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

Notes:  Trowa wakes up in the Nomads’ base.  Quatre is given some shocking news that leaves him stricken with grief.

Hope From the Past

Part Twelve

Trowa groaned as he felt the ache in his head that was throbbing in sync with his heartbeat.

“Trowa?  Trowa . . . are you awake?”

Quatre . . . that was Quatre’s sweet voice . . . and he sounded frightened.  Trowa didn’t like the fear that he heard in Quatre’s
voice, so he let out a little grunt of pain as he finally opened his eyes.  “Barely, but yes.”

He turned in the direction of Quatre’s voice and smiled in a way that he hoped was encouraging to the beauty.  He immediately
noticed that Quatre’s wheelchair and leg braces were gone.  Quatre was completely without a way to escape now.  He was
sitting on a long white bench, while Trowa was laying on the floor.  

“It’s okay.”  Trowa said, hoping it to be true.

“Is it?  Trowa . . . who ARE these people?  What do they want with us?  And what do they want with ME?  I mean . . . they’ve
been perfect hosts except for the fact that they took me rather forcibly and are now keeping me locked in here.”  His eyes
suddenly went wide.  “Oh, ALLAH!  What if they hurt Duo?  I’m all he has, Trowa!  I’d NEVER be able to forgive myself!”

Trowa sat up and was pleased that the room didn’t spin too much.  “Quatre . . . you’re wrong.  He has Heero now.  I don’t
think these people would have hurt Duo.”

“Quite right, Mr. Barton.”  Zechs said as he entered the room.  He turned and stared at Quatre, gasping as his eyes met with
Quatre’s frightened visage.  “By the ancestors . . . you truly ARE Quatre Raberba Winner!”  His voice was soft with awe.  
“Finally . . . after so long, you are returned to us.”  He knelt before Quatre and took both of Quatre’s hands before touching his
forehead to them.  “It is such an honor that I should live to see this glorious day.”

Quatre blinked and looked to Trowa, uneasily pulling his hands from Zechs’s grasp, looking quite wary about this situation.  
“Trowa  . . . What?  What is he talking about?”

Trowa took a deep breath and glowered at the man who was looking at Quatre as if the frail blonde were some long-lost god.  
“Zechs . . . what the HELL did you attack us for?”

Zechs turned from Quatre, to give Trowa a slightly apologetic look.  “We got tired of being told to wait a little longer.  I truly am
sorry about the injury you received when we retrieved Quatre.  It was not our intention to cause anyone harm.”

Quatre’s jaw was trembling.  “What’s going on here?”

Zechs blinked and turned to Quatre.  “You don’t know, do you?”  He turned back to Trowa with a glare.  “You didn’t tell him?”

Trowa stood up and gave Zechs a glare of his own.  “DAMN IT, Zechs!  LOOK at him!  He’s been sick!  We didn’t want to
chance it!”  He sighed, taking a breath before continuing.  “We didn’t have any idea what a shock like that would do to his
already battered psyche.  Do you have ANY idea of the damage you did when you just barged in there?”

Zechs rose quickly, standing in front of Trowa with fury in his eyes.  “He’s family!  We know what’s best for him!”

“Family?  What are the two of you yelling about?”  Quatre asked.  “Stop talking about me as if I’m not here!  I am here!  Now
tell me what is going on!  Why was I brought here?  Who are you people?”

Zechs knelt before Quatre again.  However, this time he reached into a pocket and pulled out an age-worn envelope.  “This has
been passed down from generation to generation in the hopes that it would one day be read by you.  I truly hope that it explains
our actions and why we are so eager to have you back with us.”

Trowa clenched his teeth and his fists.  He truly felt that Quatre just wasn’t ready to learn the truth yet, and he feared that the
knowledge might break his already fragile spirit.  He remained silent though, and shuddered when Quatre carefully opened the
old envelope and unfolded the paper that had been inside.

Quatre’s voice was soft as he began reading aloud.  “My dearest little brother, Quatre.  I assume that you are the one reading
this letter, as I am leaving instructions with my eldest son to pass this down in the family until it someday, hopefully gets to
you.”  He furrowed his brow in apparent confusion and looked up at Zechs.  “Iria has no children that I know of . . . the last
time she visited me, she only mentioned that she was seeing someone.”

Zechs nodded, a smile present on his face.  “Yes . . . please continue reading the letter.  Perhaps she will explain.”

Quatre’s frowned remained in place as he turned his eyes back to the paper that he held.  “Quatre . . . I am so sorry for what
our father did.  He meant well, you know.  Had he known what was going to happen, I’m sure he would never have locked you
away as he had.  He regretted his actions even while he lay dying.”  Quatre paused to close his eyes and take a breath.  After a
moment, he shook his head and continued.  “This pains me to write, and I know it will pain you far more to read.  Many of our
sisters have fallen to the Taltheans in their efforts to find you.  The rest . . . have died of illness or old age.”  Quatre’s hands
were shaking.  “What?  H-How is this possible?”

Trowa growled in anger as Quatre dropped the letter.  “Enough!”

Zechs shook his head, ignoring Trowa, and picked up the letter.  “The rest have died of illness or old age.  I, myself, am old . . .
and will pass into the next world soon.  I had hoped to see you one last time, but I know that is not to be now.  Just know, that
we all loved you and never stopped trying to find you again.  My children, and the children of our sisters, have all vowed to
continue the search until you are found alive or dead, and they will continue fighting until the last Talthean is gone from our
world.  I know that one day we will all be reunited once again, you and our sisters, and father, in the afterlife.  All my love,
Iria.”  Zechs frowned.  “I think she was on her deathbed when she wrote this . . . the line of the ‘a’ slides off the page.”

“How long?  How long was I a prisoner?”  Quatre asked, his voice so low that Trowa almost hadn’t heard it.

“Three hundred years, Quatre.”  Zechs replied, setting his hand on Quatre’s knee.  “My men and I, all those that hold rank in the
Nomads are descendants on your dear sisters.  I am directly descended from Iria Winner and so am leader of my people.”

Quatre was sobbing now, and it broke Trowa’s heart to see it.  The word ‘no’ fell from his tempting lips repeatedly, his body
trembling as he clenched his fists tightly.  Tears dripped from his chin, falling to dampen the garments that he was wearing.

Zechs finally noticed the state that Quatre had fallen into.  He reached up, probably meaning to offer comfort with a kind touch.  
However, Quatre recoiled away from him, using his hands to drag his weakened body closer to Trowa.  Then he pushed himself
up, standing on his own two legs, if only for a few short seconds until he fell into Trowa’s waiting arms.  There, he sobbed
against Trowa’s chest, his small form shaking from the force of his cries.

Trowa held him, offering comfort, doing all that he could to soothe the weeping blonde, even as he glared wholeheartedly at
Zechs for the ignorance the man had shown in this delicate matter.  Quatre was his family and the man had cared nothing for his
emotional state.  He should have been kinder in his manner, should have taken into account the trauma that Quatre had suffered
through already.

“I want to go home.”  Quatre whispered, hiccuping as he clutched at Trowa’s chest.

“You are home, Quatre.”  Zechs said, rising to his feet and laying a hand against Quatre’s back.

Quatre jerked himself away from that touch.  “No!  I want to go to my home, with Trowa . . . back to where you stole me

Zechs frowned, then shook his head.  “I cannot allow you to leave when we just got you back.”  He said, reaching out to
Quatre, but not touching him again.

Quatre turned anger filled eyes to glare at Zechs, his cheeks puffy and red from crying.  “So . . . again I will be imprisoned by
my own family?”

“Give us some time, Quatre!”  

“Why should I?”  Quatre hissed, holding tight to Trowa’s body even as he spoke.  “You didn’t give ME any time.  You attacked
my home, hurt the man who rescued me . . . something my FAMILY was supposed to do, frightened me, and you just thrust
me into knowledge that Trowa KNEW I wasn’t ready for!  I want to go home, and I want to go home NOW!”

Zechs opened his mouth to reply, but anything he had to say was cut off by a deep voice from the doorway.  “Allow me to help
you, Master Quatre.”  Said the hulking man that stood there, striding into the room and easily sweeping Quatre into his strong

Quatre shivered, looking between Trowa and this large stranger repeatedly.  “W-Who are you?”  The blonde asked, his body
looking so small within the man’s arms.

“I am Rasid Kurama . . . another of your relatives.”  Rasid said, bowing his head slightly.  “Please let me assure you that not all
of us wished to put you through this trauma so soon, or so suddenly.  A number of us had tried to talk Master Zechs out of this,
but he simply refused to listen to reason.”

“Rasid . . . this could be construed as an act of treason.”  Zechs warned.

“How am I being treasonous?”  Rasid asked, looking to Zechs.  “I am following the last order uttered by Lady Iria . . . to protect
Master Quatre at all costs . . . and that is what I and my brothers intend to do.  Abdul, Ahmad, Auda, and I will go with Trowa
and Quatre . . . we will see to his safety until such time that he wishes to return here, if he ever does.”

“Rasid, you cannot . . . we need him here . . . now.”  Zechs argued, taking a step forward.

“We do not need him.  Now that he is alive, you may spread the word to inspire the soldiers in our cause.  However, he should
not be used as a mere figurehead.  He is a person.  He is family.”  Rasid sighed deeply, shaking his head.  “Or would you
imprison him like his father did so long ago?  That was what started all of this trouble, if I’m not mistaken.  He was lost once, I
will not allow him to be lost to us again.”

Zechs said nothing, he merely hung his head as if in shame.  “Forgive my ignorance, Quatre . . . I should have been more
considerate.  I will see to it that a transport is readied to return you to your home.”  He raised his gaze, offering a small smile to
Quatre.  “Perhaps someday you will visit us.”

“Yes, I would like to visit . . . someday.”  Quatre replied, wiping the back of his hand across his reddened eyes.

“Come, Mr. Barton . . . I believe that it is time for Master Quatre to return to his home.”  Rasid said, turning and leaving the
room.  Trowa followed behind the large man, grateful that he had come in when he had.

To Be Continued . . .