Author: pyrzm
Summary: 04 meets 02.

Lost Souls + Chapter 4
02

Quatre had really hoped to talk with Trowa again after the New Edwards raid; he'd left so suddenly last night, and he'd been all business and mission oriented the next morning.

//But he kissed me!//

But everything went wrong on that raid. Trowa fired on what turned out to be fellow Gundam pilots and Quatre barely succeeded in keeping him from battling it out with the big black suit with the energy scythe.

They were all together, all five of them, just as Quatre had hoped, but his excitement was short lived. Lured into a cruel trap, they discovered they'd wiped out the Alliance pacifists by mistake, not the OZ top ranks, as their intelligence had indicated. It was a devastating mistake, especially for the pilot called Heero, who'd destroyed the shuttle.

Everything moved too fast after that. Trowa took off with that snarky Chinese pilot with the dragon-headed beam cannon without a backward glance, leaving Quatre, Heero, and the smart-mouthed one who'd attacked Trowa to disarm a major bomb detonation and save the base and a large expanse of the west coast. When it was all over, there was nothing to do but head back to his base and face the displeasure of Rashid and his men, whom he'd made stay behind.

It was frustrating, having met the others, but with no way to contact any of them. He carried out a few small missions on his own, and then orders came in to hit a supply route in Siberia.

He got over confident and fell, literally, into another trap and nearly got killed by the very train he'd been trying to attack. Then, out of nowhere, another Gundam was there, saving his life. It was that big black one with the power scythe, the one called 02. He'd rather it had been Trowa, but he was still grateful for the help.

Things got confused again after that. They found Heero dueling with what appeared to be another, bigger Gundam, only to discover that it was the Zechs Merquise, Kushrenada's right hand man, at the controls.

And then the worst happened. A message came through an open channel. A female OZ officer threatened to blow up the colonies if they didn't cease their attack and surrender. The Gundam's mysterious leader, an old man with the strange goggles and a mechanical hand, capitulated but that he would not surrender the Gundams. Heero, that amazing, grim boy, stepped out of his hatch, said "Mission accepted, and self-detonated right in front of their eyes.

The shock of it, and the flashes of pain and shock from all who witnessed it was too much for Quatre. It felt like his heart was going to explode. His mind was overwhelmed with a confusion of voices from all sides, all calling out in disbelief or awe. Clutching his chest, Quatre was slipping into unconsciousness when Trowa's calm voice cut through all the pain and static and saved him.

"Can you hear me? We must leave here at once!"

"Tr--Trowa?" That voice was like balm on his soul. The pain subsided. Looking up, he watched as Heavyarms reached down and gently picked up Heero's body like a broken toy. "Is that really you, Trowa?"

"Without resolution, we can't fight." Quatre couldn't tell if Trowa was speaking to just him, or to 02 as well, who Quatre could see on his monitor, white-faced and shocked.

Quatre longed to feel another of those comforting flashes from Trowa, but there was nothing. Trowa's voice was heavy with sadness and respect as he said, "He accepted all orders."

Merquise let them go, refusing to take advantage of the situation, and Trowa disappeared into the night. Stunned and numb from the night's events, Quatre withdrew, only half aware that 02 was following.

+

Dawn found them hiding out in a canyon near the Middle East base. Quatre sat in Sandrock, staring at the black Gundam slumped against the far wall. How he wished that was Heavyarms over there! Why had Trowa just left like that?

Quatre shook off his self-pity. It was war. Trowa was a good soldier. He must have had orders. And he had been the only one with presence of mind to collect poor Heero's body. With a sigh, he climbed out and signaled the other Gundam. They might as well make the best of things; despite a bit of a rough start at their first meeting, 02 was a good fighter and he'd obviously been Heero's friend. He could probably use some comfort now.

As 02 emerged to respond, Quatre was struck by how different all five of them were. Oh, they were all about the same age, but aside from that, they couldn't have been more different. This boy was no exception, with his odd black priest's shirt and an amazingly braid that hung to his waist. When Quatre got close enough for a better look, he had to admit that he was really good looking, too, almost pretty except for the hard smirk and the weary sorrow lurking behind his false good humor. He put up a good front, still grinning and wise cracking, but Quatre felt the deep grief throbbing in him. He was glad when the boy agreed to come to the Maguanac base with him.

Duo. Duo Maxwell, that was his name, and Quatre liked him immediately. He came off as tough and streetwise, and he probably was, but underneath Quatre sensed how kind hearted and brave he was. And he treated Quatre like a friend from the very first, too, and he appreciated that.

They both kept up a good front until they were alone in Quatre's bare little room, but then he saw Duo's mask begin to slip and knew he'd been right; Heero had been Duo's friend and under that tough act Duo was grieving deeply for him but desperate not to show it.

That night Quatre heard him crying in the room next door, but when he went in to talk to him, Duo pretended to be asleep. The next day the mask was back in place as they wandered the streets of the little Arab town. Quatre sensed that questions would not be welcome.

Duo wasn't above asking them, though. He wanted to know all about why Quatre had given up his privileged life and seemed to approve of his answers. Duo didn't say much about his own past, but Quatre could tell that he'd had a hard life. He was smart and quick, and very nice, but his L-2 accent and unwashed smell spoke of a different sort of upbringing.

Quatre wondered about that braid, too, and complimented him on it, hoping maybe Duo would open up a little. But it had the opposite effect. Duo clutched at it absently and Quatre saw a flash of pain cross his face.

+

"Have you met up with the others much?" Quatre asked as they lounged under an awning on the roof to escape the midday heat.

"Just Heero," Duo said. "We've done a few missions together. He was-He is a strange guy, but not bad once you get to know him. And man, can he take physical abuse and bounce back! I saw him set his own leg once. I just about puked watching him, but he just splinted the damn thing with a wrench and walked away. And he heals up faster than you'd believe. Sometimes you'd swear he's not quite human. But he's a good guy, really."

Duo didn't want to accept his friend's death, and Quatre found he didn't either. Given all that Duo told him, Heero might actually have survived. Not likely, but it was at least possible.

"How 'bout you?" Duo asked. "Seen much of that Chinese guy, 05? He seems like a real prick!"

Quatre chuckled at that. He'd thought the same thing, though he had to admit the boy was seemed like a good fighter and his Gundam was very unique. "No, I just know Trowa--03, that is, and now you."

"03, huh? The tall guy who tried to take me out that day. You guys friends?"

It was a perfectly innocent question, but Quatre felt his face go red as he stammered out, "Uh, yes. I guess you could say that."

Duo's eyebrows shot up under his bangs. "Ah! Thought so."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Quatre demanded, and blushed even more though he had no idea why.

Duo grinned at him over his glass of lemonade. "You're kinda sweet on the guy!"

Quatre went an impossible shade redder as he looked around quickly, making sure no one else was around to hear. "Why would you say that? How can you--"

Duo grinned and winked at him. "Oh, I got a sense for things. And the way you were saying his name in your sleep last night was kind of a giveaway, too."

Quatre sank his face in his hands. Was he that transparent that a total stranger could see it? He didn't dare raise his head, he was so mortified. He'd hoped he and Duo could be friends, too, but obviously that wasn't going to happen, now that Duo thought he was--

He felt a hand pat his shoulder, then Duo was nudging a fresh glass of lemonade into his hand. "Take it easy. It's no big deal!"

"No big deal?" he gasped, trying to imagine telling his sisters that, or his father!

"Well, it's not where I'm from," Duo said with a shrug, then gave Quatre a little smile that looked a whole lot more genuine than any Quatre had seen so far. "And not to me, if you get my drift?"

"You?"

Duo shrugged again. "Don't panic. You're not my type. And if you're sweet on Mr. Tall, Grim and Silent, then I'm probably not your type, either. Am I right?"

"I don't have a type!" Quatre whispered, shocked by this whole conversation. How could Duo talk about such things so easily? Oh Allah, what if he'd misunderstood and they were talking about something else entirely?

"Uh, I think you're wrong there, Kat my man," Duo drawled. "I saw how you looked at him, back at Edwards, and you've brought his name up three or four times in the past twenty four hours. I'd say you've got it pretty bad for him. Does he know? Have you two, y'know, done anything yet?"

OK, so they were talking about the same thing. "How can you just--just talk about it so easily?" he managed. "It's wrong! It's all wrong."

"Says who?"

"Are you telling me that you --That you've--?"

Duo's grin widened. "I've messed around some, yeah."

"With boys?" Quatre whispered.

"Well, yeah! That's what we're talking about here, right? I tried girls but hey, you like what you like, right? And you like Trowa. What's so bad about that?"

"Oh, I don't know," Quatre shot back, feeling a little light headed. He hadn't known Duo forty-eight hours yet; how on earth had they gotten onto this subject? "That my father would disown me, for starters? That it's against God's law? That it's unnatural and--"

"If it's so unnatural, then why is a nice, sweet, decent guy like you this way?" Duo countered. "And as for God, can't say I've ever met him. If I ever do, I'm going to tell him what a shitty job he's doing. But we're getting off topic here. You like Trowa. Does he like you back?"

Quatre hesitated, then nodded. "I think so."

"Has he kissed you?" That grin was maddening, but not mean. Quatre knew mean and this wasn't it. Duo was actually trying to help him, in his own strange way. Perhaps it was that, and the nice, comfortable feelings that Quatre was picking up from him now, that made him blush again, and nod.

"You are shitting me!" Duo cackled. "Damn, Q-man! You got more balls than I thought! Soooooo, more than kissing?"

"No! Well, we hugged some."

Duo rolled off the cushion he was sitting on, laughing and holding his sides. "Oh, you are too cute!"

"Did you ever kiss Heero?" Quatre shot back, embarassed, then wished he could bite his tongue off as the mirth died in Duo's eyes.

He sat up and wrapped his arms around his knees. He didn't answer, but Quatre got the sense that something had happened between the pair, and whatever it was only made it harder for Duo now.

"I'm sorry, Duo. That was really awful of me!" To his surprise, Duo reached over and squeezed his hand.

"It's OK, Kat, really. I shouldn't have teased you. I hope that one-eyed wonder knows how lucky he is, having someone like you like him. If he gets out of line, you let me know, right?"

Quatre let out a little laugh. "He has two eyes! He just kind of hides. Are you like this with everyone?"

Duo grinned and punched him on the shoulder. "Nope, just my friends."

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