Between Death And Dream
A GW: A New Era side story, by One

        I looked around, surprised by my surroundings, or rather, lack thereof. As far as I could see there was nothing. The ground was flat and plain white. Just like what seemed to be sky was. While it was quite confusing, for some reason it felt oddly logical as well.
    Despite not seeing anything in the surrounding area, I picked one direction and started walking. It wasn't as if there was anything better to do here. But where is here? I wondered to myself. My last recollection was of being in battle, my daughter foolishly jumping in and trying to save her. It was then I became aware of the dull pain in my chest and a throbbing pain in my head.
    "What the hell is going on!?" I snapped at the bleak white emptiness, as if it would reply.
    I could swear then that I could hear someone trying not to cry. It was too quiet to be able to identify who it was.
  Man... You'd almost think it's not Wufei. He doesn't look so up tight like
somebody shoved a stick-
    "What was that!?" I shouted, patience thinning. That sounded like Duo.
    Duo! Now isn't the time for pointing out things like that!
    "Duo! What do you mean, you idiot!?" I shouted again. The convesation continued without me.
    I know! I know! But everybody seems so depressed... Just trying to lighten the mood...
    "What do you mean depressed!? Why don't you answer me!?"
    Is there anything we can do to help him?
    "I do not require your help! Just someone to tell me what is going on!!" I could hear them, yet, I was the only one around. I didn't see anyone besides myself. Could they not be able to hear me?
    Talking to a comatose patient sometimes helps, even though there is no actual evidence to
support the theory. His wife is coming, right?
    "'Comatose'!?" I shook my head. This was nonsense. I was awake and alert. I could even feel pain! What did that unfamiliar voice mean by 'comatose'?
    Yeah, she should be here by tomorrow.
    Good, it's probably best she talk to him then. And his daughter...
    "What about my daughter!?  Answer me!"
    The conversation seemed to end, and I heard no more voices. The silence was almost unbearable. It was then the whiteness started to fade away, which took me by surprise.
    Suddenly I was in my own house, though I wasn't sure I should be relieved by the familiar surroundings. Something felt wrong. The sharp pain I felt in my head grew worse as I wandered up the stairs.
    "Where is everyone?" I called out.
    There was no answer. I assumed I was the only one home. The feeling was not pleasant. It was rare for it to be me alone in the house. My days off were for the most part the same as Sally's, and Meiran always came home right after school. Walking into my bedroom, I spotted an old photo album lying on the bed. What is that doing there? I picked it up and started to idly flip through it, only to discover it was empty. Empty. What?? Shouldn't there be something in here... Sally always puts photos in here. What is going on? The pain flared up and I closed my eyes to try and shut it out.
    When I opened them, I found myself in the rain, yet oddly dry. I took a moment to study these new surroundings. It didn't make any sense. Gentle green hills rolled along, the occasional plaque or tombstone disrupted the grass. Why was I at a cemetery? I spotted two figures in the distance and approached them.
    I stopped dead in my tracks.
    Meiran stood across from her namesake, though better known as Nataku, making conversation with each other by a grave. Nataku stood in her wedding robes,seemingly uneffected by the rain, while Meiran stood under an umbrella in her blue cheongsam. I remember she'd spent weeks brocading the silver dragons and sewing it all together. She'd also gone through several bandages. I know for a fact she only wears it when she has something formal to attend or is making an entrance. She'd never wear it out in the rain, especially the matching shoes she'd made for it. The mud and water would ruin them.
    So why was she? But more importantly, why was Nataku standing there talking with her? Nataku is dead, I reminded myself. I regained my nerve and continued towards them. Perhaps they could answer some of these questions.
    "Meiran! Nataku!" I shouted as I drew closer. They turned and looked over at me in response and smiled. Good, they must have heard me, unlike everyone else it seems.
    And then they were gone. I was speechless. How could they have just vanished? Curious, I went to examine the gravemarker they'd been standing by, freshly decorated by flowers, but that too vanished.
    The strange whiteness returned. Such emptiness was annoying. One would expect such emptiness to be black.
    You probably can't hear me, can you, Wufei?
    "Sally!?" I blinked and looked around, "I can hear you perfectly! What's going on!?"
    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.
    "I'm already fine!" Confused, baffled, and otherwise lost, but I was still fine, "I know she's my daughter, and a disrespectful one at that." I muttered.
    She loves you, even if she's proud and stubborn and judgmental... Just like you are.
    "What!? First you ignore me and now you're insulting me, woman!? Can't you hear me!?"
    But don't be weak, understand?
    "No, I do NOT understand!" I snapped in response. I didn't understand any of this. How could anyone possibly be able to understand it?
    You can pull through this. I know you can... You still have so much to do...
    "You're talking as if I'm dying!! I am not dying! I'm standing right here shouting at you!!"
    Sally, you should get some sleep. It was probably a long trip out here. I've got a room set up for you.
    It sounded like that annoying wife of Milliardo's. Well... she is not as annoying as she used to be.
    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.
    "What news!?! Why don't you two answer me!?" Is something wrong with Meiran? Didn't I save her!? I didn't know the answer to it. I could swear I should have known, but I didn't.
    Sure thing.
    Silence returned and I swore under my breath. Having nothing else to do, I sat down on the white ground, trying to sort things out, though the pain in my head made it quite difficult.
    If something has happened to Meiran... I shook my head to clear that horrible 'If' from my mind. Were I to lose her or Sally, I'm not sure what I'd do. I've lost practically everything before, and to lose it all again... I'm not sure I could bear that. It simply could not happen again. I wouldn't allow it to.
    If only I could figure out just what was going on! Who was crying before? Why was Sally talking to me as if I were dying? And what was wrong with Meiran? There were so many questions, and I had no answers to any of them. I closed my eyes and continued trying to sort things out. Several disturbing images began to flood my thoughts.
    What if I hadn't been able to save Meiran? Her Taurus in the Mars colors all but completely destroyed. Just like before, almost. Like that battle that caused Nataku's death. Loosing them both to such similar fates... To have both women important to me, women who shared the same name, to die in such battles? To die when there was a chance I could have saved them? Meiran...she hadn't been wearing a helmet or flight suit... Even if she'd surived the destruction of the suit, she'd be killed by the void of space.
    What if I was indeed dying and this was some sort of dream? I could see myself just lying lifeless in a bed, alone. I wouldn't die alone! Where was my wife!? Where was my daughter!? Surely if I was dying they'd be there!
    But..... didn't she say she hated me? Yes, I think she did...
    I hate you. For all I care you can just drop dead.
    I shook my head. She couldn't have meant that. She was just angry. She must not have meant it. She knows I love her. She must.
    I opened my eyes and was once again surprised to find the lonely white gone. It was instead quite dark, and I almost didn't see Meiran sitting on the floor sharpening her sword. Why was she sharpening it?
    "Meiran?" I walked around in front of her. She didn't answer. Was it possible she couldn't hear me?
    "Meiran!" I said her name louder, "Answer me, girl!" I knelt down  in front of her. It was as if she couldn't even see me. An occasional tear managed to leak out from her eyes... I realized I didn't remember what color her eyes were, and that I couldn't tell in the dark. I didn't know what color my only daughter's eyes were!? Were they black like mine? Or blue like her mother's?? How can I not remember that!? I watched her continue to fight her tears. Why was she crying? I'd never seen her cry much before when she was older. If she had, she must not have done it around me. Did this have to do with me? She ran her finger along the edge, unaware she'd cut it.
    "You're being careless." I mumbled getting up and turning away to think. Hearing her stand up, I turned around. The next second she was bringing her sword down on herself.
    "M-MEIRAN!" I stared at her. She managed to pull the bloody blade back out before stumbling back. I tried to catch her but she passed right through my arms down on to her bed. The door flew opened and I was blinded momentarily by the light from the hallway. Sally rushed in, quickly followed by Quatre.
    "Meiran!!" Sally's shriek was more painful to my heart than my ears as she checked our daughter for a pulse.
    I could tell by her reaction that it was too late. Ashamed that I'd been unable to do anything, I closed my eyes and let my own tears come out. Why had this happened? Perhaps I was dead. Perhaps I had died saving Meiran only for her to be joining me so soon-? How could that possibly be? It was all to confusing. It was all too much.
    The sweet smell of flowers flooded my senses suddenly. I could hear birds chriping and someone, someone familiar, chuckling.
    "Scholar boy!" The chuckling had stopped.
    My eyes flew open and I whirled around. That couldn't have been... No, it could not have been. Even though before I'd seen her talking to Meiran. It was just not possible.
    "Nataku!!" There she was, pigtails and all, sitting on the ground amidst the flowers.
    "I'm glad you address me as that." She smiled and stood up.
    "Do you know what is going on?" I stared at her, confusion getting the better of me.
    "Of course. I wouldn't be here if I didn't."
    "Then tell me!" I snapped, angered by what I'd seen, "Is Meiran... gone?" I could not bring myself to say 'dead'.
    "'Gone'?" Nataku raised an eyebrow, "Wufei, she's been gone from you a long time now. Didn't you realize it, or even notice? She didn't want it to be like that, and while I'm sure you didn't either, you drove her away!"
    "What do you mean, woman?"
    "If you address me like that I just might not answer. I gave up being a woman, remember? I'm Nataku. And I recall you saying 'You're Nataku. I won't call you Meiran anymore' before I died! That should go for 'woman' too. I'm going to hold you to it." Nataku crossed her arms.
    "... I'm sorry, Nataku... Now will you please explain??" I desperately wanted answers.
    "Just listen."
    "Listen? To wh-"
    "Be quiet!" She snapped at me.
    Daddy? 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...
    I could hear Meiran start to cry. I was right, she had just been angry! I listened, despite pain in my head that was growing worse.
    Daddy, I'm sorry! Please wake up! Please!
    "You've got a choice to make, Wufei." Nataku's smile vanished, "Are you going to continue with this dream until you die, or are you going to wake up and live?"
    "You mean.... I'm dying?" I blinked. It was starting to make sense, if barely.
    "Well, not yet. You're more than half way there." Nataku shook her head, "And if you join me so soon, I'm going to fight you. And I'll win this time too. Then I'll fight you're daughter, because I don't doubt she'll be following."
    I didn't doubt her on either account. Not after what I'd seen. I took a moment to be thankful it hadn't been real.
    "I have no desire to die. Not yet." I looked Nataku in the eye, "... How do you know such things?"
    "Someone has to watch out for a weakling like you!" She grinned. I wasn't sure if she was joking or not. I did know I wasn't feeling particularly strong at the moment.
    "Anyways... The cure is worse than the pain... But I'm sure you'll manage. It's time for you to back now. If you don't go now, you may not be able to later."
    "I... Thank you... Nataku..." I looked away, pondering her words. 'The cure is worse than the  pain'? I could hear Meiran again. The flower field, along with Nataku, began to fade away. Replaced darkness.
    Please Daddy, if you don't, I don't know what I'd do.... I love you, Daddy... wake up....

        I'm going to wake up.

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