Silencing The Secrets
Running a hand through his unkempt brown hair, Heero sighed.
"As for Duo, well, Duo's gotten a raw deal and I don't know who he is any more. I do know, however, who he *was*, though, and
maybe that's what I should focus on for now. He was always the first one to kick-ass if he thought any of the rest of us were in trouble.
He was spontaneous, fun-loving, and dangerous as Hell. I saw him kill entire battalions then turn around and complain we were out of
chocolate ice cream! I mean, if any of us ever acted like a regular teenager, it was Duo. He could sleep through class then turn around
and bitch when he only got a B+ on an exam. Then there were times he saved our butts just by out-lasting the competition in a firefight.
Once, I was shot down and when he found out I was going to self-destruct, the nut set his own Gundam down next to mine and told me
if I blew myself to Hell he was coming along for the ride! Then he proceeded to destroy everything they threw at him until OZ retreated,
by then I had my back-up engines on-line just in time to drag Deathscythe off the battlefield. The hypocrite had been on my case for
planning to self-destruct when he was ankle deep in his own blood; end of the battle he was unconscious and I never knew a damned
thing until I climbed into his cockpit. I don't think I'd ever been as shocked as I was when that happened."
"So," Gene nodded his head. "The truth comes out, Yuy. He's as suicidal as you are when it comes to protecting the person he cares for.
Why am I not surprised?"
"What are you talking about, Starwind?" Heero was perplexed. "This was near the start of the war, we weren't interested in each other
"Oh, really? I'd dare say you're wrong there, bucko! Sounds like the actions of either a lunatic, a truly dedicated friend, or a guy in love."
Gene smirked. "Care to bet which option my money would ride on?"
Heero was stunned. It never even occurred to him that Duo had felt anything for him that early on, but upon reflection he realized he
neglected how much more honest Duo'd always been about such things compared to himself. Thinking about it, there had been a lot of
little things like that and he had never put one and one together before.
Why had Duo claimed to be happy to see him when he arrived at the OZ detention block to kill him? Duo wasn't stupid, the gun in his
face meant only one thing and he knew it, yet he'd said he was happy to see him just the same. He even leaned back and let Heero have
a clear shot at him just to tie up loose ends. But thinking this through led to an even greater realization, just why hadn't Heero shot him
that day? His training demanded it be done, his entire background was built on the sacrifice of the few for the good of the many, yet on
that day, for the first time he would admit to, Heero Yuy did something simply to please himself. He'd saved the life of one long-haired,
loud-mouthed, braided baka who drove him crazy with his incessant chatter for no reason other than he enjoyed having him around. And
now he was forced to admit he still liked having the guy around.
A look of transcendent understanding crossed Heero's face, then he smiled, a rare open warm smile which transformed into a smirk.
"Well, Gene, it's a good thing I don't take bets. Unlike Jack," he grinned at the bear of a man who had forgotten the earlier bet, "I might
not have chosen the winning side earlier. But now that I think about it, there's no reason to give up yet, now is there? All we've got to do
is get onto this crappy piece of metal, find Wufei and Sally, then go back to Quatre's place, and I'll just have to convince him to think it
through, too." Heero looked triumphant as his fingers began to fly across the controls preparing them for arrival at the colony portal.
"After all, he never gave up that easy back then, why should I give up this easily now?"
"Now you're talking!" Jack slapped him on the back happily. "I knew you'd figure it out, partner! Now, let's get those first 'easy' steps
you mentioned taken care of, you know? Finding your friends out here, then head home and straighten things out there."
"Ninmu ryoukai, Jack!" Heero grinned as the afterburners fired easing the shuttle into docking position. "And if I have to reteach all of
the Japanese you learned in the Infirmary, then you're going to make origami, too!"
At this comment the large man groaned as if in pain, "No, Heero, not that! Anything but *origami*!!!" Then the pair dissolved into
laughter as Heero's firm resolve spread easily through the cabin leaving the transplant doctor more than a little confused.
"Huh? What's the matter with paper folding, Mr. J?" Gene was happy to see Heero in better spirits, but this was too weird for him. "I
used to do that when I was a kid."
"Arghhhh!" Jack moaned dramatically, holding his fingers up in the sign of a cross to ward off the evil demons of decorative arts.
Heero chuckled low in his throat and recited the quote Gene had insisted on him learning, "I love it when a plan comes together!"
As one Gundam pilot was recovering from cancer surgery and doing remarkably well, another was suffering from drug withdrawal and
Duo Maxwell, once the easiest going member of the small family that comprised the five pilots and their closest friends, was now lost
again in the depths of Hell. The snarling, angry man who seemed to have replaced him would have been hard pressed to find anything
worth living for several days after his friend came out of anesthesia.
In spite of the advances in medical knowledge and technology, the human body still suffered greatly when it had been victimized by the
overuse of chemicals intended for healing or treatment. Unlike the common view of those who are addicted to various substances, many
patients in rehabilitation are there through no fault of their own. Doctors like Zachariah Smith had been in practice since time immemorial
and would remain in practice as long as there were potential victims who had the money to pay for their "services". Duo had been
suffering extreme depression as well as being actively suicidal when his dearest friends did what they felt was for the best and placed him
under Smith's care. Unfortunately, the man had no scruples and had deliberately mistreated the severe medical problems the young man
faced, thereby worsening an all ready bad situation.
The first several days after his dramatic crash into cold turkey withdrawal, that fateful morning he had seduced his own fiancÚ in a
parking lot of all places, had been spent in semi-consciousness. After that, however, he was kept under physical restraints as the various
drug anti-agents worked in his blood system leaving him open to more pain and suffering.
The complexity of his particular case was greater than most, however. The high levels of drugs as well as their individual and combined
addictive properties conspired against a straight forward treatment plan. The usual methods of easing a patient off of the drugs were
quickly deemed useless as his body reacted negatively to them. He was forced to face a slow, yet controlled withdrawal process as he
was weaned off of the drugs that controlled his body and mind.
One night, however, the entire experience became too much for even a seasoned Gundam pilot.
Alone in the darkness, Duo Maxwell lay screaming at angry hands only he could see. His mind, tortured by memories he could not block
and drugs enhancing his fear, was replaying the horrible events of his captivity by OZ. Rapists surrounded him in his mind, assaulting him
over and over, leaving him trembling against the restraints.
"Leave me alone!" He screamed, fighting the restraints which had been reinforced when a similar event had occurred earlier. That time,
though, it had lasted relatively briefly, less than ten minutes and afterwards he fell into a tormented sleep. Once the exhaustion had abated
enough, the phantoms returned, torturing him beyond any ability to deal with them. "Damn you all to *Hell*! I said leave me ALONE!!!"
His voice, raw from screaming, sounded like something from a person's worse nightmares.
"Doctor," the intern on duty looked beside himself in agony for the handsome young man suffering behind the plexiglass wall where they
stood. "Isn't there *anything* we can do for him? He's going to risk further cardiac problems based on his history if we leave this
"I'm very sorry, but there is nothing more we can do for him." The psychiatrist on duty shook her head in frustration. "We can't give him
any sedatives, it will only make the rehabilitation process harder for him. I wish I knew what is bothering him so badly, perhaps we could
talk him out of this episode and get his blood pressure back to a more acceptable level. If it goes much higher we will have to sedate him
just to prevent cardiac damage, but it will only lengthen the amount of time he suffers."
A buzzer sounded indicating someone sought entrance to the locked ward. The intern was surprised to see an equally young man
standing there with a child in his arms.
"This is a secured area." He said into the speaker. "No visitors are allowed."
"Understood," Trowa remarked sternly. "However, I believe patient Duo Maxwell is experiencing extreme duress or will shortly, I
believe we can help."
The doctor looked up, amazed at the sudden intervention and motioned for the unlikely pair to be admitted through the outer doors. "I'll
speak to them and if they can help, let them in. To Hell with regulations, that boy in there is going to kill himself at this rate!"
After briefly meeting with Trowa and Laurel, the doctor allowed them entrance.
"My 'daughter' needs to speak to him." Trowa demanded immediately upon observing Duo's suffering as well as his blood pressure
t safe to allow a child to see someone suffer like that?" the intern was concerned for Laurel's own mental health as well and wasn't
eager to endanger her. The doctor, however, grimly nodded and the door to the room was unlocked allowing Trowa to enter.
Standing next to his friend, Trowa felt extremely helpless. It was clear that Duo was in agony, yet even he failed to understand what was
happening. But good to her warning earlier, Laurel knew exactly what to do. "Daddy, hold me next to his head, I need to touch his face."
He did as he was asked and she gently reached out to stroke his sweat and tear-stained cheek with a tiny hand.
"Uncle Duo," she spoke softly into his ear even as he continued to scream in fury at the attackers only he could see or feel. Her fingers,
though, were cool, small, and soft, totally unlike what he was retroactively experiencing and the sensation got his attention. "Uncle Duo,
it's me, Laurel. Can you hear me, Uncle Duo?"
Heaving sobs and gasping for breath, the screams slowed a bit as he tried to separate her voice from the others. "Get away, Laurel!
They'll hurt you! Get away!" He shouted then quieted again beneath her fingertips.
"No, Uncle Duo, they won't hurt me, the bad men can't hurt me because they aren't here. They are in your memory from long ago and
they are *not* here now!" She was speaking more urgently as he began to tremble in rage and fear again as the phantoms tried to
reassert control. "Listen to me now, Uncle Duo. The men in the red suits who hurt you are all dead, do you remember? Uncle Wufei
saved you from them and destroyed them all with Nataku. It was almost a year ago. Now you are safe, you are in a hospital just like me
and Quatre-daddy, but you need to wake up from this dream, it's hurting you. Can you wake up?"
"But, I'm not asleep," Duo, confused, was listening to her and as the shaking stopped his blood pressure began to even out and drop a
little. "How do I wake up if I'm not asleep?" He sounded desperate for an answer, yet unable to believe help was truly there for him.
Laurel smiled sadly at Trowa, then said, "I can help you wake up, Uncle Duo, but you have to trust me, okay?"
"I trust you, Laurel. What do I do?" Eyes wide but unseeing, he placed his fate in the tiny hands that had been stroking his cheeks.
"You have to close your eyes, they're open right now even if you can't see me," Laurel saw them slide shut, but the moment they did, the
trembling returned. Before it could get bad, she said quickly, "Now, do you see the bad men? Tell them they are all dead and they have
to go away now. Tell them, Uncle Duo! Tell them *now*!"
"You bastards are all dead!" He shouted at the phantoms. "You are all dead and now you've got to go away and leave me
Laurel continued to stroke his cheek gently as his breathing finally evened out. Slowly, as if rising from the depths of a bottomless pit,
Duo's eyes once more fought their way open, but this time they were clearly cognizant and he could understand what was happening
around him. Breathing heavily, he turned his head towards the child and her guardian. "Trowa. Laurel. How did you know I was in
trouble?" Breathing heavily, Duo lay limply on the bed the restraints that had bitten deeply enough to draw blood were now slack.
Trowa, emerald eyes filled with sorrow, looked down on his friend, "Laurel knew, Duo. I'm just here to help her help you. Are you
"I think so," Duo sighed settling deeper into the pillow as exhaustion began to overtake him. "But, Laurel, how did you know?"
She was sad, too. "I had a dream about it, Uncle Duo. But you're going to be okay now, this was the worst part and you got through it.
Now you need to sleep, okay?"
"Okay," he sighed. "Thank you, Laurel, I was sure that was all really happening to me again." The yellow warning light on the blood
pressure monitor winked out leaving the green light in its place as Duo drifted off to sleep. The doctor had entered the room earlier and
had finished examining the patient before signaling the others to leave. But Laurel wouldn't go until she kissed him good-bye.
Outside the room, the intern was amazed. "How did you know what he was seeing? We've been unable to get through to him at all, yet
you just walk in and cure the situation!"
"My 'daughter' can see the future," Trowa stated simply. "She said she needed to be here, so I brought her. Now, Laurel, is Duo truly
out of danger?"
The child now refused to meet his eyes, "Yes, Daddy, but he's not going to be able to remember much about some stuff because of this.
When I told him to tell the invisible men to go away, it took some of his good memories away, too, but it was that or he'd die."
The doctor's curiosity was aroused, not by the clairvoyance, this was something she had encountered before, but by the fact the child
knew more than they did. "Miss? What were you saying about men in red suits? Do you know everything that happened to him in the
"No, I don't know everything, but I did know about this from my dream. The men had hurt him like the bad men hurt Uncle Heero in the
shower, but it was worse for Uncle Duo." She looked infinitely sad. The doctor turned a confused gaze on Trowa and he finished the
explanation for the disturbed child.
"She's saying he was gang raped. She experienced it once before through a dream about a man we know and she saw this from Duo's
own point of view apparently."
"Male gang rape? You allow your daughter to 'experience' such things?" The intern was filled with righteous indignation as he noticed
Laurel was curled against Trowa's chest, crying softly.
Trowa, concerned with Laurel's health and safety, was unmoved by such pointless arguments. "I have no choice in the matter. She
dreams what she dreams and it saves lives even if it is horrible to imagine. She values her gift regardless of the perils to herself and I for
one have no intention of stopping her from doing what she knows is necessary. Now, things seem to be improving rapidly and I need to
take her back to pediatrics. She's tired and I think it will be a long night." He turned and walked away with no further discussion.
By the time he reached her room, she was sleeping a light troubled sleep, so with tender love and care, he kicked his own shoes off and
climbed onto her bed to sit and cradle her in his arms the entire night through.
The next morning Dr. Syn was quite surprised to walk in and find the young man sleeping soundly curled protectively around the child
who was finally sleeping peacefully.