Disclaimers:  I do not own Gundam Wing or any of its characters.

Notes:  Heero and Trowa return to base only to find out something shocking.  Wufei and Meiran have their date.  Meiran
reveals long hidden secrets about herself.



Hope From the Past



Part Nine


Heero anxiously awaited as the elevator transported him deeper into the base.  Behind him, Trowa stood, waiting just as
anxiously.  Heero wanted to get to the infirmary and find out if Duo was feeling better.  He had to know whether the young man
was recovering or not.  He didn’t know why, but he had a strange feeling that things were not going well.  However, he couldn’
t explain to even himself why he had such a bad gut feeling.

When the elevator doors opened, he all but ran down the corridor, Trowa following behind him at the same brisk pace.  It had
been days since they had left for the meeting with the Nomads, days since either of them had seen the two young men that they
had rescued.  Neither of them were sure why they felt so strongly so soon for these two youths, but they did and they wanted
to make sure that nothing happened to hurt them ever again.

As soon as he reached the door of the infirmary, Heero stopped short, his breath catching in his throat.  Duo was gone.  Had
something happened to the long-haired youth?  Trowa rushed past Heero, quickly striding over to Quatre’s bedside.  Numbly,
wondering what was going on, Heero followed, hoping that the blonde would have some answers.  However, when he got to the
bed, he found that the blonde was unconscious and looking even more ill than he had been when Heero and Trowa had left.

Quatre was hooked up to a respirator now, his skin a deathly pale shade.  He looked even thinner than before . . . if that was
possible.  Quatre looked close to the brink of death.  Heero did not understand this.  Where was Duo and why was Quatre in
such a poor condition?  And where were Catherine and Meiran?  They were supposed to be keeping them company.  Had
something happened?

Just then, Sally stalked into the room.  The moment that she saw Quatre, and the empty place where Duo’s bed had been, she
grabbed one of the medical technicians by the collar.  “What the hell is going on here?”  She demanded, the vein in her temple
throbbing almost visibly with barely controlled anger.  “Where’s the other patient?  And what happened to this one?”  She asked,
gesturing angrily toward Quatre.

“I transferred that other one to an isolation room.”  A snide voice spoke up.  

“What?  How could you?”  Heero gasped, his eyes wide with shock as he turned to look at this doctor . . . no, this fool.

Sally let go of the technician’s shirt and stepped over to the doctor.  “You did what?  Why did you move him?”  Sally asked.

“He was violent.  He threw me across the room without so much as touching me physically.  I had no choice but to transfer him
to somewhere where he could be more closely watched.”  The doctor replied calmly.  “And I dismissed those women.  They
weren’t needed here.  They did nothing but interfere with the maintenance of this medical station.”

Sally pulled back her arm, throwing her fist forward and striking the man directly in the center of his face.  A loud snap echoed
through the room, and Heero watched with smug satisfaction as the doctor cried out and pressed his hands over his now
bleeding nose.

“You idiot!  These are torture victims!  They’re scared and cling to each other and familiar faces out of necessity!”  Sally
yelled.  “Go and bring Duo back here, and get me his charts, I want to know how he’s doing.”  

The doctor nodded, tears prickling in his eyes as he turned and walked away.  He said nothing in his defense.  Sally turned her
attention to Quatre, as did Heero.  The two of them joined Trowa beside the blonde’s bedside, Sally looking over his charts to
find out why his health had declined so considerably.

“I can’t see any reason why he should be this bad off.”  Sally commented, frowning as she went over the chart.  “We’ll just
have to hope that when Duo is returned he’ll recover again.”

They didn’t have to wait long for Duo to be returned.  However, Heero was quite appalled to see that Duo was deep in a coma,
his heartbeat at a dangerously low rate.  And to top it off, he was restrained to his bed by leather straps, as if Duo could actually
do anything in his weakened condition.  He hadn’t been able to lift his hand when Heero had left, let alone get up and walk
anywhere.  Before his bed was even set in the right place, Heero was by his side and pulling at the straps, quickly freeing Duo’s
wrists and ankles.  

He stood beside Duo’s bed, holding onto one of his bony hands, hoping that the young man would recover.  He had nothing else
to do.  He was a soldier, not a doctor . . . so this was all he could do.  He silently offered his companionship, feeling that
somehow Duo knew he was there for him.  It was an unusual and strange feeling, but it was there . . . somehow Duo knew that
Heero was here for him.  That made him feel better at least.


*****


Trowa had been sitting beside Quatre’s bedside for hours.  Meiran and Catherine had returned, giving apologies, explaining
things.  He understood what had happened now.  That stupid doctor, it was all his fault.  He should never have reacted as he
had.  It wasn’t Duo’s fault that the man had frightened him into reacting so bluntly.  Duo had been scared.  It was quite amazing
that he could use his mind like that though, and left Trowa wondering if Quatre could do the same.

Slowly, Quatre’s eyes drifted open.  Trowa’s attention was completely focused on the pale blonde, clasping his hand lightly in
fear that he would hurt him, waiting and watching as the young man slowly awakened.  Beautiful aquamarine eyes turned
toward Trowa, blinking tiredly up at him.  Quatre weakly reached up, his fingers brushing over the surface of the oxygen mask
covering his nose and mouth.  The hand fell away after only a few seconds, portraying just how weak Quatre was at the
moment.

Trowa smiled, gently pulling the mask down and off of Quatre’s face.  “I was worried about you.”  Trowa said, taking hold of
Quatre’s hand again.

Quatre’s eyes filled with shimmering tears which fell down along the sides of his face to dampen his pillow.  “Duo?”  He
whimpered through chapped lips.

Trowa brushed his hand through Quatre’s hair, allowing his hand to linger on the side of Quatre’s face in the hope that he would
be able to comfort him even slightly.  “Duo’s back . . . Heero’s watching over him.”  Trowa said.  “He won’t be moved again, I
promise.”

Quatre’s smile lit up the room, even as weak as it was.  It was just a great relief to Trowa to see him smiling again.  Quatre
raised his hand, his fingers lightly brushing against one of Trowa’s cheeks.  Trowa knew that the cool hand would fall soon, so
he reached up, laying his hand against Quatre’s, offering his help in holding it there.

Quatre smiled again.  “I believe you.”  He rasped.  “Thank you.”

Trowa nodded, lowering Quatre’s hand to the bed again, then placing the mask over his face once more.  “Get some rest.  I’ll
be here when you wake up again.”  Trowa said, curling his fingers through the young man’s blonde strands.

Quatre made no reply, he just simply closed his eyes.  In a matter of moments, he drifted off to sleep again, his weary body
apparently needing all the rest it could get.  Trowa stayed where he was, holding Quatre’s hand, brushing his thumb over the
back of it idly, just hoping for the recovery of the young man that he had grown fond of.


*****


Wufei pressed the buzzer beside Meiran’s door and straightened his clothes one last time and made sure that the gift he had was
sufficiently covered.  It was only wrapped in some old rag, tied with a bit of string, but it was the best he could do . . .
wrapping paper was no longer manufactured, there was no use for it now but as kindling for a fire.  Still, he wanted the gift to
look at least relatively okay.  He had never given a gift to anyone before.  Even if it was only something that he had found in an
abandoned city, it was something that he thought Meiran would like.

Mentally, he berated himself for being so nervous.  ‘Calm down, it’s just . . .’ The thought was left unfinished as the door
opened and Wufei blinked in surprise.  “Meiran?”  He asked, almost not believing his eyes.

Meiran was wearing a knee-length blue, cotton dress, and it was obviously handmade . . . most clothing was handmade now, if
not issued by the garment manufacturers, but dresses weren’t made at all, for lack of a practical use.  Meiran must have made it
herself.  It must have cost her quite a good deal to afford dyed fabric.  Wufei had never seen the young woman in anything
besides the usual jeans or other such clothing.  It made quite the difference to her appearance.  She even had left her hair loose.

“You look lovely.”  Wufei blurted out, feeling foolish for not having come up with something better to say.  Could he think of
nothing more original than that?  He would have slapped himself in the forehead if he didn’t think it would only serve to
embarrass him further.

Meiran blushed a little, ducking her head shyly.  “Thank you.  I know that it isn’t very practical, but . . .”  Then she cleared her
throat.  “Please, come in.”  She smiled, stepped back and allowing Wufei to enter her quarters.

Wufei bowed a little and stepped into the room.  It was modest, regulation size, the same as his place except for the fact that it
was made to actually look like a home.  Whereas Wufei’s domicile was lacking in anything but functional objects, nothing
personal, Meiran’s had various knickknacks littering the surfaces.  There was nothing truly special, just things she had collected
over the years from the wasteland the outside world had become.  Some of this stuff could be very valuable though, if she
wanted to sell it on the black market.

Wufei turned as Meiran closed the door.  He cleared his throat, suddenly feeling very nervous about his gift.  She had so many
things, would she want the object he had?  “I . . . I found something that I thought you might like.”  He said, and handed her the
cloth-covered item.  He waited, trying to keep from shifting from foot to foot in nervousness while she unwrapped the object.  
He bit into his bottom lip as the little glass figurine was revealed.  It was chipped, but not badly . . . and he had cleaned it up as
best as he could.  Wufei recognized the creature it depicted as a dolphin . . . a creature that was now thought extinct.  It was a
lovely bluish gray color and it looked sleek.  Wufei had seen a picture of one in a book once.  He hoped that Meiran liked it.

He was quite relieved when Meiran smiled in delight.  “It’s beautiful.  Thank you.”  She said, leaning forward and giving him a
quick peck to the cheek.

Wufei blinked, at a loss for words.  A faint blush crept to his cheeks, his hand reaching up to brush where Meiran had so
quickly kissed him a moment ago.  By then, Meiran had moved on to another part of the room, having placed his gift to her on a
shelf.  At least she hadn’t seen him blushing . . . he was grateful for that.  That could have been quite embarrassing.

Dinner went well.  Although it was only rations and water, it was the company that made it pleasant.  Conversation ranged from
the weather above ground, to the medical conditions of Duo and Quatre.  Wufei was appalled to learn of how Duo had been
treated, upset to know that neither youth was faring well right now.  Eventually though, the topic drifted to that of the Taltheans
and Wufei’s spirits dampened when he noticed Meiran becoming quiet.  He tried to think of some way to change the subject, of
something more cheerful, but came up empty and so they lapsed into an uncomfortable silence.

When it was apparent that neither of them were going to eat anymore, Wufei decided he had better apologize.  “I am sorry . . . I
should have not allowed the Taltheans to come up in conversation.  I will go if you wish.”  He offered, bowing his head slightly.  
When Meiran said nothing in reply, Wufei took it to mean that she did want him to leave.  He pushed himself away from the
table and moved to rise to his feet.

He stilled himself however, as Meiran’s hand shot out to clasp his wrist.  “No, don’t leave.”  She replied, her gaze lowered and
focused away from him.  “There is something I wish to tell you, Wufei . . . something I need to tell you before we can attempt
to continue this relationship.  That is if you do want to continue it.”  She raised her eyes, looking to him sadly.

Wufei nodded.  “Yes, I would be honored to pursue a relationship with you, Meiran.  You are lovely, intelligent, and I have yet to
find a woman so strong of spirit.”  He said, hoping to cheer her with compliments.  

The effect was totally the opposite of what Wufei had anticipated.  Instead of smiling, tears fell from her eyes to drip from her
chin.  She covered her face with her hands, worrying Wufei quite a bit.  It was a moment before she was able to bring herself
under control again.

“Did I say something wrong?”  Wufei asked, deeply concerned.

Meiran shook her head.  “No, what you said was just beautiful.”  She smiled faintly.  “I just don’t know if it is meant for me
though.  There are some things you do not know about me.”

“Then tell me.  I will feel no differently toward you.”  Wufei said, reaching across the table and laying his hand over hers.

Meiran nodded.  She took in a deep breath, then exhaled slowly, readying herself for whatever she was about to disclose.  “As
you know, I was once a prisoner in one of the labor camps.”  She said.

“Yes, one of the teams of rebels liberated the camp you were imprisoned in.  I know of this.  Is this what you wanted to tell
me?”

“Let me finish, please.”  She said, pausing for a moment until Wufei nodded.  “What you do not know is that sometimes the
prisoners were taken from the camp and used for various experiments.  I was one of those taken . . . I was one of only a
handful that ever returned.  And the ones that did return all died before we were liberated, so my secrets have so far remained
safely hidden.”

“Secrets?”  Wufei asked, his heart racing in his chest.  He feared she had something dire to tell him.  Had her life been
shortened?  Was she scarred in some way?  If they had hurt her, Wufei would hunt them all down and kill them himself . . . or
he would give it his best shot anyway.

“I . . . I was taken to a lab.  I do not remember much, but I was given a medical examination, I was drugged to keep me from
fighting.  Then one of them began touching me in a less than medical manner . . . I was barely fourteen . . . they wanted ‘ripe’
young girls for their experiments.”  She grimaced distastefully, her eyes going distant, as if she was disconnecting herself from
her words, her tone droning out the words with a detachment.  “Then he was on top of me . . . all four of his hands groping me
in unpleasant ways.”  She chuckled humorlessly.  “I was raped, impregnated, and used as host for their experiment in hybrids.”  
She shook her head, tears spilling from her eyes like rivers.

Wufei was shaking with rage.  Those bastards had dared to touch so lovely a flower such as Meiran?  He could barely contain
his anger over this disgraceful action.  Still, he did not want to frighten Meiran.  She had to know that his anger was directed at
the Taltheans and not at her.  “I have no words.”  He admitted honestly.  “I am angry that such an injustice was forced upon
you.”  He sighed.  “Yet, I care for you just as much as I ever have.  But I fear I must ask . . . do you know what became of this
hybrid child you carried?”

Meiran frowned.  “It died.  I miscarried after only a few weeks.  That’s why I was returned to the camp.  I was no longer
useful to them.  They only wanted fresh girls.”  She paused, then looked to him with hope vibrant in her eyes.  “Did you really
mean what you said?  You still care for me?”

Wufei smiled as he nodded.  “Of course I do.  I see you just as I saw you an hour ago . . . you are a beautiful flower, a lovely
young lady who has claimed my heart as her own.  There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you.”

Meiran blushed, but rose from her seat and rushed around the table, throwing herself into his arms.  Wufei held her carefully,
fearful of hurting her in any way.  She clung to him like a frightened child seeking reassurance and he was more than happy to
oblige her.  “Thank you, Wufei.”  She sobbed.  “You don’t know how happy it makes me to hear you say that.  I have been
waiting so long to tell you, but I feared you would hate me if you discovered the truth.”

“I could never hate you.  I love you too much for that.”  He said, his eyes widening the moment he realized what he had said.  
Had he let that slip . . . had he actually said that he loved her?

Meiran pulled herself away, her eyes also wide.  “You . . . you love me?”  She asked, tracks of tears marring her cheeks.  “Do
you mean it?”

“I would not say it if I did not mean it.”  He responded, knowing it to be true.

Meiran’s smile was brighter and more glorious than the sun at that moment.  “I love you too, Wufei.”  She exclaimed, then
delicately pressed her lips to his.  The kiss was no more than a fleeting touch, since she drew away only a moment later, but it
was the sweetest thing he had ever tasted in his life, more than he had ever thought he would receive from Meiran.  She then set
her head on his shoulder and Wufei held her, content to just have her in his arms.



To Be Continued . . .