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

Broken Warriors + Chapter 17
Bug Out

Heero woke to the sound of a phone ringing. He didn't have a phone.

Opening one eye, he looked around groggily. Oh yes. He was in bed with Duo at the hostel and judging by the darkening sky outside the window, it appeared to be fast approaching evening now. He felt amazingly good, despite the persistent ringing. He didn't remember ever feeling so relaxed as he did lying here naked with Duo Maxwell snuggled up against him. Duo's hair was loose across the pillow and Heero's chest. And face. And mouth. And nose.

'We had sex, or at least mutal and advanced foreplay,' Heero thought contentedly. 'We are lovers.'

He worked an arm free and brushed the hair away from his face, then looked around for the phone still so persistently ringing. A small, green glow pulsing in time to the sound showed where Duo's cell had ended up on the littered desk.

"Don' answer," Duo mumbled, hugging Heero and nuzzling his neck. "Nice here. More nookie!"

"It could be important." But before Heero could untangle himself the ringing stopped.

A moment later they heard Trowa or Quatre's phone next door. It stopped after two rings, and then someone knocked on the wall above their heads.

"Wake up and let us out," Quatre called. "We've got trouble."

"What kind of trouble?" Heero demanded, pushing Duo off and rolling out of bed.

"Look outside!"


+

Transcript, Global Public Radio:

Alan Steuben: We now join our GPR associate, Lauren Morales, live from Madrid.

LM: Hello, Alan. It's 7:25 pm local time. My engineer and I are standing on top of a van here in a narrow street outside Saint Francis Hospital. The term "media circus" does not begin to describe the scene here. There are at least twenty other news agencies on site, as well as hundreds of curious onlookers crowding the street and the roofs of surrounding buildings, all responding to reports that former Gundam pilot Heero Yuy, believed dead these past six months, is in fact alive and being treated at this hospital. The Madrid police are here in force, and have cordoned off the entrance to the hospital, as well as the area in front of a guest hostel across the street, said to belong to the hospital.

Rumors have been circulating for the past several days that the other four former pilots, better known now as "the Gundam Boys", have been sighted in this city. That always attracts some attention, but the lid really blew off this afternoon when CNN broadcast photos taken by local paparazzi, showing two young men identified as Duo Maxwell and the man believed to be Heero Yuy, walking together on a Madrid side street, and dining in a local restaurant. Since then it's come to light that these two men, and possibly the other three former pilots, have been staying at this hostel. We are trying to contact hospital officials now, to ascertain what their connection to the hospital might be.

Hold on. Something's happening. Alan. The crowd has turned their attention to the guest hostel, where two men have emerged from the main doors, just behind the police barricades. We're right next to them, Alan, a lucky break . . . Yes, I can verify that Duo Maxwell and Trowa Barton-Winner have come out and are trying to address the crowd. Sid, can you focus our parabolic mike? Alan, Maxwell is wearing a long overcoat that appears to be covered in dried mud, over jeans and boots. Barton-Winner has on dark slacks and a dark sweater and appears to have a bruise on his right cheek. He looks taciturn, as usual, but Maxwell is smiling and waving to the crowd. They are motioning for silence. As you can hear, it's still pandemonium here. I must say, Maxwell looks better than he has in some time. This young man, like his compatriots, has been plagued with mental and emotional problems, the sad fallout of the sacrifices these boys made for the peace when they were little more than children. Yet I have to say, he looks positively aglow right now! The crowd is quieting . . . Alan, the parabolic is in place.

Duo Maxwell: So, I guess you've heard the good news. Heero Yuy is alive!

**Microphone overload**

Maxwell: Yeah, so if you'll just calm down, I'll fill you in on the details, then Heero will come out and take a few questions. But I want to say, for the record, that he did not fake his death. He had a nervous breakdown and tried to commit suicide, but lucky for us, it didn't work. But he was pretty messed up for a while. He's been getting treatment here since Sunday night and is doing really well. He's still not 100 percent, though, so go easy on him, OK? He can't talk long. I just want to say, on behalf of Heero and all of us who care about him, that he still has a long way to go to full recovery and he's going to need privacy for that. So we'll talk to you, but that's probably going to be it for a while. And just so you know, Captain Chang is lurking around here somewhere, so you'd better watch your step!

**Laughter from crowd.**

Maxwell: That goes for the rest of us, too. I'm not kidding.

From the crowd: Is that a threat, Duo?

Maxwell: Let's just call it friendly advice. Some of you haven't been too nice to us the past couple years. Right now, our top priority is helping Heero get back on his feet and we mean to see that he has the time and space to do that. I think everyone here owes him that, don't you?

**Applause**

From the crowd: Trowa, what happened to your face? Does it have anything to do with Heero's return?

LM/GPR: Alan, Barton-Winner is ignoring the question. There's movement behind the glass doors of the hostel . . . Yes, his partner, Quatre Winner-Barton, is coming out with another man . . . My god, Alan, it is Heero Yuy! Dressed in jeans and a black leather jacket, he's very thin, clearly he's been very ill, but it certainly does appear to be him. Same dark, ragged haircut, same piercing blue eyes and that scowl. He does not look pleased at this attention. He was always known as very private and uncommunicative. Police have allowed a few microphones to be set up. A PA system is in place and Yuy is approaching. The three other pilots are forming up just behind him. There is no sign of Wufei Chang, as yet.

Heero Yuy: Hello.

**Applause, cacophony of questions and cheering**

Yuy: I cannot speak if you don't quiet down.

LM/GPR: Alan, Maxwell is coming forward, leaning into the mike.

**Ear splitting whistle overloads mike**

Maxwell: Oi, you heard the man. Shut up so he can talk!

Yuy: Thank you, 02. As my friend said, I have been very sick. I don't recall a lot of the past two years, and even less of the last six months. I was in what my doctor has called a fugue state. He cannot fully explain as yet what caused it, except that it was probably triggered by the combination of my illness and a probable suicide attempt made in Kyoto. I have no memory of that and do not like to speculate on the details at this time. Five days ago I regained mental clarity and found myself in this city. I went to the Sanque Embassy, contacted Relena Peacecraft, who arranged for medical treatment here. I asked her at that time not to inform the press, as I did not feel up to-- Well, all this. I still don't, but there seems to be no escaping you.

**Laughter**

LM/GPR: Alan, I don't think Yuy intended that as a joke. He and the others aren't laughing.

Yuy: I also contacted Duo Maxwell at that time, reporting my status and whereabouts. He and the others arrived shortly thereafter and have been supporting my recovery. That is really all I can tell you, but if you have questions, I will try to answer them.

**Mike overload**

Maxwell: One at a time! One at a fucking time or we go back inside! You, CNN guy.

Roberts/CNN: Ossian Roberts, with CNN. Thank you, Mr. Maxwell. Captain Yuy, are you saying you have no memory whatsoever of the past six months? Nothing?

Yuy: I did not say that, only that I recall very little.

Roberts/CNN: Could you expand on that a bit?

Yuy: I was homeless. At times I was very cold. I was hungry. I was physically ill. I was very dirty. That is the current extent of my recollection.

Maxwell: Next question. Lady in the red ski hat.

Soledad/MT: Gracias. Maria Soledad, Madrid Times. Capitan Yuy, how did you survive?

Yuy: There is no need to address me by rank. I have resigned my commission. To answer your question, I was trained to survive in a variety of conditions. No doubt conditioning took over, even when I was not coherent. The fact that I am standing here would bear that out.

Maxwell: You, pretty lady up on the van.

LM/GPR: Thank you, Mr. Maxwell. Lauren Morales, GPR news. Did you, or any of his friends, have any idea that Mr. Yuy was still alive during those six months?

Maxwell: No. And I can tell you, it was the worst six months of my life! I still can't quite believe it!

LN/GPR: Thank you. I'm sure I speak for everyone at Global Public Radio in saying that we are very happy for you all!

Maxwell: Thanks!

LM/GPR: Alan, Maxwell has his arm around Heero Yuy now, a very touching sight. I believe Yuy may be smiling.

Maxwell: Guy in the brown jacket. No, not you, asshole! The guy . . .

LM/GPR: Alan, a man in a black leather jacket is forcing his way to the front.

HM/BW: Mr. Yuy, Hans Meir, Berlin Weltbeobachter

Maxwell: I wasn't talking to you!

HM/BW: Mr. Yuy, what say you to reports that over the past two years you have sometimes supported yourself as a common street prostitute?

Maxwell: You son of a bitch! This is about this afternoon, isn't it?

LM/GPR: Alan, Maxwell attempted to reach the German reporter and is being restrained by his friends. As you can probably hear, he is extremely upset by Meir's remarks. . .Sid, damp that, will you? While Maxwell is well known for his temper and colorful language, one can hardly blame him under these circumstances. As a side note, the Berlin Weltbeobachter is a notorious tabloid, and Meir is their lead Eurpoean reporter. It was Meir who broke the OZ Academy sex scandal five years ago, and more recently . . . He is fighting his way to the front again!

HM/BW: Isn't it also true Yuy is being treated for numerous venereal diseases, contracted while turning these back alley tricks? My source informs me . . .

LM/GPR: Alan, chaos is breaking loose here! Someone has grabbed Meir from behind. I can't quite make out . . . . Now Maxwell has launched himself over the police barricade and is attempting to reach Meir. Barton-Winner is going after him-- No, he's helping him . . . Is that--? Yes! I have visual confirmation that Wufei Chang has appeared in the crowd and has Meir by the neck. I can't make out what Captain Chang is saying, but he is clearly very angry, Alan! Yet throughout all this, Yuy himself has remained at the microphone with Winner-Barton, apparently unmoved. The police have reached the other Gundam boys and are urging them back behind the barrier. Maxwell is resisting strenuously, and being lifted forcefully back over . . . Yuy has him by the arm now, and is saying something to him. All five pilots are now retreating into the hostel doorway and . . . Maxwell has broken away again! He seems intent on attacking Meir! Several police officers have him by the arms now! And Yuy is running forward. Alan, he has grabbed Duo Maxwell by that famous braid and literally hauled him back inside the barriers. Now he has him by the collar and all five pilots are retreating inside the hostel. The police are closing ranks. Given the size of the crowd, the Gundam boys could be virtual prisoners in the hostel, unless the authorities intervene.

Alan, someone else has attacked Meir! I'm not certain who; they appear young, spectators, I think, rather than press, and the police are wading in again to protect Meir. Yuy has become something of an icon to young people everywhere, a truly heroic figure. To have that image sullied, especially at such an emotional moment . . . Meir is safe, and now being escorted away to a police car. More officers are breaking up what appears to be the beginning of a riot. The crowd is surging around the van where I'm standing, jostling and . . .

**radio contact lost. Transmission terminated.**


+

Years of practice served them well. Most of Heero's gear was still at the hospital; the other four had traveled light and were ready to bug out in minutes. Wufei had packed earlier.

"I was on my way back to tell you I was leaving when I spotted the press," he told Duo, watching him stuff things into his duffle. "Why didn't you answer your phone, Maxwell?"

"Asleep," Duo muttered, stomping into the bathroom.

Heero stood beside the window, keeping a cautious eye on the crowd situation. He didn't much care for the attention, or the police escort waiting outside in the corridor.

Trowa and Quatre came in with their bags, and sat down on the unmade bed. After a moment Quatre muttered something to Trowa. Getting up, they stripped back the blankets and took off the sheets. Quatre glanced into the trashcan, gave Heero a blushing, apologetic look, then emptied the contents into the middle of the sheets.

'Condoms,' Heero thought, realizing what they were up to.

Tying the whole bundle up, Quatre tossed it to Duo on his way back across the room. He shoved it into his duffle. Quatre glanced at Heero again, still looking embarrassed. "We did our room, too."

Heero nodded. They had enough trouble with the tabloids as it was. No doubt their rooms would be closely scrutinized as soon as they were gone.

Trowa sat down on the mattress and rested his chin in his hands.

"What did happen to your face?" Heero asked quietly. He had what looked like a fist-sized bruise on his cheekbone.

Trowa shook his head slightly. "Tactical error."

Quatre sat down and put an arm around Trowa. "He banged his face on my knee. It wasn't--Well, you heard everything, right? It wasn't during the fighting part."

"Hn." That was as much information as Heero required. "Have you two made up?"

Quatre sighed. "Yeah, I guess. But we need to talk about this some more. Now's not the time."

Heero wasn't certain what there was that needed talking about, but agreed whole-heartedly on the timing.

The hostel had no convenient alternate exit and the roof was already thronged with reporters. There was no choice but to make the dash across to the hospital under police escort. The reporters were ready for them.

"Let us go first," the head of their police escort said as they went downstairs and approached the street entrance. She sent a few men out to clear the way.

"Shit!" Duo growled, looking out through the glass doors. "Looks like a damn camera firing squad out there."

"We have done nothing wrong," Wufei growled. "Since this will be broadcast to the four corners of the colonies, we should maintain our dignity. I suggest we ignore any questions they ask."

"I intend to," said Heero. "And I agree about making a dignified showing. Duo, I want your word; no more theatrics, no matter what's said."

"Fine. Whatever," Duo muttered, shrugging deeper into his coat.

Heero put an arm around him, speaking close to his ear. "I hope you are not angry at me about what that man said. Even if it's true, I don't remember."

"It's not true!" Duo hissed. "I wouldn't care anyway. I just can't stand some lowlife scum saying it to your face, right there in front of everyone like that."

Heero shook him gently. "I was surprised, too. But mostly I'm happy to be with you, and you are happy to be with me again. Let them broadcast that image to the four corners of the colonies."

This earned him a grin. "Want me to smooch ya one, once we get out there?"

"If you do, we'll never get free of them," Trowa warned.

Heero smiled. "Trowa's right. When I'm stronger, you may smooch me in front of reporters all you like, but right now I'd like to concentrate on getting out of here."

"You got it, 01."

Police armed with riot shields had formed a corridor through the crowd, and held back the reporters and well-wishers long enough for the five of them to cross the street to the hospital. More police were stationed inside the lobby, keeping out the curious.

The five of them crowded into the elevator and made their way up to Dr. Santos' office on the seventh floor. They found her there with Dr. Batoosingh and a number of nurses and hospital officials.

Santos' usual motherly demeanor was gone, replaced by barely contained rage as she berated the officials in rapid-fire Spanish.

"Heero, you have our deepest apologies!" Dr. Batoosingh exclaimed, ushering them into a similar office across the hall and closing the door. "We do not yet know who leaked your personal information, but I have been assured that they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

Heero stared at him a moment. "Then it is true, what that German reporter said? I saw my chart, and the medications-- Penicillin K? But I assumed it was simply for a generalized infection of some sort."

"We asked him not to say anything to you, Heero. Trowa and me," Duo told him. "We figured it wouldn't make any difference to wait until we were sure you were feeling better."

"Then it is true?" Heero sank down in one of the armchairs in front of the desk. "I have a venereal disease? But we--" He looked up at Duo in alarm.

"Had, Heero. Past tense. The stuff they gave you is the latest thing. It works really fast," Duo said quickly.

Wufei shook his head. "I will be outside on guard if you need me."

"Good idea," Quatre said, tugging Trowa by the arm. "We'll be right out there."

Duo waited until they were gone. "Tell him, Doc. Coupla doses and you're 80 percent clean overnight, right? You got a few more days to go on the full course, Heero, but Dr. Santos said your blood work looked good two days ago." He glanced nervously at Dr. Batoosingh and gave Heero a meaningful look. "Besides--y'know? Nothing to worry about, buddy."

But Batoosingh was not fooled. "Oh, Duo. Please tell me you didn't already initiate sexual activity! We did speak of this."

"It was by mutual consent and we practiced safe sex," Heero informed him tersely. "Duo, if I had known there was the slightest chance of infection for you--"

"Yeah, yeah," Duo waved it away, still looking suitably guilty. "Heat of the moment and all that, right? I'll get checked, if it'll make you feel better, but believe me, there's no danger."

"What is it? What did I have?" Heero demanded.

"Syphilis."

"Syphilis! Then I was sexually active during my fugue state. What that reporter said out there? It could be true! Doctor, I assume that something turned up in my initial exam the night I was admitted? As I recall, the admitting physician was extremely--" Heero shuddered a bit. He hated doctors and exams under even optimal conditions; he'd been upset and disoriented and drugged that night, making the whole experience nightmarish. "They did an extensive exam. I assume something was found at that time?"

"I'm afraid so, Heero. There were a few small, already partially healed chancres in your rectum and throat. There was no evidence of tearing or trauma, but given your body's remarkable healing ability, it is difficult to say with any certainty what might have happened."

"Rectum and throat?" Heero rested his face in his hands, breathing deeply and fighting down a sudden rush of panic. This meant he had let someone that close to him, allowed them to do such things to him. Or had been too out of control of himself to prevent it. Strangers! "Oh god!"

He felt a hand on his shoulder. "Heero, you were sick, out of your head."

"Go wash your hands, Duo."

"I took a shower, remember?"

"Now, 02! That's an order!" Looking up, his own voice ringing in his ears, he saw that both Duo and the doctor had retreated to a safe distance. "Please, Duo," he said again, trying not to bark out the words this time. "Use disinfectant."

Duo swallowed, then hurried out.

"Heero--" Batoosingh began.

"We engaged in oral sex while wearing condoms, but also in anal stimulation without the use of gloves."

"That's not what I was going to ask you."

"Is he in danger?"

"I'm sure he's not. The antibiotic you are taking renders early stage patients disease-free in two days. The rest is simply a precaution. Duo knew that. In his own peculiar way, he's always been quite careful about such things."

That didn't make Heero feel any better. "He was wrong not to tell me. I should have had that information before we decided to become--more intimate. He should have told me!"

"I agree." Heero didn't have to look up to know that Batoosingh was as angry at Duo right now as he was. "For what it's worth, I believe he acted out of the best of intentions. He loves you a great deal and no doubt considered intimacy of that sort almost medicinal. He's used it himself as a form of self-medication."

"He's been intimate with Trowa and Quatre. And with strangers."

"This troubles you."

"Yes!" Heero clamped his hands together so tightly the knuckles cracked. "Rationally, I understand some of his reasoning, certainly in seeking out comfort from our friends. But the other? The seeking out of physical abuse, and having casual sex with men who mean nothing to him. Fucking them? Yes, I have a problem with that! But mostly I feel badly, that he would initiate sex with me while holding back information like this."

The door opened and Duo slipped in. One look at his face told Heero that he'd been listening outside the door. He closed it and stood with his back pressed against it.

"I should have told you, OK?" he admitted, close to tears. "I was going to, before we did anything, but I was waiting for the right moment. And then all that shit happened with Trowa and Kat and he kissed you and I got all jealous and-- Shit, Heero, you were really into it, too! I just got carried away."

"And you thought if you told me, I would make you stop."

Duo wiped at his eyes, then looked up defiantly. "Thought? Hell, I knew you would. But I knew it was safe! And I knew if I told you that much, then all the rest of the questions would come out and you'd feel like this and I didn't' think I could deal with that the right way. Not then. Damn it, Heero, I needed you, and you needed me just as bad! And if it wasn't for that shithead out there, I could have broken it to you the right way, now, with the doc here to help pick up the pieces."

"It was manipulative, Duo."

"Maybe, I guess. I didn't mean to be. I just didn't want you to not let me-"

"What? Pay me back for that night in the silo?"

"No! Not like that!" Duo strode over and knelt in front of him, prying Heero's hands apart to hold them. Heero smelled disinfectant on his skin, and saw the lingering orange stain of betadine soap. "I wanted to be close to you and make you feel good. I needed to do that with you, for both of us. Tell me it didn't feel right, Heero. Look me straight in the eye and tell me that!"

Heero looked into those wide violet eyes and knew he couldn't say that. It would be a lie. "You took away my control."

"No! I just avoided an unnecessary fight that would have spoiled everything for no good reason! You wanted me. You said so. If you'd changed your mind anywhere along the way, I'd have stopped! You gotta believe that! I would have, because I love you and would never force you into something you weren't ready for."

"Your intentions may have been good, Duo, but you acted unwisely," Batoosingh said. "You should have allowed Heero to come to terms with the fact that he may have been coerced into sex while he was ill."

"Yeah, and what if he decided he never wanted to have sex again, huh?" Duo demanded, still clutching Heero's hands. "Do you have any idea how difficult it would be to change his mind if he got that and the night in the silo and all that shit mixed up in his head, and maybe decided I wouldn't want him? Or that he shouldn't want me? He pulled that on me once and wouldn't listen. And how many fucking years did it take to get around that? Not to mention the six months I thought he was dead, for fuck's sake!"

His voice broke and he rested his forehead on their clasped hands. "Jesus, Heero. I didn't want to lose you again before I'd shown you it could be OK with us. Better than OK! You're the only one I ever wanted and I couldn't face losing you again without you at least knowing . . ."

Heero felt hot tears against the backs of his hands, and felt Duo's body shaking with silent sobs against his legs. Some part of him wanted to stay angry, but maybe he was still too new to all this feeling and emotion; logic was already kicking in, analyzing this new information, feeding it into his internal database.

"You thought I might disappear again."

Duo nodded.

"And you took action based in part on a desire to protect me."

"In part," Duo mumbled against Hero's hands. "I'm not saying I'm not a selfish prick who was trying to hang onto you no matter what, but look what happened to you before!" He raised his tear-stained face and looked imploringly up at Heero. "What if you took off and got sick again? What if you decided to kill yourself and got it right this time? How the hell would I know? How could I find you? Fuck that, Heero! You did it to me once and I know how good you are at staying lost when you want to. No way! No fucking way was I going to risk that! For either of us!"

Heero thought of that letter Duo had written him when he thought he was dead, so full of pain and longing and frustration. "And if the German reporter does have proof of what he said? That I was a prostitute on the streets?"

"You're asking Duo Maxwell, Gundam Boy Slut Wonder, to pass judgment on that? First of all, I don't believe him. He's just some paparazzi I pissed off, taking a cheap shot at you with some stolen info. And if it is? Jesus, Heero, take a good look at yourself. If that's what it took for you not to starve to death, who am I to say? I grew up on the mean streets, remember? I know how bad things can get, what people can be driven to. But what I really think is that you were too spaced off your ass to know what you were doing, or what was done to you. Think hard, Heero. Do you remember selling yourself?"

"No, I don't even remember having sex with anyone."

"Such memories may emerge later," Batoosingh said softly.

"Fine. We'll deal with them then. Together!" said Duo. "But as far as I'm concerned, Heero was out of his head for at least the past six months and nothing he did during that time would be consensual. Like--like me getting raped, right? He didn't consent, so it doesn't count. He's a circumstantial virgin, same as me."

Heero gently pulled his hands free, then cupped Duo's face and smoothed the tears and Duo's sudden look of dismay away with his thumbs. "Thank you. I'll try to see it that way. And I promise you, no matter what I remember later, I will not simply disappear again. I realize now how hurtful that was for you. I took away your control, doing that. In your place, I would have been frantic. Perhaps we can set up some sort of safeguard system, in case I become fugued again."

Duo wiped his eyes and rose to perch on the arm of Heero's chair. "Yeah, how about a tracking collar around your ankle, or a sub-Q chip?"

Heero recaptured Duo's hand. "Whatever you like."

"All right then. And just for the record, I'm sorry I said for them not to tell you first thing. You probably wouldn't have freaked out."

There was a tap at the door and Trowa looked in. "Relena just called. She saw the news and is sending the embassy helicopter for us. Dr. Santos says Heero can complete his treatment and observation there, and Relena can guarantee security. You OK with that, Heero?"

He nodded. "Yes. I should call her back and thank her."

Trowa gave him a wry look from under his bangs. "You can thank her in person. She's already en route."

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