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

Broken Warriors + Chapter 112
In the City of Love

Circus della Notte took Berlin by storm, and then rolled into Paris as the first spring blossoms appeared on the trees, riding a wave of rave reviews and sell out ticket sales. The City of Love was glorious in the first flush of spring, and welcomed Trowa's sensual show to her bosom. Despite the winter's delays, they were already well back in the black financially, and having a hell of a good time. Well, most of them, anyway.

Heero was as happy as anyone, but that did not blind him from reading Duo as clearly as ever. As much as he was enjoying his own star status, something was bothering him, and Heero had a pretty good idea what it was, but wasn't sure how to approach the subject. It was Duo who finally brought it up.

"So, circus life is really suiting you," Duo remarked as they cuddled, exhausted, in their hotel bed after the opening show. "How is it---" He reached over to the nightstand and grabbed an English language paper with their latest review. "Being a star of 'the finest aerial act ever seen'?"

"It's like Trowa always said; like flying a Gundam, without the killing."

"For you, maybe," Duo grumped. "I'm just the cat."

"People love the cat!" Heero exclaimed, looking at him in surprise. "You're sexy and naughty and everyone in the crowd hopes you'll come rub on them. It's a wonderful act."

"But not like flying. And-" Duo trailed off and settled his cheek more firmly against Heero's muscular chest.

Heero wasn't going to let him get away with anything tonight, though. Massaging Duo's neck through his hair with one hand, he used the other to cup his chin. "Something's been on your mind for days now. Please, Duo, what is it? Can I help?"

"It's stupid."

"Nothing is stupid to me."

"This is."

Heero sat up and pulled Duo up with him, clearly worried now. "Tell me. Please?"

Duo folded his arms and looked away, blushing. "Well, every night people get to see you work with Trowa. And, well-"

Heero stroked his hair and sighed. "And I kiss Trowa."

"Well, yeah. I told you it was stupid."

"That's an act Duo. This is real." And Heero had ended the conversation by overpowering him, first with kisses, then with sucking, and finally with fucking him through the mattress. Twice.

+

Duo had brightened up after that and Heero hoped the matter was settled. As they walked along under the trees along the Rue de Rivoli in disguise one afternoon, however, events took another turn against him. As they passed a newsstand, Duo caught sight of the English language edition of The Berlin Weltbeobachter, and the headline "Exclusive Interview with Heero Yuy!

By Hans Meir"

"Hey, you never told me you actually talked to him!" Duo exclaimed, snatching up a copy and paying for it.

"Didn't I? Sorry, you were working on the new masks that day and I guess it just slipped my mind. I did promise him an interview, after he gave us that tip, remember?"

"Yeah, so let's see how it went!"

They settled at a street side table in a café and ordered coffee. While they waited Duo spread the paper out and dug into the article.

"I find Heero Yuy alone in his lavish hotel suite when I arrive for our interview, his compatriots and former Gundam pilots having declined my invitation to participate."

Duo looked up. "Declined? You never asked."

Heero's eyes were hidden behind dark glasses, but he shifted guiltily in his chair. "I knew how you felt about him. I didn't think you'd want to be bothered."

"Hmm." Frowning, Duo went back to the article. "He greets me with a curt nod, then lounges on a white leather sofa, dressed in worn jeans, a tight black Circus della Notte tee shirt that shows to good effect his lean, muscular frame, and bare feet. The famous blue eyes are wary under that unruly dark hair and I suspect he has only just risen from bed. The door to the bedroom is ajar and I can just make out rumpled bedclothes and a well-used candle on a plate on the corner of the dresser. No sign of his lover, now fianc?, Duo Maxwell, or the others." Duo shook his head. "That nosy bastard. Figures he'd try to put a sex spin on everything."

"It's a stupid interview," Heero said, attempting to pull the paper away. "Really, I was boring and he was cheap."

Duo wrestled the paper back and grinned. "So let's see how bad it was! Ah, here's the meaty part. Heero Yuy speaks!"

"Lower your voice!" Heero exclaimed softly, glancing around. Some of the other café patrons were beginning to stare. Even with Duo's famous hair hidden under a baseball cap and his jacket, his voice was just as recognizable. Suddenly, Heero really didn't want witnesses. "Really, don't waste your time."

But Duo was determined. Keeping his voice low, he read on.

"HM: You are looking well, Herr Yuy, much better than the last time we met.

HY: I have no wish to speak of those days.

HM: I only wished to say that I am glad for you. A great deal has happened in your life since your amazing return from the dead. It seems fortune is finally smiling on you.

HY: The credit goes to my friends. They stood by me and gave me a home. That's something I never had before.

HM: And now you are planning to marry Duo Maxwell.

HY: Are we here to restate the obvious?"

Heero cringed a little, seeing how Duo paused over that, grin fading.

"HM: Care to share any details with our readers?

HY: No.

HM: Then perhaps you'd care to share how your other friends feel about this? The four of you are rumored to be very close.

Yuy says nothing to this, and I swear I feel the temperature of the room drop several degrees.

HM: You have no comment?

HY: When you ask an intelligent question, I will answer it.

HM: I see. Well, let's try this one. Do you regret the part you played in the war? What would you say to those around the world who still consider you a criminal?

HY: I regret the lives I took. I make no excuses for that. But the fight was an honorable one. It's the past now, and cannot be changed.

HM: Yet you have tried to make amends. You have given a considerable amount of money to help war orphans in Japan, I believe. How much money have you spent on that? My sources put the figure at more than fifty thousand dollars.

HY: That's no one's business.

HM: Is it true that some of that money came from a legacy left you by Treize Kushreneda.

HY: We can end this interview right now."

Duo chuckled at that. "You tell 'em, 'ro."

"HM: Forgive me. I was only trying to highlight your generosity. Let's talk about the show, shall we? You've proven to have quite a talent for performing.

HY: My combat training was a good preparation. Trowa and I devised an act that capitalized on skills I already possessed.

HM: And those skills include rather intimate contact between the two of you. I counted no less than three kisses during last night's performance. Is this a public admission of the relationship between the two of you?

HY: It is part of the act.

HM: That's all?

HY: That's all I'm going to say."

+

Duo slapped the newspaper down in front of Heero, oblivious to the curious stares they were getting from passers by.

"'That's all I'm going to say'?" he hissed. It an outraged whisper, but Heero heard the hurt there, too. "You as much as admitted that you and Trowa have a thing going!"

"Isn't that what we want, for the show?" Heero replied. It was the truth, but sounded pretty weak in the face of Duo's obvious pain. "Playing up the rumors puts 'asses in seat', right?"

Duo slouched back in his chair and folded his arms. This storm been brewing for some time now; the interview was only a catalyst.

+

Duo was hurting. He knew that Heero was telling him the truth, but it still hurt, and now it was in print for the entire world to see.

Heero laid his own dark glasses down beside his coffee cup and leaned forward earnestly. He looked worried, but determined. "I'm sorry I hurt you."

Duo shrugged angrily, and Heero leaned across and kissed him, heedless of the stares it got them. "I'll tell Trowa to find someone else for the act first thing tomorrow."

Duo sat back and stared at him in disbelief. "Just like that? You'd just walk away from it all, just 'cause I'm having a pissy moment?"

"I know it's more than that. I appreciate how patient you've been, but things have changed. Quatre's strong enough for his act with Trowa now. They don't need us anymore."

Duo wasn't so sure of that. Having four Gundam boys in the show was a huge draw. Now he was beginning to feel like a first class heel. "But what about flying? You love that."

This time it was Heero who shrugged. "If you're ready to quit, I'm fine with that. We should stay on until they can replace us, though. That's only fair."

"Uh. Yeah, of course." Totally deflated and more than a little guilty, Duo reached and took Heero's hands in his. Their matching engagement rings caught the light, the paired sapphires blue as Heero's eyes.

"And," Heero went on, bringing Duo's hand to his lips. "I think it's time you and I got married. What do you say, little mermaid? Are you ready?"

"Huh? Really? Yeah!" Duo replied, heart swelling. "You know I am, baby!"

"Then it's time."

"Wow." Suddenly Duo's heart was pounding. " So, how do we do it?"

"I have a few ideas," Heero replied, but the look in his eyes told Duo this was a mission Heero had been working on for some time.

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