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

Notes:  No Duo in this part.  But there is more Quatre suffering.



Choices of the Heart



Part Seven


“Okay . . . I think that’s enough for now.”  Detective Auda said, flipping his notebook shut.  “If I have any more questions, I
know where to find you.”

“So we can go home now?”  Heero asked, glancing over at his stepbrother.  Quatre just looked so tired . . . It was obvious that
he needed some rest.  Talking to this cop for over an hour had just tired him out.

The detective nodded.  “Yeah . . . you two are free to leave.”  He paused a moment, taking a breath before turning to Quatre.  
“Get some rest, kid.  Don’t worry, we’ll catch those creeps that hurt you.”

Quatre nodded, tiredly.  Heero stepped closer to him, helping his stepbrother to get down from his seat on the bed.  Mr. Winner
had left the room sometime during the questioning, so Heero thought they should go find him.  “Come on, let’s find your father
and get out of here.”  Heero whispered to Quatre, keeping his arm wrapped around the blonde as they left the room.

Heero frowned as they walked down the hallway to the nearest nurse’s station, where Heero could see Mr. Winner talking with
some doctor about something.  Quatre wasn’t talking anymore.  For a while now, the only reply that detective had gotten from
him was either a nod or a shake of his head.  Heero was quite worried about him.

Heero watched as the doctor handed a small paper bag to Mr. Winner.  The doctor walked away.  “What’s that?” Heero asked,
gesturing to the bag that his stepfather held.

Mr. Winner spun around, his eyes settling on Quatre for a moment before he looked to Heero.  “Medication . . . for Quatre.”  He
replied.  “Some painkillers, antibiotics . . . and something to help him sleep if he needs it.”

Heero nodded.  “That detective said that we could take Quatre home now.”  

“Good, let’s go then.”  Mr. Winner replied, then he led the two boys out of the hospital.

Mr. Winner opened the backdoor for Heero.  Heero nodded his thanks and helped Quatre into the backseat.  Mr. Winner may be
a wealthy man, but he didn’t flaunt it by hiring a driver for his car.  He felt no need for one as long as he was capable of driving
himself.  Once Heero and Quatre were both in the backseat, Mr. Winner closed the door and got into the driver’s seat, casting a
worried glance back at his son before he turned the ignition.

“I’m tired.”  Quatre whispered, staring down at the floor.

Heero blinked, surprised that Quatre had spoken.  He had been so quiet, it was startling to hear him speak once again.  However,
Heero quickly broke out of his shock.  He wrapped his arm around Quatre, pulling him closer.  “Why don’t you take a nap
then?  We’ll wake you when we get home.”’  Heero replied.

Quatre only nodded, once again becoming silent.  Heero frowned.  He did not like it when Quatre was quiet, it was just
unnerving.  

Quatre laid his head down against Heero’s chest and quickly drifted off to sleep.  Heero kept his one arm protectively wrapped
around his stepbrother, allowing his free hand to wander through the blonde’s bangs, brushing them back in what he hoped was
a comforting gesture.

A wave of guilt hit him, causing a frown to spread across his features as he looked down at the blonde he so carefully held.  
Heero felt that he could have done more.  He had stopped the rape, but he should have been there, should have protected Quatre
like he was supposed to.  Wasn’t that what strong big brothers were for . . . to protect their siblings from danger?  If it was,
then Heero had failed, and he couldn’t help but hate himself for it.


*****


Quatre awakened as the car jolted to a stop.  He winced, covering his aching ribs with his left arm as a wave of pain swept
through him.  He groaned, slowly opening his eyes.

“You okay?”  Heero asked.

Quatre looked up, surprised to see that his stepbrother was holding him.  “Yeah . . . I’m okay I guess.”  Quatre mumbled, still
feeling so very tired.  He just wanted to crawl into bed and stay there . . . He was just so weary of everything.

“Come on . . . we’re home.”  Heero said, offering a slight smirk.

Quatre nodded, allowing Heero to help him out of the car.  Before they had even taken any steps toward the house, Quatre found
himself wrapped in a warm yet gentle embrace.  “Iria . . .”  Quatre whispered, knowing his older half sister anywhere.  He
vaguely wondered why she wasn’t in school, immersed in her studies to be a doctor.

“Are you okay?”  She asked, pulling away from him slightly, her glistening tears trailing down her cheeks.

Quatre nodded, not feeling up to verbally lying to his sister.  He did not feel all right, but he wouldn’t let her know that.  “What
about school?”  He asked, hoping that she wasn’t jeopardizing her education just for him.

“When I heard you got hurt, I rushed home right away.  Guess it’s a good thing I stayed in state for school.  My professors
gave me an extension on some of my work.  I can make the rest of it up later.  It’s not as important as you, little brother.”  She
smiled, once again pulling him into a tender hug.

“Let’s go inside.”  Mr. Winner said.

Iria pulled herself away from Quatre.  She and Heero both lent Quatre a hand in walking to the house, each keeping an arm
around him as they slowly walked inside.  He felt nervous that no one would leave him alone, although he did appreciate their
kindness.

A few minutes later, Quatre found himself inside his bedroom.  He sat on the bed, not able to bring himself to look up at his
family.  He stared straight down at the floor, not truly knowing why he felt so nervous at the moment.

“I’m afraid that I can’t stay.”  Mr. Winner sighed, placing Quatre’s medicine on the bedside table.  “I was in the middle of
important negotiations when I got word of Quatre being hurt.”

“I understand, Father.”  Quatre mumbled, keeping his gaze locked on the floor.

“I’ll be home in a few hours.  You two take care of him while I’m away.”  Mr. Winner said.  Before leaving, he laid his hand
against Quatre’s head, stroking his long fingers through the blonde’s hair briefly, before he turned and left the room.

Quatre took in along breath after the door closed behind his father.  Without looking up, he asked, “Can I take a shower?  I smell
like a hospital.”  He grimaced, trying to ignore the scent that still lingered on his clothes and body.

Iria laid a hand on his uninjured shoulder.  “Yeah, I can help you put those bandages back on later.”  She smiled.

“Thanks.”  Quatre replied, rising from his seat on the bed.

“Do you need help?”  Heero asked.

Quatre sighed and nodded.  He knew that he would have trouble getting his shirt off, just like he had when he was putting it on.

“Come on.”  Heero said, his voice as calm as ever.

Quatre quietly followed his stepbrother to the bathroom, pausing only once when Heero stopped at a dresser and pulled out a
change of clothes for Quatre.  Once inside the bathroom, Heero shut the door behind them.

Heero set the change of clothes on the counter by the sink.  He slowly and carefully helped Quatre out of the sling and the
sweatshirt.  Then he gently began removing the bandages on Quatre’s upper body.

“Thank you . . . I think I can take it from here.”  Quatre whispered.

Heero nodded.  “Okay.  If you need me, just call . . . I’ll be waiting outside.”

Once Heero was gone, Quatre gathered together what he would need shortly, setting all the necessary items out so that they
would be close at hand.  Then he stripped off the remainder of his clothes, wincing as it caused him pain.  As he stood up
straight again, he spotted his reflection in the mirror.  He flinched in shock, for the first time seeing what Alex and Mueller had
done to him.  There were so many bruises . . . He almost hadn’t recognized himself.

Tears began to trail along his discolored cheeks at the sight of what Alex and Mueller had done to him.  Harsh, ugly bruises
covered most of his face, his left eye swollen completely shut.  His other eye wasn’t much better off, his lips split open in
several places, numerous scratches on his bruised cheeks.

Quatre sniffled, raising a trembling hand to his throat.  He lightly brushed the tips of his fingers across one of the marks to his
neck, whimpering at the memories that sprang to mind.  Alex’s hand around his throat . . . the air being cut off . . . his throat
feeling as if it were being crushed.

He clutched the edge of the sink, lowering his gaze from the mirror as a sob escaped him.  Quatre shuddered, forcing back the
rest of his tears.  He stood there a moment, taking in deep breaths and slowly exhaling in an attempt to calm himself.

When his tears finally subsided, Quatre walked over to the shower.  He turned on the water, his hand pausing on the knob for a
moment, before he turned it all the way to its hottest setting.  It wouldn’t do any damage to his skin, not since they had installed
that temperature regulator.  Still, it would be quite hot, not hot enough to scald, but perhaps uncomfortable.

Quatre stepped into the shower, gasping as the water set all his wounds to burning.  He exhaled a shuddered breath, closing the
glass shower door behind himself.  Then he slowly and carefully cleaned his body and hair, trying not to aggravate his already
sore wounds.

Even after he had washed himself, Quatre felt that it wasn’t enough.  He grabbed the washcloth and began rubbing it vigorously
over the inside of his left forearm, ignoring the pain in his right shoulder as he tried to get rid of the feeling of being dirty.  
Flashes of Alex’s face so close to his own invaded his thoughts . . . the feel of Alex’s hands on his body making Quatre feel so
disgusting . . . filthy.  He scrubbed harder, trying to erase the memories.

Soon the soap lather turned pink, darkening to red, but Quatre continued to scrub.  Whimpers escaped his throat, pain surged
from his shoulder and now the arm that he rubbed the washcloth over.  But he didn’t stop . . . flashes of memories taunting him
to scrub harder . . . urging him to continue.  He just wanted to be clean again.


*****


Heero stood against the wall beside the bathroom door, his arms crossed over his chest as he waited.  The minutes passed by
slowly.  He repeatedly glanced at his watch, wondering why Quatre was taking so long.  Heero knew that the blonde was hurt,
but still, he shouldn’t have been taking this long.

He could still hear the sound of the shower running, so he wasn’t completely frantic.  He was just a little worried about his
stepbrother.  Then he heard the whimpers, the sobbing, and he knew that he had reason to worry.

“Quatre?”  Heero called out, turning to knock on the bathroom door.  When he got no reply, he opened the door and stepped into
the room, grateful to find that Quatre hadn’t locked the door.

Heero hesitated as he stepped further into the room.  He didn’t really want to invade Quatre’s privacy, especially after what had
happened to him today.  However, the cries he heard from inside the shower spurred him to continue.

He reached out and slid the glass shower door open, gasping in shock at the sight of his stepbrother.  Quatre was standing there,
his bare body drenched from the shower, holding a washcloth in one hand, while his left forearm bled.  The shower diluted the
blood, which dripped from his arm in steady, crimson drops.

“Quatre?”  Heero asked, although he truly didn’t know what to say.  

Quatre trembled, then suddenly broke down sobbing, dropping the bloodstained washcloth.  He backed himself into a corner,
crying as he mumbled.  “I’m sorry . . . just so dirty.”

Heero reached in and turned off the shower, then he grabbed a nearby towel.  He held out his hand.  “Come out . . . please?”  He
whispered, not wanting to cause the blonde any more pain than he was already in.

Slowly, Quatre reached out with his uninjured, trembling hand, taking hold of Heero’s, as he hesitantly stepped forward.  Once
Quatre was out of the shower, Heero wrapped the towel around Quatre’s waist, offering him some amount of modesty.

“I-I couldn’t help it.”  Quatre said, fearfully rambling as he continued to cry.  “So dirty . . . I just feel filthy.  I wanted to get rid
of the feel of Alex’s hands . . .”  He stopped, all the color draining from his face.

Quatre suddenly pushed Heero away from himself.  Heero watched, concerned as Quatre rushed over to the toilet and knelt
down.  He was just in time it seemed.  Only seconds after he had lifted the seat, Quatre lurched forward and vomited.  A couple
more retches and a few dry heaves later, and Quatre laid his forehead against the edge of the toilet, taking in gulps of air as he
cried, his tears dripping from his face to the floor, along with the blood from his arm.

Heero stepped over to the sink, getting a glass of water before he walked over and knelt beside Quatre.  He laid one hand against
the blonde’s back, while holding the glass out.  “Here.”  He said, offering the water to his stepbrother.

“Thank you.”  Quatre replied in a voice that was barely a whisper.  He took the glass, then slowly sipped at the water.

“Are you okay?”  Heero asked, rubbing his hand along Quatre’s wet back.

Quatre lowered his head, closing his eyes as he set the glass on the floor.  He coughed, once again beginning to sob.  “God . . .
Heero . . . I can still feel his hands on me . . . his mouth and tongue.  I just feel so disgusting . . . so filthy.”  He cried.

Heero wrapped his arms around Quatre, pulling the young blonde against his own body.  He didn’t hold too tightly, not wanting
to cause his stepbrother any pain, but he felt that Quatre needed the comfort.  “You are not disgusting, Quatre.”  He replied,
keeping his tone soothing.  “You are a victim of a crime.  There is nothing dirty or wrong with you.”

Quatre didn’t reply.  He just sobbed even harder, his body shaking from the force of his tears.

After a few moments, Quatre’s tears subsided.  Heero gently pushed Quatre away, offering a kind smile in the hope that it would
reassure him.  “May I see your arm?”  Heero asked.

Quatre nodded, holding his arm out for Heero to look at.  “I’m sorry.” He whispered.

“Don’t apologize . . . You were upset.  I understand that.  Just, please . . . If you get the urge to do something like this again,
talk to me, or Iria . . . Talk to anyone . . . Just don’t hurt yourself again.  Will you do that?”  Heero responded, gently taking
hold of Quatre’s wrist as he looked at the bloody arm.

“Yeah, okay.”  Quatre nodded.  “I won’t do this again.”

Heero grimaced as he looked down at Quatre’s arm.  It wasn’t good, but Heero wasn’t sure how serious it was . . . whether
Quatre would have to go back to the hospital or not.

“Iria?”  Heero called out, needing her to look at Quatre’s arm.

Only moments later, Iria rushed into the room, panic clearly written on her face.  “What?  Is something wrong?”  She asked,
worriedly.  Her face immediately paled when she saw Quatre.  “Quatre . . . your arm . . .”  She gasped, rushing over and
kneeling beside Quatre.

Heero sat back and watched as Iria tended to her little brother.  She helped Quatre to his feet, then over to the sink.  Iria quickly
pulled a first-aid kit from under the sink, opening it and hastily removing what she needed.  Then she cleaned off his arm, gently
wiping off the blood before applying some antibacterial cream and bandaging it.

“You rubbed your skin raw, Quatre . . . roughly enough to break the skin open in several places.”  She sighed.  “But it’s not too
bad.  Please, don’t do that again, little brother?”

Quatre had kept his gaze fixed on the floor the entire time.  “I won’t.”  He replied.

Iria smiled down at him, gently brushing her fingers through his dripping wet locks.  Then she looked over at Heero.  “Can you
give me a hand?  Let's get him dried off and into clean clothes before he gets sick.”

Heero nodded.  He stood and stepped forward, grabbing a towel as he moved.  Carefully, he dried off his stepbrother’s body and
hair, being gentle around each of his injuries.  Once he finished with each area, Iria bandaged any injuries that needed to be
bandaged.

However, Heero stopped, not willing to remove the towel from around Quatre’s waist to finish drying him.  Iria also backed
away from him.

“Quatre, can you . . . um . . . finish drying yourself?”  Heero asked.

Quatre just nodded.

Iria left the room.  “I’ll meet you back in his room.”  She said before walking out.

Heero turned, grabbing the change of clothes that he had gotten for Quatre earlier.  It was just a pair of pajamas and boxers, but
since Quatre was just going to bed there was no sense in him wearing anything else.

Quatre took the boxers from Heero, slowly pulling them on under the towel that was still wrapped around his waist.  Then he
removed the towel, letting it drop to the floor.  Heero helped him with the rest of his clothes, frowning while Quatre remained
silent.  Finally, he helped him put his sling back on.

“Let’s get you to bed.”  Heero suggested.

Once again, Quatre only nodded.

Heero sighed, then wrapped an arm around Quatre’s shoulders as he led the blonde back to his room.  As they stepped into the
room, Heero saw Iria standing beside the bed.  He couldn’t see what she was doing since her back was turned toward him.

Quatre sat on the bed.  Heero watched as Iria turned toward the blonde, holding a glass of water in one hand and a pill in the
other.  “Here.”  She said, offering them to Quatre.

“What is it?”  Quatre asked, taking the pill from her hand.

“I figured that the doctor at the hospital would prescribe some sleeping pills, so I checked the bag and found them.”  She
paused, running her free hand through Quatre’s hair.  “I really think you do need rest, little brother, and this will help you.”

“Okay.”  Quatre replied.  He popped the pill into his mouth, then took the glass of water and lifted it to his lips, taking a swig of
the liquid to wash the pill down.

Iria smiled and helped Quatre to lie down.  She pulled the blankets up to cover him.  Then she looked to Heero.  “Heero, could
you stay here with him?  I’m going to clean up the bathroom.”

“Sure.”  Heero replied.  He sat on the bed beside Quatre, while Iria left the room.  “You comfortable?”  Heero asked.

Quatre nodded.  

Heero watched as Quatre’s eyes slowly began to slip shut.  Heero took hold of his hand, smiling slightly as Quatre returned the
hold.  Only moments later, Quatre’s eyes closed completely, his grip on Heero’s hand loosening as he slipped into slumber.

Heero kept his hold on Quatre’s hand, brushing his free hand through Quatre’s bangs to get the stray strands out of his eyes.  
He frowned as he looked down at the blonde, only able to hope that Quatre would get better.  He hated seeing his stepbrother so
quiet, so reserved, afraid.  He wanted the Quatre he knew and liked to return, to see him smile again.  



To Be Continued . . .