"Heero, can you hear me?" There was a light shining in Heero's eye, but he never knew it.
"Heero, come on, we need to you snap out of it! Can you hear me, Heero?" Sally glanced at the concerned young men surrounding her,
and sadly shook her head. "I think the shock was too great for him, he isn't responding to my voice or other stimuli. He's been like this
for several hours now. Any ideas, Dr. Asakura?"
The man rubbed his eyes, looking quite a bit the worse for wear, "Sorry, but I'm fresh out of non-invasive techniques, perhaps a shot of
adrenaline would be called for. Regardless, I believe we should have him fully aware before we put Mr. Maxwell under anesthesia for
*That* got Heero's attention!
"Hnnnn---" he groaned, blinking his eyes and trying to claw his way back to reality. Gradually, Heero noted he was laying flat on a hard
surface, looking up at a blank, bright unfamiliar white ceiling. It was an easy assumption they weren't in the office any longer.
"Heero! Thank, Allah!" Quatre exclaimed. His eyes were red from crying as the young Arabian draped himself over Heero in a warm
hug. "You gave us quite a scare passing-out when you did, but I guess all that bad news would have been a lot for anyone to handle all
at once. I'm so very sorry we didn't tell you sooner."
"Gomenasai, Heero," Wufei looked utterly devestated, having seen what damage his earlier silence had helped to cause.
"Wait---" Heero forced his brain to function. "Never mind, guys, just never mind all that guilt shit, I don't care right now. What's this
about Duo needing surgery?" Heero still felt lost and confused, but his mind had successfully located a particular thought to hold onto, a
new more critical mission to be completed no matter what.
"He needs it now, Heero," Trowa looked down at him as he pried his lover off. "Duo had another cardiac arrest while you were
unconscious. They revived him quickly, but it's clear he must have his heart repaired immediately or we will lose him entirely."
"Oh, gods, no!!!" Anger flared briefly. "Doctor, do whatever you need to do. If all you needed was my permission, you shouldn't have
waited. My lack of attention caused this to happen, don't let Duo suffer because of it!" Heero felt totally defeated; grief, guilt, and
self-hatred gnawed at him like living creatures.
"Heero, we weren't waiting," Sally soothed, "The surgical team is still setting up. We wanted to give you a chance to see him before he
went in. He's awake and asking for you. He was given the anesthesia, but it will be a little longer before it works."
"Nani? Why would he want to see *me*, the person who almost cost him his life?" Clearly, Heero's state of confusion and depression
was affecting his judgement.
"I believe you are being a bit melodramatic, Heero," Wufei gently admonished. "Duo says he has something important to tell you and
doesn't want to wait until he's recovered enough to say it later. There was time to try to fulfill his request without risk. I will take you to
him now." Wufei was clearly *not* looking for approval of his actions at this point feeling totally justified and rightly so.
Heero refused the wheelchair offered to him. When the nurse assigned to him began to argue, she was quickly quieted by the doctor,
"Mitsu-san, his friends are with him. Let him rely on them for strength. I believe that will help both Mr. Yuy and Mr. Maxwell be
stronger for the surgical procedure as well."
"Yes, doctor," she dutifully replied, but was determined not to let one Mr. Heero Yuy out of her sight until he was back in his assigned
room resting again.
Leaning heavily on Wufei and Trowa for support, Heero made his way to the indicated room several doors down from what he
assumed was now his room in the ER. He was shocked at first to see Duo surrounded by even more monitors and machines, having
forgotten the mention of a second heart attack hitting his violet-eyed angel in the same day. His own heart ached to see him so pale
laying on the starched white sheets, his long hair confined in a surgical cap, tubes of unknown fluids running into his body in at least three
different places. Small and fragile in appearance, Duo seemed to be sleeping already.
"Duo?" Heero whispered, almost afraid to face his lover. "Did you want to see me?"
"Heero!" Even wan from exhaustion, pain, and medication, Duo's eyes lit up when he saw his beloved. "Dear Lord, Heero, you look
terrible! What happened?!"
"Nothing happened, I'm fine. Don't worry about me," Heero bent down to brush a soft kiss against his cheek, then rested his palm there
gently. "They tell me you need an operation. You need to concentrate on *yourself* to get through that, ne?"
"Liar," Duo laughed a bit. "Heero, you can't tell *me* a lie and get away with it or have you forgotten? I heard that you collapsed, what
happened to you, koi? Now tell me the truth, or I'll get Quatre to do his puppy-eyes routine on you since I can't quite manage looking
very pitiful right now," Duo summoned up what he hoped was a winning smile for his lover.
"Oh, I don't know about that, Duo, you look fairly pitiful from here." Heero tried to smile at least a little in return, but couldn't quite
manage to do so. Luckily, Duo had made a scientific study of reading 'Yuy Body Language' as he called it, and could tell his partner was
hurting and wisely decided to drop the issue for the moment.
"Geez, flattery like *that* will get you nowhere, Heero." He chuckled gently, rubbing his cheek a bit forcefully against the hand that had
remained there to be sure he had his attention. "You asked me a question earlier, remember?"
"Um, yes, I remember, but you shouldn't worry about it now, just get well and then we'll see to it later, ne?" Heero was painfully nervous
that if Duo even *thought* about the proposal again, he'd have another, possibly fatal, heart failure that day.
"No way, koibito! You asked me the most important question of my entire life and I'll be damned if I let anyone knock me out before I
answer you!" Duo was vehement even though his choice of words made Heero's skin crawl.
"Okay, Duo, okay! But only if you really want to." Heero looked into his eyes praying the answer would be 'yes' but simultaneously
fearing that simply answering would be more than Duo's weakened body could handle in the first place.
"Of course, I really want to answer now! Oi, are you nuts?" Duo, suddenly realizing something terribly important was bothering Heero,
stopped joking and dropped his joker's mask entirely. With great formality and seriousness, he stated, "Heero Yuy, as of this morning, I
truly *am* the happiest man alive. The answer is an unqualified, complete, and total 'yes', I do want to marry you! But, hold it you guys!
Before anyone gets carried away about it, you have to tell me what's bothering you."
Heero couldn't believe his ears, he felt overjoyed to hear the answer he had longed for. However, too much had happened too quickly;
too many secrets about his lover had been disclosed, he just wasn't sure how to complete his mission now.
"Arigatou, Duo," Heero was relieved beyond his own expectations. "I don't quite see how *I* of all people ever earned your love, but
perhaps I should have waited until you asked me. I've learned some things today that I need time to sort out and understand. But have
no doubts, no matter what happened before or what will happen in the future, I love you and we will be married if you truly want it."
Heero's sincerity shone vibrantly in his eyes, glimmering through the tears that slowly slipped free as he pressed a gentle kiss to his new
"Well, I don't know what you're talking about, koi. Afraid I've been a little out of it today, no da!" Duo smiled, not grinned, but truly,
honestly *smiled* up at Heero. "But after my little trip to la-la land and back to get my heart repaired, we'll talk it all through and then
set a wedding date, ne?"
"Absolutely, koibito," Heero gently slid his arms around as much of his lover as he could without hurting him, trying to give Duo every bit
of his own strength he could before they were separated by the waiting surgical team.
"Heero?" Duo looked stunned. "Did you just call me 'koibito' or are the drugs kicking in faster than before?"
"Duo no baka!" Heero smiled and kissed him one last time before releasing Duo, "You heard right---'koibito'! Get used to it, you'll hear
it a lot from now on. I mean, that is, at least you will if you like it." The nervousness returned to Heero's eyes.
"Like it? Are you kidding? I love it! This is the best day of my *life*!" Duo smiled broadly and the others began congratulating the two
of them together as the surgical team double checked orders with Dr. Asakura. The anesthesia was actually finally effecting Duo, who
barely stifled a yawn.
"Get well soon, Duo," Quatre smiled hugging his friend. "We have a lot of things to do to get ready for a wedding! Flowers, food, music,
all the stuff you like!"
"Yeah, that sounds great, Q-man," Duo yawned again as the anesthesia started to really take hold of him. "Just don't forget to take care
of my fiancÚ for me while I'm out of it for awhile, 'kay?"
"Don't worry, koi," Heero gave him a gentle smile as the lids slid down on those beautiful amethyst eyes, "I think I'll actually be 'fine'
from now on, not just saying it. You just focus on getting healthy. I'll be here when you wake up."
"Okay, lover. See ya on the flip side," Duo tried to wave as he was wheeled away, but he was rapidly sinking under the
As Duo disappeared from view, Quatre cocked his head worry written across his delicate features and asked, "Ne, Heero, what's Duo
mean 'see ya on the flip side'? I've never heard that expression before."
"Aa, Quatre, just an old expression some of the first people going into space used centuries ago. I think it means 'I'll be back soon' or
something like that. I've never really understood it, he just likes to say it, that's all," Heero still looked dazed.
"Um, I hate to ask, but are you sure it isn't the same thing as 'take it to the otherside'? Sort of like, 'see you in Hell' or somesuch?"
Quatre was *very* nervous.
"Gods, I--- I'm not sure. I always thought it was supposed to be a good thing, but now I don't know." Heero's words trailed off in a
mixture of renewed fear and confusion. Wisely, no one questioned him further about the odd idiom, hoping he'd just forget.