Rated R for language

Waiting For You, Chapter Seven

Blood Ties



Hannah slid the last body into the ship's morgue freezer and slammed the cold metal door as hard as she could, which wasn't too hard considering how tired she was.

"What's the final count?" Pai, her head nurse asked, wearily.

"Four dead. Two in critical condition. We lost Stewart and Aki when the cargo bay blew, the other two were electrocuted." Hannah slumped down in the nearest chair and ran a hand over her face.

"We've never lost this many in one mission, Pai." Hannah murmured, her eyes trained on the bloodied floor. "I don't know how I'm going to break it to the crew."

"You'll just have to tell them." Pai said, placing a reassuring hand on Hannah's shoulder. "There's no way to sugar coat this."

"I know…" Hannah sighed and rubbed at her tired eyes.

"How's Relena doing?" She asked after a moment.

Pai leaned back on the wall next to Hannah's chair and crossed her arms. "She slept through the entire thing." She replied.

Hannah tapped her fingers on the metal desk in front of her and frowned. "That girl…trouble follows her wherever she goes."

"That's because of what she represents." A droll voice said.

Hannah turned and raised an eyebrow at Duo, who lounged in the doorway.
"And what would that be?" She asked.

"The end of an era." Duo pushed himself away from the door and walked towards the two women. "If you're not too tired, I'd like to finish our conversation." He said, plopping himself down on the desk.

Hannah nodded and ran a hand through her messy, sweaty hair. "Pai, would you excuse us?" She asked wearily.

Pai looked from Hannah to Duo with a curious expression before nodding and ducking out of the infirmary.

"I think you know where our conversation was going." Duo said, his hands playing with the end of his braid.

"Refresh my memory." Hannah replied.

"We were just about to remark on all the strange coincidences in our pasts." He ticked them off on his fingers. "My being an orphan on L2 whose orphanage was blown up, your son being an orphan on L2 whose orphanage was blown up, the fact that I look just like your husband, who happened to be the father of your child. The fact that I am 17, the same age your son would be." He raised an eyebrow. "Need I continue?"

Hannah shook her head, a slightly pained expression on her face. "Duo…it would be wonderful if it was true, but I've spent so many years searching and all the evidence I've ever uncovered says that my son is dead." She leaned forward in her chair and braced her elbows on the cold metal of the desk, her hands folding together to create a cradle for her chin. "I don't think I could survive another disappointment."

They were both silent for a moment and then Duo grinned widely. "Hey, aren't you a doctor?" He asked, tapping her on the forehead.

She nodded, shooting him a puzzled look while swatting his hand away.

"Then you'd know…there's got to be a test or something, you know, like a DNA test…that would prove once and for all if we were related." He bounced off the desk and stood in front of her with ill concealed excitement.

"We don't have the equipment or facilities for that." Hannah replied, feeling slightly guilty as she watched his grin falter.

"Oh."

She leaned back in her chair and eyed him. He really did bear an extraordinary likeness to Jack. And if he was her son…it would be an answer to prayers that she had long ago given up on. She worried her lower lip with her teeth as she came to a decision.
"Give me your finger." She said brusquely, extending one hand while the other reached into her desk for something.

"Huh?" Duo stared at her.

"Give me your finger." She repeated.

He extended his hand towards hers, eyeing her suspiciously. He barely had time to contemplate the needle in her grasp before she stabbed his poor finger with it. He yelped and tried to back away, but she held his hand fast. A droplet of blood bubbled from the wound and without saying a word; she blotted the blood with a cotton swab and then performed the same procedure on herself.

He watched as she stood and took the two bloody swabs to another table that held a range of medical equipment he couldn't even begin to identify.

"I wasn't lying when I said that we didn't have the equipment to perform a DNA test." She said, her back to him as she began pouring a clear liquid into two small tubes. She then took the swabs and dropped one in each tube. The containers then went into what looked like an amusement park ride he had once been on. A centrifuge.

She interrupted his musing as she continued. "But we do have some machines that are equipped with programs that will perform a basic series of tests. If anything in our blood matches, it will let us know." She tapped a series of commands into the computer and pushed a button that sent the machines into motion.

He quashed the urge to raise his hand when he asked the next question. "And any matches are significant?"

"The type of matches the computer has been asked to detect will be." She said, turning to give him a half smile. "I asked it to identify anything that would indicate a blood relation."

"So…how long 'til we know?" Duo asked nervously.

"Five minutes." She said, glancing back at the computer screen. "Maybe more."

"Oh." He leaned back on his heels. "So…"

She regarded him with some amusement. "So?"

"What will we do if the results come out positive? I mean…this is too weird. I've pretty much spent my life accepting the fact that I'd never know who I really was or where I came from…" He scratched his head, and looked up at the ceiling. "If you are…my mom…then everything will change. You know?" He finally dragged his gaze down to her face to check her reaction.

"I know." She said softly. "And I understand. I've been mourning my son and husband for many years now…"She bit her lower lip in a now familiar gesture. "I don't know what to do, either. If the results do come out positive, then I guess we'll have to play it by ear." She shrugged. "I'm very out of practice with the whole mom thing. And the stuff I do remember…well…you're too old now for diapers."

Duo laughed. "I'd like to think so; my girlfriend might disagree, though."

Hannah looked at him curiously. "Girlfriend?" She had to fight the small smile forming on her lips at his faint blush.

"Yeah, her name's Hilde." He looked at the floor. "She's on L2, running our salvage yard."

"Your salvage yard? I thought you worked for the Preventers?" Hannah was slightly confused.

"Well…I sorta work on an 'as needed basis', you know? They call me up when they need me." Duo explained.

"Oh. And dare I ask how you came to be a part-time employee of Lady Une's?"

"Well…I used to be a Gundam pilot…but when the war ended and the colonies didn't need us anymore…" Duo looked up at Hannah and his voice trailed off. Her face was pale and drawn. "What's wrong?" He asked.

"You were a Gundam pilot?" She whispered.

He nodded.

"How old were you?"

"I was recruited when I was 12, but I didn't start fighting 'til I was 15." He replied.

"Jesus Christ!" Hannah leaned back against the counter. "12? You were recruited and trained to kill when you were 12?" Her voice was tinged with disbelief and anger.

"It's not that bad…I mean, Heero was trained practically since birth…" Duo hoped to comfort her, but swiftly realized that his words were only making things worse.

"Heero was a pilot, too? Are you saying that all 5 of the Gundam pilots were kids?"

"Well…yeah, I guess we were." Duo was slightly confused by her reaction. Why was she so upset?

She shook her head and leveled him with a fierce gaze. "The thought that you and those other boys were forced to go out there…it makes me sick. We should never have to put such a burden on our children."

Duo frowned. "We all volunteered." He said, seriously.

She shook her head. "You shouldn't have had to, not yet."

Duo crossed his arms. "What about you? From those pictures in your room, I gather you weren't always the freedom fighter." He said with a raised eyebrow. "In fact, that one picture of you and your mom made it appear that you were pretty well off. How does a debutante become a rebel?"

Hannah's eyes narrowed slightly. "I was never a debutante." She replied irritably. "When all the rest of those silly bitches I grew up with were learning how to find a rich husband, I was learning how to amputate limbs and pilot military aircraft."

"You were in the army?" Now it was Duo's turn to be surprised.

"How the hell do you think I learned how to command a ship? Of course I was. I joined the Alliance military when I was 12 as a pre-med cadet. I was trained to be a field physician." She drew herself up slightly. "I graduated first in my class with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and a medical degree."

"How the hell did you end up here?" Duo was fascinated.

Hannah laughed. "I met a man who changed my mind." She replied.

"Jack?"

"Yup. James Patrick Thomas, but everyone called him Jack. He was an explosives expert from L2. He had been shot during one of his little missions and the Alliance was treating him in the prison wing of their military hospital until he was well enough to stand trial." She stuck her hands in her coat pockets and rocked on her heels.
"I was in charge of the floor he was placed on and we got to be friends. He was a very engaging man…funny and sarcastic." She smiled. "He was always making me laugh."

"And you fell in love with him?"

She shook her head. "Not then, later. He was discharged after two months and declared fit for trial. He was being transported to prison when he escaped." She brushed again at the stray lock of hair on her face. "He came and found me and asked if I wanted to put my money where my mouth was. He had twenty minutes to get on a transport out of there and he asked me to come with him, so I did."

"You just left everything behind?"

"It was surprisingly easy. I wasn't happy, I guess I never was. My father had always dictated the direction my life was supposed to take and I didn't want to live like that anymore. Jack gave me the opportunity to live my life according to my own rules." She shrugged and smiled faintly.

Duo scratched his head. "In that picture of you and your mom…there was someone else in it, right? I saw a hand…"

"That was my father." She said replied darkly. "The General." She closed her eyes and seemed to reflect on something. "You know, he made us…me and my brother…he made us call him sir. We never called him dad or daddy." She snorted. "Even my mom called him sir."

"Sounds real warm and fuzzy." Duo replied with a laugh.

"A regular teddy bear." She chuckled.

"So…he was a general?" Duo was curious about his potential family.

Hannah nodded. "General Marcus Ryan." She said.

"Holy shit. THE General Ryan? The bane of the colonies?" Duo was incredulous. He had heard of General Ryan. Who on the colonies hadn't? The man was infamous for his role in the oppression of the space settlements. "He was your father?"

Hannah smiled. "So, you've heard of him?" She asked with a laugh.

"Who hasn't? Man…the irony…his daughter, fighting for the colonies." He shook his head in disbelief.
Hannah opened her mouth to respond, but was interrupted by a series of loud beeps from the computer. She paled slightly. "It's ready." She whispered.

Duo swallowed nervously. "Well…this is it…" He looked like a condemned man.

"Now, don't look so nervous." Hannah said with a weak smile. "It could mean nothing."

"Or everything." He retorted.

They walked the short distance to the computer monitor. Hannah immediately began scanning the results, her index finger tapping the down arrow when she ran out of text.

"Well?" Duo hovered behind her, trying to make sense of the technical jargon on the screen but failing. "What do all those numbers mean?"

She finished reading the results and was silent for a long moment. He stared at the back of her head, trying to read her reaction. "Hannah?"

Her shoulders began shaking. Suddenly, she turned and wrapped him a fierce hug. "I've been looking everywhere for you." She whispered.

Duo hesitated for a moment before wrapping his arms around her as well. "I take it then, that the results were positive?" He asked softly. She nodded her head and burst into tears.