by Mel

All Soul's Night

Bonfires dot the rolling hillsides
Figures dance around and around


"Daddy PLEASE?!"

The cajoling voice of a young Angel Darlien Maxwell, or Anny, echoed through the empty house that she and her father now occupied. She was a gorgeous little girl, all of eight, with dark chocolate hair that, though unruly, was kept in place by the use of a hip length braid. Big sunset violet eyes stared imploring up at her father, who was looking anywhere but. Anny wore a pair of blue faded jeans that were just a little too big for her and a soft purple t-shirt that matched her eyes. Her face, sweet open and youthful, was craned up at him, attempting to command her father's attention.

Heero Yuy was currently refusing to even glance at her, his attention focusing on the cars going down the street outside their home. His blue eyes followed the movements of the headlights through the dark night. His clothes were worn and faded, his home clothes. His jeans were washed blue and his shirt had probably once been green, but now the colour was much less distinguishable. The chocolate hair, the same colour as his daughter's, fell in a mess about his face, falling into his cobalt eyes.

"Isn't there someone else?" He asked softly, hating the pleading sound the words made.

Anny rolled her eyes, setting her hands on her hips. "There 'isn't' anyone else this year Dad, and you know it!"

Heero wasn't about to let it go, there 'had' to be someone else. "Quatre?"

"He's hosting a party this year and Uncle Trowa seeing to the door."

"Relena?"

"She and Dorothy have the annual Peacecraft Party."

"Zechs?"

"Noin made him promise they'd go to Relena's party this year."

"Une?"

"Working."

"Cathy?"

"In Hawaii with Rashid."

"Mariemeia?"

"Babysitting her Girl Scout group."

"Sally?"

"She's coming with us silly. Dad," Anny pleaded, "there's 'no one' else, I've checked, even none of our teachers can make it. And if you don't come Daddy, none of us can go."

Heero's eyes drifted to the candle on the windowsill and sighed. "All right Anny."

Anny let loose a whoop of delight. "Thank you Daddy!" She tossed her arms around his neck. Heero let his eyes close, holding his daughter and trying not to think about the candle in the corner of the room that seemed to glare at him accusingly. . .

To drums that pulse out echoes of darkness
Moving to the pagan sound


Heero watched Angel from her bedroom door. The sun was already up, and the girl was struggling to pull her school pants on. If nothing else, she lived for Fridays, the last day of the school week for the year three student that she was. But at the moment she was running late.

"Do you need any help with your costume?" Heero asked softly, as his little girl, who was on the floor, got the pants over her hips and was standing, doing the buttons up.

"Nope, we've got that covered." Anny muttered, a hair tie in her teeth as she worked quickly at braiding her hair.

Heero tried to hide his disappointment. He made the effort, every year, at making Anny's Halloween costume. By taking Halloween almost religiously off, he had the whole day to get whatever she wanted done. Last year she had been going through a Card Captor faze, and so bright colours and glitter had taken Heero hours to prepare and had kept his mind off other things. Heero hated to admit it when Anny didn't need him for something anymore.

"All right," the little girl said suddenly, breaking Heero's thought patterns. "I'm done," she was throwing her bag onto her back. "Lets go Dad."

Heero rolled his eyes and followed his daughter, whom sped past him in her hurry to get to school. He followed at a little more sedate pace, grabbing the keys and locking the door behind him. Anny was already in the car, struggling out of the backpack so she could sit it at her feet. There were times when his little girl was so much like Duo that Heero had to stop himself from calling her by her father's name. Shaking his head he got into the car with the jittering girl. She always got like this on Halloween.

"Are you going to wear a costume?" She asked as he was backing out.

"I don't know," he answered, keeping an eye out for upcoming traffic. Anny didn't say anything but Heero could see the disappointment on her face as they drove. Feeling like the big bad wolf out of the storybooks he used to read to her ha added, "but I'll see if I can find something."

Anny smiled and Heero's world lit up.

"Thanks for coming trick-or-treating with us, Daddy," Anny cried impulsively, throwing herself at her father.

"Sweetheart, I am trying to drive!" Heero murmured, getting the car back into the right lane as Anny let go. "Does it make you that happy?"

"Well, yeah. This is the first year you've come out with us. All my friends' parents have come out with me since I was old enough to, but you never have. And this year you are!" Anny did look ecstatic, so much so that she didn't notice the sad look cross her father's face.

But it didn't matter as they were now pulled into the driveway of the school, Anny already opening the door, about to jump out. "O, I'm getting ready at Aunt Sally's place, can you meet us there at 5:30?"

"You're not getting ready at home?"

"No, my costume's a surprise," she grinned at him as she started to close the door, "see you tonight dad!"

Heero watched her go, his little girl was beginning to grow up, and wanting to do her own thing. And Heero was not happy.

Somewhere in a hidden memory
Images float before my eyes


Heero stood, unsure, out side of Sally's home. Anny had been right, Heero had not celebrated Halloween since the death of the man he loved, Anny's other father, Duo Maxwell. And that had been almost nine years before. Heero sighed, greater love had no other father.

As if sensing his presence, or at least his state of mind, the door of Sally's home opened and an Angel exited, throwing itself at him.

Heero's world shattered as he stared at the vision that moved towards him. Her clothes were a white tissue like dress that danced around her body as she skipped down the steps. The dress fell to just below her knees in its silken folds. A gold rope sparkled around her slim waist and ran the length of the dress. White stockings encased legs to keep from the chilly air that approached in the cold October nights and the dress had long and flowing sleeves. Bright violet eyes sparkled up at him in delight, a grin plastered on her face and gold glitter dusted her cheeks.

Actual feathered wings protruded from her back and fluttered around her body, each soft feather lovingly positioned. Her dark chocolate hair fell unbound in freshly washed waves to her knees, also covered in gold glitter. Bells jingled from her pierced ears.

Heero could not believe the vision before him his daughter made, and how his heart stopped at the sight of her. His vision blurred with tears, causing his daughter to come to a stop just a few feet in front of him.

"Daddy?"

But Heero was lost in a vision of years long ago, of a young man, with hair the colour of chestnuts and eyes like wet violets. Dressed in white on the night of all hallows eve, which he had much despised as black was his favorite. Feathered wings fell to his knees along with his long hair and the sour expression on his face was almost as priceless as his smile. That year Duo had lost a bet, and had gone trick-a-treating as and Angel, instead of Death.

And Angel brought those memories flooding back, as they often did come back to him during this time of the year. The only difference this time was that he was not at home, in his favorite chair, drinking sake and staring at the lighted candle on his windowsill. Now tears were beginning to trickle down his cheeks.

Anny was alarmed by the site, closing the distance between herself and her father, and wrapping her arms around her father's leg. "Daddy, what's wrong?"

Heero came rushing back into himself, still crying, but wrapping his own arms around her daughter. "You look so much like your father," he told her softly, holding her tight against him.

"Really?" Anny had never met her other father, affectionately termed 'Daddy Duo' and the ongoing subject of many letters and her diary was always addressed to him. Even so, Angel heard very little about the man who was her other father, except for the fact that she reminded everyone around her of him. She never actually realized she looked like him. Daddy didn't keep any photos of him.

"Yes, he dressed up as an Angel for one Halloween as well. You reminded me of him."

"You loved him didn't you Daddy?" She asked softly.

"I still do Angel, very much."

The little girl smiled up at him, and Heero rubbed the tears from his eyes to smile softly back at her.

"My goodness, Heero Yuy!" Sally Chang stood in the doorway of her home, smiling broadly. "Not only has Anny managed to convince you to come out with us, but you look the splitting image of Duo in that Death outfit!"

Of fragrant nights of straw and of bonfires
And dancing till the next sunrise


It was true, Heero looked surprising similar to Duo in his Halloween costume. The black robes fell around his body in loose, fanning pleats. With a hood covering the top of his head it was hard to see his face unless you were really looking. He was carrying a huge scythe that towered of him and looked incredibly real, though Sally could tell it was fake. Heero wasn't silly enough to carry a real scythe around.

"You look good Sally."

That was quite the understatement of course. Sally was stunning. She was in a traditional kimono, red, small violet flowers printed all over it. Her hair was pulled up out of her face and in a bun at the back of her head. Silken tendrils coiled down around her neck. And in her hand was an impressive, dripping, butcher's knife. Plastic and fake, but impressive nonetheless. The smile on her face was a deep contrast with the rest of the image, making an eerie impression.

"Very 'spooky'." He said dryly.

"Don't poke fun Daddy," Anny mumbled. "Aunty Sally looks wonderful!"

"And so do you Sugar Plum! The girl's did a good job didn't they Heero?"

"UNKY ‘EERO!"

At the mention of his name a twin sounded cry went up from inside the house and what seemed to be a pack of elephants came running to the door.

As a matter of fact it was Sally's youngest two, the twins Shang and Ying. The two little boys came bursting around behind their mother. They usually had coal black hair and big black eyes. At six years old, and the love of their mother and older sister's life, the two kids knew precisely what buttons to press to get exactly what they wanted. Heero reflected softly that they must have pressed some pretty major buttons to get this.

"Look Unky ‘Eero, we're severed heads!" Shang said, his voice muffled by his costume. The costume itself was made of paper-mache and was that of a big head dripping with fake blood. Both boys had the same costume and Anny was busy scrambling behind her father so the dripping blood didn't splash on her white dress.

"Very nice boys," Heero said blandly, shooting Sally a look.

"Hey, this wasn't my idea, blame Li, she told the boys a ghost story about severed heads and they wouldn't stop begging me to do their costumes a severed heads."

"That explains the butcher's knife, I suppose."

"Mommy had to fit with her little band of misfits."

"I heard that."

From behind her mother the fourth and final member of the Chang-Po family joined the group on the lawn. Li Chang-Po looked like her father, deep black hair, wavy like her mother's and her blue eyes shone out from beneath heavy lashes. She was wearing a violet kimono like Sally's with red flowers on it. Her knife was in the front band of the kimono and wasn't dripping. Yet anyway.

"You were the one who said they would look good as severed heads."

Anny skipped out from behind Heero, danced around Shang and Ying to stand next to one of her two best friends. Li was taller then Anny, but two months younger and both girls did everything together, along with the third member of their trio.

Speaking of which, she joined the rapidly growing group out on the lawn. Rashel Bloom Winner, the daughter of Quatre and Trowa Winner, was taller for her age of 6 and a half and towered over her two friends. Her hair was a long gold colour that fell over one eye, hiding it almost completely from view. The uncovered eye was a bright emerald green against her pale face. Rashel made a wonderful little cat. A headband had two cat ears attached to it her nose was black and whiskers graced her cheeks. Her body suit was black and a tail swished back and forth with her body.

"An Angel, a Cat, Two Chinese women with murderous intent and two severed heads. Anything else?"

"Me!" Isis Courtia Peacecraft was five years old and Heero was certain she stole the heart of everyone she met. Heir to the Sanq kingdom, daughter to the Vice Minster and her wife, the Lady Dorothy Catalonia, Isis was gorgeous. Dressed as a fairy with a pink dress, a wand and colourful wings she looked beautiful. Her white blonde hair was braided in two tails that hang down her back and her eyes were a soft blue. She smiled up at Heero.

"Look Uncle Heero, Li made me a wand!" She smiled, her voice soft and gentle, well bred and sweet. She had a lot on her shoulders with her mother's who they were, but the little girl had a strong will and was already sporting Relena's diplomacy.

"Very pretty, Isis." The child's smile bloomed like the sun. "Shall we get going while the night is still young?"

"YAY!" a cry went up from the children and Sally grinned, locking the door behind them.

I can see lights in the distance
Trembling in the dark cloak of night


"No Malcolm with us tonight?" Isis perched on Heero's shoulders, her fingers treaded through the locks of Heero's hair. Anny danced along beside him, talking adamantly with Li and Rashel and holding her father's scythe. Li and Shang were already waiting for them at the gate of the next house down the street.

"Not tonight," Sally answered. "Being ten he decided he wanted to go to Relena's party with his parents."

"I bet he's having fun." Heero tried to chuckle, "all those officials and speeches, how incredibly boring."

"Next Halloween he'll be here with the trick-a-treets again no doubt. And so will Zechs, he can't handle those things, he's only going because Noin made him promise. They'll probably both be here next year." Sally looked over at him. "And what changed your mind Heero? You haven't been trick-or-treating for nine years, since Duo died. Why the sudden change of heart?"

"There wouldn't have been any trick-or-treating if I hadn't come, and that would have made Anny sad, she loves this time of year."

"I would have been ‘ad." Isis wailed from above Heero, "I don't like ‘eeing Anny ‘ad." Heero bounced the momentarily upset girl till she started giggling, forgetting what had bothered her.

Sally and Heero exchanged a smile till they noticed the three girls had stopped.

"What's wrong?"

"Billy McEvans." Rashel answered.

Out of the house a young boy and what looked to be and older sister with him. He was wearing a vampire outfit and had red curly hair. He saw them and poked his tongue out at them as his sister dragged him away. Anny returned the favor as he walked away.

"Anny ‘really' doesn't like him," Li added.

"That's only because he's evil!" Anny grumped loudly.

"Anny!" Her father admonished.

"Well he is!"

Candles and lanterns are dancing, dancing
A waltz on all souls Night


"Bye!"

Anny waved goodbye to her friends out of the car window as Heero pulled out of Sally's driveway. There were calls of farewell and other waving hands that followed her departure and Heero couldn't help but smile.

"Did you have fun?" He asked her when she brought her head back into the car.

She grinned. "Yes, I'm glad you came."

Heero watched the road but flicked his glance to Anny, "I'm glad too."

They went the rest of the way in silence Anny pouring through her bag of lollies. When they finally got home Anny was out of the car in a moment and running for the door, eager to hide her stash. Heero followed at a more sedate pace. Opening the door he walked into the house, walking straight to the lounge and the candle waiting for him.

The world seemed to slow as he lit it, breathed in the scent of apple as it rose into the air. Heero sat in the seat across from the candle and stared at its flickering light.

The sigh that was heard across the room almost barely registered.

"You're doing it again this year aren't you daddy." Anny whispered. "You do it every year, you spend Halloween staring at that candle."

Heero looked at his daughter. Really looked. The seemingly frail girl stood in her nightclothes, an overly large shirt that had been his. The glitter was gone, and her hair was back in its braid. Her violet eyes were sad.

Anny's eyes were like Duo's, they were never meant to be sad.

Heero reached out for her and she ran into his arms. Picking up his little girl he pulled her onto his lap. She moved easily, like a rag doll and Heero held her. He might not have realized just how much his little ritual had upset Anny, but now all he wanted to do was make up for it.

"I'll show you why I watch the candle on this night every year Angel."

Shifting slightly he reached under the chair and pulled out an old and tattered, leather bound, photo album. Anny looked at it in interest but didn't say anything, waiting for her father to explain. He didn't have to as he sat it on her lap and opened it to the first page. Anny gave a small gasp.

"Daddy, that's you!"

She was right, the first picture had two young men on it and the taller of the two was her father Heero, a much younger Heero. He had his arm around the neck of his shorter companion.

"Is that Daddy Duo?" Anny asked pointing to the longhaired man.

"Yes, sweet heart, that's your father."

Anny had never seen a picture of him before, her eyes widened like saucers. She knew her daddy got upset when he was mentioned and Anny tried to keep from doing it as much as possible. She had never even thought that there were pictures of him. "He's so beautiful," she breathed, "he looks just like me, Daddy, doesn't he, daddy?"

"He does."

Anny tuned the page and was greeted with more pictures of the father she didn't know. He seemed to always be smiling, or doing silly things. There was one with him dumping a bucket of pink paint on Uncle Wufei's head, and then one taken shortly after of him running away from the enraged Chinese man. Another of him cooking pancakes for breakfast. Fishing with Quatre by his side. His hair out, watching a sunset. One of him sleeping soundly, his long hair fanning around him.

The next one Anny came to was one of Halloween with both her fathers side by side. Heero dressed as Death and Duo as a grumpy Angel.

"Your father lived for Halloween Anny, it was the one night a year he got to dress up as the God of Death he often thought himself to be. In this picture," he tapped it lightly, "he lost a bet with me and had to dress as an Angel."

"Is that how I got my name," she whispered, enraptured with the picture of her fathers.

"No, you get your name from me."

Anny looked up at her father with big violet eyes, that had not been the answer she had been expecting.

"Duo used to call me Angel-baby, he wanted to be able to call his little girl after her father, his little Angel." Heero's eyes were damp, light tears slipping down his cheeks.

Anny didn't know what to say, instead slipping her arms around her father's neck and hugging him tight.

"This time of year always reminds me of him," he pulled back, looking down at her. "But it also reminds me how lucking I am to have you."

"I love you Daddy," she whispered, hugging him again.

And from the window the spirit of Duo Maxwell watched his love and his daughter, a soft smile touching his lips. "I love you both," he pursed his lips, blowing the candle out. "I'm always with you."

And though neither mortals heard the words spoken, they could feel the love ripple through them as they held each other, drowning out the cold they had let seep into their hearts. And somehow they knew he was there with them, watching forever over them.

Their own floating Angel...

~fin~

[back to Mel's fic]