Perchance To Dream
The nonsense/brain cells line is a direct quote from the late, great, esteemed Theodor Geisel, known more popularly as Dr. Seuss. All hail the creator of The Grinch, The Whos, elephants hatching eggs, Cats-in-Hats, turtles named Vertle, and Truffula trees. :-)
Duo giggled harder and buried his laughter in one of the pillows.
Heero exchanged a worried look with Wufei. "You think he's all right?" he asked.
Wufei snorted. "He's been awake for over fifty-seven hours; how does that constitute 'all right'?" he asked icily.
Heero shrugged and opened his mouth to say something, but was interrupted by their giggling lover.
"Sleep deprivation is fuuunnn…" Duo slurred, giggling at some private joke. "Y'see such pretty colors…" His eyes flicked back and forth as if said colors were flying through the air and he was trying to follow them.
Neither of the Asian teens were prone to overt displays of emotion, but Duo had them so tied up in knots that their anxiety was visible on their normally stoic faces. "How long was that drug supposed to last?" Wufei asked.
"I have no clue, but before they shot him up with it, Duo said he heard one of the techs mention that they were starting out with only one dose," Heero replied. "And he'd been up for twenty-four hours before he was captured, so it's been thirty-three…" He shrugged helplessly.
Wufei growled. "That is unjust. I can't believe Kushrenada would stoop so low."
"It's Tsuberov who ordered the scientists to create the sleep dep drug," Heero reminded him. "Hopefully, Treize will be back in power soon, if only so OZ and Romefeller will be more predictable."
"It's just our bad luck we got there when we did," Heero said after a moment's pause. "Five minutes earlier and he'd be asleep right now."
"Five minutes later 'n I'd be bein' interrogated right now," Duo piped up, eyes hazy, but focused on them.
"You're coherent?" Wufei asked him in surprise.
Heero raised an eyebrow. "Hn." He'd spent the most time with Duo while he was suffering from his chemical-induced insomnia. It had quickly become apparent that while most of the time Duo made no sense, he had small periods in which he wasn't acting as if he was high on some recreational drug. They were fleeting, however, and trying to hold a conversation with him on the applications of fluid dynamics in order to bore him to sleep was a fruitless cause because he couldn't concentrate enough to be bored.
Duo grimaced. "Fer the moment. It comes 'n goes in waves." His indigo eyes went glassy. "Waves…"
Sighing, Wufei leaned against Heero, both boys drawing comfort from the closeness, but too wound up to actually engage in anything as sentimental as an embrace. A slight sagging of their ramrod straight posture and the lessening of the rigidity in their limbs were the only things either boy would allow himself. "Isn't there anything we can do?" Wufei begged for the third time since they'd rescued their lover.
Huffing in irritation, Heero repeated his answer from the previous two times, "You know we can't give him anything, 'Fei. We don't know how sleep meds will interact with this drug; it's too experimental and we have no information on it."
Duo giggled again, once more drawing his lover's attention to him. "All the colors of the rainbow," he said dreamily, swatting at things in the air that only he could see. "Sunshine, clouds and rainbows. Clouds shaped like horses – horses of another color." He buried his giggles in his hands. "If wishes were horses there'd be more of 'em than people." He turned to Wufei. "I once saw Heero ride a horse," he confided, the words serious, but the tone still childishly delusional. "Never figured out how he knew how – no horses on the colonies, ya know."
"You're talking nonsense," Wufei chided him, all the while knowing it was not Duo's fault, but knowing no other way to respond. He sent a sideways look at their other lover. But if he wasn't just imagining having seen Yuy ride a horse… That must have been interesting, indeed.
"I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells," Duo replied solemnly, sounding as if he was quoting from something. Then he broke the split-second of somberness by giggling again.
"I do not understand," Wufei said exasperatedly.
Heero blinked. "Understand what?"
"Why they gave him this drug," Wufei clarified.
"Sleep deprivation is a proven interrogation tactic," Heero said, as if he were quoting from a manual. In point of fact, he probably was.
Wufei snorted derisively. "Of course I know that, Heero. But he's barely coherent five minutes out of every hour; how could they hope to get anything useful out of him when he makes no sense?"
Shrugging helplessly, Heero said, "It is an experimental drug; Duo might be the first person they tried it on."
Wufei just grunted in reply and turned back to observing their braided counterpart. He didn't let it show much, but he really was worried about Duo. Thirty-odd hours in this safe house, and not only could Duo not fall asleep no matter what – and the two of them had exhausted all possibilities trying to help: Heero had tried boring him to sleep with his physics lecture, Wufei had read him poetry in Chinese, they turned on the television and tuned into an infomercial… After the first twenty-four hours had gone by, they had gotten desperate and Wufei had condescended to tell Duo a bedtime about the history of the Dragon Clan. Heero had exercised a heretofore-unknown talent and had sung to him… Nothing had worked – but he also had no appetite. For the braided stomach-on-legs, that was extremely telling about how powerful this drug was. Even doped up on morphine after having a bullet removed from his thigh he was still ravenous.
"So, 'Fei, why aren't ya rantin' at me?" Duo asked from out of nowhere.
Wufei's eyebrows rose. "What? Why would I do such a thing?"
Duo continued on, seemingly oblivious that Wufei had spoken. "I was expectin' somethin' along the lines of, 'You are weak for needing sleep, Maxwell. True warriors can go for days without sleep. Sleep is for wimps!'" he said in a credible imitation of Shenlong's pilot.
Wufei flushed. "Maxwell…" he growled.
"Sleep is for wimps, ya know," Duo told them, nodding brightly. He smirked in a tired parody of his usual joker's grin. "Happy, healthy, well-rested wimps, but wimps."
Heero snorted. "He must be getting better if he's able to crack jokes."
Maxwell yawned widely. "Better, maybe, but I'm still crazy." He grinned cockily, but then his smile split in yet another yawn.
Wufei exchanged a hopeful look with Heero. This was the first time Duo had shown any signs of tiredness. Maybe the serum was wearing off.
"'Fei, 'Ro?" Duo sounded confused. "'M tired…"
"Then sleep, baka," Heero advised, silently praying that Duo would be able to do just that.
"Don't ya need me ta keep watch?" he slurred, though his eyelids were heavy with exhaustion.
"No, we've got it covered," Wufei told him. Actually, Quatre had it covered, as this was one of his family's properties, but either way, they were safe for the nonce.
"M'kay…" And with a final jaw-cracking yawn, Duo settled down to sleep on the bed he'd been ensconced in since early the last evening and was only finally getting around to using for its intended purpose.
Five minutes ticked slowly by, and when it was apparent to both of the observing pilots that Duo was, indeed, truly, finally asleep, they breathed twin sighs of relief, careful not to be too loud or else they'd wake Duo.
"Now what?" Heero asked in a low voice. They'd spent the past thirty hours trying to get Duo to sleep. Normally, if they were all in a safe house together for a few days of downtime, they'd end up having lots of sex, but with Duo out of commission it didn't seem right. If it were only the two of them there to begin with, that would have been one thing, but…
Wufei gave a small yawn of his own, then blinked, abashed. "Me? I think I'm going to sleep as well," he admitted with some sheepishness.
Heero blinked as he watched Chang rifle through his duffle bag and come up with a pair of black cotton sleep pants. Quickly changing out of his clothes and into the pajama bottoms, the Chinese boy then slipped underneath the covers of the queen-sized bed, careful not to wake Duo. Within minutes, he too was on his way to the Land of Nod.
Sleeping. That…actually sounded like a good idea. In all the worry over Duo sleeping, neither of them had given much thought to their own need for slumber. Heero himself had spent the most time directly watching over Duo – Wufei had taken care of writing their mission reports and securing their Gundams and themselves – and was now feeling the drain of his admittedly deep resources.
Suppressing a yawn of his own, he also changed for a bed, taking less time than his Chinese lover, as his preparations involved nothing more than shucking his shirt and pants. He preferred to sleep in his boxers.
Tucking himself carefully against Duo's other side, Heero finally allowed himself to relax. The whole mission had been a nightmare. First finding out that Duo was up against twice as much opposition as they'd thought, then flying over to help him only to find out he'd been captured. Rescuing him and discovering to their relief that Tsuberov hadn't had him hurt, only to find out that he'd been shot up with an adrenaline-inducing drug that wouldn't let him sleep and Duo could, quite possibly, go mad or even die from lack of REM cycles.
The minute he'd found that out, all the information Heero had on sleep deprivation had gone through his mind at Mach 3. The fact that struck him the most was that after seventy-six hours without sleep, one could be declared officially insane.
Duo had always acted a little crazy, hyper beyond belief, and the weirdest oddball he'd ever come across, but despite the fact that his lover called himself the God of Death, Heero had never had cause to worry for his sanity. The few flashes of coherency he'd caught in the past thirty hours only served to worry him further, since they came with increasing infrequency.
But the nightmare was over, and for all intents and purposes, it looked as if as soon as Duo made up for his drug-induced insomnia he'd be fine.
Carefully wrapping his right arm around Duo's shoulder, his left stretching out over the braided boy's chest to clasp Wufei's lax hand in his own, Heero let himself drift off to dreamland.
Now he could rest.
And hopefully, dream of a time when there would be peace, and he'd never have to worry so much about his lovers. A time when the only bad dreams were memories.