Warnings : 1+2 pure fluff, OOC, Heero POV, 2004 alternate Christmas ficlet.
And trust me; there is no profit being made here.
I have always been the type
of person who needs to have a plan of action in any given situation. No
matter how peripheral I am to an operation, if there is a problem, I have
to be doing something. I do not suffer idle waiting well. I want to act.
I want to help. I need to have a hand in making things right.
But what plan can you formulate when your partner is in surgery? What
act can you take while you are waiting for other, more skilled hands to
save his life? How can you help?
The answer is; you can't. You can only wait. And pace. And think about
how things went wrong. And wish that you had been there.
And I suppose you pray.
I'm not the praying kind. I don't think I even believe in God. But Duo
does, and I suppose that was what had led me to the hospital chapel that
Oh, to be honest, I had mostly been looking for a moment of privacy. Had
needed away from the others for awhile. The tension of the waiting was
bad enough without the added burden of small-talk.
But once in that quiet chapel, I could so easily picture Duo there if
it had been one of us in that operating room. Could picture him appealing
to his God on our behalf, and it suddenly seemed like I was somehow letting
him down by not being able to do the same.
So, feeling self-conscious as hell, I found myself on my knees praying
for the first time in my life. Praying to a God I didn't really believe
in. Making promises. Bargaining for the life of my partner the way all
novice petitioners do.
If you spare him, I won't take him for granted any more.
If you spare him, I'll stop ignoring him.
If you spare him... I'll finally tell him how I feel.
And that was how I found myself sitting at Duo Maxwell's bedside on Christmas
eve, watching the shallow, steady, rise and fall of his chest. Listening
to the beep of the heart monitor that told me he was alive. Feeling the
too-cool skin of the lax fingers I held in my own.
The others were long gone, assured by doctors and nurses that Duo wouldn't
wake for a while. But I had promises to keep. A debt to pay to Duo's benevolent
God, and I was determined to stay until I could uphold my end of the bargain.
Afraid, perhaps, that God would turn out to be impatient if I wasn't prompt.
Afraid that it wasn't too late for him to renege.
How quick we humans are to look for a source for both blame and gratitude.
Easier to shrug and point to an invisible being and say, 'he did it'.
How quick we are to rationalize doing what, deep in our hearts, we want
to do anyway. I promised God, after all.
A twitch of the hand in my own, a change in the sound of the monitor,
told me long before I saw any other signs, that Duo wasn't going to sleep
nearly as long as predicted. So I was there, squeezing his hand and hovering
close, when those eyes of his finally drifted open and I was surprised
to see him try out a wan little smile.
'H'ro?' he murmured, all full of pain killers and so fuzzy I wanted to
'Right here,' I told him, and squeezed his hand again. There was a twitch
that told me he tried to respond in kind.
He attempted to look around, but quickly gave it up, letting his eyes
fall closed instead. 'Where...?' he asked muzzily, brow furrowed in an
attempt at concentration.
'Preventers' infirmary,' I told him gently. 'You're going to be ok.' I
could see him still thinking and I told him the things I would want to
know, were I in his place. 'The mission was a success. Your team got the
hostages out. You were in surgery almost six hours. It's still Friday
The frown cleared away and he blinked his eyes open again, looking for
me. 'Chr'mas eve,' he managed after a moment. 'Aren't you... supposed
to be... at 'Lena's party?'
I shook my head and wrapped his hand in both of mine. 'I think she'll
He tried a smile, his eyes meeting mine for a moment. 'You'll... miss
I snorted and needed to kiss the knuckles I held in my hand. 'I already
got the only thing I needed,' I told him. I could see him trying to make
sense of me, watching me through those heavy-lidded eyes. It was probably
the best opening I was going to get, and with the presence of Duo's God
hovering somewhere over me, I leaned down to whisper softly, 'I got what
I asked for the minute they brought you out of surgery alive. Another
chance to tell you... I love you.'
It was oddly liberating to have blurted that out. Liberating and scary
as hell. I waited, completely unaware that I was holding my breath, for
some sort of reaction.
It took him a long moment of blinking at me, before he smiled and said,
'I thought you said... it wasn't Christmas yet?'
'Close enough,' I managed around the lump in my throat. 'Now you should
rest; I'll be here.'
He let his eyes close again, his fingers curling more comfortably in my
hand, but then that little frown of thought was back. 'H'ro?' he asked,
voice already slurring into sleep. 'Tell me 'gain tomorrow? 'Fraid I dreamed
I couldn't help a chuckle that was so full of relief it bordered on...
something else. 'Every day from now on,' I whispered.
I waited until his breathing had evened out before I cast a glance toward
the ceiling, and softly said, 'Thank you.'
You know... just to be on the safe side.
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