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Oct 02 2012

A Deal with Death

Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing or its characters and ain’t getting paid
Title: A Deal with Death
Author: Karen The Huntress
Rating: R
Warning: During the war but slightly AU, angst, language, suspense, not a deathfic
Pairing: 2+1
Part: 1/1
Feedback: Always appreciated and answered
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A Deal with Death

An enormous fiery dragon’s eye, the sun radiated dazzling crimson rays. Moment by anxious moment, in haste to flee twilight’s undaunted advance, the solar orb made a cowardly retreat below the crimson horizon.

 

Dusk came quickly.

 

Ebony tides of night engulfed the diminishing day. Amongst gnarled trees with bare branches shivering in icy wind the resulting obscurity spawned illusive shapes and illusory shadows.

 

Cold currents, leaching blanched mist from nowhere yet swirling everywhere, shrouded a tall, gaunt form floating soundlessly, never touching winter-dead ground choked by withered weeds and brittle brambles.

 

Black cloak covered a threadbare robe. Tattered cowl veiled a fleshless skull. Empty eye sockets smoldered with scarlet embers to rival the vanquished sun.

 

Just as void of flesh and knobby as the trembling trees, skeletal fingers curled around the staff supporting a curved steel scythe stained with the blood of a thousand and one sinners. Grim Reaper paused to rest his tool of vengeance on one bony shoulder then, in the same wraithlike mode, resumed his hell-dispatched mission of soul retrieval.

 

In pursuit of the malevolent Harvester of Souls a shorter lithe figure, dressed in priestly yet heretical garb, raced through the ominous forest.

 

“Wait!” a raspy voice implored. “Please.” was pleaded with labored breaths.

 

Displaying pitiless disdain, Death acted as though he neither heard nor cared.

 

When the tenacious tracker finally closed the gap distinct physical details were ascertained.

 

Human.

 

Pubescent male.

 

Long chestnut braid.

 

Amethyst eyes—iridescent like faceted gemstones.

 

Face flushed from exerted efforts the young man’s dogged pace matched the preternatural phantom’s gliding strides. “You have to listen.” he begged insistently.

 

“No time.” Death stated in a hauntingly detached tone.

 

Without falter or fear, the impetuous youth grabbed a fistful of fluttering cloak and demanded with brash boldness. “STOP!”

 

A single heartbeat. Death spun so swiftly the pivot produced a whirlwind of murky fog.

 

Scythe scratched rocky ground. Thorny tentacles snaked about the youth’s boots; entwined legs, hips, arms and torso until he was immobilized by the sharp barbs’ agonizing embrace.

 

Death hovered so close his pungent stench of decay was nauseating. “You are foolish. Even a fleeting touch on my robe should have meant an instant end for you.”

 

The specter belched sulfur-drenched breath. “What is your name, boy?” was inquired with a sardonic sneer.

 

Obstinate attitude in force, amethyst eyes gazed into red glowing vacancies where eyeballs should have been. “Duo Maxwell.” he declared without the slightest shudder.

 

“Duo Maxwell.” repeated Death with a clatter of fossilized teeth.

 

One bony finger hooked the gold chain gleaming in stark contrast to Duo’s black jacket. The cowl slipped sideways as the adornment dangling from the center link was inspected. “What is this?” asked Death rhetorically.

 

Resisting an overwhelming urge to evade the ghoulish touch, Duo answered, “My cross.” then braced for the Reaper’s repulsed reaction to the sacred emblem he despised.

 

“You are very brave to wear this damnable symbol of sanctification in my presence.” Death growled venomously, “However I must respect your courage. What is so imperative you would risk your existence to interfere with my claiming quest?”

Duo wasn’t deceived by the exiled Archangel’s dubious sincerity or duped into any sense of false security. He was well-aware of the lethal consequences should Death change his hypocritical mind, yet, saving his fallen comrade was worth the danger.

 

“I’ve come to beseech mercy for my friend.”

 

“Tell me, Duo Maxwell, for whom will you forfeit your soul?”

 

“Heero Yuy.”

 

“Ah yes, the Perfect Soldier.” Death verified the condemned man. “It was Heero’s choice to self-destruct his magnificent war machine and remain in the midst of the explosion. He intended to die. Now I will grant his wish.” was promised with haughty pleasure.

 

Although memories of Wing’s horrific detonation sliced through Duo’s heart like shrapnel had riddled Heero’s body, sacrificial love strengthened his resolve. “No matter what I have to endure Heero will not die tonight. IT IS NOT HIS TIME!”

 

Death leveled the scythe at the presumptuous infidel’s head. “How dare you decide when such things are meant to be!”

 

Incensed sparks flickered like fireworks inside Duo’s widened pupils. An enraged “NO!” fanned those amethyst sparks into a dark violet inferno that incinerated the fettering vines.

 

The scythe quivered in its suspended sweep but what halted the intended decapitation was unclear. Had Death rescinded his deadly reprisal or was celestial authority keeping the razor-honed blade in postponement?

 

Now a contest of wills played out as neither Duo nor Death would yield.

 

Thunderclouds billowed. Supercharged bolts of white-hot lightning lanced the firmament.

 

As sky blazed and forest shook with unbridled fury, Death was stunned by defiance equal to his evil influence. This perplexing revelation left the macabre Master of Hell no alternative but to revert to his true nature—the infamous serpent responsible for Adam and Eve’s shameful expulsion from Eden.

 

Face to face with the vile creature that had orchestrated mankind’s fall from grace, Duo clutched his cross entangled in a contorted serpentine chain, shut his eyes and summoned courage to fight the apocalyptic battle.

 

In prayerful solicitation he offered entreatments for Heero’s salvation and murmured humble supplications for his own wicked transgressions. Resigned to fate’s judgment of his worthiness, the deferential petitions ended with a whispered, “Amen.”

 

Without warning images of the past invaded Duo’s mind. Excruciating pain surged through his body in torrid currents. Anguished screams assaulted his ears then were amplified by his own agonized wails. Next the future was envisioned in scenes of dreadful destruction and awful carnage.

 

Vicious torment racked Duo’s psyche. As he tottered on the edge of madness, embryonic energy transmogrified a dormant beast into an indomitable entity powerful enough to banish the Minion of Sheol back to his underworld realm.

 

For the first time in countless millenniums Death was afraid. “Shinigami.” he hissed in unaccustomed reverence.

 

Hard breaths pounded in Duo’s chest, sweat-soaked hair clung to clammy cheeks but cruel eyes cast an unworldly glower at his penitent foe.

Shedding his scaly guise, the Grim Reaper stared through sightless hollows. Scythe dropped from crooked fingers. A barely discernible sigh wafted forth with the strong scent of sulfur.

 

“I underestimated your determination; even so, strength of will may not be sufficient to summon Shinigami every time your comrade is hunted by Hellhounds.”

 

“I know,” Duo acknowledged his human limitations, “yet I will fight by Heero’s side until this war is finished or until we die together.”

 

While Death didn’t adhere to the concept of fidelity, he was impressed by Duo’s devotion. “If you are as dedicated as you profess then I purpose a deal.”

 

Skeptical of any contract with the devil, Duo inquired, “What are the stipulations if I consent?”

 

“I require an avenging god of death so you and Shinigami will be bonded forever as one. In return you will quench my demonic thrust for the blood of warriors slain in battle.”

 

Duo called Death’s hand. “I know about your empty promises, have experienced firsthand your many acts of betrayal. What is my guarantee you’ll keep your word?”

Death pointed at the churning clouds ablaze with heavenly fire. “You bested me with confidence of mind and certitude of spirit therefore I will uphold our pact.”

 

This time Duo didn’t solicit forgiveness for the immoral bargain. There was no “Amen”, instead, “I agree.”

 

“Excellent!” exclaimed Death with triumphant delight. “Befitting our partnership your fighting machine will be granted black wings for stealth and wield a double-bladed scythe so the enemy can discern my sting of death. What name will be bestowed on your winged demon?”

 

Duo considered his voluntary descent into depravity, also his eternal bond with Shinigami. “Deathscythe Hell.”

 

“So be it.” Death decreed as he vanished into the icy mist.

 

“Death may claim my soul,” Duo declared, “but Heero will always have my heart. Here me now. Feel my strength.”

 

******

 

Miles away a thousand pinpoints of starlight studded the cloudless sky but, oddly, the full moon was encircled by a blue-violet aura.

Swathed in bandages, Heero Yuy lay pale and still on a crude bed within a canvas circus tent. He’d been that way, shallow breathing and faint pulse—comatose—for weeks.

Suddenly a jolt like an electrical shock convulsed his limp body. Rapid intakes of air fully inflated lungs and warmth replaced bone-deep, soulless cold.

 

A dim essence shimmered just beyond the gradual regeneration of consciousness. However, what he couldn’t comprehend through muddled senses was keenly felt by his revived spirit.

 

“Duo.” was whispered too softly for anyone to hear.

 

Slowly Heero opened his eyes.

 

Blinked.

 

Once.

 

Twice.

 

A blurred image came into focus. A smile brightened the compassionate face.

 

“Trowa.” Catherine Bloom called to her adopted brother. “Your friend is awake.”

 

OWARI

 

A Deal with Death—Karen Hickman—October 2012

 

Thank you for reading!!

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