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

Notes:  Quatre remembers his life before the Taltheans came.

Hope From the Past

Part Fourteen

Quatre stared straight ahead as he sat in Trowa’s arms in this vehicle . . . the large man named, Rasid, and three other men,
were taking them home, back to Trowa’s base.  There was only silence in the truck, and yet Quatre was extremely grateful to
Trowa that the tall young man wasn’t trying to get him to talk or anything.  Quatre really didn’t feel like talking.  Three hundred
years . . . he had spent three hundred years in that hell . . . being frozen, raped, and frozen again, in an endless repetition.  Well,
endless until that fateful day when Trowa had found him . . . when Trowa had saved him.

But still, it did not erase the fact that he had spent three hundred years listening to Duo screaming for mercy while the Taltheans
had used their toys in him, only to take Duo’s battered body with only blood as lubrication.  There had been times when Quatre
had been convinced that they had killed Duo with their brutality.

Quatre braved the pain of his memories and let his mind go back to the time before his capture, to before the horrors he had
suffered through at the hands of the Taltheans.  There had been a brief period of happiness with Duo . . . the street boy who had
taken the rich boy under his wing.  Then Quatre leaned closer to Trowa’s warm body, using him as an anchor so as not to get
lost in the sadness.  And like a man braving frigid waters, he delved into the memories of his incarceration . . . the padded cell
that his father had put him in for his own protection.

He had always been special.  It wasn’t his fault that he could hear things that no one else could hear . . . wasn’t his fault that he
could make things move with just the power of his mind.  He hadn’t wanted to be different . . . he hadn’t wanted to be feared.

But Father was afraid of him . . . and afraid for him.  So the elder Winner did the only thing he could think of.  He locked his
only son away in a mental hospital, paying the doctors there generously to keep Quatre out of harms way, and to keep him from
harming others.

Quatre had been kept in solitude, his arms bound by the confines of a straightjacket.  Drugs swam through his bloodstream,
keeping him subdued, his mind clouded by drowsiness and confusion.  He was only eight when he had been separated from his
loved ones . . . and he couldn’t understand why they didn’t love him.  At the time, he had felt he had done something wrong . . .
that he had been the problem.  He didn’t understand why they feared him . . . couldn’t comprehend why no one visited him or
tried to get him released.

And then, one glorious day when he was ten, Iria came to visit him for the first time.  With her, she brought news from home,
of the sadness that had fallen.  Father was dead.  He had fallen ill and had died.  And on his deathbed he had conveyed his
regrets in a letter to Quatre . . . a letter which Iria read to him with a broken voice.  The man had wanted Quatre to be returned
to the family, to be released from his confinement . . . but things had strayed too far out of his control . . . and now it was too
late to make repairs.  Quatre was little more than a wasted shell . . . his mind disconnected from the world.  He couldn’t speak
any more . . . so long in solitude had shattered him.

Iria came regularly after that, visiting her brother.  She always cried when she came though, her eyes swimming with tears as
she looked down on the pity-case that was her only brother.  His other sisters visited him now and again, the gentle thrumming
of their presence in his mind became a constant with each of their visits . . . and after a while, they didn’t need to be near him
for him to feel them, to know of their feelings and fears for him.  It was comforting to know that he was connected to them in
such a way.  And with them, with their constant companionship in his mind, he was able to gain a foothold on reality . . . he
was beginning to become aware again.

Slowly, as Quatre was becoming aware of life, of everything around him once again, he heard a whisper in his mind when there
was no one around.  He looked around the room slowly, rising from the chair he had been sitting in to get closer to the window.  
There was something out there, a tingling of sensation that he couldn’t fully grasp.

He wanted to reach up and touch the window . . . but there were more than bars blocking his attempt . . . he was still confined
in the straight jacket.  The doctors and nurses were afraid of him, afraid of what he could do.  No more than a week ago, an
accident had occurred.  Truly, Quatre had not meant to throw that man through the door . . . it had been a mistake, an accident
when he had been roused too quickly from a nightmare.  Quatre would have apologized, but he still couldn’t speak, had not
grasped enough clarity in his mind to do that just yet.

He pressed his forehead to the grate that covered the window, sighing as he looked out.  There was something out there,
someone who needed him . . . someone that he needed just as much.  He wondered who it could be.

Over the following days, the whisper grew stronger, louder in Quatre’s mind.  And then one night, while he lay sleeping in bed,
he received his first visit from the owner of the voice.  It was Duo . . . Quatre had been surprised to find another like him,
another who could speak without speaking.  Meeting Duo was like meeting a long lost brother.

Their friendship blossomed from that first meeting.  Every night Duo would visit Quatre in his dreams, giving him hope,
reassuring him that he would get out of the hospital one day.  And over time, Quatre learned how to live again, how to speak to
his sisters and convey things to the doctors and nurses.  He got along with everyone that he met, and because of that, they let
their defenses down.

In the middle of the night, Quatre broke out of his prison with the help of his new friend.  Together they broke the window from
the wall and fled.  Quatre became a member of Duo’s gang, living under the protection of a young man named Solo.  They lived
on the streets, taking what they needed to survive, stealing when they had to.

It had been the happiest time of Quatre’s life.

Quatre remembered how things had quickly gone downhill though.  He had been living with Duo and Solo for a number of
years, had been happy with them.  And then Solo got sick . . . Duo and Quatre could do nothing to stop it.  Even with their
combined powers, they couldn’t save their friend’s life . . . they just didn’t have the strength for anything like that yet.

In the end, they were left alone.  Solo was taken away and cremated, given back to them in a simple cardboard box.  They
scattered Solo’s ashes in a park, not caring whether it was illegal or not . . . Solo deserved to be left to rest someplace nice.

Unfortunately, they hadn’t been granted time to mourn the loss of their friend.  Only a scarce few weeks later, the Taltheans'
ships descended from the sky . . . the invasion began.  Duo and Quatre were taken, and thrust into a hellish nightmare of pain
and suffering.

Quatre shuddered in Trowa’s arms, his world crumbling around him.  Three hundred years . . . he had spent three hundred
years with those monsters.  He had been tortured, raped, experimented on . . . he had screamed for hours on end under their
cruel manipulations . . . for three hundred years.  Everyone he knew and loved was gone . . . only Duo remained.

He twisted his fingers in Trowa’s shirt, biting his lip as a wave of nausea crashed into him.  “Stop the truck.”  Quatre pleaded,
covering his mouth with one hand.

“Quatre?”  Trowa whispered, looking down on the little blonde as he ghosted his fingers across Quatre’s cheek.  “Are you

“Stop the truck.”  Quatre repeated.  “Please?  I think I’m going to be sick.”

“Rasid!  Pull over!”  Trowa called out.

An instant later, Quatre was rocked by the halting of the vehicle.  Trowa reached over and opened the door.  He wrapped his
arms around Quatre’s body, pulling him into his arms, helping him to get out of the truck.

Quatre held back as long as he could, his stomach roiling angrily.  As soon as he found himself on the ground, he fell forward
and emptied his stomach, barely registering that Trowa was there to keep him from collapsing completely.

He shook uncontrollably as sobs tore through his body, leaving him weak and tired.  He didn’t put up a struggle as strong hands
guided him back to lean against a firm body.  Quatre merely bowed his head, closing his eyes as he let his tears fall.  He was
tired of trying to be brave, of trying to keep his pain bottled in.  What he wouldn’t give to return to that hospital where he had
spent his childhood . . . to be safe in the solitude of his own mind and not have to fear torment, to not know that his entire life
had been uprooted.

A soft cloth wiped at his mouth and chin, but he didn’t open his eyes.  Instead, Quatre turned and clung to the body against him,
feeling lost in this cruel world.  He wept heavily, digging fingers against Trowa’s form, wishing with all his heart that Trowa
could make everything go away with a simple wave of his hand.

They sat there on the ground for a few minutes longer.  Then, Trowa gently picked Quatre up again, carrying him with care
back into the truck.  Quatre curled himself on Trowa’s lap, burying his face against the soldier’s chest, his throat burning as his
tears continued to fall.

Now that he had started, he just couldn’t stop.  And he so desperately wanted the pain to stop.

~ Duo . . . Duo where are you? ~  He called out with his mind.

But there was no answer to his call.  Perhaps they were still too far from the base.  Or it could be that Quatre was too far
weakened to reach his friend . . . or that Duo wasn’t able to make contact for some reason.  For whatever reason, Quatre felt
unbearably alone.  Duo had been his constant companion, the one voice that Quatre could always turn to when he needed him.

Still, he wasn’t there now, and Quatre was left with only hurt.  Trowa’s gentle hands glided across his back, his voice
whispering as he tried to soothe the blonde.

Quatre wouldn’t be consoled.  Not now, not when everything was so very wrong.  He couldn’t understand why all this had
happened to him.  So he sobbed, mourning the loss of everything and everyone he had held dear.  Solo . . . his father . . . his
sisters . . . even the healthy sprite that Duo had been was gone, replaced by the shell of a young man that had been incarcerated
with Quatre.  And Quatre too . . . he was dead now . . . he felt dead.  Nothing could ever be the same . . . nothing could repair
the damage.

Why . . . why had Trowa bothered saving him?

To Be Continued . . .