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Sub Rosa: We're So Starving
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Sub Rosa
Chapter Nine
We're So Starving

Disclaimer: It's not mine! STFU!


The taste was practically like any other water. Maybe it would have been the same if I hadn't known I was drinking something more. I placed the cup carefully on the nightstand and got off the bed and onto the floor – on the bed and writhing wouldn't be very good, though I suppose the end result would make the effort moot – and stretched out straight. It would take a little while for this to kick in, and maybe that was good.

I regretted my actions already, and the pain hadn't even started. I felt fear twisting and clawing at my gut. I'd never really tried to kill myself before. I wondered how much it would hurt. I wondered if I could regulate my breathing, and tried. Then when I started wondering if I was fucking stupid, I saw that last moment when I'd pulled that trigger and tried to not let my fear get me running down the hall and begging for someone to call a hospital.

I don't know exactly how long it took – my mind wanted to say just over three hours – for me to start feeling restless, wanting to move. I recognized it as the first symptom and just rode it out, tensing despite myself. Then training kicked in and I was limp on the floor, my body automatically defending against the spread of the poison.

Only a few minutes later, however, I felt the restlessness morph into desperation. It felt like my airway was clogged, and each breath felt like it was being squeezed in through a straw. Soon the convulsions would begin. I closed my eyes and tried to ready myself as much as possible. I'd heard Hilde explain getting her eyebrows waxed once, and couldn't help but link it to that – to the body's tensing at the thought of the pain, and of the will that dampens the desire to tense until it's merely a desire, until the brows are limp due only to the force of the mind. And then the wax paper would be put on the brow and ripped off, and the pain would make you jump even though you'd been expecting it.

I would say that last part was similar, too, but I didn't get the chance to jump.

It would be impossible to correctly describe the feeling of one's muscles spasming without one's permission. My face muscles pulled first, giving me a wide grin, pulling my muscles like they were tied to oxen. The pain didn't shock me so much as the effect – the knowledge that I probably looked like I'd been gassed by the Joker's crazy poison spray, left with a grin that spoke of madness. My eyelids were torn open for me to gape at the ceiling as my muscles constricted and ripped and then thrust me onto my head and toes and the rest of me just popped up into the air.

If acid could pull and stretch and manipulate muscles, I would say that this was all being done by hydrochloric acid – no, worse than that. And I could feel other muscles being twisted and ripped apart and squeezed. Not many think about it, but really? Organs are muscles, too.

My jaw locked into place and wouldn't move for anything, and then I bowed forward, my legs lifting up off the ground so that I balanced mostly on my tailbone before falling to my side. If my jaw hadn't been locked, I would have screamed. My eyes, I knew, were almost wide enough to have the orbs pop out of my skull.

I was infinitely glad I couldn't make any sounds when I heard movement outside the door, coming from the hallway. It was almost amazing that I managed to hear it, to have the information sink into my brain.

Then I was pulled into a circle, my neck bending backwards so quickly I thought for a second it would break my spine, and I couldn't care less what some asshole was doing in the hallway.

This had been a bad idea.

And when the spasming stopped, it was with a sudden and immediate halt that had me collapsing to the floor, my entire body shaking in the aftereffects. Jesus.

I knew what was going to happen now. I knew it was a sort of 'eye in the storm' type of deal, that the clenching agony would return. But for now, all that touched me were a bone-weary tiredness and the desire to drink about a gallon of water. I ignored both needs – if I gave in and took a drink, it would only hurt more and make the agony last longer. Trying to help myself would be a pathetic waste of time and resources.

And that would be about the time I heard the outrageously loud pounding on the hotel door.

Well fuck.

“Duo!” I heard Quatre scream, and I wanted to run away – like I'd get far. I heard another voice, low and mumbled, then Quatre again, snapping now. “Give me the key – give it to me or I'll fucking shoot you.”

And he must've had that 'Zero' look on his face or something because damned if the man didn't slip the key in that next second. I heard him storm in with a kind of wearied resignation. My luck just fucking sucked.

Or maybe... maybe it was like when Deathscythe had refused to blow us both up, and it was supposed to be good luck?

Or maybe it was God's sick sense of humor. Bastard.

A strangled little half-scream told me Quatre's successfully read my note, and then a tearing sound of the curtain being forcefully ripped away from the hall. “Duo!” he screamed. “Duo – oh Allah no, no...”

I could just imagine the horrified look on his face, his hands over his mouth and those baby blue eyes wide. “I'm still alive,” I told him. My voice was raw. I carefully kept my eyes on the ceiling, knowing they were still wide as saucers.

He wasted no time in pouncing to my side and kneeling down, checking me over for wounds. “Where...?” he asked, then stopped, seeming to understand that I hadn't made any outwardly visible wounds. “What?” he breathed.

I opened my mouth to tell him when I saw a very, very tall presence loom suddenly on Quatre's left. I sighed. “Hi, Tro... Trowa.”


Uber, flaming pissed. Well fine. “Love you too, man,” I said without thinking. Some unknown voice made a choking sound. I figured that to be the poor sap who'd had his key taken from him. I wondered if the sign could be seen anymore. “Maybe you should leave,” I called to the man I couldn't see.

“Yes. You should leave,” Quatre said quietly, but he didn't look at the man, either. “Trowa, please-”

“Already on it,” he said, voice quick and cool.

“He's still okay?” I had to ask, had to know. It was imperative that I know.

“Yes,” Quatre said firmly, and he picked up my hand. “Duo, I need to know what you... what you...”

I sighed and pulled my hand from his. I could feel a quick wave of pain spiking up my spine. And just like that, my jaw once again locked into place.

My eyes widened just as I body tore into an interesting little 'S' shape, and I very distinctly heard Quatre cry out in a voice laden with despair. Even Trowa cursed, and very perfunctorily. But then my stomach hardened to rock and I forgot, for a while, to care about what they were doing.

The next thing I knew, Quatre was on his hands and knees beside me crying, half-ordering me not to give up, that Heero would cry, that it would be all my fault if he did and did I want that? It almost made me laugh; just forty-eight hours ago, I wouldn't have thought Heero capable of crying anymore.

And then there was a fucking horde of voices – how much time had passed? I was still convulsing on the floor like a fish out of water, and I could only think humiliating before I felt hands on me and someone trying to soothe me and someone else trying to do something; Quatre, who at some point had begun putting wet cloths to my skin, took them away now and begged me to last long enough, to not have the poison too deep in my system that it couldn't be flushed out.

And slowly my body began to un-tense, just as it had before, but this time it took a bit longer for the throes to let me loose; they would return much quicker now. Still, with G's training, Quatre'd had plenty of time to get some help for me. I wasn't that surprised; count on Quatre to find me.

As soon as I stopped bouncing around like a dying turkey, I was lifted onto a gurney and carried out of the hotel room – oh yeah definitely humiliating – and put into the back of an ambulance. I wasn't surprised to see Quatre's blond head following after me, but I was to see Trowa's torso trailing after him. But maybe he just didn't want Quatre alone. Both for his physical safety... and his emotional safety.

“Sorry for being selfish,” I told him when I was sure my jaw would let me.

Quatre's tears were still running a mile a minute. I felt like such a bastard. That was one good thing about being successful – you may have been selfish, but you didn't have to deal with the consequences of it. “Don't be stupid,” he sobbed out. “I don't... care about that.” And he placed his head onto my little make-shift bed and just cried away.

Wincing at the sight, I turned to Trowa. “How did you...?”

“Wufei told us,” Trowa said shortly, “as soon as he woke up. When we'd told him what happened, he'd told us you would commit suicide and that we had to find you immediately. You weren't at home. Quatre understood that you would need to check on Heero's progress and set up a security device through the files. That led us to you.”

I sighed. “Yeah. I had to know.” I left it at that.

It was then that the next stage of contractions lifted me almost off of the stretcher, and only Quatre's hands kept me from falling over. I knew my rigor mortis-like grin was back in place because my face felt like melted metal was boiling on its surface, holding it in place and blistering it all at the same time.

“Hold on, Duo! We're getting you to the hospital; they've already given you a general anti-poison, it should slow the strychnine down, so just hold on, okay?!”

I wished, then, that I hadn't given myself a poison that rendered it impossible for me to talk. Otherwise, I would have tried to console him in some way. Or tell Trowa to just get him out of there. Or something.

I went into an acrobatic contortionist thing and lost my ability to decode what I was hearing. I thought I heard the medic talking to Quatre, and then Quatre snapping back at him. Then, as my body flipped in a one-eighty stretch, I heard Trowa say, “he lives or you die.” I wondered why he said it, and if he meant it.

Then Quatre was either ignoring the medic or had already effectively chewed his ass out, because he was telling me to hold on again. It was around then that I felt, quite sharply and very distinctly, the feel of my stomach hardening to stone. I wished I could scream.

“Hold on!” he screamed, then he was screaming some more and I knew he was venting on the poor medic, all Zero-mode and creepy on him, then he was crying and Trowa said something soft, but it was a little menacing, so I figured he was either talking to the medic or to me.

My stomach felt like it was rock, pressing against several other rocks and just grating, grating against each other, rubbing back and forth on my other organs until they were chipping away at each other slowly, slowly, little rock-flakes dribbling into my bloodstream and cutting my arteries and veins. And through it all, I had no choice but to look up at the top of that ambulance and grin like a fool.

I'd underestimated the pain. Unbearable wasn't true; I had no choice but to bear with it. Unendurable wasn't true, because so far my body had endured. It wouldn't forever, obviously-

My body flipped into a circle again, but this time I distinctly felt my lungs and heart pressed to the edge of my rib cage and suddenly remembered how the victim of strychnine poisoning died – the respiratory tract failed, turning to stone just like my digestive tract and I wouldn't be able to breathe and I would die because my lungs wouldn't work. I could feel them getting to that point. I could feel it.

“We're here!” Quatre sobbed in relief, and I felt myself being wheeled out of the ambulance. Thank God the drug was letting me go again, letting me get my short break before I died. And the next one would kill me. I knew it as surely as I knew the ingredients of strychnine.

My body calmed down as they wheeled me in. “Quatre,” I said tiredly, and immediately grabbed his attention. He was, after all, wheeling me in with the rest of them, his hands right by my head.

“Duo?” He seemed to understand that I only had something important to say; otherwise why would I waste my breath?

I sighed, a sound almost lost beneath the shouts for various medical apparati. “You'll have to overdose me. A lot.”

He touched my cheek, not slowing down the process to... where were we going? Well, not slowing down. “We'll save you, Duo.”

“Heero,” I breathed, and felt fear make my exhausted heart test its cage once more.

And again, Quatre seemed to understand. “He's stable, Duo.”

“Don't lie,” Trowa muttered. “He's in a coma.”


“Trowa!” Quatre snapped, turning to his lover with blazing baby eyes. “You shouldn't say...” But then Quatre's eyes locked with mine and widened so much they were stricken. “Shouldn't say that,” he whispered finally, as if he was obligated to finish the sentence but couldn't care less anymore.

For a second I thought the next flash had started, because I couldn't move and I felt how wide my eyes were and the pain was overwhelming me – but then I realized that the pain was different, that it wasn't my muscles that were screaming but my heart, and that it was... “since...?”

“We got the call from Wufei just before we arrived at the hotel,” Trowa told me, his eyes hard. As if saying that hearing this news was only fair, considering what I'd done. He was right. “He slipped into a coma. I wonder... was it because he heard Wufei yelling at us?” His eyes glinted. “That he heard what you'd most likely done because of him?”

“No, not because-” But I was wheeled into a room then and couldn't tell Trowa the important thing, that it was because of my own stupidity and not because of Heero at all, to beg him to tell Heero that...

No. No. Heero couldn't die. He couldn't die. Not because of me. Please. No.

“Give him five times the normal amount?!” I heard one doctor shout, and realized that Quatre was sending alone my message. Fuck. I'd gone with the flow because of his tears and now...

I tuned out the nurses' shouts and just... floated. I felt the next pour of metal on my face and welcomed, for once, the indescribable agony that forced me to pull my thoughts to it, that didn't allow me to wallow in sorrow, that didn't give me the time to do such things.

“Heero,” I whispered, and felt my jaw clench up as usual, but this time I thoughts my gums were trying to wrench my teeth out out my mouth. I could hear the shouts become louder, and I knew that they knew just what my chances of survival were.

Did I want to live? Did I want to survive? If Heero had slipped into a coma... but no, for Heero that was probably a way to recover faster...


Did I want to fight this? I'd asked for it myself, after all. Did I want to make it through this? I should... it was only fair that I, who had tried to kill...


I'm... sorry.

If I could have, I would have closed my eyes and sighed. I felt the doctors swarming around me, grabbing me as I twisted, until I'd stilled long enough that they were able to stick a needle into my arm and squirt what felt to be gallons of liquid into me; if I'd been able to control my body, the suddenness of the movement would have instinctively made me lash out.

Heero. Heero. What should I do? I know... Heero would want me to live. I know that... I'd known that. Was it my duty to live, to suffer through life, because of what I'd done? In the end... after years and years of walking through life every day... wouldn't that be worse than the few hours of torture I'd put myself through?

Ha. Maybe this line of thinking had formed simply because, for once in my life, I feared what I would find on the other side.

I didn't want to wake up over there and find myself separated from Heero for eternity. Just because I didn't have wings that could fly.

Yeah. And if the strychnine hadn't already formed a misshapen grin on my face, I would have leered at myself. Despite Heero's own sins, I couldn't help but see him as an angel. My... angel? Did I still have the right to call him mine?

I think that was about the time I realized that I did indeed have the ability to think about things that the pain should have drawn me away from. The antidote was starting to work.

I was going to live.

Well... fuck.

Fine, then. I would survive my own stupidity and would return to the stars. Eh. Whatever. Maybe I was just some sort of masochistic martyr or something. What was the word I'd heard once? Oh, yeah. Emo. Maybe I was emo.

Heero. It would only serve me right, I supposed, to have Heero die.

Since... since I'd tried to take the easy way out.


Note: I know very well that if you have the first contraction or two and don't get help by then, you are dead. However, we are in the beginning of the twenty-first century, and they are at least 300 years ahead of us – that means 300 more years of medicinal education. And Duo Maxwell was trained to survive being poisoned for as long as possible, or at least I damn well hope so, because I don't want to imagine that G was that scatterbrained. So there's my reasoning as to how, despite how long the poison had been in his system, he still somehow miraculously survived. That... and I don't freakin' write death fics. They're depressing. If I wanted real life, I'd watch the news. Which I don't. So there. >P

Extra Note: To everyone who's reviewed, read, or otherwise acknowledged the existence of my stories, I very humbly thank you. ...But especially to those who've reviewed. OMG, it makes my day. ^_^

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Every story unless otherwise claimed is Kayura's, and is copyrighted 2006 under her name.