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

Broken Warriors + Chapter 8

They made it through the Madrid launch port without being recognized and took a cab to a hospital named for St. Francis, at the edge of a large city park. It was nearly eleven am, local time, Duo noted anxiously. He should have tried to call again as soon as they landed, in case Heero was worried.

Dr. Santos, a short, plump, silver-haired woman in a pink suit, met them in the eighth floor lobby and insisted on ushering them into an empty examining room. Duo started to protest, but Dr. Batoosingh patted his arm. "It's better we find out the facts first. I'm sure they will let him know we've arrived."

"Already done," Dr. Santos assured him, smiling.

She looked like someone's grandmother, Duo thought, too nervous to stand still. Not that he'd ever had a grandmother. But she looked nice.

She leaned on the examining table and laid out several files. "Mr. Maxwell and Mr. Barton? Ah, how do you do? You are Capitan Yuy's next of kin?"

"We all are," Trowa explained, gesturing at Quatre and Wufei. "You can speak freely with all of us."

She shook hands with them, and then turned to Batoosingh. "And you must be Dr. Batoosingh, who will be taking over as primary care physician?"

"Yes. Thank you for sending me his files. I had a chance to study them during our flight. Do you have the results of the new blood work yet?"

Santos handed him a printout. "The serotonin levels are of particular interest, as you thought they might be."

Batoosingh studied the papers, nodding slightly. "Nearly normal. Yet no signs of liver damage or thyroid imbalance? Have you been able to interview him again this morning?"

"I just came from speaking with him. He's more lucid now. I think the dehydration may have been the problem. However, he's far from well."

"So give it to us straight, doc!" Duo broke in impatiently, bouncing on the balls of his feet impatiently. "The whole laundry list. What are we looking at?"

Dr. Santos motioned them to seats around the room and opened a different folder. "Capitan Yuy is presenting symptoms of residual amnesia. I suspect it stems from an extended psychotic break, probably dating from the day he sent you the suicide note. He still does not recall many details of that day, but it is likely that he slashed his wrists and took an overdose of some medication, possibly pills hoarded from a prescription or stolen."

"I am thinking it may have been Unadol," Batoosingh put in.

Santos shrugged. "There's no way to be certain at this point, but it's a possible explanation for something that should be quite impossible. In addition to the amnesia, he shows possible symptoms of paranoia, though not to anything like the crippling degree noted in his records. He is still somewhat confused at times, but that seems to be wearing off quickly. He has been able to participate in conversations, and allowed himself to be shaved. In fact, he insisted on it. I sensed some tension when the orderly trimmed his beard with scissors, but he allowed it.

"Physically, he presents symptoms consistent with a long time spent on the streets. He has been treated for ringworm, lice, athlete's foot, and intestinal parasites. There is some evidence that he suffered frostbite, as well. He is still dehydrated and severely malnourished. Nonetheless, for someone who has been psychotic and homeless for as long as six months, he's in remarkable shape. His teeth, eyes and hearing are intact. He has lost no extremities to the frostbite. Tests are still ongoing, but there are no signs of any internal infection."

She paused, looking to Duo and Trowa. "Are you certain you wish to share all with your friends? I only ask because hospital regulations require permission to share certain more sensitive details."

"Go ahead," Duo said. Trowa nodded.

"The only potentially serious ailment we have found so far is early stage syphilis. When asked about sexual activity, Capitan Yuy claimed to be completely--inexperienced?"

"Oh, hell!" Duo groaned, feeling ill. "You're saying he might have been-"

"That is why I wished to speak to you before I shared this with him. The mentally ill homeless are often mistreated. I have found no evidence of damage or scarring in his throat, genitals or rectum, but at some point he may recover memories of a traumatic nature."

"You're saying he was raped?" Wufei stated, his voice flat.

"It is one possibility. Or it may have been entirely consensual at the time and he simply does not remember. He almost certainly contracted it since the suicide attempt, given his blood levels. Whatever the case, he does not recall it. I have prescribed the necessary course of antibiotics. I will leave it up to you when and if to discuss this with him but in your place, I would wait until he is much stronger."

"He doesn't need to know!" Duo exclaimed. "Fuck, I'm not sure I needed to. Just make sure it gets cleared up, right? Anything else?"

"I would like to keep him under observation for at least another twenty four hours, and sit in on an interview between him and Dr. Batoosingh, if that is all right with you?"

"Fine! Whatever. Can we see him now?"

"Certainly. This way, if you please. And do keep in mind that he is in a weakened condition and may not look like himself. Try not to over burden him with your concern, or too many questions. Right now he needs your presence and your support."

Duo fought for calm as they followed her down a green painted corridor. It was quiet and well lit, but Duo felt an instinctive unease. It was lined with what he'd come to think of as "psycho doors", locked doors with small, thick, wire reinforced observation ports. He'd been shut behind too many of them to be comfortable here. Whatever it took, they were going to get Heero the hell out of here!

Dr. Santos stopped at one of these doors near the end of the hallway and another thought dropped the bottom out of Duo's stomach. What if it wasn't Heero behind that door? What if it was just another hoaxer with a good line? "If it is, they can just check me in next door, after I kill him," he thought darkly, forcing himself through the door after her.

For a moment he thought his fear was justified. It took a moment to convince himself that that the weathered, emaciated, haggard looking wreck in the bed was Heero Yuy. Then he smiled and said "Hello, Duo," and the rest was a blur until he realized that he'd not only crossed the room but climbed onto the bed into Heero's arms. Common sense returned in time to keep him from crushing that skinny body as he hugged him. Heero's chest and shoulder under his cheek felt like an old man's, all bony and thin. The voice that spoke by his ear was just the same, though-strong and slightly accented and warmer than he remembered it, even in his dreams. Heero was here. He was real and alive and holding him in a weak, stubborn hug, whispering, "I'm so sorry, Duo. I'm so glad you're here!"

When Duo finally made himself sit back he found Heero staring at him with apparent horror. "Duo, your hair!"

"Huh? Oh, no, it's still there!" Duo threw off his jacket and cap and pulled the braid forward for him to see.

Heero stroked a hand down the length of it, smiling to himself. "Oh, good! I wouldn't know what to think if you cut it." He reached for Duo's left hand with his, but kept a light grip on the end of the braid with his right.

Duo blinked back tears and laughed. "Don't worry. I'm not going to run away."

Heero grinned sadly, but didn't let go of either until the others came over to hug him. Even Wufei allowed himself a stiff, brief embrace before he retreated to the end of the bed. He was scowling but there was a suspicious brightness in his dark eyes. Trowa was blinking, too, and Quatre was weeping and laughing unabashedly as he embraced Heero and kissed him on the cheek. Heero kissed him back, then pulled off his cap and inspected his hair with interest. "I like that better than the green and purple you had. But the different greens suited you. Have you given up the face metal, too?"

Quatre raised a hand to his face, where the piercing holes in his lip, nose and eyebrows remained. "No, I'm in disguise, sort or rather, undisguised so we could get to you without the press noticing-" He stopped, eyes widening. "How did you know about--? You have been watching the news, haven't you?"

Heero nodded shyly. "That was the only good thing about the way they hound you. At least I could see you now and then. You've all grown taller. And you three?" He looked around at Duo, Trowa, and Quatre. "You've turned out much-wilder than I would have imagined. Congratulations on the union, by the way. That was one of the hardest things to miss."

Trowa blushed. "Well, we've got lots of pictures. You really kept track of us, eh?"

Now Heero colored. "Actually, I had a whole scrapbook, and downloads. Everything I could find. But I lost it all somewhere." He sighed, looking a little lost suddenly. "I don't remember. I wish I had-"

"It's OK, buddy. You got the real thing now." Duo turned the hand still clasping his and let out a hiss at the scars there. "Damn, you really meant business, didn't you?" He turned both wrists up to show Heero his own attempts. "Look. We match."

Heero rubbed his thumbs over the scars, frowning. "Are you better now? You must be, if you're back in uniform."

Duo laughed. "Don't let the threads fool you. It's just camo. Wufei's the only one still on active. The rest of us ran away with the circus. I'm not joking. Kat and I work with Trowa and Catherine now. We're gonna have to get a bigger trailer, Tro, or at least a bigger bed!"

When Heero looked mystified, Duo hugged him again. "You don't think we're letting you get away again, do you? Fuck, Heero, don't even think about it. Ain't gonna happen."

Heero's arms came up around his waist again, clasping him close. "Don't worry. I'm back, if you all will have me."

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