momentary lapse of reason
Heero rose early on Saturday morning and rushing through his morning routine, left the others still asleep and drove downtown. Unfortunately, his hopes of finding his friend conscious upon his arrival this morning were to remain unrealized.
Standing beside the bed, Heero looked down at Duo. His eyes were closed and Heero could see his chest rising and falling under the thin blankets as he slept. Taking Duo's hand in his, Heero called his name softly. Caressing Duo's cheek with his other hand, Heero called again. "Duo."
Hearing no response, he caught the attention of the nurse tending to a patient in the bed beside Duo's. "Excuse me." he interrupted, the young woman turning to face him. "Could you please tell me if Mr. Maxwell has regained consciousness yet?"
Smiling, the dark-haired young woman took Duo's chart in hand, rifling though a few pages before looking back up at Heero. "They are keeping him sedated." Looking back down, she continued. "For a few more days from what it says here. Do you wish to speak with the doctor about it?" she asked, looking back up at Heero.
Heero shook his head. "No." he replied, "Thank you."
It wasn't that uncommon in cases like Duo's to keep the patient heavily sedated for extended periods of time. Heero took comfort in the fact that Duo was not in any pain, though he desired nothing more than to see those amethyst eyes looking up at him.
It was 7:15am on Monday and Heero once again found himself standing at Duo's bedside.
He hated the fact that he was only permitted to visit with him for 10 minutes at a time, the nurses in the Intensive Care Unit rarely offering him more time despite his heartfelt requests.
There really wasn't anything he could do for his friend, though he still he felt an overwhelming need to be with him, even if Duo was unaware of his presence. And so he stood beside him, holding Duo's hand tightly in both in his, tearfully pleading with him to come back.
It had become a ritual.
Heero entered the office after his brief visit with Duo and as had been discussed over the weekend, set about clearing up any loose ends on the several open cases the two had been working on. The seemingly simple task was frustrating Heero and his mind was unable to focus on it as he watched the clock, his thoughts only on returning to see Duo at lunchtime.
Glancing up at the large pile of manila folders at the top of his desk, Heero sighed. This was taking him far longer than he had anticipated. Deciding to throw himself wholly into the task, Heero barely noticed the time pass.
"Working late tonight?" Trowa asked from the doorway.
Heero looked up at the clock; surprised it was several minutes after quitting time. "No." he replied standing. Grabbing his jacket, Heero slipped his arms into it and made his way to the rooms exit.
The four pilots entered the hospital, each taking a turn visiting their friend.
"He has quite a bit more color tonight." Quatre smiled as he exited Duo's room, motioning for Heero to enter.
The emotional anguish that being with Duo caused him, deterred Heero from his usual actions and he merely stood at the foot of his bed tonight. The thought of letting the others see him in such a vulnerable state made Heero uncomfortable and was something he would not allow.
Glancing down, Heero picked up the chart that hung from a hook at the foot of the bed and began reading through it. Confused, yet pleased by what he saw, Heero motioned one of the nurses over.
Pointing down at the words scribbled in red at the bottom of the page, Heero turned toward her "Is this right?" he asked.
She nodded. "Yes, he is being transferred out of Intensive Care on Thursday provided he continues improving."
"Improving?" Heero asked, clearly confused.
"Yes, his vital signs are all good. While he hasn't regained consciousness yet, he is out of immediate danger." she replied.
Heero nodded. "Thank you."
Replacing the clipboard to its home, Heero walked around the bed to stand beside Duo. "Come on, Duo, snap out of it." he whispered. Taking Duo's hand in his, Heero squeezed it lightly before releasing it. "See you in the morning." he whispered and made his way to the waiting area.
The fact that Duo had yet to awaken caused more than its share of concern amongst the four. The myriad of possibilities his current coma brought about was frightening.
"They are transferring him to a regular room on Thursday." Heero informed the others.
"I suppose that's a good sign." Trowa replied.
"It's little comfort." Heero returned. He knew that Trowa's statement injected a much needed dose of optimism, as small as it was, yet he was unable to take solace in his words.
Trowa frowned at Heero's retort and headed for the Intensive Care Unit, the remaining three taking a seat in the corner of the small room.
"Have you spoken with Dr. Skinert about it yet, Heero?" Wufei asked.
"No, she is in surgery. I'll talk with her about it first thing in the morning." Heero replied.
"Heero?" Quatre started, "I think it would be a good idea if we put Duo in a private room. I know the insurance won't cover it, but I would be more than happy to take on the additional expense."
"I think that's a good idea, Quatre." Wufei answered.
Heero nodded in agreement, appreciative of Quatre's generosity, but currently unable to express his thanks.
Duo's condition remained, for the most part, unchanged over the next few days. He had been removed from most of the cumbersome equipment; yet lie quietly trapped in his own world.
Heero continued his vigil of remaining beside Duo whenever possible. His morning and afternoon visits during the week were the ones he found the most difficult.
Alone with Duo and knowing the others were not waiting outside, Heero gave in to the incredible anguish he was experiencing and in his pleas to the comatose young man, Heero held nothing back. Those visits were the most painful for him, leaving the former Wing pilot emotionally drained and physically shaken.
By Wednesday afternoon, Heero had succeeded in bringing to a close most of the investigations the two had been working on. Detailed histories of the remaining open files in hand, he made his way into Lady Une's office.
Crossing the office to stand before his boss, Heero accepted her outstretched hand. "I appreciate your taking the time to see me on such short notice." he offered, taking a seat beside her. "I don't know if you've be informed that Duo Maxwell was involved in an accident on Friday." he started.
Lade Une nodded and lowered her head. She had been made aware of Duo's situation and was more than prepared for Heero's visit. "Yes, Heero, I was sorry to hear of it. Have there been any improvements in his condition?" she asked.
Heero shook his head. "That is the reason I'm here. I've closed nearly all of the cases we were working on. These are the ones that are still ongoing." he commented, handing the small stack of manila folders to her. "I am here to request some time off."
"Two weeks?" she asked, looking over at him.
Heero nodded. "Thank you." and stood to leave.
"Take good care of him, Heero." she smiled. "And if you need anything..."
"Hai." Heero returned, exiting the office.
Heero returned to his office and packed up the few personal items of his and Duo's that remained. Taking the elevator down to the third floor, he entered Quatre and Trowa's office.
"How did things go with Une?" Trowa asked.
"Fine. I've off for two weeks." Heero replied "I'm going to the hospital now. I'll see you back at the house."
"Say hello to Duo for us." Quatre smiled. "And tell him we'll be by later tonight, okay?"
Heero nodded. He always brought Duo their wishes, saddened that the whispered words were never heard.