Excerpts from Sally Po's Journal
Warnings: Not mine, yadda, yadda, maybe language, implied citrus.
It's Tuesday-again. Most people dread Mondays, but for some reason, here at Daedelus Memorial Hospital, Tuesdays reign as the days from hell. Armed and fortified with a large cinnamon latte, I stride through antiseptic corridors, past Nurse Menedez's station. I like the practical nurse from the Dominican Territory; she runs a tight ship.
All seems peaceful, so far. I am not about to be lulled into a false sense of security. I check the board for my schedule. Ah, one appointment stands out: Truvy Wells.
Truvy is a spunky teen who came to me as a rec from social services. She is sixteen going on thirty-two and I have already treated her for two STDs. Evidently my stern lecture wore off from the last time.
I drain my travel coffee mug and hunker down behind my desk. If Truvy is my first, it's going to be a looong day.
Truvy came in with bruises all along her left arm and sternum. She was close-mouthed about how she got them but I have a suspicion. She lives with her stepfather; the mother died last year, car hit her when she stepped off of a street curb, I believe. I sigh. Some people have the luck of the damned. I sigh again and start typing my report. A copy will be forwarded to Barney Jans at the Welfare and Benefits office at the Civic Offices.
I make my rounds. Mr. Grieg, on seven is coming along nicely. Routine appendicitis. I check his staples, hmm, clean, no seepage, looks good and I tell him so. Once in a while an uncomplicated case comes in.
As I prepare to go to room seven-oh-five to see my cirrhosis case, a ruckus breaks out in the hall. Looks like another drug case-possibly Straife, the hallucinogenic that is worse than Crystal Meth.
I remember at one point Heero Yuy and his partner Duo Maxwell were investigating a lab reputed to be producing the vile drug. Feh-after all of this time, with all of the advances in technology and knowlege and people still turn to drug abuse. I guess some things will never change.
I rush over to aid the orderlies. In no time we have the scruffy young drug user subdued, but not before he upset a food cart and shelf full of linens. Basil looks at me sideways and I grin at the English orderly. He is only here temporarily. He says he likes Brussels, but he makes his home in Manchester, as evidenced by his delightful cockney accent.
His surprise comes from my deceptive strength. I don't like to brag, but I was a soldier in the wars even while I was a doctor. I could drop a two hundred pound man if I needed to.
In fact, a well kept secret is that I once dropped Heero Yuy.
Oh, it was all a misunderstanding, but at the time I hadn't known all the facts.
I am attached as a regular physician to the Preventers under Commander Une. That's how she prefers to be addressed and referred to. A couple of years ago, Duo Maxwell signed on and was immediately partnered with agent Yuy. Apparently Maxwell was the only agent able to work comfortably with Yuy and it seemed they were friends. Yuy was satisfied, Maxwell seemed happy and Une was ecstatic.
One day in the spring of AC 197, Heero came to me seeking a comprehensive medical exam. I never did find out why, but he was in excellent health so I chalked it up to his exacting nature.
A few months later, my fiancé, Chang Wufei, another Preventer Agent and former Gundam pilot remarked that Yuy had been dating a lot of young women and had somehow not found any of them suitable.
My experience with romance notwithstanding I gave the nugget of info some thought. Perhaps Yuy hadn't found the right person yet. Chang of course was nonplussed when I made that suggestion and then he went off muttering something about hating gossip and how dishonorable it was to not mind one's own business, never mind the fact that he was the one who started it.
Anyway, it turned out that I was on the money: Yuy and Maxwell reported to work one morning, both of them wearing tell tale sappy grins on their faces. Duo was very cute, walking around like he was on a cloud.
One rainy Tuesday morning, I'll never forget it, Duo came in sporting a dark pair of sunglasses, not unusual in itself-I remember the bar fight incident; he wore a black eye patch all week, the sexiest pirate I ever saw. No, what was odd was when I spied Heero seated at the corner of Duo's desk, caressing him where he displayed a wicked shiner on his right eye. Whispering endearments, and kissing Duo's temple gently, the braided pilot appeared to accept the apology.
I didn't think anything of the scene I espied until the following week when Duo came in with a sprained ankle. I knew he hadn't been out in the field and when I asked him how he became injured, he became shifty and evasive. "Er, my own clumsy feet-on the basketball court," he told me.
Again, I tried to rationalize it, after all I'd seen how some of the agents spent their recreation time and basketball was a contact sport. But later, in the cafeteria, when Heero was practically waiting on his lover hand and foot, I began to grow suspicious.
Normally, I am not one to jump to conclusions. I am a physician, it is my job to examine situations with a neutral eye. I pride myself on my objectivity.
However, I also know when to call a spade a spade.
I was interrupted by an emergency patient: gun shot wound. The mother of two was an innocent bystander, caught in the crossfire of a grocery store holdup. She didn't make it. The bullet damaged the carotid artery and she bled out on the operating table. Sometimes time is just not on your side.
Lunch was a green salad and a nice steamed flounder with herbs. I am not a big fish fan, but once I a while I get a taste for it, which pleases Wufei no end. I made fish for him last night; I'm not sure if he realizes how difficult it is to get a hold of a nice piece of Tilapia these days. He seemed to like it.
I love Chang, really I do, but I must wean him of his misogynistic ways. He's come far from the war days, but still. I want to get married to have a partner, someone to share all of the joys, sadness, high points of my life with, not someone to be in servitude to. Otherwise, why bother? Yes, I want a home with children, yes, companionship is important, but I am not willing to make concessions to my core happiness to gain what I need.
I am my own person, independent and competent. I have a career, as a physician and as a Preventer and those things, among others, define me, give my life meaning, purpose.
I once had a conversation with Relena Peacecraft, soon after the Mariemaia incident, where we discussed peace and other subjects. She told me that her brother Milliardo once remarked that according to their mother, the best we could do was to make our corner of the world a better place. I adhere to that, but suffice it to say that some have larger corners than others do.
So I do my utmost to make the world, or at least my corner of it better.
It makes me mad to see young women today, still dependent on a man for their happiness and validation. You would think we were still in the twenty-first century, for heaven's sake!
When will people learn to find their bliss first and then seek out a mate? Not to mention becoming financially independent?
That reminds me-my last appointment for the day is due in twenty minutes.
Frederica Baltos just left my office and I am still shaking my head. The blonde young woman left, eyes rimmed in red after her exam confirmed yet another pregnancy, and judging by her wails in my private office, her tears were not joyful. I urged her to see Mariel Fournier, an excellent doctor who specializes in obstetrics. She is kind, understanding and caring and if in the end Frederica decides on an abortion, it will be done discretely and compassionately.
Damn, I am getting so tired of these types of cases. Is it really that difficult to buy a stinking condom?
Frederica's case is not typical but it is also not rare. On the two occasions before today, when she had come for a ailment that turned out to be minor (I'm afraid Frederica leans toward hypochondriacal behavior), she blurted out the details of her sad existence to me. I told her that she would be better off with a psychologist, but she insisted that she felt comfortable with me, so what option did I have other than to hear her out? Wufei accuses me of being overly sympathetic, and what is wrong with that? I don't know about anyone else, but I enjoy and appreciate sympathy in my doctor.
Frederica, crowding thirty, miserable at her boyfriend's apartment with three children from an early, ill-fated marriage, lousy paying part-time job at a pharmacy and now, it seemed that her relationship was breaking up. The boyfriend threw her and her children out of his place. Again. The first time was eight months before her second visit with me. She was still living with the guy, and she was sleeping on the couch. With no family willing to take her and her three kids in, she was stuck.
I'm sorry, but this is what happens when you cut your education short and jump into a live-in situation after a disastrous marriage. She told me that she married her ex because after she had had their first child, they evidently broke up and he was seeing someone. She decided that he wasn't going to marry someone else, he was going to marry her, the mother of her child. She just wanted to "win", by taking this guy away from another woman. When I pointed this out to her she lamented, "yeah, I 'won' all right." They stayed together long enough to have two more kids and shortly after that the marriage dissolved.
Presently, on the ropes with the boyfriend, her situation seems desperate and hopeless, and I wonder how she got pregnant under those circumstances-unless she cheated on the guy?
I rub my temples and pack my briefcase. I need to leave and get some air and put this day behind me.
Ah-Wednesday. I had an early night last night. Wufei came over and I conned him into making a frozen lasagne for me. The trick is to make it seem like it was all his idea.
Sometimes I feel a wee bit guilty for manipulating him like that, but he does a number on me sometimes, like the time he washed our whites with something turquoise, and I wound up doing all the laundry for the rest of the week.
I am afraid I have a touch of "I Love Lucy" syndrome. In the BC era there was a sitcom-I believe the term was, short for...situation-comedy, and it was set in the 1950's, when male and female roles were horribly male dominated, but this Lucy character was remarkably adept at managing to get her own way, despite the sexist mores of the day. Just dye my hair red and call me "screwball".
I feel refreshed, now that I've had a good night sleep and dreaded Tuesday is behind me.
I am on my way to a general staff meeting-boring, but in the end devoid of the stresses of a Tuesday.
I stop in at Preventer headquarters. Une wants me to reissue a directive against excessive usage of nicotine, caffeine and energy drinks on the job. Iggy Hobson was sent to the infirmary for being so hopped up on coffee that he accidentally broke a window at a strategy meeting, because he was fidgeting with a pair of scissors? I have learned not to ask so many questions at HQ.
Directive issued, I grab my trench coat and stroll down the hall. I smile and wave goodbye as I pass some of the secretaries, when I round a corner and nearly collide with Heero Yuy. I stop short and stammer out, "g-g-good heavens! Sorry Heero, I wasn't watching where I was going."
Well, that is encouraging-the quality of his grunt is not nearly as cool as it was when I made a huge blunder and cold-cocked him. His partner is far more forgiving; I'm afraid Heero is a bit of a grudge holder.
I am home, fed, bathed and enjoying a little peace and quiet. As Wufei is on L1 on assignment with Trowa Barton, because Milliardo (he hates that), Zechs is indisposed. Or so a case of the mumps is called on official Preventer paperwork. I will remain undisturbed.
Not that my beloved disturbs me but sometimes a break from all of that masculine intensity is in order.
Besides, I really want to write in my journal tonight.
It occurs to me that I never finished the tale of how I dropped top agent and all around gundanium tough guy, Heero Yuy.
So, to continue, about a month after Duo's second black eye and sprained ankle, He came into my office very reluctantly, sporting a bruised rib cartilage. He sat still for the exam and hardly winced when I poked around, even though I knew it had to hurt like a bastard.
I finished up and handed him a prescription for an anti-inflammatory. "How did you say this happened, Duo?"
"I didn't," he answered cockily. He hopped off the exam table. "Thanks, doc, see ya," and he was out of my office that fast.
Needless to say, my curiosity was piqued. When I made way down to the cafeteria I saw Heero and Duo, walking to the elevator. Duo looked sheepish and Heero seemed...annoyed. Again, something felt off.
Three, or was it four days later, Duo sported a bandage that covered his chin. Actually upon closer examination it looked like butterfly stitches. I followed him surreptitiously to the office he shared with Heero and stopped short of the door, wondering how he'd failed to notice me, stealth expert that he is. What I heard in the hallway shocked me.
"Damn it Duo!" that was Heero sounding mightily pissed. "You keep doing things..."
I missed what followed, and then heard,
"to anger me!"
"I am not doing it on purpose-you take it too seriously!" That was Duo, sounding meek and placating.
"But it looks like...you want everyone thinking, what it looks like...damn, it Duo!" he exploded.
"Yeah, okay Yuy, you beat me senseless, awright?"
What? That was what I'd been afraid of all along. If there was one thing I couldn't stand it was an abuser. I marched into their office, heedless of my own safety and walked right up to Heero Yuy, called him a stinking bastard and hauled off with everything I had to knock him ass over teakettle over Duo's desk.
"Holy shit! Heero!" Duo scurried around his desk and knelt next to Heero. He slipped an arm around him in an attempt to help him sit upright. "Heero? Buddy? You okay?" He proceeded to hold up three fingers in front of his partner's eyes. "how many fingers, Heero?"
Heero stifled a groan. "Three, baka. Let go of me."
Duo backed away, relief writ large across his face. Then he turned to me. "Po, what the fuck?"
"I-I'm sorry Duo, I just could not sit idly by and allow this abuse to continue among my friends." I was instantly mortified because I'd realized just how unprofessionally I'd behaved. I saw countless cases of domestic abuse in my practice at the hospital, yet I'd managed to restrain myself. Dear lord, what had I done?
I swallowed thickly, took in Heero's rising form as he rubbed his jaw ruefully. "I am sorry, Heero."
He stared balefully at me for a long moment, turned to Duo and said, "told you," and then exited their office, presumably in search of an ice pack. I berated myself for not immediately offering, but perhaps it was better this way.
"Dr. Po," Duo leveled a glare worthy of his lover my way. "Would you please explain this to me? Why the hell dija deck Heero?"
"Well, I-I mean after seeing you with injury upon injury and hearing you and Heero arguing, I just assumed that he..."
And Duo proceeded to lecture me on assumptions, so let us not go there, I was embarrassed enough as it was.
"Duo," I interrupted, "if you haven't been getting beaten up, what has been happening to you?"
"Oh. Uh-that, umm, well...It's kinda embarrassing."
"Duo. I knocked Yuy off his feet. I'm sure there'll be repercussions-at least clue me in to why I very soon may be reamed?"
He chuckled, the nervous kind people do when they are uncomfortable or embarrassed. Well, there was plenty of that to go around. I awaited his explanation with the patience of someone on death row.
The black eye, he said, occurred when they were in a hot and heavy make out session and they both tried to reach for lube in a nightstand drawer at the same time.
The sprained ankle happened as Duo was playing defense on the basketball court just as Heero happened to walk by on his way from the gym, shirtless and glistening from a workout. He was distracted and indeed tripped over his own two feet.
And the bruised rib was purely accidental; in a moment of passion Heero simply hugged him too hard. He was full of remorse, the guy doesn't know his own strength some times.
And the cut on Duo's chin that required butterfly stitches?
"That was my own damn fault," Duo told me as he turned a lovely shade of tomato. "Ya think it's easy for me t' admit that I'm so hot for my guy I've turned into a klutz? Plus, sheesh! Heero was right-it does look like he's been beatin' the crap outta me! Even you thought so." Duo began laughing at that point and it quickly became hysterical. He pointed at me through his guffaws, "hey, I better warn ole' Wuffers never to piss you off Sal! Ya got a mean left hook!"
And Wuffers-er, Wufei, is already familiar with that.