Title: Hear My Pain
Rating: (I hate the new system, so I'm sticking to tried and true in the story) PG-13/mild R.
Disclaimer: Not mine, don't sue. Playing with them is just for my amusement and possibly for some others.
Summary: A year after the battle against Mariamaia, something begins to go terribly wrong for Duo. Will be 1+2/with a possible 1x2 further on. Background pairings of 3+4 and 5+(undecided as yet.) and one sided 1xR (for Relena as per the norm in these stories.) Relena is shrewd and cunning in this story. There will be Relena bashing, but it will be subtle...I hope.
Author's note 1: I decided to venture back into Gundam Wing only after noticing the rapid decline of popularity and quality of the fandoms stories. I had been content with reading some of my favorite fanfics by my favorite authors, but this site didn't have much to offer me. So here's another contribution to the fandom.
Duo brushed the sweat from his brow and looked around the yard. Everything was neat and orderly, the scraps separated by metals and the piles reduced in size and ready to be shipped to the recycling plants on earth. Concrete had already been smashed to rumble and stone sizes to be used in the new parks around the colony as well as be sold to stores to be again sold to people who wanted to decorate gardens and paths.
He supposed that it was a good thing he, Hilde and Austin Dumont, Hilde's fiancé, owned the only scrap yard in this particular colony of L2. There was a large amount of damaged buildings and roads still being cleaned, as well as new buildings going up in their places. He knew that they had Quatre to thank for that.
Quatre felt that since not only did he grow up and belonged to one of the colonies and that his great-grandfather was also one of the original suppliers of the money and materials needed to build the colonies, it was only fair to help repair the damages that he helped cause. He had set up offices and warehouses on each of the colonies and began hiring people for various and much needed jobs.
There were two basic downtown areas of all the colonies, as well as a couple of suburbia's that separated the main city area's, which held apartment and business buildings. At the edge of the suburbia's and the warehouse districts, there were two farms that contained the usual farm animals as well as a couple of orchards. Eggs, milk, poultry, and meat came from them, although cow meat was a rare and expensive treat served only in restaurants. Quatre had set up fully trained farmers on a few of the individual colonies to help teach and expand agricultural opportunities, which helped the colonies become even more self-sufficient.
Duo was proud of how the L2 colonies were shaping up, as Quatre sent him the reports of the various things being done. They were still the lesser of the colonies, but jobs were no longer as scarce, food wasn't a first come first serve basis, they were starting to look cleaner, and the weather controls were back on track.
Wiping his hands off on his pants, Duo headed inside to get ready to close up shop. Hilde was out shopping until dinner and Austin was out on a business meeting with a couple of contractors on the other side of the colony. He locked the office door and headed up stairs.
Duo took a quick shower, quick meaning he didn't wash his hair, and started on dinner. He had been designated as the resident cook, since he was pretty much the only one who could cook beyond frozen and boxed foods.
He decided something simple would suffice as he was feeling pretty worn out and just wanted to relax. He went to work on making spaghetti and was so busy watching and waiting for the water to boil and mumbling to himself about 'a watched pot never boils' that he didn't notice Hilde come inside.
He was just about to add the noodles to the now boiling water when her hand landed on his shoulder; he started but thankfully managed to aim the noodles into the pot. Turning, he frowned at Hilde.
"Sorry." She said loudly with a smile. The smile quickly faded as Duo didn't respond. He was still frowning at her, but now his eyebrow was rising in question, "Shit." She muttered. She held up a finger to indicate to wait a minute and left the kitchen.
Duo watched her go and turned back to the stove, trying to keep his breathing under control. Lately he had succumbed to panic attacks and he could feel one building now. He knew he had a problem, but yesterday it hadn't been this bad. Yesterday, he could still hear if Hilde or Austin yelled at him.
He headed over to the table when Hilde came back in and motioned him over. She had a pad of paper and a pen with her and was scribbling out something on it. Duo held back a groan. He could just read her handwriting and half the time it gave him a headache.
We're going to see a doctor. Duo read when Hilde pushed the pad over to him. He shook his head frantically. Doctors scared the piss out of him, mainly because he was afraid that they were always going to find something drastically wrong with him.
Hilde pointed at the pad again to emphasize her point and then pulled it back, somethings wrong with you, Duo. It needs to be taken care of.
Duo sighed and looked over at the stove, "After dinner." He said, biting his lip. He hated not being able to hear. He was a loud person by nature, always being told to tune it down or quiet down and now he had no idea how loud he was actually being.
He saw Hilde wince and figured out that he had hollered, probably because he had had to yell to hear his own voice before this. Hilde pushed the tablet back over and Duo looked down. NOW was written heavily and underlined many, many times.
Duo managed to hold back a whimper as he nodded. Hilde grinned happily and started writing again; I've got a friend who specializes in hearing problems. You go get dressed and I'll call her.
Duo got up and turned off the stove before trudging down to his room. He changed quickly, not really worried about his appearance. Most of Hilde's friends were fairly old and he was pretty much still infatuated with a particular pilot, despite only talking by email for the past few months. He had refused to vid-phone anyone when his hearing loss started. His friends were confused, not liking that they couldn't talk to their friend, but Duo was being extremely closed mouth towards them. No one had the time to fly to his colony to visit and find out what was going on, so they had to live with what little Duo told them.
Hilde must have managed to finish her call in record time, because by the time Duo joined her in the living room, she was chatting with Austin. Duo managed a weak wave in reply to the one the redhead sent him. That phone call was quick as well, much to Duo's chagrin and they were out the door and on their way not even five minutes later.
The doctor's office, Duo noticed, was actually very nice. It was in a four story, fake brick building, on the first floor. It didn't have the sterile feel to it that Duo had come to associate with doctor's offices. The furniture was comfortable couches and chairs, there were two full bookshelves, a TV in one corner and children's play area in the other.
Duo started over to one of the bookshelves as Hilde went to the receptionist's desk. He looked over all the titles he could see on the upper shelves and found a few that interested him. Expecting to be waiting for a while, he reached out to grab one, only to have his hand snatched and be pulled away.
"Hilde." He muttered, or at least, he hoped he did. She just shook her head at him and pushed him in the direction of the side door, where a nurse was patiently waiting with a comforting and real smile on her face. That helped to relax Duo a bit.
Duo was led to an exam room and the nurse patted the paper-covered table. Duo nodded his understanding and hopped up. The nurse then went through normal exam procedures, taking his blood pressure, his temperature and the like. Once she finished with that she dug around in a drawer and pulled out laminated cards. She held up the top one to Duo, Were you sick when the hearing loss started? Duo shook his head no.
Was it instantaneous? The next one read. Again, Duo shook his head.
How long ago did the hearing loss start? Duo bit his lip as he thought back. It had started to get muddy just after he returned to the L2 colony Hilde was on, so it was, "Almost a year ago." He replied.
The nurse nodded and wrote his response down and then held up another card, The doctor will be in shortly. Duo nodded and watched the nurse leave, curious about the cards and wondering about the doctor.
He didn't have to wonder for long. The doctor came in not even a few minutes later, a smile on her face and her hand extended for him to shake. He did so and nodded as she pointed to her name tag with her free hand. Doctor Versant wasn't all that old, shockingly enough. Considerably older then himself, but not as old as he was expecting. She had shockingly blond hair and brown eyes that managed to pierce you in place. If Duo hadn't wanted Heero and the doctor didn't have a ring on her hand, he would have gone after her on the spot.
He managed to sit calmly as she went through a slightly different exam then the nurse did. He was taken for specialized x-rays and while they waited for those to return they tried to figure the cause. The doctor was quite fast at typing, so any questions she had, she typed up on her laptop and allowed Duo to read over her shoulder.
You work with Hilde, yes? What do you do?
Duo shrugged, "Little bit of everything. I work the machinery, the explosives, did do some office work but Austin took over that a couple of months ago."
The doctor latched on to one aspect of what Duo said, Explosives? How often do you work with them?
"Not very. Explosive work on colonies is hard to do mainly because of protocols. Permission needs to be received and it has to be controlled very carefully."
Versant nodded thoughtfully, When was the last time you did use them?
Duo stifled a laugh, "Yesterday actually."
That might explain the sudden degradation in your hearing, but you said it's been happening for a year? When did you notice the sudden drops in noise levels?
"Whenever I used my explosives, now that you've got me thinking about it." Duo said, frowning.
Were you using explosives when you first started to notice that you were losing your hearing? the doctor typed, watching Duo in the mirror she had placed next to the computer, in case Duo couldn't answer or wouldn't. Facial expression were an easy way to read what a person was thinking and Melody Versant liked to keep some kind of contact with her patients, and the mirror was her way to do it when she was talking with hearing impaired people.
Duo shook his head.
Versant's eyes narrowed a bit thoughtfully, and began typing again, I want to inform you now of doctor patient confidentiality. This way you won't freak out when I tell you that Hilde informed me you were a Gundam pilot.
A bark of laughter made it passed Duo's lips, "Figures. Yeah, I was. Why? Do you think it might have anything to do with this?"
Versant met Duo's eyes in the mirror before typing, A year ago was that problem with the young Krushanada.
"Yeah." Duo said, eyes blanking out.
Is that when it started? Duo nodded, Well, I think I know what's wrong, but I won't know for sure until the x-rays come back.
"What? What's wrong?" Duo asked, feeling the panic that had started to abate with the doctors generalized questions began to build anew, stronger this time then before.
I think it's acoustic trauma. I have a feeling you're not one for protective ear covering, so there is probably some damage. Sadly, with acoustic trauma there isn't a cure. Only prevention. No more explosives without protection. Can you hear anything at all?
"At the moment, just tones if they're loud. I heard Hilde earlier, but no words. On the way hear I heard a few slamming sounds, probably from cars."
The doctor nodded, We'll try a hearing aide. There's no guarantee on the amount of hearing that will return because of the aid. It might only work within a few feet of yourself, but every little bit helps, in my opinion. You might also want to take classes to learn to lip read, sign, as well as learn how to tell the volume of your voice by the vibrations in your throat, in case you don't have your aide with you.
Duo nodded. He wasn't thrilled about the classes bit, but the hearing aid was promising. He would love to be able to hear again.
A/N: Okay, a new story. Shouldn't have done it, really. I have too many freaking stories on my plate from various fandoms that it's not really funny, despite what my friend thinks. This one though, well, the idea stuck with me. To be honest, I'm almost positive that some of the info up there is wrong, but I did as much research as I had time to.
I don't know any complete hearing impaired people. One from work is deaf in one ear, but hears fine in the other but I've never asked about it beyond the fact that I had to talk a bit louder then normal towards him. I'd appreciate any sort of feedback on this thing or even a large amount of hits, but reviews and comments are lovely and welcome.