Coming Out Of The Dark

I borrowed the name 'Sasha Abei' from the Gundam Wing fanfic 'The Stand-In' by The Manwell. Go read it; it's a fantastic 1x2x1 fic. With a twist.

Kinda like this one…

Eyes snapping open, he stared up into unrelenting darkness. As always, upon first waking like this, his first thoughts were of what had driven him to seek this particular form of rest as a refuge.

Memories of Libra and almost firing upon Mariemeia – another little girl, though not quite as young as the one who'd given him that flower, but no less innocent despite her place as the figurehead of the Barton Foundation – assaulted him and he flinched and sighed in regret. Thankfully, Mariemeia Kushrenada was alive – or had been, last he saw her – and now that he had some distance from his actions, he felt…less ambivalent about them.

But he'd probably still brood about it for years to come.

Shaking himself out of his morose melancholy, he pulled himself up into a sitting position, glad he'd arranged for a berth with more depth than normal for a container of its kind. Flipping the secret switch he'd had installed – he could bash his way through, but that would be tedious and time-consuming, not to mention use up a large part of the physical reserves he had left – he was met with six feet of well-packed dirt.

He grumbled, knowing that soon he was going to be covered with that dirt, but there was no help for it. Reaching up, he began to shove handfuls of the brown loam away as he dug upwards, glad that he'd remembered to put on gloves this time; at least he wouldn't have to worry about dirt underneath his fingernails.

Less than half an hour after he'd awoken, he was staring up at a clear sky, the navy blue sky of night slowly lightening as dawn approached. Hauling himself up onto the ground took no more than a moment and soon he was on solid ground, brushing dirt and other detritus off himself. He took a deep breath of the cool night air, welcoming the scents of new life after so long in his stale-smelling coffin.

The sound of footsteps pulled him from his preoccupation. Tensing, he turned…

…and met a pair of startled indigo eyes he knew very well.

"Heero!" Duo shouted, standing still in shock. He shook himself out of his self-imposed daze and bounded over to give his long-lost – for over a year, in fact; no one had heard from Heero since right after they'd taken down Libra – friend a hug.

In his happiness at seeing his old war buddy, it took Duo a moment to realize that Heero was as still as a statue. Pulling back, he looked up into those Prussian blue depths that he knew so well. "Heero, buddy, you okay?"

Heero started out of his own daze and said, "Yeah, I'm good," his voice cracking from disuse. He hadn't spoken almost at all since he'd last seen Duo.

No one to talk to in a graveyard except ghosts, ne?

"Though kinda dusty, huh?" Duo chuckled, brushing some of the loose dirt Heero had overlooked off his lapels. "What are you doing in a cemetery, anyway?"

Heero's eyes narrowed. "Why are you here?" he asked, instead of answering the other's question. He had a few hours before he needed to feed; he could talk for a while.

And he'd been wanting to tell Duo the truth for a long time. Maybe that time was now.

Duo stiffened. He shrugged in feigned nonchalance, some of the light fading from his indigo eyes. "Visiting old friends," he quipped.

Heero wondered who those old friends might be. He only knew of three people who Duo cared about that were dead, and they'd most likely been put through the burial incinerator on L2.

Maybe it was one of the Sweepers. Either way, Heero just nodded in acceptance, sensing that Duo didn't want to talk about it right then. He would when he was ready.

"Where have you been this past year, anyway?" Duo asked, changing the subject back to him. "I've been looking all over Earth and the Colonies for you."

Heero wondered at that. He hadn't been gone for very long, and he had let the other pilots – including Duo – know that he was going to be out of touch for a while. Why would Duo have spent so much time looking for him?


Shaking off thoughts of what might have been – and what might yet be – Heero put them off for later contemplation and focused on the question he'd been asked. Where had he been? The same state as he'd been since he was turned. "Dead," Heero answered flatly.

Duo started, then burst out laughing. Catching sight of the serious look on the other boy's face, his chuckles died out soon after. "Er…you're kidding, right?" he asked tentatively.

Heero shook his head minutely.

Placing one hand on Heero's neck, right on the carotid artery, Duo said, "Heero, I hate to break it to you, but dead men don't have pulses."

Heero blinked at him, slowly, deliberately…and Duo felt the soft pulse underneath that bronzed skin fading away. After a moment it was gone, no more than a memory.

Still not sure that Heero hadn't just found a new meditation technique, Duo quipped, "They also don't breathe, either," wondering how in the hell Heero was going to explain how he'd been doing that for the past ten minutes.

Blinking in startlement, Heero said, "Oh. I forgot I was still doing that." And he immediately stopped.

Long minutes passed as Duo watched Heero, fingers gripping his neck, eyes trained on the other boy's chest. Finally, his stunned indigo eyes slowly traveled back up to meet Heero's. "Funny," he said weakly. "You don't look like a zombie." Nope, not at all zombie-ish; Heero's limbs were all intact, he didn't seem to be rotting at all, and none of his skin was falling off in pieces.

Plus, he wasn't all green and icky.

Heero frowned slightly at Duo's denseness. He really couldn't blame the other for not immediately picking up on what he was, though; after all, it had been several hundred years since sunlight had scorched him, and Duo's cross had never burned him.

And that whole thing about reflections was a myth. But then again, so was he…

"Baka," Heero chided his friend. "Don't you remember anything from all those horror movies you watched during the war? Zombies are animated corpses – they don't have any will of their own. They are controlled by someone else." And Heero definitely had a personality, even if most of the time, he kept it under lock and key.

Duo nodded slowly, images from old pre-Colony B movies coming back to him. Pulling back slightly, hand leaving Heero's neck, Duo just stared at him for moment. "Should I be fearing for my life's blood?" he finally asked jokingly.

"I can stave off the hunger for a few hours," Heero replied, deadpan. Centuries of non-living had to be good for something, even if it was nothing more than untapped wells of patience, and the ability to deal with the hunger gnawing at his nonexistent gut.

Duo blinked. "Somehow I think it's gonna take longer than a few hours for you to tell me your story," he said dryly.

Heero just arched an eyebrow at that. Not that he really objected to telling Duo about his past, seeing as how Duo was one of the few people – alive or not – that he trusted with such knowledge, but…

Duo seemed to be taking the news that he was a vampire far too well.

Mentally sighing, Heero decided to just sit back and wait for the shock to set in. Hopefully, when it did, Duo wouldn't fall back on wartime instincts and try to kill him.

Not that he'd succeed, since his weapon of choice was Gundanium knives and nothing short of a stake of wood through what remained of his heart would kill him, but it would tax his already low reserves and he might end up having to make an impromptu snack of his friend.

Which he'd rather not do. Without permission, anyway.

"You're taking this awfully well," Heero said pointedly, giving the other boy a speaking glance.

Duo shrugged. "Hey, I'm the God of Death. You turning out to be a creature of the night is no biggie." He paused. "I think," he added after a moment's consideration.

Heero snorted. How very Duo. "So what now?" he asked.

After giving the question a few moments' thought, Duo nodded. "Okay, here's what we're gonna do," he started.

Heero blinked at him in inquiry.

Obliging his friend, Duo said, "I'm gonna hop on my bike and drive to the nearest McDonald's and pick myself up some breakfast – complete with dessert so the sugar can help me stave off the wooziness of the blood loss – and then I'm gonna drive us to a nearby park, where I will supply you with your version of a meal, and then you will regale me with the high points of your life – er, existence – while I eat." Smiling up at his friend as if seeking confirmation – not that he needed it; Duo was stubborn enough that even if Heero refused, he'd simply hound the other boy until he gave in – Duo asked, "That okay with you, 'Ro?"

Heero blinked in surprise. Duo was offering to feed him from his own veins? God of Death, indeed. Shinigami definitely knew no fear – at least of him.

His no-longer-beating heart warming at that thought, Heero lips twitched up minutely of their own accord. "Only if you pick me up an apple pie."

Duo laughed and his hand came up to grip Heero's shoulder in a half-hug. "Sure, man, anything for you." Flushing slightly as he realized what he'd revealed, he started to turn towards the entrance to the cemetery, but stopped short as Heero's unmoving bulk did not come with him. "What?" he asked, turning back to face his friend.

Gesturing behind him to the now-unused grave, Heero said, somewhat sheepishly, "I kind of need to fill in the hole or people are going to talk."

Duo blinked. His indigo eyes transferred their gaze off of Heero and behind him. Staring at the headstone that proclaimed the now empty grave was the final resting place of one Sasha Abei, it took a moment for Duo to put all the pieces together – the cemetery late at the night, Heero dressed in a suit that, while it was a nice cut, was covered with small specks of dirt. Turning back to Heero once again, he demanded, "Heero, how in the hell did you end up buried, anyway?"

Finally believing that his friend – one of the very few he'd ever had his long existence – wasn't going to freak out, Heero let his lips curve up in a small smile. Regarding his friend with quiet affection, he said simply, "It's a long story."

Duo's own mouth twitched up at the corners. "I can't wait to hear it," he said sincerely.

And dawn broke, the sun rising up out of the night, darkness receding behind the light.