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

Notes:  Trowa takes care of Quatre, while Heero tries to soothe Duo.



Hope From the Past



Part Seventeen


Trowa opened his eyes and looked around.  He gasped when he realized that he wasn’t in his room holding Quatre in his arms
any longer.  Honestly, he didn’t even know where he was.  All he knew was that he was in a place that he’d only read about as a
child.

As far as he could see, there was green grass.  A cloudless blue sky was above him.  There were trees that grew tall and lush,
flowers that blossomed every color imaginable.  And there was what looked to be a lake in the distance, a whole lake full of clear
water that sparkled in the sunlight.

Trowa swallowed against the longing he felt deep inside.  He had never dreamed he would be able to see, first hand, what the
world had been like before the Taltheans had come.  He always suspected, but had never truly grasped what the monsters had
destroyed.

A soft giggle caught his attention and he turned to see a small child running after a tiny flying creature.  Happy exclamations of,
“Butterfwy!” escaped that cherubic face as the tiny blonde boy scrambled after the creature.  Trowa watched, mesmerized, as
the little boy spun when the insect flew around him.  He knew, somehow, that this was how Quatre had been as a child before
his life had been ripped from him.  To see the precious blonde so free of care, drove a dagger into his heart.  He wondered
briefly at what Duo had been like as a child, if HE had been this happy.

The child giggled and turned to him, running happily.  For an instant, Trowa thought that the boy could see him.  So he knelt to
pull the child into a hug, only to watch as the figure passed right through him.  He spun around and watched the boy run straight
to a tall man that was standing in the distance.  There were several girls of varying ages waving.  Trowa watched as the little
boy joined his family before they headed for the lake.  Trowa followed, wanting to see more of this happiness.

He was passing a copse of trees when he heard a familiar voice speak up.  “You can’t touch them.  They’re only memories,
shadows of a past long gone.”

Trowa turned and was relieved to see Quatre standing there.  Then his breath caught in his throat as he took a good look at the
blonde.  Gone was the pallor of illness and the limbs weakened from lack of use.  His hair was healthy and shining, his skin pale
but healthy.  He was strong and vibrant, and Trowa was entranced like a moth to a flame.  Trowa could only stare and gawk as
he gazed at what he knew Quatre would look like when he was healthy once again.

The blonde’s sparkling aqua eyes flicked to him, then away as Quatre blushed and ducked his head in embarrassment.  “Like
what you see?  Even though I’ve been used again and again.  You still look at me like . . .”

Above them, the clouds seemed to darken, as if responding to Quatre’s negativity.  Lightning crashed, thunder booming.  But
Trowa saw none of it.  His concern was for Quatre.  The clouds in the sky did not matter in the least.  He walked over to stand
before Quatre and gathered the slight form in his arms.  “I look at you as I see you, and I think you are beautiful.  You didn’t
ask for what happened, Quatre.”  He looked around again, vaguely noticing the retreating clouds as the sun peaked out once
again.  “What is this place?”  He asked, the sky turning bluer than Trowa had ever seen.

Quatre leaned his head against Trowa’s shoulder and sighed.  “This . . . is my favorite memory.  My father, all of my sisters,
and myself gathered together.  Just to enjoy an early summer day.  It was rare that Father could get away from the office, even
for only a day.”

Trowa nodded in understanding.  There was silence for a while, then Trowa spoke, unsure about his purpose here.  “So, should
I be doing anything?”

Quatre leaned back, just so that he could look into Trowa’s eyes.  And he smiled, an expression that eclipsed the beauty of the
visage of this unbroken earth.  There was nothing in the world more radiant than Quatre’s smile, Trowa was certain of it.  “You
don’t have to do anything more than this.  Just hold me and keep the silent darkness away.  It’s just over that hill, you know.  
And it dwells right under the calm surface of the lake and lingers beyond the whispering trees.  The darkness hits me where it is
most painful.”

Trowa nodded again and rubbed Quatre’s back.  He was hesitant to broach this next subject, but knew that he had to.  “W-What
are you going to do about . . .?”

Quatre pulled away from Trowa’s arms.  He turned away, wrapping his suddenly shaking arms about himself.  “I know,
without any tests . . . that there is no way to kill what is growing inside of me without killing me as well.  Somehow, I simply
know it.”  He turned back to Trowa with an infinitely sad look on his face.  “Maybe Sally will find a way . . .”  Then he gasped
and jerked around, facing the forest with a bright smile on his face.

Trowa blinked, concerned and confused all at the same time.  “What?  What is it?”

Quatre spun to Trowa, his smile comforting.  “It’s Duo!”  He held out his hand as if beckoning.

Trowa waited, not sure what was going to happen.


*****


Heero sat in his quarters, clasping Duo’s hand.  He had brought the object of his affections here after Trowa had taken Quatre
away.  It didn’t seem right to leave Duo in the infirmary when he was perfectly healthy except for the fact that he was currently
unconscious.  He could scarcely believe that though.  Duo was healthy, completely and utterly healthy.  He had used Quatre’s
and his own powers to heal the damage that the Taltheans had done to his legs and arms.  He could walk again.  Maybe now that
he was well, he would want to leave here, to leave Heero.

With a sigh, Heero laid down on the bed, wrapping his arms around Duo’s body.  He held the other young man close, worry
filling him.  He desperately wanted to help in any way that he could.  Then it occurred to him.  Why not do what Trowa was
doing to help Quatre?  He didn’t know exactly what he was supposed to do, only what little Quatre had told Trowa before they
had left.  But he would try anything if he could offer any help to Duo at all.

He closed his eyes and started breathing in an even rhythm, concentrating only on helping Duo.  He guessed that he needed to do
something like what Wufei did when meditating.  Carefully, he pressed his forehead to Duo’s, slowly becoming aware of their
heartbeats thrumming in synchronicity.  He didn’t know if Duo could even hear him, but he whispered his name anyway, hoping
that Duo would allow this connection.

When he was just about to give up the effort as a lost cause, he felt a strange sensation.  It was almost as if he were being
turned inside out.  But it wasn’t painful, only disconcerting.  Still, he didn’t fight it, allowing himself to be dragged into the
unknown.

He frowned when he found himself standing in an all too familiar room.  This must be Duo’s mind, he thought, only to grimace,
his heart wrenching in horror.  This was the same room he, Trowa and Wufei had found Duo and Quatre in, the room where
the Taltheans had kept them prisoner and tortured them for centuries.  If Duo was here somewhere - Heero looked around,
frantic to find Duo.

He heard a soft whimper and quickly moved to the source.  He fought his anger down as he passed the bed and saw Duo
hanging from the chains imbedded in the ceiling.  He was obviously ready for the torture those aliens would inflict upon him.  
His spirit was beaten and bloody, even in his mind he found no peace and bore the marks of his tormentors.

“Duo . . .”  He winced when Duo turned toward the sound of his voice.  One of his eyes swollen shut.

Duo jerked in his chains, shaking his head back and forth, his hair flying wildly behind him.  “No!  No, no, no!  You shouldn’t
be here!  Get back!”  Duo sobbed, hanging slack in his chains, his head bowed in defeat.  “Please . . . please don’t look at me.  
Don’t see me.  Not like this.”

“Sshh!  Easy, Duo.  Calm down.”  He walked closer and smiled warmly, somehow understanding that he had the power to heal
Duo’s tortured soul.  “It’s all right now.”  He started unlocking the chains with a key he didn’t know he had even had.

Duo sobbed as Heero released him.  “No.  It’s not.  It can never be all right.  It never ends!”

Heero carried Duo’s weakened soul over to the bed and cradled him, pulling a sheet to cover the battered youth’s form.  “It will
end, Duo.  You have to have hope.”  He caressed Duo’s hair, sliding his hand along his side where there were no injuries.  He
was relieved when he noticed that the bruises and cuts were starting to fade from Duo’s body.

“But . . . what about Quatre?  He’ll never forgive me!  I left him alone right when he needed me the most!  I abandoned him!  
Just like everyone else did!”  He clung to Heero, his tears soaking through Heero’s shirt.

Heero chuckled, gently rocking back and forth.  “Duo, everyone has a breaking point.  You’ve withstood more than anyone
should ever have to in a multitude of lifetimes.  Trowa will help Quatre the same way I’m helping you.  If it would make you
feel better though, why don’t you apologize?”

“I can’t face him.  He wouldn’t want to see me.”  Duo shook his head, turning and pressing closer to Heero.

Heero felt something tugging at him, something far off.  But Duo dug his nails into Heero’s shirt and the feeling faded.  He didn’t
know what it had been, but Duo didn’t seem to want to face it.  Perhaps it was Quatre trying to reach out to him.

“Duo, you have to face him.  He will want to see you.  You are his friend and you have been for the past three hundred years.  
No one else in the world can claim a friendship like yours,” Heero said, trying to soothe the young man.  “Speak with him.  You’
ll find him only happy that you’re connected to him again.”

Duo took a breath, tears slipping from his eyes to dampen Heero’s shirt.  But he nodded, reluctantly drawing away and wiping a
shaky hand across his face.  “All right . . . I’ll do it.  Just . . . Just let me lie here a while longer.  Please?  J-Just hold me a few
more minutes.”

Heero said nothing in reply, merely curling his arms tight around Duo’s body and pulling him close.  He would give all he had to
see Duo happy.  He could only hope it would be enough.



To Be Continued . . .