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

Summary: Stubborn only gets you so far.

Broken Warriors + Chapter 105
Obstacles

New Orleans, Monday, January 13, 199 AC
6:22 A.M.


Heero woke before anyone else and went downstairs to check his mail. What he found waiting in his email queue sent up back upstairs, laptop in hand. He shed his robe, and climbed back under the covers with the others, jostling then awake.

"Damn, baby, your feet are like ice blocks!" Duo mumbled into his pillow.

"And his butt," Trowa added, spooning sleepily up behind Heero and wrapping an arm around his waist. "Mmm, nice ice though--What the--? Hey, I thought we agreed, Yuy; no more computers in bed!"

"At night," Heero reminded him, rescuing his laptop from questing hands. "I think you'll all want to hear this. Is Quatre awake yet?"

"Do I hafta be?" a muffled voice grumbled from under a pillow on the far side of the bed.

"Just listen, then. This is from the Sanque Times society column-"

"Since when do you--?"

"Don't interrupt, Duo, or I'll warm my feet in your armpits."

Duo gave him a mock scowl and cuddled closer. "So read, you big bully."

"'Milliardo Gustav Hermann Alexander George Wilhelm Peacecraft, Prince of Sanque and elder brother to Queen Relena Peacecraft, formally announces his engagement to Captain (Preventers, retired) Chang Wufei, Scion of the Dragon Clan of L-5 Colony. The couple have exchanged rings before witnesses and plan to be married in Sanque Cathedral on April fourth of this year.'"

Quatre emerged beaming from under his pillow. "Good for them! It's official now."

Duo looked at the screen over Heero's shoulder and snickered. "Gustav Herman? No wonder he changed his name! Call 'em, baby. I wanna say congrats in person."

"Way ahead of you, 02," Heero grinned, pulling up the laptop's vid com panel.

+

Sanque Kingdom, January 14, 199 AC

Wufei had appreciated the vid call from their friends, even if said friends had chosen to call them from bed, and probably naked, from what he could see. Zechs was certainly intrigued, Wufei noted sourly. He couldn't help feeling a little jealous. Zechs was still being overly cautious with him and Wufei suspected it was taking a toll on his hot-blooded lover.

Sally emailed them soon after, along with few other people from Wufei's Preventers squad and the security staff in Sanque--people Wufei had never imagined hearing from again after his fall from grace.

It had, of course, been too much to hope that such an announcement would go unnoticed by the press. Soon their phone line was jammed with reporters trying to get through for interviews or a quote. Zechs fielded all of these, sparing Wufei, who was simply overwhelmed.

+

January 15

Zechs rose early that morning, and tried to kiss Wufei softly back to sleep. "It's too early for you to be up, my love, and I'm not staying for breakfast. Go back to sleep."

Wufei stubbornly did nothing of the kind, but remained in bed, watching glumly as Zechs put on the elaborate state uniform of Sanque. Zechs could look magnificent in a ragged pair of stained jeans, but now he looked truly regal. Wufei fought down the fears that had plagued him since they'd come to this decision, knowing what Zechs would say.

When he was ready to go, Zechs brought Wufei his morning medications and a glass of water and watched him swallow all seven pills. Taking the glass, he gave him another lingering kiss and cupped Wufei's face between his hands. "Don't sit here and worry all day, little love. Everything's going to be fine."

Wufei covered Zechs' right hand with his own, running a finger over the diamond in his ring. "Good luck, my love. I hope--I hope it all goes well for you."

"For us, mei. For us." Zechs' blue eyes tilted in a lazy smile. "And it will. Enjoy your day."

Wufei tried to go back to sleep after Zechs left, but it was no use. Rising, he managed a shower on his own, pulled on his work out clothes and did his morning meditation. He still needed help down to breakfast, so he called for Tomas. After a very light breakfast of rice and fruit, he proceeded on to physical therapy with Gwen in the workout room.

Gwen was a tall, muscular Swedish woman with no mercy whatsoever. Wufei liked her very much, and sweated without complaint through another grueling massage and range of motion manipulations, and a series of stretches and slow calisthenics designed to build up his depleted stamina. Afterwards, he gripped a wheeled walker and began his series of circuits around the large room.

As he did so today, he thought back to those first sessions with Zechs, when Wufei had taunted him out of his self-pity and gradually reawakened the warrior spirit in him. He smiled, even as the sweat poured down his face and chest. Zechs had come alive again for him, and he owed him no less now.

There was a clock on the wall, and he rewarded himself at the end of each circuit with a glance up at the time.

10:18

10:29

10:48

Zechs was to address Parliament at eleven o'clock, but the session and the debate that was certain to follow were not broadcast. There was nothing to do but wait for Zechs to call, or come home with the news.

11:10 Damn it! He was exhausted and losing ground.

He was just starting another circuit when Gwen strode over and caught him by the elbow.

"Let me finish!" he rasped, but in truth, he was shaking, nauseated, and covered in sweat.

"It's too much," Gwen chided, and unceremoniously scooped him up and carried him back to the massage table. "Stay here. I'm going to fetch Dr. Wolfson.

"I don't need him!" he snapped, but she was already gone. Wufei silently cursed his slight build and stature-everyone seemed determined to treat him like a child!

Nonetheless, he was helpless to object. Lying on his back was a bad idea. He was so dizzy he was afraid he was going to throw up and his heart was beating much too fast. Turning carefully, he curled up on his side and gripped the edge of the table.

//I shouldn't still be this weak,// he thought, wishing the room would stop spinning. //I'm stronger than this, god damn it!//

He must have passed out, because when he opened his eyes again he was tucked in bed in a clean nightshirt with an oxygen mask over his nose and mouth. The small lamp beside the bed was on, and the clock on the nightstand showed 9:18 pm.

Nine at night? He sat up in alarm, only to be overcome by another wave of dizziness. How had he slept the day away? And where was Zechs?

Fighting down another bout of nausea, he pulled off the mask and looked around for his dressing gown, but instead spied a newspaper on Zechs' pillow, with long-stemmed red rose tucked into the fold. Curious, Wufei leaned back against the pillows and opened it across his lap. Inside, folded around the rose, was a sheet of paper. It was an email from Zechs, sent to the house account.

"My love, Dr. W informed me of your collapse, but assured me it was not serious. I will speak with Gwen about your exercise regime tomorrow. I must attend to some legal paperwork here and will be home very late. In the meantime, take your pills, eat something, and check out page one. All my love, Z."

Wufei's heart beat faster, reading those last words. He held the rose to his nose, inhaling its heady scent, and turned his attention to the newspaper. It was today's evening edition of the Times. There was a large picture of Zechs standing at a podium in an ornate chamber. Relena was visible to one side, dressed in one of her trademark suits and hats.

The headline read: "Prince Milliardo Defends Unconventional Engagement."

"Prince Milliardo Peacecraft appeared before the Sanque Parliament this morning, officially announcing his intention to take former Gundam pilot and retired Preventer agent Chang Wufei as his husband. Addressing the session in full, he spoke candidly.

"Relena, Chancellor, respected ladies and gentlemen of the Parliament, thank you for allowing me to appear before you today. As you are no doubt aware, I have asked Chang Wufei to marry me and he has most graciously accepted. While such unions are legal in our great country, I realize that my connections to this government and the royal family may give some of you pause over this matter.

"Some months ago I stated that I did not feel worthy to be considered for the throne now, or at any point in the future. My feelings in this matter remain unchanged. Once again, I offer to renounce my title, as well as any claim you may still feel I have, in order to live as I feel I must.

"I will gladly serve my country and the people of Sanque, should you deem it necessary, but I can only do so with the express understanding that it will be with the man I love at my side. I bow to the will of the people in the matter of my service, but will not be swayed from my chosen path in the matter of my personal life. I love Sanque and always shall, but without the love and support of my beloved, I am nothing, and of no use to anyone."

Prince Milliardo then retired from the council chamber and debate ensued, with the resulting vote, three hours later, to recognize the prince's marriage and any issue that may result as legitimate . . . "


Wufei read it again, blinking back tears of relief, then called the kitchen and ordered a light supper of rice, miso, and tea. Tomas arrived with the tray and his nightly meds to find him still mooning over the paper. "How are you feeling, sir?"

"A little better," Wufei replied as Tomas settled the tray across his lap. "What happened to me?"

"The doctor examined you after you fainted and felt it was advisable to administer a mild sedative. If I may, sir, I think you have been pushing yourself rather hard. His Highness has voiced concern, as well."

"Not hard enough, if I faint after such a short workout," Wufei grumbled.

He ate a little from each bowl, but couldn't muster much of an appetite. Sending the tray away, he went to the bathroom to brush his teeth. Before he could reach the sink, however, what little he'd eaten came rushing back up, all over the pale gray tile floor. He caught at the edge of the counter, lowering himself down to a clean patch of floor as the edges of his vision went dark.

//No! Zechs, help me--//

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