This story is not beta'd, mainly because...w ell, I'm not sure I still have a betareader. I sent her a chapter many weeks ago and she has yet to respond, maybe I should send her another reminder.
Anyway, just bear the spelling, please, it's the plot that counts, right? And if you don't like the plot either you are free to bitch about it, I'm feeling suicidal ;)

It took me a while to update but you can read all about that at the end of the chapter. Enjoy!

White death

Chapter 4

'Let me get this straight, we are going to pray all day long?!' Duo asked for about the tenth time as they walked down to what Java called the Main Cathedral. Yes, there were even churches in Heaven, but Duo had swallowed every comment that was brought up by that knowledge, not knowing if it will offend his new friend.

'Yes Duo, all day long.'

'... Why?!' They rounded another corner and joined a small crowd of angels that were heading the same way. Duo took his time taking in their features as it appeared Java was tired of answering the same question over and over again. It soon became clear to him that only a few had gold hems on their shirts, most were dressed in all white. Nobody spoke, it unnerved him, as if they were heading to some sort of execution. Their expressions betrayed nothing other than that this day would not be a pleasant one. Not like Duo had expected it to be a blast. He didn't even believe in God, which was strange, seeing that he was in Heaven and all. He was everything a christian was not supposed to be, a list to long to mention.

He stopped dead in his tracks when they entered what he guessed to be the main cathedral. It was an awesome and intimidating sight that nailed him to ground. The ceiling was very high with large crystal chandeliers reaching down, they weren't lit, but the crystal reflected the sunlight, that streamed in through the tall windows, beautifuly, creating a beautiful display of light on the white walls. There were only tall marble pillars at the side, the centre of the room was left open, the roof unsupported. 'Wow...' was all duo said as he took it in with wide eyes. It was like a magnificant large football pitch, but instead of grass, the floor was covered with hundreds if not thousands of angels sitting crouched on the floor, their backs turned towards them. They were all facing the altar that was at the far end of the Cathedral, decorated with gold and silver. More angels crouched down in neat lines and Java pulled a numbed Duo along to take a seat on the ground. They were in the back and from his crouched position he could only see the top of the richly decorated altar. He could not see, but he guessed a priest of some sort had stepped onto the altar as a powerful voice spoke to them.

As soon as the man started speaking, his voice bouncing off the perfectly white walls everyone fell silent and the last angels to come in took their seats. Duo stretched his neck as far as he could to peer over the backs of the angels in front of him. Only white, no gold hems, he wondered where the Heaven born Angels had gone. A nudge from java, who was seated at his left, made him hunch again as he listened, the last he caught from the speech was: '- and now we pray.' As soon as the echoes of his voice had died out, all sound stopped. As if sound stopped to exist, Duo was afraid to even breathe, afraid to break this powerful, ocean deep silence in which everyone appeared to drown. He looked to his left, taking in Java's position. He was kneeling on the floor, his head bowed forward, his hands were brought up to his face and his fingers were laced into eachother, his lips moved in silent prayer.

Duo swallowed and flinched at the noice he was making. Slowly he moved to copy Java's position, all too aware of the rustling of his clothing. He wondered what he was supposed to do all day, sit here and just pretend to pray? He took a moment to listen again as he kept looking around. Total dead silence. At his left Java was making pained faces, though never breaking the silence, he appeared to be all but tortured in his prayer.

Another loud swallow. Duo bowed his head and closed his eyes, but he was surprised and shocked to see he was not met with darkness. His eyes shot open and he was almost afraid to close them again, but curiosity won over. His eyes fluttered shut, with the same anxiety as with which one would approach a freezing cold lake, preparing to dive in. The images his saw were vague and blurry and soemthing akin to watching while someone was shining a bright light in his face, but he could clearly distinguish what happened around him. Though he knew everything was supposed to be silent, he could hear bombs going off all around him, but he could not move. Around him he caught glimpses of soldiers running around, getting shot. He appeared to be in a camp, a camp that was being slaughtered. Right in front him, sitting on sandy ground was a young man in his early twenties. He wore camouflage but made no effort of hiding. He was just sitting there, his back pressed against a worn out wall, his hands were clasped together and his eyes were tightly shut, he was rocking back and forth as his lips moved in whispers. He was praying.

Duo opened his eyes, relieved to see the white clad back of the angel in front of him. He closed his eyes again, jumping back in. He was in the same position, close to that praying soldier.

'God please...' The soldier whispered, a tear trickling down his battered face. 'If I don't make it... please let my wife somehow know that I love her...'

Duo panicked, he didn't know what he was supposed to do. Was he supposed to pray along with this man? Was his supposed to answer his prayers? What must he do?!! Why didn't Java give him any instructions?!

'Tell her I love her...' He begged again.

'I will.' Duo said, not sure if he only imagined saying it or if he really did.

The eyes of the soldiers shot open and he frantically looked around him, one hand on his gun, along with tears, sweat was trickling down his face, he panted loudly. 'Who said that?' He demanded softly.

Duo frowned. I can talk to him?

'Who is that?' He repeated, a little louder now.

'I am an angel.' Duo said, not sure what else he was supposed to say. He didn't think the soldier would be glad if his question was answered with: 'I am a homeless homosexual who was sent to heaven to learn about the angels and God because with my lack of knowledge I condemmed God to hell.'

'An angel...?'

'Yes, I am an angel and I am here to take your final message.'

A small, grateful smile appeared on his lips, along with more tears. 'Final message?'

'I can't save you.' Or so he thought, but he trembled with the idea that if he had any clue of what he was doing he might be able to save this soldiers life.

'I guess that's okay, since I didn't ask for that. I just want my wife to know that I love her... and that I want her to be happy.'

Duo swallowed the lump in his throat at seeing the heartbroken, yet clearly lovesick, expression on the soldiers face. 'I'll tell her.'

'Thank you, my angel.'

'You're welcome.' The words had barely left his mouth before he was interrupted by a gunshot. In slowmotion he saw the bullet, fired by a man behind him, who he couldn't see, graze past him. He just sat, dazed, looking to the side where the bullet had narrowly missed him, but he knew very well, whoever had stood behind him with that gun, hadn't been aiming for him. He turned his head fearfully and felt his stomach coil at seeing the bloodied face of the soldier he had just talked to. There was a bullet entrance hole right in the centre of his forehead. He knew he was supposed to be grateful, grateful that it had all been fast and painless for the soldier, but he felt such pain himself. He opened his eyes and found he was still sitting in the cathedral.

He closed his eyes again, but he wasn't send back to the battlefield. He found himself standing at the foot of a double bed. Lying on the left side, illuminated by the moon, was a young woman, curled up in her bed. On her bedside table he saw a golden pictureframe with two smiling faces on it; hers and the face of the soldier whose death he had just witnessed. He had no idea to wake the woman from her peaceful slumber so he just stared at her for god knows how long and watched her turn to face the window. She was beautiful and young... and she was pregnant.

'He loves you.' Duo whispered to the dark. The woman in the bed stirred but didn't wake. 'He loves you so much, you were the last thing on his mind and you were all he cared about, till the very last moment.' He paused. 'That is true love. He wanted you to know just how much he loves you and that he wants you to be happy.' The woman stirred again and a frown appeared on her face. 'His spirit will always be with you.' The frown disappeared and she seemed to be at ease again, she never woke and she probably wouldn't hear the news of his death for weeks to come, but at least he was comforted to know that she knew the most important thing. Not that he was dead, but that he loved her.

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The next time he opened his eyes he was surprised to find that the Cathedral was bathed in orange and pink glows. The sun was setting and the hues only added to the cathedrals beauty. The angels were rising from their seats on the floor, stretching their sore muscles. Duo looked to the side at the hand that was reached out him. He gratefully took java's hand and let the old man hoist him up onto his feet.

'And?' Java asked with a cryptic look on his face. He almost seemed annoyed.

'It was horrible. First the soldier that was shot. Than the kid that died from aids. Oh and the woman who was being abused by her husband...' Duo groaned in frustration. 'I couldn't do anything for them! I couldn't help them! I could only watch and listen to their misery... I... I couldn't save them...'

'Not so easy huh, being an angel. All this effort and you are not even able to save one life.'

'I don't get it...' Duo continued as they exited the cathedral, heading for the dining room. 'Why do we put so much effort in it if we can't even make a difference.' He brought his hands up to rub his throbbing temples.

'We did make a difference. Granted we did not save lives, but we made a difference. Over a thousand angels, each of them answering the prayers of an average of five people a day. So we did not solve world hunger or made world peace, but to many people we made a difference. It's not about saving their lives but about helping them make peace with their death.'

They walked past the buffet and loaded up their plates and then joined the kind blonde, Quatre, and the others at their table. One chair was left empty and Duo couldn't help but hope it was reserved for Heero. He stared down at his plate, his body was hungry, but he spirit was in need of release, not food. The images he saw today were... traumatising to say the least...

'Duo, how was your first day of prayer?' The perky blonde asked, why he was not affected in the same way Duo was was beyond the earthling.

'Horrible.'

That caused the people at the table to chuckle with delight. 'Yes,' Quatre said 'I remember my first day very well. Horrible is the kindest way of putting it.'

'Don't you all of have headaches?' he asked as he was dealing with a pounding head himself.

The others shook their heads. Quatre, again, was the one to elaborate. 'No, don't worry duo, after a few times you get used to it.'

'Aren't you sad? Sad about all the things you saw today?'

Quatre lay down his fork and nodded with remorse. 'Yes, but I am also glad that I was able to help those people.'

Duo nodded, though he did not share Quatre's opnion. He was still angry at the fact that all this work, all those angels praying all day long and none of them had been able to really save someone.

'Heero, there you are!'

Duo's head shot up and he couldn't stop himself from smiling as the silent boy that had occupied his dreams that night, dreams no angel should have, sat down in the remaining empty chair, across from Duo.

Noticing his stare Heero locked gazes with Duo and him a dazzling smile as a matter of greeting. Like Java he wore a sari today and it enhanced his feminine beauty. His blue eyes were a kind relief to all the white around them so he shamelessly stared at them. Heero had already averted his attention to Java, who was speaking to him. Every question was answered with a nod or a shake of the head, once in a while he made other, more complex gestures with his hands, one of them must have been a joke because it started a roar of laughter at the table.

Duo smiled, though he had no idea what had been said and no one bothered to explain it to him. But he didn't care all that much. He took joy in watching those thin hands make figures that were alien to him but were perfectly understood by the others. However, most joy came from watching that perfect face. He couldn't help but wonder if heero's features were so perfect because he was born in heaven and every heaven born angel was perfect, or if he was just one of those loved and at the same time loathed people who were blessed with a beautiful face? Whatever it was, God sure had been generous to Heero when he was handing out perfection.

'Duo?'

He was violently pulled out of yet another fantasy that would surely be banned in heaven. His eyes focussed to find everyone looking at him.

'Heero asked you how long you've been here.' Java repeated.

'Uhm... Only a few days, java has been kindly showing me around.' He watched as heero made more gestures with his hands and never in his life had he wanted to be able to know sign language as much as he did now. He waited sheepishly for Java to translate.

'Do you like it so far?'

'Well, compared to my life on earth it's fantastic. But every place with food in fantastic in comparison to my life.'

Heero smiled compasionately and made a few more signs, translated by Java, though this time the eyes and expression told Duo exactly what Heero had said.

'He's sorry.'

'He shouldn't be.' He gave Heero a warm smile and was rewarded with one of heero, he felt his heart slowly melting into a puddle of goo.

When dinner was over they all left and parted but Duo was pleasantly surprised to notice Heero joined him and Java as he made his way up to his room. He turned when he noticed Java had stopped and saw Heero was telling him something.

Java turned his attention to Duo 'He wants to ask if it's okay for him to walk you up to your room.'

Duo shrugged, pretending that the request didn't set the puddle of goo, formerly known as his heart, on fire. He smiled, he couldn't help himself. 'Sure, why not.'

Heero nodded and 'said' goodbye to Java, who went the other way.

Realising that Heero couldn't know where his room was he should find it on his own so he fished the list with directions out of his pocket. They were in the main hall, the stairs to block S were in the back.
He walked past the many stairs till he finally reached the one that was named Stair S. As he climbed up the stairs, staring at the directions he pondered over what to say to heero. He was dying to know why he was no longer allowed to speak, but it would be too much of a forward question, besides, he didn't understand any of the gestures Heero used to replace his voice. He swallowed loudly as he noticed how close Heero was walking to him, looking over his shoulder at the paper in his hand, an amused smile on his face.

Finally they reached his room and he invited Heero in, squashing every thought that went through him as the Angel accepted. However, as Heero walked past him he snatched the paper out of his hand and approached the glass desk. Bending over it he grabbed hold of the feather, that was used as pen, and dipped it into the black ink pot.

Curiously Duo appoached but he didn't dare to invade Heero's personal space so he just waited for the young man to finish.

The feather was placed back into the stone on the desk that had a small hole in it to keep the pen upright. Heero turned and with a smile he handed back the directions to duo.

With a frown he took it and under the directions Java had written down was a different handwriting. Neat and small with swirly letters. It said: Main hall - stairway A - first turn right - left - another right into a corridor with dead end - seventh door to the right - Heero Yuy.

'Are these the directions to your room?' Duo dumbly asked.

Heero nodded, he made a few gestures but at seeing Duo's blank look he quickly realised his words weren't understood. So he pointed at the setting sun outside and with that he left after slightly bowing for Duo as a matter of farewell.

Duo, stunned, not sure if he understood what Heero was trying to tell him, merely bowed back and watched as Heero left, the directions to his room in Duo's hand. He turned on his heels to stare out of the window next to his bed, the sun was already out of sight and the sky slowly darkened. He guessed Heero had meant it was time for him to go home, but guessing was all he could do. That and grinning like a maniac.

With that grin he fell down onto his bed, staring up at the ceiling as the room went from orange to pink and from pink to purple. Without ever touching them the candles that were strategically placed throughout the room lit up before it was too dark to see.

He closed his eyes and imagined heading out to Heero's room, the corridors were dark as he stealthily made his way through. One knock on the door revealed it was open so he pushed it open far enough for him to slip through, closing it behind him. The vision before him was most devine, only a few candles were lit, the white bed was neatly made but displayed on it was Heero, dressed only in loose white pants. There were no kind smiles or childish blushes, but a raw predatory look, his expressive eyes never bothered to hide the lust in them. The image of heero spoke, even though Heero was not allowed to speak. His whispers sent shivers down Duo's spine. 'Welcome in Heaven.' He spread his legs invitingly.

Suddenly Duo's eyes snapped open and he found himself staring at his ceiling, he shot upright, panting and with a flushed face. 'What the hell am I thinking?!' He flinched at his choice of words. 'I can't think stuff like this, this is Heaven for god's sake!' again the words made him cringe. He rose from his bed and headed for the shower. 'This is Heaven.' He reminded himself as he opened the faucet, whimpering as he stepped under the freezing spray, clothes and all. 'I'm sure God won't appreciate me fucking his angels... especially not the male ones...'

I think the transition between this chapter and the previous was too quick, but there was this mountain I was looking up to, this bump in the road that I just couldn't get past, so instead of climbing my way up, I decided to just jump right over it. I had planned on making the relationship between Duo and Heero progress at a more gradual, agonizingly slow pace, but that plan is history. Dead and buried. Some of you might like it, some of you might not, but this was the only way for me to continue this story. I really do want to continue it because it's an idea that has always appealed me and to be honest I am writing it purely for my own satisfaction... but if it satsfied the lot of you also, that would really make my day ;)

Love,

Crimson Waterfall