The Grieving Process Chapter 6

Trowa's news was devastating.

Until that moment, Duo had been coping, he was still hurting badly inside, but he was coping. The news of Quatre's attempted suicide had thrown a new light onto the whole event. A darker, more disturbing, more disconcerting light than Duo had ever known.

He was ready to crack. On hearing the words, he wanted to throw the towel in there and then. He wanted to close his eyes, to wake up and find it was all just a nightmare. For a moment, he wanted to run away. To take to the road and just keep running forever and ever, to never stop, to never interact with another person ever again, to never again be in a situation where he cared about someone, so he wouldn't ever have to experience these feelings again.

Every part of him, every muscle, every fibre, every strand of DNA begged for Trowa's findings to be flawed, to be wrong somehow.

His face paled, his insides were churning. The wretched feelings he had felt yesterday dimmed by comparison to what he was feeling now. Alarm bells were ringing incessantly in his head, he began to feel nauseous, and among it all was an overwhelming feeling of guilt, a terrible, crushing, heart-wrenching sense of shame. A cold realisation that not once, not one single time, did he even suspect that something was wrong.

Wufei opened the stairwell door leading to the hospital gardens. He had spent a long time sitting at Quatre's side, quietly praying, contemplating, and trying to put things into perspective in his mind. At first he couldn't really understand why Duo wanted to get him to see Quatre, but now it was very obvious what he was trying to do. Wufei was grateful. Although he was still upset, his mind was more settled than it had been for many hours.

As he stepped onto the grass lawn, he took a deep breath. The early morning air was cool and refreshing. It was getting light. He could see that the sun was not far from peering over the horizon of forest covering most of the land to the East. The sky was cloudless and a deep blue. The mountains to the west were as spectacular as ever, glowing warming tones of orange, as if salivating in anticipation of the sun's appearance.

After a few deep breaths, he slowly looked around the hospital end of the gardens, seeing if he could spot Duo anywhere. With no luck, he thought back to the evening before when he had found Duo sat on the rocks by the stream. Thinking that Duo could be there again, Wufei headed down the long stepping stone path towards the forest at the end of the gardens.

On reaching the forest, he could hear signs of human life interwoven with the babbling sound of the stream. It was a grotesque sound, somebody was throwing up. It sounded like Duo.

Concerned, Wufei doubled it into the forest and reached the stream. He tried homing in on the tormented sounds he continued to hear.

A quiet voice called over to him. "Wufei!" He looked round to see Trowa standing by a large rock beckoning for him come over. Stood beside him, supporting himself against the rock was Duo, leaning forward and heaving violently. Trowa had a hand on his back, keeping Duo's braid out of the way in an effort to offer what support he could.

Wufei, jogged over looking concerned.

"Trowa???", said Wufei, expressing a slight confusion as to what Trowa was doing there. "What's going on ?", he asked, "What's happened, what's wrong with Duo?"

Trowa didn't reply straight away, but he showed equal surprise at seeing Wufei there.

They both looked at Duo, who had stopped heaving and was leaning more upright against the rock on his elbows, his fingers interlaced behind his head. He was groaning.

"Duo's just a bit upset", came the monotone response from Trowa, "I'm sure he will be ok in a while". Trowa had thought back to how upset he was, not ten minutes ago, yet now he was fairly composed again.

But Duo was far from ok. He had got it into his head that he was responsible for Quatre's condition, and may have even aggravated Quatre's need to end his life by dumping all of his emotional baggage on him three months ago.

"How could I have been so blind!", wailed Duo, smashing his fist against the rock, "My God! It must have been staring me in the face for months! And I didn't see it!!"

His tears were flowing, but they were tears were of great anger. Anger at himself for being so selfish, in failing to look out for the one life he cared about more than his own, the one person he considered family. Anger for being to stupid to believe that Quatre could just keep on doing what he did, being who he was, without any kind of eventual consequence.

"Why didn't I see it?", he snarled through gritted teeth, smashing his fist against the rock again, "WHY DIDN'T I SEE IT!!!" he cried his words over and over, each time thumping his fist hard into the rock. Eventually, his anger faded to just an empty, despondent numbness.

Wufei and Trowa looked on, sorrowfully. They both could identify with his sadness. Both thought Duo was taking it rather badly, but neither of them were fully aware of the real reasons for Duo's grief.

Wufei also, was still blatantly unaware of the news that Trowa had just broken to Duo.

"He was upset yesterday too", Wufei spoke quietly to Trowa, "I know they are really close friends".

Trowa did not respond. He was deciding how to tell Wufei the news, or if he should tell him at all. Should he tell him straight away? Should he wait?

Wufei could tell something was up. Trowa's silence spoke a thousand words.

"Something has happened hasn't it?", whispered Wufei in an extremely cautions tone.

Trowa paused for a moment, then reluctantly nodded.

Wufei was a little confused. Duo was acting like someone who had been given the worst possible news, as if Quatre had died, yet, Wufei had been sat with Quatre just a few minutes ago and he was alive, still unconscious, but alive.

"What's wrong Trowa, What has happened?" asked Wufei, urgently needing to know.

After a long pause, trying to figure the best way to break the news, Trowa explained his findings to Wufei.

Wufei was quiet for a long time. The initial look of shock on his face was something Trowa would remember for a long time. Wufei had gone white, he was lost for words, shell-shocked.

He too was quietly hoping that his own realisations about Quatre were wrong. That the sadness he had felt over Quatre's inability to cope with taking life was unfounded or misinformed, but Trowa's news simply confirmed his theory.

Suddenly, Wufei did not feel strong anymore. He could feel his indomitable warrior spirit fading. It's life force draining away, leaving in its place the shell of a frightened and saddened young boy.

A miserable silence loomed over all three pilots as they eventually made their way back up the path towards the hospital. They had remained by the stream for over an hour while Duo continued to throw up and grieve massively for his friend. Despite their own sadness, Trowa and Wufei began to grow concerned for Duo as he became more and more inconsolable. He had made himself so ill that his strength was fading, and he could barely stand up on his own. When he finally seemed to calm down, he became almost delusional, like he was drunk.

His friends, assisted Duo down the path one on either side, his arms slung over each of their shoulders. He could hardly walk, although he was trying.

On reaching the hospital end of the lawn, they sat him down on one of the benches. Duo sat there, staring blankly ahead, slouching, his face expressionless, devoid of energy. It was as if he had withdrawn into himself and they were looking at just a shell.

"I don't like this at all", said Wufei, sitting beside him, his face etched with worry. Trowa remained standing by the bench, also looking deeply troubled.

"Duo!", called Wufei, tapping the side of Duo's face with his palm. Duo gave a slight response, tiredly turning his reddened eyes toward Wufei, saying nothing. He blinked as if in slow-motion a few times, then went back to staring blankly at the lawn ahead of them.

"I'm going for help", replied Trowa, his voice suggesting grave concern. Wufei nodded, in agreement. Trowa turned and jogged back towards the hospital entrance.

Wufei continued to trying to coax Duo out of his strange trance, but Duo was either too devoid of energy, or too traumatised to respond normally. Wufei got the occasional response, a slight glance, but that was all.

A short time after Trowa went for help, the hospital rear stairwell door opened. He re-appeared, and jogged back towards the bench, Sally Po followed closely behind him.

They reached Duo and Wufei. Sally bit her bottom lip as she took sight of Duo, now slumped on the bench.

"Oh, my poor Duo", she said, her calming voice a little shocked. She crouched beside the bench and took Duo's face in the palms of her hands, calling him. She got a slight response, but he was virtually unconscious. She felt his face and neck, then pulled a small torch from her white overall breast pocket and shone it in each of his eyes, lifting each eyelid in turn.

Sally looked up to Trowa "You say he was being sick?", she asked.

Trowa nodded. "He was throwing up for ages" he replied, maybe half an hour.

Wufei piped up "I've never seen anyone express so much grief," he said, "he was inconsolable."

Sally listened and nodded, still continuing to examine Duo by taking his pulse.

"I have seen this many times before", she said, her voice donning its professional 'doctors' tone.

"But Don't worry, it isn't half as bad as it looks", she assured the others, "There's nothing to be concerned about".

"So what's wrong with him?", asked Trowa anxiously.

"Basically, it's a combination of nervous exhaustion and emotional shock", she replied, her voice sounding more compassionate again, "we see it a lot on the battlefield, it's similar to shell shock".

"What should we do?", asked Wufei

Sally sighed, "We should sedate him and then let them sleep it off," she replied.

"He looks pretty sedate already", commented Wufei, half in protest.

Sally smiled, "Yes he does," she replied, "But his mind is in overdrive, in total panic mode would be another way to describe it, and while it's like that, he will never sleep. His body is devoid of energy and full of adrenaline. If we leave him like this it could actually be quite harmful, or, will at the very least, take him much, much longer to recover "

"Shall we get him in to the hospital?", asked Trowa

Sally paused for a moment, then shook her head "Actually Trowa, I think, for Duo, it would be better to treat him at home, in his own bed, I know how much he likes hospitals, it probably won't help matters if he wakes up in one. Do you guys have transport?"

Wufei and Trowa looked blankly at each other.

Sally nodded, "Ok, wait here", she replied, I'll be a couple of minutes. She stood up and jogged back inside the building.

A few minutes later, the two pilots could hear a reversing bleeper. They looked across the gardens to see a green military ambulance reverse around the corner of the building and onto the lawn. The rear doors opened and Sally jumped out carrying a field stretcher.

In less than an hour, Duo was in his own bed, back at the Winner mansion. Sally, perched on the side of his bed, withdrew the needle from his arm. Trowa, standing at the foot of the bed, looked on with uncertainty.

"There, that should do the trick", Sally spoke softly, "He'll wake up with a bit of a hangover, but physically, he'll be alright".

She paused for a moment, then sighed.

"You know Trowa, it takes massive amounts of stress and anxiety for someone to get like this".

Trowa did not respond.

"Trowa," her voice was hesitant, "At the hospital, when you found me and told me about Duo, .... I ...... I got the feeling,..... you weren't telling me everything"

Trowa shifted uncomfortably on his feet

"Is there something more I should know?" she asked.

Immediately, a battle of strategy played out in Trowa's mind. How many people should actually know about Quatre's attempted suicide? It was obvious Quatre didn't want people knowing about it from the way he had taken steps to conceal it. Only the three pilots knew. Although Trowa liked and trusted Sally, if he told her, as his doctor she would probably be under some ethical obligation to notify a third party and eventually the whole thing would wind up being brought into the open, which would destroy Quatre from the inside out.

Trowa, opting to protect Quatre's integrity, decided not to tell Sally the whole truth, but gave her an indication that Duo had more reasons to suffer than most.

"Sally, I can't really go into it much as Duo would kill me for telling you, but he has just had some really bad news. I'd go into it further, but it's real personal to Duo, I shouldn't say".

Sally was understanding, she nodded, accepting Trowa's reasoning.

She looked back at Duo's face. He was sleeping peacefully. She reached forward and gently brushed the hair away from his eyes, sweeping it to the side. She smiled compassionately, feeling a real sense of sorrow for him. She sighed.

"Poor kid,.. my poor Duo", she spoke softly, continuing to caress Duo's hair, "No one this age should ever have to go through that. I feel so helpless, but there's nothing more I can do, not for Quatre, not for Duo. It's just a waiting game. This job can be so frustrating sometimes".

Trowa looked on silently, he felt a real warmth towards Sally, and he knew his friends were in safe hands.

Sally gave a deep sigh and stood up from the bed.

"Ok Trowa, we should let him rest now", she suggested, gathering together a few medical items together. "We should check on him every hour".

As she walked past Trowa towards the room door, she opened her arm and scooped it around his shoulders giving a squeeze. They walked to the door together.

"I know you and the others are all effected by this too", she said softly, "You know I'm always here Trowa, any time day or night, you or the others, if you ever want to talk,... if you need a shoulder"

Her caring words fell straight onto his sad heart. A part of him wanted to break down there and then, but he had other concerns on his mind.

Wufei had gone for a walk in the grounds, Trowa needed to find him to discuss their next crucial mission,....

... what were they going to tell Heero?

End of chapter 6

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