Disclaimers:  I do not own Gundam Wing or any of its characters.

Notes:  No Duo in this part.  It’s all Quatre angst and suffering really.



Choices of the Heart



Part Six


Quatre impatiently waited.  How long until the ambulance got there, he wondered.  He couldn’t help but fidget, his hands
clasping and unclasping repeatedly.  However, he wasn’t as frightened as he had been before.  He just lay on that bed, Heero
sitting beside him, Nurse Sally hovering over him offering kind words or soothing phrases.  Quatre just wanted to go home, to
crawl into bed and just stay there forever.

Only a few minutes later, the unbearable silence in the room was broken.  Paramedics entered the room, wheeling along their
gurney with them.  The faculty members stepped aside, giving them plenty of room.

One of the paramedics set about getting the gurney ready for Quatre to be placed on it, removing the medical kit that had been
set on it, tossing the straps over the sides.  The other paramedic leaned over Quatre, smiling while he pushed his sunglasses
further up on the bridge of his nose.  “Hey, kid.  Don’t worry, we won’t hurt you.  I'm Abdul and my friend here is Ahmad.”  
He said gesturing to the other paramedic briefly.  “We need to look you over.  Okay?”

Quatre nodded slightly, trying to fight back the fear that was rising inside of him.

Abdul smiled again.  He pulled a penlight out of his shirt pocket and switched it on.  Before shining it in Quatre’s eyes, he
lowered his own sunglasses, so that he peered over the rim and was able to see what he was doing more clearly.  While Abdul
was looking at his eyes, the other paramedic, Ahmad, was checking his pulse.

“What’s your name, kid?”  Abdul asked, while slowly looking Quatre over.

“Q-Quatre.”  He stammered.

“Okay, Quatre . . . Now, you tell me if this hurts.”  Abdul reached out with his glove-covered hands, gently prodding Quatre’s
abdomen.  

Quatre winced, letting out a whimper of pain as he tried to move away from those hands.  Now that his initial adrenaline rush
was wearing off, Quatre was becoming aware of how much his body actually hurt.

“Easy there, Quatre.”  Ahmad said, grasping his shoulders to keep him in place.

However, the contact only made him flinch again, crying out as a lance of pain shot through his right shoulder.  Quatre
remembered that either Alex or Mueller had yanked hard on that arm to pull him into “the hole.”  He vaguely hoped that it wasn’t
a serious injury.

“Sorry, kid.”  Ahmad apologized, releasing his hold on Quatre’s shoulder.

“Okay.”  Abdul said, smiling once again.  “I don’t think your injuries are too serious, but let’s get you to the hospital anyway.”  
He looked over and nodded to Ahmad.

The paramedics carefully picked him up, gently depositing him on the gurney.  They covered him with a thin blanket, then
secured him down with the straps.  Quatre didn’t like being confined, but he stayed quiet, digging his nails into the mattress of
the gurney while he took slow, deep breaths in an attempt to remain calm.

He closed his eyes as they wheeled him out of the Nurse’s Office and down the halls, just wanting this to get over with.  
Everything passed quickly, the feeling of being lifted into the ambulance, the slamming of the doors, and the start of the vehicle.  
He didn’t open his eyes until the ambulance was moving.

“Heero?”  He gasped, surprised to see his stepbrother beside him.

Heero leaned forward, uncovering Quatre’s hand then clasping it with one of his own.  “It’s okay, Quatre.  I insisted on coming
with you.  Someone has to be here to keep you calm.”

Quatre smiled gratefully, although he still feared that Heero hated him.  This was just to get him to the hospital, nothing more.  
Heero would abandon him once they got to the hospital.  Quatre closed his eyes for the remainder of the ride, trying to block out
the memories, trying to forget the pain.


*****


A few hours later, Quatre was sitting on a bed in a hospital room.  He was dressed only in a flimsy hospital gown, his own
clothing taken from him so that they could be tested for evidence.  Doctors had poked and prodded him, checking and treating
his injuries.  They had scraped under his nails for skin samples, taken pictures of his bruises and other injuries, then had left him
to sit there alone.  Heero had been taken away, to talk with the police, since he was a witness.

Quatre was tired, just plain tired.  His body ached horribly from numerous injuries.  He had several bruises to his legs, abdomen,
and stomach.  His one eye was swollen shut, his lip split, his cheeks marred by bruises.  There were bruises around his throat
from where Alex had choked him.  But the most painful bruises were on his pelvis, from how roughly Alex had handled him.

He was covered in bandages, his right arm in a sling.  His shoulder was sore, but the doctors had said that the injury wasn’t too
serious and would heal with rest.  

“Quatre?”  A voice whispered.

Quatre looked up to the doorway, only to see his father standing there, a small suitcase in his hand.  “Father?”  Quatre gasped,
his voice hoarse, tears beginning to stream along his face as he thought about how much of a disappointment he must be to his
father.

Mr. Winner rushed forward, dropping the suitcase as he approached Quatre.  Hesitantly, he reached out, embracing his son
gently.

Quatre returned the hug eagerly, having received so few from his father in his lifetime.  Father wasn’t much for hugs.  Quatre
clutched tightly to his father with his one good arm, burying his face against his shoulder as he sobbed.

“I’m sorry, Father.”  Quatre choked out, his body shuddering as his throat burned in pain.

Mr. Winner pushed his son away from him, holding him at arm’s length.  Quatre shivered, unable to look up at his father,
fearing what he would see.  “You have nothing to apologize for, Quatre.”

“But, Father . . . If I hadn’t walked that way . . . If I had only listened to Heero when he offered to teach me self-defense . . . If
only I weren’t so weak . . .”  He said, lowering his head as he sniffled.  “If I were a stronger person, this wouldn’t have
happened.”

Mr. Winner cupped his son’s face in his hands, being careful with the bruises on Quatre’s pale cheeks.  “That’s not true . . . I
mean your body may not be physically strong, but that doesn’t make you weak.  Your strength lies in your heart.”  He smiled
slightly, brushing Quatre’s bangs away from his face.  “You have the same strength your mother had . . . the same beautiful
soul.”

Quatre smiled, despite the doubt remaining in his heart.  His smile faded, though.  “But I was too weak to defend myself.”  He
whispered.

Mr. Winner sighed.  “Quatre, I’m going to tell you something.  But you have to promise never to tell Heero that I told you.  It
would bring up far too many memories and pain for him.”

Quatre nodded, curious as to what his father had to say.  “I promise.”  He whispered.

“Setzu . . . Heero’s mother told me this in strict confidence.  But I don’t think she would mind me telling you considering the
situation.”  Father replied.  “Heero was very young when it happened, no more than six years old.  And Heero’s mother was still
in the military, his father having retired from the service several years prior to their marriage.  He was a little older than her . . .
but that doesn’t really matter at the moment.  You agree with me that Setzu was a strong person?”

Quatre nodded, waiting patiently for his father to continue.

“One day, Setzu took Heero out to a park.  It was getting dark and they were on their way back to the car when several teenage
boys stepped out of the nearby trees.  They were drunk and rushed her and Heero.  They raped her repeatedly, while Heero was
held at gunpoint, and forced to watch what they were doing to her.  It left Heero quite traumatized, catatonic for a long time.  
And after that he was never the same child, at least by Setzu’s reasoning.”  Father said, a solitary tear dripping down his cheek.  
“So you see, even strong people have their weaknesses.  Heero was hers.  To prevent those punks from hurting her son, Setzu
didn’t fight back when they attacked her.”

Quatre’s mouth dropped open in shock at the news he had just received.  Setzu Yuy had been raped?  He almost couldn’t believe
it.  But if his father had said it, it must be true.  And if someone like Setzu Yuy could be so brutally attacked, then there was no
way he could have defended himself.  For the first time that day, Quatre didn’t blame himself for what had happened to him, for
what Alex might have done if Heero and Wufei hadn’t interfered.

“I-It wasn’t my fault then.”  Quatre whispered, his voice catching in his sore throat as tears began to fall from his eyes again.  
“I c-couldn’t have stopped Alex.”

Mr. Winner wrapped his arms around Quatre again, holding him gently.  Tenderly, he stroked his fingers through Quatre’s hair,
whispering quietly to him.  “That’s right, Quatre . . . This was not your fault.  Never blame yourself for this again.”

Quatre just buried his face against his father’s chest, letting the tears fall.  After a few minutes he was able to calm himself, to
reign in his emotions again.  He pulled away from his father, wiping the back of his hand across his nose, only to wince as it
caused him pain.

“You okay?”  Mr. Winner asked.

“Yeah . . . I guess.”  He replied, quietly.

Mr. Winner stood, bending slightly to retrieve the small suitcase that he had dropped to the floor earlier.  “I brought some
clothes for you.  When Nurse Sally called me and told me what had happened to you, I thought that you might want something
else to wear.  Now, I’m glad I did since your clothes were taken away and are being tested for evidence.  And there’s also some
mouthwash in here, in case you . . .”  His words trailed off, his hands fidgeting before he held the case out for Quatre to take.

“Thank you, Father.”  Quatre whispered, accepting the suitcase.

He turned, walking over to the door to the small bathroom.  He had noticed it earlier, in the time he had spent waiting alone.  
Once inside, he closed the door, locking it behind himself, although he knew his father wouldn’t hurt him.  It was just that he
was still afraid, knowing that Alex and Mueller were loose out there somewhere, still a threat to him.


*****


Heero walked into the hospital room, surprised to see his stepfather standing there and Quatre nowhere in sight.  “Where’s
Quatre?”  He asked.

“He’s in the bathroom getting changed.”  Mr. Winner replied, gesturing to a closed door.  There was a long interval of
uncomfortable silence before Mr. Winner spoke again.  Heero and Mr. Winner had never truly gotten along well.  “Do you mind
waiting here?  I want to see how long it will be before we can take Quatre home, but I don’t want to leave him alone.”

Heero just nodded.

A few minutes after Mr. Winner left, Quatre stepped out of the bathroom.  “Where’s Father?”  Quatre asked quietly.

Heero noticed the clothes that Quatre was wearing, probably what his father had brought for him.  It was just a pair of plain,
gray sweat pants, but no shirt.  He was carrying the sweatshirt in his left hand, along with a small suitcase.

“He went to find out when we can take you home.”  Heero said, then took a cautious step toward Quatre.  “Do you need help?”  
He asked, gesturing to the shirt in Quatre's hand.

Quatre looked down.  “My shoulder . . . It hurts too much . . . I couldn’t . . .”  He whispered, appearing very embarrassed.

Heero gently took the suitcase and sweatshirt out of Quatre’s hand.  He laid the case on the nearby bed, then turned back to look
at his stepbrother.  He helped Quatre take his sling off, just draping that over one of his own shoulders since Quatre would need
that again soon.

“Okay . . . right arm first.”  Heero said, gently helping Quatre to put on his shirt.  Once the shirt was on, Heero helped him put
the sling back on.

“Thank you.”  Quatre said, offering a small smile, but he still didn’t look up.

Heero shook his head.  He knew why Quatre wouldn’t look at him.  He had been outside the room and had heard Mr. Winner
talking about his mother.  It wasn’t something that Heero liked remembering, but he was glad that the information had helped
Quatre even a little.  Heero didn’t want Quatre to blame himself for what had happened to him.

“Quatre, I know your father told you about my mother.”  Heero replied, deciding it would be best to get this out of the way
now.  He didn’t want Quatre to feel pity for him.  He wanted Quatre to be able to look him in the eye again.  

“I swear . . . I won’t tell anyone . . . I promise.”  Quatre said, rambling fearfully, panic clearly written on his face.

Heero took in a breath, gently grasping Quatre’s shoulder.  “I . . . I’m glad he told you if it made you feel better about yourself.”

“Thank you, Heero.”  Quatre whispered, slowly stepping closer to Heero.  He sniffled slightly, hesitantly laying his head against
Heero’s shoulder and embracing him with his one good arm.  “I’m sorry about what happened to your mother.”

“Thank you.”  Heero replied, returning the embrace gently.  “See, you couldn’t have stopped Alex and Mueller, anymore than I
could have helped my mother back then.  I’m just glad I was able to stop Alex before he could . . .”  He stopped, unable to
continue that sentence.

The door opened, and Mr. Winner walked back in, a strange man beside him.  Heero and Quatre pulled away from each other,
although Heero kept his arm around Quatre’s shoulders.  “The doctor says that Quatre can leave any time he wants.  However,
this detective has a few questions to ask him first.”  Mr. Winner said.

“Hi, I’m detective . . . Aw hell, you can just call me Auda.”  He said, offering a kind smile as he extended his had to Quatre.

Quatre slowly accepted the offered hand, although awkwardly since he used his left to shake hands with the detective.  “Nice to
meet you.”  Quatre replied, timidly.

Heero watched the man carefully, not trusting his happy exterior.  He was either trying to be friendly for Quatre’s sake, or he
was just an idiot.  Heero hoped it was the former and not the latter.



To Be Continued . . .