Title: There is no Absolution
Part: 3/?
Author: Jenn
Email: Okaminomiko@aol.com, Heeroyuy1x2@aol.com
Archive: Dreamscape Studios (www.dreamscapestudios.net)
Rating: R? Definite implications, but not a whole lot of specifics. A twist of citrus nonethless. Also dark at times
Pairings: 1x2
Warnings: Somewhat AU, although it exists within a close parallel to canon timeline. Definite supernatural implications, twisted theological implications. Also, slight homage to Margaret Weis' SotG. Yes, this is meant to be a rather cryptic fic. All will be revealed in time. ::mysterious look::
Feedback: Absolutely.
Disclaimer: Standard warnings apply, you know the drill. For pleasure, not profit, and calorie-free!

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There is no Absolution, Part 3
by Jennifer Beacham

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"I could ride with kings and conquer many lands
Or win this world at cards and let it slip through my hands
I could be cannon food, destroyed a thousand times
Reborn as fortune's child to judge another's crimes..."

from A Thousand Years, by Sting
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"Why won't you let me go to him?! Why?" Silence. Only silence greeted him, scoring the scenes that played out in the watching pool at his feet. "I could stop this," he whispered, kneeling down on the sand. He reached out, touching the pool's surface. It caused the water to ripple, but banished the images for no longer than it took for the ripples to smooth. He closed his eyes, but they still played out in his mind.

Elegant white wings shivered, manifesting the emotion held tightly leashed inside. Inside was a relative term in this place, where he possessed a body only because he willed it so. It was the body he had worn in life, only now it bore the wings that, for him, were a mark of what he had become.

What *had* he become? His appearance was angelic, but this wasn't heaven.

*You only remain here because you cannot let go of what you were,* a voice whispered into the silence.

He looked up, seeking the source of the voice, and finding nothing but the mists and the watching pool. The Watchers themselves chose to remain unseen. "Am I barred from paradise, now?" Oddly there was no fear in his voice, only a calm acceptance.

A soft wind stirred his hair, as though some great, invisible creature had taken a breath. *The only obstacle that keeps you from what lies beyond is yourself.* A thread of sadness seemed to temper that formless voice. *You are blind because you choose not to see.*

"I can't leave him," Duo swallowed hard, desperation making his voice hoarse. "Look what my death has done to him. Do you see what he's become?" His eyes moved helplessly to the visions in the pool, the water stained red by the sheer amount of blood that filled every image. "He's a good man," he whispered. "This isn't like him."

*He has chosen his own path. It is the gift of all mortals... The right to choose.*

"These choices will damn him!"

*All choices have their consequences.* There was no condemnation, only simple surety.

"If I could only speak to him...I could turn him from this path." The dead could shed no tears...but the tears he could not shed gleamed like jewels in his amethyst eyes. "I cannot rest if I must spend eternity parted from him." Rising to his feet, he slowly turned, searching for something, anything, some sign that his pleas were being heard. "There must be a way."

*A mortal cannot return to the mortal veil once it has left it.* There was a pause, and then the voice added, reluctantly, *not without great cost.*

Duo shivered. He thought he knew just what that cost would be, but couldn't keep himself from asking. "What is the price of leaving?"

*Your soul.*

*******

Dreams... What were they, really? The attempt of the mind to process the information it had received throughout the day? A formless amalgamation of memory and thought, with no more cogent drive than the moment dictated? Or were they more?

Could a dream tell the future? Or shed light on the past?

"God, what am I doing?" He stared at the elegant stone risers that led up to the front door of the Winner estate, unable to take even one. The morning had begun...badly. Heero still didn't understand. Not that he did. Rubbing wearily at his eyes, he pushed away from the motorcycle, forcing himself to take the first step, and then another.

*Do you believe in God, Heero?*

*No.*

'I don't either. Not since--' He swallowed hard, fingering the cross at his throat. God had turned his back on him long ago. At the time, it had seemed only fair to return the favor. Shinigami was all he believed in, all he needed to believe in.

Perhaps the error in judgement had come in believing that, simply because he chose to forget God, God would forget him.

The top of the stairs came faster than he expected it to, and he found himself staring at a polished, hardwood door. He'd been in this house many times before, and never once had he knocked. The heavy knocker felt strange in his hand, impacting the door with a discordant clang.

/"Is Wufei there?"/

The door swung open. Recognizing him, the servant immediately waved him inside with a questioning glance. He knew as well as anyone that Duo never knocked.

/"Duo? Is that you?"/

Quatre's voice had sounded concerned, even over the phone, earlier that day.

/"Yeah, it's me, Quatre... I really need to talk to Wufei, is he there?"/

/"Um, no, he went out with Trowa just a little while ago. Is everything alright? I was concerned when I didn't hear from you about the mission." A pause. "Is Heero ok?"/

/"The mission went fine, Heero's fine. I'll be over there in a little while, tell Wufei I'm looking for him."/

/"Alright, Duo, I will."/

/"Thanks."/

Quatre really had no idea how un-ok everything was. Which is why Duo made every attempt to avoid him as he sought out Wufei's haunts.

***

Breathe, step, push against the air as though it truly offered some obstacle to the impossibly smooth, steady motion of his hands. Graceful crane, stooping hawk, serene lotus blossom, breathe, step...lose yourself until there is nothing else in existence but your body and its need to move and flow, at one with the air surrounding it. Take strength in the quiet... until the quiet is irrevocably broken.

Duo Maxwell could move with the stealth of a panther when he was on a mission, but at any other time he thundered in like a one-man cavalry, guns blazing. "What is it, Maxwell?" Wufei asked without breaking form or opening his eyes.

There was a pause, one in which the air seemed to palpably thicken with tension. Dark eyes flickered open, hands dropping to Wufei's side as he focused on Duo with a quizzical look. The braided boy seemed almost...hesitant, pensive even.

"You believe in reincarnation, right?".

Wufei visibly started, it was probably the last question he'd expected to come tumbling from Duo's lips. It was his turn to pause, taking a moment to gather up his fragmented thoughts from where they'd scattered all over the floor. When he answered, it was with caution, as though he expected Duo to spontaneously sprout another head. "It was a belief held by many of my people that the soul continues until it attains peace or enlightenment...yes."

"Ok..." Duo began to pace, twisting his braid in his hands as he cut a path across the practice mats. "So, if you made the same mistake every time, you could continue for a while, right?"

Frowning, Wufei shrugged. "Theoretically. But Duo, the point of living again is to learn from past mistakes, gaining wisdom each time."

Duo stopped, turning to flash the Chinese boy a smile that was both wistful and bitter. "Love makes you do the wacky," he said quietly.

Wufei stilled. "Duo... What's going on?" He was seized with a sudden desire to do anything to get rid of that awful smile. "Why are you asking me this?"

"God, Wufei--" Duo stopped, laughed with a bitterness to match his smile. "It's all about God, isn't it?" he murmured, then raised his head to look at the other Gundam pilot. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you. The strange thing is, I really wouldn't want you to." He closed his eyes. "That would make it real."

 

(to be continued...)