Walking in the Night
I awoke immediately when I felt Duo sit up in our bed. I reached over to the nightstand and switched on the small light. I blinked a couple of times to clear my vision just in time to see my lover throw away the covers and stand up. He was dressed only in his boxers, his chest bare, hair pulled back in a messy braid. I dared a quick glance at my watch on the nightstand before I hurriedly returned my eyes to Duo. 3:17 am. We got to bed just a couple of hours ago. Seeing Duo move to the door and hearing his bare feet tap on the floor, I quickly got out of bed too. I didn´t bother to pull anything on, the boxers would have to do. I only put on my slippers and followed my lover as he opened the door and walked out into the dimly lit corridor.
We were in one of Quatre´s mansions. He invited us to stay with him for a couple of weeks. I didn´t mind. For the software I was working on for the Preventers, I only needed my laptop and it was summer so Duo had time off from the U. After the wars, he decided to go back to school and I agreed. I didn´t mind supporting him. I earned more money than I would ever need. And I loved to see him happy and smiling.
It started shortly after the Mariemaia incident was over. We were staying in a small apartment not too far away from the Preventers headquarters. It was very stressful time for both of us. We just moved in, I was starting work for the Preventers and Duo was stressed about the High School exams he was taking, about the graduation and the entrance exams for the U. He wasn´t sleeping well and he ate very little. I knew he would crash soon and I was prepared to be there for him when it happened. Well, crash he did, but in a completely different way than I thought he would. He started to sleepwalk.
At first it was nothing major, just some moving in the bed or sitting up. But when he actually got up and opened the window.... It scared me, terribly. What if I hadn´t been there to stop him? I still remember the scene pretty clearly. I tried to wake him up, I even shook him and shouted in his face, but he just looked at me with his unfocused, confused eyes and then he collapsed in my arms. He was totally out of himself, obviously he was in shock. Since that day I had never tried to wake him up while he was sleepwalking.
next day I marched him to a doctor and didn´t want to hear any of his excuses.
I could still see last night´s scene in Technicolor every time I closed my
eyes. And of course he didn´t remember anything. The doctor did some thorough
tests and prescribed him a low dose of Diazepam. The episodes wouldn´t stop, he
said, but there would be much fewer of them. I asked him the "why
now" question. We had been through a lot of stress during the war and Duo
had had no problems back then - I knew because I had been the one sharing a
room with him all the time. He explained to us that there could be a lot of
reasons for Duo sleepwalking now. It wasn´t one particular thing causing a man
to sleepwalk. Maybe it was just a genetic thing and sleepwalking ran in Duo´s
family. We had no way to check out this theory though. He recommended us to a
very good psychiatrist who specialized in sleepwalking. Duo was against it at
first, but then he started to like the small "no nonsense" doctor.
She was always ready to talk, even if you called her at midnight. And she gave
us some advice about what to do to help to ease Duo´s sleep disorder. So we
changed our lives...
We moved into an apartment on the ground floor and we moved all the dangerous things like knives or my gun to safe, locked places. Not that Duo ever got violent during his episodes, but I had no intention of taking any risks. And he rested a lot. I made sure he did. No nights spent in clubs or filled with studying with little or no sleep at all. We often went outside on the fresh air and I forced him to eat more healthy - that was probably my biggest accomplishment. And he started to exercise - he liked yoga particularly. It helped him to meditate and calm his nerves after a stressing day at the U. Our lives changed, but we adjusted to it.
I was still following Duo as he walked down the corridor and turned to the right. He headed into the living room. I was guarding him from any danger he could get himself into. He stumbled on a bent corner of carpet and I rushed over to help him, but he caught himself at the door frame and started to walk again. I exhaled deeply, seeing him out of danger again.
I remembered the strange look Quatre gave me when I asked him for a room on the ground floor. I wanted to explain it to him, but Duo didn´t want him or the other pilots to know and I had no intention of breaking his trust. I didn´t know why but he still felt awkward, even embarassed about people knowing about his sleep disorder. So I didn´t tell Quatre anything. But I knew he would have understood.
Duo stopped at the glass door leading to the garden behind the mansion. When he didn´t show any intention of walking outside, I breathed out in relief. I didn´t want him to hurt his bare feet. If he really did step out on the terrace, I would have had to try to stop him somehow and that was really a difficult thing to do. A situation like that happened only twice before and unfortunately my actions always caused Duo to wake up - confused, lost and dizzy with no memory about what happened. It always hurt me to see the lost and broken expression on his face when he realized that his body had betrayed him once again.
Tonight´s episode was the first this month. I was sure it was caused by the stress and lack of sleep that came with the peace negotiations we had to take part in. There were some rebellions on the colonies going on and another war threatened to destroy the peace we worked for so hard. We as the ex-Gundam pilots should represent the peace. I still didn´t understand the logic in it, but Relena asked us to do it and so we came. But the negotiations were taking more time than we thought they would and they took their toll on Duo. I had been expecting for this to happen and actually it surprised me that it didn´t come until now. It only showed that all the changes we made in our lives were doing something good.
I was standing a couple of feet behind Duo, ready to act. I saw him start to shiver and sway just a little and I knew he would collapse soon. Strangely, he never returned to bed nor did he wake up when he collapsed. He just kept sleeping. Duo´s knees buckled and I was there when he started to slide down to the floor, saving him from what could be a nasty bump on the head since there was no carpet on the floor where he was standing only cool marble.
I took him in my arms and he snuggled into my chest, sighing with content. I looked down at him and couldn´t help but smile. He was adorable and I loved him so much that it hurt. But now was time to put him back under the covers. His skin was cold and I could feel the shivers running through his body. The show was over for tonight. But I knew that it would happen again. Maybe not tomorrow or this week, but it will happen. And I will be there every time to catch him when he falls...