//Run! Just keep running. No matter what, just keep running!!!//
Sides aching as she gasped for breath, Laurel focused on moving as quickly as possible.
Her lightweight nightgown flew behind her as her bare feet ran the distance between the Springfield Orphanage and a nearby fire station,
a designated "Safe Refuge". The orphanage was in a poor section of the city which certainly was not a place anyone would consider safe
for a 7 year-old child to run at night. Her feet, bleeding and raw, had crossed broken glass and some of it had now been pounded deep
into the skin by her own actions, but she didn't care. A cut on her forehead was bleeding profusely, her knees and palms also bloody
testimony to the fall she had taken when she had tripped over a small pile of garbage hidden by the night's shadows.
Suddenly, a large black dog appeared at her heels, barking loudly. She felt the sting of its claws raking her flesh and the pain of a bite
inflicted, but she didn't have time for such distractions. Barely slowing down, she reached a small fist behind her and knocked the animal
hard on the nose, "Bad doggie!" she yelled and kept running.
An emergency medical technician, restocking an ambulance after a previous trip, heard the commotion and looked up in time to spot the
girl. "Hey, Sarge!" The EMT yelled. "Something's going on!" Before she could say anything more, the blur of strawberry-blond hair,
frightened blue eyes, a ragged nightgown, and blood, flew into the station, collapsing in the woman's arms.
"Help---please, help---" the child gasped unable to speak due to difficulty breathing from the run amongst other things.
"Shh, honey, take it easy," the medic tried to calm the girl. Glancing at her watch, the EMT wondered what on Earth had a small child
out, running for her life, at 4am.
"No!" Laurel sobbed, shaking her head emphatically. "I can't! I have to call my Daddy! It's very important!" Tears had left muddy tracks
down her cheeks and the intensity in her eyes was frightening. "Please! I need to call my Daddy! NOW!" Hysterical, the girl was nearly
screaming but it was not due to the pain of the numerous injuries.
"Okay, okay," the duty officer, 'Sarge', had arrived and was sizing up the girl's state both physical and emotional and felt it best to give
her what she wanted then figure out what was truly wrong. "The video phone's in my office. Your feet are all cut up, I'll carry you there."
"Thank you!" She breathed out a gasp of pain as the man picked her up accidentally holding her where the dog had gashed her side
open. Wincing, she kept her mouth shut to avoid screaming.
Once in the office, Sarge asked for the girl's father's number and was shocked that she didn't know it. "But if he's your daddy, why do
you need to look it up?" He asked as she quickly went through the business pages instead of the residential ones in the phone book. She
didn't waste time answering, just dialed a number.
A CGI face appeared on the screen. "Thank you for calling Winner Corporation, your source for---" Laurel cut if off by dialing the
extension for the estate she once called home. A less kind, but actually human, face appeared. "This number is restricted. State your
name and business; then it will be determined if this call will go through."
"This is Laurel and I have to speak to Trowa-daddy right now!" She demanded. The man on the other end looked shocked; he had met
the girl several times weeks ago, but she never looked so disheveled and this was why he had failed to recognize her.
"Certainly, Miss Laurel," came the rapid response. "He's asleep, but I assume this is urgent so please hold on while I wake him."
"Wait!" She stopped him before he could put her call on hold, "After you get Trowa-daddy, call Mr. Rex and tell him the new jet
helicopter needs to be ready, it's an emergency!"
"Yes, ma'am." No questions were asked as the screen went to soothing images of waterfalls, deep green forests, and music to match.
In the fire station, others had awakened hearing the noise and had come to investigate. The EMT who had caught the girl when she ran
in was surreptitiously checking her injuries. There was blood seemingly everywhere, but when she began gently wiping it away, Laurel
angrily stopped her. "Don't do that *now*! Let me finish talking to my daddy *then* you can fix my boo-boos!"
The screen underwent a change and there was Trowa, half asleep and confused. "Laurel? What are you doing, honey? Do you know
what time it is?"
"Not now, Daddy!" She interjected angrily. "You need to get Quatre-daddy to the hospital *right* *now*! Mr. Rex should have the jet
helicopter at the front door and you need to go NOW!!!"
"What are you talking about? He's asleep, he isn't hurt." Trowa was baffled. The child had been emotionally disturbed ever since the
horrible dream about Heero's rape, but this was the strangest thing she had done yet.
"YES! He *is* hurt!!!" She screamed at the face trying with all her might to get Trowa to listen to her. Then the tears flooded her eyes
but she kept pushing. "Please, Trowa-daddy!" She sobbed openly, desperate to get him to believe her. "You trusted me before, trust me
now! Quatre-daddy is *not* asleep, he's dying! Something small and bad is growing inside his head and it is killing him! Go and try to
wake him up, you can't! His heart is beating wrong, too! Please, just go check!" She was begging and to humor her, Trowa agreed.
Walking quickly back to the bedroom, Trowa ordered a staff member to trace the girl's phone call since it obviously wasn't from the
new video phone at the orphanage; no one had told them there were no lines in the area to connect it to in the first place. As he headed
to the bedroom, Trowa got word that Rex had the jet helicopter in front of the mansion, something which surprised him since he hadn't
ordered it, so he redoubled his speed.
Arriving at the room, Trowa threw the lights on expecting a pillow to be tossed at him now that Quatre's eyes were so sensitive even the
smallest change in lighting without the dark glasses brought him pain. Instead, the figure on the bed remained unmoving. "Quatre!" he
called out, but there was no response. He rushed to check for a pulse and found it erratic as Laurel had predicted. Quatre's eyes were
unresponsive to the light when he peeled back the lids and it was clear the young man was not sleeping at all. Trowa hit a button to call
the medical team to the room and rushed to pick-up Laurel's call on the phone in the bedroom.
"Laurel! Are you all right?" He noticed the crying, frightened girl had lost the color in her cheeks and her eyes were glazing over. He had
previously failed to notice the blood on her face and hands much less her clothing. "Baby, I've got help coming for Quatre now. Can you
tell me what's wrong with him?"
The girl sighed in relief hearing help was on it's way, "Oh, Daddy," she sobbed, "It's something small and ugly and it's inside his head! All
the headaches, the pain, everything. I think they need to cut Daddy's head open to get it out, but it may be too late! I couldn't change
anything in the dream except that if I called you he *might* not die, but it wasn't clear if he *really* wouldn't still die anyway." Behind
Trowa, she could see the medical team working feverishly on the young blond who remained unresponsive to every effort to rouse him.
Words were exchanged as Quatre was loaded onto a gurney for transport. Duo and Heero had entered the room both of whom looked
utterly dismayed. Gene Starwind, however, was at the far end of the mansion and no one even thought of him to wonder if he could
provide assistance, so the exhausted doctor remained asleep, oblivious of the horror at the other end of the building.
"Which hospital?" Trowa tried to ask Laurel, but it was too late.
The EMT who had been holding the child answered gravely, "She can't hear you, she's gone into shock. There's significant blood loss
and initial exams indicate she needs hospitalization as well. Are you her father?" The woman looked dubiously at the extraordinarily
young-looking man in the viewer and at the child in her arms knowing there couldn't be more than 10 or possibly 15 years age difference
"Yes, I am." Trowa responded flatly, automatically claiming possession of the child who filled a void in his tortured heart. "Which
hospital? We'll meet you there."
"City General. ETA 15 minutes on our end."
"Fine." Trowa was coldly distant trying to handle all of this at once. "We're coming in by air, our ETA is roughly 20-30 minutes, but it
may be sooner."
"But, you're basing everything you're doing on what this little girl told you?" The EMT was clearly skeptical, but things had been pretty
weird so far.
"Yes. If Laurel said it, then it's true, whatever she means." Trowa turned to answer a quick question then faced the screen, "Take care of
her. Debrief me on the extent of her injuries when we arrive. Out."