The Light Of The Soul Is Love

BY : flameboi
Category: M through R > Pearl Harbor
Dragon prints: 4892
Disclaimer: I do not own Pearl Harbor, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Title:The Light Of The Soul Is Love
Author: Flameboi
Archived: You want it? Go for it.
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: M/M - Danny x Rafe
Feedback: Reviews always wanted
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters and am making no money off this fic, so, don't sue my ass.


Chapter One -
Unrequited: Towards The Light

Spirit drifts, and that is what I am, now, only spirit. I can see the flesh there, below, all bloody, cradled in your arms. Above me is the light, drawing me towards it though I fight its pull, like the undertow of waves, and below, the darkness, the night of broken flesh and dreams, and you. Always, you: the last moment in your arms, and oh how I wished, so many, many times, to be in your arms, so close- to touch, to feel, to taste, skin to skin and heart to heart. Of course I never told you, Rafe; how could I risk losing you, my friend, my brother, my heart?

If I would only stop resisting the draw of the light, I would fly into it, I know- that is where it began, with flying, us. You gave me the skies, and I never could repay that, except with everything I left unsaid, undone, until now: I give you Evelyn, a son of mine and hers, and here is my bargain with God or whatever waits for me beyond that light, my death for your life, all I have to give, Rafe, all I have left, now, but seconds, and, love, and, regret.

Regret not so much for dying, because, now that it has happened it is not so terrible; regret for what never was- when we were young, fifteen, sixteen, laying side by side in your dad's field, looking up at the skies while you spilled out your dreams, I wanted so badly to just roll over and kiss you, touch you like I touched myself alone in the midnight dark, thinking about you- you never knew it, I don't think- and anyhow, I never got my kiss. I never even knew, for certain what I would do with you, if I could, though I had some ideas, until the one night in the city during a weekend leave, I found myself in that little hole in the wall club, and, later, with the man from that club, in an even dingier motel room, but after that I knew the details of what we could do, how it would feel. I pretended he was you, every second of the touching and sucking and grunting passion, and later you joked when we were back on base, asking me how she was, assuming I'd gone off with some cheap girl, and I told you, smiling, 'like a dream come true'. I lied. The dream never came true, Rafe.

More than that, I regret hurting you, with Evelyn. When the telegram came, and I thought you were dead, part of me, the best part, died too. I almost hated you, then, for dying without me, for leaving me alone. I couldn't let the other men see me grieving, crying, and so I held it inside, and when I couldn't bear it anymore, I would go to the latrine, late sleepless nights, and let the tears come, and try to wash away the pain- they never did. Like you asked, though, I was the one to tell your Evelyn and that is how it happened- I don't know if she loved you as much as I love you, but I could see that she was the only person in close to as much pain as I was; the bond of broken hearts is almost as strong as the bond of true love, and, when I kissed her, moved inside her, it was as close as I would ever be to making love to you. I never felt that with any girl before her, not while there was the slightest chance of -you-, and -we-, but you were dead, Rafe, and we fell, she and I, and I am so damn sorry for hurting you like that; when you came back, I was glad to see you, but angry still- did I rub your face in it? A little, maybe, but, didn't you deserve it, a little, for leaving me like that, for lying, saying you were assigned, for protecting me, and for not giving me what I wanted most?

You never could read, Rafe, and that was what I gave you, while we grew up, all the tests I helped you cheat your way into passing, if barely, all the nights when I did two sets of assignments instead of one- I may have grumbled sometimes, but I never really minded; I loved it, having there be something where you needed me, really needed me the way I needed you, because if you'd flunked out, they'd never let you be an officer and pilot. I read, though, sometimes as an escape from just thinking about you, and, I hid my pleasure in it so you wouldn't think you were missing out on anything, I made fun of those 'long, boring, pieces of crap', too, but I didn't always mean it, like when we had to study Hamlet for eleventh grade lit. I liked the play, I saw us in it: Hamlet, and Horatio. I'm Horatio, but in this version, he's the one who dies in the last act. And you live, Rafe, my love.

You're further and further from me now, Rafe, fading out, or I'm fading, so close now to the light, the dark is nothing now, but I can see the Chinese coming over the paddy, you're rescued. Thank you, God. Thank you...

I wish you only happiness- love her, and raise our son to be happy, be happy- and I know you will, it's my last wish, after all, and after all I never got, somehow, I know I'll get this one last request. Whatever waits beyond the light, I do not know, but I am about to find out, and somehow I have a feeling we'll meet again, in some other place, maybe some other life, souls carried there after these lives, flying on a divine wind, and maybe, then, things will be different, unrequited will be just a memory or nothing at all, and we will hold each other forever, and never let go. Goodnight, sweet prince, as flights of angels sing me to my rest. Goodbye. I love you, Rafe.

Chapter Two -
The Light At The End

Rafe had survived the Doolittle Raid, and the other missions he had flown over the course of the war; he had married Evelyn, and, with her and young Danny Jr, had settled down. There was a lovely house in the country, and, twenty minutes away, just outside the city, a small airstrip where Rafe worked as a pilot; by nineteen fifty-five it had been named McCauley Air Transport by the proud new owner, and by the end of the fifties, was one of the more successful midsize commercial airlines in the south, due largely to Rafe's charm and skill and Evelyn's strong business sense.

Overall, Rafe was a rare and lucky man, because, despite having suffered his sorrows and made his sacrifices, he was happy. Marriage had had its share of ups and downs, but there had been more smiles than tears, and the fights were few enough, the love both enduringly strong and compassionately gentle at the same time. The children, Danny, and his younger sister, Beth, had scared their parents with the usual childhood mishaps and angered them with normal teenage difficulty, but showed promise of growing to be fine people: studious and bright, Danny Jr. was now a sophomore in college and planning to attend medical school, while Beth, no less bright, but liking school a good deal less, planned on following in her father's footsteps as a professional pilot when she finished high school next year.

The death of his best friend Danny still haunted Rafe, at first, in nightmares from which he woke in a cold sweat, but as the years passed, mostly in the bittersweet ache of a loss years gone, but Rafe never found Danny far from his thoughts, or memories, especially when he was flying, which as the carrier's chief pilot, he did nearly every day; there were times when he felt his boyhood companion's presence so strongly that Rafe would have sworn he would only have to look to his right to see Danny there, beside him, in the co-pilot's chair; of course, when he looked, and he always looked, there was no one there.

Rafe's plane, all his planes, were maintained in peak condition, and he had somewhat cut down on the daredevil antics due to his family responsibilities and FAA regulations, but, he never lost his love for flying, nor his absolute confidence in his ability as a pilot, and, sometimes, just for the challenge of it, took a risk here or there, such as flying in overcast and threatening conditions, intending to beat the storm; dozens of times he had done it, landing as the rain began to pour, so why should this day in the fall of 1960 be any different?

A treacherous head wind from the Gulf buffeted the Skymaster forcefully, making it pitch, and Rafe, thankful that his businessmen passengers were safely arrived and behind him, fought for controls as the storm began to rage around the plane in a torrent of rain, black skies, furious air currents, and booming thunder; his skill had beaten the odds before, and so it was only, finally, ill luck that sealed Rafe's fate, as lightning struck the fuselage as he banked left. The end was mercifully brief: the swift, spiraling, helpless descent, while thoughts of Evelyn, his children, and Danny clamored in Rafe's mind, and then only an instant of terrible pain and the sound of the world exploding in a ball of flame, and then the darkness.

Beyond the darkness was a light, which seemed to reach upwards into eternity, and Rafe turned from it, though it seemed to want to draw him towards it; he ran, fleeing that light, back to the wreckage, his mind a blinding baffle of screaming confusion, and then he was running, running towards home, running as he had as a boy, over fields, heedless of obstacles. It seemed to Rafe that he ran for a very long time, at the edge of terror, before he ever saw the farmhouse, before he went within, not realizing in his shock that he had not had to make use of any key nor doorknob, before he was sitting by his weeping wife and daughter as they sat holding one another on the couch. The words were too terrible to comprehend, and so they were only a buzz of nonsense to Rafe, though he understood clearly that someone had died, and so he moved closer to Evelyn, to comfort her; he spoke, but she seemed not to hear, even when he raised his voice, no more than she felt it when he placed his hand upon her shoulder. Rafe pressed down to draw her near and felt he would go mad at the sight before him: his hand, passing though her body.

Rafe sprang to his feet, stumbling, and shouted for Evelyn, and Beth, and still they did not hear, and then he only shouted, meaningless sounds of fear and torment, not seeing at first that the light which had shone above now seemed to fill the room, but then he could not help but see, and stand, blinking, as a figure emerged from that brilliance.

Danny, looking just as he had before his death, Danny, in a loud and garish Hawaiian shirt in red and yellow, Danny, coming from the light, to him, a hand reaching for Rafe's shoulder, now, and a touch Rafe could feel; Danny smiled, a little sadly perhaps, but very full of warmth and love, and Rafe felt much of his terror slowly fading, and then Danny spoke, softly, "There isn't anything more you can do here. It's time to go home."

Still stunned, Rafe stammered Danny's name, and the word, "What?", and tried to pull away, but Danny's hand on his arm was solid, and not to be denied; his answer gentle but firm and final, "You're dead, and you can't stay here, now; I'll be your guide, and show you the way," and Rafe stopped fighting him, just stopped and stared at him, and then only nodded, mutely, knowing, somehow, that it would be all right, with Danny beside him. Danny led Rafe into the light, saying, "Wait til you see this place, it's incredible! I have so much to show you, I've been waiting to show you, all this time."

Chapter Three -
Revelation: By The Light Of No Earthly Sun

Beyond the light, there was another world, a wondrous one. There, stretched out to every point of the horizon before Rafe and Danny, was a vast plain of lush emerald grass which ran in the far distance to a sea of impossible blue. The plain was bordered on one side by a forest of majestic trees, and on the other by a crystalline river, and above shone a fiery golden orb in the perfect azure sky. Danny hadn't let go of Rafe's arm, though his fingers were the barest touch upon a muscled bicep, and while Rafe stared in amazement at the view before them, Danny's eyes were only on his beloved friend, taking in the changes that the years had wrought in him: Rafe was still strong and trim, his face a bit weathered but still so handsome, his hair receding a bit and just beginning to gray at the temples, both the man that Danny had known, and someone new, in the same being. "My God, beautiful," murmured Rafe, wonderingly, and Danny, who gazed still at Rafe, smiled and replied with the same awe in his voice, "Yes, very beautiful."

Danny slipped his hand down and took hold of Rafe's, startling him, until the apparent reason revealed itself a moment later, as they simply appeared without obvious movement, in a clearing next to the forest. "This would be a great spot for a home," offered Danny, reluctantly letting go of Rafe's hand with a last little squeeze. Rafe grinned, and joked, "There're building contractors in heaven?" Danny chuckled, "Sure, but you won't need 'em," thinking what fun it was to share all of this with his best friend.

Rafe played along, smirking, "What, do I just wish for a house?" Danny nodded in reply, resisting an urge to kiss the taller man, "Well, more like you picture exactly what you want, and want it with all your strength, and then, you just know it's there, and it is." It took some practice, but a while later, though the sense of time was imprecise at best here, Rafe had created his palace in paradise; to Danny's delight it was a duplicate of Rafe's boyhood home, the farmhouse, the barn, though inside the barn was not a wrecked relic of the first Great War, but a sleek, new, cherry red two-man dual prop plane. Rafe's face clouded over for a moment as they stood together looking at the craft, and he asked softly, "We can fly here, right, Danny?" to which his guide answered, "It's heaven, of course we can fly- even without a plane."

His sense of astonishment quickly turning to a sense of ecstatic excitement, Rafe received his first lesson there and then in the ability of flying without anything between self and sky: this time, it was Danny who led and taught, thinking to himself that he was giving Rafe back what he loved best, and wishing he tell him that he had given his heart, as well. Rafe learned quickly, mastering this as he had the earthly version of flight, with the intuitive skill of one who is born to an art. Leading, Danny showed him the changing view below, past the forest, the grand and splendid city of marble and glass, thronged with smiling people, and some who had altered their forms so that they were not the same sort of human they had once been, winged, or multihued, or sleekly imitating jungle cats, every variety of being; as the sky darkened above, the friends returned to the farmhouse in the clearing, and went inside.

Dinner was no necessity, here, but part of comfortable habitual routine, and Danny created all of Rafe's favorite dishes with a moment of concentrated will, and together they sat, eating, while he explained to Rafe much of how this world worked, telling him that he had never seen God, nor had anyone he had encountered, though the presence of that benevolent watcher could be felt everywhere, that there was no hell at all, except for those who had died in black despair, as suicides, or murderers, that anything one desired was possible here, and even that it was possible to return to earth to live another lifetime, after which Rafe fell silent, brooding, as Danny cleared away the remnants of the meal, knowing that Rafe was pondering just that option.

Rafe seemed withdrawn and Danny gave him a bit of space, stepping out onto the porch to lose himself in his own thoughts, all of the old hopes and fears alive and twisting again within his mind; lost in a daydream of what he hoped might be, Danny did not register at first the low noise for what it was, something almost shocking, Rafe, weeping, and once he did recognize it, hesitated before going in to him, not wanting to embarrass him, but knowing he had to help.

As Danny sat beside him upon a low couch, Rafe wept, at first hesitantly, then in earnest, grieving the loss he felt, now, as surely as those he had left behind were feeling it; he wept too, for knowing that they mourned him, and spoke softly, finally, "I should go back," and Danny paused a moment to control his own emotions, before answering, softly "You could, but, by the time you were a man, again, Evelyn would be an old woman; Danny and Beth would be nearly the age you are now, with families of their own, and, you wouldn't remember them, you know," laying his hand on Rafe's arm.

Looking up at Danny, Rafe sighed, wiping his eyes with his other hand, "Yeah.. And.. they have each other, down there; I'm not alone either, right?" Danny smiled, just a touch of wistful sadness in it, "No, you're not alone, Rafe- you never have been. I'm here, and I won't be going anywhere without you." Rafe nodded, and Danny leaned close and hugged him; Rafe hugged back, tightly.

They sat together through the evening, reminiscing about their early years, only the good things seemed to matter now, laughing together, and, then, finally, discussing their service years, the subject of Evelyn came up once again, and, Danny quietly apologized for what had happened, only to find out that Rafe had forgiven him completely long ago; he thanked Rafe for raising Danny Jr., and they spoke of him, Rafe sharing with Danny the son that Danny had fathered but Rafe had raised.

Finally, it was Danny's turn to fall silent, and Rafe asked what was wrong; Danny looked up, and murmured quietly, his eyes large with apprehension, "I love you." Rafe nodded, and Danny looked hopeful, then Rafe spoke, "I know. I love you too. You're still my best friend, always have been." A shake of the head, and Danny looked away, and then back again, his voice still softer, barely audible, "No, Rafe. I. Love. You." and Rafe's eyes widened in something akin to shock, he swallowed hard. " Like..?" as Danny interrupted, "Yeah. Like that. As in in love with you. Have been for years. Forever."

Rafe stood, and ran a hand through his hair, turning to look back to Danny, myriad emotions flickering unreadably in his eyes, and then he only, just shrugged, a little, and managed a smile for his almost cringing friend, "It's all right, Danny. I .. guess.. deep down, I maybe, sort of, somehow, figured that."

Danny had his turn to look astonished, and a grin broke across his face like sunrise, he stood and Rafe hugged him tight, saying, "It's ok. We'll figure it out." Rafe, for all his acceptance, was still shocked when Danny stretched up a moment later and pressed a soft kiss to his lips, though, he did not pull away; one part of Rafe's mind was shouting a hundred rationales why he should jerk away, push Danny away, clock him one if he didn't cut it out, but, another internal voice defeated every objection with the simple fact that there was no reason at all, anymore, why he should do that, and hurt Danny, hell, break his heart; Rafe simply leaned in and gently kissed him for a moment before pulling back, and holding Danny close to him, trying to work out where this was going to lead to next.

Finally, "Let's go flying again," said Rafe, leading Danny outside again; Danny went willingly, his heart soaring up higher than flight could ever take him, lightheaded with all that he was feeling, love and desire, as they soared up into the air of paradise together, only a breath apart, into another embrace under the light of no earthly moon. Danny knew, that, somehow, it would be proven true, a proverb more true in heaven than it ever had been on earth: that love will find a way.

Chapter Four -
Eternity: Drowning In The Light Of This

"So what comes next, Danny?" asked Rafe softly, as they sat side by side on the porch swing in the glow of another perfect sunset, after a long day of flying, exploring, another sweetly stolen kiss, and Danny looked over at his friend, wondering exactly what he meant, then going with the likeliest possibility as he answered, "Well, next, comes, whatever you want, really. You could choose to be a guide, or a creator, or, just do what we've been doing, or.. well, anything. You could go on to another life," he finished, not able to quite keep the fear out of his eyes at the thought of Rafe leaving again, but, Rafe just shook his head. "I meant, what next, with us," which made Danny blink again, and pause again, to consider what to reply.

Finally, just shrugging, Danny gave the answer that fit the question best, maddeningly like the replay to many of Rafe's questions, here, "Whatever you'd like, Rafe. Anything you want." Finding himself pulled close to Rafe, then, almost painfully forcefully held, Danny's expression of surprise made the other chuckle, and then Danny smirked, "What?" Shaking his head, Rafe kissed him softly, then pulled back to speak, "I'm asking if we can make love, here, or is that against the rules. If we can.. well, do you want to? And.. exactly.. how does it work without a woman?" Danny burst out laughing, and hugged Rafe close, realizing he was actually lightheaded and dizzy with the mere contemplation of what he'd been trying so hard not to even dare to hope for, "No, it's not against the rules! And YES, I want to! And.. I could show you.."

Rafe nodded, and kissed Danny again; Danny's lips parted as if they'd been made to kiss this man, and, his tongue darted out, tasting Rafe's mouth, touching tongue to tongue- Rafe's response was tentative at first but as he realized that whatever made his body, here, did not exclude passion and lust any more than it prohibited love, or flight, kissed him more demandingly. Danny murmured a soft little sound, and Rafe nearly pushed him down to take him, or something of the sort, right there, stunned and flushed with how intense this felt now, and Danny was redefining his own sense of flight, in this kiss; he shifted onto Rafe's lap, sitting straddled- he moaned and sucked on his lover's tongue with wanton bliss, and closed his eyes knowing that if he wasn't already dead, this would be enough of sheer joy to finish him. Finally, it was Danny, though, who broke the kiss and slid from Rafe's arms and from his lap, reaching for him, leading inside.

Moments and thought were all that seperated skin from skin once they tumbled onto the bed, the clothes coming off easier than they ever had on earth: buttons never catch and zippers never stick, in heaven, and the two rolled together, hands roaming one another, caressing and exploring and stroking, making one another gasp and groan, and they melted into one kiss after another, and then damp kisses that fell from Danny's soft lips trailing down Rafe's lean muscled torso, each murmur cherished, until Danny's impish angel grin peered up at him, and he spoke in a devil's voice, "Going to make you feel.. so.. good.." and proving his own words true a moment later while Rafe fought not to arch up and thrust into warmth and wetness that took his breath with its intensity as Danny's mouth slid around him, soft tongue lapping and caressing like a dream, hands teasing up his thighs and stroking; Danny's skill was not terribly advanced, but having the choice of whether or not to breathe, or choke, proved a certain advantage, and Rafe nearly came just seeing all of his length sliding further until his lover's throat was slickly tight around the head, and Danny, shivering with arousal, exhaled a groan that vibrated like electricity before he pulled back, and swallowed every inch all over again.

Rafe's hands came up into Danny's hair, tangling there, and his hips jerked up; Danny's head bobbed up, and down, and Rafe tried valiantly to hold back his thrusts, but all he could manage was to tighten his fingers and groan louder- Danny's mouth slid up, his tongue flicking along to the tip, tasting him, devouring again, and this time Rafe just grunted and thrust as little as he could bear. With Danny's mouth and throat so hot and sliding to envelope his cock over and over again, Rafe trembled on the edge; when a hand cupped his balls and gently squeezed, he yelled a hoarse syllable of ecstasy and emptied himself into Danny's throat, and his mouth, as Danny pulled back after the first, wanting to taste Rafe's seed, gasping in a breath and moaning, feeling so achingly aroused he could nearly have come without even a touch, but he only held the moment in his mouth as he suckled ever drop Rafe had to give him, licked his way up and pulled off, kneeling beside him and looking down, hand on Rafe's belly, savoring the essense of him before finally swallowing the last; Rafe's eyes opened, blissful, seeing first the intensity of the eyes that met his.

Danny's hand slid up to rest over Rafe's still racing heart, as he laid down beside him; whimpering a soft small sound as his own hardness brushed Rafe's hip: realizing, Rafe murmured, "What.." but Danny was already answering, showing what he wanted, his fingers folding around Rafe's hand, bringing their hands together around his cock and shuddering as Rafe's fingers closed around him, stretching up to kiss him as he groaned and thrust into the stroke; Rafe's eyes and Danny's locked while they kissed in the taste of semen and the echo of eternity, while moments were all that were needed for Danny to be gasping into Rafe's mouth, spilling onto their hands, between them. Danny's eyes fluttered but never closed: he could not bear to lose a moment in his beloved's eyes even to his own explosive pleasure.

Afterwards, they simply came back down from the heights, together, but somehow feeling still as if they flew, Rafe, and Danny- neither of them moved away from the other, holding close, sticky, sweaty: perfect. Danny's words were a whisper against Rafe's lips, "I love you," and Rafe's smile was felt rather than seen, his answer, "I love you, Danny," just as quiet, but to Danny it was a chorus louder than thunder, the final answer to his prayer, and the knowledge that forever, at last, was so much more than just a word.

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