Author: 0083
Title: Evergreen
Pairings: will be 1x2x1. wee bit of 3x4x3 thrown in for spice.
Warnings: I foresee... angst (surprised?). and strangeness abound..
Disclaimer: if i owned gwing, wouldn't it be grand? but i don't. so it's not so grand.
Notes: This is an utter and complete AU. There are no gundams. but i do use some gwing stuff like Oz and stuff. things will be confusing for now, but it will clear up (like acne) in the future, if you can stick with it that far... and i don't have a beta, so ignore the little stuff please!

Evergreen + Part 1

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 completeness.

"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 so long?"

Even though the young assassin was frustrated, he had still whispered his small rant. He was angry, not stupid.

"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 efficiency.

"Nice job, Duo."

"I know. I'm the best. Now, you done? I need to eat something."

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 money.

"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 constantly, anyway.

"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.

"Guys."

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 something.

"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 while yet."

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 killed her."

"Impressive."

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 the shaft."

"Sorry, Duo. Next time, you can have the boorish ones. I've had it with getting thrown around like a potato sack."

"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 done."

"But don't you ever wonder why these people deserve to die?"

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 guest.

"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 you've died."

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, thing."

"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 kind.

"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 come back?"

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 own?"

"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 to me."

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."

"Fine."

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 mortal."

"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 touches."

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 recycled, remember?"

"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.

+

[part 2] [back to 0083's fic]