When they awoke early the next morning, the two boys were lying on their sides, Duo spooning Heero, and still cuddled close together. Heero stirred first, sitting up slowly and noting how they were sleeping, but thinking less of it than he would have just three days prior. He yawned and stretched his arms over his head, and looked toward the entrance of their little hideaway, seeing bright sunlight outside. Pulling himself away from the other sleeping boy's grasp Heero faced him, then shook his shoulder to wake him.
"Mmmpff," was the muffled reply as Heero shook Duo.
"Mmmpfwhaaaat?" Groggy violet eyes blinked rapidly in the dimness.
Duo heaved a sigh and rubbed his eyes without making any attempt to get up. "That was THE worst night sleep I've had in ages. My back is killing me."
Heero smirked at his friend. "We slept on rocks. What did you expect?"
Eyes fully awake now, Duo pushed himself up into a sitting position, gasping as he did.
"What is it?" Heero asked.
"I'll be fine." Duo replied through his teeth.
"It's that wound, isn't it?"
"I said I'll be fine. I just need to get outside and clean it out in the stream, since I didn't get to do it last night. It's probably dirty."
The longhaired boy stood, crouching under the low ceiling of the cavern, and he began to crawl his way out and down the entrance to the mouth. Heero followed behind him. Once outside, it took a few minutes for their eyes to get accustomed to the bright sunlight, and they stood, stretching and blinking, breathing in the clean, fresh air. When finally his eyes were back to seeing normally, Duo looked at himself and cursed.
Heero walked over and looked, reaching out a hand that Duo slapped out of the way.
"Don't, man! It hurts like hell!" The wound was angry-looking, the jagged edge of the lacerated skin swollen and red, leaving an opening that gaped wide. The skin around the area was hot and sore.
"Let me look at it," Heero demanded.
"What... are you some licensed MD too? Heero Yuy, Gundam pilot, Surgeon?" Duo said arrogantly, pulling himself away from the grasp of the other boy.
Heero glared at him. "No... but I know a few things. Can I please look?" He just stood there, waiting for Duo to allow him to examine the injury.
Duo sighed. "Fine. But... please be careful, it hurts a lot, OK?"
"Clean it first" Heero told the other boy, then waited as Duo went to the little stream and splashed water over himself and inside the flesh wound, flushing out little particles of dirt and gunk and whatever was living in there now. When he was finally done, Heero went to the stream and washed off his hands, best he could, then went back to Duo.
"Bite something. Here." Heero handed Duo a stick from off the ground.
"Wait... you said this wasn't going to hurt..."
"No... YOU said this wasn't going to hurt. I never answered you."
"You son of a..." Duo cursed the other boy. "You're going to make it dirty... er." The boy was grasping at straws by this point.
For some reason beyond his knowledge, Duo listened, albeit very annoyed, taking the stick and shoving it between his teeth so it stuck out either side of his mouth, and a bead of sweat formed on his brow. Heero stood facing him, then kneeled on one knee so that Duo's midsection was above his head, and he looked at the laceration. Without warning the other boy, he extended his hand, index finger pointed, and the finger disappeared beneath the layers of torn flesh, and Duo's eyes flew open wide as his teeth clamped down on the stick, grinding in deep. Duo muffled a whimper and stumbled forward one step, resting a hand on Heero's shoulder for balance, as Heero probed with his finger inside the other boy's body. When he pulled his hand back, there was fresh blood covering it and running down his hand, and down Duo's side.
Heero went to the stream and washed his hands again, as Duo tossed the stick away and caught his breath after the ordeal. He was so nauseated from the pain that he had to lean against a young tree that was growing beside the streambed.
"We have to get out of here." Heero said, still bent over the stream.
"You mean go back to the campsite?" Duo asked.
"No, I mean, we have to get out of here. We have to leave here and get back to space." The Japanese boy stood and turned to face his fellow pilot, and this time Duo could actually see the concern in his expression, and in his telling eyes.
"Uh... Yeah..." Duo decided at that moment that he really didn't want to know what it was that Heero had felt inside the wound that actually made him visibly upset.
"We have two flares left, right?"
"Y-yeah." Duo's head was swimming as he tried to keep his composure.
"We have to go back to the beach and re-start that fire, and we can't let it burn out, no matter what. A shuttle or plane might see it and send someone to pick us up."
"And if it rains again?"
"I don't know... we have to do something. Cover it, maybe bring a torch inside here to keep the fire going," Heero thumbed over his shoulder toward the little cave. "Whatever happens though, we HAVE to keep it going."
Duo nodded, and for a few minutes neither boy said anything.
"You hungry?" Heero finally asked, breaking the silence.
Duo shook his head. "Not really."
"We need to check the trap."
After another long drink, this time from the stream, Heero was once more leading Duo back through the wood, only toward the beach this time. They didn't remember exactly the way they came in the day before, so they just walked in the direction of the surf once they could hear it. Marking the place that they exited the thicket so they could get back to the cavern when they wanted to, Duo shoved a thick stick vertically in the stand so it stuck out like a post. It took a little while, but they eventually came across the rock where they'd tethered the trap, but the trap had been washed ashore in the storm, so it lay on the beach, empty barring a few pieces of the bait that they'd put in it. After mumbling something to himself in Japanese, Heero roughly grabbed the trap and quickly waded into the surf so he could weigh it down again. Returning to the shore, he shot Duo an annoyed look, then started walking in the direction of the campsite.
"Heero, what's up, man?" Duo had noticed the sudden change in the other boy's demeanor.
As usual, there was no answer, and Heero kept on walking, his eyes studying the sand.
"Yuy, what gives!" Duo grabbed Heero by the shirt and stopped the boy in his tracks. Their eyes me and held that way, and Duo almost backed down again before Heero finally spoke.
"I'm WORRIED about you, OK?" His glare was as hard as it always was, but this time it was different. Instead of its usual iciness, the look was almost... sad.
Duo dropped his grip on Heero's shirt, but didn't know what to say. He studied the other boy momentarily, then let his own eyes fall to the ground. "Then lets get that fire started and see if we can get ourselves out of here."
The campsite was destroyed by the whipping winds the day before, and the twig pile was littered all over the beach. Also strewn about were the few belongings that the boys had with them, and they set to work right away to gather up the items, the most important being the flares. They were able to recover the space suits and few other articles of clothing right away, since they'd only blown as far as the trees and then gotten caught. More difficult was the location of the flares themselves, and of Duo's knife, since he hadn't taken his when they left the site the day before. They searched for over an hour before both flares had been located, but since there was nowhere else for them to go and nothing else for them to do, nobody was really counting.
By midday, there was another roaring campfire going, and Heero had brought another two crabs and three shrimp up from the trap, which Duo cooked, on the flame. Since the storm had blown over, the tide change had apparently stirred up some undercurrent, and the scavenger fish were out in droves scurrying about to pick up whatever morsel of food they could find floating by. If their luck stayed with them, the boys would be able to continue catching enough crabs and fish to feed them.
Sitting in the sand beside the fire, they shared another shellfish dinner quietly. After eating one shrimp and half a crab, Duo held the other half out to Heero.
"Don't you want it?"
"Nah. I've had enough."
"You hardly ate anything."
"I think my stomach is shrinking. You know how that happens, right? You don't eat much, and then suddenly you don't want to eat much, because you stomach shrank. People on diets always want that to happen."
Heero shook his head. "You're not on a diet. Eat the crab."
"I don't want it."
Heero glared at the other boy, thinking that he was beginning to act quite juvenile."
"You need to keep your strength up. We have to go back for water at some point, so... eat the crab."
"Fine," Duo said, sighing, and he resumed picking at his meal, unaware that he was being studied carefully by his companion.
Heero finished his meal in silence, making sure that the other boy ate his in it's entirely as well, and found himself watching the boy attentively. His gaze continually followed the contours of the American boy, his face, his hair, his capable hands, and time and again stopped upon reaching the bloody gash in his side.
It had now been over three days since the shuttle crashed.