5-17-2001

Yes, this is dedicated to Lady DarkAngel. She didn't request a fic, and she doesn't know that I wrote one for her, but I did. Why? Because when I read her fic "I Cry," she said that it hadn't helped her feel any better. I was hit with the sudden inspiration to write * something* for her, in the hopes of making her feel a little better.

For those of you reading "Of the Sea," I had *intended* to finish writing the next part last night, but I was writing this.. I *will* be getting it out tomorrow or Friday, though, I *promise.* I feel bad about making you guys wait so long...

This idea has been floating around in my head for a few days now, and since I had the inspiration to write it, I did. I think I did a good job on it, and I only hope that it can do what it was intended for. ::huggles Lady DA:: feel better, ne??

 

Title: Cliff Angels
Author: NoirAnge
Part: 1/1
Genre: um.. mystical? sure..
Archive: DHML, those who have some of my stuff already, and anybody else if they ask!!
Pairings: slight 1+2 2+1, 3+4 mentioned
Rating: PG
Warnings: this is somewhat AU, but it takes place after the war, so who knows.. might be considered OOC for Heero, might not. a little sad at parts, it think. Most importantly, though, this is *not* a deathfic. It may appear that way at some times, but as you'll find in the end, it's not. Bear with me here, ne??
Spoilers: none
Disclaimers: I don't own Gundam Wing in any way, shape, or form. I'm not making money off of this either.
Notes: Parts of this are told from POV, although it isn't POV of the main characters. You'll figure it out soon enough. Most of it, though, is told from third person.

"blah" is talking

"blah" is, well, let's just say that it's *not* talking. note the indentedness.

hope you enjoy!!

 

Cliff Angels
by NoirAnge

 

Life had been good since the war. Duo was happy, living with Heero. It only made sense, since they were partners. They worked for the Preventers, of course, but it didn't take up all of their time. Duo liked to sketch, draw, sometimes even paint. He got a little income from that, and Heero worked as a mechanic at the local shop. It wasn't like they needed the money - the Preventers paid well, and they had also gotten quite a bit of money from an organization Relena had set up in appreciation for their efforts during the war. No, they didn't need the money, but it was work they loved doing, and so they did.

You ask, well, what of their relationship? It wouldn't really be called intimate, although it went beyond friendship. They had a deep understanding for each other, of what they had been, where they had come from, what each had become. And no, Heero wasn't so emotionally ignorant as many people seem to believe. You see, while he may not have been as connected with his inner self as some, he understood his feelings. He fought for a cause that he believed in, not blindly, and he had a very strong character. Duo was, perhaps, the first person to be able to recognize this. maybe that's why they understand each other so well.

But now I will tell this story a little more seriously. It isn't one of those things that happens every day, you see. Heart wrenching at parts, but heartwarming nonetheless. It wasn't until after the series of events had all taken place that it was discovered what exactly had happened, and it was a strange story indeed. You may not believe me so much at first, but by the end I think you will. I can only hope that I am as good a storyteller as my father is. After all, it was he who first came to understand how it all happened.

********

 

Duo and Heero were sitting at the cliff, watching as the streaks and sprinkles of color slowly faded on the horizon. Duo, as an artist, loved watching the sunset, and Heero, with his deep love for all the wondrous things that had to do with this world, loved it as well. But it was more than just that. The cliff looked out over the ocean, and that in itself was special. Water has long since been a symbol of change, of rebirth, and for them, it was not only a representation of that, but a symbol of their friendship as well. The first time they had met had been over the water, after all.

And that, even, was not all of it. The sunset truly was something that belonged to Earth, solely. in space, there was no sunset or rise, the sun was just there. Seeing the sun come and go with each new day was a joy in and of itself, as it was how nature truly intended things to be. Far more real that a time-regulated day and night schedule, when you knew to the minute exactly what time it would be light and what time it would be dark. And so it was that the two of them sat together as the darkness gathered over the ocean, the cliff, the whole of their world.

The wind stirred, slightly, shifting Duo's bangs across his face and twirling in Heero's hair.

"Come with us, come with us..." it seemed to whisper. "Fly with us, dance with us, fly..."

It was not often that they came to this place, this place that seemed to symbolize everything that they were and had been. It was too precious to be ruined with frequent visiting, too great of worth to be taken for granted so.

"Come, come, fly with us..."

Heero smiled, a gently smile, as he stood up. It was comforting, the words that seemed to come from the very air, whistling around him gently, light as faeries' kisses. Duo, following his example, stood up as well and they began to walk along the road, back home.

"Next time, next time, you will fly..."

***

Duo sat, crosslegged, in his backyard, and for once, his bangs were tucked back into his braid. Only one single wisp of hair had escaped, successfully dancing circles on his face as the wind blew in gently gusts from time to time. Duo would look up, and then back down at the sketch book lying in his lap. He was drawing the oak tree that stood proudly in their yard. A grand only thing it was, huge in its old age and still beautiful with the green of spring. Duo's muses had given him inspiration, and he drew a small wooden swing hanging from one of the branches, with a young girl, curled hair flying behind her, swinging on it. There would be a dog, sniffing at one of the numerous acorns, and flowers in the girl's hair.

It was then, as Duo was drawing the details on the ropes of the swing, that Quatre came, walking toward him.

"Hey, Duo!" he called, and continued when the other boy looked up, a little surprised. "You didn't answer the door, so I figured you were either back here or not home. Guess you were here, huh?"

"Ah, Quatre, you don't have to make excuses," Duo said as he walked over to give the blond boy a friendly hug. "It's been a long time, hasn't it? I don't see you around at the Preventers as much as I used to. Busy with the Corporation, I'd guess?" Quatre nodded, grinning. "So, ho are things with Trowa?"

Quatre's grin widened. "Great. Although I am busy with work , and him with the circus, we still have time for each other. And how about you and Heero? Still good friends? It was him I came looking for, though it is great to see you again."

"Yes, we're still good friends. How could you ever doubt it?" Duo asked with a wink. "And you can check at the shop, but if he's not there, check the cliff. He likes to go there by himself, sometimes."

"Thanks, Duo. I'll come by later, okay? After I find Heero." Quatre, turning, caught sight of the sketch book Duo had left on the ground. "Hey, can I see your drawing before I go?" he inquired.

"Sure," Duo said, running to pick it up and returning, showing it to his friend. "It's of the oak tree there. The girl and swing are just out of my own imagination."

"Wow." Quatre was awed. "You always did draw so well, and this just proves it. Well, like I said, I'll be coming back, so I'll see eyou soon!" Waving, Quatre left and Duo sat down once again, finishing the ropes and starting on the dog.

***

The wind was, once again, blowing softly as Heero stood at the edge of the cliff, looking out over the ocean.

"Come with us, fly with us, be free..."

He could almost see the spirits flitting around him, almost feel their feather-light touches, like gossamer wings fluttering against his skin. He could see the waves crashing on the rocks and cliff face, the sun shining brilliantly in the sky. He was oblivious to all other things.

"Come, come, be with us..."

Quatre was driving up the road, and, seeing Heero, pulled over.

"There you are!" he called, approaching. "I was looking for you." But Heero didn't turn around. "Heero? Are you okay?" Quatre questioned. Heero still didn't turn around. Worried, Quatre began to run over to him, but stopped dead in his tracks when he saw what the other boy did.

He had jumped. Right off the cliff. Quatre instantly started up again, racing the last few feet to where Heero had been standing just moments before. Tears were blurring his sight.

"Why, oh why..." Quatre asked as he watched Heero fall, spread eagle, with the wind whipping his clothes and hair. Quatre turned away, unable to watch the last few moments when he knew that Heero's body would be smashed on the rocks below.

His tears flowing freely now, the wind stirred the boy's hair but once.

"Free..." it whispered.

***

Duo was beginning to add color to the sketch when Quatre burst into the yard, sobbing. Dropping the sketch pad and pencils instantly, he ran over to meet Quatre.

"Oh my gosh, Quatre, what's wrong? What happened?" He had never, ever before seen the boy so grief stricken.

"It's Heero, Duo," Quatre said, still sobbing as he fell into Duo's arms. "He... he... Duo, he jumped off the cliff. Right when I got there. He didn't even hear me calling, he just.. he just..." Quatre couldn't say any more as he was so wracked with tears. Duo just stood there, arms soothing Quatre of their own accord. He was too shocked, stricken, to do anything else.

***

"He was my best friend, a great man, and I will always remember him," Duo finished through his tears. He stepped down from the little podium set there for Heero's memorial service, and Sally stepped up to replace him.

"Thank you, Duo," Sally said through her own tears. "Now, I would ask that you all give a moment of silence in respect for this wonderful man, who was a good friend to many of us here, and a hero to the entire world." They all bowed their heads, and many a tear was shed. The wind, ever present so near the ocean, played gently through the assembly, sweeping the tears around in the air before letting them drop to the ground.

"Come with us, come with use, fly with us..."

Trumpets began softly to play Amazing Grace, and Duo, taking the bouquet of white roses from Sally, approached the cliff edge. Tears still streaming down his face, he cast them out over the crashing waves, one last dedication to his long lost friend.

Duo felt Wufei's hand rest on his shoulder, as he, too, gazed silently over the ocean. Quatre and Trowa approached on his other side, and they all stood there, mutely drawing comfort from one another. As the music died away, the others that had come began to walk back to their cars, ready to go home. Soon, the four of them were quite alone.

They had been a team. During the war, the only people each of them had had to turn to was each other. And now, one of their number was gone. They had all asked themselves why he had done it, but none could think of a reason. He had jumped, and that was all.

They began to turn away, finally, but Duo lingered there, surveying the ocean, questioning it with his stare, as if it held all the answers he longed to know.

"Duo," Wufei said gently, "come on. It's getting dark." He came, and the four of them left together, climbing into Duo's car and going to spend the night at his house, that had so recently belonged to two people.

The wind swept up as the car turned around a corner, bringing the salty ocean spray with it.

"He is free, he is free..." it whispered. "Come join us, he is free..."

***

Duo sat on the cliff, grieving silently, his eyes closed. His friends had left that morning, after he had promised no to do anything rash, and he had come here. What had happened, that made Heero want to jump? It didn't make any sense, the boy had been happy. He never was one for covering up his feelings. Suppressing them, maybe, but not replacing them with a mask. So why had he done it? All Duo wanted, was to know why. Surely, that wasn't asking much.

"Shh, shh..." the wind whispered in his ears. "Shh, he is free, he is free... shh..."

Duo had never wondered at the little voices that were always present here, whisked about on the wind. It had been part of the magic of the place. But now... maybe this was why, maybe...

"Shh, he is free, he is one of us, one of us, come with us, fly with us, fly with him, be free..."

Duo could feel the wind kissing his face, playing with the wisps of hair escaping his braid. He stood up, taking a deep breath, eyes still closed.

"He is here, come with us, come, dance with us..."

The wind continued to whisper, ever so softly, in his ears. And then, with one last gust, it announced itself and left.

"Come," it said. "Fly..."

And then, Duo understood. As he had always understood Heero so well, he understood him now, and he knew why. Why he had done it. It was not a feeling that could be explained with words, portrayed with gestures. It was a peacefulness that you could feel in your very soul, and yet, it was more than that. Far more than that.

Turning away, Duo headed home, a small smile ghosting across his face.

***

The next day found him setting up a canvas in his living room, mixing paints, readying brushes. He dipped one of the brushes in the blue paint, and began. Blues, yellows, oranges, reads, greens, purples. He painted and he painted, adding a dab of color here, a swish of the brush there. When he was finally finished, many hours later, he carefully lifted the painting and, setting it on its side, slowly and neatly wrote some words on the back, setting it back down on the easel when he was done.

Quietly, Duo turned out the lights and slipped off to bed.

***

Early the next morning, he was awake again, writing. Signing the bottom of the paper with a swish, he set it on the kitchen table. Taking the canvas off the stand, he cleaned up his paints and brushes, put everything away, took the painting, and left the house, walking down the road that lead to the cliff.

***

As he stood there, Duo knew that this was exactly what it had been like for Heero. It was still morning, and the sun had no yet reached its zenith. The waves crashed against the cliffs, and, most importantly of all, the wind was swishing about, as it always did. This, this was how it had been. He understood, completely.

"Come, dance with us, fly with us, come..."

Duo breathed in deeply, surveying the ocean for one last time. It would, after all, be different from now on. Everything would.

"Come, fly..." the wind whispered, and that was all the urging he needed.

He jumped.

He could feel the wind picking up speed as he fell, see the rocks getting closer. Closer and closer they came, until finally, they stopped. Duo felt himself, light as a feather, being lifted up, just before he had crashed like so many waves upon the rocks. He was flying, just like they had said, and... and...

He turned, and there was Heero, smiling at him. Not entirely the same, but not changed so much. Duo smiled back. They understood each other, and that was enough. They were happy.

Duo felt the wind picking up, and he flew up and over the cliff, laughing with joy.

"You are one of us, one of us, fly, fly with us..." the other spirits told him. And he did.

That magical place, that he and Heero had loved so well, was now never to be parted from. He could stay, flying, dancing, free. Every sunset, each new day, always in this place he would be, with Heero. It was, he realized, how things had always been meant to be.

 

********

Yes, and that was how it happened. I'll tell you, I am not so near as good a storyteller as Quatre is. He's my father, you know. That's how I came to hear this story. Although, it isn't so much a story as some might believe it is. In this day and age, of course, there are few that are inclined to accept that perhaps, just maybe, there are some things in this world that can only be described as magic. That's what it was after all, and no story, but the truth.

Oh yes, how was it that Quatre discovered what had transpired? And what was it that Duo was painting? I shall tell you, then. I will, for your sake, attempt to make it brief. You've been listening to me long enough, and I think some of you are more than ready to go home.

********

 

It was on the very same day Duo had left that, late in the afternoon, Quatre had come to Duo's house. The blond had always had a good intuition, and when he had feelings about something, he followed them. In this case, the feeling was that something very important had happened, it had happened to Duo, and he needed to find out what it was as soon as possible.

After several rings of the door bell, Quatre decided to try the door. It was open, and he went inside. He didn't see anything of note until he spied the paper lying, alone, on the table. Picking it up, he began to read.

 

Dear Quatre, Trowa, and Wufei,

First, I would like to say thank you, for being the great friends that you have been. I know that you will not immediately understand, and may never, but I have done what I can to help you along. When you find this letter, I will have already left for the cliff. Go there, and look for the painting.

And now, I give you my final farewell. From me, as well as from Heero. We will not really be gone, but I am guessing that you will never physically see us again. I'll meet you at the cliff.

Forever,
Duo

 

Quatre was confused. He would never see Duo again, but Duo would meet hi at the cliff? Folding the letter into his pocket, Quatre quickly left the house and got in the car.

***

He saw the painting almost immediately upon arrival. Walking over to look at it, he was puzzled by what he saw.

"Free, free..." the wind whispered, blowing his hair gently.

Quatre looked up. He had never really heard the wind before...

"The painting, the painting, they are free..."

He looked back at the painting. It was of the cliff, the very cliff that he was standing on.

And was that... those swirls of color, was that wind, or were the swirls figures? And was that, faintly painted there, a braid? A tousled head of hair? Quatre looked closer. Yes, it was. Tears began to come to his eyes as he realized what it meant. Duo had jumped.

Turning the painting over, he saw the words Duo had written there. "The Final Freedom."

"Shh, shh, free, they are free..."

Quatre's tears began to spill over as he made his way to the cliff. The sun was dipping low on the horizon, beginning to paint it with orange, pink. As he stood there, watching, the only things that moved were his hair, swept by the wind, and the tears that were trickling gently down his face.

"Shh, shh, we are free, Quatre, free... don't cry, don't cry..."

He turned away, just before the sun disappeared below the sea. He understood that they weren't gone, that they would be here, forever more, flitting with the slightest wind around and around the cliff. He cried, still. No, they weren't gone. But he would never see them again.

"Happy, happy, we are free.. understand us, we fly..."

 

********

And so it came to pass that Heero and Duo found, together, the ultimate joy and freedom. Quatre was sorely grieved, as was my other father, Trowa, and Wufei as well. They understood, though, and it was more a bittersweet thing than anything else. Heero and Duo were happy, after all, and would be until the cliff crumbled away into oblivion. The others were happy for that.

A little more of the tale, you ask? Well then, I will tell you this. To this very day, as you sit on that cliff, you can still hear the wind, whispering away. Some cannot hear the words, but most can. And some, even, can recognize Duo and Heero when they choose to speak. When you go there, you will be able to feel the magic of the place. I promise. Even, you will feel the joy and the sense of freedom that surrounds it. And perhaps, just maybe, you will be able to understand just why Duo and Heero made the choices that they did.

 

*owari

 

So, how did you like it? Did it make you feel any better, Lady DA?? ::hopes:: Feedback is much appreciated, though I didn't really do it with that intent in mind. I'm proud of the fact I wrote it, and I think it's an example of my better work. I only hope that it helped anybody who was feeling down, and especially, of course, Lady DarkAngel. That was for you, hon. ::hugs::

NoirAnge