Author: Sailor Seraphim

2 AM.
I glance down at my watch absently. I don't really need to. The moon always seems to look the same whenever I do this, as if time has frozen itself just for me. Of course, that's a very self-centered thing to think. Maybe I am self-centered. Maybe all I think about anymore is myself. And Heero. But that's a given. Everyone has commented on it, whether covertly or overtly. I've borne it over the past few years though. They just wouldn't understand.
Quatre -- bless his blond head -- is the same as always, making sure to call, to write, to leave messages. Always asking, "Are you okay?", "Are you alright?", "Is there anything you need?" Silly Quatre. Doesn't he know that I'm happy as I am? There's nothing he can do to ease my pain, my emotions, my memories. And how could he ever hope to understand what I feel when, at night, he returns to Trowa's steady embrace?
Both of them worry for me, I see the shadows in their eyes when they look my way. I can't bring myself to care.
Even Wufei, who is still a bachelor, holding the memory of his long-dead wife in his heart like a flame, thinks I'm crazy. We once got into a spectacular argument during one of Quatre's dinner parties. He called me a deluded fool, chasing dreams. I called him a hypocrite. We never had that conversation again.

2 AM.
Two inches above my heart.
It was a very bad mission. Whenever anyone asks -- and they don't really ask anymore, warned away by my friends -- I just say it was a very bad mission. The intel was all wrong. How the Preventers managed to fuck up so badly, no one knows. The investigation has been open for years, but there are no new leads to follow. It is halted, stalled, and dead. I don't really care. I left the Preventers after that. I still get a nifty check in the mail, though. Severance pay. And disability.
Don't they know that they can never give me enough for my disability?
It was a very bad mission. We were so young still, Heero and I. It had only been a few years since the Barton Uprising, and we were still riding high on that feeling of invincibility and immortality. We had lead the team through the abandoned base, but once we realized that we were heavily outgunned, we had ordered the team to fall back and call for back up.
But Heero and I stayed behind.
Because we were invincible.
And it was a very bad mistake. We were caught in a crossfire in one of the huge warehouses, stocked to the gills with ammunition. Why those idiots kept firing when the whole place could blow, I'll never know. But it was at that moment that Heero and I realized that we just weren't invincible anymore. Our decision to retreat and haul ass out of there came too late. I dashed across the warehouse towards the exit (because between us, I was still the fastest, he the strongest), while Heero laid down suppressing fire for me. And halfway across the floor, I heard the unmistakable sound of Heero's gun jamming.
I spun around, gun in hand to cover Heero.
And I guess Heero was the faster one of us, because I never saw him move as he leapt from behind the protective cover of crates. I only felt the impact of him against my back as he tackled me to the ground. I felt the sharp pain blossoming in my chest. I heard the crack of a high-powered rifle. And as I collapsed across the warehouse floor, the doors bursting open with the rest of the Preventers to secure the area, I like to think that I heard Heero whisper that he loved me.
After that is a blur. It was a lot of pain and drugged dreams. It was a sterile hospital room with people who sobbed and tried to console me through my morphine daze. It was half-whispered and fierce denials that still managed to pierce through my mind even though I couldn't tell which way was up. It was lying tucked in a bed, with the constant beep of machines all around me while I tried to piece everything together. It was the sharp pain -- and later, an ugly scar -- two inches above my heart. It was two small inches that saved my life, but destroyed Heero's. It was the doctors frantically shocking my heart back to life, machines screaming in denial, while Heero was buried six feet under the ground.
I lived.
Didn't they know it would have been better if I had died on that cold concrete floor, wrapped in my lover's protective embrace?
After that was yet another whirlwind of scattered thoughts, confusing images, and pain. Always the pain. Not just from my battered body, but from my scarred soul. Whether awake or asleep, I called for Heero, begging him to be at my side. The looks from the nurses and doctors and the friends I had when I asked, time and again, when Heero would come to visit, slowly chipped away at me. Quatre took it upon himself to whisk me away. Away from Earth. Away from my life. Away from my home. Away from Heero.
I convalesced, pampered by the best L4 had to offer, Quatre and Trowa always ready to offer their support and an eagle eye. But considering that the first time I managed to get away from them, they found me in the bathroom covered in blood, I can't find fault in their worries. But being around them... it hurt me. It reminded me too much of what I had lost, what I had lived for. Their love mocked my own, so it's no wonder that I tried to kill myself two more times after that. But having to be restrained at night and fed mind-altering drugs has never been high on my list of priorities. I stopped. I withdrew. I wrapped myself in a blanket of memories and my own grief.
I hadn't had an opportunity to visit Heero's resting place for a full year. We had returned Earthside because Quatre had important meetings and Trowa had Preventers work. I had meekly nodded my head, acquiescing to whatever they wanted. They were my friends, after all... I couldn't forsake them. But the date rolled around -- as sure as the sun setting and the moon rising -- and I could feel the tug on my heart as I drowned myself in memories and alcohol. On that anniversary, I had snuck out from Quatre's watchful eyes, managing to recapture the freedom I had lost. Through no part on my own, I ended up in the graveyard.
I can remember the way the moon looked that night, peeking out from behind the clouds. I can remember falling to my knees on the damp ground, the bottle of liquor thrown hastily away as my fingers worried over the deep letters carved into marble.
Heero Yuy. AC 180 - 200. Beloved Husband and Friend. He Will Be Missed.
And I can remember something snapping deep in my soul, my tears falling to wet Heero's grave as I screamed and railed and bloodied my hands against the unyielding epitaph. I cursed the mission and fate and destiny and all the gods under the sun. And then I can no longer remember what happened next. Only brief images, flashes, and faint memories as my fuzzy mind and tortured heart decided that it would be best if I joined Heero at last. I remember the knife in my hand. I remember the blood and chestnut hair falling on Heero's grave. I remember that something... happened.
It was beautiful. It was wonderful. It was everything that I had ever wished for.
Quatre found me, passed out on top of Heero's grave the next morning. His marine eyes were bloodshot, with deep purple circles beneath. He'd blessed the gods and hugged me tight and was happy that I was alive.
And I was.
I was more alive than I had ever felt before.
My friends marveled at my transformation, that I had seemingly thrown away my grief. Despite their protests, I moved away from the Winner estate and took up residence in my own house. The house Heero and I had shared. The one place full of so many memories, good and bad, that I would treasure always. They worried that I would drown myself in the past again, but I assured them that their fears weren't true.
I have something to live for now.

2 AM.
Two inches above my heart.
Two inches from my braid.
I settle down on Heero's grave, my back leaning against the headstone in a position that I've found to be reassuringly comfortable over the years. I don't really want to call what I do a ritual -- it's more like tradition. A new tradition for me alone. And Heero. It's for us and us alone.
I pull my braid over my shoulder, hefting its heavy weight in my hand. How many memories do I carry in my hair? How many dead souls and ghosts that have not been put to rest? Isn't this more of the same? Or is it different? How many times has Heero run his long fingers through my hair, growling in my ear that it was his and his alone to touch and fondle? And I willingly gave up to him. Everything I had, everything I was, belonged to Heero. And he belonged to me. All of him. I refuse to give him up.
With deft movements, I have my hair unbraided, all of its long length falling messily across my shoulders and chest. I look at the moon, covered by hazy clouds. Quickly, I gather up my hair in one hand, judging its length from what I remember. Two inches. My hair grows two inches every year. Those two inches belong to Heero.
Without even being aware of my own actions, my knife is pulled from my boot, and I have shorn off those two precious inches with one sure stroke. I don't even notice the blood that wells from the long cut across my palm, drops of red soaking through those two inches and soaking into the ground below me. With one last look at the moon, I scatter my hair over Heero's grave, and wait.

2 A.M.
Two inches above my heart.
Two inches from my braid.
Two hours to live again.
I don't have to wait long. Within moments, the ground beneath me starts to shift and quake and I hold my breath as I watch first one pale hand, then another, claw their way through the thick dirt and grass, reaching out for me. I recognize the glint of gold on one finger, the same gleaming metal that adorned my own hand. I dare not move, for fear of disturbing the flow of time. Soon, a head covered in tousled brown hair emerges, and it is all I can do not to throw my arms around him immediately. With slow, painful movements, he emerges from his cocoon. Blurred blue eyes look at me from a hallowed mockery of a face. I gasp -- not in fear, but out of overwhelming love -- and hold my hand out to him.
He takes my hand in his clammy, shifting grip and I shudder -- not in disgust, but in pleasure. Soon his mouth is licking the palm of my hand, sucking away the blood and life that belongs as much to him as it ever did to me. I bite my lip and moan as his tongue caresses my palm, then moves farther up my arm. Incoherent of time once more, I find my shirt opened to the waist, Heero's hands and lips worshipping my body in an oh-so-familiar way. A soft cry falls from my lips, and I reach back, clutching Heero's headstone with desperate hands to keep from crushing my lover to me. Not yet... I can't hold him yet. But the time comes soon enough, as I feel the still night air whisper across my uncovered groin. I shiver unconsciously; thrusting my hips up, offering all that I am to the one man I could ever love.
Then I am buried to the hilt in a deep, wet cavern, Heero's mouth sucking me down with no end. He used to complain before about his difficulties going down on me fully. He doesn't have that problem now. His dark head bobs frantically up and down my length, wet tongue dancing and swirling in way that has me screaming out to the heavens. Finally, Heero deep-throats me again and I scream his name, my essence pouring down his throat in a hot stream. Exhausted, I collapse against the headstone, breath heaving and heart pounding madly in my chest.
Heero looks up at me, his blue eyes bright once more, his skin as clear and whole as it had been so many years ago. Slowly, he pulls himself further from his grave, laying his nude and dirt-streaked body over mine. His lips seek out mine and I part them willingly, tasting myself, my blood, and a deep richness that is Heero on my tongue. I allow my hands to wander his familiar body, skimming down to feel his hard length pressed against my thigh. He is always like this. We only have a few blissful hours before reality must interpose itself again.
Frantically, I pull off my own clothes, longing to feel Heero's body against mine. He helps as best he can, his hands trembling on my pants and barely keeping from ripping them at the seams completely. And, gloriously, I am naked and pinned beneath him, my legs wrapping around his waist, clinging to him as best I can.
His skin is cool to the touch. Well, the night is cold.
His heart does not beat in his chest. Mine beats enough for both of us.
His breath does not whisper against my skin. There's no need for breathing if he can kiss me like this.
All that matters is the love and devotion that shines into his eyes as he plunges himself into me, driving me into the soft earth of his grave. I arch back, crying out in pain and pleasure, but this I love as well. He drives me well past the point of insanity, his ardor and eagerness knowing no bounds on this night. And while I feel a momentary pang of guilt, that he cannot feel the same pleasure I do, it is more than balanced by the look in his eyes as he manipulates my body to ecstasy and beyond. I will not take away any passion he feels by bemoaning his loss. I am soon consumed, utterly, by the feeling of being in Heero's arms again.
It is over far too soon, for us. It is marked by the way Heero's body begins to still above mine, though he manages to gather enough power within himself to drive into me deeply one last time, sending another orgasm ripping through my body. And all I can do is lay in a sprawled heap on the crushed grass and uprooted earth as he pulls himself free from me. And as always, I, too, gather the last reserves of my strength to crawl to him, pressing my lips to his, even as his skin begins to sag and wrinkle, even as the light in his eyes burns away. I ignore the feel of his firm lips turning soft beneath mine, ignore his body sinking slowly back into the cold, unforgiving ground. My hands dig furrows into the dirt as I lean farther down, following as far as I can.
I claw the ground desperately, and his lips leave mine with only one last whisper against my skin.
"Aishiteru," is the only word that passes from his mouth besides my own name.
And it is everything for me.

2 A.M.
Two inches above my heart.
Two inches from my braid.
Two hours to live again.
I love you, Heero.
I'll see you next year.