Author's Note: This story deals with reincarnation and various religious themes. I'm not trying to promote them, but they are an integral part of the story, so if you are offended by this, I urge to read elsewhere. Thanks for your time, and enjoy!

Another Note: I would also like to warn you that this story came out in a different style than my others, a bit more spookier I would say. I hope it is alright.

Disclaimer: Gundam Wing does not belong to me. College student=poor=very little money if you sue me.

Autumn Leaving

AC 322

He was on the street again, the one he saw both awake and sleeping. The street lined with towering oak trees that spread their leaves in the sunlight, glittering gold as they waved at him. His world was silent inside his car, the only sound the soft whir of the air fan, his windows rolled up tight. The radio was off, he didn't like distractions, and his eyes were trained on the road before him, bypassing the perfect residential houses that floated by on either side. He only came down this street to see one thing, and it was not the everyday contrivances of life everyone took for granted.

The ruins of the old Peacecraft Mansion came into view suddenly, as it did every time. The ocean, too, appeared swiftly and silently, crashing against the beach that had been hidden from view 'til now. He did not look at it, instead pulling his car up along the curb in order to turn his cobalt eyes to a condemned house that occupied a corner of his mind. Teenagers had broken in all the windows making gaping black holes in the outward face that reminded him of war wounds. The lawn was overgrown, the doors boarded up with a large white sign on the main one that read "Condemned". The city had tried to maintain the ancient mansion for awhile, claiming that it was an historic landmark, but as Newport grew, it eventually abandoned it to the unruly neighborhood kids that used it for dares. It was over a hundred years old now, one of its wings having collapsed under age. He could not say why he was drawn to this place, only that it soothed something ragged inside him. Whenever he fought with Lydia he came here and sat on the decaying perimeter wall to watch the moon rise over the ocean. It was comforting to hear the waves and watch the light play over the water. He would never tell anyone, of course. It was his own place, not to be shared with others.

The fight had been different this time, aimed not at him but at what he cherished. She wanted to move to outer space, more specifically to Mars where the landless European nobility could make a name for themselves. Lydia had always been trying to prove herself ever since her brother had won the Nobel Peace Prize and she had suddenly become a shadow in her own family. She had tried everything. Writing numerous literary columns dedicated to the ideals of pacifism, preaching her beliefs before countless committees, lobbying for equal status for Mars settlers. Now she wanted to move there, a last ditch attempt to regain the attention she thought she had lost to her brother.

And she wanted him to go with her.

They had been dating for a year, off and on since both their schedules were busy. He worked at Preventer Security, the galaxy wide organization that keep the peace that Relena Peacecraft had put in place so long ago. How ironic it was that he looked now upon her home, the very place her young mind had first envisioned the world he now lived in. Not that it mattered, Lydia wanted him to leave it all behind. She said he was losing himself in this place. She wanted him to forget Earth and look towards the stars.

He could not.

He had been born on Earth, and though he had traveled to the colonies many times, the blue-green planet was still his home. He belonged here, where everything was real and not just illusion. Only here did he feel he really existed.

He would have to break it off. They didn't love each other, hadn't for a long time. For him, maybe never. Love was a myth spread by those who had never known it. He used Lydia as she used him, to keep the loneliness at bay. At night it was the worst, the ache in his chest becoming so poignant he had trouble breathing. He often wondered if everyone experienced this terrible heartache, so deep he often woke with tears on his face. When Lydia discovered him like that one morning, she sent him to a therapist who had immediately pointed him across the street to a fortune teller who promptly told him exactly what his problem was.

His soul was weeping.

Apparently, this infliction made it self known at night when his mind shut down and his heart was allowed just to feel. This, the gypsy look-alike had explained, was the whole dilemma. His heart felt nothing at all and so his soul wept. Her cure for this was to find something to hope for, to believe in. The moment the words had left her painted lips, he had risen and walked out of her shop, irrationally angry. What did she know about his life? He could have been the happiest man alive for all she knew and his soul was weeping? Where did she come up with that stuff?

It didn't matter. Nothing did.

Except this house.

He opened the car door, letting the world in as he stepped out, leaning back against the frame to look up at the mansion. He could picture it in his mind's eye, perfect and untarnished. It was almost as if he had seen it with his own eyes, the image was so clear. But, of course, that wasn't possible. He had learned that lesson long ago.

The world is cruel, his mother had whispered as she left him on the orphanage doorstep on a snow-clouded day. The world is cruel, the matron had told him, as other children got new lives with new parents and he was left behind. The world is cruel, Lydia said angrily, and the house reflected it back.

The world is cruel.

Was there such a thing as true happiness? He didn't think so, but only because he had known so little happiness in his own life. Perhaps those who thought they were happy were just deluding themselves against the sad truth of life. What happiness could there be when everything was so…gray?

He pushed himself away from the car absently and glanced at his watch. He really shouldn't have stopped there, on that street. He would be late getting back and Lydia would have questions he didn't have the answers for.

Looking back on the mansion once more, he climbed back in the car and shut the world out again, pulling a U-turn and heading back towards his apartment. Scenery flashed by on all sides of him, but he paid little notice. It was just another day. Another day in a life that mattered little to him.

He didn't care when he caught every red light between the Peacecraft Mansion and the street next to his apartment. He didn't care as an old women tottered in front of his car as she struggled to cross the crosswalk. He didn't care that he was a little late catching the green light and the car behind him honked impatiently. He didn't even really care when the red truck filled his windshield and impacted him head on, filling his already closed mind with the screaming of metal and voices. There was no pain, he was too numb to feel anything, dead the moment he was born, a heart without purpose. Something warm trickled into his eyes but he didn't wipe it away, he couldn't move. Instead, his mind spiraled into a deeper darkness that he recognized as unconsciousness. He went willingly at first, before, abruptly, he realized he did care that he would never see his street again.

His street?

No, her street. The girl with eyes like the ocean.

Who?

He was confused. He felt almost like two people, the same and yet different, caught in a moment within his own mind.

She's waiting, you know…

Who?

But then he knew, and her voice came as a tiny spark of light in the dimness of his thoughts, a kiss of wonder.

"Heero?"

TBC…