Acherontia Atropos: Prologue

Let me bring you up to speed, kid...

There was a time when I thought things couldn't get more complicated. Yeah, right. Shows

you how much I knew. That was when I had been first introduced to my new partner; a

weapon of mass destruction that I am now firmly convinced is at least as intelligent as me,

even if it's good at playing dumb. That was when I'd first come to Earth, the dying, venomous

gasp of the civil war between those born on the ground and those born in space. I was up to

my elbows in blood, but at least it was human. That was when I first discovered that I was in

love with my other partner, the human one - and he just happened to be a guy. I really did

think that was as complicated as it could get. More fool me.

It's a bad sign when I can look back on my days of guerilla warfare with fondness and

nostalgia, because that was the time before I knew about the world in the shadows; unnatural,

inhuman, illogical. Ignorance really is bliss - trust me on that one.

Like everyone else, I used to believe that there was no such thing as magic, that the monsters

under the bed or the things that went bump in the night weren't real, or would at least have the

good taste to turn into dust when the light hit them. Yeah, it was naive of me, but what could I

do. In a world where we all had to kill and constantly run to survive, my conviction in a solid

world kept me going.

Then I learned everything that I'd been taught about science and logic wasn't worth the paper

it'd been written on. Hey, the people that wrote the books lived wearing the same willful

blinders as me. Can't say that I blame them. Still, it doesn't mean I have to like the weltering

cesspit of weirdness my life has become.

A year ago, Oz crushed the last vestiges of resistance in the colonies, and we were forced to

go under ground for good. In that final, bloody battle, my human partner - Heero - died,

destroying his Gundam to give the rest of us an opening to retreat. I can still remember the

way the explosion turned the entire world sickly green as the heavy isotopes in its reactor

caught. Nearby villages were flattened by the shockwave.

Until that point, my life had been going along as well as could be expected, considering I'd

been turned into some sort of guerilla freedom fighter at the tender age of fifteen. I'd managed

to convince myself that I'd just liked Heero, or maybe just lusted after him a little - well, a lot,

let's be honest - but I hadn't breathed a word in the interest of self-preservation. I just wasn't

certain what to do; me, the king of improv, caught flatfooted at every turn. Loving another

man just didn't jive with anything I'd ever been taught, so I held back and tried to muddle

through things on my own.

I found out the hard way that day, half-blinded by the glory of that explosion, that what I felt

for Heero wasn't like or casual lust. If my feelings had been that simple, losing him would've

hurt, sure, but not the way it hurt me. When I lost Heero, I lost a part of myself that I hadn't

even been aware of. Shit, I know it sounds all mystical when I say it like that, but I can't think

of a better way to describe it. When Heero died, I wasn't just devastated. I was dead too.

So, I did some stupid things. Thank God that the rest of the guys were being a hell of a lot

smarter than I was.

Then that psycho hose beast Relena managed to get a hold of Heero's body - a testament, I'd

like to note, to the sheer armoring of a Gundam's cockpit - and decided to throw a huge,

dramatic funeral service. Naturally, the remaining four of us crashed it. I wasn't feeling real

rational at that point - I ran up to the coffin, shoving people out of my way, and grabbed

Heero's body. Now here's the part where things really took a turn for the bizarre - I started

saying something, some sort of mystic hoodoo thing that no one can remember no matter how

hard they try. The security cameras all blanked out, and not even I have a clue as to what

happened. For me, it was like remembering a tiny piece of something long forgotten. But

anyway, I started saying all the weird stuff, and then I kissed the corpse on the lips - and

here's the REALLY fucked up part -


I tell no lie. He started breathing again, his heart was beating, and he was alive. It was like

something out of those old fairy tales, except the problem was, everyone knows that stuff isn't

really supposed to happen!

Not that I was objecting. God no. The instant Heero opened his eyes, it's hard to describe, but

I wasn't alone. Not any more. I was a whole person again, and I had the pathetic shreds of my

sanity back.

That night, Heero and I slept together. No, not sex or anything. We just went to sleep in each

other's arms. I'd never felt so good in my entire life. Heero and I haven't touched each other or

done anything beyond the boundaries of friendship since, though. It's driving me nuts, but I'm

not going to push my luck. I already lost Heero once, and it almost killed me. I don't want to

go through that again.

Other than that, things have gone back to normal. No one mentions what happened, I think

because we're all too confused to deal with it. I could have been me, it could have been some

kind of magic, it could have even been God, though sometimes I wonder if I can believe in

Him any more. Who the hell knows. We regrouped and found ourselves a comfortable little

hole to hide in and lick our wounds while we waited to see if we've ever even get orders

again. Our luck with that ran out about four months ago - we started receiving coded

transmissions from the various scientists that trained us, urging us to continue the fight, to

weaken Oz on the earth. All I can guess is that the mads are optimists.

It wasn't like we had anything better to do, though. So we picked up where we'd left off and

found ourselves a school to hide in, which is where I am right now. No one suspects the

innocent little students, right?

Heero of course, is being, well, Heero. As if that's not bad enough.

And right now, he's here, sitting at his scarred-up school issue desk, typing on that damn

laptop of his. Wearing only a pair of crisp, white boxers, I'd like to note.

Sometimes I think that I'm stupid for wondering if there is a God. It's pretty obvious that He's

up there, and He's having a lot of fun making my life hell.