Three ribs. He broke three of my ribs. Count them, three. I don't know how I managed to survive the final battle without having one of them puncture my lung. But I needed to be there. I needed to be part of the end. But what was my excuse for not getting treatment afterwards? I really don't know. I suppose I have always had a masochist streak. I guess I wanted to know how long it would take me before I collapsed.
This is my answer. Two days. Two days and I can feel my rib press against some internal organ or another. And I know if I attempt to get up or move around, something is going to break. So here I am, stuck on this bed with the crusty ceiling to keep me company. Of course I could cry out for help, Hilde is the next room. But I am silent. There is no need for words when there is no one else around.
I can feel the pain in the back of my mind slowly building as one of my ribs presses inward. The thing about excruciating pain is that it keeps you from thinking any coherent thoughts. Kind of like sex. Or so I am told. Too bad for me that the pain had stopped bothering me two days ago. Now, it's just a loud mumble in the background.
"Duo?" Hilde's voice barely makes it past my door.
"Yeah?" I answer loudly without moving.
"Heero is here to see you," Hilde opens the door a crack and peeks her head in, "Do you want to get up and put some clothing on or should I send him in here so you can seduce him?"
Although my blanket covers me, there is a messy pile of my clothing gathered by the bed.
"Send him in. He should know people are sleeping at two o'clock in the morning," I answer with a smirk. It isn't hard to pretend. It really isn't.
"Sure thing, Duo," Hilde's head disappears. Almost immediately Heero walks into my bedroom. He's not wearing his usual green tanktop. he actually has a sweater on. The weather control people said they were going to try to do snow tonight. I guess it must be cold outside.
Heero closes the door behind him.
"Do you know what time it is on L2?" I demand as I sit up pulling my blanket with me. Under the blanket, my hand clutches the sheet a little as a new wave of intense pain washes over me.
"I broke three ribs, Duo," Heero's voice is quiet. His voice is always so quiet, but somehow you can always hear every word he says. I wonder how he does it. My voice is loud. It's very loud, but no one ever listens.
"What are you doing here, then? Go see a doctor!" I command him.
"Duo," Heero stares at me. I can see him trying to figure out what I am thinking. His eyes always darken slightly when he's deep in thought. People think Heero doesn't know what's going on, but they are wrong. Heero has everyone figured out perfectly. He knew Quatre could control the Zero system. He knew Trowa loved Quatre long before either of them even noticed. He understood Wufei's obsession with Treize when no one else did. He knows exactly what buttons to push, and he pushes them whenever he sees fit.
Methodical. It is all very methodical, really. Just like his laptop. Even me. he knew exactly what it took to get me to help him.
"Why haven't you seen a doctor?" Heero speaks again. I should have known that he knew exactly how much damage he did to me when he punched me. His every move is always so calculated.
"Heero, I'm not that weak! Come on, give me a break," I laugh. Bad idea. Laughing is a really bad idea when you have broken ribs. I must remember that.
With almost invisible speed, Heero pulls up my blanket revealing ugly black bruises all over my chest.
He called me on my bluff. His eyes are impassive. Most people would have flinched at the sight, but not Heero.
"Why?" Heero's voice drops in volume, but I can still him clearly. It's a neat trick.
"Why did you punch me so hard?" I ask in return. I am unreasonably pleased that even Heero can not anticipate all my motives.
Heero does not speak. One of his hand reaches up to my chest and slowly brushes against my bruises. Heero's hands are incredibly large for his body. Father Maxwell had big hands too. I used to put my hand on top of his and compare.
Slowly, I put my hand on top of Heero's. My hands are slightly smaller. My fingers thinner.
Heero's eyes widen ever so slightly at the touch of my hand. Another unexpected move by me. I must really jolt him today.
"You could have died," Heero informs me in a matter-of-fact tone.
"You should have died," I answer. I surprise him for the third time in five minutes.
"You should have died when you self-destructed the first time. You should have died when you fought Zechs. You should have died when you attacked Mariemeia's mansion. But you didn't. You lived and you saved the day." I'm studying him. He slowly sits down on my bed, his hand still on my chest.
"The world wanted a hero, Heero. And you played the part beautifully," I whisper, my voice hoarse, "You gave everyone something to believe in."
"Except you," Heero's eyes meet my own. Damn.
"Except me," I look away first. Outside, the snow starts to fall. "Did you know that when angels die they turn to snow? That way their bodies can cover all the dirtiness."
I can still feel Heero's eyes on me as I continue, "On L2 there is no real snow." Only fake angels fall here.
"I'm not a fake angel," Heero leans closer towards me. Our bodies almost touching. I can feel his warmth through the sweater. "You don't have to prove I'm not an angel by torturing yourself." Heero's breath tickles my face.
"What do you mean?" My voice cracks.
"You wanted to see if you could do it. You wanted to see if you can survive what I survived. Don't, Duo. It's a dangerous game," Heero's hand slowly slides down my chest.
"What the hell are you doing?" My face is hot and I'm furious. I'm furious that he knew when I didn't. I'm furious that he thinks he can push my buttons again. I refuse to let him.
Heero does not reply as his hand stops on my crotch. Bastard. My last card. He knows my last card.
"Heero, I swear if you grope me I will scream for Hilde and she'll beat the crap out of you. Hell hath no fury like a woman's scorn!" I warn him.
Heero very deliberately gropes me and then stares at me, calling me on my bluff once more.
"You knew. You've always known. You fucking bastard!" My voice is now low and dangerous. I will not be manipulated. He knows I'm gay. Fuck him.
Heero does not answer me, but he does not look away either.
"Why didn't you tell me to fuck off instead of punching me?" I fight for the control of my voice. I don't want Hilde to come in, but I want to scream. I want to scream and scream until I can't hear anything any more.
"Because I couldn't ." For the first time since I have known Heero I could not hear what he was saying.
"Because I couldn't let you die," Heero repeated himself slowly, "I didn't think you would. I didn't think you could fight with three broken ribs."
"Fuck you!" I try to push him off of me, but I am only successful in allowing overwhelming pain to consume me. I feel my world spin as I fight to stay conscious.
"Duo," Heero steadies me with his large hands.
"Get your fuckin hands off of me!" I'm trembling. Fuck. I hate trembling. "What did I ever do to you?!"
"You didn't think I was an angel." I can feel Heero's mouth over mine. HOW DARE HE!! I bite his lips hard. He pulls back. His lower lip bleeding.
"Gomen nasai," Heero whispers, but his hands are still on mine.
"Get out!" I command him.
"No," Heero answers firmly, "I don't have to fight any more so I will not run away anymore; and I will not allow you to do it either. All of my life people have treated me as they saw fit, matching me to their ideals. From the first time we meet, you treated me like I was human. You are the only one who's ever treated me like I'm human. Fallible and flawed. You're lying here right now because you refuse to believe that I am a superman. I love you, Duo. I have been in love with you for a very long time."
He loves me. Great. Isn't that wonderful. After all the crap we just went through he tells me he loves me. I can't decide what hurts more, my head or my chest. "Do you always try to hurt the ones you love?"
"Yes," Heero's large hand strokes my shoulder, "Just as you always walk away from the ones you love. The war is over, Duo. We don't have to fight any more."
"Do you have any idea how completely fucked up we are?" I ask him as he gently wraps his arms around me.
"Tell me you don't love me and I will leave," Heero whispers as he presses his face against mine.
"You're such a manipulative bastard!"
"Only of things I care about," Heero kisses me again. I can taste the blood on his lips. I push him away. It hurts like hell, but so do most things in my life. I will not be manipulated. Oh FUCK.
"Duo?" Heero must have notices the fact that blood is draining from my face.
"I..." Breathe damn it! "I punctured..."
"Hilde!" Heero screams or cries out?. It appears he can scream after all.
Oh God, it hurts. Pain pain pain pain pain pain pain pain. I can feel foreign objects running through my body. Oh hell. I open my eyes slowly.
Heero is staring at me. He looks... mad.
That's the first time I have ever woken up to someone cursing at me. How refreshing. I open my mouth to fuck him back, but I couldn't talk. That's not fair!
"Fuck you," Heero curses again, softer this time. I can feel his hand over mine.
"Do you know that I cried for the first fucking time in my life?" Heero's voice is hoarse. I move the only muscle I can. I blink at him. Rapidly. This is so ineffective.
"Do you know how the hell it feels to watch you dying in my arms knowing that I fucking did this do you?" Heero's voice is rising in volume.
Heero, do you fucking know how many times that has happened to me?
"FUCK YOU!" Heero is almost yelling now. I blink at him some more.
"Mr. Yuy, I think it's best that you leave now," a nurse pops up from somewhere outside of my line of vision.
"No, let him stay." I can't see her, but I can hear Hilde's voice. When Hilde finally comes into view, she is physically pulling the nurse out of the room while winking at me. I knew there was a good reason that Hilde is my best friend.
"Damn you," Heero whispers as he seats himself on my bed like he did ...last night?
"If you wanted me to lose control, you succeeded." His face is turned just so I can't see it.
This isn't quite what I had in mind, but if it worked... I try again to use my voice. I think I succeed in making one choked dying-like sound.
Heero turns his face to me again. Fuck, he's crying. He can't cry! Crying is blackmail!
"Duo, I..." His voice cracks.
I love you too, Heero. I have always known you are human.
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