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fic - slow and steady part 8 [misc] - the turnip patch
version 2.0
fic - slow and steady part 8 [misc]
Title:  Slow and Steady
Part:  8
Additional notes:  Happy End-of-Days!  I wish I could have conjured up a good Heero-and-Duo-at-the-end-days fic, but... oh SNAP.  Heero's in a wheelchair, and it's NOT the end of the world!  Looks like I made the theme after all! ^_^v

Slow and Steady
Part 8

Duo didn't manage to score a swanky VIP medical transport since there weren't any currently in dock that were rated for re-entry, but he got them a small transport that served just as well.  He packed up all his gear and stowed it on-board in the morning, along with their personal items, and as soon as Heero was done with his afternoon appointment with Dr. Kessler, Duo whisked him away to the hangar and got him strapped in to the co-pilot's chair before the ache wore him out.

A couple of hours out of port, Duo readjusted the hoodie he had tucked around Heero as a blanket.  Heero sleepily clutched at it in resistance, and seconds later, he was opening his eyes.

"Oh, sorry," Duo apologized.  "Didn't mean to wake you."

"No..."  His eyes scanned the displays to calculate time and position.  "It's about time.  Last week was an anomaly, I said."

"Yeah.  If you say so."  Duo reflexively checked the auto-pilot before turning his full attention to Heero.  "Or maybe the treatments are gonna get less achey?  Kessler bumped you up to ten days and all.  Though I guess the treatment's still the same, just the timing, so maybe it'll be the same, just less often."

"Theoretically, the amount of material he injects will decrease with time as well."  Heero stretched minutely.  "You know what actually sounds good right now?  Forget the Jacuzzi.  I'm thinking hot stone massage."

Duo made a little sound of desire.  "Ooh, yeah.  That does sound great.  Not that I really know from personal experience, but I've seen ads."

"Yeah, me too."

"You're not cold and trying to tell me something, are you?"

"No.  You already thought of that."  He flipped up a corner of Duo's hoodie to illustrate his point.  "I was thinking about the weight, I think."

Duo watched as he swiveled his chair around to where he would have room to lift his legs, and turned his own chair to match.  "Been a while since zero-g, eh?"


"Pity it's no good for you in large doses."

"I'll take the long-term ability to walk over the short-term feeling of normalcy."

"Wanna go for a swim?"

Heero appeared to consider it for a second before shaking his head.  "No, I shouldn't push my luck.  Not right now."

"Yeah, well, still gotta long trip ahead of us."  Heero toyed with his long-lost mobility for a while, and Duo sighed.  "I'm not sure I wouldn't have just said 'screw it' and signed on to one of Howie's long-haulers or something.  If it had happened to me."

"I think you'd have come to your senses quickly enough."

"Quickly enough to still get treatment?  I'm not gonna bet on it.  I can be a stubborn ass about some things."

"Indeed you can.  So can I.  You need to be stubborn about the right things, though.  I refuse to be defeated by this.  I refuse to crack under pressure.  I refuse to give in.  You're just as capable at these things.  I just prefer the silent approach.  You'd probably spit in this virus' face and insult its mother."

Duo thought about it, then chuckled.  "Yeah, I guess that's just as likely, too.  Though... I'm not sure I would have done that right away.  Like, it might have taken me a while to realize that it was that kind of situation.  If it snowballed as fast as you say.  One day you walk into your doctor's office because something feels funny, and the next, you're waking up on L1 and you can't walk at all."

Heero stared at his outstretched toes for a bit.  "It does take a few days.  For it to start feeling real.  And hopefully, you have a good auto-pilot, and it's more like, one day you're waking up on L1 and you can't walk, but you're starting a good treatment program and you have good momentum to carry you through."

"Wow, I think I need you to program my auto-pilot for me."

A corner of Heero's mouth canted upward.  "Maybe I was just in the right mindset already.  I was already recovering from an injury.  And it's not like I've never been injured before.  I've... been in other situations where I could not make my body do what I wanted it to do.  It helped to just think about it in the same way."

"Even if it..."  He fell silent, not wanting to say it aloud.  Heero didn't finish the thought either.  Duo found a different direction to go in.  "What if...?"  No, wait, that direction was no less grim than the last.

Heero spared him the trouble of finding something else to say.  "I didn't have a plan B.  I'm glad it all worked out.  I'm not sure how I would have told you all, if it hadn't worked out."

Duo laughed sharply.  "I would have had trouble forgiving you, Yuy."

"Then I'm glad it all worked out."

"How long did it take you to figure out that you were in denial?"

Heero meditated on the answer for a few moments.  "I wouldn't call it 'denial', really...  You just believe what you have to.  You do what you have to, to get through.  But to answer your question... It was really only a few weeks before you came.  Krista and Ari had been after me for a while to let you all know.  Took us a while to figure out why I just wasn't doing it."

"When do you think you would have told us?  After you were walking again?"

He shrugged.  "After the holidays, anyway.  I wouldn't have wanted to cause a big stir."

"What would you have told Quatre, when he asked you if you're coming to his shindig?"

"I'd have said I couldn't make it this year, sorry.  Next year, definitely."

"And you'd have downplayed everything, I'm sure.  Just like you've downplayed everything for me."

Heero remained quiet.

"I can do math, Heero.  It's taken you, what, almost four months now, to get where you are?  And you're just starting to get back on your feet again.  How far in the red did you start out?"  It took too long for Heero to answer, so he did so partially himself.  "Geezus, we're not just talking some nerve damage here.  We're talking full-on spinal cord injury."

"Yes," he conceded eventually.  "But it wasn't an acute trauma, so I didn't lose all functionality.  The damage was spotty.  That sounds bad, I know."

"It is bad," Duo asserted, but then he faltered.  "I mean, not like, like, not-you-anymore bad, but... argh."  He ran a frustrated hand through his bangs.  "Sorry, man, I don't know what I'm looking for here.  Never mind."

Heero sighed softly.  "Yes.  It was bad.  I had my moments.  Of frustration.  Impatience.  Longing.  But it was never hopeless.  I know I believed whatever I had to, to get through it, but... I wasn't delusional.  It truly never was hopeless.  Yes, I started fairly deep in the red.  Yes, even now, we aren't sure if I can make a full recovery.  But with the treatments, and with a lot of therapy, there was a very good chance that I'd... get back on my feet again.  The only question was -- and still is -- how much farther I can get than that."

Duo smiled tightly.  "Guess it's just 'cuz your 'full recovery' is, like, three hundred percent what everyone else would consider full recovery, that things seem so crappy.  You've come so far already, and that's awesome, and I guess that needs to be more important to me than how far you have left to go."  He toyed with the end of his braid for a bit.  "Still... guess I wish I'd been there for you, buddy.  Doesn't matter that the odds were great.  There still had to be -- well, I mean, if I'd been in that situation, it'd have been hard not to fixate on that ten percent, or whatever it was.  And I'd appreciate having someone around who could slap some sense into me when I needed it.  Guess you didn't need it, though."

"I appreciate the offer."  He reached across the space between them to squeeze Duo's arm.  "But sometimes... when you're injured, there's no point in dwelling on how bad it hurts.  It's not going to make it hurt any less.  Sometimes... you just bite that bullet and you go chasing after that piece of Libra and you shoot the damn thing down and you don't need a pep talk before you do it because you can't split your focus for the contemplation of failure.  You just know that you have to succeed, and that's really all you need to know."

Duo chuckled weakly.  "My pep talk probably would have consisted of me calling you a crazy idiot."

"To say the least."

"To say the least."  He smiled more honestly this time.  "But I guess you're right.  Only a crazy idiot would have distracted you with the possibility of failure at the time.  When failure's not an option... there's no point in even discussing it.  You deal with it if or when it happens.  There's not even any preparing for things like that anyway.  But... You know, if it had been an option... I totally woulda been there."

"I know.  If it had been an option... Maybe I would have called.  Maybe I should have called anyway."

"Damn straight.  If this hadn't worked out and you had to come telling us with your tail between your legs, I wouldn't have talked to you for a whole friggin' day, Yuy."

Heero laughed quietly.  "Oh my, a whole day."

"That's a full twenty-four hours, buddy!"

"Not to be taken lightly, for sure.  You'd have had me humbly begging for forgiveness by the end of it."

"Damn straight."

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5 comments or Leave a comment
sharona1x2 From: sharona1x2 Date: December 21st, 2012 03:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
You'd probably spit in this virus' face and insult its mother.

That was perfect. All the dialogue between them has been great. I could read a story of yours where all they do is talk. :-)
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: December 22nd, 2012 01:01 am (UTC) (Link)
That's fortunate... because that IS pretty much all they do in my fics. ^^'
lavendarlizard From: lavendarlizard Date: December 21st, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
That is what real 'tough love' looks like. ^____^

turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: December 22nd, 2012 01:03 am (UTC) (Link)
'I'm not talking to you for a whoooooole day! *gestures expansively with arms*' is tough love? =)
lavendarlizard From: lavendarlizard Date: December 22nd, 2012 01:18 am (UTC) (Link)
In the Heero portion of Duo's world. ^___^

5 comments or Leave a comment