What Couples Do
I had a lot of time to think, sitting in the hospital waiting room - waiting. I waited to hear about Duo. Waited to find out how serious his injury was. Waited to know if our lives had changed and I'd never taken the opportunity to tell him.
The others in the room I ignored. My focus only for the one behind the double doors, the one being treated because of my mistake.
We'd worked on the roof for most of the day replacing the old broken shingles. What I'd originally thought would be a two hour patch-up, turned into an extensive repair job. After I'd gotten a good look at the damage, Duo and I discussed our next steps. Between the two of us, we couldn't afford to replace the roof, but thought a good repair and careful saving over the next year would put us in that position without taking out a loan.
Between the two of us, the weakened spots were cleared, the new material in place, and the repairs begun. Just as I thought we were nearly finished, the last load of shingles fell from my hands, spilling down the side of the roof. Trying to stop their decent, I'd stepped on a broken shingle and slid. Duo'd yelled out my name. There was nothing to grab onto, to halt my progress downward. For a fraction of a second, I saw him, his face pale and afraid. Then he dove for me and right over the eve. My foot had found purchase in the gutter.
"Mr. Yuy," the doctor stood before me. "Mr. Maxwell is doing well. His arm has been set. He hasn't waken yet, but the scans show nothing abnormal."
I gave a nod. "When can I see him?"
His look assessed who I was, though he'd probably heard I'd claimed to be Duo's lover; they wouldn't let me in the ambulance otherwise. "He's in his room. You can see him there. We're going to hold him overnight for observation." Without waiting for me to question him further, he left.
It'd been then I noticed the volunteer pushing a book cart. A old volume caught my eye, and I had to have it. The girl gave me an odd look but let me purchase it from her. Borrowing a pen from the nurse's station, I wrote quickly. A few minutes later, I made myself comfortable at Duo's bedside, his hand in mine. I didn't plan to leave until he woke, or they forcibly removed me.
It must have been the steady throb that brought me awake, cause I sure didn't want to open my eyes. The pain pounding in my head narrowly beat out the one wracking my arm. The rest of my body felt as if a gundam had stepped on it.
"Duo." Realization hit hard.
"Heero!" I exclaimed trying to sit up.
One hand on my chest, the other my shoulder, Heero shook his head. "Lie still. You've had an accident." I imaged he'd brushed the hair out of my face. "Do you need anything? Water?" Then again, maybe I hadn't.
I shook my head, and immediately regretted it. Dots swam before my eyes. My stomach rolled. I groaned.
"You've got a concussion. Stop trying to move. Just let it pass." Now he tells me. "I would have said so before, but thought you'd know by now what it felt like." Had I said that out loud? And what was he so amused about?
"You should be the one here with me holding your hand," I gritted out, eyes closed.
He squeezed my hand, startling me into looking at him. His expression pained, he brushed knuckles over my cheek. "I'm sorry. It should have been me."
Frowning, I demanded, "What the hell you talking about? I'm the one who didn't think. Shit, I should've known you wouldn't have gone over the edge."
Heero smiled just as a nurse walked in.
"I see you're awake," she said brightly. Heero backed away, letting her near to adjust whatever they had hanging over my head.
"Duo," he called from the doorway. "I... read the book. I'll be back later." And he was gone.
The nurse paused and patted my uninjured shoulder. "I'm sure he'll be back soon. Your young man has been very worried about you."
"He's not..." I started to protest and shot a look at the door. Maybe.
Given something for the pain, I drifted on the edge of a doze for awhile. Dinner was served, and Heero hadn't come.
The book caught my restless attention. Its old, nondescript binding belied its worth, for upon opening the cover, I discovered the author to be none other than the seeming mythical Catullus. The Journey to My Soul, a collection of poems and stories. I turned to the marked page.
Heero's script, bold and strong, scrawled at the bottom of the page. ‘More than friends,' he'd written. Not dwelling on the now familiar phrase, my eyes strayed up to the author's dedication. ‘For my life, my lover, my soul-mate, my forever friend - Shonnessy, always.'
I don't think I'd ever been as confused as I was then. I dared not to hope it to be anything more, but... the words were his.
Uncomfortable, I shifted, heard a rustling, and found the bookmark. The worn, rumpled paper could have been from one of the many tablets Heero always wrote on. Unfolded, at the top in Heero's hand, was my name, underneath, a list of... attributes. Though smudged, and creased into transparency, I read the one word that stopped my breathing.
The phone to my ear, I hadn't an idea on what to say, and not a clue as to what would happen next, but I knew we had to talk.
A deep breath. "Heero..."