The Forgotten + Part 4 (cont)

Quatre opened his eyes. What's smart? He realized there had been quite a pause between Duo's words and his own reply. "Oh." He slurred tiredly. "That you were able to build this and get the water."

Duo smiled. "You wouldn't think that if we told you how many times we messed up before we figured it out."

Quatre smiled again and closed his eyes. Duo watched with curiosity. The boy had very few scars. No tattoos and no piercings marred his light skin. If Quatre was a sex pet, he should be marked up at least a little. Of course he could have a master that wanted him unmarked. If he was raised a sex pet, he might bring in a better price with unmarked skin. It did give him a sort of innocent look. So far, the boy hadn't said anything to place him anywhere. He sounded a bit strange, like he possibly came from another part of the colony. There was a sector where some Swedish families had some gangs. The Germans were from that part too. They sort of stuck to their own and Duo admittedly hadn't interacted with them too much except at the free market. There was the Spanish sector too, but the blond obviously didn't fit that profile."

Ngh... " Duo looked up to see the blond asleep again, but dreaming bad things it seemed. He was silent, but his head jerked and there was a worried expression on his face. The pads on the bottom of the tub kept him from slipping down in his relaxed state. Duo put a hand on the damp bare shoulder.

"Hey." Quatre opened his eyes slowly. Duo took that moment to wash the grime off his tired face and eyes. His hair could be washed later.

"Sorry. I was so tired." He slurred.

"I know kid. Quatre. Just lean forward and I'll do your back and then you're done ok?" Quatre nodded and leaned forward into Duo's arm, held up for support. His back was also free of scars. Duo cleaned it thoroughly and let him slide back against the tub. He picked up a limp hand and placed the rag in it. "You just need to finish up eh?"

Quatre stared at his hand and gave a start. "Oh." He smiled, embarrassed again and washed his private bits before handing the rag back to Duo.

Draining the water out of the tub, Duo dabbed Quatre semi dry with a towel. The pale boy enjoyed the air that cooled against his wet skin and helped his braided savior slip an old cotton shirt, soft with wear, over his head. His mind felt a little less hazy. He almost felt normal... though incredibly weak. His throat was feeling much better as well. Duo picked him up again and carried him back to the tiny cot. Quatre waited in the chair as he changed the sheet. Then with Duo's help, he moved gratefully back into the bed.

"Thank you Duo."

Duo sat down in the chair and offered Quatre more broth. He declined.

"I don't get you, Quatre."

"Why?"

"Well, you don't act like a sex pet, so who are you? Where are you from?"

Quatre stared at Duo as if he had grown a new head.

"I... I don't understand... " Quatre sputtered uncomfortably. He assumed `sex pet' meant the sex slaves that gang lords owned all over this colony. He wasn't sure why they would think of him as one of those, but he also wasn't sure he wanted to reveal who he was yet. Something deep down told Quatre that the people around him wouldn't take kindly to someone from outside the colony. The security around the relief stations and the strict rules not to leave them was enough evidence of that.

"Wufei thinks you're a sex slave... but you're not from around here. My guess is that you're from sector 10 with the Swedes. Am I right?"

"I don't remember," Quatre tried.

"Yes you do." Duo smiled at him. "Don't lie. I'm not going to send you back, or tell your owner or anything so you don't have to worry."

Quatre flushed and looked down, picking at his blanket. What could he say? How much could he tell this guy?

"It's okay," Duo said. "You don't have to tell me yet."

Quatre looked up. "Duo." There was a look of sympathetic understanding behind the braided boys eyes.

He smiled. "Concentrate on getting better. You can trust me. You can tell me when you feel you're ready. Just get some more sleep?"

Quatre stared at him; nearly fell into a trance looking into the violet eyes, eyes that made you want to trust... almost. "You too." He murmured.

"That's where I'm heading." Duo smiled. "But I'm close. You can call ok?"

Quatre let out a sigh of relief. He was okay for at least a little while. Duo seemed so nice, but something deep inside Quatre told him that he needed to be careful around the boy. There were hidden angers in him.

Instead he decided to assess his situation. Now that he was finally awake and somewhat lucid, he had time to ponder upon what had happened to him. Why had it happened? Now that he looked back, why would his father kill him? Or was it Rashid who wanted him dead? But why? Would he have a reason to kill him independently? Quatre could easily believe his father ordering a murder... even that of his own son. He knew his father didn't like him. But kill him? All he had seen in his fathers study was one minute email message. There were other papers on the table, but Quatre hadn't really paid attention. Could they have held something he wasn't supposed to see?

And how was he to get back home? Quatre frowned. He couldn't just waltz into one of the relief stations. If someone found him alive, his father would be notified and Quatre doubted he would live much beyond that. He could imagine the newzbits already. "Winner boy found but dies mysteriously on return to civilization." He snorted. It would be no easy thing. His best chance would most likely be to contact someone outside, but there were only communications facilities within the relief stations. He fell asleep trying to imagine scenarios on getting in unseen.

+

Though it is hard to know morning from night on most parts of the colony, it is a bit more noticeable on the farm compound in the B sector of L2. There are two farm compounds on any given colony. They are giant covered stadiums that are complete biospheres in themselves. Rather than being clear to let light in, they are covered and heated from within by giant lamps that produce near natural light. They even simulate a daytime sky. These are the only lights on L2 that turn off at night and simulate a starry sky. Admittedly, some of the stars had gone out after generations of neglect, but it still serves as a peaceful retreat from the harsh reality of the colony.

Heero Yuy and Trowa Barton oversaw the B sector compound. The Germans in the F sector ran the other. When Elijah Maxwell had arrived on L2, the B compound had been deserted. When he had first come to L2, he had brought a wealth of equipment to take over this compound. Only later had he left it in the capable hands of friends that he established the hostel beneath the sewers. The compound was just too far away from the children who roamed the streets, which was Father Maxwell's concern. It was always the children.

The compound contained a good deal of crops that helped to feed at least some of the colony. It also contained a modest supply of animals. There were chickens and ducks and rabbits and a few cats. All were cultivated from embryos Father Maxwell had brought with him. Dogs, cats and rats were all that were left of the animal life on L2 from before. The rats were pretty much left to their own, but the dogs and cats served as food once in a while for the people who could catch them. The cats in the compound were relatives of Father Maxwell's cat Piwacket, long since dead. They kept the rats out of the compound and were much friendlier than the skittish animals outside.

As Wufei approached the compound on foot, he could see the various men who guarded the compound outside raise their rudimentary weapons in greeting. Wufei raised his hand in reply as he neared the entrance. He picked up the rather large mallet near the door and swung it full force into the metal door. It didn't budge of course but the vibrations and the bang could be heard from the inside. A minute later, the door was pushed open a crack. Wufei stood in plain sight of the door and saw Heero Yuy's slender shirtless figure through the door. A softer glare was all the greeting he got.

"Wufei."

"Heero."

The small Japanese boy set his shoulder against the door and with a grunt of effort, pushed it enough to let Wufei in. After he was through, he helped push the heavy door shut again. Wufei looked to see Trowa approaching as well. His usual ponytail was out, causing his short hair to fall in front of his eyes. Like Heero, he was drenched in moisture. Wufei wrinkled his nose as the sweet smell of vegetation was interrupted by wafts of body odor coming from the two. Trowa was quite a bit taller than the two oriental boys and though he didn't tower over Wufei as he approached and shook his hand, he did seem imposing. Heero gave a brief nod and went back into the field.

"Your kids are hard workers," he said, pointing to the various children who could be seen among the corn and the potatoes. All of them looked quite happy to toil away in the heat. It wasn't like the heat outside. It was more natural and fresh. Wufei could make out the youngest girl running from the chickens and laughing as they chased the bucket of corn she carried.

"I came to see if you needed any more help." Wufei said, looking at the artificial sun above. Trowa opened a gallon of water and drank deeply, letting a little bit splash down his chest. This effectively diverted Wufei's attention away from an artificial sky, though he tried to look uninterested. Trowa shook his head.

"I don't think so." He said seriously. "Even though SSIP has taken some of our usual workers, a lot of them came back. "It's good to have the extra help, but this should do. How's the boy?"

Wufei pursed his lips. "He's getting better, thanks to you."

Trowa smiled gently."I'm sure Duo hasn't left his side."

Wufei snorted. "He fancies the boy."

"I see. Then he doesn't know."

Wufei raised an eyebrow. "Know what?"

"He's not from L2." Trowa stated, starting toward the corner of the compound. Wufei followed.

"How do you know?"

"His teeth are too healthy for one. He has no fillings. Besides, L2 doesn't have that kind of poison. I'm sure of it."

"Why didn't you tell Duo?"

Trowa stopped at a smaller corner garden filled with herbs. He bent to pick some before he looked squarely at Wufei.

"You know how he feels about SSIP. I'm sure he'll find out soon, but I didn't want his anger to cloud the issue and I didn't want it to interfere with the boy's recovery." He took a small piece of cloth from his pocket and wrapped the herb in it, handing it to Wufei.

"You're right." He took the small package. "He won't be happy. What's this?"

"It's for you." Trowa gave a quiet smile. "You look like you could use some sleep."

Wufei scrutinized Trowa, not knowing what to say. He pocketed the small gift.

"Thank you."

Trowa was quiet for a minute, staring at Wufei, using his hand to shade his eyes.

"You should stay for lunch."

+

Duo awakened early, his "get everyone fed" instinct already kicking in as he rose from his small mat on the floor for the first time in a couple of days. Wufei had already gone to Heero's to check on the older kids. He shuffled over to the corner to grab his brush, already humming. Duo was very much a morning person... even though L2 really had no official morning. He let his hair out of the tie he had bound it in last night after washing. He only washed his hair once or twice a week since the flow was sparse and they had twenty- one other bodies to wash.

He brushed it out carefully with the broken handled brush he had been given years ago and braided it with practiced ease as he sauntered down the hall to check on Quatre. He stopped as he heard a small noise in the quarantine room. It was the distinct sound of a page turning. He pushed the door open quietly and stared at his little blond invalid as he sat reading a book quietly in bed. Suddenly, though he hadn't heard, Quatre squinted his eyes as if knowing something was wrong. He looked up.

"Duo!" Duo looked back at him coldly. Quatre's eyes fell to his open book. "Duo, I... I."

"I see." Duo said icily. He shut the door and left a very disturbed Quatre behind.

+

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