At first, all Heero saw was dark - but it grew brighter, gray and red mixing. As his brain slowly came out of unconsciousness, he realized his eyelids were closed. His right hand felt clammy; it was trapped in another. Tentatively, Heero opened his eyes in thin slits, adjusting to the bright hues of the room, dark orange sunlight of morning playing on the white walls. A hospital, he assumed, slowly remembering. Shifting his gaze a little, he saw Duo, and wondered which of them looked the more exhausted. The braided boy's eyes were severely bloodshot and puffy, and the smile on his lips was obviously an effort to keep. "Red to Yellow. You're awake," Duo whispered, voice a bit hoarse.
Heero was able to nod, smacked his dry lips.
Duo reached for a water bottle on the bedstand, and guided the straw to Heero's lips, clammy grip still on Heero's right hand; even a bit firmer.
"How long?" Heero managed to croak out after a few sips.
"Three days now. You almost had me worried there..."
Heero tugged on a smile, tried to squeeze Duo's hand in return, but couldn't muster much strength.
"Does it bother you? The hand, I mean?"
"No!", Heero hissed, finally managing to close his fingers properly.
Duo smiled at him, lifted the hand carefully, smoothed the moisture with caresses, before bending down to kiss the back of it.
Heero raised his fingers, touched Duo's cheek, grazing over to the side of his nose. "You've been crying..."
Snicker. "No..." Heero knew it was a lie, but said nothing. "I just haven't slept well in the last few days, that's all."
"Have you slept at all, Duo?"
Sigh, shrug. "Any sleep is good sleep."
That's a no, then, Heero surmised. "The others?"
"They're Yellow to Green. Told them to go home and rest - tend to their own cuts and bruises. They weren't in all that good shape, either. I practically had to threaten Relena last night to get her to go nap in the room next door. She's been so afraid of losing a friend, Heero."
Meaning you have been too, Heero concluded, but didn't bother to say. Duo's pride was worth a little silence. "Duo, you should rest too."
Slight frown. "I'm not leaving - not until you do."
Heero struggled to smile again. "That might take a while... Duo, come here... lie down with me."
Duo shook his head. "Can't do that - I might hurt you. You're the one just through surgery, not me. You're still Yellow."
Resigned grunt. "You won't. Come." Heero saw him hesitate, and went for the kill, trying for a pout. "Please?"
Whether or not he succeeded at the latter, he did succeed at the former, and Duo struggled to shift Heero a little to the far side, so he could slip in alongside him on the sturdy hospital bed. Heero coaxed Duo to rest his head against his chest, well out of the way of the stomach stitches, regaining enough strength in his left arm to reach out and urge Duo's eyelids closed. He caressed the cheek, before resting his arm so his palm could pet the hair, both that which was still in a braid, and the strands that were attempting to escape.
Duo sighed. "If Relena comes back and sees us like this, she'll kill me - or at least put me in Red for a while."
Heero smiled, tried to laugh, but fell short. "It's not like she doesn't know about us, Duo..."
"Yeah, I know... But it feels like rubbing it in her face, with the big crush she had on you, and all..."
With considerable effort, Heero tilted his neck enough to allow him to touch his lips to the top of Duo's head. "She's a big girl now... She can take it." A happy sigh. "I'd never let her hurt you, Duo - or you her, for that matter. Sleep now, Duo. Condition Green. I'll take the next watch."
It took but two heartbeats before he knew his command had been obeyed.