Duo jumped back, startled at his unexpected presence in the doorway.
Without permission, Heero took hold of his arm in an effort to support him back to the bed and settled him in.
"Do you need anything else?" he asked
Duo shook his head.
"Here." Heero held out his hand and Duo saw the container with his medication in his palm. "The list said you are to take this after you'd had your lunch."
Duo rolled is eyes, but took the container. He motioned that he needed water and the other boy promptly got sone for him.
Finally settling into a comfortable position, Duo watched as Heero moved to return to his side of the bed. "Do you want something to read?" he asked pausing at the dresser.
Duo shook his head.
He nodded and gladly accepted the small case that held his portable mini-disc player, and music discs. He selected his music, put on the head phones, and turned it on. Nothing.......no sound, no music, and no escape from this situation. The batteries were dead. He began to rummage through his case and in his frustration, upended it, emptying everything onto the top of the blanket. The adaptor was gone. It just wasn't there. He reasoned that he must have left it in the dorm. He flopped down onto his pillow with a huff of exasperation.
"What's the matter?" Heero asked cooly, frowning at the interruption.
Duo pointed to the mini disc player and the batteries indicating silently that they were shot. He pointed to the adaptor input and shrugged.
Heero nodded and stood up, going to his duffle bag. He returned a moment later with the missing adaptor. "I found this under your bed as I packed up my things. I thought you might need it." he explained as he held it out towards the stunned looking boy.
Duo held out his hand to accept the adaptor, hardly believing his roommate had displayed some thoughtfulness. He brought his eyes up to meet Heero's and gave him with a grateful smile. Heero, surprising him further, smiled back. He even went as far as to plug the adaptor into the outlet behind the bed.
After putting on his headphones, Duo lay back on his pillows, contented for the first time that day as the rollicking rock music filled his senses.
He'd slept a long time and awoke feeling groggy to the sound of the voices of his companions. They seemed upset, the tone of their voices were definitely strained. His bedroom door was shut and the room was nearly dark. He looked out the window to see that it was barely daylight, probably near evening, and the skies were heavily blanketed with ominous, dark, rain heavy clouds. The voices clearly indicated that the others had returned.
Since he couldn't hear what was going on, or do much about anything, his attention turned to the glow of Heero's laptop resting next to him. Curious as to what his companion had been doing while he slept, he reached out and gently turned the glowing screen to face him.
He blinked at what he saw there. New orders had come. 03, 04, and 05 were to separately make their way to Quatre's desert base to prepare for an attack on Alliance and Oz military installations in that part of the world. The next part of the message was to Heero. Duo felt his heart lurch to his throat as he read it. 01 was ordered to obviate the presence of 02, dealing with the situation with his usual methods,.then proceed, when possible, to join the other three pilots, explaining to them, after the fact, the necessity of his actions.
"Damn!" Duo whispered softly to himself in shock. Heero was to eliminate him for being a weakness. Well, at least he thought that was what the word obviate meant-to eliminate, kill, 86 him. He realized that was most likely what the strained voices in the other room were arguing about--his death. They must have found out somehow and were trying to argue Heero out of his mission. He knew that Quatre would plead his cause, probably even Trowa and Wufei. But he knew little to nothing would stop Heero once he was assigned a mission.
'I need to get out of here.' he thought to himself as he frantically searched the room with his eyes, still hearing the arguing going in the other room. He eased himself off the bed and laying on the floor, pulled himself to his duffel bag. He found a pair of sweat pants and carefully eased them on. The sweatshirt followed, as well as socks and his gym shoes. He pulled out his book bag from school and quickly filled it with only the essentials.
Once set, he determined a coarse of action. He obviously couldn't go out the bedroom door, his only chance was the window. Blowing his hair from out of his eyes, he scooted to the window. It was open to allow the cool air in and it took only a little effort to silently open it bit wider to accommodate his small frame.
His backpack went over the sill and landed with a small thumping sound onto the flowerbed below. Then pulling himself up, he eased himself over the edge. Holding himself by grasping the wooden sill, his legs dangling several feet from the ground, he paused for a moment to prepare himself for eminent pain. Then suddenly, he then let himself drop. Landing in the flowers his legs crumpled beneath him. Rolling with the momentum, he came to his knees, put his backpack on and stood on his good leg. Grateful that he hadn't injured himself any further, he took a deep preparatory breath before beginning to hop towards the garden and to the forested area behind it in the near distance.