This is my first attempt at a Gundam Wing story, so please bear with me!
I'm fiddling around with the facts here, but hopefully it won't be too far
off base. This prologue is very important as it introduces some characters
who will be vital to the story as it plays out. I skip around in time a lot,
so please make sure you pay attention to the dates. I'm covering nearly 20
years of time. The year, date and location are clearly marked, so you shouldn't
have any problems. Let's see, what else? Oh, this is a 1XR, 2XH centric story.
I don't know yet if Trowa and Quatre will make an appearance, but if they do,
then they will be together. They are too cute! Wufei has a bit part, but I don't
think I'll worry too much about him. That's all I can think of right now. Reviews
are appreciated. Oh, and just for reference, remember that GW begins in AC 195, so
that means my story starts 13 years before.
Rated R for language.
Waiting for You
Earth Sphere Military Alliance HQ
Western Eurasia Region
Normally, a case of officer desertion generated little interest from the public. However, this case was different. The officer who had deserted happened to be the daughter of one of the Alliance's most powerful generals, but that was only a small part of the scandal. What had captured the attention of a large portion of the population was that this young woman, a highly decorated and respected medical officer, had deserted in order to elope with a colonist. A colonist who had recently been executed for bombing three supply vessels that had been en route to L2 with weapons and supplies for the Alliance troops.
Because of the enormous interest in the case, the small courtroom that had been designated to hold her court martial was filled to capacity with civilians and military personnel alike. Some spectators were reduced to standing in the back or squatting in aisles or wherever there was space. Despite the record crowds, the room was oddly silent, lending the whole scene a surrealistic quality. The reason for the silence sat behind a heavily carved mahogany table on the dais. The General in charge of the court martial would tolerate little noise from the group and they were under orders to stay quiet or leave.
Decked out in his full military uniform, complete with copious medals, General Liam Northcutt read from a thick file folder that contained all the details of the case he was about to try. He would honestly rather be on his private yacht or relaxing at home than sitting in the courtroom, about to pronounce a sentence on the daughter of a close friend. He frowned as he re-read the charges against her. They were serious. If it were any other person, they would be in front of the firing squad within the hour, which had been the fate of the other rebels arrested at the same time as General Ryan's daughter. But, her father would not allow his daughter to disgrace his name. She had been told to plead not guilty and claim that she had been kidnapped. The fact that she had willingly married and had a child with one of the rebels would not come up. General Ryan had seen to it that any proof of the existence of his grandson was destroyed. All Hannah Ryan had to do today was say she was innocent and the scandal could be contained.
General Northcutt removed his glasses and motioned to the bailiff to open the doors and allow the accused to be escorted in. The moment the doors swung open, every spectator swiveled around to get a good look at General Ryan's rebellious young daughter. The television and print news outlets had all been given photos of the woman to use; photos that had been taken while she was still in service. They had seen a proud, upright young woman with long brown hair in a military approved chignon, dressed in her full military uniform and glaring at the camera with hard brown eyes, her mouth turned slightly down. The only thing about her that resembled those photos now was her uniform.
Her long brown hair had been chopped short and her face was pale and drawn. Her brown eyes were no longer proud and defiant. She shuffled forward, her legs and arms in shackles, escorted by stern looking military police. She looked defeated and tired.
The MPs walked her to the front of the room where she faced the General. She looked down at the floor, unable to meet the eyes of a man who had once been something like an uncle to her.
The General cleared his throat and began. "Soldier, identify yourself."
She whispered a reply, but no one could hear her.
"Repeat that, soldier and louder this time." He commanded.
"Dr. Hannah Ryan, sir." She said in a louder voice, her eyes still trained on the marble floor.
"Your rank, soldier?"
"Lieutenant Colonel, sir." She murmured.
"Lieutenant Colonel Ryan, you are standing before me today charged with conduct unbecoming an officer, desertion from your post, conspiracy to commit terrorist acts, knowingly aiding those who committed terrorist acts and treason." He listed her offenses in a monotone. "How do you plead?"
The broken woman before him seemed to hesitate. The General frowned down on her. It was supposed to be easy…she was supposed to say not guilty.
"I asked you a question, soldier." He barked.
A transformation seemed to take place before him as the woman came to a decision. She straightened and looked him in the eye, a little of her old spark visible in their depths.
"Guilty on all counts, sir." She said in a clear, strong voice, so different from her earlier tone.
"Excuse me?" He asked, unable to comprehend what she had just said. General Ryan had come to him the night before and assured him that Hannah had been persuaded to plead not guilty.
"Guilty on all counts, sir. I willingly deserted my post to marry and have a child with a known terrorist and I knowingly helped him and his associates carry out their terrorist agenda." She said, her eyes daring him to condemn her to death with her comrades.
The General's gag order on the spectators was unable to stop the waves of gasps and murmurs that came from the crowd at her words. One of the Alliance's most powerful generals had just been disgraced by his own daughter.
General Northcutt regained some of his composure and glared at the young woman. He could not sentence her to death, even though she had just pleaded guilty. He sighed and laced his fingers together as a prop for his chin while he considered his options. The crowd, still whispering, waited tensely for his verdict. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he straightened in his chair and banged his gavel for silence.
"Very well, Lieutenant Colonel. You are hereby dishonorably discharged from the Alliance and all your titles and privileges, including your medical license are no longer valid. Normally, in a case such as yours, the sentence for treason is death by firing squad, as you well know. However, this is a special case and certain facts must be taken into consideration." He paused to bang his gavel and once again silence the spectators. "I believe that the death of your husband and comrades must weigh heavily on you and as such, a more appropriate punishment will be for you to live knowing that you had a hand in their deaths. But, just in case you feel nothing for them, I also sentence you to seven years of hard labor at the Alliance's maximum security prison on Devil's Island. What we have failed to accomplish today will most probably be carried out by some of the island's more ruthless inmates." He finished his sentence with a small smirk and waved at the MPs to take her away.
"Wait." She said and wrenched her arms away from her guards. The spectators tensed, waiting for the dénouement.
General Northcutt frowned down on her from his perch. "What is it, Miss Ryan?" He asked irritably.
"There is still the matter of my son. My mother has agreed to take custody…" She began, but was cut off.
"Mrs. Ryan has rescinded that offer and you have been officially disowned by your family." The General growled. "As such, your son has been remanded into the custody of the Alliance, which has seen fit to send him to a children's home where hopefully, he will be broken of whatever nasty habits you and your now deceased husband instilled in him."
Her eyes widened and she once again fought off the MPs. "You can't do that! He's innocent…" She began in a fury.
"He is the son of a traitor and a terrorist. As far as the Alliance is concerned, he is just as guilty as you." General Northcutt said bitingly. He waved his hand at the MPs and they got a firm grip on the prisoner. She refused to budge and they were reduced to dragging her out of the courtroom, her screams of anger echoing off the marble walls.
April 12(7 Years Later)
Devil's Island Prison Facility
If there was one thing that Hannah hated to do, it was inventory. She scowled darkly at the bottles of antiseptic as she swiped their barcodes with the small wand that sent the information back to her hand-held computer. She continued down the line, taking some comfort in the fact that this would be the last time she would have to do the irritating job. She was being released in three days. That though cheered her up considerably and her scowl was replaced by a small smile.
She had just finished the antiseptic and was moving to the boxes of gauze when the infirmary door banged open and a guard marched in, dragging a prisoner behind her.
"Where's the doctor?" The guard barked at Hannah.
Hannah put down the small computer and turned to face the guard. "He took off early, as usual. He said something about a party…"
The guard scowled. "That worthless piece of…" She stopped and sighed. "Well, you're good enough, I guess. This moron cut herself in the shop and bled all over the machinery. The Warden's mad as hell and would just as soon let her bleed to death, but we've reached our death quota for the month and any over would look bad." She pushed the prisoner towards Hannah. "Sew her up and deliver her back to me at the station."
Hannah nodded and eyed the prisoner's wound. It seemed straight forward enough. The guard gave them both a final glare before turning on her heel and marching out of the infirmary.
Hannah sighed and guided the other woman to the nearest cot. "Honestly, Natalia, when are you going to stop getting yourself in trouble?" She asked, with more amusement than anger in her tone. Natalia grinned and shrugged. Hannah rolled her eyes and turned to find the necessary implements to clean and bandage the wound.
Both women were silent as Hannah worked, and in a few moments, Natalia's arm sported a fresh bandage.
The small, dusky woman favored Hannah with a smile and hopped off the cot. "Now for the real reason for my visit, Doc." She said, calling Hannah by the nickname that had been forced on her by some of the inmates. She had acquired the hated moniker because the actual prison doctor, a drunken man ironically named Cleaver, realized that he could spend more time pursuing his hobbies if he left Hannah to work the infirmary.
Hannah pulled a face. "Don't call me that, Natalia. And what do you mean by real reason?"
The smaller woman only smiled broader. "Me and the girls, we wanted to thank you for takin' care of us better than that asshole Cleaver. So, here I am with a thank you present." She reached into the pocket of her prison-issued jumper and pulled out a small scrap of paper, handing it to Hannah with great pomp. Hannah arched a quizzical eyebrow at her friend and unfolded the paper. There were only two lines written on it in a hasty scrawl. It read:
Children's Charity Home
"What is this?" She asked carefully, though she already knew the answer.
"We didn't know what to get you…but Dottie down on the second floor came up with this. She said that you had a kid that the Alliance took away and that you didn't know where he was. So, we found him for you. It's strange, though. Why would they put him in a colony orphanage?" Natalia asked.
Hannah's shaking hand rose to swipe at the tears that were beginning to course down her face. "His father was from L2, and I guess they'd rather have him there than on Earth, reminding people that he existed." Her answer puzzled Natalia, but the small woman didn't ask what she meant.
After a few moments of silence, Hannah moved to wrap Natalia in a strong hug. "Thank you…you don't know what this means to me…"
"No prob, Doc. Just stay out of trouble on the outside, ok?"
May 1 (3 Weeks Later)
Children's Charity Home
Hannah couldn't believe her eyes. She closed them and counted to ten before she looked again, but no matter how many times she did that, the scene remained the same. All that was left of the Children's Charity Home was a single wall surrounded by much debris. She picked her way through the shattered glass and crumbling brick to try and figure out what exactly had happened. She scraped her fingernails along the wall and thought about the rest of the colony. It was in shambles as well. War and disease had devastated the once prosperous community. The horrible knot of fear that had settled in her belly the moment she set eyes on the colony unraveled and she did as well, sliding to the ground and sobbing hysterically. Her last reserves of strength were gone. She didn't have anything left.
October 23 (5 months later)
She drained the last of the beer from the bottle and tossed it into the growing pile by her bed. She ignored the clinking of breaking glass and rolled to the other side of the bed to see if there were any full bottles left. There weren't. She sighed and flopped back onto the mattress, covering her eyes with one hand. She was dreading the moment when the liquor wore off and her memories assaulted her again. She hated thinking about anything these days, which was why she had spent the past few months completely shitfaced. It had gotten increasingly more difficult to face life sober the longer she went without finding her son. After three months of searching L2 for any hint of his existence, questioning every brown-haired and blue-eyed boy she saw on the street, beating down doors and interrogating practically everyone on the colony, she had found that being drunk was the only way she could live with herself and her ever growing hopelessness. She didn't feel as pathetic when she was drunk.
A knock on the door woke her out of her stupor. She glanced at the date on her watch and noted that rent wasn't due for another week. She didn't know anyone and she sure as hell wasn't expecting a visitor.
"Go away! You've got the wrong room!" She yelled.
"Hannah Ryan?" A man's voice asked from behind the cheap plywood door.
She uncovered her eyes and looked warily at the door. "What do you want with her?" She yelled.
"I'm a friend." The voice replied.
She snorted. "She doesn't have any friends. Now go away!" She growled at her visitor.
There was nothing but silence from the other side of the door so she assumed that she had been successful in getting rid of whoever it was.
A few seconds later, the knob popped away from the wood and landed on the carpeted floor with a muffled thump and the door swung open.
The bright light blinded her and she shielded her eyes with her hand as she rose from the bed. "What the hell is this?!" She yelped and promptly fell onto the floor.
A tall figure loomed briefly in the doorway before striding over to stand by her. "If you're not Hannah Ryan then you look a hell of a lot like her." He said cheerfully.
She blinked up at him stupidly. "Wha…? Who are you?"
"The name's Shiro." He said and offered her a hand. She took it warily and stood on wobbly legs.
"Shiro? I don't know you…" She said, completely confused. She snatched her hand away from him and almost fell over again. He caught her deftly, and, ignoring her protests, held her upright.
"No, you don't know me, but I have a proposition for you." He said, looking straight into her slightly unfocused eyes. "But first, why don't we get you a shower, some clean clothes and some food. Maybe we could even get a few cups of coffee in you so we can talk."
She pushed him away and stumbled backwards into the wall. "What the fuck are you talking about? I don't know you…"
He sighed. "We've already established that. Listen, Hannah, I want to offer you your life back, or at least something very much like it. But I don't want you to make any decisions until you're sober enough to consider my offer."
She stared at him with a slightly surprised expression on her face. "My life?" She whispered.
He nodded. "I heard that once upon a time you were a damn good soldier and doctor. I have a hunch that you could be again, if you let me help you."
She arched an eyebrow. "What's in it for you?" She asked her voice heavy with suspicion.
He smiled. "The services of a damn good soldier and doctor."
She mulled over his request for a moment before answering. "All right. I'll hear you out. But over dinner, okay? I'm starving."
May 9 (8 Years Later)
Apartment of Hannah Ryan
5: 37 a.m.
The phone rang shrilly, over and over, ignoring Hannah's pleas to leave her alone. Finally, she rolled over and snatched the phone off the cradle. "What?" She grunted into the receiver.
"Morning, Hannah." A warm, inviting voice from the other end seeped into her sleep heavy brain.
"Shiro?" Hannah blinked and sat up, rubbing her eyes with her free hand to wake herself up.
"Yup, listen, how soon can you get to L3?" He asked.
"The colony?" She was still half asleep and having trouble following him.
A sigh crackled over the phone line. "I know you're not a morning person, babe, but this is important." He said, sounding aggrieved.
"Sorry, sorry. What do you want me to go there for?" She replied, feeling somewhat foolish and slightly more awake.
"Can't tell you." He replied evasively.
"Shit, Shiro, I'm not about to haul ass to L3, especially at…" here she paused to look at her alarm clock to verify the time, "6 o'clock in the fucking morning without a damn good reason." She growled.
His warm chuckle once again invaded her ears. "Calm down, babe. Listen, you ever hear of Relena Peacecraft?"
She sighed. "I haven't been living in a cave, Shiro."
"Well, if you don't get some of your boys and get down to L3 in the next 6 hours, she'll be dead."