WARNING: Very High Angst Lemon, Proceed With Caution, Kleenex Warning
[Sequel to Tragic Secrets; Book 6 of the "Secrets" Arc, Final Installment of arc]
Author: Enigma
Written: October & November, 2000
Cumulative Rating: NC-17
Pairings: (1x2/2x1) (3x4/4x3) (5+S)
Category: Angst, yaoi, AU
Cumulative Warnings: Angst, lemon, yaoi, sap, AU, OOC
Be Prepared: Kleenex Warnings!! also: avoid Colas
DISCLAIMERS: 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. Any reference to copyrighted material or trademarked goods should be considered an "homage" (yeah, right!) Don't sue me, even the lawyers wouldn't enjoy it, except of course for the Ashe and Jojo characters!
NOTE: Timeframe---after the war has ended and the Gundams were destroyed. //yada, yada, yada// = inner thoughts

Silencing The Secrets
Part 7

Suddenly the child did something clearly dangerous and very painful, she grabbed the corner of her gown where the bandages protecting the stitches should have been and pulled it open. The now missing bandages would have stopped her from her last task, she took hold of the sutures and yanked hard enough to pull at least five of them free, passing out from the pain almost instantaneously without uttering a sound.

"Laurel!!!" Trowa shouted as blood began to drip from her torn side once more. "Doctor! We need help here!"

Quatre, shaken by the sudden outburst demanded, "What happened, Trowa? Did she fall? Is she hurt? Damnit all, I can't see and without my uchuu no kokoro I'm helpless!" He clawed uselessly at the bandages across his eyes before he was gently restrained from doing so.

Realization then struck Trowa painfully hard. He handed the limp child over to the doctor who had rushed into the room at his shout and the doctor took her out to ascertain the damage. "Take it easy, koi," Trowa's voice shook as he gently held Quatre in his arms as best he could. "Little One, that is one exceptionally brave 'daughter' we have there. I don't know how to explain this, but I think she just tested how well sealed your uchuu no kokoro really is."

Angry and confused, Quatre demanded, "What the Hell are you talking about, Trowa?"

"She just pulled out a number of stitches in her side. Deliberately. The pain hit her so quickly she was unconscious almost immediately and she's bleeding badly. I think she did this to make sure you really couldn't feel the pain of the others any more and you said it yourself, you didn't detect it." Trowa sadly kissed his distraught lover's lips. "Please, trust her, koibito, there is something far more going on here than even I expected. Apparently things are going to be hard for the others and she knew you couldn't be allowed to feel their pain any longer. Trust her, love. I do."

Quatre, shaking and even more pale than before, barely spoke above a whisper. "Well, if she did all that for my benefit, I'm sure this is necessary. I'll make certain that the connections are severed with all of the others, but you must not keep news from me, agreed? I'll not share their pain, but you must tell me when you find out anything."

"Of course, love, I'd never conceal anything from you." Trowa sighed sadly as he watched a gurney being brought in for Laurel. "They've come for Laurel, Quatre. She's reopened the wound and I'm not sure what damage she may have done. I need to go with her, but I'll be back as soon as she is stabilized again. And when I do return, if you want me to, I'll explain everything that has happened so far. How she got hurt, how you came here, and even tell you what I know about your condition as well."

"Yes," Quatre stretched out his one free hand in an attempt to locate Trowa, he succeeded as it was captured in a warm pair of hands he knew so well. "Go with her, Trowa. We just got her back don't you dare let them take her away. Come back only after you are certain she'll be all right. I have the feeling that all of what you promised to tell me will take quite a bit of explaining."

"Unfortunately, koi, it will indeed." Trowa was still shocked by yet another drastic act on Laurel's part and the mind-shattering idea of keeping his promise of full disclosure to Quatre. "Why don't you let them give you a sedative for now, love; and I'll be back after you get some more sleep. You need to recover, too."

Yawning, Quatre quietly agreed. Then Trowa left giving directions to the doctors on duty to contact him when Quatre was up to conversation again. The return trip to the pediatrics ward seemed infinitely longer than the one there had been. Oddly, it was reassuring to know she was already receiving care before he even arrived.

//Laurel, my strange little girl, why do you do these things?// Trowa was agonizing over this latest event. //In ways I could never explain, you remind me so much of Heero when we first met. Always ready to self-destruct for the good of others. When will this stop? You are nearing the edge, little love, don't push yourself farther. Is it even reasonable to hope that we can bring you back home with us if you don't stop doing things like this?//

Deeply concerned, Trowa made a point to stop and contact the estate on his way back to Laurel's room. During the war he himself had sutured shut wounds and was not the least bit concerned about watching that being done to Laurel, instead he felt it was past time to get the child some more intensive help. He asked Rasid to contact Quatre's sister Celcia. Her own family had been lost during the war and she now had an adopted son of her own. Perhaps she could not only assist in getting Laurel's mental health back but could also help them with the up-hill battle to adopt the seemingly self-destructive child.

Deep inside, though, Trowa's greatest fears slowly surfaced. If Laurel knew the pain from Wufei would hit Quatre while they were there, what other pain was coming to a member of their family that was so catastrophic that it warranted her rash actions? Were they going to truly lose one of their own? That pain would certainly be enough to drastically impinge on any hopes for a full recovery for Quatre.

Or, was there a pain worse than death awaiting one of them? Only time would tell.

"How close are we to the colony, Gene?" Heero asked rubbing the last vestiges of sleep from his eyes.

"Hey, Hannibal!" Gene joked. "Me and Mr. J here were just arguing over who had the undesirable duty of dragging you out of bed. Knowing what a grouch you are when you wake up, I didn't want to have to do it and he claims he did it enough already." Snickering, the irrepressible red-head added, "Good thing you did it yourself or we probably never would've gotten around to it!"

"Hn." Heero snorted in disbelief. "You two both know that we are about to walk into a nightmare come to life and you're still busy joking around! Gene, are you *ever* serious?"

Starwind laughed, "Nope! Not if I can help it!" Then he sobered. "Besides, Heero, we'll have plenty of 'serious' on the inside of that Godforsaken thing." He nodded his head towards the screen shot of DH-1221 they were approaching. Rescue shuttles swarmed around the colony's various docking ports as they continued to attempt to evacuate the civilian population.

"Gene, you of all people knew this was going to be hard, don't back out on me now." Heero replied, taking over the command chair and adjusting his headphones to pull in the latest reports. Tuning out his two companions, the intense young man began a verbal relay with Preventers coordinators in the area.

Gene just shook his head. "I never could get the kid to lighten up." He complained to Jack.

"Hey, man, don't look at me," Jack smirked back as Gene forked over the losing bet, "I told you he'd be all business once we got here. I came to know him under entirely different circumstances than you did, Gene. He's always intense when his friends are involved."

"I know," Starwind remarked ruefully. "I just hoped we could get him to lighten up a bit before things went to Hell again. He must be some kind of masochist. First the shit you went through with him, then what that bastard Smith did to his boyfriend---"

"FiancÚ," Jack corrected automatically.

Again, Starwind simply sighed. "Don't be too sure of that, Jack. You didn't see the kid, but I did. Duo's changed, I tell you, and not for the better. Plus, he's got a nasty drug addiction problem to beat now and I have never seen anyone go through that and come out all fine and dandy afterwards."

"He'll be fine." A dark voice added. "He just may not be the guy I fell for when it's done, that's all." The sorrow etched on Heero's face cut both older men to the core. Before they could say anything, he continued. "Actually, guys, there's a damned good chance I'm going to have to live up to my offer to just back out of his life for good as it stands. He's been tortured long enough and if he finds he can cope better without me, then so be it."

"That's not fair!" Gene was never subtle and saw no point in starting to be so now. "You risked your life to save his, damnit, Heero! Can't he see that? What more proof does he need of your feelings?"

Jack chimed in, "Actually, Heero, I've been wondering the same thing myself."

Heero just shook his head in resignation. "You don't get it, guys, this isn't about how I feel about him, it's about how he feels about me. I still love him, he knows that. I think he even loves me at some level, but there's been too much that has changed for both of us. We never set out to hurt each other like this, but other forces stepped in and now things are different."

Looking back at the crippled colony in the distance, Heero's monologue continued. "He's still got to get out from under the damned drugs and I'm not there to help him. Everything I've read about what he's facing is bad news and there's no way to predict if he'll ever get back to who he was before. Frankly, I don't expect him to, I know I've changed permanently, too, it would be inexcusable to expect him to just revert entirely based on all that's gone down in the last few months. Face it, we're out here, no way to find out what's happened back there and no way to know what will happen to us while we're here. For all I know, Quatre died after we left, and if that happened then we can just kiss life as we know it good-bye."

"Wait a minute, partner," Jack admonished sternly. "Don't you think this qualifies as exaggerating the situation? Aren't your friends stronger than that?"

"My friends, Jack?" Heero looked stunned. "No, not 'friends', these guys are my 'family', they're all I've ever had and during the war we all expected to die at any point, but peace is different. You start expecting things like basic survival to just come easily. You don't know the kind of structure this family of mine has. We never admitted to ourselves how much we relied on each other before, but now it's pretty damned clear we've done that for a lot longer than we knew. Quatre is the strength of the foundation of this and without him, the whole thing will collapse. I know Trowa is strong too, but he couldn't handle Quatre's loss; his life has been unthinkably painful and Quatre was all that saved him from his own past. Those two are the opposite sides of the same coin, you can't lose one without losing the other.

Wufei is another problem in that we don't know if he's even alive. That guy's come through situations that would've destroyed a lesser man, and I respect him a lot, but I don't honestly know what keeps him going. He has his 'justice' and apparently he and Sally have found each other for strength, but beyond that he remains a mystery to me. An irreplaceable mystery, but a mystery just the same. I always thought he was the one who could survive alone the longest, but we may not find out now.

on to part 8

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