Dr. Asakura wrote these things down rapidly, then resumed questioning, "What about any seizures or head injuries? Also, can you give
me an explanation of the numerous scars he has all over his body, especially the ones at his wrists and ankles? Has he had any treatment
for depression or counseling regarding his suicide attempts? Particularly, the attempts made within the last year?"
"I don't know of any seizures, anyone else know anything?" Quatre looked around the table and received negative responses. "Head
injuries were a given for our group, he had at least three concussions, possibly more. Dr. Po saw him on at least one occasion for this.
Most of his scars are from battle and torture; we wont go into details regarding the torture unless it is absolutely relevant to his current
health." Quatre looked practically threatening, even Heero was amazed at his vehemence. "I don't know anything about suicide attempts,
and I feel outraged that you'd even suggest them!" Anger flashed from all but two pairs of eyes amongst those gathered.
"Gomen, Quatre, Heero," Wufei quietly interrupted, "but I have information on that."
Both looked at him wide-eyed, Heero shaking his head in disbelief. Was there even more he did not know? What could possibly have
prompted Duo to consider suicide? Heero felt his entire world shattering around him as one after another horrible secret was set free
"About six-months ago, Duo and I were assigned a long-term infiltration mission. During that time, he was captured and terribly
mistreated by the enemy. Before I could liberate him, he had been subjected to serial rape and sexual assault as well as being badly
beaten. He had become deeply depressed and attempted to kill himself on two different occasions." Wufei hung his head, remembering
the shame he felt swearing an oath to not disclose this information to the others, especially Heero.
"Wufei," Heero practically pleaded, "How? When? Why didn't you tell *me*? By the gods, he could have easily completed the task
later and I would have never known a thing about this until it was too late! Did you even seek treatment for him?"
Wufei shrunk back upon himself, feeling guilty for having kept his word, yet knowing now that he should never have promised to cover
such a crucial issue in the first place. Miserable, he withstood the glares of his friends now realizing that his own over-dedication to
honor could have brought about a tragedy.
"Yes, Heero," Sally stepped in seeing Wufei's visible distress. "Wufei was already bringing Duo to me when the first attempt occurred.
Duo had sliced his wrists with a razor blade, but he never lost consciousness thanks to Wufei's quick response. I placed him under
guard, restrained for his own protection, and started him on anti-depressants in my clinic. We also performed surgery to repair the
physical damage he suffered during the rapes. Unfortunately, we were understaffed and Duo's second suicide attempt took place less
than a day after surgery. Somehow, even weakened, he freed himself and used a knife he had hidden in his braid to open veins in his
wrists as well as at several points in each ankle. It was a classic technique rarely seen since it's excruciatingly painful. He nearly died in
the ten minutes he had gone unwatched, but again Wufei found him in time.
"It took a lot of blood and a direct transfusion to save his life. From then until he was released, Wufei never left his side, especially
considering it was *his* blood that saved Duo's life through the transfusion. We maintained him on powerful intra-venous
anti-depressants for roughly a week before we dispensed with the restraints. At the time, he claimed the knife had been a gift from you
and he wanted it back; frankly, I didn't believe him, the very idea of his having a gift from you sounded absurd to me so the knife was
never returned. When I asked him why he had tried to kill himself, he simply answered because of *you*; he would never explain further
but I think I understand now."
Guilt and sorrow played across her features. "If I had known Wufei had been forced into a vow of silence, I would have taken it as my
professional obligation to inform you, Heero, I'm sorry now that I didn't contact you regardless. After Duo became reasonable again, I
prescribed long-term anti-depressants, but they seem to have suffered the same fate as the blood pressure medication. I am curious,
though, was the pocket-knife a gift from you, Heero?"
"Hai, Sally, I gave him a small black knife which he could conceal in his hair for self-protection. Now I find out it not only was unable to
stop the atrocities that happened to him but he tried to use it to kill *himself* instead?!? Oh, gods, no--- I never even imagined that
could happen," Heero looked away in shame.
"Any idea what happened today to trigger the cardiac arrest? Were you playing basketball or something in this heat? Anything unusual at
all? It might help us understand why this is happening now," Dr. Asakura questioned as all eyes were leveled directly at Heero.
"Yes, something unusual *did* happen right before he collapsed. I asked him to marry me," Heero didn't even look up as realization that
the shock of the question most likely caused such a drastic reaction.
"Really, Yuy?" Wufei's eyes were round with surprise.
"Congratulations!" Sally smiled and shyly glanced at Wufei, but he didn't notice.
"Wow, Heero, I thought you'd be the one being asked, not the other way around," Quatre beamed.
Heero barely heard his friends as Dr. Asakura's eyebrow raised in surprise; then dropped in a look of serious contemplation, worrying
"Yes, congratulations, Heero," even Trowa seemed pleased.
"Did he say 'yes'?" asked Quatre innocently.
"Iie. Duo never had a chance to answer. Doctor, could that question have caused this?" Heero barely raised his eyes fearing the answer.
"Unfortunately, yes, it could have. Even positive, especially excellent at that, surprises can be highly stressful and it could trigger a
cardiac response," the doctor paused, then added, "however, it may have had little to do with the timing of the arrest. I would imagine
the suggestion was well-received based on what I've observed here and I think you two would be quite happy together.
"But you don't understand! He *didn't* accept, first he passed-out, and then he--- he--- well, he almost died! How could it have gone
so wrong? No, I just don't understand." Shaking his head, Heero moaned dropping his face into his hands. He had begun to show signs
of going into shock himself at these revelations.
His best friends, including his own *lover*, all had conspired to keep these potentially deadly secrets from him; he'd never felt so badly
betrayed in his life.
Tuning out the voices of the others in the room, Heero tried to understand the information that had been presented in the last few
moments and was totally over-whelmed by it. Numbly, he noted Trowa had wrapped a blanket around his trembling body while his
mind quickly summarized things about the only person he had ever loved.
Duo had experienced a heart attack a year ago. He had an uncorrected and potentially lethal heart defect. He had been subjected to
serial rape and sexual assault in addition to the other tortures he was already aware of, which were almost beyond comprehension
already. Six months ago, Duo tried to commit suicide twice, and one attempt was very nearly successful. All of these horrific events had
slipped past Heero, a trained assassin and observer, totally unnoticed, but how?
Had Duo deceived him that thoroughly? Finally, Duo was deliberately not taking medications he desperately needed. How could this all
His mind racing, he recalled the two of them making love just the night before, the warmth of being enclosed within his beloved's body
as they achieved ecstasy together. How could Duo have suffered multiple acts of *rape* while concealing it from his most intimate
partner? Shouldn't he have noticed the scars from the surgery at least? Was he truly such an insensitive beast that he hadn't seen any
changes from such a hideous ordeal?
As Heero raked his mind for memories from the mission Wufei spoke of, he suddenly recalled how skittish his lover had been in bed for
weeks after they returned as well as his sudden preference for long-sleeves even during the hottest weather. At the time, Heero
disregarded the change in wardrobe entirely and had focused on the possibility something secret had happened between Duo and
Wufei. They both assured him that it hadn't; however, now he knew something critical *had* happened, but it certainly wasn't what he
had suspected. No, it was far from the sexual infidelity Heero had blatantly accused Wufei of committing with his lover, it was instead
the sharing of his very lifeblood which saved Duo's life. That gift of life undoubtedly preserved Heero's sanity without his own
knowledge, but now that he knew, how was he to deal with it?
Simple. He couldn't. Not as alone as he felt he was right then.
After a lifetime spent killing and following orders, the so-called perfect soldier behaved as any normal person would to such horrendous
discoveries about the person they loved most and simply broke down. Shudders ran through his slender frame and tears traced patterns
down his cheeks, dripping heedlessly onto the table.
His mind seemed to fall endlessly down a track of self-hatred for being so wrapped up in fulfilling the mission objectives at the time that
he had utterly failed the one person who meant everything to him. How was he unable to observe the changes these terrors must have
left upon Duo's psyche?
Worse, how could he *ever* claim to love him in light of his blindness to the small changes now making themselves aware in his mind.
Dietary modifications for the cardiac condition, drastic mood swings during the past year, the many times Heero had unsuspectingly
reprimanded Duo for being overly emotional when he found him crying for no apparent reason. All these and more clamored for his
Unfortunately, the shock had taken hold deeper than either doctor present realized and he, too, was swallowed up by darkness.