Disclaimers: I do not own Gundam Wing Tomb Raider, or any of their characters.
Notes: Duo tormenting. Nothing much else to say about this part.
Quatre looked up at the apartment building in front of him. This couldn’t be the right place. It was rundown, several of the
windows boarded up . . . Why would Duo live here? He could afford so much better now that he had a steady job with the
Preventers. Heero and Trowa both had nice apartments, and they couldn’t possibly earn too much more than Duo did. And if
Wufei moved off-base, he could probably get a nice place too. Quatre just couldn’t understand why Duo would live in a slum,
in this obviously bad neighborhood.
He looked down at the paper in his hand, seeing that the address written on it matched the building that he was currently
standing in front of. He had gotten the address from Une herself, right from Duo’s personnel file at Preventers HQ.
Quatre shrugged then walked into the building. Once he stood outside Duo’s door, he frowned again. The door was wide
open, and Quatre could see inside. Although it was dark, the only light coming from the flickering hall light, but he could tell
that the place was a dump.
He pulled his gun from his shoulder holster, wanting to be ready in case anyone besides Duo was hiding inside. Cautiously, he
made his way toward the only light he saw, which came from an open door only a few yards away. This apartment was so
small, he idly thought, even though he couldn’t see too much with the lack of lighting.
A faint whimpering sound reached his ears and Quatre quickened his pace, fearing the worst, that Duo was severely injured and
possibly dying. However, he was not prepared for the sight that awaited him. As soon as Quatre stepped into the tiny bedroom,
he gasped, taken aback. It wasn’t the body sprawled on the floor that had surprised Quatre, it was Duo . . . the way he looked
. . . the way he was acting.
Duo was lying on the twin size bed, his body huddled in a small ball. His body trembled severely, whimpers escaping his
throat. Duo’s eyes remained tightly clenched and he looked ready to cry. A sheet was partially wrapped around one of his
arms, stained a bright crimson. Otherwise, he was only wearing a plain pair of black boxers. He looked so pale, not to mention
extremely thin. Quatre grimaced at the sight of Duo’s ribs showing through his skin, wondering when Duo had last eaten a
“Duo?” Quatre whispered as he put his weapon away. He stepped over the corpse and moved over toward Duo. He sat on the
edge of the bed, brushing a few loose hairs away from his friend’s pale face.
“I’m sorry, Q.” Duo sniffled, just barely opening his eyes to look up at Quatre. “I must look so pathetic.”
“No . . . of course not.” Quatre replied. He helped Duo to sit up, watching in concern as Duo continued to tremble. “Someone
just tried to kill you . . . It’s not an unexpected reaction to get shaken up over something like that.”
Duo smiled, but it quickly faltered. He suddenly broke down, for no apparent reason. His body shuddered violently, a single
tear trailing down one of his pale cheeks. Quatre involuntarily began rubbing at his own chest, the ache he felt in his own heart
filling him with sorrow. He had never seen Duo without his cheerful mask in place. He knew that Duo put up an act for the
sake of the others. Being empathic did have its advantages sometimes. However, Quatre couldn’t understand why Duo wasn’t
wearing his mask now, why he wasn’t trying to pretend that everything was okay.
“Why, Quatre? Why would someone try to kill me now?” Duo asked, his voice wavering.
Quatre shrugged, stroking his arm along Duo’s bare arm in an attempt to calm his friend. “Are you working on any important
cases for the Preventers?”
“No . . .” Duo shook his head. “At least nothing worth killing me over.”
Quatre nodded, not truly knowing what he could possibly say to his friend. “I’m sure it will all be okay.” Quatre lied. There
was no way to be sure of that . . . but it was better to comfort Duo rather than upset him further.
Duo nodded slightly, but didn’t seem to have believed Quatre. He reached out, hesitantly, then pulled his arm back, obviously
having doubts. Quatre didn’t have that problem. He slowly wrapped his arms around the young man lying on the bed. Duo
returned the embrace, letting out a shuddered breath as he buried his face in the crook of Quatre’s neck.
“Thank you.” Duo whispered, exhaling a long breath.
“No problem, Duo. You’re my friend . . . and I hate to see you in pain.” Quatre replied, running his hand along Duo’s back in
what he hoped was a soothing action. After a few moments, Quatre pulled himself away from Duo. His attention was drawn
to the bloodstained sheet around Duo’s arm. “Do you have a first-aid kit somewhere around here?” Quatre asked.
“Yeah . . . in the bathroom.” Duo replied.
“Then why don’t we find some clothes for you and take care of that wound.” Quatre suggested, smiling his best. “The others
should be here soon.”
“Okay.” Duo replied, allowing Quatre to help him into a sitting position and then to stand.
Quatre left Duo’s side briefly, just long enough to search through a couple dresser drawers to find clothes for Duo to wear.
What he pulled out was just a pair of sweat pants and a T-shirt, but it would be good enough for now. It would hide Duo’s
body from view, as Quatre was sure the long-haired young man would appreciate.
Duo was so thin, looked to be starving to death, Quatre knew it had to have been going on for a long time to have gotten that
severe. And if he hadn’t said anything to any of the pilots yet, then Duo probably didn’t want anyone to know. So Quatre
would keep his secret, no matter how much his mind screamed at him to tell someone and find some help for his obviously
distressed friend. He wouldn’t betray Duo. Perhaps Quatre could do something himself that would help Duo. He could at the
very least find out why Duo was so thin . . . so sickly looking.
Quatre wrapped an arm around Duo’s waist, and led him into the bathroom, closing the door behind the two of them. It was
tiny, barely enough room for two people to stand in. He helped Duo over to the toilet seat, letting him sit on it, while he opened
the medicine cabinet and pulled out a small first-aid kit.
Quatre inwardly flinched as he noticed several pill bottles, cluttered together in the small space that remained of the medicine
cabinet. He picked one up, quickly reading the label only to find that it was a bottle of sleeping pills, a few others were sleeping
pills too. A couple were painkillers, and yet another which was a bottle of vitamins. Although most of them were prescription
drugs, none had Duo’s name or any of the aliases, that Quatre knew of, on their labels.
“I have trouble sleeping.” Duo whispered, having apparently noticed that Quatre was rummaging through his cabinet.
“But why do you have so many?” Quatre asked, concern for his friend overshadowing any thoughts he might have had to wait
until later to ask.
“You never know when you might need them.” Duo mumbled, his voice just barely above a whisper. Quatre was sure that he
hadn’t meant to say it aloud, and if he had, then it was just a cry for help.
Quatre put the bottle he was holding back into the cabinet and closed it slowly. “You're only hurting yourself by taking those.
And when was the last time you ate anything?” He turned to face Duo, wanting to see him as he answered, wanting to look into
his eyes. He could already sense the pain from his friend, the horrible agony that his life had become. Quatre berated himself
for having been so blind before. Why hadn’t he noticed how depressed, how utterly miserable Duo was?
“I had something at work yesterday.” Duo replied, his gaze never lifting from the floor.
Quatre narrowed his eyes, his brow furrowing as a memory entered his mind. “If I remember correctly, the only time I saw
you eating anything was when you had that apple.” He replied, moving to kneel in front of his friend.
“It was food.” Duo answered. “So technically, I did eat.”
Quatre gently hooked his fingers under Duo’s chin, tipping his face up so that he could look into his friend’s eyes. “Why,
Duo? Why are you starving yourself? Why are you living here? I’m sure you earn enough for something better. And if you
need help, I’ll be happy to lend you a hand. Anything . . . just ask and I’ll gladly give it to you.”
“I don’t deserve it, Quatre. I’m a street rat, nothing of importance.” He gestured around at his home. “This was the cheapest
place I could find, and it’s still too much for me. I don’t feel right living here, spending money on myself when there are so
many others who need it more than I do. And I don’t have any food, because every time I go to a store, I end up giving away
everything I bought to the first homeless mother I see, the first child that’s dressed in nothing but rags. How can I eat when
there are so many others that don’t have that privilege? How can I live under a roof when there are families dying in the
streets?” Duo answered, his voice wavering as tears streamed along his pale face.
Quatre reached out, cupping one of Duo’s cheeks with his hand, brushing away a few tears with his thumb. “And I thought I
was the kind one.” Quatre smiled. “I understand you wanting to help people. But you can’t starve yourself to death.”
“I know.” Duo nodded. “I just . . . I just give and before I know it I have nothing left to offer.”
“I guess I’ll just have to help you then, while you help others. If you don’t mind of course.” Quatre smiled. “I won’t sit back
and watch one of my friends waste away.”
“Thank you, Quatre.” Duo replied, throwing his arms around the blonde Arabian and pulling him close. “I don’t what I’d do
without a friend like you.”
There was a commotion outside, and Quatre pulled away from Duo, keeping an arm around him, as they heard a gentle rapping
on the bathroom door. “Duo, you in there?” Trowa’s familiar voice asked.
“Yeah, he is.” Quatre replied, speaking for Duo.
“Quatre? Is that you?” Trowa asked.
“Yes, we’ll be out in a minute, Trowa.” Quatre said. “Just have to take care of a wound on Duo’s arm.”
“Is it serious?” Trowa inquired.
“I’ll find out in a minute.” Quatre said, getting up, then helping Duo to rise as well. They stepped over to the sink, Quatre
helping Duo to unravel the sheet from around his arm.
“Well, we’ll be waiting. I’m sure Wufei and Heero would like to know what happened, as do I. The cleanup crew is already
taking care of the corpse.” Trowa replied, then Quatre heard the sound of footsteps retreating away from the door.
Quatre looked back to Duo, gently cleaning the drying blood from Duo’s arm. He took out some antiseptic, drenching a pad of
gauze in the foul-smelling liquid before beginning to dab it at the gash on Duo’s arm. “It doesn’t look too deep. I don’t think
you’ll need stitches.” Quatre said, as he wrapped some gauze around the arm. “I’m sure Sally would like to have a look at it
Duo merely nodded, sniffling as he wiped his free hand across his face. Once the wound was taken care of, Quatre helped Duo
to get dressed, just offering whatever assistance Duo might require. Quatre brushed his fingers through Duo’s mussed hair,
trying to make it as neat as possible since he had no brush to work with. As soon as Duo was dressed, they stepped out of the
bathroom, walking in on the commotion in Duo’s tiny apartment.
Heero looked up as Duo and Quatre walked out of the bathroom. He looked Duo over, finding something decidedly wrong
about the handsome young man he secretly loved, although he couldn’t quite figure out why he thought that something was
wrong about him.
“Are you well, Maxwell?” Wufei asked, standing and moving over to stand in front of Duo and Quatre.
Heero followed Wufei’s example and also stood, walking around the body to stand beside Wufei, as Trowa did the same, only
standing on Wufei’s other side. “You don’t look well.” Heero commented.
Duo kept his eyes lowered. “Yeah, I’m fine. I’m just tired. Kinda difficult to sleep when you’re fending off potential
assassins.” He joked.
Heero saw through the act, not believing it for one instant. Duo was obviously more shaken by this than he was letting on.
And there was something else. Heero wished he could tell what it was that he found wrong about Duo. The feeling lingered in
his gut, making him worry over his partner.
“Why do you live in this dump?” Wufei asked, waving around at the surroundings.
Duo visibly flinched, but didn’t answer. Surprisingly, Quatre stepped in front of Duo, glaring at Wufei. “Just drop it.” He
hissed, his eyes burning with more rage than Heero thought the small blonde was possible of. Heero wondered what was going
on. Why was Quatre being so protective of Duo?
Wufei took a step back, apparently just as shocked as Heero was by Quatre’s sudden burst of anger. It was rare to see the
normally quiet young man speak with such a seething tone.
“Come on,” Trowa said, gently gripping Quatre’s arm for a brief moment. “Lady Une wants Duo to make a report about what
happened. I think the others can handle the cleanup.”
“Yes . . . okay.” Quatre said, quietly, pulling away from Trowa and turning to face Duo. “Let’s go.”
Duo only nodded, oddly quiet. Heero and the others followed behind, Heero’s eyes never leaving Duo. He just watched him,
wondering how long he would have to stare at him to figure out why he felt something was wrong about the normally jovial
To Be Continued . . .