Beyond the Edge


The song is Edge of Heaven.

The wind blows strands of my hair across my forehead, flickering in the dimming light like flames, the scarlet dance of silken gossamer on the breeze bringing banished images to mind. Painful images, but this place is so lonely... I welcome the pain. The fire in my hair is like the fire in my soul, the heat of the magic that makes up so much of my life now. The magic burns, it slowly consumes me from the inside out. This too is fate...

Fire! I can see it burning so brightly

"Fireball..." The whispered words hang on my lips as the magic sparks forth flames in my hand, power that is mine to call upon as I see fit. But it is not mine to control. The dancing red and gold flickers seem to laugh mockingly at me, speaking of the inferno that has yet to claim me completely.

Fire! I can see it calling out to me

It lingers on the edges of my mind like a shadow. The knowledge of what has been, what will be. What has happened to me? Once I would have fought this pull with all my strength, with everything that I am. I would not have meekly followed its call here. The water is red now, red like my hair, my eyes. Like the blood pulsing in my veins with every beat of my heart. the burn.

And as the sun goes down
It starts to paint a picture

The sun is painting the sky orange and purple as it sinks lower, casts dark shadows on my face and my surroundings. Soon the night will banish the colors and make it all black again. Silent. The fire in my hand dwindles, dies, and I hug myself tightly, as he once hugged me. But I cannot recapture the warmth of that embrace, nor the gleam of those eyes. And the light you carried with you always, like the sun's blessing trapped forever in the corn silk gold of your hair... Behind you, the brightness and cheer of the morning incarnate in the form of a bubbly dark-haired girl. Close, yet never really part of the group, the steady brooding form of one who might have been a monster outwardly, but was really as human as any of us.

For a moment I wonder about him. All of my other companions are gone, and he is the one who may still be around. I have not heard from him, but that is irrelevant. He is a survivor, and was the only one who did not go up against the full strength of the magic at my command. I wonder if he is still seeking his cure. Or perhaps he is waiting, as I am waiting.

Of an ancient town
So far away, across the endless sea

Perhaps it is better not to know. He would scarcely be forgiving, I think, although we parted ways cordially enough given the circumstances. He said he would continue his mission, the search for his long elusive cure, but his words rang as hollow as the dark blue of his too-human eyes. What good was any of it in the end? Have we gone too far to turn back, to even begin to hope for a reprieve?

Silence answers my unspoken question. Silence and the waves.

Lead me to the light
And take me to the edge of heaven

The last rays of light sink beneath the distant horizon, and far overhead I see the first twilight glimmer of a star daring to brave the darkness. If I look closely, I swear I can make out something over the water, just beyond the edge of my vision. Colors immeasurable and bright beyond the comprehension of any mere mortal. What is this place I'm seeing? A welcoming feeling eradiating from this illusion. The reason I come here every night. And still, I can never get any closer, it is always just beyond my grasp.

It will be gone shortly... fading from view like the sunlight dimming even now on the horizon.

I'm standing in the night
Looking for the edge of heaven
We'll be touching the edge of heaven

Is this where you are now? This place I cannot even begin to grasp? It slips from my fingers as the sands of an hourglass do, gone with only that tantalizing taste of what could have been. The future that would have been ours if only a different choice had been made somewhere. If only... or is it? There are so many uncertainties now, how can I tell? How can I do anything but sit and cast my thoughts into the silence of the falling night. Like a teardrop in the vast ocean, it makes no difference, not so much as a ripple.

I miss you... Can you sense it where you are now? Or are my thoughts as far beyond your reach now as you are beyond mine?

Close your eyes see dreams of tomorrow
The wheels are turning 'till eternity

How far away is forever? And why do I sit and ponder these things like a fool every night when I know there will be no answer? No angel coming to lay their hands upon me and grant me absolution. The air is getting chilly now, but not yet enough to drive me inside, away from the tiny pinpricks of light starting to dot the sky while the ocean lingers on in a reddish hue that is fading to purple.

Would you plead for me, Gourry? If I should walk through this world for years without number -- surely my fate -- will I still be haunted by your memory on that day? The fading sunlight touching your golden hair with a scarlet hue to rival my own, and that hollow, despairing look in your normally carefree blue eyes as you spoke to me in a tone completely unlike any I had ever heard you use before, telling me you would prefer to die by my hand. I wonder if Zel still thinks of her the way I think of you, if in that moment he was trapped in such silence that he could hear his heart crumble to dust and blow away on the wind as mine did.

If there is a destiny laid out for all of us... was this truly to be the way it ended? If not, was there something I could have said or done? Anything? Please tell me there was nothing. I don't know what I would do if the answer was yes... What little sanity left to me is hung on this tiny, seemingly inconsequential question.

And as the darkness comes
I start to see a picture
Of a lonely man
So clearly now reaching out for me

They say if you kill what you love, you're damned... but Gourry, even the damned can love. I know this because I can still feel the ache... can still feel the gap left by your loss. It's a scar that will never fully heal. If my eternal damnation is to be my fate, I can accept it, I think... Better than I accept this purgatory which is my life now. Compared to this, there is nothing that can be so painful.

But it was what you wanted...

Ironic, isn't it? I cannot help but think so as the last of the light fades to darkness, plunging me into the night with no hope of reprieve. I once risked the world for your sake, and you... you gave your life for mine. If you placed me so much higher than yourself, and I placed you above the world, does this make my life more valuable then the world? Maybe to you it did... If it would not be a waste of everything you risked for me, I think I would have ended it years ago. But I cannot be less strong than you.

If I close my eyes I can see an image of you engraved on my lids. But oddly, it is not you as I remember you to be. You seem as lonely and lost as I am. But you wait, as I wait. Perhaps fate will not be so unkind...

Lead me to the light
And take me to the edge of heaven

I don't know how long I sit there, in the dark with my knees huddled to my chest and lost in memories that are bittersweet. Like a moving picture, from the first time we met, to that final day we were together. I would curse the ones who decided to use our own companions against us if they were not already dead and long gone. It was too easy though... it should have taken longer, drawn out until they suffered as much as the two of you had suffered. There could be no undoing it, he said...

I'm standing in the night
Looking for the edge of heaven
We'll be touching the edge of heaven

Sometime while I was sitting there, I dozed off. I wake slowly, reluctantly, not quite willing to leave behind the dreams. The dream is familiar, I have had it many times in the past, although I remember it much better now. You're reaching for me Gourry, with that look on your face. But we are separated still, and I cannot reach you...

Lead me to the light...

It was different this time... how? You were beckoning, like always, and this time... this time I came to you. I still recall the warmth of your embrace as we came together again.

Would you?

And sail the endless sea
So lead me to the light
And take me to the edge of heaven

Have the sins been forgiven now? Is there no more hurting left between us after all this time? For the first time I feel my heart lift with the promise of an absolution. The sky is beginning to lighten... I've been asleep for a while it seems. It's almost dawn.

I'm afraid, Gourry... I think I have been for a long time now, I just wasn't willing to admit it until this moment.

The edge of heaven is near
We'll sail the endless sea

I can see it again... as the sky grows light. The same wavery image that lingers just on the edges of my vision. But somehow it is different now. I slowly get to my feet, my body protesting the movement as I walk forward. I raise a hand, as if I can reach out and grasp hold of it, keep it from slipping from my fingers by sheer force of will.

Is that a voice calling to me?

Lead me to the light
And take me to the edge of heaven

Yes, that's where you have to be... where the light is. I can feel you more than see you beckoning to me, and my eyes light up. I'm forgiven? No, you're right. It was never something that needed to be forgiven between us. With that realization I feel lighter somehow. Anything I have done wrong I've paid for and then some. Sins forgiven, forgotten, and your warmth shining on me.

I'm standing in the night
Looking for the edge of heaven

I'm coming... don't be impatient. But I find it hard not to be impatient myself, it's been so long. I take a step forward, then another. I can feel the salt spray on my skin now and the sea breeze whipping at my hair and cloak. They don't matter though. Nothing matters but the light and this siren call. I reach out again, walking forward with my hand outstretched for yours...

Take me there, Gourry...

One more step... one final step... Do I dare?

We'll be touching the edge of heaven

I'm standing at the edge of heaven, Gourry... I remember your promise to me in the dream. We'll meet on the other side, my love. I smile my first real smile in years as I take the first step.

Eternity awaits.