Across Enemy Lines

Well, it was only a matter of time! Yes, we have finally collaborated on a fic, and it's going to be a bit of an epic!

Author's Notes: Just a quick couple of notes before we get started. This story is the first of our shared works. It is an alternate universe fic based loosely on events and locations named during the course of WWII. We have taken a few liberties in expressing our own version of the war, manipulating facts to work the characters in, but it is not our intention to offend or upset anyone (especially of German or Japanese nationality), and we stress that this is fiction, though we do try to be as accurate as we can where the very important facts are concerned. We apologize in advance for whatever ignorance we may show throughout the course of our little project.

Also, due to the complicated task of deciphering the German phrases, we have placed MOST of the words that would normally appear in German, into English italicized print. This way, you can understand what the Nazi soldiers are saying, and you aren't forced to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to find out what the words really mean.

Oh yes… Disclaimer: We, the Sisters of Sadism, the Goddesses of Pain (and all the other titles people have bestowed upon us), do solemnly swear to do our best to torture Heero and the G-boys, while delivering a healthy dosage of Heero/Relena romance to you, our loyal readers. But, sadly we must confess…**sniffle, sniffle**…we do not own Gundam Wing or its characters. But if you want to know what we'd do to them if we did, just keep reading!

Well, we suppose that about covers it…please read on, and enjoy!

ACROSS ENEMY LINES

By: Stella & Luvspook

"The world turns and the world changes,

But one thing does not change.

In all of my years, one thing does not change.

However you disguise it, this thing does not change:

The perpetual struggle between Good and Evil."

---T.S. Eliot

Western Europe, June 1944, A.D.

Just after the Allied landing at Normandy (D-Day)

Part I, Chapter 1

The first thing he saw when he opened his eyes were the stars. The night was still and quiet, and they twinkled blissfully above him, blotted out in patches by the canopy of trees that he had come to rest beneath. He lay very still trying to gauge his surroundings, his ears being met with nothing but the sounds of a light breeze stirring the branches around him as he slowly became aware of the increasingly fiery ache his left side. With a great amount of effort, he slid a trembling hand towards the site of the pain, feeling the torn flesh and catching some of the hot sticky liquid that was flowing out of the wound. Raising a hand to his face, he could see the glint of red in the pale moonlight. 'Blood. My blood.' Gritting his teeth, he struggled to sit up, thankful that he was at least still able to move. He let a groan escape his lips in spite of himself as he slid towards the tree trunk just a few feet away, the dead leaves of the forest floor rustling and sticking to him, cemented with his blood. Gasping for breath, he struggled to remove his jacket, madly searching with no success for the small first aid kit they had all been issued. But then he heard them. Voices. Footsteps crashing through the brush. And he saw them – dark shadows emerging from the trees, the silhouettes of rifles and helmets gaining ground, threatening to discover him. Automatically, his right hand flew to his back, searching for the pistol he always kept in his waistband. Not there! He must have lost it when they crashed. Keeping his eyes trained on the approaching soldiers, he let one of his hands rove over the ground, hoping that the pistol might have fallen nearby. The two shadows were coming closer, ever closer – had they seen him? They had. One of them pointed in his direction, and when they were almost upon him, his free hand made contact with the familiar cold metal. A resounding "click" echoed from the edge of the clearing as the two dark shapes drew nearer. They stopped at the sight of the young man leaning against the tree, rigidly holding a pistol, aiming right at them with an outstretched arm, while the other arm was wrapped protectively against his side.

"Is that you, Heero?" The gun was lowered at sound of kind and familiar voice. One of the shadows stepped closer, and Heero looked up to see the red cross on the helmet of the young medic he had met earlier that day on the transport. Quatre knelt down beside his comrade and proceeded to dig through the bag of supplies he carried. "Try not to move," the calm voice instructed further while he retrieved bandages and tape. Looking to the other soldier who stood nearby, Quatre raised his hand. "Trowa, would you?" The tall figure stepped into the light, his face partially hidden by the long bangs sweeping over his eyes. He reached out to take hold of the bandages while Quatre examined and cleaned Heero's wound. "This is going sting," the medic warned as he applied the iodine to the gash. To his surprise, Heero remained stoic, showing only tolerance for what must have been a searing discomfort. "It needs stitches," Quatre said out loud, half to himself and half to his patient. "I don't have anything to numb the area, so I'll have to give you morphine. It'll leave you pretty tired, so we'll just camp here toni-...."

"Do it, I don't need the drugs," came the reply, dark and toneless.

"What?" Quatre questioned, squinting through the darkness to read the face of the man he was trying to help.

"I don't need the drugs, just sew me up," Heero all but growled, "And do it fast – the enemy could have our location by now. Do either of you have our coordinates?"

Trowa spoke up for the first time, his perpetually calm voice showing no hint of the urgency of their situation. "The plane's navigation system was damaged when we took the hit over Luxembourg. We spiraled due east, but it's anyone's guess as to how far. I tried everything I could think of to get the radio working, but the communications system was gone along with everything else." The young man paused for a moment, watching Heero take a deep breath, set his jaw and close his eyes as Quatre commenced to work a needle through his skin. Trowa averted his eyes from the site, and scanned the clearing, looking for any more signs of life. "Everyone in and around the plane was dead. I'm beginning to think we were the only three survivors." Quatre shook his head in response to Trowa's comment, obviously saddened by the magnanimous loss of life and equally bewildered as to how just the three of them had been spared out of the seventy-nine on the transport plane.

"Done," Quatre said, sounding relieved. "Bandages, Trowa, please..."

Heero rose shakily to his feet, again clutching his side. Retrieving a compass from his belt, he held it up to the moonlight. "We should keep heading west. That will get us to back into France if we've crossed the enemy lines." The others nodded in compliance and turned to set off towards the west when a loud blast shook the ground and echoed through the trees. Guns were drawn as the three men stood in a circle, covering their position from all sides.

"Could they have found us already?" Quatre asked, his eyes moving rapidly across the dark terrain as the moon disappeared behind the clouds. Rustling noises caught their attention, and they turned towards a grove of trees. A lone figure came to a halt just outside of the woods, and scrambled to draw a gun after noticing the three men in the clearing.

The silent stand-off lasted for only a few seconds when Trowa called out, "Drop your weapon." There was no response, the dark figure stood still and the rifle stayed raised and aimed. "I said to drop your weapon. Waffe herunterfallen lassen ," Trowa repeated in perfect German. Still no response, and the guns stayed drawn. Heero looked curiously at the shadow a few feet away from them, staring intently for quite some time. Finally he was sure.

"Duo?" he called out impatiently, putting his gun away. Trowa and Quatre looked on as Heero limped towards the mysterious shadow.

"I said, DUO!" Heero called out, now just a few feet away from the man as he lowered his gun.

"Oh, Heero, buddy!" Duo shouted. "I should've known that if anyone was going to survive that crash, it would've been you!"

"What happened back there?" Heero asked, motioning behind the braided soldier, back in the direction of the mangled transport plane.

"What was that?" Duo continued to yell. "I was packing some extra explosives and I dropped a land mine so now my ears are ringing. You'll have to speak up!"

"Figures..." Heero muttered without a backwards glance, leading the way towards the west.

They walked all night, stopping only briefly to allow Quatre to change Heero's bandages and check Duo's ears. "The eardrum is still in tact. The ringing will go away in a few more hours."

"WHAT?!"

"You'll be fine," Quatre stated.

"HUH?!"

"Keep walking," Heero pressed.

They stopped again just as the first light of the dawn was peaking through the trees. All four of them looked battered and exhausted, but Quatre was most concerned for the dark haired man resting against the nearby stream. Regardless of how much he had tried to mask it, pain welled more and more in his deep blue eyes as each hour wore on, and now he sat struggling to breathe while he leaned over to splash some cool water on his face.

"Heero," Quatre said quietly, removing his helmet and lowering himself to the edge of the water to do likewise. "I should really change those dressings again."

"I'm fine," was the brusque reply.

Quatre reached out and put his hand on his comrade's burning forehead. "Heero, you have a fever. I'm afraid an infection is setting in."

A gunshot resounded through the woods, and like lightening, the enemy was upon them and chaos ensued.

" Hier druben! Schnell! Schnell!"

"They found us," Trowa said, drawing his gun and firing at the trees. A group of men came into view – tan shirts, swastikas on their armbands and hats. Glancing around, Trowa noticed that Heero seemed to have disappeared.

"Hande aufheben!"

"Auf die knien!"

"Kneel! Now!"

In the confusion, it was difficult to distinguish the exact number of German troops that were now rushing toward them from the surrounding woods. Panic coursed through the young American soldiers as a slew of enemy voices barked orders at each of them in turn, raising their high-caliber rifles to accentuate their control.

Quatre's eyes traced the source and direction of the enemy's approach, turning back to find that his wounded comrade had somehow managed to slip away unnoticed. Any attempts to do the same would undoubtedly get him shot, he knew, so he placed a silent thought of prayer to his lips that Heero wouldn't attempt anything too foolish in his current state.

"Hold it right there!" The enemy screamed in their course foreign tongue, silencing the young medic's concerns for his comrade as several soldiers trained their weapons on him from the top of the bank. "Don't move!" He felt rough hands encircle his arms on both sides, jerking him forward so sharply that he lost his footing in the soft, muddy riverbed. He could only assume from their reaction and the tone of their voices, that they considered his movements to be some form of resistance, and soon resorted to dragging him forward, his knees scraping painfully across the rocky terrain.

Quatre winced as the two men threw him to the ground in the center of the clearing, his left shoulder connecting sharply with the splintered rock and rough dirt of the forest floor. Looking to the others, his eyes met with the well-disguised fear in their own, as they were forced to their knees before the half dozen Germans now leveling gun barrels in their faces. As he lifted himself from the dirt, the cold touch of steel embraced the base of his neck, and Quatre suddenly found himself praying to whatever God might be listening that their death would at least be quick.

* * * * *

The cold air seemed to attack him as soon as he had managed to lift himself safely out of the water, and he shivered unintentionally as he moved stiffly for his weapon. He could hear shouting in the distance and quickly ascertained that he had traveled downstream, a good 500 feet or so from where the others had been captured.

Slipping into the shadows of the thick undergrowth, he swallowed hard, forcing the pain and chill from his mind as he cut a path through the trees to attack the enemy from behind. He imagined that the forces they were now facing would amount to little more than a small reconnaissance party who had either happened on the crash site by chance, or been routinely scouting out the area for its strategic value. Regardless of the reason, though, he knew all too well what fate the others would meet if he didn't do something.

Reaching the crest of a small ridge along the riverside, he worked his way back to where they had encountered the enemy troops, slowing his pace as the sound of footsteps crunched through the brush just in front of him. Instinctively, his fingers pulled the standard issued army knife from his right boot, twisting the darkened blade in his grip, as he stealthily closed in on the unsuspecting soldier from behind. The rifle fell from the German's loose grasp as Heero's blade severed his throat in an unimaginably swift motion, spraying the foliage in a crimson shower before he could even utter a sound. All struggle abruptly left the boy's body and he slumped forward, Heero quick to lower the dead soldier to the ground at his feet, making certain that the noise did not alert the others laying a short distance beyond. Rummaging through whatever sparse belongings he could find on the body, Heero kept his eyes on the surrounding trees, scouring the area for the slightest sign of movement.

Adrenaline was surging wildly through his veins, the strong scent of danger flooding his senses with fear and exhilaration as he removed a folded slip of paper from the soldier's breast pocket. Smeared with splotches of dirt and fresh blood, the words on the map were decidedly difficult to decipher, as were the other encrypted transmissions which would have to be broken by the Allied forces once they reached Luxembourg.

Turning his attention back to the map now laying on the ground, his eyes settled on the decisive black scrawling along the German border, as well as those suggested within the borders of their target site. Each bold hand-drawn symbol was easily recognizable to Heero as he set to the task of memorizing the locations presently under enemy control; unit types and sizes, noteworthy military branches and heavy artillery, even possible attack plans. He swallowed thickly as he traced their approximate location to somewhere just beyond the enemy lines. It was the last thing he saw before the German soldiers set upon him from behind…

* * * * *

Quatre struggled to prevent anyone from noticing the persistent tremble that seemed to be coursing through his limbs, listening intently to the whispers of the German soldiers standing just behind him. To his surprise, the bullet he had long expected to take his life still hadn't come, and he now saw other American prisoners being escorted into the clearing, obviously members of the transport unit who somehow survived the crash, still numbering only three in all.

He cringed inwardly as he examined the three young men from across the clearing, all of whom had sustained extensive injuries from both the crash, and at the hands of the enemy who had ambushed them. Two of the younger boys had jet-black hair, and were obviously of Chinese descent; the other was slightly older, with deep auburn hair that peeked out from beneath the excessive layers of blood and dirt. One of the Chinese boys was virtually being half-dragged, half-carried by the other, his wounds far more severe than the two soldiers beside him, who were still able to walk under their own power.

Quatre felt his heart lurch painfully inside the confines of his chest as he watched the three stumble into view, coerced into movement by several well-placed jabs from behind. The attempt to rise to his feet was instantly rewarded, as the butt of an assault rifle struck the back of his knees, and he once again found himself on the receiving end of a gun barrel, his pain chased away by the sudden fear of death. Duo and Trowa watched helplessly, not wanting to add fuel to the fire, as a particularly burly looking German soldier stepped forward. He scrutinized each of them for several minutes, before examining the dog tags around their necks, taking a particular interest in the fair-haired boy at the forefront of everyone's attention.

"You are American doctor." The man said sharply, his accent thick, despite the fact that he was speaking in English. Quatre did his best to remain stoic and expressionless as the man approached his side, this time speaking to him in his native tongue.

"Sprechen sie Deutsch?" He questioned, calmly, studying the boy for some sort of reaction. Quatre responded with only a slight shake of his head, knowing little else of the German language other than the question the man had just asked him.

"What about your friends here? Shall I ask them?" He continued in his native tongue as Quatre mentally sorted through his limited German vocabulary, finding that he only understood the word "freund," for friend.

"And you - Und ihnen?" He asked, stepping over to where Duo and Trowa sat complacent. "Can you understand me, American? Or must I make your friend here bleed to loosen your tongue?"

Trowa stiffened at the clear intent shining in the German officer's dark eyes, as several of his men began to laugh. "I understand. Ich verstehen." Trowa stated, icily, his eyes narrowing on their stout interrogator with borderline venom.

"Then perhaps we should see how well you bleed instead…"

A flurry of commotion diverted the soldiers' attention, as well as that of their six prisoners, who also fought to catch a glimpse of what was going on.

Quatre gasped audibly as his eyes were met with the visage of the mysterious boy he had stitched up after the crash being pulled roughly into the fray of soldiers. The left side of his face was coated in a thin sheen of crimson, the blood still flowing in fresh trails from the gash above his eye which was just barely visible beneath his disheveled locks. His hands were bound together in front of him, and his captors threw him to his knees before the commanding officer, as though their prisoner were some sort of sacrificial offering or trophy. One of the men who had brought him in began whispering to the interrogator, as the other shoved Heero forward, planting his face into the ground.

"He put up some resistance…" The young soldier grinned, kicking his prisoner squarely in the side. Heero's eyes closed and he winced, but refused to give the enemy the satisfaction of crying out in pain.

Trowa could barely make out the snippets of dialogue passing between the other two men, but knew that it had something to do with a German convoy, sensitive intelligence reports, and a small country located just to the South. He figured that whatever it was they were discussing, though, Heero would suffer greatly for happening upon that information, even if he had no idea what it is he had or hadn't actually seen. Confirmation to that came only seconds later as two of their captors picked up the limp and bleeding Heero, while the burly German in command coyly stepped up to face the defiant young soldier.

"How much did you see?" He inquired tersely, almost smiling in delight at the fact that Heero refused to answer.

With a subtle nod of prompting from their leader, one of the two soldiers who had captured him stepped forward while the other held him, landing a vicious blow to Heero's already wounded side with the butt of his gun. Duo and Trowa both averted their gaze, not wishing to encourage any further abuses with their show of concern, as Heero gritted his teeth and collapsed to the ground. Quatre, however, took advantage of the brief distraction to jump to his feet, intent on helping his felled comrade, in fear that the soldiers would beat him to death if he didn't intervene.

A modest pool of blood had already started to form below him by the time Quatre could reach his side, the thick ropes making it impossible to form any kind of seal against the unrelenting flow. The German commander looked down in mild amusement at the huddled figures at his feet, smiling sadistically as the order to move out fell from his lips. First interrogations at the base camp, and then if they survived, on to the nearest prison camp.

Quatre managed to move the bindings aside after several minutes of struggling, only to find that all the neatly sewn stitches had been torn in Heero's efforts of resistance. The medic closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath, not daring to wonder if their situation could possibly be worse.

"Auf! Up! Up!" One of the Germans nudged Quatre with the tip of a rifle, motioning that they were expected to get up and start walking. Trowa and Duo moved to where Heero lay and bent down, each taking one of his arms as the company began to move. The prisoners walked in silence and Trowa listened intently to the conversations of his captors.

"…wounded ones will slow us down. Why don't we just shoot them now!"

"They might have information that we need. The last telegram from Berlin was not good news; Normandy is lost. We need all enemy intelligence that we can get. We can beat it out of them when we reach the camp."

Trowa let out a long sigh. They would be kept alive, for now. He looked over to the man he was helping to carry. Heero's head lolled from side to side with each step they took, yet his eyes were open, and they met Trowa's for an instant. "He's looking for a way out of this," Trowa thought to himself. "Aren't we all?"

* * * * *

The commander threw his water canteen at the head of the nearest officer and set off on another tirade of German expletives. "What's the problem, Trowa?" Quatre whispered, keeping one eye warily on the men nearest to the fire. They had stopped for the night and the officers had met to go over their location when all the shouting started.

"We're lost," Trowa stated, a hint of disbelief permeating his voice. "They can't find our position on any of their maps, and no one seems to have a compass." A snort and even a bit of a chuckle came from the braided man sitting across from them.

"What do you know about this, Duo?" Quatre asked, looking up from the strips of cotton he was tearing from his shirt to use as bandages for Heero and the other wounded soldiers.

"Let's just say that I didn't grow up on the streets of New York without learning a few tricks from the pick pockets."

"You didn't!" Quatre asked, wide-eyed. "But when did you get the chance to…?"

"A master never shares his secrets," Duo chided, smiling triumphantly. Each time he'd had the opportunity throughout the day, he'd walked beside a different one of his captors. With all of the commotion that came with cutting a path through the forest, it hadn't been much effort to lift compasses, knives and even bullets that were hanging loosely on utility belts. Before they were the wiser, the Germans had become hopelessly lost in the thick woods of southern Europe.

"So, you'd rather have us die wandering around out here then?" a harsh voice hissed from behind them. One of the other prisoners that been brought to the last camp had been listening to their whole conversation.

"I'd rather die out here than in some Nazi work camp, wouldn't you?" Duo asked, regarding the man curiously. The strange soldier noticed the way that Duo was looking at him and became even more rigid, if that were possible.

"My name is Wufei Chang. And yes, I was born in America," he spat, obviously self-conscious about his Asian appearance. Everyone he had ever been stationed with had questioned his loyalties because of the other enemies that came from across the Pacific and had started off the war with the vicious Pearl Harbor bombing. "We are not Japanese. My family came from China. And I have just as much to fight for as you do." Wufei cast a glance downward at the sleeping man that Quatre was tending to. "Yuy – now that's Japanese if I ever heard it. Have you asked him what HE'S doing here? Spying maybe?"

Duo glared at the Chinamen, a streak of anger coursing through him. "I've worked with him before. There's no question that he's on our side," he growled through clenched teeth. "How dare you…."

"Be quiet! Sich beruhigen!" Their guard shouted holding out his rifle threateningly. The prisoners lapsed into silence and stared at the ground, the only noise was that of ripping material as Quatre continued to make bandages.

Several hours had passed and the camp settled down for the night, the German commander having given up on finding their location. Duo, resting against a rock, opened one of his eyes slightly to take in the scene. Eleven men slept by the fire, and one man guarded them now – and he was looking pretty drowsy… Quatre was hunched over his patients, their captors had been merciful enough to untie his hands so that he could see to the wounded. One of the men, Duo had learned, was the badly injured brother of that obnoxious Wufei guy; the red-head was named Marcus – he seemed to be sleeping, and Trowa was scribbling something in a little notebook while he held it up to the moonlight in a vain attempt to see the pages. They could run now, but would they really get anywhere? And there was no way that Heero or Wufei's brother were going to be able to walk, let alone run. And who was to say what the Germans would do to the rest of the prisoners if they found one had escaped – Duo couldn't swallow the thought of the other guys getting shot over something he had done. Apparently, Marcus hadn't taken much of anything into consideration, because moments later, he stood up and started at a mad dash through the woods. Their guard jumped up, surprised, in order to give chase. He didn't have to go far, as Marcus tripped over a stump just a few feet away and fell to the ground. He scrambled to his feet, casting a terrified glance over his shoulder, but it was too late. The German guard raised his rifle, and a loud crack resonated through the trees. One shot and it was all over; Marcus lie dead, a pool of dark red seeping out of the back of his head. With that, the braided soldier closed his eyes and tried to make himself as comfortable as he could. "Time to think of Plan B," he told himself as the exhaustion overtook him.

* * * * *

"Stop right there!" A woman's voice shouted, snapping Duo from his slumber. He awoke, squinting in the hazy pre-dawn light, to find the camp surrounded by people wearing blue uniforms that he didn't recognize. They seemed to be pointing their weapons at the Germans, Duo noted, not to mention the fact that they outnumbered the enemy two to one. "Please be on our side," he begged in his mind.

"You have entered neutral territory," the woman continued, "You will discard your weapons and line up to be escorted to the border."

"I'll take neutral," Duo thought, and watched as the enemy troops, taken by surprise, raised their arms in a show of submission.

The German commander stepped forward, addressing the woman in broken English. "We go, but the prisoners are ours. They come, too."

A blue-clad soldier walked past where Duo and his comrades sat, and made his way towards the woman who seemed to be in charge.

"Miss Sally, two of the prisoners appear to be badly injured, and we found one shot just right outside the camp."

Sally looked towards the group of disheveled men sitting a few yards away, and then glared disapprovingly at the commander. "Those prisoners are now under sanctuary in the Sanq Kingdom. You will leave, and you will leave without them." The three men that stood behind her aimed their guns at the commander to emphasize their lady's point.

The commander looked as if he intended to argue at first, but then seemed to think better of it, and let himself be led out of the clearing, his troops falling in behind him flanked by the guards of the Sanq Kingdom.

Sally tossed a brown braid over her shoulder and turned in the direction of the prisoners.

Duo, Trowa, Quatre and Wufei stood up in order to meet the woman who had become their liberator. "My name is Sally Po," she said, addressing them kindly. "And you are now in the Sanq Kingdom. We are not involved in the war, so you are free and safe within our borders. It looks like you all could do with some food and a good night's sleep. How are those two doing?" She asked, pointing to where Heero and Wufei's brother, Li, lay pale and unconscious.

Quatre stepped forward. "Their wounds are very serious. They need a hospital." Sally looked at him doubtfully. "At least a bed and a warm room – clean water and bandages, some medicine and room for me to work."

"That we can do," Sally promised, looking the two over for herself. "I'm a doctor as well, and there isn't much we can do for them right here. Let's move them out!" she ordered to the men behind her. The Sanq guards placed Heero and Li on stretchers and carried them carefully through the woods. After an hour of walking, they were met with the welcome site of transport vehicles. Duo nearly stopped in his tracks when he caught a glimpse of a girl walking around the side of one of the trucks. She wore a simple yet elegant gray suit with a slim skirt that flared out at mid-calf, and a jacket buttoned around her tiny waist. A waterfall of honey blonde hair cascaded down her back, held tightly in a pale blue silk ribbon. Standing next to the army green trucks, she looked beautiful… and completely out of place.

"Miss Relena?" Sally asked, her tone one of mixed shock and disapproval. "What on earth are you doing out here! You should never be this close to the border!"

"I was told that Nazi troops had entered the Sanq Kingdom. My brother knows better than that."

"It wasn't Milliardo, or 'Zechs' as he's calling himself these days," Sally replied, walking up to the young woman. "It was just a recon party that got lost. They're on their way out, but these fellows here are Americans – they were prisoners, and two of them aren't in the best of shape."

Relena walked towards the haggard group of men standing behind Sally. Pity shone in her eyes as she looked them over. "My name is Relena Peacecraft, and I am sovereign of this nation. You can rest here as long as you like under my protection." The four men nodded gratefully as Sally motioned for them to step up into the transport trucks. Duo looked back to see Relena lower herself to the ground beside where the guards had set the stretchers down until they made room in the trucks. The girl rested a hand on Heero's forehead, which made him stir. She cradled his head in her arms, gently pushing back his blood and sweat-dampened locks. Relena searched his features, noting that he looked unlike any man she had ever seen before. Though smudged with dirt and blood, his face was handsome and strong, despite a ghostly pallor which left his skin looking nearly gray. "Oh…" Relena let out a gasp as she saw an open gash on one of his arms. She took the starched white handkerchief out of her jacket pocket and pressed it over the wound, hoping it would stop the flow of blood. Looking around her for some sort of bandage, she found nothing until she pulled the blue ribbon from her hair and tied it around Heero's forearm.

"We're ready to load him, Your Highness," one of the guards said politely. Men moved to either end of the stretcher when Relena saw the young soldier's eyes begin to flutter.

"He's waking up…" A sweet voice resonated in his ears, and he could swear that he had caught the scent of roses. All he could feel was a dull ache in his side, radiating through his body so entirely to the point where he wouldn't dare endeavor to try and move, but it seemed to ebb away at the new sensation of the softest touch on his forehead – so comforting, that touch. Heero struggled to force his eyelids open, the light of the morning sun blinding him at first. But then her face came into focus, smiling kindly at him as her long blonde hair tumbled over her shoulders and swirled in the breeze.

The sun shone, making a halo of light behind her head, and Heero wondered for an instant if he had in fact died, and the being above him was one of the angels that all his fellow soldiers were always asking to watch over them. He felt it again, her hand sweeping across his forehead.

"Rest now," she whispered. "You're safe."