[Sequel to Unexpected Secrets; Book 5 of the "Secrets" Arc]
Written: October, 2000
Cumulative Rating: NC-17
Pairings: (2x1) (4x3/3x4) (5+S)
Category: Angst, yaoi, AU
Cumulative Warnings: Angst, disturbing material, lemon, AU, yaoi, sap, OOCv
Materials Needed: Kleenex, Inner Peace; also: avoid Colas
DISCLAIMERS: For no apparent reason, I don't own Gundam Wing or any other anime or TV characters I use here, just the ideas in this story and some characters that are new are truly mine, for the moment at least. Don't ask. Just don't ask! Don't sue me either, please, it would be a waste of your money.
NOTE: Timeframe---after the war has ended and the Gundams were destroyed.


Tragic Secrets
Prologue



It had been a harrowing period for Trowa Barton. A young man closer to 18 now than 17, he felt much older than his years would ever indicate. Taking time one afternoon to try to organize his thoughts, he had sought the solitude of the estate's gardens.

//It really is beautiful this time of year.// He thought to himself. //Yet, the world we live in seems more confused and in turmoil now than ever before, personally at least. I don't know why, but Heero is still not responding to treatment in the prison following that ghastly gang rape. Why Quatre insisted on viewing the recording of it, I still don't understand, but it certainly re-awoke painful memories for me. Perhaps it is some level of internal pain that keeps Heero from healing as well, but no one knows.//

This young man had also been the victim of rape but it had occurred when he was much younger. Terrible memories that he tried to keep in perspective still haunted him after viewing the recording beside his fiancÚ. As he had expected, Quatre Raberba Winner was *not* prepared for the sheer violence of the gang rape that had nearly destroyed Heero Yuy, and it had been Trowa who had kept Quatre from collapsing entirely after they had seen it.

Trowa was also worried for the other victim of that savage attack, Duo Maxwell.

Even though the second boy had not been physically nearby when it occurred, the simple fact that it had happened sent his already somewhat off-kilter mind reeling into oblivion. In an unparalleled act of self-mutilation, he had attempted to remove the heart from his own chest using just his bare fingers. This was the heart which had been brought to him by Heero and Gene Starwind for transplantation when it was discovered that his own heart was failing him and was irreparably damaged. Something he had been warned about a year prior to the event, but had refused treatment due to his desire to keep fighting during the war. It was true the war may or may not have been won without him, but the decision and the secrets kept about the decision very nearly cost him his life three times in one day.

Now, Duo lay physically restrained to prevent further self-harm in the Winner estate medical wing. He was kept under heavy sedation for the most part and what little weight that had been regained during happier days he had spent playing with Laurel was gone now and more was being lost daily since they relied on IVs for all of his nutrition and fluids.

Laurel, however, was also suffering, and Trowa felt himself suffer because of it as well. The child had become such an integral part of his own support system, he had failed to take into account how much he had needed her emotionally when she was with them. He had never questioned her abilities as a clairvoyant after she first entered their lives in a spectacular fashion; going from a total stranger to someone who saved Heero's life in less than a few hours. When her gifts seemed lost due to the febrile seizures, it seemed like a horrible loss. Yet, the dreams had returned in time for her to virtually co-experience Heero's rape and it had apparently scarred her mentally. She had become emotionally disturbed, difficult to deal with, and eventually demanded they return her to the orphanage she had come from in the first place.

Sadly, Trowa still wished he'd found the words necessary to convince her to stay with them at the estate, she had been a constant positive element for him since those painful weeks even before she was released from the hospital. But now, even though he checked on her routinely, it was clear the child had altered radically and the behavioral issues were growing worse as time passed. Luckily, no one had suggested institutionalizing her just yet; that would certainly have thrown Trowa into a rage on top of everything else.

Now beyond contact with him, Trowa also remained concerned for Wufei who had left them to, as he had put it, "Call in the Calvary" in the hopes of finding a way to free Heero from prison. No one had heard from the Chinese ex-pilot since he had left, but this wasn't unusual. Even during the war, Chang Wufei would often disappear for days or weeks, then reappear when he was needed. Unfortunately, it was uncertain if he was aware of the tragic turn of events since he had left. Trowa had sent e-mail informing him of all that had transpired to the last e-mail address he had for him, but it was returned as undeliverable, the address no longer valid.

Thus, he had contacted Sally and told her about it. This was not optimal as it simply alarmed the Preventer doctor who also had the same obviously abandoned e-mail address as her only way of contacting the man she loved. Of course she had promised to tell Wufei everything Trowa was telling her, but there was no certainty she would be able to reach him either. Granted, something was definitely happening in the relationship between Wufei and Sally Po, but with all of the rest of the issues facing them, no one had taken the time to try to find out what was going on there and whether it was for the best or not. Now it no longer mattered since neither the former pilots nor the doctor could reach him. If anyone could disappear completely without even being aware of doing it, then Chang Wufei was a person who could. Regrettably, he had done so at a time when his presence was desperately needed, by Trowa Barton at least, just for the sake of another person he could rely on.

Yet the cut that hurt Trowa the most was the loss of closeness and warmth shared with his handsome lover. Unfortunately, Quatre was continuing to slip away into the world of business as an escape from the unpleasant reality around him. Occasionally, Trowa had found his fiancÚ sitting alone in the oddest places utterly lost and confused. Quatre couldn't recall why he had gone there or what he was doing, memory lapses that were becoming more frequent, yet seemed minor compared to the headaches he complained of. These headaches seemed to be much more than "mere migraines", but Quatre refused to seek further assistance for them beyond the drugs Dr. Akheem had prescribed for the pain and to help him sleep. The dark glasses he wore more frequently spoke volumes about the effect bright light had on him as well. Sound levels also effected him at times, yet didn't at others. An inconsistency that seemed worthy of note, but it was never commented on.

Trowa, himself, had changed subtly. He now took more responsibility for running as much of Quatre's household as he could in the hopes of lightening the load for his lover and thereby easing his pain. But Trowa was also dead set on personally seeing to it that everyone else be watched over whenever possible. Once Quatre's role, Trowa had assumed this mantel of responsibility without anyone even realizing the shift. Sadly, he couldn't do everything for everyone, and Trowa constantly felt he was somehow failing the others. He was not the leader his fiancÚ was nor the energetic source of light and happiness Duo once was. He certainly never had the single-minded dedication to purpose that was Wufei's hallmark, and no one could ever possibly match Heero's intensity. Yet, he tried to do it all just the same.

Noble approaches often bring very unfortunate endings. If he had remembered to stay true to himself and focus on his own personal strength of giving unwavering support to those he loved, perhaps several errors could have been avoided. Then again, perhaps not.

Fate would have its way regardless of what Trowa Barton tried to do.

End Prologue

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