Title: Framed and Dried
Author: shanna seanachai
Warnings: angst, reference to NC situations
Disclaimer: don't own either GW the Tori Amos song, 'Butterfly'
Summary: You gotta find to read out ^_^
Pairing: Quatre x Treize
Archive? You bet your ass.
Feedback: Very, very welcome!

Framed and Dried part 1 by shanna seanachai

It always came to him in the same way; being led down a long, shadowy tunnel, afraid of what was behind him. Then two hands taking his face, drawing it close. A smell, like burning meat. He squirmed away, but the hands drew him closer, and there were cold lips against his face. He gulped, and swerved, dizzy - the smell was making him sick. He pushed away, quickly, and then it was launched on him - pinned down, inescapable, and he knew who it was who was doing this to him.

*

"Lay down. Don't try to get up."

Swift pain drove little nails into his skull, sharp and angry. His eyelids, so heavy he imagined them as being made entirely of lead, sagged and brushed his cheeks.

"Where am I?"

"Don't speak. Just lay there."

He did as he was told, to tired to disobey. He couldn't feel his body. He felt as though he were floating. He heard the man near him breathing, working on something next to him, and then there was a prick in his arm.

"What's -"

"Sh. I'm drawing some blood. You've been poisoned."

"Poisoned?"

"And beaten, yes."

Quatre said nothing, breathing shallowly, thinking this over. He last remembered - yes. Deep night all around him, doing his business, he shouldn't have gone. They'd surrounded him. He might have fended them off - he was not a weakling, certainly - but one had had something thick and heavy, a baseball bat or metal pipe or something. They'd bashed him over the head, knocking him down, and when he had continued to fight, weakly, one had grabbed him by the head, pried open his mouth, and force fed some type of powder. The light had grown weak after that, and he had barely been aware of what they were doing to him - something he could only express belief for.

How he'd wound up here, he didn't know. He didn't know if he was in danger here. Right now, he could not do anything about it. His colleges - his friends, he supposed - would be worried. He couldn't do anything about this at the moment, though.

"Drink this."

He couldn't see what it was he was being told to drink, and he could barely move his head to do what he was being told. But hands - gentle hands - lifted him up so that he could. He drank it, not really caring what it was. He wondered, briefly, why he had not shrunk away at this man's touch - Quatre did not like to be touched - and then darkness descended, abruptly, and he was asleep.

Treize Kushrenada watched the sleeping boy before him, nodded, packed up his things, and left the room.

*

-daddy dear if i can kill one man why not two-

He had been so angry. He'd laid it on thick - the guilt, the disgust, the shame. You do this, and I'll recite the prayers of the dead over you, he had said. Do this, and I will no longer consider you my son.

Don't believe him, Rashid had told him. You know your father - he can be rash. He doesn't mean it.

And he'd been right. Of course, his father never really forgave him. But the old ways still worked, Quatre found. If he did the right things, his father was easier on him. He didn't like it, but that was the way things were. He wanted to fight in the war. It was what he was meant to do - to help people. There were other ways to help people. But this was his way.

Now his father was dead. Now he didn't have to worry about making him happy. It was a relief, he supposed. But he still remembered. Yes, he remembered it all.

*

He woke the sound of feet: shuffling forward, towards him. Slow, calm gait. He opened his eyes a little, and winced at the strong light.

He heard the curtains draw close, and the man said, "Open your eyes slowly. Let them get accustomed to the light."

Quatre blinked a few times and peered around feebly. He scanned the room; a small, but respectable place. Then his eyes happened upon the man - the man who had taken care of him while he had been sick. It was Treize Kushrenada.

"Oh, no," he said.

Treize grimaced. "Do I look that terrible?"

"You're not getting anything out of me," Quatre warned, and began to sit up. He promptly wavered and fell back again.

"Oh..." he moaned, feeling very sick.

Treize shook his head. "You lay down. I never thought for a moment I would get anything out of you. It didn't even cross my mind." He poured a glass of water and handed it to Quatre. "Slow. Keep it slow. You've only just gotten a life threatening poison out of your system. You have to take things slow."

Slow. Like he walked - slow and careful. He closed his eyes and drank the water, concentrating on keeping himself from being sick. Slow, and steady. Slow and safe.

"Is that better?" Treize asked, and reached out with one hand to feel his forehead.

Quatre moved away, quickly, suddenly. "Don't touch me," he whispered, his eyes suddenly cloudy.

Treize paused, and then withdrew. "I won't," he finally said. "If you don't want me to."

"Never," said Quatre, beginning to get a little sleepy. "Never, you hear me?"

"Take this," Treize said, handing him a pill to go with the glass of water.

"What's that?" he managed.

"Just to give you some rest." Treize frowned. "I wouldn't hurt you."

Quatre laughed a little - the futility of the statement, when faced with the reality - that he was a soldier fighting the forces commanded by this man - stunned him slightly. "Sure," he muttered, taking the pill. What did he care? "Sure."

*
Framed and Dried part 2 by shanna seanachai

He didn't know where the memory ended and the present began, and that had always been his problem. He'd told himself he couldn't hold onto the past like this, but sometimes it was his only refuge, strangely enough. What kind of person thrives on past
injustices, on the poison pain that burns in them? Playing the wound. It wasn't right, but
he didn't know how to live any other way. The perpetual martyr, that's what I am.
When he tried to remember the time between his beating and waking up, he remembered only heat. It was like his skin was packed with lit coals, tight and drawn and crackling.
Then a cool touch. Touch. How he hated touch. The sweaty intimacy of it all. But this touch wasn't like that, it was cool, as he remembered. Cool and compassionate, promising no violation of any kind, mind or body or soul. What kind of person did that? Gave but did not ask for the return? Nobody, not even the most wonderful people he had
ever met. They all wanted something, somewhere along the line. Oh, Duo, Duo, nagging
always for attention. Heero, wanting respect. Wufei, wanting the best anyone could give,
but who could give the best all the time? Not even Wufei could, and that was why the boy was nearly out of his mind.
And...Trowa, Trowa, who would give him the world, the very air he breathed, he was sure, but still wanted something in return. And it was the hardest thing for him to give. It was the only thing he couldn't give. Not anymore.
He didn't know why he couldn't move on, like other people did, move on to be normal. Why was it, why. Spending, wasting, years and years, bowing to the great god of Degradation, giving in to the shame, the anger, the uselessness. Go ahead. Bow to it. Kiss it. Kiss the stain that covers your life, that is your life, what your father chose to have define it. Thief. That's what your father was; thief of innocence, of free will, of the ability to grow. How peculiar, for something to so rob you of the childlike state of mind, but stunt you all the same, so that your mind was forever ancient and weary and desirous of death, but your emotions - your heart - stayed the same. Stayed that of an eight year old boy. Afraid of the great hand that would someday descend from heaven and snatch you up.
And now here it came: he was calling him. "Quatre." No, he would not come. He had said that many times, as a child. I will not come. "Quatre." Haunting, heavy voice, powerful voice, so gentle at times, times like this, but he knew, he knew, so alien at others. "Quatre." He would not come. Oh he said that didn't he? Little boy, resolute as a child can be, I will not come. Until the hand came down, out of heaven, out of the all powerful mountain where the gods called adults lived, and then he came. The hand snatched him up. 'An engine, and engine, chuffing me off like a Jew. A Jew to Dachau, Auchwitz, Belsen. I began to talk like a Jew. I think I may well be a Jew.'
He could not squirm away, never, from those hands. He remembered that. He remembered looking up, he saw the devil. Could only be the devil, to do this. He remembered it, so it must be true. 'Not God but a swastika, So black no sky could squeak through. Every woman adores a Fascist, The boot in the face, the brute, Brute heart of a brute like you.'
No, every little boy adores a fascist, too. How he adored and despised him. Loved him for
his moments of kindness, hated him when the payment was enacted. How often had he
wished him dead? Imagined it, his heavy, God-like body limp, eyes meaningless, staring
out of a little wooden coffin. No coffin could hold that man in. Light would shine from it surely, would break open the wood as it was lowered into the ground. But had it been like
that? No. The man who had stared from the coffin had been nothing but a hunk of flesh, a small man, a silly man, with make up on his rubber face. No light, no cries from heaven. Cheated, he'd felt, but why. Why did he think: "I killed him." Why did he think: "Why did he die, just when he was finally being good to me?" Had he been good to him, those last few days? He couldn't remember. He'd killed him, or good as had. 'I've killed one man, I've killed two - The vampire who said he was you, And drank my blood for a year, Seven years, if you want to know. Daddy, you can lie back now.'

"Quatre." Still, he would not come. His mind heaved on, telling him he would eventually, but his childish heart resisted. "Quatre." I will not come.

"Quatre."

Quatre, wake up."

His eyes opened.

A flood of light, and he looked to see the hand. The devil's face. But it was neither. Why shouldn't Treize Kushrenada be the devil? Mysterious ways, all right.

[nurses smile if you've got iron veins you can't stain their pretty shoes]

"You should be better today."

Like hell I will be. He said nothing. It was as good as thinking, 'I will not come,' and just as useless he supposed, for Kushrenada would not stop talking, he was sure.

"You should eat something."

He thinned his mouth. Treize laughed, spiting him.

"You look like a little boy," he explained, "Who doesn't want to eat his vegetables." He raised an eyebrow. "Shall I have to feed you, then?"

Quatre stared at him, his eyes narrow. He felt a bit like Heero, doing this.

"Perhaps later, then." He stood up. From this angle, he lost his facial characteristics. He became anonymous, another threatening, overshadowing male figure. Quatre thought he'd been right in not speaking. The same, all the same.

*

He made himself move, budge, and his limbs felt strange but he moved. He sat on the edge of the bed, and studied the view from the window. A tree, and elm, strong and sturdy and reliable. How many things had this tree seen? People, born and died. So many lives, so many years. What he'd give for infinite wisdom like that. To know so much, and never be afraid again.

He opened the window. The breeze that rustled the leaves of the elm and hit him was a whisper: What do you fear?

He stretched his arm out and spread his fingers, brushing a leaf. He had the impulse to let himself fall from the window. It was sudden and swift, and he might have done it, but the breeze brushed up again, halting him. What do you fear?

He pulled back, breathing quickly, gripping the window sill. How close had he come - but the fact remained - he couldn't, no, of course not. He couldn't.

A feeling like a stone in his stomach, he couldn't swallow. He walked over to the bed again, but he didn't sit down. He stood and stared at it. Beds were such intimate things. He didn't like sleeping in other people's beds. Who had slept here before him?

He groaned and put his hands over his eyes. What do you fear?

Nothing. Nothingness. The absence of thought, coupled with the invasion of the body. How can anyone - anyone - be so - so thoughtless? To have no consideration for a human life like that...it's not right, it's not fair.

Empty. He felt empty, and very wrong, like a puzzle piece put in the wrong place. His edges didn't match up with those around them. He burrowed into the bed, pulling the sheet over him. The thought of leaving - of making a break for it - did not even cross his mind. He was not thinking of war, or fighting, or enemies, or top secret information. He was thinking of oblivion, and how close he had just come to it.

*

[the quotated material is from the poem 'Daddy' by Sylvia Plath, the basis for the song 'Butterfly' by Tori Amos, the sing that goes with this fic. ^_^

 

Framed and Dried part 3 by shanna seanachai

He'd only ever wanted to be perfect. Isn't that what everyone wanted? To be the perfect - the perfect student. The perfect brother. The perfect friend...the perfect son.

[and pom poms and cherry blondes and our kittens are still wrapped in cement]

But the hate and the revulsion had grown in him, with every year, with every time, with every bruise. He was wrapped in bandages, round and round, and they were unwinding; they were unraveling. And soon there was nothing but hate, hate, thick and silent, up to his neck. It was bitter, it was acid, it was in him; it *was* him. Oh, and then he'd made his decision. He'd made his plans, he's packed his bags. How his father had screamed! Stupid little man. He'd wanted to call him that, but he did not really believe it. And so he was silent, as he packed, packing up his life. And he'd left, and his father had said, what had he said? That he considered him dead. Quatre had smiled. He was dead, wasn't he? But the smile was not sick, like he felt inside. It was his little boy smile, the only one he knew, and he had said good bye to his father, and kissed him. And then later he came home, for awhile, and he had comforted him. He supposed he had wanted to believe that he wasn't full of hate. It is love you are full of. You know who you hate...he is hugging his ball and chain down by the gate...

"...that opens to the sea, where it drives in, white and black, then spews it back."

Quatre opened his eyes.

Treize sat near by him, a book on his knees, and he was reading aloud:

"Every day you fill him up with soul stuff, like a pitcher. You are so exhausted. Your voice my ear-ring, Flapping and sucking, blood loving bat. That is that. That is that."

"What are you reading?"

Treize looked up, his dark, reddish hair fanning his face, like a veil; Quatre could not see his eyes. "A poem. I was reading one to you yesterday, as well."

Quatre looked down. "I hear it in my sleep..."

"I thought you would like Sylvia," Treize said, smiling. There was a familiarity in his voice, as though he were talking about a dear friend or relative. So much enthusiasm, it couldn't help but make him sigh.

"So glum," Treize chided. "I never thought you to be the glum type."

"Why have you got me here? Where is here?"

"I have you here because I found you, and you might have died if I'd left you out there on the sidewalk. Our location is...irrelevant."

Quatre frowned. "So I am prisoner?"

"I didn't say you were. I just am not going to disclose to you the address of a permanent residence of mine." Treize smiled. "I might not be keeping you prisoner, but I don't think you would keep quiet with your fellow terrorists if you knew such an important piece of information."

"Terrorist...I'm not a..."

"Then what are you?"

"I don't know," Quatre muttered. "I don't know."

Treize nodded, stroking the spine of his book. "I didn't think you did." He opened the book again. "You do not do, you do not do, anymore black shoe, In which I have lived like a foot, for thirty years, poor and white, barely daring to breath or Achoo. Daddy, I have had to kill you. You died before I had time - marble heavy, a bag full of God -"

"Please stop." Quatre whispered.

Treize looked up, and this time, Quatre could see his eyes.

"You were reading that last night..."

He nodded.

Quatre laid back against the pillows. "Talk to me. About that one."

Treize laid back against the chair. "Sylvia Plath had an obsession with her father - he died when she was very young. He...was not a very nice man, but in her mind, she mixed up fear with adoration and spent much of her life mourning a man who had never existed."

"A Nazi. She called him a Nazi."

Treize nodded. "Otto Plath was an autocrat, no doubt about it."

Quatre smiled at Treize, suddenly, slowly. It was not the little boy smile. Somewhere along the way he had learned to smile another way. "The colonists call you a Nazi, you know. Say you are a direct descendent of Adolf Hitler." He laughed, barkingly.

Treize nodded. "I'm aware of that."

"Doesn't it...doesn't it bother you?"

"A lot of things could bother me, if I let them, Quatre."

"How -" He raised himself up on an elbow. "How did you know who I was? How did you recognize me that night - and why were you there?"

Treize smiled. "I had business there as well, Quatre. As for the rest...perhaps you'll find out in time."

"Don't patronize me."

"I would never even dream of it." Treize said, smiling.

"Why haven't you imprisoned me? Why haven't you...Why are you treating me with this sort of consideration?"

"Another thing you might find out in time."

Quatre was sitting now. "Please don't," he whispered. "You know I don't want to do that, not with you, not with anybody. Please don't try to make me do something..."

Treize stared at him oddly. "Why would you think that?" he asked. "I know you don't want to do 'that', Quatre Raberba Winner, and I know why, too. And I would never use that against you. I don't believe in playing off the exposed weaknesses of my enemies in such situations." He put his book down, on the chair he'd been sitting in. Quatre stared at it, dumbly, wondering why on earth he'd said those things, whispered, begged, quietly, like he would have, years ago, when he thought something like that my do him good...

"Get some rest," Treize told him. "Get some rest and think things through. Not everyone intends you ill will, you know."

--

tbc