Stone Angel: Smile
By Lizeth Halington
Lizeth_Hal@hotmail.com


"Hey," the boy smiled down at the girl, blue eyes shining an odd violet in the waning sunlight. "What's a pretty girl like you doing in a place like this?"

Stopping in mid-thought, he silently kicked himself.

Very smooth, that. You've just successfully recited the most well known pick-up line in the history of sad souls.

When the girl didn't turn, he breathed again, although her action could be interpreted as both a good or bad sign. He was after all, by nature, annoyingly optimistic, annoying cheerful, annoyingly loud, annoyingly... everything, in the eyes a certain stoic Japanese pilot.

The same Japanese pilot, in fact, that this girl somehow reminded him off.

Maybe it was the fact that they were both Japanese. Maybe it was simply because of their lack of response to anything. Right now, a nuclear bomb could go off and she probably wouldn't care. Well... maybe that was a little harsh... but still...

Giving his head a quick shake, braid flopping against his back, he grinned ruefully.

Better no response than an "I will kill you" glare, I guess.

He'd been on the wrong end of Heero's gun one too many times as it was.

The strange thing was, however, that he'd grown immune to those glares. It was simply how Heero was and in some strange way, they'd developed some type of friendship over it.

I suppose if you're exposed to something long enough, it won't bother you anymore.

He grin now turned into a grimace. There were certain things in the world that were meant to be looked upon as horrendous. Things that shouldn't be accepted as the norm, but at times it seemed that it was the other way around. Death was a common place in his world. Strange that the so-called Shinigami, God of Death, was growing weary of his throne.

He grunted.

No, death didn't bother him. That was part of life. Not that he went around self-destruct trigger-happy like a certain previously mentioned pilot...

He shrugged.

No... that too was inaccurate. Heero wasn't exactly suicidal, although it seemed a lot like it at times. He was simply too dedicated. He had no life besides piloting his Gundam, besides completing his missions. Nothing else to live for...

He didn't know whether to envy or pity his fellow pilot. The perfect soldier was not burdened by human emotions, was he? It was hard to tell at times. Maybe it was simply selective. Guilt, apparently, was one of those emotions the stoic soldier could not escape. Trowa had told him about the time after Marshal Noventa's assassination. Heero had gone from door to door, visiting each of the remaining family members of the man he had accidentally murdered, seeking their judgment, offering his life.

Duo's lips set into a thin line. Life meant nothing to the Japanese boy.

Was he any better?

With slight surprise, he found that the stunning crimson eyes of the other person on the roof were fixed unblinkingly on him.

He tried to smile warmly.

"Sorry, I guess I spaced out for a while."

"It does not bother me."

He couldn't help it.

"Does anything?" he blurted, honestly curious.

"I was raised-"

"To hell with that."

She blinked.

"Does anything bother you?" he repeated.

She turned away, watching as the last remnants of the once bright sun set against the western sky. The wind ruffled her pale blue hair. It was getting colder.

"You do," she replied.

It was Duo's turn to blink. Was there the barest trace of humor in her monotone voice, or was it a figment of the wishful imagination?

"Wow," the blinked and blinked again. "Wow. Man, I've single handedly managed to get under the skin of the two most stoic people I know." His own voice was laced with wry amusement. "To think that I, the God of Death..." he trailed off, striking a somewhat melodramatic pose.

Her face remained as emotionless as ever.

"Stone Angel," he sighed, "don't you ever smile?"

"I do not know when to smile."

"How 'bout now?"

She didn't turn around.

It was pitch black now. The sun was totally hidden from sight, off to brighten other parts of the world. The stars had not yet appeared.

The sound of the wind and rustling of clothes were the only sounds present. Up so high above the streets, even the sound of cars and busy people, merrily going about their lives, was far, far away from his ears. Sighing again, Duo closed his eyes. The dark played tricks on the mind. Better to wait until there was enough light to see by.

Smile...

"I think..." she said quietly, "I think the moon is beautiful."

Opening his eyes, the braided boy was surprised to find that the moon was indeed up, large and glowing behind a sea of black buildings. How long had he been standing there like an idiot, eyes closed and just breathing?

"Hai. Yes, it is," he confirmed. "It looks much, much nicer from earth: from far away. From the colonies, it's just too close. It looks more like a vast gray graveyard."

Smile...

"I do not wish to die," she said suddenly. The comment was so abrupt Duo felt slightly disoriented. The stone angel, who was always saying that she could be replaced, she was unimportant... was afraid of death?

The world rocked.

"You won't," he promised confidently, determined. His mouth seemed to work faster than his brain. "I will protect you."

Suddenly he was very aware of how incredibly, incredibly cliché that sounded. Self-consciously rubbing the back of his neck, he laughed nervously, not so discretely tugging at his long braid.

The world rocked again. Duo Maxwell had just lost his cool in front of a girl.

Rei Ayanami turned to stare at the boy, eyes slightly bewildered.

Protected by the Shinigami? It seemed awfully ironic. His words had struck something though. She had once made a very similar promise to another boy. Another pilot. Another life.

"Thank you."

"Eh... sorry.. eh.. what?" he arched an eyebrow incredulously.

"Arigato," she said, quiet as ever and walked towards the door that lead back down to society, heels resounding in the silence.

Only when she disappeared into the glaring light of the staircase did Duo allow himself to grin, then laugh. Rei Ayanami, newly appointed Gundam pilot 00...

She'd smiled.


Author's notes: Okay, corniness rating goes up... but oh well.

Disclaimer: Evangelion and Gundam aren't mine, okay... OKAY?! HAPPY!? They aren't mine! **runs away sobbing**