Author: pyrzm
see ch. 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer

Broken Warriors + Chapter 94
Uphill Climb

Three days of light therapy was already showing results. Heero was still tired and prone to sudden changes of mood, but the swings were smaller and the lows weren't as deep. He and Duo spent much of their free time with Zechs and Wufei. Wufei was gaining health rapidly, though he was still moving like an old man when he had to walk very far. But he'd resumed daily meditation and had talked Zechs into trying it.

"Do you find it relaxing?" asked Heero.

"So far it only makes me horney," Zechs admitted with a laugh.

"Zechs!" Wufei gasped, blushing furiously.

"I'm sorry, my love. I can't explain it, but you just look so serene and exotic, sitting there on your cushion with your eyes closed and your breathing so-Well, never mind." Now Zechs was blushing, and shifting a bit uncomfortably in his chair.

It occurred to Heero that given the seriousness of Wufei's condition, sex would be out of the question for some time for the two of them. Given what he now knew of Merquise's libido, he wondered how they were going to cope. Perhaps Wufei could perform oral sex in some relaxed position, with Zechs doing most of the work-- Heero caught himself and ducked his head, unable to look at the others for a few minutes.

+

That was during the day. The nights were a different story. From the very first Heero's dreams increased in vividness, but they were fragmentary and confused. He caught glimpses of that neon sign outside the restaurant where he and Duo had been captured, hands reaching for them, the cold room where they'd been held with Yuki-he guess those were all part of the newest chapter of his PTS. But there were other images, and these disturbed him more. Empty streets in the rain. His own haggard face shown in fragments in a broken, flyspecked mirror, and with it the horrible, terrifying moment when unseen hands grabbed him and held him down and touched him, touched him everywhere, and so brutally that he woke up again and again to find he'd lashed out at Duo or pushed him out of the bed.

"You have to move to another room!" he begged, standing in the cold light of the little bathroom, helping Duo staunch the bleeding from his nose after one such rude awakening. His lover was already sporting a variety of new bruises and a swollen lip.

"No way, baby," Duo said, voice muffled by the wet, bloodstained washcloth pressed to his face. "I know it's not me you're trying to hurt."

"But I *am* hurting you!" Heero cried. "Look at you? You know I've got my strength back. If I attack you with serious intent in my sleep, you know what I'm capable of! Do you think I could live with that? Please, Duo, don't put me in that position. Not now!" He was trembling violently, and suddenly a horrible wave of nausea hit. Fortunately they were already in the bathroom. Falling to his knees in front of the toilet, he hung over the bowl, spewing up the roiling contents of his stomach while Duo crouched behind him, stroking his back.

When he was empty he was too weak to move. Duo had to hoist him to his feet and support him all the way back to the bed. Once there he gave him some water to rinse the foul taste from his mouth, then fetched a clean wet washcloth and folded it across Heero's brow. His whole body was covered in a clammy sweat and he couldn't stop shaking. Duo tucked him in under the blankets and took the chair by the bed.

"I could hurt you," Heero croaked, resuming the argument even though his head was still spinning. "I could kill you."

"Not on your best day, 01," Duo scoffed, but he looked sad as he took Heero's hand in his. "I'm not leaving you to face this alone. Not even for one night. Copy that? This is my mission, too."

+

They argued about it until dawn, which hadn't been far away. In the end, it was Heero who came up with the solution and the doctors reluctantly agreed. When they bedded down together the following night, Heero's hands and feet were cuffed to the bedrails in heavy restraints. Duo waited until the orderlies were gone, then climbed in beside him and curled himself carefully in beside him. Worried that an arm across Heero's chest might panic him in his sleep, Duo just rested his head on Heero's shoulder and tucked his hand under his cheek.

"That OK, baby?"

Heero felt remarkably content with the situation. "Yes, I think this is a good compromise. I'm comfortable, and I feel safe with you here, as along as the door is securely locked and the lights are on.

"Door's locked. We don't want Nurse Catheter in here again, right? 'No sex in room. You very, very bad!'" Duo laughed, making a joke of it, although they both knew it was a huge concession, for Heero to allow himself to be help helpless like this. He gave one of Heero's leg restraints a playful nudge with a bare toe. "Ya know, under different circumstances, this could be fun."

Heero chuckled, a nice rumbly sound under Duo's cheek. "Yes, you'll have to show me sometime, what you find so erotic about being tied down. Right now I don't see the attraction." He was exhausted and sore and his cock was a limp thing against one thigh under his hospital pajama pants.

"Only if you really want it. It's not for everyone. Besides, I think of you more as a top," Duo said, snuggling closer. "And you can tie me up any time you want!"

"Do you ever think maybe it's odd that you like that, considering what happened to you before?"

Duo shrugged. "Dr. B asked me the same thing in my last session. I dunno. I guess maybe the whole bondage rules system makes me feel like I'm in control this time. The bottom is, you know, if you're doing it right and playing safe. You discuss the scene first, and they both have to agree what's allowed and what isn't. If things aren't working or get too intense, you've got the safe word to make it stop. There ain't no safe words in rape."

"But why relive it at all?"

"I don't know," Duo sighed. "It just helps, that's all. And I say, if it works, don't fix it."

"You used to get hurt, though. I've talked to Trowa and Quatre about it. You let men go to far and didn't stop them."

"Yeah, I did. But that's over now, 'K? The kind of pain I was in back then needed a lot of hurting from someone else to make me stop feeling anything at all. I don't need that anymore, not since I got you back."

"What if you lost me again, though?" Heero asked, insightful as ever.

"I don't know, baby."

Heero shifted so he could look Duo in the eye. "If anything happened to me, if I died-"

"Heero, don't. I don't want to talk like that."

"Listen to me, Duo," Heero said sternly, commanding in spite of being the one in restraints. "If anything ever happened to me, I'd want you to go on living and be happy. I'd want you to find someone else who would love you and take good care of you for me. Promise me that's what you'd do."

"Heero-"

"Promise me."

"I can't!" Duo sat up abruptly, heart pounding in his chest. He hadn't had an anxiety attack in weeks but he felt one coming on now. With shaking hands, he undid Heero's wrist restraints and burrowed into his arms as the tears came. "Don't talk like that, Heero! Please. That's my number one big fear and it's going to take me a long time and lots of therapy to get over it. I don't even like being in a different room than you! Just the thought-If you ever-I just can't-"

He totally lost it. All the stress and strain of the past few difficult weeks, the awful revelations and watching Heero shot down before his eyes, it all came pouring out now in hoarse, ugly heaving sobs against Heero's chest.

Strong arms tightened around him. Heero sat up pulled Duo into his lap to hold him, stroking his braid and back. "I'm sorry, Duo. Forgive me. It's too soon. I just can't bear the thought of anyone hurting you, of you letting them do it!"

"I know," Duo mumbled, wiping his nose on a corner of the sheet. "That's what got us out of that mess with Hato's men that night. Do you remember what happened? You were kinda out of it by then."

"I remember hearing you screaming for me. After that it's kind of a blur."

"You were something else!" Duo wiped his face and kissed Heero on the cheek. "You save my ass. You saved us all."

"And led us into a dead end ambush."

"But only because you remembered getting out that way before. That's what Hato said. He sealed that corridor off after you got away. Heero, do you remember any more about that?"

Heero hugged him again, but Duo could feel a shudder run through him. "These dreams I'm having. I think it might be memories trying to surface. I think maybe I need to reclaim them before they take control of me again, the way they did before."

"You were traumatized and sick before, baby. I don't think memories can hurt you now. Maybe you just need to clean them out of your system. Dr. B can help you. Maybe he can hypnotize you or something? I just want you to get past them so we don't need these." He nodded at the cuff hanging from the bed rail, and the ones still around Heero's ankles.

"I'll ask him tomorrow." Heero lay back and pulled Duo with him, rubbing his back and kissing him gently. "We're both worn out, and I am getting very tired of being in this hospital."

"Me too. Hey, what day is it, anyway?"

"I've lost track. Would you check?"

Duo rolled out of bed and found his laptop, snagging a box of tissues on the way. "December 22. Man, three days 'til Christmas."

Heero pushed himself up on one elbow. "Do you celebrate that holiday?"

"I'm not religious, no. When I was a kid it was tough. It sucks, being poor when everyone else is celebrating. After the war Trow and Kat and I got together then and had our own celebration. 'Project Meteor Day.'"

"The day we all fell to Earth," Heero whispered, then let out a small laugh of surprise. "We didn't know each other at all, but our ships came down in a cluster, all part of the same mission. And there Zechs was to meet us."

Duo raised an eyebrow in surprise. "Damn, you're right! He attacked your transport, didn't he? That was your first fight. But it's like the six of us were fated to end up together, huh?"

Heero shrugged. "What do you do, for Meteor Day?"

"Well, it's pretty much like Christmas, only Trowa's a militant atheist and Kat's still too Muslim to feel comfortable with a tree or anything, and I don't have any history with it. We put up a wreath with little toy Gundams on it and make a big meal and give each other dumb presents-well, they give each other pretty cool, sexy stuff-and get drunk or stoned off our asses."

"What about Wufei? Did you invite him?"

"Always, but he never came. He was like that, always keeping his distance unless there was an emergency. Looks like he's going to miss it this year, too. I don't think any of us will be up to the stoned part this year, but still- Well, I guess you and I aren't going to make it back, either, are we?" Another wave of sadness rolled over him, and fresh tears stung his eyes. "I sorta got used to being with them, like family, ya know? And I guess I was sort of looking forward to-ya know-- having a boyfriend of my own to share it with this year. Well, fiance now, right?"

"Right." Heero gave him a warm smile. "If it means that much to you, then we will. I'd like to be there, too."

"What? How?"

"You're healing well, Duo. You're only here because of me. And I am in better physical shape than you at this point." He pulled up his shirt and showed off the pattern of nearly healed bullet wounds on his chest and belly. "I'll speak with Dr. B about accelerating my therapy. I will convince him that it would be counterproductive emotionally for you and I not to be with family for the holidays, and that my sessions can be held by vidphone, as before."

"Baby, I don't think you're ready for that. I mean look at you, sleeping in cuffs!"

Heero shrugged. "I can sleep in cuffs in New Orleans if necessary. I'm sure Trowa and I can rig something up. He's very good at being a top, you tell me. Keeping me controlled at night shouldn't be much of a problem, even if it means not sleeping in the big bed for awhile."

Duo couldn't help the homesick little twinge that caused; he really did want to go home, but not if it would put Heero at risk in any way. "We'll talk to Dr. B. If he says you need to stay here, then we stay. Copy that?"

"Copy that. Now come be a good fiance and tie me down and get in bed. Copy that?"

Duo grinned. "See, I told you the bottom is always in control."

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