Author: Duma
Disclaimer: The recognizable ER characters belong to Warner Brothers and their Associates. The rest are mine. I am in no way receiving money from this piece of writing- It's just a great way to get feedback while you're trying to become a good writer! So don't sue me... like everyone else I have nothing important to others materially. Unless you count money as being important, and let's face it.... that's just sad... ;)
Archive: Anywhere as long as you ask ;) And if you want to use any of my characters in your story, just ask, too!
Category: DM/JMC/JC/MG…Cast
Spoilers: None
Summary:The third in my timeline/history jumping series! It takes place during the Boxer Rebellion of the early years of the 20th century in China.
Rating: PG-13
Feedback: Please, oh please! I need anything and everything and will love you dearly if you reply, even if it is only one sentence... or one word! I need all I can get!


Cherry blossoms. So fragile and beautiful when they drifted on a breeze to land peacefully on the ground, their soft hues of pink and white contrasting the mud and grass they settled upon. David Malucci missed the cherry blossoms that appeared on this tree in the spring. But it was not spring.
A cool breeze lightly ruffled the leaves, making a whispering sound. He could feel it lightly tugging at his dark hair as he gazed upwards, towards the sky. It was like a giant fanned brush had lightly tainted the deep blue with white, for the clouds came in simple yet elegant wisps.
Sometimes he liked to pretend that the soft sound the wind made while passing through the leaves was really a voice whispering to him. Perhaps the voice of an ancient emperor, a poor soul who died during the construction of the Great Wall, or maybe it was a baby girl crying out that her murder was unfair and cruel. His father had told him horror stories. Stories so terrible... of times when villagers would be washing their clothes in a river and watch as the body of a dead baby girl floated by. A common sight to the villagers. Girls were unwanted, it was that simple. At first he refused to believe the stories until he found out first hand how some baby girls were treated. According to Confcious, after a girl is three days old she should be placed in a basket on the ground with a piece of pottery to play with. She could watch the household chores and play with her piece of pottery from the lowest position of the household. She would learn her place early on in life. When she was five her mother would begin the God-awful process of foot binding.
Dave's father had brought him with him on a house call one day. He could hear the wails of a child coming from the garden. He politely exited and went to investigate. What he found was terrible yet could not sicken him for it was a common cultural practice. A seven-year-old girl tried to hide herself behind some shrubs. When she noticed him she stared wide-eyes, her elegant gowns getting dirty.
"Hi," he had greeted her in her native language. She scooted back more.
"What are you doing out here?" She looked around for a moment, not wanting to respond. He looked at her feet and noticed that she had been pulling at her binding bandages.
"It's your feet. They hurt, don't they?" He crouched next to her. She eyed him for a moment. She was a little girl and wasn't supposed to talk to people who were older than her. Especially a white fifteen-year-old American boy. So she modestly nodded her head and cast her eyes to the ground.
"Hey," he tilted her chin back up, wiping a tear away from her smooth face with his thumb. "It's okay to be sad. I'm sure it hurts you very much." She let her brown eyes meet his and couldn't help the meek smile that flushed her face. Dave chuckled at the little girl's beautiful flash of amusement, no matter how brief.
"You know what? You're beautiful even if you don't have small feet."
She'd looked away then, obviously not believing him and not knowing what to say.
"You are. And you know what? I want you to remember that. Okay? No matter what anyone tells you remember that you're beautiful. Because you are, and no one can take that from you," he rubbed her back as she still focused on the pebbles on the ground, then in a great show of courage looked back up to his face.
"No one."
She saw the sincerity in his eyes as he spoke. He grinned at her and her meek smile slinked back.
"David! We're leaving now!" he'd heard his father call.
"I've gotta go. It was very nice to have met you," he extended his hand and after a few moments of hesitation she decided to clasp into her own. His skin was warm and comforting. As he rose to dust off his knees she bowed to him. As he walked off down the path he flashed her another cheerful grin of friendship and gave her a trial good-bye wave. Not knowing what to do, she didn't wave back.
That was six years ago. Quan-Yin was still his friend. The second time he had accompanied his father to her house he had glanced around in boredom as his father spoke with hers. That was when he'd spotted her peeking at him from around a corner. He slowly grinned and she couldn't help but give a full smile back as she waved a much practiced greeting to him. His smile had broadened and he'd waved back. A maid came from behind and ushered her away in a rustle of baggy clothing. He had turned back to find her father paused, obviously in mid-sentence, staring at him with concern. His smile immediately disappeared and his father attempted to further the conversation as Dave looked to his feet. His father was a doctor and when he came to the Xiang-Fu house again Quan-Yin was not there waiting for him. He was worried that something had occurred between her and her father. Hopefully just a reprimand for "bothering" a guest, but something deep inside him suggested that her white face powder often concealed a bruise or two.
She was thirteen now. Maybe he'd get to see her soon. His father had moved his family to China when David was just ten. His family's best friends were missionaries who also inhabited this part of China. Hearing about the extreme poverty and being the self-sacrificing humanitarian that he was, Dave's father had moved to the same area shortly after. Since then he had saved many lives and was fairly popular among the villagers. Dave also wanted to be a doctor, but he'd have to go back home for schooling, something that he didn't want to do. He hardly remembered New York, much less his life in America. This was his life now, China was his home. He was content to watch and learn from his father as he had all his life. He most likely knew more right now than students who had been to medical school for three years.
The breeze picked up and again, stronger this time and blowing the scent of distant trees in his direction along with the noises of squeaking wheels. The twenty-one-year-old Italian-American sat up. He could see a carriage and people approaching.
He stood and as they approached he could tell that they were a somewhat wealthy family returning from a visit somewhere.
Two male servants and a young man walked outside of the carriage. When the young man noticed him he stared at him coldly, almost threateningly. Dave ignored, however, used to being scrutinized. He was, after all, rather tall, western, and, well, white. He had accepted the curious stares of people long ago when he first moved here. The young man had a red headband tied around his skull while his rather unruly black hair hung over his brow. He had a long whip to prod at the oxen pulling the carriage, but now hit it on the ground as he leisurely walked by, staring cruelly at the European man on the hilltop.
Dave averted his eyes to the carriage. Despite the breeze the window's were open and Dave could see the elegant profile of a painted Chinese woman's face.
His visage concentrated and removed, he shoved his hands into his pockets. The young woman in the carriage casually turned her head to glance out the window when she noticed him standing there. Immediately after noticing that he was looking at her she turned away. She could feel his eyes boring into her and glanced at her mother and baby brother who were playing with each other's hands on the seat across from her. Her father was seated next to her and snored as he napped. Knowing that no one would notice would notice if she looked back again she turned her head to the left, locking eyes with Dave once more.
She felt the thrill of adrenaline as he held her gaze and looked back into her eyes. Her face flushed but no one could tell, not under her elegant make-up. Dave was in a trance and slowly turned his head as she rolled by, keeping his eyes locked on hers.
It had only been a few second since she'd seen him there but the moment seemed to last an hour. In fear of being discovered she quickly averted her eyes to her brother to make sure he hadn't noticed. He hadn't... necessarily. His eyes were also still locked on the young man on the hill, only his expression was one of contempt.
Seeing her avert her gaze, as he was accustomed to having happen, Dave shifted his own slightly lighter Italian brown eyes to the young man. The young Chinese man locked eyes with him again and this time sneered as he gave a quiet, cruel laugh before turning away. Dave looked back to the girl only to be met with a pulled shade. He sighed, feeling his tensed body suddenly relax. He turned and walked down the hill to his house.
Through the passing trees the young Asian man watched Dave enter his destination and smiled somewhat sinisterly.

"Oh, not again..." his father sat in his large study by a crackling fire reading the local English newspaper. Dave took a seat in a neighboring armchair.
"What now?" he leaned forward, attempting to see the headlines.
"The Boxers are at it again... killed three people down south. Burnt their homes and church, too."
Dave sighed. Yet more bad news. "Dad, I don't understand. What do they want?"
"Humph. What do they want? Hah! They want all of us Yanks and Brits out of their country. Can't say that I blame them."
"But father, there has to be more to it than that. I mean, we do so much good here, how can they hate us?"
"Son," he began to carefully fold up the newspaper. "As a doctor, I do a lot of good here, yes. But there are many who don't... missionaries who have taken up a rather political voice, interfering with the government of the country..."
"So they want to just kill us all? I have to say, that doesn't sound fair at all."
"Well, who says anything about being fair?"
"I mean... it's just not right... killing women and children along with the men..."
"David. The world's not right. The world can be a terrible, nasty place, just as it can be good. They want us out, plain and simple. Yet you're right, it doesn't justify killing... nothing does."
"It just seems so drastic..."
"Drastic times call for drastic measures."
Dave thought about this for a moment until his mother called for his help with something in the kitchen.
China was changing, and they would have to change with it.