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

Broken Warriors + Chapter 14
New Ground

Heero woke in the same position he'd fallen asleep, with Duo's bangs tickling his nose. The slant of sunlight across the room told him he had slept later than usual. His left hand was still covering Duo's wrist and the end of his braid, his right arm, trapped between them, was a little cramped. By Duo's watch on the nightstand, it was nearly eleven.

Duo had shifted only slightly, throwing a leg over Heero's. He could feel the press of the sleeping man's erection against his hip. Heero had one of his own, the first morning hard-on he'd had in recent memory. He took it as a sign of returning health, though no doubt triggered by his bedmate's proximity, warmth, and musky sandalwood scent.

He reached up and brushed the hair away from his nose. Duo immediately raised his head and grinned. "Oi, awake at last. 'bout time."

Heero rubbed at his nose again. It still tickled. "Been awake long?"

"A while, but I didn't feel like moving." He kissed Heero lightly on the lips, then propped his head on one hand. "I sleep good with you."

Heero smiled, surprised but not displeased by the kiss. "I slept well, too."

"We scandalized some nurse a little while ago. I saw her look in, then disappear like a scared rabbit. Of course, it is a Catholic hospital."

"We didn't do anything they would object to."

Duo gazed into his eyes, then grinned and wiggled his hips. "Not yet, anyway. Ya pitchin' that tent for me, buddy?"

Warning sensors went off in Heero's mind even as his body responded to the suggestive words. "I would rather you did not tease me, Duo."

The grin disappeared. Duo looked a little guilty. "Sorry. That wasn't very nice, was it?" He pulled away, though he couldn't go very far with the wall at his back. He did manage to put a few inches of free space between them but to Heero it felt like a kilometer.

Acting on instinct, he placed a hand behind Duo's neck and drew him in for another relatively innocent kiss. Duo didn't resist or respond, just let him do it. When it was over his violet eyes were full of confusion.

Heero stroked a stray strand from Duo's cheek and noted how Duo automatically leaned into his touch. "I want us to be honest about things like that. That felt like 'messing around'."

"Kinda, I guess. What do you want? I mean, I kinda got the impression, these last few days that you'd like to pick up where we left off that night, only better. But then you push me away."

Heero sighed. "I'm not good at this--talking and feeling and all. I don't have the experience you do. But I've never wanted anyone else except you." He searched for words; feelings were difficult things to deal with. "I liked the way it felt yesterday when you told me you loved me. I didn't like the way I felt just now. It was still you, but it didn't feel like the same person. Does that make sense? It felt like it could have been anybody here with you and you'd have said that."

Duo frowned. "It really bothers you, doesn't it? That I'm 'experienced'."

"Perhaps, although I don't really know what that includes. The letter said you were saving certain things for Mr. Right, meaning me."

"Yeah."

"I'm glad. But I don't know what else there is to do, or what you've done, or what it meant to you."

"You want a list? A resume? A detailed mission report on every partner I've had and what we did?" There was an edge in Duo's voice now.

"No. I don't have the right to ask for that."

Duo sat up and crossed his arms. He was at least 'pissed' now, if not fully upset. "So you want to know but you don't? Jeeze, Heero, make up your mind!"

"I'm sorry of that seems like a contradiction. I don't understand it myself." He didn't like feeling this way, especially after the good feelings earlier. Heero began to wish they could just act, rather than talking. Talking always seemed to lead to conflict. 'And back out of it,' he reminded himself.

He sat up and turned to sit facing Duo. "You don't let men do certain things, right?"

"Does Shinigami take it up the ass, Heero? That what ya want to know? I told you already, I don't." Duo turned and glared out the window as if the swans in the park had offended him.

"You have condoms and lubricant in your bag."

Duo's eyebrows shot up and he rolled his eyes. "I should have expected that. You always were thorough in your reconnaissance, huh? OK, look. I don't let guys do that to me. But I never said I don't do it to them. Get it? So I have supplies, and not just for that. For other stuff, y'know, like blow jobs? Whether I'm giving or getting, I always use protection. I'm clean, one hundred percent disease free, and I mean to stay that way."

"I see." Heero tried to analyze the impact of this new information, but found he couldn't. Duo had fucked other men, given them oral sex and accepted it from them. Caught on this, he didn't think it out carefully before asking, "And with Trowa and Quatre--?"

Duo gave him an incredulous glare, then scrambled off the bed and looked around for his clothes.

"Duo, wait! Don't go."

Duo ignored him, muttering and cursing as he stomped into the bathroom. Heero slid out of bed and caught him by the arm as he came out again in yesterday's clothes. Duo whirled to face him and for a moment Heero was certain Duo was going to take a swing at him. As he braced for it, it dawned on him that for the first time in a long time, he was not physically stronger than his opponent. Duo had pulled free easily and now had his back to the door. Heero dropped his hands and sat down on the edge of the bed to show he desired no confrontation.

Duo glared at him for a moment longer, then his whole demeanor changed. Shaking his head, he dropped his fists, came over to Heero, and hugged him. When he pulled back there were tears in his eyes.

"You always were the blunt one, weren't you? Listen up Heero, 'cause I don't want to ever have this conversation again, OK? With Trowa and Quatre? No blowjobs. No fucking. Kissing, sure, and some messing around, but above the belt, mostly. It could have been more, but I always held back, even after I thought you were dead. I honestly don't know what would have happened, long term. Tro, Kat, and me? We've been through a lot together, stuff only we could handle, 'cause of who we are and who we used to be. I guess we love each other because of all that. And, since we're being honest here, they're hot. You gotta see that, too, right? And they think I'm hot. It probably could have turned into something. But you *did* come back, Heero. You're here now for real, not just some dream. At least I hope not!" He let out a shaky laugh and wiped his eyes on the back of his hand. "Some of my dreams are pretty graphic! It really sucked to wake up and realize nothing had changed. Even now, I keep pinching myself, scared to death I'm going to wake up back home, or in the hospital again and you'll still be dead." Fresh tears rolled down his cheeks. "Oh great. Here I go!"

Heero stood and took Duo in his arms, holding him tight. Duo wrapped himself around Heero and pressed his face into the curve of his neck. "I feel the same way," Heero assured him, feeling wetness against his neck above his teeshirt. "I had those same dreams, even before the war was over. But this is real We're together. I want to be your best friend, Duo, and I want to be your lover, if you'll give me time to learn how to be a good one."

Duo hugged him tighter and nodded against his neck. "I want all that. There's some stuff we've got to work out, sure, but you're the only Gundam Boy for me. Got it?"

"Got it." Heero kissed him on the side of the head and then wiped the tears from Duo's cheeks and kissed him again on the lips. Looking him straight in those sad, beautiful eyes, he told him, "I love you, Duo. Don't ever doubt that, no matter what."

Duo swallowed hard and nodded. "OK. You got it. Look, I should go back and grab a shower, get some clean clothes. I'll meet you out front in an hour and take you to lunch before we go see the doc. That sound like a plan?"

Heero smiled. "I would add one element. Take your meds."

Duo grinned and saluted. "Sir, yes sir!"

+

Duo showed up at the appointed time wearing faded jeans, black jump boots, and a black tee shirt under his new grey overcoat. The coat was made of some very soft wool, and cut to flow loosely around him. As he strode across the street to join Heero, braid swinging behind him, Heero grinned, thinking, 'He looks like a model, or film star!'

Duo was very good looking. His face was more defined now, not so round, but still sweet and boyish when he smiled. His large, expressive eyes, together with the full mouth and high cheekbones, gave him an exotic quality without making him overly pretty, the way so many young men in advertisements were. He was beautiful but masculine at the same time. That open coat accentuated his slender, long-legged build. Heero caught himself wondering what it would feel like now, for Duo to sit in his lap with his legs around Heero, the way they had that night.

Duo stopped a few feet away and gave him an uncertain grin. "Uh, you OK?"

"Yes. Why?"

"Well, you were sorta--Uh, well, never mind."

His expression must have given away some of his thoughts. "You look really good, Duo," he told him, and was pleased to see his friend blush. "Really hot."

Duo fell back a step and brought a hand dramatically up in front of him, fluttering his fingers like a fan. "Why Mr. Yuy, you'll turn a girl's head with such attentions!" he exclaimed in a comically falsetto voice and some accent Heero suspected was supposed to sound American Southern.

"If you were a girl, I would not be giving you such attentions."

Duo's grin widened as he fell into step beside Heero. "Well, back atcha, buddy. You're looking seriously hot, yourself. Damn, I'm glad I got you that jacket!"

Heero smiled. He wore the new blue jeans and sage green sweater under the black bomber jacket. He hadn't thought about trying to look hot, just to stay warm. It was damp and overcast today, and he'd noticed yesterday that he felt the cold more than he did normally. A lot of things about his body had changed in the past months; he hoped his strength and stamina would come back quickly, now that he could exercise and eat properly again. The restaurant was only a few blocks away, but he was a bit tired by the time they got there. It was annoying, and a bit unsettling.

Duo was quieter than usual once they settled down at their table in the busy little restaurant. He ordered the various tapanades for them, but didn't eat very much when they arrived. By the end of the meal he was fidgeting and tugging at the end of his braid. Heero had already noted this as an indicator of anxiety.

"Are you worried about our session?" Heero asked as they started back to the hospital. Duo shrugged. Taking this as a yes, Heero slipped his arm though his, the way Quatre had with Trowa. Duo gave him a surprised look, but did not seem displeased.

+

Dr. Batoosingh agreed to see them both, but with the stipulation that they both first tell him, without the other present, what had happened in the silo. Heero went in first. It took about ten minutes to outline the scenario, describe events, list his own reactions and report observations on Duo's behavior. Batoosingh asked no questions, only nodded, then asked him to have Duo step in.

Duo was slouched on a bench outside the door. He shot Heero a 'here goes nothing!' look and went in. Heero took his place on the bench and watched the clock on the opposite wall. Five minutes passed, then ten. He heard Duo's raised voice, first laughing nervously, then perhaps crying. Another five minutes passed. After nearly forty minutes Batoosingh opened the door and asked Heero back in.

Duo was curled up in a corner of the couch with a box of tissues on his lap. Used ones littered the floor and his eyes were red.

Normally Heero would have taken the far end, situating his back against the corner but instead he sat by Duo and offered his hand. Duo clasped it with an embarrassed little laugh.

Batoosingh took the chair facing them and consulted his notes for a moment, tapping the side of his chin with one finger. "Well, both of you describe the day in question in very similar terms, up to the point of Duo's panic attack. Each of you takes responsibility for the unfortunate miscommunication that followed. In the months that followed, as I understand it, you were able not only to continue working effectively together, but to remain friends. Would you both agree, so far? Good. Then I must ask you, what is the problem?"

Duo exchanged a startled look with Heero. "What do you mean? Heero still thinks he tried to rape me and I still know I drove him away. That's the problem!"

Batoosingh regarded Heero over the top of his glasses. "At that time, which of you was physically stronger?"

"I was. Duo was a very clever and elusive fighter, but I had him at a disadvantage. He was wounded, naked, and unarmed. In hand-to-hand conflict, I would have won."

"So you could easily have overpowered him again, had you chosen to do so?"

"Yes."

"But instead, you withdrew."

"Yes."

"That does not sound like rape to me, Heero. Duo, you went after him, tried to talk to him and explain, both then and the next morning?"

"Yeah, but I'd already fucked up so bad--"

Batoosingh held up his hand. "You tried."

"Yeah."

"You, Heero, the product of a highly unusual, and by some definitions, abusive upbringing, were completely inexperienced sexually. This was the first time you had ever attempted physical intimacy, you had just survived a battle and were still in a potentially life-threatening situation, and you were powerfully attracted to Duo."

"Yes."

"And Duo, though slightly more experienced, you came out of an even more traumatic childhood, had been raped twice, and had never had any support around those issues?"

"Yeah."

"Remind me, how old were you both?"

"My exact age and date of birth are unknown, but I would estimate sixteen," Heero replied, wondering why Batoosingh was asking about something that he'd clearly already seen in Heero's file.

Duo shrugged again and rolled his eyes. "Ditto that. What he said."

Batoosingh sat back and smiled. "Well, then. Given all that, I'd say you two did remarkably well at the time and continue to do so."

Duo blinked. "Say what, doc?"

"Oh, I'm not down playing how traumatic it must have seemed for both of you, but that particular incident is, in perspective, quite mild. Sexual experimentation, even falling love, is not uncommon between boys at that age. Young, confused, overwhelmed by the powerful forces of puberty, it's very easy for things to go wrong, too, as you both know all too well. While the unique circumstances certainly magnified the events, I would still contend that you experienced nothing out of the ordinary and that you handled yourselves admirably, given the skills you had to work with. I suggest you both apologize one last time if you feel the need, then let it go."

"Let it go? Just like that?" Duo was incredulous. "All that time in the war? All the time after? This?" Duo held out his scarred wrists. "You're saying just forget about all that? That he disappeared and tried to die and we're just supposed to say 'oops, my bad' and get on with it?"

"No, certainly not. But I want you to understand that your mental illness and Heero's are most likely unrelated to that particular event. There are many other issues we should deal with in further sessions, but that, though it looms so large in your memory, is something you cannot change and should forgive yourselves for. No matter how much you wish things had turned out differently that night, you cannot change what happened. As my grandmother used to say, you can't step in the same river twice. Events move on and you can only go forward. Regret changes nothing, except to guide future actions."

Heero sat in stunned silence, still clasping Duo's hand. It was true. If he'd really wanted to force sex with Duo that night, he probably could have. He certainly could have made another attempt, then or later. Duo had indicated he was receptive on more than one occasion. "So, it wasn't rape, but--" He waved his free hand, not certain what to call it.

"Rampaging teenage hormones?" Duo offered. "I told you, Heero, I know the difference. You stopped and you left me alone."

Heero nodded slowly. "Then I apologize for my single mindedness and loss of control."

"Apology accepted, 01. I apologize for being a head case, then and now.

Heero started to object, to say he need not apologize for something so obviously beyond his control. Instead, he squeezed Duo's hand and said, "Apology accepted, 02. But, Doctor, you can't mean that we're suddenly cured, just by admitting something so simple?"

"No, but you can begin to heal. If you imagine your unstable emotions as a fire burning out of control, consider this removing some of the fuel from the blaze. There is that much less to fight against.

"Heero, Dr. Santos and I have been observing you and comparing notes. We are both satisfied that you pose no threat to anyone at the moment. I would ask you to remain in therapy for the next six months, and to have certain blood levels closely monitored for the time being. But I see no indication for further hospitalization or psychotropic medication. I wish I could give you some detailed reason for this, but the simple fact is, your overdose of Unadol, either in conjunction with or a reaction to physical deterioration, seems to have righted the chemical imbalance causing your psychotic tendencies. Of course, you still need to adjustment to normal life, but as a returning combat veteran, you would face those challenges anyway. It appears you have a very good support system with your friends and I'm optimistic that you will find your way. Establishing a new relationship with Duo here will also present challenges--"

Duo brightened considerably. "Yeah, I'm a handful, all right, but you already knows that, don't ya, Heero? So doc, you're saying I can take him home?"

"I'd like Heero to remain in Madrid for another week under medical oversight, just to be certain he is stabilized and progressing well. But he may move over to the hostel if he'd be more comfortable, and can go about the city freely with you four. Heero, I'd rather you don't go off alone until you're physically stablized. As for the relationship between you two, I suggest you proceed carefully, allowing feelings to develop naturally and in their own time."

"Yeah, we kind of came up with that ourselves already." Duo shifted a little closer to Heero. "Ya don't think that we'll, like, figure out we don't really feel what we think we do, or anything, right?"

"I would not say anything with certainty, Duo. That would be unethical of me. However, having seen the two of you together, the way you respond to each other and so naturally offer support?" He indicated their current close position on the couch. "I think you start from a very good foundation."

"Thank you, Doctor. I believe you are correct," said Heero. "But what about Duo's condition?"

"Whadya mean? I'm fine compared to you!" Duo exclaimed indignantly.

"Physically, perhaps," Batoosingh replied. "But you are still not completely stable. I hope you're not assuming that all your problems will disappear simply because Heero is with you again?"

"Well, yeah, I sorta did!"

Batoosingh consulted his watch. "I cancelled the next session. We still have some time. There are a few things I'd like to discuss with you. It's up to you whether Heero stays."

"He stays if he wants to." Duo wound an arm through Heero's, and Heero felt him tensing again.

"I'll stay, Doctor."

"Very well. I want to talk a little with Duo about why he's been lying to me for so long."

"Hey, I don't lie!" Duo objected.

"Indeed? On several occasions over the past two years you've told me that you have never experienced anal sex, referring to yourself as a 'backdoor virgin.' You took great pride in that; it was an important distinction. In light of what you and Heero have told me today, it seems that this is not true."

"I wasn't lying." Duo slouched lower into the corner of Dr. Santos' office couch, refusing to look directly at Dr. Batoosingh. "Those times, when I was a kid? They don't count."

"Really? Why not?"

"Cause it was rape!" Duo let go of Heero's hand to wrap his arms around his up drawn knees. "It didn't count 'cause I didn't want it! I fought back every time. I tried to run. I just-- They were--I never let them! They just grabbed me and held me down and did it."

"I also asked you if you had ever been raped, first during our initial session, and a number of times after that," Batoosingh said, his voice gentle rather than accusatory.

Duo huddled in on himself. "Yeah, well. I--I just didn't want to-- I couldn't."

"Duo told me that if he didn't think about it, he could pretend it never happened," Heero put in quietly. "I think sometimes he was able to convince himself that it hadn't."

"Thank you Heero, but Duo needs to speak for himself."

"Yeah, what he said," Duo muttered.

"But you are willing to admit it now?"

"Guess so."

"Heero, what do you think of this information?"

Heero considered it. "I'm sorry it happened to him, and even more so since he was only a child at the time. It was in no way his fault. If I had been there, I would have tried to protect him and keep it from happening. But I wasn't and that's only speculation. But I'm with him now and will stop anyone who attempts to harm him in any way, including that way."

He considered this, testing his own logic and thoroughness. When he said he'd stop anyone trying to hurt Duo, he meant kill, and assumed that was understood. After a moment more consideration, he put an arm around Duo's shoulders and added, "I agree with Duo's decision to make a distinction between consensual sex and rape. Regardless of what was done to him, he is still a 'backdoor virgin' as far as I'm concerned."

Duo had hidden his face in his arms during this declaration, but his ears and the back of his neck had gone scarlet. He let out a shaky laugh without raising his head. "See why I love the guy, doc?"

"Yes. I think Heero will be a great help to you, and that you should trust his opinion in this matter. I hope you'll be willing to speak with me about these issues in future sessions. As overwhelming as it may seem at the moment, now that you have admitted and accepted that these things happened to you, you'll finally be able free yourself from them."

Duo looked up and shook his head. "You knew all along, didn't you? That's why you kept asking?"

"I had some idea. I am a pretty good shrink, after all." Batoosingh was actually grinning.

Duo grabbed a tissue from the box and wiped angrily at his nose and eyes. "Well shit!" He blew his nose forcefully and folded his arms. "Shit."

Heero chuckled, knowing Duo well enough to take this as a good sign.

+

The session left Heero feeling tired and drained, but lighter, too.

"So, what do you want to do?" Duo asked as they left the office.

"Get some fresh air, I think. I'd like to walk around the lake, if you feel up to it. But maybe we should eat first. You hardly touched any lunch."

"I'll find something along the way," Duo said, taking his hand and pulling Heero toward the elevator. He was smiling and bouncy again; Heero hoped Dr. Batoosingh was right, but knew better than to completely trust any mood upswing. "You should take your pills before we go. I'll wait down front."

"Way ahead of ya, buddy!" Duo reached into his pocket and pulled out the bottles. Shaking out the required pills, he showed Heero, then went to the corridor water fountain and downed them.

"Mission accomplished, 01." He recaptured Heero's hand and leaned against him as they waited for the elevator. "Do I get a reward?"

Duo was being flirty again. His voice and body language were suggestive, but there was a mix of humor and need in his eyes now that hadn't been there this morning. Duo needed contact with him, and reassurance. Heero noted this, waited until they were alone on the elevator, then pulled him close and kissed him, tracing Duo's bottom lip lightly with the tip of his tongue. "You are a good soldier." Stepping back, he leaned against the back wall, facing the doors like any good law abiding elevator patron.

Caught completely by surprise, Duo stared at him, then leaned into him again, hooking his little finger through Heero's. "You wanna rethink that walk idea?"

Heero smiled. "No. The reward was commensurate with the effort."

Duo turned so he was facing Heero, slid his hands into his open jacket, and pressed up against him. "What if I eat all my vegetables at supper?"

Heero stifled a groan. Taking things slowly with Duo was going to require a great deal of self discipline. He wondered if Duo was expecting him to share his room at the hostel. He wondered if that was a good idea. While he supposed it would be wiser to have a room of his own, it wasn't a very appealing concept at the moment. He kissed Duo again as the elevator came to rest, then steered him outside. "I think we better take that walk."

Just as they started down the sidewalk, however, Quatre burst out the front door of the hostel across the street and ran off in the direction of the park. His biker jacket was unzipped, exposing his bare chest, and his sneakers weren't tied. Quatre was fast; he was already out of sight around the corner when Trowa ran out, wearing nothing but a pair of half-buttoned jeans.

"Quatre, come back!" he shouted, looking around wildly. Heero and Duo hurried over. "Did you see him?" he demanded breathlessly.

Heero pointed. "That way."

"What the hell happened?" asked Duo.

"We had a fight," Trowa muttered, dragging his fingers back through his bangs. Instead of following Quatre, he turned and stalked back upstairs, but not before Heero read the mix of worry and anger in those green eyes. Judging by Duo's dumbfounded expression, this was not a normal occurance between the pair.

"I'll take our runner," Duo said, striding off in the direction Quatre had gone. "You go sit on Trowa until I drag him back!"

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