I stand here a prisoner of the soul, captured
forever in the amber of time, undying and
After all the running, it seemed rather anticlimactic
when the time to use the Raduleum passed. There was
no epic battle, no ultimate decision to choose between
life and death. There was just a quiet passing of
time punctuated by small fights until the appointed
time flew past everyone. When Relena announced that
they were now no longer in danger from erasure, the
breath of relief released was heartfelt. When she had
further announced that she had set them all up for
nice futures, the grins were bright and wide, warming
her to the heart. Duo and Heero looked the most
happy, finally being free from the dangers posed upon
them by her sisters.
It was with the light heart of knowing they had won
that Relena stepped into the cavernous space within
the deep mountains. It was Noin's personal space on
the mortal realm, a place where the sisters used to
sit and play with mortals. Now, Relena knew that she
could no longer step into this same space with the
same disregard for mortals she had for so long. With
a determined and victorious smile, she walked to the
center of the room where Noin and Dorothy stood with
unreadable looks on their faces.
"Well, Noin, Dorothy.. After all that, Heero and Duo
managed to evade you completely. And not only that, I
managed to outwit you, sister. Plus, I sent off
Milliardo on a path that does not lead to the throne.
That's revenge, but hey, point for me, I'd say."
"Relena," Noin said seriously, "this is no time for
being smug. The world is being thrown to chaos. Have
you even considered what will happen to the Well of
Souls once they die and enter it with their free
"You are too pessimistic, Noin. If we work hard, we
can calm the damage and the world won't go to ruins."
"Sister," Dorothy replied in Noin's stead, "it's not
about how hard we try anymore. They are too strong
for us to contain now."
Relena let out a crude snort followed by a flip of her
"Don't scoff, Relena. This is most serious."
"Noin," Relena spoke with a bit of disdain, 'you have
been going about this all wrong. Heero is not going
to ruin anything. All he and Duo want is to be left
alone. What is so dastardly about that? They won't
interfere with others."
"Not consciously, no. But they are rippling through
the pattern. Surely you have seen it as well."
Relena clamped her mouth shut, knowing that Noin did
have a valid point. There had been innumerable amount
of strange occurrences within the pattern that none of
them could have predicted as of late. But none of it
had been damaging to the extent that Noin made it
seem. They had all been contained by her careful mind
and Noin's thorough follow-through.
"I don't care, Noin. I really don't. We're doing
just fine, I think. Besides, we have nothing left to
do! Raduleum's time has passed. And by the time we
can use it next, they would have already entered the
Well as free spirits. You know as well as I do, you
cannot use the Raduleum on a soul without a body."
"That is all very true, dear Relena. But.. we still
have the Metanilim."
Those words choked out a pained gasp from Relena's
throat. Her light heart filled with victory and
satisfaction died quickly, replaced by a cold dread
and dark fears.
"What.. what did you say?"
"It's the only way, Relena. Either this, or we use
the Raduleum the next time we can. Make your choice."
Relena stared at her sisters through the haze of her
tears. It could not be! The proposal her sisters
were making was cruel, merciless in its objective.
"How.. how can you do this? Don't you know what this
"We know what it will do," Dorothy replied with
surprising compassion, "but it is the only way left to
us, dear sister. You know we cannot let them run free
like this. It will corrupt the Well of Souls and then
the pattern will burn from the inside out. I'm sorry,
Relena, but you must choose between the eradication of
the Raduleum or the eternity of the Metanilim. What
will it be?"
"But Heero! He was one of us! He is family, damn
Relena felt her knees collapse beneath her as the
reality of the situation hit her hard. They were
going to do it again. They were going to destroy
"Out of respect for Heero, we will only do this to his
"His name is Duo!" Relena snarled, "and he is Heero's
whole universe. You cannot mean this!"
"We do mean it," Noin said unrepentantly, "so it is up
to you now. Choose, Relena!"
With a despairing wail, Relena chose the only thing
she could. She chose to destroy Heero's heart once
Heero sat with his hand clasped loosely in Duo's,
reveling in the silent and beautiful scene before
them. It had been a hectic week, but finally, there
was peace. They were not erased, they were together,
and everyone they loved were alive and well. They had
won over the Fates.
"Hey, Heero," Duo said wonderingly, "can you believe
that we're sitting here now? After all that happened,
I can't seem to believe it!"
A joyous laugh escaped Heero's mouth and his fingers
tightened around his lover's almost protectively.
"Believe it, love. It's all over."
Duo snuggled closer to Heero's side, letting his head
fall upon his lover's broad shoulders as he let his
vision wander about the fantastic view before them.
Their vantage point from the grassy hilltop showed
them an endless field of rolling hills and small blue
lakes, all soaked in the bright colors of autumn. A
wintry chill was just entering the atmosphere, but
neither noticed it.
"I love you."
In response, Duo turned his head and kissed Heero. It
was a kiss tinged in the vibrancy of passion and the
serenity of love. It lasted for some time.
"Can we build a house on this hill you think?"
"Yes," Heero answered with a soft smile, "I think we
"Great!" Duo said as he stood, "then let's get
Heero watched his lover's standing form with love in
his eyes. For the rest of their lives, it would be
like this, joyous and spontaneous.
"I think I want to use white birch. Good colors.
Let's get goin-"
Heero frowned when his lover stopped talking so
suddenly. It was unlike him to leave a sentence
"What's wrong, Duo?"
There was no response and Heero felt the vague edges
of concern in his mind. Standing, he touched Duo by
his shoulder, hoping to jolt him out of his sudden
Concern faded quickly into panic when he met his
lover's widened and glassy violet eyes.
"What's wrong, Duo?"
His voice hitching, Heero desperately tried to get his
lover to respond. But Duo was unmoving, unresponsive
to his touches and pleas.
Heero clamped his hands down on Duo's shoulders and
tried to shake him, but Duo was immobile. It was as
if he was rooted to the ground, stiff and unbending,
forever frozen in that stance. In desperation, Heero
looked into Duo's eyes, trying to find answers within
the purple depths, but he only saw fear and..
Tears that Duo never shed were welling up in his eyes,
gathering into pools, refusing to fall.
Then Heero saw it. He saw how Duo's feet were merging
with the grassy hilltop beneath them, how his body was
changing. Duo's glorious hair unbound itself from the
hair tie and flared upward, twining around each other
in a sinuous dance. Duo's arms elongated, his legs
merged into each other and his body began changing
Before Heero's unbelieving eyes, Duo changed.
Branches formed where his arms should have been. His
hair turned darker and greener, becoming sharper by
the moment. His beautiful face frozen in shock began
to fade away. But his eyes, his teary violet eyes,
When it was done, before Heero stood a tree... an
That was the last thing Heero saw before the world
faded into black.
When Heero opened his eyes, he found his vision filled
with Relena's tear streaked face. Groggily, he tried
to remember what had happened, but nothing came to
him. He felt Relena's hands gently smoothing his hair
which was placed on her lap. He also saw that it was
still bright, but thankfully his eyes were shaded by
the tree looming over them.
"I'm so sorry, so sorry, so sorry.."
Heero frowned in confusion. Relena was apologizing,
but for what, he could not fathom. Had something gone
wrong? Had something happened to Duo?
Suddenly, his mind cleared and he sprang up from
Relena's lap. Whirling, he faced the tree and stared
in mute disbelief. It could not be Duo. He could not
be remembering right!
His denial ringing clearly in his head, Heero
continued to stare at the evergreen. It couldn't be.
It shouldn't be. Then he saw it.
A pair of eyes, exquisitely shaped and seemingly
carved into the tree trunk. They stared back at him
in infinite sorrow and longing.
And they were weeping.
Heero put his shaking hand to the tree and felt the
shock of recognition. Hysterical laughter bubbled in
his throat as he finally saw what stood before him.
"What.. what have you done?"
Relena heard Heero's tremulous voice filled with
agony, a pain that was a thousand times worse than it
had ever been. Apologies would never be enough.
There was nothing she could do to repent for what had
"I'm so sorry, Heero. But.. it was the only way to
"Save me? Save.. ME? Who the hell cares about
Relena had been prepared for the rage and the pain,
but she had not anticipated the violence. Heero
grabbed her by her neck and threw her down to the
ground beneath the evergreen and shook her hard.
"What the fuck does it matter if you save me? What
the hell have you done? Why him? WHY?"
"It was either this or eradicating the both of you in
the future! It was the only choice, Heero!"
Abruptly, Heero released Relena and stepped back,
leaning his body against the evergreen.
"Please, Heero," Relena pleaded, "understand. I did
not want to, but I could not let my sisters erase you
and Duo completely from existence. The Metanilim was
the only choice left. We had to turn Duo into a form
that would not hamper with other threads in fate. I'm
"Then why am I still here? Do I not fuck with the
"Yes, but you are one of us. Not even Noin could do
that to you. But all is not lost, Heero. At least
this way, his soul still exists in the tree. It is
more merciful than the other."
Relena watched in sadness as Heero turned and faced
the evergreen, his fingers trailing along the moisture
running down the bark.
"Do you see this, Relena? Do you see Duo crying?
Can't you feel his sorrow? How can this be..
The rationalization that Relena had built to make her
choice acceptable crumbled before the weeping tree.
Heero was right.
"And what of me? How can I live without him?"
"You lived without him before, Heero. And when you
die, you'll forget about him. There are no threads of
fate tying the two of you together. You'll forget,
Heero wrapped his arms around the tree and pressed his
face into the rough bark, feeling Duo's tears soak
into his cheek.
"How can I forget? What we have is stronger than
destiny. He chose to love me, Relena. He wasn't made
for me, we weren't meant to be together. He chose me
of his own free will. He is imprinted on my soul! I
cannot forget. My soul won't allow it."
Relena tried to place her hands upon Heero's pain
wracked body, but he flinched away, digging his body
deeper into the evergreen.
"Leave me. Leave us. Just.. go."
Tears falling from her eyes, Relena walked away from
the grassy hilltop. There was nothing she could say
or do. Nothing.
When he could no longer feel Relena's presence, Heero
sank to his knees before the tree. Resting his head
against the bark, he wept his bitter and lonely tears,
letting them join Duo's own tears on the ground.
"This isn't how it's supposed to be, Duo."
Heero's tears kept falling.
"This isn't right."
More tears and more pain mingled with the ground.
"I love you.. and I'm not ever leaving you.."
Only the bright sun witnessed the grief of the lovers
as they wept endlessly.