It Happened One Halloween Night
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"Hey! That's a neat costume," the scruffy-haired boy smiled at the long-haired child from behind his pirate's patch. "You're umm..."
"A templar," the long-haired child replied. "Father Maxwell says that before they got greedy, the templar knights were the best warriors in the world, 'cause they protected God's stuff."
"I know," the pirate told the templar. "I meant your name."
"Nope," the boy replied. "Not supposed to tell until midnight."
"Oh," the pirate sounded disappointed.
"Hey, let's get out of here and go trick-or-treating." the templar suggested. "It'll be fun. Come on!"
He ran outside, down the path and out of the gate with the boy in the pirate's costume following, but stopping at the gate.
"I can't," the scruffy-haired boy said, "I'm not supposed to leave the yard."
"Neither am I, but so what? What can they yell at us for that we haven't already done?" He backed onto the sidewalk and then the street, "Hey! What are you waiting..."
The speeding car that came around the corner cut off the boy's last word. It skidded to a halt after sending the boy's body several feet into the air and then crashing down against the pavement with a sickening sound.
The driver of the car got out and came running to where the boy lay in a pool of blood, his body too broken and twisted to not be dead.
"I told you you were going too fast!" a passenger was screaming at him.
"SHut up! Goddamn it, just shut up! God, let her be okay, please let..."
"Hey," the driver's girlfriend said, examing the body as she tried to find some ID. She wanted to tell the boy's parents. She wanted them to know how sorry she and her friends were. But she knew it would never ease their pain. "She's a boy."
"A boy? No, it can't be." the driver shook his head, "a boy that pretty would have to be an angel."
"Well, he certainly is one now," the other man argued, "you killed him. God, you stupid son of a bitch. You just killed an angel. Do you have any idea what God is gonna do to you? I'm outta here. Don't expect me to ever go joyriding with you again, Kushie."
"That's Kushrenada," the boy shot back. "And it was your idea to steel Ninny's dad's car, Miles."
"That's Milliardo to you," the other boy retorted. "And her name is Noin, not Ninny. Ninny is what you are."
The police siren and sound of other voices brought their fight to a close.
As the three were lead away in handcuffs, the white-haired boy looked back over his shoulder to see the scruffy-haired pirate glaring at him with a look of bitter anger.
"Heero," Duo said, cheerfully as he glomped his favorite Gundam pilot. "What's the matter? Where's your costume? It's Halloween. Remember? We promised we'd take the kids from school out for trick-or-treat."
"I can't go," Heero said, as he finished as he knelt before an altar and lit a joss stick.
"Isn't that Wufei's?" Duo asked.
Heero nodded. "He let me borrow it," he told Duo. "Duo, I had a bad Halloween a long time ago, and this makes me feel better."
Duo smiled as if the sentiment somehow touched his heart in some special way. "You want to talk about it?"
Heero shook his head. "I don't remember the events. Just that Halloween is always sad for me."
"Well, maybe making the kids happy will cheer you up," Duo suggested. "Come on, I'll miss you if you're not there. Who will I have to tease?"
"But who will I have to torment?"
"Who will give me the silent treatment?"
"And who's gonna kiss me," Duo asked, giving the most coquettish look he could.
That did it. Heero grabbed his costume and put it on. The image of a pirate staring back at him brought back flashes of a memory long forgotten.
He saw the scene as if in the strobing flash of a forensic photographer's camera:
The shattered glass.
The lifeless body of the first boy who'd ever tried to befriend him. Hair that ridiculously long framing an empty socket that had once housed the companion to the other violet eye which stared glassily up at him from a dead face.
Heero spun from the mirror, the vision quickly passing until it was nothing more than a faded memory that left Heero wondering why Duo looked so disturbingly familiar.
"You okay, Hee-koi," Duo asked, turning to look at the man he loved as the ambulance sped on toward the school.
Trowa, Wufei, and Quatre were putting last-minute touches on their make up in the back of the ambulance.
"Yeah," Heero nodded. He wasn't about to tell Duo that he had just hallucinated about him being dead. That for some reason he was almost certain that Duo either was dead or was supposed to be. No, he'd never say that to the boy he loved. It was just too mean.
"Okay, if that's how you wanna play it," Duo smiled. He felt oddly relieved at Heero's chosing to remain silent. He, too, had once had a bad Halloween. He'd gone to a party and had made a friend, but then a car had almost hit him. He didn't know how it missed him. He had fainted or something. But something had always nagged at him since then. It was something he knew he would have to confront sooner or later.
And it scared the hell out of him.
"They're here!" the children all cheered. "The Gundam Pilots are here!"
"Oh, cool! It's Duo! He's so cute!" one girl squealed.
"Yeah, but he's in love with Heero, so you can't have him," another girl teased.
"Yeah, but that means you can't have Heero neither." the first girl shot back.
"Now, children, behave," their teacher told them. "You don't want me to send the pilots back home, do you?"
"No, ma'am." the kids all replied.
"Okay," the teacher smiled. "Now, why don't you boys introduce yourselves?"
Heero stepped up to the front of the classroom. "My name's Heero Yuy," he told the other students. "I'm the pilot of the Gundam that's called Wing."
Heero started to go into details about his Gundam. He was cut off by kids with questions about a more important subject less than halfway through his first sentence.
"When are you gonna marry Duo?" a girl, not one of the first two, asked.
"When did you and Duo fall in love?" a boy asked.
"How come you love a boy?" yet another girl wanted to know.
"I love who I love," Heero replied. "Besides, Duo's the one who freed my soul. He made me happy. That's why I love him. "
Still standing at the corner behind the desk with the other pilots, Duo was blushing at the unexpected questions Heero was getting.
~Yes,~ he thought, ~when are you going to marry me? I'd say 'yes' if you just asked me.~
"So, you gonna propose to Duo?" another kid wanted to know.
"Um... well..." Heero hedged...
Trowa turned to Quatre and put a hand up to his ear to muffle his whisper, "you have anything to do with this, love?"
"Maybe just a little," Quatre whispered back.
"Duo," Heero said, realizing that there'd be no getting out of it this time. He'd wanted to do this many times, but had always put it off or given himself some excuse to be busy. He began to suspect that he'd been set up. But that was okay. He didn't mind being pushed into something his heart had been nagging him to do for the longest time. "Would you come here for a moment?"
Joining Heero, Duo waved cheerfully to the kids who applauded in response.
~Oh, God, Heero.~ his thoughts and heart raced, ~Are you finally going to ask me? Please, let that be why you called me up here.~
"Duo," Heero asked, taking the other boy's hand, "will you marry me?"
There was a silence for a moment, as the kids and their teacher awaited the response they hoped Duo would give.
"Yes," Duo finally said. "Yes, Heero, I will marry you."
Heero drew Duo close and gave him a tender kiss before releasing him.
Both of them were waving to the kids when Duo spotted a boy wearing an old templar costume. Memories assailed him like a thunderstorm:
A speeding car.
The feel of two thousand tons of steel slamming into a child's body.
The pain of a second impact as that same body struck the pavement.
A feeling of pain beyond description and the cessation of that pain at the moment of...
"No," Duo whispered, "It can't be..."
But he fainted before he could utter another word.
Duo woke early the next morning with piles of blankets on him and Heero gazing down with an statement of worry on his face.
"You feeling better?" the Perfect Soldier wanted to know.
"Not really," Duo's voice was troubled. "Heero, do you remember when we first met?"
"How can I forget?" Heero stroked Duo's face. "You shot me."
"No," Duo shook his head, "that Halloween. When we were kids."
"Oh Kami-sama," Heero shook his head. "That's not possible. It isn't! You can't be him! That kid was killed instantly."
"It hurt so much," Duo remembered. "The pain was indescribable, Hee-koi. I..."
"No," Heero shook his head. "No, don't say anymore. Not another word. You aren't dead. That's impossible."
"Did the kids have a fun Halloween?" Duo asked. "I hope I didn't worry them."
"They all thought you fainted because of the proposal," Heero replied. "Wufei took them out while the rest of us stayed by you."
Duo gazed at the ring on his finger. "So, we really did get engaged?"
"Yes, Duo-chan," Heero kissed Duo's hand, then his forehead, and finally, his lips. "Now, you rest up a bit. Our wedding is in a few hours."
"A few hours?!" Duo yelped.
Heero smiled. "I didn't want to wait to spend my life with you."
Duo sat up and purred as he nuzzled Heero affectionately.
"You may kiss your spouse," the priest told Heero as he smiled upon the couple.
It had taken Quatre some time, but he had managed to track down a priest who would perform same-sex marriages. Although the public view of such things had changed drastically, the church, what was left of it, like to cling to old values, so it was hard to find anyone to actually perform them.
Heero leaned forward and kissed Duo. "Ai shiteiru, Duo."
"I love you, too, Heero."
Quatre wiped the tears from his eyes as he watched his friends stand there and exchange their vows and kisses.
"They'll be happy, won't they?" he asked Trowa.
"They'll be fine, little one." Trowa assured his love, putting an arm around the young heir's shoulders.
"Happy Anniversary, Duo-chan," Heero whispered to the boy he loved as the two walked home from their favorite restaurant.
They hadn't gone far when a gang of street-thugs encircled them. They fought well, but in the end, sheer numbers held out. Duo gasped as they held him down and removed the wedding band and engagement ring from his finger.
The minute the engagement ring left his finger, Duo vanished.