8-17-2000

Disclaimers: I do not own any of the g-boys. They belong to Sunrise and other companies, etc. I'm using them without permission, but for entertainment purposes ONLY. This is fans for fans. Me broke, so suing me would get you nothing but the lint in my pockets...but I'm kinda attached to that too, so basically you would get nothing ^_^

Warnings: Angst, Yaoi, maybe OOC(?)

For previous parts please visit my site (Yes, I finally made one; addy's on the bottom ^^) or Kikotei's site. Please do not archive without my permission.

 

Captured (Working Title)
By Mika

Chapter 4 "Revelations"

 

'All right . . . this isn't so hard.' Quatre coached to himself mentally. 'Just put one foot in front of the other . . . that's it . . . Just--'

Stumbling forward, he quickly grabbed on to whatever was nearby, which was the bed, and caught himself. Breathing heavily, he scolded himself. 'Come on Quatre. It's been one week already; you can't stay in bed forever. There's a war going on!'

Pushing himself upright again, he took another determined step forward, almost reaching his intended destination.

"Quatre! What're you doing out of bed?!"

Turning his head quickly to the left ruined his momentum and he soon felt himself tipping over.

Strong arms caught him before he reached the ground. For a split second he stiffened from the contact before his senses returned to him and he relaxed. He raised his eyes and met reproachful indigo ones. "Quatre, what are you doing?!"

Releasing a sigh, the blonde eyed him evenly, his usual politeness thrown out the window. "What does it look like I'm doing? I'm trying to get to the bathroom."

Duo frowned as he placed his friend's right arm around his shoulder. "You should have called one of us. You can't be walking around here so soon. You'll get yourself hurt."

Quatre diverted his eyes, muttering something about Trowa and mother hens.

An eyebrow rose in surprise upon catching the few words. "Eh? What was that, Quatre?"

Shaking his head, Quatre replied with something resembling a nothing, before speaking more audibly. "Duo, I appreciate your concern, but I think I can manage to walk the few feet across my room."

Arms suddenly released him, and the unexpected movement caused the unprepared blonde to trip forward. Before the thought of how painful it would be for him to fall on the ground could cross his mind, he found support once more holding him up.

Looking up, Quatre caught the brief "I told you so" look cross over his friend's face. "That was hardly fair, Duo."

Smiling, the brunette moved forward again. "Just proving my point."

Bowing his head in resignation, Quatre allowed himself to be half carried the rest of the way.

* * * * *

Trowa wiped a hand across his sweating forehead before replacing the wrench back into his toolbox. Standing up with the box in hand, he crossed the floor, taking one last look at his gundam before finally leaving the room.

He'd left Quatre's side earlier this morning for the first time since the Arabian set foot in the house. Of course Quatre was asleep at the time, being about five in the morning when he crept out of the room, so he calculated that he would most likely return before the blonde woke up. Little did he know how much work had to be done on HeavyArms. He didn't recall when it had gotten so damaged, but apparently it was quite extensive that he spent nearly four hours in there.

He wasn't alone however. A little ways after dawn, Heero entered the hanger setting to work on Quatre's heavily damaged gundam. The Maganacs would ordinarily be the ones to repair Sandrock, but that deemed impossible at the moment. It'd be too dangerous to contact outsiders. Po already was a risk even if she was a vital necessity. So, Heero appointed himself to take on the task.

After putting away the toolbox, Trowa walked into the kitchen and saw Wufei at the table, newspaper in hand. Wufei briefly raised his eyes off the paper to nod once in greeting, which the brunette obligingly returned, before lowering his gaze once more.

Trowa crossed the tiled floor and to the sink. After washing his hands and face, he walked quickly out of the room. For certain, Quatre was awake by now, and he didn't want the blonde to strain himself trying to do anything on his own. Seven days had passed since he was first brought here, and even though Quatre was healing nicely, Trowa still didn't want him to be up and about so soon. Quatre wasn't ready yet…or maybe more precisely he wasn't ready yet, which was rather ridiculous. Why would it matter to him anyway?

Climbing the stairs two steps at a time, Trowa reached Quatre's room in three seconds flat. Before he even opened the door, he realized that someone other than Quatre was already inside.

Duo.

Trowa relaxed slightly. At least Quatre wasn't alone.

* * * * *

" . . . The look on Wu's face was priceless, Quatre. You should have seen it! I think I even saw a smirk out of Heero--now those are rare in itself. I mean, to get Heero of all people to react is like . . . uh . . . " Duo paused in his tirade, searching for some analogy. "Uh . . . it's like . . . " He waved his hand, searching for the words. "It's like . . . trying to get a smile out of Trowa, only a hundred times worse! . . . Or was that the other way around . . . ?"

Trowa could only shake his head from the armchair he sat in across the room, his attention briefly shifted from the book in his hands.

"Eh, well forget it. You know what I mean. I don't think I ever saw . . . " Duo trailed off when he noticed his lack of audience; Quatre's attention seemed to be focused more on the far wall behind him than to the Shinigami pilot.

Pausing for a moment, Duo closed his eyes before opening them up calmly and starting again.

" . . . I don't think I ever saw Heero and Trowa in that position before. I mean it must have taken them a while to fill up that pool with green Jell-O and get Wufei in there too. But hey, if Trowa and HeavyArms want to get it on in the mud, hell, who am I to get in their way . . . "

. . .

" . . . You know how possessive Heero gets with his toys, and Wufei is no exception. Though how he got Trowa in that bunny suit is beyond me."

. . .

Duo frowned, leaning on the bed and causing it to shift. "Why don't you try explaining it to me Quatre? But I guess that'll be pretty hard since you're not listening to me. But hey, I understand. Oh! I know! What if I said I wanted to strip Trowa down to his birthday suit right here and now and have him perform a few circus tricks for you? What do you say about that . . . QUATRE!"

Quatre blinked a few times in surprise before focusing again to the one in front of him. "Oh, I'm sorry, Duo. What did you say?"

"I asked if it was all right if I did that."

A puzzled look crossed over the Arabian's face as Duo looked at him expectantly. Not wanting to let on that he hadn't been listening, Quatre did what he could only do in a situation like this.

He nodded . . . slowly.

Duo shook his head, smile widening on his face before he turned around. "Hey Trowa, you up to it?"

The silent pilot looked at him calmly before lowering his eyes to his book again.

Duo laughed out loud, as Quatre looked on, very confused.

Duo rested his chin in his cupped hands. "Am I that boring?"

Quatre offered an apologetic smile. "No-no. Not at all. My mind just . . . wandered off." He finished softly, lowering his gaze as his eyes wavered briefly before becoming normal again. "I'm sorry. So, what did Wufei do after that?"

Duo smirked, head tilted to the side. "Well~ since you asked me so politely, I guess I'll have to tell you . . . "

* * * * *

Wufei sneezed for the fifth time today. Blowing his nose once again, he cursed, hoping that he wasn't coming down with anything. That would JUST be what he needed…

Not that a small cold would have prevented him from doing anything that he was ordered to do. He was certainly stronger than that.

A thunderous bang echoed in the air and of its own accord, his eyes drifted to the other occupant of the room, as the noise that came from the area could no longer be ignored. It sounded like Yuy was building another gundam, which he certainly was likely to be doing, a voice in his subconscious reminded him and he flinched internally.

Quatre's gundam wasn't beyond repair, but it was certainly close to being so. The close proximity of the blast from that Leo could have almost equaled the damage from the self-destructing mechanism, which everyone knew was almost impossible to fix if activated.

Wufei visibly slumped upon thinking these thoughts and was grateful that Nataku blocked him from view. It wouldn't do if people could see his weaknesses. Lord knows he has enough of them to wallow in privately.

Why couldn't he do anything right?

First it was Meiran, then Treize and now Quatre. It was one failure after another. Was he really cut out to do something like this: Fight for the colonies. Bring peace and justice to the colonies.

He gripped the wrench in his hand more tightly. Who was he kidding? He wasn't a warrior. He was a scholar. It wasn't supposed to be this way. Fighting against mobile suits -- risking his life everyday? It was all wrong! He was supposed to be reading, studying, making an impact in the intellectual world. Not -- not this!

But life doesn't always follow your plans -- this knowledge he discovered not long after Meiran died.

Life wasn't just some trip you planned a week in advance for. It was a journey with many twists, turns and obstacles along the way. This was the main reason why he didn't believe in fate. Fate was too permanent. How could anyone believe that their lives were already planned from birth -- that their choices wouldn't have any effect whatsoever on how their lives turned out? It wasn't logical and it didn't seem right to him.

But many things didn't seem right to him.

Why did he have to be stuck in this blasted war?

Why couldn't he understand what he was doing here most of the time?

Why couldn't he protect Quatre?

Why couldn't he protect Meiran?

Why was he so different from the others?

Hell, one look at the five of them could pinpoint him as the outcast. It was as plain as day what Trowa and Quatre had between them and what was now developing between Heero and Duo. It wasn't possible either to miss the firm friendships or at least understanding among the four.

Who was he in the group? He wasn't so sure himself anymore.

~"You're an idiot sometimes, Chang Wufei."~

He almost slipped as that thought ran across his mind. He steadied himself, all the while a frown on his face.

`Why in the world did I just think of that onna?'

Though quite puzzled, for some reason the thought lightened his heart a bit. He wondered why.

But it was right. There was no point in living in his past mistakes. He could never undo them, so there was no real point in dwelling on them.

Yet even still, the pain never hurt less, he reminded himself.

He inhaled a deep breath, exhaling it slowly right before he sneezed again. Irritated, his hand reached out blindly for the tissue box and he blew his nose.

`I don't know how . . . but it has to be Maxwell's doing.'

That train of thought placed a smile on his lips, something he hadn't done in a while and he did feel his mood lighten, just before he sneezed again.

Throwing the damned tissue away, he continued repairing Nataku.

* * * * *

" . . . I don't think Wufei's pants will ever be the same. Oh well, I didn't really like them anyway . . . but . . . I . . . /think/ you fell asleep so I can't ask you for your opinion . . . " Duo let out a soft laugh. "Ne, Quatre?"

Even breathing was his only response.

Light footsteps neared him and Duo stretched his arms, standing up at the same time. He moved over as Trowa eased Quatre down to the bed, covering him with the large blanket.

One thought crossed Duo's mind and he had to share. "If I didn't know any better, I'd think you cared for him, Trowa."

Turning around, Trowa started back to his chair. "He shouldn't sleep upright; his wounds will get irritated."

Duo followed behind him, settling himself on the ground in front of the chair. "Oh . . . my mistake," he replied with a grin.

Trowa placed his book on his lap, index finger acting as a bookmark. "He's my friend, Duo."

Duo noted the hesitation in the statement, but brushed it off for now. Looking down at the carpet, he fiddled with his braid. "I know. He's my friend too."

The uncertainty was not unnoticed there either.

"Duo."

The boy intended began twisting the hair around his fingers. "I know Quatre forgave me for what happened, but I don't think I'll ever forgive myself. Quatre's too understanding and forgiving for his own good, but I guess that's what makes him Quatre, ne?" Duo sighed lifting his head to reveal somber eyes. "I don't understand how he can do it though. It just doesn't make sense to me. I f***ing left him to die practically and instead of receiving what I should deserve for betraying him all I get is barely a slap on the wrist. To me that's just wrong. I wish . . . I wish he would just -- "

"Just punch you in the face so that at least you feel somewhat even for what you did," Trowa interrupted in his usual calm voice.

Duo gave the barest of nods. "Yea."

"But this is Quatre we're talking about."

Duo smiled. "Aa, no doubt there. Quatre really is one of a kind."

Trowa inclined his head a bit in agreement before the room lapsed into a brief silence. It wasn't long before Duo broke it though, a realization coming to mind.

"It's funny you know. Of all the others, to me you're the easiest to talk to." Duo kept his eyes trained on the floor, a bitter laugh escaping his lips. "I bet you probably thought that Quatre would be the obvious candidate, but it just doesn't seem right for me to bother him with my problems. It's not even really that. I just don't think he'd understand." He raised his eyes. "You get what I mean?"

Trowa gave a slight, but firm nod, knowing exactly what the other meant.

Duo smiled, lowering his gaze again. "Wufei just seems so . . . out there - so private. He's probably got a lot of problems of his own, which probably explains why he always seems like he has a stick up his . . . well, you know . . .

"And Heero. The perfect soldier," he spat the words out as if they were some rotten fruit. "The only conversation you could hold with him would have to involve a mission. Talking to him would be like talking to a wall, and believe me, it's not as fun as it sounds."

"Du--"

"Maa!" And as fast as he had plopped onto the floor, Duo was now standing. "I better get outta here before I set us both off into a foul mood." Moving to the door, he paused, hand on the doorknob. "Thanks for listening . . . Trowa."

" . . . Aa."

Twisting the cool metal in his grasp, he opened the door.

"Duo."

" . . . hm?"

"Give him some time. He'll come around sooner or later."

Duo smiled to himself. Leave it to Trowa to figure it out.

"Aa."

* * * * *

Duo leaned against the door once it was closed, letting his eyes slide shut as he shook his head softly. People didn't give Trowa enough credit. There was a lot more to that guy than what was on the surface.

Like a certain other person he knew.

Exhaling softly, he pushed himself from the door and started down the hallway. Looking straight ahead, his violet eyes met the darkened sky through paned glass. Once nearing the window, he lifted a careful hand and rested it lightly on the smooth, cool surface, looking out to the world that lied behind it.

Tilting his gaze slightly higher, he looked at the star-filled sky, only noticing now that he never really appreciated the scenery of it. Out in space, it was like an endless void of black, but down here . . . everything was so much . . . clearer.

His eyes swept across the stars stopping at one that he swore had twinkled. He watched it curiously for a while, just . . . waiting.

Maybe it was his star.

Duo, did you know that each and every one of us has a star of their very own?

A star? Why would we want one? We can't eat it, or sell it.

*A soft laughter filtered into the air* Duo, a star is more than food or money. They're special.

Special? Why? We can't touch it or hold it even.

True, but you can't touch or hold your dreams either and does that make your dreams any less special?

. . . No . . . I guess not, but that's different. What can stars do?

Well, for starters, they give people a sense of hope. Just knowing that there's something out in the world that will always be there, shining and burning on even when bad things happen, gives people hope--the hope that will drive people to go on living for something better to come . . . Do you know what's special about _your_ star, Duo?

What?

It's yours. No one will ever be able to take it away from you and it'll always be there, no matter what. Looking after you and there for you to look up to it when you're lost.

. . . D-Do you think I have a star?

Of course! Everyone does, Duo. Especially you. And when you do find it one day, Duo, I hope you'll understand.

. . . Sure . . . you know what?

What?

You sure bring up the strangest things to talk about Sister Helen.

Do I really?

Without a doubt!

Duo could still see the smile radiating from her face, his own lips curving up slightly to one of his more sincere smiles. He lifted his head, eyes catching the twinkling star again.

His star, and it did give him hope . . . and courage for what he just decided to do.

Nodding his head once in thanks, he turned away from the window, walking down the hall again.

`I do understand now, Sister. I hope Heero does too.'

* * * * *

As the moon settled itself in the blackened sky against the millions of stars, Trowa slowly started to nod off in his plush armchair. Book lying open in his lap, his eyes drifted shut from the world, the earlier work on HeavyArms finally catching up to him as well as his committed vigilance over his fellow pilot the past week.

Not fighting the tiredness anymore, his mind began to shut down until he was barely aware of anything around him.

However, the years of experience on the battlefield wouldn't allow him to completely succumb to oblivion, which allowed him to catch the barest of sounds coming from the other side of the room. With the alertness of a well-trained soldier, his eyes immediately snapped open and before his mind could even register the noise, he was already on his feet gazing at the bed a few feet away from him. His sight fell on a still slumbering form and he exhaled softly.

He had thought for a moment there that Quatre had been suffering through another nightmare. Kami knew the Arabian was having them quite frequently after that initial one he witnessed on the second day of their return. With each passing day, the nightmares steadily grew worse, almost violent, and Trowa would know, he had to awaken the blonde each time; and every time his concerns (yes concerns) were pushed aside by an all too familiar mask.

He asked . . . he would always ask, but Quatre would never give him a straight answer, always telling him he was fine and then turn to the window. From then on he couldn't get another word out of the Sandrock pilot, an action that caused for some indescribable pain to continually gnaw at what remained of his heart, and he couldn't understand why.

Normality overtook him and Trowa neared the bed until he was standing by the nightstand. Quatre shifted a bit, breath coming out in even outtakes while his eyes remained still beneath its lids.

Dreamless sleep.

Trowa couldn't help but feel a little relieved, knowing that Quatre had more than once attempted to avoid sleep because of his dreams; the visible dark circles around the closed lids were evidence enough of the blonde's fight with slumber. Gazing down at the sleeping face still marred by a few fading bruises, he found his hand already moving, and he brushed aside a few strands of blonde bangs. His fingertips connected lightly over pale skin and he froze when Quatre's face had almost immediately contorted into a pained expression and a soft whimper escaped those chapped lips.

He didn't move for a while, too surprised from what his single touch elicited and now even more curious on what was wrong with his fellow pilot. Surely a brief contact like this wouldn't have drawn out such a strong reaction--

~Hey no name, come over here.~

Trowa extracted his hand as if he were burnt, eyes widening slightly. `Wha-`

~I know something you'll like . . .~

He took an involuntary step back, hands rising unconsciously and wrapping around his body. His head began to slowly shake from side- to-side as if in denial and he continued to backpedal until his back hit the door with a soft thump.

'No . . . it couldn't . . . '

Hand closing over the doorknob, he twisted it and opened the door.

He needed air. He needed to think. Stepping quietly out of the room, he closed the door behind him as blue eyes opened and stared after him.

* * * * *

All he'd wanted was to get out of here. Being confined to the same scenery and atmosphere for seven inexpressibly long days was slowly driving him to acquire a case of claustrophobia. For that reason and a few others, he had waited for Trowa to fall asleep and had thought the brunette had done so, but he was quickly told otherwise.

With just one squeak from the mattress, the HeavyArms pilot had woken up and he had to feign sleep once more. He was almost as good as Heero now as he had done this for a fair amount of times this past week. He couldn't let Trowa know that he wasn't sleeping, or the teen might have taken up extreme measures and slipped him a few tranquilizers.

He didn't want to sleep, to return to that dark room and those red eyes, to feel the small rocks digging into his back, as he lay on the floor restrained, to feel so . . . helpless. He never wanted to feel that way again. He wanted everything to go back as they were before he was captured, before he was . . . when he was only fighting for the colonies and his beliefs. When he didn't feel so utterly and incredibly weak.

When everything was okay.

That was why he wanted out. He wanted to see his Sandrock, to sit in its cockpit and once again revitalize his feeling of self-worth--his strength. He wanted to pilot it again, to continue fighting alongside the other's again as he should be and wipe away the last seven days. He wanted to get out of this room and he wanted to do it alone. So he had to remain still, letting his breathing come out evenly as he heard Trowa approach him.

It was getting so easy to fool him, yet even as he did this, he couldn't help but feel remorse for his actions. Trowa was only concerned for him and he kept pushing him away. But he could let the feeling subside for the time being for he had something he felt more important to do. So he moved a little bit to add on to the effect and waited for Trowa to move away. Yet nothing could have prepared him for what happened next.

Before he could even stop himself, his body recoiled at the slightest contact and he released a soft cry, once again returning to that room and its horrors. He so wanted to open his eyes and let in the light, but he had to keep them closed or he would never be able to leave.

While fighting his own internal battles, he almost missed the distinct thump that echoed in the silent room. Then to his utmost relief he heard the door open and the shuffling of feet before it was closed again. Only then did he open his eyes and stare almost curiously at the white door, briefly forgetting what he wanted and wondered why Trowa had left so suddenly.

But his concern quickly diminished when he realized he was finally alone. Pushing himself up slowly with his one good arm, he sat up. Minutes passed before he finally managed to position himself at the edge of his bed. Taking a full glance around the room, his eyes stopped on the sight of his opened closet, his clothes hanging neatly on the rack inside.

That would be the first order of business. He certainly couldn't have Sandrock see him in his pajamas. With this new goal set in his mind, Quatre took a deep breath before slowly standing up.

He'd have to hurry. Who knew when Trowa would return.

* * * * *

Heero didn't even do so much as to twitch an eyebrow as his bedroom door opened. He'd been sitting in front of his laptop all day, cleaning this, updating that . . . and waiting for any damn mission!

A week.

One whole week.

7 freakin', restless days, doing nada, zip, zilch-ZERO!!

Wing was in such perfect condition that it could have passed off as an upgraded version of it.

To sum it up: Heero was going out of his mind.

He returned from the hangar about an hour ago. Sandrock was approximately fifty percent repaired and would take another thirty- four hours until it would be completely functional, but even Heero had his limits.

Therefore, he returned to his room, turned on his laptop and had been sitting here for the past hour. He needed to do something; he needed a distraction. With all this free time alone, he had time to think and not about the ordinary thoughts he usually had when a mission was taking place. No, with nothing to do, he was able to think about other things--things he _never_ wanted to think about and had done right and blocked them out. Yet he wasn't able to now since there was nothing to occupy his mind. He couldn't understand what was wrong with him. He'd never had problems like these in the past. If he didn't want to think about something, he didn't. Yet after the past couple of days, it seemed that the perfect soldier was seemingly not so perfect and was degenerating down to only excelled.

He glowered at the screen as his thoughts took this twisted turn.

"Ano . . . Heero?"

Heero paused for half a second, before continuing his tap-tap-tapping again. "What?"

Duo came into the room completely, shutting the door behind him. Inhaling a deep breath, he took a determined step forward and kept doing so until he reached the back of Heero's swivel chair. With the daringness of a lone ant attempting to ransack an entire picnic on his own, Duo turned the chair until Heero faced him, bracing his hands on either side of the armrests.

Their faces were a few centimeters apart, and at this close proximity, he caught the brief look of surprise that ran across Heero's face before it was replaced by an annoyed expression. If he blinked at that second, he would have missed it. Using this as encouragement, Duo continued.

"We need to talk."

Heero eyed him evenly, suppressing his initial response of "Get out" though thought better of it. If he didn't know any better, he felt something flicker within him as Duo stared down at him. Giving the barest of nods, he replied.

"Aa. We do."

* * * * *

Hard, calloused hands pressed against bare resisting flesh, probing, fondling and caressing every inch of the squirming body.

Stop it . . . Let me go! . . . Please, just let me go . . .

*SMACK*

"Quit your whining, and take it like a man!"

Please . . . I--I . . . get off. Stop it!

*SLAP-PUNCH*

"Just shut the hell up! Or this is gonna be more painful than it'll already be!"

. . . help . . . someone . . .

"Come on. You'll like it...I promise..."

Pain erupted throughout the small body. Tear-filled green eyes stared at the metal door to the left of him.

. . . someone . . . please . . .

~*~*~*~*~*~

"Oi! Nanashi! What happened to your eye? Walk into another door or somethin'?"

Nanashi tried to ignore the brash voice and shakily continued picking up the scrap metal littering the field.

A strong hand grabbed the front of his shirt, pulling him up off the ground. "Hey! I'm talking to you!"

Nanashi froze, hands losing their grip on the metal as he stared into penetrating brown eyes. "G-Gomen nasai."

"Gomen nasai . . ."

"Go-Gomen nasai, Ren-san."

A smirk crossed over the large man's shabby face. With his other hand, he began brushing the unruly brown hair covering half of the small boy's face. "That's right," he said softly, yet mockingly.

Nanashi tried his best not to flinch from the intruding gesture, knowing what would come if he did.

"You like that . . . don't you, no name," he breathed into the boy's face.

Frightened green eyes stared back making the man laugh. "Oh? You don't? I know something you may like and something I would definitely like . . . "

Nanashi's breath caught in his throat, images from the night before flashing into his mind.

"Kei told me how much 'fun' you and he had last night and I'm feeling a little left out." A predatory grin began to spread across the man's face. He pulled down his hand and used his thumb to rub against the bruise under Nanashi's eye. "You wouldn't want that, would you?"

Not knowing what else to do, the boy shook his head slightly, inducing more laughter from his captor. "No . . . I thought so." Laughing more, he dropped the brunette onto the ground and walked away.

Nanashi remained there, not noticing the new scrape on his leg from some of the metal he collected.

Staring forward, something dimmed in his eyes.

~*~*~*~*~*~

"NOOO! No more!" Nanashi thrashed about wildly under the bulky man on top of him.

Growling, Ren punched the boy beneath him hard on the temple. "You better knock it off you little shit," he spat out. Glazed eyes looked blankly at the opposite wall.

He placed his hands back on the motionless body. "Hn, get used to it, no name."

A lone tear silently crept down Nanashi's face.

Eyes now a dulled green.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Nanashi stared impassively at the gun in his hand before tossing it away. Expressionless, he took in the images of the two men in front of him dead in a pool of crimson with their eyes wide open in shock.

Turning swiftly on his heel, he exited the scrap yard, not looking back once, and walked down the dirt road.

* * * * *

Green eyes focused back to the present, staring at his reflection from the kitchen window. An image of his younger self flashed in the pane of glass, before his face appeared once again.

He had to be wrong, but all of it made too much sense. Everything fit so perfectly.

The nightmares. The blank stares. The unresponsiveness. The stiffening on the briefest of contacts.

He should have known immediately after what Duo had asked Sally. Neither Duo nor Wufei had ever elaborated on what had happened when they first found Quatre but he had understood then what Duo had asked. Even still, he never really took it into consideration for Quatre's strange behavior. To be honest, he had never really thought about it until now which was rather strange in itself.

How could he have disregarded such an important piece of information? Maybe he had done it subconsciously; maybe he really believed that Quatre was okay when he said he was. Maybe he should stop worrying over the whys and help Quatre.

But he couldn't.

He could barely fight his own demons let alone help Quatre with his.

Still, something inside of him kept urging him to do something . . . but what? What could he possibly do?

He gazed into the mug of coffee he held as he walked back to the counter, hoping that he could maybe find the answer in there, but eventually just brought the cup up to his lips and took a sip. He swallowed a bit before lowering the cup and dumping the rest of its contents into the sink.

It tasted bitter. Ever since they'd rescued Quatre everything tasted bitter.

He turned on the faucet and grabbed the camel-shaped sponge. He stared at it for a moment, something flickering at the edge of his memory.

"Well, we needed one, so I bought it while I shopped for the other things. It's silly. I know. But it's somewhat comforting when I look at it--Will you stop laughing, Duo?!"

The faintest of smiles came upon his face as he recalled the day Quatre had first bought the item. It was only then that he realized how much he missed that old Quatre. The uplifting expressions, the smiles, that light, almost carefree voice, the essence of what would most likely be that of a normal teenager--something he never had the opportunity of experiencing in his whole fifteen years. Now it seemed that the Quatre he knew was only a memory. He didn't like that idea at all.

Yet despite this, the question still remained: What could he do? He couldn't . . . he wasn't the one to do it. How could he possibly help Quatre with something he couldn't conquer himself?

~Just give up, Nanashi. No one will come and save you.~

~No one wants you, Nanashi. You were born alone and will be alone for the rest of your lousy life . . . unless of course you want to stay with us . . . ~

Trowa clamped his hands over his ears, anything to make the voices stop. He had done so well in blocking them over the years, but they were still there. They would always be there, imprinted in his memory until the day he died.

~We must stop fighting against each other!~

~Do you have to go? I won't ask you to stay. But at least tell me your name. My name is Quatre Raberba Winner.~

`Quatre . . . ` He lowered his hands, head bowed and saw the camel-shaped sponge on the floor. It looked so small lying there on the tiled floor all . . . alone.

He was familiar with the feeling. Since his childhood he kept to himself, pushing all those who attempted to grow close to him away so that he would never get hurt again. It was safer this way, but it wasn't what he wanted. It was never what he wanted.

What he really wanted was to be anything but alone. He wanted someone to hold him and to tell him that everything was going to be okay, someone who would protect him and shelter him from the unforgiving world. He wanted someone to love him and to fill the empty hole in his dying heart.

He wanted . . . he wanted so much though what he really wanted now more than anything else was to help Quatre. He wouldn't allow himself to hide away while history repeated itself. If he did, he may never see the Quatre he knew and befriended ever again, but only a shell of what he once was . . . of what _he_ was now.

No. He wouldn't allow it.

Bending down he lifted up the sponge and replaced it back before turning on his heel, eyes set steadily in front of him as he walked out of the kitchen.

He wasn't really certain about what he was exactly going to do, but that never stopped him before. This was a mission, one that he would see through to the end. After all, missions were what he did best, and this one in particular could well be one of the most important he'd ever have to complete.

Walking in an even faster pace, he returned to Quatre's room in hopes of helping the other in what ways he could.

And maybe then, he thought, as he pushed open the door, he could also confront his own evils and finally put them where they belonged: in the past.

* * * * *

It had taken a while, but he finally made it. The hangar was eerily quiet as Quatre staggered inside, the only illumination coming from a few random lamps hanging from the metal arched ceiling and from the moonlight outside. He paused at the door breathing heavily. He hadn't realized how hard it would be to come this far though he should have realized since his earlier attempt to get to the bathroom this morning was certainly not a walk in the park. Still, he couldn't relinquish the internal pride he felt on making it this far. Maybe he wasn't weak after all.

With that comforting thought in mind, he made his way across the concrete floor to his gundam. He ignored the intimidating stances of Wing and the others, eyes set on the one resting in the corner of the room.

His harsh breathing echoed loudly in the empty room though he hardly noticed when he reached his destination.

Sandrock loomed from above, partly shadowed by the darkness. Although how unapproachable it appeared with its massive body and black eyes, Quatre could only smile on seeing it, as if greeting an old friend.

`Sandrock.'

The damage was clear yet he could tell that someone was fixing it. That eased his heart a bit and he rested his hand on top of a blackened leg.

~"Duo! Watch out!"~

~"QUATRE!! Quatre, Quatre! Are you all right?! Quatre! Answer me damn it!"~

~Darkness speckled with red.~

~A sneer.~

~Pain.~

~Excruciating pain.~

Quatre reeled backward from the flashes, hand reaching up painfully over his heart. His back connected with something firm and he froze before instinct took over and he spun around, arm swinging outward in defense. A strong grip stopped it before it could inflict any damage and he immediately pulled to free it.

His eyes weren't seeing, his emotions overriding with all those hateful feelings he wanted to forget and he was again in that small, dark room, pinioned to place.

~"I guess we're going to have to do it the hard way again, huh?"~

~"Heh, I hope you're ready for the ride of your life."~

He gave one final, hard tug and he stumbled backwards, almost falling but caught himself at the last moment. He was finding it hard to breath, the darkness gradually closing around him. The figure in front of him took a step forward and he automatically took one back.

"Quatre."

Quatre's breath caught in his throat upon recognizing the voice, his eyes finally focusing and seeing a familiar set of brown hair and green eyes. "Tro . . . wa," he all but gasped, forcing himself to regain some semblance of normalcy to show that he was fine.

If he was paying attention, he could have seen the surprised expression on the other's face, but he couldn't do anything at the moment. The taunting voices wouldn't stop screaming in his mind and the sickening feelings that came with them caused him to feel nauseous.

His world was spinning and he had no idea why.

Was it really such a terrible thing to happen to him?

Why had it affected him so much? He thought he was stronger.

Why couldn't he forget? All he wanted to do was forget.

He closed his eyes tightly, his emotions overloading and he wrapped his right arm around himself, ignoring the physical pain that occurred as a result and was slowly sliding down onto the ground. His back touched the footing of his gundam and he inhaled sharply, but not because of the memories that coursed through his body from the contact. No, it was because of the warm presence he found himself in that startled his eyes open.

" . . . Tro . . . wa . . . "

* * * * *

Upon opening the door and seeing the empty bed and the ransacked closet, a somewhat panicked feeling surged within him. He took another step into the room and looked towards the bathroom. Seeing the door open and no signs of Quatre, he quickly left. He was jogging back down the narrow hallway from whence he came; all the while trying to think of all the places Quatre could have gone.

He paused at the end of the hallway and closed his eyes, trying to think back on what _he_ had done in the past, where _he_ had gone when it became too much to bare.

His eyes suddenly snapped open.

`Of course.'

He took off in the direction of the stairs, sliding down the railing and landed on the hard wood floor with an audible thump, before dashing off to the hangar.

It wasn't hard to guess where the blonde was; in fact it made a lot of sense.

"Ooo, I'm scared . . . you think just by holding a gun that you're a man now?" *A gruff laugh sounded in the air* "Don't make me laugh you little whore. Oh, did I hit a sore spot now? I'm sorry . . . "

Trowa remembered how he hadn't responded, just stood there, gun poised. It wasn't long before his two "guardians" realized he wasn't playing around. He could still smell the gunpowder, the blood--he could hear the screams, but it didn't affect him, not at all. For he was already dead inside.

At the time he had so wanted to kill the bastards and had. They took everything away from him, destroyed his life and made him weak. What better way to show his strength than to take control of his life and killed those that hindered it?

He had never once in his life regretted what he did and still didn't. This was war. Survival of the fittest and all.

So where would Quatre go to regain his spirit, his strength? There was only one place.

He slid briefly on turning into the back hallway and met the open metal door and bits of artificial light coming through it. As he walked inside, he caught the slight movement of a shadow and walked quietly towards it.

Nearing Sandrock, he spotted the person of his search standing stock-still, hand extended to the gundam. He took bigger steps, closing the distance between them and was about to alert the teen of his presence when Quatre had backed away so suddenly from his gundam and smack into him.

He was about to ask if he were all right when a well-aimed fist started for his face. He blocked it easily, wondering why Quatre was attacking him. Couldn't he see that it was hi--?

His sight became aware of the way Quatre was looking at him. He wasn't. He was seeing someone else.

He let go quickly and watched with unmasked surprise as Quatre stumbled away from him in fear.

"Quatre."

He put more emotions in that one word than in any conversation he had ever spoken in his entire life.

To see how Quatre was behaving now, it only reminded him of how he used to feel as a child. It pained him so much to see that Quatre, _Quatre_ was experiencing it now.

It didn't seem right.

"Tro . . . wa."

He watched as Quatre literally crumbled in front of him.

He was too late.

~Hi! We meet again. I guess we're on the same mission.~

~I can do it alone.~

~So can I. But if we cooperate, it will be more successful.~

~I wonder about that . . . ~

~I'm sure it will be . . . ~

~We will play again, won't we Trowa?~

~Thank you, Trowa.~

No . . . he couldn't be late--he wouldn't be!

What had he wanted? What made it go away?

He took a half step forward then hesitated. It was so simple yet all the same so difficult for him to do . . . but . . .

* * * * *

`What . . . ?'

" . . . Tro . . . wa . . . "

Trowa was holding him, his arms enfolding him in a comforting though clearly awkward embrace.

He was so close yet it was different--very different than how he had held him, and because of that, Quatre didn't want to pull away.

But he had to. If he didn't, he'd be right back where he started when he had run away from his father: Just a confused, worthless and weak heir.

He didn't want that. He didn't.

The initial shock began to recede and he attempted to break away from Trowa's hold, no matter how safe and right he felt in those arms.

Yet the moment he began to struggle, the grip around him only tightened until he could barely move. But even still, this immobility Trowa caused, it didn't frighten him at all rather it frustrated him.

"Let me go, Trowa," he spoke in an almost defeated whisper. "Let me go."

Trowa remained silent, shaking his head from side to side as it rested on Quatre's shoulder.

"Trowa . . . please . . . " he all but pleaded, still struggling a bit as his eyes slid shut.

"No, Quatre."

The few words were whispered in his ear and his eyes snapped open, the contact causing a shiver to run down his spine. "Tro--"

"You don't have to do this alone, Quatre." The arms around him loosened slightly so he could move, but still held him firmly. "Rely on our strength . . . as well as your own."

Strength? No, Trowa was wrong. He didn't have any. If he did, he could have overcome this. He would have.

Why couldn't Trowa understand?

"You don't have to do it alone," the words were repeated with more conviction than before, the speaker knowing and hoping to break through the barrier Quatre had so recently constructed.

" . . . No . . ." denial was still etched into the statement. "I hav--"

"Quatre . . . you're not alone," Trowa interrupted, holding the boy in his arms a little closer, voice lowered. "You're not alone."

Blue eyes widened, the meaning behind the few words causing the last of his resolve to collapse.

Trowa . . .

Wave after wave of realization hit him and only after did he realize how exhausted he was. His entire body went slack and he let his head fall onto Trowa's shoulder, tilting it to the side. It wasn't long before the familiar stinging began to form behind his eyes and though he tried as he might, he couldn't stop that one tear from sliding down his face nor could he stop the hundreds that followed after.

Yet Trowa was still there, enclosing him in the sense of security he had thought he would never experience again. It was only then that Quatre realized he was safe and that it was Trowa who had restored this sense of being.

And after what seemed like a very long time, a warm feeling returned into his heart, banishing the shadows and phantoms that plagued him until his world illuminated again to the brilliant shade of what he once knew.

And it was because of Trowa.

Trowa.

* * * * *

 

Mika-chan
August 17, 2000