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

Broken Warriors + Chapter 110
On With the Show

Zechs woke first. The room was dark and he could hear snow hissing against the windowpane across the room. Wufei was curled fast asleep against him, snuggled close against his left side. It was at times like this that Zechs most missed having a flesh and blood arm. He wanted to feel every bit of his little lover, all the time. He lay a moment longer, relishing the warmth and scent of him.

Wufei's left hand rested on his chest and Zechs smiled, admiring the ruby engagement ring shining on that slender finger.

God, he was a lucky man.

He checked the clock on the nightstand: it was after eight, New York time. His head was still on European time, but his stomach agreed with the clock.

He smoothed a stray strand of hair away from Wufei's cheek and kissed him softly on the forehead. "Wake up, mei. Time to go find some dinner."

"Mmmmm. Cold outside." Wufei snuggled closer. "Room service?"

Zechs chuckled. "Shall I feed you in bed? Perhaps can we fit the others all in, too."

"Others--?" Wufei sighed and opened his eyes, looking a little confused until he remembered where they were. "Oh. Oh! Oh god, how am I going to face them after all that? I was loud, wasn't I?"

"Deliciously loud. But no louder than they were."

+

No one had bothered to get dressed. Duo was in Heero's robe and Heero was in sweats and bare-chested. Quatre was in a long stripped robe that hung to his ankles and looked like it probably belonged to Trowa, who had on pajama pants and a black CdN tee shirt. Zechs threw on his own robe and at his silent insistence, Wufei found himself forced to appear in the sitting room wearing the embroidered blue silk robe that Zechs had given him the first night they'd made love.

No one said anything but their surprised and admiring looks made him blush. At least he was comfortable, and the long skirt of the robe hid the fact that he was walking a little oddly. He could still only manage anal sex once or twice a week. Even with the use of the larger butt plugs to stretch his channel, he was still unable to accommodate Zechs without great care on both their parts. At least he hadn't bled this time.

While Zechs and the others perused the room service menu, Wufei sat down gingerly on the sofa. Quatre joined him on the sofa with a knowing smile.

"I'm so happy for you!" he said, wrapping his arms around his knees and speaking so only Wufei could hear.

"I owe you a great deal," Wufei admitted. "Your advice, back in New Orleans? It did help."

"I'm glad. I can see how happy you both are. The love between you-" Quatre pressed a hand to his heart and shook his head. "Oh Wufei, I'm so glad!"

Duo plopped down between them, wearing Heero's brown silk robe. "Can I hug you now without getting my ass whipped?"

Wufei leaned into him a little, suffering a brief embrace. Across the room, Zechs looked up from the menu he and Trowa were perusing and smiled.

Trowa ordered steak shish kabob and Caesar salads for everyone, and beer, but only a little, just one apiece. When they were done and Heero pushed the room service cart back into the hallway, Trowa rose and headed for the bedroom.

"What's up?" asked Duo.

"Going to work."

"Oh no you're not!" Quatre called after him, his steely side coming to the fore. "We dragged you back here for a decent rest. There's nothing that won't wait 'til morning."

Trowa emerged, already dressed in jeans and jacket, carrying his boots, only to find Heero and Duo blocking the way.

"Everything is ready," Heero said, his voice dropping to the dangerous monotone Wufei still associated with missions. "Quatre's right. The best thing you can do is rest."

"I'm not tired!"

"Well the rest of us are," Duo told him. "You're a real slave driver, Barton. So we're revolting and taking the night off, and so are you." With that they led him back to the couch and pulled him down between them, next to Quatre. For an instant Wufei expected an all out fight, but instead Heero pulled him down so he was resting across his lap and ran his fingers through those long bangs. "Rest, Trowa, so we're fresh."

Trowa seemed to melt under that simple caress, and Wufei wondered that Quatre didn't look the least bit jealous. Instead, he and Duo got Trowa stripped down to his jeans and left him there with his head in Heero's lap and his feet in Quatre's. Heero continued to stroke his hair and shoulders while Quatre rubbed his feet. Duo found an old movie on the room's huge television, and then settled in with his head on Heero's shoulder.

"That looks very comfortable," Zechs chuckled, and stretched out on the loveseat with his head in Wufei's lap. Less self-conscious than he would have been a few months ago, Wufei smiled and threaded his fingers through his lover's pale, silky hair. Zechs practically purred under his touch.

They spent the evening like that, and when Heero and Quatre led a sleepy Trowa off to bed at last, a single backward glance from Quatre was all the invitation Zechs needed. Too sleepy to protest, Wufei went along with it and found himself warmly sandwiched between Zechs and Duo in a bed that smelled of other men's sex. For from being repelled, he fell asleep at once into a dreamless sleep.

+

The others left early the following morning to make the final preparations for the show. Zechs made love to Wufei in the shower with hands and mouth, fed him a large breakfast, and then took him shopping, accompanied discretely by Zechs's security detail. Wufei was almost used to that now. Almost. It was disconcerting to know you were under surveillance at every moment in public; it made him revert to his most reticent ways, and made trying on and modeling new clothing something of a strain. But he did not begrudge it. Zechs was still receiving death threats, sometimes on a daily basis. They both carried side arms, but Wufei had to take his off for the changing rooms, and that left him feeling more naked than if he'd stripped to his skin.

Zechs, on the other hand, seemed completely at ease and thoroughly enjoyed dragging Wufei from store to store and selecting outfits for him. By the they returned to the hotel to get ready of the evening, Wufei was exhausted and had enough new clothes to fill an entire closet. They lay down together to have a nap, but Wufei couldn't sleep until he'd given Zechs a blowjob, which quickly turned into sixty-nine and finger fucking.

Later, as they rode through the bitter cold darkness in a hired limousine, he shifted uncomfortably on the cold seat and almost regretted the latter. Almost.

Arriving at Central Park, Wufei could see the striped tent glimmering like a huge lantern in the darkness between the trees. The public entrance was still barred, and a huge crowed stood outside, not looking especially entertained by the street performers sent out to the keep them amused.

The limo dropped them off at the VIP entrance and the security people hustled them inside to their seats. Looking around, Wufei saw little difference in the set up from New Orleans. The black and silver backdrop was the same spooky motif, and the lighting cast what looked like branch shadow across the circular stage. Among the VIPs who'd also been let in early Wufei recognized the Mayor of New York and her husband, several American congressmen and quite a few famous actors and musicians. In cheaper seats, the press was lined up two rows deep. No wonder Trowa had been so nervous.

The main gates were opened at last, and soft music began. It wasn't the dark song Trowa sang to open the show, but it was his voice, singing something about Manhattan and Berlin.

Every seat was full by the time the lights went out and the real show began.

A single blue spotlight found Trowa. A murmur rippled through the crowd, just as it had in New Orleans. Jaded New Yorkers might be, but Trowa, in his black tailcoat and tight leather pants, face skull white and leering under the brim of his dented black silk top hat was still a sight to see. Wufei was still amazed at his transformation, the way the healthy lean body he'd seen only this morning was transformed to emaciation and pallor. The lights glinted from the silver barbwire at his throat and wrists, and caressed the braided coils of the bullwhip he held so casually in his right hand. He was not alone this time, though. Quatre, nearly naked apart from his mask and body paint, sat beside him, arms wrapped in a sensual embrace around one of Trowa's long, lean thighs.

Trowa caressed his lover's hair with his free hand as that painted mouth widened in a sinister smile.

"Ladies and gentlemen." The husky rasp and dangerous edge sent an erotic charge through Wufei and he felt Zechs's fingers tighten on his own as he reacted as well. "Ladies-- and ladies. Gentlemen and not so gentle men!" The whip hand twitched suggestively. "Welcome all, to the Circus della Notte. You may love us. You may hate us. We don't give a fuck. Take us or leave us but you can't leave yet. Not until we've had our way with you. So just lie back and give in. Just for now, you're mine."

There was a light flutter of laughter at that, and then a man yelled out, "Fuck you!"

Trowa's grin widened a little more, positively manic now. "Oh some do, but most get fucked." A sudden flick of the wrist and the bullwhip split the air with a resounding crack and burst of silvery sparks. "Guess which category you fall into, my unseen friend."

With that he launched into his opening spiel about dreams and nightmare. "Our souls are tainted, our dreams often dark, but don't be afraid." He twitched the whip again. "Well, not too afraid, anyway. After all, you're safe out there, outside the charmed circle. My lovelies can't get out, I assure you. Not unless I let them out."

The ring of silver white neon lights that surrounded the stage and the deep, ominous pulse of the opening song began.

Trowa flicked the long whip out to its full length in front of him again, scattering sparks. "So, mes amies, it begins!"

Lowering his head to hide his eyes, he began to sing as a star pattern appeared on the floor and swirled in dizzying patterns.

/Sick things with scars
Rotate around my stars./

Trowa cracked his whip and Quatre cowered convincingly, pawing at his master's feet.

/Sick things,
My things!
My pets, my things!/

The music swelled and lights pulsed. Trowa painted wild patterns on the darkness with h is whip and Wufei gripped Zechs's hand even harder, convinced that Quatre was in actual danger of losing skin or an eye. The black floor rippled and flexed as the hidden "things" roiled beneath it.

/I love you, things, I see
As much as you love me./

He struck the scrim and the bizarre figures writhed and climbed out, naked except for elaborately molded leather masks and codpieces and body paints.

/You things are heavenly
When you come worship me!
You things are chilled with fright
For I am out tonight.
You tell me where to bite.
You whet my appetite!/

The "things" writhed and tore at each other, moved together in sexual display or fought like angry cats.

The music shifted to a deep pulsing beat as the tattered scrim disappeared, revealing the painted stage below, and the small platform Trowa and Quatre were one. The things surged in and ripped Quatre away from him, carrying him across of sea of hands into darkness. Trowa snapped his whip and the creatures cringed back in cowering circle around him. As he sang on it was more like talking, almost a whine.

/I eat my things.
What looooove it brings!
Come here, my things
Don't fear, my little things!/

He beckoned and the creatures advanced on him, more dangerous and predatory by the moment.

/Sick things!/
/Pretty things!
Playthings./
MY THINGS!/

As Wufei remembered, the things overwhelmed him, pawing and groping as Trowa fell back in their grasp, practically masturbating as he caressed his own chest and groin.

/I love these things you see
As much as they love me.
My things are heavenly
When they come worship me!
You sit there chilled with fright
When we come out at night.
We'll fill you with delight.
We'll whet your APPETITE!!/

Trowa screamed wildly as the 'things' engulfed him, pulling him down and crawling over him with claws flashing. The light went red as the music rose to a shattering dissonance.

No one from the audience heckled now. As the music crashed to silence and a lone spotlight focused on the crushed, abandoned hat, Wufei could hear his own heart beating. There was a collective gasp as something skittered quickly through the light, taking the hat with it, then another flutter of laughter, but this time it sounded more uncertain as blackness fell. There was a long pause, then someone began to clap. Others joined in and soon the darkness was filled with the sound of applause. Not so loud and enthusiastic as New Orleans, perhaps, he noted with concern, but applause just the same.

The acts that followed were those he remembered, for the most part. There was danger and nudity, fire and flying blades. It was primal and sexual and he could feel the crowd warming to it.

Some other woman had taken Catherine Bloom's place for the knife throwing act, but it was as barbaric and sadistic as he remembered, with the hapless man tied spread eagle and naked to a spinning wooden target.

"Red Silk" would have followed, but that act was on hold until Quatre's leg had healed and he could perform in "Meld". It appeared, however that the replacement act would be similar in nature. A soft golden light filled the stage and the mechanical devices overhead silently brought out a long double strip of royal blue silk that reached the ground. At the top there was a long loop of blue cloth Wufei recognized from Quatre's description as something called a "cloud swing," which was a sort of trapeze.

Distracted, he was surprised to look down and find two masked figures in front of the long drape. Instead of the dissonant, pain filled music of Red Silk, this act began with soft, simple piano music. Like most of the show's music that wasn't original compositions by Trowa and Quatre, this was from pre colony times, and chosen by Heero for some connection it had with the location of the tent. Wufei didn't know what Strawberry Fields meant, but it was associated with a composure named Lennon, who'd died in New York. The tune was gentle, melancholy, and the two figures, Trowa and Heero, moved languidly at first, grasping the edges of the silk and using each other's weight to counterbalance a number of falling maneuvers. Then they both began to climb and several "things" emerged and grasped the end of the silk, walking, and then running to make it swirls while the two men kept climbing.

The voice, when it began, spoke rather than sang at first, and it was Quatre's.

/Imagine there's no heaven,
It's easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people
living for today.../

At this point Trowa and Heero grasped the edge of the silk and let their bodies flow behind as the handlers below pulled faster and faster.

The piano music continued, and then Heero climbed higher and took his place in the cloud swing, hanging upside down, hands stretched down toward Trowa as they continued to revolved high above the stage.

/Imagine there's no countries,/ Quatre sang softly,
/It isn't hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
No religion too,
Imagine all the people
living life in peace.../

Trowa climbed higher, then to the crowd's horror, let go. Before he could fall, however, Heero caught his upraised hands and held him, their bodies arcing out into space from the swing.

"God, the guts!" Zechs hissed, shuddering beside Wufei.

They caught their breath again as Heero let go with his knees and they both fell. Trowa let go of hi with one hand and caught the silk, wrapping one leg in it as an anchor as he took Heero's weight with one hand and they continued to spiral through space.

/Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world.../

Trowa let go with his hand, holding one by one leg as he drew Heero up into a kiss, then released him. Heero fell a few yards and caught the silk below him. With a few complicated wraps, he secured both legs in it and hung upside down. Trowa had untangled himself already and slowly slipped down to wrap himself around Heero.

/You may say I'm a dreamer,
but I'm not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one./

The music went on, and so did the impossible, gut-wrenching act as the pair climbed again, hung from the swing and slung each other through space.

"Such trust!" Wufei murmured.

The act ended with the pair being lowered to the stage in a final embrace. They reached the stage and were covered by the waves of falling silk. When the things scampered out and pulled it away, they were gone.

This time there was nothing half hearted in the applause. The audience was on it's feet, clapping, cheering, shouting their acclaim. Wufei rose with them, but had to cling to Zechs as his knees threatened to give way under him. A sudden spasm in his chest cut off his breath for a moment and he quickly sat down again, searching in his pocket for the tiny vial he was never without.

"Are you all right, Wufei?" Zechs asked anxiously, recognizing the symptoms at once.

Wufei swallowed the tranquilizer and sat back, controlling his breathing and willing himself to relax as another twinge shot through his chest.

Zechs was searching the crowd now, looking for the closest exit, but Wufei shook his head. "No, it's better now. I'm fine! It was just fear for them, that's all. Really, I'm all right."

Zechs settled back, and kept a worried eye on him through the next two acts, a fire juggler and a pair of rather obscene contortionists.

The medication did its work, though, and Wufei let himself succumb to the mild euphoria, resting his head against Zechs's shoulder and rubbing his lover's tense fingers. Bringing them to his lips, he kissed them, heedless of any watching eyes. "Really, love, I'm fine. Let's just enjoy the show, please?"

Zechs finally relaxed, and both of them were comfortable again when Duo and Quatre's act began.

The stage went silent again, but the lights did not dim. After a moment the sweet sounds of a violin drifted down from the shadows overhead, playing a bright simple tune. A shape resolved from the darkness, which turned out to be a large gilded birdcage. Inside, seated on a swing, was Quatre, painted gold now, and wearing a bird mask and arm guards festooned with fluffy yellow feathers. The violin was his song, and he played with joy.

"A pretty little bird in a gilded cage," Zechs chuckled.

The song went on for a few moments, then suddenly it was interrupted by the quick, complex notes of a flamenco guitar fanfare from the back of the stage. The 'bird' stopped its song and peered down between the bars, then pointed excitedly to the back of the house.

A spot light followed his pointing finger and everyone looked back to see a dark figure lurking at the top of the stairs.

Duo was almost indistinguishable under his painted cat face. In fact, he was painted all over, his lithe body transformed with tawny tiger stripes that glittered in the spotlight. But he was also wearing a short bolero vest and a Spanish brimmed hat with cutouts for a pair of large pointed ears. He tipped it back, gave the audience a wink and waved a clawed hand in the air. The flamenco music returned, a bright, complex tune, and Duo began to move with it, clapping his "paws" and swaying his hips as he danced a few steps down the stairs. His braid was hidden by the hat, but he had a long tawny tail that wagged and swung as he danced down a few more steps, then threw himself into the lap of a man sitting on the aisle and wiggled around, stroking the man's startled face and grinning. Then he leaped up, danced a few more steps, and wrapped himself around a woman, rubbing his cheek against hers. She recovered more quickly and pretended to scratch his ear. Duo allowed it for a moment, then arched his back and hissed, sprang onto the arm of her seat and launched himself over several startled people's heads to land on the arms of another man's chair and proceeded to go into a rather lewd dance, rolling his pelvis practically in the man's face. This went on for some time as he worked his way down through the crowd, and, to Wufei's horror, onto the arm of Zechs's seat. Draping himself over Zechs's lap, he gave Wufei a wink, then a push with his foot, much like a cat making himself at home while pushing out all others.

"What a bad kitty you are," Zechs laughed, giving him a swat. Duo leaped up onto the chair arms again, snapped his tail at Zechs, and leaped to the aisle again, dancing down the last few steps to the stage and slinking up on it, attention now fully focused on the cage dangling overhead.

The music ended and he and Quatre stared at each other a moment. Then Duo-yowled. That was the only word for it. It was a very catlike, realistic sound, and accompanied by a wave, beckoning the "bird" to come down to him.

Quatre answered with a flip of his head, and a few dismissive notes on the violin. Then he went back to his little song and Duo's flamenco music started again. To Wufei's delight, the two were actually part of the same piece, and blended perfectly.

Duo stalked around the stage, twitching his tail and yowling, clearly wanting to find a way up to the cage, since Quatre certainly wasn't coming down. After a few moments of frustration, he disappeared backstage and came back out with a single black chair. Setting it down he stood on it and reached for the cage, still far out of reach. Nonplussed, he disappeared and came back with a second chair and a third and stacked them, climbing up on top as if he expected that to be high enough. When it wasn't he sat down and sulked in a very feline fashion for a moment, then apparently had a thought, for he let out an even louder yowl, then stuck two fingers in his mouth and let out a piercing whistle.

In answer, a dozen or so other "cats" appeared, each one carrying a chair. Duo grabbed one after another, throwing them together in what appeared to be a rickety, haphazard fashion, building a tower for himself to reach the cage. Quatre, caught up in his own music, played on, paying him no mind at all.

There was a trick, of course. The chairs had holes and pegs and Duo was fitting these together as he worked, though he covered it well, and made a great show of tipping and wobbling the unwieldy looking stack as it grew.

The stack soon towered above the stage and Duo stayed on top, catching chairs the others threw up to him. Reaching the cage at last, he climbed up the side of it, gave the startled "bird" a tip of his hat, the audience a wink, and pulled a large velvet cover down over the cage and himself. There were some wild notes, cat noises, and a sudden fall of bright yellow feathers. When the curtain fell way, however, Quatre was still there on his perch, quite alone, with a swollen looking belly and a long tail hanging from his beak, wearing Duo's hat.

The crowd loved it, and the laughter went on long after the lights dimmed and the cage was drawn up out of sight again.

A few more acts followed, then the grand finale, with the final release of the things out into the crowd. Instead of merely disappearing, they fanned out through the seating, jumping from seat to seat and molesting audience members as Duo had. And then they were gone.

The standing ovation lasted for nearly five minutes and Wufei looked over to see the journalists scribbling madly in their notebooks.

He and Zechs stood and clapped with the other until their palms were sore.

"I think Trowa can afford to relax a little now!" Zechs exclaimed over the noise. "This is what you call a success!"

+++

Check out Jac's fabulous CdN fanart pic! http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/37136679/

Note: Song is "Imagine" by John Lennon. Strawberry Fields was named in his memory after he was asassinated by a crazed "fan" in 1980. See: http://www.centralparknyc.org/virtualpark/southend/strawberryfields

[chap. 109] [chap. 111] [back to pyrzm's fic]