While the five Gundam pilots faced the tragic circumstances that fate had
dealt them, another pilot remained angrily silent in an infirmary hundreds of
//Milliardo, you really, *really* need to work on your timing!//
Zechs Merquise was basically trapped in the OZ research facility he had been
"inspecting" when he had met Quatre Raberba Winner the day before.
After rescuing some of the personnel attending a presentation on the now
defunct prototype scanner that would have allowed OZ to detect the Gundam
Deathscythe even when cloaked, he had succumbed to chemical exposure and now
he wished he had made another choice entirely.
//Why not just get used to the idea of lonely nights, Peacecraft? Your date
was blown before the poor boy ever even had a chance to return and those
imbeciles at the front desk failed to note if that cute little blond even
showed up or not. And he seemed like fun, too.//
If he had been a bit younger, the TallGeese pilot might have gone as far as
to curse the youth who had indeed not shown up, but he was too far gone in
self-blame to consider anyone else as responsible for his current fate. Well,
almost no one else.
//Well, Treize, you might not have planned this, but if there's one way to
keep me out of your hair, this is it. Trapped here putting up with simpering
fools and bad food seems a bit much, though. And to not be able to talk is
even worse! It seems like there's so much I want to say now that I can't, it
figures. I wrote them a note to alert you to this but you'll probably ignore
it or Lady Une will intercept it. Shit, that bitch will probably get a kick
out of my being stuck like this. I have no idea what she's been telling you
about me or if it's something else, but I'd swear that she's interfering with
our lives too much. Hell, she's probably running around setting up more
secret plans and developing new weapons without you knowing it.//
As usual any more, during the interminable waiting to heal, Merquise's
thoughts had traced back to sex.
//I'm tired of being alone. I'm tired of being the "Lightning Count" and
little more. I'm tired of being in a different place where no one knows me
from one week to the next. But most of all, I'm tired of feeling as if life
is passing me by. I'm twenty years old and an officer in the most powerful
army on Earth, yet I spend my nights alone. What good is life if this is all
Amidst the self-pity, though, the former prince of the Sanq kingdom found one
thing that his mind trailed back to over and over as his peaceful sulking was
interrupted by yet another pointless "visit" by the base commander.
//If I don't get out of here soon, I may very well go stark raving mad!//
His main thought once more in mind, Zechs Merquise went back to smiling and
nodding and dutifully playing the part of the heroically injured soldier as
he would continue to do so for the next few days.
As awareness slowly crept back into Trowa Barton's mind, emerald eyes
fluttered open slowly.
The brunette head turned on the pillow to regard the person beside him and
Trowa frowned as he realized that the presence he had sensed was not his
beloved Wufei. The sight of Quatre, leaning against the headboard and reading
a copy of "The Wall Street Journal" was *not* what he had hoped to awaken to
and his disappointment was all too clear.
As the paper brushed across the bedspread, it disturbed the air enough that
something tickled Trowa's nose enough that he sneezed.
"Oh!" Quatre smiled and put the paper down quickly, "You're awake, Trowa!
Praise Allah! We've been so worried!"
The Arabian teen was almost bubbly with relief, he hadn't expected any
significant change in Trowa's condition while he was with him, but Duo's
shower was taking longer than expected and this had allowed extra time to
Trowa looked at the other teen with a mixture of pain and disappointment and
asked, "Quatre? Where's Fei? Is he all right?"
"I'm sorry, Trowa," Quatre said with gentle concern, "but Wufei's still
asleep. At least, I think that he's still sleeping. Heero's with him right
now and I assume that if Wufei had awakened he'd have let me know."
"What?" The slender teen glanced at the clock and was shocked to see that it
was afternoon already. The Gundam pilots hadn't been in the beach house for
even twenty-four hours, yet their world had shifted so drastically it seemed
"He's *still* asleep? Oh god, this is bad," Trowa shook his head and began to
rise. "I should be there for Fei when he wakes up. I still don't know what I
did wrong, but I'm sure this is all my fault."
"No, Trowa, it's not your fault," Quatre answered as he gently pressed the
other teen to stay in bed. "We, well, we aren't sure what's going on, but
this is something beyond all of us it seems."
"No, I don't believe that," Trowa insisted, misery in his voice as he sat up
and looked at his ex-roommate in confusion. "I should never have tried
anything this morning, god knows I'll never try anything again! But I need to
go to Fei and apologize." His voice seemed to choke up a bit as he added,
"Then I'll leave here and never bother him again. I've caused poor Wufei too
much pain already and if I'm gone maybe things will..."
"You aren't going anywhere, Trowa," a dark voice commanded from the doorway.
"Heero?" Quatre asked, wondering what change the Wing pilot's presence
indicated even as he hoped it was for the better and not the worse.
"No major change, Quatre," Heero commented then added, "Duo's with Wufei
right now. Um, could you get Trowa and me some coffee, please? I think he's
going to need some."
The Arabian teen nodded solemnly, he knew he was being asked to give them
some privacy and he was all in favor of it, the mystery had gone on far too
long already. Trowa watched the discussion with confusion but remained silent.
"Sure, I'll be glad to do that." Quatre turned to give a brief embrace to
Trowa before rising off the bed and making his way to the door. "Um, Heero?
Did you want that coffee as soon as it's ready or after awhile?"
The Japanese teen made his way over to the dresser and pulled out a T-shirt,
jeans, and boxers, which he handed to the lanky HeavyArms pilot in silent
command that he get dressed. Trowa wordlessly followed the orders and pulled
the clothes on covering his nakedness but not his shame.
Cobalt-blue eyes gazed at Trowa's too-thin torso as it flashed into and then
back out of view, yet there was no time for even a passing thought to that
particular issue. Heero then responded, "As soon as it's ready, Quatre, and
"Huh?" Quatre paused as he was about to walk away, "Why thank me again,
The Japanese pilot shot the confused teen a grateful half-smile before
telling him simply, "Because you've been patient and helpful even when you
knew full well that Duo and I were not being completely open with you. It may
seem like he's the only one who notices things like that, but he's not, and I
thought you should know it."
A faint blush crept up the pale cheeks of the Sandrock pilot as he accepted
the rare praise from the boy he accepted whole-heartedly as leader of their
small team. "Well, Heero, you're welcome. I'm not doing much and if it helps
everybody, then I'm satisfied. Let me go put some coffee on and I'll be back
up in a few minutes, okay, Trowa?"
"Sure," the taller teen answered quietly as he sat back down on the bed, head
hung low as he pondered Heero's words.
Quatre pulled the door partially shut behind him and hoped that simply
brewing a pot of coffee might do as much good as Heero seemed to think it
would and wondered if Duo might care for a cup, too.
Heero watched the emotions flit past on the distraught face of his friend
before asking, "Think you're up to dealing with some fairly serious issues,
Emerald eyes came up and Trowa regarded his friend with pain and sorrow
before he answered slowly, "No, not really, but if this is about Fei, then
I'll certainly try."
"Good enough," Heero answered and then asked, "Would you rather wait on the
coffee or even discuss this with Duo?"
"No," Trowa answered evenly, "I won't run from whatever it is you need to
tell me, Heero. I only hope that it leads to helping Wufei, he's all I give a
damn about right now."
Walking over to the window that looked out on the beach, Heero nodded slowly
then commented quietly, "Actually, I'm glad to hear your answer, Trowa. I'd
rather not have Duo be the one to discuss this with you, but on second
thought, I think I'd rather wait on the caffeine. Something tells me this is
going to be a long afternoon."
Trowa felt his heart sink as he nodded silently allowing Heero to reveal
whatever it was he had to reveal in slow measured steps. After a moment of
quiet, he rose to stand near his friend and in silence they watched the surf
come in and then recede and both wondered if it was low tide yet since it
seemed all too appropriate for their current moods.
Full Author's Notes to Run at Conclusion.