Disclaimers: The people who own the rights to Gundam Wing would never approve of what I do here, so obviously I don't own it. This is for catharsis and not money, so please don't sue me since I don't even own my delusions, they own me.

Written: December, 2000 - March, 2001
Overall Rating: R
Pairings: (1x2) [(3x5)+(4x5)+(4x3)]
Category: Angst Yaoi Mind-control Emotional-duress Violence
Enigma Story Category: Gundam Nightmares
Warnings: Angst, yaoi, mind-control, emotional-duress, violence, blood, illusions of death, slightly bastard Quatre, {just label it AU-OOC if you can't cope}

NOTES: Things are very dark when Heero is brainwashed by OZ into thinking his lover and teammates are dead at the hands of Wufei. What will the Perfect Soldier do when he is consumed by grief and how can an injured Duo cope? Meanwhile, Quatre's actions are driving Wufei to distraction and Trowa is desperate for a solution. If the pilots can survive, will they be able to build a future worth living in?

//someone's thoughts//

False Memories
Part 5

"How *is* Duo?" Heero demanded of Trowa without preamble.

Looking up through the shock of brunette hair, the HeavyArms pilot regarded both evenly. "Not good."

Heero dropped to one knee beside his lover and gathered him tenderly into his arms, pulling him tightly to his chest which ached with pent-up emotions. Without thinking, a single hand reached to stroke the darkened braid and he felt some of the charred hair crackle and snap beneath his fingers.

Feeling his heart sink, the Japanese teen drew his hand away to find it coated with broken strands of various lengths. A sob broke free of his chest and he dropped his face onto Duo's shoulder. He moaned the other boy's name softly into his ear, but got no response.

The pair remained like that for long minutes as Trowa and Wufei moved away to aid their own injured lover.

As they covered the ground, Trowa took a moment to size up the bleeding ShenLong pilot's condition. Pain, exhaustion, worry, regret, fear, and a multitude of other negatives played across his lover's face and posture, adding to Trowa's own concern. He began to reach out one hand to the suffering Chinese boy, yet let it fall away. Somehow he knew Wufei was getting by on sheer will power at that moment and he couldn't afford to disrupt that if it could be avoided.

//Dragon, when will you let me help you, too?// Trowa wondered as they moved to flank the blond who seemed dazed but was still trying to get up.

"Quatre?" Trowa asked gently as Wufei helped the blond to stand, caressing his back gently.

"Are you all right, little one?" The worried dark-eyed boy asked.

"Wufei? Trowa?" Quatre asked glancing from one to the other, his throat raw from the smoke he had inhaled during the explosion. He grimaced as pain lanced through torn flesh where shrapnel from the exploding van had sliced his right arm. Then he looked from his lovers to the couple across the grass from them.

"How's Duo?" the blond asked softly. He was surprised that he himself had lost consciousness and was terrified of what might have occurred during the period he was out.

"He's hurt, koi," Wufei spoke softly, trying to avoid upsetting Quatre further, as always concerning himself with the others before himself.

But the blond pulled himself together bravely and asked, "Can you take me to him?"

The trio soon approached Heero and Duo. Wufei noted with sadness that the self-proclaimed Shinigami had still not moved or regained consciousness. Quatre indicated for them to let him hold the badly injured youth and after some protest from Heero, it was done.

Now, Quatre held Duo with Trowa supporting both of them in his long arms The blonde's uchuu no kokoro could do nothing to alleviate injury and it was unclear what he hoped to accomplish, but the others would never fail to try whatever they could to help. With eyes closed and head down, Quatre simply held Duo tightly and murmured soft words over and over.


Meanwhile, Wufei took a few moments to determine how the other four pilots were doing.

Duo was clearly in the worst condition. A swath of burned skin ran across the elfin features including the violet eyes, which he silently worried might be unable to see any longer. The previously broken arm looked worse as the bandages were crushed and fresh blood stained the wrappings that lay loosely around it. Yet his thoughts always came back to the once-proud chestnut hair. The braid was charred and crackled when Quatre ran his hand over it, strands breaking off and falling away with the lightest of touches.

Quatre himself was also injured, but it was less obvious. The gashes in his arm hung open and oozing blood, but the Sandrock pilot appeared to be unaware of them. He seemed to be having a hard time breathing, probably due to the rough impact with the hard-packed earth when the van exploded, yet there was nothing to indicate a punctured lung or worse. Coffee-dark eyes were relieved to see he should recover with minimal difficulty, and Wufei felt grateful for this.

Trowa, the Chinese boy noted with a deep sense of gratitude, seemed totally unscathed. No blood marred his handsome features, only worry for all those involved. As Wufei stared at him, Trowa glanced up and smiled reassuringly, sending the first real hope into the tired heart of the warrior who could more easily activate his own self-destruct to protect a friend than he could ask to be given first consideration for a change. Wufei answered with a smile of his own and silent thanks that this marvelous boy that he loved was unhurt.

Heero knelt beside Quatre and looked as if he was in agony over Duo's condition. There were no signs of physical damage from either the brief battle against ShenLong or his imprisonment by OZ. There was no way to know what emotional scars the mind-control might leave behind or if the appearance of good health was deceptive or not, but as far as Wufei was concerned, this was a reassuring beginning.

At the same time, someone else was taking a moment to observe the observer.

While Wufei was distracted, Trowa had taken a closer look at the silent boy who stood comfortingly close as he held their lover supportively. The dark circles under Wufei's eyes were no less pronounced and the stain of blood on the white silk pants was spreading rapidly. Trowa knew that Wufei was in need of medical attention but his stubborn lover wouldn't even consider it until the others were cared for as the HeavyArms pilot well knew.

Instead of trying to care for both of his lovers at once, the taller boy simply decided to deal with Quatre for now and Wufei later. Trowa had had more than enough of the smallest pilot's self-sacrifice and he would address that issue very soon.

Meanwhile, Heero was becoming almost frantic over Duo's condition when a cough was heard. The braided boy was finally regaining awareness.

"...heero...?" Duo spoke so softly that it might have gone unheard, but the Wing pilot was immediately there, lifting the tattered body into his hands once more, thereby relieving Quatre who fell backwards into Trowa's embrace. Pained onyx eyes watched over the entire scene wondering what it would take to mend all of the broken souls gathered under the sun's unblinking gaze.

"Aa. I'm here, Duo," he whispered back, the moment having a solemnity all its own.

"...you okay, koi?" The roughened voice asked as damaged violet eyes struggled to open but failed.

"Aa." Heero had never been one for many words, but this cut him through the core, obviously Duo was badly injured and it was his own fault. "What about you, Duo? Will you be okay?"

"...dunno, Heero..." was the soft reply as the boy passed out once more.

"What do I do now?" Heero asked of the others, searching for guidance. He already knew the answer but didn't like it one bit.

"You pray." Was all the advice he got from Quatre who lay with his own eyes closed as he, too, sank back into the darkness, leaving the quiet threesome to find answers on their own.

Staggering to his feet, Heero began to walk towards Wing carrying Duo with extreme care. Without words, Trowa rose to his feet carrying Quatre as they moved towards the Gundams. It would be a tight squeeze, but Heero would take Duo in Wing and Wufei would transport his own two lovers.

All five would head to a Winner Corporation-sponsored marsupial research facility in the Australian outback. The two mobile suits could be repaired and the boys could rest and receive whatever medical care was needed by each.

Before closing ShenLong's hatch, Wufei slipped the blood-covered "good luck charms" from his now crimson pants pocket and tossed them out to land on the Australian soil, left behind along with the other shrapnel. There was no way those would ever be seen as anything other than reminders of a truly dark day they had barely survived and he wanted no mementos of this event.

As they prepared for take-off, Trowa noticed the blood now dripping from Wufei's command chair and he vowed silently to make a point to corner his lover as soon as possible. Bravery had its time and place, but this rescue had held too many similarities to the one performed for himself and he would rather die than see Wufei give up so much each and every time one of the others suffered.

"Dragon," Trowa remarked quietly, knowing his words were lost under the engines, "you can't keep doing this. Sooner or later, you really will die and then what am I supposed to do? Go on without you? I don't think I can, don't you know that?" He sighed and curled tightly around his other lover as the massive machines moved inland.

on to part 6

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