Warnings: ummm . . . some more bad words. So sue me, they're soldiers! ^____^x

* * *

Duo woke up to an unfamiliar white ceiling and an IV bag dangling over his head. With a groan, he tried
to sit up. Gentle hands pushed him back onto the bed carefully. "Whoa there, boy. You should take it
easy for a few days," said a voice he identified as Howard's after a moment.

The Shinigami rolled his head over to gaze as the old man. "Hey . . . what the hell happened?" he
croaked, smiling a little. He felt like a fog had smothered him, and a vague sensation of floating struck
him as he spoke.

"Quatre had to drag you and Heero back to the safehouse, and Trowa called me. You'll be moving again
in a week, under the orders of Doctor J - this house has been too exposed. You feeling all right?"
Howard's words were gentle, as if speaking too loud would make Duo crumble.

Of course, considering that in some undefinable way, Duo was perched on the edge of a migraine, the
pilot wasn't complaining.

"I'm okay," Duo said automatically. "How's Heero?"

"Heero is healing quickly, of course. You . . . well, I've never seen someone sustain as many injuries and
keep kicking. We nearly lost you."

"Really?" Duo found himself morbidly fascinated, despite himself; he wondered if he'd undergone some
near-death hallucination and just couldn't remember. "Guess I'm not ready to die."

"Good thing," Howard smiled. "Quatre would've been devastated."

Duo grinned again and chuckled. His sides hurt from it. "Just what did I 'sustain'?" he asked, half-
jokingly and half out of curiousity. All he remembered of the injuries were they hurt like Hell itself.

Howard smirked. "You really wanna know? Lemme see . . . a commuted fracture of the wrist*, complex
fracture of the left humerus, 5 cracked ribs and two broken ones, lacerated liver and kidneys, crushed
intestine (which we had to remove), dislocated kneecap, numerous skin lacerations, and bruising," he
wrapped up.

Duo whistled. "That's all? Felt like more," he smirked.

"Musta hurt like a bitch," Howard acknowledged with a smile.

"Damn straight," Duo laughed. Then he fell sober again. "Well, guess my contract with the God 'o Death
isn't up quite yet," he said quietly, to himself.

"Yeah," Howard agreed in an equally quiet voice. "You done good, boy." Standing, the old man stepped
out of the room. "Just don't tell Quatre how bad off you were. He might faint!"

Duo smiled wanly and laid his head back down, feeling a little introspective and very lucky. //Dear God .
. . I don't know why you let a bastard like me keep living, but thanks.// He grinned, and then Quatre was
coming in the room with Trowa and Wufei and the room was filled with chatter and people.

//It's a Day in the Life of a Gundam Pilot,// Duo thought incredulously, laughing suddenly. //Just another

//But at least we lived to see it.//

* * *


* * *

*Commuted fracture of the wrist - a phrase shamelessly stolen from Achetropia Atropos (with many
thanks to Katsu no Miko!), it means, basically, that the bones in the wrist are broken into a lot of little
pieces and are just sorta floating vaugely in the area where they're supposed to be. I don't know if you can
use a wrist with such an injury. But Duo's a Gundam Pilot, so I get to extend him into the superhuman,
okay? ^___^x

Notes: This chapter goes introspective, just cuz Duo finally has time to sit back and consider everything
that just happened. More importantly, he's not on a huge adrenaline rush or trying to be practical. So,
he's kinda pensive, a little sarcastic, and very bemused by the whole concept of life. (translation: Minako
has been analyzing his character for too long again.) Yada yada yada. Sorry that this is a departure from
the rest of the fic, but I'm not on caffiene for a change.

General fic notes: I can't believe this took me nine months to finish! Many apologies to all who wanted
to see the end of the fic! I'm such an awful person.

My writing style visibly changes as the story progresses. It's better now than it used to be.

I have another fic written, but I have to find the disk that contains the information. ::wince:: Sorry!

Back to the fic: I torture Duo too much. And you didn't even get to read the *original* version of chapter
6! That was evil.

On the subject of characters: I love Duo very much. This is why I torture him. For understanding of this
roundabout logic, please see other harem-owners. I do like Heero, too. He was incapacitated for a long
time because I wanted Duo to be the hero. Heero needing help is nearly unheard of in straight fics. This
was my oppurtunity to make it so. Trowa is hard for me to write; I think he's too much like Heero in this
particular fic. Quatre comes off as a real softie. He's tougher than I make him out to be. On the other
hand, I really don't much like Zechs. (WHY did he have to have such a pretty face!?!) So, he comes off
as a conniving, evil OZ overlord. I transferred the Trieze sporting attitude to him, too, darn it! Some of
the conniving appearance is because it's from Duo's POV, basically, and he doesn't much like Zechs
either. Duo sees black and white, and Zechs sees gray. They don't mix well.

Final apologies: Someone said that I use too much swearing. You're right, and I'm sorry, but I'm not
changing it. I wrote under the influence - of Tom Clancy novels, that is. I like Tom Clancy, and I'm too
lazy to fix all of those chapters up . . .

Sorry again for taking so long.

Sorry for torturing Duo so much.

Sorry for any OOCness.

And now this epic is finally over! ::Vikki checks it off on her to-do list:: Time to do my Geoscience!

Signing off,