|A NEW LIFE
There was a sound of talking. He could hear voices he remembered, ones he felt safe and happy with, but the darkness was still tempting; there weren't any bad things in the darkness. Settling back, he relaxed into the void; there'd be plenty of time later for the safe voices.
But the darkness he'd thought was safe took on a new light. He looked above him; large energy efficient, sterile lights lined the ceiling; one was directly over him. Looking to the left, he saw a huge mirror, and in it he could see his reflection. A young boy, no more than five or six lay strapped to a metal table-he was that little boy.
He struggled, pulling at the metal bonds that held his wrists and legs bound. Shaking his body, he tried with all of his strength to break out, to get free. A sudden thought had him straining harder and more furiously against the shackles; she needed him; they were going to hurt her unless he fought.
A sharp stinging across his wrists told him he'd sliced them open on the metal cuffs, but it didn't matter; she needed him; they'd hurt her if he didn't do something. He couldn't let anything happen to her.
Suddenly, the doors to his right opened, and a man wearing a white lab coat entered the room. He had a twisted smile on his face. He knew that this man was bad, evil; he'd hurt them both, him and her. He struggled harder, but it didn't help; he couldn't break free, and he knew that, but he had to keep fighting; he had to or they'd hurt her.
He felt the hand slam across his face, driving his left cheek into the cold steel of the table. He hurt; it hurt badly. He just wanted to get away, just wanted to save her, to keep her safe. He felt the prick of the needle. It was almost over; if he didn't get away, if he stopped fighting, she'd be hurt; they'd hurt her because he hadn't fought hard enough. He had to fight, had to save her, had to protect her. But his eyes were getting
heavy, his arms wouldn't move anymore. He kept trying, kept struggling, until it became even hard to breath, then as the blackness surrounded him, all he could think about was that he hadn't fought hard enough.
Then he was dropping, falling thousands of miles, faster and faster, the bottom of his drop nowhere in sight. He had to take a breath.
He sat straight up, chest heaving, trying to gain enough oxygen to maintain consciousness. Quatre spun his head around, recognizing the living room and his place on the couch. All this in the split second it took Trowa to reach him.
"Quatre, Quatre, it's ok. I'm here, Quatre. It's alright." Strong arms wrapped about him, and Quatre could do little else besides allow his head to fall on his lover's shoulder and weep. He cried for the little boy, for the pain and the fear; he cried for her, the one he didn't know, but was suffer none the less.
Trowa rocked him, whispering soothing words into his ear, laying soft touches of his mouth against his hair. All Quatre could do was cling to him, desperately seeking comfort in this reality and not the last. Grounding himself in the real world and not his dream.
"Quatre what is it? Are you alright? Was it that dream again?" He nodded his head; he needed Trowa to understand, to make it go away. He needed Trowa; he was the only one who could make it stop.
"It-it was-was awful. I-I-was so-so-Trowa."
"Shhhh, Quatre it's all right. You're safe here, the nightmare isn't real, nothing about it is real. I'm here you're with me, you're not alone Quatre, you're not alone. I'm with you." Again and again he heard Trowa repeat his phrases only to have him cling more and more to him. It wasn't that he didn't recognize his words, but his voice.Trowa's beautiful voice comforted him, lulled him, kept him safe from the feelings of being so helpless, so alone and afraid.
When he felt as if he could finally breathe again, he moved away only slightly and looked at Trowa. His lover's eyes were worried, pained at his own pain. He sniffled and wiped the tears from his face with the back of his hand.
"The dream, it's so real. I-felt so alone, so helpless. I've never experienced something like it before. It's so real, like I'm pathing directly with someone-a child-a little boy. He isn't more than five or six, and he has stone gray eyes, eyes that see into the soul. I-I'm not sure what's really going on, but I just know this can't be a dream, can't be a nightmare. This is real Trowa, someone's hurting this little boy, and we have to help him!"
With tender care, he was pulled back against Trowa's warm body. He felt so safe, so secure there, where he belonged, where he always belonged.
"It's going to be ok, Quatre. I promise, I'll look into this, see if there are any reports of an empathic boy with stone gray eyes. Five or six?" He nodded. "I'll see if there have been any reports of a boy fitting that description. Will that help, Quatre? Will that make it easier?"
"I just have to find him, Trowa. I have to make sure he's ok. They've hurt him so bad, and they'll hurt her too. I have to protect her, no matter what!" He struggled, only to find himself pulled forward as Trowa laid back onto the couch, taking him with him.
"It's still early Quatre. Try and get some more rest." He tried to struggle, tried to protest against the sleep, or more importantly, the dreaming. "Shhhhh, Quatre. I'm right here, and I'm not going anywhere. It 's ok, you're safe now, just try to get some more sleep. You're exhausted. Just rest."
He felt his eye lids flutter, until finally the darkness overpowered him. He fell with slow and gentle ease into a dreamless state, safe in Trowa's arms, safe and protected.
* * *
"It's alright now, Rashid. He's asleep." Trowa took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Quatre's nightmare was becoming a terrible burden on his beloved; he'd have to talk to Corinne about it if Quatre wouldn't. In the mean time, he'd have Heero do a quick and dirty inquiry; he was fairly certain that the nightmare had to do with Quatre's session; in some way or another.
"Is he often like this?" There was a deep sadness, an ache in Rashid's voice, as if he'd let Quatre down in some way.
"He is very sick now, but he's getting better. The nightmares are a byproduct of the session, I think."
Rashid stood then, and moved to the side of the couch and knelt before the two intertwined on it. Lightly he laid a hand on Quatre's head and stroked his hair. "When he was younger, I would often-in passing-lay my hand on his hair; it always seemed to relax him. Quatre once told me his father was not a very demonstrative man; I sought to give him a measure of comfort in our world."
The leader of the Maganacs had arrived seven hours before the scheduled time; he'd threatened to have the pilots killed, and the rest of the crew sold into slavery. He and Trowa had joked about it once he'd gotten to the complex. But the mood was completely broken when Rashid placed his first look on his self-stated master in over six months.
Duo had stayed with Quatre while he'd gone to meet Rashid at the spaceport. So the braided man wasn't at all surprised when they walked in; what had surprised him was Rashid falling to his knees before the bed Quatre slept on, and nearly allowing the tears in his eyes to fall. It was a painful scene to watch, and Trowa had to remind Rashid that he could not allow his emotions to become too overpowering; with Corinne completely out of commission, there was no one to maintain Quatre's shields; it was a very dangerous spot for conflicting emotions.
After Rashid had calmed down, he'd carried Quatre into the living room and placed him on the couch. They'd been talking for almost two hours before Quatre awoke screaming his name.
Remembering what Corinne had said, Trowa was prepared for some form of backlash, but Rashid was not. He leaned over the two lovers now, watching his young master sleep. It broke Trowa's heart to see him this way.
"Rashid, there is much neither you nor I know about Quatre. He's very good at making people believe they know him when really they do not. It's a talent he's been perfecting for many years." Sadness hung in his words, but also a measure of hope. Quatre had been too upset to tell, but Trowa thought that perhaps his small love had come to him; he had called his name.
"You are of course right, Master Trowa. I never thought about it much, but Master Quatre has always been silent when it came to talking about himself. Though from what you've told me, it seems I know more information about his past than you were aware of." He didn't mean it to be cruel, but it still stung, to think that Quatre had trusted Rashid over him. Trowa had to tell himself that that was in the past, Quatre trusted him now; he'd come to him from now on, he hoped.
"I'm glad he had someone to go to, even if it wasn't me."
"No Master Trowa, he never came to me after the two of you became friends. Once he met you in the war, he stopped coming to me. In fact, I'd even say after Koeran's death he stopped asking for my advice and opinion."
Koeran. There were dozens of mixed up emotions coming from that name. He was grateful that Koeran had been there for Quatre; yet at the same time he also felt a blinding hate towards the boy that had been with his precious lover first. Then there was the fact that Quatre had trusted Koeran, and yet could not find it in himself to trust him. Trowa knew the comparison couldn't be done; his mind told him that Quatre had been through so much since Koeran had died; yet he couldn't help but feel slightly rejected by the obvious differences in the way Quatre treated them. It hurt, and yet, it didn't; very confusing.
"Rashid, may I ask you a question you may not want to answer?"
The older man looked at him. Rashid respected him, respected all the pilots. There was a sense of adoration the older man had for all of them, and even Trowa felt the fatherly protection from Rashid where the pilots were concerned.
"You may ask me anything, I will only refuse to answer if Master Quatre told me not to speak of it."
Trowa nodded in agreement, "Koeran. Will you tell me about his and Quatre's relationship."
A puzzled look came over Rashid's face, "Koeran? Has Master Quatre not mentioned him before?"
"No, he has, but like everything else only sparingly. I'd like to know more about him."
Rashid nodded, "You know he and Quatre were lovers." Trowa nodded. "They met when Koeran joined the Maganacs from Earth. I think it is safe to say the attraction was immediate, but I wasn't surprised."
"Have you not seen a picture of Koeran?" He shook his head.
Rashid stood, and pulled from his back pocket, an image holder. It was a small device that held images, usually pictures. He used the select buttons for a moment, before passing it to Trowa. "I've kept a picture of all my fallen men; it's the only honor I have left to give them. But perhaps there was always a special place for both Quatre and Koeran. They were both very young, and Quatre was not one of us-I felt a need to protect him even as he protected us. This picture was taken after an old mobile suit was finished, they'd been working on it together for months. I believe at this time, they were lovers."
Trowa looked at the picture. A tall boy, a good foot and a half taller than Quatre, stood next to the blond, his arms around his shoulder in an awkward way due to the height difference. Quatre had his arm about the other's waist, a huge smile on his face, matched by Koeran. They smiled at the camera, and after moving to the next picture as Rashid instructed, he saw them smiling at each other.
"Do you see what I mean, Master Trowa?"
Trowa studied the pictures again, but still saw nothing. "I'm sorry Rashid, what am I suppose to see?"
Rashid took the image holder from him and looked at the pictures himself before answering. "It was Koeran's height and age. They were over four years different in age." Trowa nodded, but his face still held a confused look. "Koeran resembles Quatre's father very much. I knew when he arrived that Quatre would instantly be attracted to him; he desired the love of his father, no matter how he had to make is mind think he'd get it."
Trowa took the image holder back and compared the image of Koeran, and the one he'd seen of Quatre's father, the one that had stood on Quatre's desk, a testament to the lies of his childhood. Then he saw them; the similarities were staggering when he knew what to look for. Both were tall, much taller than Quatre both had sand-brown hair, and strong blue eyes. But it wasn't the way Koeran looked, but more like how he held himself in the pictures. Straight and tall despite his height, he stood strong, proud, and so had Quatre's father.
"So Quatre desired Koeran because he was very much like his father."
"No Master Trowa, you misunderstand. Quatre was indeed attracted to Koeran, but I think only partially because of that. From what he's told me about his past relationship with his father, I doubt Quatre would have ever gone with Koeran if he'd been anything like his father. But Koeran was kind, very gentle and quiet, he was very much like you are. He talked rarely, except when spoken too, and yet when he and Quatre were together, out of earshot of the group, they would often be seen laughing and talking a lot. If I had to make a connection though, I'd say you are quite a bit like Koeran was, not as tall, not as talkative, but very much like him.
"When we first saw you, the rest of the Maganacs and myself wanted you to stay. After Koeran's death, Quatre fell into a very deep despair. We had to force him to eat, and he rarely talked to anyone except those he was fighting, and that was only to warn them to stay away or he'd have to kill them. When he first saw you, it was a complete change. Quatre was very much like the young master we knew and had grown to love as our own. Even after you left-and believe me, we debated going after you and dragging you back-Quatre still seemed relatively close to how he'd been before his death."
Trowa nodded; he understood. He'd felt the same way about Quatre. Catherine had told him, when he'd first returned to the circus, that he was much more talkative, and even seemed a little happy. At the time he'd thought her over reacting since he'd still not come to terms with his feeling towards the blond now residing in his arms. But he had to wonder if he'd been a replacement for Koeran; had Quatre needed someone so badly after his death that he'd found the first person that looked remotely like him and latched on for comfort? He shook himself of that thought. Quatre's journals had posed the same question, and Quatre had already rebuffed it. Perhaps the attraction was originally what had endeared him to Quatre, but it wasn't what held them together; it wasn't what caused the love between them to blossom. He had to try to remember that; Quatre may have loved in the past, but his love was for him now, and in the future.
"I told you I've read Quatre's journals." Rashid nodded. "I know that Quatre thought Koeran treated him with great kindness and love, but I also know that Quatre was starved for attention. So I ask you-as impartially as you can-did Koeran treat Quatre well? Did Korean truly love him?"
There was no hesitation, no pause to think, "Yes. Koeran loved Quatre; as much as two boys as young as they were could and perhaps even more than most adults. Koeran took care of Quatre, often guiding him through the relationship. Everything Quatre had been taught up to that point was to hate and destroy the type of relationship they were building; it was very, very difficult for him to try to accept it, even though he wanted to. Koeran would have to tell him all the time that it was all right that they hold hands together, or even sit together. I know that does not seem like the Quatre you know now; now he is very demonstrative about his feelings towards you, but back then he was still very afraid. There was a point in time when even Koeran did not think they could survive Quatre's guilt. I had to sit Quatre down and try to explain that with the Maganacs he was not considered dirty or disgraceful to be seen with Koeran. It was extremely hard for him. But as I said, Koeran was gentle and kind, and eventually, that won out over the pain of his past."
Trowa nodded his understanding before looking at Quatre who lay sleeping on his chest, still locked tightly in his grip. "I always knew that Quatre had once been with another. I never questioned that, but I never asked about iteither. I guess I assumed that Quatre's first relationship had not been something grand, since he never talked about it with anyone; but now I know differently. It's-hard to think that he was in love with someone before me. I suppose that's being selfish."
"Not at all, Master Trowa. It is difficult to know that the ones you love loved others before you. My wife had a husband before me that was killed in a raid. She spoke very little of him, but when she did, it was with such fondness that I often felt threatened by a dead man. But when she found out my feelings she scoffed at me, telling me that while she'd loved in the past it was the past, and now, she loved me. It was a simple explanation, but since she said that, I have never felt threatened again. Sometimes it's only in the knowing that those we love, love us back; everyone needs reassurance once in a while."
Trowa smiled at him, letting the older man know he'd understood his point. It did make sense, and he knew it to be true. Quatre loved him, always would love him, they'd only just the other day figured it out.
"It's late Master Trowa. I'll leave you now. With your permission, I'd like to speak with him when he wakes up."
Trowa nodded, "I'll call when he's awake fully."
With that, Rashid stood, and moved to the door panel. "Trowa?"
Startled by the lack of 'Master', he looked up, "Quatre has been like a son to me since almost the moment we met. If I'd thought he'd have been interested, I would have suggested he marry one of my daughters. And before Koeran came, I'd even thought about suggesting one of my willing sons. He is family to me, family where blood does not matter. The child of my heart." And then he was gone, leaving behind a sense of peace Trowa knew Quatre could feel completely.