Episode 11:
To Sleepless Grief How Long The Night Must Seem

      The year is After Colony 216. After Venus' declaration of war, the World Nation scrambles to prepare itself. In the meantime, the Gundam pilots gather on Mars to take control of new Gundams to help combat the Venusian menace.

        As the new Gundams are nearing completion, Venus steps up its attempts to destroy or steal the suits, well aware that they could affect the outcome of the war. In one such attempt, Wufei risks everything to save his daughter, Meiran, who foolishly defied orders to stay with the student unit. Meanwhile, Sidra recovers on Earth and has been shown the nearly completed FalconWing. A slightly drunk Tiffany tells Trowa 'what for' and storms off, leaving the confused Gundam pilot to his own devices at a bar.

        Meiran sat silently in the hospital waiting room. She hadn't spoken a word to anyone, and any attempts at consolation had been brutally ignored. Her mother, Sally, would be arriving as soon as possible, which would probably be in a day or two.
    "Miss Chang?" The waiting room door opened and the a doctor stepped out. Meiran's head jerked up and she looked at him. The other pilots who'd come stood up in surprise. Meiran got up and went over to the doctor.
    "How is he?" She managed to whisper.
    "Presently your father is in a coma and suffered several blows to the head and two broken ribs. Luckily, the broken ribs didn't puncture anything.  When... if he wakes up, we aren't sure of the condition he'll be in."
    If?? IF?? Meiran stared at the doctor. Her eyes narrowed and she smacked the doctor.
    "Don't you dare say things like that! My father will be fine! He'll wake up and he'll yell at me for being the weak idiot I've proven myself to be today!" With that said, she ran out of the waiting room before anybody could see her tears.
    "Uh..." Duo blinked, "Should we go after her?"
    "She probably needs to be alone for awhile to think." Noin sat back down, "Somebody can check on her later. Meiran probably doesn't want anybody to see her cry. She looked on the verge of it when she ran out."

        Meiran shut the door to her dorm room and locked it. She indeed needed to be alone. ... The last things I said to him were that I hated him and I didn't care if he dropped dead... I didn't mean it... I didn't really mean it at all... She tried to choke back the tears that threatened to spill over. What right do I have to cry after saying such things?? I don't... If I'd just listened and returned to my position... or if I hadn't even left it... I really am an idiot... She slumped down on her bed. Words couldn't describe how awful she felt. Part of her wanted desperately to cry, part of her wanted to vanish from the face of the universe, and part of her wanted to scream. She chose to just sit there in the silence of her room. How many chances had she been given? How many people had warned or cautioned her? I ignored all of them... "Just try and go a bit easier on him. You won't realize how important he actually is to you until he's gone." .....  "That's an order! Meiran! Return to your position at once!!" .... You shouldn't have done that for me, Daddy... It would have served me right to get hit by that blast. Especially after what I said to you... How am I gonna be able to talk to Mom when she comes? It's my fault this happened...

        The doctor led the group into the room where Wufei lay unconscious. He looked like hell, with several I.V.s hooked up and various medical equipment monitoring him.
    "Man... You'd almost think it's not Wufei." Duo blinked, "He doesn't look so up tight like somebody shoved a stick-"
    "Duo!" Noin glared, "Now isn't the time for pointing out things like that!"
    "I know! I know! But everybody seems so depressed... Just trying to lighten the mood..." Duo sighed.
    "Is there anything we can do to help him?" Quatre looked at his fellow pilot who seemed so lifeless now. The doctor shrugged.
    "Talking to a comatose patient sometimes helps, even though there is no actual evidence to support the theory. His wife is coming, right?"
    "Yeah, she should be here by tomorrow." Noin informed the doctor.
    "Good, it's probably best she talk to him then. And his daughter..." The doctor sweatdropped slightly. That girl was in serious denial.

        Kiandra looked up from her notebook as Trowa stumbled in, looking... like hell.
    "Um....?" She blinked, "Where ya been all this time? There was an attack. Wuffie got taken to the hospital."
    "'Wuffie?'" Stephanie blinked from where she was still working on Deathscythe. Trowa didn't seem to register the news.
    "I think he's drunk, no da!" Jeanie walked over, "Earth... er... Mars! Yeah. Mars to Trowa! Maybe you should go to bed? You don't look so well. Look up. The floor is not that interesting." Jeanie tipped Trowa's chin up so he was looking up at her. He blinked, eyes glazed and a little bloodshot. The PMS gathered round with the exception of Tiffany who was still in her office.
    "Man is he wasted... Hey. How many fingers am I holding up??" Shannon held up one. Trowa struggled to focus.
    "... three?" He guessed.
    "Ummmm... okay. No would be my first response." Shannon sweatdropped.
    "Somebody break out the coffee, extra caffinat-"
    Trowa passed out.
    "- Never mind. Cancel that..." Stephanie boggled, "Didn't strike me as the type to go get himself totally wasted. How many Nuriko Specials do you think he had?"
    "One?" Kiandra guessed.
    "Maybe five?" Shannon pondered.
    "Three?" Jenna mused.
    "Probably upwards of ten?" Stephanie scratched her head in thought. Tiffany opened her office door.
    "What's going on out here!? You guys have work to do!" The PMS parted and revealed a passed out and wasted Trowa. "Oh..... um..... okay.... " She blinked. The idiot got wasted after I left? Sheesh... Shouldn't have done that. He's gonna wake up with a hangover from hell.
    "Suppose he can sleep it off on the sofa in your office, Tiff?" Momoko poked him.
    "Yeah, sure, whatever." Tiffany sighed, "Bring him in and somebody get a bedpan from med, he's probably going to need it. Idiot."

        That evening, Trowa groaned and came to. Tiffany looked up from the supply forms she was filling out.
    "Welcome back to the land of the living. How many Nuriko Specials did you have after I left?" Tiffany asked.
    "...too... many..." Trowa mumbled.
    "Don't sit up yet. Let me hand you the bedpan first, because I'm pretty sure when you sit up you're gonna wish ya hadn't. You drink too much, your stomach rebels." She got up and handed him the bedpan.
    "I... think I'll just stay laying down..." Trowa mumbled again. Tiffany shrugged and took the pan back and set it down by the couch.
    "It's over here, so if you have to, roll over and aim for the pan. Learn a lesson about drinking, Trowa?"
    ".... Yes... My head hurts..."
    "It's called a hangover. I know all about them, and not just from personal experience. You'll probably feel better in the morning if you rest." She picked up the phone.
    "Hi. Yancha? This is Tiffany. Yeah. How much did the guy who was with me have to drink after I left? What!? And you LET HIM!? ON THE HOUSE!? Keetia? It was her idea? Where is she?? Not there? Fine, I'll talk to her about it later. You're sure-? What do you mean you 'lost count'!? And you let him come back on his own?? Are you out of your mind!? Never mind... I don't think I want to know. Bye." She hung up and turned to face Trowa. Yancha probably lost count because he ran out of fingers and toes to count on.
    "Twenty before Yancha lost count? Are you insane? Over twenty Nuriko Specials?? You beat my record. Do you have any idea how potent those drinks are?"
    "... I do now..." Came the mumbled reply.
    "Well, I was told to tell you that you missed a battle with the Venus forces and Wufei is in the hospital in a coma. It's probably a good thing you missed it. I wouldn't trust you to go anywhere NEAR a mobile suit drunk. "
    "... I wouldn't trust me near a mobile suit in this state...." He mumbled again. He was miserable. VERY miserable.
    "Why'd you do it anyways? You don't strike me as the getting totally plastered type. It's not healthy to get this wasted!" Tiffany pulled her chair over and sat down by Trowa. He shrugged slightly. He didn't exactly remember why he had at the moment.
    "Don't tell me it was an after effect of what I said..." She sighed.
    "I don't... exactly remember right now..." Trowa mumbled once again, closing his eyes and curling up under the blanket that had been thrown on him earlier. Tiffany sighed. He looks so vulnerable, like a sick little boy who just wants his mother.
    "If you need anything, let me know." She ran her fingers through his hair, "But try and get some sleep."
    Trowa nodded slightly and curled up under the blanket more, swiftly falling asleep.

        Sally arrived late that night. She hadn't seen Meiran at all. In fact, nobody had since she had run out of the hospital. She must feel horrible... Sally sighed and sat down beside Wufei, who remained motionless. She held his hand.
    "You probably can't hear me, can you, Wufei?" She sighed again, "Hang in there, okay? I'm sure you'll be fine in a few days, then we can all talk and settle things. I'm sure Meiran didn't mean the things she probably said to you when you got here... She's your daughter after all. She loves you, even if she's proud and stubborn and judgmental... Just like you are." She felt tears in her eyes, "But don't be weak, understand? You can pull through this. I know you can... You still have so much to do... "
    Noin walked in.
    "Sally, you should get some sleep. It was probably a long trip out here." She put her hand on her friend's shoulder, "I've got a room set up for you."
    "Has anybody seen Meiran?"
    "Shino saw her go into her dorm room. She probably hasn't left there yet. She didn't take the news too well."
    "So I heard from the doctor... I'm going to stay in here for awhile. Can you have somebody go check on Meiran?" Sally glanced at Noin.
    "Sure thing." Noin walked out and closed the door silently behind her.

        Meiran sat on the floor in her dorm room. She couldn't sleep. Her mind kept racing with thoughts. What if he doesn't wake up? What if he dies... because I was such an idiot? If he does, I'll never have the chance to talk to him again... to apologize for what I said... He'll go to his grave thinking I hate him! She stared at her blue tachi and slipped it out of the sheath, examining the blade. She'd always kept it in prime condition. Why? Because that's what her father had taught her to do. If he dies it'll all be my fault... How will I be able to face anybody? Face Mom? Would she blame me? All of it's my fault already... He was right... I was strong enough to beat him in a duel, but not enough to use a mobile suit... I was so stupid.... She ran her finger along the edge to check it's sharpness, not noticing she'd cut it until she saw the blood. It didn't hurt, or maybe she was too depressed to feel physical pain. She stared at the blood on her sword for awhile, her thoughts taking a darker turn.
    They were soon interrupted by a faint knock on the door. She blinked and looked over at the door.
    "Meiran? Are you in there? It's Quatre."
    "Y-yeah... " Meiran mumbled, getting up and unlocking the door, letting her 'uncle' in. He studied her for a minute, a worried look on his face. She sat back down on the floor and grabbed a rag to clean her sword.
    "What were you doing??" Quatre's eyes widened slightly as he spotted the blood on the sword before it was wiped off.
    "... Nothing. I was checking it's sharpness and cut my finger." She held up the bleeding finger, then dug a band-aid out of the small first aid kit she kept in her room.
    "Are you all right?" Quatre closed the door and walked over.
    Meiran blinked. "Am I all right?" What kinda of a question is that!? Who would be all right after all this!? She wanted to scream that at him, but remained silent instead. Quatre knelt down in front of her.
    "I know it's a dumb question..."
    "Yes it is." Meiran looked at the floor.
    "It's not your fault, Meiran. Your father would have done the same thing you did. And I'm sure you would have done the same thing he did."
    "Then that makes us both stupid." Meiran sniffled, "I'm a horrible daughter... The last things I said to him were that I hated him and I didn't care if he dropped dead."
    Quatre blinked. So that's it.
    "And if he doesn't wake up..." She almost choked on her words, "I'll never get to apologize for it... I didn't mean it... "
    "It's okay to cry, Meiran." Quatre hugged the upset girl.
    "No it's not... " She whispered, about ready to actually cry, "I don't have any right to cry after saying what I did. And after causing this whole thing..."
    "You're upset and holding it inside won't do you or anybody else any good. You have every right to cry. Besides, I'm sure he knew you didn't mean it. And he knew what he was doing out on the battlefield."
    Meiran burst into tears finally, clutching her uncle tight. "I'm sorry... " She whispered to no one in particular.

        It was so late into the night it was early morning by the time Meiran was done.
    "Your mother is probably at the hospital with him. You can go talk to him now. Who knows? Maybe hearing you will snap him out of it." Quatre smiled slightly and helped Meiran up. She nodded slightly and wiped her eyes.

        Sally looked up in surprise when the door open and Meiran walked in followed by Quatre. Sally had been up all night so far and had no intention of sleep.
    "Meiran... I've been worried about you." Sally sighed.
    "... Can I have some time alone, Mom? Uncle Quatre?" Meiran stared at the floor. Sally nodded and got up, leaving with Quatre.
    "We'll be outside." They left. Meiran sat down in the chair her mother had been in, sniffling slightly.
    "Daddy?" She studied Wufei's face, which was void of expression, perfectly peaceful. "Daddy... I'm sorry about what I said... About hating you and all.... I didn't really mean it... I was just angry... I didn't mean it... It's just.... It's just..." Meiran started to cry again, "Daddy, I'm sorry! Please wake up! Please!" She held her father's hand, "Please Daddy, if you don't, I don't know what I'd do.... I love you, Daddy... wake up...." She choked on her tears slightly as she spoke.
    Wufei twitched. Meiran jolted upright in surprise.
    Wufei groaned softly, eyelids fluttering.
    "MOM!!!" She shouted, Sally bursting in followed by Quatre shortly after the shout. "He's waking up!"
    "Wha-Where?" Wufei sat up slowly, one hand pressed to his forehead. Meiran promptly threw her arms around him.
    "Daddy! I'm so sorry!" Meiran cried, but smiled at the same time, thankful her father had woken up. Wufei blinked.
    "My... daughter?" He looked lost, "I... don't remember..."

To Be Continued In Gundam Wing: A New Era, Episode 12:
"Depression of Spirits"