Title: Written in Blood
Author: AstroKender
Pairings: 3x4/4x3, 3+2, mention of 2x5
Warnings: angst abounds, mention of death.
Spoilers: None.
Notes: Okay... sorry this chapter took so long. Hopefully the remaining chapters will pop out sooner.
Feedback: AstroKender@insight.rr.com
Archived: GWA ( www.gwaddiction.com )
Disclaimers: I don't own GW or it's affiliates. This fic is written for entertainment purposes only and is not meant for sale. Don't sue.


Part 30


Trowa Barton watched the alarm clock with bloodshot eyes as one of the glaring red digits switched from eight to nine. Another sleepless night spent staring at the clock. The Latin boy willed himself to get up before it changed again; to keep the piercing wail of the alarm from interrupting his charge's much needed sleep.

Sighing inaudibly, Trowa removed his arms from around the slender form beside him and rose from the bed. The small click of the alarm being turned off sounded much too loud in the silence of the room, causing the green-eyed boy to wince. He turned around and, sure enough, a pair of large blue eyes were staring up at him from the mass of pillows and hair that lay scattered across the sheets.

"Go back to sleep, Duo," Trowa said soothingly. "I have to get ready for work and Quatre won't be up for another half hour."

Duo only continued to stare up at him, his eyes hollow and lifeless. Trowa rubbed his forehead tiredly.

"Fine, you can come in with me while I shower. You probably have to use the bathroom anyway."

Duo said nothing but Trowa didn't expect him to. The Latin boy walked around to the other side of the bed and swept the covers off Duo's thin form, before assisting the American into a sitting position. All of this was done silently and with a fluidity that only came with experience, for Duo hadn't spoken or moved unless he was told since the night WuFei died.

Trowa guided Duo to the small adjoining bathroom and, after pulling down the American's shorts, sat him on the toilet. Grabbing a roll of toilet paper and pressing it into Duo's hands, Trowa proceeded to get undressed. The ice cold water of the shower did wonders to dispel the fog from his brain.

There was a time when just the mere thought of sleeping next to Duo brought fire to his loins. Nowadays, the act merely brought a swift ache to the Latin boy's heart. It was like the boy outside of the shower was a bleached version of the Duo he once knew, with all the color that once so characterized his personality washed away.

Shaking away his bad thoughts, Trowa began washing his hair, trailing the suds down his neck to wash his torso and stomach. Rinsing off, the slender boy grabbed the shaving cream from the shelf poured a small dab onto his hand. Trowa smeared the white foam across his chin and up onto his cheeks, making one final swoop under his nose.

Trying to keep the spray of the shower from washing away the foam, Trowa fumbled for his razor and cursed when his slick fingers sent it skittering off the shelf to clatter against the side of the tub before falling out. The Latin boy reached out after it when his hand met something soft and warm.

Opening the shower curtain, Trowa stared at the hand holding up his dropped razor. Transferring his gaze to Duo's face, the green eyed boy struggled for something to say as Duo sat, staring blankly into space.

"Th-thank you." He whispered as his trembling hand reached out and carefully took the razor. Duo just continued to stare into space, but Trowa could have sworn his saw the longhaired boy's lips curve into the faintest of smiles.

Hope began to blossom in Trowa's chest. Duo had reacted to something! Closing his eyes, the Latin boy indulged in fantasies of Duo flushing the toilet while he was still in the shower, cackling madly as a scalding stream of water hit Trowa's back. But when he opened his eyes, the water was still cold and Duo still sat there almost lifelessly.

Almost, Trowa told himself, as he clutched his razor carefully to his chest. Smiling for what seemed like the first time in weeks, Trowa closed the curtain and rushed to finish his shower, whistling a small, happy tune.


Trowa finished his shower with time to spare so the Latin boy helped Duo to dress and carefully braided his hair. He moved the silent American to a comfortable chair that he had set by the window and opened the curtains, allowing the bright morning sunlight to filter through.

The Latin boy took a moment to admire how the light shone off Duo's chestnut colored hair before adjusting his tie. Bending down to grab his shoes, he heard the door open and smiled. He was sure Quatre would be thrilled to hear about Duo's actions this morning. And maybe this little ray of hope was just what they needed to eliminate the tension that had begun to strangle their relationship. Trowa straightened and opened his mouth to speak. But one glance at Quatre made the words die on his lips.

Quatre trudged into the room wearily, a large tray of food held tightly in his hands. Dark circles ringed his eyes and his blond hair stuck out at odd angles. The Arab hadn't even changed out of his pajamas. Frowning, Trowa once again attempted to speak, but Quatre cut him off.

"I've spent all night debating with myself," Quatre told the wall, being careful to avoid all eye contact with Trowa as his set the tray down on a small table near Duo. "And I have reached a decision. I think that we should have Duo placed in a ward."

"What?!" Trowa exploded. "You want to have him committed?"

"I think it would be best for Duo to be in the hands of professionals trained in this type of situation." Quatre's hands trembled slightly as he pulled a porcelain cup from the tray and filled it with freshly brewed coffee. "We have done all we can, therapists, grief counselors, you name it. Nothing has worked."

"Well maybe you're just not trying hard enough!" Trowa shouted. "How could you even think of shoving him into a rubber room and forgetting about him!"

"I didn't plan on forgetting about him. The place I was looking at is not too far from here and allows weekly visits during designated hours." Quatre set the cup down to cool and began buttering a slice of bread.

Running his hand through his hair, Trowa chuckled incredulously. "This is bullshit," He said harshly.

Quatre slammed the knife he was using down and turned to face his lover, completely turning his back on Duo, who seemed to be unaware of everything that was going on around him.

"It's been a fucking month, Trowa!" The blonde's fists clenched. "Duo isn't getting better and he is not going to! Face it, WuFei's death snapped him and no matter how much we might wish it to be otherwise, the Duo we knew is dead!"

Trowa's eyes narrowed dangerously. "I understand now. You are not willing to deal with this anymore. Just because things have been a little rough, you want to give up. Well, fine. From now on Duo will be entirely in my care. And under no circumstances is he EVER to be institutionalized."

"Damn it, Trowa! I know you love him, but you need to think about me too! About us!" Quatre begged him imploringly. Frowning, the Latin boy turned away.

"What us? I don't think I want anything to do with you as you are now. And I don't think Heero will either, after hearing what you had in mind for your supposed 'best friend'."

"Trowa...." Quatre backed away slowly, accidentally bumping into the small table and knocking it over, sending its contents flying. Quatre gasped in horror.

Duo stared absently out the window as a cup of scalding hot coffee hit his stomach. The American never so much as blinked, just continued gazing at the butterfly that fluttered gently against the glass.

"Oh god! Duo, I'm so sorry!" Quatre fell to his knees and began trying to dry the dark spot that was slowly soaking into Duo's clothes. The blonde winced as the coffee burned his fingertips. "It's-going to be okay.... I'll just go get you a change of clothes...and I'm sure I have some salve that will help soothe the stinging.... I--" Quatre stumbled to his feet and rushed out the door, tears steaming unchecked down his cheeks.

Trowa stared after him silently, his heart showing in his eyes. Bowing his head, he listened to the soft plopping sound of the coffee dripping off of Duo's chair and onto the carpet. Clenching his fists so tightly the knuckles turned white, Trowa opened his eyes and stalked over to where Duo sat, oblivious.

"SNAP OUT OF IT!" Trowa roared, drawing his hand back and swinging it forward into Duo's cheek with a resounding smack. Duo's head snapped to the side, but otherwise he didn't move.

Growling, Trowa grabbed Duo by the shirtfront and lifted him to his feet. With his free hand, he delivered another brutal slap; and then another, and another, until the American's face began to blossom into a bright red. But even then Trowa did not stop.

"Why are you doing this to yourself? To me? And Quatre!" Trowa's eyes began to fill with tears as he backhanded Duo. "It would have been better if you had died in that fire!" Flinging Duo against the wall, Trowa drew back his fist as tears clouded his vision.

"What are you doing!" Quatre shouted from the doorway. Dropping the items in his hand, the blonde ran over and grabbed Trowa, throwing him to the floor where he just lay there, sobbing. Quatre rushed over to where Duo was slowly slipping to the floor.

"Duo! Are you okay?" Quatre gently smoothed the American's bangs aside to view his already bruised cheeks. Duo predictably did not answer, merely stared blankly over Quatre's shoulder. Behind the blonde, Trowa slowly stumbled to his feet and began walking to the door.

"Where are you going?" The Arab demanded.

"I'm going to work." Trowa muttered, wiping his cheeks.

"When will you be home?" Quatre asked, a bit more softly this time.

"I have to stop by my apartment after work and then I'll be back here. There is no need to have one of your henchmen follow me." Finger-combing his hair, the Latin boy slipped on his forgotten shoes and walked out the door.

Sitting on the floor beside Duo, Quatre stared sadly at the empty doorway. Blinking back a new rush of tears, the Arab turned and let out a shaky sigh. "Come on, Duo. Let's get you out of these wet clothes."

Slowly, the American's eyes strayed back to the window, but the butterfly that has so gotten his attention earlier was gone.