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

Broken Warriors + Chapter 89
Confrontation

Wufei hadn't really expected Duo to have any objection to their engagement, and he'd told himself repeatedly that it wouldn't matter even if he did. So he was rather surprised by his own relief at Duo's obvious joy at the news. And of course he'd known Duo and Zechs were only joking about Duo attending in a dress. He'd gone along with the joke and given them the reaction they'd wanted.

That still left the other three to tell. He suspected that Quatre's reaction would be along the lines of Duo's, and Heero probably wouldn't care one way or the other, but Trowa? He couldn't help a twinge of dread at the thought of telling Trowa. Quatre's forgiveness had been warm and heartfelt. Trowa's had been far more reserved.

But that concern certainly paled in the face of Relena's immanent arrival. He dreamed about it all night before her arrival, imagining all sorts of disastrous scenarios that invariably ended with him losing Zechs. He woke the following morning tired and in low spirits. Zechs was edgy, too, though he was going out of his way to hide it.

After an early breakfast Zechs gave Wufei a thorough sponge bath and helped him into clean pajama trousers and his yukata, then went to shower and dress. Relena was due around eleven. Left alone with his own thoughts, Wufei stared morosely out the window for a few minutes, then found the TV remote and turned it to the local news.

He hadn't watched the news for several days. The revelations about Hato's murder ring and the hospitalization of the famous Gundam boys had filled the airwaves and Wufei was sick of it all. Now Relena' arrival to visit her famous brother and his friends had the whole city in an excited dither.

Wufei was watching live coverage of Relena deplaning at Tokyo International when Zechs came out of the bathroom with wet hair, wearing nothing but a pair of charcoal dress slacks. The bandages on his left shoulder had been changed. They were clean and much less bulky than they had been. Wufei winced inwardly at the sight of the smaller stump of his arm. It was several inches shorter than it had been.

Zechs caught his look and smiled as he stroked Wufei's cheek. "They've taken measurements for my new arm already, Wufei. I'll be as good as new in no time."

He sat down by the bed and went to work awkwardly a towel and comb.

"Come here," Wufei ordered. Zechs shifted over onto the bed within easy reach and Wufei combed his hair for him as they watched TV. Relena appeared in an impeccable ivory suit and hat, smiling as warmly as ever and granting a brief interview to the pack of reporters.

"Ambassador Peacecraft, are you here to see Heero Yuy or your brother?" one asked.

A flicker of surprise crossed her face. "Why both, of course. All of them."

"But isn't it true that you had a falling out with Yuy and your brother over their homosexuality?" the same reporter persisted.

"Haven't you been estranged from your brother since he announced his abdication in October?" demanded another.

"What? Certainly not!" she replied, looking hurt and shocked.

In truth, neither of she nor Zechs had made any effort to contact the other until she'd called the hospital here the day they'd been shot. Yet she sounded sincere as she stated, "I love my brother very much. He is all the family I have."

"Why have you waited four days before coming to see him, Ambassador?"

"Good question!" Wufei muttered.

Relena pretended not to have heard, but Wufei recognized the subtle signal she gave to her Preventer bodyguards. They closed in around her and the interview was over. He and Heero had done the same for her during their service, shielding her from unwanted questions and rude reporters.

Zechs glanced down up at the wall clock. "She'll be here in less than an hour. I should arrange to meet her in one of the lounges."

"No." Wufei stroked a hand down over the pale, silky fall of Zechs's damp hair. It had grown so quickly. It fell just past his shoulders now. "We'll speak with her here. Together."

Zechs gave him a surprised look over his shoulder. "Are you sure? Things could get unpleasant."

"All the more reason not to leave you to face her alone. Besides, I doubt very much she'll hit a man wearing a regen unit."

Zechs leaned back and kissed him. "Let's hope not."

Zechs went to shave and finish dressing. Wufei watched as the television news crews followed Relena's motorcade as far as the hospital entrance. Suddenly he felt jumpy and fragile and wished Zechs would come back. The doctors had warned him that he was likely to experience mood swings, given the seriousness of his surgeries, and all the drugs they'd used on him. It didn't make it any easier not to call out for his lover, or make him any less embarassed about it.

Zechs did come back soon, of course. He had on a black long-sleeved polo shirt and loafers now. Even with the empty sleeve hanging free, the shirt showed off Zechs's chest and flat belly superbly. Wufei was surprised at his own stir of arousal at the sight; if he could feel that at such a moment, then he must truly be getting better! It would be at least a month before they could indulge in such pleasures, the doctors had said. Mood swings indeed, he thought, disgusted with himself.

Zechs switched off the set and took a deep breath. "Ready?" he asked, clearly as nervous as Wufei.

Wufei pulled at the front of his yukata, feeling woefully underdressed and embarassed at the slight swell in the front of his pajamas. Zechs was too distracted to notice as he helped him close the robe loosely over the regen, pulled the blankets up, and brushed Wufei's hair. Wufei wanted to pull it back into the customary tight queue, but he was still too weak to manage it. Instead, he caught Zechs's hand and gave him an encouraging look. "She's your sister. She already knows about us. Perhaps the worst is over."

Zechs grimaced and shook his head. "Don't bet on it, little love."

Their nurses had kept them informed of Relena's movements inside the hospital. She'd stopped briefly to see Duo and the still sleeping Heero first, then proceeded up to ICU.

Zechs remained seated beside Wufei's bed and held his hand as Relena appeared in the doorway holding a large vase of flowers and box of candy. She stopped at the sight of them, then recovered and swept in with a fixed smile, setting the gifts on the bedside table.

"Well, here you both are. You look better than I expected, I must say."

Zechs rose and kissed her on the cheek. "I'm fine, and Wufei has made amazing progress, as you can see. He very nearly died."

He settled her in a chair and sat down beside Wufei facing her. This put his left side toward him, making it impossible to touch.

Relena sat stiffly up right, hands folded in her lap. "I understand you were shot in the heart, Wufei?"

"A graze," Wufei told her.

"The damage was serious," Zechs amended. "His heart stopped several times. It took two surgeries and extensive regen to repair the damage." He seemed very determined to impress on his sister the seriousness of Wufei's condition. It was rather embarrassing.

Wufei kept quiet as they exchanged pleasantries and Relena quizzed Zechs about the details of the mission. Zechs tactfully downplayed his own role in things, particularly the end of it. But Relena was well informed.

"You were carrying a gun, I'm told," she said.

"It was a dangerous situation."

"That is in direct violation to the terms of your repatriation."

Wufei looked up sharply at that. It was true.

"I've spent the past few days examining the police and Preventer reports with the ESUN council," Relena went on. "Both Major Tzuki and Captain Po are quite insistent that it was a 'heat of the moment' situation, that you were there in a strictly observational capacity, but that you were caught in a firefight and were forced to arm yourself. Is this true?"

"Essentially, yes."

Relena gave a small sigh, toying with her gloves. "Essentially? I see. Why were you there at all?"

"I was concerned for my friends," Zechs replied, then shrugged and gave her a wry smile. "And I couldn't resist the chance to get near a battle."

"Oh, Miliardo!" She shook her head, as if disappointed in him. "You really did mean what you said in Sanque that day, didn't you?"

"Yes I did, little sister. Like it or not, I'm a warrior at heart, and always will be."

"He also saved my life, and probably Duo and Heero's as well," Wufei told her, unable to bear her manner any longer. "He risked his life to do that, without thought to his own safety. You should be proud of your brother, rather than scolding him!"

Relena gave him a cool look. "I appreciate your role in helping rescue Heero and Duo, Wufei, I truly do. But perhaps Miliardo and I should continue our discussion in private?" She gave Zechs a pointed look. "This is a *family* matter, Miliardo."

Zechs rose from his chair and moved around Wufei's bed so he could sit beside him and take Wufei's hand. "Wufei is family, Relena. I've asked him to be my husband and he has graciously accepted."

Relena's mouth fell open for an instant, her expression one of perfect shock. Wufei almost felt bad for her. He hadn't expected Zechs to drop it on her so abruptly.

"Hu--husband?" she gasped. "But--but--Oh Miliardo, how could you! You hardly know him!" Her gaze shifted to Wufei and her eyes went hard, flashing with anger. "How dare you? I trusted you! It wasn't enough to seduce him while he was so weak and unbalanced? You worm your way into his affections, getting him to--to *keep* you, like some expensive mistress, but now you have the audacity--"

"Relena, that's enough!" Zechs didn't move or raise his voice, but his deadly calm voice shut her up instantly. "You will not say such things to him. You demean both yourself and me by doing so. I have been in possession of my faculties since Wufei and I met, and he did absolutely nothing to seduce or sway me in any way. Quite the opposite, in fact. Any seduction was on my part. He wouldn't know how, but I certainly do. If anyone's honor is in question here, it is mine, but I assure you, whatever its beginnings, my love for Wufei is true and honorable now. His feelings for me have never been anything other than honorable. He is a far better man than I will ever be, but he has agreed to marry me, all the same, and I will do my best to live up to his trust for the rest of my days and strive to be worthy of that love."

Zechs's hand was firm and steady in his and Wufei clung to it, caught between embarrassment and awe. Relena was staring dumbstruck at them both now as she strangled her gloves between her fingers.

"I have no desire to exclude you from my life, Relena," Zechs went on more gently. "You and I have missed so much of each other's lives already. War kept us apart. I would be very sad if love did the same."

"Love?" She shook her head. "You really think you love him? But how, Miliardo? You've only known him for a few months."

"That's true, but I was trained my whole life to make quick decisions and trust my instincts. What Wufei and I feel for each other is real, Relena. I hope you can accept that."

She was quiet for a moment, then pinned Wufei with a direct look. "What do you say to this?"

Wufei met that look with equal directness. "I love your brother more than I have ever loved anyone in my life. I would never do anything to dishonor him. And--" He made himself pause and take a breath, trying to rein in his rising temper. "I am not *kept*. I am not his mistress."

Yet even as he said it, his own doubts returned to make him feel like a liar. He'd lived in Zechs's house without paying any rent, after all. And all the clothes and gifts?

He looked away, and felt the betraying heat in his face. "I love him," he finished weakly. That much at least was true.

"I see." Relena smoothed a crease from her skirt. "Well, you're both of age to make any contract you like. But Miliardo, you do realize this will have to be brought before the Sanque Parliament? You are still a member of the royal family, after all."

"Same sex unions are legal in Sanque, sister. You know that as well as I do."

"For ordinary citizens, certainly. But you have posterity to think of."

"Really Relena. I should think I've made it abundantly clear that I don't give a flying fuck about posterity or reputation or any of the rest of it!" Zechs shot back. "Besides, posterity is up to you now."

"And if something happens to me? What then?"

"Then Sanque will be left with a reluctant gay head of state and his husband and their children, I suppose."

"Children?" Relena said faintly, looking even more deeply shocked. "You'd even go that far?"

"What's that supposed to mean?" Zechs demanded. "You make it sound like I'm doing all this simply to embarrass you for some reason! I gave my youth and my soul for you. I covered myself in blood for you. Well, I'm done now. You have your peace and Sanque is free. I only want peace and freedom for myself, as well. And I want it with Wufei. If this new world order of yours has no room for love, Relena, then what have we gained?"

Relena opened her mouth to reply, then stopped and sighed. "I'm sorry, Miliardo. I want to be happy for you. I really do! If you'd fallen in love with Sally, or Noin--"

"This is no different," Zechs told her, raising Wufei's hand to his lips, but keep his eyes locked with his sister's. "No different at all. I will go before the press and Parliament and the whole world to declare it. I love Chang Wufei. He is a worthy partner and I will hold my head up beside him before anyone. Please, Relena. Try to understand, can't you?"

Relena stood and turned to go. "I don't know if I can, Miliardo. It's not that I don't want to. You are my brother, and Wufei, you were a loyal friend and protector, before all this. It's just--difficult."

"It doesn't have to be," Zechs replied, unmoved.

Relena shrugged. "Good bye, brother. Wufei. I hope you are both well soon."

She went out, closing the door quietly behind her, and Wufei slumped against Zech's shoulder, fighting back tears.

"I'm so sorry, mei," Zechs murmured against his hair, holding him close. "You should have let me speak with her alone."

"No," Wufei said. "I needed to hear that. And-and--" He shivered, willing himself not to cry and damning his out of control emotions yet again.

"What it is?" Zechs asked, pulling back a little and looking at him with concern.

"She's right. You are keeping me. I tried not to look at it that way. I know you don't see it like that! But you have been. I live in your house. You've fed and clothed me, bought me gifts, taken care of my every need--"

"Because I love you!" Zechs said, his voice rough with emotion. "What was I supposed to do? Charge you rent? You are my guest, my lover! You make it sound like I was trying to buy your love, Wufei."

"No, I know you weren't! But--but I have my pride, too. I--I haven't even given you a gift, in all the time we've been together."

"Are you joking?" Zechs exclaimed. "You saved my dignity and my self respect. You shamed me out of my self-pity and made me a warrior again. You gave me poetry again. You shared your friends with me. My god, Wufei, you gave me your body, your virginity! You've agreed to join your future with mine. And let's not forget how you got this?" He touched the regen unit. "You threw yourself in front of me, Wufei, just as you did that night Trowa burst in on us. What richer gifts could anyone ask?"

Wufei gazed up into those warm blue eyes and saw Zechs's soul there, giving truth to every word. He suddenly felt very small and foolish and dishonorable for his doubts. He wanted to apologize, but instead, heard himself saying, "I will love you forever, Zech Merquise."

Zechs kissed him gently, just skimming Wufei's lips with his tongue. "That's all I ever need or want from you, mei." He helped Wufei lie back against the pillows and stroked back a few stray strands of hair from his cheek. He gazed down at him for a moment, and sighed. "Damn that Relena!"

"What?"

Zechs rubbed his hand over his own face, and then rested his chin in his palm. "She's right about one thing. We haven't known each other very long. Am I rushing you, Wufei?"

"I don't know," he replied. "I don't think so. I mean, I know I want to be with you. I have no doubt of that."

"I know, my love. But you've only just discovered who you are, haven't you? I've had years of experience, lovers beyond counting. I've sown my wild oats. You haven't had a chance to do any of that. I don't want you to look back in five or ten or twenty years and regret settling so soon."

Wufei stopped him with a finger on Zechs's lips. "Sowing of wild oats is not in my nature. Such behavior would not occur to anyone of my status on L-5. You forget, we still used arranged marriages, and lived by duty. It is a rare and precious thing, to marry for love. I will never regret loving you. I can't imagine life without you." His throat went tight at the very thought and a few tears escaped, unnoticed. He stroked Zechs's face and hair, gazing into those beautiful, gentle eyes. "I would go to that grubby little L-2 chapel this very moment if you asked me to."

Zechs took his hand and kissed it. "You deserve much better than that. I'm going to marry you with dignity and respect, my love. No one will question our bond."

Wufei gave him a fond smile as he combed his fingers through Zechs's long bangs. "No Duo as bridesmaid, then?" he teased.

Zechs chuckled. "I suppose not."

"Do you think he'll be very disappointed?"

"He can still wear a gown if he wants to."

"So you can dance with him at the reception?"

"I've already I promised him I will, no matter what he wears."

"Hn. Then I suppose I'll have to dance with Yuy."

Zechs raised an eyebrow. "Does Heero dance?"

Wufei cheeks went a little warm again as he recalled the magazine pictures of Duo and Heero dancing at that club in Massachusetts, and the news clips of them in New Orleans with the others. "Yes, I'm afraid he does."

Just then there was a hesitant knock on the door.

"Come in," called Zechs.

Duo slipped in, dressed in jeans and a clean white tee shirt. He hesitated nervously just inside the door, looking from one to the other with evident concern. "You guys OK? My spies among your nurses said they heard yelling, and then Relena came out looking ready to chew glass."

"We survived," Zechs sighed. "She took the news about as well as expected."

"Yeah? Well, screw her," Duo growled, sitting down in the chair Relena had vacated and patting Wufei's blanket-covered leg. "You know the Gundam boys are behind you, right? I kinda let it slip to Tro and Kat and they're really happy for you both. They were pissed at me for spilling your news and they're going to act all surprised when you tell them, so just play along, OK?"

Zechs chuckled. "OK."

"Both of them were happy?" Wufei asked.

Duo raised a surprised eyebrow. "Yeah! Kat made more noise, as usual, but Trowa was glad for you, too. There are no hard feelings there, Wuffie. You can relax about that, really."

Wufei had to close his eyes for a moment to hide his intense relief over that. "Thank you, Duo, for doing that. It's a weight off my mind."

"I kinda figured it would be," Duo told him, giving him a warm smile. "And it's the least I could do, right, after you and Zechs here came and saved us and got shot up and all."

"You and Heero have already thanked us," Wufei reminded him.

"Thanks doesn't even begin to cover it," Duo said, shaking his head. "You're good friends and you took some major risks for us, even though we were being criminally stupid. We're not ever going to forget that."

"How is Heero?" Wufei asked, embarassed and anxious to change the subject.

"Still sleeping. They gave him enough of that shit to knock out an elephant, you know?" He chuckled but he was picking at the end of his braid now in a way that Wufei remembered from the war.

He reached over and took Duo's hand, smiling inwardly at Duo's look of surprise at the gesture. "He's going to be all right. He's strong, and he has you."

"Thanks, Wu." Duo looked deeply touched.

Wufei shrugged. "You and he helped teach me how much that kind of love helps. He'll get past this, and so will you."

Duo grinned and squeezed his hand gently. "Having good friends doesn't hurt, either. I'm not glad you guys got hurt or anything, but I'm glad you're here, if you get what I mean."

"We do," Wufei assured him. "You taught me that, too, you and Heero."

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