4-29-2002

Title : Change Of Hearts ( 5 / ? )

Author : Minky

Pairing : 1 + 2

Warning : AU, Angst, OOC

Archive : Tyr-san’s GWA

Disclaimers : I don’t own the GW characters. The fanfiction is written purely for entertainment only.

*****

It was dawn when Heero finally staggered home. The cold beer didn’t make him feel any better; it only made him more miserable once he was sober.

He grabbed the remote control on the bed and switched on the television before throwing it carelessly on the floor. He never listened to the morning news but he just wanted some sound to break the silence that hung around the apartment.

/ Firemen and the civil defense personnel are still working very hard to look for survivors trapped in the rubble when partial of the hotel collapsed due to the explosion. Investigators suspect that the explosion at Waltz Hotel was caused by a leaking gas pipe. /

Heero sat bolted upright immediately. “Waltz Hotel?”

From the television screen, he saw the devastating scene, firemen hosing at the raging fire, searching through the rubbles for survivors. Where the hotel used to situate, whole area now was choked with smoke and flames and dust.

/ The casualties had been sent to the local general hospital for treatment. The hospital spokesman urges the public to come forward for blood donation as the blood bank is running out of supplies for the injured. /

“Waltz Hotel, Duo is staying there….oh no….”

With shaky fingers, Heero dialed the church number. The call was answered almost instantly.

“Hello?” He heard Sister Helen’s anxious voice.

"Sister, it’s Heero. Duo….is he staying in that Waltz Hotel?”

“You saw the news too? Oh God…..” The nun was crying uncontrollably over the phone.

“Hello, Heero?” It was Father Maxwell.

“Father, any news from Duo? Is he all right?”

“Son, we are still waiting for the news. We tried calling the hospital but there isn’t much information they can offer. Everything is in a mess now,” the elderly priest sighed.

“I’m not going to sit here and wait. I’m going over there to look for Duo myself.”

================

“You have a mild concussion and some bruises and cuts. Young man, you are indeed very lucky to have escaped this disaster with only minor injuries,” said the doctor as he finished placing a bandage on his arm.

“Where are you going?” the doctor called out as Duo made his way out of the ward.

“I need to make a phone call. I have to inform my church people that I am fine.”

Duo wheeled himself to the pay phone.

Meanwhile, Heero arrived at the hospital. He made a beeline to a big board in the hospital lobby that identified patients who had been treated for minor injuries and released. But Duo’s name was not on the board. With growing panic, he rushed to the information counter.

“I’m sorry but we have more than two hundred casualties here and till now, no name list has been established yet. I really would like to help but I can’t. Please understand. You can try to search the wards if you want to,” an almost exasperated nurse informed him.

Heero muttered his thanks and ran down the corridors towards the east wing of the hospital. Like the nurse said, there were casualties all over the place. Heero ran from ward to ward, looking for a certain violet eyes, long chestnut haired boy. Everywhere he heard cries of pain and anguish, victims in heavy bandages. Each ward was full of crying children, wounded men and women, rushing doctors and nurses. But there was no sight of Duo. The anxious boy was getting worried but he was not giving up. He made his way to the west wing instead.

Meanwhile, Duo was waiting for his turn at the pay phone when he caught a glimpse of the Japanese boy ran by.

“Heero? What is he doing here?” Duo wondered.

After some deliberation, Duo left the queue and followed him.

Heero had covered almost the whole hospital checked through every ward but he still couldn’t find Duo. In frustration, he ran back to the counter and tried to make the nurse recall if there was anyone with Duo’s description being brought into the hospital for treatment. Another nurse on duty overheard their conversation and mentioned that she saw a patient with long chestnut hair being brought into the hospital by the paramedics. A quick check revealed that the patient had just passed away due to serious injuries and the body was arranged to send to the morgue.

Heero nearly went out of his mind in frantic. "Y…you are saying that Duo is... Duo is..."

He didn’t manage to finish his sentence as he took off in a dead run towards the morgue.

Duo, who was having a hard time trying to catch up with him in his wheelchair was puzzled by Heero’s rushing around the hospital. Nonetheless, he still followed him from a distance.

“Why does this place feel so unusually cold?” Heero wondered as he finally reached the morgue. He stared at the entrance hesitantly. For once, he was scared, truly scared. He was afraid that his search would end up there but it was really happening. Duo was dead.....

Not knowing what to do, not wanting to face the ultimate truth, he just stood there in daze.

"Excuse me, give way please!”

Two hospital orderlies were pushing a trolley towards the morgue. On it was a blanket-covered body. Heero was about to step aside when he suddenly halted and gasped in shock.

“Wait!” he stopped the trolley. “No, this can’t be true. He can’t be…..”

There were strands of chestnut hair sticking out of the blanket. His knees began to buckle and had to grab hold onto the side of the trolley to keep from collapsing.

“He can’t be dead….he can’t be dead…..” he kept murmuring.

With shaky hands, Heero slowly pulled back the covers and held his breath. The left side of the deceased’s head was badly dented, apparently hit by a very heavy object. The face also suffered some burns but it was very obvious that the deceased was a female.

“Do you know the deceased?” an orderly asked.

“No…no….” Heero dropped the sheet and moved back against the wall while the orderlies proceeded to the morgue. He let out the breath he was holding. Thank God that wasn’t Duo but the thought scared him. What if Duo was really dead? Emotionally strained, he staggered back against the wall for support.

From his hidden corner, Duo saw the young assassin slid onto the hospital floor wearily. He saw how the boy had ran from room to room searching for him; how he had mistakenly thought the deceased was him. The sight of the distraught boy brought a stab of pain to his heart. Not knowing what to do, Duo slowly backed away, when one of the wheels knocked against the leg of a bench at the corridor.

Hearing the clanking sounds, Heero looked up briefly and saw the boy he was looking for so painstakingly sitting in a wheelchair just a few feet away. For a moment, Heero could only stared incredulously, as though he could not believe the evidence of his eyes, thinking it was only a figment of his imagination.

They continued to look at each other in silence. Finally Duo broke the gaze and started to wheel away. Snapping out of the trance, a panic Heero quickly raised to his feet and went after him.

“Duo!”

The wheelchair stopped but the boy did not turn around. Immediately, Heero went to the front and dropped to his knees. Kneeling before Duo, his shaky hand gently touched the bandages on the boy’s head as he examined his injuries. From what he saw, Duo seemed fine except for those ugly bruises and cuts on the side of his face and arms.

“Why?” Duo whispered as he felt the callous fingers brushing gently over his wounds. “Why are you here?”

“Because you are very important to me. Because I care about you…..I love you,” Heero murmured. Unable to restrain himself any longer, he pulled Duo into a tight embrace. Tears of relief rolled down his cheeks silently. No words could express how he felt at that moment.

Duo was stunned to find himself wrapped in Heero’s strong arms. His instant reaction was to push him away but yet he felt safe in his arms. He could feel the latter’s body shaking slightly and the hot tears trickling down the side of his neck.

“The thought of you leaving me hurts. It hurts so badly, like thousand knives are stabbing my heart. Don’t leave me again, please. I need you so,” Heero begged, his voice choked up with emotion.

Battling off the hesitation, Duo slowly hugged him back. Heero responded by tightening his grip on him. No further words were needed. Heero’s earlier actions had told him more plainly than words ever could just how much he cared.

Duo was finally convinced of Heero’s love for him.

TBC.......