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

Broken Warriors + Chapter 60
Crash and Burn

Heero left the sketchbook under the mattress, unable to touch it again, or the nasty reminder from his past that it held. Duo sensed that something was wrong, and Quatre gave him a few odd looks, but Heero shrugged off their concern. It didn't matter. Whoever they were, his attackers, they'd seen him on the news, sent him their souvenir to hurt him, or to brag. It didn't matter. It was in the past. It had taken two months for their letter to even find him.

It didn't matter.

That's what he told himself. Just like he told himself that suddenly not wanting to have sex with Duo was just because he was tired and sad about the others leaving.

That logic worked well enough for him to shake off the darkness lurking at the corners of his consciousness. It worked right up until the second letter arrived two days later, addressed to him here at the New Orleans house. Another page from the scrapbook. Another photo, this time of him being raped from behind. Another scrawled message: "How you sleeping these days, Mr. War Hero?"

+

Quatre was in the middle of a stage practice session with Trowa when the flash from Heero hit him. One moment he was on Trowa's shoulders, pushing up into a handstand; the next, he was on his hands and knees in a cold, stinking alleyway, being raped and sodomized while faceless strangers laughed and hit him and there were hands grasping at him and he was scared and furious and confused and in so much pain and someone was shaking him and shouting in his face . . .

"Quatre! Quatre! Please, baby, open your eyes!"

The smells and pain were gone as quickly as they'd come. He was curled in a ball, lying on his side on the stage, with his head in Trowa's lap. He rolled up on his hands and knees, only to be seized by a fit of nausea that left him retching helplessly. Trowa was there beside him when it stopped, wiping his mouth with a cloth and gathering him back into his arms to carry him away from the mess, all the while pleading with him to calm down and tell him what was wrong.

Still badly confused, Quatre realized that he was crying and his throat and his left arm hurt. Catherine and the balancing act girls were standing around, looking horrorstruck, but not half so much as Trowa. He was white as a sheet and blood was streaming from his nose. He carried Quatre to one of the small stage platforms and sat down, still holding him close. "Corazon, what happened? Are you hurt? Talk to me, Quatre!"

"Trowa, you're bleeding!"

"It's nothing, mele. Are you OK?"

Quatre tried to sit up, but was still too shaky. He flexed his arm and decided he'd only bruised it. "I fell?"

"Jesus, yes! Everything was going fine, then you screamed and started flailing around up there in midair and came down on top of me . . . I thought-- I don't know what I thought! A seizure or something. But it was a flash, wasn't it?"

The memory of it crowded in on him again. Quatre pressed his face to Trowa's sweaty chest and inhaled deeply, focusing on his husband's familiar scent to block out the horror of that alley. In his mind's eye, however, he saw those drawings of Heero's: the eyes and hands ones that had given him a taste of this same awful feeling. Panic returned, but this time it was for Heero. "We've got to get home. Now!"

+

The cab had hardly stopped moving before Quatre flew out and ran for the front door, still dressed only in his tight practice shorts and a few streaks of Trowa's blood. He'd elbowed him in the face, apparently. They got the bleeding stopped while they'd waited for the cab.

"Heero! Duo, where are you?" he called, standing in the garden, hoping they could hear him from here.

"Kitchen!" Duo shouted back.

Trowa caught up with him and they ran to the kitchen door and found Duo on the floor by the table, holding Heero in his arms. Heero was curled tight in fetal position, arms locked around Duo's waist as the longhaired boy rocked. Heero was white as paper and sweating. Quatre saw with a pang that he was gripping the end of Duo's braid like a lifeline in one hand. He'd done the same that day in Madrid when they'd found him in the hospital.

He fought to shield himself from Heero's emotions. Judging by the look of anguish on Duo's face, he needed to be in control and able to help the others.

"What happened?" Trowa asked, kneeling beside them to stroke Heero's shoulder. Heero shuddered and flinched away, clinging more tightly to Duo.

"I found him like this a little while ago. He hasn't said a word but I think he had a flashback," Duo answered in a shaky whisper.

"He did," Quatre told him. "I saw."

Heero groaned suddenly and reached out for him. Quatre knelt down and let Heero draw him into a bruising embrace.

"I'm sorry, so sorry!" Heero hissed, burying his fingers in Quatre's hair.

"Oh Heero, it wasn't your fault!" Quatre told him, stroking the fevered cheek next to his. "Did something happen?"

Heero just shook his head, clutching him and Duo closer.

Trowa bent and retrieved something from under the table. His back was turned, but Quatre heard and felt the sudden revulsion that went through him. White faced, Trowa turned and showed Quatre and Duo what appeared to be a page torn from a scrapbook. There were pictures of all of them, cut from magazines and print outs, but a photograph had been taped over the others, a picture of a very ragged, dirty, naked Heero Yuy being held down over an overturned garbage can while a man, visible only from the chest down, raped him. Quatre turned his face away, choking down a new wave of nausea. Trowa shoved the page under some magazines on the table and wiped his hands on his shorts as if the paper had soiled his hands.


The three of them managed to get Heero upstairs and into the big bed, then climbed in with him. Duo sat up against the headboard, with Heero's head in his lap. Trowa and Quatre lay close on either side, arms securely around him.

It was impossible to screen out all the roiling emotions coming from Heero, but Quatre fought hard to keep them down to a dull roar so he wouldn't have to withdraw.

"It's like that morning after we played spin the bottle," Trowa mumbled, close to tears.

"This is a lot worse!" said Duo, stroking Heero's unruly brown hair. He was crying, but his voice was rough with anger. "Jesus, I want to find those guys and rip their---"

"Please, Duo, stay calm. That's not helping him now," Quatre warned, close to meltdown himself. He hadn't felt the attack Heero had suffered in Madrid that morning. This was a real flashback. He looked down into Heero's face. His eyes were squeezed shut again, face tight with pain, as if he was still under attack. "Heero, open your eyes. Come on, you're here with us. You're in New Orleans with us in our own bed. Please open your eyes."

Heero drew a shuddering breath, then slowly did as he asked, but those dark blue eyes were unfocused and filled with pain. Bracing himself, Quatre reached out as much as he dared, then recoiled as the stink and cold and pain hit him like a blow. "Damn, I think he might be going into shock, or that fugue state."

Duo let out a distressed hiss, then wiggled out from under Heero and went to rummage in the bottom drawer of his dresser. He came back a small brown eyedropper bottle.

"What's that?" asked Trowa.

"Thirty eight, courtesy of 05's secret stash," Duo replied grimly. "Heero, baby? I've got some medicine for you. Can you open your mouth for me? It's Duo-"

"He's flashing to being raped, and in the mouth," Quatre warned, almost choking on the words.

Duo stretched out across the head of the bed, face close to Heero's, and stroked his lover's face and hair. "Baby? 01? It's 02, baby. Copy that?"

Heero blinked, trying hard to focus. "02?"

"Yeah, 01. I've got some medicine for you. Just a drop, OK?"

Heero didn't respond, but he didn't fight, either as Duo stroked the corner of his mouth, then slid the little glass dropper in and squeezed the rubber bulb. Heero coughed and sputtered, then went limp in Quatre's arms.

"Fuck, Duo, how much did you give him?" Trowa demanded in alarm.

Duo checked Heero's pupils and pulse. "He's fine. I did more of this shit than either of you, and I know how to dose it. I just gave him a little bit more, since he tends to fight off drugs."

Trowa took the bottle and sniffed the contents. "You got this from Wufei?"

"Uh, yeah." Duo gave him a chagrinned look. "Heero was on the warpath, cleaning out all his stashes. I kinda held this back, just in case."

"In case of what?" Trowa growled. "If you've been doing this shit again, Duo, I'm going to---"

"No way! I swear, Tro, really. See, the bottle's still almost full. I don't need this shit anymore, but it can be good medicine in a pinch, like now. I'd have held onto some of Wu's opium too, but Heero beat me to it."

Trowa scowled at him a moment longer, then set the bottle aside on the nightstand and handed Duo his laptop. "We'll talk about this later. Contact Batoosingh. Now!"

+

Heero was out cold, safe from bad dreams for the moment. Duo made Quatre check twice, then sat down in a chair by the bed and keyed in Dr. Batoosingh's private number. It was after hours on L-2, but he knew the doctor wouldn't care. He heaved a small sigh of relief as Batoosingh's concerned face appeared on his screen.

"Duo, are you all right?"

"Yeah, but Heero isn't. He's finally remembering what happened to him and it's worse than I thought." Wincing inwardly, he filled him in as much as he could, then held up the scrapbook page for him to see.

Batoosingh nodded. "It is consistent with the medical findings. Where is he now?"

Duo held the screen to show him Heero in the bed with the others. "He was really out of it. Here, but not here, if you know what I mean. I--uh, well, I didn't have anything else so I have him a little THC-38."

Batoosingh's eyebrows arched disapprovingly. "Should I ask why you have that?"

"If you're going to kick my ass, get in line. Tro's got dibs. But it calmed him down, and got him out of the flashback."

"I will fax down a prescription for something better. Don't give him any more of that."

"But it worked," Duo maintained stubbornly. "I've been where he is, remember? None of the rest of you has. I didn't want him stuck in that place, not even just in his head!"

"I understand, but I'd rather have you use a legal, controlled substance with a known dosage level," Batoosingh said firmly.

"Fine, whatever!" Duo grumbled. "Should we get him into a hospital? He really hates them, but--"

"See how he is when he wakes up. If he's coherent, I'll speak with him directly. Call me immediately, no matter the hour. Now let me speak with Trowa or Quatre, please."

Trowa heard and took the computer from him. Batoosingh said something and Trowa nodded, then carried the laptop out onto the balcony and closed the door.

Angry, Duo climbed back into bed and pulled Heero in his arms again. Quatre said nothing, just leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.

"I had to do something!" Duo whispered, stroking Heero's sweaty hair back from his forehead. "I couldn't just leave him like that! It'll take hours to get a prescription filled and half the time that shit doesn't work on him anyway!"

"I know," Quatre murmured, stroking Duo's hair and shoulder. "I think you just scared Tro, that's all. And you know why, too."

Duo sighed. "Yeah, I guess, but he's still pretty pissed at me."

"He'll get over it. Just focus on Heero for now. Be here for him."

Duo rested his cheek against Heero's head. "Yeah, I can do that."

+

Heero woke slowly, aware of little except the fact that Duo was holding him close. Opening his eyes, he saw with confusion that it was night and that he was in bed with his clothes on.

"Hey, buddy, back with us now?" Duo said, giving him a kiss. He was dressed to.

"What's going on?" Heero muttered, sitting up and scratching his head. It ached. He hated sleeping during the day. The last thing he remembered was being in the kitchen, looking at the mail . . .

He made it into the bathroom and fell to his knees at the toilet, retching miserably.

The photo. A second photo. To this address! Panic boiled up again, and cold sweat broke out down his back. He could smell sour fear on his skin. 'I'm strong now!' he told himself angrily. 'I'm sane and I have a gun. No one will ever do that to me again!'

But it didn't help much. It didn't stop him from slumping over the toilet seat and bursting into tears. His body remembered, as much as his mind. He could still feel the pain, the blood on his thighs, the blows and the taste of unwashed flesh forced into his mouth.

"Heero?" Duo was hovering behind him, knowing better than to approach him without warning.

"It's--it's OK." It wasn't, far from it, but he didn't know what else to say. But he wasn't out of control. He wasn't dangerous. Duo could touch him. That's all he wanted to say.

Duo understood, of course. He helped Heero up, helped him rinse his mouth and wash his face and stagger back to the bed, then held him as he sobbed out what he could of the pain. When it was over, Heero sat on the edge of the mattress, hands clenched between his knees to still the shaking there. He'd had flashes before-the first time he and Duo attempted anal sex, that morning in the hospital lounge bathroom, when he'd realized he'd made Duo bleed //like I bled!//, that first night here in New Orleans when they'd all sucked each other off in the alley. He'd flashed a little then, but been too drunk and horny to understand. But this, this was bad. The lid was off now, the scabs ripped away, and he was going to remember what had happened whether he wanted to or not. It was already there, in bits and fragments, crystallizing around those two photos.

"Where are they?" he asked dully, hating the way he smelled. Sweat and fear and the undertone of something else.

"Trowa's down making supper. I think Kat's helping . . ."

"No! The pictures."

Duo knelt in front of him and clasped his hands. "You mean there was more than one? You had one in the kitchen with you when I found you today. Was there another?"

Heero sagged. "Yes. The first one came two days ago. It's--it's in a sketchbook under the mattress in the other room."

Duo's brows drew together dangerously. "Two days ago? Heero, why didn't you say something?"

"I don't know." It was true, although he knew how absurd it seemed on the surface. "I just didn't want--I don't know."

Still kneeling between Heero's knees, Duo wrapped his arms around his waist and held him. "It's OK, baby. I understand."

Heero found the braid, pulled the tie free and loosened the hair so he could bury his face in it. Duo smelled so good, so clean. It made Heero feel even filthier. "I need a shower."

"Want me to come in with you?" Duo offered, voice muffled against Heero's chest.

Heero thought about that. "Yes."

+

Trowa and Quatre were waiting for them in the bedroom when they came out of the shower. A tray on the bed held bowls of chicken chow mein and rice and a pot of tea.

Heero's stomach was acid and uneasy, but the salty food settled it down. He ate lightly, trying to ignore the concerned looks the others were giving him. He was supposed to be the strong one, the perfect soldier. He didn't like being seen to break down. Especially over something that had happened over a year ago, something that couldn't be changed.

"Batoosingh wants you to call," Trowa said as he finished eating.

"It's late there. I'll call him tomorrow."

"No. Now." He pushed his laptop across the bed to him and Heero saw he already had the vid link cued. "He wanted to talk to you right away."

"I'm fine," Heero insisted, oddly reluctant to speak with the doctor.

Duo reached over and massaged his shoulder. "Come on, baby, he sounded . . ."

"NO!" Then Heero was on his feet, looking down at the broken bowls and wrecked computer, wondering what the hell had happened. Someone had shouted. Quatre was at the bedroom door, Trowa at the balcony door and both looked ready for trouble, but they were looking at him. Duo was still on the bed, looking up at him with a mix of concern and alarm.

'I did that,' Heero though unhappily, looking down at the broken computer. Duo's computer. "I'm sorry. I'll get you another one."

"It's OK, Heero. I don't care about that. But I'm going to go get yours now and you are going to talk to Batoosingh. Copy that?"

Heero hung his head. "I copy."

+

Heero got the others to leave him alone in the parlor before he called Batoosingh, but with the understanding that one of them would be stationed outside the door if he needed them. He'd also overheard Duo telling Trowa about the other photo. They'd retrieve it, he supposed, but he didn't want to see it, or smell it, again. The second one had had that same stench about it, too. That, as much as the picture, had set him off.

With a sigh, he made the call. Batoosingh answered at once, looking as if he'd been expecting him.

"Heero, how are you feeling now?"

"Better."

"That's a relative assessment, I'm sure. I've faxed down a prescription---"

"I don't need drugs. I will get past this on my own."

"I doubt that, Heero, but we can stick with therapy for the time being, if the others feel you are not in any danger. Tell me, are you suicidal? Any ideation on self harm?"

"No, none. I would like to kill the men who hurt me, though."

Batoosingh smiled. "That's actually a good sign, although I do hope you will not attempt to act on that."

"I don't know where they are," Heero informed him flatly.

"Lucky for them, I'd say. Can you talk about this?"

"I don't want to."

"That's not what I asked, though, is it? You need to talk about this to someone. It's like lancing a boil to drain the poison from the body. I suggest you begin with me, as it will be very painful for your friends to listen, though I'm certain they are willing."

"I just want to forget about it!" There was the anger again. Heero clenched his hands together. "I--I don't want to remember letting anyone do those things to me!"

"Is that how you recall it?"

Heero glanced up in irritation. "What?"

"You just said you let them do that to you. I find that hard to believe."

"I--That is--" To Heero's horror, he felt tears welling in his eyes again. He rubbed at them and blinked hard, trying to get himself under control. "I should have been able to stop them."

"You were very ill, mentally and physically. Given what I know of you, if you had been able to stop them, you most certainly would have. Therefore, you must have been too ill to defend yourself. Tell me, what have you actually remembered so far?"

Heero told him as quickly and sparingly as possible. Batoosingh looked thoughtful when he was done, and seemed to be making some notes.

"What if that German reporter was right?" Heero muttered.

Batoosingh looked momentarily at a loss.

"At the press conference in Madrid. A man named Meir claimed to have evidence that I'd been a prostitute. What if that is true, doctor? That would have been 'letting' men do that to me, wouldn't it?"

"DO you think you were a prostitute?"

Heero fisted his hands in his hair. "I don't remember! I was broke, hungry, out of my head. Maybe I did! They said--I remember them saying that they--- did what they did because I looked like-They didn't know it was me, they just thought I looked like me. They could have been ex-Alliance, or people whose relatives I killed. There are plenty of people on Earth with good reason to hate me, doctor. Enough to want to hurt me that way."

"Are you saying that you deserved to be raped, Heero, because of what you did during the war?"

Heero stared down at his bare feet.

"But as far as they knew it wasn't really you, just someone who looked like you, is that correct."

"They know now."

"I saw the message they wrote on that scrapbook page."

"There was another one, two days ago. They wrote 'We knew it was you' on that one."

"I see. Yet that doesn't seem to match up with your memories."

"Can I trust my memory?"

"Perhaps. Perhaps not. I'm not sure it matters. Those men used you as an object of their anger. You were raped, badly hurt, and made to feel helpless. That is a terrible thing for anyone to endure, but there are additional issues when it happens to a man, even a gay man. Rape has nothing to do with sex, really, and everything to do with power. They took away your power. I would even go so far as to say that your case is more unique than most, considering who you perceived yourself to be."

"You speak of me in the past tense."

"I think the Heero Yuy of the war days is in the past. You've as much as told me that in our sessions. Have you changed your mind about that?"

Anger surged again. "I don't know!" Heero growled. "I am who I am! I need to understand how I could let something like that happen to me!"

"It wasn't your fault, Heero. Rape is never the victim's fault. But that's the second time you've used language that tells me you are blaming yourself. You did not allow it, Heero, I promise you. It was an attack. If we were talking about a suit battle, and you'd been wounded, you wouldn't blame yourself, would you?"

"I would have failed in my mission, if I'd been unable to defend myself to that extent."

Batoosingh blinked. "I see. But you were not on a mission when you were raped."

"Yes, I was," Heero replied softly. "I gave myself the mission to-To--" He sighed. "I was on a mission not to hurt my friends because I was crazy."

"Was not being hurt yourself a parameter of this mission?"

Heero stared at the man on the screen. "My personal safety was never a parameter of any mission."

"Then how could you fail by being hurt?"

"I don't know if you can help me with this, doctor. You don't understand."

"I do, Heero, better than you do. I've worked with many rape victims, male and female. This won't go away until you stop blaming yourself. I'm going to speak to Duo and the others about this, too. They need to be aware of your state of mind. I will not share other details, but they do need to know that."

"I don't care what you tell them. I have no secrets from them," Heero shot back sourly.

"I'm glad you're with them, Heero, and glad you feel you can talk openly to them. I would like to speak with you on a daily basis for the next few days, if that's agreeable. Or you could come here and see me on an outpatient basis."

"No, vid phone is fine."

"Good, then I'll have you contact my secretary for scheduling. There's one other thing, though, that I think you should be aware of. This will be hard on your friends, and especially so on Duo for several reasons. He loves you very much, and had depended on you often to be the strong one. You need that from him now, because you love him. But he's also a rape victim, and he's avoided dealing with those memories as much as possible. He will want to help you, but there may be times when he can't. Don't let that scare you. He won't stop loving you over this."

Heero let out a short, barking laugh. "I would never think that! Duo has his problems, I know, but he'd not small-minded."

"I know that. But he may get scared, make bad decisions. He's already made one that I know of, with the THC."

"The what?" Heero stared at him in shock.

"It was a decent short term fix, but it could aggravate your depression if used long term--"

+

Duo was on door duty when it flew open. Heero was dry-eyed now, but pretty grim. "Duo, come in, please." Duo stepped inside, concerned. Heero closed it firmly and folded his arms. "Did you take a bottle of THC-38 from Wufei's apartment?"

Duo's heart missed a beat. "Um--yeah."

"Did you give me that drug this afternoon?"

Duo felt his fists clenching. "Yes. You were freaking out, going fugue on us--"

Heero moved so fast Duo never had a chance. He had time to register the look of naked shock on his lover's face, then he was being yanked across the room to the overstuffed antique couch. Heero pulled him down across his lap, twisted Duo's right arm up behind his back, then just started whaling away on his ass, hard open handed smacks that hurt like crazy even through his jeans.

"Don't you ever, ever give me illegal drugs again!" Heero shouted, and the tone of his voice hurt as much as the spanking.

"I was only trying to help you!" Duo yelled, struggling to free himself. Heero was furious, out of control, and Duo was as much scared as pissed. But guilty, too, he had to admit.

Heero shoved him off his lap, then slid down to kneel in front of him, grasping him by the shoulders. "Why, Duo? Why did you take a bottle of that shit, after we agreed that we'd destroy it all?"

"I didn't use any!" Duo snarled through his tears. Damn, his ass hurt! "Jesus, Heero, you know I haven't!"

"Why did you keep it?"

"I don't know! Old habits? Fuck, that stuff is expensive--"

Heero released him and buried his face in his hands, shaking badly. "You gave it to me?"

"Heero, I'm sorry, OK? I was just trying to stop you being in pain like that! I could tell how bad it was, and Quatre? He picked up on it from across town in the middle of practice with Tro and practically broke his arm. I just--I was scared for you! I couldn't stand having you feel like that!"

Heero took a deep, shuddering breath and looked up. His eyes were huge, and full of confusion. "The drugs don't make anything go away. They just keep you from dealing with it. I don't want them, Duo. If I have to feel this, then I will. You can be there for me, if you want to, but not that way!"

A hitching sob caught in Duo's throat. He threw himself into Heero's arms, clinging to him. "Whaddya mean 'if'? I'm here for you, Heero. I screwed up, but I won't again, I promise. Let me help you. Don't keep me away, please!"

Strong arms wrapped around him, pulled him close. Heero held him and Duo's fear subsided a little, just enough for the guilt to creep in. He was supposed to be comforting Heero, not adding to the problem. Fuck, what had he been thinking? He pulled back enough to get his arms around Heero.

"I won't screw up again, Heero. I swear to you. You can count on me, really. I promise! Don't go away again!" Oops, that just kinda slipped out from nowhere, that great big lurking secret fear of his.

"Go away?" Heero's arms tightened around him. "Oh baby, no! I'll never do that! No matter what. I won't do that to you again!"

"Promise!"

"I promise."

"Swear!"

"I swear to you, Duo, I won't go away. I won't leave you."

"Everyone else I loved did!" Duo blurted out, hating himself for laying this on Heero now but helpless to shut the fuck up. "Oh shit! This is so fucked up! I'm sorry, Heero. I really can be strong for you, I'm just-just--"

"I know," Heero soothed, sounding a lot saner that Duo did right now. "I know you're there for me. I never doubt that. I know this is hard for you, because of what happened to you, when you were a kid and when I was gone. I understand, Duo. I promise I won't leave. Not ever."

"Thanks!" Duo sighed, wiping his face on the shoulder of Heero's tee shirt. "Man, we're some pair, huh?"

"Yes, we are. Come back to bed? I need to hold you. Later, we'll figure out what to do about this."

"I thought you and Dr. B had that worked out."

Heero shook his head. "I mean about the bastards sending me mail. Duo, they know our address."

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