"I have to, Trowa," Quatre argued as they walked back into the estate.
"Why, koi? It will only bring him pain." Trowa's emerald gaze was filled with mixed emotions after viewing the horrible recording of the
gang rape. His own memories were stirred where he preferred them to remain silent, but he had known full well that Quatre was totally
unprepared for the savagery he would witness on the tape.
"Because he needs to know the truth! Haven't there been enough damned secrets ruining everyone's lives, especially his?" Quatre was
vehement and his tone a bit over-loud as he realized belatedly when Duo wandered out of the adjacent room.
"Yo, guys, what's going on?" Duo looked worried. He'd regained a bit of weight during his week with them and was starting to seem like
himself again. "The Winner Gambit" as Trowa called Quatre's little scheme of putting Duo and Laurel together had worked wonders
apparently and Trowa felt this news could wait until Duo was more healed, not keep it secret forever, simply wait awhile. But it was a
moot point now.
"Um, Duo," Quatre looked at his friend, his heart in his aquamarine eyes, "we need to talk."
"Sure, Q-man!" Duo could tell something serious was going on, but tried to lighten the mood just as he had always done during the war.
"What's going on? You look like you've just seen your own grave or something."
Quatre actually laughed in spite of himself, "Goodness, no, Duo! I saw that years ago! We have a family mausoleum, there's not much to
be surprised about *that* now is there, oh God of Death?"
"Point taken," Duo replied, laughing. Then glanced meaningfully at the nearby couch and became more serious. "Let's step outside and
discuss things, shall we?" He suggested to Quatre's surprise. "There's something I need to talk to you about."
The three friends headed for the door to the patio and Quatre completely failed to note a small pair of ice-blue eyes watching horrified
as they left. She'd overheard the argument to a certain extent and knew something bad was happening, but now she had to figure out
what. She feared she knew the answer and feared even more what she was probably going to need to do about it if there was anything
she could do. Crying and unable to get back to her own room alone, she simply curled up where she was and fell asleep.
Outside, a young man received what was almost the worst possible news he had yet to hear. His reaction, though predictable, was not
easy to take for any of them.
As twilight deepened into darkness the next night, the stars shimmered like jewels against rich velvet. However, no one had time to
notice. Heero Yuy, lay in a prison infirmary under Jack Ryuzouji's watchful eye totally unresponsive and apparently not healing from the
surgery. There had been no indicators that there were complications, he just never awoke from the anesthesia was all that the doctors
would tell Jack. And for a man with little patience to begin with, Jack was at the end of his tolerance for the system he had always
worked so hard to support.
"'To Protect and Defend', my *ass*!" he grumbled angrily.
Something was going to have to change and change soon, or there would be more mayhem caused by one very frustrated and very
well-trained SWAT team captain than what had been caused in the prison riot of AC177.
A scream echoed down the hallway of the medical wing of the Winner Estate. Akheem had rushed to find one of the nurses hunched
over a bloodied figure laying sprawled across the floor of one of the medical suites. It was Duo.
Akheem immediately hit the notification buzzer for Quatre on his pager as he set about trying to determine what had gone wrong now.
"What is his condition?" He inquired tersely.
The nurse, flustered and confused, couldn't answer. Angrily, Akheem shoved the hapless RN out of the way and lifted the body of his
patient and returned him to the bed, briefly noting Duo had still not put on enough of the weight he had lost previously, a negative
indicator of health. The vital signs were barely in the acceptable range, but what had caused all of the bloodshed? The young man had
been wearing his regular street clothes again and they had even considered moving him out of the medical wing, but now the doctor was
extremely glad that they hadn't.
Blood covered him. His chest dripped with the sticky red substance and it coated his hands as well as part of his face. He looked as
though he had been lost to madness and had attempted to kill himself with just his fingers, yet all of the damage seemed to focus on his
chest. The blood on his face showed no source there except for a tiny gash across a cheekbone where he had apparently made impact
with an object when he collapsed, most likely the sink since this was where his body had been found. Blood had drained into the basin
as though he had been studiously watching himself in the mirror while he had done what he attempted. It was at this point it became
obvious that most of the blood on his face had come from his hands and there were the tracks of tears running through some of it.
Trowa came around the corner rapidly then stopped dead at the horrific vision in front of him. //Not again. No, not again.// Trowa
wondered if this wasn't by any chance just another nightmare, he'd had so many lately.
Approaching cautiously, he observed Akheem cutting open the shreds of the shirt Duo had been wearing the last time he saw him. Now
fully exposed, it was obvious that the blood was indeed the result of yet another suicide attempt but this one was of a very bizarre
nature. While Wufei and the emergency room doctors had agreed his previous attempts had been at the wrists and ankles, now it was
Duo's chest that was smeared with and still oozing blood in a steady stream of gore. "What happened?" Trowa asked emotionlessly,
trying to remain calm.
"Master Trowa," Akheem didn't look up from his work, "Where is Master Quatre? This is urgent and I must inform him."
"He can't come, Akheem, he had another migraine attack and is sleeping. Tell me and then I'll tell him." Trowa's tone left no room for
Shaking his head in confusion even as he worked, Akheem acquiesced. "All right. I am cleaning the incision area where the heart
transplant had been performed. Apparently, Master Duo attempted, for whatever reason, to *remove* the sutures holding the incision
closed. My best guess is that he decided to remove the heart itself whether thinking in some insane fashion that doing so would help
Master Heero or perhaps simply wishing to eliminate it from his body. I had noted he was showing some minor signs of dementia after
Master Quatre informed him of what had happened to Master Heero, but this confirms it. His mental stability is obviously disturbed.
Clearly, he intended to kill himself or perhaps was so far beyond reason that he thought he could undo what had happened by removing
Akheem paused, looking down at the nearly cleaned area and noted with relief that there were only a few places where the sutures had
truly failed. For the most part, modern regeneration techniques had worked well and most of the skin and underlying musculature had
healed far more than they could have hoped for, considering the recovery problems the youth had evidenced. A serendipitous turn of
events, but one he was glad of. "I will resuture the areas here, here, and here," he indicated the slightly gaping areas, raw, bleeding, and
red. "Also, I will administer a powerful sedative to insure no further self-injury and place him on an IV drip since he should not be
allowed to awaken for quite awhile. Frankly, sir, I feel this *does* warrant Master Quatre's immediate attention and strongly suggest
that psychiatric help be obtained for Mr. Maxwell as soon as possible. We may even need to consider physical restraints as well, but
that decision can wait."
With a sigh of longsuffering, Trowa nodded in agreement. "All right. Take the necessary steps, doctor, and I'll go wake Quatre up and
tell him what you've told me. Any recommendations on which psychiatrist we should consult, doctor? I'm sure Quatre will want to call
someone right away now that this has happened."
"I'd recommend someone qualified in the area of survivor guilt since it would appear Master Duo feels responsible for what has
happened to Master Heero. Also, make certain it is someone with experience dealing with suicide intervention in nontraditional forms.
Knowing the patient, typical forms of psychotherapy or even hypnotherapy will not be effective with him. He's too skilled at covering his
feelings and concealing his intentions. Otherwise *this* would never have been allowed to occur!" Akheem, clearly agitated, was out of
his depth and was not afraid to admit it. As they had finished speaking, he administered the sedative straight into a vein for maximum
impact and the nurse was placing a heparin-lock into Duo's arm for the IV. The doctor was ordering the materials needed for the sutures
and everything was falling into place for the moment.
Trowa nodded; this was more bad news Quatre didn't need, but Akheem was right, he had to be told immediately. "If he has questions
he'll page you. Kindly inquire as to the best psychiatrist for the job, doctor. I am quite certain we will want only the best."
"Certainly. Now please go and inform him. I shall attend to this," Akheem turned his full attention to sewing shut the ghastly dripping
holes in Duo's chest.
Trowa started back towards the bedroom. //He's been in such pain,// he thought. //How can I burden Quatre further with this? He
seems so different lately; the pain constant and getting worse no matter how he tries to hide it from me and I realize how much Laurel's
changes in behavior have worried him as well. Can he even take this much more bad news without slipping away himself?//
Trowa shook his head in resignation. //Well, it doesn't matter what I think about this, it's strictly up to Quatre. All I can do now is be
there for my love and support him as much as possible. Will the madness never end?//
Sadly, Trowa was correct. Even through the drug-induced haze of painkillers, Quatre was disturbed deeply by the news of Duo's
hideous self-mutilation, whether it was suicide or something else no longer mattered. All that mattered was getting help as quickly as