A Hate-Hate Relationship
Heero, still clad in nothing but a towel, made his way into his bedroom with
Duo's assistance and sat down on the edge of the bed, careful not to put too
much weight on his left leg. Once they had gotten situated, Duo began
rummaging through the first aid kit again for the needed materials. He'd
have to clean out each wound with antiseptic and then sew them up. He found
the antiseptic and the stitching supplies, but he couldn't find one important
"Uh, Heero? There's no anesthetic in here, so you'll just have to go
without. But you'll probably pass out from the pain soon enough, so it
really doesn't matter."
Heero closed his eyes. This was going to hurt. A lot. "Okay, just do it.
Duo eyed the other boy skeptically. "Whatever you say, soldier boy.
Alright," he continued, "I'll start on your shoulder. It looks like the most
serious injury you've got." He moved around to Heero's left side to get
better access and then pulled on a pair of rubber gloves. Pouring the
disinfectant onto some gauze, he began the process of cleaning out the wound.
Heero's flinching indicated that it was not a pleasant procedure, but there
wasn't anything Duo could do about it. Soon, the injury was clean enough to
be sewn up, but Duo had to get a better look at the wound to determine
exactly what he needed to do. Reaching into his back pocket, he pulled out a
small case and removed a pair of rarely used glasses. After putting them on,
he peered at the hole in Heero's shoulder.
"Well, the bullet went in here and came out the other side. But," he paused,
carefully pressing the area around the injury, "it didn't break your shoulder
blade like it should have. It just went straight through (1). I can feel
the hole it left. You must have shatter-resistant bones or something for
that to have happened, or maybe just really good luck. And it came out in
that fleshy part just below your collarbone. Fortunately for you, it missed
your axillary artery by about a quarter of an inch (2). Otherwise, you'd be
bleeding to death. And then I'd have to take you to a hospital, which would
suck for both of us." Reaching down, Duo took hold of Heero's hand. "Wiggle
Heero gave him a curious glance, but followed his instructions. However, the
slightest movement sent a jolt of pain up his arm. "Can I stop now?" he
asked, hoping that he would be able to end the torture soon.
Duo nodded and released Heero's hand. "Looks like it missed the big nerve
that runs down your arm, too (3). Aren't you a lucky boy? But now, I'm
gonna stitch it up, so prepare yourself. It's gonna hurt like hell." After
moving to sit behind Heero, he strung the surgical thread through the needle
and gave his patient a final warning. "Okay, take a deep breath and try to
hold still. And don't tense up either, it'll just make it more difficult."
Inhaling deeply, Heero made himself relax as much as possible. It didn't
help much. He could feel his eyes begin to sting as Duo inserted the needle
into his already wounded flesh. Heero clenched his jaw to keep himself from
crying out; all the while wishing he'd let Wufei teach him how to meditate.
'What I wouldn't give for some pain killers right now...'
Fortunately, Duo announced that he was finished just fifteen minutes later.
"You probably won't even have a scar," he proclaimed, very satisfied with his
skills. Then he picked up a new needle and began to thread it. "One down,
four more to go. Heero, I need you to lay down so I can sew up the other
'Not again,' Heero groaned internally. He didn't know if he could take any
more of the pain. "Are you sure you don't have something I can take?
Duo had to smile at the desperation in Heero's voice. "Nope. There's
nothing in the kit, I don't have anything nearly strong enough to do you any
good, and I doubt there's something here that would be suitable." He thought
a minute. "There might be some liquor in the kitchen, but last thing I need
is a drunken terrorist on my hands. God knows what you'd do. I suggest you
stop trying to fight it and let yourself pass out from the pain. It's not
like I could think any less of you, so just give in."
Heero managed a weak glare. "I don't give a shit what your opinion is. You
shouldn't think so highly of yourself; it only makes you less attractive."
"I think you need to remember who you're talking to, buddy. I am the one
who's got the sharp needle in my hand and I'm also the one who controls how
much pain you're gonna suffer. And if you don't watch your mouth, I just
might have to work a little slower and a lot less gently." Duo leaned in
close and whispered maliciously, "So tell me, Heero, what's it gonna be?"
Refusing to dignify the other pilot's query with an answer, Heero simply lay
back onto the bed and closed his eyes. As much as he hated to admit it, Duo
was in control of the situation, and angering him would only serve to make
him more irrational than he already was. Contrary to popular belief, Heero
was not a masochist, and did not want to deal with any more pain than
necessary. 'Besides, I can always get him back later...'
* * * * * * * * * *
An hour later, Duo had finished working on Heero's upper body. The three
major wounds had been carefully stitched up and bandaged, while the numerous
other scraps and cuts had been disinfected and dressed. All that was left
were the two wounds in Heero's thigh. But that would prove to be difficult,
as both of the bullets were still lodged inside.
Duo removed his glasses for a moment to rub his tired eyes. 'This is a lot
more work than I imagined,' he thought, 'and I'm still not done yet.'
Wanting to get the job done, he poked Heero in the chest to get his
attention. "Turn over so I can work on your leg."
Heero, who had remained conscious throughout the entire procedure despite his
best efforts to pass out, slowly opened his eyes. "I can't. Not by myself."
The pain had sapped his strength, and he was almost too weak to move.
"Then I guess I'll help you. But don't be a dead weight; at least try to
move." Duo didn't sound the least bit sympathetic to Heero's plight, but he
did give the other boy some assistance. Heero's legs were still dangling
over the edge of the mattress, so Duo knew that he would have to pick him up
and move him further up on the bed. He put one arm under Heero's back and
another under his knees and lifted him up. Duo set him down gently and then
carefully helped him turn over to lie on his stomach, taking extra
precautions that the towel did not slip out of place. That done, Duo sat
back down on the bed, put on a clean pair of gloves, and prepared to work
Wearily, Heero set his head down onto the pillow and waited for the pain to
come. He felt a sharp sting as Duo cleansed the wounds and he knew it would
only get worse. Heero had suffered a lot of pain in his short life, but this
little episode was definitely registered as one of the most excruciating
experiences to date. The fact that his miscalculations, his poor judgment,
his stupidity had caused it made it all the more painful. 'I've got no one
to blame for this but myself,' Heero admonished himself. 'I'm the one who
failed. I'm the fuck up. This is all my fault.' (4)
Oblivious to the Wing pilot's inner conflict, Duo was trying to figure out
the best way to remove the bullets from Heero's leg. He could feel one of
them just under the skin on the outside of the thigh, but the other was in
deep. Duo hoped it wasn't close to the femoral artery (5); if he
accidentally cut it while removing the bullet, Heero would certainly bleed to
death. There was only one way to find out.
"Heero, this is gonna hurt."
It was all the warning Heero would get. An instant later, Duo stuck one long
finger into the wound to feel around for the bullet (6). A string of
obscenities exploded from Heero's throat, but it soon turned into a keening
whine as the pain became more intense. This time, Heero could not control
the tears that sprang forth from his eyes, and he turned his face into his
pillow to muffle his cries of agony.
Duo heard the pain in Heero's voice, but he had to find the bullet before he
could do anything else. He poked around gently until his finger brushed
against something hard and metallic. Duo sighed in relief; it wasn't as
embedded as deep as he thought. He carefully removed his finger from the
injury and picked up a long pair of tweezers. After he sterilized them, Duo
inserted them in the wound to extricate the bullet. The sound of Heero's
muffled shouts made him cringe, but he soon found the slug and deftly pulled
He looked up to tell Heero that he'd gotten the first shot out, but his voice
left him when he saw the Wing pilot. Heero's face was buried in his pillow
and his shoulders heaved convulsively as he sobbed. The sight was very
disquieting to Duo. 'God, he must really be in a lot of pain to be crying
like that. I've never seen him act this way before. Almost makes me feel
sorry for him...' Suddenly, an idea came to him. Duo put his tools to the
side and moved up to the head of the bed. Hesitantly, he put a comforting
hand on the back of Heero's neck, and almost immediately, Heero's convulsions
ceased. Next, he leaned down so his mouth was at the wounded boy's ear and
whispered, "I'm sorry about this." Duo then stood up and removed his pistol
from where he'd tucked it into his pants earlier that day. He raised it up
and then brought it down sharply, striking Heero across the back of the head
with the butt of the gun (7).
"Goodnight, Heero," he said softly. 'He's gonna be pissed in the morning,
but at least he's not hurting any more. Maybe that'll be enough to save my
ass this time.'
Duo made quick work of sewing up the first wound and then went about removing
the second bullet. He quickly realized that the other shot had ricocheted
off the bone and that it was impossible to retrieve it through the hole in
which it entered. Duo deduced that it would be easier to cut into Heero's
thigh to get it out, since it was so close to the surface of the skin. It
would create another place for him to stitch up, but since Heero was out
cold, Duo figured that it was the best option (8).
After thirty more minutes' work, Duo sat back, his work complete. He looked
at his watch. It had taken him just over two hours to patch Heero's wounds.
"Not too bad, if I do say so myself. Maybe I should look into being a
surgeon after the war is over. What do ya think?" He glanced over at
Heero's unconscious form. "Yeah, you're right. Who'd want me operating on
them? Besides, I shouldn't be thinking about after the war, since I may not
live to see it. Isn't that what you'd say, Heero? Of course, always the
pessimist. But I know, out of the five of us, you'll definitely be alive.
The one who tries the hardest to get himself killed, the one who thinks of
the mission before his own life, you'll be the one to survive. Ain't that a
Duo stood up and stretched out his tired limbs, not bothering to stifle the
loud yawn that erupted from his mouth. He gazed drowsily at his sleeping
companion. "And look at you now. So quiet and peaceful. You actually look
like a normal person, a regular Joe. The name Joe doesn't suit you at all,
but that's neither here nor there." He moved a little closer to peer at
Heero's face, which was smooth in repose. "I'm surprised you don't have that
scowl on your face when you sleep; it seems to be your natural expression
when you're awake. Do you know what you look like when you're asleep? Do
you realize that you look like a decent human being, completely unguarded and
defenseless? Probably not. If you knew, you'd keep yourself awake all day
so no one could ever see you appear so weak...so human. But," Duo whispered,
his fingertips ghosting over Heero's cheeks, tracing the dried tracks of his
tears, "you are human. After all, robots can't feel pain. Machines don't
cry, do they, Heero? But you do. I saw it myself. I wonder if I'm the
first person to see you cry. Am I? I hope so." He got on his knees on the
floor beside Heero's head and moved in close, so close, to where he could
feel Heero's even breaths whisper across his face. "I hope I'm the first. I
always want to be first. Always. Especially when it comes to you. Just
you. Only you." Duo pressed forward the last few inches and softly brushed
his lips over those of the sleeping pilot. Slowly, he moved back and brushed
a stray lock of hair out of Heero's face, only to see it fall right back into
place. He sighed. "So stubborn. Just like the rest of you. God, Heero,
why do we have to be this way? Why do I have to feel this way, but act like
I feel the opposite? I know why. Because I'm really fucked up, that's why.
Maybe I just need your attention, and the only way I know how to get it is to
pick fights with you. But when are you going to see past it? I want you to.
I need you to. Please. I have to have someone to understand me, and I know
you're the only one who can. But will you? Do you want to understand? I
don't know the answer to that one; maybe you'll tell me someday. Soon?" (9)
He hoisted himself up off the floor and dusted off his jeans. Picking up a
blanket from a stack by the wall, Duo covered Heero's sleeping form. He took
a final, long look at the other pilot before turning off the lights and
heading back to his room.
"And now we return to our normal selves. The cycle conttinues..." (10)
(1) Here begins the medical impossibilities. I have no idea if a bullet can
go through a bone and not break it/shatter it/etc. I'm not a doctor, nor do
I have any interest in the medical field. But once again, this is my story,
and in my world, this is possible.
(2) I figured that I should at least attempt to make this believable, so I
pulled out my nice unabridged edition of Gray's Anatomy to check some facts.
The book is even more difficult to read than the Bible, so I could've gotten
some facts mixed up. But I believe that the axillary artery (which his part
of the larger subclavian artery) runs through the area where Heero got shot
and continues down the arm. If I'm mistaken, just let me know.
(3) Don't know the name of it, but there is a big nerve in that area. Once
again, thanks goes to Gray's for that tidbit of information.
(4) This is reminiscent of Heero standing on top of that building early in
the series (after he accidentally killed Noventa?), and yelling, "I screwed
up! I totally screwed up!" (Changed to "messed up" for the 5:30 edition on
CN. Can't have the kiddies hearing awful words like "screwed," now can we?)
(5) I actually knew this one without any help. Thanks go to ER or some other
random source of information. I don't know where I pick these things up.
(6) Is this the best way, or even a good way to go about finding a bullet? I
don't know. But it works quite well in the story, don't you think?
(7) Did you think I'd have Duo go through all the trouble of sewing him up
just to end up shooting him? What kind of person do you take me for?
(8) Once again, I have no idea if Duo's judgment is sound. Do I care? Not
(9) I'm sure this is last scene is kind of confusing, considering the fact
that Duo acts like a total jerk to Heero for most of the story. But I've
always had a thing for bi-polar Duo (it fits well with my mood swings), so
that's what you get. Besides, I know for a fact that 15-year-olds can behave
very strangely, especially around people they like. I remember it well; it
wasn't too long ago that I was 15. And I have this thing I do when I'm
trying to get over some guy: I make him the most horrible, worthless bastard
on the planet. In reality, he's probably not nearly as vile as I imagine
him, but it makes it easier for me to move on. ^_~;; Not that Duo's trying
to get over Heero...well, maybe he is, I'm not really sure. But he's
definitely having mixed emotions about the whole situation. He knows what he
wants, but he doesn't want to want it...kind of. Does that make any sense?
(10) Duo's just saying that everything's going to go back to how it was (i.e.
Duo and Heero fight like cats and dogs.), and that he'll be back "in
character" the next time we see him.