Disclaimers:  I don’t own Gundam Wing or any of the characters.

Notes:  Yes, I have written a Christmas story.  I hope you enjoy it.  It has a 1+2, and a 3+4 pairing.  Although in the
beginning it’s mainly 3+4, there will be a lot of 1+2 later on.  Lot’s of angst, Quatre sickness and empathic ability use.  
Mental anguish, depression.  Wonderful Christmas story so far, huh?  Enjoy.



Christmas Memories



Sadness . . . Grief . . . Self-hatred . . . Longing . . . Stress . . . Exhaustion . . . Anxiety . . . Anger . . . Shame.  The emotions
ran wild in his mind, causing confusion to spread throughout him.  He couldn’t stop it, couldn’t contain the unbearable agony
that he felt, the bottomless depression that consumed him like an unquenchable fire.

Quatre bolted straight up in bed, screaming at the top of his lungs, his hand flying to his chest in an attempt to alleviate some of
that horrible pain he had sensed.  He tried to take in deep breaths, his heart pounding wildly in his chest, his body drenched in
sweat.

His door was thrown open, and immediately several Maguanacs circled his bed, many of them carrying weapons. The blinding
lights were switched on at some point during the commotion.  “Is something wrong, Master Quatre?”  Abdul asked, putting his
gun away.  “We heard you scream.”

Quatre couldn’t answer, couldn’t even force himself to breathe correctly.  Everything was so confusing to him.  Who was in
such pain, he wondered, staring at the concerned faces that surrounded him.  It hadn’t been any of them.  No, it was one of
the other pilots, one of his friends.  Even though the five of them had all gone their separate ways after the war, Quatre could
still sense their happiness, or in this case the intense depression.

Large hands grabbed his shoulders, Rasid’s face appearing in front of him.  “Master Quatre?”  Rasid said, his voice oddly fear-
filled.  “Are you all right?”

Quatre opened his mouth to answer, not wanting the older man to worry.  But nothing came out.  Instead, his vision became
cloudy, Rasid’s face fading into darkness.


*****


Rasid watched as Quatre’s eyes rolled back into his head.  “Master Quatre?”  He gasped as the young blonde slumped
forward.  He could see the paleness of Quatre’s face, the way his pajamas clung to his sweat slick body.  Rasid gently lowered
the blonde down to the bed, then laid his palm against Quatre’s forehead, wincing at the warmth in his skin.

“What’s wrong with him?”  Abdul asked, leaning closer to the bed.

“You know he works way too hard.”  Rasid replied.  And it was the truth.  

These past few months after the war ended, Quatre had done nothing but work.  He never took any time for himself, never
playing a single instrument in his music room, or doing anything remotely considered fun.  All he ever did was file paperwork,
talk with business partners, never letting any of his sisters or the Maguanacs help no matter how many times they asked if he
needed their assistance.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”  Rasid nodded decisively and headed for the nearest vid-phone.  He pressed the
number without looking and waited.

“Hmm?  Hello?”  Came the tired voice from the other end of the line.

Rasid would have smiled at the tone, had he not been so worried about Quatre’s health.  “Mr. Barton?”

The visual snapped on, and Trowa Barton’s worried expression came into view.  “Rasid?  What’s wrong?  Has something
happened to Quatre?”  He asked, his voice filled with worry.

Rasid refrained from smiling at Trowa’s mussed hair, the way it stuck out in so many different directions.  It was obvious that
the young man had been awakened by Rasid’s phone call.  Rasid regretted disturbing his sleep, but Quatre was not well.

Rasid nodded.  “He woke up about three minutes ago screaming.  As soon as the other Maguanac and I reached him, he passed
out.  We’re worried that he’s stressed due to overwork.  You know how Master Quatre is.  He doesn’t want anyone to think
him incapable of his job.”  He grunted.  “How soon can you get here?  He needs rest, and he always listened to you better than
any of us.”

“Hang on a sec . . .”  Trowa turned to something out of the vid range and the sound of typing could be heard.  After a
moment, Trowa turned back and nodded.  “I can be there in an hour and a half.  Less, if I don’t pack.”  His expression grew
dark.  “How bad is he?”

Rasid sighed.  “As I earlier said, he woke up screaming not five minutes ago.  He is burning with fever, and apparently
exhausted.”

“Then I won’t pack.”  Trowa replied, cutting off the transmission without even saying goodbye.

Rasid turned, seeing all of the other Maguanacs crowded around the bed, some of them looking in his direction, others staring
down at the unconscious blonde.

“Don’t you men have other things to do?”  Rasid asked, not liking the way they hovered around Quatre’s bed.  Having so many
men in this room would raise the temperature, making the air more uncomfortable for Quatre.  And Rasid wanted Quatre to be
as comfortable as possible.

The men began filing out, offering grumbles as they slowly made their way out of the room.  Rasid knew they were all just
concerned about Quatre’s health, but their presence would only cause him more pain.  Rasid couldn’t allow that.

He looked back to the bed, and noticed that Abdul had not moved from his place.  “What are you still doing here?  I thought I
told everyone to leave.”

Abdul pushed his sunglasses higher on the bridge of his nose.  “I’m not leaving Master Quatre.  Besides, you might need my
help.”

Rasid frowned, but didn’t comment.  He walked over to the bed, glancing down at the form on the bed.  Quatre was tossing
and turning in his sleep, as if he couldn’t get comfortable.  He reached up with one hand, grasping at the fabric of his clothing,
his hand clutching his chest tightly.  An occasional whimpering sound left his lips, his face remained pain-stricken.

“Go get a fresh set of clothing.”  Rasid ordered, sitting on the bed beside Quatre.

Abdul nodded then walked away, not uttering a word.  Rasid lifted the young man into his arms, holding him upright.  Quatre’s
head slumped forward limply.  Abdul returned quickly, laying the clean pajamas on the bed, before taking a seat behind Quatre.  
He placed his hands on Quatre’s back, holding him up while Rasid undid the buttons on Quatre’s pajamas.

Rasid didn’t want to intrude on the blonde’s privacy, but there was no need to let him stay in sweat soaked clothing.  It would
only make his condition worse.  While they worked, getting the young blonde into clean pajamas, Abdul spoke.  “When you
were talking with Mr. Barton, what was the typing I heard?”

“I have no doubt that the typing you heard was that young man tracing the line to find out where we are located.  Notice that
he didn’t ask which estate we were staying in.”  Rasid replied.

Rasid frowned when he had to pry Quatre’s hand away from the blonde’s own chest, so that he could remove the top of his
pajamas.  Quatre’s brow furrowed, his lips opened as he murmured in his sleep.  “Who . . . are you?”  He mumbled.

Rasid replied, thinking that Quatre was speaking to him.  “I am here, Master Quatre.  Do not worry, we will take care of you.”

Once again Quatre murmured, but this time, Rasid was certain that the blonde was not talking to him.  “Who . . . Who are
you?  Why are you in such pain?  Why won’t you call me?  You know I can help.”  His sentences were broken, several long
pauses between them.


*****


Duo awakened with a scream.  Sitting straight up in bed, he wiped a hand across his sweat soaked forehead, pushing away the
bangs that had clung to his skin.  His heart beat wildly in his chest, threatening to burst right through his rib cage.  He gasped
for breath, eventually able to breathe somewhat normally again.  Another nightmare, another sleepless night, he thought to
himself.  He sighed and glanced over at his alarm clock, noticing that the time was only 3:56 AM.  Well, he had slept longer
today, longer than most nights.

Duo wasn’t worried that anyone had heard him scream.  There was no one in his home.  Hilde had moved out months ago and
was now living with her brand new husband of only two weeks.  He was partially happy for her, but somewhere in his heart he
felt a little saddened.  

Now that Hilde was gone, there was no one left in his life.  Howard lived on Earth, never calling, or sending a message to see
how Duo was doing.  The rest of the Gundam Pilots didn’t care about him, or else one of them would have called, if only to
say ‘hi.’  But there was never anything, nothing from anyone he had once considered his friends.

If he had any hopes left that someone actually cared for him, they had disappeared months ago.  Now he was alone, cold, an
empty gap in his heart where his friends used to be.  Memories were all he had now, and truthfully, he didn’t want any of
them.  They only caused him pain, bringing up a past he wished to be buried forever.

Duo sighed, pushing the sweat soaked sheets away from his body.  He stood and quickly crossed the dark room.  As he
entered the bathroom, he flicked on the light, wincing as the sudden brightness shot through his eyes like small daggers.

Once the spots had left his eyesight, he stepped over to the sink and stared at the reflection in the mirror above it.    Eyes,
surrounded by dark circles, stared back at him.  His face was deathly pale, almost gray in color.  His bones were beginning to
show through his skin.  But it was only natural, seeing as how he hadn’t eaten more than a few bits and pieces of food in over
a week.

He looked down at the sink, his hands grasping the sides.  He wanted it all to end, just wanted the pain of having no one care
about him, stop.  He closed his eyes against the tears, willing them away.  He was done crying, never again would he shed a
tear over his own pathetic waste of a life.  He had only brought death to his loved ones, only caused pain by living.  He should
have died long ago.

As he opened his eyes again, he caught a glimpse of something on his wrist.  He lifted his arm, running the fingers of his other
hand over the scar in his skin.  He should have gone through with it, he thought to himself.  He should have let that razor blade
cut into his vein.  He didn’t even know why he had stopped himself, what had kept him from going through with it.

Duo chuckled.  “Too tired of living, but not enough guts to die by my own hand.”  He muttered to himself.

He sighed as he stripped off his boxers and stepped over to the shower.  There would be no point in trying to get back to sleep,
he already knew that he wouldn’t be able to.  Hastily, he pulled the elastic band from the end of his hair, dropping it to the floor
as he undid the braid.

Duo turned on the shower and stepped into the stream of water.  It was still cold, since he hadn’t given it time to warm up, but
that really didn’t matter.  The icy water would help to wake him up, so that was a good thing.

After a quick shower, he turned off the water and wrung out the length of his hair, letting the water drip from it.  Then he
stepped out of the shower stall, grabbing a towel from the nearby rack as he moved.  He hastily dried himself off, then grabbed
another towel and wrapped it around his waist.  Then he took the first towel and wrapped it around his hair to soak up some of
the moisture in it.

He returned to the bedroom and got dressed.  Then after quickly running a brush through his hair and braiding it, he went to
the kitchen.  Duo grabbed his mug and the coffee pot.  He poured himself some leftover coffee from the previous day, then
placed the mug in the microwave to reheat it.  While he waited until his coffee was finished, he opened one of the cupboards
and pulled out a bottle of whiskey.  He unscrewed the cap and tossed it to the side.

“Down the hatch.”  He said as he brought the bottle to his lips.  Duo took a swig of the whiskey and swallowed, wincing as it
burned the back of his throat.

The alarm on the microwave went off, and Duo retrieved his coffee mug.  He poured a good amount of the whiskey into his
day old coffee, filling the mug almost to the rim.  Duo lifted the mug to his lips, sipping at the foul tasting mixture as he turned
and began on his way out of the house.

As he was walking, he heard the phone ringing.  He paused on his way out to answer it.  But when he answered, he saw no
face on the screen.  “Hello?”  Duo said, seeing that it was voice communication only.

There was no reply.  After only a few seconds, the transmission was cut off.  Duo switched off the phone, not wondering
who it had been or why the person hadn’t replied.  Must have been a wrong number, he thought.

“Might as well go to work.”  He mumbled as he stepped into his small repair shop.

Duo picked up a few work orders from a counter, then casually tossed them back down.  They really held no interest for him.  
This shop, his salvage business, both were nothing but a distraction to him anymore.  Work was just a way to pass the day, a
way to keep the memories away for a few hours.

What did it matter anymore if his business failed?  It wasn’t as if anyone would really care.  No one cared, Duo already knew
that.  Soon, maybe, he’d find the guts to actually go through with it and end his pitiful life once and for all.



To Be Continued . . .