title: Choir Box: Christmas
fandom: Gundam Wing
characters/pairings: one-sided Hilde/Duo, one-sided Relena/Heero, suggestive Heero/Duo, Father Maxwell, Sister Helen
summary: Hilde can't swallow her jealousy.
notes: song by Lethanon: Shade of Descent
much gratitude to Lethanon, for sharing her abundant talents with us, and allowing me to tag along on this journey. please make sure to go download the song to get the full effect, and go to her site to get fansong cds from Leth. because she rocks. ^_^
these fics will have strong Catholic overtones, but if i do my job right, they won't be essential to the fics. all the fic titles will come from feast days in the Catholic calendar.

Big, wet flakes of frozen water fell on from the blackness all around. If she raised her eyes to look up to the moon, she might have been able to see the snow as it fell, but she kept her eyes on the fuzziness of her mittens, pressed into the hard ground next to her, as they collected snowflakes.

Somewhere on the other side of the church, the middle school Winter Ball was letting out. Long strings of lights illuminated the falling snow as parents waited to pick up their children. Girls in short dresses were huddled together giggling as boys tugged at their ties, almost ready to finally ditch them.

Her tears froze to her face, and she pressed her back against the cold stone of the church.

Relena sighed, her smile appearing a tiny bit tired. If they were still in grade school, Hilde would smack her right across the face. Why didn't she understand?

"But, Hilde, Heero and Duo are friends. We can't tell them not to hang out together."

Hilde rolled her eyes, disgusted. "I'm not saying they should never hang out, Relena. But he's your boyfriend. Don't you ever get tired of watching him trail after Duo like a puppy?"

If she had socked Relena in the mouth, she would have hurt Relena less. "Hilde..." Relena bit her lip. "You can't make someone like you. Heero and Duo are good friends. Do you really want to take that away from Duo? I mean... there's not really anything either of us can do, anyway."

Turning in disgust, Hilde walked away, glaring forcefully to keep herself from tearing up. If stupid Relena wanted to be made a fool of, that was her problem, but surely there was something Hilde could do.

The church was dark save for the candles that filled the altar, and the candles lined up in a row down the aisle. From the choir box, the darkness seemed to be something tangible that the candlelight was warding off weakly. The congregation was silent as the nativity procession slowly made their way to the manger next to the altar.

Lines were read, reenacting Mary and Joseph's troubled search for lodgings.

Heero leaned over to whisper something in Duo's ear, his nose brushing against Duo's hair.

Something ugly and dark swallowed Hilde whole.

She could hear Sister Helen's voice, softly speaking to Duo, though she couldn't make out the words. She did hear Duo's rapid-fire apologies. She steeled herself as he picked up the phone.

"Hilde? You know I'm not supposed to get phone calls after dinner..."

"We were supposed to meet after school to go over history. Remember? You promised me."

"Huh? Oh, yeah, that... Heero's bike chain broke and he needed me. Sorry. Anyway, you're probably better off studying without me, right?"

She resisted the urge to throw the phone across the room. "So as soon as Heero says anything, you'll drop everything and everyone to do what he wants? Duo, I bet he can fix a bike chain himself. And I'm supposed to be your girlfriend, Duo. Doesn't that mean anything to you?"

"Girlfriend?" Duo sputtered. "Hil, c'mon, you know you're my best gal pal, but... aren't we a bit young for that?"

She could cry. She could really just sit down and cry right there. "Duo, you're an idiot." She hung up the phone.

Her pretty blue dress was getting wet. She shivered, pulling her wool coat tighter around her body. So cold... every part of her was frozen, right down to the marrow of her bones.

What more could a girl do? She'd always liked Duo, right from the first day he showed up in the school, his long hair hanging loosely back then, his tiny cassock an irritation that caused him to fidget constantly. He'd gotten into a fight with some of the older boys in the school, and he broke Claude Larken's nose.

She was friends with Duo, and they hung out, but... No one could get close to him the way that Heero got close to him. It wasn't fair. As soon as they'd gotten into the school gym, decorated with pale blue and white crepe paper, Heero had tugged at Duo's elbow, and they had disappeared.

It wouldn't hurt so much if Duo's eyes hadn't lit up when he saw Heero. It wouldn't hurt so much if she didn't want to be the one that Duo looked at like that so much.

It wouldn't hurt so much if she wasn't the one who was sitting in the snow, in the dark, in the cold, all alone, when she was supposed to be with Duo.

Damn Heero. Damn him to hell...

"Hilde!" Duo protested, but he didn't resist, really, as Hilde dragged him around the school halls. "We aren't supposed to leave the library, you know!"

She rolled her eyes, and opened the door to the stairwell, tossing Duo against the wall.

"What the hell, Hil? What's going on?" Duo rubbed at the back of his head, glaring at her slightly.

He would rather be with Heero. Well, damn him. "You're taking me to the Winter Ball."

"What?" Duo sighed. "Hil, I hate shit like that, you know that. Getting all dressed up and hanging with the rich kids... It's not my thing."

"So what will you do instead?" She demanded, leaning in and glaring at him. "Sleep over at Heero's? You know, Duo people will talk, the way you two are."

"What?" Duo was clearly stymied.

Hilde rolled her eyes, as if he was being totally dense. "You two are inseparable. You do everything together. Maybe it's unfair, because of your hair, or whatever, but people are calling you his girlfriend, you know. How do you think that makes Relena feel?"

"Wha- what?" Duo went still, his eyes wide and scared, his jaw slack.

"Hmph!" Hilde crossed her arms over her chest, swallowing her victory smile. "You know, it's your life, I guess, and if that's what you want to do, I can't stop you, but it is a sin, and it will look bad for Father Maxwell and Sister Helen. I don't understand why you would hurt the people who care about you so much, Duo, I mean, they are always having trouble with the church and the congregation over their halfway house, and now you do this to them... I thought you were more grateful." She turned to walk away, her lips curling upward slightly with glee.

"Wait!" Duo grabbed her arm. "Stop, wait, Hil, c'mon!" He laughed nervously, desperately. "It's not like that, you know it's not like that! I just... I don't have nice clothes, Hil, and it sucks being looked down on just cuz I'm poor. C'mon, don't be like this..."

She shrugged sadly. "It's not me, Duo.

"It's you."

Below, the congregation was all seated again after communion. The pinnacle of the Midnight Mass music began - Duo's O Holy Night solo. The choir hummed and sang softly to accompany him, as there were no instruments, but his voice stood above them all.

Hilde always loved to hear Duo sing. He was so... strong. So beautiful.

The song was reaching its climax, and Duo was climbing up to those high notes. She could see him straining, and he wasn't even there yet. It didn't seem like he could get enough air, and his thin body was shaking with effort.

She saw it because she was watching him. She didn't think anyone else could see it. Heero's hand drifted over, and rested gently on Duo's hand.

After that, his voice was perfectly clear and wonderful.

She bit the inside of her lip until hot blood rushed over her tongue.

If she could, she would run down the risers and push Heero Yuy over the edge. She would watch as his head cracked open on the stone floor, and she would laugh as his body crumpled.

Her heart pounded with the ferocity of her jealousy. She would give anything in the world to be Heero.

the lyrics to the accompanying music...

Choir Box: Shade of Descent

Colour my world
with shades of descent
Follow me down
to the loneliness I'm sent to
By the fears that rhyme
in a mind, not mine
For i'm out, of time
And out of line

I sinned in a dream
That came to me
But my reality
Is a hard thing to see
Visions lie
Miracles die
And you wait, so patiently
As they leave.

Sing Holy Night
to a world gone by
As if mortal hands
can fly.
And catch you
after you fall
and save the sins
we've made of us all.

What's one more mark
To ambivalent dark
When I look in your eyes
Only to sigh
At a moment gone green
It's a malicious scene
But its pristine
Clean and a dream.