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fic - slow and steady part 2 [misc] - the turnip patch
version 2.0
fic - slow and steady part 2 [misc]
Title:  Slow and Steady
Part:  2

Slow and Steady
Part 2

It was with an odd hesitance that Duo entered Heero's apartment that night.  It was the standard pre-furnished long-term rental that the Preventers provided to its transient agents.  Duo had his own set of rooms elsewhere in the complex.  He noted the same furniture, but in a different arrangement, likely to accommodate Heero's special circumstances, and he wondered who had helped him with it.  Maybe a team swept through and figured things out before bringing Heero here.  He sort of hoped that was the case.  It was what he would have preferred for himself.

Duo followed Heero into the kitchen, which, unlike his own, was decently stocked for a prolonged stay.  He'd ostensibly come over for a spot of tea to settle their shared dinner before heading back to his own place to catch some z's and realign his biological clock to the shift in time zones, but he was sure he'd find some reason or another to stretch the visit out.  This was why he'd accepted the last-minute assignment.  But if he'd known what he knew now, he'd have found a way to be temporarily re-assigned right alongside Heero, all those months ago.

Heero filled his electric hot pot with a pitcher of water on the counter and set it to boiling before fetching two cups from a lower shelf and setting them on the table.  Then he took his almost-empty pitcher over to the sink and levered himself carefully out of his chair.

"Uh..."  Duo bounced a little nervously by the table, watching Heero do his thing.  "Gotta admit, Yuy, I'm not sure if I'm supposed to offer to help, or if that would be a grave insult to your pride."

"Pride goeth before a fall," Heero answered serenely, supporting most of his weight against the countertop as he refilled his pitcher.  "And I've fallen a few times.  You can ask me, if you're not sure.  I know you.  If I want you to back off, I'll tell you."

"Oh.  So.  Uh.  Need some help?"  He took a step forward.  Then a step back.  "I mean, you've obviously been living here for a while without assistance, so I doubt you do, but..."

The pitcher was set aside once it was full, and then Heero lowered himself back into his seat with a controlled thump and unlocked the wheels.  "Luckily, I have plenty of upper body strength to get by on."  He rolled over to the table and moved one of the chairs.  "May I borrow your arm?"

"Huh?  Oh."  Duo held his arm out, and resisted the urge to do more than that as Heero used it to steady himself in his transfer from chair to chair.  He guessed Heero used the table when he was on his own.  It was pushed against a wall, so there was a good chance it wouldn't slide around too much and cause an accident.  "Is this... uh, well... I mean.  Are you supposed to be... doing all this?  Getting up and stuff?"

"I think it's important to get as much exercise as I can."

He also thought it was important to blow up his Gundam while he was still in it.  "And what does your doctor think?"

"My therapists -- physical therapists -- don't necessarily disagree.  As long as I don't over-do it.  Or get myself into trouble."

"Did you?  At first?  Can't exactly see you following orders like that, right off the bat."

Heero smiled faintly.  "I never did anything too stupid.  I... couldn't do much of anything, at first.  And then after I started treatment, I didn't want to do anything that could set me back.  You do stupid things, you generate too much scarring, and then you're stuck.  I don't want to be stuck."

"Yeah, no kidding..."  The water came to a boil, and he got up automatically to take care of the tea.  Almost immediately he wondered if that was the right thing to do, but he figured he'd done the same thing from time to time at Heero's place before.  It was no different now.  He snorted silently to himself.  Right.  No different now.  He glanced over his shoulder just to be sure, and saw Heero watching him with what passed for an agreeable look on his face.  "You're taking this whole thing well."

Heero shrugged.  "There are days when... it takes a few extra fortifying breaths to get myself into the right headspace.  It's not that difficult to put things into perspective, though."

"It could be worse?"

"Did you know, with paralysis of the lower body, it's quite possible to lose bladder and bowel control?"

Duo flinched, and almost spilled hot water on his hand.  "Uh, now that you mention it, yeah.  I think I did know that."

"It could have been worse," Heero repeated wryly.  "There are challenges.  But I can overcome challenges.  As long as I still have my freedom.  My independence."

"Dignity helps, too, I'm sure."  He brought the teapot over to the table and sat back down.

"I have some great PTs.  Well, until they start straying from 'physical' therapy and on into 'psychological' therapy.  Then they can get a little annoying."

"Aw, don't take it personally.  That's just part of their job, to keep you upbeat and positive about things.  You know, motivation and all that.  And if they gotta pick your brains a bit to figure out how to motivate you, well, that's their job."

"I understand.  It took them a bit longer to understand that I have all the motivation that I need without having to be upbeat."

Duo laughed.  "Yeah, I can see how that would be a problem."

"They were also concerned that I was setting unrealistic goals for myself."

That set Duo off again.  "You've proven them wrong, I assume."

"I've proven them wrong.  So, now that we've gotten that all straightened out, I think we've developed a pretty good working relationship."

"How about your doctor?"

"My PTs report back to Dr. Kessler, twice a week, I think.  I see him on Fridays.  He's quite pleased with my progress."

"You aren't skewing his results for ever after, are you?  I mean, I doubt he'll ever find a patient quite like you again."

Heero accepted the compliment with a slight dip of his head.  "Perhaps.  But it's still good data, I'm sure."

"You said... he's had limited success before?"

"Well, it depends on your definition of 'success'.  He's restored all of his previous patients to the point where they can lead productive, independent lives.  In that regard, it's a success.  But he hasn't managed yet to restore his patients back to their previous standards of mobility."

"I see."  Duo tried to strike the melancholy from his tone.  There was only one person in this room entitled to cheering-up, and it wasn't him.  He took the edge off by pouring them both a cup of tea.  "You're still going to skew his data, fail or succeed.  Your previous standards of mobility were pretty insane."

"So are my standards of rehabilitation."

He chuckled, only half-forced.  "You're gonna be running the obstacle course in no time."

"That's the plan."  He was pretty sure Heero was mostly serious, but there was also a little mischievous glint in his eye.

Duo matched him, glint for glint.  "You're still not gonna be able to beat me, though.  Even with your previous standards of mobility."

"You were never able to beat me consistently, Duo."

"You were never able to beat me consistently, Heero."

They stared challengingly at each other for a few seconds before Heero broke it with a small smile.  He lifted his teacup in a toast.  "To the obstacle course."

"To overcoming obstacles," Duo added softly, elevating his own cup.

Heero's smile slipped for a fraction of a second before coming back, a shade wider than before.  He tapped their cups together, and they drank.

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15 comments or Leave a comment
corpus_yaoi From: corpus_yaoi Date: December 15th, 2012 12:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Man, how long have i grappled with the concept of heero and duo as a real couple? Setting up their relationship to be one founded on mutual respect and equality when so much about heero screams "so far above average, you need binoculars to see me" (his quotes about being able to do what others cant exacerbates that sense of just-plum-better-than-you)

And here, you neatly level the playing field by having duo turn heero's observation about who beats who on the obstacle course, matching heero word for word and point for point!</p>

I hope theres more story! Ive always love the careful way you craft the relationship between these two!

sharona1x2 From: sharona1x2 Date: December 15th, 2012 12:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wish LJ had a "Like" button, so that I could Like your comment!
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: December 16th, 2012 05:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I think 'equality' is overrated, at least from a semantic point of view.  'Equality' implies that they should be the same.  I go for the whole yin-yang thing myself, that they should be complementary, balanced.  It's not about them both being weak or both being strong in the same areas.  It's about Duo providing the spontaneity, but Heero providing the stability.  It's about Duo being a better sprinter, but Heero being a better distance runner.  It's about one of them being 20/80, and the other being 80/20, and each of them having their time on top.  And it all rather neatly fits into the OTP concept since you think, these two puzzle pieces fit with each other and only each other. ^^'
corpus_yaoi From: corpus_yaoi Date: December 16th, 2012 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
You can take me to OTP school anytime, Professor Jei!

This feels like when I first heard about 1=2 instead of 1x2 or 2x1 (although, to be honest, I thought the equals sign didn't achieve much since one of the those numbers would still have to come first. Oh, what I wouldn't give for the coding skills to create my own sort of interrobang for a character of a two and a one superimposed on each other)...what I wouldn't give to re-do my institutional years!
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: December 17th, 2012 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, is that a tenured position? ^o^

You know, I've had that very same thought about the 1 and 2 superimposed.  I guess 1x5 fans are in luck with a $.  Sort of.
sharona1x2 From: sharona1x2 Date: December 15th, 2012 12:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I got the impression at the very end that Heero was thinking about his relationship with Duo. Overcoming an obstacle doesn't have to be only about Heero's physical condition, right? Or maybe I'm just being optimistic that Heero has some feelings he'd like to share with Duo. :-)

I really loved their interaction in this part, and the way they can be so comfortable with each other given the circumstances.
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: December 16th, 2012 05:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh, that's not optimism.  It wouldn't be a very good Christmas present if the boys didn't have feelings to share with each other by the end. ^_^
lavendarlizard From: lavendarlizard Date: December 15th, 2012 10:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heero is just so... un-dramatic. ^___^ He has such a practical perspective on life.

turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: December 16th, 2012 05:46 am (UTC) (Link)
The guy disarms nuclear missiles for breakfast.  I don't think this would faze him.
lavendarlizard From: lavendarlizard Date: December 16th, 2012 11:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
*snicker* Certain not for more than a few minutes, if that. ^___^

Bet he made the psyche department sit up and notice, though. ^___^

roseya19 From: roseya19 Date: December 16th, 2012 03:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Part 1...
Part 2...
*looks about for Part 3*

I hope you continue the story, too, because I really love the meaty grasp you have on the inner Heero here. And Duo is reacting to it all with an equal amount of practical "slow and steady" himself. You write them so well together. Heh, overcoming obstacles, indeed! So much promise with that line...
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: December 16th, 2012 05:49 am (UTC) (Link)
One post a day till Christmas!

Heero and Duo happen to be very good at running the obstacle course. ^_^
roseya19 From: roseya19 Date: December 17th, 2012 06:43 am (UTC) (Link)
One a day til Christmas? Oooooo goody! And they are indeed *very* good at running the obstacle course! ^__^
From: lisiche Date: December 16th, 2012 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)
This is just darling. I wish I could leave better feedback than that, but I'm terrible at it so I'm just going to sit here quietly and check back often for updates and not be a pest.
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: December 16th, 2012 05:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for letting me know you're here! *waves*
15 comments or Leave a comment