Disclaimer: You certainly know the score.

Notes: I'm replacing the chapters because I've cleaned them up a little. Nothing has changed over all. I'm back again, because I was checking out Gundam Wing again, and whammo – the stories came back. Check out the "doing" series, it's far more entertaining. Reviews also make me happy.

Warnings: Disturbing themes, Substance Abuse, Self Harm References, Strong Language, Sexual Relationships (Het and Slash), Violence

Song: No Reply - Cowboy Bebop OST

:: I close my eyes and watch as my life passes by ::
:: The only thing I see is you ::
:: For all the times you walked the line for me and standing by my side ::
::I say thank you::

Fade To Black

By Doctor Megalomania

Prologue: Like the Perfect Ending

:: You in my life ::
:: It all meant so much more to be ::

Silence is one of the heaviest sounds.

Even when there is no true silence.

The humming of the machines, the steady beep-beep-beep of the heart monitor, the artificial breathing equipment and the slow hiss of the air tank. Even the drips seemed to add to the melody of life support, desperately as if to hush away the silence. Her pen scribbled louder, pressed harder against her clipboard than usual. The clear plastic curtain danced with the air conditioning, unaware of the silence. Somewhere down the corridor, Mrs Martha Harman wailed for the bedpan. Her family, too tired to care for her anymore, had abandoned the grand old lady here, well into her last few months. Suffering from dementia, Mrs Harman wailed day and night convinced she was going to wet the bed.

The vague, muted sounds of the small radio on the nurses' desk played on under her wails.

Classical music during the night, a gentle respite from the wailing living dead. The ward for the terminally ill and the comatose was never a happy shift to pull. It was hard on the soul, so very hard. Through it all, tender violas and harps played modest acoustic rest for the staff and for those who slept on. Her watch continued to tick, every second hammering against her heart. She looked at the time as she made her final observations.

She glanced up as a colleague ran past the observation window, carrying an empty bedpan for Mrs Harman.

As she prepared the next injection for her slumbering patient the commotion outside grew. She ignored it, her patient coming first in her attention, whatever happening outside coming much later. She stifled a yawn as she drew back the plunger. She wasn't a young woman, no, she'd been a nurse here for more years than she cared to count. She'd seen war injured, seen the old come and go . . . but never had she known such a unique man come into their care. He was too old for the children's ward, too ill for the normal coma ward, too rich to let the media know and too loved by the colony's public to let go.

He'd been lucky.

He'd side-stepped death.

The assassin's bullet had ricochet off the walls of his skull, around the cranium liquid that kept his brain afloat. Shooting someone in the head had never really been the surest way to kill a man but looking at the boy now, she almost wished he'd died. The bullet never touched his brain but was trauma enough to cause a body-wide shutdown; he was trapped in the arms of sleep, with death and life bartering for his soul.

She shook her head, after so many years . . . when the peace was so stable, everything they'd ever fought for finally blossoming . . . someone still held enough hate for this poor man?

He'd suffered for this colony, suffered terribly . . . it was becoming known, though through rumour and with scientific analysis of the old battle data collected about them, exactly what the Gundam pilots had to go through in order to be able to fly their mobile suits. After all of this, after all he'd done, someone could still hate the boy enough to try and put a bullet in his head.

She raised her mask and stepped though clear plastic curtain, her eyes once more drawn to the observation window.

No matter how many cases she'd seen, she still felt for this boy. She felt – unashamedly – pity for him. After all he'd done, there wasn't one visitor. No one came to see him in the last twelve hours of his admittance. None had come asking, searching for him even though he was missing for some time. True, perhaps no one knew; they'd kept the admittance of such a revered person quiet from the media on the request of his lawyer. His lawyer - the only person close to him who knew - was currently busy making arrangements to carry out his living will. The tramp that had found him was given a hot meal, the promise of a place at the local hostel as arrangements were made to give him a new life in return for his silence on the matter.

The lawyer, a Mister Unterward, had informed the hospital that he would be informing the media of his client's condition tomorrow and that they would be expected to give some sort of statement toward the status of his client.

She sighed once more, tiptoeing around the life support equipment carefully.

The boy - though really at twenty-seven years of age, he was a man – was pale despite his tanned completion. His eyes were still under his lightly closed eyelids and his breathing was forced to be regular. The side of his head, where they'd been forced to shave off half his hair, was still bloodily bandaged from the operation to retrieve the lodged bullet. Tomorrow they'd shave the rest of his hair ready for the operation to retrieve to fragmented casing. It wasn't life threatening right now, but the boy couldn't be left with casing floating around his skull.

His pulse was currently stable, weak, very, very weak, but at least it was stable enough to keep him alive, strong enough for the next operation.

She pushed one of his limp arms to expose the elbow and prepared it for the injection. As she administered it, she glanced into the boy's face. He was so handsome now, his face had lost the trappings of youth and here was now the face of a handsome young man, fine, honest and upstanding. Tonight it was trapped behind an air mask and a few bandages and plasters, tomorrow it would be buried behind drips and tubes forced down his throat and his nose, sensor pads to make sure he was still thinking at least . . . tomorrow his handsome face would disappear for a very long time.

She'd heard the boy was bright, very bright.

Removing the needle, she took a moment to brush back a lock of his hair, her rubber gloves gliding smoothly over the darkened, almost red auburn hair.

After all he done, after all he'd fought for . . .

She straightened and made her way back to the door, collecting his notes and dispensing of the needle on her secured trolley. As she pushed the old rattling thing out the door, she paused in the doorway, her hand resting on the light switch. Somewhere out there, someone hated this boy with such a passion . . . enough to try and kill him . . . yet, somewhere out there, no-one missed the boy enough to notice that tonight would be the last time they'd ever know him as he was.

As a human, the boy was alive, his survival a miracle.

As a person, the boy was about to die a silent death with not one friend by his side to hold his hand.

The nurse swallowed back tears as she shook her head.

"Goodnight . . ." She whispered as she left him in the silence, ". . . Mister Basilica."

:: Like the perfect ending ::
::It won't be too long::
:: Till everything I've ruined has seen me gone::
:: In time, I pray you'll forgive me::
:: Now you know the man I am ::
:: Can you forgive me? ::