Fence post one, Duo Maxwell… somewhere in the negative numbers. It was somewhat humiliating to be beaten by an inanimate object so very… thoroughly. I distinctly remember thinking that, about the third or fourth time I woke up. The prior wakings not producing much in the way of coherent thought at all.
It’s all kind of a blur, really, hospital stuff and words that sounded ominous but didn’t make a lot of sense. I remember a moment of coming sharply awake and thinking that there were people there who were trying to burn me. I remember someone getting in my face and asking all manner of stupid questions that I just hadn’t cared to try to answer. Who gave a fuck what the date was? I remember a bout of shivering so hard the bed rattled. And through it all there was an ache in my hands that could not be relieved.
Then there was a bizarre period of sleeping because… I think I wanted to. I remembered Heero accusing me of hiding, and some part of me knew it was just more of that… but I didn’t care, and tried to retreat into the dark as much as I could manage.
I guess it was that thought that prickled at some corner of my mind and made me wonder… why, exactly, was I not still lying in my yard with my dogs?
Which, of course, made the prickle grow to a nagging sense of guilt. And who, exactly, was taking care of those dogs?
And that was pretty much the end of the hiding. I didn’t name the dog Reason because I liked the sound.
‘I didn’t leave you,’ Heero’s voice told me, when I woke that time, and there was a well-worn feel to the line that made me think I’d heard it before. That he’d said it before. Many times before.
‘You were gone,’ I said, simply stating it, and the sharp movement he made told me I hadn’t been answering him back.
‘I left a note,’ he told me, and I turned my head to find him sitting beside the bed, looking worried and rumpled and guilty and… kind of scared.
‘A note?’ I parroted and wondered that I’d never even thought of such a thing. It made me want to laugh. Or cry. Or maybe just go back to sleep.
‘On the kitchen table,’ Heero told me, leaning down to catch my gaze, seeming to make sure he still held my attention. ‘I went to town, for supplies. I… really hate soup, Duo.’
That did make me laugh, in a strangled ugly sort of way, and Heero almost knocked his chair over getting to his feet, so that he could wrap his arms around me. ‘I’m so very sorry,’ he whispered to me.
‘Me too,’ I had to confess and when I tried to put my arms around him in turn, was met with something… very uncomfortable.
Heero drew back and let me look, and I found my hands wrapped up and splinted and I just blinked stupidly at them. Oh yeah.
‘They have to heal some,’ he told me gently, ‘before they can cast them, to make sure there’s no infection. You… broke some things.’
‘Not the damn post,’ I said morosely, and focusing on my hands was making the ache come back. I looked up to meet Heero’s eyes and he was trying to give me a smile, but I could see the touch of sadness behind it. ‘How bad did I fuck myself up?’ I had to ask, suddenly afraid of the answer.
‘Not so bad,’ he soothed. ‘You’ve got a lot of healing to do… but they think you will heal.’ There was something in his voice that made me think he was talking about more than my hands.
‘I really am sorry,’ I whispered, not so sure of my place with him and he seemed to sense it, because he leaned down to kiss me gently.
‘I know,’ he told me and then his voice firmed. ‘And I meant what I said. I didn’t leave and I’m not going to… you understand me?’
‘Ok,’ was the only thing I could manage. Still waking up, still getting my bearings, the thing that was the clearest was what a total dumb-ass I seemed to have turned into. It made me wonder why in the hell Heero wanted anything to do with me at all. There were enough drugs, or something, in my system still… that I almost asked. But a guilty look crossed his face and it made me hesitate.
‘Duo,’ he said, sounding uncertain. ‘I sort of just left things… at your house. I don’t even think the door was shut. I… what should I do?’
I blinked at him for a second, before it sank in what he was asking. He knew what he needed to do, but he wasn’t going to go until I told him to. It… somehow made things a little better. ‘You should go and check on things,’ I assured him. ‘If it gets to be too long, Reason is going to freak out and try to find me. You’re going to have to… God… I don’t know… put him in the house, I guess. Shit, but he’s not going to be happy, but that should keep him from taking off…’
Heero gave out with a little sound that was kind of a chuckle, only a little bit strangled. ‘God, it’s good to hear your voice,’ he told me, brushing fingertips over my cheek and smiling down at me. ‘There for awhile, I wasn’t sure…’ he let that trail off, but I’m not a total dip; I got it. I wondered just how near a thing it had been, but wasn’t sure I wanted to know, since… well… I’d pretty much done it to myself, even if it hadn’t been on purpose.
‘Go on,’ I told him. ‘I’m… just going to sleep some more.’
‘I’ll be back first thing in the morning,’ he said, making sure I was looking at him. Like he wanted to make sure I was really listening. Really taking it in. ‘I promise. Ok?’
I grimaced, knowing that he was forcing me to respond to the comment. A second level of insurance that I got what he was saying. ‘I’m… really sorry,’ was all I could say, and couldn’t meet his eyes.
He sighed his frustration and bent to kiss me again. ‘As soon as I can, ok?’
I nodded, settling back into the pillows. I thought he would leave the room walking backwards. It let me dredge up a smile for him that seemed to reassure.
It was all just too much somehow. Too much to think about… too much to worry about… too much to feel. I was kind of surprised when I drifted right back off to sleep.