7-17-2002

Title: Second Sight
Author: Karen, The Huntress hickman@rockbridge.net
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing or its characters
Pairing: 1x2
Warning: Yaoi, Lemon in the last part, language, angst.
Feedback: yes, please

SECOND SIGHT

 

The sky lit up like an erupting volcano. Streaks of fire, mixed with dust and ashes, were flung outwards with a force strong enough to tremble through the ground. The explosion's concussion knocked Duo off his feet, sending him sprawling among large, jagged pieces of what was once the building's sidewall.

Whatever had let loose inside the massive structure must have been trigger by a secondary explosion. The single energy beam fired from Sandrock just moments before could not have been of sufficient power to cause such destruction.

Unfortunately both Duo and Heero had abandoned their Gundams when the enemy's retreat called a closer form of combat, one carried out with foot pursuit and pistols. Shaking his head to dislodge foggy cobwebs from his brain and stop the ringing in his ears Duo soon restored his alertness. Slowly he surveyed his all but obliterated surroundings. As he pushed to a seated position, all he could see was smoke, dust and death. Several OZ soldiers lay nearby their bodies contorted into almost unrecognizable shapes by the blistering blast.

Another shockwave rattled through the grainy soil threatening to once again upset Duo's tentative balance. Bracing his hands Duo held on as best he could until the shuddering earth stopped shifting. Aware his left hand was touching something unfamiliar Deathscythe's Master dared to look around. Dizziness swamped over Duo as he realized that his hand was almost holding a severed arm draped in the torn and bloodied fabric of an OZ uniform sleeve.

Scrambling to his feet Duo was quickly overcome as a nauseous wave rolled through his stomach. "Hold on Maxwell." he ordered fighting to keep from vomiting up what remained of his lunch.

Duo fought back against the sickening sensation. Cold sweat soaked his clothing bringing on a slight shiver. Several deep breaths helped to ward off the affects of both the dampness and his system's upset. Now a battle-fouled wind whipped the dust and smoke into funnel clouds obstructing his vision and clogging his chest.

Suddenly the battering element's sting was forgotten. The sickness ceased as Duo realized he could find no trace of Heero. His partner and recently, his lover, was nowhere to be seen. Raising his hand to shield his eyes Duo scanned the immediate area. Before the explosion Heero had been only a few feet from Duo's side. Now it was as if the earth had opened up and swallowed Yuy whole.

With unaccustomed clumsiness Duo picked his way through a labyrinth of mangled bodies and crumbled concrete. Desperately he searched not caring if the jagged pieces and shads of glass tore his hands as he clawed through the debris.

Which way? Where to look? Panic was beginning to take over. Calling on every phase of his training Duo struggled not to lose control. If he let his fear override his senses he might never find Heero. Another deep breath, more focus.

"There!" his mind screamed directing his eyes to a pile of rubble sifted over with a layer of fine white power. Duo dropped to his knees pulling up a steel reinforcement rod's protruding end. Along with the metal came a substantial piece of concrete.

Duo had experienced adrenalin surges many times before; you couldn't be a Gundam pilot and not have had that sudden increase of energy. Duo had often questioned if Heero ever had such an energy rush. Yuy was a puzzle, his face a stoic mask so hard to read that, as long as they had been involved in combat, Duo had yet to see Heero display the slightest reaction to stress. But now the rush had a good hold as Maxwell lifted the sizable chunk and pushed it to the side.

Beneath the shattered debris, coated with a mixture of powdery grit and stains of blood, Heero laid pale and still. Duo resisted the urge to slide his arms around Yuy. As much as he wanted to hold his lover Duo knew he could hurt him further if he was not careful. Duo had no way to knowing the extent of Heero's injuries and moving him without thoroughly checking first was dangerous.

Brushing back dust-whitened hair Duo leaned over to get a look at Heero's ashen face. A long cut oozed out a scarlet flow just below Heero's hairline. The surrounding tissue had already begun to darken into a nasty bruise. More moping away cleared Heero's nose and mouth of the suffocating residue. Bracing his weight above his Gundam partner, Duo leaned closer. Gently he slid his hand over the Japanese man's torso to check for broken bones. He breathed a sigh of relief when the touch produced a soft intake of air. "He's breathing." Duo thought trying to grasp at any sign that Heero was not too far gone.

Just as carefully he ran his hands under Heero's neck hoping he could tell if Heero's spine was all right. "I can't tell like this." Duo chided himself for his lack of medical training. "You will have to take the chance." he continued the self-debate, "We can't stay here...too much danger." he finished as he slowly slipped his hand under Heero's shoulders.

Keeping Yuy's upper body as straight as he could Duo slid under until he sat holding Heero's back against his chest. Steadying Yuy's head Duo again raked his fingers through chocolate tresses tangled with dust.

"Heero can you hear me?" Duo called loudly to be heard above the crackle of fire and the roar of his fellow pilot's great Gundams still engaged in cleaning out the last pockets of resistance.

No movement answered his pleading. Heero's breathing was shallow but steady. However that was a distinct rattle that told Duo his partner needed immediate medical attention. Despite doubts of his condition Heero had to be moved but first Duo had to make he came around enough to see if the head injury was serious. Duo had to know how lucid his lover was, if he could understand that Duo was there.

"Heero!" Duo raised his voice daring to give his partner a small shake. Again the movement caused another sucking sound, one that seemed to clear his lungs enough to spur Yuy to draw in a good gulp of air. A catching cough further encouraged his breathing in spite of the laborious inhalations.

Duo shored up his embrace realigning Heero's bowed posture, "Come on Heero breathe!" Duo ordered, "Damn it Heero breathe!"

Heero shifted trying to turn his head. Duo placed his hand on Yuy's forehead discouraging too much movement at once. "Take it easy, you might have a neck injury" Duo instructed hoping that Zero's Master would understand and comply.

Heero's eyelids parted offering an unfocused stare then slid shut unable to fight the weakness engulfing his entire body. Duo took Heero's hand squeezing it to the point of pain. "Fight!." he urged using the pressure to induced a better response. "Don't let those OZ bastards win." An ever so slight twitch of Heero's fingers showed that the painful incentive was working.

Once more Heero's lids parted. Luckily, this time, they were more inclined to stay opened. Cobalt pupils stared blankly into Duo's lowered face. His eyes neither moved nor attempted to adjust in their focus. There should have been some reaction even in the smoke-muted light. Some form of feedback should have registered in the stagnate centers of sight. Duo leaned lower stopping only inches from his lover's unfocused sight.

"Heero its Duo. I'm here." he announced giving Heero's hand a reassuring squeeze. "Do you understand?" he asked anxiously as he took another look at the cut on Heero's head. The bruise was swollen, more discolored than before.

"Duo?" came the questioning reply that barely struggled through Heero's raspy throat. "Duo what..." he began again before his voice trailed off.

"Hang on the Medics will be here soon." Duo promised as he peered through the thickening smoke. Duo could taste ash in his mouth, could feel it burning with each breath. He could only imagine what the rancid elements were doing to Heero's system.

To the east Sandrock and Heavyarms were putting down in a clearing barely large enough to accommodate their massive dimensions. Soon both pilots were climbing down the Mecha's fronts. They hit the ground running as Shenlong hovered overhead to guard his friends.

Quatre and Trowa knelt beside Duo. Quatre didn't have to use his empathy to know how concerned and frightened Duo was. Placing a hand on Maxwell's shoulder Sandrock's Prince offered comfort by his touch. "He will be all right. I can feel it." Quatre proclaimed sure that his instincts were telling the truth.

At the sound of Winner's voice Heero moved again. It was as if he was trying to locate the source. Duo kept his hold in place as firmly but as gently as he could. "Don't move too much." Duo whispered to hide his fearful tone.

"Duo? Quatre? Are you there?" Heero asked weakly moving his eyes as he sought out the voices.

Trowa leaned in beside Quatre silently studying Heero's vague sight. Then he waved his hand across Heero's line of vision. There was no response; nothing to indicate that Heero saw anything at all.

Duo and Quatre drew in a startled breath in unison as the realization of what had happened hit them like a beam cannon set on full power. "Oh God no!" Duo screamed. Trembling so hard that he almost dropped Heero, Duo pulled his lover closer bringing his face in line. "Heero look at me! Please look at me!" he begged his voice so shaky that the words caught in halting syllables.

"Quatre...Trowa...Heero's blind." Duo whispered softly so his wounded lover could not hear. "You said he would be all right, damn you Quatre you promised he would be all right." Duo declared tears welling in his eyes as wrenching emotions clawed through his soul.

Heero moved his head determined to locate the voices that seemed so near yet so far away but his ears and eyes were not cooperating at all. "Duo?" came the calling of his lover's name. "Where are you?"

The question stabbed through Maxwell's gut not stopping until it pierced his heart with indescribable torment. "I'm here, Heero, Don't worry I will take care of you."

Even though Duo always swore that he never lied, at that moment of painful realization, that was the only act of kindness he could offer---a lie that everything would be all right.

****************

In the smoke's tinted haze, as the fire's flickering flames licked up into the approaching night, Duo Maxwell held Heero close. He would be there, always be there, of that there was no doubt.

The sound of tires crunching over the broken ground grew louder. Calls from the Medics were but a muted cry floating on the wind. Duo would not give up his hold on his lover. Even at Winner and Barton's insistence that he was hampering the Medics' examination, Duo would not let go. He held on as if his life depended on the contact as Heero was loaded into a jeep for the short trip to a temporary Field Hospital.

At the makeshift Aide Station the Medic Staff did what they could for Heero. They started an IV to pump much needed fluids into his dehydrated body. The IV also served to deliver pain medication and a strong sedative. Duo, cursing in Japanese and English, fiercely voiced his objection stating the sedation would interfere with Heero being fully aware that he was with him. It was only after Wufei and Trowa threatened to bodily remove Duo from the room that he settled down and let the Medics do their job.

The staff cleaned Heero's numerous scrapes, used seven stitches to close up a cut on his upper arm, bandaged his head and readied him for the long journey to the Main Hospital located well behind the battle lines.

****************

Quatre throughout the entire process had remained quiet, quieter than usual. At the first opportunity Trowa persuaded him to go outside promising that they would go back in when the Medics were finished.

"Duo didn't mean what he said when he accused you of breaking your promise." Trowa said wrapping two comforting arms around his koi's waist as they used the gathering evening shadows for privacy.

Winner nodded his flaxen head, his hair tickling under Barton's chin. "I know Duo was just unset." he sighed leaning into his lover's embrace. "Heero will be all right." Quatre stated with certainty, "I meant what I said. I can feel that he will recover."

Trowa nodded, "I know you can sense certain things. I am not doubting what you say but maybe it would be best, for now anyway, if we don't mention your feelings to Duo." he suggested giving Quatre a gentle kiss.

"For now." Quatre agreed.

***************

Duo climbed in beside Yuy's blanket draped body as his stretcher was loaded into a Land Transport Vehicle. He held Heero's hand tightly hoping his lover could feel his touch through the heavy sedation that was still in force. Considering the trauma Heero had experienced he was in surprisingly good condition. Keeping physically fit had certainly lessened the explosion's effects.

And considering all that Duo had been through he was doing as well as could be expected. Duo had managed to cooperate without any further objections but everyone knew he was only a heartbeat away from loosing it altogether. For everyone's sake it was best not to push Maxwell or the dreaded Shinigami could very easily rear his ugly head.

The Medics could give no clear answers concerning Heero's blindness. There was no diagnostic equipment to do the tests necessary to determine the degree of damage or to tell if it Heero's loss of eyesight was temporary or permanent.

With a promise that the Gundams would be safely hidden away until the pilots could return to claim them, Trowa and Quartre joined the driver up front while Wufei kept his vigil with Duo, Heero and the attending Medic in the back. Their ETA would be past midnight before they reached the Hospital. The journey would be long and tiresome.

Wufei touched Duo's arm as the vehicle moved out nodding his reassurance. Chang's black eyes held a direct line of sight adding to his encouragement. Duo nodded back silently praying that Heero would be all right while fighting the urge to give into his mounting doubts.

Sometimes faith is all that we have. Father Maxwell once told Duo.

Duo closed his eyes, "I know Father. I will be strong." he promised his mentor and friend whose words always seemed to return whenever Duo needed them.

******************

A sparkling field of stars dotted the night's ebony canopy. The silence was unnerving as the Gundam pilots and their precious cargo traveled on. Quatre had finally fallen asleep with his head cradled on Trowa's chest. Barton's fingers absentmindedly twirled blond silken strands as he stared out the side window at nothing in particular. Shadowy shapes glided by, their phantom images lending a ghostly appearance to the landscape.

Wufei had convinced Maxwell to use his lap as a pillow. Even in his prone position Duo still held Heero's hand. Although Duo staunchly refused to shut his eyes at least his head wasn't bobbing with each bump in the road. Chang justified the unusual contact by telling himself that he was keeping Duo safe from stiff joints and probably a headache. But secretly Wufei hoped he was being a comfort even if his assistance was in the guise of logic.

The medical staff had supplied blankets for everyone and Wufei had seen to it that one was employed to keep Duo from catching a chill. The long chestnut rope of Duo's frayed braid curved over the blanket lying lightly on Wufei's outstretched legs. Carefully he lifted the platted hair tucking it under the woven cover.

*****************

1:15 AM, the transport pulled up at the Hospital's main entrance. Two orderlies hurriedly rolled a gurney to the vehicle's rear. Duo climbed out wasting no time in giving strict instructions to be careful with Heero's transference. In the front seat Trowa gently urged Quatre awake with soft words and a softer kiss.

Still holding Heero's hand Duo racing along the stark white corridor to Emergency Room 4. One unmistakable glare from Duo told the attending doctor and two nurses that he WOULD NOT wait in the hall as requested. Wufei leaned near the hesitant physician strongly suggesting that he not argue with "the angry man with the braid". Taking Chang's advice Duo was permitted inside but only after he promised to stay to one side while Heero was examined.

In the Waiting Area next to the Nurse's Station Wufei paced the room's length. This anxious activity, Chang reasoned, was the result of pent-up energy that would surely boil to the surface if not given a proper outlet. His lack of control, he rationalized, had been set in motion by extenuating circumstances and a case of battle fatigue. He also knew that meditation would do no good so he didn't even consider the option.

Quatre sat silently in a chair staring at his hands resting limply in his lap. Trowa's arm encircled his koi's slumping shoulders. His hand rubbed Winner's shirt's wrinkled fabric as if to smooth it out in the same way he longed to soothe his partner's pain. Occasionally Quatre would sigh softly letting a thin stream of air blow across his pale fingers as he fought to hold back pooling tears.

Back and forth, Wufei continued to pace. Trowa resisted the urge to ask the Chinese pilot to stop. He, too, realized that urging Chang to stay still would only make matters worse. No, if wearing a path in the carpet helped Wufei maintain some control, then Trowa would remain as silent as Quatre.

Twenty minutes passed then thirty. Forty-five more minutes ticked off at an unbearable second by second rate. "What is taking so long?" Wufei wondered aloud halting for a moment.

Trowa shrugged shaking his head in a negative manner. "I suppose they had to run a lot of tests." he finally offered an explanation.

Quatre locked his eyes reddened from lack of sleep and threatening tears with Trowa's green pupils, "Heero will recover." he hissed through clenched teeth. "I know I am right." he declared as his hands knotted into white-knuckled fists.

"We don't doubt you." Trowa spoke for both pilots.

Quatre entire body was shaking, "Yes you do. You all do. Duo doubted me so why shouldn't you?" he shouted finally letting his tears have full reign.

As sobs shook Quatre's slim frame, Trowa pulled his lover as close as physically possible. Soon the solid quaking gave way to feeble trembling as Sandrock's gentle Prince reached the point of exhaustion. "Shhhh." Trowa whispered rocking his lover's spent body afraid that his Little One's brittle emotions would break completely.

Suddenly Quatre straightened, his tear-glazed eyes staring out into the hall. "Heero." he whispered.

Movement and a flash of white redirected Trowa and Wufei's attention to the door. Dr. Hokusai stepped inside displaying a somber look that immediately caused the Gundam trio's stomachs to tighten. They were not surprised that Duo was not with the doctor. They knew no matter what happened he would not leave Heero.

Quatre, with strength borne of apprehension, pushed out of the chair. However Trowa had to place a supporting hand on his back as Winner swayed beside him. Wufei joined his fellow pilots preparing himself as best he could to receive the report of Heero's condition.

"Maybe you should sit down?" Hokusai suggested noticing Quatre's unsteady quivering.

Wufei centered his ebony eyes with determination, "Just tell us the prognosis."

"Mr. Yuy will recover from his injuries."

"His eyesight?" Trowa inquired tensely afraid what the answer might be.

Dr. Hokusai flipped a page over on the clipboard he held reviewing Heero's test results, "Mr. Yuy's eyes are suffering from flash blindness." he stated continuing to read the medical information.

"Flash blindness." Wufei repeated, "What in the hell is that?"

"It is a condition that occurs when the eye's light-sensitive pigments are bleached by brightness that is too intense for the retinal membrane to adapt to." Hokusai explained with cold clinical efficiency finally looking up at the anxious pilots.

"You mean like when a flash bulb causes dots to float in front of your eyes?" Quatre inquired for clarification.

"In Mr. Yuy's case the damage is more serious than that." the Doctor stated with the same matter-of-fact attitude that was quickly becoming irritating. Anticipating the next question Hokusai added, "However all tests indicated that the blindness should be temporary."

"Should?" Trowa didn't at all like the vagueness of Hokusai's explanation. "What do you mean by should? Will Heero's be able to see or not?" Barton growled demanding a surer answer.

The Doctor's forehead creased as if he was engaging in mental calculations. The figuring done he offered the odds, "Eighty percent of people with this condition fully regain their sight. Ten percent experience marginal problems but recover well enough to function. The remaining ten percent will have restricted vision. They will be able to see movement but it will be shadowy. Also their ability to discern colors will be limited to muted shades."

Wufei had been patient long enough. He faced Doctor Hokusai letting his dark, angry eyes convey his frustration, "We don't want to hear your damned percentages, we want to know Heero's chances." he demanded.

Hokusai once again started to refer to his clipboard then thought better of it as he was assaulted by Chang's brooding stare, "Considering Mr. Yuy's excellent physical condition the odds are in his favor," he announced sounding as positive as he could, "but it will be a gradual process. None of you should expect a quick recuperation period." he answered curtly displaying his own awakening annoyance.

Quatre stepped between the Doctor and the Lone Dragon hoping to intervene before tempers flared passed the flash point, "What is the timeframe? You can at least give us some idea?"

"If Mr. Yuy follows the prescribed treatment I would say two to three months but that is only an estimate. There are many variables in these cases."

"Then we will do whatever must be done to insure his recovery." Quatre proclaimed, "I told you that Heero would be all right," he repeated with more certainty than ever before.

Trowa nodded daring to let a relieved smile tug at his mouth's corners, "Can we see Heero now?"

"Yes, he has been moved to a regular room. Follow me." Hokusai instructed.

*****************

3:20 AM. The worried quartet quietly entered room 214. Gaze patches covered Yuy's eyes but at least he wasn't on a respirator. If there was one thing that would set off the Japanese pilot it was putting anything over his face. Quatre, after witnessing one such incidence and Heero's intense response, hypothesized that perhaps he was a bit claustrophobic. Wufei had countered the notion replying that Heero had been in tight confines a number of times and didn't seem to have any adverse reaction.

At that point Maxwell added his opinion that Heero was quite simply "pissed off" at anyone doing anything personal. Of course that was before Zero's pilot found out that being touched by Duo was not too bad and had further decided that a lover could have that privilege.

Duo sat in a chair by the bed holding his partner's hand. It was clear that battle fatigue and the stress of concern were weighting heavily on the Deathscythe pilot. A nurse checked one of two IVs feeding into Yuy's arm, nodded to the new arrivals then shut the door behind her giving the group much desired privacy.

The steady monotone from a monitor was all that disturbed the eerie silence. The bedside light had been dimmed making it difficult to see whether Heero's color had improved as he slept in a sedative haze. Orderlies had cleaned him up and put him in a light green gown that smelled like the entire building's sanitary atmosphere.

Too many times to count each pilot had been a patient at other such facilities. They all had developed a distinct dislike for the sights and sounds and smells. Nothing was different. The same sterile scents of disinfectant, the same crispness of the clothing and the sheets and the damn awful noise of that incessant beep, beep, beep.

Maxwell looked up at his friends. He didn't try to hide his exhausted condition, he knew it wasn't any use. The Gundam gang had been together long enough to easily read the other's expressions and body language.

Quatre went to Duo squatting down beside him. "Dr. Hokusai gave us Heero's report." he informed trying to keep his quivering voice under control, "It may take some time but I know that he will make a full recovery."

Trowa nodded as he rubbed over his Little One's shoulders, "Heero will have to stay in hospital a couple of days then we will take him home. Once he is in familiar surroundings and his own bed he will be back to his "perfect" self in no time."

"The Doctor was encouraging." Wufei added pulling another chair by Duo. He offered the seat to Quatre who hesitated. Trowa gently guided him to the vacant chair and with firm pressure insisted that Winner sit. Sandrock's Master did not argue with his lover, as he had no strength left to do anything but flop down.

Duo traced a slender finger over the most recent scarring on Heero's hand vividly recalling the exact time and place of the injury. One would think that after so many battles the hurt would become hazy, the instances blurred as real events and dark dreaming mingled in the mind.

At that moment, however, the pain was all too lucid. He was experiencing several emotions all vying for attention at once. Anger at the war. Pure rage at the prideful governments and their bickering that fueled the senseless conflict. Scared and confused, somehow believing he could have stopped the tragedy, Duo was having a keen attack of guilt.

With a weary sigh Duo sat back against the chair's rigid frame. "You all look like hell." he observed glancing from one pilot to another.

Trowa, as usual, did not sugarcoat his answer, "Have you looked in the mirror?"

A slight smile tugged at Duo's mouth, "Still the muse of dry humor. Got any more pearls of wisdom Barton?"

"Yes that you let us take over for awhile."

Wufei fortified the logical line, "I have already spoken with a nurse and she has arranged to have another bed put in here."

"Sorry can't do that." Duo declared stretching until a pop sounded along his back.

Quatre reached over placing his hand on his fellow freedom fighter's arm, "You know you can not keep this up." he stated the obvious truth, "I do not need to remind you that if you allow yourself to get sick you can not help Heero." Once again Winner displayed his knack for getting straight to the meat of the matter.

The truth can be a bitch. Duo thought to himself as his finger retraced the ragged line marring Heero's hand. "All right but only if I can stay in here." he agreed conceding to the united pressure.

"I'll direct the bed relocation operation." Chang stated stepping into the hall and motioning insistently at the Nurse's Station.

"Why don't you go to the bathroom and wash your face?" Quatre suggested taking notice of the oily film of dirt and sweat coating Duo's fair features.

Duo leaned over kissing the raised scar then pushed back the chair. "You let me know if there is any change." he ordered, "I mean any at all." Quatre and Trowa nodded their promise to report the slightest alteration in Yuy's condition.

By the time Duo exited the bathroom the second equally antiseptic bed was in place made up with identical overly starched sheets and drab blanket. He had to admit, but not out loud, that the bed was inviting still he was certain that he would not sleep. But to pacify his brothers in arms he would lie down as long as he could still see Heero from his spot across the room.

With Quatre's help Duo unlaced his high-top combat boots, toed them off and despite his disheveled attire eased under the covers. For a fleeting moment the urge to cry almost overwhelmed him but Duo held back the tears. Although his heart was breaking crying would do nothing to change the situation. Besides boys don't cry. *Yeah right Maxwell.* Duo told himself turning on his side, daring anyone to get in his direct line of sight to Heero.

Quatre took up the vigil. He copied Duo's hand holding hoping that Zero's Master would be aware of the touch. Sure the cafeteria was not open Trowa and Wufei went to find the coffee machine. Again from previous experience they knew that the coffee dispensed would be strong and most likely bitter even with a goodly amount of sugar and milk but caffeine in any form would do for now. The poor excuse for coffee on an empty stomach was obviously not the best idea so they would also included a snack machine in their food foraging. They soon returned laden down with all manner of sinful delights guaranteed to produce a permanent sugar high.

Trowa apologized for not finding any tea. "Careful it's hot." he warned handing Kat a brown styrofoam cup. Unfortunately the hot liquid it held was about the same muddy color and consistence as the environmentally incorrect container. "I did manage to find a granola bar, I think it's blueberry."

Quatre gratefully accepted the awful coffee being appreciative of Trowa's efforts. The granola bar did help to ease the disappointment but then beggars can not be choosers. Wufei took his rations to the room's far corner and sat down out of the traffic flow. He had had better fare but he certainly had worse. Silently he sipped the brew using it to wash down a cinnamon bun.

Trowa joined his partner settling into the second chair. With a worn sigh he fumbled with a Snickers Bar knowing full well that the candy combined with the high octane coffee would surely keep him up at least another twenty-four hours.

Heero stirred in his sleep twitching his fingers against Winner's palm. Quatre leaned over pushing back chocolate bangs. Everyone knew what Yuy's reaction would be when the sedatives finally ran their course and he realized his eyes were covered. That was why it was so important to stay close. They also knew that the Staff's solution to Heero's clawing at the bandages would be restraints. Duo's reaction to Hokusai wanting to tie Heero down would be violence. Even though they were in a hospital bloodshed was not the best choice. No, better to intervene than to have Duo go crazy on them.

Trowa tossed the used candy wrapper in the wastebasket. Half of the stale coffee went into the bathroom sink, he didn't need to ward off sleep that badly. Most of Quatre's cup follow the voyage down the drain, Between the combat catching up with him and his worry over Heero Winner's churning insides couldn't take any more abuse.

"Why don't you lie down beside Duo for awhile?" Barton suggested wondering how his totally fatigued partner still remained upright in the chair. "Go on." he urged, "Heero won't know who is holding his hand."

"Maybe for a short time." Winner agreed giving into the mounting exhaustion. Duo never moved as he eased under the blanket.

Trowa took the next watch. Wufei stretched, disposed of his trash and joined Barton. "How long to you think he will be under?" he asked pulling the tie from his ponytail. That act in itself was very revealing because Chang never took his hair loose unless it was to bathe or in the privacy of his bedroom. He raked his fingers through the ebony tresses tucking stray stands behind his ears.

Trowa shrugged, "I don't know. In a way it is better that he sleeps but I don't think it is a good idea to keep pumping all that shit in his body. Yuy is strong but even he has his limits."

Wufei nodded, "Duo is not going to have much patience." he stated knowing Maxwell's attitude toward hospitals. "I give him two days and the staff will probably be begging us to leave."

On cue Duo rolled onto his back, bumped Quatre's shoulder and sat straight up in bed. His frayed braid whipped across Kat's head evoking an uncharacteristic bout of swearing. Duo squinted at the Sandrock pilot trying to decide if he was dreaming or if the blond phantom figure was real and more importantly why was he in his bed cursing like a drunken sailor? The string of obscenities fading away as Quatre turned towards the wall. Duo's apparent confusion, his bewildered _expression caused Trowa and Wufei to break into their own uncharacteristic fit of giggles. Sleep degradation and lack of calories were quickly taking their toll.

Maxwell frowned at the strange behavior until his eyebrows almost touched. "What in the hell is so funny?" he asked disentangling his legs from the sheet.

Chang and Barton lowered their heads trying to stifle the nervous laugher. Duo was already close to the edge and they could not afford to push him further. Duo padded across the room fussing with his unruly hair and doing some swearing of his own. "Move." he growled nudging Trowa from his seat.

Barton complied with the insistent prodding. "I'm going to lie down with Kat." he announced leaving poor Wufei alone to deal with the irritated God of Death. Wufei scooted his chair giving the braided boy plenty of room. He did not wish to provoke any other outbursts as he was already the recipient of a glare that was worthy of Heero's best.

Wufei reached over to the bedside table retrieving a handful of assorted sweets. "Here." he offered Duo his choice hoping to appease Shinigami's wrath. Duo selected a strawberry granola bar and a pack of Oreos. "Got milk?" he grinned using the joke as a gesture of peace.

"I can get you some coffee but it is awful." Wufei offered. Duo shook his head negatively. "The cafeteria should be opened in a few hours." Chang stated checking his watch, "Then maybe we can get something that passes as real food. They should have milk." Chang smiled deciding to play along with Maxwell's sarcasm.

Duo took a bite of the strawberry bar chewing quietly. It was clear that his thoughts and attention had returned to Heero. He swallowed with difficulty, not from lack of something to drink but from the lump had refused to leave his throat. He attempted a second bite but his quivering lips would not cooperate. Sudden the last of his resolve shattered. Without warning tears forced they way to the surface. It was all too much, the worry, the pain. The half-eaten morsel dropped to the floor as Duo reached for Heero's hand.

Sobs shook his weary body. Wufei put his arm around his Gundam friend's shoulders and held on. He let Duo cry. As much as it broke his heart to see such grief the Lone Dragon knew the tears were for the best. The watery release would purge the pain at least for a little while.

The monitor continued to beep. Trowa and Quatre inhaled and exhaled in slumber's steady rhythm. Heero, too, rested peacefully unaware of his lover's crying. "It will be all right." Wufei reassured Duo as his fragile fortitude gave way.

"Do you know that for sure?" Duo whispered between halting catches of breath.

"Heero has survived worse than this. He has your love to hold onto and your strength to guide him back. How can it be any other way?"

"Duo." The low calling of his name screamed in the silence. Duo heavy head jerked up. Was it his imagination or did Heero speak? His puzzlement was abated by the fact that Chang's surprised _expression confirmed that he had also heard something. But the deciding factor in Duo doubting his sanity was an increased pressure on his hand.

"Heero I'm here." he declared leaning over to kiss his lover's dry lips. "Can you hear me?" he asked hoping against hope.

Heero's fingers twitched. His head turned in the direction of the disembodied voice. The tone was comforting with sure familiarity. But where was Duo? Why couldn't he see through the unrelenting darkness that surrounded him? Yuy was certain he could feel the unmistakable touch of his soul mate despite the sedative's swampy haze. He knew with surety the sound of his lover's voice amidst the vague recesses of his mind for he had long ago memorized each inflection until the lilt and language had become a part of him.

"Duo!" he called louder as unaccustomed panic set in. Throwing out his hands to probe the suffocating shadows Heero found only an ebony vacancy. Now pure terror replaced the uncertain dread. "Duo were are you?" he screamed grappling with the endless empty space that was all encompassing. Then he was aware of something sitting securely over his eyes. He was not lost in darkness but some obstruction was keeping his eyelids in place. Now panic turned to anger.

On Duo's side of the infinite void Heero flung his arms out battling back against the besieging blackness. As expected he reached for the eye patches in an alarmed frenzy. Duo intercepted the curling fingers catching Yuy wrists. "Heero no." he ordered even though he was certain his lover did not understand.

Wufei rushed to the bed's opposite side using his weight as leverage to keep his friend from hurting himself or Duo. Yuy, in Chang's opinion, had always been the strongest of the pilots. He was not necessarily the tallest but pound for powerful pound Heero was a force to be reckoned with.

Pilot 01 had often joined Wufei in sparring sessions and proved to be a worthy opponent. The Chinese youth hoping to refine the Japanese boy's "street-smart" brand of fighting had been teaching him katas and as with everything else he did Heero was learning with efficient speed and accuracy. At that moment, however, Wufei wished that Yuy had not been such a good student. It took all his strength to combat Heero's flailing limbs as now his legs had joined in the assault.

"Heero please." Duo begged not wanting to use excessive force to subdue his panicked partner but he couldn't let the IVs be pulled out.

The screaming and thrashing about woke Quatre and Trowa who joined the struggling pilots doing what they could to help. Unfortunately the racket also alerted two nurses who brought a large male with them as they rushed into the room. Trowa wisely threw up a body blockade halting the orderly halfway to the bed. Even though the burly man was a head taller than Barton and outweighed him by at least fifty pounds he stopped short as his instincts told him the lanky boy with the odd bang was in no mood to argue.

The pair of nurses parted. One checked the monitor link that had come undone in the struggle. She finally silenced the infernal machine as it was no longer functioning properly. The other checked the IV lines noting that one had almost slipped free. "Get some restraints!" she called back to the orderly who had not moved from his place before Trowa.

At the mention of that word Duo reacted as expected. Daring to take one hand off of Heero he straightened sharply shaking an enraged fist at the excited nurse. "You bring any damn restraints in here and I will strangle you until your eyes pop out" he hissed with a guttural growl that left no room for misinterpretation.

The color drained from the poor women's face and her mouth gapped open at the very sincere threat. Again she looked back at the large man that was supposed to be helping. From the look in Trowa's one visible eye she immediately understood why her aide had not moved. Surveying the other young men protectively surrounding the patient there was no doubt in her mind that any interference would result in bodily harm. Each of the youths had determination etched on their faces and anger in their eyes. Even the angelic blond had a definite dangerous cast in his soulful sight.

"I am going to get Dr. Hokusai." she announced deciding that reinforcements were needed. Her equally frightened assistant followed closely on her retreating heels. A nod towards the door from Trowa swiftly sent the orderly after the exiting nurses.

Heero's weakened condition finally intervened. It did not take long until the fighting died down to quivering appendages and mumbled pleas to Duo to rescue him from the never-ending night. As the calmer wave overtook Zero's Master Duo sat down on the bed and cautiously let go of his hands. Pushing back sweat-damp hair from Heero's pale cheeks Duo leaned nearer so that his breath feathered on his lover's face. "Heero you have to listen to me. Do you understand what I am saying?"

Just as suddenly as Yuy had erupted into a flurry of motion he went limp as he had no more energy to mount an attack. Resigning to the overpowering weakness he let his sense of hearing and touch convey what his impaired sight could not. He concentrated on Duo's voice, the warmth of his fingers entwined with his. He felt the brush of soft skin over his moist forehead and the tickle of tacky hair as it was moved to the side.

"What happened?" he whispered through a throat dry from fever and raspy from screaming.

"There was an explosion." Duo answered squeezing Heero's hand, "You have flash blindness but the Doctor says you will make a full recovery." he quickly assured before another wave of panic could crash over his lover.

Heero knew that Duo never lied. In the proceeding months there had been three times when they found dying soldiers on the battlefield. In each case Maxwell had been brutally honest concerning the fallen warrior's impending death. So if Duo said he would recover Heero could take that statement as the truth.

"I know you hate having your eyes covered," Duo continued. His soothing voice brought Heero back from his memories. "but you have to leave them alone. The patches will only have to be there a short time. After they come off you won't be able to see clearly for awhile but you will see again." More honesty...more truth.

Moving his head sent a dull ache running across Yuy's temples. Pain winced on his face. "Does your head hurt?" He nodded once more with guarded care.

"I will ask the nurse to give you something for the pain." Wufei's husky voice announced from somewhere in the room. It was strange to hear his voice without his facial expressions to add meaning to the words. When did Chang develop such a baritone?

Slowly it began to sink in, the fact that for the next weeks or months Yuy would have to rely on four of his five senses to examine his world. Now his mind and body would have to devise a new strategy, one based on fine-tuning and flexibility. The ultimate challenge would be patience. Yuy could sit on a rooftop for hours in the rain during surveillance, hold his position in Wing Zero in a hail of energy beams waiting for just the right shot. He had even mastered the most difficult task of all, Duo's half an hour hair washing.

Heero had always been self-sufficient never allowing anyone do what he could do for himself. Now he would have to surrender his independence to his surrogate family and while he knew in a similar situation he would do the same for them it was going to be one of the hardest things he had ever done.

"Duo don't let them put me back to sleep."

"I won't but you have to cooperate, okay?"

"Will you stay with me?"

"Of course I will lover, we all will." Duo promised, "There is an extra bed. We'll push it up against yours so I can sleep next to you."

"None of us will leave." Quatre promised. He, too, sounded older, more mature than his teenage years would have you believe.

"This is going to take some adjustment time." Trowa stated as noise from corridor spilled into the room.

"The nurse said to take two pills every six hours." Wufei instructed handing Duo an orange plastic container sealed with one of those annoying "child-proof" caps. Trowa poured a glass of water to wash down the medication.

"Let me help you sit up." Duo offered being careful of the IV lines, "Hold out your hand." Two smooth oval objects settled into Yuy's palm. "Here is the water." Heero put both pills on the back of his tongue then took a drink washing the capsules down with the entirety of the refreshing liquid. Trowa took the empty glass.

Heero rested his head on Maxwell's shoulder quite willing to bathe in his Gundam partner's warmth. Soon his breathing evened out as the pain melted away and sleep padded over his consciousness. As Duo eased his lover under the covers Trowa and Wufei repositioned the second bed. Still holding Heero's hand Duo slid into the extra space.

Trowa turned out the light. "Guard him well." he whispered before joining his comrades as they retired to the Waiting Area. Laying in the dark, listening to his soul mate's steady breathing, Duo told himself that everything was going to be all right.

Vague bits of conversation leaked under the door. Footsteps echoed in the hall. Neither Dr. Hokusai nor the attending nurses disturbed the pilot pair. Duo had always been territorial with what was his. After his quite explicit threats he wondered if any staff member would brave room 214 again. But they had their duty just as Maxwell had his. Just as long as the rules of engagement were clearly understood everything would be fine.

An old saying goes..."Politics make strange bedfellows." but the camaraderie war creates is odder. Who could have foreseen that a stoic loner who took on the guise of a colony martyr would stir such protectiveness in the self-declared Shinigami. Loyalty was the driving force but tenderness would temper the power. Heero's recovery would come in gradual stages. Each step would test the entire group's tolerance and persistence but the help in healing would be Duo's ultimate act of love.

*****************

The next morning--7:00 AM. In muted light Dr. Hokusai examined Heero's eyes. To Heero's disappointment he could not see anything, no light at all. Holding onto the promise that he would see again he lay still secretly wishing that everyone would leave him alone.

When the Doctor finished he put in drops to help the healing process and relieve the dryness then applied fresh patches. He also decided that Mr. Yuy no longer needed the IVs being as gentle as he could as he removed the feeding lines.

Duo observed from the bed's opposite side but did not interfere with the examination. The remaining pilots stood nearby. The Doctor recorded the results on the clipboard and reported that Mr. Yuy was coming along as he should.

"How long before I can take him home." Duo asked smoothing out the covers.

Dr. Hokusai reviewed the chart's information, "If Mr. Yuy continues to follow my instructions I believe he can be released in two days."

Duo smiled at the good news taking Heero's hand, "Did you hear, two more days and we can go home."

Heero nodded, "How long will the patches have to stay in place?"

"A few more days after you are released." the Doctor replied, "There will be a recovery period after that before you completely regain your vision." he added to let Heero know that he still had a way to go.

Quatre stepped up beside Duo, "Whatever it takes we will get through it together."

Dr. Hokusai looked from one young man to the other. He knew they were all warriors and that training and experience had matured them far beyond their years. He marveled at how well they were handling the situation, at their devotion and optimism. Yes Mr. Yuy was lucky to have so many good friends. It was also quite clear that the braided boy with the unusual eyes was far more than a friend, yes, quite clear indeed.

"I will order breakfast." Hokusai stated, "Since everyone has set up camp in here you might as well share Mr. Yuy's meals." he declared realizing that the whole team would be in place until Heero's release.

Dr. Hokusai paused at the door, "Ah Mr. Maxwell." he called back at the black-clad boy. Duo locked his sight preparing for a lecture about his previous threats. "Try not to be too intimating to the staff." he smiled stepping out into the corridor.

Soon five trays arrived. Trowa, Quatre and Wufei each took one and sat down on the floor. There wasn't enough table space to accommodate all the food so the floor was the best option. Duo took the remaining two trays sitting them on the bedside table. Heero let his sense of smell identify the morning meal. He could clearly smell coffee but the other odors were more elusive. Duo studied the tray dissecting the contents.

"Let's see there is orange juice, toast and oatmeal." he announced. "Now I know you don't like oatmeal," he continued before Heero could register a protest, "but there is strawberry jam and I can fix it up so you won't even recognize it."

Heero half-heard Duo's promise to make the meal more palatable. Since early that morning when he had awakened in Duo's arms a morose mood had grown stronger however he couldn't quite place the blame for the despondence. In the past he had been hurt more seriously, worse than this and had dealt well with the recovery period. Self-destructing Wing and spending months with Trowa in the painfully slow healing process had taught him that certain things could not be rushed.

But this was the first instant when he felt so totally helpless. Being blind even though the condition was temporary went far beyond just an acute uneasiness, it stirred a frightening cord in his subconscious control. The same dread, the panic that had crashed over him the moment he realized he could not see was being held a bay by the barest thread and that fraying fiber was becoming stretched to the breaking point.

Heero shook his head, "It doesn't matter." he mumbled resting his stress heavy head against the pillows used to prop him up. "Nothing matters now."

Duo didn't hear the discouraged statements as he busily "fixed up" the hot cereal. "You want the juice first?" he inquired as he busied himself with getting the oatmeal just right. Duo's cheery disposition was beginning to grate on Yuy's nerves.

Heero shrugged not really caring in what order the fare was offered. "Hold out your hand." Duo instructed carefully slipping the glass into Heero's hand. Despite his mounting depression Yuy did have to admit that the juice was refreshing as he finished over half in the first swallow. Duo took back the glass then spooned out a helping of modified oatmeal.

"Here." he said touching the spoon to Heero's mouth. With the contact Yuy turned his head away from the utensil. "Heero?" Duo questioned surprised at the reaction.

Pilot 01 was silent as he fought the building anger that had suddenly bloomed in his gut. Damn this powerless feeling. he chided himself for his lack of control. A longer pause, Heero sighed hoping that the expelled air would carry away some of the frustration. "I am not a baby." he curtly declared fighting to keep his voice even. The irritation in his tone echoed with a harshness that sent a twinge of guilt through his heart. It's not Duo's fault. he reminded himself once more.

"No one said you were," Duo answered also trying to maintain his patience with his stubborn partner, "but right now this is the only way you can eat so you might as well decided to cooperate."

Another moment passed before Heero turned back in the direction of Duo's voice. "I'm sorry." Did Heero Yuy just apologize? "I know." Duo replied gently touching his koi's cheek.

Even though he still hated being helpless and the threat of panic still gnawed at his insides, Heero finally gave into the logic and opened his mouth. A generous spoonful of porridge was delivered with the same skill that Maxwell used to target Mobile Suits. Breakfast continued to alternate between the strawberry flavored oatmeal and the remainder of the juice. A few portions were left as Yuy refused the last of the bowl's content. Strawberry coated toast followed. At least with the toast Heero could feed himself as Duo divided the browned bread into bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile the other pilots enjoyed the first hot food they had had in days. Quatre soon realized that Duo had not eaten anything from his tray because he had been so busy helping Heero. The Sandrock pilot paused from his meal insisting that Duo take a break and eat. "Do I have to remind you again that you have to take care of yourself?" he asked the rhetorical question.

Breakfast finished Duo announced that it was time for Heero to have a bath. More crude comments grumbled in fluid Japanese were forthcoming but Duo ignored the cursing giving Trowa orders to start the shower while he got a fresh gown from the nightstand draw.

It was a slow but steady journey to the bathroom. Heero was bruised and sore from the explosion's impact and stiff from his stationary stay in bed. Duo knew that the eye patches needed to stay dry but he could work around them. What mattered now was that the warm pelting water aide in easing his partner's stiffness and hopefully help to improve his mental state.

It quickly became apparent that the only feasible way to carry out the bath mission was to join his lover in the shower. Of course Duo had no problem with that arrangement since it had been many days since he and Heero had shared any "alone" time together. With a smug smile and a wickedly delicious gleam in his eyes Duo locked the door against any unwelcome intrusion. He undid the gown's back ties and slipped the wrinkled cloth over Yuy's muscular shoulders letting gravity take over until the garment pooled around Heero's ankles. Getting his lover to hold onto the sink to keep his balance, the sly Shinigami wasted no time in disrobing.

As Heero held onto the sink his sense of hearing took over. The hiss of water first caught his attention, then the almost inaudible patter as the jetting liquid splashing along the stall's tiles joined in the noise. There was also a faint gurgled from the water going down the drain. Phantom "swishes" that sounded like fabric moving and Duo's husky breathing as he no doubt anticipated their watery rendezvous all added to the audible sensations.

Duo took Heero's hand guiding him into the soothing shower, backing him up into the fine spray. He slid the curtain shut trapping the warm dampness, encouraging the swirling mist to encompass their bodies. Heero winced slightly as his braided partner caressed his shoulders kneading out the knotted tendons. "Better?" he asked. Heero nodded relaxing under Duo's masterful manipulations.

Next Duo let his fingers trace down his lover's chest until they stopped on his nipples. "Oh doesn't that feel good?" Duo cooed wasting no time in rubbing the pink nubs until they became taut. For a moment Duo considered that such foreplay might be too much for his impaired partner but his growing need countered his concern. Just be careful. his inner council advised.

Heero tensed under Duo's carefully crafted physical assault. Not being able to see; every contact became a surprise attack. His sense of touch was elevated until the lightest brush against his skin sent tingles throughout his body. "Easy there lover." Duo breathed out placing an arm around Heero's waist and pulling him close. "You lean on me and let me do all the work." he whispered close to Yuy's ear.

The next sensation was the feel of soap being applied over his torso. Duo worked up a good lather letting one slippery hand traveled from Heero's neck to well below his waist hastening the onset of an already accelerated erection. The slick hand continued its trek around Heero's firm buttocks making certain that each cheek was completely covered with suds. The aroma of water-warmed soap invaded Heero's nostrils mixing with a more elusive yet equally sensuous scent. This time a muskiness that hinted of pure sex wafted with the soap.

Heero rested his head on Duo's shoulder allowing himself to become inundated with the seductive perfume. Now both touch and smell conveyed a certain sure sexuality. Yuy's head shot up as Duo's probing fingers teased his anal opening. "Duo!" he flinched then jolted again as his lover's hardened manhood ground into his own enlarged genitals. "Oh." he sighed becoming lost in the flood of sensory responses.

"Heero I want you." Duo breathed out the invitation to make love. "But I don't want to hurt you." he added, his concern for his soul mate's well being outweighing his physical needs.

Even though Heero felt lightheaded from the increased activity and his own building excitement he didn't want to stop. The explosion's violence and the resulting injuries to his sight and his emotional stability reminded him just how unpredictable life could be. He and Duo were soldiers and soldiers often paid the highest prices for their duty.

**********

Heero had only recently discovered his love for Duo Maxwell, had only weeks to treasure the braided boy's joy and his lust for life. War was far too uncertain to waste precious moments. No one was promised the next hour. The past was gone and the future was beyond his grasp so Heero had determined to live each minute in the present as if it was his last.

At the beginning, when Yuy found himself vulnerable to Duo's loving influence he had been angry. How dare Maxwell make him feel! How dare the self-proclaimed God of Death tempt him to acknowledge his emotions! What did the Grim Reaper's avenger know of love? How could that whirlwind of energy with his endless chatter and his sometime irresponsible behavior expect the Perfect Soldier to deny his training and give into his humanity?

Duo is an unrealistic baka to believe that anything other than duty matters. Heero had offered the unmistakable evidence to his unsure feelings. But while his mind reasoned the statement to be concrete, his heart could not accept the argument. Then his body became the ultimate betrayer as a strange metamorphosis took place every time Duo got too close.

Slowly Duo Maxwell began to unravel Yuy's heart. Gradually Heero's annoyance was replaced by an acceptance that maybe the colonies and the cause were not as important as caring for the individual. To Duo's credit he did not give up on Heero Yuy. He saw passed the soul laden with pain, the mind confused by devotion to duty and the nagging need for something more tangible than mere obligation. He stared straight into the core of a lonely soldier and offered an unselfish saving grace free from any expectations of returned love.

**********

A soft brushing of lips on lips brought Heero back from his contemplations. Without further examination to cloud his senses he leaned into the inviting kiss. Opening his mouth his tongue met Duo's to taste and savor his lover. The kiss deepened, the very breath of life exchanged in a passion shared by one united heart and soul. Duo was wet and slippery and carried the scent of springtime showers. The fine spray did indeed sound like the gentle patter of rain on newly borne flowers. Heero could imagine the buds opening wide their petals to embrace the rain. He could smell dewy mornings and the freshness of his koi. Although he could not see with his eyes, his body had clear vision, one unencumbered by fleeting bits of light and shadows.

Duo tightened his embrace until not one drop of water passed between their hot bodies brought to a fever pitch by their desire. Never lessening the encirclement Duo literally slipped around Heero. Keeping his arms about his waist he centered his hips until his more-than-willing manhood nudged Heero's entrance. Heero leaned over backing into the persuasive pressure. Quickly Duo inserted one finger then another preparing his lover. Wasting no time Duo just as quickly replaced his probing fingers with his manhood's tip. "Ready lover?" he hissed against Heero's neck.

A throaty moan spoke volumes without the need for words. Duo pushed, the head sliding into the stretched opening. With steady force Duo continued to enter his lover as Heero's moans grew more insistence. Fully seated he paused wanting to enjoy the heat.

"Now." Heero begged bracing his hands on the smooth tile and wiggling his bottom to encourage compliance with his wishes for more. Duo pulled part the way out then inch by gratifying inch fanned the flames. Soon a rhythm known only by practiced lovers set the dance of passion in motion. Rocking and rutting both lovers moved as one. Heero threw back his head forgetting his sightless condition, concentrating wholly on the sensual sensations.

Duo's hot breath panting against his back, the slick thrusting that touched that special spot that sent Heero's senses into overload combined to carried the soul mates into an orbit of ecstasy. And if they crashed and burned from the lust then they would go down contently. Like the mystical Phoenix who rose from its self-made ashes, Duo and Heero united in fiery passion were reborn with each copulative movement.

Duo reached between the coupled bodies wrapping his hand around Heero's quivering erection. Matching the strokes with each thrust Duo guided his partner to a shuddering climax. Heero let out a throaty growl as his throbbing manhood twitched then shot forth his milky seed. Pushing harder against the wall he met Duo's driving manhood with all the strength he could muster. Duo drove in once more then shook from his own forceful release. The shower rained over the sated lovers washing away sweat and seed but not the sweetness.

Carefully Duo pulled out but continued to hold his lover as close as physically possible. "Are you all right?" Duo wondered between shallow gasps for air as he tried to keep his full weight from Heero's back

Heero nodded then smiled as he replayed the loving in his mind's eye. "I'm fine." he declared turning to face his precious partner.

**********

Quatre paced outside the bathroom door. "They have been in there a long time." he announced looking at his watch for the third time. "I heard some strange noises; do you think that they are all right?"

Trowa smiled pulling his Little One into a reassuring embrace. "I think they are fine." he stated winking at Wufei.

Chang shook his head, "There so no need to worry." he agreed, " I am sure that they were just making up for lost time."

**********

"Let me get you dried and dressed and back in bed, you need your rest." Duo stated turning off the water.

As Deathscythe's Master rubbed Heero down to ward off any chill his contented lover took Duo's hand "Arigato." Heero expressed his gratitude leaning in for a kiss. "You are my shugotensi." he whispered as he broke the kiss.

"Shugotensi?" Duo repeated.

"My guardian angel." Heero explained holding tightly onto his heart's salvation.

Duo touched Heero's cheek tracing a bluish welt under his eye. "I promise everything will be all right. I will take you home and soon you will be well. Nothing in heaven or on this earth is stronger than our love." he proclaimed as tears tracked down his face.

Heero, faith overcoming his dark sight, knew that Duo was crying. He could smell the salty moisture, clearly hear the soft sobs. His "second sight" instinctively knew the path to find the tears cried not from fear or sorrow but elated joy. One finger gently intercepted a single shimmering droplet. "Together we can do anything." he reaffirmed his commitment to Duo Maxwell, his friend and lover forever.

 

The End

Second Sight--Karen Hickman--July 2002

Thank you for reading and your kind comments!!!