Racing With Secrets
Gene had been quietly reading a novel he found in the back of the plane when he glanced up to see Heero was nodding off to sleep,
again. The auto-pilot was on and they were roughly an hour from their destination, so Gene took the time to study the pilot. He was
disturbed by the heavy dark rings under his eyes indicating sleep deprivation and stress. Even without knowing Heero well at all, he
could tell the other man was an emotional wreck and a physical one as well. Gene hated it, but he had to keep Heero awake or this
whole thing was going to fall through. He reached over to give the pilot's shoulder a little shake and found himself staring down the barrel
of a gun.
"Omae o korosu!" Heero automatically responded, then blinked a couple times in confusion; he had expected it to be Duo like usual but
instead here was this red haired man.
Gene laughed, "You planning to kill me now, Heero? That'd be a mistake! As Bones would say, 'I'm a doctor, damnit! Not a pilot!'
*You* are the pilot, remember?"
"Huh?" Not typical Heero by a mile, even Gene could tell. The exhaustion had taken its toll and he was losing touch with reality. "You're
a doctor? I thought you were just a transport technician, or whatever."
"Yeah, my dirty little secret is out, I'm a doctor. Don't start that 'You're too young to be a doctor!' crap because my response would
have to be 'You're too young to have saved the world!' crap. Look, Heero, in all seriousness, you aren't going to be able to finish this at
the rate you're going." Gene's voice had lost its laughter and the seriousness of his words caught Heero off-guard.
"What do you mean? I can handle this, I've handled worse."
"Oh, really? Since when was the life of your fiancÚ riding on you getting a human heart delivered in good condition with almost no time
left? Face it, we've got to do something here or Duo doesn't stand a chance." Gene stared at Heero, wondering if he was getting through
"All right, suppose you're right. What would you recommend, *Dr.* Starwind?" Heero was more sarcastic than normal, his whole world
had tilted and he wasn't sure which way was up anymore.
"Cut the tough guy act for one thing. I already respect you and this is one hell of a risk you're taking, but I'm with you on it. But unless
we can keep you functioning, we won't succeed because I truly am *not* a pilot! I'd recommend you eat something and take some
stimulants at least, anything to keep you going a little longer." Gene rummaged around in the food packages and pulled out the candy.
"Sure." Heero tossed back some chocolate.
"Now, what about something a little more substantial than a sugar rush?"
"Hn." Heero's trademark multi-purpose grunt. "I don't *have* any stimulants with me, Gene, if that's what you mean. Don't you think I
would've taken them by now if I did?"
"Hey, how would I know? But don't worry, I always carry some. Pick your poison," he dug through one of the suit's seemingly
innumerable pockets. "I've got caffeine and pseudodreine, which do you want?"
Heero rubbed his eyes tiredly, "I think the gallon or so of coffee I already drank would have used up any caffeine receptors I had left,
better try the other one."
Gene looked a little concerned, "Have you ever taken pseudodreine before? It can have some weird side-effects."
"No, I haven't, but I've got augmented resistance to drugs thanks to my Gundam training. Give it to me." Gene handed him a pair of
brown tablets and Heero swallowed them without anything to drink which made Gene cringe remembering their horrible taste. "What
are those side-effects anyway?"
"Geez, guy, a little late to ask now isn't it?" Gene asked sarcastically.
"No, not really. I just may as well be ready for them in case it's a problem." Heero adjusted the auto-pilot and acted as though he didn't
really care in spite of his question.
"Well, the most common is a mild sense of euphoria, another one is vomiting, another is severe headache, but the worst is the total
physical collapse some patients experience when it wears off. Sort of like going into a coma for a day or two until the body recharges.
It's easily the rarest, though, doubt it'll be a problem."
Silently Gene added, //I sure hope that doesn't happen to you, at least not until we're on the ground and your lover is in surgery with this
Quatre and Trowa had just checked on Duo and discovered some very disturbing news. His condition was worsening. His heart rhythm
was becoming irregular and the cardiac specialists were considering hooking him up to an exterior pace-maker.
"Do whatever you have to do, just keep him alive." Quatre stated.
"So," the doctor asked looking through the papers, "Are you Mr. Yuy, then? Because I dare say you look quite different from the ID
papers I have here."
Quatre frowned. "No, I'm Mr. Winner. And I have legal power of attorney after Mr. Yuy."
"Sounds good to me," the doctor added with a wink. "Frankly, I hate all that legal mumbo-jumbo, but I'm required to do it. We'll do our
Quatre, now worrying over the fever Laurel was experiencing and this downward turn for Duo decided it was time to call for back-up. "Trowa,
could you give me the cell phone? I think we better get Wufei over here."
Trowa silently handed the phone to Quatre failing to realize he'd never told him about the conversation with Heero when he was over the
Himalayans. Quatre called Wufei's hotel room, but got no answer. On a hunch, he tried Sally's and got an immediate response.
"Sally Po here."
"Sally, it's Quatre, is Wu---" he was interrupted by a loud shout on Sally's end. "Sally?!? What happened? What's going on?!"
Laughing and crying at the same time, Sally gasped, "He did it! Heero did it!! We're watching the international news and there's a report
out of Tokyo about some madman stealing a human heart and taking a doctor hostage. They traced him to a jet that left hours ago!
Heero must have made it after all!"
Wufei grabbed the phone, "Tell Barton, that his strong arm tactics must have paid off after all! Sally and I will meet you in the cafeteria at
the hospital in about ten minutes." Then the phone went dead.
"Trowa," Quatre began, suspicion dripping from his words, "Is there anything you'd like to tell me about? Like talking to Heero while he
was in the air?"
"I'm sorry, Quatre, I never had a chance to tell you about this, but he called in when he was over the Himalayans on his way to Tokyo."
"And?" Quatre's tone was low and angry already, he knew his lover wasn't being completely truthful about not having time to tell him
about the call.
Trowa sighed, knowing this wasn't going to go easily. "He told me he remembered being 'told' to go get the heart and he didn't
remember any of the rest of what happened when he left the hospital. I tried to explain that stealing a heart would get him a prison
sentence, but he ignored it. He only reacted when I told him what he had done to Wufei and Laurel. He said I was crazy, that those
things never happened. I also tried to get him to come back since Duo hadn't improved at the time."
Quatre was seething. "How could you?! He's out of his mind over what's happening with Duo and you throw all of that at him and
expect him to handle it rationally?!? Trowa, I expected better than that from you of all people. If I wanted someone to give Heero hell, I
would've left the phone with Wufei!"
"Quatre, try to understand, I had other things on my mind. I'm sorry." Trowa was truly sorry, in retrospect what he'd said would have
been counterproductive, dangerous even.
"And just what in the name of Allah could these 'other things' be that were more important than keeping our friends alive?!?" Quatre was
Trowa quietly answered, "You and me, koi. I was thinking about us and our future."
Before Quatre could find words to speak, the phone rang. He automatically answered, "Winner, here."
"Quatre?" Heero's voice was oddly strained but he sounded almost sane again.
"Heero!" Quatre burst out jubilantly, then threw a nasty look at Trowa. "Where are you? How are you? Are you going to get back here
"Hey, hey, Q-man, slow down! I'm more than a little tired so give me a moment. We're, um---Yo! Gene where are we besides up in the
air? " Heero was talking to someone on the plane? Suddenly the memory of Laurel's words that someone would come back with him
came to mind. The unknown voice mumbled something then Heero responded, "Hell if we know where we are! But we do know we're
about a half-hour from the airfield near the hospital."
Heero sounded practically drunk to Quatre. Openly laughing just wasn't Yuy's style.
"Heero, how are you? You sound a little, well, different. Are you going to be able to make it back?" Quatre had no idea what to do if
the answer was "no".
"Shit, yes! Ole' Gene and me, we got it covered, how'd that go, Gene? Oh yeah, eight ways from Sunday!" and again the bizarre sound
of Heero Yuy's laughter rang in Quatre's ear.
"Heero, who is 'Gene'? Put them on, okay?" This was too weird for Quatre.
"Sure thing, little buddy, hold on---Oh, Gee~nne, phone call! It's a cute blond but be careful, there's a jealous boyfriend
involved!" Still laughing, Heero handed Gene the headphones.
Quatre heard a man's voice disgustedly remark, "Geez, Heero, never *ever* take that stuff again! 'Augmented resistance', my ass!"
Then he cleared his throat, "This is Dr. Gene Starwind, who am I speaking with?"
Quatre felt relieved there was at least one normal person in the plane. "This is Quatre Raberba Winner. I'm a friend of Heero's, but right
now I'm not sure what's going on. Can you explain it for me?"
"Sure, Heero is in better shape than he sounds, he was dropping from exhaustion and I administered a dose of pseudodreine and it
seems to have made him more than a little silly, but otherwise his piloting is fine and I'm certain we'll be there on time. I came along to
protect the heart, I'm an organ transplant expert, so I can assure you the heart is in excellent condition. As he said, we're about 25 to 30
minutes from the airfield he told me is our destination and from there straight to the hospital. How is the patient doing?" Gene sounded
more than a little annoyed with Heero who was actually humming some strange little song in the background.
"Duo is not doing well. I just saw him in the CCU and they're putting him on external pace-makers. I'm not---"
"Shit! That is not good, *very* not good!! Hold on, Mr. Winner. Hey, Heero! YO!! Yuy, pay attention, damnit! Can this thing go any
faster? If you want to save that sexy lover you've been bragging about you better kick this thing into the highest gear you've got or we'll
be too late!" Gene's words hit Quatre like knives. It truly was as bad as he'd feared.