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Quatre Raberba Winner carefully eased himself out of Sandrock's cockpit, wincing as the movement aggravated his injury. He was beginning to feel the effects of the blood loss now that the battle was over and the adrenalin was wearing off.
He looked down and smiled weakly at the sight of the Maganacs clustered around Sandrock's feet. "Thank you..." he murmured and made his way down to them. They greeted him enthusiastically, but fell silent when they saw the deep red patch on the side of his suit.
"Quatre-sama," Rashid's voice was stern. "How did..."
"It's alright, really!" Quatre interrupted. "It's nothing much..."
Five minutes later Quatre found himself in MO-II's medical, being patched up by Sally Po - the only one that the Maganacs trusted to treat him properly.
"I'm sorry about this," said Quatre as Sally finished bandaging him.
She fixed him with a stern glare. "Sorry? For what? Getting treated? Don't be silly, this is a minor wound, but you did lose blood cavorting around out there! It's best that it gets treated right away!" she straightened. "There, all done. Don't rub it!" she admonished Quatre as his hand strayed to his side. "Leave it alone and it'll heal up nicely."
Before Quatre could thank her there was a commotion outside the door. Rashid pushed through to see what was up and then returned with a big smile on his face and carrying a violin case.
Quatre blinked. "Is that..."
"Your violin, Quatre-sama," said Rashid laying it before him. "Now that the battle is over you can feel the music in your heart again."
Quatre gently touched the case. "Yes..."
"Later," said Sally. "Right now it's late, we all need rest, _especially_ you Quatre!" she fixed the boy with a stern eye. "So all of you well-meaning, noisy men... out!"
Quatre had to struggle not to laugh as he watched Sally shoo the hapless Maganacs out of his room. She winked at him as she left and he was left all alone.
He sighed and looked at the violin again. Yes, the war was over, but the price had been high... too high. Too many deaths... Quatre shook his head slightly, trying to clear away the sad thoughts.
He reached out and unlatched the violin case. As he opened it something fell out, something long and wrapped in white silk. Quatre frowned and picked it up; he unwrapped it carefully and his eyes widened when a flute was revealled.
It wasn't just _any_ flute either.
It was the one Trowa had played... nearly a year ago. The first time he had dropped his suspicions around Quatre and opened himself up to trust.
Quatre held the flute close to his chest. In his mind he could hear the beautiful strains of the impromptu duet they had played. The perfect harmony, the gentle teasing notes and the sweet feeling of budding friendship.
Quatre sighed. *Was it then?* he wondered, *Was that the moment I fell?*
A shuffling sound in the next room startled Quatre out of his reverie. Still holding the flute, he slipped out of bed and peeked around the door.
Duo Maxwell was bending over a bed, murmuring something in the ear of it's occupant.
Quatre let out a little, involuntary gasp, and Duo spun around to face him.
Quatre flushed. "I'm sorry," he said. "I didn't mean to intrude..." he could now see who the person in the bed was. "That's... your friend, isn't it, Duo? Hilde?"
"Yeah..." Duo rubbed his eyes. His normally cheerful expression was strained and grim. "Stupid... idiot girl!"
Quatre bit his lower lip. "She's... in bad shape?"
"The medics don't know if she's going to wake up or not... they're giving her a few days and then..." Duo's violet eyes went dark and he made a slashing motion across his throat.
"Duo... I'm sorry, but..."
Duo waved his hands. "Don't waste your sympathy on me! I should be used to this... all the people close to the Shinagami _die_!" he said bitterly.
There was a long silence as Quatre struggled to come up with some words to comfort Duo.
"How are _you_ doing?" Duo asked suddenly. "I heard that you got yourself skewered by that Catalonia chick."
"Yes," Quatre's hand brushed his side. "But it wasn't that bad."
"Good," Duo glanced away and looked at Hilde again. His mouth twisted. "I can't stand this," he said in a strangled voice.
"Duo..." Quatre started to say, but the other boy brushed quickly by him and his footsteps soon faded away. Quatre shook his head and walked over to Hilde Schbeiker's bedside.
"I hope you recover soon," he said to the comatose girl. "Because I know what Duo is going through... and that kind of pain is hard to deal with."
He sighed and shivered slightly as he remembered.
Quatre closed his eyes and remembered the awful months. The nightmares that constantly reminded him of his loss and his fervent hope that he would find Trowa - alive and well- warring with the fear that Trowa would not forgive his actions. The sudden realization that he loved Trowa... more than a friend.
And then... then the feeling of sheer joy when Duo told him that Trowa was alive. A joy swiftly followed by sadness when he discovered that Trowa didn't remember anything. Restraining himself from embracing Trowa and spilling out words of affection that would only alarm him.
Trowa's memories had returned, courtesy of Wing Zero, but Quatre was still unsure. He wanted the other boy... wanted his love, but he didn't know if Trowa would feel the same way about him. If he took the chance and revealed his feelings would Trowa accept and return them?
Quatre swallowed. He didn't think that Trowa would react badly, he had enough confidence in Trowa's friendship to be sure of _that_. No, the issue was that now he wanted more... *I want to hold him, love him and show him that someone loves him, that his life is worth living.*
Quatre pressed the cool metal of the flute against his cheek and rubbed his fingers against the lip of the instrument where Trowa's mouth had been.
"Trowa..." he breathed. "I wish I had the courage to tell you."
Quatre almost dropped the flute. He spun around, his blue eyes wide.
Trowa Barton stood in the doorway, his face unreadable - as usual. His arms folded, his visable green eye fixed on Quatre.
"T-Trowa!" Quatre stared at him in shock. "How long have you been here?"
"A while," said Trowa blandly. "I came to see how you were."
Quatre flushed and fiddled with the flute. "I-I'm fine..." he stuttered. "I just need to rest."
Trowa stepped forward and touched Quatre's hands. "Then rest," he pulled the flute from Quatre's unresisting fingers. "I recognize this."
Quatre licked his lips and inhaled sharply taking in Trowa's warm, soapy scent. He fought down the urge to caress Trowa's face... and more. "The Maganacs brought my violin," he said. "The flute was in the case."
"Ah," Trowa led Quatre - unresisting - out of the other room and to his bed.
Quatre took a deep breath. "Perhaps... perhaps we can play again sometime?"
"Yes," Trowa turned the flute over in his hands. "That would be good."
Quatre laid back down on the pillows and watched his friend's face. *Trowa, do you know how beautiful you are? So sad... but so beautiful.*
Trowa laid the flute gently in the violin case and closed the lid. Then he dimmed the lights and turned to Quatre. "Rest now," he said.
Quatre smiled. "Thank you... thank you for coming for me back on Libra," he said suddenly.
Trowa stood by the bed. "I couldn't leave you."
Quatre's eyes widened slightly and he looked into Trowa's face.
"My friend," Trowa turned away. "Good night."
"Uh... yes... good night," Quatre squashed the feeling of disappointment. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"Ah," Trowa nodded and left.
Quatre looked longingly after him and then laughed softly at himself. *You idiot! Did you think he was going to come out with some grand confession of love?* he asked himself, *You can be such a fool sometimes, Quatre!*
He pulled the covers over his shoulders and sighed. *Oh well... I guess I'll have to take this one slowly and carefully, but...* Quatre's mouth firmed with resolve, *I _will_ tell him how I feel... I owe him that honesty. And then, well, we'll see what happens.*
Having made his decision, Quatre closed his eyes and let himself drift into sleep and dreams.
Dreams in which he held Trowa and felt the other boy's lips on his own...
Three days later:
Trowa Barton made the final adjustments to Heavyarm's right leg and closed the panel. Getting to his feet he noticed that the hanger bay was virtually empty. This wasn't very surprising as it was past midnight and most of the mechanics had turned in. The other pilots had also finished up and gone to their respective beds earlier. Only Trowa had remained, working alone didn't bother him and he enjoyed having the time to himself. After all, it was easier to think in the quietness and there were many things that needed consideration.
Especially the one person who had been on his mind for the past three days.
Quatre Raberba Winner.
Trowa sighed and sat on the floor, his back against Heavyarms. Quatre was occupying more and more of his thoughts since the war ended and Trowa was unsure about what he should do. The feelings he had towards Quatre were new and unsettling, yet at the same time they felt _so_ right! He had tried to supress the thoughts about the blond Arabian that kept surging through his mind, and during the war it had been easier, but now... now that the war was over, it was getting harder.
Of course, his conversation with Catherine in the morning hadn't helped. He had called his 'big sister' to let her know that he was alright and she had asked how long it would be before he returned to the circus. Trowa had explained that the repairs to Heavyarms were taking a bit longer than anticipated, but they were nearly finished and he anticipated returning soon. Catherine had shot him a disbelieving look. "I think there is something else that holds you there," she'd said archly. "What do you mean?" Trowa'd asked her. "There is someone that you care about there," said Catherine cryptically. "Well, I hope everything turns out, little brother, take care!" And then she had disconnected.
Trowa stretched and wondered how Catherine had picked up on his buried feelings for Quatre. The problem was that her words kept playing over and over in his mind, making him think of Quatre more and more.
*And although I _know_ he cares, how could he feel about me in _that_ way if he knew the truth? After what they did to me, how could Quatre want me?*
Trowa shivered. He remembered... the rough hands on his skin... forcing him down... the pain. He touched his cheek and recalled the tears on his face and his vow... never, NEVER again... Desire took on the aspect of fear and hurt. Trowa had tried to shut away the memories, but they never went away.
Why should Quatre be burdened with his pain? No... it was best to say nothing... leave things as they are.
Trowa swallowed and stood up. *Quatre is my friend... that's all. I probably won't see him after I leave here. And that will be for the best.*
He picked up his tools and turned to leave.
Quatre hesitated at the entrance to the hanger bay. He had been unable to sleep and had decided to put his insomnia to good use and work on Sandrock for a bit. However, he preferred to be alone and there was a light on over where the Gundams were held. Quatre frowned. The light was specifically shining on Heavyarms. His breath quickened. Could it be that Trowa was...
A figure walked out into the light. Quatre smiled. It was Trowa. He stepped forward.
The other boy's head came up and Quatre drew in a sharp breath. Trowa looked so desolate. "Quatre..."
"I... er... I couldn't sleep," said Quatre as lightly as possible despite feeling all churned up with worry inside. What had Trowa been thinking about that made him feel so unhappy? "So I thought I'd do some work on Sandrock."
"Ah," Trowa nodded. His expression was back to being inscrutable.
Quatre couldn't keep up the lightness anymore, he clenched his hands. "Trowa!" he blurted. "What is wrong? Are you feeling bad about something?"
Trowa's eyes widened. "Quatre..."
"I saw your face, what is it that makes you look so torn? Can't I help?" Quatre pleaded. "I want to help you... anyway I can."
Trowa shook his head. "It's not your concern." he said softly.
Quatre sighed. "I don't want you to be sad anymore," he said quietly.
Trowa's eyes flickered. Quatre swallowed. *Well, I guess this is as good a time as any... after thinking about this for three days...*
"Trowa, I am concerned for you, not just because you are my friend, but also because..." he moved closer to Trowa. "I've been wanting to tell you something for a long time now... and I hope you won't be angry, but... but I _like_ you."
Trowa regarded him. "Like?"
"Yes," Quatre held Trowa's eyes with his own. "_Like_, uh... you do know what I mean, right?"
Trowa was silent, then he nodded slowly. "Yes."
Quatre hesitated. Should he go on? Trowa wasn't reacting negatively OR positively. Was this a good thing? He took a deep breath and decided to continue on, whatever the consequences.
"Ever since we met," he said slowly. "I've felt strongly about you, and after the incident when you... when I... Well, I realized that I-I loved you... and now, I thought I should let you know, because I owe you the truth of my feelings. I don't expect you to feel the same way..."
Quatre blinked and stared at Trowa. "What?"
Trowa's eyes slid away from Quatre and he looked at the ground "I do."
Quatre's mouth worked. "You... you feel the same?" his heart began to thump faster and he felt slightly breathless.
Trowa raised his eyes and nodded.
Quatre stepped towards Trowa and stopped when they were an inch apart. "How long have you felt this way?" he asked softly.
Trowa sighed, his breath ruffling Quatre's hair slightly. "I think... the duet."
Quatre chuckled quietly. "That long?" he reached up a hand and gently touched Trowa's smooth cheek. "Mmmm... same with me," he caressed Trowa's skin. "Trowa... can I...?" he hooked his other hand around Trowa's neck and gently drew Trowa's face close to his own. "Can I kiss you?"
Trowa said nothing, but he tilted his head slightly and let Quatre draw him into his embrace. Quatre softly touched Trowa's lips and felt resistance. For a brief moment he wondered if he had gone too far. Then, Trowa's lips softened and he responded, matching Quatre's gentle touch. Relief washed through Quatre and prompted a severe surge of desire which he supressed. He stroked the back of Trowa's neck as he nipped slightly at his lips, drawing a sigh from Trowa who brought his own arms up and around Quatre.
Then Quatre traced a path from Trowa's mouth with his lips up to Trowa's ear. "I won't push you, Trowa," he whispered in his ear. "But I want you to know that I _do_ love you and everything that comes with you."
Trowa suddenly pulled back, surprising Quatre.
"Don't say that," said Trowa turning away. "Not when you don't know."
Quatre was confused by the abrupt change in Trowa. "I..." he reached out and touched Trowa's shoulders. "Trowa, what is it?"
Trowa stiffened. "You don't know my past, how worthless I am," he said keeping his back to Quatre.
Quatre sighed, he had his suspicions about what had happened to Trowa, which was one of the reasons why he was trying not to rush things. He moved forward and embraced the other boy from behind, enfolding him in his arms and laying his head on Trowa's back. "It's alright," he murmured. "No matter what, you are worth everything to _me_."
Trowa looked down at Quatre's hands, Slowly he laid his own hands on Quatre's. A warm feeling moved through him, a sense of contentment that he only felt when he was with Quatre.
They stood there for a long time, listening to each others breathing. Then Quatre reached up and caressed Trowa's face again, turning him back to face him.
Trowa looked into Quatre's blue eyes, drowning himself in the love he saw there. Love for _him_. "Quatre..." he began in a choked voice.
"Shhh..." Quatre laid a finger on Trowa's lips. "It's alright," he drew Trowa's lips to his own. "It's alright," he murmured and kissed Trowa again.
This time he was not so gentle. This time he poured his passion into the kiss and pulled at Trowa's hips so that their bodies touched. Quatre almost cried out as the desire he had supressed surged back with an even greater strength. His hands slid around to Trowa's back and he held him tightly. Trowa made a small sound beneath Quatre's mouth, but as the kiss deepened his hands clutched at Quatre and he pressed against him. *I want him... I want...*
#Pretty boy... I want some.#
Trowa wrenched out of Quatre's arms and collapsed on the floor as the voices echoed in his head. He covered his face with his hands and tried to throw the voices out.
#You'll like it, kid!#
Quatre stumbled backwards, recovered and then crouched by Trowa, his face stricken. "Trowa! Trowa! What happened?" his hands hovered over Trowa's shoulders, not daring to touch him.
Trowa took gulping breaths and pulled himself together. *No... Quatre is _not_ like that... this is different!* He reached up and clasped Quatre's hand. "I'm sorry..." he gasped. "I just... I heard..."
Quatre felt guilty. "I'm the one who should be sorry," he said squeezing Trowa's hand. "I didn't mean to let things go so far," he managed a weak smile. "I didn't expect my feelings to overcome my good sense. Forgive me"
Trowa returned Quatre's smile with a slight (very slight) one of his own. "Forgive me," he repeated. "I don't need to do that, but..." he got to his feet, pulling Quatre up with him. "I have to go."
Quatre felt a stab of pain in his heart. "Leave?"
Trowa ducked his head. "I... love you," he whispered hoarsely. "But... I can't be with you."
"Trowa, no!" Quatre held Trowa's hands tightly. "I told you that your past doesn't matter to me! I love _you_!"
Trowa swallowed. "But my past keeps holding onto me," he said. "Until I can overcome it I can't be with you."
Quatre sighed. "I... I understand," he said reluctantly. "Are you... going back to the circus?"
Quatre's face was shadowed for a moment, then he looked up and smiled at Trowa. "I'm not going to leave you to work this out by yourself, you know!"
Quatre kissed Trowa's fingers. "I'll keep in contact," he promised. "Day or night, if you need me, I'll be there. I won't let you go!"
Trowa felt a warm pulse of happiness go through him as Quatre's lips touched his fingertips. "Very well."
Quatre put Trowa's hand on his cheek. "One day, Trowa, we will play that duet and there will be nothing between us."
"This time, it's the end," said Duo softly as he raised his hand and pressed the self-destruct button.
In a brilliant blaze of light flashed out from Heavyarms, Deathscythe and Sandrock as they were destroyed.
Trowa sighed heavily. "I'm back to being nameless," he said sadly.
"No," Quatre turned and smiled at him. "Trowa is Trowa, I don't think it should make a difference." *It certainly doesn't to _me_.* His eyes spoke eloquently to Trowa.
Trowa smiled faintly back as Duo spoke.
"Names are for other people to call you," he said simply. "It's no use trying to change that. Anyway, we've got somewhere to go home to," he glanced at the two others. "Right?"
Trowa nodded. "Ah, you're right."
Duo stretched. "And I have to hop on the next flight to L2!" he grinned. "I've got a pretty lady there waiting for me!"
Quatre laughed. "So, are you going to remain in business with Hilde?" he asked as they all started to walk back into the city.
Duo grinned even more and began to chatter about Hilde and the Sweepers and his plans. After a while Trowa stopped paying attention as they walked along the street and instead he started to think about the events of the past few days, the past year and, more importantly, about Quatre.
True to his promise, Quatre had kept in contact, but their opportunities to be together face to face had been very rare. Running the Winner Corporation took up alot of Quatre's time and the circus kept Trowa busy. However, to be honest, Trowa knew that he could have made more of an effort. But all through the past year, Trowa's efforts to find inner peace and to lock down his memories had failed. The last time he and Quatre had kissed he still felt the pressure of the past on him. Trowa had started to despair of ever being able to love Quatre as he deserved.
Trowa smiled to himself. Oddly enough it had taken the events of the past few days for him to find the ease he'd sought. *My last links to the old days are gone now, I am Trowa Barton, not simply Nameless with a temporary reprieve.* Trowa lifted his head and looked into the sun. *I probably won't forget, but I can look forward...*
Trowa blinked and looked at Duo. "Ah... yes?" he noticed that they were standing in the foyer of Quatre's hotel.
Duo shook his head. "Where the hell were you? Fantasy land?" he smirked. "Anyway, what I was saying is that I have to get going now, so... well..." he shrugged. "I guess all I can say is good luck and goodbye!"
Trowa nodded. "And to you, Duo."
"Keep in touch, Duo!" Quatre called as Duo walked away.
Duo waved back at him. "We still have to drink that champagne!" he called as he went out of the door.
Quatre laughed and turned to Trowa. "I don't think he's ever going to let that slide!"
"Probably not," agreed Trowa.
Quatre fidgeted slightly. "Uh... Trowa? Are you going to go back to the circus?" he asked apprehensively.
Trowa nodded. Quatre sighed. "Do you have to go? Right now?"
Trowa thought about it. "I suppose not," he looked at Quatre. "Do you want me to..."
"Stay with me for a while," said Quatre softly. He took Trowa's hand and pulled him over to the elevator. "We haven't had much time together..." he smiled. "I had the Maganacs bring my violin case... so that we could play the duet again. After all, we never got around to it a year ago!"
Trowa nodded and they got into the elevator. There were five other people inside, so they refrained from saying anything more, but Quatre kept holding Trowa's hand. Trowa looked at him and felt a rush of affection. He squeezed Quatre's hand and the blond looked at him with love in his eyes.
Quatre's hotel room was large and spacious, with all the mod cons and a sitting room. Trowa sat on the large, deep couch as Quatre went a pulled out the violin case.
"Here," Quatre handed him the flute.
Their fingertips brushed and a spark surged through them both and their eyes locked. Quatre leaned forward and brushed Trowa's lips with his own. "I love you," he whispered. Then he pulled back and picked up his violin.
Still feeling the pleasant burn of Quatre's warm lips on his own, Trowa brought the flute to his lips.
Quatre closed his eyes and put the bow to the strings.
And for a while the hotel room was filled with the sound of perfect musical harmony as Quatre and Trowa poured their love and their souls into the music.
The duet continued until Quatre played some light teasing notes and Trowa countered them. They were standing now, face to face, their eyes meeting. Quatre played the same notes again, his blue eyes dark with desire. Then he put down the violin, his eyes still on Trowa, and stepped closer.
Trowa stopped playing and put the flute down. Quatre's hands slid up his arms and Trowa felt his heart start to pound as Quatre's face moved closer to his. Then, Quatre paused and ducked his head.
"Trowa?" his breath tickled Trowa's throat. "Am I moving too fast? I don't want to rush you, if you don't want to..."
"No, no..." Trowa felt dizzy. "Quatre, I love you, I trust you."
Quatre lifted his head and smiled. "Good," he whispered and traced Trowa's mouth with his fingers before bringing Trowa's lips to his. He pushed against Trowa, hands stroking his neck and moving downwards to the small of Trowa's back. Then he pushed a little more and they both tumbled onto the couch. Quatre pulled back and tugged at the edge of Trowa's top. "I want to see you," he murmured. "_All_ of you, I want to show you... that I love you."
Trowa smiled and obediently pulled off his black turtle-neck. "You too," he said softly reaching up to unbutton Quatre's shirt.
Quatre was diverted by Trowa's well-muscled torso and let him remove the shirt and vest. Then he pushed Trowa's hands away and moved down to kiss Trowa's chest lightly.
Trowa breathed harshly and his hands twined gently in Quatre's hair. His every sense was filled with Quatre - his touch, his scent, his voice... there was nothing else.
"Trowa..." Quatre's breath was warm on his bare skin. "This is an even better duet."
Trowa looked into his lover's eyes. "Yes, don't stop..."
Quatre smiled and kissed him. "Never."
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