Saturday evening found the three pilots still shaken from Heero's letter. And while Duo hadn't left the confines of his room since this afternoon and while the others were very concerned, no one dared disturb him. It was probably best he was alone, giving him time to process the information Heero had presented in the letter, and most likely, the others imagined, blow off the stem said letter had caused.
Trowa jumped up, hearing the thunderingly loud crashing sound coming from somewhere above their heads. "WHAT WAS THAT ?!?" he asked, the question's rhetorical intention understood, as the three quickly made there way upstairs, pausing outside of Duo's room.
Another crash......followed by two loud thuds.
Quatre tapped lightly on the door. "Duo, is everything okay in there ?"
Hearing no response, he knocked more firmly on the door "Duo, what are you doing in there, wrecking the joint ?" Quatre inquired, semi-seriously.
"As a matter of fact I am, Quatre !" Duo yelled back, something heavy now partially shattering the wooden door they were standing in front of.
"Duo, stop it and open the damn door right now !!" Quatre demanded, his voice as stern as Trowa had ever heard it.
Another noise, this time it sounded like broken glass.
Quatre pounded his fist against the door "DUO !!!!" he screamed "CUT THE SHIT AND OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR !!!!"
The noise stopped.
Several minutes later, Duo opened the door and made his way across the room.
Quatre peeked his head inside and ignoring the mess, made his way through the rubble to where Duo sat on the edge of the bed.
"Duo, what the hell are you doing ? Look at this place !!" Quatre continued, his tone cross.
Duo looked up to Quatre, his emotionless face was smeared with blood. Raising his arms up slightly to meet Quatre's gaze, Duo simply rotated his arms outwardly, offering Quatre the view of his very bloodied wrists, the red liquid still gushing from the long horizontal slits.
"SHIT !" Quatre yelled to Trowa and Wufei, still waiting in the hallway. "SOMEBODY....HELP.....PLEASE !!!!" his voice filled with panic "QUICK !! CALL AN AMBULANCE ! DUO SLASHED HIS WRISTS."
Quatre ran from the room to summon the ambulance, Wufei wasting no time wrapping Duo's wrists tightly in an attempt to stop the bleeding.
Trowa looked down at the barely conscious, very pale Duo lying on the bed "He's lost so much blood." Trowa leaned over and putting his hand on Duo's neck, felt for his pulse. "It's weak, but it's still there." he told Wufei.
"The ambulance will be here any minute." Quatre announced. "How is he ?"
"He has a pulse and he's breathing." Trowa answered
"Why didn't we see this coming ??!?! Why weren't we here to stop him ?!?" Quatre wondered aloud, his voice angry with himself and the others.
Wufei sat at Duo's bedside, as he had done a countless number of times before, though not too often in recent months. The five had all had their fair share of serious injuries and this scenario was sadly familiar, but this time it was different. It wasn't the war that had caused this near loss of precious life.
Wufei watched the large bag of red liquid hanging high above Duo's head. Its contents dripping life slowly back into Duo's pale form. The intravenous was taped to the back of Duo's left hand, almost overshadowing the white bandage that was still wrapped tightly around his limp wrist.
Quatre and Trowa entered the large private room, immediately joining Wufei at Duo's side. Quatre looking uncomfortably down at the restraints that surrounded Duo's arms and legs, binding him tightly to the bed.
"What did the Doctor say, Wufei ?" Trowa asked
"He's gonna be just fine." Wufei told the two concerned faces "Lost a lot of blood, almost half from what they can tell." Wufei frowned.
"Is he going to wake up soon ?" Quatre asked.
Wufei responded "Not likely, Quatre. He's been pretty heavily sedated." glancing over at Duo's almost peaceful sleep.
The three sat quietly in the large room for some time, before eventually falling asleep in their respective chairs. It was now 3 AM and knowing Duo was safe from harm, they allowed themselves to rest.
Heero was quite pleased with the way things were going on L1. Although it had only been a day, he found himself successfully distracted, Duo only crossing his mind twice, each time the pleasant memory making the boy smile.
Lying on the small cot in his cramped room, Heero noted the vast difference from his lifestyle of just over 24 hours ago. He found his current situation to be oddly comforting, as he recalled that most of his short life had been spent in places such as this.
The rooms in the complex were dimly lit and furnishings were scarce and then, only functional at best. The cold steel walls found throughout out most of the building Heero would now be living and working in gave off an almost sterile feeling. Heero found the surroundings acceptable for his re-training and recovery.
Reaching that delirious, semi-conscious state shortly after rolling over on his side, Heero fell asleep, his eyelids twitching, an indication of the REM sleep he had quickly attained.
Now unable to control his thoughts, the nearly perfect soldier lay draped over the chest of his naked lover, his hands tracing the outline of Duo's sensuous lips as he gazed into the loving violet eyes that were locked onto his own. Duo's hand was caressing his upper back, the light touch almost tickling him. Bringing himself to up to rest on his elbows, Heero nuzzled his body closer to Duo's, firmly pressing his once again semi-hard erection against the soft skin of Duo's outer thigh. Heero's hand reached out to push the loose strands of hair out of Duo's face, then running his hand over the top of Duo's head, his fingers delighting in dancing through the chestnut silk. Continuing his journey down the back of Duo's head, Heero fingers intent on removing the red elastic band that held his lovers hair captive, denying Heero the exquisite vision of Duo's unbound hair. His hand gently touching the........smooth skin on the back of Duo's neck ?
Heero woke with a start, sitting up in his bed, knowing he had been frightened by something, or the *lack* of something, yet unable to remember what it was.
Trowa was the first to wake, several few hours later, to find Duo still resting serenely in the bed across the room. Duo looked much better than he had hours before. A light blush on his high cheeks now replaced his former pallid color. Trowa noted the large bag of plasma hanging over the headboard had been recently renewed, as this one was nearly full.
Walking across the room to stand by his friend's side, Trowa wondered what thoughts went through Duo's mind before he.....Trowa stopped, he could barely bring himself to think about what Duo had done. Duo fell unconscious shortly after Quatre entered the room and there were no words spoken between the two. Trowa knew that it had something to do with Heero's disappearance and the painful letter, but didn't quite understand the connection, as it was Duo who had ended their relationship.
Looking down at Duo's bandaged wrists, small crimson areas spotting the white cotton, Trowa couldn't imagine anyone feeling so desperate.....so hopeless.....so grief stricken...or so whatever emotion Duo was feeling, to take their own life. It was beyond his comprehension.
Stirring slightly in the bed, Duo opened his eyes to see Trowa standing a few feet away.
Trying to lift his hand, and feeling the restraints, Duo let out a low groan of displeasure.
"Duo, You're awake." Trowa commented making his way over to the bed.
"And alive too, so it seems." Duo responded, sounding disappointed at the realization, his eyes closing again, his mouth forming a small frown.
The voices woke Quatre and Wufei, who still seated, listened to the exchange through their half-sleepy haze.
"How do you feel Duo, you lost an awful lot of blood ?" Trowa continued, ignoring Duo's former statement.
Duo looked up at the emerald-eyed pilot, whose face was soft with great concern and slowly spoke "Actually, Trowa..... I'm feeling like a bit of a failure." he hesitated slightly, then continued "I can't even commit suicide right." The last few words causing his Duo's eyes to well up with tears, and closing them, Duo turned his gaze from Trowa.
Heero started his new morning routine on this, his second day on L1. Stretching lazily, he quickly dressed and made his way to the bathroom down the hall. Returning several minutes later, Heero folded his cot and pushing it to the side of the room, laid on the floor and began doing sit-ups. Feeling the muscles in his abdomen strain , Heero knew he had a long way to go in order to regain his former strength, the balance of his exercise regimen serving to further prove his point.
Duo was a most uncooperative patient under the best of circumstances. This however was more kin to the worst of circumstances, as Duo was being forcefully detained for psychiatric evaluation.
Duo sat on the hard wooden chair, his dignity barely in tact, as he pulled the short hospital gown down over his exposed thighs. He could feel a cool breeze on his back, the small bows gracing the back of the gown offering little cover.
"Do you know why you are here, Duo ?" The doctor asked, eyeing Duo carefully from the other side of the room.
"Yes, I believe I do." he answered smugly, holding up his still bandaged wrists, pushing them forward toward the doctor.
"Do you think taking your own life is the solution to anything ?" The large man asked, adjusting his wire rimmed glasses so that they came to rest further down on the bridge of his nose.
"It would have been the *perfect* solution had I succeeded !" Duo hissed "But since I didn't, my keen hindsight tells me otherwise."
"Duo, I have your medical records here in front of me." The doctor calmly stated, his hand gesturing to the thick manilla folder on the table in front of him.
Duo stood, crossing the room slowly and placed his hands on the table, lowering his body so that he was eye to eye, his face only inches from the very cautious doctor. "Good, then you already know I'm a psychotic fucker. This oughtta speed things along nicely." Then bringing his hand to his hips, his eyes meeting those of the slightly stunned doctor, he added "If you have no further questions, I'd very much like to go home".
"Duo" Quatre began, "If you ever plan on getting out of here, you're going to have to cooperate with the doctors."
Duo sat on the edge of his bed, staring out the barred window. "It's been almost two weeks, Quatre, this place is driving me crazy." Duo told his friend.
"They just want to make sure you won't try to harm yourself again." Quatre told him
Wufei added "You need to cooperate with the staff, Duo, they are just trying to help you."
"HELP ME !??!" Duo screamed, then laughed almost maniacally........"Help me !! That's such a load of shit, Wufei and you know it dammit ! They are just trying to cover their asses here." Duos' voice was filled with vemon.
"Duo..." Trowa began
Duo cut him off "Look….believe me Wufei, they don't want to get inside my head.....Oh, they *think* they do, but that's only because they've never been to Hell."
Duo continued "I saw the doctor again today. Did you know they have my whole fucking medical history down there ? HUH ?!?!" Duo shouted, his finger pointing down the hall. "That's' right gentlemen !" Duo continued noting the looks on the pilots faces, "The entire, short, but very fucked up life of Duo Maxwell in one convenient Goddamn folder !!"
Duo stood and walked over to the window, his eyes falling to the ground.
The three pilots remaining quietly seated, as Duo continued his very painful silent thoughts.
"Duo" Trowa said, breaking the long, uncomfortable silence, "The past three years have been good ones for you, Duo, you've been stable.....more then stable. They just need to know what is going on now.....why you did this to yourself ?"
"And if I don't want to tell them ? Duo questioned, already knowing the answer.
"Just give them something to go on, Duo, perhaps they will accept that for now. At least it will give them a clue to work with." Wufei told him
Duo sighed, knowing his friend's advice was possibly the only chance he stood of ever being released.
Doctor J had noticed a remarkable change is Heero's attitude over the past two weeks. The no longer solemn boy having thrown himself into his new life without reservation appeared to be an altogether different person, more resembling the Heero that had left for Earth nearly two years ago.
Doctor J was pleased by the transformation and by the fact that Heero had asked him to allow his return. Doctor J's curiosity about Heero's sudden desire to return was something he wanted to discuss with Heero, but felt uncomfortable doing up until now.
Summoning Heero to his small office at lunchtime, Doctor J questioned Heero about his time on Earth and his recent request to return to L1. His motives went beyond curiosity, as Doctor J had practically raised Heero, not as a son, but as a trained assassin. The boy who had returned over two weeks ago bore no such resemblance.
Three weeks to the day after the nightmarish incident, Duo returned home. While he wasn't his usual bubbly self, he seemed to have resolved enough of his still mysterious issues, to go about his normal routine. The pilots had arranged to take the next six weeks off of school to be with Duo. Rashid picked up their schoolwork weekly, so they wouldn't fall behind, delaying their much-anticipated graduation.
Never having pried into Duo's personal affairs, the cause of his angst and suicide attempt remaining an unknown, the other three pilots kept a watchful eye on Duo, though they didn't know quite what they were watching for.
It was Duo himself, over the upcoming weeks, which gave the three boys, the pieces they needed to start putting the puzzle together. Whether it was intentional or not, no one could say for certain, except for Duo, and no one dared ask.
Despite his outright refusal at first, Duo had eventually agreed to let Wufei share his room, realizing that his friends were just doing what they felt was best for him. The double bed was removed and two smaller twin beds were brought in to replace it. Duo frowned slightly as the mattress was removed from its box spring, running his hand lightly over the now vertical surface, as it lay against the wall, awaiting it's removal.
Sharing a room with anyone, let alone Duo, was an eye opening experience for Wufei. He had always been fortunate having his own room, even before the other pilots eventually paired off. Looking back, he imagined that his silent and anti-social behavior probably had something to do with the sleeping arrangements. He was pleased to note that he grown considerably less antagonistic over the past two years.
While Wufei was pleased that Duo didn't snore, he was slightly less pleased when, on the third night of their current rooming arrangement, Duo started talking in his sleep. Startled into consciousness by the constant stream of sounds, Wufei sat up and turned his attention to Duo, who was fidgeting in his bed, his mouth going a mile a minute. While Wufei wasn't able to make out anything Duo was saying, the noise was disturbing his precious sleep. Turning over onto his back, he buried his face into the mattress and covered his head with the pillow, applying enough pressure to the softness surrounding his ears to drown our Duo's voice.
Wufei confronted him the following morning "Duo, Do you always talk in your sleep ?"
Duo looked slightly embarrassed
"No, not *always" Duo replied happily, then recalling his dream of the previous night, his face now turning a less innocent shade of pink, he continued "Ummm......Did I say anything last night in my sleep that I need to be embarrassed about, Wu-chan ?"
Wufei shook his head.
Duo wiped the imaginary sweat off his brow and smiled at Wufei.
Heero wasn't sure where Doctor J's line of questions were leading, but the general direction made him uncomfortable. While he tried to answer his mentor's questions honestly, he was quick to leave off any of the details he thought might elude to the idea that Heero had allowed himself to become involved in the lives of the other pilots. Knowing Doctor J as well as he did, Heero knew he would then shift his attention to that area of his time on Earth that Heero was still very unwilling to discuss.
Finally convincing Doctor J that his return was linked to the peace that now hung in the balance and his confusion over the unknown turn his life would now be taking, Heero took leave of Doctor J's office, wishing his assertion to Doctor J, as complicated and unsettling as it was, were the truth.
Duo never struck Wufei as the vain type, but Duo's behavior lately slightly changed his perception.
Standing in the doorway of the bathroom, a small oval container in his hand, Duo called to Wufei "Hey, Wu ?" and waiting for Wufei to acknowledge his call, continued "Does it look like I'm wearing makeup ?"
Wufei gave Duo a strange look.
Duo laughed "Not makeup like girl's makeup their face, Wufei, just a little powder......on my face.....to cover some of the scars...ya know ?" he commented sincerely.
Wufei rose and moved toward Duo to get a better look.
"Looks fine Duo, I can hardly tell." Wufei told him.
A very happy Duo practically skipped his way back into the bathroom "Thanks !" he called back into the room at Wufei, who had already returned to his comfy position on his bed.
Several minutes later, a shirtless and very ecstatic Duo bounded into the room, a pair of overly baggy, long, black denim shorts, replacing his standard skimpy, barely-enough-fabric-to-cover-my-cute-little-ass-shorts.
Wufei was already looking up from his book, hearing Duo's less then peaceful re-entry into the room.
Spinning around none too slowly in a circle in the center of the room, his arms spread out to his sides, Duo asked the wide-eyed and almost smiling pilot. "Whadda ya think, Wu ? Like em ?"
Wufei took a moment to consider the boy before him, his eyes falling over every inch of Duo's thin, yet toned body. His eyes returning several times to admire Duo's naked upper body, wondering why he had never appreciated Duo's enticing form in quite this way before. "They look good on you, Duo." Wufei smiled, his voice now more serious, adding "Everything looks good on you Duo."
Duo blushed slightly "I bet you say that to all the guys." he winked
Duo once again returning to the bathroom, it hit Wufei that this was Duo. Granted, it was a Duo that Wufei had never seen before, but Duo nonetheless. Wufei could hardly stifle his laughter, picturing Heero's reactions to Duo's apparently routine behavior.
Lying on his small cot, unable to sleep, Heero couldn't stop himself from thinking about Duo and the others. His lengthy conversation with Doctor J this afternoon and the concentration required to suppress any inkling of his once joyous existence, had brought the matter back to the forefront of his thoughts. It saddened him to recall those happy years, as he was now forcing them to become a fast fading memory.
The internal battle began as Heero started to realize that all of the pilots had been trained as he had, though none of them quite as stringently, to fight without fear of death, to focus on only the battle until victory was achieved, yet they were all able to separate from that side of themselves when circumstances permitted. Heero realized that he had returned to L1, not only because of his inability to deal with Duo's loss, but because that loss had left him feeling weak and perhaps a bit vulnerable, his well-taught, but highly unnatural reflexes focusing on the only thing he had ever known.
He was sure that if he looked deep enough, he would find a Heero that was able to overcome his Duo-less life. The idea dawning on him slowly that the very fact that he was having these thoughts was proof enough, Heero smiled and allowed himself to, without reservation or guilt, think about the four friends he had left behind.
Wondering which of the Heero's would reign triumphant, Heero finally drifted off to sleep.
Trowa's undivided attention was now on Duo, who was making his way into the kitchen singing loudly, the small headphones in his ears making it impossible for him to know how incredibly loud his voice was.
Wufei only smiled, shaking his head, very familiar with the antics of his now month long roommate.
Finally noticing the two at the table, Duo removed the headphones.
"Morning !" Duo said cheerfully.
Trowa noted a subtle, yet very pleasing difference in Duo's appearance.
"You look great this morning, Duo. Doing something different with your hair ?" Trowa asked him, unable to put his finger on the change.
"He's wearing makeup" Wufei commented dryly, not looking up from his book.
Trowa laughed "Are you Duo ?"
Duo play slapped Wufei in the back of his head and sat beside him.
"Actually", his tone now turning quite serious, Duo continued "I am, Trowa. It's the .....scars....I figured that since ......well......since I don't like seeing them...chances are no one else wants to see them either."
Lifting up his bangs to show Trowa the rest of his handiwork, the huge scar on his forehead, less obvious, but still prominent, Duo continued "The face was the easy part, haven't decided on what how to handle the rest of me."
Duo stood looking down at his huge shorts and smiling, asked "Like my new style ? These take care of the broken leg issue !"
He looks quite proud of himself, Trowa noted.
Duo turned to exit the room, then turning back toward the two, looking down at his upturned wrists "Now....If we could just move to Alaska, where long sleeves are a year round necessity, I'd be just fine !" Duo laughed as he exited the room.
It didn't take much for Trowa and Wufei to read between the lines. As a matter of fact, there were very few lines.........and a WHOLE lotta spaces........