Author: pyrzm
Summary: How it all started. 03 before he was Trowa Barton

03xOCs

*Note to new readers and those not so familiar with GW in all its complexity: "Lost Souls" is based very loosely on the manga, the TV show, and on the character background given in the movie Endless Waltz. Otherwise, however, I just pretend EW didn't happen, both here and in the after war sequel, Broken Warriors.

Background:

According to the Episode Zero manga, Trowa really is Catherine's little brother, but was lost (can't recall how) and raised from a very early age by mercenaries. He had no name that he remembered, and they called him "No Name".

As a young teen he befriended a girl named Middie who turned out to be a spy for whoever the enemy was. She tricked him into turning on his friends and killing them in battle. That's the "That Day" he can't think about in this story. And yes, when he meets up with Catherine again and suddenly becomes a circus star, I guess we're supposed to suspend disbelief in a major way and play along that it's all Meant To Be and hereditary talent and such like. What are you gonna do, right? It's their world; I just play with what they give me.

According to Endless Waltz, he somehow ended up as a suit mechanic for the Barton Foundation on L-3, and took the real Trowa Barton's name and place as Heavyarms's pilot when the original TB was killed. That scene is straight out of the movie.

All that happens otherwise is my own sick twisted take on what might have been. *g*.

This story arc will continue to weave into the tv series, embroidering on what we are shown with all sorts of boy love bits and pieces.

Reviews alway appreciated! It gives me more energy to keep writing!

Lost Souls + Chapter 1
Luck of the Draw

L-3 Colony. November 29, AC 193

"Come on, Barton! Shit or get off the pot!" Ellicot muttered. The scar-faced blockade runner leered at the young spacer over his cards. "I got five here says you're going down."

Trowa Barton eyed his hand again, face giving away nothing. It was down to just the two of them now. The rest of the players, smugglers and L-3 resistance fighters alike, were standing around the smoky hanger backroom, awaiting the outcome of this last hand.

There were over five thousand credits on the table; win and they were that much closer to realizing Operation Meteor. Lose and Trowa was going to have some serious explaining to do tomorrow. But so far he'd already won a case of stabilizer points and three coils of high resistance circuitry wire: it was more than enough to offset most of a loss at this point in the game.

He checked out Ellicot again. The man was one hell of a card player, and Trowa had known him to bluff before, but he wasn't that good. No, he had a winning hand, all right.

But so did Trowa, and he had deeper pockets. "I see your thousand, and raise you one more." He reached for the credit meter and tapped in the bid.

It was a ballsy move, and he really did expect the smuggler captain to fold. Instead, Ellicot reached into his back pocket and tossed down a folded document printed on blue ripstop. A contract? "I see your thousand, and raise you this."

"What the fuck is this supposed to be?" one of Trowa's men growled, but Trowa waved him off and raised an eyebrow at Ellicot.

"Indenture papers on the best fucking suit pilot and mechanic you'll ever meet," the smuggler told him. "He don't talk much, but I ain't found anything yet he can't fix, fly, or blow up. He's the one did the modifications on our shuttle rams you got so wet over. You win this hand, he's yours. But you ain't gonna win, kid."

"Indentured?" It was just this side of slavery, but still legal. "If he's so good, what's he doing indentured to a no talent flyboy like you?" Trowa drawled, but that was a bluff and they both knew it. What Ellicott didn't know about anything that flew or exploded wasn't worth knowing. If he said this guy was good, that was money in the bank. And if he was betting him, then he didn't expect to lose him. "OK, I'll accept this, and I call. Let's see what you got."

"Read 'em and weep, little boy," Ellicot grinned smugly as he laid out his cards one by one. "Straight flush, all diamonds, jack high. I sure hate to take you money, boys, but-"

Trowa's face gave away nothing as he slowly laid out his cards: 8, 9, 10, jack, queen, all spades.

Ellicot's grin turned sour as his hand froze over the pot. "Fuck me."

"You're not my type." Trowa allowed himself a grin now and it felt good. "So, where's this new mechanic of mine?" He picked up the indenture papers and unfolded them. The "Name" line was blank. The signature line was filled with an indecipherable scrawl. Trowa's heart sank, thinking he'd been rooked, but Ellicot still looked too pissed to have pulled a fast one on him.

"Danvers, go get him. He's probably in the engine room, like always," the smuggler growled. One of his men headed out to the hanger bay. "Fuck, Barton, you've still got the devil's own luck!"

Trowa shrugged as he pocketed the document and the credit meter. "Just consider it a donation to the cause, my friend. Hey, Miko, pour our friends a drink for the road."

Ellicot downed his whiskey and shook his head. "Damn, guess it was your turn to fuck Lady Bountiful tonight. I don't mind the credits so much, but I'm sorry to lose the crewman. Maybe you'll give me a chance to win him back, next time?"

"Depends on whether he lives up to his rep, I guess--" Trowa began, and then stared in disbelief as Danvers came back in with a little boy trailing after him.

Trowa blinked. OK, maybe not little. The kid was close to six feet tall, but skinny as hell and sure as fuck not shaving yet. Hanging back in the smoky shadows by the door, eyes downcast and obscured by a fall of dark ragged bangs, he could have been anything from twelve to starved and weedy jailbait. "This is your suit mechanic? Are you shitting me?"

"I shit you not, Barton." And Ellicot still looked too unhappy for this to be some dodge. He nodded to Danvers, who snagged the kid by the arm and pushed him closer to the table.

He was dressed in worn fatigues and scuffed combat boots, but they didn't look like hand-me-downs. They fit too well. The name strip on the bulky olive drab field jacket was blank and there was no sign of military insignia. In short, he had camp rat written all over him. Or maybe even a soldier, but damn, he was young, even for this fucked up war.

"No Name, say hi to your new boss, Trowa Barton," said Ellicot. "You're gonna be working for him and his rich daddy now. I just lost your papers."

The kid raised his head just enough for Trowa to make out one eye. It was large, and appeared even in the dim light of the single naked bulb to be a striking emerald green. It was also as empty of any emotion as a statue's. His face, or what Trowa could see of it, was Earther tanned and thin but kind of nice-real fine boned, the way he liked 'em. Even with that hint of a scowl, that was a nice mouth, on the wide side, with full, soft-looking lips.

// Cocksucker lips, // Trowa thought. No wonder Ellicot had kept the kid out of sight up until now. "No Name? That's what I'm supposed to call you?"

The kid didn't say a word, or even shrug; just dropped his chin again, hiding behind those long, ragged bangs.

"I told you he don't say much," Ellicot said. "But you point him at an engine or a busted cannon and you don't have to tell him nothing, either. Kid's a wizard with a toolbox, and hell behind the controls. Smart as hell, too. Feed him, work him, keep him away from sharp objects and don't try to fuck with him. He's ex-merc, we think. I only seen him fight once, but he took on five guys all by himself and none of them walked out of that bar on their own. You want something from him?" He gave Trowa a meaningful look. "Just ask him nice. He usually says yes."

The kid just stood there while Ellicot talked about him like he was some dog he was selling, or a whore. Even that last remark didn't get any kind of reaction.

"So what do you know about him?"

Ellicot shrugged again. "We picked him up on Earth a couple of months ago while we were running illegal salvage raids in Spain. He just wandered into camp one night and offered to work for food."

"So he does talk?"

"Now and then. Watch out, too. He understands more than he lets on and speaks a bunch of languages. Don't you, No Name? Yeah, you hear me, all right. He ain't ever given us reason not to trust him, though. Far as we know, he's an orphan, and he ain't political. Trowa here is colonial resistance, kid. That matter to you?"

The kid glanced up at Trowa again, then mumbled, "I can fight." His voice was still high, in spite of the height. His balls probably hadn't even dropped yet, but he was already a killer?

"Yeah, we're going to fight, kid," he told him. "We're gonna hit those arrogant Earther bastards with something they ain't never seen before, something I bet you're gonna like working on, if you're the suit jockey Ellicot here says you are. You down with that?"

Was that a gleam of interest in that guarded green eye? Perhaps it was, because No Name nodded. He was in. "Good." Trowa held out his hand, and after a moment's hesitation, the kid shook with him. His hand was surprisingly large and strong; it was work rough, with long fingers and broken, greased crusted nails. Maybe this kid was all Ellicot claimed, after all. Trowa grinned at him and that testing grip he was giving him. "Welcome to the Barton Foundation, kid."

+

One place had always been pretty much like another to No Name for as long as he could remember. He couldn't remember a time when he hadn't been a soldier, a wanderer. Rootless. But it had been different, before That Day. Before, he'd had friends, guys who'd been like family, even though as far as he knew- those confusing dreams of a red haired little girl and music aside-he'd never had any family at all. For all he knew, he was one of those spacer babies, mixed and cooked in a gestation chamber, then dumped out on the world all alone until the Captain had found him by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.

The Captain and his men had been No Name's family, his teachers, his brothers, and his friends. Someday maybe he could think about them again, all the things they'd taught him and been to him, and the future he'd thought was all figured out, but not now. Not yet. His mind just went blank and black if he tried, and cold barb wired tightened around his heart. No, since That Day one week had pretty much just flowed into another in a long gray progression, punctuated only by the nightmares, and if he was cold or hungry or whether there was anything in front of him to fix or fly.

There was a time, after That Day, that he didn't remember anything. Then Ellicot was there, feeding him and asking him questions. He didn't remember what he'd told him, but all of a sudden he had a micro spanner in his hand again, and a reason to get up in the morning.

Those men hadn't been too bad. He lost his virginity one night to Ellicot, and he didn't ask any questions when No Name had cried. After that a few others were interested; no one tried to fuck him up the ass--he made it clear that wasn't welcome-- but he'd give a blow job or take one, and they usually gave him a couple of bucks or some extra rations for his trouble. Beyond that, he had the work, and a cot and three hots a day.

Most things were acceptable, really, when you didn't give a damn about anything anymore.

The Barton people were OK, too, but different. They were real political, not just guns for hire like the mercs who'd raised him. Everyone talked about how the Earth was screwing over the colonies, and some of them got real hot about it.

No Name could give a shit. He had clean clothes, plenty to eat, and a bed to himself in a supply room off the hanger. Sure, the one called Trowa wanted into his pants; he'd picked up on that that minute he'd laid eyes on the big blond, but once No Name laid out the rules, Barton was happy with the occasional suck or hand job, and he always paid. And it seemed either Barton wanted him to himself, or there were less queers in this crew than Ellicot's because most of the guys left him alone and just let him do his work.

The work, though. That was something else. Working under the direction of a wild haired freak with a prosthetic nose called Doctor S, they were building a suit like nothing he'd ever seen before. They called it a Gundam, because of the special alloy it was made from, and someone had nicknamed it Heavyarms. The name was a pun; the arms were massive and it was going to be a bitch to maneuver, but it was also fucking heavily armed. Designed for long-range attacks, it had a massive array of guns and missiles. When it was completed, it would have a beam gatling attachment on the left hand, homing missiles in both shoulders, micro missiles on its legs, and more gats concealed inside its chest. In short, for No Name, it was love at first sight.

The engineering crew chief, a guy named Strathern, turned out to be an OK guy. He talked to No Name like he was more than some stray, put him through a long battery of computerized tests, and then assigned him to the main tech crew. He even listened when No Name voiced concerns about auxiliary weapons, and implemented his design for a gundanium blade assembly for the right hand, to be used as a fall back once the ammo was expended, or in a close fight. No Name had never been prouder. He still had nightmares about That Day on a regular basis, and Barton and a couple other guys used him on a regular basis, but overall, life was OK. He ate, he worked, he managed to avoid most of the political lectures that old Dekkim Barton liked to give, though it was impossible not to pick up the gist. Everyone on the crew was a zealot to some degree. The Colonies were fighting for freedom and to revenge the assassination of some colonial peace advocate named Heero Yuy. The Barton Foundation was one of the leading supporters of the resistance. That made Trowa the golden boy heir apparent, and he was more rabid than most. According to him, it wasn't enough to get free of Earth; the Barton Foundation was going to use Heavyarms to conquer it and set up some better system, with the Bartons running the show. He showed No Name a picture of a little girl once, his niece, who he claimed was going to rule Earth after the war was won. Old Dekkim had some lame-assed idea about an awakening of a new mankind. In short, they were all crazy as shithouse rats.

No Name didn't care. From what he'd seen, power was power and it didn't matter who was running the show. All he cared about was Heavyarms. Months had flowed by in an easy blur, a whole year. The suit was nearly done, and it was the most amazing thing ever created. And in the end, not only did No Name get to contribute to the design and work on every gorgeous inch, but he was tapped to be one the test pilots. Taking the suit out that first time, fighting those stiff, balky controls, he thought he'd died and gone to that Heaven some people still believed in. That night he reran every second of the flight and had to jerk off to get rid of the hard on it gave him.

Naturally, the good times couldn't last. They never did. For months there'd been talk of something called Operation Meteor, but what that really meant depended on who you were talking to. Everyone was used to him hanging around, the kid who never said anything. Apart from the few people he worked closely with, to most people he was like a stray cat, part of the scenery. Thanks to that, most people ended up saying too much in front of him, thinking he was simple or something.

So as usual, no one even noticed him on the gantry that day that Trowa got into a fight with Doc S. No Name was sitting on the catwalk off to one side, fine-tuning some instrument calibrations, when he heard voices being raised beyond the Gundam. "Why are we limiting all of our attacks to OZ?" That was Trowa, sounding angrier than usual. No Name had learned a long time ago to avoid the subject of OZ around the hotheaded young man.

"If we proceed with Operation Meteor, two billion people will die!" That was S. "Trowa, don't you think this going too far, just for revenge for Heero Yuy?"

"The purpose of this plan is not revenge! The purpose of for the colonies to conquer Earth, all for the awakenings of a new mankind!"

It was the usual bullshit. Trowa ranted on like he always did, and No Name did his best to tune it out as he returned to his calibrations.

Then he heard the gunshot. It startled him, that sound; it was something he hadn't heard since That Day. For a moment his vision went black, then he heard the loud tinkle of the calibration tool he'd dropped, and S demanding, "Who's there?"

No Name came into view, hands raised, and saw Trowa Barton on his face on the gantry platform, a bullet hole dead center in the back of his orange coveralls. Doctor S stood just behind him, next to a blond man No Name recognized as one of the top members of S's inner circle. The younger man held a smoking pistol, aimed straight at No Name's heart, but he looked more shocked and scared than deadly. Doc S didn't look ready to kill him just yet, either. He looked more like a man who'd just lost his top pilot.

"I have no name," he told them. "You can call me No Name."

"Were you watching us?" the blond man asked, looking more scared by the moment.

No Name had faced death too many times to be scared of anything now. "I'll understand if you want to kill me, but I must warn you that I might retaliate." He's already gauged the distance, the man's fear, the way the gun barrel was wavering. He could disarm or kill the guy before either of the men could react.

S must have read his expression, because he sighed and made the other man lower the gun. "No, stop. Sooner or later they'll find out about this anyway. There's no use trying to hide the facts now."

No Name let out a humorless chuckle, a plan already taking shape in his quick mind. Perhaps it had been there, all along, ever since he'd first laid eyes on the magnificent machine towering beside them.

"You're giving up to easily," he told them. "I must say, I was feeling insecure without a name." He glanced down at the body cooling at their feet and found he felt nothing. Barton hadn't abused him, it was true, but he had treated him exactly like something he'd won in a poker game. He'd used him when it suited him, like a whore, seldom taking notice of him unless he was horny. "I wouldn't mind taking his name."

"What are you talking about?" the younger man demanded.

No Name felt wonderfully calm. "It seems clear to me that I'm best suited for the battlefields." He looked up at the Gundam's impassive painted face and felt a thrill of excitement.

"Are you saying you'll pilot Heavyarms?" the man asked.

"Yes," No Name said, still gazing up at the suit. This felt right. Nothing had felt this right in a long time. He hadn't wanted anything like this in a long time, maybe ever. He wanted Heavyarms. "I've become very fond of this suit, but I have absolutely no interest in conquering Earth."

Doctor S stared at him for a moment, and then No Name saw relief in the old man's eyes. He even smiled. "Why not? I've seen your test results. There's no one else better suited. As of this moment your name is Trowa Barton. You are in charge of Operation Meteor."

No Name, now Trowa Barton, hid the rush of triumph he felt. "I understand."

There were more tests, and attempts at specialized training, but there was little anyone could teach him about being a killer, or piloting this suit. By the time they shot him and four faceless strangers off for Earth, he was once again a killing force, and ready for battle. Whether he lived or died made no difference. He was the pilot of Heavyarms and that was enough. There was nothing else in space or on Earth that he could want, beyond this.

Or so he thought.

[ch. 2] [back to Pyrzm's fic]