Disclaimer:I don't own them and I don't make any money off of this.
Warnings:Male/Male sex, graphic, violence, language,
and Soldiers, II + Part 10
Tell it Like it Is
It all happened quickly. Enemy
forces were suddenly not there and Preventer troops were pouring in, wearing
blast armor and face shielding. Noin was shouting orders as soon as they
came into view. Her target was taken and whisked off to safety. A transport
was called to take them all to a hospital. While they waited, a medic
kneeled by Duo and began hurriedly trying to save his life while demanding
to know their status at the same time. Troops continued to pour in and
the mop up operation was in full swing. Only then did Noin and Heero relax
enough to answer questions.
"Negligible," they both said at the same time.
The medic spared them both a glare. "Why don't I believe that?"
"Status!" a familiar voice barked over Noin's com unit.
Milliardo had waited long enough, had only allowed himself to call them
when he was certain he had completed his duties. Noin found it hard to
speak. She looked at Heero, who's eyes were on Duo, his world under his
hands and the future of that world frail and uncertain. It was Milliardo's
future as well, Noin thought, but that thought didn't have the same bitterness
it once had.
"Duo is injured, several shots," Noin reported. "He is scheduled for immediate
evac. The transport will be arriving shortly. The Target has been acquired
and is in transport to Preventer headquarters. Units are still engaged."
"Duo," Milliardo said in a choked voice and then pulled himself together.
He gave a string of orders for the units and then said, "You will accompany
Heero and Duo to the hospital. You are all three off the field as of now.
You will give me your full report as soon as you are checked out."
"Yes, sir," Noin replied correctly and then said, "He will be allright.
We'll make sure of that..."
An empty promise. Noin couldn't offer Milliardo anything more, but she
saw Heero nod tightly as if agreeing with her, as if he had the power
to keep death away from his dearest friend.
The ride to the hospital was something that Noin wished to forget. Once
Heero was out of the field, he changed. He clung to Duo, his hands wrapped
around one of his friend's and his entire being became centered on that
limp figure now covered in needles, plastic tubes, and monitors. The emergency
crew worked feverishly around him, not dislodging Heero from his place,
as if they realized just how dangerous that could be.
Watching Heero from her of the transport, Noin couldn't help painting
a broader picture, one that made her heart clench. Heero's entire being
was wrapped up in Duo. Where was there room for anything else... for anyone
else? She couldn't see it; couldn't see herself coming inbetween that,
when she dared to imagine it at all. It was love that they had for one
another, perhaps not sexual, as they both claimed, but love nonetheless,
and a love so strong that separation might mean death for the both of
them, she feared. It was in Heero's eyes, a promise of tragic consequences
if Duo didn't pull through.
"No," Heero said when someone noticed his bleeding arm. "Take care of
Noin. I will be allright."
Noin started at that notice and she felt confusion. Heero's eyes had not
looked at her, his attention hadn't wavered, but he had asked that she
be taken care of. She didn't know what to think. It seemed at all odds
with her assumptions. How did Milliardo deal with this? How did he cope
with being first in love, but second to this deep and abiding friendship
of theirs? Was a seconds' worth of caring enough for him? Was knowing
that his lover wouldn't live for him, but would die without his 'other
half', acceptable? Somewhere, deep down, she wondered if it was acceptable
"Jeez, look at all these scars..." one of the emergency crew muttered
as he cut the rest of Duo's jacket and shirt away to attach more medical
equipment and to look for more wounds. One of his men grunted in question
and the man traced something with his finger. "Can't barely seem them
unless you have a strong light like this." He tapped the over head, bright
light. "He must have had them worked on, but there are a shit load of
"Just work," Heero grated.
A man bent by Noin and began helping her pull off her jacket. Bullets
clattered to the floor, shaken loose from the tough protective fabric
of her gear. A few had breached it, but they had only grazed flesh here
and there. That begged a question.
"Why didn't Duo have on his gear?" Noin snarled in anger.
"He did," Heero replied tightly. "He took a hit early on from someone
with a plasma round." He lifted up Duo's shirt and jacket without moving
his gaze from Duo. There was a large hole in both articles of clothing
and the edges look burned. "He barely had enough time to get the mesh
it was lodged in off before it melted to his skin," Heero continued. "I
took the man out and, luckily, he was the only one equipped with that
kind of weapon or we'd all be dead."
Noin swallowed hard. Plasma guns were banned and for good reason. They
would melt through anything and were damned unstable.
"Luckily I didn't have my nipple ring in," Duo snickered weakly and the
emergency crew chuckled.
Heero's full attention snapped back to Duo and Noin could see that he
wasn't going to acknowledge anything else anytime soon. Duo was still
among the living, still cracking jokes, and still able to lighten even
that grim situation.
"Mill?" Duo asked softly.
"He knows," Heero assured him.
Duo made a small sound, "He'll worry."
"Yes," Heero agreed.
"Damn..." Duo drifted off again.
"He'll be at the hospital," Noin said to no one in particular. "Then you
can both stay with Duo." She hadn't meant the words to mean anymore than
that, but they did, and they were tinged with pain.
They landed at the hospital and Noin was left behind as Duo was rushed
into emergency. Heero was allowed into the inner sanctum to be with Duo,
some sort of paperwork giving him special dispensation. Noin could understand
why. She didn't think that anything short of killing the man would get
him away from Duo even in surgery.
Noin was stitched and bandaged by a competent nurse and then left to wander
cold hallways. She found the commissary and managed to eat, though she
couldn't remember what is was. Once 'refueling' was out of the way, she
took up a station by a hospital room, one that a nurse had assured her
would be Duo's once he was out of surgery. it was private and someone
was already inside removing things.
"What are you doing?" Noin asked and her voice came out hoarse and weary
The male nurse grunted as he rolled a cart out of the room. "One of our
patients doesn't like hospitals. I was given orders to remove anything
sharp that he could use as a weapon or as a means to escape. Isn't that
nuts? Must be a criminal or something... " He eyed her rough appearance.
"Are you his guard?"
"No, I am," a voice said behind Noin and she turned with a start and saw
Milliardo striding towards her. He was a tall man and his flowing white
hair and crisp uniform coat made him seem larger than life in the confines
of the hospital hallway. His blue eyes studied the nurse and the cart.
"Very good," he commented with a nod. The man grunted and wheeled his
Noin felt her heart sink. "I suppose that I should be going too. Permission
to return to headquarters, sir."
"Denied," Milliardo replied, but then amended, "I was told that you weren't
seriously injured, but if you are tired..."
"Orders, sir," Noin said cutting across that and forcing herself to straighten.
Milliardo considered her and then nodded. "Duo doesn't like hospitals.
It is possible that he will regain consciousness, not realize the situation,
and attempt to leave."
"War flashback?" Noin wondered.
Milliardo's face went hard. "No, he was attacked by former soldiers of
Oz after the war and spent some time in an institute under criminal conditions.
Heero protected him, but he still carries scars from the ordeal, mental
and physical. He doesn't trust, Noin, but it is imperative that he stay
and undergo treatment."
"Do you know how the surgery is going?" Noin asked, remembering the medic
talking about scars and understanding now, some of Duo's darker comments.
Milliardo looked pained. "They have stabilized him, but he lost a lot
Noin studied the tall man before her, saw the fear and the frustration.
"How do you do it?" she wondered and couldn't helped the bitterness. "He's
in there with Duo," she said, meaning Heero, "and he has more right than
you do to stay by his side."
Milliardo stared at her for a long moment and then said carefully, "Lu...
If you were in a tight spot, a pitched battle, and you felt that you just
might die... would you rather that I was with you, unarmed, or that you
held a weapon to defend yourself?"
Noin blinked, her mind working on this new idea, this insight into his
relationship with Duo and Heero.
"No matter how much you cared for me," Milliardo pointed out, "I would
be useless to you. You might die. I might die. Heero... Heero is like
a weapon and a shield. He is also Duo's dearest, closest friend. Duo gives
Heero's life direction and purpose. He gives Heero the means to live this
new life of keeping the peace and being something other than a soldier.
Heero in turn, keeps Duo safe, watches his back, and gives Duo the understanding
that he needs when the past haunts him. You've watched them work..."
"Like two parts of one machine..." Noin replied thoughtfully.
Milliardo nodded. "Yes, that's it exactly. You can't imagine them separately.
One has the exact abilities that the other needs to work perfectly. That's
the way they are on a mission and in life, Noin. It was hard, but I had
to understand and accept that. Duo comes to me for love. He is in my arms
at night. There are times, though, when I'm not enough, when he needs
that other half of himself. I have to let go then." He smiled gently.
"It isn't so hard, Lu. Heero is a man who is very easy to like. I know
I can trust him with Duo. I know that he will be there when I can't. "
"You have to share," Noin said, uncertain what the hard lump in her gut
was telling her, whether she found that acceptable or not.
"I have to share," Milliardo affirmed. "I have to have two men in my life,
not one." He seemed to search for words and then he said, "You have to
decide, Noin, whether you truly love. It isn't about OWNING someone exclusively.
It's about caring... about caring enough..."
Noin scowled. "How is this about me?" She snapped.
"Isn't it?" Milliardo replied with an arched eyebrow.
Noin's reply was cut off by the approach of a group of hospital staff,
Heero, and Duo . Milliardo forgot her instantly and rushed to Duo's side.
Stretched out unconscious on a gurney, he seemed pale and lifeless. The
hand Milliardo clutched, was lax and fragile seeming as he walked with
the others into Duo's room.
"He went through the surgery well," the doctor was saying as they put
Duo into his hospital bed and began hooking his lines to IV stands and
monitors. "Amazing, truly amazing... he stabilized with incredible speed
and his vital signs are strong. I've heard about the phenomenal physical
abilities of Gundam pilots, but I never believed them until now." He checked
Duo's pupils and his pulse. "I had to give him enough morphine to take
down an elephant, but even with that, I think he's beginning to come around.
He'll be in pain. "
Their presence in the room wasn't questioned. Milliardo's rank, and being
in a Preventer hospital, gave them a great deal of freedom they otherwise
would have been denied in normal circumstances. Duo's of times violent
aversion to hospitals seemed well documented as well and the doctor was
more than willing to have help dealing with him after glancing over his
Once everyone was gone, Heero and Milliardo moved to stand on either side
of Duo's bed, looking down at the pale, unconscious man with twin looks
The lump in Noin's gut turned very bitter. She felt ... alone... outside...
useless. She turned to go, thinking that they wouldn't notice, but Heero
suddenly shivered and his eyes looked so pained that she stopped and her
Milliardo reached across the bed and squeezed Heero's shoulder in support
and comfort. His comfort was brief, though, his attention on Duo, and
it was then that Noin saw a lack. Heero was, in essence 'outside' as well.
Milliardo had to make room for Heero and that said it all, 'make room
for him' because he wasn't really loved as Milliardo and Duo loved each
other. He was the 'best friend' and, though he could live with them and
share a life with them, he would always be the 'outsider' to their love.
Noin saw it, finally. Heero was alone, just as she was. He was in Duo's
soul, but he wasn't in Duo's heart. When Duo awoke, Noin knew that his
eyes would turn to Milliardo first, not to Heero. That was the difference
both Milliardo and Duo had been trying to explain to her.
Noin looked at Milliardo, at the tall handsome man that had stolen her
heart... but, had it been her heart or only her admiration? He had never
been hers. The look he was giving Duo would never be hers either. That
feeling they would never share. When she looked at Heero though, at the
young man who had been her enemy during the war, yet, never truly an enemy,
she felt the difference, felt that leap of heart, that connecting of soul
that told her, here was someone who could be a part of her, a part that
she had been needing for so long, but had never known it until she had
met him. All that she had to do was give up the past, forget her bitterness,
and bend her stubborn pride to stop the loneliness for the both of them...
if he would accept... if he would have her...
Noin felt as if she were stepping into a nest of enemy mobile suits. It
seemed to take the same kind of courage as she forced herself to move
forward to Duo's bedside. She stood beside Heero, feeling his warmth,
sensing his anguish, for long moments and then, cautiously, she reached
out and took hold of his tanned, calloused hand. He started and looked
at her in surprise. Noin almost feared rejection in the way his hand tensed,
but then it relaxed and gripped back, hard. She saw the echo of her feelings
in his deep, blue eyes and felt, suddenly, as if she had just come home.
"Good," Duo murmured, his face grimacing and his eyes slightly hazed with
drugs as he looked at the people standing over him. " 'bout time you idiots
came to yer senses... Now we can be a damned family... "
The lump in Noin's gut released itself suddenly and she felt tears in
her eyes as she nodded. Yes, that was it, that's what they were; not strange,
not out of the ordinary, not breaking all the rules... family.
[part 9] [back to Kracken's