4-02-2001

disclaimer: the boys aren't mine. i just manipulate them for my own personal enjoyment.
title: momentary lapse of reason
rating: *this fic is not yet rated*
author: jana
archive: shinigami & wing
feedback: it's necessary to live...so, yes!
warnings for entire fic: shounen-ai/yaoi, angst, duo/heero torture, language, small lemon-ish spots(?), AU (AC 200)
spoilers: none
pairings: odd....can't explain but it involves heero and duo and 3X4 implied.
notes: another one that came to me in dreamscape. yes, i know, i have weird dreams. you should see what happens after i eat pepperoni pizza ^_~

//heero's thoughts//
:: duo's thoughts ::

 

Momentary Lapse of Reason
Part 6

Heero rose early on Saturday morning and rushing through his morning routine, left the others still asleep and drove downtown. Unfortunately, his hopes of finding his friend conscious upon his arrival this morning were to remain unrealized.

Standing beside the bed, Heero looked down at Duo. His eyes were closed and Heero could see his chest rising and falling under the thin blankets as he slept. Taking Duo's hand in his, Heero called his name softly. Caressing Duo's cheek with his other hand, Heero called again. "Duo."

Hearing no response, he caught the attention of the nurse tending to a patient in the bed beside Duo's. "Excuse me." he interrupted, the young woman turning to face him. "Could you please tell me if Mr. Maxwell has regained consciousness yet?"

Smiling, the dark-haired young woman took Duo's chart in hand, rifling though a few pages before looking back up at Heero. "They are keeping him sedated." Looking back down, she continued. "For a few more days from what it says here. Do you wish to speak with the doctor about it?" she asked, looking back up at Heero.

Heero shook his head. "No." he replied, "Thank you."

It wasn't that uncommon in cases like Duo's to keep the patient heavily sedated for extended periods of time. Heero took comfort in the fact that Duo was not in any pain, though he desired nothing more than to see those amethyst eyes looking up at him.

++++++

It was 7:15am on Monday and Heero once again found himself standing at Duo's bedside.

He hated the fact that he was only permitted to visit with him for 10 minutes at a time, the nurses in the Intensive Care Unit rarely offering him more time despite his heartfelt requests.

There really wasn't anything he could do for his friend, though he still he felt an overwhelming need to be with him, even if Duo was unaware of his presence. And so he stood beside him, holding Duo's hand tightly in both in his, tearfully pleading with him to come back.

It had become a ritual.

++++++++

Heero entered the office after his brief visit with Duo and as had been discussed over the weekend, set about clearing up any loose ends on the several open cases the two had been working on. The seemingly simple task was frustrating Heero and his mind was unable to focus on it as he watched the clock, his thoughts only on returning to see Duo at lunchtime.

Glancing up at the large pile of manila folders at the top of his desk, Heero sighed. This was taking him far longer than he had anticipated. Deciding to throwing himself wholly into the task, Heero barely noticed the time pass.

"Working late tonight?" Trowa asked from the doorway.

Heero looked up at the clock; surprised it was several minutes after quitting time. "No." he replied standing. Grabbing his jacket, Heero slipped his arms into it and made his way to the rooms exit.

+++++++

The four pilots entered the hospital, each taking a turn visiting their friend.

"He has quite a bit more color tonight." Quatre smiled as he exited Duo's room, motioning for Heero to enter.

The emotional anguish that being with Duo caused him, deterred Heero from his usual actions and he merely stood at the foot of his bed tonight. The thought of letting the others see him in such a vulnerable state made Heero uncomfortable and was something he would not allow.

Glancing down, Heero picked up the chart that hung from a hook at the foot of the bed and began reading through it. Confused, yet pleased by what he saw, Heero motioned one of the nurses over.

Pointing down at the words scribbled in red at the bottom of the page, Heero turned toward her "Is this right?" he asked.

She nodded. "Yes, he is being transferred out of Intensive Care on Thursday provided he continues improving."

"Improving?" Heero asked, clearly confused.

"Yes, his vital signs are all good. While he hasn't regained consciousness yet, he is out of immediate danger." she replied.

Heero nodded. "Thank you."

Replacing the clipboard to its home, Heero walked around the bed to stand beside Duo. "Come on, Duo, snap out of it." he whispered. Taking Duo's hand in his, Heero squeezed it lightly before releasing it. "See you in the morning." he whispered and made his way to the waiting area.

++++++

The fact that Duo had yet to awaken caused more than its share of concern amongst the four. The myriad of possibilities his current coma brought about was frightening.

"They are transferring him to a regular room on Thursday." Heero informed the others.

"I suppose that's a good sign." Trowa replied.

"It's little comfort." Heero returned. He knew that Trowa's statement injected a much needed dose of optimism, as small as it was, yet he was unable to take solace in his words.

Trowa frowned at Heero's retort and headed for the Intensive Care Unit, the remaining three taking a seat in the corner of the small room.

"Have you spoken with Dr. Skinert about it yet, Heero?" Wufei asked.

"No, she is in surgery. I'll talk with her about it first thing in the morning." Heero replied.

"Heero?" Quatre started, "I think it would be a good idea if we put Duo in a private room. I know the insurance won't cover it, but I would be more than happy to take on the additional expense."

"I think that's a good idea, Quatre." Wufei answered.

Heero nodded in agreement, appreciative of Quatre's generosity, but currently unable to express his thanks.

++++++++

Duo's condition remained, for the most part, unchanged over the next few days. He had been removed from most of the cumbersome equipment; yet lie quietly trapped in his own world.

Heero continued his vigil of remaining beside Duo whenever possible. His morning and afternoon visits during the week were the ones he found the most difficult.

Alone with Duo and knowing the others were not waiting outside, Heero gave in to the incredible anguish he was experiencing and in his pleas to the comatose young man, Heero held nothing back. Those visits were the most painful for him, leaving the former Wing pilot emotionally drained and physically shaken.

+++++++

By Wednesday afternoon, Heero had succeeded in bringing to a close most of the investigations the two had been working on. Detailed histories of the remaining open files in hand, he made his way into Lady Une's office.

Crossing the office to stand before his boss, Heero accepted her outstretched hand. "I appreciate your taking the time to see me on such short notice." he offered, taking a seat beside her. "I don't know if you've be informed that Duo Maxwell was involved in an accident on Friday." he started.

Lade Une nodded and lowered her head. She had been made aware of Duo's situation and was more than prepared for Heero's visit. "Yes, Heero, I was sorry to hear of it. Have there been any improvements in his condition?" she asked.

Heero shook his head. "That is the reason I'm here. I've closed nearly all of the cases we were working on. These are the ones that are still ongoing." he commented, handing the small stack of manila folders to her. "I am here to request some time off."

"Two weeks?" she asked, looking over at him.

Heero nodded. "Thank you." and stood to leave.

"Take good care of him, Heero." she smiled. "And if you need anything..."

"Hai." Heero returned, exiting the office.

+++++++++

Heero returned to his office and packed up the few personal items of his and Duo's that remained. Taking the elevator down to the third floor, he entered Quatre and Trowa's office.

"How did things go with Une?" Trowa asked.

"Fine. I've off for two weeks." Heero replied "I'm going to the hospital now. I'll see you back at the house."

"Say hello to Duo for us." Quatre smiled. "And tell him we'll be by later tonight, okay?"

Heero nodded. He always brought Duo their wishes, saddened that the whispered words were never heard.

 

Momentary Lapse of Reason
Part 7

Wednesday afternoon and evening saw Duo's condition unchanged. Heero went straight to his room after their nightly visit, anxious for Thursday morning when Duo would be transferred to a private room, allowing him to spend the entire day at his bedside.

+++++++

6 a.m. Heero rose and showering quickly, headed down to the kitchen for breakfast.

Quatre smiled as he entered the room. "You're up early."

Heero poured himself a cup of coffee and sat in his usual seat. "I'm going to rent a car and head over to the hospital to make sure the room transfer goes smoothly."

"Good idea." Quatre replied. "Call us when he is settled in, okay?"

"Or if anything changes." Wufei added.

"I'll keep in touch." Heero replied, rising from his chair.

+++++++

Entering the Intensive Care Unit at 8:30, Heero was pleased to find several orderlies surrounding Duo's bed, preparing him to be moved.

"Dr. Skinert." Heero called.

The redhead turned upon hearing her and name smiled at Heero as she made her way across the room. "You're here bright and early today. They are just getting ready to bring him down the hall."

"I see that. Any change?" Heero asked.

She shook her head, casting her eyes downward at the look of disappointment on the young man's face. "Are you going to be visiting with him this morning?" she asked.

Heero nodded. "I'll be staying with him all day. Is there anything I can do, Dr. Skinert?"

"Just talk to him, let him know you are there, perhaps read to him." she offered. "None of it scientifically based, of course, but I've seen some amazing results, Mr. Yuy."

"Please.... call me Heero." he told her "And thank you for the suggestions, Doctor. I'll do whatever I can."

"I know you will, Heero. He is lucky to have a friend such as yourself." She smiled. "I'll check in on you both later."

Heero nodded and returned his attention back to where Duo was being hoisted from one bed to the other. Moving out into the hallway, Heero watched the gurney being rolled from Intensive Care and followed it through the large green doors.

+++++++

Standing in the doorway as the two young men settled Duo in, Heero nodded his acknowledgment in their direction as they left the room. Letting out a huge sigh, he entered the room and stood beside the bed, looking down at Duo.

"I don't know why they chose me to do this. Everyone knows I'm lousy at making conversation...... you more than anyone, eh, Duo?" Heero told him. His gaze now concentrating on Duo's face, Heero moved closer, brushing aside a few stray hairs, "I hope you're fighting to come back. You have to fight." He could imagine Duo doing nothing less, the former Deathscythe pilot having the reputation of being the most tenacious of the group. Looking down at his still comrade, Heero spoke softly. "We miss the sound of your voice. I know that sounds strange coming from me, but we really do... all of us.... especially me, Duo."

Letting out a soft sigh, Heero crossed the room and brought a chair back with him, placing it a few feet from the bed. Sitting, he crossed his legs and made a mental note to bring something to occupy his time tomorrow.

+++++++

Dr. Skinert's voice woke Heero with a start. "So, how is our patient doing this afternoon?"

"Same." Heero replied, making his way to her side.

He watched her check the output on several of the various machines surrounding the and make an adjustment to his IV. "Why don't you go down and get something to eat before the cafeteria stops serving lunch?" she asked. "Someone will be here with him for the next hour or so." she added, noting the look of apprehension of his face.

Heero looked down at his watch and nodded.... it was 2:00.

Stopping by the gift shop before returning to the room, Heero picked up a copy of Time Magazine.

As Dr. Skinert had assured him, there was a lab technician drawing blood when he arrived back in the room. He sat quietly and watched, wondering whether Duo would complain about the procedure if he were awake. He smiled as he envisioned his braided friend vocalizing his objections to being prodded by yet another needle.

+++++++

Duo's superficial wounds were healing nicely, the numerous cuts, scrapes and bruises having faded to nothing more than a darkened shadow on his pale skin. His entire right arm and lower left leg remained encased within their plaster casts, the extent of the outwardly visible damage to his limbs still concealed. A small portion of the huge scar of his forehead was visible, the rest hidden beneath the gauze that still covered the crown of his head. It was this one Heero was certain would concern Duo the most.

+++++++

Quatre, Trowa and Wufei entered the hospital room at 6:30 and Heero stood to greet them.

"Any change?" Wufei asked as he made his way across the room.

It had become a standard question..... which Heero woefully answered with his standard response.

+++++++

Heero rose later than normal on Monday morning, waking to find the house usually quiet. Rising enough to peer over at the alarm clock, Heero eased himself back down onto the bed. It was 8:00 and the others had already left for the office, leaving the solemn young man alone with his thoughts.

Duo's condition remained unchanged through the weekend and while he tried to remain outwardly optimistic, Heero's spirits were steadily declining. It had been 9 days since the accident and each day that passed with Duo still unconscious brought with it more concerns, the implications of him remaining in a coma for a prolonged period weighing heavily on all of their minds.

Heero was slowly becoming accustomed to his newfound role as companion to his fallen partner, but the days still dragged on as he fought to keep the one sided conversations going. Heero found himself at a loss of subjects to talk about; the fact that he knew so little about Duo's interests was proving to be a major stumbling block.

//How can you know someone for 6 years and know so little about who they really are?//

That train of thought carried Heero through his morning shower. For now, he would be able to pass the time by continuing to read to Duo as he had been for a good portion of the time he now spent at his side. As unsettling as he found it, the past several days provided Heero with a glimpse of how truly unprepared he was for the upcoming task.

The greater part of his hesitation in agreeing to care for their friend in the first place was all the time he would be spending with Duo and how he intended to fill it. Heero was more than capable to taking care of Duo's physical needs, their years spent in close quarters during the war and the injuries the two sustained during their reluctantly misspent youth had seen to that.

While Heero continued to view it a weakness, Duo more than any of the five seemed to thrive on human interaction. The concept that a person's happiness and well-being was so strongly dependent on those around them was foreign and more importantly, inconceivable to Heero.

Realizing that it was far to late to start trying to gain an understanding of what made some one like Duo tick, Heero decided that he would speak with others tonight about his concerns and headed for the hospital.

++++++

He made his way from the parking lot and through the hospital halls to Duo's room on autopilot. Heero had taken the journey enough times now that he needed to give his steps no thought, focusing instead on what, if anything, he could do differently today in an attempt to rouse Duo from his deep sleep.

The matter needed not concern him.

Rounding the final turn of the near 10-minute journey, Heero paused, his jaw slackening; leaving his mouth hanging open as he stood frozen just inside the doorway. One hand gripped the cool metal doorframe as his eyes met with those of his friend for the first time in over a week.

"Duo."

The bed's occupant stared up at the figure poised at the room's entrance.

"It's about damn time they sent someone in. I've been calling for help for the last 15 minutes." he responded........ not an ounce of recognition registering in his huge violet eyes.

 

Momentary Lapse of Reason
Part 8

The young man shifted his weight to move toward the edge of his bed and brought himself to a semi-seated position, gripping tightly at the metal rails that prevented him from reaching his intended goal.

"Do you plan on helping me or are you just going to stand there?" he asked curtly.

Crossing the room, Heero bent to release the locks holding the guardrail in place. Lowering the metal gate, Heero offered his hand to the injured young man, unable to meet his glance.

"Woah! What exactly do you think you're doing?" a stern warning came.

Heero paused and the two looked up, the harsh voice startling them.

Dr. Skinert made her way across the room and Heero stepped back and away, allowing her to stand beside Duo. Pushing him gently back to lie down, Dr. Skinert brought his leg up, lowering it back down onto the mattress. "I'm glad to see you've woken up..." she started, "but I don't think you're ready to get out of bed just yet."

Heero stood quietly several feet from the bed, observing the interaction between Doctor and patient. The two voices eventually faded into background noise and Heero stepped backward, both hands holding onto the seat of the chair as he lowered himself down onto it.

Initially thrilled to find that Duo had woken, Heero quickly found himself answering his friend's need for assistance. The shock of that was now wearing off and Heero found it being replaced by something he found to be absolutely terrifying. Duo had not an inkling of who he was.

++++++

Heero had no idea of how long he had been sitting there, barely acknowledging the rooms flurry of activity as he remained lost in his thoughts. He had done some research and he knew that the chance of Duo awakening in this state was a strong possibility. It did nothing however to soften the blow.

He looked up as a warm hand gripped his shoulder. "Heero?"

Dr. Skinert's voice was soft and Heero looked beyond her to focus briefly on Duo before looking up at her. There were two nurses surrounding the bed, each busy with a different task as they tended to Duo's needs. Easily reading the confusion and sadness in the young man's blue eyes, Dr. Skinert took Heero's hand and pulling him upright, wrapped her arm around his waist and guided him from the room.

++++++

Seated once again across the huge desk from the red-haired Doctor, Heero dropped his hands into his lap and looked up toward her. "What now?" he asked.

There were always times when being a physician was emotionally challenging. Deep blue eyes looked expectantly up at her and Dr. Skinert inwardly recoiled at the pain she found within them. While this was certainly not the worst news she had delivered, her heart went out to the handsome young man seated before her.

"It's medically known as retrograde amnesia...." she began, Heero's nod allowing her to dispense with any further technical explanation of his friends condition. "It's not a surprising side effect of the head trauma he received. I realize that doesn't make this any easier on you or your friends, Heero."

"How long?" Heero asked.

"That varies. I am fairly confident that Duo will fully regain his memory. It's difficult to say how long..a few months perhaps. It will be a slow process, certain events triggering his recall of the past." she told him.

"When can I take him home?"

Dr. Skinert looked up at Heero, his question somewhat surprising her. "I understand that you are anxious to help your friend regain his memory and his health, but I think it would be best for him to remain here for a while." Heero's confusion clearly visible, she continued "It's going to take time for you to reestablish some sort a relationship with him... to regain his friendship and trust."

Heero nodded as she spoke, the scenario becoming clearer. "How do you go about restoring someone's memory in a situation like this?"

"That depends." She looked up at him smiling. "I think in this case, it would be a good idea for you to approach him, talk with him and see how he reacts to you. He will make it clear if he wishes you to start feeding him information."

Her tone became a bit more serious as she watched Heero's reactions. "Heero...there is a possibility that Duo might not want you to be the one to give him the information he requires. It may be that one of your other friends might be more suited to the task... that Duo might feel more comfortable taking his memories from them."

Heero looked at up at her. "Why would you say that?"

"I've seen it happen before. The relationship you had with Duo before has no bearing on how he feels about you now. He is not the same person. Try not to take it personally if he rejects your offer of friendship.... okay?"

Heero sighed. He didn't like her response, but he could certainly see how it was entirely possible. "Is that all? I should just go in there and talk with him?"

"Yes. And please keep in mind that Duo is working with a clean slate, Heero. There is no past for the two of you. Do you understand?" she asked.

Heero nodded.

Dr. Skinert had politely excused herself from the room shortly after their discussion ended; leaving Heero alone to digest the wealth of information she had just presented him with.

//Do you understand?// Heero's eyes shut tight as he replayed the Doctor's words, his expression shifting to a grimace.

Heero not only understood, he fully acknowledged this as the unprecedented second opportunity of a lifetime to make Duo Maxwell his.

 

Momentary Lapse of Reason
Part 9

Heero sighed deeply and reclined back further into the chair. "What the hell am I thinking?"

The nine days that passed since Duo's accident had taken their toll on Heero. While he was certainly not the only one affected by the events, he carried the additional weight of his love for their braided friend, the fact that he had kept his emotions to himself only served to make matters worse. He knew there was no way he could admit to his friends now that he was in love with Duo. Had they known, had he told them or even hinted at it, he wouldn't have to hide from them just how much he was truly hurting.

If only he had told Duo.

Heero choked back his tears as he thought about the last four years.

He had put both himself and Duo through such needless emotional pain. //Why did it have to take something like this to make me fully comprehend what I've done?// He loved Duo and he knew that Duo returned his feelings...... or at least that he used to.

Growing weary as he rehashed the past, the what if's having no real pertinence; Heero refocused his attention on the immediate issue.

He was being given a gift...... pure and simple. A gift that had come via the way of the man he loved nearly losing his life. It was an opportunity to make up for everything he had managed to screw up between him and Duo. A chance to start at the beginning again and not have to apologize for all of the things he had said, all the things he had done...... not to have to beg for Duo's forgiveness. Heero wasn't sure he could bring himself to ask this of him..... he wasn't certain that he deserved absolution. [2]

Heero was disgusted by his own thoughts. He tensed as the feeling of desperation began to rise within him, but he was unable to steer himself away........

//God forgive me, Duo.//

+++++++

Looking down at his watch, Heero made his way to the nearest payphone. It was 11:50 and Heero was glad he would be able to catch the others before they left for lunch.

Depositing several coins, Heero dialed.

"Preventer's"

"Quatre Winner"

"One moment, please."

Heero shifted nervously from one foot to the other as the phone in Quatre's office rang, rehearsing his part of the upcoming bittersweet conversation.

"Quatre Winner."

"Quatre, it's Heero. Duo is awake." He began.

Quatre's voice rose a few octaves "That's great, Heero!!!" he replied, Heero smiled, he could visualize the joy on his friend's face. "Trowa, Duo came out of his coma!!!"

"Quatre...." Heero called into the phone with no response, the blonde obviously still exchanging words about the news with his lover. "Quatre!" Heero called again more loudly.

"Sorry, Heero, I was just telling Trowa and he went to get Wufei. This is such wonderful news! How is he feeling, Heero? Did you tell him how much we've missed him and...."

"Quatre..." Heero interrupted him, the blonde rambling as he got further caught up in the excitement the news brought. "There is something else I need tell you." Heero began, Quatre immediately noting the change of tone in his friend's voice.

"What, Heero? What's wrong?"

"Duo has lost his memory. The doctor say's it's only temporary... a side-effect of the head trauma he suffered."

There was dead silence on the other end of the line. "Are you still there, Quatre?" Heero asked.

"Yes, Heero. I'm still here." came the response, Quatre's spoke softly, his voice low. "Have you seen him yet? Did you talk to him?"

"Hai. I've seen him." Heero did not try to hide the sadness their initial interaction had caused him. "We haven't spoken yet. I'm on my way there now."

"We'll be there at 6:00. Anything you want us to bring, Heero?" Quatre asked.

"No....just yourselves." Heero replied, his voice a bit sorrowful. Having shared the news, Heero wished for the comfort he knew only his three friends could provide.

"Do you want us to come now, Heero? We can be there in an hour." Quatre asked.

Heero thought for a moment, still hoping the Doctor's warning of the possibility of Duo rejecting him would not come to pass. "No. I'm fine. 6:00 is perfect. He's in room 102. I'll see you then."

Hanging up the phone, Heero headed toward Duo's room.

+++++++++++

Uneasy about the upcoming encounter as he made his way down the hall, Heero took several deep breaths before he entered Duo's room. There were no longer nurses scurrying around the bed, as Heero would have preferred, hopeful their presence would serve to significantly diminish his entrance.

Heero looked over at the young man seated in the bed across the room.

"So. You must be Heero." Duo spoke softly as he stepped inside. "Dr. Skinert mentioned that you would be back soon." he added.

Heero stepped closer to the bed, offering his hand to his charge. "Yes, that would be me." he replied, remaining silent beside the bed after their handshake had concluded.

"Have a seat, Heero." Duo told his guest, his hand motioning toward the small metal chair at his bedside.

Heero sat and looked up at the young man who was now propped up into a seated position, several pillows between him and the metal headboard. "Did Dr. Skinert tell you about the accident you were involved in?"

Duo nodded. "Yes, she and I had a long talk." Duo lowered his eyes. "I pretty much understand what happened…. and why I have no memories."

There was no way for Heero to know what the young man before him was feeling, but he tried to imagine himself in his place for a few seconds. The fact that he had chosen to lead a solitary life in vivid contrast to his braided friend's choice of lifestyle, in no way deflected the wide spectrum of emotions he sensed a situation like this might bring about. Duo was incapable of drawing even the smallest comfort from his past experiences. It seemed a minimal requirement….. everyone needed to be able to rely on at least that one rudimentary support….. it was as vital as air.

Heero watched Duo carefully as he spoke. "I'm here to help you in what ever way I can." Heero offered. He looked up to find mournful violet eyes bound to him, hanging on his every word. "I'm not certain where to begin. I guess we need to start of with some basics."

Duo looked expectantly toward him as Heero paused, still in silent thought. "Yes...please…" Duo asked, his voice trembling as his eyes began to fill with tears.

Swallowing the unexpected lump in his throat, Heero directed his gaze away from the pain in Duo's beautiful eyes.

"Your name is Duo Maxwell…….."

 

Momentary Lapse of Reason
Part 10

The first several hours of the initial encounter found Heero laying a brief foundation for as much as he could of Duo's recent past. The young man seemed pleased as he spoke, several times smiling at the comments Heero interjected into the otherwise boring monologue, giving Duo a clearer picture of who Heero was as well.

Trying not to flood Duo with too much information, Heero kept his tales vague, focusing mostly on the immediate past. Duo rarely interrupted him, gazing deeply at Heero as he struggled to digest the words, looking past them to glean a better understanding of who he was.

His voice growing tired, Heero's suggestion they take a break for lunch was met with enthusiasm. Duo's lunch had been left on the small table at his beside over an hour ago, the standard bland liquid hospital meal not meeting with his approval. "I wonder how long they plan on making eat this stuff?" he mused.

"I'll ask at the nurse's station on my way to the cafeteria." Heero replied. Stretching as he stood, Heero looked over toward Duo. A small part of the confusion and fear that was so prevalent earlier had faded, revealing the tiniest spark of what Heero could only describe as Duo. "You look much more like yourself than you have in a while this afternoon." He smiled.

Duo returned a weak smile. "I'll have to take your word for that. Not only do I not know what I look like now…. but I don't even know what I looked like before."

Heero frowned at his friend's words. "Would you like me to see if I can get a mirror?"

Duo nodded. "Thank you, Heero."

"No problem." Heero smiled, exiting the room.

+++++++

Returning 20 minutes later, Heero stepped into the room to find Duo fast asleep. Apparently exhausted from all the activity the morning was filled with, the young man had fallen asleep sitting up, his neck tilting off to one side. Setting down his lunch and the small shopping bag he held, Heero approached the bed and carefully lifted Duo's head, removing one of the pillows; allowing him to recline a bit further.

Heero remained standing beside the bed as he replayed the last several hours. He was satisfied by Duo's reactions, the young man obviously pleased and perhaps relieved that he was, by Heero's characterization, a relatively happy person. Heero had not broached several subjects that he knew would most likely be raised by Duo after lunch. He was somewhat reluctant to speak of Duo's childhood or of The Eve Wars, wanting to keep as much negativity from this first encounter as possible.

Giving himself a much-needed mental nod after accessing Duo's reactions, Heero sat and reclined back, his own eyes closing.

//Perhaps I am capable of handling this after all.//

++++++

Afternoon rounds found Dr. Skinert at the nurse's station outside of Duo's room. Hearing the familiar voice, Heero quickly roused himself from his light nap and looked over toward the bed, where Duo lay still asleep.

Heero rose as he heard her approaching footsteps from behind. "Dr. Skinert."

"How did things go this afternoon?" she asked as she made her way to Duo's bedside.

"Fairly well, I'd say." Heero offered. "I gave him some background information.. pretty general stuff."

"And how did he react?" she asked, her stethoscope carefully moving over Duo's chest.

"He seemed pleased." Heero responded.

"Good." she replied, looking down at her watch before she turned to face Heero. "I see you two haven't had your lunch yet."

"No, He fell asleep while I was down in the cafeteria."

"I've scheduled a visit for Duo with the staff psychologist. She will be here in an hour." Dr. Skinert told him.

"Should I wake him? He probably should eat something."

"I'm awake." Duo spoke, looking up to find both Heero and Dr. Skinert hovering above him.

"How are we feeling, Mr. Maxwell?" she inquired.

"Considerably better than I did this morning." he smiled weakly, the young Doctor nodding.

"Good. I'll leave you two to your lunch. Oh.. and you have an appointment in an hour, Mr. Maxwell, try to look your best." she winked.

Duo blinked and looked up at Heero who merely shrugged his shoulders.

"Lunch?" Heero asked, a slight nod his response.

Duo shifted in the bed, once again seated, pillows behind his back.

Pulling the tray to lie over Duo's lap, Heero sat, removing his own lunch from its brown bag. Using his eyes to motion to the tray of food that sat before his friend, Heero spoke. "I'm afraid you'll need to deal that stuff for another few days."

"S'ok." Duo responded, tearing the foil lid off the small container of jell-o. "Thanks for asking."

The two ate their meals in silence, Duo rotating the tray to the side after he had finished. "Were you able to find a mirror?"

Heero nodded, reaching for the small shopping bag on the floor beside his chair. Taking the small mirror from it, Heero stood, offering it to Duo. Noting the young man's hesitancy, Heero lowered his hand and looked up at him "The injuries aren't that extensive.... or is it something else you are worried about?" The hesitation in Duo's eyes prompted Heero's words of reassurance. "I don't think you'll be disappointed." Heero smiled, placing the mirror in front of him.

Slowly letting his eyes meet with his reflection, Duo studied the face before him, his statement void of emotion. He brought one hand up, gently brushing one finger over the raised scar that extended the length of his forehead. Tilting his head, Duo took careful inventory of his features for a moment before his gaze stilled, then met with Heero's "I have violet eyes...."

+++++++

Heero offered a brief introduction and politely excused himself shortly after the staff psychologist entered the room, leaving the two alone. Noting the time, Heero settled himself down onto the couch in the waiting area and awaited his friends' arrival.

Exiting the elevator on the 2nd floor, Quatre, Trowa and Wufei followed the signs to the East Wing, meeting with Heero as the passed through he waiting area outside of Room 102.

The smile Heero wore eased the tension on the faces of the three young men as they approached. Various displays of comfort and relief were offered in silence before Heero spoke. "We talked for a good portion of the day. Much of his character is still intact."

"Was the Doctor able to say how long until his regains his memory?" Quatre asked.

"Her best guesstimate is several months." Heero looked up his friends. "Dr. Skinert said it would be a good idea to bring him some photos and anything else that we feel may begin to trigger some memories. They are there...just buried." Heero responded, the three nodding their understanding.

"Does he know we are coming?" Wufei asked.

"Yes, and he knows about the five of us.... our living and working arrangements. I haven't told him about how we met yet... or mentioned anything about the war at all." Heero began softly. "I'm guessing it will come up this evening."

There was a silence as the four reflected for a moment on Heero's words and there was a meeting of the eyes........ an unspoken consensus on the merits suppressing those years could bring.

"Can we go inside now?" Trowa asked.

"The staff psychologist is with him." Heero replied, looking down at his watch. "They should be done shortly."

+++++++

The Doctor exited and Duo's gaze fell expectantly on the open doorway to his room. Duo's time spent with the psychologist had given him additional insight into the upcoming process of recall and he anxiously awaited the arrival of his friends as Heero had promised.

Duo was nervous. Heero had supplied him with a brief description of each of the other three young men that were what he understood to be the hub of his existence. As with everything Heero had disclosed to Duo up to this point, he kept the summaries vague, leaving Duo the option of requesting more information at will.

The four entered to find an inquisitive pair of familiar yet distant violet eyes. Approaching Duo's bedside, Heero introduced each of the young men and sat quietly while Duo reacquainted himself with the three before him.

 

Author's Note:

[2] This is a direct reference and is meant to pay homage to one of the finest pieces of Gundam Wing Fan Fiction ever written. The fic I refer to is entitled "Absolution" as was written by the amazing author SteelSong. Please visit her site at www.steelsong.com and read it if you haven't already done so.