Can Duo help Trowa and Heero in the aftermath of a mission gone wrong? Post EW.
And yet I fight this battle all alone
No one to cry to
No place to call home
"Nutshell" - Alice in Chains
"This was not the first time that this has happened to him."
I feel my heart freeze at Heero's words. Literally feel like I had just been punched in the chest.
"Wait! What......." I try to get my mouth to form the words but my jaw seems to open and close like a fish out of water. Heero does not stop in his exit from the kitchen. With my mind reeling, I bolt from my seat so fast that it topples over with a loud clatter.
I catch up with Heero in the foyer as he is pulling on his jacket. I grab him by the elbow and spin him around to face me.
"Wait just a goddamned second, "I practically yell in his face. "You can't just drop a bomb like that and leave without an explanation. What do you mean this has happened before? When?" Heero jerks his arm out of my grasp.
"It's not my place to say," Heero replies.
"Not you're place to say," I repeat incredulously. "Then what the hell was the point of telling me?" Oh, I'm pissed now. I feel my blood pressure rising.
"I thought it would help."
"And what, I was supposed to take that information and be all okay with it? You didn't think I would question it in any way?"
"No, Duo I knew you would question it. I figured you would realize that not everything about what happened should come from me." Heero has closed the distance between us with that last statement. We are now standing nose to nose. I instinctively back up until my back hits the wall. He has an accusatory finger poking into my chest. "I told you because we need to make sure he deals with this properly. Ask yourself this, Duo. In all the time that you have known Trowa have you ever suspected that he may have been raped?"
I shudder at that word. Rape, such a little word yet so horrible at the same time. Heero backs off a bit and is close but no longer in my face. I think about his question for a moment. I can recall times when Trowa seemed very uncomfortable with physical contact. Quatre once hugged him by surprise and I remember thinking that he looked ready to faint. A few months ago Heero and I managed to drag him to the beach and he had refused to take his shirt off. He claimed he was prone to sunburn. Then there were the times when we slept together I did notice the scars on his back but I didn't say anything because we all have our own scars. Occupational hazard. I never thought there was anything wrong with Trowa during our love making. Trowa was an amazing and attentive lover. He never gave the impression that he was uncomfortable in any way. These were just coincidences or pet peeves, right?
"I- uh, well no. He never gave any indication to me. I mean, he had nightmares sometimes but we all do," I say.
"That is the reason why I told you," Heero snaps at me. "He did such a good job of hiding himself from us and I want to be sure that it doesn't happen again."
Hiding himself? Yes, that was the one thing that Trowa did best, always hiding behind that emotionless mask of his. It was impossible to know what he was feeling unless he wanted you to know. I sigh heavily and lean back against the wall, needing its strength to hold me upright.
"God, you're right. If we let him he'll just bury this won't he?" I say. Heero nods in agreement. It's far too early in the morning to be dealing with this. Though, I can't think of a time that would be good for dealing with this.
"Where are you going?" I ask, suddenly remembering that I had stopped Heero from leaving.
"I have to go in to Headquarters for a while," Heero says.
"Should I even bother to ask?" I say as I cross my arms in mock annoyance. Heero laughs softly at my pout.
"No, but I'll be back soon and then we can talk all about it." He gives me or at least tries to give me a reassuring smile. I give him a weary one in return. No further words are exchanged as Heero leaves and closes the front door behind him.
I remain in the foyer for a few moments before I make my way back into the kitchen. I upright the chair I knocked over earlier and sit down heavily on it. I cross my arms on the table and lean forward until my face is hidden. I shake my head in denial. How could I not have known that this has happened before? Was I that scared of being in an actual relationship that I let myself be blinded to the fact that Trowa had his own problems? This whole situation is getting worse instead of better. I don't think I can help them. I don't think I'm strong enough.
I take a cigarette out of the pack I left on the table and light it. When I take the first long drag I realize that my hand is shaking. Relax, Duo. You can do this. You just need to put your game face on and deal with this the same way you always do. I take a deep, cleansing breath and feel the knots in my stomach loosen. I fought a freekin war before. I can do it again. The rules are just a little different this time and they enemy is more elusive.
There is no sense in me wallowing in this any longer. I take a final drag off my cigarette and throw the butt into my coffee mug. Time to get to work. Trowa needs to take his meds and should probably eat something. I pause for a second when I can't remember the last time he has eaten. He was on intravenous fluids while in the infirmary and was pretty much unconscious when Heero and I brought him home yesterday morning. He probably has not had a decent meal since before the mission. Well, I'll see how he is feeling and then take it from there.
I grab a glass from the cabinet and fill it with water and grab the bottle of pills from the table on my way by. When I reach Trowa's bedroom I knock softly before I open the door. I am surprised to see that not only is Trowa awake but he is sitting up on the bed and attempting to stand.
"Hey, do you want any help?" I ask. I figure it's better to ask rather than running up to him and grabbing him. He is traumatized enough and would probably take my help as an act of aggression. He looks up at me and I smile at the pair of emerald eyes that greet me. The swelling has gone down enough for Trowa to be able to open his injured eye.
"I think I can manage." Trowa says softly. I don't detect any fear or shame in his voice just determination. I watch in amazement as he gets himself onto his feet albeit a little shaky. His arm with the brace around his broken wrist is wrapped around his torso holding his bruised and broken ribs. His good hand is outstretched as his takes his first cautious step. I see him sway slightly and rush to his side as his knees begin to buckle. I practically slam the glass of water and the bottle of pills down onto his dresser in order to catch Trowa before he crumbles to the floor.
I catch him by locking my arms under his arms pits and slowly lower him the rest of the way down to the floor. We sit there for a moment and I silently curse myself. I probably just wrenched his broken body. He must be in too much pain to talk.
"Are you alright?" I ask.
"Yeah, just a little dizzy," He replies. "Guess I'm worse off than I initially thought. What brings you in here so early? You don't usually get up until noon."
"Yeah, well I was bringing the antibiotics the doctor prescribed for you. You need to take them twice a day. The more important question is where are you trying to go?" Trowa gives me a half-hearted chuckle.
"Well, I was attempting to make it to the bathroom. Nature calls." Trowa seems in an almost good mood. This was not the person who was in this bed last night. Maybe Trowa is stronger than we realize. Maybe we really can get past all this. Maybe this is the first stage of him burying his emotions.
"Then I guess it was good that I showed up when I did. Here, let me help," I say as I offer both of my hands to him. He takes hold of my right arm and I reach around his back with my left so that I can pull him to his feet. Once I get him standing I let him drape his broken arm over my shoulders and half support his weight with my back. I try to be as gentle on his ribs as possible.
We take our first step together and I hear Trowa hiss behind his teeth. I ask him if he wants to stop or change positions to a more comfortable one. He shakes his head no so we continue. When we reach the bedroom door Trowa is already panting heavily. We move out into the hall and suddenly the corridor seems miles long. Step by torturous step we make our way to the bathroom.
"Do you want me to come inside with you?" I ask when we finally reach our destination.
"No Duo, I think I can manage this by myself," Trowa says with just a hint of sarcasm. I am once again surprised by his mirth considering he was a sobbing wreck a few hours ago. So, I let him cross the threshold by himself and lean against the wall to wait. After a few minutes I hear the toilet flush followed by some shuffling. There is a long period of silence and just when I am about to knock I hear water running in the sink and the soft sounds of Trowa brushing his teeth. Once the water is turned off the room is silent again. I have no clue what he's doing in there but there are no sounds of distress. There is silence for another long stretch of minutes.
"Are you okay in there?" I ask but receive no answer. "Trowa?" Nothing but silence answers me. My mind starts running through all different types of scenarios, each one worse than the one before. Before I know it I'm bursting through the bathroom door expecting to have to stop a suicide attempt. But I find my attempts are unnecessary as I enter. Trowa is standing in front of the sink staring at his reflection in mirror. His hand is raised and his fingers are gingerly tracing the terrible bruising around his right eye.
"They worked me over pretty good, huh?" He says to me without breaking his gaze. There is a faint trace of sadness in his voice. Whatever he has been feeling physically for the past three days probably pales in comparison to what he feels now that he sees firsthand the damaged dealt upon his person. I can only thank whatever higher powers there are that he hasn't seen what has been done to the rest of his body.
"Yeah, but you're a lot tougher than you look. You'll be turning cart-wheels before you know it," I say trying to inject some levity into the situation. I walk over to him and slip his arm over my shoulder like before and tear him away from his reflection before he starts to get too morbid. We make our way back to his bedroom in silence. Once inside I help him sit on the bed. I grab the glass of water from the dresser and hand it to him. I then open the pill bottle and shake one into the palm of my hand. I'm surprised by the size of the pill.
"Here, you go, Tro," I say as I hand him the pill. "Extra large and extra fun to swallow. I'll never know why antibiotics come in such large pills." He swallows the pill dutifully and hands me the glass when he's finished.
"Are you hungry? Do you want to try and eat something?" I ask.
"No, I'm not really hungry. I'm suddenly very tired," Trowa replies around a yawn.
"I guess our little walk tuckered you out. Go back to sleep then. I'll wake you in an hour or two and we'll se if we can get you to eat something." I help him get back under the covers and tuck him in like I did earlier this morning. I smile down at him in spite of myself. I am about to step away from the side of the bed when Trowa snags me by the wrist.
"Don't go," He says. My eyebrows shoot up in astonishment. "I mean....would you mind staying with me?" He quickly amends.
"Sure," I say trying to keep the shock out of my voice. I make a move to walk over and pull the chair he has sitting in the corner of his room over to the bed. Trowa's grip tightens on my wrist.
"No, I mean lie down with me. On the bed," He says. This time I can't hide it.
"On the bed? Are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm sure," He says. His voice is soft and his eyes are pleading. I can't deny him. He lets go of my wrist and moves backwards to make room for me. Heero's words come back to me at this moment. He will probably reach out to you more than he will me. Damn him for being right. I carefully slide into the bed and under the sheets next to Trowa. After I settle in he rests his head on my shoulder, drapes one arm across my chest and closes his eyes. For a moment I am paralyzed. This is starting to move outside the barriers we set as friends and lovers months ago. But I know he needs this and I should be grateful that he is willing to take any form of comfort in me.
I begin to gently run my fingers through his hair and I feel him relax further into my shoulder. It's not long before my own eyelids feel heavy and I join Trowa in sleep. My final thought before drifting off is that I'm going to do the best that I can for my friends. I just hope that my best is good enough.