see ch. 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer
Warriors + Chapter 95
Heero still felt shaky the
next morning, but he was determined to get Duo to New Orleans by Earth
Fall eve or Christmas Eve or whatever anyone wanted to call it! Mission
accepted. It felt good to have a goal in sight again, after so many days
of painful drifting.
Dr. Batoosingh was commuting between his offices on L-2 and the hospital
here in Tokyo and wasn't due until just before Heero's three o'clock session.
He and Duo met with the physical therapist, who pronounced them both remarkably
fit and needing only some more rest before they could resume a light work
When they were finished they found Wufei and Zechs in the solarium, facing
off over a chessboard. Wufei was still in his pajamas and yukata, and
seated in a wheelchair. He had an oxygen tube under his nose again, and
an IV rack stood close to his chair, with some sort of drip going into
his left hand through a tube. He looked exhausted and there were dark
circles under his eyes. He was also broadcasting gloom, and seemed to
be playing half-heartedly. Zechs, sharp as ever in worn jeans and a white
Oxford, was clearly trying to cheer him up.
"What happened to you?" Duo demanded. "I thought you were off all the
tubes and wires?"
"A minor relapse," Wufei replied brusquely, scowling down at the board
as if the pieces had offended him.
Zechs looked up and shook his head at the others; don't poke the dragon.
Heero quickly caught up with the moves and soon both of the others were
growling at him not to kibitz. Duo had never had any patience for the
game. Instead, he wandered around, poking at the garish Christmas decorations
that had appeared there a few days ago. Ropes of sparkly silver and white
garland were looped over the tall window frames, with lots of colored
glass balls. A silver tree decorated in a similar fashion, along with
multicolored lights stood on one corner of the room.
Engrossed in the game, Heero didn't notice what Duo was doing until he
came over and perched on the arm of Heero's chair. He was wearing a length
of the garland like a stripper's boa and shining red and green Christmas
ornaments dangled from his earlobes.
"Whaddya think, baby? Want your present early?" he purred, shaking his
head a little to make the ornaments swing.
Heero wasn't really in the mood for flirting, and guessed it as more boredom
than anything else on Duo's part, but he slipped an arm around him and
tugged at the garland hanging over one shoulder. "I don't think I should
open this one here, do you?"
"Get a room! Oh wait, you have one," Wufei muttered, still frowning over
his next move. Zechs had his queen cornered.
"Grumpy, are we?" Duo shot back. ""Seriously, what's up your butt this
It probably wasn't the most tactful choice of words, Heero decided.
"I'm leaking!" Wufei snapped, and sacrificed a pawn for no apparent reason.
"A small leak has developed on his aorta at the edge of the regenerated
tissue field. It was detected last night," Zechs explained. "It's only
a minor setback, really. They're going to correct it with laser surgery
and more regen this afternoon, but it means more time in recovery before
I can take him home."
"And it's possible it will remain a lifelong weakness," Wufei added glumly.
Heero understood now. The prospect of possibly facing life as an invalid
would be intolerable for Wufei.
"Oh, man, I'm sorry!" Duo dropped the teasing at once as concern took
over. "I bet they'll fix you up just fine, though. The docs here are great."
"Well I wish they'd gotten it right the first time. Now we have to stay--"
Wufei told him, and his voice sounded a bit unsteady under the snarky
tone. He cleared his throat impatiently, then clutched his chest for a
moment as another coughing fit racked him. He was shaking and sweating
by the time it was done, and obviously weaker than he'd been yesterday.
Fluid in the lungs, and probably mood swings, too, thought Heero. "How
long are they keeping you?"
"At least another ten days, with observation," Zechs replied. He'd moved
to Wufei's side and was cradling his head against his shoulder as Wufei
struggled for breath. "We'd hoped to be home by Christmas. But it looks
like we'll be having it here instead."
Wufei closed his eyes, looking limp and miserable.
"Man, that sucks, all right," Duo said. "Heero's going to try and bust
us out of here in time to get back with Tro and Kat. And you know you
still have a standing invite, right, Wufei?"
"Thank you," Wufei whispered without opening his eyes.
"Invite for what?" asked Zechs.
Duo explained Earth Fall Day and Heero saw the way Wufei looked away in
pained silence when Duo revealed that Wufei had ignored invitations to
join with the others. Zechs stole a compassionate glance down at his lover,
still leaning heavily on his chest, and pressed a kiss into his hair.
Wufei did not complain or pull away, just sighed and closed his eyes again.
Yes, Zechs is exactly what Wufei needs, thought Heero, watching them together
and thinking again of how they'd all been drawn together that first day
of Heero's war.
"I was thinking, maybe next year all of us could try and get together?"
Duo said, more to Zechs than Wufei. "I mean, with things being so different
and all now?"
"What do you say, mei?" asked Zechs, taking his lover's hand. "I think
that would be lovely, don't you? Something to look forward to."
Wufei looked shyly at Duo. "The invitation is still good for then?"
"Of course, Wu-man, it always is! And you know we want you back in the
Big Easy way before that, to finish out your birthday visit properly,
too, ya know. Who knows, maybe you can even make it to Heero's big day,
January eighth. Otherwise you have to wait all the way to September for
Kat's birthday and mine. Of course, you can come visit any time, but it
would be nice if-well, if you were around for some of the big events,
too. Happy ones, this time. No more 'Maxwell meltdowns'!"
Wufei shook his head slowly but he was smiling a little now. "I'm still
getting used to it, having things to look forward to."
"So am I. But it's important," Heero said quietly. "Otherwise, you lose
Just then a nurse came into the solarium. "Yuy-sama? There are people
here to see you."
"Visitors?" Heero asked, perplexed. Everyone he knew in Japan was here.
"No, Yuy-sama, it is the police. They wait for you in your room."
"Oh fuck," muttered Duo. "Guess the shit's gonna hit the fan now, huh?
Well, it's been nice knowing you, guys."
"There shouldn't be any problem," Wufei said. "Zechs and I saw to your
cover story ourselves. Une signed off on everything personally."
Heero rose, feeling a cold knot of fear tightening in his gut. "I don't
think that's what they are here to speak to me about. Duo, would you mind
"Yeah, I would," Duo said firmly. "Come on. I'll help you talk your way
out of whatever it is."
Heero was momentarily relieved to see Sally Po with the plainclothes detective.
She was in full uniform, and had a bulky evidence bag under one arm.
The cop bowed and flashed a badge. "Yuy-sama, Maxwell-sama, I am Inspector
Hiroka of the Kisarazu Sex Crimes Division. Please forgive me for troubling
you while you are still recovering, but time is off the essence with our
investigation. Major Po is acting as Preventer liaison in our investigation."
Heero kept his mouth shut and sat down on his bed with Duo beside him,
leaving the chairs for the others.
"I've impressed upon Inspector Hiroka and his superiors the top secret
nature of your mission in Kisarazu, Heero," Sally assured him. "Unfortunately,
certain evidence has come to light that we need to discuss with you."
The cold knot in Heero's stomach was almost painful now. He knew what
they'd have in that bag. He didn't want to see it, didn't want to admit
it existed. Sweat broke out down his sides under his shirt and down the
back of his neck. "What is it?" he demanded, and it came out in his old
mission voice, hard and flat, emotionless, but inside he was panicked.
"We confiscated a huge amount of material from the building where you
both were held," Hiroka told him. "Hato and his associates had been at
work for some times, years it seems. We have literally thousands of hours
of vid of the rape, torture and murder of young boys, as well as photos,
website networks. He was producing and distributing these materials to
a worldwide clientele.
Heero wanted to crawl under the bed and hide, but he refused to show it,
just remained motionless, revealing nothing except for the sweat he couldn't
seem to control.
"Hato was into this kind of shit long before the war," Sally told them.
"But it is clear that at some point he became fixated on you, Heero, probably
after the attack on the Kisarazu base."
"And perhaps in part because you fit the profile of the kind of boys he
was preying on," Hiroka added. "I have had to watch many unpleasant things
in these materials. All the boys resemble you somewhat, and more so once
he started targeting boys to dress up like you. It was not until after
the war ended that he was hired by Rafael Conte to write for his Gundam
porn films. We are hoping to tie Conte in with the murders, but so far
there is no connection. Perhaps you can aide us in that."
"First, I must ask you to look at some photos." Hiroka took a packet from
his envelope and passed it to Heero. There appeared to be at least forty
Does he know? Heero thought with a sick shudder. Is he testing me somehow?
Now everyone was going to know! It would be all over the news. "Gundam
Boy 01 Raped By Sadistic Pornographers." He could imagine already what
the tabloids would do with this.
Everyone would know. Total strangers. People on the street. He couldn't
go anywhere without being noticed, recognized. And it wouldn't be like
Meir's unfounded accusation. He would not be able to stare this one down,
because it was true. Heero clutched the pictures, wondering if he could
get though this without having to go throw up again.
"I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to ask you to look at all of them carefully
and tell me if you recognize any of them."
It wasn't as bad as he'd feared. They weren't like the ones Hato had sent
him. There was no abuse going on in the pictures, just shots of boys dressed
in black Spandex shorts and green tank tops and ugly yellow sneakers.
Most of them were smiling. These must have been taken before they realized
what was really going to happen to them, Heero thought, heart hammering
in his chest. One by one, he looked at each of them, bracing to find his
own face there.
He found Yuki first, picture number 32. The kid was looking up into the
camera with a calculating smile. He was younger than most of the others,
who appeared to range from fifteen to seventeen, but the expression on
his face suggested that Yuki hadn't been a complete innocent. Maybe he'd
been hustling on the streets to survive. Still, nothing justified what
had been done to him. He was now recovering from surgery to restore the
use of his legs, and he was still in the children's psychiatric ward under
observation. So far he had refused to speak with a therapist. Heero had
already arranged to cover all the boy's medical costs.
There were so many pictures, far more than the number of bodies he and
Duo had stumbled upon. Heero's hands were shaking by the time he reached
the last few. Any moment now, he was going to see his own face looking
up at him, perhaps from one of those damning pictures his tormenters had
sent, and then the questions would start in earnest. He slowly flipped
through the last three, feeling ill. It must have shown, because Duo had
moved closer and was resting a hand on his back. He hadn't said a word,
which was unlike Duo, but he was looking pale as he watched those faces
and familiar clothes repeated over and over again. Dark hair, Japanese
features, some even had blue eyes, though none so dark as Heero's.
Three. Not him.
Two. Not him.
Heero looked at the last picture in stunned silence. It wasn't him.
"This is the boy Duo and I met there," Heero told the detective, holding
out Yuki's photo. "I don't recognize the others."
"I'm afraid they didn't look much like this anymore, when you did see
some of them."
"This guy's a fucking serial killer!" Duo gasped. "But how come they sent
Sex Crimes instead of homicide?"
"Homicide is running their own investigation. I am concerned with what
was being done to these boys before they were killed, and tracking down
customers of Hato's website and mail order business. The magnitude of
the situation, and the number of men apparently involved, has called for
several task forces. You may be questioned by Homicide, as well, but only
as material witnesses. Those men you killed in the line of duty are being
handled separately, and by the Preventers. It was clearly line of duty
and you will not be held accountable."
"You agree that these young men look somewhat like you?"
"In superficial ways, I suppose." Heero was almost dizzy with relief.
"Did you know Hato personally?"
"What? No, of course not!"
Hiroka exchanged a look with Sally, and then gave Heero a pitying look.
"I am sorry, Yuy-sama, but there is one other photograph I must ask you
about. It was found in a separate cache, together with several vids. It
as apparently part of Hato's private collection, but there is evidence
that the photos and vids were also reproduced for sale. Please, examine
the photo carefully and tell me what you think."
Heero's short lived relief turned to bile in the back of his throat as
Hiroka took a smaller envelop from his jacket pocket and handed it to
Heero. Inside was a copy of one of the pictures Hato had sent to taunt
him. Mercifully, it had been cropped so that all that showed was a scared,
dirty boy being held by the hair by someone behind him. His eyes were
wide, filled with confusion and fear.
Heero stared down at it, into his own wretched face.
"We have identified the other men shown in the photos and vids. I can
give you their names if you wish, but they are all dead now, including
Hato. You and the boy are my only material witnesses, Yuy-sama, but there
is no one left to prosecute for those particular, unless there were others
besides the men in the pictures, or if you can give me Conte."
Heero shook his head. "I don't know. I don't remember."
"He was sick, off his head," Duo said, and now he had an arm protectively
around Heero. "If you've seen the vids, then you know he wasn't himself.
You can ask Dr. Batoosingh, his shrink. He was fugued. You can't push
him on this!"
"Then I see no reason to involve Captain Yuy any further, do you, detective?"
"Are you sure you don't remember anyone else?" Hiroka persisted.
"Yes. I don't even remember them."
"Then the fact that all four men pictured were discovered in the main
chamber, around a metal table near some vid equipment, with their necks
broken after your escape with Maxwell, that is pure coincidence?"
"Yes. I reacted to a crisis situation to save the child and Duo. I don't
remember the faces of anyone I was forced to fight."
"I see." Hiroka still looked doubtful, but Sally pulled rank on him.
"That is a Preventer matter, detective. We will take care of any disciplinary
action deemed necessary. It was line of duty action, heat of the moment.
Both Captain Yuy, and Maxwell are trained for that. That's why they were
brought in as specialists."
"And no one saw a conflict of interest, with Yuy-sama's involvement with
Sally sat back and folded her arms. "That is a security matter. I'm not
at liberty to discuss it, as you well know. And now that you have asked
all your questions, you will turn over all materials relating to Captain
Yuy to me, as agreed. Starting with that." She held out her hand for the
photo of Heero and he surrendered it. It was clear under the customary
veneer of politeness and professionalism, Hiroka did not like having the
Preventers running his show.
All the same, Hiroka knew a brick wall when he hit one. He gave Sally
the photo and rose to bow to the others. "I am sorry to have disturbed
you, and to have perhaps stirred up unpleasant memories, Yuy-sama. For
now, I will consider this matter closed."
He left, but Sally remained behind, and locked the door after him. "I
have something for you, as well, Heero, but it's something you might actually
She tore the seal on the large padded envelope she'd been holding and
pulled out a worn, water stained red leather scrapbook. The pages were
swollen with dampness and it smelled musty and faintly of garbage. All
the same, Heero accepted it and opened it carefully across his knees.
The first page was blank, to keep out prying eyes. All of those after
it were filled with carefully trimmed pictures of his friends, with dates
and notes under most of them in his own small, careful printing.
"Oh my god," Duo gasped, looking over his shoulder. "This is the scrapbook
you kept, isn't it?"
"Yes," Heero replied softly, throat tight. He closed it and set it aside.
"Hato had this."
"I'm assuming that's where he got those pages he sent you," said Sally.
I was able to pull prints of Hato and the others of the ones you sent
me, and this whole books has been carefully checked. Lots of Hato, no
Conte. I'm afraid that scum sucker may be clean as far as the murders
go. Whether he knew about them or not, we don't know. Hiroka and I were
both hoping you could give us something to justify another warrant to
"I'm sorry, Sally. I was planning to ask my doctor if we could do some
sort of memory recovery process, but now I'm not sure I want to. If this
ever got out into the press . . ." He broke off as another wave of anxiety
threatened to overwhelm him.
"He's not up to that kind of shit right now," Duo warned. "Seriously Sally,
if anyone tries to push this, I'll fight them, and I won't be alone. The
bastards are dead. They got what they deserve. Hiroka can go chase down
Hato's customers to his heart's content without any help from us."
"How many-" Heero whispered. "How many of the cops and Preventers have
seen the vids and pictures he had of me?"
"Just Hiroka and myself," Sally assured him. "I already knew what they
were going to find, based on what you'd already sent me. Une had been
briefed, but she agreed not to view the materials unless absolutely necessary.
Hiroka is a decent guy, too. The materials will be sealed, and as soon
as I can, I'll see to it that you get them for disposal. You can keep
the scrapbook, if you like. It's not considered important, since you won't
be testifying about your own abuse."
"Thank you, Sally, and please thank Commander Une for me, as well," Heero
said, letting himself sag against Duo a little. He felt like shit. "I
just-I just want to go on as if this never happened. I'm a different person
Sally stood and smiled down at them. "I can see that, Heero. I see it
in both of you, and I'm really happy for you. I knew you were amazing
the first time we met, even before you flung yourself off that cliff.
I'm just glad there was a real person left under all that training. Duo,
this one's for you. It was in the camera by that metal table. I saw just
enough to realize what it was. No one's seen it. I got to it in time."
She handed Duo what looked like a vid camera disk in a sealed plastic
Duo grabbed it and shoved it deep into a pocket. "Thanks, Sal. There are
enough fake vids of me out there, without this."
"Will you be visiting with Wufei while you're here?" Heero asked.
"Yes, I was planning on it," Sally replied. "I won't say anything about
all this, but I'll tell him you're in the clear, all right?"
As soon as she was gone Heero sank back on the bed and threw an arm across
his eyes. He was shaky and nauseated and still sweating. The front of
his shirt was dark with it.
Duo sat by him and held his hand. "You did well, Heero."
"I thought I was going to pass out!"
"But you didn't. I think you scared Hiroka off, doing that Perfect Soldier
death glare the whole time like that!"
"Was I doing that?" Heero had assumed he'd looked terrified.
"Yup," Duo chuckled. "I can read you. I know how upset you were, but most
other people can't. They just see that Gundanium mask you put on and run
like hell. Hey, is it OK if I look at the scrapbook? I won't, if it's
too personal, but the way you talked about it and all-"
Heero lifted the arm from his eyes and sat up. "I don't mind. I want to
see it, too."
They placed the large portfolio on the bed between them and Heero slowly
turned the pages. Duo, Trowa, Quatre, and to a lesser extent, Wufei, covered
every page. There were a few of other people, like Relena or Sally, but
mostly it was the four Gundam boys. And one in particular.
After a few pages Duo looked up. "You've got a lot of me in here."
Heero shrugged. "I love you the most. I missed you the most. And you were
in the news a lot, too."
This was true. For every shot of Duo out clubbing or partying with the
others there were more of him being arrested or carried into a hospital.
Duo squinted down at Heero's notes. "'Duo looks good in green.' 'Duo kisses
Quatre a lot.' Were you jealous, 'ro?"
Duo paused over a page of the arrest photos. "'Duo looks so unhappy.'
'Duo losing weight.' You worried about me, too?"
"Of course, at least when I was sane enough to think straight. I thought
of you all the time."
Duo blinked away tears as he kept turning pages. Midway through both the
arrangement of clippings on the pages and the handwriting underneath became
increasingly erratic. Further back neat glue or tape gave way to dirty
masking tape, or even what appeared to be little bits of chewing gum used
to stick the pictures down. Many of the pages were streaked with dirt.
The writing wandered across the page, often illegible, in other places
readable enough to make out disjointed ramblings of a disordered mind.
The final pages had drawings instead of clippings. They were jumbled across
the page, little sketches of all of them, and again, Duo dominated the
"I must have been afraid I'd forget what you looked like," Heero said,
running a finger over a likeness of Duo grinning.
"God, Heero, you were falling apart, but you kept this up," Duo said,
torn between sorrow and wonder. "We meant that much to you, way back then?"
"Yes. You were all I had, and I thought I'd never see any of you again.
I didn't dare go near you."
Duo set the album aside and took Heero's face between his hands and kissed
him. "Don't ever do that again, baby."
"I know." Heero felt exhausted and low again. He lay down and rested his
head in Duo's lap, and let out a deep sigh as he felt Duo stroke his hair.
"What time is it?"
"Batoosingh at three." He felt himself drifting off under those gentle
"I'll wake you, baby. I'm on watch. You sleep."
Heero sighed again and let himself slip toward a dreamless doze.
"It's over, baby," Duo whispered, still stroking his head. "It's over
"No, it's not," Heero muttered, reluctantly leaving the comfort of Duo's
lap. "You'd better keep your distance while I'm asleep, or cuff me."
Duo leaned down and kissed him. "I'll be over on the other bed if you
Heero slept without dreams and woke thinking of his mission. He and Duo
arrived at the office Dr. Batoosingh used for their sessions and were
surprised to hear raised voices. Not even Duo had ever known the doctor
to lose his temper, but from the sound of it, he had now. Heero caught
his name and leaned closer.
"Do you have any idea what a set back this might have caused?" It seemed
to be a once sided conversation, for there was a pause, then, "I will
hold you personally responsible, Detective!"
Heero waited a moment after the shouting stopped, then knocked and opened
the door. The doctor was in his customary chair with his pad on his knee.
He greeted them with his usual Basset hound smile, but his cheeks were
"Ah, will Duo be sitting in with you today?"
"What was that all about?" Duo asked. When the doctor merely raised an
eyebrow at him, he added, "You were kinda loud, just now."
"I see. I just learned that the police interrogated you, and that they
confronted you with photographs. I was just expressing my opinion that
such a surprise visit was not in your best interests as my patient. Tell
me, Heero, how are you doing?"
"I'm all right. I brought this to show you. Sally, our friend in the Preventers,
brought it." He handed Batoosingh the scrapbook.
The doctor paged through it slowly. "How did it make you feel, seeing
"I'm glad to have it back."
"Even given the circumstances?"
"Yes, this meant a lot to me, especially when I was sick."
Batoosingh closed the book and handed it back. "That's a very good sign.
Now, would you like to tell me about the bruises I see on Duo and the
fact that you requested to be restrained when you sleep?"
That took a few minutes, and Duo helped, downplaying any danger to himself
while Heero insisted on his concerns for his safety.
"If you are going to insist on sleeping with him, then perhaps this is
the best solution, for now. Has this brought up other issues you would
like to discuss today? You both appear to have something on your mind."
"I want to take Duo back to New Orleans to have the holidays with our
friends. It is important to both of us, to have some sense of family at
this time," Heero said, as if stating a mission parameter.
"But only if you say Heero is up to making the trip," Duo added.
"Hmmm." Batoosingh stared down at his pad, and tapped his lips with the
end of his pen.
"That didn't sound like a yes," Duo said, ready to fight Heero on it.
"Nor is it a no," the man told him. "You are responding well to the light
therapy. That can be continued at the New Orleans Medical Center on an
outpatient basis. Your physical injuries are sufficiently healed. I am
somewhat concerned about the night terrors, however. Duo, Heero is right
to be cautious. You have only to look in the mirror to see that. It would
be safer if you slept apart. Otherwise, you will have to continue the
restraints until his recovery has progressed further."
"Why is this happening now?" Heero asked. "I have never hurt him like
"You and Duo indulged in a bit of shock therapy when you went to Kisarazu.
Simply being there again might have brought back memories. Given what
you experienced, however, it's small wonder the gates of memory are bursting.
Given how calm you seem to be about it, Heero, I think we may take this
as a sign of healing. Recovery is not always a pleasant process, as you
both well know."
"Soooooo doc, you're saying we can go home?" said Duo.
"Give me a few days with him, Duo. I want to be certain he's at a point
where it is safe for him to be seen as an outpatient. I hope you will
be able to travel soon."
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