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

Broken Warriors + Chapter 5
Dear Duo

Former Gundam Boy . . .

It was like coming out of heavy fog. He was hungry. He was sick. He smelled bad and his clothes were very ragged and dirty and he was cold. He was outside, in the rain, in fresh air.

He was on Earth.

He wasn't quite certain why, or what his name was, or where he was, exactly. But the words on the scrap of yellowing newsprint fluttering in the gutter drew him like a beacon. A bit of headline, partway down a page: Former Gundam Boy . . .

It was like some code he knew. Limping closer, he picked up the scrap and tried to read it. It was in Spanish. He could read Spanish. All right. A line at the top of the page told him the newspaper had been published in Madrid almost six months ago. But the words that had caught his eye were in English. He could read that, too. Former Gundam Boy Duo Maxwell Hospitalized.

Part of the article had been torn away, but he made out another name, and the phrase Former Gundam pilot, in Spanish this time. ". . . since the apparent suicide of former Gundam pilot Heero Yuy . . ."

Heero Yuy.

Six months ago.

Oh, damn.

+

"Hey Trowa, the wife needs you!"

Trowa glared down at Catherine from the platform. He disliked that little joke among the company almost as much as he disliked being interrupted at practice. But she looked worried. He slid down the guy rope to meet her, not wanting to shout a conversation back and forth for all to hear. "What is it?"

"I'm not sure. I think Duo's going off the rails again. They're at the trailer."

He didn't wait to hear more. He found them sitting on the couch together in the front room of the trailer, staring at something on Duo's laptop screen. Both of them looked stricken. Trowa sat down beside Quatre and wrapped an arm around him, trying to see. "What is it, love? What's wrong?"

It was Duo who answered. Pushing the computer onto Trowa's knees, he whispered, "Do you think it could be true?"

It was an email, dated today.

To: ShinigamiFlyBoy@privatesky.net
From: Guestuser001345@SanqueEmbassy.madrid.gov
01 September 198
03:05 am L4 time

Dear Duo:

I hope this reaches you. I am at the Sanque Embassy in Madrid, Spain. I made them let me send this to you before they take me to the hospital.

I tried to call, but your number is not in service. That scares me. Please reply to this address ASAP if you receive this. I don't seem to have my computer anymore, or any of my other things, but they will let me check email here. They have assured me this is a secure line, but I do not intend to trust that, for obvious reasons.

I don't know how to begin. I think I have been very sick. I may have tried to kill myself, but quite honestly, I don't remember. I saw in an old newspaper that you were very sick again and the date seems to coincide with my reported death. If that was the cause, I'm very sorry. I don't know what happened, but I will find some way to make it up to you. They aren't giving me time to do a proper online search but I'm told you're alive.

I have been mentally ill for some time now. Dangerously so. That's why I left. That's why I stayed away. I do not wish to say more in this format. I will tell you more later. I think I am much better now. I think I am, but I do not trust my judgment yet. I will keep you informed.

I am sorry if I caused you any pain. I am safe and seeking treatment. I will keep in touch. Please email me at this address for now, or call the embassy. I must go now. There is an escort waiting. I hope they can keep this out of the news for a while. We have all been in the news too much, don't you think?

Heero


Duo was fighting back tears. Quatre looked at Trowa, eyes filled with pained, cautious hope. "Do you think it's really him?"

Trowa read it again, and then one more time, parsing each sentence, trying to hear the words in Heero's voice. "I think it could be him."

"Really?" Duo grabbed the laptop back, hungrily rereading the message. "Why, Tro? What makes you believe it? I believe it, but god, I want to! But there have been so many fakes already . . ."

There had been a lot for a while, some obvious hoaxes, others cruelly well done enough to leave them all reeling. Wufei had set up a special task force to investigate and prosecute the hoaxers and they had tapered off. But this one looked different.

"Well, he has your private address and the access code to send to it. That's a first. But this line here: ' They have assured me this is a secure line, but I do not intend to trust that, for obvious reasons.' Who does that sound like?"

Duo clicked on "Reply." He was muttering under his breath, even before he started typing and Trowa caught ". . . doesn't remember. He didn't say it, didn't say it."

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