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

Broken Warriors + Chapter 88
Sun and Shadow

Dr. B wasn't kidding when he said he was going to give Heero a major dose of that medication, Unadol. The first hit knocked Heero out and he slept all day. Batoosingh and Dr. Kano kept a close eye on his vitals and Duo was left with nothing to do but be bored and feel useless.

Trowa called him from Kat's hospital room at lunchtime and the three of them chatted for a while, but there wasn't much new to say. Both of them looked one hundred percent better, though, Duo noted with satisfaction. Trowa was stretched out on the bed beside Quatre and even long distance through a vid phone, Duo could see how peaceful and happy they were together. Kat had that special glow as he rested his head on Trowa's shoulder, like he and Tro had been messing around under the sheets. Trowa held him close with one arm, looking more relaxed than he had since before all this, and the shadows were gone from his eyes.

Duo had a session with Dr. B there in the room that afternoon, and for once it was actually hard to come up with much to talk about. As bad as the mess up with Hato had been, now that he was past it Duo found he honestly didn't feel all that traumatized by it.

"Can you explain why?" the doc asked.

"Well, back during the war missions went wrong, and sometimes some other pilot showed up to pull the other guy's fat out of the fire, like Wu did for us. And back then, if someone got shot, it was just part of the price you paid for screwing up. So long as everyone walked away in the end, no harm, no foul, right?"

Dr. Batoosingh let him rattle on like this, jotting down his little notes and nodding now and then. When Duo finally talked himself out, he looked up. "So, Duo, how do you feel right now?"

"Feel?" Duo had to think about that. "I guess I feel OK. It's over. Like you told Heero, we stopped Hato, even if we went about it a totally half-assed. I wanted the bastard dead and he's dead. So what if Zechs finished him off. I put a few slugs in the guy first. Now Heero's safe, and Hato can't hurt any more boys." He shook his head, tugging absently at the end of his braid. "That was rough, seeing all those bodies, and what they'd done to Yuki."

"That hit close to home for you, didn't it, the way he'd been abused?"

"Yeah, it sure did. But it didn't mess me up like you might think. It's almost like by shutting Hato and his gang down, I was getting back at all the fuckers who hurt me. I mean, I know it doesn't really work that way, but that's how it feels."

"It does work that way," Batoosingh told him, with that gentle smile of his. "You can't change the past, but you can control how it affects you in the here and now."

Duo grinned. "Can't step in the same river twice? Isn't that how you put it once?"

"Yes. And in the here and now, you chose to act, not be a victim. You were strong for yourself, for Heero, and for that boy. You can't change the past, but you can overcome it and leave it behind. I think you're really doing that at last, Duo."

"Does that mean you're out of a job with me, doc?"

Batoosingh smiled again. "I hope to be very soon.

Duo stood and stretched, feeling a little more give around his stitches today. "Good, because I've got a new patient lined up for you, and he's going to be a real handful."


When Heero slept on through the dinner hour nurses came in and reinserted an IV line and catheter. Duo turned away, wincing as they did that. Heero wasn't going to be very pleased. Dr. Batoosingh came in and had another hit of meds given through the IV line.

"He won't wake up tonight," he told Duo. "You should go visit your friends. They could use the company and so could you."

Duo had to agree. He'd read everything in the room at least once and couldn't make sense of Japanese television. A lot of the shows looked interesting and it was just too frustrating not to be able to understand what anyone was saying.

He was also tired of moping around in pajamas. He took a shower, washed and braided his hair, and pulled on some loose jeans and a tee-shirt Trowa had brought for him. Sticking his feet into hospital slippers, he took the elevator up to the ICU.

Some of the restrictions had been lifted on Wufei's room. He had to put on a cloth gown over his clothes and a clean pair of slippers, but he could go in and sit with them. Inside, he saw that they'd moved a bed in for Zechs, too.

"Duo! You look much better," Wufei said, his voice still soft and weak.

"So do you, buddy," Duo said, pulling up a chair next to Zechs's.

The end of Wufei's bed was cranked up and he was propped up on a bunch of pillows. He still had a regen unit on his chest, but this one was smaller and more compact, held in place by some straps so he could move around a little while wearing it. He was still a lot thinner than normal and looked tired, but his color was better and his hair was clean. And he was smiling. Really smiling. In all the time Duo had known him, even back in New Orleans, Wufei hadn't been much of a smiler, but he sure looked happy now. So did Zechs, for that matter, though it was less of an event with him.

"What's up?" asked Duo. Then his eye fell on the open laptop Zechs was holding.

Still working one handed, Zechs was too slow closing the computer, and now he was blushing. Zechs Merquise, blushing! And no wonder, Duo thought; he'd had time to read the site name: "Polynesian Honeymoon Packages."

Duo raised an eyebrow. Wufei was trying hard to look stern and dignified, and failing completely. He was blushing so hard he looked like he already had tropical sunburn.

"Uh, you two got something you want to say? And don't try telling me you're becoming wedding planners, because I ain't buying it."

The pair exchanged a quick look, then Zechs shrugged and nodded. Wufei was still struggling to look like his stiff, dignified self, but the blush was still working against him. "We wanted to wait until our plans were more settled to make a formal announcement, but since you've guessed anyway--" He paused and took a deep breath, looking like he was bracing for a bad reaction. "Zechs has asked me to marry him, and I have agreed."

Duo let out a whoop and leapt up from his chair, too happy to much mind the painful reminder of his stitches. Zechs rose, probably fearing that Duo was going to jump on Wufei and hug him or something. Duo had more sense than that of course; he hugged Zechs and gave him a big sloppy smooch on the cheek. Still hanging onto him with one arm, he bent down and gave Wufei a careful peck.

"That's so great!" he laughed, flopping back in his chair. "Jeeze, Zechsy, talk about the Lightning Count, huh? You sure work fast, but that's OK! I'm totally thrilled for you guys. I mean, I was just kidding when I told you to save me a dance at your wedding, you know, but it's not like this is real surprise. When's the big day? Where are you gonna do it? That L-2 wedding chapel Tro and Kat used was pretty cheesy, but that was on purpose, to piss Kat's family off. You guys probably want something classier, huh? Have you told Relena yet? Are you gonna do the whole double name thing like Tro and Kat? Wait, are you legally Merquise or Peacecraft-?"

Wufei raised a wry eyebrow, waiting for him to pause for breath.

"Oops. Guess I got a little carried away," Duo laughed and sat down. "So? Spill!"

"We haven't decided on a date or location yet, but I'm quite certain it won't be at any L-2 chapel," Zechs told him, grinning as he sat down on the edge of the bed and took Wufei's hand.

"Certainly not!" Wufei sniffed.

"As for Relena, she's arriving to visit me tomorrow afternoon. I plan to tell her then." Zechs looked less than enthused at the prospect.

"Think she'll give you a hard time about it?"

"Probably. Not that it will make any difference, of course. The Sanque Kingdom ratified same sex unions before the war. My status as one of the royal family could complicate matters but I've already abdicated." He shrugged again, but Duo thought he caught a flash of concern from Wufei. And Zechs hadn't answered the name question, either. Duo let it go.

"Well, if you need any help planning things, you should talk to Quatre. He really got into all that."

"I've seen pictures of their wedding," Zechs said, chuckling. "I think we might want something a bit lower-key, don't you, mei?"

"Hn." Wufei was staring down at their joined hands now, looking uncomfortable. At last he looked up at Duo, the happiness replaced by guilt. "I insulted them terribly, didn't I, by not coming to their wedding? It was heartless of me, the way I treated them."

"Yeah, it was." There was no point in sugar coating it now. Deep down, Duo guessed he was still sort of angry with Wu about that. Duo had been there, and he'd helped pick up the pieces of Kat's heart when that cold, last minute email had finally arrived a few days before the ceremony.

"I've apologized to them both, and they accepted it, but I honestly never realized until now how much I must have hurt them," Wufei went on softly.

"Bad," Duo told him honestly. "Real bad."

"It was inexcusable, of course. I--I just didn't think anyone would care if I was there or not," Wufei murmured.

Duo was shocked to see the glimmer of tears in those dark, proud eyes. He knew from experience how much it took to make Wufei cry. "Hey, you apologized, right? They wouldn't have accepted it if they didn't mean it. Besides, since then we figured out how messed up you were, before, you know?" He gestured at Zechs. "None of us were there for you, either."

Wufei shrugged and blinked back the unshed moisture. "How could you have known, when I was so determined to shut everyone out? The fault was mine alone. Things are different now. I would like to invite them to the ceremony. Would they be insulted, do you think? Would it open old wounds?"

Duo sighed. "I can't answer for them, but I really think Quatre would be hurt if you didn't invite them. I think you should, and let them decide."

Wufei still looked so sad about it that Duo wanted to hug him. Instead he struck a sexy pose in his chair, arching back with his hands behind his head. "Hey, if you need a bridesmaid I still got my leather kilt!"

"Really now, Maxwell, that wouldn't be in the least appropriate," Zechs said, stroking the back of Wufei's hand with his thumb as he gave Duo a disapproving look and a wink at the same time. "I was thinking more along the lines of a nice, tasteful cocktail frock. We already know you have the legs for it."

Wufei shook his head, trying very hard to look disapproving, even as the corners of his eyes tilted up. "Wonderful. Now I have two crazy men to deal with."

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