. Trowa's thrashing woke Quatre. He sat up and looked at the clock: 12:17 in the morning. Groaning softly, he got out of bed and padded over to Trowa. "Trowa?" Trowa mumbled something, face twisting into a grimace. as he tossed and turned. Quatre knelt next to him, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Trowa! Wake up, Trowa." Trowa's thrashing became more agitated and he cried out, fear coloring his voice. "Non! Non!" Quatre placed both hands on Trowa's shoulders, shaking him. "Trowa! *Wake* *up*!" Trowa's eyes flew open, wide with fear. He looked at Quatre without seeing him, then recognition set in and he collapsed in Quatre's arms, shaking and covered in sweat. Quatre sat on the edge of the bed and rocked Trowa gently, murmuring softly in his ear. "Shh, shh, it's okay, Trowa, it was a dream, you're safe, I won't let anyone hurt you, shh. . ." Trowa started weeping softly, trembling and jerking often, as if trying to ward off blows. His tears slid silently down his cheeks as he held onto Quatre, eyes squeezed shut. Quatre used a corner of his nightshirt to wipe the tears gently away, placing a soft kiss after each one. He rocked slowly until the tears stopped and Trowa relaxed in his arms, then lay Trowa back on his bed and covered him up. Quatre stood to go to his own bed when he felt a tug at his shirt. Trowa looked up at him, a haunted look in his eyes. "Please. . ." he whispered, "Stay. . ." Quatre knelt next to the bed and took Trowa's hand in his own. "I'm right here, Trowa. I won't leave. I'll be right across the room, all right?" Trowa shook his head and tightened his grip on Quatre's hand. "Stay here. . . with me. . ." Quatre took a deep breath. "Trowa, I don't think---" Trowa let go of his hand abruptly and turned to the wall, curling into a fetal position. A fine tremor ran through his body and Quatre touched his chest, above his heart. He sighed softly, then got under the covers and wrapped his arms around Trowa. Trowa jerked a bit and turned around, watching him warily, but Quatre just smiled softly. "Go ahead and sleep, Trowa. I'll be here if you need me." Trowa nodded, then closed his eyes and drifted back to sleep. Quatre woke slowly. Something wasn't right. He opened one eye and softly glowing fog greeted his sight. "Oh, Allah, not *again*," he groaned, closing his eye and pouting. "How much more do I need to see?" The mist wavered as if in, then parted. "Well, isn't *this* predictable?" Nanashi walked through the fog, older than before. He looked a little younger than Trowa now, in fact, but not by much. Quatre sat up, grimacing. "Hello, Nanashi." "Hello, Quatre." Quatre blinked. He hadn't been expecting a reply. "Uhm, so. . . I hope you're doing better than when we last met?" Nanashi nodded, an odd expression on his face. Quatre frowned. Was Nanashi. . . smiling? He looked almost happy; happier than he ever looked when he was with Quatre. Quatre shoved away feeling of jealousy and smiled. "Well, I'm glad to see you feeling better." He got up and walked over to Nanashi, looking up at him. "You certainly got taller. How have you been?" Nanashi shrugged, that faint, secretive smile playing at the corners of his mouth. He turned around. "Come on." Quatre shrugged his own shoulders and followed. He had nothing better to do, after all. "Am I right to assume that this visit won't be like that last one?" "You'll see." The mist parted, revealing yet another mercenary camp. Nanashi walked through it purposefully, ignoring the men they passed. He went straight to a mobile suit in dire need of repair and knelt by it, opening a nearby toolbox and going to work. Quatre watched him for a while. "How old are you, Nanashi?" Nanashi frowned at the mobile suit faintly. ". . . twelve. I think." Quatre sighed and shook his head. "So what makes you so happy now?" Whatever Nanashi was about to say was cut short by the arrival of one of the mercenaries. The sandy-haired man leaned against the mobile suit, looking down at Nanashi with a predatory gleam in his eyes. Quatre glared daggers at him. "So, Nanashi. Working hard?" No reply. The man's eyes narrowed. "What, cat got your tongue?" Still no reply. The man knelt down and grabbed Nanashi's chin, forcing the boy to look at him. "Look, *boy*, I'm talking to you, and when I talk to you, you reply, you hear me, boy?" Anger flared in his eyes, boiling over into his voice. Nanashi looked at the man calmly. "Yes." "Good." The mercenary caressed Nanashi's cheek gently, leaning forward. And was promptly knocked to his ass by a taller mercenary. Quatre's eyes widened as he first mistook the boy, almost a man, for Heero, then shook his head. He was older and taller, but the resemblance *was* startling. The mercenary looked down at Nanashi and shook his head, sighing. "Nanashi, how many times do I have to tell you, you don't have to take that kind of treatment from anyone?" He offered his hand and helped Nanashi up when the boy took it. "You're not the group sex toy, you know." Nanashi looked down and shrugged, blushing faintly. "I'm sorry, Ralph." Ralph shook his head again and kicked at the merc on the ground. "Get your ass out of here, Jennings, and I don't *ever* want to hear of you making Nanashi even the slightest bit *nervous*, is that clear?" Jennings muttered an affirmative and stalked off. Ralph looked back to Nanashi and touched his chin gently. "That's going to bruise. Come here." Quatre followed the two to a trailer, curiosity about the Ralph eating him alive, not to mention quite a bit of jealousy. Inside the trailer Ralph gently put some ice on Nanashi's chin, already bruising from the force of Jennings' grip. He shook his head yet again and sighed, then ruffled Nanashi's hair affectionately. Nanashi's cheeks colored and he looked down, biting his lower lip. Ralph chuckled softly as Quatre sulked about Nanashi's obvious crush on the older boy. "The next time that happens, Nanashi, you tell me, clear? I've seen the way the men look at you, and it isn't right." "Yes, Ralph." Nanashi looked up shyly as Ralph sat next to him, a tentative smile on his lips. "Thank you." Ralph smiled back. "Oh, no problem. You need to learn to fight back, though; stand up for yourself. Then this," Ralph touched Nanashi's chin gently, "wouldn't happen." Nanashi's cheeks colored again and he leaned slightly into Ralph's touch, closing his eyes. Ralph tilted his head to the side and looked at Nanashi curiously, thumb gently caressing the younger boy's cheek. Nanashi smiled softly, leaning into the touch even more. "Nanashi, I think you'd better leave." Ralph's voice was soft, desire in his eyes. Nanashi looked up, confusion on his face. "Why?" Ralph ran his hand through Nanashi's hair. "Because you're pretty, Nanashi, and you're twelve. Were you three or four years older, I'd consider letting you stay, but you're not, so you need to go." Ralph stood and pulled a bewildered Nanashi up, leading him to the door. "But, Ralph---" Ralph placed a finger on Nanashi's lips and shook his head. "No 'buts', little one. Now go back to work, and make sure you don't let anyone push you around." Ralph turned around and firmly closed the trailer door behind him. Quatre frowned at Nanashi. "You like him." Nanashi glanced at him. "You say it like it's a bad thing." Quatre had to admit that it wasn't, not when Ralph wasn't hurting Nanashi. "He never hurts me. He keeps men like Jennings away from me. I used to think that he wanted me for himself, but whenever we're alone he finds excuses to either leave or make me leave. He says that I'm too young for anything to happen." Nanashi sat down by the mobile suit again and sighed. "It could be worse. He *could* be like Jennings." Quatre opened his mouth to reply and blacked out. When he opened his eyes, bewildered, the scene had changed. Moonlight shone softly through the uncurtained window of Ralph's trailer, and Ralph was lying on the couch, reading a book. Occasionally he glanced up, looked at a closed door, then resumed reading. Quatre poked his head *through* the door, faintly amused, and saw Nanashi lying propped up in a bed, shirtless, with one arm in a cast. He frowned. "What happened, Nanashi?" 'Mobile suit crashed.' Nanashi grimaced and opened his eyes. "Ralph?" "Go to sleep, Nanashi." "Ralph, it hurts." There was a sigh. "Take some medicine." "I can't reach it." "Move." "You told me not to." Ralph sighed again as Quatre moved fully into the room, then walked in and frowned at Nanashi. "You're very literal, you know." Nanashi shrugged. "It still hurts." Ralph moved to the nightstand and opened a bottle of pills. "You could be dead." He handed one to Nanashi. "Water?" Ralph gave an exasperated sigh. "Can't you take it without?" Nanashi shook his head. "It sticks in my throat." "You're so childish." "I'm twelve." "You admit it, then." "It still hurts." Ralph walked out, muttering good-naturedly under his breath. He returned a moment later with a glass of water, a faint smile on his lips. "Here, child. Take your pill that sticks in your throat without water, then go to sleep." He handed the glass to Nanashi and stood there until Nanashi had taken the pill and handed the glass back. "Thank you, Ralph." "No problem." Ralph looked down at Nanashi for a moment, then leaned down and gently kissed Nanashi's cheek. Nanashi turned his head, touching his lips to Ralph's and sliding his good arm around Ralph's neck. Ralph made a small noise of protest and pulled back slightly. "Nanashi, I didn't mean it like that---" Nanashi pulled himself up with his good arm, overbalancing Ralph and toppling the dark-haired boy onto him. "Nanashi!" Ralph tried to push himself up, but Nanashi held him tightly. "You may not have meant it like that, but that's how you want it," he stated, looking up at Ralph. "I'm not blind. You look at me the same way Jennings does, the only difference being *you* don't do anything to me." Nanashi wriggled around until he lay on top of Ralph, who flushed. "Nanashi, it's not the same. I like you, yes. I even want you. But you're *too* *young*, Nanashi. *Too* *young*." Ralph pushed at Nanashi again. Nanashi bent his head down and kissed Ralph's neck gently, whispering in his ear, "Young, but not naive. I'm not innocent, Ralph. I haven't been for a long time. And besides, you're not *that* much older than me." Nanashi slid his hand down Ralph's pants and Ralph gasped, then jerked Nanashi's hand up and rolled over, pinning the smaller boy beneath him. "It's going to hurt." Passion had been slowly creeping into Ralph's voice, and now bloomed fully. "I can't make it not hurt." He slipped off his shirt and looked down at Nanashi. Nanashi shrugged, running his free hand over Ralph's chest. "Breaking my arm hurt, too." Ralph sighed softly and slid under the covers, slipping his jeans off. "This is different. You're going to walk funny in the morning." He kissed Nanashi softly. "I'm on sick leave. I don't have to get out of bed." Ralph chuckled softly. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you planned this." He kissed a trail down Nanashi's chest, kneeling between the boy's legs. He leaned up and kissed Nanashi again, effectively silencing his reply. Quatre backed out of the room slowly, blinking in confusion. He compared Nanashi to Trowa now, and almost cried. "What the hell *happened*?" he wondered aloud, "He's willingly giving himself to this Ralph *now*, so what happened?" Quatre closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them, the moon had set. "My, how time flies. I wonder what that's from?" He walked back into the bedroom, assuming it was safe to do so. Ralph was sitting up with Nanashi curled up next to him, head resting on Ralph's shoulder. Ralph held Nanashi gently, running his hands through the boy's hair. Nanashi sighed and cuddled closer, his broken arm across Ralph's chest. Ralph glanced down and kissed the top of his head lightly, then stretched. "I take it you enjoyed yourself?" He turned on his side and wrapped both arms around Nanashi. Nanashi smiled slightly and nodded. "Yes, Ralph." Ralph sighed. "Well, I'm glad. I feel like a pedophile, but at least you're happy. Maybe now you'll stop giving me those longing looks," he grumbled as Nanashi nodded, eyes drifting shut. "*Now* will you go to sleep?" Nanashi nodded again, gave a small yawn, and slipped into contented sleep. Quatre's eyes closed entirely against his will, and then he was faced with yet another scene. 'Gee, do I get my money back? This play sucks.' Nanashi was sitting next to Heavyarms, eyes downcast. And older boy glared down at him, hands on his hips. "For the *last* *time*, you nameless idiot, leave my gundam the fuck alone! Do you understand me, or are you just that stupid?" Nanashi stood. "I understand you, Trowa-kun." That startled Quatre. "*That* boy is Trowa? What the---" Trowa followed the boy as he walked off. "No, I don't think you do, Nanashi. Otherwise you *would* leave Heavyarms alone." "I was following orders." "Ha! And since when is screwing around in the cockpit 'following orders,' huh?" Nanashi didn't reply, opening a door and walking into the room. He started to close the door and Trowa shouldered it open, knocking Nanashi to the floor. Nanashi sighed softly and got up as Trowa crossed his arms over his chest and shook his head. "Too stupid to dodge a door. Huh." He reached out and looped his arm around Nanashi's waist, pulling the smaller boy against him. "You sure are pretty, though. Must be why they keep you around." Nanashi's eyes widened slightly and he pushed at Trowa weakly, trying to get away. "Leave me alone." Trowa kicked the door shut and locked it with one hand, then tilted Nanashi's head up. "Mmmmm. . . no." He grinned as fear flashed across Nanashi's face and the boy struggled a little more, backing Nanashi up to the bed. "I don't think I will. You don't know who your betters are, boy, and it's high time you learned." He grabbed Nanashi's wrists and tripped him onto the bed, pinning the smaller boy beneath him. "NO!" Nanashi yelled, gaining himself a backhanded smack. He whimpered softly and went limp, a tear etching its way down his face. "Please, don't. . ." Trowa smirked down at him. "Too late for that, boy." Quatre backed out of the room. 'Shit,' Quatre thought, 'Not after Ralph. . . No wonder he's so screwed up.' Several scenes of Trowa forcing Nanashi to the bed flashed across his eyes, finally settling on a man pointing a gun at Nanashi. **La!! Still need who's doing what, and all the stuff** "What's your name, boy?" "I don't have a name. Call me Nanashi if you like." "You saw everything?" "I wouldn't mind if you want to kill me, but I might struggle a bit." Dr. S walked up. "Stop it. They'll know about this sooner or later. Trying to cover it up is just a waste of effort." "You give up far too quickly." "What?" "I'm feeling somewhat inconvenienced without a name. I might just take over his name if that's what you want." "What are you talking about?" "It seems the battle arena is more suited to me." "Are you planning to become the pilot of Heavyarms here?" "I like this machine, but I have no interest in taking over Earth." "Very well. From now on, you are Trowa Barton. I'll leave Operation Meteor in your hands." "Acknowledged." Quatre sank to the ground slowly, head spinning in circles. 'The mercenaries I knew about. Ralph, Ralph startled me. This second Trowa, or would that be first?, just makes me sick. Blessed Allah, no *wonder* Trowa's screwed up." "It's not a permanent state." Quatre looked up. "Thank Allah for this blasted fog. What do you mean, 'it's not a permanent state'?" The newly-named Trowa smiled faintly. "Just that. He can heal, and you can help. You're closer than you think, you know." He knelt down and kissed Quatre gently. "Just keep doing what you've been doing, Quatre. And have a happy birthday." With that he kissed Quatre again, slipping into the fog as Quatre slipped back to sleep.