Far Off Dawn

by WSJ

*cackles* MWAHA!!!!! I love Van/Moonbay pairings, especially the angsty ones!!!!!!!!! *cackles for another 37 minutes*

Kawaii-chan: *sweatdrop* Don't mind her. She's a sadist and delights in torturing characters.

Chibi-Solo-chan: *grows horns and a forked tail* Yeah. You should see what she does to Duo.

Kawaii-chan: *rolls eyes* Only with your help. Anyway, this is AU, and a very bittersweet romance. Took seems to have taken an enexpected extended stay in Chicago, so he won't be able to help. *sweatdrops again* That's why this is overly-mushy.

Chibi-Solo-chan: Extended stay? What do you mean? He missed the friggin' plane!

Kawaii-chan: *clamps hand over CSC's mouth* Shut up Solo! ^^;; Forgive him. We don't own Zoids or the song, which is Zech's image song from Gundam Wing, which is the only reason CSC's here. *releases CSC* Now run and get some sedatives for WSJ, 'kay? *turns back to audience* If you hadn't guessed from WSJ's ramblings, the couple is Van/Moonbay with past Van/Fiona. Warnings? Angst and hinted-at death of several of the characters.

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Casting a wary glance down each dusty strip of road that curved away from his hiding place, Van pulled his tattered brown riding cloak closer around him. He lifted the hood over his head and made sure his face was in the shadow. He wanted to make sure that no one would recognise him, or even see him at all.

He started to step out of the alley and into the dusky, empty street, but something crunched just around the bend, and he ducked back into concealment.

It turned out to be footsteps, those of a young couple maybe fourteen or fifteen years old. They laughed at something one of them had said, and the girl leaned over to rest her head against the boy's shoulder before they disappeared around another corner.

A bitter smile eased its way onto Van's face as he remembered a time several years before, when he and Fiona had been that light, youthful age. They'd been just like that, all snuggly and fluffy. They'd trully been in love. Now that Van thought about it, that had been what had driven the Guardian Forse appart. Thomas and Moonbay had both left, and Van had always suspected it was because of him and Fiona becoming a couple.

Van felt a twinge in his heart, and his bitter smile faded to a scowl. Of course, that had been before the Rebellion. The war between the Empire and the Republic had started again, and without the Guardian Forse it had grown until in engulfed the whole continent.

Van shut his eyes against the memory of losing first Fiona, and then Irvine, who had become like a brother to him, and finally, even Zeek. It had been their deaths that had driven him over the edge. He'd begun to fight back against both the Empire and the Republic, forming his own underground organization that fought for total peace on all sides. He didn't even know, still didn't know, even now, whether Moonbay had made it through the initial attacks or not. Thomas had joined him soon after the New War, as it was called, broke out, but they'd received no word from Moonbay.

That had been three years ago, and that was why he was here now. Word had gotten to him through his underground network of spies that the Empire was going to try to assasinate a Republic official who was staying in the city that night, and Van was to try his best to stop them.

Yes, even though he was the leader of his organization, which he called Foundation Z, he still did a lot of the dirtier work himself. That was something Irvine had taught him: never make your men do something you wouldn't do yourself.

The years of war had hardened his heart, and there was little now he couldn't do. His body sported many scars, old wounds that would twinge on cool nights, but his heart had become rock-solid.

But still... Sometimes he longed for the 'good-ol'-days' of the Guardian Forse, when all was right in the world, even in the midst of Raven's merciless attacks.

Raven...

Remaining in the heart

Is a dim memory

Of a song interrupted in order to

Finally stop yesterday

Van felt his fists involentarily clench. He believed Raven to be the Empire's assasin this night, which was the reason why he'd come himself. Raven had been the one that had killed Fiona, murdering her out of cold blood before Van's eyes.

Tightening his hood once again over his eyes, Van made double sure that his knife was in place in his boot, his pistol at his waist, his mini-pistol in its sleeve-holster.

Once he was sure everything was in place he stepped out from the shadows and headed for the residential section of the city, careful to let no one see him.

Seeking to chase the truth in the future

Is a lonely traveler astray

But finally he had to enter the marketplace. Even at this time of night it was still bustling with people, and Van felt as if he stuck out like a sore thumb.

He kept his eyes peeled for any sign of Raven, ready to grab his pistol at a moment's notice.

As his eyes scanned the crowd something in his heart went ping and his breath caught in his throat. He knew, now, who it was Raven was after. Not a Republic official, but whom he believed to be the last surviving member of Guardian Forse.

Raven had killed Irvine, Fiona and Zeek. He'd maimed Van, believing him dead. He'd done the same to Thomas.

All that was left was Moonbay, and she was standing just a few feet from him.

Again, Van's breath caught in his throat. She was gorgeous, more beautiful then he'd ever remembered. Her hair was now kept in one long braid down her back, and she still wore her customary orange outfit. Van almost called out to her, out of sheer joy at knowing she was all right, but bit down on his tounge.

It was a dangerous life he lived, it was no place for Moonbay. Sure, she was a strong, dedicated fighter and he'd love to have her by his side, have someone besides Thomas to greive with over Fiona, Irvine and Zeek... But he couldn't. He wouldn't have her killed like Fiona. He wouldn't let himself love again.

Gritting his teeth and flicking a sudden tear out of his eye, Van moved to brush past her. His shoulder bumped hers, and she turned. For an instant their eyes locked, and Van's heart skipped a beat.

"Who are you?" Moonbay asked, almost in a whisper. "I know you... Who are you?"

Willing himself to keep walking, Van tugged the hood closer around his face. "No one." he said gruffly. "Just a nameless soldier. You must have been mistaken."

A heart shouts out

An eye stares,

"Who are you?"

Just fighting, locking up the dream

Of a far off dawn…

Moonbay watched, puzzled, as th eman disappeared into the crowd. SHe was so sure... Just in that instant, when she'd looked into his eyes, she'd known him. But she couldn't quite remember now who those eyes belonged to.

She tried to shrug it off as she finished her grocery shopping and headed back to her apartment, but those eyes wouldn't leave her. They seemed so pained, so sad...

It was much later, as she lay in bed, bare millimeters from sleep, that it came to her. Literally.

She heard the rustle of cloth near the entrance to the balcony and rolled over sleepily to see a surprised silhoette framed in the moonlight, those same eyes shining down at her.

Had it been anyone else she would have been out of bed in an instant, ready to tumble the intruder off the roof. But in her sleepyness this silhoette comforted her, for it was one she knew.

"Oh, Van," she yawned, her eyes drifting closed. "G'night..."

Her dreams that night were troubled. She dreamed of a horrible black bird squaking and devouring a feild of flowers. Then it dove for her, and Van stepped in the way. But it was not the Van she knew. This Van was hard, and cold to touch. No trace of his former innocence lingered, except, maybe, deeply in his eyes.

Beneath the mask

Is an innocent face forgotten

Everything is compressed

In that infinite darkness…

Van was leaning silently against the wall in the corner of Moonbay's bedroom, alternating between watching over her and dozing lightly. It was just dawn, the sun was just beginning to peek over the horizon, when the attack came.

Raven, with one incredible leap, jumped from the garden below to land silently on the balcony. Van was instantly alert, and straitened up slightly, although he remained in the corner. It seemed Raven hadn't seen him.

He watched with a kind of muted fasination mixxed with horror as Raven drew a handgun from under his jacket and leveled it at Moonbay's sleeping, blissfully unaware head.

Van crouched slightly, coiling like a spring, and then suddenly he was across the room, right in front of Raven. He lifted his foot in a swift kick that sent Raven's hand up, and when his finger squeezed the trigger it fired harmlessly into the ceiling.

Raven cursed, his lips twisting into a sneer as he placed the face before him. "You! I left you for dead."

"You probably should have finished the job." Van grunted. He swung his hand up and caught Raven's wrist before he could aim and fire the gun again.

"This time I will." Raven said, and with that brought a knee sharply up into Van's stomach, forsing the air out of him with a whoosh. Van doubled over Raven's knee, but rolled out of the way before Raven could bring his other elbow down on the back of Van's neck.

Twisting, Raven loosened himself from Van's grasp. He brought the pistol down and fired at Moonbay, but Van managed to get in the way. The bullet tore into his left shoulder and Van let out a hiss of pain. Yet before Raven could fire another shot at a more deadly quarter of his old enemy Van's hand had dipped toward his boot and come up with the silver knife glinting in it.

Raven fired again at the same time as Van let the knife fly. Both men were struck, Raven almost in the dead center of his belly, Van in the same shoulder he'd taken the other shot.

Van yelped in pain and dropped to one knee, his right hand covering the wound which was gushing blood. Across from him Raven had a strange, manic smile on his face and was breathing hard. His eyes began to roll back in his head, and Van watched as he seemed to crumple in on himself and landed with a muted thump on the floor.

"Van?"

Van had completely forgotten about Moonbay, and he whirled toward the terrified voice to see her sitting up in bed, clutching the sheets around her, her eyes wide with fright.

"Van?" she asked again. "Are you ok?"

Van didn't answer but instead moved shakily toward Raven. First he checked to make sure he would live, and then with a pained grunt that brought tears to his eyes Van managed to hoist Raven to his uninjured shoulder and straitened up, grimacing as his shoulder sang protests. He'd have to let Thomas take a look at it, he was good with bullet woulds.

Finally he turned to face Moonbay. "Forget you ever saw me." he said, his voice stern. "Please Moonbay, forget we were ever here. It would only put your life in danger."

Moonbay had tears trailing down her cheeks, and Van had to look away. "Van, will I never see you again? Ever? And what about the others, Fiona, Irvine...?"

Van looked out at the rising sun, fresh tears that had nothing to do with his wound gathering in his eyes. "Both dead. Zeek too. Raven killed them, then left me for dead. I've learned he did the same to Thomas, but he survived. Thomas and I are both alright, for now. But, as you can see," he gestured feebely with his quickly numbing arm. "It's never a certainy. Perhaps we'll meet again Moonbay. Until then." He tossed her a quick salut, and then was out the window and over the side of the balcony.

He landed with a jolt and caused him to bite down on his tounge until he tasted blood, out of pain, and he made his way as quickly as he could to where Thomas was going to meet him with the car.

Silently relishing the morning glow,

The color of blood that soldiers shed…

Thomas looked up from the magizine he was reading as someone pounded on the window. Quickly he unlocked the doors, and Van opened the back one, slinging Raven across the seat before sliding in himself.

Thomas glanced back before starting the car and had to do a double-take. "Van! You're hurt! It looks bad!"

Van grimaced, pressing his hand against the wound. "You think I didn't know that? But Moonbay's safe, and I've captured Raven. Who I think will live, by the way, dispite the knife sticking out of his gut."

Thomas blinked as he threw the car into gear and roared off back toward the base. "He was after Moonbay? Is she...?"

Van managed a smile, his first one in what felt like years. "She's fine. Although, I don't think she liked the idea of me leaving her behind."

"No, I don't think she would." Thomas agreed. He glanced in the rear-view mirror and again had to do a double-take. Van was staring out the window with an unidentifiable look etched on his face. Regret was there, and pain, and loss, lonelyness, bitterness, and... love? Thomas smiled slightly and consentrated on driving.

All was silent for the rest of the trip.

No one understood…

Searching for the future…

"Who are you?"

A blue flame is dyeing the sky

Of a far off dawn…

Moonbay surveyed the packing of her things, occationally shouting orders to some of the movers. She couldn't stand to live in that apartment anymore, not when the blood of both Raven and Van stained the carpet.

Turning to look out across the desert, Moonbay couldn't help but slip her hand into her pocket and finger her hankercheif. It was actually a corner of her sheet, which she'd cut to appropriate size. She wrapped her fingers around it, imagining she could feel Van's warmth through the blood that stained it.

'Van,' she thought. 'I'll be waiting, forever and always. Just don't forget that you made a promise to me, 'kay? I don't know where I'm going, where I'm moving to, but maybe, just maybe, it's bringing me closer to you.'

Wishing to hold someone tight,

The journey begins, rising to the lonely sky…

Van sighed and stared down into his soup, swirling it around idly with his spoon. He just wasn't hungry.

The door to his 'hospital' room opened and Thomas stuck his head in. Seeing the downcast expresion on his friend's face he came in and shut the door behind him, then sat down on the chair next to the bed.

"Hey, Van, buddy, what's wrong? Is it your arm? It's been almost two weeks, it should be starting to heal by now."

Van nodded absently. "It is."

Thomas's forehead wrinkled. "Then what on Zi..." Slowly a knowing smile crept across his face. "Ah."

Van looked up sharply. "What? 'Ah' what?"

"One guess: Moonbay?"

Van let his shoulder's drop and nodded. "Yeah."

Thomas's eyes twinkled. "Well, you know, if you miss her that much... Maybe she could've intersepted a message that told where our hidden base is? The hidden base we even now currently reside in?"

Van glared daggers at the blond. "Thomas! You didn't!"

Thomas grinned. "Oops?"

Van blinked a couple times, and then began to laugh. The first he'd ever laughed in a really, really long time. Picking up his spoon he dipped it into the bowl and began to attack the soup with vigor.

A heart shouts out

An eye stares,

"Who are you?"

Just fighting, locking up the dream

Of a far off dawn…

"So," he asked after the miso soup was just a memory. "How's the other invalid?"

Thomas groaned. "Raven? Well... He's being himself."

Van sweatdropped. "Thought so..."

There was a knock on the door and Thomas rose to answer it. He held a whispered conversation with the nurse on the other side, and then nodded and left the room.

Van settled back against the pillows, and was close to drifting off to sleep when he heard a tapping on the window pain. Confused, he sat up, only to see the lock jimmy itself open and the sash raise.

There was a flash of orange, and then a familiar form stood over his bed, grinning. "Good morning." Moonbay said.

Van grinned back, and patted the bed for her to sit. She did, and Van pushed him self up so that he was leaning slightly forward. "Moonbay?" he asked nervously. She looked at him, waiting politely for an answer. "A-aishiteru..."

Moonbay's face broke into an even wider grin. For a moment it seemed like she would throw her arms around him in a hug, but the look of sheer terror on his face must have shown her that his injury still wasn't completely healed. She settled for words instead, and Van thought they were the best words ever.

"I love you too."

No one understood…

Searching for the future…

"Who are you?"

A blue flame is dyeing the sky

Of a far off dawn…

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What do you think? Comments will be sent to yamatos_fangirl@hotmail.com

God Bless!