Gundam Wing Fan Fiction ❯ In which Zechs is a bit upset ( Chapter 6 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Searching for the Sun Lands, a Gundam Wing fanfic by Raberba girl
Chapter 6 – In which Zechs is a bit upset (rough draft)

Treize Khushrenada was seated before his desk, but he had turned his chair the other way, towards the large windows.  He wanted to let his eyes rest on the gardens and sunlight as he drank his tea, before he had to get to work.

Such a plan was shattered when the door burst open.  « Treize! »  Footsteps pulsed across the carpet, and a raging hand seized his chair and spun it around before he had finished doing so himself.  « How could you do such a thing?! »

Treize found himself staring into two points of icy blue, which flamed through the eye-holes of the prince’s mask.  Then he glanced down at the spreading stain on his clothes.  « Milliard, » he said mildly, « you’ve made me spill my tea. »  Zechs snatched the delicate teacup and flung it against the wall, where it smashed to pieces.

Treize sighed.  « Did you expect me to tell you, Milliard? »

Zechs ripped off his helmet and slammed it savagely onto the desk, then whirled away to pace.  Treize ruefully fingered the scratches gouged into the wood, but made no complaint.

« It was only a diversion, wasn’t it, » Zechs finally said, the words difficult to get past his choked throat.  « Sending me off so you could massacre my people behind my back–« 

« Not a diversion, no, » Treize assured him.  « I am indeed very interested in the legendary Metal Man of the Lost City.  However, I do confess that the timing of your mission was taken into consideration. »

A bookshelf halfway across the room suddenly toppled over, flinging books into a lopsided pile.  Both men stared at it – Zechs in horror, Treize with a grim expression.  The Peacecraft prince had been well-trained almost since infancy; that he had lost control was not a good sign for either of them.

The door banged open again, admitting a crowd of anxious-looking guards.  « Treize-sama!  Is everything all right, sir? »  They were distracted by the sight of Zechs, bare-headed, standing with his back to them.  He did not move or speak to acknowledge their presence.

« Everything is all right, » Treize said smoothly.  The guards looked at the fallen bookcase, and Treize smiled.  « Weapons demonstration.  Back to your stations, men. »

Reluctantly, the guards left, the last one closing the door respectfully behind him.

It was very quiet.

« Perhaps, » Treize finally said, watching Zechs closely, « you ought to put your mask back on. »

Like a sleepwalker, Zechs reached for the thing and settled it back in its place.  Treize had needed no words to make his point…it was by his mercy alone that Zechs continued to live, and to walk freely among his enemies.  He finally spoke, his voice tight.  « My father is dead? »

« I’m afraid even I would have had no power to preserve the life of a captive king – even if I had had the inclination. »

Zechs closed his eyes.  When he could speak civilly again, he asked, « My mother?  Relena? »

« Happily, the queen remains safe and unharmed.  You may see her if you wish, though she is under constant surveillance – you know I cannot protect you if you give yourself away.  As for your sister…. »  Treize paused, and something else in the room might have suffered mysterious damage if Zechs had not, very deliberately this time, kept control over his emotions.  « It is no little vexation to me that, for the moment at least, Relena Peacecraft appears to have vanished. »

« What? » Zechs exploded.

Treize gave a humorless laugh.  « It was not my doing, believe me.  The princess was nowhere to be found after the battle.  When pressured, her attendants confessed that they had witnessed her abduction by a person in black, but they would tell us nothing else. »

« Why should that have been a problem? » Zechs said bitterly.  « I’m sure you could have gotten more information out of them easily enough. »

Treize’s voice was cold.  « I should think you would know me better than that by now, Milliard. »

« I did indeed think so, though not anymore. »

Treize shook his head.  « All set to believe the worst of me now.  Well, that’s fine.  Somehow I doubt it will have much negative impact on your usefulness to me. »

Zechs’s fists clenched, but he said nothing.  It was the first time, in all these months among the Uesians, that he felt trapped; yet it was far better than anything he should have expected.  There were also, happily, a couple of holes now in this trap…one of them dragon-shaped.  « This intruder, » he said aloud.  « Not one of your people, then? »

« Of course not, » Treize said easily, though his eyes narrowed at the thought of what Romefellar might have been up to in the shadows.  « I am inclined to think he was a foreigner, using the invasion as a cover for his own plans. »

‘The invasion,’ Zechs thought, feeling his magic curl ominously; once again he forced it into submission.  He couldn’t afford to be burning down the palace if his mother was somewhere in it.  « What are you doing to find her? »

« At the moment?  Nothing. »

« What? » Zechs burst out, furious.

« Milliard, » Treize said pointedly.  « We don’t know who took her, or where they went.  We have absolutely no leads except that the kidnapper was probably a foreigner. »

« Probably? »

« My people would not have done such a thing without telling me, and yours would not have slaughtered Sanc soldiers.  However we cannot rule either out completely, not until we have more information. »  Yes, Romefellar would definitely need some checking into.

« I’m going after her, » Zechs said abruptly.  « I don’t care what you say, or if you reveal me and I have to hack my way through your armies to get out – or burn my way out. »

Treize smiled.  Zechs could have been referring to that mysterious Peacecraft power, or to that intriguing animal he had brought back with him, or both.  Either way, it didn’t matter.  « I won’t stop you, Milliard.  You are still a Commander here.  My people will not hesitate to provision you. »

Which was not very reassuring.  Perhaps Treize had suspicions about the second Metal Man after all.  In any case, « I am going to visit my mother first. »

« Just a little friendly advice, » Treize said casually, « make no attempt to free her. »

Zechs did not answer either way.

o.o.o.o.o

The captive did not condescend to turn when she heard the door open.  Her fingers curled into fists on her lap, but otherwise she did not move, fixing her gaze on the freshly-barred window and the glimpse of sky beyond.

The door shut.  The queen was very aware of the second presence in the room, but she refused to turn – until she heard his voice.  « How are you, madam? »

She stiffened, and forced her movements into a dignified slowness.  The sight of him was so welcome, she repressed a sob; despite the mask and the enemy uniform, her son was fully recognizable to her and more precious than ever.  « As well as can be expected, » she answered haughtily.  « Commander Zechs Marquise, I take it? »

He bowed.  « Pleased to make your acquaintance under any circumstances, madam, though this situation is more unfortunate than most. »

They could not touch for fear of the spy-spells, but their eyes clung to each other as he moved across the room and stood before her.  She looked at him anxiously, checking for any sign of injury, but she detected none.  « A sad understatement. »

« Madam, » he said softly, « I have only just learned of the invasion.  I wished to make it clear to you that I would not have…approved it, if such was in my power. »

« That means little to me, » she said coolly, but her eyes shone with love.  « Regardless of whether your hands are clean or dirty, my country is dead. »

« I was informed, » he said with difficulty, « that your country is not the only one now in that state.  Please accept my deepest condolences about your loss. »

« Thank you, » she whispered, barely able to hold her emotions in check.  She was startled when he suddenly cursed and moved forward, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder.  « Mil–  Commander Marquise, you are too forward, » she warned quickly.

« Forgive me, » he said, his tone stiff, but he gave her shoulder one last squeeze before he took his hand away.  She could not stop the brief smile that touched her lips and then was gone.  It felt so good to have him here again, when he had been gone so long and in such danger.  Now if only she could embrace her son and weep for her lost ones….

« I also came to tell you, » he added, « that I am taking measures to locate the princess Relena. »

« I see, » she said after a moment, feeling a twinge of satisfaction.  ‘Locate’ did not necessarily mean ‘retrieve.’  Relena’s safety was more important than her return to the now ruined Sanc Kingdom.  « If you are expecting me to thank you for seeking to take my daughter captive, I am afraid you will be disappointed. »

« No thanks were expected.  However, I was wondering if perhaps you knew anything of your late husband’s more important subordinates.  For example, I hear that the captain of the royal guard was not found among either the prisoners or among the dead. »

Her heart ached for him, as she saw the strained set of his lips.  It had been all too clear that, destined as he was for a political marriage, he had fallen in love with Captain Lucrezia Noin, and the queen had hated the necessity of denying him such happiness.  Now, though…her husband was dead, and the Sanc Kingdom was no more.  Milliard was lucky to be alive.  The queen silently vowed that if they were ever free of this horror, she would give Milliard her blessing and happily watch him married to the woman he truly loved.  She had lost everything – her children’s well-being was now all she had left.

« Even if I were in a position to receive any news, I don’t know why I would tell you, » she said dryly.  « If the captain is still alive, she’s long gone by now.  As I remember, she was quite loyal to the princess; perhaps she’s gone in search of her. »

« ‘Perhaps’? » he queried anxiously.

The queen risked a smile, remembering how startled she had been the night when Noin had appeared at the window, mounted on a new wyvern and sneaking in some sweetmeats and a small blade to her along with the news.  Zechs nodded in satisfaction, even as she shrugged and said, « Wishful thinking is all I have left. »

« I see. »  He bowed.  « Thank you, madam.  Believe me when I say that I will do all in my power to right the wrongs that have been done. »

Her eyes widened in alarm.  Was he talking of revenge?  « Commander Marquise, » she said, « you are acquainted, are you not, with the Peacecraft ideals? »

« Of course, madam, » he said coldly.  « Though I do not see how that would concern me, as Zechs Marquise is no Peacecraft. »

Her hands flew to her mouth.  « Mil–« 

« Madam, » he cut her off, just in time.  « Thank you for speaking with me.  I will take my leave. »

« Commander, » she pleaded, but he only bowed again and left the room.

o.o.o.o.o

Tallgeese was waiting outside, tapping his tail rhythmically against the ground.  To him, it was a simple expression of boredom, but the length of dragon-flesh was so massive that it shook the earth with every strike.  The humans were all keeping well away.

« About time, » Tallgeese commented when Zechs came striding up.  « Are we going after the King now? »

« What king? » Zechs said impatiently.  « We’re going to find my sister and then raze Uesa to the ground.  She was likely taken by a foreigner – we’ll try Barandeh first, it’s closest. »

« You seem upset, » Tallgeese observed as he stretched out a wing for Zechs to climb up.  « About your dam, is it?  Why don’t we just take her away? »

« I can’t waltz out of here with the captured enemy queen, » Zechs said through gritted teeth, « but don’t worry, we’re coming back for her. »

« As if I’d be worried about some she-mortal, » Tallgeese said in disdain.  « Do what you like, but the prophecy will not be delayed.  We have been awaiting the return of our King for too long. »  He crouched and sprang heavily upwards, his wings climbing the air until they were high enough to glide.

« What’s all this about a king? » Zechs shouted over the wind.

« Tsk.  I forgot you don’t know the prophecy.  Fine, then; listen. »

To be continued….

In which the Five
In which the Five