[Mission Time: 2:34]
The tall body of the young man tensed, hard muscles in shoulders and arms standing out as he struggled to lift something from the wreckage of the craft that had shuddered to a spectacularly flaming halt amidst the trees.
"Quatre---" he grunted, straining to lift the body of the other pilot from the entangling wreckage. "C'mon, you're not helping much!"
Quatre's head lolled and an inarticulate sound issued forth from his lips.
"Dammit Quatre, snap out of it!" the brown-haired boy shook him briefly, then resumed pulling, slipping his arms underneath the smaller pilot's, tugging hard.
"Trow---" Quatre started, finally coming to a semi-conscious realization of his surroundings.
"Yes, dammit -- now help me get you out of there!" the pilot of Heavyarms practically snarled, vocal for once in his desperation.
Quatre's body sagged in his loose grasp. "Leave me here," he said listlessly.
Trowa stared in shock. "Not a chance!"
"It's my fault. . .we failed. . .and you---" Quatre fell silent again, and Trowa shook him impatiently, becoming concerned at the flames that were crawling far too close to the gas tank. Quatre's head tilted at an angle like some rag doll's.
Trowa fumbled uselessly for a knife that was no longer there. Then he spotted a piece of jagged wreckage and snatched it up, slashing hurriedly at the tangled crash webbing that snared Quatre's slender body. With some determined sawing, he finally managed to pull the golden-haired pilot free.
Gathering Quatre's body in his arms, he dove and rolled away as the explosion rocked the clearing. He was up and running in the next instant, still clutching the unconscious pilot of Sandrock to his chest like a precious treasure. He knew that to avoid the OZ operatives that were surely on their tail, he had to put a goodly distance between them and the crash site.
[Mission Time: -0500]
Quatre stood at the railing, face soft but faintly illuminated by the starlight. "Hey. . .Trowa?"
"Hm?" Trowa responded, going over the mission plans again. He already had them committed to memory of course but one could never be too thorough.
"You're my friend, right?"
Trowa blinked and looked up. Quatre had partly turned from the railing, and his sweet face looked so sad. Trowa allowed himself the opportunity to admire him, then turned his attention to the little screen in front of him with an effort. "Why wouldn't I be?"
"Most people have something to fight for," Quatre said quietly, in the explanatory tones of someone who'd thought a lot about the subject he was talking about. "For god, or country. . .or loved ones. . ."
Quatre trailed off. Trowa continued to scan over the words he no longer really registered, then looked up sharply when he heard a sniffle.
"I'm sorry," he heard the thread of sound as Quatre turned back to the balcony, his shoulders trembling ever so slightly. "I don't mean to bother you."
Trowa closed up the portable computer and stood, walking over to the balcony. "You're not bothering me," he replied. "If it'll affect your mission. . ."
"That's why I don't want to mention it," Quatre replied, hunched miserably over the balcony railing. Trowa leaned over it, too, wondering what it was that had suddenly upset the sunny-tempered pilot so much.
"What's wrong, Quatre?"
Quatre suddenly turned to him, his beautiful face suddenly hard with determination. "It's because I don't have a loved one, Trowa. But there is someone I care for."
"Oh?" Trowa replied quietly, trying not to let the words pierce into him too deeply. It was only to be expected. Quatre was young, beautiful, rich, a dashing Gundam pilot. . .why shouldn't he love someone? But why was Quatre so upset? Surely the lucky girl would return his love. He was so deserving of it.
"Trowa---I---it's you, Trowa. I love you."
Trowa stared into Quatre's sincerely starlit face, not sure if he'd heard correctly. No, it must be some trick of his imagination. Surely Quatre hadn't just said---
"I love you, Trowa," Quatre repeated, a little desperately, his brows arching anxiously. Then his face fell, and he started to turn away.
"No-Quatre, wait---" Trowa seized his shoulder, turning him back, and tried to talk. His mouth wouldn't form the words. So he settled for employing it in a different fashion, bending slightly to press his lips to Quatre's, brushing them over the blond-haired pilot's mouth in a tentative caress.
Suddenly Quatre's arms were locking around his waist, pulling him closer and his lips sought Trowa's urgently.
Trowa was overwhelmed at the sensation of Quatre giving himself up completely to the kiss, and he nudged the shorter boy's lips apart with his own, kissed him deeper, carefully. Quatre made an encouraging little noise in his throat as the kiss continued on and on.
When they finally broke away, both young pilots were breathing faster.
"I love you," Quatre repeated softly, his eyes glowing.
Trowa unwound one of Quatre's hands from his waist and brought it to his lips, green eyes darkening with the intensity of his emotion. Quatre nodded, smiling as if he could hear the words Trowa only dared speak inside his head.
"We'd better get some sleep," Trowa said instead. "We still have the mission ahead of us, tomorrow."
"All right," Quatre agreed, but stepped closer to hug him once more. Trowa closed his eyes and breathed in the smaller pilot's scent, hardly daring to believe that what he held in his arms was real, and not some ephemeral angel.
"We'll have enough time someday, right?" he murmured, brushing his fingers over Trowa's lips. "For. . ." He trailed off, flushing a little.
Trowa nodded, his throat tightening. "Of course." I promise, he added silently in his head.
[Mission Time: 3:10]
"Quatre. Quatre, wake up!" Trowa demanded, wincing as if he felt it himself as he applied his open palm to the smaller pilot's cheek in a few sharp, stinging blows.
Quatre's head rolled and one blue eye peered up at him. "'M I dead?"
"Not a chance," Trowa replied, shoving down a stifled exclamation of relief.
Trowa could've sworn the golden-haired boy actually looked disappointed. "I'm sorry Trowa -- I let you down, I ruined---"
"Shush." Trowa placed one long finger over Quatre's lip, frowning gently at him. "It wasn't your fault. OZ must have laid a trap for us; there's no other way to explain---"
"No, it was me," Quatre insisted, stubborn in his self-flagellation. "If I hadn't hesitated, if I hadn't cried out when they grabbed you for the search---"
"Then we might both be dead," Trowa replied.
Quatre started to shiver almost violently. Trowa frowned and put a hand to his forehead. He wasn't hot. Maybe he was in shock? He hunkered down next to the slender frame of the other pilot.
"I don't have any blankets, but will I do?" Trowa asked him quietly, sliding an arm around his waist.
The golden-haired pilot turned to him instantly, burrowing his head against Trowa's shoulder. His shivering began to subside gradually as Trowa just held him quietly, wrapping both arms securely around him.
"Why didn't you just leave me there?" Quatre murmured against his neck.
Trowa started. He thought that he'd fallen asleep. "Why would I do that?"
"I botched the mission," Quatre said, "because I was more focused on you. I'm a liability to you, Trowa---I'm sorry, if I'd never said anything. . .this is all my fault. You should've left me with the flitter. You could have died trying to save me."
Trowa was silent for a long time, digesting all this. Then he brushed a long-fingered hand over Quatre's shining hair.
"I think I would have died if I hadn't saved you," was all he said to that.
Quatre made a little whimpering noise and pulled Trowa closer, as if trying to become part of him, melding into him to form a second skin. Again Trowa merely held him, stroking his back with a light touch to soothe him. Finally Quatre's breathing slowed and became regular and even, and Trowa knew that his partner had fallen asleep. He pressed the lightest of kisses onto the shining brow.
I promised you, didn't I? How could I let anything happen before. . . I promised we'd have enough time, together.
He was only beginning to realize how much, how long he wanted "enough time" to be.
[Mission time: 1:20]
They were entering the complex separately, Trowa posing as a low-ranked official, Quatre in a drab maintenance garb. It was to increase their chances of success, of course. They both understood that one or the other might get caught but as long as one of them could plant the properly falsified data --
Quatre was just about to enter through the side door when he saw Trowa, his uniform slightly torn and in disarray, being escorted roughly by a small knot of soldiers. His heart contracted up into his throat. "Oh, no. . ."
He firmed his mouth and pulled out the janitor's passkey, hand twitching to the belt of tools at his waist, where the mini disc was concealed in one of the pouches.
Then Quatre's head snapped up as he heard raucous laughter and a few blunt, jeering suggestions.
"Maybe you can ride it out of him, sweet little piece that he is---"
Quatre's hand tightened around the passkey.
We'll have enough time someday, right? For. . .
There wasn't a single sound from Trowa, but the noise of ripping cloth was thunderous in his ears.
He wavered, hand twitching between the passkey and his even more carefully-concealed weapon.
That laughter filled his ears but even louder was Trowa's silence. Quatre bit his lip.
We'll have enough time. . .
[Mission time: 10:55]
"Trowa!" Quatre burst out, starting up out of sleep and thrashing weakly against the arms that held him. Then he relaxed as his mind registered Trowa's presence.
Quatre looked around curiously, letting himself remain limp, his body still drowsy with sleep. They were in a fairly small, cavelike place -- but a little light filtered in, at an odd angle. "Trowa. . .where are we?"
"A sinkhole," the pilot of Gundam Heavyarms responded.
"Oh," Quatre responded somewhat vaguely. Suddenly he giggled. "So we're underground?"
Trowa spared his joke a dry chuckle. "You could say that."
"Have you heard the OZ soldiers? . . .Trowa, I'm sorry. I should have spelled you for sentry duty, so you could sleep too." Quatre's voice was suddenly contrite.
"It's okay," Trowa replied, brushing his long slender fingers over Quatre's bright hair. "I just. . .watched you sleep. I've heard some movement, but nothing for the past few hours."
Quatre suddenly shivered again, curling up in Trowa's loose embrace. Reflexively the brown-haired pilot tightened his arms around him. "I suppose we're going to have to stay here for awhile."
"At least another eight hours or so, to be on the safe side," Trowa agreed.
Quatre reached up to brush his smooth fingers over Trowa's cheek and he twitched a little, surprised. "Did you mean. . .what you said before?"
"Of course I did," Trowa responded quietly, a fierce undercurrent welling up in his words. "Quatre---they knew, somehow, before I even got through that door. It wasn't your fault. If you'd gone in, they might have ambushed you, too. . ." His throat closed tight over the thought of those rough soldiers pawing over Quatre, golden, sunny Quatre, his Quatre now and he didn't even realize his arms had tightened around the slender pilot until he made a slight pained noise, wriggling a little in the circle of Trowa's arms.
Trowa loosened his grip self-consciously and lowered his lips to Quatre's brow in a brief, chaste kiss. "You did the right thing. Maybe. . ." his voice was suddenly wry, but he cradled Quatre in his arms to soften his words, "Maybe for the wrong reasons, but you saved us both."
"Oh," Quatre said in a small voice, sounding disconcerted. "I thought I blew it."
"It was blown before we ever stepped foot on that base," Trowa told him, piecing through what little the soldiers had let slip as they dragged him across the complex to be tortured.
Quatre sighed, a relieved little sound, and subsided against his chest. For a long time Trowa thought he was sleeping, until he looked down to regard Quatre's fine, almost beautiful features, softened by the bare wisps of light filtering into the sinkhole he'd concealed. One wide blue eye peered back up at him. A smile curved Quatre's lips upwards.
Trowa's expression softened.
Quatre slid a hand around his neck, tugging him down with a light but insistent pressure. Trowa succumbed to the inevitable and bent down, brushing his lips over Quatre's in a kiss that lengthened, fiery and moist. Quatre nibbled at his bottom lip and he parted them, flicking a tongue across the golden-haired youth's mouth, then slipping inside.
Trowa found he was stroking Quatre's back in longer, firmer caressing movements. Quatre made a slightly muffled, encouraging noise against his tongue.
He pulled back, uncertain. "Quatre. . ."
Quatre clung to him, mouth slightly parted, eyes lambent. "You did say we could. . ."
"Hn?" Trowa frowned.
Quatre blinked up at him innocently. "Well. . .Trowa, I should HOPE eight hours is enough time!"