by Dyna Dee
The two lovers, engaged in their favorite activity in the middle of the large bed, suddenly stopped all sound and movement and held their breaths at the uncertain knock that sounded on the bedroom door.
"Did you lock the door?" Duo whispered, his wide, startled eyes looked up into Heero's with a spark of anxiousness in them.
"No," Heero said in a quiet voice, frowning at the interruption. He was in the final stages of making love to Duo, erasing Marcus's mental taint in his lover's mind, almost at the point of climax for the both of them, when the person on the other side of the door interrupted them. He looked over his bare shoulder and sharply called out, "What?"
Quatre's voice answered somewhat timidly. "Dinner is in ten minutes. Are you two coming?"
Heero looked back to Duo with a wicked smirk on his face to see his lover was shaking with effort to hold in his laughter, his eyes dancing with amusement from Quatre's innocent inquiry that had a different connotation in the position they two were currently in.
"Yes, we're definitely coming," Heero called out with a trace of humor in his voice, his eyes, glittering with amusement as he looked into the amethyst orbs looking up at him and showing equal humor at the situation. "Just give us a few minutes and we'll come out."
Duo clasped his hand over his mouth to maintain silence at Heero's comment, and the two lovers barely stifled their laughter at the lengthy silence that came from the other side of the door. "Um...okay," Quatre said at last, sounding either confused or embarrassed, and both men on the bed could only imagine that the blond's cheeks were pinking up nicely.
After a moment of uninterrupted silence, Heero resumed their pleasurable activity and began to move again. "Now, where were we?" he said in a low, teasing voice.
The long haired man's slender legs came up again and pressed against Heero's buttocks, holding him still for a moment deep inside him, wanting to stay this warm and intimate with his lover for as long as possible and never let go.
"We only have about five minutes left," Heero said with obvious amusement.
Duo looked into his lover's eyes again, then raised himself up on his elbows so he could reach up and capture the smiling lips above him. His legs dropped, allowing Heero, once again, the movement he was intent on continuing.
With three minutes to spare, the two lay panting and sated against each other. Heero had turned onto his back and brought Duo to rest against his chest.
"Wish we could stay here forever, just like this." Duo spoke soft and wistful. "Here, with you, I don't feel guilty about the past and have nothing to fear from the future. When we're together, there are no ghosts to haunt me and the world outside can't touch or threaten me." Duo's voice was but a whisper and his breath was warm against the slightly moist chest that lay beneath his cheek. His arms tightened their hold on the man beneath him.
"We are forever, no matter where we are or what we're doing," Heero said as his hands stroked along the slender back completely covered with the long, silky hair that slid through easily his fingers. "We can face anything as partners: the future, the good and the bad in the world, bills, jobs, and even bad hair days." He was relieved when he heard his lover chuckle, relieving the somber mood to some degree. He wasn't always good with words, but Heero hoped in some way to give some comfort and a feeling of security to Duo.
"Guys?" Another knock at the door revealed Quatre's anal retentiveness when it came to being punctual.
"Coming," they both called out and then burst into barely contained snickers.
"Race you to the bathroom," Duo's eyes sparkled brightly.
"I've got a better idea," Heero replied as he moved to sit up with his slightly smaller lover still held tightly to his own body. As he stood, he guided Duo's legs to wrap around his, his arms already secured behind his neck, and brought his hands to cup the round, half globes in his hands as he walked to the bathroom. Duo looked at him for a minute before kissing his cheek and then hugged him tightly, appreciating the closeness lasting just for just a bit longer.
Three nights later found Sally in the hospital emergency room in clothing hastily thrown on and her braids in obvious disarray, mussed from sleep as she glared at her watch and then at the sliding glass doors. It was two forty-seven in the morning, not the best time of night to be rousted from your bed by your phone ringing with a request for your presence at the nearest hospital. All she had to hear was Heero's slightly rushed voice, his anxiousness perceptible only because she knew him so well. And it was only because it was one of "the boys", as she and Une dubbed the five former gundam pilots, who called for her help at that hour of the morning, that she got up, rushed to dress, then drove like a maniac to the designated hospital. She had been impatiently waiting there for fifteen minutes before the sliding doors opened and she could tell by the sound of the voices arguing that the two she had been waiting for had arrived.
"Put me down Heero, I'm not an invalid or a girl. I have a damned fever, I'm not dying of the plague or have a broken leg."
"This is embarrassing. Put me down."
The two entered the room and from the conversation, Sally was not surprised to see Duo wrapped in a blanket and being carried into the brightly lit emergency room in Heero's arms.
Sally went to them, observing the two now standing in front of her. Heero looked a bit pale, concern lining his face. Duo's face was flushed, with two bright pink spots on his otherwise colorless cheeks, his eyes bright with fever, and his skin had a glistening sheen of perspiration on it.
"Sally, tell Heero I can walk," Duo pleaded with a desperate look.
The doctor ignored him and looked to Heero. "How high?"
"One hundred three a half hour ago."
"Let's go." She took his elbow and guided Heero and his bundled companion through another set of doors. "I already took care of the paper work, though someone will be in to have you sign some papers."
Heero nodded, his face a grim picture of dead seriousness.
Fifteen minutes later found Maximilian Peacecraft admitted into the hospital and Sally was in the process of taking his temperature. She frowned as the digital thermometer displayed Duo's temperature as one hundred three point seven. She went to work immediately. Seeing Duo was in a tee-shirt and cotton pajama bottoms, she threw a hospital gown at Heero. "Help Duo to put this on," she instructed.
Heero nodded and went to work. His face was a study of determination, an unbreakable wall against Duo's protestations.
"Why do I have to put that on? I'm in pajamas already. I hate those things." It was clear that Duo was not happy about the situation at all, but the other two in the room let him complain knowing that he couldn't be feeling very well with his body fighting so hard to beat back the infection.
His complaints died down shortly after he was put into the bed, though he moaned at the cold sheets and wanted more blankets.
That taken care of, Sally faced the both of them. "We're going to tackle the infection and the fever at the same time." She began to explain Duo's treatment. "We have to work quickly to bring Duo's temperature down and deal with the infection. Human bites are nasty to deal with because of all the bacteria in our mouths," she informed them. She moved to Duo's side and he gave her a wary look. "I'm going to take the bandage off your ear and examine it, then I'll take a look at your other wounds," she told him, then proceeded to carefully remove the tape from the perfect looking bandage, obviously placed by Heero, then remove it from off the wounded ear.
Duo's ear, the one that had been badly bitten by his attacker four nights previous, was swollen to twice it's size, it was hot to the touch and appeared red and oozing. Sally did a quick check to make sure that all the other bites were healing and not becoming infected as the ear had. She noted that the teeth marks surrounding his left nipple also looked suspiciously puffy and overly warm to the touch.
Finishing her exam, Sally left the room to inform the nurse on the floor of what she needed, leaving the two young men alone. Duo's fevered eyes stayed on Heero, silently begging for reassurance.
"Everything is going to be fine, Duo. I won't let anything happen to you."
"You can stop an infection?" Duo asked a bit sourly, frowning at his lover and obviously not in a mood to joke or be humored.
"No, but that's why I brought you here." Heero sat on the edge of the high bed. "I'll stay here and guard you while you're down." His tone was reassuring and Duo seemed to derive some comfort from his promise and close proximity.
Pulling his hand out from under the several layers of blankets Duo's pale, warm hand reached for his lover's. "Wish you could crawl in here and keep me warm," he said softly.
"I think you're warm enough as it is," Heero replied with a slight smile, though he was unsuccessful in hiding the worry in his eyes.
Sally re-entered the room carrying a tray of supplies and followed closely by a nurse pushing a tall, metal I.V. apparatus. Pulling over the wheeled table that fit over Duo's bed, the good doctor lay her arm full of supplies down on top of it, and began to undo the plastic from the sealed tray that held sterilized medical tools. Now prepared, she went to work with serious efficiency by first putting an elastic band around her patient's upper arm. She then searched his lower arm for a suitable vein to use. Satisfied with one particular spot, she turned back to the tray, ripped open a small packet, and quickly located the vein again and swabbed the area with the cotton, antibiotic square, then quickly and efficiently inserted the I.V. needle, despite Duo's squawk of disapproval. The tube leading from the hanging bag and threaded through the small machine on the metal pole was attached to the end of the needle and the drip was started immediately, sending a strong antibiotic directly into Duo's blood stream.
After re-bandaging the wounds, with mild complaining from Duo about the cold he suffered from the blankets being pulled away, Sally re-checked the I.V. and, satisfied with her work, ordered the two to sleep while the medication was being pumped into Duo's fevered body. A padded chair from the waiting room was brought in for Heero, and Sally gave permission to the nursing staff that would allow him to stay by his friend and lover well past any descent vising hours.
As the nurse and Sally left the room, Heero returned to Duo's side and took up his hand. "Go to sleep, Duo. I'll be here when you wake up."
"You sleep," Duo said in return, his voice sounding as tired as he looked.
"Call out if you need anything," Heero said as he pushed the hair stuck on Duo's moist forehead away from his face.
"Kiss me?" Bright, watery eyes pleaded for the request to be granted.
Leaning over, Heero happily complied with Duo's request and lowered himself so that only his lips touched the heated lips of his lover's, avoiding any other contact knowing that Duo's skin was extremely sensitive from the fever. He consciously didn't want to add to his discomfort in any way.
When the tender kiss ended, he touched his forehead against the moist one below him and felt the heat radiating from his lover's body. As fatigue and worry caught up to him, his thoughts suddenly turned dark. Wouldn't it be horribly ironic to finally have things right between the two of them only to have it end from an infection, he thought. His heart clenched with the mere thought of losing Duo, and he pushed the dark thought out of his mind. He needed to be positive in order to keep his lover's spirits up. Raising his body up, he looked down into the sleepy eyes that were struggling to stay open. He smiled reassuringly. "I'll call everyone in the morning and tell them where we are, alright?"
Duo nodded and Heero stood there watching him until he saw his lover finally give in to his exhaustion and close his eyes close. "No use waking everyone for a little fever," Duo said in a voice that indicated he was well on his way to sleep.
"Sleep well," Heero said with a brief kiss on the hot, red cheek.
Duo managed a slight nod of his head while his faint smile faded as he drifted into sleep.
Wufei entered room 322 an hour after Heero called him at approximately seven a.m. His eyes went immediately to Duo, who appeared to be asleep. He quickly assessed his friend's condition, taking in the flushed skin and the sheen of sweat on his brow that caused the hair around his face to appear wet. He then let his eyes stray to his other friend standing a short distance away from the bed, over by the one window in the room. Heero was obviously in the middle of a quiet conversation on his cell phone and he listened for a clue to who it might be.
"No, don't feel guilty or apologetic for not being here," he said into the small, palm-sized phone. "It's not your fault that Duo's wounds became infected. No, you don't need to rush back here, there is nothing you can do. We have to wait until the antibiotics can do what they are supposed to, so just do what you need to do there then come when you can."
Dark blue eyes looked up and acknowledged Wufei and Heero gave him a quiet smile. "Wufei is here so I've got to go." He listened for another minute. "Yes, I'll give him your best wishes. I will. I will. Okay, goodbye."
"Quatre?" Wufei asked with a slight, knowing smile.
Heero nodded as he replaced his phone on his hip. "Sometimes I think he worries enough for all of us. He's got to do something about feeling guilty about everything, too."
Wufei took a few steps closer to his friend and spoke quietly, not wanting to disturb the slumberer. "Is there something here to be worried about?"
Heero frowned and looked to his sleeping companion. "Sally says people can die from the bacteria contained in a human's mouth if it gets into the blood stream and causes infection, though she did say it is rare."
"He won't," Wufei said firmly, knowing his Japanese friend needed to hear conviction in his voice. He kept his eyes on Heero, surprised that by one look, he could see just how miserable he felt. "Did you sleep at all last night?" he asked, placing his hand on Heero's shoulder to show his concern.
With a shrug and a shake of his head, Heero answered quietly, not quite stifling a yawn. "I tried, but they come in every hour to take his temperature, and at four thirty it went up to one hundred four point three." Heero looked into Wufei's eyes, allowing him to see the worry he'd been holding in. "An army of nurses came rushing in with bags of ice and packed them around him." He brought his hand up and combed his fingers through his messy, dark brown hair. "It was not pleasant, Wufei," he said tiredly. "You know how Duo hates the cold. He was miserable and pleaded with me to take him home."
The Preventer slowly let his hand drop from Heero's shoulder. He could see how rough the night had truly been for his friends and felt disturbed that he hadn't been called. "You should have called me when you brought him in. I could have given you some moral support if nothing else," he said more testily than he should have.
Heero nodded and looked apologetic. "I should have, I'm sorry. I was just too worried about him that I kind of lost focus for awhile."
"When did his fever start?"
The frown on Heero's face showed he wasn't pleased with his answer. "Evidently his ear started throbbing after I bandaged it yesterday morning but he didn't tell me because he didn't want me to touch it again. He stayed in the armchair all day and watched t.v. I realize now that he was avoiding my touch. He knew he was getting a fever, but he never has liked hospitals, the baka." Heero used the familiar term affectionately as his gaze wandered over to the bed. "He heard Sally say that if he contracted a fever, he'd be put in the hospital. It wasn't until around one thirty this morning that I heard him moaning in his sleep and, when I reached out to him, I realized that he was burning up."
Wufei bought his hand up to place it back on Heero's shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "He's going to be alright, Heero. Sally is the best there is. He's in very capable hands."
Heero only nodded and gave his friend a brief smile before returning to stare at Duo's flushed face.
The Milliardo Peacecraft family arrived a half hour after the phone call was placed to them at eight o'clock that morning. They had wanted to stay for the entire day but the nurse insisted that there were too many people in the room of a patient that was so ill and required constant observation and attention. Reluctantly, Lucretia and May allowed the patriarch of their family to persuade them that the nurse was right and family left around nine thirty, promising to return several times that day during regular visiting hours.
Wufei stayed with his friends until ten o'clock that morning, then had to leave for work. Just before he left, Duo slowly woke up and gave them both a very subdued and groggy good morning, then allowed Heero to help him drink some water and juice. It was more than apparent that this was going to be a very long day for both of them.
Duo faded in and out of sleep and his fever continued to be unyielding, despite the medications. Sometimes, when he appeared to be awake, Duo seemed disoriented and delirious, not knowing where he was and scolded Heero for bringing him to a hospital instead of the safehouse. He mumbled his concerns about being captured while in a vulnerable condition.
"Where's Quatre?" Duo asked in a groggy voice as he woke once again in the late afternoon. His head turned to the blurry shape he instinctively knew was Heero and he squinted as he tried to focus his vision. His fever racked brain made it hard to talk much less carry on any type of coherent conversation, so it had been up to Heero to keep up the conversation between the two of them during the long day that passed excruciatingly.
Heero frowned slightly at Duo's question. Even after all the time that had passed, he still had a twinge of jealousy whenever Duo called out for or talked fondly of the only other person who had the privilege of being called Duo's lover.
"You know he had to go back to L-4 for a business meeting yesterday, right? Remember I called him this morning? He said he'll come back as soon as he can, maybe tomorrow."
"That's right," Duo mumbled, his words slurring slightly and his heavy eyelids eyes closed. "Hope he's in time," he said wearily, his body weak and exhausted from fighting the infection raging in his system.
Heero's dark eyebrows drew together. "In time for what?" he questioned.
"Ta say goodbye," Duo whispered.
Heero was out of his chair like a shot and took a firm hold of his lover's shoulders, feeling the intense heat radiating through the hospital gown into the palms of his hands. "Don't say that Duo. Do you hear me? You are not going anywhere. I refuse to let you leave me again. Do you hear me, Duo?" he growled out, desperation lacing his voice and, if Duo had opened his eyes, he would have seen an almost unprecedented look of panic in his lover's face.
Heero lowered his face down next to Duo's and fervently kissed his cheek, holding his lips on the fevered skin for a long, lingering moment. He could tell with the touch that Duo's fever was up again, and it felt even higher than before. Without moving his upper body, his hand searched and found the nurse's button and depressed it. "Are you trying to break my heart?" he whispered into Duo's ear. "If you leave me, I promise you I'll burn our house down. I built it for you and me to live in together. If you leave me, I won't have that dream any longer, nor any hope or joy. I'll burn it to ashes to represent my heart if you leave me."
He could feel Duo's body shaking and a barely perceptible sob escape from his pale and chapped lips. "Don't want to," he cried weakly.
"Then fight this, harder than you fought to survive the streets on L-2 or in any battle in the war. You fought to live then and this is no different, only that now you fight for not only your survival, but for mine too."
"Love you. I'll fight." Duo managed to say just before several nurses rushed into the room and forced Heero to step back while their patient's temperature was taken again. Heero heart faltered when they called out the bad news, Duo's temperature was now one hundred four point five; it was higher than ever, dangerously so. Placing himself at the top of the bed just to be close, Heero held his lover's slack and hot hand as bags of ice were brought in and placed around his sheet covered body.
The medical staff left them alone for a short while, and Heero moved closer to the ice-encircled young man on the bed. Being weak, slightly delirious and not totally aware of his surroundings, Heero watched the strongest person he knew reduced by his illness to silently weeping. He tried to be strong, to put his mind in a place of being Duo's support, but in watching numerous tears slide down the red cheeks and the soft sounds of crying from his lover from his miserable state, Heero found himself unable to distance himself mentally, and let his pent up emotions go, shedding tears of his own and not bothering to brush them off his own cheeks. He moved closer to Duo and leaned himself over the inert body covered with bags of ice. He could feel the fevered body trembling from the cold as the ice tortured sensitive skin. "Duo," he said softly. The dazed and water-filled violet eyes opened painfully slow and tried to focus on him. Then Duo's eyes narrowed in sadness as he saw the tears falling from Heero's face, his lover showing him that it was alright for him to cry and not be ashamed or feel weak because of it.
"Thirsty?" Heero asked.
At a nod of his lover's head, Heero got the cup of ice chips and placed a spoonful into Duo's mouth who visibly shuddered at the chill the ice sent through him. Then slowly, his eyes closed once again.
"Can I get you anything else?" Heero asked as he put the cup back down.
"Tomorrow," Duo whispered is a voice strained and whispered, "I want you to sneak me a hamburger and french fries. A soda too," he added.
Heero chuckled as another tear escaped his eye. "Just remind me tomorrow and I'll bring you the biggest and juiciest hamburger ever made."
"Heero?" Turning around, Heero saw Lucretia and May standing in the doorway of the private room. He motioned them in and as they approached the bed, their eyes grew wide in alarm as Duo's worsened condition became more apparent to them..
"His fever went up and this is the quickest way of lowering it so he doesn't sustain any permanent brain or organ damage," Heero told them, making sure to keep his voice low. Both women looked like they were about to burst into tears. "He's too weak to talk right now, but you can talk to him," Heero instructed them. Then looking directly at them he spoke to them silently, with only his lips so that Duo couldn't hear. //Be positive,// he told them. //We need to keep his spirits up.//
The head floor nurse came in five minutes later to see the three deeply concerned visitors talking to the patient in quiet but positive tones. With only a slight nod and brief smile to them, she set about taking care of the fevered young man. The thermometer indicated that his temperature had dropped to one hundred three degrees, a more acceptable range, but another five minutes or so might bring it down to a safer level. The handsome young patient's body was trembling from the cold being forced onto his . She shifted the bags slightly, then turned to leave.
"Can't they come off now?" Heero asked, his eyes clouded with distress and exhaustion.
"Another five minutes," she told him in a with a smile and in a detached manner that most of the medical staff seemed to have. She then turned and left the room.
Not thirty seconds later, Duo's eyes rolled up and his body lifted, his back arching off the bed and a loud moan issued from his parched lips. Heero immediately recognized that he was having a seizure and shouted to Lucretia to get help. The dark haired woman ran to the door and called out frantically into the corridor for assistance.
The three upset visitors in the room were quickly shoved unceremoniously out the door and into the hallway while the nursing crew and the doctor on call rushed passed them to care for the seriously ill patient in room 322.
Noin stood looking shell shocked and held her daughter against her chest with one hand while her other hand struggled to dial her small cell phone. Heero ignored them, pacing in front of the doorway as he absently listened to Duo's adopted mother emotionally choke out his deteriorating condition to her husband. It was a short call, but necessary, and Milliardo was on his way.
Heero was at a loss, he didn't know what to do or where to turn. It was obvious this was one of those things he couldn't fix or manipulate to end the way he wanted it to, not like in the war when he could hack into computers or us Wing to stop a disaster from happening. It frightened him to realize how powerless he truly was at the moment. Stunned at that realization, he stopped his pacing and went to the beige painted wall and raised his arms. Crossing them on the wall, he pillowed his face against them, trying with all his might to deal with his emotions and feelings of helplessness. He could feel it deeply, an impending sense of loss threatening to overtake him. His worst fears were being realized; he was going to lose Duo, probably because he was never truly worthy of the kind of happiness that was his for only a fleeting moment in time. All the battles and lives that he'd taken were now being paid in full by the cosmos, or by the God Duo believed in, by taking away the only person and thing he ever wanted or needed; Duo and his love.
He felt the hand on his shoulder before he heard a familiar and concerned voice at his side. "What's wrong?" Wufei asked.
Heero stepped back from the wall, lowered his arms, and turned his tear stained face to his friend. Without hesitating, Wufei took one step forward and embraced him, lending him his own strength when Heero's was obviously gone. If he was shocked by Heero's crying, Wufei never said so, he just held him tightly until he felt strong enough to stand on his own again.
Sally ran up to the four a moment later, but instead of stopping, she rushed into Duo's room, now crowded with medical personnel.
Within the next few minutes, several of the nurses came out, one of them stopping long enough to tell the four anxious people that the doctor would be with them shortly to give them an update. Heero's body was stiff, but he allowed Wufei to lead him to a chair that was against the far wall and nudged him to sit down. The moment he complied, Heero leaned forward and pressed his face into his upraised hands.
"What's happened?" The young Chinese man in the Preventer's uniform asked from above him.
"His fever went up again and they bagged him in ice," Heero reported, though his voice was muffled as he spoke through his hands and his head was facing downward. "It was starting to go down when he had a seizure."
Wufei reached out his hand to rest it on his distraught friend's slumped shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze of reassurance. "I'm sure he'll be fine, Heero," he said, looking earnestly at the room marked 322, willing Sally to reappear and report that Duo was better.