Natural disclaimer applies…
She found him in exactly the spot where Hilde said she might find him. Duo walked around the battered pool table, the only light that was on was the long low lamp over the table. It sent long shadows into the pockets and from the remaining balls spatter across the green. She watched him silently as he leaned down aiming the cue stick to send the 7 ball zipping to far corner pocket with a loud and high pitched 'crack'. She slowly went closer to him and gently put a hand to his shoulder. He slumped against her touch and instantly stopped chalking the cue stick. He didn't look at her, but kept his eyes on the table before him.
"Duo, everything's alright," she whispered to him.
"How can you say that, Relena? Heero's up stairs unconscious in your bed, bleeding so bad that its unlikely that he'll get up," he still hadn't turned to look at her.
"I can say that because he is alive. He's alive and conscious; Duo, he's talking as if nothing ever happened. We've talked and we've figured out a place to go to while he regains his strength and while we think of a plan to get Vipers back. Hilde and Lu are right now going through rooms to back stuff and I'm going to head to the others to tell them to join us and to get my brother to make sure that the cars are running. I just wanted to tell you first that Heero is fine," she grinned at him when he jerked his head up to look her in the eyes. Duo's violet eyes were hollow as they bored into her oceans. She nodded her head to him and he suddenly took off towards the door.
"Duo, Cathy's with him. This wasn't their fault, we all knew that this would happen when I came back with Heero. It was just a matter of time, I know what you're feeling and I wanted to do it myself, but I've cooled down and I know that there are more important matters in front of us than some silly rift between us and the others. Hilde and her have made up, we girls are going to stick together, we just need your help with the guys," she informed.
"I don't know if I can do that, Rel," he muttered.
"Try," she said before she watched him take off again.
She entered the room where everything had went down hill from this morning. She found Trowa, Quatre, and Wufei scrubbing most of the blood from the walls. She cleared her throat to their attentions. They turned their heads and stopped. They each stared at her in shock and confusion.
"Relena, what are you doing down here? Is something wrong with Heero?" Quatre asked quietly.
"No, he's fine; actually he's conscious and acting as if nothing happened. What I came down here to tell you is that he's alright and that we've decided to leave this house until he has recuperated more and we have a plan to get back at Vipers. I know of a place that we can all stay in; it has plenty of room and its remote. As far as I know, no one knows that its there except for Heero and myself. We should be fairly safe," she informed.
The group stared at her spotting all the blood, which was dried now, caking her clothes, face, and hair. She was nothing but a dirty reddish brown from head to toe.
"You mean you want us to come with you and the others?" Quatre asked.
"Of course, you can't stay here in town, no one will help you. We will," she gave a small smile that didn't reach her sad eyes. She knew what they were thinking and she went closer to them. She spotted Wufei's busted lip and black eyes.
"I'm sorry, Wufei; he's not usually this violent. He's usually the one that drives everyone insane with jokes and pranks,"
"Don't worry about it, Relena; all that hurts him is his pride," Trowa stated with a nudge of his elbow in the China man's side.
"Yeah," he grumbled. Relena chuckled.
"Anyway, Heero's fine and we could use all the help we can get with moving things from the house and getting Heero down the stairs. Have you seen my brother, by any chance?"
"I think I saw him go outside a little while ago actually," Quatre informed thumbing back towards the kitchen door.
"Thanks," she muttered as she went past them to find her brother.
The group watched her leave and was instantly on edge.
"Something's not right here," Trowa stated.
"You feel it too?" Quatre asked with a shiver.
"Why is she acting as if she's walking through a fog? She didn't seem all that excited when she told us that Heero was alright and awake," Trowa wondered.
"She's hiding something, and I have a feeling that it has something to do with the place where we'll be staying at," Wufei added, "Come on, lets go see how Heero is and see how we can help." The other two nodded and followed the Chinese man out of the room.
Relena spotted her brother instantly once she was outside. She walked as he dumped gasoline over the corpses stacked in a pile away from the house. She went over closer to him as he lit a match. She tenderly wrapped her fingers around his forearm just before he tossed the lit stick.
"All that will do is stink up the entire town,"
"It deserves it," he growled as he let the match go and to watch the bodies engulf in flames. The two of them stood there as the toxic fumes rose over their heads. Relena turned to her brother after a few minutes.
"Zechs, Heero's awake and acts like he's good as new. We've figured out a place to go where everyone will be fairly safer from Vipers until he has fully recuperated and until we all can come up with a plan of attack,"
"Heero's conscious? How?"
"I don't know, other than he's stronger than he used to be and he was always strong. Nothing could keep him down for very long," she added solemnly.
"Will you tell me?" Relena turned her gaze to his from staring at the flames.
"I mean, where we are going?" he added quickly.
"We're going," she stopped in mid sentence and spun around to watch shrub branches moving.
"Leave us alone, haven't you done enough. We're leaving what more do you want?" she yelled to the bushes as they continued to move. She glared at them and stormed over and shoved aside the dying foliage.
"Relena!" Zechs exclaimed as he grabbed for her arm. Her skin slipped through his fingers. He instantly followed her. He reached her just as she froze in mid push.
"What is it, Rel?" he asked as he watched his sister bend over and come back up holding a little girl. Zechs stared at the sight of the small dirty little girl. From what he could tell she supposedly had blond hair but all he managed to see was dirt that was matted in the long locks and smudged on her chubby cheeks.
"What are you doing here? Why aren't you with your parents?" Relena asked, her voice had instantly lost its anger and had turned soft and sad. Zechs looked from the child, of possibly five years old, to his sister.
The child remained silent but she kept her eyes on Relena's as she wrapped her arms around her neck tightly.
"Hey now, you didn't tell me your name. I'm Relena and this is my brother Zechs, okay?" she added as the girl lifted her head to look from one sibling to the other. She laid her cheek back down on her shoulder and closed her eyes.
"Anna," she whispered and Relena instantly knew that she had fallen asleep. She lifted her head up to stare at her brother.
"What just happened here? Who is she?" he quizzed.
"I have no idea, but she needs our help. I'll get more out of her when she has some food and is awake more,"
"Relena, you don't know who she is. You don't even know who or where her parents are," Zechs added while he watched her roll her eyes at him as she turned to head back into the house. He took off after her completely ignoring the growing bon fire behind them.
"Rel, now what are you doing? The room is covered in blood what if she wakes up while you're walking through it?"
"Relax, brother of mine, she is out like a light. Why don't you go find of the guys and go back outside to make sure the fire doesn't get out of control?"
"Then where are you going?" he asked as she continued on her way through the room.
"Shush, she doesn't need to wake to all this, and I'm taking her upstairs so I can check on Heero and see how things are coming together. If I see one of the guys I'll send them down," she informed as she climbed the steps. Zechs shook his head as he gave a sigh. He turned back towards the door.
Relena glanced down to the little girl in her arms and smiled as she reached the open doorway to the bedroom. She jumped as she realized nearly everyone was in the room.
"What the hell? Relena, who's the kid?" Duo asked as he stood up from the edge of the bed.
"I don't know, Zechs and I were burning the bodies and the next thing we knew the shrubs behind us were moving and I went over to see who was there, and I found her. All I've gotten out of her before she fell asleep was her name,"
"And?" Hilde left the question open as the others kept their eyes on her.
"And all she said was Anna," Relena shrugged; she started towards Heero, but stopped.
"Oh, Trowa, Wufei, would one of you go help Zechs keep the fire under control?"
"Sure, we'll both go," Trowa informed and they both left the room.
"Have you two gotten everything ready to get out of here?" she asked Cathy and Hilde who nodded their heads.
"Good," she lowered her eyes as Anna yawned and lifted her head. She gave a small smile to the grown woman, but it soon disappeared when she glanced around the rest of the room. She held on to her tighter.
"It's alright, sweety; they won't hurt you. No one in this house will," she soothed. She caressed her hand down her hair.
"Duo, would you and Quatre go to the kitchen and find something for her to eat. Oh, I forgot to ask Zechs about the cars; would you check on them?"
"Sure," Duo shrugged nudging Quatre's elbow. The two guys left the room.
"Rel, we'll go with them to make sure that they do it right," Hilde added with a little wave to the girl.
"Say, what would you like to eat?" Cathy asked.
Anna looked up to Relena to see her smile and nod.
"An apple, please,"
"Is that all? Would you like a sandwich too? I know we've got peanut butter and jelly, how about turkey and cheese?" the girls giggled at her scrunched up face.
"Do you have any grape jelly?" Anna asked hopefully.
"We sure do," Hilde grinned.
"Crust?" Cathy added. Once again they chuckled at her petite wrinkled nose.
"Alright, PB and J, with no crust, coming right up," Hilde proclaimed.
"And your apple will be along shortly," Cathy added with a grin. Anna smiled at them as they left. She then noticed another woman and the man lying in the bed. She tilted her head at them and nearly jumped from Relena's arms. She let her down and Anna ran over to the bed and scrambled up to sit on her knees beside him. She lifted a finger and poked it into Heero's forehead where blood had stained it.
"You're the guy that the bad men wanted to hurt, aren't you?"
"Bad men; how do you know about the bad men?" Lu asked softly.
"My big brother was going to join them, but then he disappeared. I don't know where he's at now. I thought I saw him outside but I don't know," she whispered as she lowered her head.
"Outside?" Relena covered her mouth as tears filled her eyes. Anna nodded her head.
"What did he look like, honey?" Lu asked.
"He's tall and usually has a scruffy chin, and he has really bright blue eyes," she stated with a tilt of her head. She noticed Heero flinch his hands until they were in tight fists in the sheets. She turned her head up to see the older woman spin around away from her. Her pale blue eyes closed as she lowered her head.
"I did see him, didn't I?" she whispered.
"I'm afraid so," Heero added.
"He's the one that did this to you, didn't he?" she kept her head down as she fiddled with a loose thread from the sheet. She let the rough hand that slid under her chin lift her face up; she gazed into the deep Prussian blue eyes that seemed almost broken-hearted.
"I'm sorry, mignon," she crawled up to him and cradled herself against his ribs and laid her cheek on his chest. Heero flinched with a quiet sucking of air through clenched teeth; he quickly ignored it as he wrapped his arm around her protectively. He lifted his head up to Relena to see tears falling from her eyes. He ached to hold her in his arms.
"Rel, I'll go see how Hilde and Cathy are doing with her sandwich and see how far the guys have gotten on getting ready for leaving," Lu stated as she went past her sister-in-law. She gave her a quick hug before she left the room.
Heero lifted his other arm up to her and she instantly ran to the other side and crawled up next to him. She was careful not to rub or hit any of his injuries. The two teenagers listened to the child's quiet sobs. Relena finally broke the silence.
"Do you have any other family that we could take you to?" she watched the girl shake her head. Relena reached over and ran her hand over her hair and down her back. She lifted her hand up to be clasped by Anna.
"He was all I had," she added softly.
"You'll stay with us," Heero informed, "We'll take care of you now."
Anna shot her head up to stare into his eyes, her own gleamed with a small flicker of hope. She glanced over and waited for Relena's nod of agreement. She smiled and enthusiastically wrapped her small arms around Heero and Relena.
"Thank you, so much," Heero groaned as the shock of pain erupted through his entire body. Anna shot back as if he had burned her. Fresh tears shimmered in her eyes.
"Sh, I'm alright, Mignon, I'm just fine," he managed and forced his mouth to grin at her. She shook her head making her loose hair to slap her face over and over again. Heero sat up slowly and pulled her over to him.
"I am, don't make me have to make you see reason like I do with Relena here," he smirked. She finally giggled as she swiped at her tears.
"Ta dah!" Hilde and Cathy both exclaimed as they came into the door way. Hilde carried a paper plate with the sandwich on it while Cathy held the apple and knife.
Anna smiled at them.
"Hilde, are the boys done downstairs and packing things into the working car?" Relena asked.
"Yeah, they started on that. I've pack most of Duo's stuff that we couldn't bare to loose, and with Vipers the way they are I wouldn't want to leave it here,"
"Don't worry about it. Anna, why don't you Cathy and Hilde stay here with Heero while I go talk to those guys that were all in here," Anna nodded her head. Relena smiled at her before she left the room.
Relena slowly made her way down the stairs as she wrapped her arms around herself. She ignored the blood that still covered the walls as she went back outside. She spotted the group of five guys and grinned. They had started to get along the ordeal of earlier was slowly floating in the distance.
She went up to them and wrapped her arm through her brother's.
"Did you guys get the cars working?" she asked.
"Yeah, all we gotta do is get everything in them," Duo added.
"Excellent, can everyone get in the one with one of you guys driving Heero's motorcycle?"
"Should be able to," Zechs stated.
"Even better," she grinned.
"So who's the kid?" Duo asked with his own familiar grin spread across his face.
"She's just some girl that came out of the bushes. She saw her brother," Her smile was gone now and her eyes were turned to the still burning bodies.
"She saw her brother? What?" Quatre muttered. Relena nodded her head solemnly.
"The one that Heero killed," she lifted her head up to see the emotions instantly evaporate from her brother's face.
"You mean," Duo started, but stopped at the nod of Relena's head.
"Shit," he mumbled.
"Don't say anything to her, she knows that her brother is dead and he's the one that hurt Heero but she doesn't know who killed him as far I can tell. She's instantly grown fond of him, she's up there right now lying beside him. Hilde and Cathy brought her something to eat before I left,"
"Does she have any family that we can take her to?" Trowa asked.
"No, I've already asked, and she doesn't. Heero told her that she could stay with us,"
"You mean to tell me that he's letting the kid stay here with the rest of us. We do good to take care of ourselves," Duo interrupted.
"Yeah, pretty much," she added, "and I think it's a splendid idea. You've not seen her with him. Its just adorable, they get along so well."
"You're saying that Heero, my buddy Heero, is getting along with a little pip squeak?" Duo continued.
"Yep, and I need you and Trowa to help me get him downstairs. The sooner we get going the sooner we can get Anna to safety," She stated as she grabbed Duo and Trowa's hands and started for the door.
Zechs glanced over to Quatre and Wufei and shook his head.
"I guess we better go get the stuff and put it in the car, make sure there's enough room for everybody,"
"Understood," Quatre nodded.
"Injustice," Wufei muttered. The three of them left the smoldering pile and began the motions of moving everything from the house to the garage.
- two days later -
The group looked up at the massive house before them and instantly gawked at the majesty of it. Even with the English Ivy growing up the sides and weeds over flowing the yard and path to get to the double entrance doors; they couldn't help lift their heads in wonder.
"What is this place?" Duo asked.
"It's a safe house," Relena simply stated as she glanced to Heero who was limping from the car. He put his arm around her shoulders and leaned over leaving a chaste kiss to her temple. She let her eyes flutter close as she leaned into his warmth.
"Come on, Lena. We need to get inside before the storm gets here," he made his way slowly with Relena's help. He glanced down as small fingers wound through his long fingers. Anna smiled up at him; she laid her cheek to the top of his hand.
The rest of the group watched the three make their way up to the front door. Hilde held onto Duo's hand tightly.
"They look like they belong together, don't they?" she stated softly.
"All three of them," Cathy nodded a tearful smile wavered across her face.
"Duo, come on, Heero's right we need to get this stuff inside before the storm gets here. No one's lived here in a long time and I'm sure that the generator needs to be checked out," Zechs informed. Duo squeezed Hilde's hand before he turned to help the others. The three women followed Relena, Heero, and Anna into the house.
"Wow," Hilde managed as she lifted her head up to see the murals that were faded above her head. She spun around in place as the dust particles flew all around her.
"They used to be so bright. I loved looking at them," Relena informed as she looked back to them.
"How do you know about this place?" Hilde asked.
"Yeah, you knew exactly where it was; I've only been up here once and that was a long time ago," Lu added.
"Daddy, used to bring me up here a lot when I was younger," the blond turned from them, and went into the din area.
"Why would Jim bring you up here? Zechs was the one that brought me up here and that was only after I found out," her sentence drifted off as she glanced around to Hilde and Cathy.
"Found out what?" Hilde and Cathy asked in unison. Lu quickly ran after her sister-in-law and they instantly followed her.
"Zechs is my half-brother, his mother was married before. She was married to Marshall Peacecraft. Then he was killed, but she managed to get away with her son. She met up with my father and it grew and they had me," Relena informed.
"You'd never think, I mean yeah, he looks so different, but most siblings do," Hilde sputtered. Relena grinned.
"Most people don't know; I didn't know myself for quite a while," she added as she went about the room lifting sheets from the furniture and sending dust everywhere. She sneezed then began to fold them absently.
"When did you find out?" Cathy asked.
"I was ten, I over heard one of the fights that Dad and he held regularly. Zechs wanted to join the military, this was before he officially met up with Lu, and Daddy didn't want to hear anything like that. He was a pacifist, and believed that everyone in the family should be," she smiled sadly as she ran her fingers over the still soft white fabric in her arms.
"Can you just hear him now? Relena Marie Darlian what were you thinking when you got back with that Heero Yuy," she muttered to herself.
"Actually, I can hear a few more colorful words," The three women spun around to see the remaining group standing carrying their belongings. Relena lifted her head regally, to stare into her brother's pale blue gaze.
"So this is where Jim brought you all those times before," he watched her nod her head.
"Not now, Brother," she muttered.
"Then when? Heero's alright, you told me you would tell me when, when you had his help. I don't know how patient I can be much longer,"
"Do you really want to know the truth?" Heero growled from the shadows; he stepped forward slowly with Anna by his side.
"Heero," Relena shook her head, "not now. I couldn't take it."
She turned her head to his. He nodded his silent response and then nudged Anna towards her.
"Go on, I need to step outside," he told her as he turned his back on the rest of the group. Anna watched him step out through the French doors leading to the patio in the back yard. She could see the sheet of rain coming closer and closer to their new place to sleep and was instantly scared. She ran over to Relena and wrapped her arms around her neck. The blond lifted her up as she stood; she held her close as she stroked her hair as she swung back and forth.
"Shush, everything will be alright, Anna," she gentled. Anna continued to cry into her shoulder as Relena soothed the child completely ignoring the group that stared at the sight before her.
Hilde and nudged Cathy who caught the message and returned the gesture into Lu; she nodded and help the other two herd the guys into another room away from the Relena and Anna.
"What is it, girls?" Duo asked.
"Doesn't it seem odd that Relena knows exactly what to do with Anna? I mean, it's like she, well I don't know exactly, it just seems really odd," Hilde questioned.
"Now that you mention it, Buddy hasn't exactly acted himself since Anna showed up. There are even more secrets that they're keeping from us, and I'm getting just about as anxious to know the truth as Zechs is. I'm just about tired of all the lies that they've been feeding us," Duo added.
"How do you think we feel? We had no idea that Heero could even act like he is. All we've ever known him to be like is a soldier, cold, hard, and calloused. Much like how he acted when Vipers attacked the house," Cathy informed.
"I just don't get it. Relena's never kept secrets like this before. She would always tell me everything," Zechs muttered to himself as he stared back to the room where they had just left. Lu went over to her husband and hugged him tightly.
"You've always suspected that Jim, your mother, and her kept something from you, even when you first married me. It all started when all that nonsense with Heero happened," she stated.
"It doesn't make it any easier, Lu," he added.
"I know," she kissed the corner of his mouth.
Heero made his way through the grown over brambles and thorns until he finally arrived at the place where he hadn't been in several years. He shoved at the rusted gate until it finally swung loose; he gasped at the pain that shot through him from his back and stomach. He quickly ignored it as he spotted two grave stones. One was smaller than the other and he slowly went over to it. He fell to his knees feeling every thorn tear through his jeans and into the flesh of his legs and knees. He reached up pushing the vines away from the old marble to stare at the concave letters.
Cassandra Jasmine Darlian
Here lies the beloved daughter of Relena Marie Darlian and Jonathon Heero Yuy. May the angels guide her to the Father above.
Born: December 24, 2000
Died: December 25, 2000
He caressed his calloused fingers along the ornate figure of a baby lying on a cloud asleep. He bowed his head as the sky became darker and darker. A bolt of lightning cracked the sky open and a crash of thunder jerked his head up. Tears cascaded down his face as icy cold rain drops started to fall. He was drenched in seconds. He continued to stare at the black sky as streak after streak struck all around him.
"Why? Why did you take her away from me? Why damnit!" he yelled; thunder vibrated in his chest and he lowered his head back to stare at the head stone. His whole body shook with his sobs as his hand fell limp from the hard stone and into the thorns.
"Why?" he whispered.