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

Broken Warriors + Chapter 67
Frayed

Heero woke first, heart racing with yet another morning anxiety attack despite Duo and Trowa's arms wrapped around him. This was getting to be a regular thing. Dr. Batoosingh didn't seem overly concerned, so he'd seen no reason to burden the others with this. They were worried enough about him as it was, with all the crying and--he winced inwardly--that little fainting spell last night. Doing it in front of people who loved you didn't make it any less embarrassing. Between that and the scene in Wufei's room, it had been quite a night.

He gently disentangled himself from the others and slipped out of bed. Trowa muttered and turned over to snuggle under Quatre's chin. Duo opened his eyes and reached for Heero with a sleepy smile.

"'K, baby?"

Heero pulled the covers up under Duo's chin and kissed him. "It's early. Go back to sleep."

Duo mumbled some argument, but his eyes fluttered shut again.

Heero pulled on his exercise sweats and a tee shirt and went downstairs. He crossed the misty garden and used the bathroom next to the kitchen, then splashed his face with cold water. The eyes looking back at him over the top of the towel were still red and haunted, and he needed a shave.

//Who are you . . .//

Water streaked his cheeks like tears.

//Who am I . . .//

The hint of unwelcome memory; a haggard, unshaven face staring back at him from some cracked, flyspecked mirror in some filthy, long-forgotten toilet . . .

//Where am I?//

He scrubbed the water from his face and threw the towel over the rack. He didn't remember, didn't need to remember. He knew more than enough already and it was time to take action.

Striding purposefully out of the bathroom, he headed for to the kitchen for a drink of water. Marie was already at work; he could smell something good baking, and coffee. Expecting only the cook, he halted in surprise in the doorway. Quatre was at the table, yawning over a mug of coffee. Another one had been poured for Heero, with just the right amount of milk. Marie was nowhere to be seen. He dropped a quick kiss on the top of that tousled blond and blue hair and sat down with his coffee. "I tried not to wake you. You should go back to bed."

"Couldn't sleep," Quatre mumbled, yawning again. "How's the anxiety doing?"

Heero sighed and set his cup down. "You knew."

"Of course."

"I'm OK. And yes, I talked to Dr. B."

Quatre looked unconvinced. "I love you, so I worry. Sue me."

Heero reached across and clasped his hand. "It's under control."

Quatre's fingers curled around his. Heero found himself pulling on that hand, drawing Quatre up from his chair and into his lap, holding him the way he'd held Duo last night; Quatre's feet dangled, not touching the floor. Quatre felt very different than Duo, settled differently in his arms, smelled different. Heero rested his face in the curve of Quatre's neck, enjoying the comforting closeness. Quatre smelled spicy and exotic, with traces of Trowa's musk mixed in. "I'm going to miss this."

Quatre swallowed hard; Heero could feel it against his cheek. "I wish you two would come with us."

"Hn." The closer they got to the actual parting, the harder it was to figure out why he and Duo weren't going with them. "I've got to get this other matter settled. Then--well, we'll see."

Quatre kissed him on the forehead and looked him in the eye. "You're going to be careful, aren't you? You're going to remember that this isn't the war anymore. You can't do things like we used to."

"I know." Heero looked up into those big blue eyes. Quatre had grown up a lot, gotten taller, lost that babyish look he'd had when they first met, but those eyes hadn't changed at all. They were still windows into a very kind, caring soul. Heero smiled, running his fingers through that messy hair, smoothing the clump of blue strands into place. Then, without thinking much about it, he drew him into a tender kiss.

More than friends. Not quite lovers. Quatre's mouth didn't open and neither did Heero's. But whatever this was, it felt good and right.

"Hey, can I get me some of that?" Duo chuckled, wandering in to join them. Quatre shifted over so he was perched on Heero's knee, leaving the other open for Duo. Duo settled into place and kissed Quatre the way Heero had, then went a bit deeper with Heero. 'Marking his territory,' Heero thought with amusement. Duo's mouth tasted nice, all tingly with mouthwash.

"Tro still asleep?" Quatre asked.

"Yeah. He hardly twitched when I got up."

Quatre sighed. "That was a bad flashback."

"He hasn't had one like that in a long time, has he?" asked Duo.

Quatre shook his head.

"Maybe he should cut back on the drinking," Heero said, concerned. They'd all been drinking more since they'd been in New Orleans, even Duo, though only when they went out and never too much on nights before a show.

"Probably," Quatre agreed. "When he was worried about his feelings for you, right before the 'intervention', he got like this, only worse. Now, with us getting ready to split up again, and this threat, I see some of the signs. To be honest, I'm starting to get a little worried about him doing 'Red Silk'."

"All the more reason to get this problem settled," said Duo.

"I'll speak with him, if you think it will do any good," Heero offered. "I want him safe. And I don't want anything messing up the Circus. You two have worked too hard and things are taking off for you. If I thought I was messing that up--"

"Trowa makes his own problems, in his own mind," Quatre replied quietly. "He's a complex guy. I'm just glad things have worked out the way they have between the four of us."

Duo chuckled again. "Yeah, and he's already making room for Wu and Zechs."

"As guests. You guys are family."

"And you guys are heavy." Heero gave them both a nudge and they let him up. He stretched his legs. "Have some coffee and finish waking up, Duo. Then come join me in the practice room. I need a workout."

Duo rolled his eyes comically. "Uh oh, and not the kind I like, right?"

The practice room lay at the far end of the downstairs corridor, at the front of the house. Heero was halfway there when he heard the distinctive thumps and grunts of a sparring exercise.

Wufei and Zechs must have been up for some time already. Dressed only in loose cotton pants, both of them were flushed and sweating as they tossed each other around the mats. Heero leaned in the doorway, at once surprised and impressed.

He knew they'd been training together, but after last night, seeing Zechs so attentive and Wufei so shy, the naked aggression on display now was something of a shock. The shy lover was nowhere to be seen; this was the 05 Heero knew best, giving no quarter to his tall lover. Zechs was no slouch at hand to hand, either. The locking ring of his prosthetic arm was the only give away of his altered condition. He moved naturally, and the hand and arm worked as fluidly and strongly as his real ones.

Ignoring Heero's presence, they circled each other, watching for openings and weaknesses. Then Wufei leaped into a kick spin and caught Zechs with a barely pulled strike to the shoulder. Zechs hit the wall, but rebounded instantly and ducked another kick, getting under Wufei's guard this time and kicking his other leg out from under him. Wufei hit the ground turning and narrowly avoided getting pinned. He sprang to his feet before Zechs could recover and knocked him off balance again. Heero recognized most of the moves, but this looked more like a brawl. Wufei's mouth was grim, his dark eyes blazing. Zechs was grinning, but not in a loving way. They stopped short of drawing blood, but only just. Wufei finally winded Zechs with a light blow to the solar plexus, then pinned him to the mat, one hand fisted in Zech's hair, the other pulled back for a killing blow.

Heero had already taken a step forward in alarm when Zechs let his hands fall to the mat in a gesture of surrender.

Wufei didn't loosen his grip as he leaned down and growled, "That's two for me, one for you. Had enough?" Rising gracefully to his feet, he clasped Zechs hand and pulled him up.

"No, but we have other things to do today," Zechs said, smiling as he turned to Heero. "Good morning. Want to go a few rounds? I warn you, we're all warmed up."

Heero was still recovering his strength and skill, and had had only Duo to spar with. Duo was quick, and no easy match, but close combat had never been his strong suit. Wufei pinned Heero twice in the first ten minutes.

"You're out of shape, Yuy," he taunted as they circled for a new round.

Heero ignored the remark. He was just getting warmed up, and his mind was busy, calling up all he knew of Wufei's fighting style from the old days. A moment later the Chinese man was flat on his back, Heero's bare foot pressed to his larynx. "Maybe, but you still have that giveaway twitch in your eyebrow, Chang. You might as well yell, 'I'm going right.'"

"Ha! Told you," Zechs gloated.

Heero released him and caught the hint of a grimace as Wufei sat up. He knew that look; he'd seen Duo like that, after a long night of getting his ass screwed through the mattress. He fought back a grin.

Wufei caught it anyway and colored suddenly. "Perhaps you'd like to try Zechs?" he muttered, then blushed even harder at what his own ill chosen words. "You two should spar."

Duo drifted in and the four of them went at it for half an hour. Trowa and Quatre appeared, dressed for their morning yoga workout, and stayed a safe distance away, watching and commenting as they went through some warm up stretching.

Duo picked himself up after a third hard put down by Zechs and retreated to the edge of the mat, muttering, "I like my strategy better. Run, hide, carry a loaded gun!"

"Works for me," Trowa agreed. Putting his hands on Quatre's hips, he lifted his husband over his head as easily as if Quatre weighed no more than a child. Quatre flipped upside down, braced on Trowa's hands and bend backwards to rest his feet on Trowa's shoulders, showing off.

Heero saw Zechs lick his lips at the sight. The man might be smitten with Wufei, and totally loyal to his lover, but he wasn't blind, either.

+

Quatre caught the flash of lust from Zechs and stifled a frown. Slipping out of Trowa's grasp, he guided him into less showy moves. Merquise had better watch his step, and keep his thoughts to himself. There hadn't been any real intent behind it, but Quatre still felt protective toward Wufei.

There was something going on between those two this morning, too. He'd felt it during the sparring match, watching how aggressively Wufei tackled his lover. He reached out tentatively and got the hint of very mixed feelings, mostly confusion, but with some shame. That couldn't be good. But he also got the distinct impression that Wufei was thinking of him, as if he wanted to talk but was uneasy about initiating anything.

When practice was over, he lured Wufei back to the kitchen alone with the offer of tea while Zechs and the others went to shower.

Wufei had come along willingly enough, but now he looked apprehensive, Quatre noted as he puttered about, warming the china pot and measuring out an expensive Oolong black musk.

Wufei inspected the label approvingly. "Poobong Estate. Nice. When we first met you were still using those vile teabags."

Quatre took the kettle off the boil, let it cool for a count of ten, and then filled the pot. A woody sweet aroma drifted up as the dark leaves expanded. An uncomfortable silence settled in as they waited for it to steep. Quatre was getting mixed vibes from Wufei without really trying.

At last he turned to Wufei, just in time to see him wince again as he sat down at the table. "Do you-uh---need to talk about anything? I know it's none of my business, of course, but as a friend-and, well, I know what it's like, getting used to---"

Wufei swallowed noticeably, and cast a quick glance at the open doorway. Marie was in the next room, doing laundry. Quatre nodded, poured tea for both of them, and led him up to the front parlor where they could talk in private.

Wufei sat down gingerly in a cushioned armchair and turned his mug nervously in his hands. Quatre settled in the footstool in front of him and patted Wufei's knee. "Anything you need to say stays between us, I promise. I know how hard it is for you to talk about certain things."

Wufei gave him a pained look. "Zechs didn't do anything wrong last night." It was obviously s very important he make that clear, just as it had been last night. He hadn't told them much then, just enough to keep Duo from attacking Zechs. "I--that is I tried something I wasn't physically ready for. He did try to stop me, but I wouldn't listen."

"I understand." Quatre didn't need to touch minds to guess what had happened. He knew how single-minded Wufei could be, and they'd all seen the telltale trickle of blood. "So, how can I help?"

Wufei took a long sip from his mug. "I have no idea. Except--well, last night I couldn't help noticing that Trowa--That he is, he has--"

"A big cock?" Quatre finished for him.

Wufei blushed pink, then nodded. "Uh, yes. And so, when he's--well, uh--"

"Erect?"

Wufei looked as if he'd rather be flayed alive than continue this conversation, but he nodded. "Yes, that. When he is, he must be even--"

"Mmm hmm." Quatre couldn't help a little flutter of pride. "He's a 'shower' and a 'grower,' as they say. Not weird big or anything, but pretty impressive."

"Yes. Well." It was a good thing Quatre had used mugs rather than the delicate Japanese teacups or Wufei would probably be holding a handful of broken porcelain and hot water right now. "And, well, you're so much smaller. Oh god, I don't mean-not that your--"

"Cock?" Quatre offered helpfully, fighting back a fit of laughter that threatened to overwhelm his genuine concern.

"No, that's very--I mean I assume from what I saw--I didn't mean to look, of course, but the two of you burst in like that!"

"Wufei, it's OK. The rest of us aren't particularly modest, I have no issues about the size of my penis in relation to anyone else's, and I know what you're trying to say. Trowa is a lot bigger than I am, physically. Just like Zechs is bigger than you are. And I'm guessing that you're having trouble--" It was his turn to pause, but only to find some way to spare Wufei's feelings. Poor Wufei looked ready to either bolt or crawl under his chair. "You have trouble accommodating him."

"Yes. Precisely," Wufei admitted, looking utterly miserable.

"Is he, uh, forcing the issue in any way?"

"No! God, no! I told you, I was the one doing that. And now he's gotten all protective again and won't even talk about it until I'm-- healed."

Quatre began to understand why they'd been sparring so aggressively. Wufei needed to prove something and Zechs knew to help by giving no quarter. It hadn't been anything like anger, at least not at each other. "He's right. You can do yourself some serious harm doing that sort of thing the wrong way. Just relax and let him take the lead."

"I am! I do! I'm more than happy to, most of the time, but this is different." He looked around as if he expected someone to be eavesdropping, then lowered his voice. "You swear you won't talk about this, not even with Trowa?"

"You have my word."

Wufei drank the rest of his tea and set the mug aside. That look of pain was back as he fell back in his chair and rubbed at his face. "The truth is, Quatre, that I've had to overcome a considerable number of beliefs about myself to be Zechs's lover. Not that I didn't want to, but, at times it's very difficult. He's been completely wonderful. I couldn't have done it at all if he wasn't so kind and understanding. But it's uncovered a side of myself that I didn't know existed, and one I'm not entirely comfortable with yet. I'm still--still--Damn it, I get scared, Quatre!" He finished in a rush and Quatre got a crystal clear flash of where that element of shame had been coming from. It wasn't about sex at all, or even pain; it was about his pride as a man and a warrior. Chang Wufei had never accepted fear in himself in any form, for any reason.

"It is scary sometimes, isn't it?" Quatre offered softly. "I had to go against some very important teaching myself, when I realized how much I needed to be with Trowa. Family, tradition, all that. I couldn't not love him, but it was hard at first. The physical part especially can take some getting use to, I agree. And of course, people aren't all made the same way, either. It's possible that you just can't do it that way, with him being so big and all." It was Quatre's turn to blush a little. Wufei and Zechs had both given him an eyeful last night, and Duo's assessment hadn't been too much of an exaggeration, especially if Zechs was a grower, too.

"It's not the physical discomfort I mind," Wufei insisted softly. "It's the fear. All my life, I've dealt with that by facing it head on. Zechs has helped me past a lot of that, but this--this I must do myself." He clenched his hands together in his lap and whispered hoarsely, "He truly is wonderful to me, Quatre. I can't even begin to tell you-- He gives me everything I could possibly need or want, and more besides. I cannot, will not, let this one thing I can give him be ruined by fear on my part."

The sincerity of those words brought a lump to Quatre's throat, but he could still feel the very real fear there. "I understand what you're saying, Wufei, but do you want it?"

Instead of answering, Wufei took Quatre's hand and placed it over his heart. Caught off guard by such an unexpected move, he didn't have time to block the willing nakedness of that heart. One minute he was sitting there, looking up at Wufei. The next . . .

+

Wufei realized an instant too late that he should have known better, given what had happened the last time he asked Quatre to 'read' him. He'd only meant to for him to get an impression of what he felt for Zechs. Instead, Quatre had let out a soft, all too familiar sort of wail and slid bonelessly off the footstool at Wufei's feet.

He'd just given Quatre Winner-Barton an orgasm.

Stunned and mortified, he could only sit there, still stupidly holding his friend's hand, while Quatre gasped and shivered, then tried to collect himself.

He pulled his hand free and sat up, looking as stunned as Wufei felt.

"Oh, Winner, I'm so sorry!"

Quatre blinked and looked ruefully down at the wet spot showing thorugh the front of his loose yoga pants. "Well, I guess that answers my question."

"I didn't mean to, honestly! Does-oh god, does this mean we had sex?"

Quatre laughed. "No, but we proably should avoid it happening again, don't you think?" He got to his feet a little shakily. "Stay put. I'll be right back."

As soon as he was gone, Wufei sank his face in his hands, embarassed beyond measure. What had possessed him to confide such personal details? He'd never be able to look Quatre in the eye again as long as he lived! Not that it had been all that easy after last night. Yes, he'd seen a good deal more than he'd needed or wanted to, including the fact that, in addition to his tattoos and jewelry, Quatre had several scrotal piercings.

Quatre came back a few minutes later, wearing a fresh pair of pants and not looking the least upset by what had just happened. Smiling, he perched on the arm of Wufei's chair and showed him a catalogue with a tastefully abstract cover. Opening it to a page near the middle, he held it down for him to see. "I think something like this might help, if you're determined to do it yourself."

Wufei's eyes widened. It was a sex toys catalogue and Quatre had opened it to a section called "Anal Dildos". There were dozens of different shapes and sizes, not to mention colors. Some looked like actual penises; others like sculpture. It was incomprehensible.

"Back when Trowa and I were still learning to be intimate, I was having the same sort of problems you are. These were a real help."

"R-really?" Wufei stammered, feeling a bit faint. "But there are- so many!"

Quatre grinned. "Well you don't need to use all of them! Especially not at first. See this one here?" He pointed to a slender translucent blue very penis-shaped one labeled 'Slim Rider Jelly Dong'. "See, it comes in different sizes, so you could start with the smallest one and work-"

"Yes, I understand," Wufei croaked.

Quatre flipped a few pages to the section labeled 'Butt Plugs.' "These are good, too. You could start with something like the 'Tiny Titan'. Some you can even leave in during the day. The vibrating ones are good, if you're looking for more than just stretching. Oh, and you'll need lubricant. That's here on page twenty five."

He was unbelievably matter of fact about it all, not to mention that fact that he'd just come at Wufei's feet and told him, or tried to tell him, some of the more intimate details of his sex life with Trowa. Wufei was so embarassed he hardly knew where to look. Quatre had the magazine laid out over his lap now, pondering the relative merits of cock rings. Wufei tried to imagine himself ordering something from this catalog. Where would he have it mailed? Was the packaging discreet?

He couldn't imagine Quatre or the others having any such qualms. They all seemed as fearless about sex as they had been about battle. His embarrassment lessened a little and he looked up at Quatre. "Thank you. I'll consider this. Thank you for your help."

"Any time." Smiling, Quatre closed the magazine and handed it to him. "You can keep this. I'm on their mailing list."

Wufei accepted it and shook his head. "Thank you for your confidences, too. I didn't realize it had been difficult for you. But the others, they seem so at ease with it all."

"They are. But they were raised differently than we were. But believe me, Wufei, you're doing just fine. Knowing what you want is half the battle and from what you 'flashed' me before, you're getting it!" He stood up and stretched. "So, have I embarassed you enough for one day?"

"Yes, but thank you. And about what happened? I am sorry. I didn't mean to."

"Don't worry about it; you're not the first." He grinned up at Wufei from under his shaggy bangs. "I wouldn't mind a hug, though, considering."

Wufei hugged him, and was surprised at how natural and good it felt, standing there with Quatre's arms around him. It wasn't sexual at all, just comfortable and nice.

"I'm just glad you two are so good together," Quatre murmured against his shoulder. "You two will sleep with us, tonight at least, right? It's nice, really."

"I'll see what Zechs says, but yes, I'll try."

"Good." Stepping back, Quatre was all business again. "C'mon. Let's see what the others are up to. We've got a mission to plan."

++

Note: Quatre's Poobong Estate Special Oolong Black Musk tea is real, and delicious. As he or 05 could tell you, specialty teas from single estates are to your average grocery store teabags what fine vineyard wines are to Ripple. Check out www.estatetea.com :-) (Realized I hadn't given you folks any good links lately *g*)

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