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Habitat for Redemption (part 2)

Ravyn Fyre


Heero slipped out of his room into a lavish hall.

Not a hospital then, but one of Relenaís private estates. Guess there were advantages to being Queen of the World.

Well, if this place was anything like any of the other estates and manors heíd seen during his various wartime infiltrations, then the bulk of the building should be off... this way. He turned and set off down the hallway, pleased to find his guess correct when he came to a grand staircase. He stared down the three floors to the marble tiled floor of a huge foyer, where dozens of people were filing through the main doors. His gaze traveled back up the room, noting the myriad of other hallways branching off from this foyer, on this floor, the one below it, and the one at ground level. Despite the large number of choices, everyone seemed to be headed in the same direction: an opulently carpeted corridor to his left.

As Heero turned to wander down the stairs, a familiar looking braid of chestnut hair caught his attention. Duo, and the others had just appeared on the second floor and were now heading down the left passage that ran above the popular one on the main floor.

Heero slipped down the stairs to the second floor and followed, determined to catch up to Duo and drag him off for a private talk. He followed the corridor until it opened up on a large balcony, overlooking a grand receiving hall.

The Hall was filled to capacity, with more people trying to slip through the double doors at one end. Upon the other end, a dais had been erected, with a podium perched atop that. The wall was draped with the Peacecraft Family Arms. Guards stood at all corners of the dais, and beside the door that obviously led to a dressing area.

 

But Duo was nowhere to be found.

Heero was about to continue along the balcony, when a reverent hush fell over the crowd gathered below, and Relena stepped out from a curtained doorway behind the dais. She stepped up to the podium and greeted everyone. With very little preamble, she launched into her dissertation of Total Pacifism.

Heero listened with interest. There had been a time when he considered her goal far too idealistic, far too naÔve, to ever be feasible. But here they were now. The war was over, and weapons were being discarded by all of humanity.

Granted, it had taken a violent and bloody war to accomplish that feat, but the end result was the same.

Or was it?

On the stage, Relena was even now voicing the thoughts that had just run through his mind. Her words of "violence and bloodshed", and "consequences of war" stuck in his mind.

Zechs had told him once that the only way to achieve Relenaís goal of Total Pacifism was through war. Only then, would humanity truly see and understand the futility of fighting. At the time, while the thought had seemed repugnant, Heero had seen the wisdom of it. But now, looking back at his role in the war, he began to have doubts.

 

Unbidden, a little girl, trying to hold a squirming puppy sprang to his mind. As he closed his eyes against the memory, he could still see the sparkle in her eyes, and hear her happy giggle as she ran after her playful pup. He still had that flower, pressed in the pages of one of the few books he owned. That is, if it survived his nearly fatal last battle in Wing Zero.

He almost rushed back to his room, then, to check for that book. Suddenly he needed to know that the memorial had survived his own stupidity.

His eyes snapped open and he turned to flee the hall. But the little girl did not leave him.

She stood before him, eyes no longer smiling, mouth no longer laughing. Heíd never found her body, only that of her puppy. Then again, heíd never needed to find her body; he could already imagine what the horrors of his own mistake had done to her. Thatís how she stood before him; ravaged by his own foolishness and ineptitude.

Her light hair was matted with blood, and singed with fire. Her pretty dress had been torn and ripped, flashes of crimson stained flesh peeking through the tears. Soot and blood marred her elfin face, dyed her murdered cheeks. Her eyes flashed accusingly, leaking tears of hate and shame.

Why? I was kind to you? Why did you murder me?

Heero fell back a step, a raw gasp of anguish escaping his lips.

He hadnít thought it was very loud, but a few members of Relenaís audience turned to stare at him crossly. No. Not crossly. Hatefully. Their own bloodied countenances turned towards him, one by one, each victim nudging a neighbor and pointing up at Heero where he stood fearfully on the balcony. Even a floor away, he could make out their wounds. Their gunshots, their broken limbs, their seared flesh, their blood and gore dripping to stain the floor. Slowly, the audienceís attention left Relena and fixed upon him.

Some wore uniforms, some not. Too many of them wore civilian clothing. Too many of them were children with accusatory glares and silent screams.

You murdered us all. How many, Heero? How many of us fell to you? The hall isnít big enough to hold us all, Heero. Youíve flooded the world with our blood.

The crowd shifted. There wasnít a uniform amongst them anymore. There was nothing but legion upon legion of innocent bystanders. Children, Adults, the aged, the infirm. They all sported his mark upon them. His gift of death and pain.

They slowly began to shuffle past him, flowing out of the room, only to be replaced by others, also bearing his stain of murder upon them. Only She remained. Her eyes stared at him from every face. Her pitiful wail echoed from every throat.

Why? I was kind to you. You murdered me. How many times did you murder me? How many times more will you murder me, Heero? How many more times will my blood stain your hands?

He jerked, staring down at his scarlet stained hands with morbid fascination.

NO! The war was over! He didnít need to kill anymore! He wouldnít kill anymore!

Once a murderer, always a murderer. The soldier within you is too stubborn to die. You will kill again, Heero. You will kill me again. Itís your destiny.

He staggered back a step. NO! He would not! He COULD not!

She left him, vanishing in a flash of light and a mist of crimson. The audience had returned its attention to Relena.

A hallucination. It had to be a dream or a delusion or something. That was the only explanation. Especially since no one in the audience even seemed to notice his existence anymore. He started to breath a sigh of relief, but something about the almost sinister quality of the silence of the hall made him pause.

On the dais, beside Relena, She reappeared. Relena peered down at her, curiously not shocked to see her there. The girlís accusatory finger rose, and unerringly pointed out Heero where he stood, weak kneed on the balcony. Relena turned her gaze upon him, and began to cry scarlet tears.

The girl stepped away from the Queen, allowing Heero a better view of the dais. The dais where he saw himself standing, hidden in the folds of the Peacecraft Arms. This other Heero was dressed in black, from head to toe, with a dull, black gun clenched in his right hand.

How fitting for an assassin.

He watched, horrified as the other him raised the gun and fired upon Relena. A flower of blood bloomed upon her breast, shattering it. Shattering the peace.

Your destiny. You will never be free of the bloodshed and death. Why did you murder me? I was kind to you.

Heero fell to his knees, his heart voicing the cry that his lips could not.

Relena!

As he watched, her blood stained her white dress, covered the floor, spread throughout the audience like a tide. She turned her hateful gaze upon him again.

I loved you. Why did you murder me? Why do you murder all that you touch?

One person in the audience, and one alone, had not turned to face him. The black clad figure stood with his back to Heero, the figureís chestnut braid lying motionless across his shoulders. Below him, Duoís attention was riveted by the other Heero, the assassin on the dais. The assassin whose gun was aimed steadfastly at Duoís head.

DUO!

Heero sprang back to his feet, reaching for a weapon that wasnít there.

Some peaceful boy. Even amidst all this blood, you still look for your gun. I thought you didnít need to kill anyone anymore.

The crash of the gunshot exploded around the hall, deafening him. Duo collapsed to the floor and did not rise.

NO! DUO!

Your destiny to kill him too. You kill everything you touch. Itís how you were raised. How could you change? Born a murderer, live a murderer, die a murderer. I was kind to you. Why me? Why did you murder me?

It was an accident! Heíd never meant-

Youíre the Perfect Soldier. You donít make mistakes. Why? Why am I dead? Why did you steal my life from me? I was kind to you.

Thatís the answer. Donít you see? I was kind to you. I was wholesome and pure. I was everything youíd always wanted in your life, but been refused. Hateful boy. Jealous boy. You must destroy that which you cannot have.

Thatís why itís your destiny to destroy them. To destroy everything you touch. The world is not yours, Heero. It will never be yours.

NO! He didnít want her! Duo! Itís Duo he wanted! Duo loves him! Why would he need to destroy Duo? Duo was his!

So you agree. You murder that which you cannot have. Why would He ever want such a hateful, jealous, stained boy?

Something icy and slimy slipped along his soul.

She was right. Why would Duo, his Duo... Why would his braided angel want anyone as foul and unclean as Heero was? Why would Duo want anyone with as much blood on his hands as Heero had? How could he bring such taint upon his koibito?

He didnít deserve Duo.

He could hear the laughter of the souls heíd damned. He could hear Her angry shout behind him.

You donít deserve happiness! You donít deserve Duo!

She was right. God help him, but she was right.

 

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