Dead Ground

Epilogue

What Dreams May Come

Quatre heard a gunshot and a shout.

"Woooohooo! We got dinner!"

"Maxwell, you moron, we're supposed to be lying low. Stop firing off your gun. We already had dinner."

"That's not food that…"

"Has enough nutrients to keep us alive. Since you've already killed the bird, however, we should eat it."

Duo?

Wufei?

Heero?

Quatre struggled to open his eyes and had to close them again because of the light. He tried again and could make out the shadowy outlines of trees that marked the approach of dusk. Quatre's first attempt to sit up failed. His body felt heavy and it ached. He heard footsteps approach and he forced his eyes open again to see Trowa's face filling his vision.

"Hey," Trowa said softly. "How are you feeling?"

Quatre made a small questioning noise and Trowa smiled a small smile. "You've been very ill these past few days." The smile disappeared. "I… We've… been worried…"

"Heeeeey!!" came a shout behind Trowa, and suddenly Duo's face came into view beside Trowa's. "Q! Dude, you've been one sick puppy! How ya feelin buddy?"

Quatre thought he saw, out of the corner of his eye, Trowa glaring at Duo, but when Quatre turned his head to see better, Trowa's face was as it always was.

The sound of a throat clearing sounded behind the two and they turned around, making a gap between them so that Quatre could see Wufei holding a cup in his hand with a stern look on his face.

Duo made a gagging sound and said, "You're not seriously going to try to get him to drink that are you?" When Wufei glared at him, Duo shrugged and muttered, "We want to cure him not kill him…" but wisely moved out of the way so that Wufei could give him the cup.

"This will help you recover. You have been seriously ill."

Quatre took the cup, then looked back at Trowa and Wufei. "I don't…" he began, but his voice sounded rough and scratchy and his throat felt the same way. He took a sip of the tea and grimaced. He tried again, "Where… are we?"

Trowa gave him the location and reminded him of the situation they were facing with OZ. Quatre felt weary and Wufei told him, practically commanded him, to sleep more before he moved off to demand Duo be quiet. Trowa was about to get up as well, but Quatre stopped him.

"Don't go…" He whispered. Quatre felt shaken and disturbed. Was it all a dream then? A horrific nightmare? Quatre didn't know, but he knew that he wanted Trowa to stay near him, at least for now.

Trowa agreed immediately to stay with Quatre and settled himself down next to Quatre's bedroll. "I'm sorry there won't be any fire tonight…" Trowa begin, but a sound to their right silenced him and Quatre saw him tense for a moment before Heero emerged from the brush.

Heero glanced down at Quatre and nodded before waving for the others to come. As soon as the other two had joined them, Heero began. "I've found a place where we can stay for the time being. There's a cabin about a mile away, beyond that ridge we saw earlier…"

-the end-

A/N (10-26-07):

I started writing this story either the end of November or the beginning of December of 2004. To say I was new to fanfiction would be an understatement as I'd only discovered fanfiction a couple weeks before I began this story.

I finally posted the first chapter on 01-04-05 on ff.n and posted the last chapter 03-19-06. I've spent the last month (it is now October of 2007) re-editing this story given that I've progressed quite a bit in my writing skills from then. Though I really couldn't do much about the POV shifting, I did fix up the grammar, punctuation, and spelling. I also fixed a few other annoying things and made some of the sentences flow better.

I'd like to thank my beta, Masamune Reforged, who was kind enough to offer a new author his betaing services. And thank you to all of you for reading. I hope you enjoyed the story.

- ZaKai Stonewall