Quatre Raberba Winner felt he had the world on his shoulders.
Two of his best friends had been nearly destroyed by an act of unspeakable violence that could have been easily prevented. One lay,
unresponsive and failing to heal, in a prison infirmary and the other now lay, restrained and heavily drugged, listless, depressed, and with
monitors attached to him in the Winner estate medical wing.
//How did things get so out of hand?// Quatre berated himself. //We were making such good progress with Duo. I knew Laurel would
cheer him up and he had even begun to put weight back on, now this! That idiot guard could have stopped this from happening and yet
it did. What makes me even angrier is that all they'll do to the bastard is fire him, they won't even allow us to press charges for his
negligence! Damn it all to Hell!//
The once eternally-happy blond was beginning to look older than he was due to stress and lack of healthy, natural sleep. He had
accepted so much responsibility for the health and happiness of his comrades without even considering his own health. The ulcer had
worsened, but he didn't care; he just increased the antacids and kept going. The headaches had worsened to the point he was
considering seeing a neurologist, but he felt he just didn't have the time; he had opted to wear darkening glasses since the light hurt his
eyes so badly, but it wasn't long before they were changed to prescription lenses as well. It didn't help much that his two best lawyers
were not getting anywhere with either the problem of getting Heero out of prison or the adoption issue. There had been a time when he
truly didn't understand Trowa's previous feelings about not rushing into an adoption, but he ruefully regarded it as worrying over nothing
now. The system was so slow, they'd be lucky to find an excuse to keep her with them once the medical reasons were cleared up. As
he contemplated this in his office, he got a call that made his day even worse.
"Master Quatre," Rasid sounded less calm than usual and that alone put him on edge.
"Yes, Rasid? What is it?"
"There seems to be something wrong with Miss Laurel. She won't eat any lunch and seems quite upset for some reason." Rasid truly
cared for the child and this turn of events was most unexpected. "I regret bothering you with this, but it seems quite important."
Quatre sighed ruefully, //Just what I need now. A sulking 7 year-old to deal with.// "I'll be right there, Rasid. Thanks for letting me
Quatre headed to Laurel's room in the hopes this was something easily rectified. She had been more difficult lately, the strange behavior
had started when she had told them about the dream of Heero's rape. They had decided not to explain it to her fully, wishing to spare
the child some of the harsh realities of the world, but perhaps they'd been mistaken. He arrived at her room to find the door locked and
soft crying could be heard inside.
"Laurel?" Quatre knocked on the door. "Open up, honey, Daddy's here."
"No." A sniffle and a sob broke through with the voice. He'd rarely heard her like this.
"Laurel, what's wrong? Please don't make me stand out here to talk to you," Quatre was getting annoyed.
Rasid walked up next to Quatre, deftly unlocked the door and stepped away, "Never let the child tell the parent what to do, Master
Quatre." He added respectfully as he walked away.
"Thanks, Rasid, I'll remember that." Turning, Quatre entered Laurel's room. "What on Earth happened in here?!" He demanded. The
room looked like a miniature tornado had hit it, everything tossed about and a general mess. The staff had been told not to worry about
her room much since she was so neat and tidy, but this was unbelievable. Most shocking of all, it looked as if every last one of her
beloved crayons had been broken into the smallest pieces her tiny hands could break them into. Quatre recalled how much she had
loved them and had so carefully made sure each and every one of them was properly stored when she used them, even fussing at Duo
for putting them back upside down, something he had done just to tease the girl into laughter.
"I asked you not to come in, Mr. Quatre!" She pouted and he was shocked to hear himself referred to that way. "I want to go home!"
"But, sweetheart," he answered quite concerned and suddenly afraid. "You *are* home. And why did you call me that? I thought you
were happy here with us and wanted to be a family."
"Well," she sniffed almost losing her resolve, then firmed her lips. "Well, I *don't* want to stay here any more! Mr. Duo is worse and it's
probably my fault and Mr. Trowa and you were arguing about things, I heard you! So I think it's time I left and went back to where I
belong at the orphanage."
If someone had plunged a knife through Quatre's body it would have hurt less than those words did just then. She and Trowa were the
only positive constants in his harried life lately and now this sudden turn of affairs. "Why do you want to leave? You aren't at fault for
Duo's condition, something, well, something bad happened to Heero, just like you dreamed it would and that's what hurt Duo."
"I don't believe you!" She lied convincingly. It hurt to act this way, but she knew her Quatre-daddy had too much on his mind and she
felt all she could do to help was to leave. Maybe then things would get better for him and he was far more important to her than her own
The look on the young man's face was heart-wrenching, but she was stubborn. "Laurel, I can't understand this! I've never lied to you
before, why would I now? What has gotten into you that you are acting this way? Did we neglect you or something? I know I've been
"NO!" She practically screamed and threw a wadded up piece of paper at him. "I don't trust you any more and I want to go home
*now*!" Her eyes threatened to betray her, but she held the tears back reminding herself this was for the best.
Quatre, feeling defeated and feeling so much pain from so many sources, capitulated surprisingly easily. "All right, Laurel. If that's what
you really want. Sweetheart, I truly don't want you to leave, but if you think you have to, then I won't keep you here against your will."
He didn't bother to hold back the tears he felt. It was too much, just too much. Sighing, he added sadly, "I'll call Springfield Orphanage
and make the arrangements, but I'd like you to talk to Trowa-daddy, too, before you go, okay? He's going to be hurt and confused like
I am. Will you do that?"
"Yes," she agreed more subdued now that she knew she had achieved her objective, "I'll talk to Mr. Trowa, too. How soon can I
Quatre shook his head sorrowfully, but he would never keep the child here against her will. "I'm not sure, honey. Let me make some
calls and I'll find out. Are you so certain you want to leave?"
Her answer was barely audible, "Yes." She buried her face in Shinigami's fur and hid the tears she could no longer stop as Quatre left
the room. "I'm sorry, Daddy," she whispered, "But my being here is hurting you and I won't hurt you. I love you and I always will, but
sometimes a dream is just a dream, right?" Then she rolled over on her bed and cried herself to sleep.
Outside the door to the room that had held such joy for him, Quatre blinked back the tears and uncoiled the paper in his hand. It was
the drawing she had made of the "party" as she called it after the wedding with her, himself, and Trowa all looking quite happy.
Immediately he crushed it again as if that would ease the agonizing pain he himself felt, then realized better and smoothed it out. Even if
she directly left their lives, he would always watch over her one way or another and this picture would be hung in his office as a reminder
of what could have been.
Trowa had no luck convincing her to stay either and she didn't even want to say good-bye to her "Uncle Duo", something which
frightened Quatre even more. That afternoon she left to return to the orphanage, something none of them would ever have predicted.
Had Trowa realized how much worse things were going to get, he would have defied Quatre's decision and kept the child there.
As bad as things were now, they were going to get worse soon. Much worse.
1. This addition to the "Secrets" arc is dedicated to all those readers who have told me they like my fics! Thank you all, it helps to know
I'm not staying up all night for nothing!
2. Special thanks go to Jade, The Goddess of Lemony Goodness, for words of wisdom and encouragement. Also, thanks to my
daughters, both genetic and adopted for inspiring me each in their own uniquely delightful ways! That's Amanda, Lauren, Aurelie, and
Shi-chan in case you missed it!
Here's all those extra important notes for you as promised!
3. Major change in Muse credits here, Calliope, Greek Muse of Epics is now taking over for the full Arc as a unit. This story, of course
was more of Melpomene's influence bringing pain and suffering to our valiant heroes! What she did to Duo is beyond human
4. Guest Stars!!! Even in the darkest of moments, the "Secrets" arc must have guest stars! Hopefully to lighten the mood a bit we have
quite a few! Many are recurring cameos from earlier Books in the arc, so forgive me if I don't list absolutely every one. If you wondered
just where someone came from, drop me a note and I'll clue you in. As to our key guests, here we go---First our real people: Lauren
(my daughter) as Laurel and my "adopted" brother as Rob Fisher the oh-so-annoying Preventer accountant! As to Ashe and Jojo, well,
you'll have to bribe me with Pocky to find out!
5. Now the anime: Let's break them down by show, shall we? The main source this time around is "Those Who Hunt Elves" which
brings us 'you love to hate him, but soon you may just flat love him', Junpei "Jack" Ryuzouji as Heero's over-zealous cop / jailer /
protector! From the same show, we also welcome Airi Komiyama as our elegant judge. From "Speed Racer" we have his brother Rex
(aka Racer X) as our jet pilot and Trixie. Gee, were there any others? You tell me (^_~) !