Out of the Ashes
Prologue: The End is Only the Beginning
By: Liewe and
disclaimers apply, please don’t sue us…
This fic came from an idea both Midii and I got when reading our manga’s and
watching the show, and we thought, hmmmm… And just a small note, the Quatre
torture is Midii’s fault, not mine.
Also be wary of flaming us for we both have very hungry muses, *eg*
on our way up,” Midii said softly into her phone. She smiled to herself as she heard her husband whisper a soft
affirmative. “It’s time to go,” Midii
threw over her shoulder to her charge before she pressed the touch pad of the
ornate elevator, Relena on her heels.
Her long golden hair was held in a tight braid, and it swished behind
two years she had been Relena’s secondary bodyguard, the position reverting to
her, when Duo had decided to move to a less permanent standing on the Preventer
idea what this meeting’s about,” Midii asked as the doors slid closed, the bell
dinging before the elevator lurched.
at all, most probably the usual yearly conference on security details,” Relena
chuckled. “Heero really is predictable,
every year at the same time, he goes into Perfect Soldier mode deluxe, and the
security system is almost reinvented.”
coughed nervously and hid her treacherous smile behind her hand but her eyes
sparkled at Relena. She wondered why it
was harder to keep good secrets; she had never had any trouble keeping bad ones.
know something," Relena said suddenly, her voice teasing as she glanced at
Midii, who was having a hard time keeping a straight face.
widened her eyes innocently, biting her tongue to keep herself from
smiling. Of course she knew what Heero
was up to. All of them did. Dinner for two with a perfect starlit night
as a backdrop. Pagan had made all the
arrangements down to the white damask tablecloths from the palace.
friend the Perfect Soldier was not going to be predictable tonight. It was so
gratifying to see him acting human for a change.
think something’s wrong,” Relena said softly her eyes becoming wide with worry
as the once smooth gait of the elevator began to jerk.
didn’t reply, nimble fingers already brushing the controls of the elevator, as
she tried to discern the problem.
“Relena? Contact Trowa for me, please.”
worry, it’s just a precaution,” Midii said softly, her voice trying to comfort
just nodded, wide eyed. Her fingers
clumsily clutching the hand held communication device. Her gaze swept nervously about the confined
space, the dark, gleaming wood walls seeming to close in like a trap as she
looked at the floor indicator. Shouts
seemed to come through the floor, familiar, like in a dream of the past. A dream of harsh, loud voices and fire and
to the Aristocracy!" A harsh,
drunken voice shouted and the fragile device tumbled out of Relena's hand,
shattering on the hard marble floor of the elevator as the power faded with a
low hiss casting them into darkness.
happening?” Relena whispered, before a scream escaped her lips as the elevator
jerked and they began to fall through the shaft.
fell to her knees, immediately scrambling for her charge as the elevator
halted, the emergency brakes finally taking effect.
winced as the brakes of the elevator above him emitted a high-pitched
squeak. He looked at the handful of
wires he’d pulled from the box and smirked.
It was working. He couldn’t
believe how easy it all was.
glass whiskey bottle he’d brought crashed against the cement floor of the
elevator shaft dousing the cables and framework with the incendiary combination
of chemicals and gasoline and the man backed away, amazed and slightly aghast
at what he’d done. He’d actually done
it. They’d told him he was all talk.
now they’d see, they’d see for sure.
His face was lit by the eerie glow of the flames before he turned and
ran from the approaching inferno.
stared at his grimacing friend, a slight smirk spreading across his lips as he
twirled the end of his braid. He was
having a hard time stomaching this new side he was seeing in Heero Yuy. Romance and the Perfect Soldier did not mix.
a nice pink tux would go well with the evening,” Duo snickered, unable to
resist the opportunity to tease Heero.
sure you have one to loan me,” Heero replied his voice monotone as he continued
to stare at his laptop. Just a few more
of the security systems still needed to be checked. He’d started from the top and was working his way down.
blinked at Heero's unexpectedly mild comeback, but that didn't stop him from
sneaking a finger beneath one of the silver-topped trays and snatching some of
the shrimp cocktail hidden beneath.
turned, his gun in hand, his eyes glinting dangerously as he leveled the barrel
at Duo’s head, a silent warning moving across his stony face.
just be putting that back now," Duo nervously chuckled as he placed the
lone shrimp back on the platter. A
smirking waiter whisked away the offending shellfish before wheeling the cart
out to take it up to the roof.
Heero said softly, placing his gun back in his pocket as he turned back to the
laptop’s now blinking screen. He stared
in disbelief. An intruder was showing
up on the basement security grid, the last grid to go back online.
saw the tension building in Heero’s shoulder, and instinct prodded him to move
forward. He had barely moved from his
seat more than a few steps the lights began to flicker, before they were
plunged into complete darkness.
can’t be good,” Duo quipped, his hand moving for his trusty sidearm, as silence
fell over the room. He could see the
dim form of Heero shifting through the room.
incessant ringing of the fire alarm broke the silence. The ear shattering clanging running through
his teeth as he broke for the door, in hot pursuit of Heero’s lithe form. In the darkness, he could dimly glance the
form of Trowa disappearing down the elevator shaft.
a firestorm down there,” Quatre yelled to the approaching forms of Duo and
Heero as he frantically looked at the elevator doors and the floor indicator
stuck between floors 18 and 19. The rising heat lifting his bangs, and
drenching his face with sweat and soot.
“What’s going on,” Duo shouted
down the hall, all joking aside as he saw smoke and flame escape the elevator
doors as they slammed shut again behind Trowa.
and Relena,” Quatre answered eyeing the approaching form of the Perfect
Soldier. He knew what the man planned,
and he knew what the outcome of such a rash undertaking would be. He moved to intercept the running man.
coughed, raising a smoke stained hand to brush damp bangs from her face. She was worried, Relena’s coughs were
getting weaker. It had been several
minutes since the fire had started, and she could hear the roaring flames as
they edged closer and closer to the falling elevator.
they had fallen several floors from where they had originally stopped, each
fall further destroying their cage.
Warily Midii glanced to the gaping hole in the floor nearest the
doors. An orange blaze illuminating the
up,” Midii hissed through clenched teeth as she shook the limp form of her
friend and charge. “You’re stronger than
turned as she heard the heavy steel cables jangle. Cursing audibly over the crackling of the flames her heart jumped
into her throat for a second as she fingered her revolver, freeing it from the
harness she wore.
move,” she cautioned Relena as she moved forward, edging closer to the escape
hatch. Her gloved fingers reached for
the catch, and she jumped back, the tender skin already beginning to blister
from the heat. Glancing around for
cloth with which to protect her hands she shrugged off her jacket. The heavy canvas material would prove to be
the best protection she would be able to find.
careful movements she wrapped the canvas around her hands, the revolver resting
back in its harness as she pulled the catch free. Her covered hands pushing the heated metal back, allowing her to
glimpse the inferno above. She gasped
as her eyes came to rest on the figure of her husband climbing down the support
cables, his hands like her own covered in the canvas material of his own
her voice hesitantly called, hoping against hope. The heat was making her see things, she tried to assure
herself. Her situation was now
painstakingly clear to her, the inferno was too large to be thwarted, and the
elevator only dangled from tattered cables.
They wouldn’t remain in place much longer. “Go back,” she pleaded, her
voice being consumed by the flames.
a moment the figure was silhouetted against the blaze, his emerald eyes seeking
her own, and then she knew that he wouldn’t leave her. A strangled sob escaped her throat as the
last cable gave way and the melting brakes collapsed. They fell and her tortured gaze watched as Trowa began to tumble
through the blazing tunnel as well. Her
scream echoing throughout the dark building.
As she fell back, her hand grasped Relena’s, and the two women just
glanced at each other.
guess it’s time,” Relena croaked, all signs of hysteria and worry gone from her
voice as she waited for the impact.
With a superhuman yank and a
sound somewhere between a protest and a strangled sob Heero tore himself out of
Quatre’s grasp and eluded Duo, who pulled himself out of his shocked reverie in
time to make a futile grab at his determined friend.
“Heero, stop,” Quatre yelled as
the smell of burning flesh filled the smoky air. He was pulling the elevator doors open with his bare hands, the
metal so hot it nearly glowed red.
A scream, muted by the crackle of
the flames, stopped their hearts and adrenaline surged through Heero as he
succeeded in opening the doors with his burned and raw hands. The shaft erupted in flame and explosion
that threw all of them back into the opposite wall.
Wufei and Sally dropped into the
hallway from a roof skylight as the black smoke started to fill the deadly
quiet corridor. Sally felt cold fear
course through her. It was so horribly quiet.
She screamed and threw herself back as an office door in front of them
exploded outward in a burst of flame.
Her eyes met her partner’s and they silently agreed they had to
continue. Those on the roof had assured
them that they were all still inside . . . all their friends.
They could hear voices now, in
the distance, arguing and they picked up their pace, adjusting the oxygen masks
they wore to protect them from the fumes over their faces. In the darkness they could barely make out
Duo and Quatre trying to restrain Heero, they were slowly dragging him away
from gaping elevator doors that belched smoke and flame.
Sally shone her flashlight at
Heero and her sharp eyes noted shock in the wide Prussian blue eyes, shock and
determination. His look told her
everything, as well as the notable absence of Relena.
“Wufei,” she whispered, nodding toward Heero. She saw her husband hesitate indecisively a
little but his jaw jutted out and he approached the other man, delivering a
well-controlled blow to the side of the other man’s neck. Wufei caught Heero as he slumped unconscious
and placed him over his shoulder.
“Let’s go,” he said, between
They reached the roof and Sally
bent over Heero’s prone form, reaching for his hand. She gasped at the burn
damage to the palm, so severe she doubted he’d ever feel anything again. She raised her eyes and met Quatre’s, the
aqua eyes distorted by shock and tears.
A dark bruise accentuated by a cut swelled his cheek.
“What happened in there,” Sally
begged, choking back tears. “What
happened to you?”
She reached out to touch his
cheek and Quatre pulled back, raising his own fingers to the wound. He closed his eyes.
“I couldn’t stop him,” he
groaned. He could feel the material of
Trowa’s jacket beneath his fingers as he pulled him away.
“It’s no use! You know that
Trowa. Please, I’m sorry. Cathy needs you. I need you. You can’t do anything,” he could hear his own voice
He’d see those eyes glaring at
him for the rest of his life in dreams.
“I’d follow her straight into
hell, Quatre,” Trowa’s voice whispered.
“NOO,” Quatre shouted, his
attention distracted by the approach of Duo and Heero.
“Let go of me,” Trowa shouted,
back-handing Quatre with his left hand, the heavy metal of his wedding ring
cutting into the taut flesh over the shorter man’s cheekbone.
“Quatre,” Sally persisted, trying
to find answers in his distant eyes.
“They’re gone, all gone,” Quatre
whispered finally, shutting his eyes against the horrible reality. “Miss Relena. Midii and, and Trowa . . .”
stood stoically, his eyes fixed on the dark horizon, the approaching storm
clouds mirroring his eyes. He was
seemingly ignorant to the glare leveled in his direction by the once feared
Lightning Count. He seemed equally
untouched by the silent tears of Noin and Pagan. He winced as he tried to form a fist, his hands ensconced in
layers of gauze, from his own reckless behavior. He could feel Sally watching him intently, waiting for him to
cursed the emotions, which had led him to such turmoil. During the war he had reminded himself again
and again that emotions were a weakness, and that was true. He had grown weak by falling in love with
Relena, and it had only caused him unnecessary pain. His emotions had also caused him to go soft, if he had been more
vigilant, maybe she would still be alive.
umbrellas popped open as fat raindrops started to fall. Heero kept his in his hand, unopened as he
watched the crystal droplets splatter on the shining wood of her coffin.
are gathered here today, to bid our goodbyes," the Priest intoned, his
soft and solemn voice carrying through the quiet old cemetery, the soft twitter
of birds in the background the only other sound.
sun was warm and it glinted off the shining wood of the twin coffins. But the light and the beauty of the place
was no comfort to Catherine and Quatre as they stared straight ahead, both of
them avoiding the gaping holes in the Earth before them.
sighed heavily, tears raking her slight body as she tried to listen to the
Priest's words. Her once healthy pink
skin, dull and gray, her vibrant violet eyes haunted, and her once lustrous
auburn hair, hanging in limp clumps.
She was not the exotic woman of the circus, anymore; she was the personification of sorrow. She had only just found her dear
brother, and he had cruelly been ripped from her hands.
the corner of her eye, she could see the grieving form of Quatre Winner. He had reached out to her, tried to help
her. But she didn't want his help, not
now, maybe not ever.
She shivered despite the warmth of the sun. Would she ever feel warm again? Without Trowa beside her?
one of the bravest souls, with which we were graced, a soul who worked hard to
give us the peace which we now enjoy…"
The sky cracked with brilliant lightning, he could see her
face beside his on the pillow as she burrowed closer to him. She'd always hated storms. How could he leave her here, in the storm? "Relena," Heero thought.
Peace, what is peace, Heero’s mind continued to ramble as
the Bishop’s words hit home. We fought
for peace, but some idiot killed her, some drunken idiot killed her all for the
sake of a dare. A drunken fool, his
mind raged, as he ignored the pain from his tattered flesh, the pain only a
phantom his mind created. His nerves
had been all but destroyed; Sally had said he would never again feel anything
with his hands again.
"… in this silent city of the dead, we commit this
body to the ground…"
She felt the soft, comforting touch of Quatre's fingers as
he tried to take her hand in his but Catherine pulled away from his touch,
gracefully evading his loving gesture to pull a handkerchief from her
purse. From the corner of her eye, she
could see the grief it was all causing him, her sudden coldness, Trowa's loss.
She glanced at him beneath her lashes and the spark of compassion that
flickered in her lacerated heart went out again. She couldn't look at him without thinking of Trowa.
The ground, Cathy thought.
Home, her fragile mind supplied, as she remembered the cries of a
terrified child as bombs exploded around the retreating carriage. She could
still see his emerald eyes, wide with terror.
Her brother, her dear brother, lost to her.
"… into your keeping, praying that you will deal
graciously and mercifully with each of us, until we too shall come to our final
resting place, through the riches of grace…"
I was meant to protect her, Heero thought, she was my
responsibility, no one else's. His mind
whispered through clenched teeth, condemning his failure. Voicing whispers of thought he had been
trying to deny for years.
"To Trowa Barton, and his wife Midii Une-Barton, we
say good bye," the Priest said gravely, as he bowed his head in silent
prayer. To see people die so young was
a tragedy he had too often faced. He had watched them as they began their
journey through life together, his heart ached performing the sermon which
offered goodbyes to their kind souls.
Catherine moved forward, in her hands she now held Trowa's
clown mask and a bouquet of lilies and periwinkle, and kneeling down between
the two caskets she placed each item lovingly upon the polished mahogany. Her vision blurred by the tears, which
continued to freely flow, she whispered a soft goodbye.
"The world bids goodbye to our Queen, and dove of
Peace, Relena Dorlain-Peacecraft-Yuy," the bejeweled Bishop said, his
voice heavy with sorrow as he raised his arms to the dark sky, his eyes closed
as drops of rain began to fall in earnest.
Heero ignored the Bishop's display of emotion as he stalked
toward the golden hued casket in which rested his world. Words had become stuck in his throat, only
his will kept the tears from falling.
The thorns on the roses ripped at the gauze as he gripped the stems
tightly in his unfeeling hands, drawing blood as the rain steadily soaked his
ebony suit. With a last penetrating
gaze, he gently tossed the ivory, and burgundy roses into the grave, the gentle
petals brushing against Relena’s coffin.
"Thank you for coming, Quatre," Catherine
said. "But you should have gone to
Relena Peacecraft's funeral. You
weren't needed here."
Quatre looked at her, the sweet, gentle woman he was so
fond of. "Catherine! How can you
say that? Trowa was my best
friend. There was something special
between us. I had to be here. And I wanted to be here for you as
well. I thought you realized how I
"His friend," Catherine repeated, her anger
finally working it's way to the surface.
"You only pretended to be his friend. How many times did you hurt Trowa? Just go away now Quatre.
He's dead and you can't hurt him anymore."
“Cathy,” Quatre said softly, sighing when she refused to
meet his eyes. “Do you remember the
wedding? How happy they were? How happy we were? You’re not alone.”
misted with fresh tears, hearing Midii’s laughter as Trowa sheltered her from
the rice bombs Duo had tossed at them as they ran out of the church. Right here on this very spot. They’d been so happy, so alive.
Quatre had taken her hand again, he was speaking but she
was lost in memories until finally his words filtered through her grief and she
raised her violet eyes to stare at him incredulously.
“No,” she said starkly.
His shocked face demanded an explanation so she continued.
“There never was anything real between us Quatre and I
don’t want to be tied to you for the rest of my life. It was different when Trowa was still here, we were both drawn
together then because in a way when he found Midii he left us both behind. It was a temporary solution. I can’t ever forget all the times you took
him away from me,” she said in a voice that did not invite discussion.
“Catherine! You don’t mean that,” Quatre said.
“He was my brother.
My real brother,” Catherine wailed, losing her control. “You let him die Quatre. You just let him go. I can never forget. I can never forgive.”
“Still, I just can’t leave you here,” Quatre said, trying
to hide his own hurt but realizing there was truth in her words. It had been Trowa that bound them together
and now he was gone.
Catherine turned away, her eyes turned to the bright blue
sky of Provence, something she would always remember. After awhile she heard Quatre walk away, his footsteps muted by the
soft grass. Without Midii and Trowa,
she thought, I am truly alone, I have no one left.
Heero stood in the rain in the isolated cemetery, marked
for members of the Peacecraft family.
Noin was speaking to him but her words were unimportant. He just wanted to be left alone. He had to face what he had done, how he had
failed her. He could hear Milliardo and
Duo arguing, their voices hot and angry notes in the cool rain. So much for peace, he couldn’t help
thinking. How dare they battle, here in
this place, before the ground even covered her?
“Leave him alone Noin,” Milliardo said. “If he thinks he can atone for his sins by
staying here in the rain then let him.
He should know that it makes no difference to Relena if he’s with her
now or not.”
“Zechs,” Noin said reprovingly as her husband continued to
direct his ice-blue gaze at his brother-in-law. He was under so much pressure and it was starting to show. How
was he going to continue his family’s legacy of peace now Relena was dead? He thought himself unworthy and yet without
some symbol the world was in grave danger of falling back on its warlike
ways. So much more than Relena had been
lost in that horrible freak tragedy, she thought.
“I’m tellin’ ya you better just leave Heero alone Zechs,” Duo
cut in, his sore feelings urging him to hit someone and Zechs was a very
Hilde shook her head and approached Heero.
“Please come back and stay with us,” she pleaded. “We’re your friends. We want you with us.”
Duo stopped arguing with Relena’s brother long enough to
add his voice to his wife’s. “Yeah
buddy, it’s time to go. Besides Sally
will have our heads if we leave you out here in the rain.”
Heero’s gaze lifted from the coffin finally to stare at Duo.
“You can’t stop me from being with her this time. She always hated storms and I won’t leave
her till it’s over. And you’re not my
friend. No one is my friend,” he said,
returning his watchful gaze to the coffin that held his wife’s broken body.
Duo lost it.
“You’re crazy! What
do you mean? No one’s your friend? Were me and Quatre supposed to let you
fucking kill yourself like Trowa? Do
you think Midii was happy to see him coming down that tunnel so he could burn
up beside her? Is that what you think
Relena would have wanted? I wouldn’t
change a thing about that day except for wishing I’d been able to pull Trowa
back the way we did you. I’m not going to apologize for what Quatre and I
did. You couldn’t save her Heero. You’re not perfect, you never were. None of
“That’s enough,” Heero said. “You are not my friend Duo.
You never were. You were only an
annoying bastard that’s been getting in my way since the day I met you. Now leave me alone. You’ve done enough.”
Hilde pulled Duo away.
She knew if she let this go on their relationship would be permanently
destroyed if it wasn’t already. She’d
never seen such hurt in Duo’s eyes.
Heero was behaving inexcusably, no matter how hurt he was over losing
Relena he shouldn’t be speaking to Duo that way.
In the distance he could see the hordes of people, milling
around the golden gates. Heero turned
away from the disappearing crowd, turning his face towards the falling
raindrops, and his mind returned to coherent thought. Without Relena, I am truly alone.
to be continued .