Disclaimer: These characters don't belong to me.

Pairing: 1+2+1
Warnings: Very light angst, sap

by Elyndys

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 my eyelids.

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.


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