9-8-2002

TITLE: I Love You, In Sickness and In Health
BY: Dev-Aki Basaa
Part Two of the 'I Love You' series

PAIRING: 1x2
RATING: PG
CATEGORY: yaoi, angst
FEEDBACK: oh yes, please!
dev_aki_jediknight@yahoo.com
ARCHIVE: DHML, GW Addiction, Shinigami & Wing
WARNING: more angst, profanity
DISCLAIMER: Bandai and Sunrise own all. I'm just borrowing the boys and their world. The story, however, is mine.
SUMMARY: Duo is reunited with Heero, but it's not the reunion he'd hoped for.
NOTES: Takes place post EW, direct sequel to 'I Love You, Goodbye' http://www.1x2x1.org/fiction/dev_aki_basaa/i_love_you_goodbye.htm
AUTHOR NOTES: This one is kinda short. The next one will make up for that ^_^ Many, many thanks to Spinfrog for the 'on the spot' help ^__^ Thanks to NurseMom for the medical info. Thanks to Sakti for the beta!

 

~*~

It's not that I didn't try to track him down. Trust me, I did. Even while on leave, I had the full cooperation and disposal of every resource Preventers' had - and that's pretty damn considerable, let me tell you. I had dear, close friends who were willing to follow leads with me and would do database searches during their breaks at work. One night, I had Trowa over for dinner and we spent the entire meal brainstorming aliases Heero might use so Trowa could search them when he was at the office the next day. I did everything I could, with every bit of help I could find, but he's Heero. If he didn't want to be found, then you couldn't find him.

And what occurred to me early on is that even if I did find him and had that moment to say just the right thing that would bring him home - have that brief poignant moment to tell him everything he needed to hear, I had no idea what I would say. It'd all been said before he left. It's not as if I can argue logic with him, it didn't work before and you can't fight illogical thoughts with logic. It doesn't work; I tried. You can't fight fears that are irrational. You can't tell someone they're being irrational and expect them to listen to you. I found that out too. So what if I did find him, what would I even do with the information? I asked myself this every time I started a new search or checked in with my friends' progress. What did I think I might do if I did find him?

Well, I found myself faced with the chance to decide, in the worst way possible.

Wufei, in his ever practical and morbid way, had started searching John Does on the side. I didn't ask him to, but then, I never would have even considered such a thing. He didn't tell me what he'd found himself - he already knew he was in the doghouse with me - he gave the information to Quatre, to give to me. That was probably just as well. I could see myself laying into him if he'd just up and said, by the way, I've toyed with the idea that Heero is dead or seriously injured and, here, I even found some real possible leads. I definitely would have wrung his neck then, just out of sheer devastation. Wufei lacks tact. Quatre, on the other hand, presented me with the info in a very non-threatening way. We sat at my condo and opened Wufei's simple white envelope together - an innocuous looking thing to be holding my ruin or salvation, you know? Anyway, he'd found three that met whatever criteria he'd used to isolate them as possibly being Heero. Two were at hospitals; one was dead.

Call me weird, but I started with the dead one.

It wasn't him. Thank every God there is! That was frankly the scariest moment in my life, in that cold room, waiting for the tech to pull back the white sheet and reveal...a dead man I didn't know. I could have passed out; I'd been so relieved. See, I hadn't called first or anything; I went straight to the morgue in the Denmark-4A region that had the poor bastard and looked for myself. It was just a day trip. I wouldn't have trusted anyone but myself in this matter, anyway. And neither did I take Quatre's offer to come with me. I had decided that if I was going to break down and bawl like a baby, I wanted to do it alone.

So, it wasn't any different when I checked out the next John Doe. Despite Trowa's generous offer to take some sick time and come with me, I went alone to Mexico-2C region and Cabeza Regional Hospital to investigate the next possibility.

It wasn't him either. You know why? Because it's always the last place you look. Isn't that always the way it is?

A huge part of me really believed these would all end up being dead-ends - excuse the expression. C'mon! Heero wasn't dead or hurt - fuck, he was Heero! It took the self-destruct button on Wing to even put him out of commission for a few months, why would he leave me and then go get himself tossed into a hospital bed? But, you know, when I arrived at St. Luke Mercy on L3 and asked the receptionist about checking on John Does, I suddenly knew. As she directed me to Social Services - down the hall and to the right - I was already numb. As the services director behind the desk gave me some empty spiel about their unidentified persons tracking procedure, I knew what I would find when she finally took me to the hospital room.

I just about collapsed at the sight of him. Bandages wrapped around his forehead, arms and hands (and, I later learned, his back and lower legs as well), tucked neatly into a bed, lying there, with tubes and monitors and not even twitching.

My Heero. My fucking hero! While he's off reflecting on his life and mine, leaving me lost behind, probably strolling the streets in contemplation, what does he do? He runs into a burning building and saves children! Orphan children, no less, from a foster care group home tuned inferno. Jesus Christ! I didn't know if I wanted to kiss him or kill him.

I didn't get the chance to do either right away, though. There was identification procedure to be carried through and it needed to be put in immediate motion, or, at least, that's what she told me - I'm sure it had everything to do with clarifying who would be paying for his mounting medical bill. I was in something of a fog, myself; mind spinning with the sight of Heero bathed in white, looking as dead as the man who'd lain under that sheet back in Denmark.

With my status as a Preventer and fellow colleague, I was able to officially identify Heero, but his living will papers were filed under Une, as our direct supervisor and Fascist Czar. Okay, the last bit wasn't fair, but see, from what I understand, Wufei tried to get Une to sign over those rights to me, but she wouldn't. Why? Because Heero left me, so she didn't know if having me in charge of his care would have really been what Heero wanted. Damn that bitch, but she was right. I wasn't happy about it, but she had a fucking point. Please excuse my bitterness. So, instead she sent Sally, with her medic background, as a liaison between the doctors on L3 and herself, stuck on Earth with a post she couldn’t leave, even for this. That was a comfort, because I knew Sally would involve me in her end of the decision making process.

The Social Services director handled all this, really. I didn't have anything to do with it. She called Preventers, talked with Une and set up Sally as the go-between. I just sat there, blank as a sheet of paper, even as she informed me of what had transpired while she was on the phone and I was still mentally back in that hospital room. Once she'd finished, she must have noticed the way nothing she said seemed to register with me, because she then asked me if I had any questions. I asked the only question on my mind.

"Can I go back and see him?"

The doctor was in the room when we arrived and he seemed very eager to talk with me, being the first person to visit in the month Heero had been with them. A month. Almost makes me wish Wufei had been even more morbid.

So, the doctor engaged me, taking me aside and giving me the run down on Heero's condition.

He had second and third degree burns over forty percent of his body, but showing impressive recovery. He was not, initially expected to survive. Don’t think that just because you thought you've seen the worst, that someone can't come along and tell you something that strikes you like a punch to the gut. The prognosis was much improved, he assured me, even though there was still risk of infection and his lungs were weak. His interval times off the respirator showed signs of increasing ability to breathe on his own. There was significant heat-inhalation damage to his vocal cords, but because he'd been intibated since his arrival to the ER, it wouldn't be until he was off the respirator completely, the tube down his throat removed, before they'd know more about the condition of his vocal cords. The doctor didn't seem worried about him recovering full use of his voice, though. I asked if he woke at all and the doctor said that he did wake occasionally, but with the morphine drip for the considerable pain, he was rarely awake for long. That’s why he was unable to identify himself for them – barely conscious and couldn’t speak.

Shit.

The doctor commented that he had suspected Heero was some kind of advanced government official. That, or a really excellent criminal who’d managed to wipe all records of himself – including fingerprints – thus confounding the local police when the hospital had used them in their attempt at identification. I had to laugh at that. Honestly, Heero could have gone either way – he had the skill to be a criminal mastermind. But, no, I told the doc, his first suspicion was right. With the really high-level agents, Preventers wiped the records themselves. For security purposes. It was a tad weird for Trowa and me – I don’t know if Heero ever gave it a second thought – but, for us, it was as if we’d never existed. Ever. There was no record of us before the war, our war identities were top secret, and now, so we were. Only the people in our lives made us real – and Heero had made me feel more real and alive than anyone else in my life. And that included Deathscythe, if you can believe it.

Though, alive was hardly what I was feeling now. Numb, maybe.

...maybe.

The doctor then asked me if Heero had any family and I didn't hesitate. I told him the truth.

I am his family.

The doctor did seem to chew on that information for a moment, and maybe for the first time took in the desperate way I kept looking over at Heero, lying on the bed, willing myself to be there at his bedside.

He's very lucky to be alive, the doctor added and I certainly couldn’t disagree with that. Hey, he's Heero, right? His own foolhardiness and heroics are about the only things to slow him down.

I mean, not even I could slow him down from marching out the door, right?

Fuck. Where did that come from?

Soon enough, though, the doctor was mumbling something about seeing me on his next round, giving a nod as a good bye and finally granting me the peace I'd been dying for.

I was at Heero's bedside in a flash.

Funny the things you notice. I know I've seen Heero at his most tired - be it after a battle in the war, while in the hospital when he allowed himself to be ever so briefly cared for after the whole Marimeia incident, or following a full weekend of screwing almost non-stop. Yeah, saw that last one a lot. However, I never saw him look so outwardly tired. He had dark circles under his eyes, sallow skin, sunken cheeks - he looked so foreign. It was almost as if he was wearing make-up for that Halloween party Quatre threw last year and he refused to go as anything but himself. Kinda defeated the purpose of a costume party, I'd told him, but he wouldn't bend - never mind he suggested I go in leather chaps and a vest. Only. Pervert. My beautiful pervert.

I cried then, laid my head down on his pillow and cried my eyes out. Okay, so I wasn't so numb.

I'd found him. I'd lost him, almost lost him for good, found him again and didn't even know if I'd still get him back after all this.

Just like what Une said: who really knew what Heero wanted anymore.

I sure didn't.

And I sure as hell didn't know if it was me.

~**~

to be continued...