To Breathe Again

By: Ashiko-chan

So this is how it has to be.

It doesn't seem like that long, not a year anyway.

Will not another day go by without me think of you, Trowa?

Is that how it has to be?

Forever? Always? Eternally?

Sliding rain blurred the details outside the windows, tears falling from the sky. A young man pressed his face up against the window, his eyes staring into the sheets of rain. Another day of rain on the Winner estates, a depressing, endless rain.

I remember how it happened, just like it was yesterday.

I still feel the same amount of pain...

" Oi, Quatre!" a familiar voice greeted.

" Ohaiyo, Duo. What's the situation?"

" There's been an attack ten miles north of your current place. It's at the Shisei base, can you and Trowa get there?"

" Sure thing Duo. How's things holding down at Gemini?"

" Heero and I are holding 'em off...I don't know where Wufei is."

" Neither do I..."

" Bah, who cares about him. Just destroy the troops at Shisei, ne?"

" Will do, over and out."

" Ja ne!" Duo farewelled. Quatre looked down and pressed in the frequency for the Heavyarms.

" Hello Trowa?" Quatre asked before seeing his face appear on the screen.

" Yes, Quatre?"

" I just got a message from Duo, were supposed to head to the Shisei base ten miles north. Heero and Duo are going to cover Gemini."

" Okay, let's move out." Trowa's transmission faded from the screen. Sandrock began to lift of and move toward Shisei.

In the distance, they could see the vibrant explosions and the ringing of gunshots. Quatre winced, he hated war, he hated the sounds of the dying land. But this is what he lived for, to keep the colonies from this horror. To take the burden of others, that was his mission.

Leos and Aries assaulted the small base, missiles frenzied upon the buildings. Citizens living around the base flooded out of their homes, their cries filling the blood and exhaust drenched air. Sandrock whirled around, holding the heat shorters in his hands. Light gleamed of the stainless metal blades and Sandrock's armor almost glowed in the full sunlight.

Saying silent apologies, Quatre maneuvered the Gundam around. He cringed when he felt the metal blade slice through the protective armor of a Leo suit. Whipping around he sliced an Aries in half, quickly jumping away to miss the explosions. Again and again Quatre bit his lip to keep from screaming out in emotional torture.

These people don't deserve to die.

They're just doing what they're told.

Gomen nasai....gomen naisai...

Not to far off, Heavyarms shot down the surrounding mobile suits. Explosions sounded off one after another. Smoke rose up around the bodies of the mobile suits. Quatre turned around, no mobile suits in sight.

" Trowa, I'm not getting anything on radar. I think we're clear to go."

Quatre put Sandrock's weapons back in their holders. Turning around, taking in the scene, the acrid smell of death wavered upward. Sandrock began to move away, a cloud of smoke rising behind him. Two glowing eyes appeared from within the smog.

" QUATRE! LOOK OUT!!"

Quatre groaned as he felt Sandrock plummeting toward the Earth. Looking up, he saw his worst nightmare begin in seconds in front of his face.; Heavyarms taking a head on strike from two Aries' sabers. Trowa piloted Heavyarms to finish off an Aries, but the other maneuvered behind him and shot him in the back. A gasp escaped from Quatre's mouth as he saw a transmission incoming from Trowa. The screen was brutally painted with his blood, dripping downward off the screen.

" NO!! TROWA!!"

In rage, Quatre wheeled around and destroyed the other Aries. After, he jumped out of the cockpit and raced over to the Heavyarms. There was silence inside the cockpit. Absolute, undaunted silence.

" Trowa. Speak to me Trowa!" Quatre pleaded. Tears began to run out of his eyes as he looked at Trowa. His blood splattered all over the inside of the cockpit, flowing out from all parts of his body. Trowa moaned as he opened his eyes. Pain surged through his system, a cruel sadistic pain.

" Quatre...." Trowa mumbled. The blond boy unhooked his safety harness and lifted up Trowa's head. Trowa's typically apathetic eyes clouded over in pain and melancholy. Quatre stifled a gasp as he felt the blood soaking his hands.

" Trowa hang on, we'll get you to a hospital in just a second. Hang on!" Quatre begged. Trowa looked up at Quatre, with a tight smile on his face.

" Heero told me once that death hurts like Hell....he was right."

" Don't talk Trowa!" Quatre demanded. Trowa shook his head slightly, he knew that they wouldn't make it in time.

" I'll wait for you Quatre....You'll come and find me, right?"

" Trowa, don't talk like that!" Quatre directed. His eyes could barely see, the tears pouring out obstructed his vision.

" Quatre...I..."

" Trowa, please, *don't* talk!"

" I...loved..."

" Trowa, stop it! Please, stop it!" Quatre pleaded as he shut his eyes. Trowa's eyes let loose the tears he had held back, letting them trickle onto Quatre's hands.

" loved...."

" Trowa, please stop!! Please...." Quatre repeated..

"...."

The silence snapped Quatre out of his trance. He looked down at Trowa, his eyes had shut. He laid a hand over his chest, no heartbeat, no steady rise and fall of breath. Quatre's eyes widened after seconds, then minutes past. His body still laid silent,

Dead.

" Trowa..." Quatre murmured. His hands shook Trowa lightly in disbelief. Quatre's emotions spilled over, sorrow pouring out of his eyes harder than before. Wrapping his arms around his fallen one, he began to tremble as rain began to descend from the sky.

Quatre looked over to the shelf in his room. A letter laid covered in dust, Duo's letter. It was the letter that the braided one had written to him after the funeral. Pressing his hand against the cold glass, he gave in to the memories that played over in his mind.

One week passed since that day. Quatre sent out notices for the funeral to Heero, Duo, Wufei, Relena, and Catherine. Catherine arrived first, followed by Duo, and Heero, then Relena, and lastly Wufei. Trowa's sister sat in a constant state of sobbing, heartbroken over the loss of her last living relative. Heero and Wufei stood in corners silently, eyes directed downward in deep contemplation. Relena and Duo tried to comfort Quatre, who seemed locked in a trace.

" It was all my fault....He would still be alive if I would have been more careful..." he murmured over and over. Duo looked at him straight in the eyes, grabbing his shoulders.

" You can't keep blaming it on yourself, Quatre. We are soldiers in a war, and soldiers die. We all knew this when we agreed to be Gundam pilots," Duo confirmed. Quatre turned his eyes downward, tears beginning to form in his eyes once again.

" But....it should have been me. He didn't *have* to die. He...sacrificed himself...for me...he shouldn't have done that! Don't you see Duo?! I should have been me!" Quatre shouted. He had grabbed Duo's collar and began shaking him before his last words trailed of into tears. Heero looked up after Quatre's outburst. Duo wrapped his arm around him, letting the poor tormented boy cry on his shoulder. Relena rubbed his back gently, sadly gazing at the crying boy. All the while, Quatre kept whispering over and over again.

" It should have been me...."

The funeral took place at dusk. A beautiful sunset splashed across the sky and clouds floated in the air. Everyone else had already said their last farewells to Trowa, only Quatre was left. He bent over the casket, placing one last kiss on his beloved's lips. One solitary tear escaped his eye, landing on Trowa's face as if it belonged to him. Quatre stared at the tear, but didn't lift his hand to brush it away.

" I loved you, Trowa. I loved you."

With the final words said, the casket closed. The funeral home workers placed the coffin inside the grave, quickly shoveling dirt on top of it. Everyone stood there silently, watching the coffin disappear and slowly cover over. Within minutes, the grave was completely covered, leaving only the gravestone sticking up out of the ground. Quatre leaned over and his fingers tracing the letters engraved in the cold marble.

R.I.P.

Trowa Barton

A.C. 180 - A.C 195

Mattiero, Quatre

Placing a single red rose on the grave, Quatre stood up and looked into the sun. The star of the Solar System slowly disappeared beneath the horizon, leaving a cold darkness covering the Earth. Wrapping his arms around his chilling body, Quatre left the grave into the silence of the night.

Quatre sighed again, watching the rain continue to fall on the window. Standing up, he walked over to his bed, wrapping a comforter around his body. 365 days ago, his best friend, Trowa Barton died because of his error. Died because of him. His body began to quiver as sobs wracked his body. Tears fell, dampening the material of the blanket.

Trowa, gomen naisai.

I loved you so much Trowa...

But I still let you die.

I couldn't save you Trowa.

I'll be with you soon Trowa,

And maybe then I'll be able to breathe without grief.

I want to be able to breathe again....