In The Memory Part 11
Heero was in the hospital for nine days. He finished his report by the second night and after that, he had nothing to occupy his thoughts but Duo. He was frequently visited by Une, Wufei and Trowa, and sporadically by Quatre, who only left Duo's side when Trowa was able to take his place.
Heero made sure to bombard them with questions about Duo during every visit, and after a few days they simply began giving him an update as soon as they walked through the door. Heero found out that Duo slept through the first two days of his stay, and that once he woke up, the doctors determined there would be no permanent damage from any of his injuries. He was cleared to go home sooner than Heero, after only a six day stay.
Quatre made a point to tell Heero that he and Trowa would be staying with Duo for at least two more weeks while he recovered, so there was no need to worry.
Heero, of course, continued to worry despite everyone's assurances that Duo was doing fine. Several times during his hospital stay, he picked up the phone to call Duo, but his nerves always got the better of him and he would end up hanging up before the second ring.
He just had too many doubts. And there was a nagging feeling that he needed to say whatever he wanted to say in person, not over the phone.
Once he was released from the hospital, he decided to take his chance before he changed his mind. He found his car safely in the parking lot and made a mental note to thank Wufei. After the terrorists were taken care of and the E.R.A. was deemed no longer a threat, Wufei had tracked down Heero's car and retrieved it from where he had left it in the street.
After a short drive, Heero found himself standing on Duo's doorstep. What he now remembered to have once been his doorstep too.
Letting out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding, he reached forward and rang the doorbell. He listened as the bell sounded throughout the house, soon accompanied by excited barking. Heero heard shuffling on the other side of the door and waited as the door slowly opened.
Quatre's eyes widened, but a smile quickly came across his face. "Hey, Heero!"
Heero looked down and saw Quatre holding back a rambunctious Boxer by her collar. Quatre laughed. "Sorry, why don't you come in?" He stepped back and allowed Heero to move inside.
Once the door was closed, Quatre released the dog and she proceeded to spin in circles at Heero's feet. Anxious whimpers escaped her wide jowls and her rear end was wiggling uncontrollably.
"Well, she sure remembers you," Quatre said.
Heero smiled. "Nio, sit."
Obediently the dog stopped spinning and planted her squirming rear on the ground. She looked up at him with her large round eyes and waited as he knelt down to pet her.
"And you remember her," Quatre added, smiling wider.
Heero nodded, but didn't say anything until he stood up. "Where's Duo?"
Quatre's smile faltered. "He's in his room resting, but..."
Heero walked out of the entryway and down the hallway towards the living room, where the stairs were that led up to the bedrooms.
"Heero, wait!" Quatre grabbed Heero's arm, stopping him. "I don't know if he wants to see you."
"Why not?" Heero asked, frowning at the blonde.
"He listened to his Serenity Corp file when he got back from the hospital-"
"He's been acting weird the past few days, Heero. And he's still in a lot of pain from the battle."
Heero stared at Quatre intently. "I have to talk to him, Quatre."
Quatre opened his mouth to say something but Trowa came out of the living room and interrupted them. "What's going on? Heero weren't you just discharged this morning?"
"Yes," Heero replied quickly, "But I need to speak with Duo. Now."
The three of them stood looking at each other for a moment. Trowa eyed Heero for a moment, before he gracefully stepped aside. "He's in his room. But be careful."
Heero nodded. "Thank you."
He walked around Trowa and continued down the hallway. He passed the living room and with a quick glance, he noted that the room hadn't changed much since he left. Furniture and decorations were still the same and except for some missing photographs, everything was comfortingly familiar. He made his way up the stairs and as he approached the second door on the left, he saw it was closed.
He walked up to it, his pounding heart causing his side to throb. He absentmindedly rested his hand over the wound, jerking it away when the touch made pain sprout from the spot. Letting out a heavy sigh, he raised his hand and tapped on the door.
There was no answer.
He decided to go in anyway, expecting to see Duo sleeping. But when he opened the door, he came face to face with the man he was there to see. Duo had stitches on his forehead and his left arm was in a sling. He wore a simple black tank top that showed the bruising over his left side. He was standing inches away from Heero, eyes wide, apparently in mid-motion to get the door.
"What are you doing here?" he asked quietly.
Heero tried to speak, but choked on his words. He tried again and managed to mumble, "Seeing you."
Duo looked at him almost confused. He backed up to sit on the bed, quickly closing the laptop that rested nearby. He scooted back and crossed his legs, sitting Indian style on the gray comforter. He fidgeted with a string that frayed from the blanket, avoiding Heero's gaze.
Heero tentatively walked forward, sitting down next to Duo. He took a deep breath and opened his mouth to speak, not sure what he was going to say. Duo, however, spoke before he had a chance.
"I listened to my whole recording..."
Heero nodded. "Quatre told me." He glanced sideways at the laptop that lay on the other end of the bed. "Is that what you were doing?"
"Yeah," Duo said. "I've listened to it like five times... Did you listen to all of yours?"
"Not all of it."
Duo looked up at him then, catching his gaze and holding it. "Do you know why we broke up?"
Heero shook his head without looking away. "Something about you worrying I wouldn't come home from Preventer missions and a fight and you kicking me out..."
Duo shook his head. "That's just the excuse I used... I mean, it was a little of that... But the truth is you were working all the time and spending a lot of extra time with Wufei. You said it was for work, for the case on the E.R.A.. But I didn't believe you. I thought you didn't care anymore, and I felt like I was wasting my time. So I ended it."
Heero snorted despite himself, immediately wishing he hadn't when Duo shot a nasty glare at him. "I'm sorry... but me and Wufei?"
"I talked to him already, I know it was stupid now."
"Yeah..." Heero glanced back at Duo and quickly corrected himself. "I don't mean you're stupid. I would never think that."
Duo nodded, though Heero wasn't sure he believed him.
"You were wrong," Heero told him, "I did still care. I always cared about you. I just got busy... and stupid. I shouldn't have spent so much time working. We're not at war anymore - I can have a life now. I forgot that."
"You were fine at first," Duo told him, his memory of those times now clearly returned, "and things were awesome, man. But then the E.R.A. came along and suddenly you didn't have time anymore. You went back to soldier mode."
Heero shook his head. "Because I was stupid, not because I stopped caring. I have a hole in my side to prove I care about you more than any mission."
Duo frowned and Heero could not think of any other way to make it clear to Duo that he still cared. He leaned forward and in a quick movement, he cupped his hand behind Duo's head and pulled him into a kiss.
It was simple and shallow, nothing spectacular, but Heero poured as much of himself as he could into that kiss, trying as best he could to show Duo how much he cared.
At first Duo held still, stiffened with shock. But once his senses realized what was happening, he jerked back. He got up off the bed and back towards the door.
"Look buddy, we can't do this," he said.
Heero stood up and moved in front of him. "Why?"
"Because..." Duo said, louder when he spoke this time. He fumbled to think of a logical reason, but nothing came to him.
Heero stared intensely at Duo and the braided man blinked nervously. "I don't want to go back to forgetting you," he said.
Duo closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he opened them again, Heero could see the stress he was under. He could see how torn Duo was. "I don't want that either," Duo said, his voice lowering to a whisper.
"Then let's go back to how things were - before all this happened."
Slowly Heero closed the space between them, bringing their lips together again. He raised his hand to cradle Duo's head and he felt Duo's free arm snake around his back. Both of them put into the kiss this time, both of them pushed themselves into the other. It grew passionate and in that moment it was as if none of the heartache had ever happened.
Heero tightened his grip on Duo's shoulder, causing the braided man to whimper in pain. He jerked back and realized he had been squeezing the injured arm.
"Sorry," he said.
Duo shrugged. "It's ok," he said carelessly, and he leaned forward and resumed the kiss.
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