Shinigami, the God of Death

Part 1

Author's Note: All the tenses are fixed now.

It was after the war that I made the biggest mistake of my life.

You know it figures. I live through the worst of a war: roughly two years of being shot at, beaten, blow up and knocked out only to die in a small car fire just because I swerved trying not to hit a cat. And it was a cute tabby cat too. It just figures that my luck would finally run out.

I saw it, the cat, and I swerved, my jeep flying off the side of the road. Off the road, over the shoulder and straight into a tree, all in a matter of seconds. My forehead hit the dashboard and my chin hit the top of the steering wheel, hard. And the force of the car hitting the tree bent the car, trapping my right foot against the brake pedal. I can tell without moving that the driver's side door is shot to hell and even if I could get my leg free I wouldn't be able to get it open. Next time I am definitely not buying a jeep, because when you crash they crumple like aluminum foil.

My head aches and I don't even dare move my neck, I'm too afraid to. My left arm is hanging limply on the steering wheel and I can't move it, in fact it's got that weird prickly feeling like it's falling asleep. Luckily it's still in one piece, even though it probably broken pretty badly.

My right arm isn't so lucky. When my jeep crashed the windows shattered from the low tree branches and there are glass shards all around me. Some really big ones embedded themselves in my arm and even though I can't see it I know I'm bleeding pretty heavily. The blood is thick and warm on my arm and I can feel the seat cushion next to me getting damp as it soaks up the blood.

My head hurts more now.

Do most people do this? I'm sitting here trapped in a flaming car, which is wrapped around a thick evergreen tree, and I'm surveying my injuries as if I'm still on the battlefield. One by one, I'm gauging how bad my injuries are and weighing the situation to see if I'll actually live to fight tomorrow.

Chances are I won't.

So I'm just supposed to sit here and wait for that small flame at the front of the tree to hit my gas tank and send me shooting sky high to the next colony? Man, what a shitty way to die! I mean I would have rather died in a shameless self-sacrifice by self-destructing my gundam and single-handedly obliterating the main OZ base. Or maybe being a smart-ass right up to the end as OZ tried to torture information out of me and then finally just got so fed up they put a gun to my head and shot me. And I would have been grinning like the devil the entire time.

Yup, now that would have been a great way to die. Standing up against OZ until the end and then going down in stubborn flames of glory. I would have been remembered as gundam pilot 02, the one who single handedly stopped the war. I'd get a huge ceremony and the other guys would be so sad. I can just see Heero, he'd be standing there completely silent and emotionless but his eyes would be tearing up just slightly…

Hey, I'm about to die over here, I'm allowed to have one last dream right? Yeah, I know Heero would never cry over me but I can dream. He'd probably just grunt a good bye and walk off, no matter how I died. I may love the guy but sometimes he can be such an asshole!

There's a popping sound up near the engine of the car and suddenly the hood is on fire, as is the engine. I can smell burning oil and rubber from the tires. God what a stench! Sweat is beading across my exposed skin as the metal around me steadily gets warmer. My throat hurts from breathing in the smoke and my eyes itch. I cough once and immediately regret it as my neck, stomach and head scream out in pain.

I close my eyes and try to calm my rising panic. I don't want to die! I really don't want to die, not here, not now and definitely not like this!

As my eyes fill with stinging tears I actually begin to pray. I haven't believed in god since the church burnt down with Father Maxwell and Sister Helen. Honestly I still don't really believe in god, but I believe in Shinigami, the god of death. I mean come on, I used his name throughout the war, of course I believe in him.

There's another popping sound and the flames roar up around me. I can't help but give a small whimper as I smell burning gas. I don't want to die!!

And then everything explodes around me in a flash of light. I don't even get time to scream.

**

There's a gentile ticking, someone chuckling next to me softly. My eyes are shut and my body feels light. I'm floating. Just off to my right I hear the chuckling again and something warm brushes my shoulder. A hand.

"Duo, still getting into trouble I see."

My eyes shoot open at the familiar voice and I gasp. I find myself floating darkness, a cloaked wraith floating in thin air next to me. He's sitting on thin air; his hidden chin propped on one hand. I frown.

"Who?"

The wraith chuckles once again. "And I actually thought you'd at least recognize my voice. Oh well." The wraith shrugs and reaches up, pulling down his hood to reveal a young face, about my age. He has bright green eyes and bushy red hair. He grins at me. "It's been a while."

"Solo?!" I sit up and I swear my eyes must be the size of watermelons. Without warning I leap forward and wrap him in a huge bear hug. He laughs and hugs me back. "Man it's been ages!" I cry. "How have you been? I-" I stop and slowly pulled away. The grin on Solo's face wavering.

"Something wrong?" he asks tilting his head.

I frown deeply. "Am I dreaming? You died a long time ago."

The grin drops off Solo's face. "Still getting into trouble and still smart as ever. I didn't think I'd be able to fool you."

"What's going on Solo? Why are you here?"

"You're dead Duo. You died."

My eyes widen as I remember car crash. Jeez it seemed like it had happened ages ago. But no, it had happened. I glance down at my hands, flexing my finger slowly. My hands were perfectly fine, not a single scratch, but I know in my real body they were covered with cut and burns, that is they would be if the explosion hadn't blown me to pieces.

"I'm dead," I whisper quietly.

Solo nods solemnly.

"Why are you here? Some guardian angel sent to lead me through the tunnel of light or something like that?"

"Hardly," Solo laughs. "I'm here because you said you didn't want to die."

My eyes narrow. "So not only does Shinigami rip away every thing and every one I've ever cared about one by one in my life but when I die he sends you to taunt me?" I growl and my hands ball into angry fists. "I swear, what'd I ever do to him? What reason does he have to make my life a living hell?!"

Solo shakes his head. "Duo, you've got it all wrong. I wasn't sent here by him." Solo takes a deep breath and locks eyes with me.

"I am Shinigami."