The Blood of Peace
Third Movement, the Ninth Part: Lacrimosa
It was the fourth day of this monstrous siege and Duo was feeling antsy. He was boarded up in the castle and no one had ventured outside of the outer walls. It was just a steady routine of repelling the enemy from the gates. The air stank of boiling pitch and naphtha, burnt flesh and unclean humanity.
Duo much preferred to fight in the open, not trapped within. Sighing, Duo looked around him; the courtyard he was in, like all the others, was filled with refugees from the war torn lands that Oz had swallowed. Little children cowered in the arms of their equally frightened mothers. Old men with rheumy eyes wept for their dead sons. Women far gone with pregnancy, told inane stories to the children in their wombs about their heroic fathers who would watch over them as they grew up. It sickened him. It reminded him that he was helpless to soothe their pain. Duo had to leave this courtyard.
He wove in and out of the massive crowds and headed towards the inner wall door. Once there, he could rush to his room and let his anger out. This stupid war. He fought and risked his life voluntarily. He even enjoyed the adrenaline pumping excitement the battle brought. But he could not bear to see people who did not fight suffer like this. He could not look into the grieving eyes of a girl whose father would never come back. She would never understand that he had fought for a greater cause. She would only know that her father was never coming back. Sick at heart, Duo quickened his pace. Soon, he could run into Heero's arms and breathe his scent. They had lost so much already: a brother, a father, a future queen. They would not lose each other. Duo was so intent on getting out of the courtyard that he did not see a taller boy carrying a bag of grain. They walked right into each other.
"Oh, man, I'm sorry. You okay?"
Duo winced slightly as one of his ribs creaked in protest. This guy had walked his elbow right into one of his sore ribs. The other guy however, was in worse shape. While Duo had kept his balance and stayed up on his feet, the boy was on the ground, looking at the grain sac that had split open during his fall. Feeling sorry for him, Duo stuck out his hand.
"Hey, I'm really sorry. I'll replace the grain, okay? I just wasn't watching where I was going. Come on, let me help you up."
The other boy still did not raise his head to Duo. He was staring at the grain. Duo must have made a sound of impatience because the boy suddenly took his hand. Duo hauled him to his feet and watched as he dusted himself off. He seemed so familiar, he reminded him of.. Then the boy raised his head. He must have said something, but Duo did not hear. His mind was in a state of shock.
Trowa. It was Trowa.
Nanashi apologized to this boy with the really long braid and assured him that the grain needed no replacement. But the boy was staring at him, his mouth wide open and his eyes doing a fairly good job of trying to escape from his skull. He looked like he was in a trance. Thinking that this boy was definitely a strange one, Nanashi took a step back and stared right back. He seemed familiar; like someone he used to know or something. Maybe he did.
"Do I know you?"
Trowa's tentative question was met by more enthusiasm than he had counted on. The braided boy snapped out of his trance and barrelled into him. He was knocked down again, this time with a passenger in tow. The braided boy looked at his face and to Nanashi's utter surprise, dripped tears on him. What the hell?
"Trowa, you bastard. It is you. Your face, your voice. It is you. Where have you been? We thought you were dead! Quatre's been beating himself up for too long. We grieved, and you were alive. Where have you been Trowa?"
Nanashi was completely confused. This boy's voice was filled with joy, reproach, and sorrow all at the same time. And it was all directed at him. Who was he? How did he know him? Trowa? Was that his name?
Duo kept on babbling, not even caring what he was saying. All he knew was that Trowa was here, looking at him, alive and healthy. Then a female voice rang out and startled him.
"Get off him, you braided freak! What are you doing to Nanashi?"
Duo turned his head sharply and saw a pretty girl older than him standing over them both. Her curly brown hair framed a face that was used to smiling and kindness. However, her face wasn't too kind right now. Duo stood and again helped Trowa up. The girl walked over to Trowa and fussed over him. Trowa just stared at him blankly. Wait. The girl had call him Nanashi. Why did that sound familiar? Duo's eyes widened. Nanashi. No-name. Shit. Something was definitely skewed here.
"Nanashi. Is that the name you were born with?" Duo asked so intently that he was afraid he might have scared him. But whatever he called himself, Trowa's inner core of strength was the same. Without breaking a sweat, he answered.
"No. It's a name I gave myself when I couldn't remember. I asked you before. Do you know me?"
The girl stopped her fussing and gave Duo a penetrating glare. She stepped forward, probably intending to give him a piece of her mind, but he ignored her.
"I know you. Your name is Trowa. You are my brother."
Trowa. Brother. Violet eyes. They all triggered something, but it was too hazy still. But somewhere deep inside, Nanashi knew him. Catherine, overprotective and concerned, questioned Duo's statement.
"What do you mean he's your brother? You guys don't even look alike. Don't lie to him like that. It's cruel."
Instead of being insulted, Duo smiled broadly at Catherine. If Trowa had somehow forgotten who he was, Duo was glad he had Catherine to take care of him. But still.
"I'm not lying. He's my brother. I'm Duo Maxwell. He's Trowa Barton."
"You don't have the same surname."
Duo rolled his eyes. Catherine would take some convincing.
"Fine, I'll prove it to you. Trowa, come with me. You have to see the others. You'll remember. I promise."
Duo looked at Trowa with pleading eyes. He just had to come. Otherwise, he would be forced to drag Trowa back to the West Tower. Quatre had to see him, as well as the others.
"I'll go with you, Duo? Duo, that sounds.. right."
Smirking, Duo led the way. Trowa followed close behind with Catherine latched onto his arm. She wasn't about to let him go by himself with this strange boy. Older sisters, even if they were not blood related, had responsibilities after all.
Catherine stared at the wall hangings in the West Tower. What Relena had described as drab and ugly only a few months ago, was beautiful and rare to Cat. She wondered what kind of person this Duo was to have access to this part of the castle. Was he some noble? Then she noticed that she had come to a stop. Duo motioned for them to enter a giant room. Without hesitation, Trowa made his way, almost dragging a reluctant Catherine with him.
"Hey guys, look who I found in the market."
Duo's cheerful and joyous voice filled the room. Trowa paused at the doorway, looking at faces that screamed familiarity. There was a dark haired, brown eyed boy looking at him as if he had risen from the grave. A brown haired, cobalt blue eyed boy saw him and dropped a load of papers in his arms to the ground. Then the beautiful blond boy with sad aqua eyes started to weep. Did they know him?
Heero recovered first.
"Trowa! You're alive!"
Trowa nearly smiled at that. Apparently, these people had thought him dead. He wondered why, but his thoughts were cut short when the blond boy practically leapt into his arms sobbing and mumbling incoherently. Trowa looked around helplessly. What was he supposed to do now? Catherine, seeing the utter confusion in Nanashi's eyes, decided enough was enough.
"All right. Who are you guys, how do you know Nanashi, and what do you want with him?"
Her eyes shot sparks, daring them to upset her further. When Duo's face lit up and his mouth opened, Heero quickly motioned for his silence. He would answer.
"The boy in Trowa's arms is Quatre. You seem to have already met Duo. The one standing there is WuFei. And I am Heero. Nanashi, as you call him, is our brother Trowa. And we want him to come back to us."
Catherine snorted. Heero? The prince? Trowa was his brother? Please.
"I don't believe you. Prince Heero has no brothers. I should know. I'm a loyal Earthian."
Duo burst out laughing. Catherine, already unhappy with the situation, gave him a look that should have killed him. Duo merely waved his hand at her and tried to explain.
"No, we don't mean brothers like we all have the same parents. Trowa is Heero's Master of Whispers. We're his Masters. As a loyal Earthian, you should know about that tradition, right?"
There was a prolonged silence after that. Catherine was shocked. Nanashi, or Trowa was someone that important? The prince's own Master? Holy gods, that was just unexpected. She looked at Trowa. He was still holding the weeping blonde, Quatre. Instead of looking confused, he now had a look of tenderness. He was even stroking the blonde's back gently. It was a gesture that seemed ingrained into him, a motion that he had made countless times. Finally, Catherine let her guard down a little bit.
"Nanashi, I mean, Trowa, do you feel right here? Is this where you belong?"
Catherine's tentative question brought Trowa out of his revelry. He had been touching the blond, Quatre, like he knew him. He had been touching him like it was the right thing, as if his body remembered what his mind could not. Yes, he belonged here. It felt right. Catherine looked at her foundling and felt her eyes mist over. Trowa had not answered, but it was plainly written on his face. This was his place, these boys were his family. He fit with these boys so perfectly, the missing piece of a puzzle that had suddenly found itself at home. Trowa's eyes still held confusion, but underneath it, there was a quiet acceptance and joy. Catherine swallowed convulsively at the sudden lump in her throat. She was happy and sad at the same time. Finally, Trowa knew where he should be, but she was losing him. And she had just become attached to him.
"Trowa, you're leaving me, aren't you?"
Cat had not meant to say that out loud. But it was out in the open now, so the least she could do was expect an answer.
"I'm not leaving you, Cat. I'm rejoining something that I was a part of. That doesn't mean I'm going to leave you. I wouldn't do that."
Trowa's gentle voice soothed Cat. He meant what he said and she believed him. It was the least she could do for him now, to believe in him.
"Trowa would never leave you, Catherine. He has too much of a heart and sense of duty to do something that callous."
Startled, Cat looked at the speaking blond boy, Quatre. He was still in Trowa's arms but had finally ceased crying. His eyes were red-rimmed, but they were still a clear, aquamarine color that reminded her of the distant sea. Looking into those genuine eyes, Cat decided to put her trust completely in these boys to keep Trowa safe.
"I believe you, Quatre. Just promise me that he'll come back to me one day. Just that."
All five boys nodded in unison at Cat's request. Satisfied but still teary, Cat looked at Trowa once more and smiled at him. Gathering herself, she used her most cheerful tone to address him.
"Trowa, this isn't good bye. You'll come back, so this is just a small parting. Remember, you promised. And you aren't the type to break promises to a lady."
With that, Cat threw Trowa a sly wink and exited the room. Those boys, they had better take care of him or they would answer to her.
Trowa was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of emotions his heart was experiencing. Quatre evoked love and devotion while the others made him feel a kinship he had never thought possible. All of their faces were lit with a joy that made him feel giddy. So this was his place, the place that he could not remember but dreamt about at night. Then he remembered. The dreams he had of these boys, disembodied voices in the darkness, and a pair of aqua eyes. Quatre's aqua eyes. Suddenly and painfully, a memory assaulted him and he reeled from the strength and vividness of it. Trowa staggered and Quatre, even in his surprise, managed to hold onto him.
"Trowa! Are you okay? What's wrong?"
Quatre's concerned voice was followed by a series of questions of similar nature from the others in the room. Trowa tried to answer but the bile in his throat made him gag and refused to let him speak. Then a glass was thrust upon him, practically in his face.
"Drink this. You look really pale, Trowa. Drink and sit. It's been a hell of a day."
Trowa managed a ghost of a smile at Duo's obvious worry and drank some water. He then sat on a chair with a bit of assistance from Quatre. Clearing his throat, Trowa tried to explain his sudden ailment.
"I just remembered something and it was a shock. That's all. I'm okay."
Not taking his answer at its face value, Heero questioned further.
"What did you remember? Do you remember how we met? Anything about the past?"
"I don't recall everything, but there was this one memory. Aqua eyes, accusing me, hating me. Your eyes, Quatre. What did I do to you?"
Trowa hated the way his voice shook, but it could not be helped. What could he have done to make Quatre look at him like that in the past? Was it a real memory? Trowa looked to Quatre for guidance, but all he received was a look filled with guilt and pain. What had he done?
"You did nothing, Trowa," Quatre began with a whisper, "but I did something. Please try to forgive me, I lost my mind that day, even though that is no excuse. I tried to kill you. I thought I had. I'm so sorry Trowa."
Even before Trowa could formulate a response, there was a flurry of words from Duo who tried to explain and justify Quatre's actions. He told a fantastic story about spies, information, Oz, betrayals and trust. It was utterly unreal. Trowa could only blink as the story went on. He could not believe that the person described in the tale could have been him, or anyone in this room.
"Are we all trained killers? Do we live for nothing but duty and honor?"
Trowa's question silenced everyone in the room. It was disturbing. Then Heero breached the imperfect silence and made Trowa feel better.
"We are human. We live, we love, we kill, we regret. Trowa, you gave your life for duty. Only now can you see that there are more important things than duty. I'm glad you're back and I hope you can live for more than duty now. Whatever you thought you were doing for me, for Earthian, is over now. We will start with a clean slate, all of us. We will live for duty and honor, but above all, for love and each other."
With that, Heero rested his hand on Trowa's. Soon, the others added their hands to the pile and then there were five grinning boys. Finally, they were one again. It had been too long.
"Well, I'm glad we're all back together. But hey, Trowa, we're gonna leave you alone with Quatre now. You guys must have some, ah, talking to do or something. I know how I get when I don't see Heero for five minutes, so.. We're leaving. See you soon, brother."
Grinning his most cheeky and leering grin, Duo grabbed Heero and WuFei by the arms and dragged them out of the room even before he had finished speaking. Blushing furiously, Quatre looked at the now empty room and at Trowa. His face somehow got redder.
"I know you don't remember the way we were, Trowa, so ignore Duo. He tends to say stuff like that to embarrass me. I think it's a hobby of his. Well, that and doing things to Heero."
Smiling, Trowa looked at the red faced blond. Even if he could not recall everything, some things were meant to be and memory would not be required. Gently and quietly, Trowa rose from his chair and held his hand out to Quatre. Astonished, Quatre looked at the proffered hand and then up at his face. Chuckling at the surprised expression on Quatre's face, Trowa said, "Help me remember, Quatre."
And Quatre's beaming face was all the answer he needed.