"What the Hell, Heero? *Who* is coming here?!?" Quatre was startled to begin with when Heero had asked to speak to him privately,
and this news was a shock. "Why on Earth is *he* coming here? Don't you realize that Duo still has a lot of problems accepting that it is
someone else's heart beating in his chest and bringing that man here will only heighten the problem?!" The aquamarine eyes narrowed
slightly as Quatre added accusingly, "Or is this a new 'love interest', Heero? Can't wait for things to get better for Duo before you jump
into another man's bed?"
Without thinking, Heero immediately struck out at his friend, knocking him to the ground with a powerful blow to the abdomen. Then,
just as quickly, he regretted the action. Quatre had not been himself lately. His personality seemed to shift and flow like a restless river
and Heero knew that his friend had been under severe stress recently.
"I'm sorry!" Both youths said simultaneously, then each had to smile a bit.
Heero reached down to help his friend up from the floor. "I was out of line, Quatre, I apologize! Are you all right? Did I hurt you?" The
worry clear in those cobalt-blue eyes, an emotion so unusual until recent events, almost made Quatre laugh.
"I'm fine, Heero." Quatre smiled, then grimaced. "Well, then again, maybe not. I think I need to sit down." Heero helped him to the
office couch which seemed to get a lot of use lately.
It was now a common occurrence for anyone looking for him to find Quatre stretched out on the couch either asleep or moaning with
pain. Thankfully, Trowa had made an effort to check on him regularly during the day and they often caught the pain before it became
unmanageable, but it was frightening to all concerned except Quatre. He continued to shake off recommendations from friends and
physicians alike to have tests run to determine the cause of the headaches which were becoming more intense and more frequent.
"Could you get me the pills from my desk and some water? That should take care of it. Shit, Heero, you still have one Hell of a punch!
Oh, thanks." He gratefully swallowed four of the capsules and handed the container back to Heero to replace.
As he went to put it away, Heero noticed the name of the drug, a powerful and addictive painkiller, as well as the notation that no more
than two capsules should be taken at one time. He knew better than to mention it to Quatre, and planned to discuss it with Trowa later.
When he did so, however, Trowa only looked remorseful and said he had argued with Quatre about it several times, but his fiancÚ
wouldn't listen to him. All the blond cared about was getting everyone else taken care of, not himself.
"So, Quatre, I probably should have talked to you before calling Gene to come out here, but I was desperate." Heero's honesty was
plain to see as he explained his thinking on the issue. During his explanation, Quatre began to nod his head slightly in agreement.
"No, Heero, it sounds like a good strategy now that you explain it that way. I guess you just caught me off guard." Smiling ruefully he
continued, "After all, it's pretty obvious that things between you and Duo are going downhill in a hurry. I was shocked when he asked
for a separate room so soon after you came home, but I assumed it was because *you* wanted it that way, not him; I just assumed you
needed space to get over everything that had happened to you. I'm sure the lack of sexual activity is hard on both of you, knowing how
much it always meant before. It seemed like you two were fucking like bunnies every chance you got before all this shit hit the fan!"
Quatre's smile was gentle, but it only barely took the sting out of the coarse, insensitive words.
"Yeah, it's hard to deal with, Quatre. I'm not as healed as I'd like to be physically, but emotionally I'd be better off if he would at least
sleep in the same bed with me. Granted, some good old fashioned sex, as you so aptly put it, would be nice, too, but there's only so far
I can go yet anyway." Surprisingly, Heero laughed. "Actually, the idea that I'd 'jump into another man's bed' is pretty absurd since I can't
even be a full partner in either position."
"What?!?" Quatre's eyes were aflame. "Who accused you of that? How incredibly insensitive of them! Of course you'd never do such a
Astonished, Heero wasn't sure what to say since Quatre himself had spoken those very words mere minutes before. If he hadn't, they
wouldn't be sitting there talking like they were. But then Heero remembered what Trowa had mentioned about occasional memory
lapses and decided not to make an issue out of it. "Never mind, just something stupid. Anyway, Gene should arrive later today, do you
mind if I get the household staff to set up a room for him? He didn't say how long he'd be staying, but we may only have a couple days
to get to the bottom of this."
"Certainly, Heero, ordinarily I'd take care of it, but you know his needs better than I do, so go ahead. One thing, though." Quatre
looked quite serious. "I'd strongly suggest you let myself or Trowa find out how Duo feels about him before we let Duo know he's here.
I don't care for the secrecy, but it may be in his best interests."
"Good point. I'll get Gene set up at the other end of the mansion and you or Trowa can sound out Duo for me on this, okay?" Heero
actually did think this was a good idea even though he was now quite concerned about Quatre's mental stability. In reality, there was
nothing wrong with overall mental stability, just forgetfulness, but that alone was disturbing.
Gene Starwind, wild and crazy maverick transplant doctor, arrived later that afternoon and was escorted into the mansion through
indirect means. The entire staff was alerted to the information restrictions and need for additional discretion since it occurred to Heero to
keep Gene's presence a secret from Smith as well as Duo.
Luckily, Gene, always up for excitement, thought the secrecy was thrilling. He made several light-hearted remarks about some old TV
show called "Mission: Impossible", an oxymoron to Heero's way of thinking, and reveled in sneaking around pretending he was a spy or
Laughing, at one point Gene pretended he had put on an invisible mask and proceeded to introduce himself as "Jim Phelps" to one of the
confused staff members. Heero told her Gene's real name, so Gene blew a raspberry at being "discovered" and that it meant some
organization or another would disavow any knowledge of his activities.
The poor woman walked away shaking her head. If she had to chose which to believe, it most certainly would *not* be that impossible
red haired man!
Eventually, Heero understood why this seemed so fun to the young doctor and one of the reasons they felt so comfortable together
anyway; at heart, they were two of a kind, adventurers and thrill-seekers hidden beneath the more common identities of soldier and
physician. All of the subterfuge reminded him of days spent infiltrating OZ bases and wrecking havoc there. The two headed out to the
old hangar bays where the Gundams had been housed during the war to talk. Gene, quick to notice changes in his friend even though
they had spent such a short yet intense period together, could tell Heero was truly in a bind; but he was also happy to see how much
more open he had become to his own emotions.
"How can I help?" Seriousness seemed ill-suited to the usually eclectic young doctor, but he was indeed very serious whenever it came
to issues pertaining to the health of his friends.
"Frankly," Heero was equally serious considering what was at stake. "I believe that Duo may be under control of some psychoactive
drugs of some kind above and beyond what is appropriate for his mental conditions. How can we ascertain if this is the problem?"
Starwind looked concerned at such a simple yet powerful statement. "Well, first, Heero, let's back up a step and you tell me what has
changed about his personality. Until we find out if he can handle even seeing me, I can't assess Duo's condition directly, so I'll have to do
some diagnosis based on your observations, okay?"
"Good enough. We'll start from point-zero, I'll tell you what he was like *before* this whole damned thing started and how he's changed
that I know about. I'll tell you a few things even *he* doesn't know, especially regarding the first psychiatrist they had out here, and then
we'll see where to go from there." It took Heero quite a bit longer than he expected to update Gene fully, but each time he glossed over
something, the red-head interrupted to get the full story. This was, of course, the only way to handle it, but Heero was impatient.
Finally, when all was said and done, as well as the consumption of coffee and some food, a plan had been formulated.
Gene felt certain something was indeed amiss regarding Smith's care for Duo, but without medical records, there was little he could do
to ascertain the problem. Casually, Heero went to the medical wing hoping to get a chance to get Duo's medical chart without being
noticed. Unfortunately, this was not possible and Heero felt frustrated. Right before he was about to return to the hangar with the lack of
information, he remembered Smith's own frequent use of a laptop computer. After discovering Smith was spending the rest of the
evening in town to attend a play, Heero went and removed the computer from the other man's room. If temporarily stealing this object
might save Duo's life and both of their minds, then he'd gladly do so.
Laptop in hand and more coffee in a thermos, Heero returned to Gene with the intention of using every computer manipulating skill in his
considerable repertoire to get the information they needed.