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

Notes: Zechs arrives. Quatre gets healed.



Hope From the Past



Part Twenty


Treize watched the approaching vehicle with a measure of justified wariness. He'd trusted this man once before and it had gotten
him nothing but grief. Meiran and Wufei's wedding day ... forever tainted by the selfish actions of one man. The same man who
was in the approaching vehicle.

He turned to the men waiting with him. "Arms at the ready, but wait for my order. No need to waste ammunition on him if we
aren't given reason to."

One of the men growled. "Asshole gave us a reason when he attacked us and kidnapped Trowa and Quatre on Wufei and
Meiran's wedding day."

Treize sighed and nodded. "Agreed, but we really don't need a war with the Nomads. They're the most numerous of the
survivors and we could really use their aid. There's no need to destroy the chance of an alliance." Then he smiled kindly.
"Remember, this is Quatre's family. We can't harm them without harming him as well."

He turned back to the vehicle and watched. Something white emerged from a hatch, and Treize nodded in satisfaction. "He took
me seriously. Good. Stand down for now, men." He folded his arms and watched as the vehicle stopped.

Zechs exited the vehicle and approached, his hands held up in a non-threatening gesture.

Treize stopped him with an upheld hand. "Give me one reason why I should not have you shot for your actions. We did nothing
to warrant your attack. And for you to do so at an event that was supposed to bring joy to a woman who has known almost
nothing but pain ..."

Zechs sighed and took the few remaining steps toward Treize. He held his hands out helplessly and sank to his knees in front of
the Commander of the rebels. "I cannot. With my selfishness and rash behavior I have brought pain not only to your people, but
to my own as well. As punishment, I offer myself to your people, yourself and to Quatre to do with as you please. It is not
much, but it is all that is truly mine to offer."

"What?" Treize blinked, confused by the man's actions.

"I am your slave," Zechs replied. "My people are now yours to command. I am at your mercy."

Treize raised an eyebrow. This was definitely strange. "And if I decided to order my men to shoot you now?"

Zechs simply lowered his head. "If that is what you wish, then so be it."

"It is the custom of our people," Une called out from the vehicle. She eased herself out and crossed the distance between them,
her hands held up as she walked. "He has done wrong and he accepts the punishments handed down through the generations of
our people."

"And the rest of your people accept this?" Treize asked, incredulous.

Une nodded. "It has been this way for hundreds of years, General Treize. Our laws were created with the coming of the
Taltheans and we have held strong to them all through these dark times. He has dishonored us all with his actions and has
forfeited his right to lead our people. That mantle now falls on you, Treize." She bowed her head respectfully toward him. "We
will follow you with unwavering loyalty, sir."

Treize turned to Zechs, his eyes widened slightly. "You're really handing over control of your people to me?"

"He has no choice," Une replied.

Zechs nodded. "Yes, my people are now yours to command.

Treize raised his hand to his forehead, feeling a headache fast approaching. On the one hand, he had gotten what he'd always
wanted, an alliance with the Nomads. On the other hand, a good leader had sacrificed his dignity to hand it over to him.

"How may I serve you, Master?" Zechs asked, his voice soft.

Trieze shook his head. He didn't know if he could deal with this right now. He turned to his own troops. "Get inside. Back to
your stations, everyone!" he called, then turned back to face Zechs. "You two as well. Come on. I'll arrange for temporary
quarters."

"Thank you, Master Treize," Une replied with a bow.

Zechs said nothing, but rose to his feet with a fluid grace.

Treize motioned to Zechs. "Cuff him. I've put my trust in him once before and had that trust betrayed. I intend to hold a
community meeting later to discuss the ramifications of his offer." He shook his head as his men moved to comply. Too much
was happening too swiftly. First thing though, was that he had to inform Quatre of Zechs' presence.

"May I make a request, Master?" Zechs spoke, his voice kept soft.

Treize nodded. "What do you want?"

Zechs bowed his head, closing his eyes briefly. "I request that you please allow me to make amends to my relative. I have
greatly wronged Quatre and would like the chance to apologize."

"I don't know if that's such a good idea," Treize replied.

"Please, it is all I ask. I will do nothing to purposely harm him again, I swear."

Treize thought about it for a moment, and then decided that there really was no good reason why Zechs couldn't. "All right.
However, if I see one glimmer of distress on his face, I will personally lock you in the deepest darkest section of our brig."

"As you wish, my master. I thank you." Zechs bowed again, his gaze never trained any higher than Treize's boots.

The General himself grasped Zechs arm, then gave one last order to his men. "See to it that the Lady Une is given exceptional
treatment. Escort her to guest quarters, but leave a guard at her door. She has done nothing to warrant our distrust, but I fear
some of our own troop would condemn her for the actions of her leader. If anything happens to her, every man here will find
their rations cut in half and will find themselves cleaning the bowels of the waste facilities with their toothbrushes."

"Yes, sir!" came the reply from his troops. With such a threat hanging over their heads, Treize doubted any would risk harming
Une.


*****


Quatre smiled as he watched Duo fidgeting happily. Heero, Trowa and Rasid were also watching the braided youth with a
mixture of joy and amusement. Sally stood nearby, ready to offer medical help if needed.

It had been three days since Duo's complete healing, and both Duo and Quatre agreed that it was time for the process to be
repeated for Quatre.

"Duo, calm down. You're acting like a hyper five-year-old," Quatre said with a laugh.

Heero scoffed at Quatre's suggestion. "I like Duo the way he is, and he's always been like this when he's been excited about
something these past few days."

The happy mood was interrupted when General Treize came through the door. Both Heero and Trowa stood up at attention and
saluted before Treize saluted in return. "As you were, men. I actually came to speak with Quatre."

"Oh?" Quatre asked, curious to know what the General had to speak with him about. He felt a flicker of fear that maybe it was
about his powers. But then he remembered that Treize had said he wouldn't discuss that with him until after he was fully
healthy. Maybe it had to do with the monstrosity growing in his belly. Did Treize have something to say about it? Would he
throw Quatre out now that he knew Quatre was carrying the spawn of the hated aliens within his stomach?

"We’ve received a visitor today, Quatre." Treize said, standing at the end of the bed. He held the railing in his hands, looking
wary about discussing whatever he had to say.

"Umm, who is it? Is it someone I know?"

Treize nodded. "Zechs. He has come to offer apologies and he would like to deliver yours in person."

Quatre gulped. He didn't fear his relative; however the man hadn't exactly made a good first impression. "D-Do I have to see
him?"

"Absolutely not," Treize replied. "If you don't want to see him, he won't bother you."

"I don't think this is a very good idea," Trowa growled.

Quatre could practically feel the waves of anger radiating from the young soldier. "Please, Trowa, calm down."

Trowa was at his side instantly. He took up Quatre's hand, his features softening as he gazed down at the petite blonde. "I'm
sorry. I didn't mean to upset you."

Quatre shook his head, a genuine smile on his face. "You didn't upset me. But my health isn't recovered just yet and negative
feelings make me feel weary." He looked to Treize, still holding on to Trowa's hand. "Let him in. He is family. It would be wrong
of me to push him away when he's trying to make amends."

Treize walked to the door and brought in Zechs, whose hands were secured by a pair of cuffs. He walked with his head down,
looking dejected.

Before anyone could say anything, Duo stepped up in front of Zechs. He pulled his fist back and sent it flying forth, punching
Zechs with every ounce of his returned strength. "That was for hurting my brother, you asshole!" he exclaimed as Heero came
to his side and gently pulled him away.

Zechs probably would have fallen from the strike, if Treize hadn't been supporting him with a firm hand on his elbow. "You
alright?" Treize questioned.

Zechs merely nodded, saying nothing though he did gingerly rub his cheek with his confined hands.

Rasid, who still looked quite angry at Zechs' presence, turned his attention to Treize rather than his own relation. "Has he made
any offer of penitence?"

Treize sighed and looked at Quatre helplessly. "He says he's giving himself to me as a slave and that your people are now mine to
command." He shrugged. "The mantle should rightfully fall to you, though. You are the closest kin to Lady Iria."

Quatre shook his head. He was shocked that the man would do such a thing. But he wanted no part of this. He wasn't a leader.
"I really don't want any position of leadership," he said softly.

Rasid smiled at Quatre, looking far calmer than only moments before. "Even if you did, Master Quatre, you could not. It is a
matter of honor. Our people were brought to shame by instigating an unprovoked assault upon this colony of survivors.
Through this act of self-sacrifice, perhaps we can regain some of our lost honor."

Treize nudged Zechs forward with a light shove. "Go on and say what you want to say."

All eyes were on Zechs as he approached Quatre's bedside. The ill blonde watched him, sensing a nervous anticipation roiling
inside of him. Zechs settled his hands on the railing of Quatre's bed, clenching his fingers around the cold metal.

"What is it?" Quatre asked, gently. He reached out, lightly setting his hand on top of Zechs. He pushed a sliver of warmth his
way, sensing as the anxiety Zechs felt ebbed away.

"Quatre," Duo growled. "You're supposed to be conserving your strength for the healing, not wasting it away on him."

"I'm not wasting it," Quatre replied tersely. He spared Duo a soft glare, and then turned to smile at Zechs. "He's family."

Zechs eased his hands away from Quatre, a soft "Thank you," passing his lips. He cleared his throat, glancing around the room
before looking at Quatre again. "I don't begrudge them their distrust. I haven't made a good impression on them, it seems." He
paused, taking a slow breath. "I only wanted to apologize for my callous behavior toward you. I was selfish in my want to have
you with us again. I do not expect forgiveness for my transgressions. I merely hope you will understand that I am truly sorry
for any harm I have caused to you or to your friends."

Quatre opened his mouth to respond, but Duo cut him off. "Yeah, yeah. You've apologized, now get lost. Quatre's due for his
healing now and he doesn't need you loitering around."

"Duo!" Quatre snapped with as much strength as he could muster from his tired body.

Zechs shook his head. "It's all right. I'll go. I've said what I came to say."

Quatre lashed out, weakly gripping one of Zechs' wrists. "Wait, don't go." He smiled up at the stunned older man, knowing in his
heart that Zechs was a good man, but had only made a foolish and wrong decision out of longing for the return of something he
thought precious to him. "I would like you to stay. I hold no grudge over what you did ... I forgive you. You were foolish, but
you did mean well."

Zechs nodded, but said nothing in return. He stepped back away from the bed. Rasid moved to stand at his side and Treize took
up a position on his other side. Whether to guard him or not, Quatre wasn't certain.

Quatre turned away from the three men and gave Duo his attention, beckoning him closer with a weak wave of his hand. "Shall
we?"

Duo grinned and practically skipped over to the side of the bed. "You're just eager to go running around with your boyfriend," he
jested, winking at Trowa.

"Why not? You did the same with yours," Quatre shot back.

Duo had the decency to blush, though his smile never wavered. He climbed up to sit beside Quatre, repeating the motions that
had made Duo fully healthy only days before. He settled his head against Quatre's forehead, his hands entwined with the
blonde's. Synchronicity in breathing and heartbeats, they opened themselves to each other, and then Quatre dipped into the well
of Duo's power, drawing little by little into himself. He could control it far better than Duo could and was not overwhelmed by
the wave of energy. He basked in the warmth and the light, feeling as it filled him with its perfect bliss.

He focused the energy on his legs, on his weak and weary body. When he felt that it was enough, he pulled himself away from
the encompassing light, softly closing the barriers between them.

Duo fell back into Heero's waiting arms, his body trembling slightly. "That's some rush, buddy," he gasped, accepting it as Heero
cradled him carefully. "Wish I knew how you did that. You make it seem so easy. Hell, I'm not even tired. But I got such a buzz
going on." He giggled, reaching up to playfully toy with Heero's collar. "You're cute, you know that?"

Sally moved to Duo side, prying an eyelid open. "What did you do?"

Quatre shrugged, easily pushing himself into a sitting position. "I know Duo gets tired when he draws from me. But for some
reason, when I do it, I seem to stimulate his endorphins." He shook his head and threw aside the covers. "He'll be fine in a few
minutes, but he'll get a headache."

"You're telling me he's drunk and going to get a hangover?" Heero asked.

"Pretty much." Without further word, Quatre hopped from the bed and easily walked back and forth in front of the bed before
heading straight to Trowa. "I feel so much better."

"Amazing," Treize whispered in awe, his eyes glued to Quatre's form.

"Duo had to practice before he was steady on his feet again. You ... it's like you were never ill," Heero stated.

Duo giggled, tapping Heero's nose. "Told ya he was more powerful than me."

Quatre bowed his head, his thoughts turning grim. He placed a hand at his stomach, and then gave Zechs a furtive glance. Zechs
was family. He had a right to know what had been done to him, what consequences had erupted because of his three hundred
year imprisonment.

He looked up at Trowa, only finding love shining back at him in those limitless green eyes. "I would like to speak with Zechs
alone," he said, then turned his attention to Treize. "If it is all right with you, sir?"

Trowa's hand fell on his shoulder. "You're going to tell him, aren't you?"

Quatre nodded, unable to turn and again meet the eyes he had fallen so hopelessly in love with. "He's my family. Secrets should
not be kept from family. Besides, he will know sooner or later."

"I'd rather it be later," Duo grumbled, holding his head between his hands. Quatre could almost feel his friend's headache himself.

"Later, I will be in a condition where I might be unable to defend myself properly. We don't know what this will do to me, or to
my powers."

Trowa squeezed his shoulder tenderly. "If you want to be alone, then we will leave the two of you alone. But we'll be right
outside should you need us."

One by one, everyone filed out. Before Treize could pass him, Quatre made one last request of the man. "The cuffs, please? I do
not think they are necessary."

Treize didn't look as if he approved, but he complied nonetheless. "They go back on as soon as you two are done," he stated,
then left along with the others.

Quatre stood there, facing the tall former leader. His heart pounded in his chest, worried over how Zechs would respond. Would
there be violence, or tears of self recrimination? Would he hate Quatre, or sympathize with him somehow?

Quatre was left with only one question as he wondered all of this. Just how does one tell one of his eldest sister's descendants
that he was pregnant with an alien life form?



To Be Continued ...