Chezarina laughed out loud
and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she'd done most of the cooking.
Relena was being very subdued and I wondered what they had spent the morning
The meal started out easily enough, we were able to do the 'pass this',
'pass that' thing for a bit and then there was the complimenting the cook
part. It really was very good, a simple casserole with potatoes and diced
Then something seemed to pass between Heero and Chezarina and she turned
to me with an odd smile. "So... all the portraits are of real people?"
I flushed and thought I was going to choke on my lunch. "Uhmmm...
Yeah," I confirmed when I could swallow.
"Who are the Priest and the Nun?" she asked and I swear to God
the look on her face was just a little too innocent to be real.
"Father Maxwell and Sister Helen," I breathed and tried to catch
Heero's eye but he was studiously eyeing his plate. "They ran the
orphanage where I... spent a couple of years." I stirred my potatoes
around and just prayed that she didn't ask what happened to them, I really
didn't want to get into it.
"Maxwell?" she asked brightly. "Is that where you took
your name from?"
"Y... yes," I confirmed, my stomach starting to knot as I waited
for her to get around to asking the next question. I didn't know that
I could sit here and talk about the massacre.
"He was a darn tall man," she commented and it was so not
the comment I had been expecting that I laughed.
"Well... I suspect he might not have been as tall as that,"
I grinned at her, "but when we were kids he seemed like a giant to
"He has a kindly face," she remarked and I suddenly realized
she and Heero were trying to turn them in to real people for Relena.
"He was damn scary looking when we got in trouble." I laughed
and decided maybe I could play their game. "I'm afraid I had a penchant
for getting into fights that usually ended with me polishing the brass
railings." I didn't mention that I was usually in those fights trying
to defend the little ones from the whole wide world. Trying to fill Solo's
Chezarina laughed with a twinkle in her eye. "I imagine they were
the shiniest railings on L2."
She won a true laugh from me and I looked up to finally find Heero's eyes,
he gave me a small, almost imperceptible nod of encouragement. "I
imagine they were," I chuckled. "What Father didn't understand
was that I didn't really mind polishing them because Sister Helen liked
to see them all shiny and bright." My smile turned melancholy despite
myself. "We all adored her... we'd do anything to make her happy."
I snickered, "It was kind of bizarre when you got right down to it;
we dreaded 'the look' we'd get from Father Maxwell... and the lecture,
of course. But then after we were done with the punishment, we got the
reward of hugs from Sister Helen." I shook my head in remembrance
and continued to push potatoes around.
"What... what happened to them?" The question was like a blow
to the gut. More so, because I had let my guard down, trusting that Heero
had warned Chezarina not to ask it. I couldn't remember that I had told
Heero the story but somehow with the other things that I had spilled to
him in my fever dream, I had little doubt that he knew at least the gist
of it. They had apparently not taken Relena into account when they had
hatched this little plot to un-bastardize me. I saw Heero's face go still
and he opened his mouth but I stopped him with a raised hand.
"It's all right, Heero," I told him softly but I could tell
from the look in his eyes that he could see in my face that it wasn't.
Well, it wasn't her fault; they had started this. No one had told Relena
that the question wasn't askable.
I looked up at her and only saw guarded curiosity on her face. "There
were... skirmishes all over L2 at the time." I took a sip from my
juice bulb because my throat was suddenly dry. "Rebels broke into
the church and it was... destroyed when the Federation came after them.
They... were killed during the fighting."
I saw a flicker of what seemed to be true sympathy in her eyes and I was
moved to reach and pat her hand. She flinched and I drew back without
touching; I had forgotten my scars.
"I'm... sorry," she murmured and now she was pushing potatoes
around on her plate. This wasn't going at all as planned, I suspected.
Chezarina looked just freaking miserable and Heero had a rather stricken
expression on his face. I really couldn't read Relena. Something was clenching
tight in my chest.
"You know... " I said after an uncomfortable moment, "Fuzzy-butt
is a decent enough co-pilot but you have to watch him like a hawk or he
veers off course. He's been looking for Ursa Major for the last year."
It was ridiculously lame. On a better day I would have handled things
just fine but after the last dozen hours, it was just a little too much.
Too much raw edged emotion. Too many memories, some old and some not so
damn old. I excused myself and headed for the cockpit to 'relieve' Fuzzy-butt.
I trailed my hand down the wall as I went, letting my fingers brush over
the images of my ghosts. As I reached the cockpit door and passed Solo,
I heard the echo of his voice, "Get yer shit together rat-boy."
"I'm tryin' rat-king," I muttered and went in to the relative
privacy of the cockpit to do just that.
"Minding your manners, Fuzzy-butt?" I murmured and picked the
stupid thing up to hug to my chest. Damn, that had totally blindsided
me. I should have realized that all these paintings and pictures were
going to generate questions. I guess I had just become so focused on the
incriminating new one in the cargo bay that I had kind of forgotten about
all the others. I rubbed my cheek against the well-worn, familiar fur
and had to sigh. Fuzzy-butt and I were old comfort buddies. He wasn't
a much better conversationalist than 'Demon' was but he listened pretty
There were suddenly warm hands on my shoulders and Heero's tender voice
near my ear. "I believe that's my job he's doing, there."
He plucked the thing out of my arms and tossed it back in its seat, turning
me around and tugging me into a fierce embrace. "I'm so sorry love...
it never dawned on us that Relena would actually enter the conversation."
I muffled my laugh against his shoulder. "Well now; doesn't that
just say a whole hell of a lot about our present situation?"
He wrapped me close, molding us together until it felt like he was all
that was holding me up. I closed my eyes and let myself cling. "You
hug way better than Fuzzy ever did," I murmured and pulled a chuckle
out of him.
"I'm so very sorry," he told me for the second time. "I
knew they were dead but I didn't know it was... like that."
I chuckled but there was no humor in it. "It's worse than that, love,"
I whispered and felt the familiar pain welling up. "It was my
He didn't speak, just stroked a hand over my hair and held me close.
"One of these days," I sighed, "when we have some time
alone... maybe I'll get drunk enough to tell you about it."
Oh God, Duo," he said then, his voice thick, "I'm so damn bad
I squeezed him hard where my arms were wrapped around his waist. "You
are not," I told him firmly. "Holding good. Touching
good." I lifted my head from his shoulder to smile at him. "And
"I don't want to hurt you," he said softly and I knew what a
splinter that was under his skin.
I stopped him with a gentle kiss. "Now is not the time for this,
He sighed but nodded his agreement.
I slid reluctantly from his embrace. "I should probably go speak
with Chezarina. She looked... a little upset."
Heero smiled ruefully. "I really feel sorry for the poor woman; I've
had a couple of opportunities to talk with her. She really likes you and
I think she would like to turn Relena across her knee. She really feels
caught in the middle."
I had to stifle a laugh at the mental picture that comment dredged
up and I related to him a little of what Paragon had said to me in the
He snorted and shook his head. "No pressure here." Then he glanced
at his watch and sighed. "Do you mind if I use the radio? I need
to check with Wufei about a few things I left hanging."
I mock glared at him. "Heero, you know damn well you don't have to
ask my permission to use the stupid radio." I turned to leave the
cockpit and glanced back at the last minute to see him settling into the
pilot's seat, "And tell Wufei I said hi."
He grinned over his shoulder at me.
I found Chezarina in the galley cleaning up the dishes and I cursed myself
under my breath.
"Hey, Milady," I grinned as I came into the room, "you
are a guest aboard my ship; it's bad enough you did the cooking... I won't
have you doing the dishes as well."
She flashed me a wan smile. "I don't mind, it gives me something
to do," she murmured, looking at me as though she wanted to say something
I moved in and bodily shifted her away from the sanitizer and ushered
her to sit at the table. "I am not such a cad that I would kidnap
you and then use you as forced labor!" I intoned loftily and continued
with the cleanup.
"Duo... " she ventured after a moment of watching me work, "I
am so sorry... We were only... "
I cut her off with a grin. "I figured out what you two connivers
were up to; you have nothing to apologize for."
"We should have talked to you first, so that it wasn't such a surprise."
She frowned, thinking over the conversation again, I'm sure.
"No." I sighed, just wishing we didn't have to talk about this
any more. "If I'd had time to think about what I was going to say...
it probably would have come out sounding rehearsed and stilted. I'm the
one who should be apologizing; I'm not normally so touchy about it. It's
just been a kind of rough couple of days... "
I put the last of the plates away in the cabinet, locking them into their
restraints; she was quiet until I was done. I turned and leaned against
the counter to face her, giving her a chance to get whatever else she
had on her mind out in the open. Might as well get this the hell over
"Rough?" she asked gently.
I sighed and scrubbed a hand over tired eyes. "Look, Chezarina...
I'm not really sure how in the hell I got us all into this. I never intended
to do that stupid interview." I had no doubt that the woman knew
all the juicy details to this whole sordid affair. "Heero just kept
pushing me... before I knew what my big mouth was doing, I had agreed
under the condition that Relena said it was ok to publish pictures of
that thrice-damned mural." I dropped my hand from my face and stared
down at my scarred palms for a minute. "But... when Relena came onboard
and saw the thing... she attacked it. Said that I had made the children
up... " I stopped and looked up at her. "I just got so damn
She stood up and came to lay a hand on my arm, "I'm so sorry, Duo."
I snorted softly and flashed her the ghost of a grin. "Have I ever
mentioned that my big mouth tends to get me hip deep more often than not?"
She chuckled. "I'll bet it gets you out of trouble as often as it
gets you in," she observed dryly and I had to shake my head.
"She truly is not normally like this," she told me softly then.
"She is a kind and compassionate woman. Her father sheltered her
too much... there are just so many things that she's never known."
"I know that." I sighed, looking back down at my hands. "Heero
cares for her. I trust his judgment... if he believes in her, then I believe
in her." I grinned at her, trying to lighten the mood. "She
just sure as hell doesn't make it easy."
She chuckled, mostly I think, because I wanted her to and very deliberately
reached out to take one of my hands. One of my poor scarred hands. I looked
up into her eyes, startled. She opened her mouth to speak but then there
was a sound in the corridor that told us that we were no longer alone
and she only smiled.
"I think I'm going to go back to our cabin," she said, a little
too cheerfully. "I packed some books and I think I would just like
to sit quietly for awhile and read."
"That sounds damn nice right about now," I agreed and she gave
my hand a last pat before turning and heading toward the door.
I stood for a second and listened to the sound of... nothing. I really
wished I could play my music. When I was out in space on a job, the music
never stopped. Day or night, there was always something playing. I used
it to adjust my mood, I used it to bolster myself when the memories came
hunting, I used it to cover the silence.
Maybe I would just go to my cabin for awhile as well; I still had the
works of Kipling to go through after all.
I don't know what made me glance to the right when I walked out that door.
I really don't. Later, I would not be able to say if I heard something
or just what it was that made my eyes flick in that direction. What I
saw made my blood turn to ice and I was running hard that way even as
my brain engaged and I was yelling, "Relena! Don't touch that!"
I saw her glance over her shoulder, the look on her face hardened and
I knew in an instant that she thought I was just being pissy. She turned
back to the controls to the cargo bay and reached defiantly for the button
to open the door, punching at it savagely. I got to her just two seconds
too damn late. All I could do was grab hold of her and hold on for dear
I don't pressurize the cargo bay if I'm not carrying cargo.
Relena yelped indignantly and struggled against my arm, almost making
me miss my lunge for the zero gravity handhold over our heads. Then the
alarms started to blare and we were suddenly in a wind tunnel as the door
slid open. She screamed and all of a sudden I wasn't so damn repellent
as the tornado winds ripped us from our feet.
I hadn't gotten a good hold of the metal rung that was the only thing
keeping us from being swept into the icy, airless cargo bay, the best
I had managed was to wedge my fist in it. I threw back my head and bellowed
as best I could over the sound of the alarms and the rush of the wind,
"Zarina! Stay in your cabin!"
My hold on Relena was precarious and I was probably bruising the hell
out of her ribs trying to maintain my grip. She got a good solid handful
of my shirt and hung on for dear life, eyes squeezed shut and trying to
scream in the thin air.
"Heero!" I shouted for all I was worth, "the cargo door
overrides! The cargo... " And the door was sliding shut. We dropped
like puppets with the strings cut and I felt something pop in my wrist
as we fell to the floor, and my arm twisted in the trap of the handgrip.
I hissed in pain but it was lost in the sound of the alarms and Relena's
We were sprawled across the deck, tangled together like a couple of discarded
rag dolls. She was sobbing, I was panting, the bulkhead under us was ice
cold and I was willing to bet that it would take the ship's systems hours
to adjust for the loss of air. The alarms had cut out when the door had
slid home and my suddenly pounding head blessed the quiet for a change.
"Duo!" I heard the thunder of Heero's running steps through
the bulkhead under me. "Duo, what the hell happened?"
Relena was trying to lever herself off me and I reached with my good hand
to steady her by an elbow. "Relena, are you all right?" I managed
but she only recoiled from my touch and almost fell on her ass beside
me. I withdrew my hand and sighed. "Zarina! Are you all right?"
I called, even as Heero was throwing himself down beside me on the floor.
"Can I come out now?" I heard her voice, slightly muffled with
"Yes, please." I called again. "Rel... Miss Peacecraft
"Duo?" Heero's voice was damn near shaking, "Are you ok?"
"I'm ok.... " I muttered, just trying to concentrate on getting
my heartbeat back under control. "Is Relena hurt?"
He never even looked at her. "No." His fingers were stroking
over my head, checking to see if I'd hit it. "You're in pain. What's
Chezarina came down the corridor on the run then, gathering Relena up
like a small child. "It's all right now, my little poppet,"
she whispered gently and I swear to God Relena only started to cry harder.
"Are you hurt?"
Relena shook her head and words tried to come out around the broken sobbing,
"I didn't know... I just wanted... "
"What the hell did you think the damn red warning light was?"
Heero snapped at her and I saw her cringe. Guess he figured out what had
happened. Chezarina looked up at Heero, shock clear on her face.
"Heero!" I warned and his eyes came back to find me,
completely dismissing them. I saw the fire of his fierce protectiveness
and it made me shiver. "It was my fault." I told him. "She's
never been aboard anything but the commercial shuttles before. I should
have gone over the safety rules with her."
His anger seemed to deflate a little and his eyes were searching me almost
desperately. "You're hurt," he reiterated. I caught Chezarina's
eye and nodded for her to take Relena back to their cabin. She drew her
away and I waited until they were around the corner before letting myself
relax back onto the floor with a sigh, cradling my throbbing arm to my
chest. "I... think I broke my wrist," I finally told him and
he hissed through clenched teeth.
"It has been something of a sucky day," I told him with a smile
but he would have nothing to do with my joking. Before I quite knew what
he was doing, he had me caught up in his arms, lifting me as though I
were little more than the rag doll I had compared us too earlier.
"Heero... " I scolded, "I fail to see what a broken wrist
has to do with walking."
"Just shut up," he growled and when I let myself, I could feel
the trembling in his arms, could see the thunder of his pulse in his throat.
"It's all right, love," I told him gently. "Just calm down...
it's all over."
He didn't speak again until he had me in our cabin and stretched out on
the bed. "Let me see,' he told me and took my arm in his hands, running
his fingers over the wrist until I winced and bit back a cry.
"That... " I hissed, "would be the place."
He went to get the med-kit and when he came back, he seemed a little more
under control. I kept my comments to myself while he worked; just let
him fuss over me until he seemed to settle some.
"I think it might be fractured," he told me after a bit. "We're
going to have to have it x-rayed as soon as we get to the colony."
I watched him working over it, his hands moving deftly and it took me
back to the war years with a start. We locked eyes for a moment, "Uhmmm...
Nice field dressing," I mumbled and knew that he was in that same
"Heero," I ventured when he had it wrapped and was setting a
cold pack gently around it, "we need to go check on Relena."
"I will... go apologize when I am done with you," he murmured,
not meeting my eyes.
"I really am at fault, Heero," I told him firmly. "I should
have gone over things with them... I let the fact that she doesn't like
me keep me from doing my damn job."
He sighed, putting the finishing touches on my binding. "I should
have handled it," he said. "I know how the two of you feel about
each other." He managed to dredge up a rather sad little smile for
my benefit. "You did task me with the care and feeding of our passengers,
I chuckled for him and raised my good arm. "I wouldn't object overly
much if you felt the need to, you know, hold me for a minute."
I thought he would give me whiplash pulling me up and into his arms; the
icepack fell away, forgotten for the moment.
"Damn it, Duo," he murmured against my hair, "I could just
shake her! What in the hell was she thinking?"
"I imagine she was just going to look at that stupid painting again,"
I told him gently. "She really didn't realize, Heero. She came as
close to getting killed as I did."
That might not have been the best thing to say right at that moment, because
his arms tightened around me almost convulsively, until I found breath
something of a struggle. I awkwardly stroked his hair with my good hand
and let him ride through the fear.
"I love you so much," he whispered against the top of my head
when he could again and I gently kissed the side of his neck, the only
thing his embrace would let me reach.
"I'm all right, love. Everything is going to be ok," I whispered
against his shoulder, suddenly just very damn tired.
He seemed to feel some change in me, maybe he felt the shakiness that
was coming over me because he eased me out of his embrace and lay me back
down on the bed.
"Heero... we have to go check on our passengers," I told him
sternly, even though all I really wanted in that moment was to lie down
and go to sleep for a little while.
He was rummaging in the med-kit again and came up with the pain pills.
I could tell there was just no arguing with him. I swear half his hovering
was generated by the earlier fiasco over lunch; he was still feeling so
guilty about setting me up to have the Maxwell church thing thrown in
my face that it was about to kill him. I dutifully swallowed a couple
of the pills, mostly just to make him feel better.
"I will go check on them," he told me firmly. "You are
going to rest for a bit."
"Heero... " I complained, starting to get frustrated, "it's
a fractured wrist... not a sucking chest wound!"
He frowned down at me and moved to lay his hand on my forehead. "You've
been pushing yourself too hard," he told me. "You're still recovering
your strength... this trip wasn't supposed to be this stressful."
I rolled my eyes and opened my mouth to ask him just how in the hell he
thought a trip that involved locking me and the personable Miss Peacecraft
in the same spaceship was going to not be stressful, when there
came a quiet, "Excuse us?" from the door to the cabin.
We both looked up, startled, and there were Chezarina and Relena in the
doorway. Relena seemed to have gotten her shit together, though her face
was a little puffy and red. Chezarina seemed totally nonplussed; as though
she dealt with crap like this everyday. And who knew, maybe things were
more exciting in the Sanc household than one would have thought.
"Ladies?" I greeted them and tried to lever myself up on one
elbow. Unfortunately, my left side had the sprained/fractured/whateverthehell
wrist and I couldn't manage it. So I had to endure laying there flat on
my back with the three of them hovering over them.
I caught Relena looking at her shoes and discreetly tucked my hands under
"Relen... " I grimaced, I was going to have to stop thinking
of her as Relena to keep myself from making that slip, "Uhmm... Miss
Peacecraft; are you all right?"
She nodded but still seemed to have trouble making herself look up at
either one of us, Chezarina seemed to prod at her mentally somehow and
she stepped a bit further into the room. "I... I am very sorry. I
only meant to go look at the painting again." Her eyes flicked toward
Chezarina for a moment. "Everyone else seems to see something in
it that... " Her voice faded before she got much further with that
thought. "I honestly didn't realize the danger." She turned
her gaze on Heero then and I realized how much his yelling at her must
have stung but he was still in full guardian mode and she got little more
than a glare from him. I jabbed him lightly with my knee but only got
the glare turned on me.
"I'm the one who should be apologizing," I told her, since he
didn't seem about to unbend enough right now to do it. "I live with
these things everyday and I forget that the whole world is not full of
spacers. I should have gone over things with the both of you."
"Are you all right, Duo?" Chezarina asked then and I
quirked her a reassuring grin.
"Depends on whether you ask me or Heero!" I chuckled and got
a glare from my significant other.
"He may have broken his wrist," Heero said sullenly, as though
I'd done it on purpose somehow.
"Well it beat the hell out of the alternative!" I laughed at
him and suddenly realized that I was feeling almost no pain and felt oddly
Chezarina looked a little shocked. "You broke your arm?" she
asked, eyes wide, "What are we going to do?"
I snickered. "Heero already took care of it," I told her, pulling
that arm out from under the blanket to show her his handy-work. "The
five of us got fairly good at patching each other up during the war."
My voice sounded funny and I looked at Heero to find him smiling affectionately
down at me. "You asshole." I blurted. "That wasn't a God
damn pain pill... what the hell did you give me?"
He reached to brush my hair from my face. "One of them was a pain
pill; the second one was a sedative."
"I'm gonna kick your ass," I muttered.
"But not for a couple of hours." And his soft smile was the
last thing I was aware of.
I woke with my wrist throbbing dully, my mouth tasting like cotton and
with an overwhelming desire to knock Heero and Relena's heads together.
The first thing I did was drag my ass out of bed and go to find my old
gloves. My left hand was pretty much swathed in bindings already but the
least I could do was cover the right one as well. My scars were obviously
more than Relena could handle. No point in making the poor girl any more
uncomfortable than she already was. I made a quick trip to the head to
use the facilities and splash a little water on my face, then went to
see what the rest of the world had been up to while I was... sedated.
I had to repress a shiver as I made my way through the silent corridors.
I really wished I dared turn my music on; the damn silence was eating
at me like a cancer. I really hated it.
I went to the cockpit first and checked my course and heading, and found
the message light blinking. I hit the play button and was greeted with
Wufei's highly agitated voice. "Yuy! You damn well better get back
to me and tell me what the hell is going on out there!" There was
some incoherent Chinese cursing then and I had to chuckle. Heero had,
apparently, been in the middle of his call when the alarms had gone off.
I trudged off toward the galley, about the only place left where he might
be holed up, grinning from ear to ear. He was indeed there, working on
dinner with Chezarina. Relena was nowhere in sight and I assumed she was
in her cabin. Maybe Heero sedated her, too.
I cleared my throat as I came into the room and they both looked up in
surprise. Heero frowned slightly. "What are you doing awake?"
"I had to pee." I laughed at his look of consternation. "And
a good thing I did too... or were you planning on letting Wufei swing
in the breeze forever?"
His eyes went wide and he had the good grace to look somewhat horrified.
"Shit," he muttered and ran for the cockpit.
"Tell him I said hello!" I called after him with an evil snicker
and moved toward the fridge to get myself a soda. Best stuff in the world
to cut the crap out of your throat. And the caffeine would help me fight
off the last of the damn drugs. I took a swig and went on around the table
to lean over Chezarina.
"So, Mom;" I teased, "what's for dinner?"
She blushed and looked up at me with a grin, "Meatloaf and fried
potatoes," she told me with a twinkle in her eye and I beamed at
"How'd you know I like meatloaf?"
"You said you did when you were talking to that nice man back at
the shuttle field." She looked terribly pleased with herself.
I grunted and reached to steal a slice of the raw potatoes that they had
sitting in a bowl of water on the counter. She chuckled and I think she
would have smacked at my hand but she remembered my wrist at the last
minute and didn't. Her smile faded a little.
"Please tell me Heero didn't make you peel all these?" I asked,
eyeing the huge bowl.
"Of course not!" she scolded. "He peeled the potatoes while
I mixed up the meatloaf."
"That's good," I grinned. "I was starting to think he was
She shooed me away from the counter so I perched myself on the corner
of the galley table and propped my feet on the nearest chair, idly swinging
it too and fro. "So... "I ventured after a minute, "where's...
She gave me a funny little frown. "Why do you keep calling her that?
You're even on a first name basis with me for crying out loud."
I shrugged and took a swallow of soda. "The last time it came up,
she made it clear that we were not on first name terms and since
then... she hasn't offered otherwise." I raised an eyebrow and she
finally remembered the original question.
I chuckled. "Heero didn't drug her too, did he?"
She shook her head regretfully. "I'm afraid he didn't have to. She
was... very upset."
I sighed and sat the soda bulb down long enough to rub at gritty feeling
eyes. "After dinner we are going to go over some things, I promise."
Heero came back in then, looking suspiciously like he had just been royally
chewed out and I grinned at him. "Oh, I hope he ripped you a new
He flushed darkly and tried to glare at me but it failed miserably since
we both knew he'd screwed up.
Chezarina looked from one of us to the other with a confused expression.
"What is going on?" she finally asked.
"He... " I jerked my thumb at Heero and grinned evilly, "was
on the radio with a friend of ours when all hell broke loose and he left
him sit for... " I glanced at my watch, "the last three hours
thinking that we'd all died a horrible death out here."
"I apologized." Heero glowered at me.
"Well that's a fine thing!" I laughed at him, "You don't
call Wufei back and he gets an apology! You slip me drugs without my knowledge
and I don't get squat!"
He finally unbent a little and quirked a small grin at me. "Maybe
that's because I'm not sorry."
I turned toward Chezarina in mock irritation. "Do you see what I
have to put up with?"
She was grinning at us rather openly and finally chuckled. "Poor
baby; wish I had to put up with someone like him."
That left me blushing rather furiously and somewhat at a loss for words.
Chezarina took pity on me and called Heero over to drain the potatoes.
I shifted to a chair at the other end of the table out of the way and
just sat watching them work with my wrist cradled against my chest. I
propped my feet up in the next chair over and settled my soda in my lap,
listening to their quiet conversation and the totally unfamiliar but oddly
comforting sounds of dinner cooking. The drugs were far from out of my
system and the bit of caffeine I'd ingested wasn't really doing the job
of counteracting them. It didn't take long before I found my eyes trying
to slide shut and damned if I didn't doze off sitting at the table.
to Sunhawk's fic]