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Mourn Not for Angels

By: Denise Paolucci

[Author's Note: This story contains spoilers. Read at your own peril.]

      "I wanted to find one thing that was mine and leave this
      behind; but I can't find my way to get far away and bury
      these days." -- Fuel

     There was no moonlight in Solaris, but the man called Hyuga had never felt the lack. Not until tonight, when he stood -- barechested and barefooted -- to gaze over the plaza outside the window illumined by neon and chrome from the buildings below. Once more, he could not sleep. Once more, he knew that come morning, the tenuous truce he'd worked out with his destiny would be shattered.

     Behind him, his lover sprawled across the tiny bed that they shared in secret, the soft glow from the window reflecting off skin that had been roughened by the sun and wind. He slept restlessly, the covers tangled around him -- ~Kahr wonders why my bed is always so disrupted in the morning,~ Hyuga thought, crazily, ~but if he ever saw Sigurd sleeping, our secret would be out.~ He felt the chuckle rising from the depths of his chest, and caught it before it turned against his will into a sob. Instead, he turned back to the window, knowing that if he looked at the sleeping man in the bed one minute longer, he would lose that numbness he clung to as his only last strength.

     ~It wants moonlight. A scene like this, it wants moonlight.~ He rested his forehead against the glass, his eyes not seeing the scene beneath him. Rather, he felt the press of Sigurd's hands against his body, Sigurd's lips on his own. There had been desperation in that touch tonight, a dark aching that he had never before felt. There had been the hint of something hidden, something that Sigurd was not saying, words unspoken between the two who had not, until now, needed them. The pressing weight of Sigurd's need to touch, to hold, would have given him his answer, were it not for the fact that he had already known.

     He did not know how he knew. He did not know if the knowledge was something that he had pieced together, carefully fitting clue to clue, or if it had been something vouchsafed to him in a single blinding flash of inspiration. But he knew, deeper than he knew his own true name, or the feel of his sword in his hand, that in the morning, Sigurd would be gone.

     He had not expected this. Had not wanted it, this falling in love; he had known his duty, had known where he would lead him, from the beginning. There had been no question of refusing it, no question of letting the mantle fall to other shoulders; there had been no other shoulders that could have taken it up. That, above all else, he knew. Yet in this tiny room, the clock blinking some obscene hour of the morning, he found himself shaken and off-balance, crying for the answers, unsettled in a way that he had not let himself be for years. Long ago, he had learned not to open himself to those who came and went in his life; the numbness was all he had to shield himself from the play of centuries. How disturbed had he been, to discover that without conscious thought, his emotions had once more risen to betray him!

     ~Never before have I asked 'why me'. I have always known the answer. Through all the years, all the times I have done things that I cannot bear to remember, I have always had that purpose to guide me. What is it about him that brings me so close to forgetting?~ Hyuga felt the first few tremors of cold beginning to twine their fingers into him, but he did not move to clothe himself further. ~They call me the Guardian Angel for the number of lifetimes I have shepherded the Contact through, but never before have I felt more in need of guarding myself!~

     The soft noise from behind him made his shoulders tense, but he did not look behind him. He knew what he would see -- pale hair spread out across a pillow, amber skin half-shrouded by the sheet in disarray, one foot dangling off the bed and one hand twisted up into some position that would as usual leave Sigurd complaining of pins and needles in the morning. He knew that if he looked, he would want to wake him, want to touch, want to imprint the lines and curves of Sigurd's body in his memory for the coming years alone. And he also knew that if he did that, Sigurd would not be able to find the will to do what he must.

     ~So much like Roni. So much ... I can see Roni's fire in him, banked, but there. And he too feels the pull ... the old blood stirs in him...~ Hyuga sighed, lost for