I hate being ill. I really can't stand it, almost as much as
Heero can't. Makes me feel so… useless. Frustrated, y'know? Same
with Heero. Except, he never gets ill. That said, I never used to
either… I'd been careless with a nasty scratch I got at the salvage
yard, never thinking anything of it… Then suddenly, I found myself
laid low – some sort of infection. I didn't dare speculate where it
might have originated… All those scraps of rusty, filthy metal… and
me thinking my immune system was just fine, I didn't need all those
injections. Shows what I know.
There wasn't a lot I could do. It wasn't life-threatening, or
anything, but it took a lot of effort to get better. I know I
couldn't have done it without Heero… He did everything he could for
me. Made sure I took all my tablets, made me eat properly – though I
never want to see fortified soup again as long as I live – drove me
to all my appointments. And, most importantly, he would hold my
hand, or kiss my forehead; he was always there for me.
Funny, how we didn't used to say `I love you' very much at all.
We knew it was true, of course, but we just didn't say it, except
sometimes when we were making love or if one of us was going away.
But when I was ill, it suddenly became really important to me to
make sure he knew exactly how deep my feelings for him were. I
wanted to remind him how grateful I felt, for everything he'd done
for me, everything he was to me. And I'd realised, with a chilling
suddenness, I wasn't invulnerable after all. I'd always thought I
was so tough, after everything I've been through in my life; but
anything could happen to me, and I would hate to go knowing I would
never get another chance to show Heero how I felt.
The first time I said it, I think he picked up on that: "Don't
worry, you're not going anywhere", he said to me. I was starting to
think I'd never get better, I'd been feeling so bad for so long.
What if I was never back to normal? Could never enjoy going out
running, days out with Heero, going out for meals… It'd been weeks
since we'd made love, Heero was so patient – we'd never been without
each other for that long; it has to be said, we couldn't, and
didn't, resist our urges to express our love physically as often as
possible. We slept in separate rooms, me not wanting to take the
risk the doctors warned me about, that I might be infectious. That
hurt Heero as much as it did me. And without him there, the nights
were the worst… I lay there thinking, what if I could never feel
Heero's body with my own again, what if I never regained enough
energy to share that intimacy with him, that passion that had been
so important a part of our lives…? What if… what if Heero couldn't
stand it? Could I bear it, if he looked at me one day, sad, and
said "Duo… I can't go on like this"? The thought made me sick with
fear. Even if it was only the sex he wanted from someone else, I
couldn't take the thought of Heero with another person, *that* was
only for me! I lay in the dark and let tears trickle out from under
I never used to cry. But I was too weak to stop myself. And I
couldn't see a reason not to. I tried to keep my spirits as high as
possible, and during the day it worked: I would smile and laugh, sit
out in the garden and talk with Heero, read, watch TV… but in the
night, there was just me. I knew that a strong spirit was one thing;
but if my body was weak I didn't even have the strength to fight for
what I loved.
I know I was being quiet, but somehow he still knew. I heard him
push open the door to my room and switch on the nightlight, sitting
down on the edge of my bed. He didn't say anything… but watched me,
held my hand… And it was then that I said it first. I had to let him
know how much I needed him…
"Heero… I do love you…"
I felt so churned up inside when he looked at me like he did; I
managed to smile at him, though I felt like crying at the look on
his face. He looked like I was saying goodbye; I hadn't meant to
upset him, though I knew it was out of the blue, sounded so final…
"Don't worry, you're not going anywhere." `And neither am I…'
I shook my head against the pillow and squeezed his hand. "I
know, I know, but… I do, y'know…"
He didn't answer me, then. Not in words… But he leaned over,
looking into my eyes; and I saw how he felt in the dim light. And
then, I felt his lips on mine, in a way I hadn't felt for ages… I
wanted to say, No, what about the risk? But I couldn't. Heero knew.
And still… his mouth felt so good on mine, his skin tasted fresh, of
soap, sort of spicy, of him. His lips were soft, slow-kissing me,
letting me feel everything… The sensation spread warmth through me,
made me feel like I was floating, and I was normal again! I knew
then, kissing him back as fervently and as passionately as he kissed
me, that I wasn't done for quite yet. I knew that tomorrow, I'd feel
better; the day after a little better again. And if I ever felt so
low again, I knew what I could say to make me feel better, with his
help... I felt elated, lost in his kiss, feeling his arms close
round me as he lay down beside me, still with his lips on mine and
with no intention of going anywhere. And I knew in that kiss, his
love's all I need.