Disclaimers:  I don’t own anything.

Author’s notes:  Here’s Part Three.  Takes place after they got back to the base from the safe house.  Hope it doesn’t get too
confusing, since the perspectives keep changing and switching back and forth between two time periods.  But I finally put Wufei
in it, although not much.

WARNING!!!  More Duo suffering ahead.



Painful Memories
Part 3



Quatre paced across the floor in the hallway outside the hangar, waiting for Trowa.  He had heard of their return to the base,
and that one of them had been injured.  His mind was filled with worry, but he tried to hide it.  Although he wasn’t doing such a
good job of that since he just couldn’t keep himself still for more than a few seconds at a time.  Trowa was everything to him.  
He wouldn’t be able to stand it if Trowa died.

“Would you calm yourself?”  Wufei snapped.  He was leaning against the wall, his eyes closed and his arms folded across his
chest.

Quatre turned, startled.  “How long have you been there?”

“Long enough to see how absurd you are acting.  This isn’t the first time they’ve come back from a mission.”

“But one of them is injured.  I just wanted  . . .”  Quatre started, but Wufei interrupted him.

“I believe everyone knows what you wanted.  It’s plainly obvious that you are here to check on the welfare of Trowa Barton.”  
Wufei said, not moving from his place against the wall.

Quatre glared at him, hating Wufei’s attitude.  “Then why are you here?”

“I was just curious to see who was foolish enough to let himself get hurt.”  Wufei said.  He opened his eyes, and looked to the
door just as it opened.

Trowa was the only one that walked out.  As soon as he saw him, Quatre threw his arms around him.  He didn’t care that Wufei
was watching.  He was only happy that Trowa was okay.

A moment later, he pulled himself away, feeling ashamed that he hadn’t asked who was hurt.  “Who was injured?”  He asked.

“Duo.”  Trowa replied.

“I thought as much.”  Wufei huffed.  He turned and walked away.

Quatre ignored him.  “Will he be okay?”

“It didn’t look too bad, just a couple bruised ribs and a minor head wound.”  Trowa replied, wrapping his arm around Quatre’s
shoulders as they walked down the hall.

After a short, comfortable silence, Trowa spoke again.  “Duo told me what was troubling him.”  He said plainly, in his usual
calm voice.

Quatre looked up at him,  “He did?”

“Yes.  But don’t ask me any more.  I promised I wouldn’t tell anyone.”

“That’s okay.  I don’t need to know.  As long as he told someone.”  Quatre sighed, glad in the knowledge that Duo had finally
let someone get close to him.  At least now, the braided pilot wouldn’t be in so much pain.  


*****


The night was cold and dark.  Rain poured down on everything, soaking Duo to the bone.  But he didn’t care.  He could die of
pneumonia for all he cared.  Duo wandered along the dark streets, his eyes glistening with unshed tears.  It was all his fault,
everything was.  His entire life had been one huge disaster.  He should have died when that virus swept through the colony when
he was a kid.  It would have saved him all the pain, all that misery.

He ran into someone and mumbled an apology, as he continued to walk, not even bothering to look at who he had almost
knocked down.  His ribs ached with every step he took, and hurt more now that he had run into someone.  But it didn’t matter,
nothing did anymore.  His life was over, he had no reason to go on.  Heero didn’t love him, didn’t care one little bit for him.

Memories flooded his mind as he walked.  He remembered the first time he had seen Heero.  Sure, he had shot him twice, but
still Duo had felt an intense attraction toward the Japanese pilot.  And then more memories invaded his mind as he thought of
that night’s events, only about an hour ago.  It was so clear in his mind that he could have sworn it was really happening again.


Flashback


It was night by the time he, Heero, and Trowa had gotten back to the base from the safe house.  Duo was exhausted, his ribs
aching with every move he made.  But he knew he had to do this now, or he might never get the nerve to try it again.  Luckily,
Trowa had already left the hangar, wanting to see Quatre.

“Heero?”  Duo asked, fumbling around for the words to express how he felt for the other pilot.

“What?”  Heero snapped.  His usually indifferent mood was replaced by anger, since their mission had not gone as well as either
of them had hoped.  

They had found out just before leaving the safe house, that one of their targets had escaped the base before it had exploded.  
They had checked the news for any mention of the destruction of the base and were surprised to find out that the General
running the base had gotten away with only a few minor cuts and scratches.

Duo turned his attention to the floor, his heart pounding with fear.  He had never been so afraid of anything in his entire life.  
Well, that wasn’t true, but he didn’t want to remember those painful memories at the time.  “I have something to tell you,
Heero.”  Duo said, keeping his voice at a whisper.

Heero turned to him, his eyes passing over Duo’s features, as if searching for something.  “What is it?”  He asked, his voice
back to its usual monotone.

Duo looked up into those Prussian blue eyes, his heart full of hope.  “I-I love you, Heero, as more than just a friend.”  He said.

An expression of shock crossed Heero’s face and Duo felt that maybe he shouldn’t have said anything at all.  Then his
expression changed to that of anger and caused Duo to fear the worst.  His fears were all confirmed when Heero turned and
walked away without saying a single word.

Usually, Duo wouldn’t stand for something like that.  No one walked away from him like that.  But this wasn’t just anyone, this
was Heero Yuy, the man that Duo loved.  And obviously, Heero didn’t love him back.  But he had known that before he had said
anything.  Although, he had hoped that Heero at least liked him as a friend.  But no friend would just walk away like that, without
so much as a word.

He turned and ran, not knowing where to go, not wanting to see that expression of anger on Heero’s face again.  He didn't go
far, not even getting out of the hangar.  His cheerful mask gone, he crumpled to the floor in tears, crying for the first time in his
entire life.  Not even when Sister Helen had died did he shed tears.  But now his heart was crushed, his soul was torn apart,
knowing that the only one he loved didn’t love him back.

He had been right when he was seven years old.  There was no God.


End of Flashback


Duo felt the tears once again trying to come forward, but he kept them back.  He couldn’t let others see him cry, wouldn't give
in to the weakness.

A hand clamped on his shoulder, and Duo finally lifted his gaze, wondering who had the nerve to touch him.  In his mind he
hoped it was Heero, come to tell him that he did love him.  But when he saw who stood before him, his body froze with fear.  It
was a face he would never forget, a face he couldn’t forget.  This was the man that had ruined his life so long ago.

Back then, Duo had turned to stealing what he needed, living on the streets after the church had been destroyed.  He hadn’t even
spent a year on the streets, when a man approached him, a man named Carl Thompson.  He had seemed kind enough, so Duo
went with him, thinking that he might be able to steal something from the guy.

But when they got to Carl’s home, Duo found out just how wrong he was about him.  Carl wasn’t nice, wasn’t anywhere near
nice.  Carl was a pimp, and a much stronger man than Duo at the time.  The beatings started almost immediately.  Carl forced
the eight-year-old boy to do horrible things on the threat of death if he didn’t cooperate.  Duo had no choice.  He had to do it to
survive.

Duo shook his head, snapping out of the horrible memories of all those people that had used and abused his young body.  He
looked into the face of Carl.  He was a little bit older, but still had the same cruel smile on his lips.  There was less hair on his
head, a few more gray ones than before.

Duo couldn’t believe how terrified he was, that he was paralyzed with fear.  He was a Gundam pilot, he should be kicking Carl’s
ass.  But he couldn’t move a muscle, couldn’t lift a finger.

“It’s so nice to see you again.”  Carl said, his eyes gleaming evilly.

Duo tried to back away, but Carl’s grip was so strong on his shoulder.  “Go away.”  He whispered, his heart racing in panic.  

“I don’t think so.”  Carl said.

Before Duo could do anything, something collided with his head.  He fell to his knees.  He fought against the darkness that
seeped into his mind, knowing that if he lost consciousness Carl would have him again.  And then the pain would start all over
again, the pain he never wanted to remember.

But try as he might, the darkness overtook him.  He slipped away, the last of the light fading, as he fell to his side.   Heero help
me, he thought, as everything else disappeared.  


*****


An Hour Earlier


Heero held his head in his hands, his fingers tightly woven into his hair.  “What’s wrong with me?”  He asked the empty
hallway.  “Why couldn’t I tell him?”

He was referring, of course, to the events of that night, to the way he had just treated Duo only minutes ago.  The long-haired
pilot had just told him that he loved him, and all Heero could do was stare at him in shock.

Heero mentally kicked himself for the way he had just left Duo standing there, not even able to say one word.  He had been
waiting so long to express his feelings, and all he could do when Duo had said that he loved him, was stare at him.  He couldn’t
contain his own anger at the time, anger at his own fear and cowardice.

When he had gotten out of the door, he had just slumped against the wall, wishing that he had been able to express his own
feelings.  He should have said something, anything.  

He had kept his own emotions bottled up for far too long, seeing them as a weakness.  To him, emotions had been something he
didn’t need as a pilot, something that would only get in the way.  But then he had met Duo.  Over time, he got to know the other
pilot, loving the way he laughed, the way he could always brighten up a room with the huge grin he always wore on his face.  
Seeing Duo, always made Heero’s day, although he never expressed it in any visible way.

Heero turned back to the door, deciding that he had to say something to Duo.  He had to tell him that he loved him too.  He had
to let Duo know that what he had with Relena had only been some stupid way to attract his attention, to make Duo jealous.  

He knew he shouldn’t have led Relena on like that, but the look on Duo’s face when she hung off his arm, was just so
delightful.  The way his eyes sparked with jealousy, the way he looked longingly at the two of them, or more precisely at Heero.  
Heero had only done it, to see if there was any emotion in the other boy, to make sure he wasn’t mistaken.  But now he knew
for sure that he hadn’t been mistaken, Duo did love him.

When Heero stepped back into the hangar, his legs stopped moving.  He saw Duo, his body trembling as he sat on the floor,
crying.  Heero cursed himself, wishing that he hadn’t caused him so much pain.  He wanted to go over to Duo, to pull him into
an embrace and tell him that it was going to be okay, but his legs just wouldn’t work.  He couldn’t get himself to take a single
step forward.

As he watched, Duo stood and wiped his tears away with the back of his hand.  He walked away, leaving the compound.

Heero just watched, unable to do anything.  Duo didn’t need to see him now anyway, it would just be too painful for him.  When
he came back, Heero would talk to him.  In his heart, he hoped that Duo wouldn’t do something rash.


*****


The next morning, Heero woke up, and immediately looked over to Duo’s bed.  But when he didn’t see the other pilot, his heart
began to beat frantically.  In fact, it didn’t even look as if the bed had been slept in.  Lord knows that Duo never made his bed
unless Heero told him to.

Heero quickly got up and got dressed.  He rushed to the lunchroom, where he found everyone, except Duo, eating breakfast.  
“Have any of you seen Duo?”  Heero asked, as he slowly approached the table, trying to keep his usual emotionless mask in
place.

“No.  Why?”  Quatre replied, placing his mug of coffee on the table.

“It doesn’t look like he slept in his bed.”  Heero replied.

“I haven’t seen him since last night, when I left him alone with you in the hangar.”  Trowa said.

Heero looked away, wondering where Duo had been all night.  This was all his fault.  If he hadn’t hurt Duo, then there would be
no reason to worry.  

“He left the compound.”  Heero stated, his voice barely a whisper.

“What?”  Wufei nearly shouted.

Trowa stood, his palms flat against the tabletop.  “What happened last night?”

Heero turned away, avoiding looking at any of the other pilots.  He wasn’t really comfortable talking about this.  “I don’t want to
talk about it.”  He left, not bothering a more substantial answer.  It was none of their business anyway.  What had happened
between him and Duo, was a personal matter.

In the hallway, a hand clamped on his shoulder, forcing him to stop.  Heero turned and, to his surprise, saw that Trowa had
grabbed him.  He was expecting maybe Quatre, but not Trowa.

“What happened?”  Trowa asked.  His unusual tone was confusing Heero.  Why did he care about what happened?

“He told me that he loved me.”  Heero stated, plainly, as if it meant nothing.  But inside he could feel the pain of his own
cowardice, remembering the way he had just left Duo.

Trowa’s eyes widened in surprise.  “What did you do to him?”  He demanded.

Heero cocked an eyebrow, wondering what Trowa was keeping from him.  There was obviously some reason that he was so
concerned.  “I didn’t do anything.”  Heero said, pulling his arm free of Trowa’s grasp.

“Then why would he leave?  You must have done something.”

Heero closed his eyes a moment, knowing that he had, in fact, done nothing.  When Duo had bared his heart and soul, all he
could do was stare.  “I didn’t do anything.  I turned around and walked away without saying a word.”

Trowa backed away from him, his one visible eye widening in shock.  “And then what happened?”

“When I went back into the hangar, intending to apologize, he was crying.  I couldn’t do anything, so I just watched as he got
up and left the base.”  Heero couldn’t believe he was telling him.

“You stupid fool.”  Trowa muttered.  “Do you know how much that must have hurt him?”  

“I can imagine.”  Heero replied.

“No, you can’t.  Duo’s been keeping his feelings and past hidden because he didn’t want to get hurt.  He’s been through so
much already.  When he told you, he must have found the courage to finally let someone in, let someone get close to him.  And
you must have destroyed any hopes he had.”  Trowa’s eyes were burning with rage.

“What do you know about his past?”  Heero asked, certain that Trowa did know something that he didn’t.

“Everything.  But don’t you dare ask me about it.  I promised Duo I wouldn’t tell.  Even if I hadn’t promised, I wouldn’t tell
you.  You don’t deserve to know after what you've done.”  Trowa sneered.  He turned and stalked away, back to the lunchroom.

Heero could only watch in amazement as the other pilot left.  He had never see Trowa so angry, showing so much emotion.  
What did he know?  What dark secrets were Duo hiding?

But those questions paled in comparision to the others than ran through his mind.  Where was Duo?  Would he ever come
back?  And could Heero face him again if he did return, after all the pain he’d caused him?


*****


Duo lay on the cold hard floor.  His body shivered as the coldness seeped into every pore of his bare body.  This is what he had
been fearing for so long.  This was the nightmare that plagued his every night.  He was back in this terrible place, back with Carl.

He pushed himself off the floor, pulling his knees to his chest in an attempt to keep warm.  His ribs ached at the movement, his
head throbbed in pain, but he was just so cold.  The heavy metal chain that was shackled to his ankle, scraped across the
cement floor as he moved.  He wished he had some clothes, anything to keep himself covered.

The room was completely empty.  There was nothing that he could use as a weapon, as a way to get himself out of this mess.  
The stone walls were bare, as was the floor.  There was only one door, and that was probably guarded.

Duo felt so tired, probably from the drugs they had injected into his arm when he had first awakened.  He had tried to fight them
off, but there were so many hands holding him down, so many strong grips that refused to let go of him.

“If it’s at all possible, I believe that you are even more attractive than when I saw you on that street last night.”  Carl said, as he
strolled across the small room.

Duo did his best to seem unafraid, and glared at the disgusting man that stood just out of his reach.  “I’ll kill you for this.”  Duo
said, as he struggled to keep his eyes open.

“I highly doubt that.”  He knelt down in front of Duo, only an arm’s length away.  He reached out his hand and brushed Duo’s
bangs away from his eyes.  No matter how much Duo wanted to swat that hand away, or rip it off, he couldn’t.  He just didn’t
have the strength.

“Bastard.”  He mumbled, as he sank to the floor.  But he didn’t lose consciousness.  He was aware of Carl’s hands on his body,
the disgusting way he touched him.  He wished he would pass out, that everything would just go black.

Carl’s hands were in his hair, undoing it, letting the chestnut strands fall free.  Duo felt sick to his stomach as he was rolled over
onto his back.  He knew what was about to happen, what Carl had in store for him.

“Once you’re broken in again, you’ll earn me quite a lot of money.  Just like in the old days.”  Carl whispered into Duo’s ear,
causing a shiver to run down the pilot’s spine.

The pain in his body as Carl forced himself into Duo, was dulled by the drugs running through his veins.  He barely felt it as Carl
used him once again, just like he had used him all those other times when he was younger.

And finally, the darkness overtook him.  His eyes fell shut as his mind slipped away, as everything just went away.  His last
thoughts were of Heero, wishing that Heero would save him from this nightmare somehow.



To Be Continued . . .