The crowd had been screaming since the two boys' departure, and they'd grown wild when Relena had abruptly chased after them. But the cheers that
resounded when the two finally came back on stage were even louder and India grinned to see Duo's dark blush. The boy ran his fingers through his bangs,
a wry grin on his lips, and he sat in his chair quickly.
Quatre leaned over when Duo sat down, and his voice was low. "I'm sorry, I should have tried to keep her here."
"Quatre. Was it just me, or did they just put Heero and I kissing over national television?"
The boy's voice sounded faint, and the blonde blinked for a moment till he caught sight of Duo's grin. "They did. And Miss Relena stood there and tried to
say you tricked Heero into it. Her credibility is taking a beating from her performance on this talk show."
"Too bad," Duo smirked. He was about to whisper something else when his head was tugged sharply, and he turned to see Heero glaring at him. The crowd
was laughing, but he grimaced. "I was just talking to him," he said uneasily, wincing again when the crowd reacted and he realized he'd forgotten to lower his
voice. As it was, Heero simply stared at him for a moment then turned to face the audience.
India smiled, well aware that her audience was enjoying the show. For a moment, she wasn't sure what she should say, but she didn't feel worried. Nothing
had left them bored so far. "Well, since it's obvious what's going on between those two," she paused for laughter, "let's ask Quatre a few questions." The
blonde boy blinked in surprise, and she smiled wider. "No, we haven't forgotten you. I guess what we really want to know right now, is what you've been doing
since the war. It's obvious that Duo's been staying with you." She let the statement rise at the end, prompting the boy to speak.
"He has a studio in my building," Quatre said slowly. He was aware of the fact that he walked a thin line with Heero, and as much as the boy's jealousy pleased
Duo, he didn't want his friend angry with him. "But I wouldn't say we live together. I'm kept rather busy, managing my family's company."
"That's right," India nodded, glad she'd investigated the boy. "You are the heir to the Winner estate." Turning to the audience, she cleared the smile from her
face, her tone somber. "For those of you unfamiliar with the name, the Winner family is the head of the L4 colony. During the first war, Quatre's father lost his
life, leaving his only son in charge of the company." A glance at the boy showed that his open expression was closed now, and she tilted her head. "How did
the heir to a fortune become a Gundam pilot?"
"My family were pacifists," Quatre said slowly. He'd been warned that the questions would be direct, but it wasn't easy. "They'd given sanctuary to one of the
doctors who built the Gundams, and I was interested in his cause. My father forbid me from going, but I went anyway."
"And your skills as a pilot, were you trained by this doctor?"
"I had experience piloting suits before that. But the doctor did show me the peculiarities of my Gundam. And I was there when he started building it, I learned
a lot from the blueprints."
"Then you hadn't been chosen as the pilot before the Gundam was built?" India remembered what Duo had said on the last show, how Heero was the only
pilot chosen *before* the Gundam was made.
"If I hadn't volunteered to pilot Sandrock, it still would have been made. The doctor was running from OZ, he didn't have a chance to search for possible
pilots. If he had, I doubt he would have chosen me." Duo snorted at this, but Quatre didn't look at him. He knew his friend didn't agree, but he knew that he
cared too much about people to have been chosen if there'd been a choice.
India didn't miss the American's reaction, and she looked at him. "You disagree?"
"Yeah. He thinks that just because he cares about people that it makes him a weak fighter. But it isn't true. When he's angry or protecting someone, he can
be as ruthless as any of us, and he's the best strategist of all of us pilots." Quatre was shaking his head, but Duo just smiled and slung an arm over the boy's
shoulders. "If it weren't for him, we'd never have fought as a team. We'd still be out there, each of us trying to fight the war all by himself."
"Then you united the Gundam Pilots?" The blonde boy dropped his eyes and India took a step toward the stage.
"I can't take the credit," Quatre said, ignoring Duo. "If it weren't for the Zero system, I never would have been able to do it."
Duo groaned suddenly, making a face at Heero before catching the woman's eyes. "It would take an entire episode to explain about that system. I think all of
us used it at one time or another."
The boy didn't seem eager to talk about it, and India's instinct raged. That meant it was probably a worthy story. "Why don't the three of you tell what you
can, if we run out of time, we can always come back to it."
Quatre sighed beside him, and Duo gave a similar sigh as he knew the boy was disappointed. But he was the one to bring it up, if the blonde would just
accept credit for what he'd done, they wouldn't have to talk about the insane system...or the Gundam. Duo's eyes widened suddenly and he knew why Quatre
had sighed. His gaze flicked to the boy and he grimaced.
"When I first went back to space I had to detonate my Gundam," Quatre said slowly. His mind was railing at him and he knew he never should have brought
the subject up. India was watching him and he folded his hands, leaning forward as he chose his words carefully. "I had to have a new suit if I was going to
continue fighting, and the doctor had left blueprints for a Gundam, Wing Zero. It was more powerful than any of the other Gundams, and it had a beam rifle
capable of destroying any target. After my father died, I..."
The boy's eyes glinted from where he'd bowed his head and India felt bad for pushing him. But she wasn't about to stop him, not when the audience was
watching with avid attention. It almost made her regret her profession, gaining ratings from someone's pain. Duo put his arm around the blonde and she
lowered her arm, deciding not to prompt the tale.
"I was very unstable, emotionally." Quatre glanced at Duo when the boy's arm tightened around his shoulders and he shook his head. Glancing at the
audience, his cheeks flushed for a second before he concentrated on the host. "The war had come to space, and the colonies had started arming
themselves, tricked by OZ into making mobile suits for them. The system inside Wing Zero, the Zero system...it brings out the fighting abilities of the pilot. But
it also decides who the pilot's enemies are, it affects the pilot's abilities to judge things for himself. I wasn't strong enough to fight it, and I thought anyone who
fought with weapons was an enemy. I targeted the colonies."
"The same colonies you were supposed to protect..." India winced at the boy's sharp nod and she could tell the audience wasn't sure how to react. "What
"I sent warning in advance, so the colonies would be evacuated, and OZ sent the message to the Lunar Base. That's where their mobile doll operation was
located. I didn't find out until later, but all of the other pilots were there, as well as the five doctors. The doctors had been forced to make new suits for OZ,
and they sent the two suits to stop me."
"They were all at the base?" India asked quickly. A diversion would be good at the moment. She had the feeling the boy's story was about to get worse and
she thought he could use a short break. Her eyes flicked to Heero, then Duo, and she raised her eyebrows. "Had you two been captured?"
"Sort of," Duo answered. "I went there to try and destroy the place. My Gundam was destroyed, so I snuck in on foot. But I ran into the doctors and found out
that they were rebuilding it, so I let myself get captured. Otherwise OZ would have found out what they were up to. Heero was already there. He was
targeting the new suits the doctors had made for OZ, but they weren't finished yet." His eyes sparked suddenly and he shot a glance at the dark-haired boy.
"He failed *that* mission." As he'd known, Heero glared at him.
With a smirk at the warning tone, Duo continued. "OZ didn't have anyone qualified to pilot their new suits, so they had Heero testing one of them. When they
heard about the new suit, we were pretty sure it was Quatre. But they sent Heero in one of the suits to protect the colony."
"Against Quatre?" India asked. "So the two of you fought?" Heero nodded sharply, but the other two were solemn. "And what happened?"
"I nearly killed him, but Trowa got in the way. He was hiding himself within OZ, and he was piloting the other suit they sent against me."
The blonde boy's voice sounded harder somehow and India's jaw tightened decisively. The story was going to come out, but maybe it would be better to hear
the other side of it first. Quatre didn't seem at all comfortable telling about it. "Then let's meet this pilot, pilot of the Gundam Heavyarms, Trowa Barton."
Her introduction wasn't nearly as enthusiastic as her previous ones had been, but it turned out to be appropriate when the boy in question stepped through
the door. He looked very solemn, with a calm expression and steady eyes that slid over the audience. The boy was definitely taller than the other three pilots,
and he lacked that slender form, muscles visible even beneath his black suit. Judging from the whistles, the audience found those dark green eyes just as
nice as India did and she couldn't help a slight smile. Dark reddish brown hair hung in front of the boy's face, nearly hiding half of it despite the fact that it was
short in the back. But she didn't hesitate over the odd hairstyle, caught by those deep eyes when they flicked to her as the boy took the seat next to Quatre.
He held her gaze for a moment before giving a sharp nod.
"Trowa," India resumed, giving the tall teen a bright smile, "Quatre was telling us how you stopped him from killing Heero. Would you care to explain? Why
were you hiding within OZ?"
"It was the easiest way to get close to Treize," Trowa said smoothly, his tone void of emotion. His expression was blank, not betraying the turmoil he was in.
He'd forgotten how difficult it was and his eyes kept trying to turn to the boy beside him, just for a quick look. Instead, he focused on the dark-haired woman
watching him, barely taking in the faces behind her. "I infiltrated the base under the guise of an OZ soldier. With my skills as a pilot, it was a simple matter to
be chosen as the pilot for the new suits. None of OZ's regular soldiers were qualified, so Heero also piloted one." His eyes flicked to the Japanese boy for a
moment, and he acknowledged him. Of course, he knew they weren't supposed to have learned that the other pilots were going to be present, but he doubted
any of them had been unable to find that information. If the talk-show meant to hide the presence, they shouldn't have wasted their time. They obviously had
forgotten they were dealing with former Gundam pilots.
"And the two of you were sent to fight Quatre?" India asked, her eyes moving to the blonde boy for a second. He was staring at his hands. "Why would OZ
think to send a Gundam pilot to face another Gundam pilot? They *did* know Heero was a Gundam pilot, right?"
"Yes," Trowa nodded, "but I had a remote detonation switch in my suit in case he tried anything. And he was completely focused on protecting the colony."
Turning her gaze to Quatre, India raised the microphone, her eyes meeting shielded eyes. "What happened when the three of you met in battle? Why would
you try to kill Heero?"
"The Zero system connects with the pilot's mind," Quatre said, his voice nearly as void as Trowa's had been. The tall boy was ignoring him, it was painfully
obvious, and that just made it even harder to recount the incident. "It determines who the pilot's enemies are, and I was convinced anyone with a weapon in
outer-space was an enemy. Heero was actually the one to start the attack, to protect the colony I'd targeted. I think..." He paused for a second, frowning. It
wasn't that he didn't remember what had happened, it had been the start of all his problems, but he couldn't really pinpoint the beginning of that battle. The
memories were fogged a bit too much. "I think I tried to talk him out of fighting me, but in the end I decided to kill him."
India's gaze flicked back to her quiet audience and she wondered briefly if any of them were feeling the way she was. It was so odd to hear such young boys
speak of death and killing with such ease. She had thought the boy was upset by the story he was telling, but his voice seemed calm enough now. "And
"He placed his suit in the way of a blast aimed for Heero," Quatre said, his eyes touching the tall boy beside him for a second before his expression close even
more. "His suit was already damaged, so it exploded soon after that."
"Then how did he survive?" India asked, her eyes moving to the tall boy who was watching her with that same calm look. "How did you escape the explosion?"
"I didn't. I lost my memory, but I must have been picked up in space by someone. I never did find out who." Trowa blinked suddenly, glancing to the side and
shifting in his seat when he found blue-violet eyes shooting him a dark look. He didn't know what to make of Duo's expression, but he leaned farther into his
seat, cutting off the boy's view.
"Does anyone have any questions?" India asked, glancing back to the audience again. Hands rose after a second of hesitation and she handed the
microphone to a young woman.
"My question's for Quatre," the woman said, frowning at the blonde boy. "Why would you try to *kill* your friends? Did the suit control you that much?"
Quatre flinched despite himself, his eyes dropping to his lap as his hands tightened together. "I'd never actually met Heero before," he said softly, his carefully
created mask dropping. He'd never been good at hiding his emotions.
Taking back the microphone, India raised her eyebrows. "And Trowa?"
"I didn't mean to hit him."
Trowa's eyes were closed, the only thing he could do to keep from either looking at Quatre, or glaring at the woman. Why did they have to dig into that? If
there was one thing that hurt Quatre more than his father's death, it was that sense of betrayal. The boy would never forgive himself for what he'd done.
There was nothing he could do about it, though. Trowa had tried enough times to explain that it was his choice to stay in the suit until it exploded. Not only
was Quatre far too innocent to ever have been made a pilot, but the boy had an unwavering habit of placing all blame on himself.
"Then it was an accident?" India continued, her voice a bit softer since the boy definitely looked upset. Her cold talk-show part noted with satisfaction that the
audience members were listening very carefully. "You said he got in between a blast aimed for Heero." The blonde boy nodded and she turned her gaze to
Trowa, pausing for a second when she found his eyes closed. If she hadn't known better, she'd have thought he was asleep, his face was so disturbingly
calm. "Then Trowa saved Heero's life by risking his own."
"Yes, but..." Trowa had done it for him. Quatre's eyes dropped when a hand squeezed his shoulder and he glanced to Duo for a second before frowning
sharply. The boy was right. If he wanted anything to change he'd have to speak out. "He did it for me. My shock and horror at what I thought was his death
was enough to break Zero's control over me, and to bring me back to my senses." He was aware of a lot of clamoring from the audience and he had an urge
to explain to Heero. He knew Trowa had been close to the dark-haired boy, and he wasn't denying that, but he was absolutely convinced Trowa's self-sacrifice
had been for him. Trowa had told him as much before he'd regained his memory; his actions had spoken all he needed to hear.
Hands were raising around her and India stepped to a man currently waving his arm. The guy grinned at her as she handed him the microphone.
"Are we about to see another scene like the last one?" the man asked, a quick laugh shaking his shoulders when the blonde boy blushed. "Well, why not?
They already came out of the closet."
Trowa blinked abruptly, surprised eyes turning as he leaned forward and looked at Heero. The dark-haired boy met his gaze with a dangerous look and
Trowa's eyes widened a bit more. He'd never have expected that. Yes, he knew Heero was closer to the American than he'd ever admitted. The boy had
spoken during his sleep so long ago, and Relena's name hadn't been the only one he'd voiced. Thinking of the girl, he glanced at her as well, her pinched
white face absolutely proving the audience member's words. He leaned back slowly, finally letting his gaze fall to the blonde boy beside him. Quatre's face
was red and the boy was shaking his head, those pale blue-green eyes lowered. For a second, he frowned, wondering exactly what it was the boy was trying
to deny. Quatre rarely lied and there was no way he could deny the fact that they'd been intimate. That was the very reason he'd spent the last year and a
half avoiding the boy.
"Well?" the man prodded, his smile fading a bit as he looked at the two silent boys. "Are you two going to make a confession?"
India frowned when Quatre shook his head again, the boy's blush fading until his face seemed even paler than usual. The man glanced at her and she
shrugged, accepting the microphone and raising it. Her eyes flicked to the side at the sight of movement and she nodded to Chris before turning to her
audience. "It looks like we'll have to pause here. Please join us next time for more of the Gundam pilots on India Interviewing the Stars!"
* * *