"Heero?" Duo said in a low voice. "Can you hear me?"
The trembling boy forced his eyes open to see his fellow pilot hovering close over him, but then they fluttered shut again, unable to keep awake. All he could feel was terrible cold, and his body practically convulsing as it tried to warm itself. Then he heard the voice again.
"Heero… It's me, Duo."
Duo. Heero opened his eyes once more, longer this time. He rolled his eyes up and around as if he were trying to discern exactly where he was, but didn't reach any conclusions. Nothing made sense, and the look of non-recognition never left his face. Duo was with him. Beside him was a fire, like a campfire, and for some reason he was nearly naked in spite of how cold he was. His head was spinning now. The figure in front of him looked shrouded in glowing light - was it an angel? Was he dead? No, it was Duo. He'd already discerned that. Maybe they were both dead. Heero couldn't think anymore.
"F-freez-zing," the shivering boy managed to whisper as he attempted to pull his arms up to his body, but he was met with very slow responses as his limbs were still in the process of warming, leaving his joints still very uncooperative.
"Shhh," Duo shushed his friend. "You're gonna be OK. Just rest until you warm up more, OK?"
Heero was so disoriented that he glanced once more over to the fire, then back at Duo, and nodded halfheartedly, his shivering now violent like a seizure. He closed his eyes once more, shutting out the hurting light. Mouth open, he sucked shallow breaths into chilled lungs, occasionally making little moaning sounds as he shook, and Duo watched, helplessly wishing there was something else that could be done for Heero. Then walking over to the clothing that was laid out on the sand, he checked it all, finding his space suit to be nearly dry, so he dragged it over and draped it over the trembling boy. Stoking the fire, Duo sat carefully beside Heero, checking his own injury one more time and ignoring a hunger pang that had hit. All they had was a few morsels of food, and at the moment, it was looking like Heero was going to need it more if he was ever going to regain his normal body temperature, so Duo put the thought of the food out of his mind. He could last a while longer. After all, it was he who was the street rat. He was accustomed to going days without a decent meal, so, he'd live.
The next few hours went by slowly, to say the least. Duo stayed close by his friend, making sure to keep the fire going and wrapping him in all the clothing as it dried out, trying to help Heero retain what little body heat he was beginning to generate. The other boy woke a few more times, confused and unsure of his surroundings, and Duo tried to reassure him each time until he'd fall back to sleep again. Heero's waking periods were coming closer together now, and were lasting longer, and he was finally beginning to show some color in his skin again. His breathing had increased and his pulse was picking up a more normal pace now.
At one point, while Heero slept, Duo roused himself and wandered away from the little campsite that he'd made to explore just where they were, and what the possibility was that there was a way to get help. The sun was now high in the late morning sky, and the temperature wasn't too bad - fifty-seven - as his digital watch, which somehow managed to stay with him through the crash, read. The bright light felt good on his skin, warming it slightly, since there was no wind today. Looking out to the ocean, the waves rolled in gently, creating a foam at the shore line. Duo walked out to waters edge and looked out to the horizon, noting how clear and blue this body of water looked. It was a beautiful, crystalline indigo, the color that everyone thinks all the oceans are, before they are disappointed to find out that they are really a murky gray-green color. It was the color of Heero's eyes - that was one detail about the Japanese boy that Duo had noticed right from the start - the electrifying color of his eyes, and now here he was staring at a whole landscape of it.
Duo watched as a wave slid in and poured over his bare feet. The water was pretty cool, and a shiver went through his body. Watching the water suck back, then surge forward again, the longhaired boy sucked in a breath and waded into the chilly water up to his knees, his skin objecting by turning a bright pink as he crept in deeper.
"O-o-oh sh-SHIT this is c-cold!" He complained, as he grit his teeth and ignored the cold. His legs were already beginning to tingle.
The water couldn't have been more than fifty degrees, and to a living, breathing 98.6-degree person, that was damn cold! Duo ventured in as far as he could, which was only to the top of his thighs, then began splashing the cold, salty water onto himself, specifically into his wound. As soon as the water reached the deep laceration, the injury began to burn terribly. Duo wasn't really sure whether it was the water temperature, the saltiness, or both, but the stinging brought tears to his eyes, and he literally had to talk himself into staying in the water long enough to rinse the wound out. It was dirty with sand and old blood, so the salt water would do it good, no matter how much it hurt. The last thing he needed was an infection, and he knew it, so he had to do what he could to keep the area clean until he could get treatment for it.
When he'd satisfied himself that the area was clean, and the blood flowed clear and red again, Duo dragged himself out of the surf. His legs were white already, and his feet felt like pins and needles. Standing on the shoreline again, he inspected the wound, this being the first time that he was getting a really good look at it, and his heart sank. It was deep, very deep, and very angry-looking, maybe the length of half his hand. His body throbbed just at the sight of it, and he cringed from the pain as he explored the wound with his fingers. Duo didn't remember getting the injury, but then he didn't remember the shuttle crashing at first, either. Another wave of nausea passed through him, and he concluded that he'd probably fussed enough with the laceration. Sighing, he wondered what he was going to do about it. He had no supplies, nothing to bandage himself with other than his few items of clothing, and no way to keep it clean. Everything that could have been of use went down with the shuttle, and in fifty-degree water, it was unlikely he was going after it, even if he had known where the shuttle lay, which he didn't. Going back to the edge of the water, Duo squatted carefully, his side aching, and ran his hands back and forth in a wave, watching the water carry away a faint trail of his blood.
A stroll around the beach revealed a few things to the young pilot, the most important being that it was looking like they were very, very isolated. Duo wandered a while down the sand to see what he could see, but there was nothing. Only more beach and more trees. Actually, the beach was a fairly thin strip of sand, compared to many other beaches that people would vacation on, and before long the soil type began to change - that was where the trees began. Entering the tree line, Duo mingled his way through the sparse woods, but didn't go so far that he couldn't still see the bonfire. There apparently was nothing to see there anyway, though, and he gathered more kindling wood for the fire as he started to make his way back to Heero, rather discouraged. Maybe once Heero was on his feet again, the two of them could explore the area. They would have to, he concluded, because they'd already gone almost a day without water, and that, if anything, would surely do them in.
When he returned to the fire, Duo was happily surprise to see a very disoriented Heero sitting up and rubbing his eyes. He didn't seem to be shivering any longer, and his skin looked nice and pink again. Heero looked up slowly as Duo approached.
"Hey." The longhaired boy said casually as he sat himself in the sand beside Heero.
"W-what happened? Where are my clothes?" His eyes were sleepy and his face sullen. He looked totally wiped out from his ordeal.
'They were wet. I had to take them off you," Duo informed.
"Did we crash?"
"I think we were shot down."
There were a few minutes of silence while Heero tried to recollect events in his mind.
"Any idea where we are?"
Heero rubbed his hands over his arms. "I'm freezing. Where the hell are my clothes?" He noted that Duo was clad only in his underwear as well.
"Heh, freezing eh? You should have seen yourself yesterday. I thought you were a gonner for sure." Duo said, a smirk on his face, his eyes full of worry. "How do you feel?" He got up and fished around for Heero's top, then handed it to him. The other boy struggled to put it on, his body still weak and argumentative.
"Besides cold? Tired. Chest hurts some."
"Your feel your hands and feet alright?"
Heero clenched his hands a few times and wiggled his toes. "Yeah."
"Then you're lucky."
Heero sat, Duo next to him, and processed everything that was rushing through his head. His mind was fairly clear, considering what he'd just been through, and he was remembering some things. He remembered the moment the shuttle was hit, and the crash, but nothing immediately afterward. He remembered hanging on to the section of the shuttle, in freezing-cold water, and the pain that his body felt, until it didn't feel anything at all. He also remembered seeing things, people, from his dreams, and realized that he must have been hallucinating from the cold, because there was no way that he could have seen the things he thought he saw. Then turning to Duo, he remembered drifting in and out of consciousness, each time greeted by the other's concerned face and his calming voice. Their eyes connected for a few seconds, Heero's full of question, Duo's full of sympathy, but neither said a word.