see ch. 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer
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
"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
"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
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
"What's up?" asked Duo. Then his eye fell on the open laptop Zechs was
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?
"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
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