I know I'm gonna get flamed for this

I know I'm gonna get flamed for this. Something struck me while I was watching Fantasia (again) and trying to forget about the last 24 hours. If you don't like it, please flame me with the most explicit language you can muster. I deserve it. I don't own Gundam or Fantasia or Clair De Lune. 3+4 shounen ai.

Clair De Lune.

Quatre struggled with the controls, trying to pull Sandrock's leg out of the marshy ground. His last mission, a solo one, was to destroy a Mobile Suit factory buried in the Everglades of Florida. It had burned to the ground without a trace, Quatre had made sure of that. No casualties, he'd made sure of that too. After dragging the Gundam deep into the humid environment, he was satisfied that they wouldn't be traced and brought Sandrock to a halt on one of the tree-covered miniature islands and finally relaxed inside the cockpit. He reached over to the viewing screen and turned on the news to see how the other's mission had gone.

Apparently, the mission itself was successful, but Oz troops had accidentally brought down a skyscraper while firing at the Gundams. Many people were killed, thousands of casualties, and there were still others trapped in the rubble. Waves of intense shame rose and fell over Quatre, he wondered how the others were feeling. Probably, they accepted the tragedy as a necessary evil, but felt terrible inside. And when he got back, Quatre would have to do the same, dig in his heels and get on with his life.

On the screen, he stared at a picture of the rubble that was once a huge building. Taken out with one hit and thousands of lives would never be the same. Maybe the real crime here was building something that could destroy that many lives if it were ever to collapse in the first place. And these buildings were just concrete, glass and steel. They were very vulnerable, and yet so many acted as though they were as invincible as the Gundams. Quatre's mind wandered to the colonies. They were just like skyscrapers, impressive-looking but in the end just metal and mortar. And if anyone were to attack the colonies, no one would escape with their lives.

Quatre often wondered what he was fighting for. The others were certain, Heero fought because he was born a fighter and would die a fighter. Duo fought for revenge against the people who had killed his loved ones, however misdirected he got occasionally. Trowa fought to protect the colonies, one of the two people who had ever cared for him lived on L3. He didn't know why he had fought before then. Wufei fought to protect the vulnerable. And nothing was as vulnerable as the colonies and the people that dwelled inside them. So why did Quatre fight?

Was it to protect his family? No, they didn't really care what he fought for, his Father and the one sister that cared for him were both dead. Did he fight to protect Trowa? No, Trowa could take care of himself, he'd made that clear. Protecting the colonies was futile, they'd be brought down eventually. Thinking about this gave him a headache, so he stopped dwelling on it and opened the hatch of his Gundam for some fresh air.

The Everglades were humid, but cooler now that it was night. A full moon was out, casting a silvery glow into the tiny world of the swamp. The animals who had scuttled for cover at Sandrock's infiltration into their world now welcomed this gigantic alien creature in their own, laid-back fashion. Minnows darted around the Gundam's ankles, and a Terrapin was comfortably sleeping on one of its toes. A pair of moorhens were checking out the nesting capabilities of its hand. Even Quatre's presence didn't bother them, a loon waddled confidently into the cockpit and investigated the controls. Finding nothing to eat, it waddled out again and made itself comfortable on Sandrock's shoulder. Alligators occasionally watched warily from the deeper waters, but went off to find something more interesting to do. Geckos ran up and down the Gundanium limbs in a constant hurry. One stopped to see if Quatre's finger was edible. It wasn't.

Quatre sat half in and half out of the Gundam, enjoying the tranquillity of the moment. Quietly he reached for one of his guilty little secrets, an orchestral version of Debussy's Clair De Lune stashed in the audio controls of his Gundam. The volume was just loud enough for him to hear, but quiet enough not to disturb the various creatures living life in their own little universe. If Quatre hadn't destroyed the base back there, this entire area would have been drained and bulldozed to make room for more factories. The animals would have lost their universe.

As far back as he could remember, Quatre had always had a soft spot for animals. He had stopped eating meat at the age of five when Irea had told him what it was made of. For a while, they had fed him fish, until he saw a cook throw a live lobster into the pot. As he recalled, he had tried to go in and save it and ended up with a badly scalded arm. And the poor lobster had been killed, so he didn't really care that the cook had scalded her arm trying to pull his arm out of the pot. It was her fault for putting the lobster in the pot in the first place. Growing up, he'd had countless pets treated with the very best of care, cats, dogs, rabbits, mice, goldfish, turtles, canaries (until he let them out of their cages) hamsters, gerbils, rats, even a pig he'd rescued from a slaughter house once (he swore that at one point he had heard her laugh!) His intense love of animals had caused friction between him and Trowa once, regarding the animals at the circus. When he protested that it was cruel to capture and lock up a wild animal, Trowa had just made it worse by saying that they had been born and raised in captivity. Quatre stopped speaking to him for a week, and even now refused to visit the circus.

The breezy sounds of Clair De Lune fitted the atmosphere perfectly, the air in this little world was lazy and tranquil, running through an orbit of its own regardless of the rest of the world. A long-legged white heron walked slowly through a shallow lake, pulling up weeds and stones, nesting material. Her pure white feathers shone with the silvery light cast by the full moon. Her steps distorted the reflection of the moon, the ripples caused by her movement twinkled with the orb's light. The heron watched the effect, and shifted on her feet, enjoying the movement she was making. More distortion made her look over to the other side of the lake, as did Quatre. Another heron, larger with darker feathers walked over to her carrying leaves and twigs, a sign that she was to get back to work. Quatre smiled, it reminded him of himself and Trowa. Trowa was all business most of the time, while like the female heron Quatre stopped to admire the beauty of a single moment. The way he was now.

Both herons flew over to an island across from him and settled into a half-built nest under a canopy of Weeping Willow. The male covered his mate's body with his wing, and Quatre was reminded of the way Trowa wrapped his arms around him protectively, as if trying to shield him from the rest of the world. In Trowa's arms Quatre was in his own little universe, just like these animals. Was the female heron in a universe of her own, under her mate's wing? A universe inside a universe inside a universe.

The music ended and Quatre realised with a sigh that he'd have to return to the safehouse soon. Where Duo would bitch about the mission and Heero would attend to injuries while pointing out their faults and Wufei would rant about injustice and Trowa wouldn't say anything until later on when they were in bed…

…he didn't have to go back just yet.

Quatre wasn't ready to face the real world just yet, he wanted to stay in this universe for a little while longer. This universe, where terrapins slept on the toes of machines that destroyed, where herons nestled under the wings of their mates without any signs of danger, where a teenager weary of war could find the only peace this world was ever likely to know.