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!
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.
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
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*
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.
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."
"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.
Ralph gave an exasperated sigh. "Can't you take it without?"
Nanashi shook his head. "It sticks in my throat."
"You're so childish."
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
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,
"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
Nanashi nodded again, gave a small yawn, and slipped into contented
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
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."
"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."
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
"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.