Before any further conversation could follow, a strange thing happened. A very nervous young convict that seemed slightly familiar to
Heero showed up.
"Um, Mr. Yuy?" the unknown man asked fearfully. He was holding something that wasn't quite obvious and suddenly Jack was between
the convict and Heero as a living shield. After years of experience, Jack knew that lethal weapons were easily attained even in a
maximum security prison and wasn't about to fail to protect Heero twice.
"What da' ya' want, scum bag?" Jack growled. Heero rolled his eyes, Jack took his "Guardian angel" role a little too seriously at times.
Heero cleared his throat behind Jack and answered the question. "Yeah, that's me. You look kind of familiar, do I know you?"
"Well, not really, sir. But the day you were, attacked, I think you saved my life, too. That psycho was trying to kill me when you
snapped his neck and got him off of me. The docs here said I was finally cleared to go back to my cell block. We kind of took up a
collection to say thanks. Those bastards ran this place and we were terrified of them. When you killed them all, well, you became a real
hero to the rest of us, and we just wanted to say thanks." He held out a strange array of magazines and candy bars, then smiled a little.
"These are about all we can buy with the money we earn working in here and it ain't much, but we wanted to say thanks anyway. From
all of us. Most of us deserve to be locked up and we know it, but no one deserved what those bastards used to do to us every chance
they got." Nervously, the young man looked at what was in his hands again and extended the stack to Heero. "Just take 'em, okay? It'd
mean a lot to all of us."
Heero, feeling the man's sincerity and overwhelming desire to be understood graciously accepted the gifts. "Thanks." He smiled
reassuringly. "Listen, tell these other guys that I'm glad things might be better for them now. Because you're right, no matter what brought
anyone here, they certainly didn't deserve what those deranged men did to any of *us*." Heero clearly wanted him to understand that he
felt that he was a part of them on that issue if nothing else.
"Thanks, Mr. Yuy." The man smiled, carefully placing down his offerings then walking away slowly, a slight limp in his stride. Briefly he
stopped, turning to add,. "And don't take this wrong or nothin', but we all hope we don't see you hangin' around here much longer.
*We* deserve to be here, but *you* don't." And the man vanished.
Baffled, Heero looked at Jack who had a small smile on his lips.
Seeing the question obvious on the other man's face, Jack grasped Heero's shoulder in brother fashion. Then he simply commented,
"Prison society, Heero, is pretty much like a smaller version of the outside world. Most of these guys know the score and understand,
well, once they accept the fact that they're going to be here awhile, but the bastards who did this apparently were running hard on all of
the other prisoners. When you killed them, you allowed the rest of the prisoners to stop living in fear of that and were able to get back to
what, for them at least, is normal life. You did 'em a big favor, they want to show you they appreciate it. Plus, they aren't stupid either, a
lot of them were here through the whole damned war and know perfectly well just who you really are and they don't think you should be
here any more than I do."
Heero, feeling overwhelmed and tired from facing so many revelations at once yawned. "I'll take your word for it, Jack. This whole thing
still confuses the Hell out of me, but right now I'm a bit wiped-out. Mind if I crash for awhile?" Laughing, Heero hefted the stack of
magazines towards Jack, pushing the weird assortment of candy bars off to one side. "Here, you go ahead and read some of these if you
want. I dare say a lot of credit for how that whole 'incident' ended owes some thanks to you, too." Heero yawned again and it was clear
he was half-asleep already.
"Sure, partner, sure." Jack smiled and sat back down in his usual spot, magazines spilling onto the floor. When he was certain Heero
was asleep, the man reached out and pushed the ragged brown bangs out of the still swollen face. "Sleep, buddy. You need it. I'll be
right here. And you're wrong, I didn't have a single thing to do with stopping those bastards, it was all you, partner. All you. And it's a
damned good thing you *are* deadly in hand-to-hand combat or you'd have died that day, too, I'm afraid."
Smiling, Jack turned to scan titles of magazines he couldn't imagine the kid asleep next to him would ever even be remotely interested in
and was soon asleep himself out of sheer boredom.
Locating a replacement psychiatrist for Duo was somewhat more difficult than anticipated. While Yukito Tsukishiro had definitely
crossed the line into very unprofessional behavior with his misplaced desires for Duo, he was still the name most frequently
recommended. Eventually, however, another man was located and brought to the estate to take over. Unfortunately, he was a very bad
choice even before he had arrived.
Dr. Zachariah Smith was an older man, well into his 50's and fairly bitter towards the world in general. He had not had an easy time of it,
but most of his troubles had been his own fault. He had been caught committing plagiarism in college and had been expelled, a fact he
had successfully concealed permanently with a well-placed bribe. When he finally made it to medical school, his grades were not good
enough for him to get the better internships or even move on to the more lucrative specialties. Money was all that mattered to this cold
bitter man and the offer from the Winner Corporation was quite generous. It also came at a time when his own practice was dwindling,
yet again, since most patients got fed up with his attitude and sought help elsewhere.
Sadly, this left Duo Maxwell in a very unsafe position; that of being Dr. Smith's primary patient.
Quatre had expected Smith to sit down and go over the history with him the way Tsukishiro had, but he didn't seem interested. Smith,
having been forwarded the medical history and recent events had already made up his mind about Duo and how to treat him.
The very idea that a psychiatrist would formulate a complete treatment plan prior to meeting a patient was absurd, yet he had. This cold,
even cruel some had said, man had already decided there were a number of things wrong with the boy that he would correct. However,
his primary objective was to make certain not to cure his patient too quickly. After all, he got paid as long as he stayed there and so he
was going to make sure he stayed there as long as he could, even if it meant deliberately making his patient worse before he made him
Unethical? Yes. Conniving? Definitely. Something the bitter man named Zachariah Smith would not hesitate to do? Absolutely.
Smith sat in his opulent set of rooms in the estate, working on his computer. He was assembling a listing of what he felt was wrong with
the patient whom he hadn't even met yet. He then made a second copy of the list that included "additional" ailments that would be
treated as well to extend the stay. In some ways, this doctor was far sicker than some of his patients, but one of his problems was an
obsessive need for record keeping.
Eventually, it would be this excessive need for record keeping and that one laptop computer which would spell his undoing.
The morning after arriving, Smith was finally scheduled to meet Duo. He had placed orders for less of the tranquilizers and sedatives
during the night so his new source of revenue would be more awake when they met. However, before he saw Duo, his new employer
insisted on meeting with him. It irritated Smith greatly that this mere teenager was so wealthy and held such esteem and power in the
business world. He truly despised anyone who was happier, wealthier, healthier, or in any other way better, than himself.
Quatre greeted the doctor in his office, eyes safely covered in dark glasses even though the lights were set low. "Dr. Smith, please sit
down. I wish to discuss your treatment objectives for Duo."
Silently he added, //And I want to see what kind of man you really are, Smith. I'm already having some doubts about you.//
"Thank you, Mr. Winner," Smith said putting a bit of sarcasm into his tone calling this mere child "Mister". The situation was irritating
him, but he kept reciting the figures he had been offered in payment for his services and that kept him from blowing up at the boy in front
of him. "What, precisely, do you wish to know about my treatment plans? I do not routinely discuss them with anyone; except the
"Certainly, that would be routine procedure, but this situation is anything *but* routine!" The hair on the back of Quatre's neck stood on
end just talking to the man. He had a very bad feeling about this, but they had so much trouble locating even him, they would have to
hope for the best. "I am, obviously, acting in the role of guardian for Duo until he is competent to do so for himself again. I have full legal
power of attorney in this matter, and I am therefore entitled to know what you have planned for him."
"I see," Smith dryly remarked. //How droll. A little boy has power of attorney over another little boy and he thinks he knows more than I
"My plans, Mr. Winner, are as follows, first I will discuss things with Mr. Maxwell and determine for myself his level of mental
competency. Then, I shall proceed to determine the depth of depression and other mental illnesses he is being effected by and begin
appropriate medication and treatment for these conditions. We will meet regularly so I may monitor his progress. Is this acceptable?"
//Smooth bastard.// Quatre thought bitterly. //He's *not* telling me the whole truth here, I can feel it, but it does sound like a reasonable
"Fine, Dr. Smith, that seems like an appropriate way to start. I will expect an initial report from you by 5pm tonight." Quatre turned his
head away from the man effectively dismissing him.
//How dare you? You spoiled rich brat!// Smith seethed in anger. "Understood, I shall meet with you this evening."
As the door closed behind the psychiatrist, Trowa stood up from where he had been sitting quietly on a nearby couch listening to the
conversation. As he walked towards Quatre, he noticed that Quatre was trembling again. "Little One?" He asked in concern.
"That damned asshole!" Quatre burst out. "There's something he's hiding and I don't trust him, Trowa!" Clearly, he was agitated, but it
"I'm afraid I am not certain either way about him. But I *do* know you need to calm down before you hurt yourself." He held Quatre's
shoulders until the trembling stopped, then he pulled his lover to his feet and guided them to the couch where they sat together once
more. "Now, Quatre, I know you are trying very hard to care for everyone, and yes, he does strike me as a cold and distant person, but
let's at least try this option. Duo needs help and this seems the best we can do right now."
Sighing, Quatre relaxed against Trowa's chest. "I know, koi, it's just there's so much to handle, so much wrong that needs to be put
right, I just feel overwhelmed."
"Yes, but you are forgetting that I am here to help you. Please, let me take care of some of these things and stop worrying yourself so
much over them and take care of *yourself* first for a change." Trowa kissed the blond hair that adorned the other teen's forehead.
"Just take care of things one at a time and let me keep an eye on Smith."
"Thank you, love." Quatre gently stroked Trowa's cheek briefly. "It would help a great deal if you did just that. If I felt more confident
about that man, it would ease my mind."
"Then I shall keep close watch on him, but you must promise not to worry over it further. You'll only worsen your own health doing
that." Trowa was more concerned over Quatre's health than thinking about what he was promising to do, but he meant well.
Snuggling closer, Quatre sighed again, his eyes leaden even though he had slept almost seven hours the night before with only a medium
amount of painkillers. The headaches did rule his life at times and this was one of those times. Trowa watched lovingly as Quatre's eyes
slid shut against his will, his breath evening out into the smooth rhythm of sleep. Forgetting his promise to "keep an eye on Dr. Smith",
Trowa chose to simply stay there with his delicate seeming fiancÚ until Quatre had gotten more rest, something he obviously needed.