Gundam Wing Fan Fiction ❯ In which Zechs gives Relena a call ( Chapter 8 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Searching for the Sun Lands, a Gundam Wing fanfic by Raberba girl
Chapter 8 – In which Zechs gives Relena a call (rough draft)

There was something almost home-like about seeing Tallgeese’s silhouette in the distance as Zechs trudged back.  Returning to a friend was slightly comforting after the day he had just had in Barandeh.

« Any luck? » Tallgeese asked, not sounding particularly interested.

Zechs sighed and threw himself on the ground next to the creature, rummaging in his pack for something to eat.  « No, » he mumbled.  « At least, I didn’t find her. »  He leaned back against Tallgeese’s hot scales, chewing thoughtfully.  « There was news of her, though.  Apparently she was picked up by the sultan and then, » he gritted his teeth, « kidnapped from the court by a foreign magician.  The prince and some scholar were taken as well, » not that he cared, except in relation to how the knowledge might aid him in recovering his sister.

« Does your litter-mate ever do anything other than get kidnapped? » Tallgeese asked rhetorically, sounding a little scornful.

Zechs gritted his teeth.  « I should have been there, » he growled, mostly to himself.  « I should have protected her. »

He could not quite remember now why it had seemed so important for him to leave, to make himself useful in the heart of enemy territory and leave his baby sister to be groomed as heir instead.  At the time, he had thought he had been doing something noble and self-sacrificing, removing the danger he posed to the kingdom and using his curse to his people’s advantage, rather than being a burden.  Yet it had all backfired, and now he realized that he had been foolish and cowardly, running away from his responsibilities to childishly pursue a sense of self-worth.  « I’m a fool. »

« You don’t need to be clever, » Tallgeese offered encouragingly.  « Just bloodthirsty. »

Zechs glared.  « If I am destined to start a war, I assure you, it won’t be for wanton violence. »

« As long as you do start the war, I don’t care. »

Zechs laid his half-eaten meal aside, then looked at his hands, slowly clenching and unclenching them.  « Tallgeese? »

« Mm? »

« I would like to…try something. »

« What’s in your head, Peace-prince? »

Zechs stood up.  He removed the helmet from his head and set it carefully down beside his pack, even though what he really wanted to do was throw it away as hard as he could.  Then he moved away, took a few deep breaths to calm himself, and raised his arms.

About five minutes later, « FLAMING SALAMANDERS! » Tallgeese cursed in a roar, both alarmed and impressed.

Zechs, or rather, Milliard Peacecraft, was sweating steadily and too frightened and exhilarated to answer.

He had never, ever called on his power like this before.  Summoning it during training was one thing, calling it up only to learn how to control it; or else small, carefully-suppressed tricks when necessary; and then there had been the subconscious, uncontrolled outbursts from his childhood.  But this…to call his magic for some great, unrestrained work, feeling it course joyfully through his very veins, seeing each grain of sand and cluster of stars in minute detail, hearing Tallgeese’s (amazed) thoughts – Milliard felt like an immortal.  A very powerful one.  Who very well could start a bloody war that would leave few survivors for the dragons to gloat over.

Milliard shuddered, and felt his magic falter.  Then he cried out as he felt Tallgeese somehow step into his consciousness, one mind to another.  « What are you so frightened of?  Hold on, fool! »

Milliard fumbled with his mind, not realizing that his fingers were also grasping uselessly.  He regained shaky hold of his magic, but there was an ominous undercurrent running through it now, as if it sensed his weakness and was thinking of rebelling.

‘No,’ he thought.  No!  You belong to me, I am your master.’  He was not sure he would have been able to do it if Tallgeese’s formidable mind had not been glaring awesomely over his figurative shoulder; but his magic trembled and hovered, and Zechs remembered Relena and then the fear was once again gone.  ‘Find her!  FIND HER!’  His fury and anxiety surged through the magic, propelling it up and out; Tallgeese’s deft, surprisingly gentle touch, mind to mind, slowly steered Zechs into more positive waters.  It was love now coursing through him, love for his sister that set his magic once again singing, carrying it to greater heights than ever before.

When Milliard finally dared to open his eyes, he found that the very sky was alight, illuminating the edge of the desert, as if the stars blazed with her face or her name, as if the constellations had rearranged themselves in a desperate call.  « RELENA! » he shouted.  Come back…come back…!

o.o.o.o.o

Deep in the Peacemillion mountains, an old man stumbled on the path back to his hidden home, losing most of the water out of the bucket he carried.  He didn’t notice, since he was too preoccupied with staring up at the sky, one hand pressed absently to his suddenly aching head.  « Ah, Milliard, » he whispered in excited apprehension.  « Stay strong, lad…. »  The dragons would fare the same, one way or the other; it was human lives which lay in the balance.

o.o.o.o.o

Four of them were on their feet in an instant, wildly brandishing weapons; Quatre struggled groggily to follow; Hilde whimpered without even opening her eyes and rolled over to grasp her brother’s leg tightly.  Duo, yanking desperately at the still-recovering threads of his magic, spread his fingers and flung spells of invisibility and protection over her, all the while darting glances around, trying to find the threat.

It was the dragons’ roars which had awakened them.  Deathscythe now crouched down close to Duo with her wings over her head, whining like a frightened dog; Sandrock swept Quatre close to her body and held him there, staring around warily, as if she was defending a threatened hatchling; Nataku snaked off into the darkness in a hunting crouch; Heavyarms loomed over the camp, growling uneasily; Wing was upright, neck outstretched, roaring furiously and streaming fire as if in the midst of battle.

The boys, however, could not find any evidence of danger.

o.o.o.o.o

Deep in the bowels of the Lost City, an ancient creature stirred restlessly.  A long, low growl shook the earth, then at last faded away.

o.o.o.o.o

The queen of a fallen realm sat straight up in bed, gasping for breath and clutching at her heart.  « Oh, Milliard, my son…! »

Elsewhere in the castle, Treize Khushrenada stumbled, and was caught by the young woman by his side.

« Master Treize, are you all right? »

« I…yes, I believe I am, » he finally murmured, straightening as he rubbed at his forehead.  « Lady Une, surely you sensed that? »

« I’m not sure, » she said doubtfully, gazing up into his face.  « I was worried about you. »

Treize glanced out the window beside them.  « Milliard, my friend…I see you’ve begun to break free at last…. »

o.o.o.o.o

The fae had been dancing, nearly at the height of passion for their night’s revelry.

In an instant, however, it had all changed.  Glasses of wine and plates of food smashed heedlessly to the floor; glamour flickered wildly, alternating between the court’s usual unearthly beauty and the true state of things beneath; fae everywhere were screaming, running, staring around them wildly.  A group of five ugly fae in one corner were, for some reason, laughing loudly.

« Guess you were right, Jay. »

« Heh, it’s him all right…. »

« Stupid kid, now we’re going to have to rush the plans. »

« Is that a problem, Gee? »

« Not at all, Oh.  You up for a challenge? »

Relena, having not left Noin’s side all evening, leaped to her feet and clutched the other woman’s shoulder.  « Noin-san!  Wh…What is it? » she asked fearfully, feeling a sudden quivering ache in her heart, as if she was being called urgently.

« …Milliard? » Noin finally whispered, her eyes wide, not seeming to be aware of her surroundings at all.

Amidst the chaos, beside her furiously panicked consort, the Faerie Queen stood tall and calm, her eyes flashing brilliantly, her mouth curved in an almost greedy smile.  « So there you are, my love, » she murmured.  « Now why wasn’t I–?  Ah.  Tallgeese. »  She smiled and raised her hand, gathering her power.  « It’s just a matter of time, then. »  With a sudden, sharp movement of her hand, she caught the raw power of the prince’s call and flung it mockingly back.

o.o.o.o.o

Milliard cried out and tumbled backwards, knocking painfully into Tallgeese’s hide.  He lay there for several long minutes, his arms wrapped around his viciously throbbing head.  Then, as the pain very slowly began to recede, he cautiously rolled onto his back and gazed unsteadily up at his companion.  « What…what was that? »

« It was HER, » Tallgeese snarled.  For the first time Milliard realized that the creature was curled protectively around his comparatively tiny form, wings outspread and eyes blazing.  « Drat that harpy, she knows where you are now.  We’re going to have to leave. »

« What? » Milliard said numbly.  He didn’t feel like he could move at the moment, much less pack up and take off.

« Up we go, Peace-prince. »

o.o.o.o.o

« Sandrock, » Quatre panted, sweating from the heat of her scales, « what is it?! »

She sent him a distressed series of thoughts, wordless ones, tumbling into his mind without her usual care.  He gasped in pain and reached one hand up to his head; the other arm was pinned to his side.  He couldn’t understand, except that she was struck with a sort of compassionate grief.

« What’s up with you guys? » Duo demanded, kicking Deathscythe in an effort to get her attention.  She cracked open one eye and gazed at him tragically.  « What, is there an army coming or something?! »

« Peace-prince, » she thought at him, the voice of her mind smaller than he had ever heard it.

« What?  Peace-prince? »

Hero had fallen to his knees, squeezing his head hard in a vain effort to control the pain of his dragon’s enraged thoughts.

« Going to kill him!  Going to burn him! »

« Wing, » Hero gasped, but could say no more, for the sound of his own voice pounded into his brain and made the headache worse.

Heavyarms met his partner’s eyes.  « Shouldn’t have lost the little one. »

« What little one? » Trowa asked guardedly, still unsure whether the knives gripped in his fists were needed or not.

« Princess.  The one who went to the fae. »

Nataku returned, so quietly that none but her partner noticed her return, if indeed anyone even realized she had been gone.  She crouched down by him, frustrated thoughts oozing from her.  « Not close enough. »

« What’s not? » he asked sharply, weapon still at the ready.

« Peace-prince.  Too far away. »  She glanced at the others.  « Maybe it’s good…Wing would try to kill him.  Fool. »

Wufei had a cold feeling.  « The prince from the prophecy?  What happened?  He’s done something? »  He paused.  « Why would Wing be angry at the prince? »

Nataku moved her head close so that she was touching him.  She would have nuzzled him, but knew that was a thing he would not tolerate.  « Prince is upset – searches for the one Wing’s human lost.  War is close now. »  Her thoughts made an irritated curl in Wing’s direction.  « His magic hurts, though.  Making Wing crazy. »

As the effects began to fade and the pain lessen, the dragons began to calm down a little; Sandrock loosened her hold on Quatre and now looked worriedly at Wing, who had stopped spitting fire but was still growling and moving restlessly about.  The humans pressed close to the other dragons in order to avoid being accidentally trampled on; Duo had to drag Hero along, since the assassin was still clutching his head.

Deathscythe, recovered, finally raised her head and glared.  « Wing, shut up. »

« Raaaghhh! »

« Wing, » Sandrock said, with a worried glance at Hilde, « you are frightening the hatchling, and upsetting the other humans. »

« Tallgeese is with him…!  Tallgeese…! »

« You’re being a fool, » Heavyarms snapped.  « If any enemies are near, they’ll have certainly heard you and will know where to find us. »

« Your human isn’t going to be any good for anything if you keep tearing his mind like that, » Nataku put in scornfully.

Wing finally calmed, lowering his head to the ground and peering around through narrowed eyes.  Rather to his surprise, he found all the humans far away from him, clustered together protectively with his partner and the hatchling tucked behind them.  They were all looking warily at him, as if he meant to hurt them.  And now he saw what Nataku meant, for his partner was crouched in a miserable huddle, his mind radiating waves of pain.

« Agh…such weaklings, these humans are, » Wing thought in frustrated remorse.

« They’re so small, » Sandrock reminded him.  « You have to be gentle with them, Wing. »

« Yes.  One little squeeze and they explode, » Deathscythe remembered.

« You didn’t kill your last partner that way, did you? » Heavyarms thought sharply.

« Of course not! » the black dragon yelped indignantly.

Wing’s head was now waiting directly in front of the humans.  He glared, and sensed their uneasiness spike in response, but they did not move.  It was his partner who pushed past them, half-crawling, and stood swaying with both upper limbs still cradling his head.  Wing was sure that he would have fallen again if Deathscythe’s partner hadn’t put an arm around him to hold him up.

Hero matched his dragon glare for glare.  « Well? »

« Tallgeese, » Wing said sullenly.  « With Peace-prince. »

« And what’s that supposed to mean? » Hero snapped.

« Tallgeese…bad, very bad.  Must fight him. »

« Because? »

« Killed Nataku.  Now I can’t.  Can’t avenge. »

Hero, the throbbing in his head gradually receding, glanced in confusion at the blue dragon.  « Nataku’s right there. »

Wing growled in frustration.  « Different Nataku, » was the best he could get it into human terms.

« What is he saying? » Wufei demanded.

« Says he wants to kill Tallgeese because Tallgeese killed Nataku. »

« Ah, » Wufei realized.

Duo was not the only one who wanted a better explanation.

« It’s their business, » Wufei said gruffly.  « Just drop it. »

Duo was not the only one who was insistently unsatisfied with this.

« Just tell them, » Nataku snarled.  « Nosy humans gonna die soon and forget, anyway. »

Wufei shook his head, hoping that she meant ‘soon’ in dragon terms rather than human.  « Nataku was the name of her mate; she took it on as her own after she lost him.  The original Nataku had disputed with Wing over treasure, Tallgeese over territory.  Tallgeese got to him first. »

Everyone stared at him.  « Uh, » Duo finally said, « and she’s…okay with this? »

« No. »

« But they’re working together – aren’t they? » Quatre said in confusion, looking between Wufei’s partner and the other dragons.

« There’s some kind of truce for now, » Wufei said in exasperation, wishing they would just drop the subject like sensible people.  « It’s not my business, I’m not going to pry. »

Duo turned to Deathscythe impatiently.  « Hey, ask Nataku why she’s okay with this dude wanting to have offed her husband! »

« My human wants to know why you tolerate Wing’s presence, » Deathscythe relayed obligingly, with an added wordless mind-gesture that meant, Aren’t these idiot creatures amusing?

« My oath has not changed, » Nataku said to Wing, holding his eyes in challenge.  « Once our King returns, I will have no more use for you.  You will not live to see the Sun Lands. »

« It is I who should be saying that to you, » Wing retorted.

« Oh, » Sandrock sighed, ruffling Quatre’s hair, « I wish we would not fight among ourselves. »

« There are so few of us left, we cannot afford discord, » Heavyarms added, his tone hard.

« Sure, but if someone stole a piece of our hoard or something, » Deathscythe began to object, but Heavyarms cut her off.

« We CANNOT afford discord. »

Wing and Nataku acted as if they had not heard.

« Hey, » Duo said, « it’s getting close to morning…I think we should call dibs on our missions. »

« I’m going after Treize, » Wufei said at once.  « Cut the head off the beast and the rest of it will die. »

« What are you implying? » Deathscythe snapped.  In the interests of keeping the peace, Duo did not relay the message.

« Want some help with that? » he said instead, knowing the answer ahead of time.

« I’m headed deeper into the empire, » Trowa said musingly.  « Treize is just the face of it…there’s something darker at the heart of Romefellar. »

« Darker than attacking a defenseless country that stood only for peace? » Quatre said, sounding a little depressed.

« Well, » Duo cut in with sarcastic brightness, « I think I’ll go zooming around the edges to clean up everything you guys miss, then go pick up the freaking pieces of what’s left of you when you decide to come crying to me for help. »

Trowa and Wufei frowned haughtily, and Quatre smiled at little.

« What about you, Hero-nii? » Hilde asked.  All eyes turned toward the assassin.

Hero’s head was bowed low.  « …I’ve got something else to do first, » he finally whispered, not looking up.

After a long pause, Quatre shifted closer and smiled compassionately at the other’s bent head.  « You would brave the dangers of Faerie for her? »

Hero’s head came up, his eyes blazing.  « I failed in my mission.  It’s not over yet – I can’t move on when there’s a mistake like this to rectify. »

« I’ll help you, » Hilde offered.  « I want to go rescue the princess and see all the other fairies. »

« You are not, » Duo said harshly, yanking her into his lap and wrapping his arms around her in sternly protective affection.  « You’re gonna stay right here with Deathscythe, where it’s safe. »

It took Hero a moment to get the implication.  « Wait – you are not coming with me, » he snarled at Duo.

The magician grinned.  « You forget, my friend – the two of you owe me money.  You’re not getting rid of me ’til you’ve paid up! »

*permanently incomplete*

Author’s Notes:  In case you thought something was off about the dragons’ speech – they sound fluent to each other when they’re just talking among themselves, but when they speak to the humans, their communication is conveyed less grammatically to show that they’re not as linguistically in tune with creatures of a different species.

Sorry, guys…after three years of neglecting this story and falling more and more in love with Kingdom Hearts, I’ve reached the point where I simply can’t finish this story properly. :/  I have to give up.  Kingdom Hearts seems to be my One True Fandom, and I want to focus my writing efforts on either KH fanfiction or my original stories.  Trying to write for other fandoms feels like a chore (or worse… *GLARES at Rurouni Kenshin fans), and I have no more inspiration for it. *wince*  I hate leaving you guys hanging, though, and I really hate not finishing what I started…. DX

Basically, this fic was like a fantasy version of the Gundam Wing anime.  Hero was going to help Relena & Noin escape from Faerie (the « five scientists » fae wanted him to kidnap Relena in order to rescue her from Uesa’s clutches, because this would benefit Faerie), then join the other G-boys in attacking Uesa with their dragons.  The battles would have awakened the dragon king.  In the end, the dragons’ situation was resolved to their satisfaction, Treize was killed in the final battle, Milliard went into hiding after being thought to have been killed in the final battle, Uesa was defeated and their colonies liberated, etc.  Hero & Relena were also supposed to fall in love and end up together, though now I’m thinking their relationship is probably more like the distant, implied thing it was in the anime.

To reb:  Thank you!  I never read the Earthsea series, though I’ve read a few of LeGuin’s other books.  In retrospect, I think that the dragons in this fic, particularly Tallgeese, were most influenced by Scales in Diana Wynne Jones’s Dark Lord of Derkholm.  I like how Scales is portrayed as an intelligent, powerful, and intimidating person in his own right, yet also has some suitable animal-like characteristics to remind you that he’s not human. 🙂

*re-reading other reviews* Marli8907, I’m glad you said that Hiiro & Relena seem more IC in this fic; and KiaCoral, what you said about platonic love made me REALLY HAPPY. :’)  One of the effects of being so obsessed with Kingdom Hearts for so long is that I’ve discovered how much I’ve always adored platonic love, so it was cool to see evidence of that in a fic I’d written long before coming to that realization, and to see someone pick up on it. X3 *hugs*

In which the Five