Author: Asuka Kureru
See 4 AM for warnings.

Morning After

The sun is well over the horizon when I wake up sprawled against the tombstone, the morning after the ritual. That isn't what woke me up though; I'm warm and not really uncomfortable after all. But there is a faint sense of urgency, and at first, I don't understand why. Then I forget about it, because when I look around for Heero, he's nowhere in sight.

I know his appearance the night before wasn't a dream. I know it. I still have wax burns over my hands from grabbing the candle to keep it upright. He was here... and now he isn't.

For a second, I can only think 'Quatre was right; I'm crazy'. I get up shakily. My body feels as weak as if I've been running a marathon. My knees don't want to lock properly and when I look around I have to force my eyes to focus... or maybe that's the tears threatening to fall.

I've disturbed the circle of flour in my sleep. The tombstone is dirty with a dough of rum and flour and melted wax, and I wonder if it's sacrilegious to Heero's memory to dirty his place of rest like that.

But if he isn't here, I'm not sure I care. It's just stone. Empty.

The sense of urgency comes back suddenly, and I blink, startled out of my thoughts. I look around... to catch a glimpse of the cemetery's watchman walking through the tombstones. My eyes widen. I've never seen him the years before; somehow I knew that he wouldn't come to Heero's side of the cemetery, pushed away by the same strangeness that makes the moon full and clear and the rain go away. But this year, it's very different. I haven't left with the rising sun. I've fallen asleep. Waited too long. The night isn't here to hide me, to protect me anymore. He's going to see me, see the state of Heero's grave. Have me arrested, too, no doubt. And then Quatre will have me committed to a mental ward somewhere where I won't have the occasion to figure out what I did wrong this time and make it better.

And they'll try to make me let go of Heero.

The thought is so repellant that I shudder. No way. Just no way.

The sense of urgency is stronger now; I realize that the man's closer. In a few seconds he will see me...


I run. My legs are tired and aching and I stumble a few times when they nearly fold under me, but I run. I need to; I can't think of doing anything else.

There are screams behind me when the man sees Heero's grave, and the sound of someone running. He's not that old, in his mid forties maybe. In the state I'm in, it's a very distinct possibility that he could catch me. The exit is too far and he's blocking my path to the place I always use to come in, with the trees hiding the dent in the wall where the top bricks fell.

I nearly turn on the right, but somehow it feels like a bad idea. Left it is.

Oh, fuck, a wall. Fuck fuck fuck. Never listen to my intuition agai--- is that an open crypt? One of those mini-cathedral-things... And yes, the gate isn't closed all the way. Bingo.

When the man steps in my alley to look around, I've closed the gate and am hiding in the shadows, my back against a tomb, heart hammering in my chest. Apparently he doesn't see me, since I hear him turn away to go the other route. The gravel is loud under his feet; he can't pretend, so I should be safe.

I sink to the cold marble floor, sighing, and let my head drop on my knees. 'That was close.'

Fuck yeah, it was--- wait a minute.

There's a blurred, faint shadow sitting in a crouch in front of me. It's flickering in and out of view, and isn't shaped very precisely; it's like watching a hologram running out of batteries through water.

But I don't need to see the details to feel the amused smirk.

"...You're here."

I can't describe the relief that floods me. It makes me giddy and makes me cry at the same time, and fuck if I don't have to swallow my mad laughter. But even if the watchman came back, I wouldn't give a fuck.

He fades from view slowly, but that doesn't matter. His voice is soft and warm even when I don't see him.

'... where else would I be?'


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