Forgive and Forget
By Midii Une
Dedicated to Nightheart, a fan of 4xR and 3xMU
Happy Birthday to one of my favorite writers!
Relena’s blood rankled as she watched her brother take Quatre, and his lieutenant Rasid, to task for the occurrence in the desert town that afternoon. Trowa had of course pulled one of his patented disappearing acts and was nowhere to be found.
Already stars were appearing in the deep black-blue of the sky. She felt she could not stand by and let Quatre take all of the blame. Because of what had happened to his own sister so long ago Relena knew that he was quite anguished and felt more responsible for Midii than he should. She had her own regrets for begging her friend to come along. But now she was determined to shield Quatre from her brother’s wrath. She realized Milliardo had been worried for her and was now in full outraged royal prince mode due to the condition in which they had returned, but it was not fair that he should take it out on Quatre!
However, just as she was steeling herself to stand between them she felt Lucrezia touch her sleeve.
“You must go to Midii, she needs you and is asking for you,” her sister-in-law urged, her pretty face pale with concern. “You needn’t worry about your brother, I will try to make him see sense and calm him down. Both of us are so relieved that you are safe, you must see that Relena. He does love you very much.”
Lucrezia reached out and pulled the younger girl into a heartfelt embrace. With a pang, Relena returned her hug and realized she had to go if Midii was calling for her. She chided herself for again forgetting her friend so quickly in her worry for Quatre, yet there was something about him that pulled her so. Her face flushed hot from the memory of his lips against her skin and his feverish words in her ear. She must meet him tonight, no matter what!
Lady Une was trying to coax Midii to sip some water and attempting to treat the gash on her throat, but the younger girl had turned stubbornly away from her older relative. She looked like a child playing dress up, lost in the taller woman’s black lace negligee. Relena rushed to her friend’s other side and grabbed her hand, feeling a sense of grateful relief that there was no blame in the despairing blue eyes that sought hers.
“Relena! You must make them see that I have to go home. I cannot stay here. He does not want me here and I so long to leave this awful place. I cannot stay here!”
Midii’s grip on Relena’s hand tightened painfully, she felt as if the small, delicate bones in her fingers might crack and yet she squeezed her friend’s hand back in sympathy.
“I’m sure your cousin will do what is best dear,” she
reassured her friend half-heartedly. She
herself wished very much to remain in
“It will all be fine Midii. We will take the best care of you,” she promised stoutly. But Midii closed her eyes and buried her face in the pillow, crying heartbrokenly.
“You’d best leave Princess Relena. Midii has had a terrible shock and she needs her sleep,” Lady Une remarked in a rather scolding tone. Treize entered then, his charismatic presence filling the tent and stopping Relena from making a sharp retort to Lady Une.
Relena had known Treize since she was very young and had always held him very much in awe, even more so than she had her older brother before Heero had come between them and strained their relationship. Milliardo’s friend smiled at her kindly now, feeling apparent in his bright blue eyes.
“I truly regret what happened to you and Midii today, and I thank God that you are both back safely with us,” he said, cool fingertips momentarily touching her cheek with affection.
Relena gathered up her courage.
“After what happened today Midii is desperate to go home,” she said. “Is there nothing that can be done?”
Treize sighed and went down on one knee beside the cot where Midii lay sobbing and stroked her hair comfortingly. She turned finally to peer at him between the pale blonde strands.
“We will leave here tomorrow and return home as soon as our mission allows. You must trust in that,” he told her in a voice that stated fact and did not invite discussion. “I’m going to give you a little laudanum to help you sleep and you must relax and think about being in the gardens at home with your little brothers. Think how happy they will be to see you and all the trinkets you will bring them when you return.”
Seeming defeated, Midii sat up slowly and took the glass, drinking the nasty stuff down quickly and making a face before finally accepting some water from her cousin.
“That’s our good girl,” Treize said, watching her for signs of drowsiness. “You’ll sleep till morning now and then I promise you we will put this place far behind us.”
“Come Princess Relena, we must let Midii rest now. Lady will look after her,” Treize said, holding the tent flap aside for his friend’s sister.
Relena bent and kissed Midii on the forehead, glad to feel that she did not seem feverish and averting her eyes from the bandage on her throat. “Good night Midii,” she said, squeezing her friend’s hand. Midii merely blinked at her, her lids already drooping over glazed eyes.
Lady Une turned the lamp down to a dim glow and began brushing Midii’s tangled hair, working the waist-length golden strands into a single long braid more suitable for sleeping.
Try as she might to think about the coolness of the gardens at home, Midii could not help thinking about riding across the desert in Trowa’s arms, arms that held her as carefully and gently as if she were a treasured object. While they were riding like that she could almost believe he did not hate her and she had never wanted it to end, had wanted him to keep riding with her far across the desert never to return. Her mind struggled to recall why she had spoken so sharply to him in the alley but the laudanum did not leave her the wits for much self-analysis and soon she fell into a restless sleep haunted by vivid dreams.
Relena swallowed hard, embarrassment and a strange feeling she could give no name to making her insides quiver oddly. She had gone instinctively to find comfort from her brother and his wife but now she turned away from the heavy canvas tent opening and crept away on silent feet without revealing her presence.
“Perhaps I am becoming ill,” she thought, putting a hand to her forehead to feel for fever, knowing even as the words formed that that was not the case at all. It was what she had seen; Lucrezia and Milliardo kissing and embracing in the dimness and privacy of their tent. Her brother had worn no shirt and was unpinning his wife’s glossy, night-dark locks with an unusually sensual slowness that started an unfamiliar ache in the pit of Relena’s stomach.
Suddenly she knew what she felt, what she wanted; the tenderness and the urgency, the feeling of being loved. Alone in the tent she shared with Midii, Relena was almost glad the other girl was spending the night with her cousin. With hurried and trembling fingers she undid the white lace bodice of her dusty gown. Dropping the dress to the floor she kicked it away and went to the basin to wash her face. She was surprised at the flush in her cheeks and the brightness of her eyes
“I have something very important to say to you.”
Quatre’s words burned in her ear, as did the feeling of the brief touch of his lips on her skin. She smoothed down the pale blue silk dress she had chosen and brushed out her long hair, leaving it to hang in a smooth sheet of gold down her back, foregoing any bows or braids this night.
As she pushed aside the canvas flap of her tent she was startled to find the object of her daydreams standing in front of her.
His fair skin flushed and his golden lashes fluttered to hide his blue eyes. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I could wait no longer to find out whether you can ever forgive me for what happened this afternoon. It is unforgivable I know, but I don’t think I could bear that we should part with you thinking badly of me.”
He feared it too, she realized, that tonight might be their last one together. A feeling of tension hung like a miasma over the little encampment of tents beneath the endless desert sky. The incident in the town was like a catalyst that had brought all the troubles lurking beneath the surface to the top, like bubbles in champagne. She ached to make the hurt on his face and the pain she knew was in his heart disappear.
“I was just coming to find you,” she said. “I left Midii to sleep a short while ago.”
“Midii,” he echoed miserably. “Is she all right? Will it ever be right again?”
“I don’t know,” Relena admitted, glancing at the dimly lit tent where her friend slept. “She never wanted to come and as you heard her say she wants so desperately to return home. I can’t quite believe how strong her words were. I know she was frightened and upset, but she has always seemed so quiet and timid to me.”
“Trowa’s gone off alone somewhere,” Quatre said, continuing her thoughts. “I wish I knew what is going on between those two. He has that handkerchief you mentioned, the one you though Abdul might have taken. I’ve seen him countless times taking it from his pocket and holding it in his hand. He doesn’t even look at it, it’s as if he doesn’t even know he has it.”
Relena made a quick decision.
“Let us go to your tent, there is something I wish to tell you about Midii and Trowa. Perhaps together we can make sense of it,” she said.
Quatre took her arm and led her the short distance to his own corner of the camp. “I do want to get to the bottom of that. But there is something more important we need to discuss,” he said to her. “Regarding you and I….”
His words broke off and Relena saw that he was looking away from her, his cheeks again bright with embarrassment. His efforts to conquer his shyness warmed her heart and brought heat to her own face that matched his.
Relena felt a sense of taking a life-altering step as she felt the flap of canvas fall closed behind her. All the urgings of her previously well-mannered life were in an uproar. But she did her best to disregard all the teachings of her youth. She was in Cinq no longer and all the rules of royal behavior and etiquette seemed false in this wild, deserted place. And always over her head hung the memory of all she had not had with the handsome diplomat’s aide Heero Yuy and the anxiety that the idyll here in the desert was nearing an end.
Feeling suddenly shy herself, Relena let Quatre help her into an exquisitely carved chair. With a touch of amusement she could see the disparate living styles of her friend and his oddly stoic companion. Quatre’s side of the quarters was nearly opulent, strewn with stacks of rare books and victrola recordings. The materials were all of the finest and several highly-varnished wooden musical instruments lay propped on the carpeted floor amongst silk cushions. Trowa’s side contained a spare cot and a few guns, knives and swords neatly propped against a small, square chest where she presumed he kept his clothing.
“Are you hungry,” he asked her. But Relena shook her head, suddenly finding speech difficult.
“I can’t eat,” she managed finally, followed by a torrent of heartfelt words. “I feel so awful, I keep thinking I might never have seen Midii again. And that horrible man, the way he looked at us. Oh Quatre, maybe Midii is right. Why does someone like you live here like this?”
“Someone like me,” he repeated.
“Yes,” Relena said.
“Someone like you, with your love of art and music, you should be
studying at the finest universities in
“Is that the type of man that would interest you Relena,” he asked, answering her question with a question. And she knew the answer was that she would not be interested in such a young man. She was drawn to mystery and romance. She was drawn to unusual men like Heero. And Quatre, Quatre had his own mystery about him. Here was one of the richest and handsomest young men in the world and he lived a nomadic life, his only companions the taciturn and even more mysterious Trowa and the Maguanacs who treated him almost as a young god. She found herself wanting to know everything about him.
Almost as if he could read her very thoughts, Quatre sat down before her on the floor holding a hand to her to pull her down beside him. She let her hand slide into his and sank to the floor beside him in a swirl of silken skirts that released a whiff of her own lily-of-the-valley perfume.
“I make my own way,” he explained. “I will never take anything from my father. In fact I have not even seen him or my sisters for nearly four years. When mother died we had a falling out, a permanent one. I can’t forgive him for how he treated her.”
Relena admired him for daring to leave his family behind. Despite her anger at her brother over his treatment of Heero she had never had the courage to walk away from him, her only family.
“What happened,” she asked, encouraging Quatre to continue, her sapphire eyes brimming with sympathy.
“The other women, my sisters’ mothers. They were all very good women, very kind to me and my mother. But after what she gave up for him I know that it always hurt her that she wasn’t enough for him. She gave up everything she ever knew to be by his side but years went by and she never had a child. That’s when he married the daughter of a business friend of his. Finally, I was born, the only boy, but mother was never the same after that Rasid told me.”
“I’m so sorry Quatre,” Relena said. “I feel such a hypocrite. I have stayed with my brother when…”
Her voice trailed off.
“You can tell me anything Relena,” Quatre said, his fingers brushing the smooth curve of her cheek.
“I feel so selfish mentioning it. It’s only that I admire your courage in standing up for what you believe in, while I stay with my brother out of habit and because it is what is expected of me.”
“I loved someone Quatre. I loved him quite desperately and my brother drove him away. I did nothing,” she cried, burying her face in her hands and missing the stricken look on the young man’s face.
She felt a light touch on her arm and found herself moving naturally into his comforting embrace. She felt a peace she had never experienced
before, there was not the resentment she had felt when giving her brother a
dutiful hug or the desperation she had felt the one time Heero had taken her in
“Perhaps I am the cowardly one,” Quatre murmured into her hair. “We are all exiles because of what I’ve done, myself and the Maguanacs. I love and miss my sisters. But there is nothing on this Earth that could compel me to reconcile with my father.”
“Oh Relena, I did not mean to distress you,” he said, noticing her dismal face as she clung to him.
He drew away from her a bit.
“Look, I have something for you,” he said. The sapphire earrings from the bazaar sparkled in his palm.
Relena gasped. “How did you know? How did you…
He grinned at her. “I have my ways,” he said mysteriously. Then his smile disappeared and his voice grew serious once again.
“Do I have the right to give you gifts Relena,” he asked. “Is there still someone else who has your heart?”
“I-I don’t know,” she murmured, rather shocked at his straightforward question. Her heart did still ache for Heero and yet she knew that he was gone from her life forever.
Quatre ignored a small, warning voice and reached out to brush a strand of hair from Relena’s face.
“I want to see you wearing these,” he said softly, moving behind her. His hands were gentle as he pulled the hair away from her neck and placed it over her shoulder, exposing her neck and the shell of her ear to him. She held her breath as she felt his fingers removing the dainty pearl earring she wore and then pushed in the golden stem of the sapphire earring.
“Beautiful,” he whispered and she felt herself lean back in his arms, the peaceful feeling she had experienced earlier enveloping her again. She felt his lips caress her throat just below the dangling jewels and his hands were circling her waist, his touch strong and warm.
Her breath started coming faster as his hands moved with growing urgency against the silken fabric of her gown and brushed against the smooth and fragile skin below her collarbones.
And then his lips were on hers and she found herself lying back against the pile of soft, satin pillows and the pleasant weight of him on top of her. Deep inside she wondered at herself, at her unladylike permissiveness. But the sensations his mouth on hers were causing overrode all her instinctive cautiousness. Her mouth parted beneath the pressure of his soft lips and their kiss deepened and became more passionate as she let her body curl against his.
Relena felt lost and breathless when the kiss ended and she opened her eyes to find his face inches from her own, his bright golden hair glowing like a halo in the dim lamplight.
“You had something you wanted to tell me,” she heard herself say, her voice husky and seductive as if she anticipated the words she knew in her heart were coming.
“I love you Relena,” he said, his eyes full of hope and tenderness. “When your brother leaves don’t go with him. Stay. Stay here with me, I want to try to make you happy.”
He loved her. He was not reluctant to say it, she could see in his face that it was true. And his touch and kisses had started a fire in her body. She could not speak but leaned forward to kiss him again.
Quatre held her slim body tightly against his, feeling the pounding of her heart.
“Relena. Tell me you’ll stay,” he whispered.
She took his face in his hands and looked in his eyes.
“Quatre….I….I…..can’t,” she said, her voice breaking off suddenly. “I’m so sorry. I can’t!”
She got to her feet and rushed from the tent.
“Heero,” she thought, running back to her own tent burying her face in her own pillow. “Forgive me Heero. I think I love someone else….”
She lay awake wondering if it was the memory of Heero that kept her from telling Quatre how she felt or that was she still unable to leave her life in Cinq and her brother behind.
Trowa lay back on the sand his arms crossed beneath his head pillowed on his wadded up jacket. From this vantage point on the rise he could see every approach to their encampment and hear any sound that seemed out of place. He had felt so strongly that there was danger to her and yet he had let her be hurt. Not again. He would stay awake all night until they could make a hasty exit from this place in the morning.
Treize took the empty glass of brandy from the guest who had arrived in the camp that afternoon.
“She should be deeply sleeping by now,” he said, looking at his gold pocket watch, attached to his waistcoat by a slender gold chain, a gift from his Lady. “Do you have everything you require?”
“Rely on me sir,” the man said, his voice thickly accented. “We will discover all the young lady’s most deeply hidden secrets this night I assure you.”
Midii tossed and turned restlessly, the laudanum-laced brandy adding a strange reality to her dreams. She felt hands on her, dragging her from slumber and she opened her dream-glazed eyes to dark shapes and flickering candlelight. She felt slow and listless but dizzying fear raced through her as a large hand circled her upper arm igniting memories of the horrible afternoon. She opened her mouth to scream but strong fingers shushed her with a touch before she could act on the impulse.
“Midii, we’ve just brought a doctor to help you. You mustn’t cry out dearest girl, you are safe,” a familiar voice said.
She relaxed although she still felt too groggy to speak, the voice was familiar and soothing and she let the man lift her from the bed and place her in a large wicker chair.
A flame flickered in front of her face, moving in languid, dizzying circles until she felt herself falling back into a state between sleep and dreams.
“Where are you, my child?”
A strange, mesmerizing voice demanded her attention, demanded an answer and she could her herself speaking as if from far away.
“I have returned to
“It is all right child, you must answer my questions. Your Papa would understand.”
The hypnotist frowned as his subject continued to fight him off.
“I must take her back to that time,” he told the watching European gentleman. “She will not break her promise, the influence of her father is too strong.”
The man nodded, bright blue eyes watching the strange proceedings with single-minded intent.
“You have been in
“I want to go home. I am afraid a sandstorm will come and take Papa away from me again.”
The hypnotist nodded, satisfied. A child’s voice, tremulous and frightened. The promise had not yet been made.
“Midii! Where are you?”
“Armana. It is called Armana.
A ruined city on the banks of the Nile…a tunnel beneath the eastern end of the
Her voice trailed off and tears streamed down her cheeks. A voice called to her but she could not answer.
She clung to her father’s hand in the darkness lit by only a few flickering torches. The walls were close and dusty and the tomb-like silence frightened the child. Stronger still though was the fear of being separated from her father. Andre Une looked down at his daughter with mild irritation. The find of the centuries and he was forced to bring Midii along. He loved the child but she should be in her bed asleep, yet she insisted on clutching onto him at every opportunity since she had been lost. Then he noticed an imprint in the wall and held his torch higher, shaking off the child’s hand and staring at the face he had struggled so hard to find.
Nefertiri! The elegant lines of her face carved into the wall and reaching out to him over the centuries to find her and expose her mystery. A glimpse of that fascinating and beautiful face dazzled him until a sharp blow from behind cast him into darkness as deep as that in which she slept.
Midii clung to her father’s prone figure as the narrow passage filled with men and torches. She was too terrified to scream and hid her face in her father’s coat until impatient hands dragged the pair of them from the tunnel and back out into the moonlight. She stared as the men rifled through her father’s jacket taking his maps and the small miniature of mother that he always carried with him. She sobbed in alarm as one of the men took a knife and drew it across her father’s arm drawing blood. Rough hands pulled her up and she saw the knife glittering in the starlight as she struggled to pull away. She felt herself falling back to the ground as a voice uttered a sharp command.
A tall man in white robes stood over her, he held her mother’s picture in his hand and she shied away as a large brown hand reached out to touch her platinum curls and whispered something she could not understand about the moon, the beloved of Aten. As he bent over her his eyes seemed almost kind, and he spoke in words she could understand.
“Go home Ahmose, go home now and never return to this place…if you return here you must die.”
“Midii? What is happening,” the voice spoke urgently coming to her through the mists of time, forcing her response.
“Papa is ill, his fever is so high,” she whispered. “I promise Papa, I promise I will go home and never return. I am cursed, if I return to Armana they will kill me…”
Her eyes flew open, startling everyone in the small, dim tent. She struggled to rise up from the chair, tears streaming down her face.
“Be still child, go back to sleep. You must forget all this as if it were a bad dream,” the hypnotist said shakily, fingers reaching to touch her forehead. Relief filled him as she fell back into the chair and her eyes closed, her breathing slowing to a natural rhythm.
Treize raised an elegant brow at the trembling and sweating German hypnotist they had met in a coffeehouse in the dirty little desert town. Poor Midii was speaking as a frightened child. Of course there was no such thing as a curse, one so young would have been very susceptible to superstition in light of her father’s sudden illness. Armana, he thought triumphantly. It was but a few days ride to the sacred site….
“That was quite enlightening,” he drawled quietly. “I thank you for your help in this matter. He nodded to a cloaked man sitting silently, cross-legged in the corner.
“Sef will see you safely back.”
As the two men left the tent, Sef looked back at the tall European who nodded at him solemnly and tossed him a short dagger.
Tenderness filled his eyes and a wistful smile curved his patrician lips. His Lady looked rather confused by the evening’s melodramatic events.
He drew her close in his arms and kissed her forehead, his lips trailing to the curve of her cheek.
“Get your rest my beloved Lady,” he said. “We leave for Armana in the morning.”
Lady stared after her dearest Treize for some moments after he left her. Then she took a blanket from the bed and covered her sleeping cousin deciding it would not be wise to try to wake her enough to put her back to bed.
Abdul crouched outside Lady Une’s tent, hands clenched into fists that the man had dared to put Miss Midii in such danger. Hers was a secret such as men had killed over the ages to protect. He could not let her be harmed again. He still felt disbelief and rather a touch of betrayal that his beloved Master Quatre had allowed harm to come to this woman who affected him so strongly.
Years before when Quatre had been involved in a university
correspondence course Abdul had come upon one of his books left behind in the
sand. It had been a study of the botany
in the regions of
Miss Midii was like that flower. He would not see her loveliness and innocence crushed beneath the foolish whims of uncaring men.
He was decided. He would follow her when the party took their leave on the morrow. And what his master did not know, his master could not forbid.
To Be Continued….
AN: Ahmose (born of the moon)