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

Notes:  Heero and Duo continue in the dreamscape.  Quatre and Trowa have a heart to heart conversation.



Hope From the Past



Part Eighteen


Heero stroked Duo’s hair and smiled as Duo’s spirit-self stirred.  The faint tugging was back, more persistent this time.  “Are
you ready to face Quatre?  I promise I’ll be right here with you the whole time.”

Duo, Heero was relieved to note, no longer had the terrible wounds that had been present when Heero had first entered this
room.  The slim youth nodded and dragged himself from Heero’s embrace, sliding off the bed to stand.  As soon as his feet hit
the floor, he was dressed in a red T-shirt, black jeans and a black leather jacket.  A pair of boots were on his feet.  Duo
shrugged a little, fiddling with the jacket.  “I was never able to afford clothes like this.  In my mind I can wear anything I want
though.”  He cleared his throat, holding his hand out to Heero.  “Well, ready to go?”

Heero stood up, nodding as he did so and clasped Duo’s hand.  As soon as his flesh touched Duo’s, that awful room faded
away and became something far kinder.  Heero looked around in wonder, having never known a world spared the scars of the
Taltheans’ invasion.  It was a city, the buildings whole and unscathed.  Duo led them through the streets, to an old building
worn with age.  It looked like an old church.

Heero looked around and smiled warmly as he spotted a little boy playing with a worn ball.  He knew, without having to ask, that
the child was Duo.  The long braid was a dead giveaway.  As he watched, a young nun came out and spoke with the child,
giving him a warm hug.

Duo’s voice was full of warmth.  “The happiest two years of my life . . . were spent here.  A fire destroyed the church, killing
almost everyone inside.  I was spared for some reason.”

Heero turned to face Duo, giving his hand a gentle squeeze.  “Later, will you tell me more about yourself?”

Duo nodded.  “Yeah . . .”  There was another more insistent tug that Duo obviously felt.  “All right!  Geez, are you impatient!”
he called, seemingly to no one but the air before him.

There was a faint answer, as if whispered by the breeze that swept through the courtyard.  “And you’re just being stubborn.”

The scene around them melted away again and Heero found himself and Duo standing in what looked to be a meadow with
Quatre, who was semi-transparent.  And Heero could just barely make out Trowa’s form.

Quatre blinked.  “Heero!”  Then he smiled happily.  “Oh, thank you!  I’ve been trying to heal Duo’s spirit since our rescue.  
There was always a part of him he kept hidden from me.”

Duo flushed a little.  “Quat, I’m so sorry.  I . . .”

Quatre shook his head and walked over to embrace Duo, his form becoming solid.  “Sshh, I understand, my friend.  You've
been so strong for so long, holding yourself together for me and you were put through more horrors by those monsters than I
was.  I just want you to be whole.”

Duo's breath hitched, his arms wrapped tight around the slim blonde.  “You’re too good to me, Quatre.”

Quatre laughed softly, easing himself from his friend’s arms.  “Enough of this.  You wake up, and take a nice walk now that
you can.  Spend some time with Heero and relax.  Trowa’s looking after me, so I’m not alone.”

Heero nodded and pulled Duo closer to himself.  “Sounds like a good idea to me.  There have been a few places I wanted to
show Duo, but I couldn’t until now.”

Duo’s smile was teasing as he glanced over his shoulder at Heero.  “So, you’re going to take me places I’ve never been?”

Heero didn’t know whether to snicker or be horrified at the question.  He wondered at Duo’s ability to even tease about sex after
what he’d been through.  “What . . .?”

Duo laughed sadly.  “Heero, what happened . . . happened.  Nothing any of us do can change that fact.  The only thing that kept
me going was the hope, slim as it was, that I’d get out of that hell-hole and find someone who would show me that it didn’t
have to hurt.”

Heero chuckled even as he felt himself returning to reality.  “Oh, I’ll show you more than that.”  Then he was back in his room,
holding Duo who was blinking up at him.  He smiled and ran a finger tenderly across Duo’s lower lip.  “But not right now.  
Now, the wounds are too recent and raw.  What you and Quatre have lived through would taint it.”  He leaned forward and
brushed a chaste kiss across Duo’s chapped lips.  “When you’re ready, you’ll let me know.  For now, let’s take things slowly.”

Heero eased himself out of the bed and forced himself not to help Duo, who was also getting ready to stand.  Instead, he waited
to see if Duo needed the help, watching patiently and hoping that he would be able to move fast enough should Duo begin to
fall.  He held his breath as Duo pushed himself to his feet and almost reached out to grab Duo when he stumbled a little.  But, he
managed to resist the urge to help.  He clenched his fists and watched, helplessly, as Duo took a few unsteady steps.

“Are you all right?” he asked, aching to wrap his arms around that sleek body once again.

Duo turned to face him with a brilliant smile.  Heero was struck by the memory of that smiling child in the church courtyard and
didn’t think Duo had ever looked more innocent or happy.

“I’m more than all right.  I’m walking on my own two feet again!”  He laughed and took a few more steps.  Each one was
steadier than the last.  Soon, he was walking around the room as if there had never been anything wrong with his legs at all.  
Heero marveled at the power the two young men possessed, awed by the fact that they could heal so completely.

Heero watched as Duo paced the room, and smiled with bemusement.  He walked directly into Duo’s path and stopped him with
a warm embrace.  He had never known Duo’s height before, but was pleased that Duo seemed to be about as tall as Heero was
himself.  “Come on, I’ll bring you to the hydroponics center.  Then I want you to eat something.”

Duo’s smile was something that Heero knew he’d never tire of seeing.  He nodded, saying nothing as he clasped Heero’s hand.

Heero’s heart skipped a beat at that one tender touch.  He knew without a doubt that he loved Duo.  One day, he hoped he
would be able to properly express that love with Duo in a physical sense.  But he was content to await the day that Duo was
truly ready for it.


*****


Trowa had simply watched the exchange between Quatre and Duo, not really certain if it was his place to say anything at all.  As
it was, he had just barely been able to make out Heero’s visage in this dreamscape and was pretty certain that to Heero he had
been just as transparent.  This wasn’t natural for either of them.  They had to rely on Duo and Quatre for their solidity.

When Duo and Heero faded away completely, Quatre’s shoulders slumped and he bowed his head.  Worried for the petite
blonde, Trowa stepped forward, wrapping an unsure arm around his shoulders.  

“Are you okay?” he asked, sliding his other hand along Quatre’s forearm.

Quatre grunted lightly.  He turned and pressed himself closer to Trowa, draping his arms around the taller youth’s waist.  “I’m
just so weary,” he whispered against Trowa’s shoulder.

“Perhaps you should rest,” Trowa commented.

Quatre nodded, resting his cheek against Trowa’s shoulder.  “But I won’t be able to hold our connection . . .”

“Is it safe for you to let go?”  Trowa asked, suddenly overcome with worry for the blonde.  It hadn’t been all that long ago that
Quatre had been terrified of the darkness claiming him again.  He didn’t want to put Quatre into danger, not when it was in his
power to help.

A soft sigh left the blonde’s lips.  “Yes, it’s safe again.  Duo has left, but the connection between us is open again.”  He pointed
tiredly to the trees in the distance, where Trowa could see a glimmer of light, as if someone was shining a light through the
forest.  “That beacon of light is Duo.  He’ll keep the darkness from me, like a guardian in the night.”  Then he looked up at
Trowa.  “But his isn’t the only light.  I have your light to guide me now.”

A faint blush tinted Quatre’s pale cheeks as he spoke.  “I’ve let you into my soul, Trowa Barton.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able
to separate myself from you again.  Nor do I want to.  If given time, the connection between us will become stronger and with
ease the two of us will be able to flow through each other as if we were one.  When I love, I love with my entire being.  That is
why Duo and I are so well connected.  Solo never truly understood me, nor was he given the time to as he was taken from us
after only a short time.”  He bowed his head, a slight tremble moving throughout his frame.  “Do I frighten you?  Would you
rather I leave you be?”

Trowa tightened his arms around Quatre, holding him closer.  “You leaving me is the only thing that frightens me, Quatre.  I
admit, I don’t understand you very well, but I am willing to give everything I am to learn about you.  I want to know you, inside
and out.  I . . .” He swallowed nervously, hoping this was the right thing to do, the right thing to say.  “I think I've fallen in love
with you, Quatre.”

When Quatre pulled away enough to look up into Trowa’s eyes, his heart flipped and he knew he had said the wrong thing.  
With haste, he amended his words.  “No, I KNOW that I love you.  With every fiber of my being.  I may not have known you
very long, but I do love you.”

It was as if Quatre were glowing, encompassed by a bright silvery light.  Yet, the light did not hurt Trowa’s eyes, it simply
illuminated the beauty that was Quatre, enhanced the already angelic qualities of his spirit.

“Nothing I have ever heard has ever made me so happy,” Quatre replied, tears glimmering in his eyes as he pressed himself
closer to Trowa again.  His breath was shuddering as he held himself to Trowa, his cheek against his chest.  “I love you, too,”
he whispered.

And then, with a bright flash, Trowa found himself back in his own quarters again.  Quatre was still in his arms, the sickly, pale
youth whom Trowa had grown to love.  The blonde had obviously exhausted himself completely.  He was resting now, peaceful
and quiet, a beautiful smile gracing his face as he slept.

Trowa smiled, seeing that Quatre was safe and content.  In the back of his mind, he felt a distant echo, Quatre’s voice
whispering that everything was well, and he had no fear that the darkness was threatening the pale beauty.  With a happy sigh,
he allowed himself to relax and settled down into bed again, holding Quatre close to himself as he allowed sleep to overcome his
weary mind.



To Be Continued . . .