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

Broken Warriors + Chapter 7
Tracking Heero

For once they managed to outsmart the reporters. Cadres of uniformed Preventer agents went Earth-side every day. Duo hid his braid down the back of his uniform jacket. Quatre gave up his jewelry and studs again for the cause and tucked his hair under his cap. He only had the one big electric blue streak at the moment, anyway, so it wasn't hard to hide. With sunglasses on and cap brims pulled low, none of the four attracted any notice as they strode through the launch port to the private shuttle Relena sent. She'd sounded a little starchy on the phone, according to Trowa, but Duo didn't have time to worry about that now.

Dr. Batoosingh was already aboard and gave Duo a friendly nod as he dropped into the seat beside him. Even so, he also had that 'look', like Duo was a bug under a lens.

"Don't worry, Doc," Duo told him. "For once you get to see me functional."

No one said much until after lift off. Then others gathered around, leaning over the seat backs as Batoosingh opened his computer.

"So what did you find out?" Duo asked.

"Captain Yuy signed the release, allowing me to examine his records. You must understand that I am not at liberty to share all of the specifics."

"But ya got to be able to tell us something! We're all the family he's got. At least tell us what ya think will let us help him."

"Of course. In fact, Duo, when he joined Preventers and set up his health and insurance plans, he designated you and Mr. Barton as next of kin."

Duo grinned up at Trowa, who was leaning over his seat. "Guess that makes us brothers, huh?"

"What does that make me?" Quatre asked.

"The in-law?" Wufei growled, but without malice. In his own prickly way, he'd accepted the union, though he still disliked the media attention it drew.

Batoosingh called up a folder and began sorting through the files. "Captain Yuy sought both medical and psychiatric treatment while he was with the Preventers. According to his psychiatrist's notes, however, he found therapy extremely difficult."

"It would involve talking," Trowa murmured.

"That's why I do so well," Duo shot back, laughing. God, he felt good. No matter what Dr. B had turned up about Heero, he was alive and waiting for them! He didn't give a shit if Heero had been roasting babies and eating them. He was alive!

Batoosingh found what he was looking for. "According to his current attending physician, Dr. Santos, he is suffering from extreme malnutrition and the effects of exposure, as well as assorted related ailments, none of them life threatening. He's quite weak, but there are no signs of pneumonia, as might be expected. He does appear to be exhibiting at least mild paranoid behavior-"

"That describes Heero on a good day," Quatre told him. "It's just training, with him."

"Not entirely, I fear. I'll come to that in a moment. But you should know that Captain Yuy himself urged Dr. Santos and his staff to treat him with caution. He was not fully coherent, seemed confused at times, and exhibited considerable distrust of anyone in authority."

Wufei muttered something and Duo nodded. Paranoia and distrust; that was their Heero, all right.

"There's more, though, isn't there?" asked Quatre.

Batoosingh went back to the older file. "The paranoia was becoming increasingly pronounced during his time as a Preventer. Although therapy was less productive, he was very cooperative in taking medication. It seems his doctors ran the gamut, looking for something that would work-the thioridazines, two different haloperidols, the chlorpromazine family, clozapines- Ah, here is the blood work." Batoosingh's brows drew together, then shot up in surprise. "Well, they are--unusual, to say the least: adrenal levels off the scale, but dangerously low serotonins. In word, scarcely human."

"He was human," Duo snapped. "Just-unusual. What else ya got?"

"At the end he was taking Unadol, one of the new risperidones. Good god, the dosage! But not efficacious."

"Huh?" asked Duo.

"It didn't work," Quatre translated.

"Not well enough to alleviate the symptoms," Batoosingh concurred.

"Symptoms? Plural? What are we talking about?" Wufei demanded.

"There are a number listed, and all seem to have continued to escalate during the time he was treated. In addition to the usual post-traumatic stress difficulties, he suffered from increasing paranoia, violent ideation, and somnambulism."

"Meaning he walked in his sleep."

"Yes, evidently there were several incidents of him attempting to 'carry out missions,' as it is noted here, while asleep. He attacked one of Relena's bodyguards during one such episode, injuring the man rather badly. That appears to have been the worst of several incidents. All were covered up in-house, but according to the notes, right before he disappeared, he was being restrained at night at his own request. He was scheduled to enter a psychiatric facility the day he disappeared."

Duo gasped. "Relena was having him locked up?"

"His signature appears on the committal papers."

Duo stared at him. "But why didn't she tell us?"

"A note is included with the file. Captain Yuy left specific instructions that the rest of you were not to know how ill he was until he gave his consent. Ms. Peacecraft gave her word."

"But after he took off? Jesus, she could have said!"

"Evidently he sent word, asking her not to. He agreed to stay in contact with you, Duo. If he broke contact for more than six months, she was free to tell the rest of you anything she cared to."

Duo felt like he'd been kicked in the gut. "So that's it? That's why he wrote to me?" Quatre reached for his shoulder but Duo shook him off. "It was just-just a signal?" All the happiness he'd been feeling spiraled away, leaving him cold and sick inside.

Batoosingh shook his head. "Don't jump to conclusions, Duo. Remember what he said on that card."

"Yeah, when he was completely out of his mind!" Duo choked out. Tears burned his eyes but he blinked them back angrily. "He didn't-He didn't-" He couldn't get the words out. Yanking his cap brim down, he struggled to hold himself together. A signal! That's all. No wonder he didn't say much.

Trowa was shaking him by the shoulder. "Duo, snap out of it!"

"What does he mean. What didn't Captain Yuy do?" Batoosingh was asking.

"The email," Quatre told him. "Heero didn't say-well, he didn't say 'I love you' in the email he sent this morning. I could tell that really bothered Duo at the time."

"I just thought he forgot," Duo whispered hoarsely. "He said he was sick, right? And that they were rushing him off to the hospital or wherever. I just thought-he forgot."

"Do you have this email with you?" asked Batoosingh.

Duo called up the file on his machine and turned the screen so the doctor could see. Batoosingh frowned thoughtfully as he read it, then nodded and turned it back. "I suggest you read it again, keeping in mind how physically ill he was when he wrote this. Read it carefully, starting with the first paragraph."

"Out loud, please," said Wufei, who hadn't read it yet.

Duo wiped his eyes on his sleeve and grudgingly scanned the email again. "'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. '"

"Made them," Dr. Batoosingh repeated.

Wufei chuckled. "I can imagine. It is not wise to argue with Heero."

"Yeah, yeah," Duo mumbled. "'I tried to call, but your number is not in service. That scares me. '" He glanced up. "OK, he was really concerned."

"Go on. Skip to the next paragraph."

"'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--'"

"Does that sound like someone who was only using you for a signal, Duo? Keep going."

Duo wiped his eyes again. "'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.' Yeah, that's him all over. '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-'" He broke off, accepting the handkerchief the doctor was offering. "Jesus, he never apologized for anything! '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-' OK, yeah, I get it. He cares."

"About you, about your safety and your health, about what you must have thought upon hearing of his death."

"He sounds very confused," Quatre says softly. "That's not like him at all. What's that last bit, about the news?"

"'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?'"

Quatre rested his chin on the back of his hand, looking thoughtful. "Why would he say that, unless he'd been keeping tabs on us via the newscasts? Duo, I think he's missed us as bad as we missed him."

"Especially you," noted Trowa. "I mean, he doesn't ask directly about anyone else, does he?"

"I don't know Captain Yuy, but as a psychiatrist, and one who has listened to many stories of him, I suggest that he is telling Duo how he feels in every line." Batoosingh reached into his jacket and took out a plastic envelope containing the holocard. "Keep this close at hand. You may have some difficult times ahead of you. I worry that this young man cannot be everything that you need him to be for you, but don't doubt too quickly that he means what he says. You must all keep in mind, too, that no matter what he has been in the past, he is probably every bit as fragile as Duo right now."

"What, me fragile?" Duo chewed at his lower lip for a moment, then excused himself and went to the lavatory at the back of the shuttle. Locking the door, he bent over the sink, head in his arms, and wept himself calm. When he was finished he blew his nose and rinsed his face, then looked himself in the eye in the mirror. He didn't like what he saw: pale face, red nose, wide, frightened eyes all bloodshot from crying. "Get a grip Maxwell!" he snapped, scowling at himself. "Do it for Heero. Get those fucking mood swings under control and quit reacting like a lovesick little girl." He checked his watch, popped the scheduled mood stabilizer pill early, and went back to his seat. Opening his laptop again, he logged onto the in-flight server.

"You OK?" Trowa asked softly.

"OK enough. Right, Kat?" Duo forced a grin.

Quatre smiled back. "Yeah. What're you up to?"

"Heero isn't the only world class hacker among us, right? Wuffie, you got a number for Heero's payroll records?"

Wufei gave him the site code and Duo quickly found Heero's account. He plugged it into a piece of software he'd designed and set it to work breaking the password.

"That appears to be highly illegal," Batoosingh murmured.

"Don't worry, I'm a good boy. Just check my bank balance. I mostly used it for Heero hunting and stealing porn. And here---it---comes! Shit, wouldn't have come up with that one on my own. Soooooo, let's have a look at these accounts, Mr. Yuy. Have you been to the well lately? Holy fuck! Maybe Hacker Heero wasn't such a good boy. He's loaded!"

"J left him well off," Wufei told him.

"Oh, reeeeeally?" Duo nibbled a ragged thumbnail, eyes still on the screen. "Maybe I won't shit on his grave, after all."

"Do what?" asked Quatre, shocked.

"Never mind. Private joke. According to this, Heero hasn't touched his health insurance or his bank accounts since two days before he took a runner on Relena. However, on that day he pulled quite a chunk out of savings. Oh you clever boy, Heero. I bet we'll never trace that little nest egg. Fuck. Well, he had running money for a while at least. Now, Doc, what did you say that last drug he was on was called?"

Batoosingh spelled it for him and Duo typed it into a custom search engine, cross referenced with the Kyoto police record.

"What are you doing?" the doctor asked, perplexed.

"Looking for Heero's M.O. " Wufei was actually grinning.

"During the war Heero never paid for anything he could steal instead," Trowa explained, smiling now, too. "It was the closest I ever saw him come to admitting he was having fun. Besides that, though, a legal prescription would mean doctor's visits and a paper trail. All traceable, even if he used an alias. So he'd steal."

"Nothing," Duo muttered. "Crazy like a fox, ain't ya, buddy?"

"Expand to the national police register," Wufei said, leaning over to see the screen.

"Way ahead of you. Gotcha! Six pharmacy robberies in western Japan in the past eighteen months with significant amounts of Unadol stolen, and four of them predate this." He patted the holocard in his uniform breast pocket. "I bet if we did a global search, there's be more, scattered from Earth to the colonies, and somewhere in there is the trail of the elusive Heero Yuy. Damn!"

"That's why he swore Relena to secrecy, I bet," said Quatre. "He knew we'd figure this out and trace him."

Batoosingh nodded, clearly impressed. "It's entirely possible he thought he was protecting you all. Duo, do the reports you have give the amount of drugs stolen?" He pulled up the calculator on his desktop. Duo broke out the figures and he totaled them up, then whistled. "God god, assuming only these four are indeed his doing, he had enough in his possession to kill six men."

"Maybe he didn't take it?" Quatre suggested. "I mean, he's still alive, right?"

Duo logged off, fell back in his seat, and closed his eyes. "That's right. He's still alive."

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