Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, the boys aren't mine. >.< Not making any money off it, either. Gundam Wing and all characters belong to someone who is not me, namely Bandai and Sunset.

Warnings: 2x1, dark, angst, swearing, violence, deathfic. Features dark!Duo. Did I mention dark? R for language, violence, and death/suicidalness

Kagi's notes: I don't normally see 1x2/2x1 being this dark, and I don't write them this way as a general rule. This is pretty opposite of how their two characters are stereotypically displayed. I don't generally support this kind of bastardization of Duo (or any of the guys, for that matter). Just... exploring the possiblity. Duo POV on this part.

Thanks: to Amanda, Somali, DreamWeaver, Nenya85, Katran_sama, Briar Eve and others who left reviews or took the time to tell me what you thought; I live for feedback! Thanks much to Hiriyou for betareading -- I'm going to go ahead and post this without hearing back from you the second time, because I think it's done, and I want to post it today for the holiday. *evil grin* I'm just twisted like that. ^_^

Dedication: this part is dedicated to Moonraven, who isn't going to read it, because it's a deathfic. ^_~ She did, however, make me read Mikkeneko's 'Torn', which gave me the last bit of inspiration I needed to finally finish this part. Thank you!

Death's Angel
Part Three: Angels Fall
by Kagemihari

I didn't care, I didn't. Not in the slightest.

I don't need him. It doesn't matter, what happens to him.

I can live without him just fine. I can replace him just that easy, I can find someone else. Someone else with a fire inside. Someone else to control. It doesn't have to be him. I just don't give a damn.

My heart didn't stop when I saw all the damage to his machine. I didn't freeze in horror when he stumbled out of it, limping, bleeding, and finally crumpled, exhausted on the ground.

I watched him fall, and lie as if dead; saw his broken form bleeding life away. Glittering crimson rivulets streaming on the ground.

He didn't move, and I didn't care.

I didn't cry a single tear. My heart didn't suddenly break under the weight of my illusions, as they shattered. I didn't feel like I was broken too; I didn't wish I could die. I didn't fear the dark, cold days without him. Life without his heat. I just... didn't care.

He would be gone, lost, at peace finally -- but robbing me of the one bright point of clean fire in my bloody, frozen, forsaken life. It didn't matter -- I was better off without him. Without his love, without his caring touch, without that insufferable patient devotion, no matter what I did. No matter what I said. That heart-wrenching smile beneath the sad, bruised eyes.

I didn't need him, really. I didn't care at all.

I didn't get angry, I didn't snap, I didn't hate him for making me so afraid to live without him. I didn't want to hurt him the way he was hurting me. Because, of course, I wasn't. I wasn't afraid, or hurting. I never let him become such a part of me that it felt like it was I who was now injured, bleeding.

I didn't scare myself with the strength of my sudden agony and fear. I didn't scream in pain and anger, I didn't hit him, hurt him. I didn't want to make him suffer in return. I didn't let myself take out all my rage and terror on his wounded frame.

I didn't care. At all.

I was always good at lying to myself.

But I could never lie to him -- damn him. He always knew, always saw right through my walls and shields as if they weren't there; and I used to hate him for it. He never fought back against me, ever, just calmly looked me in the eye -- me, not Shinigami, not the mask I wear. He saw right through, to my raw and naked soul, and he knew, he knew... God it hurt!

How dare he, how dare he make me care? How dare he steal my soul, my heart? I never wanted this! Never wanted to want anyone or anything like this. But now, I need it -- damn him! Look how weak he's made me, how easily he makes me bleed, scream.

God, I want to kill him for this! -- does he have any idea what I've paid to build these walls? What kind of pain and blood and tears went into making my defenses? And Mr. fucking Perfect Soldier just blew them all away; shattered them to smithereens. Annihilated with a breath, as if they were made of dust -- or fragile, brittle glass.

//Fuck you! I hate you! Look what you've done to me... no... please, no more... just -- leave me alone! And that's what you're doing, aren't you? You're going to leave me alone... I can't depend on you. I can't let myself need you like this. I'm only going to lose you, just like everything else I've ever cared about.

You've walked into my heart and stole my soul against my will; and now you're such a part of me that I can't live without you... but I have to. I have to, and I can't -- and you're to blame for this! You bastard... you've destroyed me, broken me, and I'm torn and in pain and it hurts... //

I feel betrayed, abandoned, by you and my own will. Cut to the quick -- it's a quaint phrase, yet that is how I feel: slashed open on a gut level, so deeply that it bypasses any rational response. I don't even think, I just react. I shake with the force of my anger, laid open to this devastating loss, and I have only one defense left -- attack.

But it wasn't I who let that rage loose and turned it on my hunter. It wasn't I who tapped that simmering resentment at my capture, the agonizing grief at my betrayal, and freed it to destroy.

I stood and watched from otherwhere as Shinigami attacked, stood tearless, bleeding dry, in shock and devastation as the God of Death lashed out, dealing with a threat in the only way Death knows.

Total elimination of the threat.

It wasn't I who rained savage blows on the bruised and bleeding Soldier. It wasn't I who was further enraged when he made no attempt to defend himself. It wasn't my hands around his neck, crushing with as much force as the rampant emotions crashing down on me. It wasn't I who found, somehow, a knife in those same hands, and stabbed him through the heart. The same way that my own heart had been pierced, by the torment of his tireless devotion. By the agony of living each day with that endless promise of something I know can never be truly mine, not for me. Not for Death.

Death can't love -- not without bringing death to the thing that it loves. But I didn't kill him.

And I didn't feel a sharp, rending pain in my own chest as I looked on. I was numb with shock, and I just stood and watched. It wasn't I who killed him.

Nor was it I who saw, with vicious hatred, the look of understanding in his eyes -- though dark with pain, there was the glow of calm surrender. The resigned acceptance as he realized that sometimes, fear is stronger than hope. That love doesn't always conquer all.

The relief of absolution, completion; the peace as he accepted that you can't save Death -- only join him.

I could only stand, numbly, watching as Shinigami wreaked his vengeance; and wondered why if felt as if my heart broke in two, was torn to shreds and bleeding from a thousand wounds. He didn't fight back! Goddamn him... he's gone, he's gone... god...

But it was I who saw him there, when Death's rage was spent, I who knelt and took his dying body in my arms. It was I who recognized that final light of sacrificial atonement, fierce joy at last in retribution. As his eyes closed for the last time, he smiled through his cracked and bleeding lips, mumbled, "Love you."

Love Death.

//Bloody hell... you bastard! You can't love Death! Are you insane? suicidal? or just plain foolish?//

I heard his faintly whispered words, so tender even yet, and it was I whose grief rose up and choked the life out of me. Who couldn't breathe for what seemed like hours, if only minutes; not even to loose a cry of agony. It was I then, finally, who sat and screamed, no tears, just crying out in riven anguish.

//I knew that this would happen! Why wouldn't you let me hate you?

Why couldn't you just hate me?

Why? God....//

I sat and shuddered, mind and heart, and sanity, splintering -- into scintillating razor-edged shards of irreparable defeat, failure, covered in bright crimson -- /so wrong, death should be dark, not bright/ -- blood that was not mine.

But it was -- oh, it was. Every last drop of his blood was mine. I had always known it.

I'm haunted now, by the memory of his light and heat -- /love/ -- my world a thousand times darker for having had him in it -- lost him. Hopeless in a world of endless night. Endless cold. The one constant, my dark angel Soldier, the one thing I had come to think might never let me down... fallen...

//You said you'd always be there for me! But you can't; you could never promise that... It's my fault; it's all my fault.

You should have known better than to put that kind of hope on me. I don't deserve it, never did. I'm not worth the price you paid. I'm the God of Death, Shinigami, death to anyone who gets too close to me. Don't make promises you can't keep -- damn you!//

Now I have to try to find a way to live without him. Now he's gone, and it hurts -- it hurts! He's gone, and I'm left with the ashes of my tattered soul. The memory of wings, of flying; of peace I'll never know again. Oh god, it hurts like fucking hell.

I realize now, how foolish I was to ever think that he was safe -- to think that I could play with fire, and not get burned. That I could take my solace and never give anything back. That I could let him love me, and never lose my heart.

How foolish of me to hope -- such a worthless emotion, to dare to hope -- that he would be strong enough for both of us, strong enough to bring life to Death. A sick feeling of regret and black despair twists through my gut, of deadly self-recrimination.

I knew it, you see. I knew that it would be this way. And I couldn't save him, I was too selfish and weak to save him from myself. He was the perfect soldier, an angel with superhuman strength; an angel, but still -- only human after all... And I knew it.

Even angels fall.


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