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Believe
2003 Victoria Thripp. All rights reserved. Distribution of any kind is prohibited without the written consent of Victoria Thripp.

Disclaimer:

I don't own Gundam Wing or any of its characters -- just this story.

Series: Gundam Wing

Characters: Mariemaia Khushrenada, Lady Une.

Author's notes:

This is the second piece in what I hope will be a series of short mood pieces (1000 words or less). This runs approximately 511 words.

Acknowledgements:

Thanks to my beta reader and editor E.V., for his help and ruthless -- but very welcome -- editing style.


AC 197

It's very peaceful out here, Mariemaia thought, fingering the wool blanket draped across her lap. Not another soul around. Only the wind playing with the leaves...

"Lady Une?"

"Yes, Mariemaia?"

"Do you come here often? To visit my father, I mean."

There was a momentary silence. Mariemaia looked up at the woman who had once dedicated her life to Treize Khushrenada and still remained devoted to his memory, and saw both sadness and peace in her brown eyes.

"Yes," the older woman finally said, her voice soft and her eyes looking past Mariemaia at the quiet headstones surrounding them. "I come here whenever I can. It helps me think."

"Is it so you can be close to him?"

"In a way, yes," Lady Une replied, still not looking at her charge. "Sometimes, when I'm here by myself, I can feel his presence, hear his voice."

Mariemaia closed her eyes and tried to remember all she could about her father, and in doing so realized that -- unlike those who had served and known him -- she had no personal memories of him. All she had were fleeting, flickering images from public broadcasts and newspaper reports. He was little better than a stranger. In fact, it was almost as if he were merely a character in a storybook. If only things had been different, she thought, the familiar sadness coming over her like a wave. If only...

-----

They stayed in silence by his grave until the sun drew long shadows on the ground and turned everything in the empty cemetery red and gold. Mariemaia heard Lady Une rise, felt the gentle touch as she draped a second blanket around her shoulders.

As they moved slowly down the well-worn path, Mariemaia suddenly felt compelled to turn her head around and take another look at her father's grave. Underneath the shelter of the oak tree stood a man in a blue uniform, his tall, translucent outline shimmering softly against the trunk. There was no doubt in her mind who it was, for she wanted so hard to believe.

The man raised his hand in a wave and vanished, but not before Mariemaia saw the ghost of a smile dance across his lips and felt a warm flood of affection wash over her. Settling back in the wheelchair, she let a smile of her own play across her face and drifted into a contented sleep. As she did so, one last thought floated through her mind:

Father, you heard my prayers....


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