When dreams and pasts intersect, two young men are
drawn irrevocably towards each other
After a minute of silence, Duo queried, 'Wufei?'
The Detective rubbed his forehead. 'Sorry. I was... pouring tea.' He reached out absently for his teacup.
It was Duo's turn to grow quiet. 'Wufei, are you okay?'
Wufei debated telling the truth but finally decided against it; the situation was not yet urgent enough to warrant the betrayal of Trowa's confidentiality, and he was reluctant to worry Duo over his own suspicions. But the artist knew him too well, and half-truths would not work. He needed time to think. 'I need to go, Duo. Call you back later.'
He ended the conversation with a click. After a pause, he picked up the phone and dialed another number, then leaned back and waited for Heero Yuy to answer.
/ 'I love you,' came the sleepy murmur.
Robert held her closer, drawing the blanket over them both. 'Love you too.'
After some moments, Lisa stared up at him. 'What will we do?'
'...I don't know.' He shifted beside her. 'What do you want?'
She smiled slightly, her hand roaming down past his belly. 'You.'
His breaths shortened. 'Lily... aah, Lily. Stop.' Robert sat up with some effort, his cheeks flushed. 'We need to sort this out. He won't let us go.'
Lisa fell quiet. 'Who?'
She rose to sit beside him, pulling a robe around her shoulders. 'Your parents won't help?' He shook his head silently. 'It's me, isn't it?'
'It's not your fault that they care more for reputation than love.' Robert reached for her hand. 'But Marcus is coming after me.'
She frowned. 'I thought you told your parents about him? Surely they'd be willing to stop him from stalking you.'
He shook his head. 'He's disowned, yes, but he's my cousin nonetheless.'
'Reputation again,' she said with a sigh.
'I thought he gave up on you after seeing us together.'
Robert reddened at the memory. 'On a relationship with me, yes. On revenge, no.' He glanced at her. 'Marcus may be more dangerous than Simon.'
Lisa considered for a moment. 'He has money and power, but Simon knows this place. He has contacts. When it comes down to it... he knows how to be ruthless.' She bit her lip. 'And he wants me. He has for a long time.'
He remained still for a long time. 'Will you come with me, Lily?'
'Away from here. Permanently.'
She stared at him. 'Will you? And leave everything?'
'Yes.' He paused. 'This place isn't safe anymore. The longer we stay¡V'
'The more dangerous it is. I know. And there's never been much for me here. When?'
'Tomorrow dusk. I... don't want you spending another night here.' His eyes searched hers. 'Usual place?'
'Okay.' She sighed. 'I have to go, love. This is a one-hour slot.'
Robert flinched and exhaled deeply. '...Alright.' He reached for his purse, handing her the standard fee and another, much larger sum. 'Take care, Lily.'
Her lips brushed his. 'I will. I'll see you tomorrow.'
That night, Lisa stepped out into the streets. She had managed to take one less 'customer' than usual by supplementing the pub's return with some of Robert's money; in fact, had she not known that the other 'maids' would become suspicious, she would have sacrificed all of the cash. As it was, she tried to blank her mind as she usually did, and came out weary but physically unhurt.
Then, the nightmare struck.
Lisa remembered it dimly; the two men ambushing her as she rounded the corner, the damp cloth being forced against her face, her clothes being torn from her body, the stickiness of blood against her thighs. She tried to hold her cries back but the men fell upon her again and it became impossible; the screams were torn from her throat and they echoed in the empty, emtpy night.
An eternity passed. The whirling in her mind became deafening. Then, chaos gave way to blessed oblivion and Lisa knew no more.
By the time she staggered awake and promptly emptied her stomach onto the ground, the next day's sun was almost gone. Her memory flew to the scheduled meeting and she began, for a fleeting moment, to panic. Then the moment passed. The present rushed back. And her trembling disappeared beneath a sudden, almost overwhelming sense of calm.
Her clothes lay in a pile beside her, and Lisa stared for a moment before picking up the shawl and knotting it into a semblance of a strapless top. The flimsy skirt she simply shredded further and more evenly, or as evenly as she could manage with bare hands, before putting it back on. Her purse was gone; that, she expected. A search revealed that her dagger was missing too. For a moment, the girl paused in thought, then she exited the warehouse and moved towards the Night Haven's kitchen backway.
She halted outside the door and listened; sure enough, the cook was out. It was the break before the night shift. Hurrying in, she rummaged until she found a knife, and pocketed it. Then, noiselessly, she ran through the pub and left through the front door. She had been alert; as she moved past, she caught a glimpse of the two faces she sought. Her eyes held theirs for an instant.
There was a scrape of shoes against wood as Marcus and Simon followed her out. She waited for them outside. They glanced at each other when they saw her, their faces flashing with a mix of curiosity and surprise and a feral expression she remembered only two well, then they approached her in wordless synchronisation.
But she was prepared, this time. She was more than prepared.
Her body was aching and bleeding but she ignored the pain, sprinting and weaving past the afternoon crowds towards the warehouse of the night before. They arrived moments after her, one panting more than the other. Then, before they could say anything, she was upon them.
It did not take long. She had tackled Simon first; he was fresher, and ultimately stronger. Had she not lived on the streets for thirteen years, she would not have survived. Had she not had surprise on her side, she would not have won. But Lisa had both, and Simon fell. She knew he would never rise again.
Marcus was easier; he had been a moneybag's son, long ago, before he became disowned for trifling with drugs and other substances. Other people had always done his dirty work. He had stood by, in shock, until his accomplice fell. And then he tried to run. The knife landed in his back with a thud.
Still wordless, she retrieved it and flipped the man over. For a moment, he stared up at her in disbelief, then his broken laughter cut into the silence. 'I... I guess it's payback,' came the voice distorted by wracking coughs and blood. 'Th-the bastard, for us.'
She froze. 'Robert?' Her knife dug into his throat. 'What did you do to him?'
The laugh echoed again. 'Y-you'll have to... you'll have to see, won't you?' Another burst of coughing. 'Outside the N-night Haven. Alley.'
She slashed his throat.
Without a second glance, Lisa ran out again, this time heading for the alley. Her mind was screaming obscenities but she ignored it, peering over the barrels stacked against one wall. Blue eyes widened as they fell on the crumpled figure.
Delicately, trying to avoid increasing her own bleeding, she shifted past and felt her heart clench when Robert brightened. He struggled to sit up, and failed. Lisa's mind began to close over as she heard her nickname being croaked into the silence. 'Oh gods...'
The bruises, the cuts, the broken body ¡V they all struck her, harder than any physical pain could have. In spite of the slight curve of his lips, in spite of the hopeful eyes... she had seen death often enough to recognise it. But the pain had never been so horrifyingly real.
The nickname. Gods, the nickname ¡V the name that he had given her when they first met, the name that purified her and and disassociated her from life as a whore ¡V it brought everything back. The whirlwind of events suddenly became stark; the brutal rape, the distant, almost mechanical revenge... and the ache of seeing her lover die before her.
Without him, she was nothing but Lisa of Night Haven.
Without him, she the future was as hopeless as it had been before he taught her to live.
Without him... she would rather die.
so, Lisa Bennet laughed. It was a cruel laugh, one lacking any degree of
humour, one that bordered on hysterical. A part of her mind ¡V the tiny
part that was still lucid ¡V was horrified, but that part was no longer
in control. It could not afford to be.
hurt too much.
stood above her dying lover, staring coldly downwards as he tried to reach
for her. Her face twisted into a smirk. He moaned. Her heart tightened and
she forced the pain back, grinning even more maniacally. Suddenly, she
knew what to do. The knife glinted as she raised it and held it above him.
Then she stabbed him in the heart.
A strangled groan escaped from his lips and she felt a wrenching sense of betrayal. Somehow, she knew it came from him. For several moments, she simply stared downwards, waiting as the sense of betrayal faded into nothingless. Her lover was at peace. He had passed on.
Then, Lisa scaled the walls into her room. The walls had been designed to be scalable to attract more customers, but in this case, they served her well. In the chest by the window, there was a small, clear package. She emptied its contents onto her tongue and waited.
It did not take long before she felt herself drifting towards unconsciousness. The poison acted slowly, but it was painless, and it had been her backup for years. She would remain alive for some hours; that much, she knew. But by dawn the next day, she would be asleep.
And she would never have to wake again. /
Trowa halted, listening intently, but the cries were definitely not ones of ecstasy. He hesitated, then rapped on the door. There was no response. He pressed his ear against the wooden panels, frowning as he heard the sounds fade into heavy panting. He waited for another minute and knocked again. This time, he heard footsteps approach and after a moment, a disheveled face peeked out, asking hesitantly, 'Can I help you?'
The Agent slid his hands into his pockets. 'I'm sorry if I disturbed you, but I heard someone calling out and wasn't sure whether anything was wrong.'
'Oh.' There was a click and the sound of the door-chains being unfastened. Seconds later, the door slid open and a young man stepped out. 'Thank you. I... was having a nightmare.'
Trowa's eyebrow raised slightly; it was already four o'clock. 'Are you alright?'
'Yeah.' A shaky smile. 'Thanks for stopping.'
'That's okay.' Trowa regarded him for some moments, then paused in shock. 'Quatre Winner?'
Quatre's smile grew shy. 'Yeah, that's me. And you are...?'
'Trowa Barton,' he replied. 'Pleased to meet you.' He offered a slight smile. 'Your music is amazing.'
'Thank you.' The musician's expression relaxed. 'If you're not busy, would you like some tea?'
'It won't bother you?'
Quatre gave an embarrassed laugh. 'No, I think I can use the company.' He shifted aside. 'Come on in.'
'Take a seat,' the musician said, gesturing at the table. They spotted the piece of paper at the same time. Quatre picked it up, scanning the words, and Trowa watched as his expression fell slightly.
'Is something wrong?'
'No,' came the soft reply. Quatre pocketed the note. 'Just a friend telling me he left for work at noon. I feel guilty for keeping him up last night, that's all.'
Trowa sat down, folding his hands over one crossed knee. 'If he's your friend, I'm sure he wouldn't have minded.'
Quatre smiled slightly. 'I know he wouldn't have minded, but I still feel guilty. Tea or coffee?'
'Either is fine.' He glanced around the room, his eyes falling on the music above a violin case. 'Are you playing tonight?'
'Yes. In the auditorium downstairs.' Quatre returned with two cups. 'Would you like sugar?'
'No, it's okay. Thank you.' Trowa took a sip as his companion sat down. 'You don't have to answer this, but I've always wondered about something ¡V why don't you ever play your duets at concerts?'
The musician tilted his head reflectively. 'I guess it's because I haven't found anyone who can play the other part exactly the way I envision it. It's usually only little things, but those affect my own playing.'
'I see.' Trowa lowered his cup. 'I think I understand. Because your music always comes from yourself ¡V that's what draws us in.'
Quatre brightened. 'That's what I mean. When I compose, the piece becomes part of me. Every time I play it, I relive the feelings and the thoughts I had, and the music pours out. That's the only way I know.'
'And having someone add thoughts or emotions that aren't yours would break the magic,' Trowa murmured.
'Yes. And I lose the music because it's no longer a part of me.' They both fell silent for a moment, then Quatre asked, 'Do you play, Trowa?'
The Agent nodded. 'Some flute, yes.'
Wordlessly, Quatre stood and walked over to his instruments, retrieving several sheets of manuscript. 'This is the first piece I ever composed. It's for the flute and the violin, but I can't play the flute.'
Trowa gazed at the music for a long time. His eyes ran over the bars, noting almost absently that there were no dynamics or other interpretative symbols, pausing at the fluttering trills, closing his eyes and listening to the impassioned interplay between the two parts. Abruptly, he stood. 'Will you wait for me?'
Quatre looked at him in surprise. 'Where are you going?'
Trowa did not answer. 'I'll be back.' With that, he exited the room, leaving the musician staring after him.
After several minutes, the Agent returned, his hand holding a black case. Quatre's eyes widened. 'Is that...?'
Trowa nodded, asking simply, 'May I?'
Quatre swallowed. 'Please.'
Trowa assembled his flute quietly, gave the manuscript another glance, then closed his eyes. Beside him, the other man waited. Softly, tentatively, the opening notes floated into the air, and Quatre felt his heart clench. / This... /
All conscious thoughts fled as his own melody washed over him, whispering of childhood hopes, recalling the longings that he had held back for so many years. The notes echoed his own laughter and tears, whirling them back to the present and carrying them towards the uncertain future. / ...this is my own song. /
As the first movement faded to a close, Quatre murmured quietly, 'Please, wait.' The other man opened his eyes, and silently, he lowered his flute. Quatre picked up his violin, running the bow over the strings experimentally before looking up. 'Will you play with me, Trowa?'
The raised flute was enough of a reply.
He lifted his bow and new sounds emerged, at once hesitant and powerful. Quatre found his eyes widening as his arm moved of its own accord, infusing his own notes with feelings he had never before imagined. For the first time in his memory, the unexpected changes ¡V his own changes ¡V did not feel like an intrusion. Because his untitled piece finally felt whole.
Emerald eyes met sapphire as the last lingering note dissipated. Trowa lowered his flute slowly, shifting the manuscript aside and resting his instrument on the table. After a moment, his lips curved into a genuine smile. 'Thank you, Quatre.'
He understood. Quatre could feel it. The musician felt tears spring into his eyes, and he blinked rapidly. 'No... thank you. That was beautiful.'
'Did you tell him?' Wufei asked after they both sat down.
'Nothing unexpected,' Heero answered, his expression inscrutable. 'He's now certain that Robert is not a figment of his imagination. How does that help?'
The Detective regarded him steadily. 'Trowa has always believed himself to be Robert reborn; nothing could have changed that, as you know. It would be easier to work on the premise that his belief is true because his actions are guided by his own beliefs, not ours.' A pause. 'Indeed, I'm beginning to believe him myself.'
A barely noticeable frown. 'Why?'
'A client of mine has requested that I search for a "Lisa Bennet", and although he would not say why, all the details he provided corresponded with Lisa's. I found out this morning that he was born on her deathday.'
'And you don't believe it is a coincidence?'
'Do you?' Wufei returned.
'Not entirely,' came the doctor's reply after a moment. 'But I don't accept the other possibility either.' Heero's brow furrowed in thought. 'But that doesn't matter.'
'No,' said Wufei with a slight nod. 'It doesn't. I'm more concerned with making sure Trowa never meets anybody he recognises or thinks of as reincarnations.'
'Does your client resemble Lisa?'
Heero glanced at him. 'Chances of meeting?'
'Slim, fortunately. And he is only here for a short period.' Wufei paused. 'How likely is it that Trowa will react abnormally if he somehow recognises somebody?'
Heero considered for several moments. 'In a sane state, his self-control will remain. Otherwise, violence is probable, as the hypnosis showed. His instinctive reactions aren't safe.'
'He knows that, I think,' Wufei said thoughtfully. 'Because he sought you for treatment. That's why I thought it advisable to inform him of the truth; it would remove any doubts he had about the idea of reincarnation. If he thinks of it as the truth, he would be more wary of and alert to his own actions.'
'He would.' The doctor raised a cup to his lips and drank. 'I'll discuss it with him when I get the chance.'
Wufei nodded. 'It's Marcus and Simon I'm worried about, now. They can be anybody.'
The detective glanced at him. 'You don't like the idea.'
'Of reincarnation, no.' The slight frown returned. 'We have no choice but to assume it is the truth and to establish precautions based on that assumption. But had Trowa thought differently from the start, we could have dismissed the idea instead of confirming his beliefs in something so vague. These fears would be redundant.'
Wufei smiled slightly. 'Heero, there is something I should tell you. In my culture, reincarnation is a truth of life. And if there are things left unresolved in one lifetime, it's believed that they will be carried on through any number of generations until the cycles of debt and repayment are complete.'
The detective's expression grew contemplative. 'Perhaps it's not true. All I know is that Trowa believes it is, and that keeping him away from Quatre and the other people from his dreams may be paranoid, but it may not be.' His eyes locked with Heero's.
'Tragedy has been known to repeat itself.'
Notes: On a more serious note, there's something I'd like to clarify about this story's interpretation of the concept of reincarnation. I am using the more traditional Chinese beliefs ¡V which is why Wufei is both familiar with and less inclined to dismiss them ¡V and these are two points relevant to the story.
1. When people die, they 'go to get reincarnated', and thus, one's birthdate in a previous lifetime usually coincides with one's birthdate in the current lifetime.
2. If there is 'unfinished business', ie. an unresolved conflict, a misunderstanding, an unpaid due etc., and these matter enough to at least one of the involved parties, then the business may be 'carried forward' to future lives until the matter is resolved.
As far as I know, some other cultures hold similar beliefs. I'm not saying that everybody believes in one or both of the above, or that either of them are true, but for the premise of this story, it is assumed that neither have been proven but that both are known and possible. The extent to which each character agrees with these ideas is affected by factors such as personality and personal experiences.