The Grieving Process Chapter 5

On reaching the hospital, Duo and Wufei made their way to the intensive care ward. The hospital was Quiet. Only custodial staff, janitors and cleaners seemed to be around.

On Quatre's ward. Everything was quiet. There was nobody on the front desk

"Hmm, that's good", Duo thought quietly to himself, feeling glad the nurse was not there. "I was half expecting an awkward conversation"

Duo led the way, past the desk towards the anonymous beige coloured door, behind which was Quatre's room. Wufei followed silently behind him.

Before opening the door, Duo turned to look at his friend. He could see the unknowing anticipation and slight dread in Wufei's eyes.

"You ok?", he asked

Wufei nodded, taking a deep breath. "I am ready, let's go in", he replied in a sombre voice.

Duo quietly opened the door and they stepped in.

The room was still darkened. The various pieces of life-support machinery were still gathered around the bed, quietly whirring and bleeping softly. Quatre lay there, on his back, his arms by his sides, still unconscious. Nothing in the room had appeared to have changed since Duo's last visit, except for a chair which now sat beside the bed. Obviously someone had been to visit since Duo the evening before.

Duo stood back and observed Wufei as he took in the tragic sight for the first time. The distress on his face was obvious as he walked closer to the bed, noticing all of the tubes and wires attached to Quatre. He stood quietly for a time, just looking in uncertainty.

Although neither pilot spoke for the next few minutes, it was an intense time. Duo could really sense the distress going on inside Wufei's mind. A couple of times he thought Wufei was going to cry again, but he didn't.

Eventually Duo moved away from the door and stood beside Wufei. Wufei did not seem to notice him approach, he was still just staring in disbelief at his fallen friend.

Duo gently pinched Wufei's elbow, breaking him from whatever thoughts he seemed to be lost in. Wufei looked at him.

"Wufei", spoke Duo quietly, almost in a whisper, "I'm going to leave you two alone for a while, there's something, err.. I've gotta do", he gestured towards the door.

Wufei did not reply, he just nodded slightly.

"Hey, I'll meet you in the gardens when you're finished here ok?", suggested Duo, still whispering.

"Ok Duo", was the monotone reply.

Duo turned away and headed for the door. After a couple of paces he turned his head back to Wufei, "Take your time", he suggested.

Wufei nodded once more and Duo quietly left the room.

After watching the door click shut, Wufei took the chair and slid it up beside Quatre's bed about half way down. He raised an eyebrow as he noticed the chair was still warm. Whoever had visited must have only just left Wufei thought to himself, But who would visit at this hour?

Shrugging his questions aside, Wufei sat on the chair quietly, crouching forward, his forehead and hands gently touching against Quatre's arm. He sat in contemplation, in prayer, in meditation, in hope, in despair

Duo finished descending the stairs and opened the stairway door into the hospital gardens. It was the second time he had been through that door and into the gardens in the last twelve hours.

Despite what he had told Wufei, he didn't actually have anything that he had to do. He still didn't really have a plan for Wufei's recovery.

He was pinning all his hopes of on just leaving Wufei alone with Quatre, and hoping, that somehow, Wufei would open up, or at least come to terms with it - just as Duo himself had done the previous evening.

Duo took a breath and looked at his surroundings. The air was still crisp and fresh, yet, not cold. It must have been getting on for 5:30am.

To the West, it was still reasonably dark and the distant mountains that were not obscured behind the hospital building were just dark silhouettes. To the East however, the sky was getting brighter by the minute.

Duo walked a little way into the garden and sat on a long wooden bench located at the hospital end of the large lawn. Folding his arms and yawning slightly, he continued to check out his surroundings. It was very quiet, apart from the birdsong which was actually quite loud, but not loud enough to drown out the sounds of the distant babbling stream at the far end of the gardens, just inside the forest.

As he listened, he suddenly noticed another noise. He couldn't quite make it out so he sat upright on the bench and listened more intently, turning his head slightly. It was still difficult to fathom, but seemed to be coming from the direction of the stream.

Duo stood up, now intrigued by what it was. It seemed to be a medium-pitched, intermittent sound, but it kept fading and being lost in the dawn chorus and the sounds of the running water. Duo began walking towards the bottom of the garden, along the stepping-stone path that would eventually lead to the stream.

As he moved closer the noise became louder, but still remained illusive, masked by the sound of the stream. At first, he thought it was a wild deer calling, but as he closed in further the sound became more defined.

With only about thirty or so paces to go before reaching the forest and stream, Duo's expression changed from curiosity to concern as he realised he was hearing a voice. Somebody was in distress, he could hear crying.

It seemed like a young voice. Suddenly all sorts of scenario's began running through his mind as to what he was about to encounter.

"Could there be a lost child in there?", he thought to himself, "perhaps somebody is injured, maybe twisted an ankle on the rocks and has got stuck. Damn! They could have been there all night!"

Duo quickened his pace. As he got nearer, he could tell it was a male voice, not necessarily as young as a child's, but still young, and very distressed. This person was wailing so much, it was affecting their breathing, causing them to cough and choke.

He entered the forest, but on reaching the stream a few steps later, the voice seemed to stop for a moment. Duo began to look around. It was still quite dark but his eyes had adjusted and he could see fairly well. The voice started again, this time much nearer and louder. Still Duo could not see anyone, but the sound appeared to be coming from the shadows just beyond a large rock, right next to the stream.

"H...Hey!, ...... hello??", called Duo.

The bawling continued. It was an intense, pathetic, yet, almost tortured sound to hear.

Duo made his way to the rock, calling a few more times. On reaching the far side of the large rock, Duo saw a lone figure sat huddled on the grass embankment, half leaning, half hiding, against the rock.

Duo quickly realised that there was something extremely familiar about this person. The clothes, the voice, Duo recognised the jacket, the long spiked hair. Suddenly, Duo was hit with a feeling of shock.

"T.... T.... Trowa?????!", He gasped, Urgently jumping down off the rock, rushing to Trowa's side.

Trowa's shadowy figure was perched on the grassy bank below the rock, his face cupped in his hands. He was unable to answer, he didn't even acknowledge Duo. He continued to bawl, periodically going into coughing and choking fits. He was trembling, visibly shaking, in a real state, unable to stop.

Duo knelt on one knee beside him. "My God!, Trowa??!!,.... what happened?", asked Duo compassionately, his face etched with serious concern.

Again Trowa did not, answer, he was struggling to breath, let alone speak.

Duo instinctively reached out an arm and placed it across Trowa's shoulder.

"Ok,.. ok.... It's Ok Trowa,..... come on, calm down buddy, it's ok..", Duo spoke slowly.

Suddenly, Trowa seemed to realise Duo's presence for the first time. He took his face out of his palms and stared at him with wide, almost panicked eyes.

"Du...Du....Duo.....!", he stuttered with urgency, as if he desperately needed to tell him something.

"I.... I.....I..... I..... Got.....", Trowa tried to speak, but instead, began to hyperventilate.

"Jesus!", uttered Duo in disbelief, almost in a panic himself.

Trowa was shivering violently, he was struggling to breathe, still choking and coughing. Duo had never before seen a soul in such distress.

He was uncertain of what to do. He knew he had to calm Trowa down somehow before he choked himself to death.

In a last-ditch attempt before running back to the hospital for help, Duo put both arms around Trowa's shoulders and held him firmly.

"It's Ok,...... It's Ok,........ Trowa,........ Come on, Calm down,....... Calm down,..... Shhh! ........... Calm down Trowa", Duo spoke with the best calming voice he could muster.

His efforts were slightly successful, and slowly, Trowa's panic state calmed enough for him to get his breathing back.

"That's it, Come on kid, just breathe normal", spoke Duo, removing his grip from around Trowa's shoulders, kneeling back to give him some space.

Trowa continued to cry inconsolably for many minutes. He was still visibly shaking and shivering. Duo, unsure quite why his friend was shivering, took off his jacket and placed it over Trowa's shoulders, placing an arm across Trowa's shoulder again, trying to offer what reassurance he could.

Despite Duo being fairly confident of knowing the reason for Trowa's display of grief, his mind was still awash with many unanswered questions.

"What was Trowa Doing here in the gardens?, How did he Get here?" Duo thought to himself, "I know he was at the Winner Mansion last night, I didn't hear him leave. Why did he come back to the hospital?"

Trowa tried to speak, but began to cough on his words again as he blubbed. Immediately, Duo squeezed his arm across Trowa's shoulders again.

"No, don't try to speak Trowa", he spoke softly, "you'll just start to choke again, just let it all out, .....just let it happen Trowa,... sometimes you just can't fight it, me, I know!..... so you've just gotta let it happen, ... don't fight it".

Suddenly Trowa leaned over, flipping forward onto his knees, his forward weight resting onto his hands. He began to vomit.

"Heck!", uttered Duo under his breath, now seriously worried for his friends' condition. "Man! He's really taking this badly", thought Duo silently to himself. "I know he and Quatre were friends, but ......... These last couple of days have been quite an eye opener, what with Wufei too! "

Trowa continued to be violently ill. Duo was unsure what to do. This was not normal, Duo was worried..

Suddenly Trowa began choking and struggling to breathe again. He stumbled from his hands to his elbows and fore-arms, leaving his face just inches from the ground, desperate for air. Duo thinking quickly reached over and gave him several slaps on the back. It seemed to do the trick.

Trowa remained leaning forward on his forearms, his face barely an inch away from the vomit-soaked grass, his eyes closed, Exhausted. Duo gently brought his hand under Trowa's chest and pulled him up to a sitting position.

"You feeling better after that?", asked Duo compassionately, donning his cheerful mask in an attempt to hide his fear and concerns.

Trowa, now sitting quietly, still looking extremely ill, just nodded.

"Man you know how to give people a scare!" suggested Duo, half joking, half serious. Had the truth been known, Duo was scared witless.

"Trowa, you know there's a hospital right behind us" asked Duo in a serious, but calm tone, "Are you sure you shouldn't be in it?"

Trowa was much calmer than he had been for the past ten or so minutes. He shook his head, "No,........ I'll be alright now,...... thanks Duo". He replied tiredly and quietly.

"You sure?", asked Duo again.

Trowa nodded. "I'm just...... just a little upset that's all", his voice hesitant. "Just give me a few minutes to shake this off ok?", he replied.

"Sure thing", replied Duo, "Err.... You want me to get lost?", he asked gesturing with his thumb.

"No...... it's ok,... stay if you want", replied Trowa., still looking ill.

They both remained sitting quietly on the grassy bank of the stream. Duo was starting to feel a little chilly, as Trowa still had his jacket.

The boys sat there in silence for around five minutes, gathering their thoughts about what had just happened. Duo kept glancing at Trowa, wondering if he was ok, or whether he would start throwing up or sobbing again.

Trowa had calmed down totally. He was first to break the silence.

"Duo?", he spoke softly

"Hey,... you feeling better?" asked Duo,

Trowa nodded, but he still looked deeply troubled.

"I'm sorry about my little outburst", he said, still very quietly, "Thank you for looking out for me,.... you're a good friend Duo."

"Hey, it's no big deal Trowa" replied Duo, "You'd have done the same for me, I'm sure. Anyway, under the circumstances I totally understand what you're going through, Believe me, I really do understand."

"So what happened back there?", asked Duo, "what brought it on? How come you're here at the hospital in the early hours of the morning?"

Trowa didn't reply, he just looked at Duo with a look of despair on his face.

Duo quickly sensed an awful weight on Trowa's mind. He could see there was something Trowa desperately needed to tell him, but didn't know where to start.

Trowa bit his lip.

"Trowa!", Duo whispered, he reached his hand over onto Trowa's shoulder, "Trowa, please!,..... come on,....... talk to me........ Whatever it is, however bad, we can deal with it together,.... We're a team right?"

Trowa nodded slightly, reluctantly.

Duo had donned his cheery mask again, it was something he did automatically when he was bracing himself for bad news. On the one hand, he really didn't want to know what Trowa was about to tell him. On the other, he was beginning to go out of his mind with the need to know.

Trowa swallowed nervously.

"Ok Duo,.... I'm sorry to tell you this" said Trowa, his voice was stressed and monotone, "Please prepare yourself,...... I have some bad news, .....very bad news indeed".

"About...... about Quatre?", Duo asked hesitantly, swallowing.

Trowa nodded.

Duo took a breath, pausing for a moment, then sighed.

"Ok.... Go on,'d better tell me", said Duo nervously.

Trowa began to explain.

"Duo, Last night when we all went to bed, I borrowed Heero's laptop to examine some of the data concerning Quatre's crash. I wanted to see if there were any things we could learn from it to prevent it from happening again." Trowa's voice remained calm and focused.

Duo nodded, listening intensely.

"It very quickly became clear that several things did not add up. On further analysis, there were incongruities that could only suggest one thing. I wasn't happy with the answers I was coming up with, so a few hours ago I paid a visit to the damaged Gundam Sandrock at the military base, to make my own analysis."

Duo had a hunch that he knew what was coming. His mouth was dry. He thought back to the tragic discovery Wufei had talked to him about less than an hour ago. He didn't want to hear this. Part of him wanted to put his hands over his ears and make the bad news go away.

Trowa's voice was becoming sullen and anguished again.

"It didn't take very long to confirm. The self-destruct had been activated, but too many circuits had been fried for it to successfully work. The resulting power surge knocked out the main drive systems, causing Quatre to crash."

A small tear welled up in the corner of Duo's eye as alarm bells and sirens were screaming inside his head. His worst fear was about to be confirmed.

"So you mean....", Duo's voice cracked and waivered "You mean..."

Trowa gave a long sniff as he fought to stop the tears once more, "Yes,... Duo,.... It was no accident,.........Quatre was trying to commit Suicide"

End of chapter 5

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