If the moon is so beautiful and bright in the sky,
why does it look so desolate and barren up close?
The night sky blanketed the world beneath in gentle
touches, smoothing harsh angles of the rocks and trees
with a brush of softness. The water lapped against
the softened landscape in quiet solemnity, echoing the
noiseless night in perfect harmony. It was a hot
night without the hellish temperatures of day,
dampened slightly by humidity. The scent of summer
lay heavy over everything without overpowering the
subtle smell of the salty ocean. This was the kind of
a night that poets liked to moon over in their love
sonnets, but the scenery seemed to wash over the
figure standing at the edge of the rocks facing out to
the ocean. The wind barely scraped over his hair and
failed to tug at his loose clothing, too sluggish in
the wet air to make an impression. None of it
mattered, though, since the lone person standing so
still paid no attention to the wind, the night, nor
the water. He stared at nothing, but his eyes
reflected the moon that finally had reached fullness.
His messy hair which would have been brown under the
sun glinted almost translucent blue in the moonlight,
casting off a halo like light around him. However,
his cold, blue eyes looked anything but angelic,
holding a deep darkness that rivaled the moon's glory.
A tortured and lonely soul writhed within those blue
eyes, screaming for relief against the pain. It was a
saving grace that no one else was around to see this
man nor to hear the screams of his soul for they would
have been overwhelmed by the sheer beauty and the
complete torment he radiated.
The moon traveled on relentlessly over the skies and
the wind died out completely, but the passage of time
did not affect the stillness of the figure standing on
the rocks. He stood, his eyes not focused on
anything, as the world around him went on with time.
That was the way it was... the world and everything
around him traveled in companionship with time while
he stood still in the midst of it all. Time meant
nothing to him. After all, how could time mean
anything when he lived outside of it?
Blood dripped slowly down the satiny surface of the
teak table, staining the white carpet in small
splatters. The body was still warm, its eyes open in
shock, the mouth still posed in the beginnings of a
surprised gasp. The wound, just next to the trachea
in a traditionally effective slicing of the left
carotid artery, was a gaping thing, ugly in its
bloodied state yet somehow elegant and simple in its
"Well, I suppose I should get out now."
The seemingly disembodied voice floated across the
dead body sprawled over the table. It was tinged with
a bit of humor, frustration and weariness that belied
the pathetic posture of the dead woman. It was as if
the assassin who sat in complete darkness from his
victim did not care about the murder, just the fact
that it was late at night and he needed some sleep.
But he could not leave, not yet. His assassination
was complete, but his witness had yet to get on the
scene to check out the body. Sometimes, he hated
traditions that required every assassin have a witness
so that they could testified as to the completeness
and quality of his work.
A subtle sound behind him had him whirling with his
knives in his hands in less time than most people
could blink. The knives went back into their hiding
places when he saw that it was his witness.
"About fucking time, Trowa. You know, I killed this
girl like an hour ago. I hate waiting! What took you
Even though the young assassin was frustrated, he had
still whispered his small rant. He was angry, not
"I'm sorry," Trowa said in a rather unapologetic tone,
"but you are not my only assassin assignment. Quatre
took a little longer and I had to give him a small
lecture on effectiveness."
The assassin snorted indelicately and fingered his
chestnut colored braid irritably. It had to be
Quatre, the almost too delicate looking blond assassin
who had joined their ranks not even six months ago
that caused the problem. Not that he had anything
against Quatre, but he was too nice, kind and
nurturing, not exactly the assassin type. But Quatre
was good at what he did, just like him. His violet
eyes narrowed as that thought popped into his head.
"I thought you trained him, Trowa. And you never
train bad assassins, so what really happened?"
Trowa smirked and refrained from answering. He
instead walked to the body slumped over the table and
checked her over with a critical emerald eye. Her
blue eyes were wide open still, a testament to how
quickly she had died. Her blond hair was not even out
of its small plaits, a true sign of skill of the
assassin. Trowa nodded in affirmation, for as always,
the job had been done with impeccable style and
"Nice job, Duo."
"I know. I'm the best. Now, you done? I need to eat
The assassin and his witness walked out of the room,
chatting softly about various things, leaving the dead
body behind them. However, if they had bothered to
turn around even once, their sharp, trained eyes would
have caught the dead girl's eyes refocusing, coming
back to life.
If anything, Duo hated arguing with Wufei. It wasn't
that he did not respect Wufei since he was considered
one of the best assassins ever produced by the guild,
but Wufei never knew when to quit. At this particular
moment, Wufei was making a point about honor within
the guild, explaining his views on how his job served
the purpose of justice only if he performed with
honor. Duo listened with half an ear, noting now and
then that Wufei did have a valid, if not overdone to
death, point, but he still did not agree. They were
assassins. They were hired killers who murdered
random people because someone paid them to do so. The
honor Wufei touted so highly was not present... they
did not kill for the interest of justice or anything
noble. They killed because someone wanted someone
else dead for any reason at all. As long as the
client observed the golden rule number one... the
"My targets never suffer more than a moment when I
kill them because we are not monsters. We are
killers, dispensing death without undue pain."
Duo did agree with that point. He would never torment
or torture his targets, no matter what the client
demanded. If the clients wanted their targets to
suffer, then they should go hire someone from the
murderer's guild, not the assassin's guild. His mind
circled round and round with various thoughts and
tuned out Wufei's counter argument completely.
"Duo, at least respect my opinion enough to LISTEN."
There was a bit of huffiness in Wufei's voice, but it
was lined with fondness as well. He and Duo had been
in the guild since they were seven years old and had
grown up like brothers. Brothers that liked to fight
"I was listening," Duo replied without hesitation,
"but you always say the same shit, Wu. Let it go."
They might have gone on with their usual argument if
Quatre had not stepped into the fray.
The gentle voice broke through the imminent violence
of words and halted all hostilities between Duo and
Wufei. For some reason, no one could fight when
Quatre was around. He just had that kind of effect on
everyone, even in a guild filled with skilled killers.
Ignoring the sudden silence he had just inflicted
upon Duo and Wufei, Quatre continued to speak gently.
"Trowa says he ran into a snag and won't be able to
witness for any of us for a while. It seems that his
sister is ill and you know how he feels about leaving
her when she isn't well."
Twin sets of grimaces surfaced from Duo and Wufei. If
their witness was too busy babysitting his
hypochondriac sister, then the jobs they would have
gotten would be passed off to others in the guild.
Not only would they make less money, their reputations
would also receive a small blow for lack of readiness.
"Damn it, Quatre, it's already the fifth time this
fucking month Catherine supposedly got sick! What
does she have now, a flesh eating virus that only eats
her ankles? Shit!"
Wufei nodded in agreement with Duo. Trowa was their
witness and it was his duty to make sure that he got
them the jobs as well as inspect their work. But
Trowa had been less than admirable lately because his
sister Catherine. All three assassins understood that
Trowa loved his sister dearly, but now that it was
effecting his job performance, they had to say
"Quat, he likes you. More than us. So, why don't you
talk to him about this? We can't just let him take
off like this! And it's not like the guild is going
to send us another witness anytime soon!"
"Calm down, Wufei," Quatre said in a mollifying tone,
"I'm sure he'll be back in a couple of days. No more
than that! Besides, Duo, didn't you kill a big bounty
last night? That should keep us all afloat for a
Duo grumbled, but conceded the point. It was funny
like that, how Quatre cut off any kind of an argument
with either his gentle voice or sound logic. It
sucked to argue with him as well.
"Yeah, but the guild won't give us future jobs if
Trowa keeps going missing. The three of us have to
get work regularly for practice, too. I mean, just
who is feeding Trowa and his batty sister? Us! And
Quat, before you came along, it was just me and Duo.
So I think he owes us a bit more of his time."
If anything, Wufei was a stickler for duty and honor
and he made a better argument than Duo did. Quatre
nodded at Wufei's well placed point and considered the
possibility of pulling Trowa away from Catherine by
force. Gentle force, anyway.
"I will talk to him, okay? But enough of that. Duo,
how was your last assignment? Mine was only hours
before yours and it turned out rather messy."
Duo decided to let Quatre change the subject since he
had relented about talking to Trowa. Besides, he was
rather proud of his last assignment.
"Didn't Trowa tell you, Quat?" Duo said with a hint of
pride, "I got her real good. One neat slice and
thump, it was all done. Didn't take more than five
seconds. She didn't see me coming, not even when I
Duo stuck his tongue out at Wufei's drawling and
sarcastic compliment. Wufei always thought killing
women was beneath him, considering them somehow a
lesser opponent than men.
"I'd say," Quatre jumped in with genuine enthusiasm,
"you are one of the best, Duo. The guy I killed
struggled and it took longer because of the extensive
clean up. But you know, he was one of the generals in
the Oz army so he could put up a fight."
Wufei shrugged his shoulders, but offered no comment.
He figured if Quatre wanted to use his favored weapon,
the garrote wire, he should not be assigned jobs
dealing with large, trained people. But the job was
done and that was that.
"A big man, eh? I wanted to kill him, but Trowa
thought you might get soft on a girl target so I got
"Sorry, Duo. Next time, you can have the boorish
ones. I've had it with getting thrown around like a
"No prob, Quat," Duo said, "and I'll forgive you even
since the girl I took out last night was a Peacecraft.
I've never taken out someone from the royal family
before and it was kind of cool."
"Relena Peacecraft, right? Why did the client want
her dead again?"
Rolling his eyes, Duo shook his head at Wufei. It was
just like his honorable assassin brother to look for
reasons behind the killings. He should have been a
soldier, not an assassin.
"What do I care, Wufei? He pays Trowa, I get the job
"But don't you ever wonder why these people deserve to
Quatre had spoken softly, as if he had not wanted to
be heard, but Duo's sharp ears picked it up anyway.
"Quat, no one deserves to die. No one. But it's not
about who's right and who's wrong. There is no
justice in what we do. So I have to stop worrying
about little stuff like that."
No one said anything afterwards, each shifting off
into their private world of contemplation about their
job, their life and their destiny.
"And it hurt! I hate dying!"
Heero rolled his eyes at his dinner companion, the
blue depths betraying the lack of patience for his
"That assassin really dug in hard, too. I mean, I'm a
lady, for the love of all things holy. I do not
deserve to get.. massacred in that fashion! I mean,
you're supposed to kill royalty with poisons or
something less invasive. But Heero, he slit my
throat! How inelegant, how.. common! Really."
If he could have, Heero would have banged his head
against his dinner table until he fell unconscious.
For the past hour, he had listened to Relena rant and
whine about the undignified way she had died.
Unfortunately, it seemed that she was not done yet,
and he could not chase her out just yet. They had
unfinished business which looked like it would remain
unfinished if she kept ranting.
"Relena," Heero said in the middle of her tirade,
"what does it matter how you died? We can't die
anyway. Besides, you speak like this is the only time
Sniffing in a ladylike fashion, Relena responded.
"That's not the point, Heero. Sure I've died many
times before, but never so crudely! I mean, what kind
of assassins are they sending after royalty these days
anyway? They used to be so polite and clean! You
should see the nasty bloodstain left on my carpet. It
will take days upon days to clean that up."
"Stop the complaining. I've been stabbed, hung,
burned, dismembered and on one particularly unpleasant
occasion, tossed to rabid dogs. Believe me when I say
your last death was quite a lovely, if not efficient,
"You have absolutely no sympathy for your own kind at
all, Heero. Not only that, don't you see the problem
I have now? After all that work of setting myself up
as a Peacecraft, I'm dead! I can't just show up alive
all of a sudden."
Heero resisted the urge to rub the aching pain between
his eyebrows. Sometimes he had to wonder if it was
just Relena who frustrated him or the entirety of his
"Look, Relena, you told me no one saw you dead except
the assassin and his witness. Just go on like nothing
happened. Who's going to contradict you?"
At his suggestion, Relena's cornflower blue eyes lit
up like lanterns. In the depth of Heero's mind, he
thought that they were very, very dim lanterns.
"Of course! You are absolutely right. Why not go on
like I never died? Oh, that would so piss off whoever
hired them to kill me. Not only that, since the
witness confirmed my death which will be contradicted
by me walking around alive, the guild will send out
forfeit of the assassin and the witness's lives. My,
my, what a perfect thing."
Heero sat for another hour as Relena ranted about her
vengeance against those who wanted her dead. He did
not particularly care who wanted her dead nor the fate
of the assassin and his witness. The world of the
mortals was not his concern.
"Are you listening to me, Heero? My goodness, I swear
you haven't changed a bit in the last thousand years."
"Neither have you, Relena. Which brings me to my
point about our unfinished business."
Nodding sourly, Relena let her conversation topic
drop. He was always business, so demanding and
unrelenting. But she could not blame him for being so
cold and unnatural. If she held as much pain as he
did behind his beautifully blue eyes, she might be
like him too.
"Heero, have you considered that, maybe, he won't ever
The only response she received was a terse nod
followed by an emphatic 'no' screaming in his eyes.
"After all, it has been fifteen centuries since he
died, Heero. When will you learn that you cannot love
a mortal? They die so quickly and fade even faster.
Why don't you give up on him and be with one of your
"That is none of your concern," Heero bit off
savagely, "so don't question me. You said you had
something that would help to bring him back. Give it
Relena sighed. She had promised him a glimmer of hope
three hundred years ago only to realize that she would
never have Heero the way she wanted with that glimmer.
She had evaded him since then, only to be caught up
in it all over again.
"Fine. But don't come crying to me when you realize
you're going to hurt more than you do now."
With that out of the way, Relena reached into the
inside fold of her voluminous dress and pulled out a
small pendant. It glittered rainbows as it reflected
the candlelight, but the dark center marred the beauty
of the crystalline object.
"Here you go, Heero. The Pendulum Signet. It brings
back a mortal from the dead, but at a price."
Heero greedily reached for the pendant, but Relena
pulled back at the last moment, dangling it before
Heero's outstretched hand.
"The price Heero! Remember the price. You will be
"Do you think I care? I'll give it up for him."
"I know," Relena said sadly. "You must love him so
much to want to give up being a god, Heero."
"I do. More than you'll know. And what's so good
about being a god anyway? We have long since been
deposed of our power and we scurry through the mortal
landscape, trying to blend with those that time
Knowing that it was futile to argue further, Relena
handed the pendant to Heero.
"I hope he still loves you, Heero. For all you know,
he's not even dead anymore. Mortal souls are
"Then this pendant will help his current incarnation
remember me. Whatever happens, I will have him back."
Relena gave Heero one last look filled with sadness
and left. She could not imagine giving up her
immortality nor her godhood for any reason at all, but
Heero would do it in a heart beat for a boy he loved
so long ago. She wished him luck and hoped that he
would finally banish the pain from his eyes.