By: Caer
Warnings: Angst, eventual lemon, some death, violence and various other adult themes.
Disclaimer: Pretend there is a disclaimer here. Imagine what it would say. That about covers it.

The Forgotten + Part 1

The old semi sat, idling noisily in one of the guarded commodity stations of L2 while cargo droids carried large crates of food into one of the only relatively stable looking buildings in the wrecked city. The droids were designed very similar to "mini-mobiles"; car sized unmanned mobile suits that were used instead of human labor in order to avoid bloodshed on the colony's crime-ridden streets. Not a human was in sight save for the grubby driver of the truck who was currently relieving himself against the building of an old theatre. He didn't see as three of the large droids walked steadily away from the truck. The sound of the engine drowned out any auditory sign that the droids were leaving and the man wouldn't have been interested as he had decided to 'relieve himself' in other ways while looking at a rather racy poster of a long forgotten, but well endowed actress on the theatre wall.

The droids marched steadily down the street with their huge food crates held securely. Few saw them, since not many dared to wander the daytime streets in L2... especially in this part of town. The droids were seen only by a few cur dogs and some of the older lost souls who sat in the alleyways. Most everyone else was either holed up in the run down buildings, or underground. The only real work available on L2 was in the mineral processing plants owned by the Winner Corporation.

Eventually, the droids came to an old subway station. They stopped and lined up at one of the large automatic doors where they stopped, waiting. A creak rang through the empty alleyway as one of the doors slid open a bit. Four hands appeared underneath and pushed up to reveal their owners. Two boys, almost men, stood at the entryway, eying their treasures. Neither was very tall, their growth, sadly held back due to the low nutrition standards on the colony.

One boy was Chinese, with caramel skin and well-defined muscles on his thin frame, and he had a regal look to him that shone through his faded white garb. Though his attention was on the droids at the moment, he was focused on nothing, his eyes open to his surroundings. He used his peripheral vision to watch for intruders or any curious eyes that didn't belong. The alley was empty for now.

The other boy was American. He also wore all black, though his attire was decorated with a priest's collar and worn gold embroidery on each lapel. While the other boy wore light black shoes, he wore heavy combat boots that hugged his calves. He had an almost evil looking grin and though he made little movement, his very aura seemed to move around him, giving him the appearance of being in constant motion.

Both had long hair, a symbol of strength and unparalleled fighting skill, since long hair, or hair at all was a risky liability in a fight. To survive the streets of L2 with such a disadvantage was a deterrent in itself, as most men would not approach either of these boys unless they wanted to end up dead. The Chinese boy had his long shining jet-black hair secured in a tight ponytail and bound down its length to keep it together. The American had chocolate hair that was braided and hung just past the tops of his legs.

"Wufei?"

"It's clear." The Chinese boy said. "Let's move them in."

The braided one, Duo, laughed and turned to throw up the sliding door to the small warehouse. Wufei kept watch.

"Bring the crates in here." Duo commanded and the droids lurched to life, turning and marching, single file, into the room.

"Let's go Wufei." Duo shouted. Wufei took one more searching look around before sliding deftly under the closing door.

+

"Your generosity is appreciated Mr. Winner. We were getting desperate up here."

"It's the least I can do. I only wish I could bring you more." The austere man stood on the loading door of the giant cargo ship on L2's shabby loading bay with L2's chief social service representative. L2 had started as a prison colony, ages ago. A place to send all the lowlifes, where they couldn't escape. Once a notorious and well kept prison, with the changing times, the colony had been ignored and neglected. Now, generations after, with the original criminal population long dead, L2 was nothing but a cesspool of abandoned people trying to survive as best they could. The crime was indescribable. Gangs ran the entire city. Very few areas were even close to being real neighborhoods. The death rate within the colony was beyond compare. There were no doctors to speak of and no immunizations to keep the disease, which was abundant, away. Up until recently, the colony had been completely ignored by the rest of the world. Now, SSIP, the Social Services Integration Project had been put into place to turn the ruined colony around and get them back on their feet. SSIP was run by the Winner Corporation and had become their biggest charity project to date. "Your son has been a big help. It's good to see him taking an interest in the L2 project."

The warehouse foreman stood on the platform with Mr. Winner.

"He's a considerate boy." The man threw out. "I'm sure this trip will be good for him."

They looked down at the blond boy below, watching him help the other workers as they loaded crates full of processed ore back onto the ship, laughing as he talked with the other men. His muscles strained under pale skin, shining with sweat as he helped to roll the giant crates into the cargo deck.

Though he was petit, Quatre Raberba Winner, the 17 year old son of Randolph Winner, one of the five richest men in the world, was well muscled after years of martial arts training and fencing. He did not take well to the rich life and preferred to be out working with the hired help, rather than sitting inside with the politicians and various rich friends...an annoying habit. Most people didn't even know that Winner had a son, since he ran around with the staff most of the time. That and the fact that he grew up with one of 39 sisters, most of which were ignored by the spotlight unless something big happened. Quatre had only just come to meet his father. Guests usually considered him another member of the 'hired help,' which seemed to suit the little brat just fine. The only reason he had taken the boy to show him the workings of the business, was because he figured the boy didn't have enough backbone to run the company himself and would therefore make a suitable puppet for his current assistants if anything ever happened to him. This wasn't the main reason. Mr. Winner had heard that his son looked very much like his mother. He had tried to ignore the fact, but it burned at him. He finally invited the boy at his daughter's request. He had been sulking since Iria's death and needed to get out she had said. In the end, he couldn't say no.

"He's the kindest boy I've ever met." The man said, chuckling. "Any girl who snags him will be lucky."

"Yes, well..." Mr. Winner frowned coldly. "My son isn't interested in girls I 'm afraid." Another from a long list of things Randolph Winner didn't like about his son.

+

"Un-fucking-believable!" Duo grinned like a kid in a candy shop as he opened the first of the 3 crates. "Remind me to tell Heero he's a god damned genius!" He laughed, pulling a box of sweet cereal out. "The kids are gonna love this."

"Duo, we have to get this done now, before someone comes looking."

"Right." Duo replied seriously, and jumped nimbly off the crate, running to a grate in the cement of the warehouse and opening it up. A younger boy, standing below, looked up at him

"It's time, Daniel." Duo said. "Bring the kids up."

The boy nodded and disappeared for a moment. Minutes later, a line of children anywhere between 4 and 16 years old filed out of the grate. There were about 20 of them.

"Okay! Take as much as you can carry and run back for the rest. We have to get these puppies unloaded in record time before someone sees us. Let's move!"

The kids lurched into action, with a mixture of joy and relief. Things had been getting pretty scary in the way of food and clothing.

"I'll keep watch." Wufei said, exiting the smaller warehouse door.

"Sure. Anything to keep from having to do manual labor."

"Funny, Maxwell."

"You know I love ya, Wufei."

"Hmph." He said and shut the door. Duo turned to see one of the smaller boys struggling with his load. The braided boy frowned. Peter was the youngest. They had nearly lost him to the cold the last time the environmental system shut down.

"Petes! Why don't you take a smaller load kiddo?"

The little black haired boy turned, clutching the food to his chest. "I'm strong enough. I can carry it."

Duo smiled gently. "Maybe, but how are you going to climb down without a free arm?"

The boy thought a minute. He looked up with a serious look on his face. "Oh yeah!" He put down half the stack and ran off. Thanks Duo!"

"Hey! Slow down." The boy looked back and only barely missed running into one of the older children.

"KAY!"

Duo snickered. "Reminds me of me."

+

"Father?" Quatre knocked on the open door. There was no answer, so he went in, hoping to find a clue as to where the man might be. Wherever he was, it was probably on his desk calendar. He walked quietly over the plush carpet to the meticulously kept cherry wood desk, to scan the built in screen under the desk glass. He pushed some scattered papers to the side to uncover the whole schedule.

"2:00." Quatre murmured his eyes darting to the clock. "He must be meeting with SSIP"

He turned to go, when he saw his father's palmtop on the corner of the desk. Perhaps he was still here after all. He walked over to check if a schedule had been changed. There was a piece of email up on the small device. Tsuberov, L2 project is going well. Production up 30% with minimal investment. SSIP manager is onboard. Move to postpone wage increase should stand with additional support.

More later.

WQuatre frowned at the message. Maybe he just didn't understand everything... but something seemed wrong with this. Weren't they trying to move L2 to a higher wage bracket to integrate them back into the economy? Why would they put it off?

He chewed on his lip as he left the office. Curiosity was eating away at him, but it was really none of his business. Still... there were a lot of things Quatre disliked about his father since meeting him. For one thing, the man never smiled. The only time would be if he were at a photo shoot. Looking at the media pictures, you would think the man was high on life, but he was so very cold in reality. The pictures and stories that Quatre had grown up with and the man he had only just met were two completely different people.

Quatre had tried to draw him into extra curricular activities on several occasions... his way of trying to get some sort of father/son bonding out of the man and get to know him, but he was rejected every time. The man was colder than Kane and just as controlling.

Quatre had prided himself on being able to see the good in people, but there was nothing he liked about his father. Even the charities he indulged in seemed to be only for the prestige and good press.

He had come into space to see the man, hoping that he could learn more about his father, and maybe get to know him. At first, he had been hesitant, but his older sister, whom he stayed with, had convinced him to get out of the house and do a bit of travelling. Not that she had been trying to get rid of him, but ever since his older sister Iria had died, he had been in a bit of a rut. It had left him pretty heart sore and listless. He agreed that a change might help.

But ever since he had come out to the colonies, he had felt the pain even more because Iria couldn't be there with him. She had had a pretty good relationship with his father he had heard. Maybe she could have helped him to understand the insensate Mr. Winner.

Quatre set the organizer down and set off to find his father. Maybe it was time that they talked.

+

"Thank you for your endorsement." Mr. Winner said as he spotted his son. "I assure you, times are a bit rough right now, but I will continue to push this project. I want to se 02-L2 get the assistance it needs to rejoin the rest of the colonies in the common market as soon as possible. I hope our agreement is satisfactory.

The man smirked. "Very satisfactory Mr. Winner, sir." Then the man spotted the blond. "I fully understand. Your help is appreciated none the less." Quatre stopped as he listened to his father. Times weren't that hard. Why was he lying? Was his father really using L2 for cheap labor? He couldn't be. Quatre had to be mistaken.

The boy had to admit though, that he did not know this man. Quatre and Iria had grown up in the house of his older sister Johara. He had not actually met his father until recently when the man had decided he wanted to get Quatre better acquainted with the business. Since Iria had died a few years before and he didn't really have any reason to stay, Quatre had seen it as an opportunity to get to know his elusive father better, so he said yes. Since then, he had become very interested by the social work Winner enterprises was involved in, especially the environmental programs on earth. However he had no luck getting any closer to his father.

"Quatre?" The imposing man walked to join his more slightly built son. Quatre blinked, collecting his wandering thoughts. He decided it might not be a good idea to talk just yet. He wasn't sure if he really wanted to know what was going on here. He walked to join the man.

"Um... all the cargo is loaded. We're just waiting for the cargo droids to come back from the outlet stations." He replied quietly, looking down. "Ah, excellent. The man nodded frostily. "Once we finish the paperwork, we can leave before long and be back to earth before evening."

He headed for the ship.

"Quatre? Are you coming?"

The blond turned and sported an uncomfortable smile.

"Yeah. I just want to say goodbye to the crew I was working with."

Mr. Winner looked at his son, a stern brow raising.

"Are you all right son?"

Quatre nodded. "Yeah. Just thinking too much I guess."

"Very well then. You have some time while I get some work done. Just see that you're not late for take-off."

"Yes father!" Quatre watched his father and the foreman walk by on the platform. There was something about the foreman that Quatre didn't like.



Mr. Winner entered his office, rubbing his head, trying to soothe the raging headache he had developed. He hated being on this colony. The people were filthy with questionable intelligence. Even the bleeding heart social workers were getting on his nerves. The noise was atrocious and the added burden of that annoying child of his was enough to drive him up a wall. The only benefit was that the boy seemed to have a knack for the mechanical. He had been able to get two of the run down cargo droids up and running again with less time than his qualified workers. Of course, it didn't help his headache that three more of the 50 droids they used to take the supplies out to each checkpoint had malfunctioned as well. Still... not having to buy two new machines saved him enough money that he didn't really regret bringing the brat.

He would definitely be going back to his sister's house on earth after this trip. The boy was an eyesore with his almost white hair and his deep sea green eyes that were almost blue on occasion. He looked just like his mother, Winner's favorite wife. The woman had been stupid and decided on natural childbirth. She had been so small and delicate; she had died on the table, leaving a screaming baby behind. He had sent him immediately to live with his 12th oldest daughter. She had a kid or two of her own and had the space. He didn't pay much attention to the results of his indulgence in women. He had an obsession with acquiring beauties from all over the world. He collected them. If he saw one he liked, he had to have her and he would stop at almost nothing to add her to his collection.

Quaterine had been his prize though. He kept her with him all the time, even as rebellious as she was. Her father had sold her to Winner for a handsome price. He had been willing to pay. He had won his other women by playing his media worthy charm, drawing them in with promise of money and estate, promises of love and the like. However, the thought of owning this stunning creature excited him. It was a fetish he had had for quite a while, but had never indulged in though he was rich enough. When he saw her, he decided he wanted this fantasy. She was perfect.

She was a little firecracker as well as the most exquisite woman he had ever had, and her anger at her situation made her even more intoxicating. She had run away more than once and had to be brought back by his service men and punished... but oh the excitement he had at punishing her.

It was nothing brutal. Winner was not the type. Rape was far too barbaric and not his style. Psychological manipulation however, he quite enjoyed. He would instead, kill her with kindness and tender gestures while making it entirely clear that she was his property. It enraged her no end, making her even more desirable... staring at her with those fiery eyes. It drove him mad with lust and he would often take a week away from work to sate his hunger.

He had been with another woman at the time of her death. She had become lifeless, which he had found intriguing because he knew she was doing it on purpose. She had figured out his game and was playing along. She no longer fought, but wondered around in a daze, seeming resigned to her fate. Even in bed, she would simply lay there like she was dead instead of spitting curses and insults at him while looking at him with those spirited blue eyes. The thought that she was trying to outsmart him drove him mad with elation. The excitement of the game made him desire her even more and he began trying to drive her to anger. She was good though and eluded his advances with total listlessness. He did not give up though. Eventually he knew he would break through her walls. She never let anyone know that she was with child.

Finally, he had to leave for Earth for a long business trip. He had left Quaterine at his mansion on Colony 04-B4, knowing he would not have time to play this game while he was attending to business. Instead, he had decided to indulge in an affair with his young secretary. It hadn't been hard. She had been easy enough to attain with the right encouragement. A few gifts and a new position had been adequate. Not worth making part of his collection, but her youth and energy were exciting enough to interest him for a while.

Quaterine never told anyone of her pregnancy, and with her reclusive nature as well as her tiny figure, she somehow managed to hide it from everyone long enough. One month before he was supposed to return home, he was informed that she was in labor and dying. They had rushed her to the best hospital money could find, but it was too late. By the time he arrived back, she had passed away. He never even saw the child. He simply told his staff to get rid of it somehow. He didn't care whom they sent it to.

He supposed that Iria had named the boy after that. She had liked Quaterine and Quaterine had returned the fondness, so he had allowed the child to visit every so often. He found out year later that she had named him after his mother. He cared little. He was so very angry at her... angry that he had lost their game. He was angry that he had lost his prize possession. No woman was ever the same after that. He took no more wives. From that point on, he paid for his pleasure.

+

Now he sat at his desk, reminiscing about the woman. He had found himself doing that more since his son had come back. Yes, he thought about her a lot now that he had to look at those same spirited blue eyes... that same ethereal white-blond hair. It brought anger back that he had thought long buried. The boy would have to go back. It was too much. He had a business to run, damn it!

He slammed his fist down on the desk and went to his bar. Pouring himself a glass of Jack Daniels and ice, he took two painkillers, downing it with the burning liquid and replenishing his glass before sitting back down to get started on his paperwork.

He noticed then that he had left some very sensitive paperwork on his desk. There were schematics of the colony as well as some rather incriminating documents from Tsuberov, documents that could end up exposing the whole operation.

Winner cursed and locked the papers in his bottom drawer. He would have to cut down on his drinking. Not that it mattered here. He had very few people here who were allowed into the living quarters on the ship. His guards made sure of that.

As he set his drink down though, something floated across the dark cherry surface of his desk. He watched it with curiosity, as it made it's way halfway across the desk before coming to rest two inches away from his hand.

A white hair.

He picked it up in interest and held it to the light. It was longer than his own hair and as he took a closer look under the light, he could see that it was clearly tinged with the slightest yellow. It was not the white hair of an old man.

There was no mistaking who the hair belonged to.

The man stared at the hair, mesmerized. At least 20 minutes passed as he stared at that tiny piece of dead cell substance that could mean his downfall. Surely the boy would not be quiet. He was as bad as those emergency aid saps in the barracks below. He had already made it quite clear that money didn't interest him, so he couldn't really be bought. Winner downed the remainder of his drink and opened the com-link on his desk.

"Yes, sir?" The voice had a tinny quality as it came through the speakers on the high back of his chair.

"Get me Rashid. I have a job for him."

"Yes, sir."

Winner laughed harshly and got up to get himself another drink. He sat down and looked at the hair he still held between his fingers. As he opened his grip, the hair stuck to his thumb. He looked at it still with an almost excited and, not quite together light in his eyes.

Perhaps Quaterine had not won this game after all.

He blew the hair off his thumb and it vanished from sight.

+

Quatre sat quietly with one of his father's bodyguards as they traveled to one of the checkpoints to check out three droids that seemed to be malfunctioning. They had wondered off and when they were found two streets down, walking into the wall repeatedly, the crates they had carried had been ransacked. Quatre's father had suggested to Quatre that he might be able to fix them. Quatre had agreed. The more he thought about it, the more he didn't want to talk to the man about what he had seen. What business was it of his anyway? It wasn't as though he had the power to do anything about it, even if it was true. He just wanted to get this trip over with and go home. He wanted nothing to do with his father anymore.

He looked over at the giant bodyguard curiously. Though Rashid was very gruff, he had turned out to be a good friend to Quatre. He had taken the edge off of his loneliness and had helped him with issues he still carried about his sister. He seemed an excellent judge of character. Quatre found himself wondering why he would work for such a cold man. Could his father be that bad if Rashid stayed in his employment?

"Rashid?" His gentle voice barely cut over the noise of the car. Rashid looked down, slightly to meet the young man's sea green eyes. They were clouded with confusion.

"What is your opinion of my father?"

"He's a very busy man."

Rashid winced at how calm his tone was in spite of how wretched he felt. Had he become so callous over the years, that he didn't even feel guilt over all the atrocities his employer had forced him into during that time? Never this terrible though. Never. But what could he do? Now his family was in danger. The bastard had threatened his very family. What could he do? From L2, he couldn't even reach them to warn them.

"Well..." The blond brought him back from his own brooding. "You know him. You know him better than I do, since he never sees me. I just want to know what you think of him as a person, that's all."

He had moved to staring down as he said it, but now turned questioning eyes toward the gruff man. Searching for an answer. Wanting Rashid to assure him that his father was a good man... that he was just overreacting. Rashid swallowed.

"Your father has a lot on his mind with the economy the way it is. Quatre." He said levelly, lying through his teeth. Winner enterprises was far from hurting, even though the economy was at a record low.

"Hmmm..." The blond replied, disappointed. Rashid didn't seem too keen on being honest with him either. Something was definitely wrong... with everything. His father was sending strange messages to politicians, Rashid had stopped talking to him and now three of their droids had been hijacked electronically. Or, he was jumping to conclusions in an unfamiliar situation. He reached into the car refrigerator to pull out a cold tea.

Rashid flinched as he watched, the cap being popped off. It went unnoticed by the Winner boy. He took a long drink. Rashid watched the pale throat as it worked the cool liquid down. When he had had nearly half of the thing, Quatre caught his breath.

"It's so hot in here." He said. "You would think with all the technology my father has at his disposal, that we could fashion a car with an air conditioner that works." He said sarcastically. He sat back, wiping the sweat from his brow.

Rashid watched him with a morbid fascination he could not pull himself from. It took a few minutes. Quatre's eyelids began to droop heavily and, leaning forward, he put a hand on the door to steady himself. He shook his head sluggishly.

"I.. I feel strange." He mumbled, his words slurring.

Rashid steeled himself and took the tea out of the boy's hands setting it in the cup holder, then, leaning over the boy, he unbuckled the seatbelt.

"I don't feel well Rashid."

The blond watched the big man's actions through clouded vision; his mind beginning visibly to register that there was more to this than just feeling sick. Why was the big man acting so calm? Why was he doing what he was doing?

"Rashiddd...?" Quatre slurred, fear settling in his belly so strongly, he felt sick. What was happening to him? Rashid wouldn't reply. He simply pulled a blanket out of the overhead compartment. He wouldn't even look at Quatre.

He had been drugged. Why had he been drugged? Why would Rashid drug him? The man worked for his father, unless... It began to occur to him with horrifying clarity, even in his drugged state, that he was going to die. His father had found out that he was suspicious and now they were going to kill him. He struggled weakly, but Rashid simply held his arms, keeping him immobile. He shook his head sluggishly and raised heavy pleading eyes to the man he had thought of as a friend.

"Please... Rashid. Please don't." His words sounded sad, and airy as if he didn't have enough energy to make them clear.

"I'm sorry, master Quatre."

"No!" He cried, weakly, tears forming at the corners of his eyes. Rashid was his friend. How could he do this?

The older man caved and held the blond body tightly to his chest as it trembled weakly. He could feel tears on his neck where Quatre's eyes rested as he sobbed out another weak, frightened "Please."

"Abdul, stop the car." He told the driver via speaker. The window that separated the cabin from the front was tinted, so the man was unaware of what was happening in the back. The black car lurched to a halt. Climbing over the body and out of the car, Rashid pulled the dull gray blanket over Quatre's form and now, over his barely open eyes and lifted the limp figure, gracelessly into his arms. He carried the bundle over and set it gently by the dumpster in the alley, making sure that the blanket completely concealed the body.

His hands were shaking as he closed the back door of the car and got in the front. He could feel the younger Arab driver's eyes on him, but he looked numbly ahead.

"It's done." He grated the words out hoarsely through the lump in his throat. "Let's go." He turned the air conditioning back on full force as the black car pulled away from the empty alley.

Quatre felt cold, even with L2's unbearable heat beating down on him through the blanket. Everything inside of him felt heavy and slow, though there was no pain.

'Poison.' He thought. 'It was poison. I'm already dying, and now, no one will ever know. I'll just be another disappearance. I'll never see any of my sisters again... except Iria maybe. Maybe she'll be waiting for me.' A wave of despair clutched at his heart, making him gasp. 'Iria... I'm scared.' His tears felt warm on his cheeks and he was thankful he at least had the strength to cry. It was colder now though. Darkness seeped about him, swallowing him till he couldn't even feel his heart beat anymore. Quatre said a silent prayer for his friends and family as the cold nothingness of death finally claimed him.

+

[part 2] [back to the Singles page]