Chapter 55: "Broken Hearted and Honor-Bound"
Neither Quatre nor Trowa got a chance to discuss what the taller boy had just suggested with his simple kiss, because not a moment after Duo left, a low rumble caught Trowa's ear.
"What's that?" he asked sharply, looking automatically towards the fake sky above.
Quatre looked around in confusion, but the guards he spotted didn't seem to find anything amiss. "I don't know," he admitted. "But it almost sounded famili--"
Realization flashed across Trowa's face. "The underground hangar," he breathed.
Quatre stared at him in surprise. "What? But-- why would anyone be in there?!"
Trowa took off at a dead run. Quatre turned quickly to follow. "Trowa!" he shouted. "Wait! It could be nothing-- Heero could be doing tune-ups, or--"
"He'll be with Wufei," Trowa shot over his shoulder. "At his lessons. Something's not right."
Quatre managed to catch up, panting at the exertion of keeping up with the taller boy's longer stride. "But no one even knows what's down there except a select few on the grounds!" he insisted. "And there's a security code! If anyone's down there, they're supposed to be."
"With Kushrenada on the colony," Trowa growled, "I wouldn't be so sure of that."
A chill went through Quatre's heart. He fell silent, saving his breath, and the guards looked on in confusion as both Guardians sprinted for the far end of the grounds.
The entire compound could have gone up in scorching flames around them and Wufei wouldn't have noticed.
The tense silence stretched as he stared blankly at the squirming Guardian before him. Even Heero's normally stony face was showing signs of shock.
"Um--" Duo started.
It was as if that one word was a switch. Heero didn't move quickly enough, and Wufei was lunging for Duo's throat in the next heartbeat. "You-- son of a-- I'll--" he snarled furiously, too angry to even think of a death threat excrutiating enough.
Duo made a choking noise, reaching up to scrabble at the hands wrapped around his throat. "Wufei," he squeaked, "c-calm down--"
"CALM DOWN?? You little SNAKE--"
Heero stepped in and managed to pry his lover's fingers off of Duo's neck. He quickly put himself in between them, but was forced to keep one hand firmly on Wufei's shoulder to hold him back.
Wufei's face was red with fury, and he was straining against Heero's hold, jabbing a finger right in Duo's face. "I knew you would be nothing but trouble for her!" he shouted. "How dare you--"
"Hey, hey, I didn't mean for this to happen!" Duo protested, taking an uneasy step back. His eyes were glued to Wufei's free hand, which was holding the hilt of his thankfully still-sheathed sword in a death grip. "It was an accident!"
"Oh, so you accidentally fell on top of her," Wufei growled dangerously. "While you were both conveniently DEVOID OF CLOTHING."
Duo winced, holding up his hands placatingly. "We used protection," he insisted. "And it was only that once--"
Wufei surged forward, but Heero pushed him back bodily. "Wufei," he said quietly, glancing around for the patrolling guards, "it's too public out here and you're causing a scene. Calm down."
Wufei didn't even seem to hear him. "She's not even seventeen!" he shouted. "How dare you do this to her!"
"Oh, like YOU have room to talk," Duo muttered sourly, shooting Heero a significant look.
"That's different!" Wufei exploded.
"Why, because Hilde's a girl?"
Heero glared. "That's not helping, Duo," he snapped.
"Well I sure as hell can't get pregnant, can I??" Wufei hissed.
"Hey, I told you, it was an accident!" Duo cried, throwing up his arms. "I never meant for this to happen, I swear! Hell, I might even be wrong. It's just... she's throwing up a lot, and her boobs look a little bit bigger--" He jumped back when Wufei went for his throat again.
"Wufei," Heero said sharply, struggling to restrain his friend. "You can't be seen attacking one of your Guardians." He shot Duo a glare. "Get out of here. You're only making him angrier."
"I'm not done with him, yet!" Wufei interrupted furiously.
"I'm sorry," Duo muttered uncomfortably, and hurried off.
Wufei wrested himself out of Heero's grip, shaking with anger. Heero prudently put himself in between him and the door. "MOVE, Yuy."
"You're too angry to think sensibly right now," Heero said bluntly. "You need to calm down."
"No-- I need to KILL that lecherous dog," Wufei snarled. "And--" He looked around quickly. "Hilde. I need to talk to Hilde."
"Not right now you don't," Heero interrupted, catching him by the arm when he started to turn away. "If you start yelling at her, you'll only upset her. Duo didn't even mention whether or not she knows, yet. He might just be going off of his own suspicions. And like he said, he might not even be right. At least he came to you about it."
Wufei shook him off roughly. "I can't believe I ever trusted him with her," he said from behind clenched teeth.
Heero eyed him warily, ready to nab him again if he bolted. "Wufei," he said in what he hoped was a calming tone, "I know you and Hilde are close, but she must have known the risks if she chose to..." he hesitated.
"Sleep with that fast-talking imbecile?" Wufei finished acidly. "She still has school, Yuy. She had plans to join the military after graduation. As detestable as that is to me, those are her dreams. What kind of life is she going to have as a teenage mother? A single mother, at that. Do you really think Maxwell will stick with her now??"
"...I don't know," Heero admitted, hating the truth in the simple statement. "But be fair, Wufei. Even if he wanted to, he's your Guardian. His place is here. She belongs on Earth. You knew that. So did they."
"Right," Wufei sneered. "But what might have been a clean break is now completely FUCKED UP because Maxwell couldn't keep it in his pants!"
"You let me deal with Maxwell," Heero said firmly. "You talk to Hilde-- after you've calmed down. She doesn't seem to react well to you snapping at her, anyway, and if she really is... indisposed... she doesn't need to get worked up yelling at you. Especially if she plans on yelling at Duo later." His eyes darted towards two guards as they passed in the yard. "And we need to keep this quiet-- for both their sakes. If anyone found out--"
Wufei's eyes widened in sudden suspicion. "Mingzhu," he said quietly. "She knows." He groaned, reaching up to rub his fingertips forcefully against his temples to soothe his pounding headache. "She already knows. That's what she meant by two scandals at once."
"What?" Heero asked sharply.
Wufei winced as he realized guiltily that he hadn't told Heero about his earlier conversation. "Mingzhu asked me point-blank if Hilde and I were.. together."
Heero frowned. "Well, you two are obviously close. You corrected her, of course."
"Yes, of course. But..."
"I... kind of told her.. aboutyouandme," he muttered quickly.
Heero blinked. Then blinked again. "You told her you're having sex with your Primary Guardian," he said blankly.
Wufei flinched, checking to make sure the guards weren't in earshot. "Keep it down, moron. Yes. Well, not in so many words, but... I hated lying to her. I think she's only trying to look after me-- well, maybe she's more concerned with the colony than me, but I can't really fault her for that. I'd rather her hear it from me than have her figure it out on her own or hear it from someone else." He stopped guiltily, trying to ignore the little voice whispering hypocrite in the back of his mind. Wasn't that what Duo had been doing, by being brave enough to tell him upfront?
Heero closed his eyes for a long moment. "That was a mistake."
"Maybe," Wufei admitted grudgingly. "Maybe not. There's nothing I can do about it now. She won't tell anyone; she doesn't want to deal with the repercussions. But she insists we, well.. stop what we're doing, basically."
Heero stared at him. "And you told her we would."
Heero squinted at him in disbelief. "You told her about us," he said slowly, "and then refused outright to stop this?" He waved a finger from himself to Wufei.
"No...I didn't say anything concrete one way or the other."
"Wufei," Heero hissed.
Wufei scowled defensively. "Look, it's no one's business," he snapped. "And as long as we keep it that way, I don't think she should have any say in it. If no one else knows, what's the harm? It's not really hurting anyone if it's a secret."
Heero took a deep breath. "It's hurting Relena."
Wufei tried to dodge around the ball of guilt that brought on, but it slammed him in the stomach anyway. "...She doesn't deserve this," he admitted quietly. "Any of it. But even if I wanted to play the part of happy fiance, the Mark won't even accept her. Mingzhu thinks it's because you've been in contact with it the most. It's almost as if the Mark-- and the Dragon --recognized you instead of her. She's... an intruder. You're probably the only one who can touch it now without getting hurt."
Heero turned his gaze away, expression impossible to read. "She wants us to stop."
"Because she believes it's best for you and your people." Heero's jaw tightened. "That this will only make everything harder. And worse. For you."
"She seems to think so, but--"
Heero looked at him and took a step back. It was only a small step, but it was deliberate, and Wufei tensed, feeling as if a rift had suddenly opened up in the ground between them.
Then Heero said two words that made Wufei's heart give an alarming jolt in his chest.
Hilde had been sitting motionless on the edge of her bed for what felt like years when there was a hesitant knock on her door. She jumped, fingers closing around the tiny object in her hand. "Come in," she called, hating how her voice wavered.
She forced a smile as Wufei slipped inside and wordlessly closed the door behind himself. "I take it Duo talked to you?"
"...Yes." He stared at her for a long moment, face a bit ashen, before coming over to stand awkwardly before her. "Is it true?"
She took a deep breath. "I don't know," she admitted in a small voice. "I think so. He said he'd tear the colony apart for a pregnancy test; we don't even know if they have them here."
"Hilde..." Wufei dropped to a crouch and reached out to take the hand not balled into a fist in her lap. He looked uncomfortable but concerned-- and angry. "How the hell did this happen?"
She gave a shaky laugh. "How do things like this usually happen, Wufei?" She sobered when his eyes narrowed. "It was only once," she whispered, staring down at his strong hand holding her limp one. "Just after we arrived at Yeong. After we made up. It was kind of... spur of the moment, you know. One minute we were kissing, then..."
"Did he pressure you?"
She caught the dangerous note to his voice and shook her head quickly. "It... No. Of course not. Actually, I think I was the one to steer it in that direction. He asked me if I was sure, Wufei. I wanted it to happen. But... this..." She pressed her fist against her abdomen. "I wasn't expecting this," she said with a thread of hysteria.
"It might be nothing," Wufei said quickly. "You could be throwing up from indigestion, or..."
Hilde managed a small smile. "I never thought I'd actually want to be poisoned by Mariemaia. But a small part of me keeps hoping that's what it is." She tightened her grip on his hand suddenly. "Wufei, please don't be angry at Duo. These things happen, and... I knew the risks. You.. you didn't hurt him, did you?"
"Fine," he muttered irritably. "You can tell the damned idiot he has you to thank for his life being spared." He looked at her closely. "But if it is... what you think it is... What will you do?"
She stared at him blankly. "What do you mean?"
"I mean..." He shifted uncomfortably. "It's your body, and you are young. You had all these plans..."
She yanked her hand away as if she'd been burned, looking shocked and horrified. "I'm not killing it!" she gasped.
Wufei blinked, taken a bit off guard. "I'm not telling you to," he said quickly. "It's just... your choice. Whether you keep it or not. No one's going to fault you if you decide--"
"NO." She clutched both hands in her lap so tightly her knuckles turned white. "Wufei, I can't do that. I'm upset. I'm scared. I can hardly believe this is happening. But..." her fists pressed against her abdomen again. "If it's true, then... I'm going to keep it. Anyway, isn't this a conversation the father should be having with me?" There was a hint of venom in her tone.
Wufei let out a breath, choosing his words carefully. "He will. Eventually. He was..." he forced himself to make the admittance, "he was man enough to come to me about it. I'm assuming he'll be man enough to own up to this and speak with you about it. I'm not telling you what to do. It's your decision. I just want you to think about what keeping it could mean."
"I have," Hilde whispered.
"You might not be able to finish the school year," Wufei said sternly, meeting her gaze. "Especially after this long absence. You're already behind."
"I know that."
"The military is out of the question-- possibly for a year or more. Maybe longer."
"Your entire life is going to change. And Duo... Duo has to stay here."
Hilde closed her eyes tightly. "And I can't."
Wufei hated the desperation in her voice, hated the tears he could hear under the words that she refused to shed. He shouldered aside the desire to put his fist in Duo's face. Like it or not, it had been their choice, together. Now they were both going to have to learn to live with the consequences. "Whether you decide to keep it or not," he said quietly, "just promise you'll think about what it could mean."
"What do you think I've been sitting here thinking about for the past few hours?" Hilde pointed out quietly, staring down at her fists. "I've thought about my options. I've thought about what all of this could mean. And I know that Duo and I... we can't..." She swallowed hard and blinked rapidly to keep herself from crying. She opened her hand and stared down at the small golden cross on a chain she had been clutching. "He- he gave me this... promised... we'd figure it out. That'd he'd.. be here for me..." she sniffed loudly and blinked again.
"Um..." Wufei shifted again uneasily. "I'm not good with comfort or anything," he muttered, embarrassed. "But the whole 'shoulder to cry on' is a package deal for best friends, in case you forgot."
She gave a short, unsteady laugh. "I'll cry later," she promised. "And I'll find you when I do." She looked at him. "Thank you, Wufei," she murmured.
"You're handling this a lot better than I did," Wufei admitted grudingly.
She laughed again, and it sounded a bit less strained this time. "I don't want to talk about this anymore," she said suddenly, sniffing and straightening her shoulders. "Seriously. I think I'll save the breakdown for Duo."
Wufei nodded slowly and got to his feet. He hesitated, unwilling to leave just yet, but unsure what else to say.
Hilde smiled up at him. "I'm fine, Wufei," she insisted. "I promise. Or... I will be. I just need time to process it all...." She hesitated, brows furrowing as she noticed for the first time how horrible her friend looked. "But what about you? Is everything all right?"
"I'm fine," Wufei said shortly, quickly trying to make his expression as unreadable as Trowa's. "Get some rest."
Hilde wasn't fooled. She reached out and snagged his sleeve when he turned as if to leave. "Wufei, it's me. I know something's wrong. You look like someone hit you with a sledgehammer." He reached up automatically to check his bruises, and she made a face. "Not literally. Seriously, Wufei, was the fight with Duo that bad? You look almost as shaky as I feel." Her eyes flickered to the obvious hickey on his neck, and her eyebrows lifted, though she kept her comments to herself.
"I'm fine," Wufei repeated stubbornly.
Hilde glared at him. "Oh no you don't. You sat here and were Mister Supportive for my miniature panic attack. You can at least let me return the the favor. Tell me what's wrong."
"Girls gossip, Hilde," Wufei reminded her stiffly.
"Oh, yes, I forgot." Hilde rolled her eyes. "Big manly men keep all their stuff pent up inside and let it explode later. In your case, literally. Wufei, just tell me already. It's better than you bottling it up and then taking it out on the next poor sap who gives you a funny look." She arched a brow. "Or I could start crying," she threatened.
Wufei scowled, pulling his arm away and taking a seat beside her. He rubbed at his face roughly. "Do they pull girls aside in school and teach them this garbage?" he growled.
"Yup," she said cheerily. "Guilt Trips 101." She sobered. "Come on, Wufei. You don't have to tell me everything. I'm not asking you to bare your soul or be a drama queen. Just tell me why it looks like someone stuffed your heart in a blender and hit frappe so I know who to hate."
Wufei stared at the far wall, jaw set. "Mingzhu knows about Heero."
Hilde took in a quick breath. "Uh oh."
"She told me to end it. That it will only end badly for me-- and the colony."
Hilde studied him curiously. "Somehow, I doubt you were a good obedient nephew."
"I told her no," Wufei snapped.
"Duh." Hilde frowned. "That's not what's bothering you."
"Heero..." Wufei hesitated. His hands, clasped at his knees, tightened their grip so that his nails dug into his skin. "Heero agrees with her."
Hilde waited, but when there was nothing else, her eyes widened. "Oh. OH." She put a hand to her mouth in surprise. "Jesus, Wufei, did he..." she tried to find a more 'manly' way of putting it and failed. "Did he break up with you?"
He shot her a dirty look for her choice of words, as she'd expected. "What did he say?" she asked quietly.
Wufei snorted, but turned his head away to glare at the wall again. His words were clipped and harsh. "He said she's right. That it's what he's been saying all along. The Mark won't accept Relena because of Heero. The Clans expect me to marry, take over as their Lord, and produce an heir. That isn't possible as long as Heero and I..." he trailed off. "He said," he growled from behind gritted teeth, "that the colony was more important. He said marrying Relena would be the... 'honorable' thing to do."
Hilde winced. Heero had known just what button to push by bringing Wufei's honor into it.
Wufei snorted loudly, still not looking at her. "He's right," he said in a low, angry voice. "It's the right thing to do. I'm honor-bound by birth to lead these people and give them an heir. Disregarding that... and staying with Heero... that would jeopardize everything. It would disgrace and disappoint my family and ruin the heirachy of the Clans." He bared his teeth. "I had foolishly assumed I could find a way out of it. But he made it perfectly clear that this is the only option left open." He gave a short bark of mirthless laughter. "Not that he really made it a 'choice'. He said if I wouldn't do what was right, he would make the decision for both of us."
"Wufei..." Hilde's hands lifted automatically, but she aborted the instinctive move to comfort. It would only blow up in her face; Wufei would retreat into his shell again. She forced her hands back into her lap.
Wufei stared down at his hands. "He's right," he muttered.
"That doesn't mean you have to like it," Hilde whispered. She swallowed hard, scooting carefully closer. "But... I thought he really--" she cut herself off and tried again. "I thought you were important to him. I thought he was willing to fight for this. Like you were."
Wufei's voice was cold. "Obviously not."
"He's only trying to protect you, Wufei."
"I can take care of myself!" Wufei snapped so viciously that she jumped, startled. "I am not a woman-- I'm not some damsel in distress--" He got to his feet abruptly. "I don't need him to 'protect' me! I knew--"
"You knew what you were getting into," Hilde finished sadly. Her hand tightened around Duo's cross until it bit into her palm. She gazed up at him, trying to keep her face composed. If he caught even one glimpse of sympathy, he would misconstrue it as pity-- and he really would explode. Chang Wufei wasn't the type to accept anyone's pity.
Or anyone's protection, either.
"The decision is mine to make."
He turned on her, frowning darkly. "What?"
She hesitated, then got to her feet. "You just told me that no one else can make this decision but me." She pressed a hand to her abdomen and looked him right in the eye. "Now I'm telling you that. In a relationship, you're supposed to agree on things together. But when it comes to how something will affect one of you, no one but you can make that decision. This is my body-- Duo can give me his input, but I'm going to have the final word on what happens to the baby. And this thing with your people... it affects you a lot more than it affects Heero. A relationship with him hurts you."
"What's your point?" Wufei snapped.
"My point is that this isn't a decision Heero can make for you," Hilde said firmly. "Heero's just trying to protect you because he- he cares about you. But it's up to you. You can listen to what him and Mingzhu have to say about it, or you can consider the consequences for yourself. They're right, Wufei-- they both are. If you stay with Heero, it will probably make life a lot harder for you. But isn't that your decision to make?"
Wufei stared at her, torn and angry and full of so many conflicting emotions that it made his stomach upset and his head ache.
There was a sudden knock on the door, and it opened a moment later to reveal a flushed Mingzhu. Relena came hurrying in after her, looking uneasy and confused. "Fei-- thank the gods," Mingzhu breathed the instant she spotted him.
Relena was staring at Wufei's neck with something like betrayal and shock on her face.
Wufei quickly controlled his expression, eyeing his aunt with simmering hostility. "I was on my way," he insisted shortly. "I didn't forget my lessons."
"Never mind that," Mingzhu hissed, shutting the door and locking it. She hurried over to the window. "At least I found you in one piece."
Wufei and Hilde exchanged a quick look, puzzled at her obvious tension. Hilde turned to Relena, who only shrugged to show her own ignorance. "Aunt Mingzhu, what--"
"Something's not right," Mingzhu said quietly, striding back over to him and taking his arm. Her lips were pressed tightly together. "Too many things all at once-- it can't be odd coincidence..."
"Aunt Mingzhu," Wufei said loudly, cutting her off. "What are you talking about??" Relena had gone over to stand by Hilde, and both women watched them in growing uneasiness.
"First the guards report seeing two of your Guardians running across the lawns like their heels were on fire, then half the security in the building disappears like smoke... Something's not right. I don't like it. We need to get you and Miss Peacecraft to a secure area."
Wufei opened his mouth to argue, baffled.
The deafening wail that pierced the air made all of them jump.
Hilde clapped her hands to her ears, shouting to be heard above the din. "What IS that??"
Mingzhu's face was tight and pale. "Someone's pulled the alarm in the underground storage facility." She flicked her nephew a sharp glance. "It's where we house your Guardians' Gundams."
Author's Notes: OHOHO~ Things get interesting >:D PH34R TEH DRAMA!!
Oh, and before anyone says anything about that conversation between Hilde and Wufei concerning the pregnancy... Don't read into it. Seriously. It is not my oh-so-subtle way of trying to preach anything (either from Hilde's or Wufei's POV). I promise. This is THEIR reactions to it, and THEIR viewpoints. I am not trying to use this story to say "ABORTION IZ WRONG!!1ONE" or vice versa or whatever. That's just Hilde's stance on it (and for story purposes, of course). Also, Wufei is not pro-abortion, necessarily; he just wants to make sure Hilde knows what she's getting into, and will support whichever decision she makes. And the cross Duo gave her doesn't have any symbolic meaning, either; Duo wears a cross, it's important to him, so he gave it to her.
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