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

Broken Warriors + Chapter 111
Flow

Circus della Notte took Manhattan by storm. Despite some snarky critiques, public opinion was unamimous and that's all Trowa and the others cared about. Night after night the seats were filled, and the money rolled in like water.

Reporters hounded them daily for interviews and photos. Trowa fiercely maintained the anonymous cast listings, but it was obvious that Duo and Heero had joined, and the parts they played. The nature of their acts rekindled all the rumors about their sex lives and who was sleeping with whom. In the past, the four of them would have simply smiled and said nothing, letting the public think what they would. But Quatre's case came before the L-4 high court early in March and despite Quatre's continuing insistence that he didn't care what happened, so long as he was free and with Trowa, the others had other ideas. In the end all three were called to testify on Quatre's behalf, and while it might not have completely cleared Quatre's name, by L-4 standards, it was enough for the competency case to be dropped once and for all, and to force the financial claims to be settled quietly out of court. In spite of himself, Quatre walked away a very rich young man, and one completely free of any further corporate obligations. By the time they left for Berlin, everything was settled at last.

+

Heero enjoyed performing with Trowa, and loved watching Duo act out with the crowd every night. Their participation had several other unexpected side effects, as well.

The rigorous workouts and performances were nearly equivalent to flying a Gundam. After several weeks in New York, Duo began to complain of bruising during sex.

"Jeeze, Heero, I'm not made of steel, ya know?" Duo grumbled, showing him the dark imprint of fingers on the creamy skin of both hips one morning.

Curious, they went to the hotel gym and tested Heero on the weight machines. They ran out of plates before they found his limits.

"What's the matter, baby?" Duo asked, smoothing back Heero's sweaty hair. "You're strong again. What's wrong with that?"

"I thought J's treatments had worn off, that I'd purged them out of my system," Heero said softly, staring down at his callused hands. "I thought-I was finally normal."

"Oh Heero!" Duo chuckled softly and shook his head. "You were never normal, any more than the rest of us. You're my 01, always have been, always will be. Besides-" He stood up and pulled Heero to his feet. "Put your arms around me and hold on. Don't let me get away."

Puzzled, Heero did as he asked, holding him firmly but carefully as Duo tried unsuccessfully to struggle free. Finally, panting, he collapsed against him and ground his pelvis against him, letting Heero feel his erection. "Strong is good, baby. Strong is hot!"

"Really? I'm not a freak?"

"You're my freaky lover, baby. Deal with it." Heero had loosened his grip enough for Duo to move more and he took full advantage, slow dancing against him, a sensuous smile playing on his lips. "Let's go downstairs and make some more bruises, huh?"

"No bruises," Heero murmured, pulling him close again, "but I'll hold you down."

They only made it as far as the elevator before they had hands down each other's jeans.

+

Zechs and Wufei kept track of their friends in the news, and called frequently to celebrate their success, and share details of their upcoming wedding. Zechs was determined to stick to the April date, and so it was going to be a small affair, at least by state wedding standards.

Zechs was in the sunny library, going over the final menu for the reception banquet, when Wufei appeared in the doorway, clasping a folded letter in one hand and looking utterly stricken.

Alarmed, Zechs hurried over to him and checked his pulse. "What is it, Wufei? Are you ill again?" Wufei hadn't had a "spell" since that night in New York, but it was an ever-present possibility.

"No, I'm fine," Wufei quickly assured him. "It's just-I have some news, and-I'm afraid you're not going to-that is, I don't know what to do!"

Zechs drew him down onto the small sofa by the fireplace and pulled him close. "Come now, tell me. It can't be so bad as all that."

Wufei slowly unfolded the paper he held and Zechs caught sight of the letterhead. It was from the admissions office of Sanque University. Below it, the first line read, "Dear Mr. Chang, Thank you for your application to our comparative literature program. We regret to inform you . . ." This had been Wufei's first choice school, not only because of the proximity to home, but because it had the most outstanding undergraduate offerings in Chinese poetry outside of China. A degree from there would have assured him entrance into the finest graduate programs.

"Oh Wufei, I'm so sorry! How could they say no? Your placement exam scores were outstanding."

"It wasn't that." Wufei slumped against him, miserable. "It's my academic history."

"Ah." Wufei's history was anything but normal. Although he'd been an outstanding scholar on L-5, excelling by all standards, his education had been irreparably interrupted when he was only fifteen. During his time with the Preventers he'd quietly enrolled in night school and completed a diploma program, but that was not an impressive credential for the likes of Sanque University.

"There are other schools, love-" Zechs began, but Wufei clasped his hand and shook his head.

"It's not that. They didn't give me a flat out no. If-if I would be willing to complete a year of prep school-they recommend the Solomon Academy-then they guarantee me a place in the following year's class."

"But that's wonderful! It's only a few miles from here. Why the long face?"

"Solomon is a residential school, Zechs, no exceptions. And they don't accept married students. I've already checked."

"I see." Zechs sat back with a sigh, eyeing the stack of RSVP cards that had already come back. Wedding gifts had begun arriving last week. If they postponed the ceremony on such short notice eyebrows would be raised, and the tabloids would no doubt have a field day, but none of that mattered, compared to the shadows in his little love's eyes right now.

"Wufei, this is your future, our future. You're meant to be a scholar, a professor, and a poet, too. If a few months of finishing school will put you into the best school for that, then what possible choice can there be?"

"People will talk!"

"Let them. Our friends won't care, and to hell with anyone else. Besides--" He paused, then shook his head slowly. "In a way, I'm glad. You'll be a year older. We'll have been together that much longer . . . I know you don't want to hear it, but sometimes I do still worry that I've rushed you."

"You haven't! Stop worrying about that!"

"Well, either way, this just gives us a longer engagement, that's all." He pulled Wufei up into his lap and kissed him. "Besides, if memory serves, Solomon has a strict dress policy, a student uniform. Nice snug frogged jacket, school tie, pants with a stripe down the leg?"

Wufei laughed and squirmed against him. "You pervert!"

"You know it. Oh yes, I can see it now. A few months of celibacy, then off to the train station to pick up my schoolboy lover for his vacation break. Mmmmm! I think this could be fun."

"Celibacy!" Wufei groaned against Zechs's neck. "You don't know the meaning of the word. I do. It's no fun at all."

"You'll need all your attention for your studies. Hardly possible if I was around, don't you think?" Rising with Wufei in his arms, he headed off toward the bedroom. "Come on, school boy, I think a little advance tutoring is in order."

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