Author: Merula
see pt 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer

Reckless + Part 9

Quatre was the one who came back, several hours later. I was still staring at the ceiling, unhappy with the company of my own thoughts.

"Duo," he said with a faint smile. "I see you drove the others off?" I shrugged, meeting his clear gaze with my guilty one.

"They'll get over it." Quatre told me, smile widening. "Trowa's feeling guilty because he left the Preventers. While you were in surgery he kept snapping at me. That made Heero snap at him because he feels that he is a more than adequate partner for you. Chang and I had to keep them from tearing each other to pieces, and you know how well Wufei deals with that."

"Not well," I smiled back at him. "Do you think I'm taking risks Quatre?"

"Of course I do, Duo." His voice wasn't accusing. "We all take risks everyday. It's called life. Of course, in your line of work the risks are pretty big, but again, it makes you who you are. I knew you wouldn't sit back and wait for backup when you knew that you had a good chance of getting Relena out." He sat down on the edge of my bed. "It was a sound tactical choice Duo."

"You would see that."

"Of course. Unlike some of your other antics, this was the best choice. The others will see that in time." He smiled. "I did point out to them that you haven't been doing any of the things that had worried us before. I also told them that they were overreacting."

"I bet that went well." He rolled his eyes.

"You know it didn't."

"How's Relena?" I changed the subject.

"Dorothy took her to Sally. She's going to need some help. Luckily, Dorothy was more perceptive than the rest of us and had figured it out."

"Good." I shifted a bit, my side aching. "How long do I have to be in here Quatre?"

"A few days. Then you can go home if someone's around to keep an eye on you." I glanced towards the door.

"No chance of that," I muttered, knowing I was pouting.

"Ah Duo," Quatre laughed. "He'll come around. If he doesn't I'll take you home with me. I have more than enough people to keep an eye on you."

"But Trowa's mad at me too," I pointed out.

"But it's my house," Quatre raised an eyebrow. "Besides the damn place is so big he'd never know you were there unless I told him." He reached out and grasped my hand firmly. "But I don't think you'll have to worry Duo. He'll get over it."

"I don't understand Quatre- why is he so mad? He knows our job is dangerous. He knows that I had to get her out!"

"He's feeling helpless Duo. You keep getting into situations that put you in danger and he can't help you." Quatre's hand tightened. "You're important to him and he doesn't want to lose you. You can see that can't you? Try to put yourself in his place." There was a hint of a reprimand in Quatre's voice.

I thought about it. What if Heero had been the one to go in? He'd come out again, my head told me. The guy was the Perfect frickin soldier. He had survived through things I know would've killed me. Would I have been worried? Of course. But I had faith in Heero. I hadn't seen anything stop him. He always came back.

But my heart reminded me that I'd had faith in others before. Others who had seemed just as indestructible to me. They hadn't survived- and there was no guarantee Heero would either.

Quatre was watching me intently. He smiled when I met his eyes again. "I'm going to go, Duo. I'll check in with you later, and I think Wufei will too."

So, I was left alone with my thoughts again. At least it was only for a little while. The nurse came in with some meds and after taking them I dropped back into sleep.

I awoke some time later to the feeling that someone was watching me. I opened my eyes and turned my head. Relena, now dressed in jeans and a sweater, more casual than I had ever seen her, was sitting next to my bed.

Dorothy was behind her, leaning against the wall near the window, looking out.

"Duo," Relena leaned forward a bit when she saw that my eyes were open. "How are you feeling?" I admit that I just blinked at her for a moment. Honestly I had expected that once I had gotten her out of that hell that she would revert back to her old hating my guts behavior. I didn't expect to find her sitting next to my bed looking pleasant.

"Uh- okay I guess," I told her after a moment. She smiled faintly.

"I wanted to come by one more time and say thank you."

"You're welcome," I managed. "I couldn't have left you there." She leaned forward a bit more.

"Why not Duo? You have to admit that I'm not your favorite person." Her bluntness surprised me.

"That didn't matter. You needed help." I told her, unsure. She looked down at her hands.

"I was so frightened. I didn't think... I didn't think anyone would come for me." Her voice was soft. "Heero had always done it before, but I knew he wouldn't this time. And when they..." Her voice broke for a moment and I reached out a hand to her even as Dorothy moved to stand behind her, placing her hands on Relena's shoulders.

"It's all right, Relena," Dorothy said reassuringly. Relena clutched my hand, her fingers tightening as she spoke.

"I was so glad to see you," she looked up and met my gaze. "Even though I knew you hated me you still came to find me and once you were there, I knew you'd get me out." Relena took a deep breath. "And I finally saw why Heero loves you. Why he calls you the other half of his soul."

I must've looked puzzled. I know I felt confused.

"You're like him." she explained. "Just like him."

"If you say so," I smiled for her, not really sure what she meant, but too tired to ask. "I think he'd kill you for that statement at the moment." She smiled wanly.

"He was scared when I told him what had happened to you." She pushed a strand of hair away from her face. "And you know how Heero reacts to that feeling- he gets mad."

Well hell, I needed to give Relena more credit if she'd figured that out about Heero.

"We need to let Duo rest," Dorothy took pity on me. Relena squeezed my fingers one more time before letting go and getting to her feet.

"Thank you Duo," she told me and followed Dorothy out.

I went back to sleep.

When I woke up again, my room was dark, the lights off, the curtain closed. I looked at the clock and discovered that it was nearly 7pm. I had slept most of the rest of the day away. I squirmed a bit trying to get comfortable, and a hand came out of the darkness to touch my forehead.

I jumped a bit, hampered by the pain shooting up my side.

"Easy," Heero's voice soothed. "Relax Duo. It's just me." I looked towards the side of the bed, seeing only his outline in the chair.

"Heero?" I asked cautiously.

"It's me," he confirmed and I reached up to grab onto the hand that was on my forehead. He let me pull it down to my cheek and entwined his fingers with mine.

"I didn't think you'd come back," I told him softly, glad of the darkness. "I thought you were mad at me."

"I am mad at you," he replied, though his voice didn't sound angry. "But I could never leave you." His hand tugged mine up and I felt his mouth touch my knuckles.

"I'm sorry love," I tried and heard him snort.

"I know- but you'd do it the same way again, wouldn't you?" I couldn't disagree with him.

"Would I still go in alone? Yes. But I'd try harder to make you see why I needed to. I would've worked out a place to rendezvous- or some kind of signal. I shouldn't have stepped away when I did. That was wrong of me." I took a breath and tried to remember what else I had thought about earlier. "It must've seemed to you that I didn't care that you were worried. I did care, Heero, honestly, but I- I'm not very good about dealing with it."

"No," he said bluntly. "You aren't." He chuckled slightly. "And I don't deal well with the idea of you in danger without me."

"But if you're with me, it's okay?" I felt safe enough to tease.

"Of course. So keep that in mind, will you?" I tightened my grip on his hand.

"I will. I promise." I drifted back into sleep, holding tight to Heero's hand.

[part 8] [part 10] [back to Merula's fic]