|Category: AU, Yaoi, Gundam Wing
Pairings: will be 3x4, other possibilities in notes after the part
Warnings: slight angst, shonen ai, slight violence
Complete Archive: www.fanfiction.net
"Lord Winner, what are you going to do?"
It was dark outside the cabin, and the man's shadow looked ominous as he paced back and forth. Silence filled the moment, then the woman inside gave another piteous cry. "You know," the man said, his voice colder than the night. "She's going to die."
Flinching, the man moved away from his master, his eyes wide as he met the glaring brown gaze. There wasn't anything he could do to change his mind, but he couldn't believe the man's reaction. "Surely you don't blame *her*..."
"No...I don't." The Winner Lord faced the door for a moment as his eyes filled with pain, then he curled his hands into fists. "But no one has ever survived the birth of one of *their* spawns. "
"And the babe? Will you kill it?"
"How could I? She begged me not too...not to blame the child..." He buried his face in his hands as a long moan sounded through the thin wood of the cabin. "I never should have brought her here. This is my fault. Damnit! The report said the heathens were of no threat to us...I never imagined they could..." His voice trailed off as he became aware of a sudden silence and his breath caught in his throat. "No..."
Pushing the door open, the nurse shook her head. "I'm so sorry, sir. I did everything I could but..."
"Oh God...Quatrina?!" He halted in the doorway as his eyes glazed upon sight of the blood-covered bed. "There's so much blood..."
"Your wife was never made to have children like that, her body couldn't take the exit of the baby," the woman said softly, unfolding a white sheet as she spread it over the patient. "I'd hoped that it might be different on this planet, where the humans give birth on a regular basis. But it wasn't."
The man didn't respond as he knelt beside the bed and laid his face against it. "Forgive me..."
"She knew the risks, my lord. She wanted the child to be born."
"A heathen's baby, planted in her through their black magic. They told us we could live in peace, and I believed them..."
"She was barren, perhaps they thought they were doing a good thing by making her able to bear a child." The man in the doorway choked back his words as his lord turned tear-filled eyes on him. "I'm sorry."
"The baby lives," the nurse said slowly, crossing her arms over her chest as she looked to her lord. "What should I do with it?"
"Her baby..." Standing shakily, the man walked with unsteady steps to the door. "I don't want it."
"It's a boy."
"What?!" He stopped suddenly, his breath catching as his eyes flew around the room. Then the woman lifted something wrapped in a sheet and approached him slowly. "Is he...?"
"He looks like her," the woman said gently, pulling back the edge of the cover. "But he isn't healthy, he may not survive."
"I can't...he does look like her." Brushing a finger over the pale cheek, he sighed and turned again, his back straightened resolutely. "He can stay here. There are plenty of families that would take him in if they don't know of his origin. I'm leaving this planet."
"I'll take him, lord." The brown-haired man nodded as he left the cabin and he approached the nurse, gazing down at the baby. "I didn't think he'd take it, he cared so much for her."
"Then he's yours," the nurse said, handing over the child as she moved back to the bed. "I'll take care of this before I return to the ship." The man nodded sharply, and she turned her back on him. "If you change your mind..."
"I won't." Holding the child close, he walked to the door before pausing. "My wife has been wanting a boy."
* * *
He saw him coming from a distance, and he didn't move until he was certain no one was accompanying him. The forest was silent as the animals paused to watch the small boy, but this didn't last too long. Quatre had a way with animals and while he hadn't spoken, there was soon the sound of movement from the trees as they began to stir again. Waiting until the pale boy was beneath him, he hopped down.
"Trowa!" The blonde boy smiled as he halted in surprise. He'd expected his tall friend to appear eventually, but he never knew exactly when it would happen. "I was hoping you'd be out here."
"It's only been three days," the tall boy said, his monotone voice soft as he looked at Quatre. "I hadn't expected you to come back so soon."
"I know." Sighing, the boy dropped his eyes. His father was addicted to the powder Trowa's people made, and as much as it embarrassed him, he couldn't refuse the man. "He wants more, he's already out."
"That's no good, Quatre. Is his mind gone?" His people traded with the boy's, but they knew the effects of the medicine. "It wasn't meant for this, it's a pain-reliever."
"I'm sorry," Quatre said, his voice soft. "I told him you might not give us more."
Trowa's green eyes narrowed and his jaw tightened as he looked over the boy's slender form. "He hurt you again...didn't he."
"I'm fine," the boy said, frowning at the ground. "But I can't stay long. I understand if you can't give me more, I don't want to use our friendship like that."
"Quatre, you know better." Pulling the bag off his shoulder, he opened the flap and withdrew a small cloth packet. "Here," he said, waiting until the boy raised pale blue-green eyes before handing it over. "I want to ask something of you."
"Of course, if I can."
"Stay with your mother tonight," Trowa said, his eyes boring into the shorter boy's.
"Trowa..." His eyes wide, Quatre shook his head, gazing at the thick grass beneath his feet. "You know I can't. He'd never let me."
"I can't hide how much I've given to your father, there might be trouble." Quatre nodded, but Trowa could tell he was upset. "I don't want you to be there if they decide to visit him."
"I'm sorry," Quatre said, taking a step back. "I have to go back now, he'll get angry."
"Quatre..." Stepping after him, Trowa laid a hand on the boy's shoulder, his fury rising at the soft cry as the blonde flinched away from him.
"Trowa, he's my father." He didn't glance back as he walked away quickly, breaking into a run as he felt the need to turn. He knew his friend cared about him, but Trowa's people did things differently from his. They weren't living on a strange planet, they were indigenous. Their habits were no doubt different and Quatre was sure that was why *he* was the one sent to do the negotiations. He'd been the one speaking for the people since he was old enough to enter the forest on his own. His appearance wasn't threatening at all.
Watching the boy disappear in the distance, Trowa's eyes narrowed. Birds flew from the branches over his head as he wheeled abruptly and struck the tree behind him with his fist, his breath coming in furious gusts. A minute passed before he calmed enough to return to his home, and his determination grew as his steps quickened. He knew very well what Quatre's people thought of them, they were seen as heathens because they'd never left the planet. He wasn't sure why they'd chosen to settle there anyway, but he was convinced *they* were the true heathens.
"Trowa." Setting down the hammer he'd been using, Rashid straightened slowly, his dark eyes moving over the boy's furious face. "What's wrong?"
The tall man was fixing the roof of one of the cabins, and Trowa waited until he'd climbed down the ladder before stepping to him. "I've given more taline to them," he said slowly, his head tilted a bit as he looked up at the man. "It must be tonight."
"You're convinced he's addicted to it, then?" Looking over the boy's taut form, Rashid's eyes narrowed. "It's that boy, isn't it."
"I wouldn't keep giving it to him, but if I don't he hurts Quatre. He doesn't deserve to live."
The boy's hands were curled into fists and Rashid could tell he was beyond fury, which told him how serious the situation was. Trowa was among the calmest people he knew. "Are you certain it is not a deserved punishment?" He doubted it, but their policy was not to interfere with the people who had come to share the land. Their ways were obviously different, but both were known to punish their children if it was necessary.
"No, Quatre is not an unruly child. He never was. I think..." Trowa's eyes narrowed to slits and his breath hissed between his clenched teeth. "He enjoys hurting him."
"You don't know that for sure, do you?" Shaking his head, Rashid raised a large hand when the boy glared at him, forestalling his anger. "We'll pay him a visit this evening, but if there is no evidence, we will not interfere."
"And if there is?" Trowa demanded, his breath speeding up as he waited.
"Then we will do what we deem necessary. Trowa, have you told the boy what will happen if we don't like what we find?" He knew the answer from the speed with which those green eyes dropped and a wry smile curved his lips. "He may not be happy that you've hidden this from him. He is not one of us, he won't understand."
"But he'll learn," Trowa said, his eyes glinting as he looked up again. Excitement was already coursing through him as he was sure they'd find evidence of the man's evil. "He knows I'll never hurt him."
"I hope you're right," Rashid said softly, handing the hammer to the boy. "Finish this for me and I'll speak with the other elders."
"I envy the boy," the man remarked, lightly, smirking as Trowa flushed and looked away. Leaving him, he nodded to the few people who passed him as they went about their daily work. More slender than most of them, Trowa was often sought after and Rashid was eager to see the boy who had managed to capture him. He knew the elders had been interested in the one the strange people used to communicate with them, and he was certain they'd agree with Trowa. The boy was an excellent judge of character and it wasn't likely that he could be mistaken about this.
* * *
Although it wouldn't have stopped them if the man had lived in the village with the rest of his people, the three men were grateful that the cabin was set a considerable distance from any others. It wouldn't be the first time some of their people had communicated directly with the colonists, as they called themselves, so they knew their arrival would come as a shock. Approaching the small wooden structure, all three noticed how decrepit it was. Obviously the colonists' 'superior technology' didn't extend to fixing their houses and Rashid wondered if the oddly patched roof didn't leak when it rained.
"This should be interesting," Abdul whispered, looking around the area in front of the cabin. The grass was up to their knees and it didn't look as if there were any animals kept to trim it down.
"You know, the last time I saw one of these people, they were living in weird metal things. I guess this is an improvement." Audah shook his head as he followed the tall man toward the small structure. "Are you really going to knock on the front door? What if he won't answer it?"
"Quiet," Rashid said, his low voice smooth as he stepped to the door. Rapping on it, he waited as he could hear rustling movement inside. When the door was pulled open, he was surprised at how tall the man was. He didn't look that much different from them, and except for his odd, shiny clothing, he could have *been* one of them.
"Well, if it isn't the Aborigines," the man drawled, his eyes moving over the three men. "I heard you might be stopping by." Stepping back, he waved a hand toward the interior, gesturing to the small metal table that stood near the fireplace. "I wasn't sure how many would be coming, but I got four chairs so I guess I did pretty good." Smiling, he waited until they'd come inside then shut the door.
Watching the man, Rashid exchanged gazes with his companions at the way he played up his injured leg, limping noticeably. They knew he'd originally requested something to help his pain when he'd broken it, but that had been over two months ago. There was movement in the back of the room, and they turned as they caught sight of a young boy. Rashid's eyes glowed as he looked over the pale blonde hair and he knew this was the one Trowa was caught on. Wide eyes filled the boy's pale face and they could tell he was apprehensive by the way he flinched when his father turned to him.
"Hop to it, boy," the man said in what sounded like a cheerful tone. He sat in one of the chairs and nodded when Quatre pulled the others out for the guests.
As they were seated, the three men watched the man and boy carefully. The boy seemed tentative, but they couldn't tell if it was merely respect or fear. Looking to the man, Rashid cleared his throat. "The reason we came is because of the large amount of taline you've asked for."
"Quatre mentioned that," the man nodded, his dark blue eyes glinting. "I'm afraid I have a low tolerance for pain and this leg of mine is taking its sweet time healing."
"There's a danger in taline," Abdul said slowly. "Too much of it has bad effects on the mind and body, you can become attached to it."
"Really?" Glancing to where Quatre stood near the doorway, the man raised his eyebrows. "I didn't realize. Well, I wouldn't worry too much about that. We aren't affected by drugs that much, it usually takes quite a bit to do us any good."
"I see," Rashid said slowly. It was obvious to him that the man was lying through his teeth. One glance at the boy's lowered eyes told him so as the boy seemed embarrassed by his father's lies. "Well, we can no longer supply taline to you." The man's eyes narrowed suddenly and he saw his friends lean back a bit as they were prepared for his reaction. "Even if you are immune to the effects of the drug, our supply is limited. If your injury continues to plague you, we can give you something else."
"That won't be necessary." The man stood suddenly, and he no longer made an attempt at cheer as he stared into Rashid's eyes. "I'm sure I can manage without the medicine. I appreciate your worry and the fact that you came in person. It's late though."
"You are saying we should leave," Rashid murmured, nodding as he stood. "Fine. We'll go."
The man didn't speak as he held the door for him, and they exited the room silently. Once outside, both Audah and Abdul turned to Rashid as the man stood, facing the door. "Well?" Abdul demanded, frowning. "We didn't learn anything from that. If he was truly addicted to the drug, he'd never have taken the news so well. He would have gone into a fury."
"Wait," Rashid said, his eyes narrowed as he moved to the side of the cabin, listening carefully. "Unless I miss my guess, he's completely gone. He put on an act, but you could see through it, couldn't you?"
"So what now? Wait until he goes into a rage then crash in there and kill him?" Audah sighed when Rashid didn't so much as glance at him and he met Abdul's brown eyes with a shake of his head. "We should get that kid out of there first, it's his father, after all."
"Their people aren't going to react kindly to our killing one of theirs," the dark-haired man said softly. "We could just leave him to his own end, without that drug he'll either go insane or kill himself anyway."
"Trowa never should have given him so much of it," Audah muttered. "He knew better than that. One dose would have been enough to last for weeks."
"You know why he did." Nodding sharply as the sound of something striking the wall came, Rashid gestured towards the back of the cabin. "They always have a second door, you two get the boy out."
"Are we taking him?" Abdul asked. He wasn't really surprised, but it would be a bold move for them.
"I'll decide after we finish this." The two men moved quickly and Rashid stepped back to the door, knocking it down in one forceful blow. The man stood to the side of the table, which was lying on its side, and he wheeled around as the door hit the wall. As he'd expected, the man's eyes were marred by bright red lines as veins stood out against the blue.
Staring at the intruder in fury, the man's eyelids peeled back as he glared. "What the hell are you doing?!" he cried, his voice hoarse. "Get out of here!" When the tall man didn't move, he jerked Quatre closer, his grip on the boy's shirt holding him off the floor. "What did you do?" he screamed, shaking the boy as he stared into very wide eyes.
"Let him go," Rashid said, moving smoothly towards the man as he caught sight of Abdul and Audah slipping in through the doorway in the back of the room.
"So it *was* you," the man growled, not paying Rashid any attention as Quatre shook his head. "Little bastard!" With inhuman strength, he flung the boy into the wall as he turned to the man standing near him. His hands curled into fists and he leapt forward suddenly.
Pushing himself to his knees, Quatre's gasped as he saw his father being caught by the large man. "Don't! Please!"
Audah stepped forward quickly and cut off the boy's view as Abdul picked Quatre up, holding the boy's arms to his sides. The boy struggled as he was carried from the room, but neither was willing to let him see what Rashid was about to do. Even if the man chose not to kill him, the end result would be the same. The drug had already eaten away at his mind. Leaving the cabin through the door in the back, they took him into the forest, not halting until they were out of hearing distance.
Setting the boy on his feet, Abdul was prepared to grab him if he tried to bolt back to the cabin. He was caught off guard when the boy sank to the ground, drawing his knees up to his chest as he hid his face. The man didn't know what to say. The boy's father was most likely being killed at that very moment and there really wasn't anything that came to mind which would help to comfort the boy. A glance at Audah showed that he too was at a loss and they stood for what seemed like hours before they finally spotted Rashid. Both men were relieved when the tall man knelt in front of the boy.
"I'm sorry," Rashid said, staring at the boy's bowed head. "There was no alternative."
Quatre shook his head, not looking up as he hugged himself tighter. "It's my fault." Raising dull eyes, he met the man's concerned expression. "I saw what was happening to him but I just...kept getting him more..."
"No." Sitting back on his heels, Rashid frowned at the boy. "Did the rest of your people see what was happening to him as well?"
"Yes," Quatre said, his voice soft as he dropped his eyes. "But they were afraid to say anything to him. He got so angry."
"And they left you with him? Knowing he'd take his anger out on you?"
He blinked at the man in surprise. "They couldn't take me from him," he said, not hiding his confusion. "I'm his son." The man didn't seem to understand, and he sighed as he hugged his legs. "I *belong* to him."
Abdul caught his eyes and Rashid nodded as he leaned forward and picked the boy up. "Not any more," he said, ignoring the boy's surprise. "We're taking you with us."
"What? You can't." He knew there was no way he could fight the man, and he suddenly didn't feel like arguing. His father was dead. Staring at the dark cloth of the man's shirt, Quatre thought briefly of his mother and how happy she'd be when she heard of the news. Now she could get married again. She wouldn't be too upset if they couldn't find him, and he knew no one would search for long. Wrapping his arms around himself, he bowed his head as the man carried him as easily as if he were a little child. He'd never been close to any of the colonists and his eyes burned as he knew he could die without anyone mourning his death.
The boy was silent as he carried him, and Rashid found himself wondering at the colonists, at the type of people who would leave a child to be abused by his own blood. It didn't make sense to him, and he knew the elders would be infuriated when they found out. It was indisputable proof that they weren't people his clan should be having any dealings with. Still, he could see why they'd done so in the past and he realized the benefits in using the boy as a go-between. They must have realized he wouldn't be seen as a threat. By using him, they'd fooled the 'heathens' into thinking them all like the boy.
He looked so small in Rashid's arms, and Abdul found himself watching the boy's closed eyes. He'd seen the boy's beauty in the cabin, and it was obvious that even Trowa would have been attracted to him. But the man knew Trowa was pickier than that and he wondered how a boy could live with a father like that and not be tainted. Of course, he looked young, so he guessed it was possible that he hadn't spent enough time with the man. A glance found Audah also watching the boy and he smirked at him as the man looked away quickly. He could see that Trowa would have to stake his claim quickly if they were going to keep the boy with them.
* * *
Not having been allowed to go with the others, Trowa was waiting at the outskirts of the village and he stood as soon as he caught sight of movement. Seeing the form Rashid carried, his heart jumped into his throat and he strode to the man quickly, green eyes narrowed in fury. "Is he...?"
"He's fine," Rashid said, noting the boy's concern. Quatre looked up and he set the boy on his feet, nodding when the blonde stared at Trowa.
"T--Trowa?" Tears filled his eyes when the tall boy's hand touched his shoulder and he moved to him, hugging him tightly. "Trowa..."
Touching the boy's soft hair, Trowa closed his eyes for a moment before looking up at Rashid. "Quatre?" The boy pulled back a bit as he met his gaze and he gave him what he hoped was a reassuring smile. "I have to talk to the elders now, but I'm going to leave you with my sister. I'll be back as soon as I can, all right?" The blonde nodded and he watched as he was led away, grateful to Catherine as the red-haired girl didn't ask any questions. He'd told her what he had planned, and she didn't seem to be reacting badly to it at all. Well, not after she learned of the boy's plight. She tended to be a bit over-protective.
The four of them moved through the village silently, heading straight for the main building. Larger than the others, it stood out among the smaller cottages and cabins, and they were allowed entrance by the two men standing watch outside the tall doors. Five men sat on the carpet on the dais raised in the center of the room and they paused in front of them, bowing their heads out of respect. Leaving Trowa with the other two, Rashid stepped forward.
"The man was beyond hope and has been eliminated. The people of their village knew what he had done, and they did nothing to protect his son from his violence." The men exchanged looks and he waited until he had their attention before continuing. "I have brought the boy back with us, he has no place among people who will not protect him."
"And of him?" one of the gray-haired men asked. "What plans have you?"
"I want him," Trowa said, taking a step away from Audah and Abdul as he looked to the elders. "I have had dealings with him in the past and he means a great deal to me."
"And the boy?"
"He sees me as his friend," Trowa answered. He knew they would accept nothing but the absolute truth.
"As it was Rashid who both rescued and captured the boy," the man said, "he has first rights to him."
The tall boy's blood ran cold and he couldn't make himself look at the man standing beside him. He had been prepared for this, but he hadn't allowed himself to think about Quatre being given to someone else. Still, he knew if he couldn't have the boy then Rashid would care for him gently. This didn't help the pain. "I realize this."
"Then your case is ended with us. The boy belongs to Rashid. If he chooses to give him to you then that is his choice."
Bowing, Trowa turned and left the building, still refusing to so much as glance at the tall man. It wasn't working at all. He realized he could never come to terms with Quatre not being his and he knew he only had one alternative. Rather than steal the boy, he bowed his head as he prepared himself for the painful prospect of asking the impossible. The man may not have emotional ties to the boy, but Trowa knew no one in his clan would willingly give up a treasure like Quatre.
"Well, aren't you even going to ask me?" Rashid kept his expression clear as the boy slowly turned to look at him, green eyes shielded. "Bloody stubborn you are," he smirked. "Don't be a fool, Trowa, you know I wouldn't take him from you. You made your claim before I ever set eyes on him, even if you only made it to me. He's yours." Turning slightly, he nodded to Abdul and Audah, "And it's been witnessed."
Trowa stared at the man for a moment before he suddenly realized what had happened. "But..."
"I know," Rashid smiled, "Only a fool would give him to you, but I did it. Go on, Trowa. He's waiting for you to come back to him."
"Thank you," Trowa finally said, his eyes intense as he stared at the man. "I owe you."
"And you can be sure I'll collect," the man nodded, his dark eyes sparkling as his smirk widened. "Now go comfort that boy before your sister fills him with soup. She thinks that's the best remedy for everything." The boy nodded before turning and running back the way they'd come.
"I can't believe you did that," Abdul murmured, watching his friend carefully. "I know men and women who would give their souls to have that boy. And what did you get for him? Nothing."
"No, I got a debt," Rashid remarked, his eyes glinting. "And as I said, I'll collect."
"You're not a very nice guy, are you?" Audah laughed, shaking his head. "I must say I envy you."
"I would." Smiling again, Rashid turned and headed for his own home. It was true that he would have enjoyed having the boy as his own, but he was happier to see the gratitude in Trowa's eyes. The boy deserved someone like him, and Rashid was sure Trowa would never have been able to see him go to another. He'd been talking about Quatre for nearly a year and it was obvious that he more than *cared* for the boy. No, he was content with his 'sacrifice'.