Silencing The Secrets
Vash, Celcia's adopted son, was a striking lad of 14, tall and slender with a bright swath of yellow blond hair which had a strange
tendency to stand straight up no matter what he did to get it to conform to a more reasonable style. He was extremely protective of his
little "cousin". He didn't give a damn about legality, he knew a perfect match when he saw one and acted as if Laurel truly was Quatre's
daughter already, not his adopted mother's "foster child" at all. Vash had successfully shielded the girl several times from less than
friendly situations, something he made certain his Uncle Trowa knew about and the two young men conspired together to keep her under
Vash's watchful eye when Trowa couldn't be with her. While it had only been several weeks since they had returned home from the
hospital, the two blond children were inseparable. What amused both of his uncles was the fact that Vash received calls from quite a few
girls from school on a regular basis, he was quite attractive and had numerous offers for after school activities yet turned most of them
down to be with his cousin.
Trowa hadn't known the boy well before, but the first time he had been cornered by Vash regarding Laurel's safety Trowa knew this
young man was someone to be reckoned with.
"Uncle Trowa," the boy had said rather angrily. "Why isn't anyone watching out for Laurel at school?"
Perplexed, the response had been, "Well, Vash, I didn't know there was a problem. What happened?" Looking more closely, he noticed
the slight bruise under one sturdy cheekbone as the boy stood arms crossed in a remarkably similar stance to Heero Yuy at his most
"She was being picked on by a couple of the bigger kids from her class, that's what happened!" The youngster was angry at the
treatment of the child he'd only met a day before at the time. "They were giving her a hard time about not being a real 'Winner' family
member and that she didn't deserve to be in the school. So, I stepped in and made it abundantly clear that if she wasn't good enough for
them then they weren't good enough for any members of our family! No one insults our family and gets away with it, right?" Righteous
indignation practically flowed off him and he seemed to be looking for answers Trowa was unsure of.
When Vash had been adopted a year and a half ago, his birth family had died in the war and he had been withdrawn and depressed.
Celcia had worked miracles with him and his self-esteem skyrocketed. Now fully fledged as a Winner family member as well as an
accomplished athlete, Vash never hesitated to defend the downtrodden and protect anyone who he felt needed it whether they were his
friends or not. This aspect reminded Trowa of his own fiancÚ at 15, altruistic to the point of neglecting himself, always fighting to protect
others, and generous beyond reason. Vash's own integrity glowed from within much like Quatre's. He was also rakishly handsome for a
14 year-old and quite popular at school, it surprised everyone at the estate when he abandoned his active social life in favor of protecting
and entertaining his new little cousin. Trowa, himself having been harassed at several points due to his connections to Winner
Corporation being unofficial, knew exactly how much comments like what had been addressed to Laurel could hurt. He was pleased his
'daughter' had such a stalwart defender.
"Vash, you are quite right." He had solemnly shaken hands with the boy in appreciation. "No one insults our family. Laurel is lucky to
have you watching out for her, and I am lucky you brought this to my attention. Thank you."
"You're welcome, Uncle Trowa," the boy's eyes sparkled at being treated as an equal by someone he idolized. When he'd been
adopted, Celcia had never explained fully the fact that her brother was one of the infamous Gundam pilots in order to protect Vash from
further heart-break when Sandrock could be destroyed in battle on any given day. It was not until the war ended that he was informed
fully that his uncle and Trowa were actually Gundam pilots, a group which had already caught his youthful sense of wonder. As he'd
learned enough to understand what they had fought for and what they had risked, his devotion to both Quatre and Trowa had increased.
More than once Quatre had commented that Vash would make a fine freedom fighter if there was ever a need for those like themselves
in the future even though he fervently hoped there wouldn't be such a need.
Thoughts returning to the present, Trowa refocused on Laurel. "How are your feet doing, baby? Still hurting any?" The scars were
healing already from the slightly more drastic surgery that was required to remove the glass, but the numerous incisions had weakened
the soles of her feet.
"No, Daddy," she smiled bouncing up and down to prove it. "I'm all better now. It only hurts if I go barefoot too long, but Vash never
lets me anyway." She pouted, failing to realize he was protecting her even from herself.
Quatre chuckled, "Well, sweetheart, I wouldn't complain if I were you! It took me a lot longer to find someone to care about me that
much." He smiled at Trowa who looked mildly amused. "Besides," he winked at her, "Here comes your knight-errant now!"
Vash, dressed in his favorite outfit, red shirt, black pants, and boots, strode in purposefully searching for his cousin. "Laurel, mom says
it's bedtime. Say goodnight and let's go!" He commanded easily as he glanced over at his cousin. Only half his age, the girl was so tiny
compared to his extra height they looked farther apart in age than they truly were.
"Oh, Vash, you're silly!" She grinned at him. She adored him and the feeling was so obviously mutual even he couldn't look serious for
long under her gentle teasing.
"Well, maybe I *am* silly," He grinned in return as he pushed his omnipresent slightly yellow-tinted sunglasses back into place. "But
you're late for bed and you know mom gets steamed about that, so let's go, okay?"
"Okay!" She smiled, quickly kissing her daddies goodnight and running over to the tall boy who scooped her up easily and dangled her
upside down across one strong arm making her squeal with delight.
"Careful, Vash!" Quatre warned gently knowing full well the lad would sooner endanger himself than risk the girl's safety.
"No prob, Uncle Q!" He grinned twirling to wink at Quatre bringing further delighted squeals as he flipped Laurel upright once more and
carried her off to their family quarters in the estate.
Quatre sighed as he felt Trowa's arms wrap around him from behind. "You know you needn't worry about her when he's around."
Trowa remarked casually.
"Oh, I know, koi, I know," Quatre sighed again sinking even farther into the embrace. "He really is a wonderful boy, isn't he? I think he
saved Celcia from the depths of despair and now he's Laurel's bodyguard. Imagine what he'll be like when he grows up. I swear that
boy will be a leader in his own right before too long. This family is blessed by the additions Allah has sent it in the most unexpected
ways, don't you think?"
Trowa laughed, gently kissing his finace's delicate ear eliciting a brief moan. "I'll agree as long as we are only discussing the kids, angel. I
refuse to discuss whether I'm a positive addition or not."
"You, sir, are too modest!" Quatre proclaimed, turning to plant a kiss on Trowa's surprised lips. "You are also hereby accused of being
way too adorable as well." Blushing, Trowa would have wished to conceal a tiny smirk as decidedly arousing thoughts ran through his
head. Never one to miss details Quatre easily spotted the shift in possibilities and remarked drolly, "Besides, am I really all that sexy in
this, what did you call it? Oh, yes, 'pirate with an attitude' look? And if so, why are we still out here in the living room? It's not just
Laurel's bed time, no da!"
Taking the entirely non-subtle hint, Trowa stood up and helped Quatre regain his own footing. Before Trowa could comment, Quatre
mimicked his nephew and lifted Towa easily as well heading towards the bedroom. Unable to control a laugh, Trowa remarked, "I can
walk, you know."
Quatre winked at him. "You are my pirate's treasure and I'm not risking having to follow another map to relocate you! Now, don't
struggle, my handsome captive, or I might have to tie you up to prevent you from escaping!" Quatre attempted to produce a deep
throaty "pirate laugh" to go with his joke, but it wasn't quite in his repertoire.
"Really?" asked Trowa feigning interest in something that neither had the patience to play that night.
Closing the door with a single well-placed nudge, Quatre walked over and deposited Trowa on the bed then flung himself on top of him.
"No, not tonight, my 'treasure'! I'm way too interested in exploring my ill-gotten gains than restraining them!" Without further comment,
the young man happily set about the task of doing just that and before long both were happily exploring each other thoroughly and
enjoying the simple pleasure of each other's company to the fullest.
Arrival at DH-1221 put things into perspective for the would-be rescue team.
The entire colony continued to be plagued by power difficulties as well as sporadic electromagnetic pulses. The EMPs destroyed the use
of any standard machinery and left the entire colony relying on ancient methods for survival some of which were a very bad idea but
unavoidable. The main necessary danger was fire. No light and no heat left the colony subject to the freezing nature of the vacuum of
space. The multi-level hulls had done a good job of limiting the temperature effects during the first key days of the disaster, but it had
been more than a week now and it was becoming dangerously cold for many of the inhabitants.
"Do you really think we'll have any luck finding them?" Jack asked, shocked by the disarray they faced.
Face cold and emotionless to protect his own failing hopes if nothing else, Heero answered, "We'd better, Jack. I do not wish to even
consider going back empty handed. Now, we've seen what we're facing, let's go through our gear and then get started."
"Hold it, Heero," Gene caught him by the arm. He'd been observing the massive number of wounded at the space port where they had
docked and was somewhat torn. "Do you think I should come with you two or stay here and lend the local medical personnel some
"That's your decision, Gene. But if you want to, why don't you check with Preventers and see what they'd recommend. Odds are they
know more about the status of things, at least in general, than what we can gather from here."
"Got it!" Gene looked grim as he walked towards a banner with a large red cross on it. "Be back with an answer soon!"
"Ryoukai," Heero remarked walking back into the shuttle.