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Sub Rosa: But It's Better If You Do
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Sub Rosa
Chapter Twelve
But It's Better If You Do

Disclaimer: It's not mine! STFU!


The next morning was one of hospital monotony. I got checked out by the nurse and doctor and when they both finally finished poking and prodding me, I was allowed street clothes (more like clothes thrown in the trash – which would be where they'd be headed once I got back to Heero's) and was put in a wheelchair (oh fucking joy) and officially released.

I'd been surprised to find Quatre and Trowa waiting to be the official releasers.

“Wufei's being patched up as we speak,” Quatre said with a wry little grin. “Apparently he overdid it last night.”

I blushed. “Sorry,” I mumbled.

“We're used to your stupidity,” Trowa said, and I wasn't sure if he was joking or not. “It's just disconcerting to see it rubbing off on Heero, as well.”

Oh har de har har.

So they wheeled me out of the building and got me into Quatre's ostentatious limo (why???) and drove us off into the dawn. Well... mid-morning smoggy traffic.

It was odd to see Heero's house. It was in perfect condition, though I don't know how; it hardly looked like anything had happened to it. Though I'd heard that a few neighbors had moved, and quite quickly, after the little psychotic battle. That was good – I seemed to remember a few children around. They shouldn't be near me.

I felt bad that Heero wouldn't be able to see them again, though.

Quatre had a spare key, and he was the one who let us in while Trowa pushed me forward. That was nerve-wracking; I kept expecting him to shove me down the stairs or something, then say I slipped. But he was good, simply bringing me into the living room and stopping for a moment.

“Une did a good job here,” he commented.

I thought so, too; the place really did look like Heero's home, down even to the paint. A new watercolor was hanging, but it was very similar to the old one he'd had, and I knew it suited his tastes. Though the smell of wood chips and new paint was still fairly strong.

Well, let's get Duo upstairs,” Quatre said cheerily, and he was Trowa insisted on the humiliating fireman-carry up the steps and into my room. This room, too, had that same smell, only a bit stronger, and the bed was brand-new, along with practically everything else. The room had, after all, been torn to shreds.

Then Quatre began bustling around like some sort of head maid or something, directing Trowa around until they both made their way back down the stairs. I could only guess at what they were doing; I had strict orders to stay in bed.

I wondered how Heero was doing.

I hadn't exactly given him the chance to talk to me again after I told him about how I'd tried to kill myself. I hadn't really wanted to hear – or risk getting punched again. Even though I deserved it, I couldn't deny that a very, very large part of me was afraid of it. Not the physical pain, of course; who the fuck cared about that? But the emotional pain, the pain that sluiced through me whenever I thought about the hurt anger in Heero's eyes... yeah, I was afraid of that.

I didn't want to hear him yelling at me again. I didn't want to see the fury that was almost a match for the pain. I didn't want to think about what would have happened if I'd succeeded; the idea that Heero had managed to survive, only to find that I'd killed myself while he'd slept and recovered... no, I didn't want to be reminded of that.

Even if it was my fault. Even if I deserved to be reminded. I... didn't want to be.

“Fucking hell, I've dug myself quite the fucking grave.” And Heero would give me a Look for cursing so many times in one sentence.

The thought almost made me laugh, but I thought a little better of it, knowing how the laughter would probably turn out.

Like Heero was my grandmother or something.

I sighed. There were birds nearby; I could hear them from outside the window. Quatre was talking to someone, but it sounded like a phone call, and I didn't feel like trying to listen in. And what was with the clanging? Was it really necessary to make that much noise while cooking?

“It's probably just Trowa being a hardass,” I muttered, and grinned despite myself. At least Trowa wasn't skulking up the stairs to kill me. It was a step up.

But my mind slipped back in more macabre thoughts, and with a shudder I closed my eyes and slept, knowing as I did so that my exhaustion wasn't quite high enough to evade the nightmares I would have.


My eyes snapped open. It was with effort that I swallowed back my scream. Images of blood covered my vision, and for a short second my body was so tense I had a painful flashback of my back arched into a bow and the pain of a face stretched into a grin-

“Oh, I didn't mean to surprise you.”

My head turned to the door; Quatre stood there outlined by the light from the hallway; at some point one of them must have come up and turned off the light to my room. In his hands was a tray laden with what could only be dinner.

I pushed myself into a sitting position. “Hey, Qat,” I said quietly. “You didn't have to bring that up here.”

“I know.” Quatre smiled for me as he came into the room. “I wanted to.” He set the tray in my lap, and I immediately recognized the soup and juice as precautionary measures – doctor's orders. Apparently I'd tested my stomach to its limit.

Quatre checked out the room. My covers had been replaced with an almost exact copy, though mine had been fairly old and had still had a few colonies that no longer existed spattered over it. This one was a bit newer, and I could feel the absence of a few colonies, though I hadn't been hard-pressed to look for them all. I was already depressed enough, thanks.

The walls, though, were the same color, and though a new painting had been put up in here, too, it was also similar to its older counterpart.

“Uh, Duo.” Quatre turned to me, pausing to look significantly at the tray of food. I obligingly picked up the spoon and took a bite. “Well... Trowa and I found your laptop in your hotel room.”

Found. Like it hadn't been right freaking there for all to see. Still, I swallowed and nodded. “Yeah?”

“We haven't looked at it!” Quatre blurted. “I-I mean, it was open, and the document was sitting there, but as soon as I knew what it was I stopped reading...” Quatre blushed. “Um, I was wondering...”

“Quatre, I don't give a fuck if you read it or not,” I snorted, taking another careful bite. My hand trembled a little, and I was ashamed to learn that it was difficult for me to feed myself.

“Th-That's not... what I was trying to ask.” Then Quatre seemed to gather up his courage and just blurted it out. “I wanted to know if you'd let me show it to Heero?”

I was so surprised I froze in the middle of taking a bite, my mouth open like a fish. Carefully I placed the spoon back into the bowl and cleared my throat. “Qat.” My eyes refused to look up from the odd pieces of meat sitting idly in the bowl. “I wrote those for Heero. They're his. It was my intention all along to let him see them. To have him... own them.” Like he owned me...?

“O-Oh.” But then Quatre seemed to cheer up slightly, because he leaned into my field of vision. “Then may I present it to him?”

I shrugged. “Sure.” I certainly didn't want to be there when he got them.

Quatre clapped his hands together and stood straight once more. “Great! Then after you finish eating, Trowa and I will head out for a little while... if you'll be all right?” he questioned, looking for all the world like he would drop everything on my say-so.

“Nah, I'll be fine. I'll just take another nap. You've got keys to this place, right?” I dipped back into the soup with a renewed vigor. If Quatre wanted to head out, I would hurry so that he could. Besides, it wasn't as if I'd be doing anything but brooding either way. It would be better if I brooded alone.

“Yes; we'll be able to get back in. You don't have to worry about getting up.” I grimaced at that; out of the hospital and still bedridden? Wow, what a step in the right direction. Break out the party hats.

“All right” was all I said.

When I was finished, Quatre took the tray from me and promised a speedy return come tomorrow after visiting hours opened. I told him to take his time and that a sleeping guy wouldn't be very interesting, and that if Heero was awake, then he should just hang out with him. At Quatre's indecision, I softly said, “it'll help me, too.”

And so Quatre and Trowa left with the reminder to call if I needed anything, that Heero had put a phone in my room way back when for a reason. And then they were finally fucking gone.

And the house was very, very quiet.

I was made painfully aware of how alone I was in the building. Heero was usually puttering around no matter what, and if not that, then clacking away on that damn laptop of his. I could swear the man was addicted to the damn thing. But there was no one else in the house. The creaking of floorboards and the sound of the air conditioner were the only noises I heard from within, and those obnoxious birds had gotten a little louder, heralding dawn.

“All right, so I want to wallow in self-pity,” I grumbled. “That doesn't mean I should.”

But what else was there to do?


Over the next few weeks, Quatre acted as unofficial babysitter while I recovered. He said nothing about Heero's reaction to seeing the poems, even when I'd sucked it up in the second week and asked. He'd just looked at me like he was about to cry. It made me want to ask if he'd read any of them with Heero, but I found I'd need to work up some more strength before I could manage to ask that one.

Heero was kept in the hospital as he recovered, though I was constantly informed that his recovery rate was fantastic and he was one hundred percent stable. I didn't have the strength – or the means – to get myself to the hospital on my own, and Quatre worriedly hovered enough as it was without me taking wheelchaired romps down the city.

Because of that, I hadn't seen Heero in twenty days.

Because of that, it was harder and harder for me to remember Heero as the tired-looking guy stumbling through the hospital (a bad enough image) with the image of him falling to the ground with a pool of blood at his feet, courtesy of my own drenched hands. It was getting harder and harder to ignore the nightmares and get back to sleep.

Even though I knew he was perfectly all right, that Quatre wouldn't lie to me about something that important – or at least Trowa wouldn't, thinking that it was my job to accept the pain that my mistakes gave me – and that Heero's calls from the hospital were definitely proof of some sort of well-being... I couldn't help it.

And his calls. The poor bastard was so fucking drugged he could hardly hear how tired I always was these days. Quatre was under strict orders not to tell him, and Trowa had even seemed to agree with my decision. Me in pain was fine, but not Heero.

So we always talked shortly about his progress and my progress and the weather and the news and Wufei's progress and all the meetings Quatre was blatantly skipping for me and then we'd fall into awkward silences until we started talking about Une and the news about the few stragglers from Caribol and carefully picked over the things that were really bothering us. I think the calls served to create an even bigger chasm between the two of us. He had, after all, pretended to be some sort of cyborg thing – still had no idea how he'd managed that – and I had tried to shoot him dead. And then kill myself.

We were so fucked up.

I heard the phone ring again and sighed. I knew it was Heero; he always fucking called at three in the afternoon every day. I considered, not the first time, simply not answering the phone, but I knew damn good and well that Heero would freak.

I cursed without much heat and picked it up, prepared for the exhausting dance to start again.


I think it said everything, that Heero refused to return to his house until he was fully recovered, over a month from when I'd shot him. By then I was able to move around on my own and most of my muscles had healed. I still had to do exercises every day, but they no longer hurt so bad I felt crippled hobbling back into the bed.

And I think it was pretty damn telling that I didn't know he was returning until I heard the door open from downstairs and his voice reached my ears.

“I'm fine, Chang, I've been able to walk on my own for a week now.” Heero sounded both aggravated and amused, like he was going to hit Wufei but not hard enough to knock the poor guy out.

“A week? Well, now I feel better.”

“You were only released six days ago,” Heero grumbled, and I heard the door click closed. I'd also not been informed of Wufei's release, though I suppose it made sense that if Heero were out, Wufei would be, too.

“And whose fault is it that I reopened my wound?”

Heero just gave a tired chuckle, one that floated through the house. I'd thought I'd be happy to hear it, but it seemed to ring hollowly. I flinched at it and struggled up. I'd just finished my exercises and was tired, but it only made sense that I go and greet Heero, whether he wanted to see me or not. And it would give him the chance to kick me out.

Why? Why didn't he tell me he was coming home?

Unless... unless 'coming home' didn't include 'coming back to Duo.' And if that was the case... then why had he said 'no matter what'?

I walked slowly out to the hallway and grabbed the banister tightly. Though I could pretty much traverse the entire house now, I couldn't really move well after those damn exercises and sometimes I got dizzy, so walking down the stairs was usually something I avoided. But it was a little more humiliating to sit down and bump my way along with people here to actually see me doing it.

“Hey, Wufei, where's...” Heero's eyes caught me making my tedious way down the steps. He was sitting on the sofa, Wufei talking to him from around the coffee table. Heero looked better, I noticed immediately. But of course he did – it had been a month. His color was back, along with a lot of his muscle tone. Mine was coming back, too, but I couldn't freaking regenerate the way he could. He was leaning back into the sofa, something he never did, so I knew his side was hurting, but his eyes were clear of pain and focused wholly on me.

“Uh...” I was trapped in that gaze of his. His eyes were earnest, if not easy to read, and his lips were in an almost-frown. How exactly was I supposed to respond? “Welcome back,” I mumbled, and dropped my eyes to the stairs. I very carefully went down to the landing and just stood there.

It was awkward, being in Heero's house and being right in front of Heero and not knowing whether I should pack my bags or not.

Wufei harrumphed. “Maxwell, just what the hell are you doing?”

“You're tired,” Heero piped up. “Why?”

“Just did my exercises,” I mumbled, still not looking up. I didn't answer Wufei's question at all. “How are you?”

God, what a banal question.

Wufei stomped over to me. “Maxwell, I find it odd that you even did your exercises when you knew Heero was being released.”

My eyes snapped up. Oh my God. Thanks, Wufei. Way to rub the wound.

“...n't,” I said quietly. My eyes slid straight back to the floor.

Wufei leaned down until his met my eyes. “What?”

“I didn't know,” I whispered, nervously twitching from foot to foot. My eyes blipped over to Heero's without my consent. He looked a bit... stricken. Fuck. That's right – he could read lips.

“Yuy didn't tell you” Wufei seemed a bit surprised. Well, at least he wasn't in on it or anything.

I shrugged. “Nope.” I tried on a smile; it still hurt to do it. Apparently my facial muscles had taken an interesting hit; the doctors were surprised to find them healing at all. “So you got released? I'm glad to hear it. And Heero, too.” I turned that smile over to the couch, where Heero continued to stare at me rather blankly. “I'd heard you'd gotten better, but I wasn't sure quite how much. It's good to know you're all right.”

And I screeched to a halt right there; my mind tried to remind me why Heero'd been injured, along with the reminder that Heero had neglected to mention just how far he'd progressed the last time he'd called – fucking yesterday.

Oh God. What was I still doing here?

“Wufei,” Heero called. “I do believe you'd said you'd simply help me to the door.”

Wufei turned to Heero as if he'd sprouted a new head. “What?”

“I'm telling you to leave.”

Heero stood up from the bed and swerved around the coffee table. He really could walk, and pretty well.

I turned away when my eyes started watering.

“Heero,” Wufei argued – first name? - “you can't expect me to-”

“Now, Wufei. I need to talk to Duo.”

Wufei hesitated, looking between the two of us. And then his eyes hardened.

“Wufei,” I murmured. “...Please.”

And he deflated. “Duo, call me if you need me.” And after a warning look, he turned on his heel and carefully left, closing the door solidly behind him... leaving me alone with Heero Yuy.

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