by Dyna Dee
I sit down hard into my executive chair behind my paper-filled desk, having just finished my walking rounds of the large building, checking out each of the cameras I've placed in stairwells and elevators. I take my job as Head of Security at Winner Corporation very seriously. I want to ensure the safety of my lovers at work and at home and I have Quatre's stamp of approval for all the security measures I've enacted, costly though they may be. I know some of the board members, mostly comprising his sisters and an uncle or two, have had some serious reservations about the amount of money I've been spending while updating their antiquated and very inadequate system. It might have been fine in the past, but Quatre is a very prominent person in the colonies and a known Gundam pilot. There are still a lot of people in the universe who hate us, and Quatre's very visible position in the company and in the colonies puts him more at risk than any one of us.
Opening up the folder that has samples and spec sheets for sound detectors, I am interrupted by a vid call. Switching on the I.D. bar, I look in disbelief to see it's Heero who is placing the call. I immediately hit the button and his face comes up on the screen.
"Wufei." He greets me instantly as he always has, in a monotone voice and his face void of all expression.
"Yuy," I reply in a like manner. "What's up?" I then take notice of what I had missed at first glance, Heero looks as if he's in some sort of distress, almost pained. Then I take in the visibly dark circles under his eyes and that his hair is longer and messier than usual. Frankly, he looks unkept and physically ill.
"I need to talk to Duo, Wufei. Do you know how I can reach him?" I'm seeing clearly now that things definitely aren't well with Heero as I observe how he is struggling to keep his straight face and his emotions in check. He closes his eyes tightly for a brief moment, as if centering himself, then opens them to look back into the screen bearing my image. "Please Wufei, I wouldn't ask if it wasn't important. I know I hurt him and sent him running away from me, but I really need to talk to him right now."
Alright, now I'm concerned, this isn't like the proud and stubborn Heero that I knew during the war or at the Preventers. Something is really wrong if the former Wing Zero pilot stoops to begging. "I can't give you that information until I clear it with Duo," I tell him, and to my utter astonishment, Heero's face buckles and he quickly buries his face in his hands.
"What is it Heero? What's the matter?" I ask, deeply concerned.
He shakes his head either indicating he can't answer or maybe he just doesn't want to.
"Listen Heero," I try again, softly now. "I promise I'll talk to Duo as soon as I can get a hold of him, but in the mean time, you look like you need some help. You can trust me. We have enough history together that you know I'll do whatever I can to help you." I mean every word I say. Trowa talked to Quatre and I after Heero's phone call to him months ago, and we all decided that if Heero reached out to us for help, then we would do what we could for our wayward friend. This vid call looked to be what we had all hoped for, that Heero was reaching out.
In the past, he always approached Duo first when he had a problem he didn't know how to solve himself, usually dealing with emotions or tasks he'd ever encountered before, and now it seemed he was evidently desperate enough to reach out urgently for his problem solver. I'll be damned if I don't reach back in lieu of Duo's absence.
"Oh shit, Wufei," Heero moans into his hands. "I'm trying but it's hard, so hard. I think I'm sick. I need Duo to tell me what to do." He didn't raise his head from his hands, but he did start rocking his upper body, moving it forward and back from his waist, distorting the focus on the vid's camera with his movement.
"What's hard, Heero?" I need to get some answers in order to help him.
"I kicked Alex out...two weeks ago. Couldn't stand it anymore. I don't want to go to the clubs, but I'm.... I'm..., Agh!" Heero evidently couldn't focus his thoughts enough to describe just exactly what he was feeling, but I could hear the desperation in his voice and putting two and two together I more or less guessed that Heero was extremely frustrated.
"Are you saying that you're trying to resist the clubs? That you're trying to get your life back to normal?" I ask, inwardly wishing it to be true.
This time Heero does look up into the screen and nods his head, his eyes look like they're burning with pain. "Is that what is causing you pain?" I ask, trying to understand his hurt, wondering if it was mental anguish.
"No, it's medical. I think I've got an infection. It hurts to urinate and my testicles ache. Oh shit, Wufei," he moaned pathetically. "I think being blown up with Wing didn't hurt this badly." Heero's eyes take on a pleading look as he continues. "What should I do? I don't know where to go or who to trust."
"If you're in that much pain you should go to a hospital," I tell him while searching for the phone number of a person I know who can help him.
"No, no hospital," Heero says through gritted teeth. We all formed a phobia during the war for hospitals as we figured that was the first place Oz would look for us if we were badly injured. Those old fears were taking much too long to over come.
"Alright," I sigh, wishing he wasn't so stubborn. "Here's what you need to do. I've got Sally's number and I'll give it to you. I want you to call her and tell her your problem."
"No," he replies adamantly, his eyes narrowing with resolve. "She'll tell Une."
"Heero," I say his name firmly. "You're hurting. Do you want to continue to be in pain?"
The Japanese man shook his head, eyes filling with moisture at the continued pain he was feeling. I sigh deeply, knowing there is only one solution. "I'll come," I tell him, and I'm instantly rewarded with a rare smile of gratitude.
"When?" Heero asks as he begins to rock his body again, and I realize he's trying to cope with a considerable amount of pain.
"Now," I answer. "I'll take Quatre's private shuttle and fly down myself. Expect me in six hours, alright?"
"Thank you, Wufei," Heero says sincerely in a strained voice.
"Can you wait six hours?" I ask, feeling concern for his condition.
"I'll wait here for you," he answers soberly, and I sense he's just given himself a mission to accomplish come hell or high water.
"Go to the hospital if the pain gets worse," I tell him in the tone of an order. Heero gives me a non-committal nod and then the view screen goes blank. I immediately place a conference call to my two lovers telling them of my imminent departure and the reason for it.
I don't remember being more surprised than I am as I answer my cell phone and find its an unexpected phone call from Wufei at two in the afternoon. He's just arrived from L-4 and is still at the shuttle port. After a few very short pleasantries, he asks if I can do him an enormous favor. I laugh at him; like he needs to ask. But my laughter comes to an end when he stipulates that the favor he is about to ask me is to be completely off the Preventer's books. I can't help the frown that comes to my face. I'm not in the habit of breaking the rules since joining the Preventers, bending them is more my forte. I might have to bend backwards for Wufei though, I owe this young man so much.
"I guess that all depends on what you're going to ask me?" I answer, wishing he had a vid screen available so I can see his face, but he's calling from his cell phone.
"I would like you to meet me at someone's home and give him a quick look over. He's in pain and seems reluctant to come into work.
"Doesn't he have a regular physician?" I ask. "If he is in so much pain, he should go to the hospital."
"Sally," Wufei says my name with exasperation, I love that irritated look on
his face that I know he's presently wearing, and strive to see it as often as I can. "He is your patient, but I think he doesn't want it on his record.
"You're not penalized for being ill while working at the Preventers," I answer a bit defensively.
"Please," Wufei asks sincerely, and he knows that tactic has always softened my heart.
"It's Heero, isn't it?" I inquire, guessing that Wufei really wouldn't come into town unexpectedly or unannounced unless something was wrong with Heero, our last gundam pilot still working for the agency.
I hear him take a deep breath and guess that he's about to launch into some tirade. "I'll be there in twenty minutes," I tell him, successfully stopping him before he truly gets going. "I'll meet you in the first floor lobby of his building."
"You know where he lives?" Wufei sounds skeptical.
"Let's just say I've been keeping an eye out for Heero lately. He's missed quite a few work days lately, not that he doesn't have the sick or holiday time earned, but you have to agree it's highly unusual for Heero to miss work."
"You better bring supplies for taking blood and urine samples for lab work," he instructs me, and I begin to think he's warning me of what I might find at Heero's apartment.
"What's your ETA?" I ask looking at my watch.
"Two thirty, if the traffic cooperates," he replies quickly.
"It should, rush hour doesn't get underway until around four. I'll see you at two thirty in the lobby," I tell him, grabbing a few supplies, shoving them in my backpack and head for the door marked Infirmary. I figure that from the Preventer's building it will take me fifteen minutes to reach Yuy's apartment, five minutes before Wufei should arrive.
"Thank you Sally," Wufei replies more softly, his sincerity carrying through the phone lines.
"You're welcome," I answer with a smile on my face and in my voice. My cell phone goes dead, and I have to stop and marvel at the change in my former colleague. He had been so stiff, angry and reserved when I talked him into joining the Preventers, but he never gave me one moment of regret for that invitation as he had been one of the three best agents we've ever had. Then that fierceness, that strength that I so admired in him faltered, maybe because of his young age, or that he'd just had enough of death and responsibility, but it was clear to those of us who knew him that he began to suffer and was nearly broken by evidence of our finding him of the roof of the office building ready to blow his brains out. Thank God for Quatre and Trowa and that they were in the building. I can only assume by his brief notes to me and the conversation I've just had from him that they've been able to give Wufei the peace he desperately searched for and a job he enjoyed that didn't have to deal with death and destruction.
Putting my cell phone in my pack, I rush down the stairs wondering what in the world could be wrong with Heero the Indestructible Yuy, as Duo used to call him. I rationalize that it has to be somewhat serious if it has brought Wufei all the way from L-4. I know I will be breaking some city speed limits in the next fifteen minutes in order to get the answer that much faster.
Breathless as I run into the building, I immediately see Wufei, dressed smartly in an expensive business suit minus the tie. A black shoulder bag is resting on the floor by his feet and he raises one of his finely shaped black eyebrows at me in a sardonic nature. I'm five minutes late.
"Sorry," I apologize breathlessly. "I got here on time but there's absolutely no where to park around here. I had to run four block to get her. No wonder Heero doesn't own a car."
Wufei looked at me questioningly. "You seem to know an awful lot about Heero," he comments as he extends his hand to me in greeting. I readily take it, giving him a firm welcoming handshake.
"I make it a point to know a few things about my patients, especially if Une brings them to my attention. I was actually going to call him this week for his annual physical."
"What does Une know about Heero?" He asks frowning as he takes my elbow and pulls/escorts me to the elevator.
We both step inside the waiting car and he pushes number seven, prompting the door to close. "She's been keeping an eye on him since Duo left," I answer him. "Evidently Duo spoke to her about some concerns he had for Heero's health and she asked me to keep track of his time off or if he looked overtired or ill."
On hearing my explanation, Wufei immediately hits the stop button and the elevator comes to an abrupt halt. "Sally," he turns and looks at me gravely. "I called you as a friend to see Heero, not an official from the Preventers. Heero needs help, not a whistle blower."
I look at him and wonder how I can find a compromise that will let me fall within the rules of my job and wanting to keep my friendship with Wufei. "I'm not sure I can separate the Preventer from the Doctor," I tell him, and immediately see that he doesn't like that answer. "If something is seriously wrong, Une will need to be appraised of it as the head of the Preventers and as someone who earnestly does not want anything to happen to Heero. We came too close to losing you permanently and she doesn't ever want that to happen to any of you pilots again. That's why she let Duo go so easily, without trying to talk him into staying. She said that Duo was desperately anxious to leave, to put Heero behind him once and for all. I understand he was very upset and quite agitated, so she let him go and has protected the information regarding his location."
Wufei folds his arms over his chest and looks at me in a contemplating manner, he's clearly not mad, but he instead seems to be stewing over what he should do next. "Duo has spoken to the rest of us in regards to what he believes Heero's problem to be," he begins, his dark eyes boring into me with such intensity that I have to drop my own gaze from his face to be more comfortable. "It's an addiction Sally, and I think he's finally hit bottom. He doesn't want to live the way he had been any longer and he's reaching out for help. I don't want him to lose his job because he wants to make a change for the better."
At the word addiction I feel stunned. "But he cleared all the unannounced drug tests that are given to all the Preventer agents periodically."
"It's not drugs," he tells me.
Wufei hits the button to resume our ascent to the seventh floor and waits in silence as if he is reluctant to enlighten me about what it is that Heero is addicted to. The elevator car stops and the doors pull open.
"Sex." He says the single word so quietly that I barely hear him, but just by the nature of the word, it seems anyone would had cued in on it, even after being spoken so quietly and hesitantly. I found nothing to say in reply until we approached apartment seven hundred and nine.
"You say he's ready for help?"
"That's what he told me this morning," Wufei answers.
"Then let's do our best to see that he gets it," I tell him, meaning it, though inwardly appalled at what I'd just learned. Taking a deep breath, I stand to the side as Wufei knocks on the door, mentally bolstering myself up for what I might encounter on the other side of the door.
Wufei has to knock several times before the door inches open. Pained blue eyes peek out, surveying us in the hallway. The door is then pulled open and I'm surprised to see Heero fling himself onto Wufei, his face buries itself against the slightly taller man's shoulder, muffling the almost incoherent words that come spilling from an obviously distressed-looking Heero.
Wufei's eyes widened, and I figure he is as stunned as I am at Heero's greeting. He brings his arms up and embraces his former comrade's back and in a soothing voice assures Heero he's here and will stay until things settle down.
"Thank you, thank you, Wufei. So glad you're here. I don't know what to do. Please help me." I'm dumbfounded at the words that tumble quickly from Heero's lips. Things must really be bad for him to fall apart emotionally like this.
Wufei half carries Heero into his apartment and I follow, shutting the door behind us. Taking a look around the living room, I can see it's a little more cluttered than I expected, knowing from the records and Heero's office that he is a bit of a neat freak. There's a blanket on the couch, several glasses with what looks like water in them on the coffee table as well as several plates of food that appear to have hardly been touched.
Sitting Heero on the couch, Wufei settles next to him and I take the arm chair next to Heero's end of the couch. Heero turns his head and looks me in the eyes. "No report," he tells me firmly. "This is strictly off the record or you can leave now." After wrestling with my conscience for a moment I nod my head in agreement.
"Wufei tells me you don't feel well, Heero," I begin as I bend to unzip the backpack I'd set on the floor the moment I sat down. "Can you tell me your symptoms?"
I could see by the set of his face and the look in his eyes that telling me his problems is the last thing he wants to do, but there is also a definite look of pain around his eyes and his lips as he pinches them together.
Taking out my notepad, I jot down the symptoms he reluctantly relays to me: an excruciating burning sensation when he tries to urinate, his testicles are swollen and painful and he has a yellowish discharge.
I know the symptoms, but I have to ask the questions. "Have you had unprotected sex in the last month or two?" I ask, and then watch him close his eyes as he shamefully admits he has with a slight nod of his head. "Do you know the name of the person who infected you?" I ask and receive a non-committal shrug of his shoulders.
Reaching into my bag again, I bring out a plastic, lidded urine cup and hold it out towards him. "I need a urine sample to check my diagnosis," I tell him.
Heero's eyes widened. "You've got to be kidding!" His toe of voice is somewhere between disbelief and incredulous. "Do you know how painful it is to try and piss?"
"Nevertheless, I need a sample," I insist. With a slight tremble in his hand he takes the cup from my hand and rises slowly to his feet. He moves cautiously to the bedroom where he stays for a good twenty minutes. Wufei found the remote and we've turned on the state of the art television to wait.
When Heero finally comes out, his eyes are red and the cup has only a minute amount of yellow fluid in it. "That's all I could do," he tells me, his glare warning me not to ask him to do that again. I look at the small amount and hope it will be enough.
"So what is it?" Wufei asks me.
I look to Heero. "Are you sure you want Wufei here to hear my diagnosis?" I asked, knowing our next conversation was going to be very personal.
Heero's eyes turn to Wufei's face. "You know, don't you?" He asks the former Shenlong/Altron pilot. "Did Duo tell you his theory on what was wrong with me?"
Wufei nodded his head to both questions.
"Then go ahead." Heero turns back to me. " If I'm ever going to get my life back, I need my friends to help me."
"Sit down." I motion him to the couch and follow my own invitation by taking the arm chair again. When the other two look stiffly comfortable, I begin. "I believe you're showing the symptoms of gonorrhea, Heero. All you've described to me are classic symptoms. And most people with gonorrhea usually have chlamydia also, though symptoms of that disease are silent."
The only reaction I see from him is a slight twitch at the side of his eyes and a tightening of his mouth. I continue, informing him of the treatment for his condition. "Penicillin is the drug of choice for both," I inform him. "I saw a drug store about a block and a half from here. I'll send Wufei to it for some. It will take about twenty-four hours for it to have any effect on your symptoms. I can also prescribe a sedative/pain pill to help you through those hours."
"Stupid, stupid, stupid," Heero mutters as he closes his eyes and shakes his head. "I stupidly did this to myself. I deserve this," he adds with undisguised self loathing.
"Wufei," I called out to the Chinese young man who was about to jump into the conversation. "Here's the prescription," I say as I take my prescription pad and begin to write the prescription for both medications. "Could you go and get this filled so we can get Heero feeling better?"
Whether he knows I'm trying to get rid of him or not, Wufei stands and obediently obeys my request. The moment the door shuts I look to Heero with all earnestness. "Alright Heero, tell me what's been happening with you, how did you get this disease? I know you're smart enough to use protection, so what happened?"
He looks uncomfortable with my penetrating gaze and direct questions. His eyes look away from me and fall to a spot on the floor. "I'm ashamed to tell you," he replies softly.
"Heero," I inch closer, "I'm a doctor and a Preventer, there is nothing you can say to me that will be shocking. I've heard it all and I promise not to judge you for whatever you have to tell me." I know it's important for Heero to trust someone, and as his doctor, I can only hope it will be me for the time being.
Pained eyes raise to mine again. "I came home a couple of weeks ago with the intent of telling my lover it was over between us. I was dependent on him even though I came to hate everything about him. He must have sensed what was coming because when I walked through the door that night he had quite a surprise for me." He lowers his eyes, obviously not wanting to see my reaction to what he was about to tell me. "There were two people here, complete strangers to me but Alex knew them very well. He said they were staying for the weekend to have fun with us. I knew instantly Alex meant sex because anything we ever did together was centered around it." He shakes his head and snorts in disgust. "He gave me a glass of wine laced with Enhancement and the weekend began with a bang, if you'll pardon the pun. He'd evidently invited other couples over at four hour intervals which continued until Sunday night." He stops there and buries his anguished face into his hands. "Shit Sally, I don't even know the people that came into my apartment that weekend, but I'm pretty sure I had sex with all of them."
"And where is Alex now?" I ask, knowing he will probably need to be treated too.
"I kicked him out on Monday morning. I woke up and realized how low I'd fallen and it made me sick. I make me sick, Sally." His voice is filled with anguish and he slowly looks up at me once again with a pleading look on his handsome face. "How could I let myself become so caught up in something and let all decency fall away from me? I think I'm addicted to sex Sally, and even after saying that, I just want to go out to some club and screw someone just to escape what I'm feeling at this moment."
I reach out to him and put my hand over his. "Do you want to change Heero? If you truly want to, if you're ready, I have an acquaintance that deals with all forms of addiction."
Heero shakes his head. "Duo told me I was an addict, but I didn't believe him. Sex is normal, I told myself, I just had an avid interest in it once I discovered its pleasures. But somewhere down the line I began to need it more than anything else. More than friendships, more than Duo, and even more than my job, though I wouldn't let it interfere during my time in the office. I feel like I'm two people Sally, the Preventer by day and the sex-driven maniac at night. I don't think that I exist as a person in between those two extremes anymore."
I lied, I was more or less shocked, not at the thought that someone could be addicted to sex, I've read enough medical journals referring to the problem, no, I was shocked that it was Heero Yuy who was addicted to such an intimate act and that he would trust strangers with his body. During the war he trusted no one but those he deemed to have earned it, namely the other pilots. I turned my attention back to Heero as he begins to speak again.
"I lost all of my friends because of the choices I've made. I embarrassed myself at Quatre's on Christmas Day and was asked to leave. Do you know how bad it must have been for Quatre to actually request I leave his home and not come back until I got a hold of myself?" He looks completely miserable with himself, but continues on. "Then I lost Duo. I pushed him too far by picking a lover that looked just like him, minus a few details, and flaunting that relationship in his face." He looks up at me again, appearing lost and full of anguish, a look I've never seen on his face before. "Did you know that at one time Duo loved me?" he asks.
"I kind of guessed he did from the way he would look at you, especially right after the war," I answer. "What happened Heero? Could you not love him back?" I'd always wondered why Duo had always looked crestfallen when Heero's back was turned. But to his face, the former Deathscythe pilot wore his happy grin, his mask.
He swallows, and swallows hard again as if the words that are about to come out of his mouth will be the most difficult he's ever uttered. When he finally speaks, it's so soft I can hardly hear him, and his beautiful, tortured blue eyes are filled with unshed tears. "But I did love him," he says in an agonized whisper. "Duo's the only person I've ever loved."
I blink in astonishment, unable to comprehend why two people in love couldn't have made a try for happiness together. Then the answer came to me. "You didn't tell him though, did you?"
He mournfully shakes his head. "I couldn't during the war. I'd self destructed once, and needed to be ready to do it again if the situation called for it. How could I love or be loved under those circumstances?" he explains.
"And after?" I ask, wanting to understand.
He runs his hands slowly through his hair. "I was too tainted with blood on my hands. Before Dr. J got a hold of me I was raised by an assassin. All I'd known in my early years was death and destruction. Even I could see that Duo needed peace, he needed someone unsullied by bloodied hands. I felt I was showing the greater love by telling him I wasn't physically attracted to him, and by then I'd learned of the joys of sexual interaction. I willingly let him go and knew I hurt him in the process, but I figured that in the long run he'd be happier. The emptiness and guilt I felt at distancing myself from him and hurting him was quickly filled by my new pastime. The hunt and conquest was as addictive as any drug, the sexual release was almost cathartic because it was by my choice. Sally, for the first time in my life I made choices for myself. I chose who to have sex with. I chose the when, where and how to do it. For a long time it was liberating and fulfilling, and that added bonus was that I was able to put my love and need for Duo away. I tried to forget I loved him and the words he spoke to me of loving me and wanting a future with me. I ignored the pain in his eyes for too long, then added insult to injury when I took Alex as a lover. I didn't consciously choose him because he looked like Duo, but after Wufei pointed it out, it was pretty clear that's what I had done, and it hurt Duo even more. Wufei told me I sent the message that I lusted after Duo's physical body but that I abhorred who he was. He couldn't have been more wrong, but I didn't do anything to change the situation or Duo's perception. Then he was gone." Heero's face is buried in his hands again and I can see his shoulders shake as he grieves his past actions.
I reached over and pat his back, seeing his wrenching heartache makes my nurturing instincts kick in, urging me to comfort and console him. "It's not too late Heero," I tell him in a gentle voice. "You're young, you have your whole life in front of you. It might not be too late to patch things up with Duo."
Heero shakes his head in misery. "If I felt tainted during and after the war, I'm filthy and used up now. I'm not good for anyone anymore. I've ruined everything."
I sit back and look pointedly at him. "I think this is a first," I tell him in a surprised voice. "Heero Yuy, the Perfect Soldier gives up. I never thought I'd see that day when you couldn't complete a mission."
"What mission?" he asks confused and angry at the tack I'd taken.
I narrow my eyes and give him a serious look. "The life mission of getting yourself together, making yourself worthy and then go searching for happiness, not the momentary physical satisfaction of an ejaculation, but true happiness. If Duo is what will bring you that happiness, then you make it a mission to get yourself respectable enough to present yourself before him, ask his forgiveness and see if things can be salvaged between you."
"I've got a sexually transmitted disease, Sally," he spits out angrily. "I've had sex with countless complete strangers. I'll never be worthy of Duo now. I'm not even fit to be in his company."
"Do you truly believe Duo can't forgive you?" I ask.
"After what I put him through, probably," he answers, looking grim.
"Well you'll never know unless you try," I tell him. "Look at it this way, the worst that could happen is that you can get back to a more normal lifestyle regarding sexual relations and most likely getting your friends back along with it. Wufei is here, that shows they care about you enough for him to drop whatever he was doing this morning and come all the way to Earth because you needed him. "
"And the best that could happen?" He asks dispassionately.
"You'll find love again. Maybe with Duo, maybe not. But with therapy you can get better. I promise you that Heero. Addictions have their reasons, either mental or physical. Dr. Penrose is the best I know and I'm sure he can help you pinpoint why you act the way you do and give you some help to overcome the cravings you feel. Your addiction in not uncommon, in fact it has a medical name, Heero. It's called Satyriasis."
There's a look of hope in his eyes. "Do you really think I can change Sally? Can I learn to be like most people, decent people who have meaningful relationships?"
"Yes, I believe it's possible Heero" I give him a hopeful smile. But it won't happen unless you try."
"I want to," he replies immediately, the old spark of determination coming into his eyes. "I have little to lose at this point and so much to gain."
Sweeter words I've yet to hear.
Knocking on the door, I enter Duo's office at ten minutes till the time we usually call it a day. He's on the phone talking to a customer and smiles as he waves me in and continues the conversation to an end. I sit in the chair in front of his desk and wait. This is nice, I decide. Duo doesn't change the moment I come into a room like all the other employees in the Winner Corporation. He isn't stiff with anxiety, nor does he guard his words, choosing only those that would show him in a favorable light. I listen distractedly as he carries on, jokes with the person on the other end and gives them a cheery good bye before hanging up. Looking up at me, he beams me a happy smile. He is definitely well suited to customer relations.
"Hey Quatre, you're early," he says as he begins to clear off his desk. I can't help but cringe as I see everything on top of it being swept towards him with both of his arms and rudely dumped into the top desk drawer. He then shuts it and looks up to me with a satisfied smirk on his face; he knows how much that kind of mess bothers me, the tease. "I'm all ready to go," he announces cheerfully.
"Duo can we talk for just a moment, there's something that has come up and I need to tell you about it." I can't tell if he thinks it's good or bad news that's coming as he leans back into his leather chair, folds his arms over his chest, then puts both feet up on the mahogany desk
"Go for it," he replies, calmly waiting for me to begin.
"Wufei left the colony today to go to Earth," I inform him, wondering how to put into words what I need to say. The last thing I want is to cause any further hurt to my friend, and I don't know how he will take the news about Heero's call.
"Business?" he asks me, with a small look of worry on his face.
"Personal," I reply, then take hold of my courage and just say the words that need to be spoken. "Heero called him this morning." Duo looks for a minute like he's been sucker punched, so I quickly continued on. "Wufei called me early this morning to tell me he was leaving immediately. Heero had called him and Wufei found out that he was in some sort of pain. He asked for you, Duo. Wufei told me that Heero asked for your e-mail address. He evidently wants to speak with you. But don't worry," I rush to say, "he didn't give it to him but said he'd pass the message on and let you decide."
"Why would he want to speak to me after all this time has passed?" Duo replies, his tone of voice showing his anger. He quickly takes his feet down from his desk and jumps up to his feet and begins to pace. "It's been six months Quatre. I'm finally starting to feel better about myself and my life and he wants to talk to me and screw with my head some more? I don't think so."
I frown as my space heart is sensing more than what I'm seeing. I feel more than just anger from Duo at Heero's request, I can perceive the residual pain of his heartbreak. Somewhere in his bruised heart, Duo still loves Heero and can't reconcile that emotion with the hurt his best friend has caused him.
"Duo," I begin again, speaking softly in an order to appeal to his stubborn side. "Heero kicked Alex out. From the conversation Wufei had with him, he's reaching out for help. That's why Wufei went. He's still our friend, even if we haven't stayed in touch and we haven't approved of his lifestyle. If he needs our help, don't you think we should offer it, just as we offered it to Wufei and yourself?"
That did it. I immediately see Duo's face soften. He closes his eyes and shakes his head. "Of course you should," he answers and calms enough to return to his chair.
"The first thing he asked Wufei when he called was for a way to contact you. You know he always went to you when he didn't know how to deal with something. If he is addicted, as you think he is, he won't know how to deal with it alone. He was looking for you to help and support him."
I watch as Duo leans forward and puts his elbows on the desk and buries his face in his hands. "I just don't know if I can do that Quatre. You can't know how much he hurt me."
My heart twists within me at the sight and feeling of Duo's mental anguish. "I don't know first hand Duo, but I can feel your pain and have since the day you arrived. I know how badly you feel, and I'm so sorry."
Moisture filled eyes rise to meet my equally moist ones. "Please help him," he whispers to me, a filtered feeling of his love for Heero shoots through my chest, followed by overwhelming sorrow. "I'm not ready to see or listen to him yet, and I know I can't go through it again, watching him sleep around. I just can't do that anymore."
I stand and go to him and I tug on his arm until he stands up and lets me put my arms around him. "Wufei will stay there until Heero's on the right track. He'll help him all he can, but it's really up to Heero if he wants to overcome this. He's the strongest willed man I know, Duo. If he sets his mind to it, he'll do it."
"I hope so," Duo whispers as he holds me close for comfort.
I pull back slightly and look into those beautiful eyes of his, so filled with sadness. I had hoped never to see that look on his face again. "Don't feel guilty that you can't be there for him right now, Duo. You have to do what's right for you. Maybe further down the road of recovery you'll feel more secure, better prepared to talk to him again."
Duo nods his head and wipes hastily at his eyes to keep any moisture from leaking out. I find it's completely unfair that even when he's upset, he looks incredibly good, so I tell him so and am rewarded by a shaky smile and a brief, blushing thanks. Leaning forward, I kiss him. It's not our first kiss, we've actually shared quite a few over the last six months, but it is still as sweet as the first one. His lips are soft and pliant, his breath smells like his mouth tastes, of the cinnamon mints he's always munching on. My tongue pushes between his lips asking for him to open up to me. At one time he would have pulled back or hesitated at such a request, but now he quickly complies and leans into me as we take a moment to enjoy the small, warm pleasure that kissing brings. For us it's calming, a pleasant intimacy shared and a relief from the tension that filled the room moments before. We break the kiss slowly, almost reluctantly, and embrace once again.
"How about you, Trowa and I grab some hamburgers, french fries and milk shakes at Eddie's Diner before going home?" I ask as we pull apart, knowing it's his favorite meal and place to get it.
His smile is much brighter now. "You spoil me my friend," he teases with a grin growing on his lips.
Pushing some stray hairs back from his handsome face, I smile. "Damn right I do," I answer in a true Duo fashion, causing his smile to brighten even more.
"I'm having an impact on you, Quat. Wonder if Trowa and Wufei think it's for better or worse."
"I have no complaints from either," I laugh, and together we leave the office to go in search of Trowa to tell him our change of plans for dinner.