It was so cold and so dark; she floated in a sea of quiet. Voices floated all around her, but nothing could be caught to make any sense or to identify the voices with people. Something brushed gently against her consciousness, freeing her slightly from the darkness. She struggled to make sense of the gentle being; it was coaxing her to awaken so she began to struggle to pull herself out of the darkness and the silence.
She attempted to follow the gentle being. At first, it was easy. Then she hit a wall of pain, and shrieking, she rebounded angrily off it. Frightened now, she began to shrink away from the wall of awareness, and slowly, she began losing ground.
Then she felt it again—that tender caress on more then just her physical body. The being was in her mind, telling her it was all right, to lean on him, to let him guide her. He pleaded with her to return to the land of the living. She was not sure how she knew it was a male or how she knew this being, but in the back of her mind, she knew that she should know him.
She hesitated for a moment, but he just brushed a calming hand over her, and she followed him again. Slowly, they began to rise again. This time, when they hit the wall, she fought off the pain, determined to rise about it. The gentle phantom kept close to her, and gave her quiet encouragements, making her want to wake up if only to see the phantom in real life. Then the gentle phantom took her hand, and they rose silently from the darkness into light.
Lady Dorothy Catalonia, granddaughter to Duke Dermail and now Duchess of the Dermail name, opened pale lavender eyes, and slowly blinked them in an attempt to make the room come into focus. One of the first things she noticed was that her chest and left arm hurt like crazy. Fighting back a cry of pain just from breathing, Dorothy looked around trying to distract her self. Dorothy took in the room in a sweep. Then she double blinked.
She had no idea where she was.
Dorothy struggled to remember if she had ever seen this room before. Shifting slightly, she tried to get a better handle on her surroundings, the pain almost overwhelming her and threatening to send her back down into the darkness. She shifted again trying to keep herself conscious. Then a small weight on her left arm made her glance to her left again, and there she saw blond hair (similar to her own hair color) resting against her arm. She realized that the blond hair was attached to a boy—well really, almost a man—and he was currently holding her hand fast asleep.
Surprised, Dorothy shifted away from the sleeping figure, and the boy's head snapped up. The most beautiful blue-green eyes meet her own, and the boy rewarded her with a smile of relief at seeing her awake. Dorothy went to open her mouth to ask him if he had been the one to bring her back from the dark, but he beat her to speaking.
"You're awake! Do you need anything? Are you in pain? Do you need a nurse?" Quatre Raberba Winner, heir to the largest mining company in outer space, fired off rapid questions, his concern evident in his beautiful eyes.
Dorothy stared at those eyes and remembered those eyes were the ones that had brought her back to sanity. Dorothy saw his eyes floating in concern, she was instantly thrust back to Libra, with Quatre sitting there bleeding all over the floor telling Trowa to save her, worry for her swimming in his gentle eyes.
Quatre not knowing what Dorothy was thinking began to move. So, Dorothy asked a question to distract him.
"Where am I?" Dorothy questioned, her voice extremely hoarse.
"Currently you're in a Preventer military base hospital. Here let me get you some water," he said trying as usual to be helpful.
It was an effort, and Dorothy's body screamed in pain, but she managed to grasp a hold of Quatre's arm before he moved out of range.
"How long have I been here, and what happened?" Dorothy demanded, giving into the confusion at the blank space in her memory.
Quatre gave her a ghost of a smile and quietly sighed. He gently disentangled his arm from her hand. Then gently placing her hand back on her bed, he continued to the sink for a cup and filled it with water before carrying it back to her. Placing a straw in the cup, he then offered the straw to her, while he continued to hold the cup.
Dorothy wrinkled her nose but sighed and drank some of the water to humor him. She moved her head away from the straw, and then looked at him silently, waiting for him to answer her question. Quatre, apparently satisfied that she had drunk something, reclaimed his seat and then began talking.
"When we found you, you were unconscious, and barely breathing. You and Miss Relena were missing for a day and a half. Miss Relena said that you had lost consciousness only an hour before we finally got a lock on your signal. According to Miss Relena, you were injured trying to keep her out of the line of fire.
You took three bullets: two to the chest (one dangerously close to your heart) and one in your right arm. You suffered from extreme blood loss, despite the bandages the two of you managed to make. Miss Relena said you might have lasted longer, but at first you told her you were fine. It was only after you collapsed on the ground while you both were running that she realized how badly you had been wounded.
You managed to get the both of you to a hide out that apparently only you and Heero knew about. The bartender was very secretive about whether the two of you were there until Heero told him some sort of password, and he took us upstairs to you. You kept both of you safe and managed to tell Miss Relena the SOS code for location and pick up before you lost consciousness the final time.
We had a bit of trouble tracing you both. When we finally located the both of you, we rushed you here and you have been here since. You've been sleeping for a week and a half," Quatre ended his story softly.
Dorothy's eyes widened in surprise as she heard how long she had been down.
"Is Miss Relena alright?" Dorothy demanded, her voice still hoarse from misuse.
"Yes, Heero has been her constant shadow since we found the two of you. Miss Anna is thinking of asking him to stay, I think," Quatre assured Dorothy, trying to easy the worry from her eyes.
"Then she is safe, at least physically, for now," Dorothy said, relaxing.
Slowly, an awkward silence began to fill the room. Dorothy opened her mouth to say something then closed it again, unsure of how to word her question. She still had difficulties, even after a year and a half of being in the same room as Quatre, and here they were all alone.
Dorothy finally risked the silence to ask the first question that popped into her mind, "Why are you here with me?"
Quatre looked momentarily startled, then he smiled.
"To protect you. Duo, Trowa, and I have been switching off, while Wufie hunted for the men that attacked you. Heero alternate watching Miss Relena and hunting for the men as well. Miss Relena, Miss Anna, and Heero each requested that we guard you," Quatre answered easily, with a tiny shrug.
"Yuy? Why would he care?" Dorothy asked, confused and secretly offended that he thought she needed a babysitter. Dorothy ignored the tiny voice in her head that told her to be reasonable and not to pick a fight with Heero. She hadn't listen to that voice in years why should she start now.
Relena hated it when Dorothy and Heero got into one of their fights, but Heero need to learn that Relena was not any good under lock and key. Dorothy snapped back from her silent mussing when Quatre spoke.
"Heero knew that Miss Relena would not rest easily or listen well if she was worried about you. He also knew that she would insist on being here with you, and it would be more difficult to protect the both of you here. So Heero asked us to protect you knowing Miss Relena would trust us to guard you with our lives." Quatre shrugged slightly again, but he was grinning slightly.
"Where is Miss Relena?" Dorothy asked, sighing slightly and hating the fact that she had no idea what was going on. A person used to being a spy did not like being left in the dark.
"Currently?" Quatre asked as he glanced at his watch. "Most likely on her way here to see you. She feels quite responsible for your injuires."
Quatre's eyes had cooled slightly reflecting his solider instincts. Dorothy sighed again.
"She isn't responsible, my injures are my own fault. Miss Relena was feeling crowded in. I was the one who suggested leaving work and ditching the guards." Dorothy sick of having to look up at Quatre struggled to sit up. Her injured arm screamed in protest. She sucked in her breath as the world darkened considerably, and she fought off a wave of dizziness.
Quatre quickly jumped to his feet and was reaching for Dorothy, when a voice in the open door way froze them both.
"What in the world are the two of you doing?" the female voice snapped, as a tall beautiful blond haired, blue-eyed woman swept into the room, her partner following her.
"If you keep moving, you'll start bleeding again; your injures aren't that healed. Are you aware of how rare your blood type is? We already used up most of the supply of your type; it is going to take months to get it all back." Sally Po was in rare form. She seemed extremely agitated and moved swiftly around the room. Her partner remained in the door way but fixed his gaze on Quatre.
"You were supposed to call when she woke up. How are we going to know its okay to question her if we don't know she's awake?" Wufie asked, frowning grimly at Quatre and Dorothy.
"Relax; I've only been awake long enough to know that I missed all the fun." Dorothy rolled her eyes at Wufie's abrupt manner and continued her struggle to sit up.
Quatre quickly offered his assistance again by gently wrapping his arms around her shaking form, being careful of her injures and her chest area in general. Quatre had a feeling that Dorothy only tolerated the help because she could not do it herself, and she did not have the strength or energy to fight him off and still sit up unaided.
Dorothy was frowning at him. She was accepting his help because she knew she had no choice much to her annoyance.
"Awww…. How adorable, and here the two of you tell me all the time that you're just friends." Relena Dorlian Peacecraft stood leaning next to the curtain by the bed with a huge grin on her face. Standing next to her was Heero with a slight raised eyebrow.
Quatre froze when he heard the voices, and Dorothy glared at both of them. Relena giggled and moved forward as the others entered the room behind them. Duo's grin was a huge as Relena's smile. Trowa only raised an eyebrow, but Quatre knew that his friend was ready to tease him about this position the moment they were alone. Well, as well as one could tease a person with short sentences.
"She was uncomfortable; I was trying to help," Quatre said weakly, trying to defend himself.
Duo started snickering and Quatre knew he would never live this moment down. Quatre's arms slowly fell away from Dorothy's body as his cheeks began to heat up with his ever- present blush that he wore whenever he and Dorothy ended up in the same room together.
"Knock it off, all of you; he was just trying to help," Dorothy snapped, suddenly irritated at all of them and in a great deal of pain.
Dorothy shifted again trying to easy the ache in her chest and in her arm. Her current position was putting a lot of pressure on her chest, and it was beginning to ache.
Feeling her pain, Quatre turned to look at her.
"What's wrong?" Quatre did not tell her he could feel her pain increase every time she moved, but he was beginning to think that he should mention it to Sally, who was still watching Dorothy like a hawk.
"It's nothing." Dorothy lied trying to fend off the pain. She felt the world spin as she moved her arm in an attempt to ground herself to the bed. She was unaware that she was clutching Quatre's arm in an attempt to keep herself awake.
"I have pain pills if you need them," Sally said unable to keep silent and watch the girl before her suffer.
"No, no, I'm fine. I just need to sit up; I'm not used to sitting like this." Dorothy lied again, trying to contain her pained expression.
Dorothy would have done or said anything to avoid being sent under again. She was not sure that she could find her way to the surface without that phantom guiding her, and she was not willing to find out just to avoid a little pain. Dorothy moved again slightly and rethought about the pain amount.
Relena trying to distract her poor friend from the pain spoke up.
"Just think, a few more days in here, and you'll be home being pampered by all those soldiers, who worship you at home," Relena teased as she stepped up next to Quatre and gently tucked a few loss strands of Dorothy's hair back away from her face and behind her ear.
"Can't you take me home now? I'm awake; I want to go home—please, Relena," Dorothy requested. She hated the begging tone in her voice, but she was desperate to get out of the hospital. She could not remain there anymore.
"I'm sorry Dorothy. You cannot leave until you can care for yourself. Your body is still really weak," Sally said, placing a gentle hand on Dorothy's injured arm. Sally's tone was gentle but left little room for argument.
"What if I stayed with her until we got a nurse—someone with high enough clearance to watch over her?" Relena said, willing to help Dorothy because she knew why Dorothy would not remain in the hospital any longer than she absolutely had too.
Sally sighed. She knew that Dorothy was very proud and for her to beg to be released meant that she was desperate, but Sally also knew that they would need more than just a nurse, especially if Dorothy overdid it and started bleeding.
"Relena, a nurse isn't going to be able to carry Dorothy to the bathroom and to the shower, or any of the other things that she can easily get here. If she starts bleeding again she will need a full staff medical room to fix her." Sally said trying to break the news gently.
"What if I carried her? I told the office I was remaining on earth until we caught the men after Miss Relena, or until Miss Dorothy was healed," Quatre quickly volunteered his services.
Dorothy moved her head she turn to look at Quatre, her gratefulness in her eye.
Quatre quickly hid his stunned expression. Dorothy never showed her emotions. Quatre always felt a little lost trying to find his way around Dorothy.
'She must be desperate to leave here if she is willing to have me around her,' Quatre mused to himself. Dorothy usually found some sort of excuse to get out of what ever room or what ever event that was going to put the two of them together. Once she had apologized for injuring him, Dorothy had gone out of her way to avoid him.
Dorothy was silently agreeing with Quatre's assessment of her, but she was more than willing to put up with her emotions and Quatre if it meant leaving the hospital; heck, she would even put up with Barton if it meant her freedom.
Author's comment: This is my first story, and yes, it will get more interesting as we go along. I know that Dorothy normally wouldn't be afraid of Trowa. Please forgive any errors.
My wonderful sherry twin, filledelmer, betaed this for me; so, yay her.
hugs from angelfire1.