Stuck in the middle of nowhere
'So uh... Bob?'
'How far is this small village exactly?'
'About two days away from the ranch.' Bob answered matter of factly.
Duo swallowed and looked away, trying to hide his dismay. They had been riding on an abandoned road for four hours now, seeing nothing but mountains and fields. They had left very early, making it nine o'clock now. The tractor moved slowly, no faster than twenty miles per hour. Maybe even slower, he really didn't know as the tractor wasn't equiped with instruments to measure their speed.
In the open trailer they slowly tugged forth lay Bo, who never seemed to leave Bob's side. On contrary to what Duo was feeling, Bo didn't seem bored at all, happily looking around, tongue hanging out of his mouth. Heather lay next to him, doing a similar thing. He smiled at her. Unlike at the end of his 'romantic' weekend with Mandy, he no longer hated Heathers guts, maybe... just maybe he'd even miss her when he'd have to return her to that god awful bitch.
Or maybe not...
He fumbled with his clothes, trying to occupy himself, but it was just TOO much boredom! He was on the verge of insanity and knowing that it would take a long, LONG, time to get to their destination, things weren't looking up for him.
'It would have been faster if we went with the horses, but I couldn't do that to your butt.' Bob commented, a smirk on his face but his eyes still on the road.
Duo didn't know what was worse, a more than sore butt, or being driving to insanity. Both of them didn't seem like a lot of fun. 'Where are we going to sleep?' He asked. When he was bored, he HAD to talk, he always had to find a way to stimulate his mind. He should have taken a book with him. Though he doubted Bob had any interesting reading material back at the ranch.
'Well, at the end of the day we do pass another ranch, but I refused to sleep there, so I brought a tent and sleeping bags.' Bob said, the sentence started annoyed but ending with a hint of pride.
'Who's ranch is it?'
Duo almost flinched as the wheels in his mind turned and he was able to conclude: 'Therasias' father?'
'Yes, that annoying little... well... I promised Lee not to curse.'
Duo laughed and shook his head, but when he looked away he could feel the mere mentioning of Therasias' name eating at him. It made the blood in his veins boil.
'So, have you decided wether you stay or go?'
Duo answered by a shaking of his head, making his long bangs dance, he needed to trim them.
'You know, if you decide to go, you'd better stay in the village, I'll rent you a hotel room. It'll take your family about two days to be here to pick you up.' Bob explained with a neatral voice.
'Thank you.' He mumbled.
He stayed silent till nightfall. Somewhere along the way, Duo had fallen asleep and he awakened in a position that made him jump and straighten. He had leaned his whole body weight against the older man and was happily snoring on his shoulder.
'S-sorry!' He sheepishly said. He lay a hand on his stomach as he was feeling nauseous all of a sudden, but he didn't betray his discomfort.
'That's okay, reminds me of my boys, they always slept against me like that when we were out...' Bob whistfully looked away, as if he could see the past behind those snow capped mountains. A smile appeared on his face.
Duo just bent over a bit as the painful cramping in his stomach worsened and didn't allow him to sit upright. Bob was oblivious to his state and just kept talking about his past, which seemed to be his favorite conversation topic.
'Those good old days... Trowa was just this tall.' He held his hand about a meter above the seat, 'Six years... WuFei just turned four and Heero was merely a baby. We made this very same trip, Lee, Trowa, WuFei, Heero and me... Funny, the last time I visited the centre was when we had to report the birth of Heero.' He smiled and shook his head.
Duo vaguely heard Bobs story but he was too engrossed with himself. It didn't hurt, it didn't want to make him cry, but it was so uncomfortable, he felt like lying and sleeping, but also at moving around at the same time. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to calm down his body.
Bob caught the sigh-like sound and whipped his head around, he stopped the tractor immediately as he noted something was off and he leaned over.
'Duo? Duo are you okay? What's wrong?' He asked, obviously worried, eyes wide ad shining with the emotion.
'I'm fine...' He grounded out. That wasn't his intention, he made it sound worse then it was, but it got Bobs attention. He started the tractor again and parked it in a empty grassfield. He hurried to the other side and forced Duo to lie down on the frontseat. Worriedly he hovered over him.
'Really, it isn't that bad, I'm just suddenly very nauseous... that's all!' He smiled at him, making him see it wasn't all that bad, he just had the feeling like he wanted to puke atop of everything... not a good idea.
'Don't be crazy, it is obvious you are sick! You know what, just calm down, I'll set up the tent. Maybe you'll feel better in the morning.' He immediately started. Duo just looked up at the black sky with stars scattered across it while he listened to the busy and hardworking Bob. He tried to help numerous occasions, but Bob wouldn't have any of it and forced him to lie down. After a while he stopped trying, knowing very well there was nothing he could do, though he felt really bad for letting a man, well in his sixties, work like that. Bending, lisfting heavy things, stretching... it wasn't good for an old man!
The dogs were leashed and the end of the leashes were tied to a hook on the tractor.
Fifty minutes later Bob was by his side again, a little sweaty. 'Think you can walk?'
Duo rolled his eyes 'i'm not fatally injured.' He stated, rising to a sitting position.
'One can never be too careful.'
Duo almost laughed as he slowly made his way towards the green tent, Bob right by his side, ready to catch him should he fall. He crawled into the tent and asked Bob which sleepingbag was his. He was told to just pick one. He chose the black one. He couldn't help himself.
After five minutes of rustling and moving about they were both lying in their sleepingbags, looking up at the ceiling of the tent as the wind caused the material to wave like the sea.
A small oil lamp lightened the inside.
'Feeling any better?' bob questioned after long moments of silence.
'I think we're on Leon's land…' Bob commented.
Duo sighed and cursed under his breath. 'We shouldn't be here.'
'Duo, you are sick, it really doesn't matter.'
'He'll get angry.'
'Yeah... if he ever finds out. Leon is not the kind of man to check his land in the middle of the night. Though I do believe he has gone crazy, obsessed and it way too possesive. Great traits to pass onto your children.' His voice sounded disgusted merely at mentioning Christian and Therasias.
'Let's just try to sleep.' Bob reached over to turn off the light.
'How do you feel about your son being gay?' Duo clamped a hand over his mouth as he realised the sentence that was to supposed to be merely a thought had spilled from his lips. He stared up at the ceiling, almost frightened, he heard Bob turn his head to face him.
'What do you mean?'
'Well, Heero being with... Therasias.' Ugh... the mere thought!
'That was three years ago.' Bob softly said.
Duo looked to the side, trying to find bob's face in the dark, but he saw nothing, just vague outlines created by what little moonlight penetrated the tent canvass (is that what tents are made from? Please tell me!). 'That doesn't mean he's... heterosexual all of a sudden.' Duo cautiously commented.
A sigh came from the dark.
'I'm sorry, I shouldn't have brought it up.'
'... No, it's okay, I can understand your curiosity.'
'Care to share the story with me?' He asked softly. If he'd leave tomorrow he'd die from curiosity and questions that will never be answered. He had to know! He had to know why Heero was insane enough to give his innocence to a guy like Therasias! Therasias... even the name was a bitch!
'Heero was out of the house more and more often. But we just saw that as a good sign... that he was maturing. I caught him in the barn, kissing therasias. I yelled at him. He yelled back. I saw him together with that bastard a few more times. It infuriated me! And then... at the end of the contest, where I had lost Heero at the beginning, Therasias walked up to me with that damned cocky smirk of his and told me he had 'fucked' Heero during all the contests... that, added up, last more then six hours...' Bob talked so quickly Duo at a few points almost lost the story, he didn't though and he clenched his fist at he could very well imagine Heero being raped by that bastard during the contest. And he kept seeing those large blue eyes as heero pleaded him to go slow with him. He looked like a sad little puppy that had been beat up one time too many.
He waited, his silence was his way of encouraging Bob to go on and fill in the blank spots. After all, he hadn't really answered Duo's initial question.
'I don't hate my son for being gay...' Came the soft confession from the old man.
He kept his mouth shut, though he felt angry, not hating someone, doesn't mean you accept it. Meaning that if he stayed, wouldn't matter, as he could never get serious with Heero.
'At that time I was really upset. Probably more about how Therasias acted and the fact that he slept with someone five years younger than about Heero being gay... But I don't think Heero knows that.'
'I don't want to undermine your parenting-'
'Then don't say anything.' Bob cut in.
Duo ignored his angered interuption. 'I think it's wrong that you treat Heero as a girl. He's still a man, not a woman with a dick.' He tensed as he heard Bob rise to a sitting position and he could feel his old wise eyes boring holes in him, for as far as he could be seen in the dark.
After a pregnant silence, which may not have been the best term to put it at that moment, Bob lay down again and was silent for a while longer before he asked: 'Feeling any better?'
It took a while before he realised he must have been talking about his nausea. 'Hmmm... still nauseous.' He concluded, running a hand over his smooth stomach, feeling the small humps of his muscles underneath the skin as he had his hand in the sleepingbag and under his black T-shirt.
'What do you think it is?'
'I don't know. Can't be from the food, it came way too sudden...'
'Maybe a virus.'
He was about to talk again, as if Bob had known, as if he had felt Duo opening his mouth, the old man ordered him to be quiet 'Shhhh...' Both sat frozen in the tent, Duo merely looking up at the ceiling as he heard nothing. But Bob kept sitting there, still as a mouse, finger in the air.
A few seconds later, Duo heard it too. A soft thudding. Heavy, but soft. It was coming towards them. He swallowed and he felt his heart rate speed up, for some unknown reason he was a little scared. Who knew what kind of terrifying animal stalked these lands?
Duo's frightening and horrormovie-like thoughts about strange creatures were interupted by a sigh and curse from Bob.
'What is it?'
He got no answer. Looking to the side he saw light coming by, filtering through the canvass. Before he knew it the 'door' was zipped and yanked open and a bright light shone in, focussing on their faces, his in particular.
'Bob, what for heavens sake are you doing on my land?' Came a country accented voice.
Duo resisted the urge to roll his eyes, he had a feeling that it would be him. Leon.
'I'm sorry Leon, didn't realise we were on your land.'
'You know very well that this is my land.' The slightly younger, than Bob, man snapped. He lowered the light, allowing Duo to open his eyes without being blinded. He saw the angry face of the elder.
'Since when do we go camping in my fields?' He demanded.
'I'm sorry Leon, but Duo here got sick and I thought it wouldn't be wise to continue.'
Leon snorted, fixing the light on Duo again. 'He seems fine. Ya know, those city kids can't take a thing. Stay in bed after the first sneeze or stomach ache.'
'It came very sudden, nausea, I thought it would be fine with a little rest.' Bob bit back.
'Nausea? Sudden? Any stomach cramps?'
It took a while for Duo to note the question was directed at him. 'A little, more in the beginning, but they have faded.'
'Sounds like a stomach inflammation (1) to me.' Leon said, not even the slightest concerned so it can't be serious.
'Yep, can't remember Bob? Heero had it only a few weeks ago!'
'Is it contagious?' Bob asked.
'Yep, but it can only pass through blood or saliva.'
Both men gave Duo a strange and suspicious look as they both knew of what had happened between Heero and Therasias.
Duo swallowed and hoped his blush wasn't too obvious. The wheels in his mind turned to find a quick and logic suggestion. 'Well, when we wentout horse back riding we drank from the same bottle.' He said in his most innocent voice. The reason of course were those fevered kisses they shared under that tree on that lovely rainy day. Duo got giddy and warm inside just thinking back about it.
They bought it as the eyes turned away from him, no more suspision in them.
'Well anyway, he should get a good night sleep and some medication, then he'll be fine. Come on.' Leon crawled back out of the tent and motioned for them to come out as well.
Leon and Bob quickly broke down the tent and secured it in the back of the tractor, which would remain there.
All the while Duo sat on the ground, with Christian, who had been accompanying his father.
The dogs were freed and when Leon and Bob were done Leon ordered his son to hand his horse to Bob.
Leon climbed on his own, brown horse, Christian climbed up behind him.
Bob, with little difficulty climbed onto the back of Christians grey horse and helped hoisting Duo up on the massive beast.
The dogs followed them as they rode straight through the field. In a short ten minutes they reached the house Duo had grown to hate after seeing it only once. Most lights were off, but in the livingroom faint light was coming from a few lamps.
Leon opened the frondoor and Bob and duo folwed, christian behind him. Duo lowered his gaze and cursed in every language he knew when he noticed the cocky figure standing in the hall, leaning against the wall with one shoulder, his arms folded in front of his muscled chest.
The cocky features turned confused and annoyed 'Why'd you bring them?' He asked rudely.
'They were camping on my land. Little Miss America here,' he pointed at Duo behind him, 'got sick. I HAD to offer. Christian, go fetch the Med. Kit.'
Christian, who had never spoken a word, nodded and left.
Leon guided Duo and Bob to the livingroom where he motioned them to sit down on the soft, comfy, couch.
Duo sighed as he sat down in the soft cushions after lying on the hard floor in the tent.
Christian returned with a plastic white box with a red cross on it, putting it down on the coffee table.
Leon opened it and rummaged through the contents. 'What happened to those pills?'
'Huh?' Finally a 'word' out of the hairy young man.
'The pills for Stomach inflammation?'
'We lent it to them when heero got sick.' Therasias pointed out.
Leon sighed and turned his attention back to the box. He fished out a small brown bottle and a small plastic glass. 'Fifteen millimeters... twice a day.' He informed, pouring white, milk like, liquid into the small glass and handing it to Duo.
He nodded gratefully and swallowed it in one gulp. He blinked at the very strong, mint taste it had.
Christian brought them upstairs and even gave them a clean change of clothes as, in their 'hurry' they had left their bags in the trailer. Christian was far kinder then his one year younger brother, he was less dominant, less present, he didn't suck up all the oxygen in a room. If he'd only shave off all that hair...
'Thank you Christian.'
'It's alright mister Market, I'm sure my father wants you to stay as long as it takes Duo to feel better. He might rather die than admitting it, but he does care.' Christians voice was thickly accented and he didn't talk like he was used to talking, his voice was soft and respectful.
'Thank you.' Duo said and crawled under the warm covers, one thing good about this house. The beds. That thought was followed by a second, less pleasent one of Heero sharing one of these beds with Therasias, but he pushed it away quickly, he wasn't about to let that ruin he qpeaceful night as, unlike the bed back at Bob's ranch, the springs of this bed didn't squeeked with the slightest movement.
(1) I don't know if this is the correct english translation (in het Nederlands is het: Maag en darm ontsteking) Didn't know the technical term so... well in either case, I'm suffering from it myself at this very moment. Docter said it can last up to a few weeks. Yippee! In the beginning you get stomach cramps, you get tired but still feel the need to move and the nausea is in the beginning very intense, making you feel like you're about to vomit, but after a week it fades to merely uncomfortable. I'm in the uncomfortable stage.
Not a very explosive chapter I know and I've been avoicing the subject about Duo tsaying or leaving, but that was my intention. You'll probably find out in the next chapter. I'm happy I was able to push myself into writing this chapter, I think it came out pretty well. Not the best work but good enough.
As always I am dying to know what you think of it, as you're opinion is the only one that really matters! So review!
PS: On contrary of what I said in the previous chapter: this one turned out quite long... but not soon... ;P Sorry!