You Were Always

Author: Fallen Angel (though I wish I wasn't. I went through a whole box of Kleenex for this one. How we artists suffer for out works…)

Email: fallen_angel_2012@hotmail.com

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. They belong to TV Asahi, Sotsu, etc.

Rating: PG-13 (mild language)

A/N: Deathfic and songfic, with Elvis Presley's 'You were always on my mind' as inspiration. Sad, but sweet. Mostly from Heero's P.O.V.

Thanks also to my beta reader, Polgara. The help was really appreciated.

****

"How long has he been here?"

Wufei scowled at his fellow ex-pilot, the braided baka himself.

"What?" said Duo defensively. "I was just worried about him, that's all." He looked out over the tombstones, embedded into the grassy hills of the cemetery. "Hey, Wufei?"

"What is it?" the Chinese man said impatiently.

"Do you think Heero will ever be…you know…okay again?"

Wufei paused for a moment, considering the question carefully before giving his answer.

"No."

*****

I was such an idiot.

I let peace lull me into a false sense of security. How could I be so stupid as to think that death's icy hands couldn't touch us now that the wars were over? It wasn't just that, though. For all my threats to kill her, I knew…I thought…I would be the first to go. I had used up all my nine lives three lives ago, so it was only a matter of time the grim reaper finally got me.

And she was so strong. So determined. How could she be the first to go?

How could she leave me behind?

****

Maybe I didn't treat you quite as good as I should have

Maybe I didn't love you quite as often as I could have

Little things I should have said and done

I just never took the time

You were always on my mind.

You were always on my mind…

****

I wonder if you can hear me now, Relena? You could always read my thoughts when you were…well, I guess you can hear me now. Wufei told me the dead can hear us and that's why we should honour them.

So what to say?

There are so many things left unsaid…so many things I knew you wanted to hear, but just couldn't form the words.

And now it's too late.

I guess I'll just say what I would if you were here with me. I never was one for speeches. You understood that better than anyone else.

Shit.

I'd better stop doing that, or I'm gonna break down right here and now. I haven't cried at all, not since the funeral. I'm afraid that once I start, I won't be able to stop.

Speaking of which, the funeral was…shit, why lie? People say funerals are beautiful but how beautiful can anything be when someone you loved has died? Everyone was there, though. You would have been proud to see how many people you'd touched. Zechs said some great things - I'd never thought him to be the type. Une did too. Honest things, amazing things.

I already knew them of course.

Speaking of amazing, our daughter opened her eyes yesterday. They're blue, just like yours. The nurse who was there told me that their eyes change as they grow, but somehow I know hers won't. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. Because when I see them, I'll be reminded of how much love you had in your eyes when you looked at me. Looked at me as if you could see into my soul. And you didn't care about the darkness I hold inside.

But when I look at her, I know I'll also be reminded that you aren't with me to watch her grow up…to be there when she says her first words or takes her first steps…when she starts school…starts dating…gets married…

Shit. Okay, deep breaths Yuy.

If you can live through all I put you through, I can live through this.

But dammit, Relena, how could you?

How could you leave me with such a beautiful gift - a living symbol of our love - and die in the process?

I knew it was happening, too. I knew it when the doctors wouldn't let me in to see you. I knew it when more and more nurses and doctors ran in there and I knew it when I heard the heart monitor's regular beeps become one. And more than that, I felt it in my soul. You talked about soul mates but I never believed you until that day, when I felt a part of mine rip out.

I never even got the chance to say goodbye.

****

Maybe I didn't hold you all those lonely, lonely times

And I guess I never told you, I'm so happy you were mine

If I made you feel second-best, girl I'm so sorry I was blind

You were always on my mind.

You were always on my mind…

****

I can't remember much of what happened after that. I think Duo drove me home. Or maybe it was Quatre. Those next few days were a blur. I think I was just working on autopilot, you know. Moving and acting like a human being, but there was no one inside.

I didn't even see our daughter until that Thursday. I suppose I wanted to hate her, but when I saw that soft little face of hers and when she curled her fingers around mine…they're so tiny. I never imagined anything could be so fragile. And the more I loved her, the more I hated myself…

It was all my fault, wasn't it?

I should never have let you go through with the pregnancy after the doctor said there could be problems. But you were so determined, so happy to be having a child, I couldn't very well say no. I could never deny you anything.

I'm thinking of going with Isabella, one of the names we talked about. I know you liked that one and I do too. It's pretty.

She makes it better, you know, our daughter. I set up her crib next to the bed so when I wake up she's there. That way she reminds me I have a reason for living the moment I wake up. Cause the mornings are the worst. I open my eyes and there's that brief moment when I don't remember and I reach over to you and you aren't there and you'll never be there again. The thought of that makes me wanna die. And it'll be like that every morning for the rest of my life. And I would've killed myself long ago. If not for her.

****

Tell me, tell me that your sweet love hasn't died

****

Duo watched his friend kneel by his lover's grave with a sense of heavy sorrow. He knew he would probably be no better if Hilde had left him.

"Um, Wufei, it's getting kinda cold," he said, pulling his coat around him more tightly.

"If it's too cold for you, then go."

"No, it's not that. I mean, don't you think we should grab Heero now? He hasn't even got his coat on. He's gonna die of pneumonia."

Wufei shot his companion a look and the other man sighed as he realised what he'd said.

"Yeah, I guess you're right. A cold is the last thing he's gonna worry about right now."

****

Dammit, this is so hard, Relena. This hurts so much.

But you need to know how I feel.

If I'd only known, back then at the St Gabrielle's institute, that we had so little time, I would have told you how I'd felt straightaway.

I see those days in my mind's eye like they were only yesterday. I think I loved you the moment I saw you, but was too foolish and too young to recognise it. But I knew there was something about you, something that lit a fire in me.

That fire still burns, princess, did you know that? Beneath this pain and hurt and fear is a fire that you lit, back when we were still children, really.

It happened on the dance floor, I think. After I held a gun to your throat. I know now why you weren't scared: you knew how I felt. You knew that while I had the weapon, it was I who was going to fall. Maybe we were both falling, each hoping the other would save us.

All I know is, when I held you in my arms and we danced, everything else in my miserable excuse for a life paled into insignificance. Can you believe I just said that? I must be going insane…I sound like Quatre.

But that's the effect you have on me, princess. I never could understand why you loved me. With that long blonde hair that fell like silk and those blue eyes - like the sky on a summers day when all you have to do is relax in the garden - and that heart big enough to love the world…you could've had any man on the planet. But you wanted me. And for that, I loved you even more.

I hope you heard that. I didn't say it nearly enough when you were alive. So I'll say it again. I love you. I love you, Relena. I love you because you loved me, because you saved my soul and gave me a reason to live. I love you because you held me tight in the darkness and offered me all you had to give and then some.

And…well, that's it, isn't it? Three simple words that mean so much and it still took me nearly 10 years to say them.

I love you.

****

Little things I should have said and done

I just never took the time

You were always on my mind.

You were always on my mind…

****

Thinking back, I think I was so afraid to love you because the only thing I'd come close to caring for before you - a little girl who offered me a flower - died. I wasn't sure how to cope with that. And the only people who could've taught me told me instead to bury any emotions I felt. Even love.

One night you told me that I had your heart.

But you did something even more precious.

You taught me I had one.

****

Heero reached into his jeans pocket and pulled out a small velvet box. He could feel the tears building as he placed in the fresh soil of her grave. The words on her tombstone burned into his brain.

Relena Peacecraft Dorlain

180AD-205AD

Beloved Mother and Wife

"She carried a light of laughter and love.

Our lives are darker now that she is gone."

"I made them write wife," he whispered, voice breaking, "because I planned to give you this after Isabella was born. You know, during that moment you always see in movies. Where the mother is lying there, holding her baby and smiling. And the father is looking on, really proud. That's when I was going to give you this. I'm sorry I didn't do it sooner." He opened the box to reveal a glimmering solitaire diamond ring. Inside were inscribed the words, 'My heart is thine.'

"I…I guess we're not going to have that moment," Heero said, closing his eyes to block the rising tears. "But I wanted to say it anyway. Relena…would you do me the honour of marrying me?"

****

Maybe I didn't treat you quite as good as I should have

Maybe I didn't love you quite as often as I could have

Maybe I didn't hold you all those lonely, lonely times

And I guess I never told you, I'm so happy you were mine.

****

Silence echoed through the cemetery. Not even the birds sang. It was as if fate was trying to rub it in that Heero would never hear her sweet voice give her reply, or feel her soft lips caress his.

That's when it broke. A single tear escaped the corner of Heero's eye and trailed its way down to his chin.

And like a dam that had formed the tiniest crack in it, it was only a matter of time before the whole thing gave way.

As he knelt beside his lover's grave, his fingers burying into the freshly packed soil, tears poured down his cheeks. They blinded his vision and the sobbing left him short of breath. But it wasn't enough. It wasn't a big enough outlet for all the pain that was raging in his heart.

Throwing his head back, he screamed. An animal-like cry that sounded foreign to him, though he knew it was he who was making the sound. And then he did it again. And again. Five times he cried out, the last time calling her name and knowing - with an ache that filled every part of him - that he would never hear her whisper his name again in anywhere other than his dreams.

****

"Shouldn't we go to him?"

"And do what?" asked Wufei. "No, he needs to do this. He hasn't cried at all. Not even at the funeral."

Duo nodded, but couldn't help shivering at the sound of Heero's cries. It was if the man were dying.

"What can we do?" he asked.

"Nothing," said Wufei curtly. "Take it from someone who knows. This part he must handle on his own. We can only be there when he needs our help…" he sighed, the first time Duo had seen him looking defeated. "Until then…all we can do is pray."

"Hmph," said Duo, crossing his arms. "I dunno if I have any faith left. All I know is the kind of God who would take the life of Relena Peacecraft is no God of mine."

"Isn't it a saying in your Bible? 'The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh away.'?" asked Wufei.

"Hmph," said Duo again. "Try telling that to Heero."

****

As the cries died in Heero's throat and he ran out of tears to shed, he closed the velvet box and dug a small hole in the ground and dropped the box inside. He covered it up again reverently and stood up.

"I'll come back," he said, his voice croaky. "Maybe I'll bring Isabella next time. I think I'll name her that. I know you liked it. She isn't old enough now, but when she is, I'll make sure she knows just how amazing her mother was."

He knelt down and placed a kiss on his finger before touching them to her tombstone. "I love you Relena. Please forgive me for not saying it more when I had the chance."

He took a deep breath and stood up. That was how it was going to be now. One breath at a time. One morning after another. The pain would never go away. But he would survive. He had to.

He turned to where Duo and Wufei were waiting patiently by the car and gave a silent prayer of thanks that he had such good friends at a time like this. Maybe he would ask them to be Isabella's godparents. Maybe Quatre and Trowa too, if they wanted to. Quatre was already going all clucky over Isabella.

'She's going to be so spoilt,' he thought, with a wry smile.

With that thought in mind, he left Relena's grave. It was the first of many visits over the years to come.

****

Maybe I didn't treat you quite as good as I should have.

****

As Heero walked back to the car, his step a little heavier than it used to be, a solitary spirit sat on her tombstone and watched him go. She was so involved in watching him that she barely noticed a presence beside her - the same presence that had accompanied her since her death, guiding her to where she needed to be.

After a while it spoke.

His love for you is strong.

"I know that," she replied.

His daughter's love will be strong, too. He will make sure of that.

"I know that, too," she said. What she did next would have been called a sigh, if she were still breathing air to expel. "I just wish…"

What, my child?

"Lots of things. I wish I would be there to see her grow up, to have a part in her life."

You will be able to watch her where we are going. And you have already played a bigger role in her life than you can imagine.

She ignored the presence's words, since they weren't of much comfort. Even if they were right. "And I wish I had the chance to tell him…oh, so many things. I wish I could tell him my answer to his proposal is 'yes'."

If he doesn't know that, then he never really knew you.

"I know he knows that. But if he could just hear me say it, maybe it would make things easier for him."

All wounds heal one day.

"They still leave a scar." Then something occurred to her. "Will he ever love another?"

He will love your daughter with all his heart.

"That's your way of saying 'no', isn't it?"

The presence was silent.

"Finally, I've found something you don't have an answer to."

His love is strong, it will tie him to you in life and death. You will see him again.

"I know. And I will come with you soon," she said, seeing the deeper meaning of the presence's words. "Just…can I just stay one more day? I want to be here when he brings Isabella."

You like that name he choose?

"I do. Please?"

It was the presence's turn to sigh. Very well, child. I will return tomorrow. And with that, it left her.

She turned back to where Heero was climbing into the car with the others.

"I'll be waiting Heero. I'll be here when you come back," she whispered to his back. "I'll be waiting for you always."

She blew him a kiss and smiled, a sad little smile that brought her close to crying. If only she could still shed tears.

****

Heero pulled open the car door almost mechanically. His mind wasn't completely on anything at the moment. It was like being numb from the heart up.

And that's when he heard it.

I'll be waiting for you always…

"Hey, did you guys hear that?"

Wufei and Duo exchanged confused glances. "Hear what?"

"Never mind. Must be my imagination."

Duo shrugged and Wufei 'hmphed' as they got in the car.

But Heero chanced one more glance back. Could it be? No, that was impossible. But the words had been so clear, spoken just the way she would have.

"Alright, Relena," he whispered to the wind, hoping she could hear him, wherever she was. "I'll come back. I won't forget."

****

You were always on my mind.

****

~Fin~

A/N: *Sob* Feedback…*sniffle*…please. Constructive criticism…*sob*…is welcome, but no flames please.