Disclaimer:  I still own nothing.

Author’s notes:  More Duo suffering in this story.  It pics up with Duo’s perspective of what was happening to Quatre.  Enjoy.



Painful Memories
Part 13



Duo watched helplessly as Carl’s employees fondled Quatre, moving their disgusting hands along his shivering body.  Duo knew
two of these people, how perverted and sick they were.  He had met them sometime after Carl had brought him back the first
time.  They both had very bad reputations.  

The red-haired man was Todd, a guy who had a thing for innocent looking people, like Quatre.  Of course, after meeting Todd,
those boys and girls were no longer innocent, and sometimes no longer living.   And the girl with the bleached-blonde hair, was
Ivy.  She was known for how much she liked to “play” with the other employees, especially the ones that didn’t want to be in
this business in the first place.  Both of them could always be found around another of Carl’s employees, a man named Nick,
doing anything Nick ordered them to do.

Duo silently pleaded for Quatre to get through this, to hold on if only for a little while.  Duo knew he had to do something to
save his friend.  He had lost so many already . . . he didn’t want any more people to suffer because of him.

“What’s the matter, Carl?”  Duo blurted out, doing the only thing he could think of.  He struggled to keep his voice calm,
knowing he couldn’t show fear at a time like this.  “You know it too, don’t you?  They’re close to finding where we are, and
you know you’re a dead man when they do get here.”

Carl turned to Duo, a smile on his face.  “Maybe, but you will be dead, and this little one as good as dead before they can even
discover the name of this place.”  He paused for a moment, his smile widening.  “And I was having that house watched, while
you were recovering from those injuries Jack gave you.  How will that sweet-eyed Japanese boy take your death?  How will the
emerald-eyed acrobat take it if this one never returns?”  He gestured to Quatre as he spoke that last sentence.  Then he crossed
his arms in front of his chest and turned back to Duo, speaking once again.   “And that Chinese boy won’t last long on his own.  
A mission will come that he can’t handle alone and he’ll die.  They’ll all die, Duo.  All of them . . . All because of you.”

Duo bowed his head as Carl’s words sunk in.  This was all his fault.  He should have given in, then none of this would have
happened to Quatre.  He wouldn’t have been hurt like this, wouldn’t have been fondled or forced to watch as Duo was beaten
and raped.  It must be so painful for the blonde to sense all the suffering, to be a witness to all the pain and feel it along with
Duo.

Duo lifted his head and watched as Carl walked over to Quatre.  Carl snapped his fingers.  Todd and Ivy backed away from
Quatre, their heads bowed and looking slightly disappointed that they couldn’t finish what they had started.   The third person,
who Duo didn’t recognize, was obviously there to hold the blonde up.

Quatre looked so tired, so weak.  His body was shaking and covered in a sheen of sweat, despite the coldness in the room.  He
was so pale, the blood dripping from the bite mark in his ear a dark contrast to his almost grayish skin.

Carl just stood there for a moment, no doubt looking Quatre over.  Then, abruptly and without a word or warning, Carl reached
out and groped him.  Duo had a perfect view of everything, although he wished he didn’t.  Quatre was his friend, Duo didn’t
want to see him suffer, to see that man touching his already weakened body.

As Duo watched, hating himself for not having the strength to save his friend, a panicked look spread across Quatre’s face.  
“Duo!”  He yelled out, before once again becoming silent.

“Carl, stop it!”  Duo shouted frantically.  “Stop it now!”

But even as he said the words, Duo noticed the change.  A single tear trailed down Quatre’s pale face as his eyes went blank, as
something within his eyes disappeared.  Something was terribly wrong, Duo was sure of that.  No, not Quatre, it couldn’t be
true, he had to be all right.  Duo screamed out Quatre’s name in denial, a memory resurfacing in his mind of yelling out in just
the same way when Sister Helen had died.  He didn’t want to believe it, although the truth was apparent.  Quatre was gone, his
mind had finally slipped away.

Carl took a step back, away from Quatre.  He waved his hand in front of Quatre’s empty eyes, snapping his fingers a few
times.  But there was no reaction from Quatre.  He didn’t even blink or twitch in any visible way.

“What a pity.”  Carl said, turning to Duo, a playful smile on his face.

Duo lowered his gaze to the floor, crying for the loss of his friend.  He couldn’t stop himself.  It was all his own fault that
Quatre was the way he was.  Why hadn’t he just stayed with Carl?  Why hadn’t he died in the streets after Jack had those men
beat him?  Everything would have been so much better if he had.  Quatre wouldn’t be in that condition, he would never have
gotten sick in the first place, and he never would have known what it was like to be touched by that disgusting man.

“Can we play with him now, sir?”  Ivy asked.

Duo raised his head, looking on in shock and disgust, as Ivy and Todd both stepped toward Quatre.  He couldn’t believe this.  
Even though his mind was gone, these two still wanted him?  How could they be so disgusting, so sick?

“No.  Leave him be.”  Carl replied, his tone commanding.  He turned to the man holding Quatre up.  “Take him back to his
room.  I have no further use for him.”

Duo watched as the man lifted Quatre from the floor, carefully carrying him in his arms.  He looked like he was sorry for
Quatre’s current condition, a hint of sadness in his red-rimmed eyes.  Most likely, he was only doing this to get his fix of drugs,
as Duo himself had once done not too long ago.

“What about him?”  Todd asked.  He pointed to Duo.

“Go ahead.  Have fun.”  Carl smiled.

Duo shuddered, trying to move away from them as Ivy and Todd approached him.  As they walked, each of them removed their
garments, leaving them both completely naked by the time they reached Duo.

Todd moved behind Duo, lifting him to a kneeling position.  He held him up, pressing his body close to Duo, Ivy did the same
from the front.  He was stuck between the two of them, unable to fight them off because he had no strength, feeling an
unbearable need to retch at the disgusting nature of these two people.

Todd’s arm moved around Duo’s waist, keeping him from falling, his other hand stroking Duo’s thigh.  Ivy leaned forward,
sliding her tongue along Duo’s chest, while her hands snaked down to fondle his genitals.  Duo groaned at her touch, not
wanting his body to react the way it was.  But he couldn’t stop it, it was a natural reaction to what she was doing.

“Wonderful.”  She moaned, as she lifted herself onto his lap, impaling herself on him.  Behind him, Todd pushed up into him,
causing Duo to cry out in pain.  The two of them moved in perfect rhythm with each other as they both enjoyed using Duo’s
body.  Duo bit into his lip, turning his face to the side as he clenched his eyes shut, not wanting to look at Ivy, while his own
body reacted in a natural way.  He could feel it as he approached the edge, as he came closer to his own climax.  He bit into his
lip, hard enough to draw blood, not wanting to give either of them the satisfaction of hearing him make a sound.

Ivy screamed out an excited, “Yes!”  as she reached her climax, and Duo’s back arched as he hit his own climax, as he released
his fluids into her.  He didn’t even realize that Todd had finished with him until he was so roughly pushed to the floor.  Duo
landed on his side, a sharp pain shooting up his arm as his broken arm hit the hard floor.

Todd and Ivy moved away from him, picking up their clothes and putting them on as Carl stepped forward.  Carl stood over
Duo, “Honestly, Duo . . . I don’t see why you put up such a fuss.  You actually enjoyed it this time.  Just look at yourself,
trembling from the remnants of the pleasure that coursed through your body.  You can’t possibly have any excuse now.”  He
paused, leaning over Duo to whisper into his ear.  “There might be some time to save that little blonde.  Maybe he’s not too far
gone just yet.  All you have to do is come back to me and stop being so difficult.”

Duo turned his face to Carl, sneering.  “Go to hell!”  He yelled, not allowing himself to give up, not after all that Quatre had
sacrificed for him.  Even if he didn’t think he deserved his life, he wasn’t ready to just throw it away yet.

Carl chuckled, standing up straight once again.  “Duo, Duo, Duo . . . you just signed your own death certificate.”  He turned to
his two employees.  “Get Jack.  Tell him to finish the job this time.”

Ivy answered meekly, adjusting her halter top.  “He’s with a client, boss.”

“Then tell him to come see me when he gets back.  Tell him I have a job for him.”  Carl replied, then turned back to Duo as he
continued to speak.  “This piece of trash isn’t going anywhere.”  Carl smiled, then pulled back his arm.  An instant later, a fist
collided with Duo’s eye and darkness enveloped him, sending him back into unconsciousness once again.



*****


Wufei stared across the table at Heero.  The pilot was glaring at him, as if he wanted to kill him.  He looked as if he just wanted
to leap over the table and beat Duo’s location out of Wufei.

Hilde looked over, as she walked out of the kitchen, carrying a plate in each hand.  “Heero, if you kill Wufei now, you will never
learn where Duo is.  So just sit there and be patient.”  She said.

Wufei was surprised at her playful tone, but then he noticed how badly her hands shook as she held the plates.  She was
probably just as upset as the rest of them.  After all, she and Duo were very good friends and had gotten pretty close.  Duo
treated her like she was a sister to him, although Wufei suspected that she felt more for Duo than just friendship.

Wufei could smell the bacon, could see the eggs and toast that Hilde had made for breakfast.  She set the plates on the table, one
in front of Heero, the other in front of Trowa.  Then, Relena came out, carrying more plates.  Catherine followed, doing the
same.  Hilde went back into the kitchen, and brought out the last two plates, setting them down in front of two empty seats.  
They were obviously for Sally and David.  

“Come on guys,”  Hilde said, sitting in a chair and picking up her fork.  “Eat it before it gets cold.”

Wufei picked up his fork, not really hungry.  He was still too concerned about Duo and Quatre, not to mention David.  The
young boy had just been assaulted.  Who knew how much damage had been done to both his body and mind.  But still, even
though Wufei wasn’t really hungry, he ate.  There was no need to further upset Hilde or any of the other girls, and it might
cause both Trowa and Heero to consider eating something.

After only a few bites, which took him a lot longer than it should have, Heero put his fork down on his plate.  “Why are we
siting here eating, when Duo and Quatre still need our help?”  He asked.

“We need to come up with a plan, and I want to make sure young David is well before we go anywhere.”  Wufei answered after
swallowing a bite of food.

“How did you find the boy?”  Trowa asked, pushing his own plate away from himself.  

“I do not wish to get into that until I find out how his health is.  So let us discuss the plan for getting Duo and Quatre out
safely.”  Wufei said, avoiding the topic Trowa had brought up.

“Fine.  But you will have to tell us where they are, so we can come up with this plan.”  Heero said.

“They are at the Imperial Hotel, in the city.  And we have a time limit.  It seems that Carl is moving his business.”  Wufei replied.

“When?”  Trowa asked.

“By nightfall, tonight.”  Wufei answered, not looking at either of the pilots that sat across from him.

Heero opened his mouth to speak, but any words he had to say were cut off when Sally entered the dining room.  David wasn’t
with her.  She stayed by the door, and Wufei saw that her grip on her crutches was unusually tight.  Her knuckles were turning
white from the strong grip she held.  Her face was twisted in anger, and it looked as if any minute she could explode from her
rage.

Sally took several deep breaths, in an obvious attempt to calm herself.  Then she looked to Wufei.  “You were right.”  She said
quickly.

Wufei lowered his head after hearing Sally’s news, although he had already known it had happened.  Maybe he just hadn't
wanted to believe it.  David was just a boy.  It was too horrible a thought to know what Nick Smith had done to him.

“About what?”  Relena asked.

Sally glanced down at Wufei again, silently asking for permission before she spoke.  Wufei only nodded his head, not able to find
the words to speak.  Sally sat in a nearby chair, before saying anything.

“David is undernourished.  There are numerous bruises on his body, various cuts and lacerations . . .”  Sally said, her words
trailing off.  Then her face grew pale as she looked down to the table.  “He’s been sexually assaulted.”  She said in a choked
voice.

Wufei watched the expressions of the people sitting around the table.  Both Heero and Trowa looked furious.  Catherine covered
her mouth with her hands, stopping the gasp before it left her mouth.  Catherine then turned to Trowa, burying her face in his
shoulder, as her own shoulders shook from her sobs.  Relena bit into her bottom lip, as tears began to stream down her cheeks,
and Hilde just bolted out of the room, her hand flying to her mouth.

Trowa wrapped his arms around Catherine, but still stared at Wufei.  “How did you find David?”  He asked.

“I discovered that Nick Smith was frequently arrested at a sleazy bar in the city, so I went there to find him.  I questioned one
of the patrons, and he told me that Mr. Smith used the bar as a way to find new employees and new clients for Carl.  The man
then told me that Mr. Smith was in the back room testing out a new employee.”  Wufei paused, trying to determine the best way
to put what he was thinking into words.  “I opened the door, and I saw David lying on the floor.  Mr. Smith had apparently just
finished with him.  I could not just leave David in that place, so I brought him with me.”

Wufei stood, feeling a need to leave the room.  If anyone said anything, he didn’t hear them.  He just wanted to get away for a
moment, some time to himself.  As he walked, he passed by the bathroom.  He paused, hearing the unmistakable sounds of
someone crying.  It must be Hilde, he thought, as he reached out to the doorknob.  But he stopped himself, as he heard her
words, her choked up sobs.  

“He’s just a baby.”  Hilde cried.  “What kind of perverted bastard would do that to such a sweet-looking kid?”

Wufei backed away, not needing to hear anymore.  Maybe he should just let Hilde be alone.  She obviously didn’t want to let
others see her tears, or she would have stayed in the room.  If she needed to talk, she could always say something to someone
later.  

Wufei stepped back into the dinning room.  He saw David standing in the doorway to the living room.  He noticed that David
held onto a teddy bear, and he wondered when Heero had given it to him.  But the jacket was gone from around David’s
shoulders, and his tattered clothing hung loosely on his shivering body.  The boy looked frightened, biting his fingernails and
looking at the group that sat around the table as if they would hurt him.

“David?”  Wufei said, trying to keep his voice calm, but it was difficult after having to tell the others about what had happened
to the boy.

David backed away into the living room, whimpering slightly as he moved, taking his fingers away from his mouth.  He looked
absolutely terrified, and whispered in a quiet voice,  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to do anything wrong.”  He continued backing
away as everyone stood, his body trembling in fear.

Catherine stepped toward him slowly, motioning with her hand for the others to stay back.  She crouched down a few feet
away from David, and smiled sweetly, holding out her hand to him.  “It’s okay, we’re not mad at you, just at what happened to
you.”  She said.

David hesitantly stepped forward, taking her hand slowly, his eyes narrowed in suspicion.  He still didn’t look as if he trusted
anyone.  But Wufei couldn’t blame him for his lack of trust.  After what he had been through, it was a miracle that he had taken
Catherine’s hand at all.

“Are you hungry?”  Catherine asked.

David nodded once.

“Good.  Then why don’t you sit and eat?  Hilde made some food for you.”  Catherine said, leading David over to the table.  
Wufei followed them, going back to his own seat, which was next to David’s.  He couldn’t help but notice the pained expression
on David’s face as he sat in the chair, the small gasp that escaped the boy’s lips.

Everyone seemed to be watching David as he picked up his fork.  David’s eyes darted around nervously at the people
surrounding him.  Slowly, he began eating, at first only picking at his food.  Then he began to relax a little, taking larger bites of
food.

“So, now that you know where Duo and Quatre are, how are you gonna get them out?”  Hilde asked as she entered the dining
room.  It was an obvious attempt to get everyone’s attention off of David, and it worked.  

The pilots and the girls all looked up at Hilde when she spoke.  Wufei noticed the red, puffy eyes, caused from all her tears.  
“Yes.  We should come up with a plan.”  Wufei said, deciding that she did have a good idea.  They did need to think of a plan,
and soon.

“We could go in as clients.”  Trowa said.

“No, I absolutely refuse to degrade myself in such a manner.”  Wufei huffed, not even wanting to hear more of that plan.  It
would be too demeaning.

After a short silence, Relena suggested,  “Could you climb the walls, get in a window somewhere?”

“Too complicated, and too much of a risk of being seen.”  Heero replied.

“What about an aerial approach?”  Wufei asked.

“No.”  Trowa answered.  “It would be too risky for Duo and Quatre.  If they saw us coming, Carl might hurt them.”

Wufei frowned, trying to think of another idea.  Another silence fell upon the group, this time lasting several minutes, long
enough for David to finish eating.  He just sat there beside Wufei, listening to the conversation, still clutching that bear with one
arm.

David spoke, his voice quiet, timid.  “Why don’t you guys just bust in there with guns blazing?”  He asked.

“This is pointless!”  Heero shouted, almost immediately after David had talked.  He stood up, slamming his fist on the table,
causing the various dishes and glasses on the table to clatter.

David jumped from his seat and ran from the room.  Wufei had noticed the fear return to his eyes just before he left.  Wufei
turned to Heero, glaring.  “Are you insane?”  He shouted.  “Do you not remember how frightened he already is?  You should
learn to control your temper!  Especially around that boy.”  

Wufei stood and walked away from the table, going after David.  “David?”  He called, entering the living room.  But he didn’t
see the boy anywhere.  He had to admit, that even when he was hurt, David was very fast.

Quickly, he returned to the dining room.  “He’s gone.  Help me find him.”  Making it sound more like a demand than a plea for
assistance.

Everyone stood, except for Heero, and Relena who sat beside him.  The others walked out of the room, passing Wufei on their
way out.  Wufei just stood there in the doorway.  As he watched, Relena threw her arms around Heero without saying a word.  
And to Wufei’s surprise, Heero didn’t pull away from her.  In fact, he bowed his head, silent tears falling from his eyes.

“I don’t know what I’ll do without Duo.”  Heero sobbed.  “I didn’t mean to yell at David like that.  I didn’t mean it.”  He
wrapped his arms around Relena, returning the embrace as he continued to cry.

Wufei backed away from the door, regretting his earlier words.  Heero just didn’t know how to control his anger yet.  He was
nearing the edge of all control, and he didn’t know how to handle it.  Wufei knew he should have been kinder.  It was hard for
Heero to go through this, first opening himself up to emotions only to have the one he loved taken away from him.   Wufei
turned and walked away, starting his search for David, and knowing that he should apologize to Heero later for his hasty words.


*****


Trowa climbed the stairs, thinking that he might have heard a noise coming from the second floor.  When he reached the top of
the stairs, he saw that his bedroom door was open.  He knew that he hadn’t left it open.  He never left it open.  David must have
gone in there.

He quickly walked down the hallway.  Slowly he pushed open his door, and entered the room, flicking on the light switch as he
passed by it.  He scanned the room with his eyes, not seeing anything out of the ordinary.  Everything seemed to be in place, and
there was no sign of David anywhere.  Then a sound from under the bed caught his attention.

Trowa knelt down, and leaned over, looking under the bed.  There was David, curled in a fetal position under the bed, staring at
Trowa with those big, frightened violet eyes of his.  He looked ready to scream in terror, and Trowa wondered if it was just
because he had been found.

“Come on out, David.  No one’s going to hurt you.”  Trowa said calmly, trying to get the boy to come out on his own.  Sure, he
could just reach in and pull him out.  But he knew he couldn’t force David to come out.  Doing that would only scare him more.

“No.”  David answered, his voice quavering.  “He’s mad at me.  He’ll hurt me, just like everyone else.”

“Who, Heero?”  Trowa replied,  “Yes, he was mad, but not at you.  He just misses Duo very much and he’s angry that we can’t
come up with an idea to save him.”  

“No.”  David said.  “He’s angry at me, I heard it.  He’s angry that I made that stupid suggestion.”

“Your suggestion was not stupid.  It’s just that Heero has problems with controlling his emotions.  I’m sure he didn’t mean to
shout like that.”  Trowa said.  “Now will you please come out?”

“No.”  David replied, ducking his head down so that his face pressed into the teddy bear that he clutched so tightly against his
body.  His body was shaking, but Trowa suspected that it was not because he was cold, but because he was completely terrified.

Trowa stood, knowing he wasn’t going to get anywhere this way.  He just had to think of some way to calm David down, to
get him to come out on his own.  Trowa looked around at his room, searching for anything that could be of use.  

He walked over to the closet and opened it, looking inside.  He immediately saw the case for Quatre’s violin resting on a low
shelf.  He ran his hand over the case, a faint smile crossing his face for a moment as he thought of how much Quatre loved to
play the violin.  Beside the violin case, was another case, and in it was Trowa’s flute.  He remembered playing with Quatre that
first time, the duet he could still hear in his mind.  

Both instruments, along with several changes of clothes, had been brought from the base by a courier.  Trowa and the other
pilots had sent for their stuff while Duo was recovering, knowing that none of them would be leaving any time soon.  And when
Quatre had taken ill, sensing all those emotions within the safe house, Trowa had played his flute for him, in an attempt to help
him feel better.  Of course, he didn’t play often.  And those few times he had played, it had helped only a small amount, making
Quatre sleep peacefully for only a few hours.  But when Quatre’s health continued to get worse, not even Trowa’s flute playing
made Quatre any better, and he eventually stopped trying.

Trowa opened the case and pulled out the flute.  He then walked back over to a chair and sat across from the bed.  He sighed,
then lifted the instrument to his lips starting a soft melody, one that he hoped would calm David’s nerves.  All the time he played,
he watched the bed, waiting for any sign to tell him that David was coming out.

After a few minutes, a face peeked out from beneath the bed, watching Trowa with fascinated eyes.  Slowly, David crawled
out, his clothes nearly falling off of him as he moved.  He sat in front of Trowa, crossing his legs in front of him as he listened
intently to every note that was played.

Trowa smiled as he finished the tune.  “I see you’ve come out of hiding.”  He commented.

“That was pretty.”  David said.

“Feel better?”  Trowa asked, laying the flute on the table beside the chair.

David nodded.  He tried to pull his clothes back over his shivering body.  But they just kept falling again.

Trowa stood, slowly walking over to a dresser.  He opened one of the drawers and pulled out a pair of pajamas.  They were
Quatre’s, so they shouldn’t be too big on David.  Quatre was smaller than the rest of the guys.  “Here,”  Trowa said, turning
back to David.  “You look like you could use something warm to wear.”

David stood and took the clothes from him.  Trowa smiled as he watched the boy run his fingers over the soft material.  “Is this
silk?”  He asked innocently.

“Yes.”

“Wow, I never felt silk before.  It’s soft and smooth.”  He commented.

“Why don’t we get you cleaned up, and you can put them on.”  Trowa said.

“Really?  I get to wear these?”  David said, looking up at Trowa with a hopeful expression.

“Of course.  Come on.”  He ushered David to the bathroom, being careful not to touch him.  He really didn’t want to scare the
boy again.

David stayed by the door, as Trowa walked in and turned on the water in the bathtub.  He placed his hand under the flow of
water, checking to see if it was warm enough.  When the temperature satisfied him, he plugged the drain.  Then he set about
getting everything that David would need, towels, soap, washcloths, shampoo.  He took the pajamas from David, setting them
on the lid of the toilet.  Then he waited for the tub to fill, before turning off the water.

“I’ll leave you alone to get cleaned up.  You can lock the door if you don’t trust me.  When you’re done, I’ll be waiting outside
to take you back down to the others.  I’m sure they’re all pretty worried about you.”  Trowa said.

David nodded.  He looked up at Trowa, then slowly held out the bear.  “Will you take care of it for me?”  He asked.

“I’ll keep and eye on it, until you get back.”  Trowa replied, taking the bear from his hands.

David walked into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him.  Trowa heard the door lock from the inside.  But he wasn't really
surprised.  David still didn’t trust anybody, and it would be a long time before he did.  Trowa knew that from personal
experience.  He himself hadn’t trusted anyone for so long, not until he met Quatre.  But maybe it wouldn’t take David so long to
learn to trust again.  He knew that none of the pilots would turn David away when he needed help.  Trowa and the other guys
would all be there to help David, showing him the kindness that Trowa had never received when he had truly needed it so long
ago.

A short time later, Trowa looked down at his watch, wondering what was taking David so long.  Just as he dropped his hand
back to his side, he heard the door being unlocked.  Slowly the door opened and David walked out, dressed in Quatre’s pajamas,
the blood and dirt cleaned from his body and hair.  The pajamas were light blue, and just a little bit too big on him, but at least
they covered him more completely than the tattered clothes he had been wearing.  

His hair seemed lighter now, probably because the dirt and blood had been cleaned from it.  Now it looked almost the same
shade as Quatre’s, maybe just the slightest bit darker, but still so close to Quatre’s shade.  Seeing David standing there, with the
combination of the shade of his hair and the fact that he was wearing Quatre’s clothes, Trowa couldn’t help but think about his
angel.  He felt a tear fall from his eye.

“You okay?”  David asked, looking up at him with confusion on his face.

“Yeah.”  Trowa answered, not wanting to upset the boy.  “It’s just that you remind me of Quatre.  You look so much like him.”

“You love him, huh?”  David said, staring down at the floor.

“Yeah.  He’s the only one that’s ever been able to see the real me, the only one I’ve let into my heart.  Before I met him, my life
was empty.  I was no one.  And without him, I’m nothing again.”  Trowa answered, not understanding why he was saying any
of this to David.  There was just something about the boy that made him want to talk to him, something unexplainable.

“You’ll find him, I’m sure you will.”  David replied, a small smile crossing his face for the shortest of moments.  Then he
bowed his head.  “You can’t lose hope.  If you do, there’s nothing left.”

“Here.”  Trowa smiled and gave the bear back to David.  He didn’t like the expression on David’s face, the way it had just gone
so pale, as if horrible memories were resurfacing in his young mind.  Trowa felt that he had to do something to distract him.  
“Come on.  The others are probably wondering where we both got too.”

“They’re not worried about me.”  David said quietly, his head still bowed.

“Yes they are.  I was worried, and I’m sure my friends are too.”  Trowa replied, leading David back down the stairs.  David
remained silent as Trowa led him, not saying one more word.

As they entered the living room, Trowa noticed Wufei opening a closet and looking in, before walking to another closet and
doing the same.  “I found him.”  Trowa said, calmly.  

Wufei looked up, then walked over.  “Where was he?”

“Under my bed.”  Trowa replied.  “Where are the others?”

“Sally and Catherine are outside looking for David, Hilde is searching the cars, and Relena and Heero are in the dining room.”

Trowa glanced down at David.  “See, I told you they were worried about you.”

David smiled slightly.  Then he turned his head, his gaze settling on the door to the dining room.  His smile disappeared almost
immediately.

Trowa placed his hand on David’s shoulder, gently pushing him toward the dining room.  “Come on.”

David ducked away, running to hide behind Wufei.  “No, he hates me.”  He said.  “He’ll hurt me.”

Trowa knelt down and Wufei turned to see David.  “No”  Trowa said.  “He doesn’t hate you, and he would never hurt you.  I’m
sure he’ll apologize when he sees you.”

“No, he won’t.  He’ll hurt me.”  David insisted.

Wufei placed his hand on David’s shoulder.  “Do you think I would let you get hurt?  Heero will not hurt you.  I know he did
not mean to yell like that.  Go and see for yourself.  And if Heero makes a move to hurt you, I’m sure that Trowa will protect
you from him.”

David slowly stepped out from behind Wufei.  “All right.”  He said quietly.  Trowa noticed that David seemed to listen to Wufei
more than anyone, no doubt because he was the one that rescued David in the first place.

David walked ahead of Trowa, taking slow small steps.  When they finally reached the door, Trowa was surprised to see Heero
in Relena’s arms.  He was crying, but it seemed as if he was struggling against the tears.

“Heero?”  Trowa said, trying to get his attention.

Heero turned to them, wiping his tears from his face.  He looked at David, apparently fighting against his emotions once again.  
“I’m sorry I scared you.  I didn’t mean to yell like that.  I wasn’t mad at you.  I'm mad at Carl, mad at this whole situation, at
my own uselessness.”  Saying, “uselessness,” with an unusually venomous tone.  He smiled slightly at David.  “But I was never
mad at you.”

Relena turned Heero to face her.  “Why don’t you use your laptop and get the layout of the hotel?  I’m sure that will be of some
use.”

Heero smiled.  “Yes.  I’ll do that.”  He said, regaining his composure.  He stood and left the dining room, passing by an amazed
Trowa and an even more surprised David.  Trowa turned, watching as Heero walked to the stairs.

Then Trowa and David left the dining room, with Relena following them.  Just as they entered the room, Wufei walked in from
outside.  Trowa hadn’t even noticed that he had left.  Behind Wufei were Catherine, Sally, and Hilde.

Trowa and David sat on the sofa, while the others also took seats around the living room.  Relena spoke up, “Wufei, Trowa,
why didn’t either of you give Heero something to do?  You know he’s not the type that likes to be idle.”

Wufei glared at her from his seat.  “His judgement was seriously impaired  . . . His frantic state would have caused him to
overlook things we did not have time to overlook.  Trowa, although upset, understood that there are some things more important
than personal pain.”

Trowa was surprised that Wufei had stood up for him.  But he didn’t like the way he had spoken of Heero.  “Wait, Wufei, don’t
be too harsh when judging Heero.  You know he is just learning to feel again.  He was trained to see his emotions as a
distraction, just like I was.  He thought that he was never supposed to fall in love with Duo.  And finally when he let somebody
in, the only thing keeping him sane was taken from him.  I know how he feels, so don’t judge him when you can’t possibly
understand what it is like for him, or for me.”  Trowa said, rising to his feet.  

He quickly walked away from the sofa, going over to stand in front of a nearby bookcase, pretending to find something
interesting, although nothing on the shelves appealed to him.  He just didn’t want the others to see him like this, to see the tears
that had fallen from his eyes.

Arms wrapped around his waist, a head lay against his back, but Trowa didn’t have to turn to know that it was Catherine
holding him. “It’s okay, Trowa.  I'm sure Quatre is fine.  You’ll see him soon.”

Trowa wanted to believe her, but didn’t know if he could.  There was just something telling him that a terrible thing had already
happened.  It was a feeling he couldn’t explain.

He wiped away his tears as he turned to Catherine.  “Thanks.”  He said quietly, not wanting the others to overhear.

“Carl has nothing to worry about.”  David said.  Trowa looked to him and saw him lower his head as he continued to speak.  
“You guys are so busy fighting with one another, he’ll be long gone by the time you get a good plan.”

“I got it!”  Heero shouted, running down the stairs, waving a printout over his head.

“That was fast.”  Hilde commented.

“Not really.”  Wufei replied, looking at his watch.  “I expected him about two minutes ago.”

“At least now, we can come up with a decent plan.”  Trowa said, walking back over to the sofa.  In his mind he hoped that
Catherine was right, that he would find Quatre all right.  Trowa didn’t know what he would do if he didn’t have his angel in his
life.


*****


Duo was aware of the coldness of the room, but for the moment that was all he felt.  Carl had only punched him that last time,
but now it seemed as if all his injuries were catching up with him, everything seemed to hurt.  Everything around him was still
black, as he struggled to open his eyes.  A distant sound pulled him closer to his goal.  It was the sound of the door opening, the
sound of footsteps approaching him.  Must be Carl, he thought, or maybe Jack coming to kill him.

Finally, he was able to open his eyes.  The person before him was vague, as Duo’s vision remained fuzzy.  Whoever it was didn’
t look familiar to Duo.  Maybe Carl had sent somebody else, maybe he didn’t want to wait for Jack to get back.

The man knelt down beside Duo, rolling him over onto his back.  The way he moved Duo, it wasn’t rough, wasn’t like anyone
that had come to hurt him before.  It was almost as if this person cared about not hurting him.  But Duo pushed those ideas
away for the moment, no one in this place cared about him.  Only Quatre had cared, but now his mind was gone.

Something stinging touched Duo’s skin.  If Duo wasn’t mistaken, it smelled like an antiseptic of some kind.  But why would
anyone care enough to tend to his injuries?  He closed then reopened his eyes, trying once again to focus them.  But his vision
was still too clouded, the man before him was just a dark blur.

A voice spoke to Duo as his injuries were treated.  “I always admired you.  You got out of this Hell hole, not just once, but
twice.  You’re a good guy, Duo.  I hope that whoever you’re waiting for finds you and gets you out of here.”  He leaned closer,
but still Duo couldn’t make out his face.  “Get out a third time, and they won’t bother coming after you again.  You’ll be too
much of a hassle.  Hear me?  Survive this and get out of here.”  The man moved away.  “I’d get you out of here myself, but I
got someone else to worry about besides myself and I don’t want Carl getting him.  I’ll see about getting your friend out
because Carl doesn’t want him anymore.  But I can’t make any promises.”  

The man stood and moved away from Duo.  “Why?”  Duo asked, finally able to choke out that single word.

“I told you, Duo.”  The faceless voice said.  “I admire you.  You did something I only wish I could do.  You got out.”

Duo searched his mind for a face to go with the voice he had heard.  He went over the names and faces of people that had
actually been nice to him, but always he drew a blank.  All that time he had spent as Carl’s employee a few weeks ago, he had
usually been stoned out of his mind.  He would have forgotten the names of anyone that was nice to him the moment he walked
away from the person, maybe even sooner.

“I think I’ll just keep you company for a little while.  I can’t help you escape, but maybe I can help in some other way, keeping
you conscious for example.  You seem to have a concussion, probably why your eyes can’t focus properly.  If you fall asleep,
you may not wake up again.”  The vague formed sat on the floor across from Duo, only a few feet away.

“How do you know my eyes can’t focus?”  Duo asked, trying to sound brave, as if he wasn’t hurt that badly.

“I can tell.  I’ve seen people with concussions before.  Just last week Jack walked in with one.  No other injuries, just the huge
bump on his head.  One of his clients got a little violent, I guess.”  

“Jack?”  Duo asked, wondering why Jack had been hurt by a client.  If Duo remembered correctly, Jack had never had any
violent clients.  

“You don’t know, do you?”  The voice asked.  “Well, of course you wouldn’t know.  It happened because of what he did to
you.”

Duo squinted his eyes, still trying to focus them.  He really wanted to know who this guy was.  “What happened to him?”

“Carl was furious after he found out what Jack did to you.  He brought Jack down here and showed him the same kind of
treatment he usually gives to new employees.  He was put through a great deal of pain, all the time begging for forgiveness and
saying how he just wanted to be the favorite again.  But Carl only wanted him to feel the pain, and in the end Carl forced Jack to
accept the drugs.  Then Carl went one step further, giving Jack the more violent clients, the ones that are into bondage.”  The
voice said.

Duo smiled, not feeling sorry in the least for the little punk.  It was Jack’s own fault that he had been punished.  Duo turned his
head, looking to the ceiling.  “Talk about more pleasant things.”  He said, not wanting to hear of pain for the moment, even if it
was Jack’s pain.

“Okay, let’s see.”  There was a slight pause, as the unknown man was obviously thinking of something to say.  “How about
something amusing?  It’s a little known fact that there is not a single fortune in a fortune cookie out there that can’t be improved
by adding the words, ‘in bed,’ to the end of it.  I’m dead serious, every fortune makes way more sense if you add those two
little words.”

Duo let out a chuckle, thinking of some of the various fortunes he had received in fortune cookies.  Each one that he could
remember, did indeed get better when he added those two words.  “Thanks.”  He said, appreciating this stranger’s kindness.

“How about recent news next?  I know something you may find interesting.”  The voice said.

Duo nodded, curious.

“I noticed something when I was in the computer room a few minutes ago.  Someone was hacking into our computer system.  
He was very skilled, but Carl employs the best and has several hidden traps within his systems.  I assumed it was one of your
friends, since they only took the layout of this building, so I casually stopped the source from being traced.”

“Heero.”  Duo gasped, knowing that he was the only one it could have been.  But Heero was too skilled to ever get caught.  
Maybe he was distracted, thinking of Duo’s safety.  But Duo pushed the thought away, nothing ever got in Heero's way when
he wanted something, not even Duo.

“Your friend is very skilled, far greater than me.  I am trying to improve my hacking, maybe to help myself get out of this Hell,
but that’s not important now.  Anyway, I believe I caught it just in time, if I had walked into that room a few seconds later, Carl
would probably already know that your friends were looking for you.”  The voice said.

“Thank you.”  Duo replied, grateful that this stranger had stopped Carl from finding out about Heero’s hacking.  His heart leapt,
knowing that Heero and the others were on their way.  Soon, he’d be free, if Heero got to him in time.  But he had to keep up
his hope, had to stay strong.  Heero was on his way.  He would rescue him, he had to.



To Be Continued . . .