(kodoku na okami)
and Fools + Part 10
(Sometimes fools are caught
Duo felt much better after eating. The soup had been more broth than anything
else, but reading the package he'd seen Heero had chosen it for nutritional
content -- protein, electrolytes, vitamins and all the other good stuff
that a beaten body needs to get better. And it tasted a Hell of a
lot better than what they were feeding me back in that cell.
He was looking for patterns in the ceiling cracks, pretending they were
clouds -- for the nine hundredth time -- when he heard footsteps at the
door. He looked at the clock. Two and a half hours. It wasn't like Heero
to be late. He slid the gun under the sheets and aimed at the door, bracing
it against his hip to control the kickback. The cold metal reminded him
of Heero's hand.
The door opened.
No one was there.
Duo's eyes narrowed.
A blur of motion, tucking and rolling across the floor. Duo tracked it
with the gun, but green and black could only mean one person. "You sure
know how to make an entrance Heero."
"Where's the gun?" Damn you, Duo! I gave it to you so you could defend
yourself, not just lay there. Whydoyoucare? Idon'tknow?
"On you." Duo waggled the gun under the covers. He was rewarded with...
yes, that was approval. "You just love having me point guns at you, huh?
Um, next time maybe we should have a secret knock or something so I don't
have to almost shoot you." He handed the gun to Heero, who reholstered
it and walked back to the door.
Still using that butt holster and still got the butt for it, Duo
thought. I don't think I'm in quite the shape you left me in back
on Earth, though.
Heero brought in two bags of stuff and shut the door. He set them on the
table beside his laptop computer and started pulling medical supplies
out of one. When he'd picked out everything he wanted, he walked over
to the bed and laid them out at the foot, bringing the aroma of cordite
with him. Gauze, tape, scissors, antibiotic ointments, vials, syringes.
Duo winced at the latter and almost missed the words delivered deadpan.
"At least you've learned to check your target before you shoot."
"Naaniiii??" Duo blinked. Damn! That was almost a joke. Hell, for
Heero that was a joke. He looked at his friend, wondering if Oz had
somehow captured and brainwashed him. Nah, not in just two and a half
"You've learned to check your target before you shoot. You always lost
on the pistol range because you shot friendlies." Heero looked at him,
Maybe it wasn't a joke.
"I should give you a shower before treating you." He pushed the medical
supplies into a more compact arrangement, still neatly laid out. "Can
you sit up?"
Duo gave an experimental lift. "Better help me. Sorry."
Heero pulled down the covers, exposing him. "You passed out in the shuttle
on the trip back." He slid his arms under Duo's knees and back, raising
and pivoting him to sit on the edge of the bed. "You've been unconscious
for two days." The movement was so easy, so fluid, Duo wondered just how
much weight he'd lost, then he felt the dense muscles, rock hard as Heero's
arms supported him, and remembered Heero was a lot stronger than he looked.
"I think you were comatose for about fifteen hours." Several minutes passed
before Duo's sense of balance stabilized. "Not surprising, though. You
took a severe beating."
He's changed, Duo thought as they sat there. "Beatings, " Duo
corrected him. When we were at school together, he was so detached
I wondered if he really knew I was there. But now...
"Beatings," Heero agreed.
He seems to be actually aware of me.
He almost passed out as Heero helped him stand. He managed to move his
legs a bit, hobbling over to the bathroom, deadweight dragging on Heero's
shoulders. Heero lowered him onto the toilet, turned on the shower, and
stepped out, giving him a moment of semi-privacy. A few minutes later,
Heero knocked on the door.
Duo peered at the contents of the toilet beneath him. Definitely peeing
a little blood, but not much, and it's all dark. Nothing bleeding now.
He flushed the toilet. Heero entered. Naked. Duo's mouth dropped. Heero
looked at him with a hint of... uncertainty, Duo decided. He
had never been entirely sure about Heero's various shades of uncertainty.
"I don't have extra clothes." The usual winter voice, but soft.
You didn't think you'd be coming back from the mission, Duo filled
in. Same old Heero.
"I don't want to get them wet while you shower."
Duo decided it was a snow voice. Snow was supposed to be cold and soft
and quiet all at once. He debated for a moment before deciding it was
worth adding to his catalog, then he nodded, facing the fact that he was
uncertain himself. He'd seen Heero naked many times before. Hell, he'd
seen lots of people naked doing lots of things a lot more erotic than
just standing there. So why did Heero naked just now, perfect though his
body was, seem so captivating?
He forgot about it as Heero lifted him and maneuvered them into the shower,
ignoring Duo's yelps as the movements stretched unused muscles, broke
scabs, and grated bones in damaged joints. Then Heero stood, supporting
Duo, handing him soap and cloth. Washing all the places Duo couldn't reach.
A lot of them. Damn shoulder. Damn ribs.
The soapy cloth and firm hand felt good even though the soap stung the
cuts on his back and the cloth pulled loose more of the scabs. He held
on and relaxed, enjoying the feeling as Heero washed his back, his legs,
his hair, applied conditioner.
Duo opened his mouth but caught himself before he said anything. He remembered
seeing the bottles in Heero's hand when he walked into the bathroom, but
he'd been so unsettled by Heero naked that he'd forgotten about it before
it registered on his consciousness. Heero had bought conditioner. And
it smelled like the right kind. He sighed, luxuriating in the feeling
of his hair beginning to untangle. He's changed, Duo told himself
again. The whole idea felt surreal, but no more so than the idea of Heero
buying conditioner for him.
He slipped into half-sleep. The next thing he knew the water was beginning
to run cool and Heero was turning it off with his foot. Duo must have
protested because Heero said, "Cold will tense your muscles. Bad for your
You're cold. Duo's thoughts were a haze. But you don't make
He stayed in that unawake-unasleep state as Heero carried him back to
the bed, laid him down and set about applying fresh ointment to his wounds
with meticulous precision. Duo regained full consciousness a few minutes
later when Heero sat him up and began to wrap his chest. It was a struggle,
but he was able to balance on his own this time. "Damn, that's tight,
Heero. I can barely breathe."
"I found two more broken ribs."
For a total of five.
"Your sternum is cracked too. You're lucky to be alive." He continued
wrapping to draw the bones together.
"That's me, lucky Duo Maxwell. Takes a beating and keeps on joking." He
tried to laugh, but the tape around his chest limited him to a soft chuckle.
It was better than nothing. "Uh, what're you gonna do with that," he asked
as he watched Heero load a syringe with the contents of one of the vials.
"Broad spectrum antibiotics." He filled another syringe from a second
vial. "Broad spectrum antibiotics." he reached for the third vial, "Pain
"No!" Heero looked at him. Yes, it was definitely uncertainty this time.
"Occasionally drunk is one thing, but I hate being drugged out of my mind."
Heero nodded (Approval, Duo saw) and put the vial aside. "On your side."
Heero moved to help him lay down.
"These have to be given intramuscular." Duo looked at him. "Gluteal."
A faint twitch of annoyance as Duo still didn't get it. "In the butt,
"Oh." Duo let him lay him down. Heero's hand spread itself across his
buttock, thumb and forefinger pulling skin tight between them. "Are you
sure that isn't just an excuse to feel my ass?" He winced at his words
just as the first needle hit. The hand moved to the other side and a few
seconds later, the second needle followed. "Damn, Heero. Feels like a
pair of rocks in my cheeks."
"It'll pass in a day or two."
At least I won't have to go through that again, he thought as
Heero helped him get arranged in the bed and covered him up. And why
do I care if he puts his hand on my ass? He was just giving me a shot.
Duo didn't know. Probably he was worn out he wasn't thinking straight
and that was making him uncomfortable with simple things.
"You hafta brush out my hair. ... No, really. If you don't brush it out
it'll tangle again. And, uh, would you mind getting dressed first?"
Heero glanced down at himself. He'd forgotten about that. He'd been too
busy tending to Duo to notice. It was getting cool in the room, not that
he was likely to catch cold, but he didn't want to argue with Duo right
now. The fool needed to use his strength for recovering, not arguing.
He dressed and brought over the brush, holding it beside his head like
Damn, he even got the right kind of brush. This guy has some memory.
A vision of Heero holding a new comb the same way drew a smile. But
I bet he doesn't know how to use it. "Hold it like this," Duo showed
him. "Uh, try it on your hair first, to get the feel for it." Duo directed
him until Heero had it right. "Y'know, a brush is probably better for
Cold eyes caught him, warning lurking in their depths.
Still touchy about the hair. "Um, never mind. You've got it now."
A silent nod and Heero moved the chair to the head of the bed and began
working through Duo's hair. "Owww! Not so hard. You hafta be gentle when
you find a tangle."
"Hn. It's all a tangle." Maybe I should have gotten another bottle
of conditioner. Heero continued brushing. Duo's interruptions became
less frequent. Heero paused when he heard the soft snore begin. He couldn't
help it if the antibiotics he'd acquired happened to have a mild sedative
mixed in. Besides, Duo needed to rest.
Almost alone again, he let loose a small sigh and continued brushing.
He still didn't know why he hadn't killed Duo. The soldier hadn't liked
it -- still didn't like it. The soldier had been harping about it off
and on since the shuttle ride back from the prison. He set the problem
aside as something that wouldn't be solved by direct reasoning and told
the soldier to shut up and leave him alone. Brushing Duo's hair was not
a mission that required the soldier's help.
Brush. Brush. Brush.
Brushing Duo's hair was relaxing. It gave his hands something to do while
he dug through his memory, finding all the times he'd seen Duo braiding
his hair, carefully assembling the proper steps and sequence. He decided
he could learn to like brushing Duo's hair.
Brush. Brush. Brush.
Why had Duo been so nervous about his nakedness? They'd shared a room
together for over a month and had seen each other in everything from suits
to skin. Duo had never seemed nervous then. In fact, he'd usually worn
as little as he could. Heero looked over the headboard at him. Maybe he
was ashamed because he was out of shape. The fine form Heero had helped
him build back then had faded, but no more than Heero would have expected
after the recent captivity and abuse. He'd apparently kept at it after...
that mission. Heero didn't like to think about that mission.
Brush. Brush. Brush.
He called me a friend. He waited for a moment, then added. I
wonder if it's true.
The soldier didn't rise to the bait. It was unlike him to take an order
from Heero without argument. Heero suspected he was waiting for a more
Brush. Brush. Brush.
The past few days spent taking care of Duo made perfect sense to him,
except for the part about not killing him. Once he'd rescued the loud-mouthed
fool, it was only logical that he'd clean him up, treat his wounds, and
get him battle-worthy again. He couldn't just dump the body. It would
be identified and draw Oz to this place. And Duo had contacts in the colonies.
They might be able to get munitions, parts, supplies. Deathscythe was
out there somewhere, damaged, but reparable. Duo in Deathscythe had proven
himself worthy of the name Shinigami, much as part of Heero hated to admit
it. The damned annoying loud-mouthed gaijin could be a valuable ally.
The war against Oz wasn't over, regardless of what the colonies might
think. And there wouldn't be any new orders for a while with the scientists
captives of Oz. There was time for this interlude of peace. The reasons
had piled up, convincing him the soldier was wrong about the whole situation.
Brush. Brush. Brush.
Heero wondered if accepting Duo as an ally meant trusting him. He didn't
think he really trusted the other Gundam pilots -- anyone but himself,
for that matter. But he wasn't sure he would know it if he did. Trust
of others was something he understood only in the abstract.
Brush. Brush. Brush.
Right now, Duo was a risk. Heero considered his thoughts carefully.
Not an obstacle or a liability, just a risk, and a risk worth taking.
If he became a liability...
Heero stopped brushing.
I'll make sure Duo is nothing worse than a risk. He called me a friend.
That has to mean something. I think I would have killed him, but how can
I know? Maybe he was right about that poem.
Dangerous thoughts, the soldier whispered. Soldiers don't have
time for friends, and certainly not for childish poems.
Heero knew he was right. The war may have paused, but it was not over.
Maybe after Oz was defeated he could think those thoughts, but now they
could only be obstacles. Heero chose not to eliminate these particular
obstacles. Instead, he tied them neatly and put them into a little box
in his mind where the memories of a flower, a scrap of fake fur, a red-tipped
bullet, three sheets of notebook paper and a masterfully illuminated poem
lived. Like those, the thoughts might one day be of use.
Heero looked at Duo's hair. Smooth, shining, chestnut. He'd never really
noticed the color before or the sharp scent of cinnamon that always lingered
from Duo's conditioner. He carefully divided Duo's hair into three parts
and braided it as his plan told him, then laid it on Duo's chest and listened
to the snore that was at once annoying and right. He glanced at the door,
double-checking the lock. Satisfied, he slid a hand around the gun on
his lap, checked the safety, and closed his eyes.
A good risk, he thought. And slept.
[part 09] [part
11] [back to LoneWolf's fic]