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

Broken Warriors + Chapter 66
Juxtapositions Pt. 3

Heero wished he'd left the hateful envelope alone until the next day. Coming to in the large bed with everyone else, even Zechs, hovering over him, was almost as embarrassing as the realization that he'd actually fainted in front of all of them. Duo was kneeling beside the bed, regarding him with concern. Trowa lay next to Heero, still looking pale but less confused as he leaned back against Quatre's chest. They were both wrapped in bathrobes. Wufei and Zechs, in sweats and tee-shirts now, stood uneasily near the bedroom door.

// Wufei and Zechs //

// A cry //

// Blood trickling down one pale golden thigh //


The next thing he knew, Heero had Zechs pinned against the wall, one forearm across the taller man's throat, heart pounding in his ears. "You hurt him!" he heard himself hiss. Zechs didn't resist, just stood there, breath whistling in his constricted throat.

Wufei tackled him from behind, pulling at Heero's arm. "Let him go! It wasn't his fault!"

But Heero had been working out, and his strange metabolism had hardened his muscles again. He might not be as strong as he once was, but he was stronger than Wufei, and driven by adrenaline and panic.

Then Quatre was there, too, closing a hand firmly over the hand under Zechs's right ear. "It's all right, Heero. It's not what you think," he soothed and the panic began to recede. "You've got it all mixed up in your mind with the photos."

Heero released Zechs and stepped back, legs dangerously unsteady under him again, but Duo was with him now, holding him, guiding him back to the bed. "Easy, baby. It's OK. They understand. C'mon, lay down before you fall down."

Heero settled stiffly against the headboard, then looked back at Wufei, who was glaring at him, an arm around Zechs's waist. 05 didn't look abused, just pissed off and ready to defend his boyfriend.

"It's all right, mei," Zechs murmured to him, one arm around Wufei's shoulders. Wufei glanced up at him, and then relaxed his guard.

"I'm sorry!" Heero mumbled, looking from one to the other, trying to read the situation there. Of course Zechs wouldn't hurt Wufei, any more than Wufei would allow himself to be abused, but the blood . . . It was too close to the memories that had overwhelmed Heero in the kitchen moments before. He sank his face in one shaking hand, fighting back nausea.

"I understand, Heero," Zechs rasped. "Duo and the others have explained everything. I'd like to help, if I can."

"We both would," Wufei said, calming down. He sat on the edge of the bed beside Heero and Duo. "I'm out of Preventers, but I know Sally will help if I ask. The envelopes and letters should be run through the spectra analysis lab for prints, and the photos-"

"No!" Heero shuddered, imagining people he'd once worked with seeing him like that, knowing what he'd let . . . What had happened. And what if Meir had been right? What sort of headlines would that make? "No, I'll handle this."

"We'll handle this," Duo corrected. "Look around, Heero. Four other people in this room spent two years worrying themselves sick about you, doing everything we could to find you, help you. You think we're not going to do it now?"

"Damn straight," muttered Trowa, clasping Heero's free hand in a bruising grip. "This is not going to be another a solo mission, 01." The others nodded agreement.

Heero let out a shaky sigh. "All right. I just--I'm not sure where to start." That was as frightening as anything else. Was this what he'd been like, living on the streets? He felt lost and hated it.

"We start with that son of a bitch paparazzi, Meir," Quatre said. "He's the only reporter since you came back to even suggest that something like that had happened to you. I checked him out a while ago. His paper, the Weltbeobachter, may be a tabloid, but it's one of the better ones. They actually get things right some of the time. We need to find out who his source was for that."

"We know the letters came from that Tokyo district, Kisarazu. We should go there, too," Trowa added, glowering under his long bangs and looking better by the minute as he settled into mission mode.

Heero cut them both off with a look of disbelief. "You two can't just take off, walk away from your show! You're opening in New York in a few weeks."

Trowa's one visible eye narrowed. "If you think for on minute that this isn't more important than--"

"Easy, Tro," Duo cut in. "It's not like we won't ask for your help when the times comes to take these bastards out."

"He's right," Wufei agreed. "It seems there isn't much to go on yet, but the initial stage intel work doesn't take that many people. I happen to be unemployed at the moment."

"So am I." Zechs chuckled. "And I still have a few connections."

"Yes he does. So let us do the first stage recon."

Trowa opened his mouth to object, but Quatre stopped him. "They're right," he told his glowering husband. "I don't like it, either, but they're right. We've worked too hard to create this circus and we have people depending on us. We'll keep up business as usual for now, until they really need us. In the meantime, we can coach Allie and Mike for a couple of substitution acts, just in case."

"I'm concerned about security for you here, too," Zechs said. "The latest letter could be interpreted as threat. I think it would be foolish not to assume the possibility that they are here, or planning to come here. The Circus's schedule is no secret. If Duo and Heero are with you, they'll know where to find them. Quatre, do the Maguanacs still work for you?"

"Uh, don't go there," Duo warned.

Heero winced and shot Quatre a concerned glance. The blond boy blushed unhappily; it was still a very sore point.

Brave, loyal, devout Rashid and the others had not taken the revelation of their Master Quatre's sexual orientation very well. Quatre and Trowa had kept it a secret when they became lovers in the last days of the war, but afterwards, when Quatre had 'gone off the rails' as Duo put it, he'd made no effort to hide the fact, or his wild lifestyle at the time, and after several unpleasant scenes, Rashid and the others had lost patience and gone their own way back home. Heero had learned all this from Duo, who'd been there to witness most of it, though it had been Trowa, as usual, who'd picked up the pieces and held Quatre together. Quatre had never spoken of it around Heero, but clearly it remained an open wound in that tender heart. Duo was certain that it had hurt him far more than the anger of some of his sisters. It hadn't helped that Quatre had been devout himself, when he was younger, and had had a hard time accepting his own nature. To have people he loved and respected condemn him for being gay only fed whatever guilt he might still have.

"So what now?" Trowa demanded, still not pleased with the game plan.

"It's late and Heero's exhausted," Duo said. "Let's all get some sleep and work out the details tomorrow. OK?"

Heero glanced over at the nightstand clock. It was nearly five. "Yes. Wufei, I'm so sorry to spoil your birthday with all this. I meant to wait a few more days, let you enjoy the city . . ."

Wufei gave him an insulted look but those black eyes were full of compassion. "I only regret I didn't know sooner. This can't be allowed to go on. Now, if you will excuse us?" Zechs went out, but Wufei paused at the doorway, suddenly looking more uncomfortable than ever. "I--uh--That is, the lock on our door is broken, and--Well, I would appreciate it if you'd all disregard anything you might hear from our room during the rest of our stay. You have nothing to be concerned about. You have my word." With a last stiff nod and slight, pained smile, he was gone.

Duo snickered as he pulled off his jeans and reached for the fly of Heero's. "He's right. We all owe him, big time, as far as night noise goes."

"But what did happen?" Heero demanded, still unable to shake off his own unease.

Trowa chuckled as he stretched out between Heero and Quatre. "I think 05 finally got his cherry popped."

Quatre gasped, punching his husband on the shoulder. "Trowa Barton!"

Duo buried his face in his pillow, snorting with laughter. "Jesus, did you see? Old Zechsy's hung like a Clydesdale! No wonder poor Wuffie yelled!"

Heero elbowed him disapprovingly. "Our first time wasn't much better at first, if you recall."

"Sorry," Duo said, exchanging an unrepentant grin with Trowa. "I'm just having a hell of a time with this whole 'gay Wufei' thing to begin with, and now this? I mean, for all the people in the world to wind up with witnesses? Trowa waving guns at them and-Shit! I mean, put some lipstick on that mess, 'cause it was ugly!"

"It must have been excruciatingly embarrassing for him," Quatre chided. "He's very modest."

"Yeah, remember the look on his face when he burst in on us, back in Madrid?" Duo shook his head. "He was the one with clothes on, but I think he was more embarrassed than you were, Heero."

"I wasn't embarrassed. I just didn't want an audience."

"My favorite incident is still when Relena found out about you two," said Trowa. "I wonder if she's recovered from the shock yet?"

"I wouldn't know. I haven't heard from her since, except through secretaries," Heero sighed. He didn't exactly miss her, and he was glad that things were cleared up between them as to his sexual preferences, but he did feel a little guilty over the way things had ended between them. Relena had been a pest back in the early days, but she'd also gone out of her way to help him, especially in Madrid. He still hadn't figured out why the others seemed to dislike her so intensely.

+

Alone in their room at last, door propped back in place with a chair jammed firmly under the knob, Wufei sagged in Zechs's arms and let out a groan. "That may have been the single most embarrassing moment of my entire life."

Zechs's chest vibrated against his cheek as he laughed softly. "And even so, you'd armed yourself and were shielding me before I could even find my gun."

"Only by a few seconds," Wufei reminded him.

"Sometimes that makes all the difference. Most impressive, little Chang."

That was said teasingly, but Wufei could tell that the praise was genuine. He was glad of it, but it didn't stop the shame he'd held at bay until now from sweeping back over him. "I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have forced you to do that!"

Zechs cupped Wufei's chin in one hand and made him look up. "If I'd had any idea what you were really up to, I'd have stopped you sooner. You were too tired and too tense to try anything like that yet, and you didn't give me the time to prepare you. I won't scold you for that. However--" He paused, making certain he had Wufei's full attention. "I did tell you no, and you didn't stop. I'll forgive you that, too, since you're so new to all this, but you mustn't ever do that again. If you want to play bondage games, I'm more than happy to join you, but top and bottom both have to respect the other's signals."

Wufei felt his face go scarlet. "Forgive me. I spoiled everything."

Zechs hugged him. "Nothing of the sort, and nothing to forgive. You didn't know any better. Now you do. For now, Wufei, let me remain your older, wiser lover. There'll be plenty of time later, when you're more experienced, for surprises." He kissed Wufei softly on the lips. "How are you? Truthfully. Does it hurt much?"

"My nose still aches a little."

"You know that's not what I meant."

Wufei swallowed, then hid his face against Zechs's chest again and nodded. His ass did hurt like hell and felt like it might still be bleeding a little.

"Let me see."

"No!"

"Yes, and now." Zechs ordered. "Believe me, this isn't the first time I've done this." He guided him to bed and made him bend over, bracing his hands on the mattress.

Wufei squeezed his eyes shut, mortified, as Zechs pulled down his loose pants.

"Relax, mei," he murmured behind him, raising the tail of Wufei's tee shirt and kissing his lower back. "You're still so tense, and that's what got you in trouble in the first place. I'm just going to have a look, all right? Relax now." He gently parted Wufei's cheeks with his thumbs, then stroked his hips. "It's not too bad, but there's definitely some tearing. I'll run a hot bath."

Wufei kicked off the fallen pants and burrowed miserably under the blankets, listening to the rush of water in the next room. What had made him try such a thing? And to do it so badly? He twisted the beautiful ring Zechs had given him around on his finger, watching the ruby catch the light. He knew Zechs wanted to make love to him like that. He'd said so. But it was impossible! How would he ever get up the courage to try it again, even with Zechs's help and preparation, whatever that meant? But if he couldn't manage it, what then?

He was half sick with worry and exhaustion by the time Zechs came to fetch him. He said nothing, just led Wufei by the hand like a child into the old fashioned bathroom. The huge claw footed tub was filled with steaming water, and Zechs had added salts that turned the water a pale blue. It smelled like juniper and orange, and rose petals floated on the surface.

"Your final present," Zechs said, smiling down at him. He lifted Wufei's shirt off over his head, then placed Wufei's on his hips, just below the hem of his black tee shirt and gave him an expectant smile.

Wufei blinked then, understanding, grasped the soft fabric and pulled the shirt up and off. Zechs undid the tie at the waist of his pants and let them fall. Taking Wufei's hand again, he stepped into the tub and leaned back, guiding Wufei to lie against his chest between his legs. The hot water stung his abused flesh and he hissed and shifted his hips, trying to get comfortable. A few tiny tendrils of red drifted up from between his thighs. He moved one leg to dissipate them before Zechs saw, but not quickly enough.

Zechs wrapped his arms around Wufei and stroked his cheek. "Relax now, mei. The salts will help you heal faster."

Wufei wanted to obey, but he couldn't. His mind was still racing, finding worries on every side. What if Zechs didn't want a lover he couldn't fuck? Wufei couldn't blame the man for that, after all.

Perhaps his fear showed, or maybe Zechs had had this kind of experience before, because he was kissing and stroking him now, running loving hands over Wufei's chest and belly, and possessively cupping his limp, floating genitals in one hand. He wasn't in the mood to feel aroused; instead, it was comforting to feel those large hands touching him like that.

"You'll make yourself ill, worrying in silence, love."

"What if I can't do it?" Wufei whispered. What if someday there was no Zechs to hold him in bed at night, no Zechs to wake up with and spar with and play chess with. No Zechs to hold him tight like this? He turned over and wrapped his arms around Zechs as best he could, hot water lapping up under his chin. "I really did want to!"

Wet fingers traced his eyebrow, his cheekbone. "I know. But I also think you were trying to prove something?"

"I want to give you all you need!" Wufei blurted out.

"You do! Don't ever doubt that. That kind of sex isn't easy and it's not to everyone's taste, either, no matter what the pornos show."

"I've never seen that kind of porno." Actually, he'd never had much use for any trash like that. "I just--In Le Fleur, I could tell you enjoyed it. I mean, that's what you're getting me ready for, isn't it? You said so, the other night."

"Oh, Wufei!" Zechs said sadly. "You have no idea how I regret dragging you there like that. Listen to me, now. If you're never able to enjoy anal sex, then so be it. If you think that what we have done is not just as satisfying, you're wrong. You are a wonderful lover, a delight in every way, and I've never had a more talented or enthusiastic mouth on my cock. If that's all we ever do, I won't feel like I'm settling for second best, and I won't go looking for someone else to give me that. I promise you Wufei, I would never, ever do that to you."

Wufei hugged him harder. He wanted so much to believe that!

"You have to understand, Wufei, that the body is not really made for such activities, pleasurable though they are, if done right. But there are ways to make it easier. Remember what I did for you with my fingers the other night?"

Wufei nodded and felt a tiny stir of arousal at the memory.

"I know it hurt a little at first, but once you relaxed it felt very, very good, didn't it?"

"Yes!"

"My cock is no thicker than those fingers, and you were able to enjoy that. But it is big, and you are very tight, my lovely little virgin. If you do decide that you want to try it again--"

"I will!"

"If you do, Wufei--"

"I will!" he insisted again, sitting up. "And I'm not a virgin anymore. You're big, Zechs, but I still want to feel you inside me. I'll let you do everything your way next time. We can try again tonight! I feel better."

Zechs tapped him on the nose. "Liar. You'll need a few days at least to heal properly, and I'll say when. It's your task to take care of yourself, and not give in to guilt or fear or any of those silly things in the meantime."

Dawn was breaking outside their curtains when they settled down in bed together. Head resting on Zechs's chest, Wufei vowed he would be worthy of this man. "Did Heero hurt you?"

"He could have, if he'd really wanted to. But no, I'm fine. And proud that you have such devoted friends looking out for you. I'm sorry he's still so haunted by the past."

"That's going to stop," Wufei whispered fiercely. If Heero and Duo hadn't tracked him down on L-5, he might not be lying here with this man tonight. "It's going to stop."

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