Promise Me This

Promise Me This

I do not own Gundam Wing in anyway shape or form.

There had been news about rebels from a certain number of colonies headed toward Earth. Once again, the gundams had to fight.

"Alright, suit up," Duo ordered jokingly, "I want to be home by dinner!" No one laughed at Duo's joke. He grumbled as he boarded Deathscythe. "They have no sense of humor."

As Quatre walked to Sandrock and was about to pull himself into the cockpit with the extension pull line, having second thoughts about this battle as always, Dorothy walked up to him. "Dorothy, what is it?" he asked, noticing the worried expression on her face.

"Quatre, before you go," she said, "I need a favor from you."

"Name it," he let his hand go from the extension line.

"Actually, it's more of a promise." She faked a smile, "this isn't going to be easy for me to say, but--"

"Try," he said immediately, looking over his shoulder to notice the "hurry up, Quatre" looks on the other faces of the pilots.

"Well," Dorothy said, "I've had three special people in my life and now they're gone because of this stupid war. First it was my father, then my grandfather and my cousin. They were great men and even though they were soldiers, they still didn't have to die. You're the only one I've got left."

Quatre nodded for her to continue. He was surprised to call the war stupid after hearing her say how beautiful it was to her.

"I need you to promise me you won't get killed too," she felt a tear form in her eye. I can't believe I'm about to cry, she thought. "Don't die, Quatre. Please. You've become very special to me and if you die, another piece of me will die, just like each time someone special to me was taken away from me."

"Dorothy, I'll try, but anything can happen in war," Quatre said bluntly.

"No, that's not acceptable!" she snapped. "I don't want you to try, Quatre! I want you to do it!"

Quatre stepped back in surprise. Why was she asking him this impossible request? He wasn't as strong as the others. He didn't know if he would die or live. That was the risk he was taking. Quatre looked at the other pilots and at Relena and Hilde and the other girls. They didn't ask the other pilots to make it out alive. Not even Relena, who was obviosly in love with Heero. Everyone knew that. She didn't have to ask Heero to make it alive because he always did. He was unstoppable and unlike Dorothy, Relena had complete faith in Heero. She believed in him, as Dorothy didn't believe in Quatre. Hilde knew Duo's skills and she knew he'd make it out alive. She didn't even have to tell him to be careful, but she joked about coming back to do the dishes. That was their relationship. They trusted and believed in one another.

Quatre sighed, "I'll do my best."

"Don't die on me, Quatre, please," she begged, "if you die…" her voice broke and tears came, which made her angry. She didn't want to lose her nerve in front of Quatre. She tried to be strong about this but the tears came anyway ".…oh, shit." She blindly moved into Quatre's arms and began to bawl uncrontrollably and she silently scowled herself for doing so. Why didn't Quatre just say he'll do it? Didn't he know this wasn't easy for her to ask? Or did he just want to wait for her to say her true feelings?

Quatre consoled her immediately, his hand stroking her hair, his arms around her tight, his mouth shushing her quietly. Quatre knew he had to be strong this time. He couldn't be weak anymore. As strong as Heero, as daring as Duo, as quick as Trowa and as enduring as Wufei and still keep his smarts. It was time for a new Quatre Rabera Winner.

"I'll come back," he vowed, pushign her back, "I won't let you down."

"You promise?" she asked.

"Damn straight," he promised, sounding like Duo. "Why do you think I made it this far?" he smiled as he gave her hand a squeeze and pulled himself up to the cockpit.

"Don't let me down, Quatre!" she cried out just as the gate closed and then whispered so just herself could hear, "I need you."

"Don't let me down, Sandrock," Quatre mumbled as he flew out to outer space, "I need you." If there had ever been a time Quatre and his Sandrock could be strong, this was it.

It was a tough battle. There were many enemy mobile suits. Hundreds, thousands, too many to count. And the suits were like nothing they ever seen before. Duo was slashing thorugh them like butter still and the other pilots had the upper hand, but Quatre still lacked the power to push aside his kind nature that made him look weak. He wasn't driven to extremes, except for that time in the Zero. He fought the same he always had. He limited himself and asked every other one to surrender. But none of them did. Then he was cornered and outnumbered and separated from the others. They were fighting numerous enemies at once and Quatre hand to handle them himself. One enemy blasted Sandrock with a strong blast of energy and it wasted away some of the gundanium on the suit.

"Come on Sandrock," Quatre urged. Then another blast, taking away Sanrock's left arm. What was Quatre waiting for? Why didn't he just attack?

"Quatre!" Duo shouted, "Are you okay?" Duo tried to get to him, but there were too many enemies to slice through. They were like weeds. "Damn, you, get out of my way!"

"I'm sorry, Dorothy," Quatre groaned, lifting his arm to his head to wipe away blood, "looks like I have to break that promise…" then he saw another blast toward him and his life flashed before his eyes. He saw pictures of his childhood, his happy, fairy-tale childhood. But he never was that happy as people thought he was. He saw flashes of him arguing with his father when he left with the Magunacs. Quatre then knew, just who he really, really was.

"NOOOOO!" Quatre screamed and then quickly dodged the blast. "I can't die now. Not yet! Aaaaaauuuugggghhh!" He advanced them with a new strength, a new courage. "I'm not…ah, gonna die now. Not gonna die, notgonnadie, notgonnadie--notgonnadie--notgonnadie--I'm not going to die!!!!!"

"Whoo-hooo!" Duo hollered, "Go Quatre!"

The gundams now had the advantage and the enemies were dropping like flies and just when Quatre thought he was winning, he was shot in the back, which gave him a concussion and a headache, but he kept fighting. His strength was leaving him.

"Come on, Sandrock, don't fail me now…"

This is insane," Wufei muttered to himself, "Nuaaaaggghhhhh! Discard your weapons!"

Trowa noticed Quatre's failing movements and went to help him, but he was almost clean out of bullets. Just a few more left and he had to make them count. He shot each one in it's middle, blowing them up.

"Hold on a bit longer, Quatre," Trowa urged.

"Thanks, Trowa," Quatre pressed a few buttons. The instructor told him about a weapon he placed into Sandrock and advised Quatre only to use it when he really needed it. Quatre had a machine gun he used for battle in outer space and he could charge it enough to give it a long photon laser blast, a little less strong than Heero's buster rifle. "Everyone, get out of the way!" Quatre warned.

"What?" Duo demanded, "are you serious?"

"I think we better do what he says," Heero said.

Quatre charged the rifle, blinked and said, "here goes nothing!"

The enemies didn't expect this. "What the hell?--Move, move, move!--Aaaauuugggghh?!!!"

"Forget this, I'm leaving," few of the suits turned to retreat.

"They're, they're leaving!" Wufei gasped.

"Quatre, are you alright in there?" Duo asked.

Quatre hesitated to answer, "I'm fine," he lied. Quatre was so tired and he felt like he was shot in the head. His heart began to beat hard against his chest. It felt like it was going to wrench itself inside out. "Oh crap," he mumbled, "not again…" He grabbed his heart and hunched forward.

"Let's go," Heero ordered, "they're leaving now."

*************************************************

They returned to the base and by then Quatre's heart stopped hurting. He unbuckled his seatbelt and opened his hatch and to see Duo and Trowa.

"Hey, you don't look so good, pal," Duo grunted.

Quatre pulled himself and staggered to them, "I'll be alright."

Trowa and Duo each took one of Quatre's arms and wrapped it across their shoulders. Wufei and Heero watched in concern.

"I think Quatre pushed himself a bit too far," Heero said.

Wufei nodded, "but he's stronger than I gave him credit for."

"Quatre!"

"Huh?" Quatre blinked and focused to see Iria. "Iria, what--what are you doing here?"

"When I heard about what happened I rushed here as soon as possible."

"Aren't you the sister that's a doctor?" Trowa asked.

"Yes," she replied.

"He could probably use one right now," Trowa added.

"I'm fine, Trowa," Quatre lied, "really."

"No you're not," Iria muttered. She looked at Trowa and Duo. "Let's put him in his room where he'll be more comfortable."

"Sure," Duo nodded.

They led him into his room and set him on his bed. "You'll be okay, buddy." Duo said, "you kicked major ass today!"

Iria giggled silently, "let me take care of him."

Trowa and Duo walked out.

Iria asked Quatre to take off his shirt. He sighed and done it reluctantly. "I'll be fine, Iria. Just a bit worn out."

"I want to see that you didn't break anything, okay?" she muttered defensively and began to check his neck, shoulders, and ribs. She saw a scar on his side, "hey, what's this scar from?" she ran her finger across it.

Quatre bit his lip, "well, I never really was good at fencing."

"You were injured in a fencing match?" she demanded.

He nodded, "yeah."

"A pretty nasty scar," she mumbled, "did you put anything on it?"

"No…I really didn't have time."

"Quatre, it could've gotten infected!"

"I did when I returned home though," Quatre explained, "Iria, you don't understand…" he propped himself up, "there's a girl named Dorothy Catalonia and she was the one who challenged me to the duel."

"She won, didn't she?"

"In a way, it was sort of a tie."

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"Dorothy likes wars and she knows that I don't. I got hurt physically, but she was hurt emotionally. She's carried a lot of sorrow around with her for years."

"I see," Iria said with a nod. "Who is she, anyway? Is she here?"

"Yes, probably downstairs picking another fight with someone." Quatre hit his fist on the bed. "I thought I got through to her, I thought what I said to her changed her mind! Dammit!"

"It's not your fault Quatre. It's crazy to think you could ever change a person."

"She asked me to promise her that I'll return alive after this battle," Quatre said. "She didn't want me to die. And I've returned alive and she can't be found. I was waiting for her to be waiting for me. I wanted to see her face right when I got out of Sandrock…man, how could I be so stupid?!"

Iria put her hand on his shoulder, "Oh, Quatre, don't beat yourself up like that."

"Father was right," Quatre mumbled, "I never should've gotten involved with this war. I should've known it would just cause problems for me."

"Listen to me, Quatre." Iria commanded, "I think it's good that you came into the war. It goes to show that pacifists can fight too. When people think of soldiers, they think of them as tall and muscle-ripped and mean-looking. You're a different kind of soldier, Quatre. You're kind, you're a kind soldier and that's how I think all soldiers should be. Besides, I've always wanted a brother that would be a soldier."

"Thank you, Iria," Quatre smiled.

"Where you hurt much back there?" she asked.

"I was prepared to die," Quatre admitted, "like father was. And then I knew I couldn't die yet. I wanted to fight like I never fought before."

"It's good to have you back," she said and stood up. "I didn't find anything broken, but you should stay and rest."

Quatre laid back down, "good."

Iria stopped at the doorway, "wait, this girl, Dorothy, what does she look like?"

"She's got long, long blond hair and blue eyes, kinda tall and she's got the most freaky eyebrows I've ever seen."

"Freaky eyebrows, huh?" Iria smiled and put her hand on her hip, "you love her, don't you, little brother?"

Quatre blushed and sat up, "Iria!" he was about to shout and argue about it but Iria had already left.

Iria began walking down the hall and saw a girl with very long ivory light blond hair talking to another girl with light brown hair down to the middle of her back.

"Dorothy, you should go see Quatre."

"But, Relena, I, I can't."

"Excuse me, you're Dorothy Catalonia, right?" Iria asked, walking to the two girls.

"Yes," Dorothy answered, "who are you?"

"My name's Iria Winner. I'm Quatre's older sister."

"Sister?!" Dorothy gasped.

"Would you come with me, please?" Iria grabbed Dorothy's hand and started to walk away.

"What?" Dorothy muttered, "what's going on here?"

"I had a long talk with Quatre," Iria said, "and you should see him."

"That's what I told her to do," Relena said.

"I-I don't think I can," Dorothy said.

"Why, what's the matter?" Iria demanded, "you begged Quatre not to die and when he returned you don't even thank him for keeping his promise!"

"Dorothy, Quatre would like to see you," Relena told her.

"He's probably resting, I don't want to disturb him."

"I have a feeling he's still awake," Iria said.

"And I already saw Quatre. He looked kind of tired. I shouldn't have asked him to promise me to come back. He pushed himself too hard. He's not strong like the others."

"What did you say?" Iria demanded, crunching Dorothy's shoulder.

"Dorothy, Quatre's a gundam pilot." Relena said, "They are all strong. That's why we depend on them so much."

"Now you listen to me, and you listen good," Iria told Dorothy threateningly, "my brother didn't put his life on the line for you just so you can tell him thanks but no thanks. He didn't have to become a gundam pilot, but he did because he thought it was right. Quatre is a strong person, stronger than you realize. He himself doesn't even know how strong he is. Quatre is just as strong as he is kind, if not stronger. Do you understand me?"

"She's right, Dorothy," Relena added.

"Oh, alright, I'll go see Quatre." She stepped toward the room and stopped. Relena gave her a little push and she continued walking. "Thanks."

"Dorothy doesn't have luck with men." Relena explained to Iria, "All the important men in her life already died."

"I see," Iria said, "but I think her luck is about to change."

"I agree," Relena smiled, "oh, I'm sorry. I haven't introduced myself yet, I am Relena Dorlain, Vice Minister Dorlain."

Iria shook her hand, "nice to meet you, I'm Iria Winner."

************************

Dorothy sighed before entering Quatre's room. She knocked gently on the door and opened it a crack, "Quatre?" she peeked in to see Quatre laying down on his side. She walked in and closed the door behind her. Dorothy couldn't move for a while. She stood and watched him sleep and then eventually tiptoed to his bedside. "Quatre?" she sat on the bed and waited for him to wake.

Quatre's eyes opened, "Dorothy."

"I didn't mean to wake you," she said.

"That's alright. I wasn't asleep anyway." He groaned and pushed himself up.

"How do you feel?"

"Fine," he muttered and then he got lightheaded and laid back down, "just a little tired." He laughed a little bit.

"I talked to your sister," she announced. "She told me to come and see you."

"I'll be sure to thank her."

There was a disturbing silence for a while. Dorothy stood up and walked to the window.

"Why don't you tell me what's on your mind?" he asked.

"Anyway I'll say this, it's just going to come out all wrong." Dorothy said, leaning her head against the frame. "It's just, so complicated."

"You beg me to survive this and I have. But you don't want to talk to me. Why?"

"I saw Trowa and Duo help you from your gundam. You were hurt and weak and tired."

"But I made it. Did you expect me to make it out without any injuries?"

"Yes," she whispered as tears formed in her eyes.

"That's kind of impossible, Dorothy. People get injured in war. They die, they tire. It's not a game, Dorothy."

"I realize that now. I just wanted you to survive. I didn't want to feel the same way when my father died."

"Your father. Could you tell me about him?"

Dorothy nodded, "he was like you. He was the kindest person I ever knew. He was so gentle and caring. I remember one day when I was younger, he took me out to a fair. He let me buy all the candy and toys I wanted. But that wasn't really what I wanted, I just wanted to be with my father. He was also a pacifist but he still fought in his special way….and that's, that's how he got killed." Dorothy muffled her mouth as her shoulders began to shake and her eyes filled with tears. "I-I, never felt so alone in my life."

Quatre pulled himself up and he walked to Dorothy. He laid his hand on her back, "I'm sorry, Dorothy."

Dorothy reached her hand to his, "it's not fair. He didn't have to die, my grandfather didn't have to die, my cousin didn't have to die."

Quatre turned her around, "listen, you're not alone, Dorothy. I'm still here and I'm not going anywhere yet. I made it this far, haven't I?"

She nodded.

He cupped her face in his hands, "your parents are watching you, your grandfather, your cousin, they're still around you. So the next time you feel alone, just think about the love they gave you." He kissed her forehead, "you don't have to feel alone anymore, okay Dorothy? I'm still here and I'm not leaving you just yet."

She reached her hands to his. She smiled and melted in his warm embrace, "promise?"

"I promise."

The End