"I believe that we form our own lives, that we create our own reality, and that everything works out for the best. ...I think I'm here for a purpose. I think it's likely that we all are, but I'm only sure about myself."
"You won't leave me, will you?" Quatre whispered. Funny, I had been about to do just that. I don't know why--it was stupid; I needed Quatre like I needed blood, or oxygen. It was just that for one self-deprecating moment I thought that now that the war was over, he wouldn't want me.
I could really be an idiot sometimes.
"Not if you don't want me to," I answered, and his face lit up, the way that only he can do, that look that makes me melt into some pocket universe where only he and I exist. It was the right thing to say, and he let me know it. His small strong hand slipped into mine.
"You're my soulmate, Trowa," he whispered, warming my entire body with such simple words. "Of course I don't want you to go. I'd move the stars for you."
I bent to kiss him gently, lightly--there were people around, and at the time I was not as comfortable with publicity in our relationship as Quatre was. "And for you, angel, I'm sure they would get up and dance."
He flashed me a grin that was half innocent and half downright suggestive. "Yes, lover, but would /you/?"
I had to laugh. "Am I to try to resist you when you look at me so?"
"That's enough, loverboys," Duo interrupted, grabbing my other hand and tugging us both toward the waiting shuttle. "There's a victory party just waitin' for us to really get swinging, and I for one am not gonna miss it because you two are looking all googly at each other!"
He was right--spirits were high, even ours, and in the grand light of our victory we gave ourselves leave to forget, for one night, the price we had all paid to reach it. We drowned our deaths in drink, covered uninhabited graves with triumph's flowers, and, as the night wore on, let our bodies give testament to the life that some of us were still allowed to live.
For a night we were all happy. From a haze formed from a heady mixture of good vodka and high exposure to Quatre, I watched Heero dance with Duo and Relena--at the same time--and saw both the objects of his affection laugh together. I witnessed Sally sneak past Wufei's guard and knock him to the ground as they sparred playfully, and Quatre whispered to me as he pulled her down onto the ground next to him. I saw Zechs holding Lucrezia Noin comfortably in his arms as if she had always belonged there, both their faces free from the strain of being on opposing sides of a universal war.
Relena giggled as the trio danced closer, and held out her hand. "Come dance with us, sillies!" she commanded, tugging weakly at my fingers. She was drunk too, and she teetered when I let her pull me to my feet. Quatre bounded up with me, and threw his arm around my shoulder. Relena draped herself over my other side and the five of us wobbled around the room in a big tipsy blob, bumping into people, or the wall, or tripping over the occasional passed-out drunk on the floor.
"I wan' tell you all a secret," Heero slurred, leaning his face into the circle til he was almost bumping my nose. With giggles and gasps we all leaned in as well, even though he was almost yelling. "I love all you guys...an' this's th' happ-happy--happiest!" It took him three tries to get out the word, "night'v my 'ole life!" With this declaration he stomped his foot, and we all cheered and patted him on the back as though he had said something incredibly profound.
In the end we all collapsed onto the soft grass in the backyard--no, I have no recollection of how we made it outside, but we did.
"You're right, Trowa!" Quatre mumbled giddily. "The stars /are/ dancin'..."
Duo burst out laughing, and beer spurted out of his nose. "That's just 'cause you're drunk, Q-man!" he sputtered, batting ineffectually at his now-wet shirt.
"Is it?" The idea didn't seem to bother Quatre in the least. "I don't care, it's pretty."
"A lot prettier now'n they did yesterday," Heero affirmed, though it took him more than one try to get out. "Yes'r'day they were--they were--"
"Scary!" Relena crowed, immensely proud that she'd finished his sentence for him. She rewarded herself with a good long drink of Duo's beer. It gave her the hiccups.
In the end we fell asleep there, the five of us in a damp, warm, drunken heap on the Peacecraft mansion's back lawn. When the sun finally woke us, sticky and hung over, we staggered to the kitchen to giggle yet some more over coffee and a pharmacy's worth of aspirin.
I moved in with Quatre after that. He was surprised, if pleased; he said he'd thought I would want to go back to the circus. I reminded him that had only been a front, a place to hide while I was fighting Oz. The only place I really wanted to be was with him. When I said it, he kissed me so hard I felt dizzy. I guess I'd said the right thing again.
See? I'm not /always/ an idiot.
I really believed that everything was going to be all right. After all, Quatre told me it was, and for me, that was tantamount to gospel. I had everything I could ever need or want, and it was all contained within a single beautiful, blonde, angelic body.
The trouble with pinning all your joy and hope on a single creature is this: if anything happens to that creature, your world comes tumbling down around your ears.
It was just a car. A stupid car with a stupid drunk driver at the wheel. We survived battle, capture, having prices on our heads, angry mobs, armies, and the Zero system, and what happens? Something ridiculous and mundane like a grey Toyota zooming along in the rain slides out of control and knocks right into us.
And my beautiful, idiotic lover tries to shield me with his body. Didn't he know I'd never forgive either of us if he died? I skidded along the road, my screams muted by the squealing of skidding tires as I watched his body catapulted across the hood. I crawled through the mud to reach him, to cradle his limp body in my arms and kiss away the blood from his face.
"Don't die, Quatre," I whispered. "Please..don't leave me here..."
His eyes opened--dark with pain, shining with tears. "Who's dying?" he rasped, forcing a smile to those soft lips. "I'm not leaving you, Trowa. I told you...I'll never leave you."
Later the doctors would tell me otherwise, while he lay in the hospital, his fading life monitored by the incessant beeping of cold grey machines. He'd be all right, they told me, if he hadn't hit the ground just so, if the impact had been a little lighter, if one way or another the cracked rib hadn't pierced his heart. They were trying. They would keep trying. But I could see in their eyes, even when they promised me it wasn't the end yet, that they truly knew it was. "It would take a miracle," I overheard one say.
I asked them once if I could give him my heart instead. It was such a small price, since it was already his. But they smiled sadly and told me it wouldn't help. So I sat by his bed instead, pressing kisses into his palm and pleading with whatever God existed, if any did, that they wouldn't take him away from me now.
I'd never really prayed before. I'd seen Duo do it often enough, though, and in my desperation I did all I could think of to do. I called him.
His voice was bleary, sleep-fogged. "--Trowa? Man, it's three in the morning, what's wrong?"
"Duo, I need you to show me how to pray."
"WHAT?" Pure, unadulterated disbelief made his voice a squeal before he repeated his question more calmly. "Trowa, what's wrong?"
I told him. There was a long silence on the phone, and a stifled yawn, and then his voice was firm. "I'll--I'll be right there, Trowa. Half an hour, tops." He hung up.
It was less than half an hour, and I still don't know how he got there so fast. He'd hurried, I could tell--his clothes were wrinkled and wisps of hair were flying away out of his braid, as if he'd done it on the way. I saw him wince when he saw Quatre, like he hadn't quite believed me til he saw it for himself, and he crossed himself hastily.
"Show me?" I asked.
He nodded and took my hand. "Come on, Trowa. Let's go outside."
He led me away from the hospital, into the park across the street. There was no-one around at three-thirty in the morning, and we walked past an empty playground and into the shadowed shelter of a copse of fir trees.
"I thought you usually did this in a church," I ventured, and Duo just chuckled sadly and shook his head.
"You can pray anywhere, Trowa, that's part of the beauty of it. I just feel better out here under the sky--don't you? It's comforting, somehow."
I just nodded. "I guess you're right. What do I do?"
Duo's big violet eyes were dark with mingled sorrow and amusement; he really didn't know what to make of me. "Trowa...you don't /do/ anything. You just ask God to grant your wish, and trust that He knows what He's doing and that whatever happens is what's best for you."
"What's best for me is Quatre!" I felt the words rip my throat in half before I could stop them, and there in the dark with no-one but Duo to hear, I wasn't sure I wanted to stop them. I really did cry then; gasping, racking sobs that made my body shake, and Duo put his arms around me and pulled me close. For once, he didn't have anything to say.
Dawn broke far too early; and Duo departed for his job with a hug for me and a promise that he'd be back. Those awful machines were still beeping away at Quatre's life, and I felt like each time it sounded I was another second closer to losing him. The same doctor, a woman with greying auburn hair and sympathetic eyes, told me I should get some sleep. I was exhausted. But I couldn't just go to sleep, for fear I would miss out on any single moment whatever was left of Quatre's life.
Of course, nobody can stay awake forever. I stretched out next to him, wrapped my arms around him, and held him close. At least if he was going to die, he would die in my arms. I could give us both that much, even if I couldn't keep watch every minute.
I nuzzled against him, resting my head in the hollow of his neck. I could feel his pulse there, weak against my skin, and it reassured me--maybe if he started to slip away I would hear, and wake up, and still be able to say goodbye. It was the only way I could let myself drift away.
I dreamt that I was holding Quatre's hand, and he was flying. We drifted through space, without shuttles or spacesuits, just the two of us. Wings, like long frayed strands of gossamer and spidersilk, spread from his back, and as long as I touched him I could fly too.
"See?" he told me, pointing, his glorious blue eyes sparkling. "The stars are dancing."
"I told you they would, for you," I said. "I can never refuse or resist you, and I find it hard to believe that they would either."
He smiled at me, and it was dazzling. "Perhaps you're right. What do you think I should ask them?"
The answer was easy. "To let you stay with me forever!"
His wings folded, he dropped a little ways, and wrapped his arms around me. He held me close against his chest and bore me up again, into the velvet black of the sky. "Then I shall," he promised.
"Quatre--" I was afraid. I was afraid this was our good-bye, and that I would wake up and he would be gone.
He kissed me into silence. "I would move the stars for you," he whispered. "Surely, in comparison, to live with you is not such a hard thing?" He brushed his finger across my cheek, and a cascade of glittering crystalline tears floated into space. "You're my soulmate, remember?"
"I love you," I told him desperately. I clung to him, this winged dream-Quatre, and cried my devotion into his silky blonde hair while he held me, floated alone with me in the endless void of space.
The pillow was wet when I awoke, and the remains of my tears were still stinging my eyes. The pulse against my cheek was faint still, but steady.
"Wake up, sleepyhead," a soft voice whispered in my ear. "Be glad I didn't let Duo wake you when he came back."
"Qu--Quatre?" I lifted my head, startled, almost afraid of what I would see. He was smiling at me, his face pale and drawn, his body still marked and scarred with the signs of his ordeal, but he was /smiling/. And even in his pain he was beautiful, as if all that was unnecessary had been burnt away til there was nothing left but this beautiful, fragile creature before me.
"You were expecting someone else, love?" he asked, and reached up a frail hand to touch my cheek.
I pressed a kiss into his palm. "I was afraid," I whispered to him.
"I know," he answered, his fingers straying upward to tangle in my hair. "But I told you I'd stay, didn't I? I love you."
I waited with him while Duo came back with breakfast, while the doctors ran a series of tests to divine the result of this miracle. I tried to thank Duo, but he just gave me a bright, baffled grin.
"I'm not a miracle worker, Tro-chan," he said with a laugh. "True love works miracles, not the god of death."
Quatre was still weak, and his energy was failing him. But he was really going to be all right! He wasn't leaving me; he promised not even death would come between us. I sat on the corner of his bed and he rested his head in my lap, and drifted slowly to sleep, his voice but a whisper of breath against my knee.
"...the stars for you..."