momentary lapse of reason
The first two days of Mission Duo were going pretty much according to plan. Duo was considerably more stubborn than Quatre had predicted and while he had managed to get his braided friend to start eating, his hygiene matters were another issue.
Entering Duo's room at 8:00, Quatre opened the curtains and tilted the blinds upwards, allowing the morning light to fill the room. "Good Morning, Duo." he smiled. Duo rolled over, looking up at him through half-lidded violet eyes before groaning and burying his head back in his pillow.
"Why don't you go take a shower?" Quatre asked.
Hearing no reply, he made his way into the bathroom and turned the water on, allowing it to warm before returning to Duo's side. "Come on, Duo. It will make you feel better. A nice warm shower always does." Quatre tugged the covers off of his still prone friend, leaving him to shiver in the room's chilly air.
"Quatre...come on, I just fell asleep. I was up all night." he complained, pulling the covers back up over himself.
The blonde looked down at the sleepy young man. "Fine. I'll be back in two hours and you can take your shower then."
Duo grumbled his unknown reply and Quatre turned off the shower before he exited the room, closing the door quietly behind him.
As promised, Quatre returned at 10:00 to find Duo still curled up beneath a mound of blankets in his bed. "Time to get up." he cheerfully announced, heading for the bathroom. "Shower or bath?"
Still waiting for Duo's reply, Quatre surveyed the state of Duo's private bath and shook his head. Like the rest of his braided friend's room, the small area was littered with clothing and a host of other items Duo had used over the past week and had failed to return to their proper place.
Deciding to tidy up while he waited for Duo to fully wake, Quatre wet a washcloth and began wiping off the counter surrounding Duo's sink. Turning on the warm water to rinse the cloth, Quatre paused. There were several reddish-brown stains on the white porcelain of Duo's sink and Quatre bent to look more closely at them, easily identifying them as blood.
Not letting himself get too worked up before confronting his friend, Quatre cleaned the sink and made his way back in the bedroom. "Come on, Duo. Rise and shine." he singsonged.
Duo rolled over at sat up, practically glaring at the blonde. He knew that Quatre had nothing but good intentions, but he was not in the mood for company. "After I take my shower, will you leave me alone?"
Quatre nodded and entered the bathroom, turning on the water on inside the shower. Duo made his way into the small tiled room and stood before the mirror. "I guess I do need a shower, huh?" he asked.
"Yeah." Quatre smiled. "I'll go get you a towel."
Duo nodded and closed the door behind his friend, locking it.
Returning several minutes later, Quatre called through the door. "Here's your towel." The door opened and Duo stood on the other side, hand outstretched. "Thanks." he replied, taking the large white bath sheet from him before closing and locking the door.
Slowly removing his pajamas, Duo stood before the mirror and released his braid. Hearing Quatre footsteps crossing the room, he closed the lid on the toilet and sat, sighing as he looked down at his right arm.
Peeling off the sticky linen tape, Duo lifted the square of white gauze that covered his latest injury and looked down at his handiwork. He slowly ran his index finger over each line that graced the pale skin of his forearm, carefully following every angle, contour and curve as he studied it.
The cuts furthest from his elbow were the newest ones and were still deep red with newly coagulated blood, the ones further up his arm had already starting forming a rough scab.
Rising to stand before the sink, Duo opened the medicine cabinet and lifting the tube of toothpaste, withdrew the blade he kept beneath it. Resting his arm on the edge of the sink, Duo leaned forward and brought the thin double edged blade down to rest lightly on his forearm. Closing his eyes, he began applying pressure, gasping as the sharp blade pierced several layers of his skin, the blood immediately flowing from the wound. His face twisted in ecstasy as he pushed the blade further into the yielding flesh, reveling in the pain... it was the only thing left he was capable of feeling.
Quatre had left Duo's room, allowing his friend privacy and headed downstairs and into the kitchen. It was nearly lunchtime and the blonde found himself peering into each cabinet deciding what to make for lunch. Smiling as he recalled Duo's fondness for macaroni and cheese, Quatre withdrew the box from the cabinet and placing it on the counter, set a large pot of water to boil.
Duo sat in the center of the small tiled room with tape and gauze in hand. Reaching for a strip of toilet tissue, he blotted his wound dry and covered it with gauze, securing the white cotton with several strips of tape. Tossing the bloodied paper into the toilet, he flushed it and stood before the sink, washing away the telltale signs of his latest cutting.
Waiting nearly half an hour, Quatre headed back up to Duo's room and knocked lightly on the door. "Lunch is ready. You want to come down?" he called through the door. Hearing no response, Quatre entered and made his way across the room to where Duo lay asleep on the bed.
"You didn't even take a shower." Quatre spoke aloud as he stood above him. Shaking his head from side to side, Quatre bent to cover the sleeping young man, pausing as he looked down at Duo. There was a small red stain on the arm of Duo's white cotton pajama top and the blonde tentatively moved his hand forward to touch it, instantly pulling his hand back,
Covering his mouth with his open hand in shock, Quatre quickly made his way into the bathroom, searching the small room for any evidence to back up his suspicion. Finding no trace of blood, yet recalling the stains found on the sink earlier in the day, he opened Duo's medicine cabinet, searching it with his eyes for only seconds before they fell on the bloodied blade. The small blonde's eyes filled with tears and gripping his chest he stumbled backward to seat himself on the edge of the bathtub.
Quatre paced nervously inside the small front foyer of their home. Once again looking down at his watch, he sighed and averted his attention to the still vacant driveway, anxiously awaiting Trowa and Wufei's return home.
He had left Duo's sleep undisturbed after his discovery of the blade, choosing not to confront his friend about it. It was a clearly desperate act on Duo's part and Quatre chose to preserve his friend's dignity, hoping to spare him any further humility.
He knew full well that Duo would not be receptive to his pleas to stop his self-mutilation.
But there was something that Quatre knew that he was certain the braided young man would not be able to ignore.
Waking from his sleep and looking over at his desk, Duo griped his forearm, squeezing it tightly. Closing his eyes as the pain surged through his limb, Duo's thoughts once again focused on a certain cobalt eyed young man. Swinging his legs over to the edge of the bed to rest of on the floor, Duo rose and crossed the room, plugging in and booting up his laptop.
He returned to sit on the edge of his bed, staring at the glowing rectangle across the room as it went through its various tasks. Finally ready for input, Duo made his way to his desk and gazed at the lower right hand corner of the screen.
He needed to re-establish contact with Heero, even if there was never another word spoken between the two of them.
It was almost four weeks before Quatre came clean to his lover about the various events that had taken place a month prior regarding Duo. His first task was to relate the full tale of Duo's 'spring cleaning' to Trowa, followed by his sudden interest in clearing out the contents of Heero's room. "That stuff had been sitting there untouched for nearly eleven months why now all of a sudden?"
Trowa was about to find out why; he was also about to find out that Quatre too knew the answer.
He relayed to Trowa all the information he had thus far kept to himself. He was ashamed at having lied to his friends about Duo's whereabouts that night he found him asleep in Heero's bed, but he knew that he kept it from them for all the right reasons.
'For all the right reasons.'
Quatre gasped loudly and stumbled backwards, seating himself on the edge of the bed. He recalled Heero saying those exact words to him the night he left.
The blonde looked up at his lover as he approached the bed. "Quatre?" Ignoring the deep concern on his lovers face, Quatre continued, explaining how he had found Duo that night. "He was clutching Heero's pillow, he a picture of the two of them in his hand." Quatre's voice was filled with emotion as he described the scene.
Trowa still didn't quite get what the problem was. It was apparent that Duo missed Heero in some capacity, they all did. He crossed the room and sat to face his lover. "Quatre, we all know that Duo misses him, but Heero made it clear that he didn't want Duo to contact him."
Quatre shook his head. "No, Trowa. Heero *did* contact him..... a few weeks ago." Trowa looked curiously over at him. "I was in Duo's office...... and a message came in. It was from Heero." the blonde replied, lowering his head.
"And what happened when you told Duo?" Trowa asked, concerned by his lovers demeanor.
Quatre did not respond, merely keeping his head down.
"Quatre? You *did* tell Duo, right?" Trowa asked. He stood and made his way to where Quatre sat on the edge of the bed.
Trowa lifted his lovers chin, there were tears streaming down his face. "Quatre?"
The blonde remained silent as he looked up into Trowa's eyes. He saw the anger in them and turned his eyes away.
Trowa did not hide his feelings regarding what his lover had done, his tone harsh as he questioned him. "Quatre, how could you not tell him? You know how all of this has been affecting him?"
"I don't know, Trowa." he replied, shaking his head. "I thought that if he finally got over Heero.... that he could just go back to being Duo."
Trowa looked down at his lover. "Quatre..." he replied softly "... we never knew Duo before there *was* a Heero."
The blonde's eyes saddened. "Oh God, Trowa, what have I done?"