No Time For Secrets
Wearily, Limone made his way back to the operating room. He knew he probably should have spoken with the young man's friends and
fiancÚ first about options, but, other than death, there was really only one choice to make. Try to add some protection from the
dangerously thin, distended portion of heart muscle, then close the chest back up. It galled him there was nothing they could do for the
young man who should be out celebrating his engagement with his friends and preparing for a long and happy life.
He was more than a little startled to hear the words of the song currently playing in the operating room over the intercom. It sounded like
a song about how nice being dead was. He heard:
All our times have come,
Here but now they're gone.
Seasons don't fear the reaper,
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain...
We can be like they are.
Come on, baby... don't fear the reaper.
He stood frozen by morbid curiosity as to why the same professionals who had sworn an oath to save lives were laughing and seeming
to enjoy themselves with music like *that* playing! However, a quick glance through the window of the OR showed that the levity was
strictly audible, the room was filled with people doing their best, and then some, to keep the patient alive. They were hoping that Limone
would return with good news from New Geneva and they would successfully finish this operation saving a life that was otherwise going
to be snuffed out too soon.
"Dr. Fuuma," Limone called through the intercom near the window of the operating room. "Why are you playing such, um, unusual music
"Oh," Fuuma gave a genuine laugh at the question as he handed off his forceps to an assistant. "This is more of the music that the
patient's friends had provided. This little piece appears to be the boy's favorite since it runs five times on the same music disc. Even
funnier is that it is a custom made disc labeled, '"Maxwell's Custom Blend'. The song is entitled 'Don't Fear the Reaper' by some old
earth band called Blue Oyster Cult. Strange choice, don't you think?" he forced a laugh.
"You are back with good news, I trust?" Approaching the window, Fuuma was carefully monitoring his tone of voice to keep it upbeat
as discussed earlier with his older colleague. His face, however, told an entirely different story. Hopelessness and fear for the boy whose
body lay gaping obscenely open behind him were evident in his expression.
Limone chuckled since he, too, knew the patient may over hear the conversation through the open intercom. "Fuuma, please pick up the
phone so we can discuss it privately." Fuuma immediately removed his bloodied surgical gloves on his way to the phone.
Every ear in the room had heard one of the worst possible signs, the words indicated that what Dr. Limone had uncovered was *not*
going to save the patient. A young woman arranging fresh surgical instruments on a tray seemed near tears, but who could blame her?
"Yes, doctor?" Fuuma held the receiver, sterilized like everything else in the room, tightly against his surgical cap to prevent any sound
from escaping. "What have you found out?"
"Nothing good," Limone responded, knowing he could speak freely without the patient able to hear him. "Just listen and make certain
you don't repeat this aloud."
"Certainly." Fuuma did his best to sound confident, but there was a slight tremble in his voice.
"The specialists in New Geneva had absolutely no ideas whatsoever about how to handle this. They, too, recognized this as a rare and
lethal malady, but there is nothing to be done to repair it completely." Limone saw the younger doctor's eyes widen, then return to their
cooler professional demeanor. "Our best option now is to reinforce the area as much as possible with synthetic smooth muscle tissue,
then close him up like we normally would. Then all we can do is try to make him as comfortable as possible if this is the end, yet hope
for a miracle in the meantime."
"Nani?!" Fuuma unexpectedly returned to his native language with this revelation.
"Wait! Don't say anything aloud, he may hear you! Yes, Fuuma, it tears me up, too, but there's nothing more we can do for him. This
must be a cruel twist of fate for him to have survived his uncommon battle experience in the war just to die of a rare heart condition
when peace came. Such a bright lad, too, pity. Now, I'm going to go down and speak with his fiancÚ and friends. They will no doubt be
devastated, but there's no other choice available to us right now. Can you handle the reinforcement and closure?" Limone looked
worried, but Fuuma couldn't tell for whom. For himself facing four trained assassins who had piloted the Gundams or for the two young
men's lives that were about to be destroyed by a quirk of nature.
Again forcing himself to sound substantially more happy and confident than he felt, he answered, "Certainly, doctor. I'm sure the staff
here and I can finish up. Feel free to attend to the other matters. Good luck, sir!"
The older man looked him straight in the eyes and uncharacteristically said, "I know this turn of events is going to be hard on the entire
surgical team. When the procedure is over, take the entire group out and feel free to get as drunk as you want to. Normally, I'd be
appalled at such a lack of professional dedication, but when I'm done facing his friends and fiancÚ, that's what *I* plan to do!" Such
pain over a patient was rare; Limone thought he'd left behind the ability to become personally involved with his patients, but something
about the impending death of this teenager, so full of life, hope, and promise, ate at his very soul.
Nodding, his face showing sorrow too, Fuuma simply answered, "I think that's an excellent suggestion, sir. However, on the off chance
of that 'special event' occurring, perhaps a single glass apiece would suffice."
"Ah, Fuuma, *now* I remember why I always make sure you assist me on the toughest cases!" Limone smiled ruefully at his own lack
of foresight. "Yes, indeed. If something miraculous was to occur, such as the arrival of a donated organ, we'd all need to be sober and
ready to go straight back in as quickly as possible. Thank you and carry on. Godspeed, my boy, Godspeed."
A miracle was certainly what it would take for Duo Maxwell to have a chance to live out the week.
The relative peace of the hospital was suddenly shattered by a hospital wide broadcast announcement.
"Attention! Attention, please! All stand-by ER personnel report to triage STAT! Repeat, all stand-by ER personnel report to triage
Joe Asakura immediately called to find out what was going on. Over a half-dozen ambulances were en route from a school bus
accident, extent of injuries or even the number of patients uncertain. He quickly informed the ER staff they would have to stay and work
an extra shift to handle this crisis.
"Oh, no! Not a bus load of kids!" Mitsu, seasoned professional that she was, knew an accident involving a school bus could mean a
horrific scene in the emergency room. Taking charge, she sprang into action. She immediately began to clear space for incoming
"Heero, we need your room; there's been a school bus accident and we don't know how many injured kids we're going to have in here
in a few minutes. Can you get dressed on your own, or do you need assistance?" All business, the nurse sped through the room
disposing of used materials and equipment, readying it for its next, probably very young, occupant.
"Hai, I can handle it, Mitsu-sama," Heero stood and almost fell as his equilibrium went out of control.
"Oh no, you can't," she said, catching him easily with surprising strength and pushing him back onto the bed. "You stay put and I'll get
your friends to help you. I've got to get some other people out of here, too. So as soon as you're dressed, have them take you back
over to Joe's office, kk?"
"Ryoukai." Heero automatically responded and didn't even bother to ask about the strange abbreviation for an affirmative. He sat back,
closing his eyes, thinking he was glad that Duo would be out of surgery soon. They'd probably need that, too, if there were a bunch of
injured children on their way there.
A few minutes later, Quatre, Trowa, and Wufei returned.
"Where's Sally?" He asked, surprised the Preventer doctor wasn't with them.
"She's volunteered to help with the incoming wounded," Wufei responded, his voice filled with an undertone of pride. The others all cast
a glance at the young man; yes, they were quite certain he was in love all right, even if he hadn't admitted it yet, not even to himself.
"They're lucky to have her!" Quatre smiled as he and Trowa helped gather Heero's clothes for him. He changed back into the
omnipresent green tank-top and black spandex shorts quickly. A wave of dizziness hit him as he tried to get his trademark yellow
sneakers back on, but Quatre took care of that. With Heero leaning on Trowa and Wufei due to the continued problems with his
equilibrium, they managed to get Heero comfortably ensconced in Joe's office.
"Hn." Heero looked displeased. "The last time I was in this room, I learned some unpleasant but critical things I never would have
known otherwise. I hope there wont be any repeats."
Quatre's sunny smile seemed to brighten the Japanese youth's state of mind when he pointed out, "I doubt it, Heero. We told you
everything we knew then. There are no more secrets to worry about now." Then he paused and added, "Well, at least none *we* know
"I'll believe *that*," Heero commented dryly, "when Duo is out of danger and conscious again *and* we are certain his heart will heal