by Veste Notus
Time froze still as the projectile weapon sliced its way through the cockpit much like a hot knife would the ice cube in the back of the freezer. Violet frost paled at the visions of flashing white light that loomed towards him. In a word, in a sigh, in a breath, a boy’s innocence and childhood passes. But Duo Maxwell’s sigh was always a choked scream – a sob suppressed in fear of capture. At age fifteen he was sent to fight as a man. At age sixteen, he was sent to die like one.
Shinigami. He was death. You can’t kill death, so Duo was left to haunt the earth and the colonies like a bad dream. Those who were unfortunate enough to cross him would only join him in his nightmare. A maniacal grin would pass his lips and his amethyst eyes would darken with a lust of the crimson that would splash with a slice from his thermal scythe or a hole from one of his many semiautomatics. That same grin would steal fries off Heero’s plate that afternoon. A man… a boy of contradictions… Such was Duo Maxwell.
Black was the color of choice, but not because he chose it. He was drawn to darkness with the final word of his childhood. It would be a single name, strangled from deep within his throat and wrenched out for all to hear – the pain, the blood, the agony – in clear harmony with the beating rain and lead showers that poured down that night. The same voice would give a melodious cry as he swung his body into the air in a primal attempt to fly, only to land softly in a still-pure field of flowers. Even though he was a man, he was still a boy.
As the cockpit split open, and the shower of sparks sprayed the blackness of space like blood, Heero became a man. His childhood was stolen in a howl, an animalistic scream of the heart, poisoned by dreams and disillusions. In the back of his mind, he vaguely wondered if the first breath he took since he lost his boyhood was the last breath Duo took since he gained his manhood.
Pieces of debris began to scatter across the frozen sky, gently crashing in muted violence with Wing and a few other nameless MS. Cerulean searched in desperation for a limb or strand of hair that escaped from the destruction due North. A part of him hoped to find him. You can’t kill death, but you can lay him to rest. The inner turmoil was far too great. The smile Duo wore was only for Heero’s benefit. Misery loves company, but the only company for death is death, therefore Duo was always smiling – always withdrawn and reclusive in his open sociability. Such was Duo Maxwell.
Making quick work of imposing enemies, Heero ejected himself from Wing and made his way over to the remnants of Death. And there he was – head slouched over his shoulder, still in his harness – death himself. Heero, checked for pulse. He took manly steps toward reviving his partner. He let himself be close. He took the initiative of being death’s company. He didn’t fear death like all the others. He lusted after it. Heero Yuy removed Duo’s helmet and freed the sweet and blood soaked braid.
He threaded his fingers through it and leaned in. Heero Yuy kissed death, and felt the icy cool breath of a man. And for once, he could respond with one of his own. He repeated the word that brought him to manhood as if it were a prayer to death itself.
And without so much as a word, a sigh, or a breath, death frosted slowly and stole one more kiss.