Wing's massive hooves clattered against stone as Heero moved the stallion forward. The moved as one to the center of the cathedral, the monks moving away to clear a path for the warrior, whose cold eyes were fixed on the one person who held hell in his hands.

The bishop watched Heero calmly, the staff of his office clutched tightly in one fist, the only evidence that he was far from calm. Wing came to a stop and the two contestants eyed each other, their gaze locks, one of pure hatred, the other of faked serenity. Only one was afraid.

Heero reached over his shoulder for his short sword.

"Yuy!"

Through the cathedral doors came another horse, this one white as the snow and ridden by a man in shining armor. His sword flashed with sunlight and the watchers gasped as this second sacrilegious act in the house of the god. Especially since the rider was Captain Wufei Chang.

The white stallion charged without a second warning and Wing turned to meet it, the sound of hooves filling the chamber. The warriors clashed in the middle, blue sparks flying from their meeting swords. They rode past each other and turned again for a another run, their second impact more violent than the first. This time their horses stayed together, rearing and twisting, their hooves striking out in attempt to wound the other. Swords clashed and steel screamed until the white horse made a mistake. His hooves slipped on the smooth stones and he went down, squealing. Wing turned away to avoid collusion and Wufei slipped from the saddle to avoid being crushed. Heero was off his stallion and bringing his sword down on Wufei's unprotected stomach.

Wufei's sword lifted and parried.

Heero's sword skidded off Wufei's and hit the other man's helm, which flew off in an arc and crashed through a stained glass window above them. Sparkling shards of colored glass fell, glitteringly, around the two combatants, and Heero lifted his gaze to the filtered sunlight that drew his eyes.

The sun…

A dark shaped was moving in front of it, blocking its light even as he watched.

"A night without a day…and a day without a night," he whispered.

Wufei raised his sword.

* * * *

Duo closed his eyes. "Lord, go with him, be with him."

* * * *


Heero met Wufei blow for blow, but his attention was being diverted. Two monks were making their way to the bell ropes to ring the end of mass. Quatre saw them but could only watch helplessly as one reached forward and…

A dagger whipped through the air and buried itself in the monk's heart, causing him to waver and fall, already dead. Heero turned back to Wufei and cast him a mighty blow, forcing him to step back.

The second monk came forward.

Quatre cried out.

The bells began to toll.

Heero turned, his eyes horrified. "Duo, wait!"

* * * *

Duo raised the knife to the hooded hawk, his hand trembling with fright.

"God, forgive me."

* * * *

Heero's eyes closed, the tones of the bells ringing through his body. "Please, Duo, make it quick."

In a state of total rage, anger, grief, and hopelessness, he turned and crossed swords with Wufei Chang. They fought furiously, Heero with the desperation that comes to a man when he had nothing left. In a move of total chance, Wufei managed to disarm Heero and his short sword went skimming over the stones. In an instant, Quatre had taken his bundle from the nook, unwrapped it, and threw to the fallen warrior.

Heero caught it purely on instinct and his eyes took in the thing he held in his fist.

His father's sword.

He buried it in Wufei's side.

The captain crumbled but Heero did not give him a second glance. He pulled his sword out and strode forward, throwing off his helm, sweat dripping down his face, his eyes fixed on the bishop.

He had his sword, he could still do it. The one last act that would free him.

Finally…

Relena.

The bishop raised his staff as Heero neared, his fright entered his eyes as he looked at the desperate warrior.

"But kill me, Heero, and the curse will go on forever. You must think of Relena."

Darkness entered Heero's eyes and the bishop shrunk back upon seeing it. Heero raised his sword.

"Relena…is dead," he said, hoarsely. "Damn you. Damn you to hell."

He stepped forward, death in his gaze and movements.

"Heero?'

Quatre closed his eyes in prayer.

Heero stopped in mid-stride, his body stilled by the one voice which had always been able to pull him back from the abyss. The one voice that could always save him.

He turned slowly, his leather armor creaking, and saw what must have been a vision.

In the silence of the cathedral, in a ray of sunlight from the broken glass window, stood Relena. Her hair was a glory of golden locks that sparkled in the sunlight it had been denied for years. Her eyes were the blue of the morning sky that she had rarely seen, and her face was that of the angel he had never forgotten. It was the face he saw in his dreams and reached out for in his nightmares.

She was standing right in front of him.

She was there.

The bishop cowered behind his staff.

Heero turned back to him, a strength he would have never though possible flooding through him as he stepped forward. The bishop fell to his knees as he came up to him, unable to stand so near to the glory that surround Heero. The dark warrior lifted his sword and pointed at the bishop's heart, nicking the skin under the white robes.

"Look." Heero commanded, and when the bishop did not raise his gaze, he shouted, "Look at her!"

Haltingly, the bishop looked to Relena's sunlit figure and he shuddered as he saw the truth.

Heero's voice reverberated through the cathedral. "Look at me."

The bishop's eyes moved to him, fear and hate mixing in his gaze. Heero stepped back from him, his sword still level with his heart.

"Now," he said, "look at us."

The bishop could not.

Heero shouted, "Look at us!"

The bishop trembled and raised his eyes to the two human figures that stood before him, ethereal almost, in the silence of the church.

Standing near Quatre, Duo's voice whispered through the watchers.

"It's over. It's broken."

Heero turned away, mission complete and let his eyes meet Relena's. Wearily, he fell to his knees as she came to him. She did not touch him, merely met his eyes and passed him, making her way gracefully up the bishop. She looked down at the crouching figure and felt only pity. Opening her fist, she let two strips of leather fall to the floor.

Her jesses. The symbol of her imprisonment.

Broken, the bishop turned his gaze away.

Relena turned away and walked back towards Heero, not noticing the bishop as he moved behind her, raising his staff and preparing to plunge the pointed end into her body.

"No man shall…," he whispered.

Duo shouted, "Heero!" and the kneeling warrior turned and threw his sword, the thrown blade skewering his body and pinning it to the alter behind him. Sickened gasps echoed and blood dripped from the bishop's dying lips as he whispered his last word…

"Relena…"

She turned away, breathing heavily from the near scare and met Heero's dark gaze, his eyes, that she had met so briefly the other day, were filled with justice and weary victory.

And love…

"Heero…" she whispered. His name was so beautiful…

His name was a call, and he knew. He came to her, a hand reaching out hesitantly to touch her hair, as if he still wasn't sure he wasn't dreaming. She smiled, crystal tears forming at the corners of her eyes at the look of total vulnerability on his face. She choked out a sob as his hands cupped her face and she reached up to touch a lock of his dark hair tenderly.

"I love you, Relena." he said, and she sobbed. She was actually touching him…

He crushed her to him there in the sunlight and she laughed suddenly at the joy of being with him, feeling him next to her, human again…

Over her shoulder, Heero called out, "You two, come here!"

Duo and Quatre made their way shyly to their side, Quatre with tears dripping down his boyish cheeks. Relena smiled gently at him.

"May God's blessings be with you both, from this day forward." Duo said, his violet eyes at peace at last. He had forgiven himself in their triumph.

Heero's rumbling voice held a note of happiness. "I bless the day He brought you back to us, Father." And he meant it. He turned to Quatre and gave his elusive half-smile. "And you. And you.."

He pulled Quatre into a hard hug and released him quickly to let Relena kiss him tenderly on the cheek. "You are the dearest friend we could have ever wished for. Thank you, little Mouse."

Quatre blushed and stepped back, drawn away by Duo. They walked towards the cathedral doors, leaning on each other in joy.

"I fully intend you to meet you at the pearly gates, little thief," Duo said, "and don't you dare disappoint me."

"I'll meet you there, Father, even if I have to pick the lock."

Relena turned her soft gaze to Heero and there was a deep look between them before he suddenly lifted her by the waist, raising her above him to twirl her around.

"Relena," he said, and she laughed, throwing her head back as he twirled them around.

"I love you, Heero, I love you," she said, the words half-laughter, half-sob.

"I love you."

And she raised her fingers to the sunlight.






THE END.








Please review…
This was for all of you.