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Nostos

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Zechs Merquise on Sun Nov 05, 2006 3:42 pm

The thrusters cut out abruptly as the jet took a sharp tilt downward, lancing through clear blue sky toward the small strip of pavement. If anyone would bother looking up they would see what appeared to be a streak or flash shooting across the horizon, a fitting analogy for the Lightning Count’s arrival. There was a hiss as the reverse thrusters fired up, then a momentary halt mid-air of the craft. Parachutes shot from the rear, spiraling and unfurling until they were extended, effectively slowing the landing even further.

When the landing gear came into contact with the ground those small wheels would bounce a few times, rubber burning as they tore over gravel and cement before, slowly but surely, that pace would slow again until the breaks would bring the midnight blue vessel to a complete stop.

A few moments of silence would herald the swish of a cockpit door sliding open, and when he leaned out his expression was somber. Platinum blonde hair falling wildly down his back, some strands even hanging over his face, he jumped the small distance to the ground below. Adjusting his pilot’s uniform, he shook his head. Treize, the words, though unspoken, were written all over that severe angelic visage. What have you done? What are you doing?

A car sped along the empty field that surrounded the landing strip, and it soon came to a skidding halt beside the lone figure that stood waiting. A window rolled down, showing the cheerful face of a chauffer. “Here we are, Mr. Peacecraft,” he beamed, “just as you ordered. I’m here to take you wherever you’d like to go.”

Making first sure the hatch was closed once more, he climbed into the passenger seat of the car, and soon it tore off again, kicking up a cloud of dust and gravel behind it. “Venice,” he spoke softly, his voice like the gravel they had just left behind.

“Why land here, then, in Tuscany?” the driver inquired. The man gave no reply. “Very well.”

Why, Treize? his thoughts continued. Is it because of… He would soon have his answers.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Treize Khushrenada on Sun Nov 05, 2006 4:45 pm

Dying sunlight flickered through the window, scattered and swirling from the Venetian canal it was reflected from. The long room was empty, save for the desk set before the fireplace at the far end. Treize sat there, bathed in the orange glow of the early sunset, pen scribbling madly on a half-filled sheet of paper. The correspondence with world leaders all over was becoming so tiresome. His position dictated that he deal with the problem at hand, and yet the ones involved were so irrational that he quite honestly could not see any clear-cut solution.

The conflict had started on their account, of that he was sure. Fools they were, unable to keep a personal vendetta personal. Brushing strands of chestnut hair hastily from his forehead, he wrote on. Just a few more letters, and his work for the day would be finished. And then what? Treize smirked lightly to himself as he realized. He had nothing else to do. Once the last ‘i’ was dotted and ‘t’ crossed, the most excitement or enjoyment he could look forward to was to find an empty parlor, take one of the novels he had read countless times, and reread it.

Tossing the pen aside, he pushed his chair out, making steady strides to the window. The view was beautiful. Named for the patron goddess of love, the abundance of couples, men and women flirting, and even the old doting on each other made that name quite appropriate. Broken orange light fell on the lapels of his black-velvet suit jacket, creating a streak of gray across his chest. The city of love. He smirked again, shaking his head softly. They would soon find out, every one of them. It didn’t last. It couldn’t last.

There was a creak behind him; the door opening slowly. The butler, of course. He always called around this time, asking if he needed any help. As if any help was needed in the few letters he, and only he, could write. It was an English butler, a man he’d hired some time ago that had followed him in his travels for some time. “I won’t be needing anything,” he called over his shoulder, waiting for the sound of the door closing again.

“I’m not so sure of that,” came the rough reply; the voice he had not heard in six years. Startled, he turned abruptly and gazed into the eyes of his past.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Zechs Merquise on Sun Nov 05, 2006 5:59 pm

He broke the eye contact with Treize at once, arctic gaze falling on his desk instead. He entered, allowing the door to swing shut behind him, hands in the pockets of his old, fading trench coat. “So you’re still in business.” The phrase was neutral, but anyone that knew him would see the intent behind it. “I can’t say I’m surprised.” He picked up the sheet of paper lying on the desk, eyes scanning the words briefly before tossing it down again. Treize watched, but made no motion to stop him, a mere silhouette against the window.

“I’m not going to pretend I understand what’s going on,” he continued, leaning on the polished oak surface. “You know me, I’ve never had a real aptitude for politics. But if you could explain it to me, I’d be grateful.” Their eyes met again. This time neither averted their gaze.

“I was…” Treize seemed to search for the right words, the hint of a smile coming to the corners of those lips, “making a scene. It was necessary. Smoke and mirrors.”

“Why?” the puzzled expression on Zechs’s face matched his question. Treize’s eyes held the answer, as was usually the case. “For all that time? I did some research. Looked up on what you’ve been doing. Was it all for…”

“Yes,” Treize cut him off, turning back to the window. “I’m human, Zechs. People tend to forget that. I have the right to be selfish sometimes, too.”

“But it wasn’t so long ago,” he pressed again. “Why not just wait to see if things happened on their own?”

“Six years is an eternity to those who wait,” Treize sighed. “It’s been an eternity for me. I had to act.” There was an extended silence. Someone was playing the mandolin in one of the gondolas that passed outside. “And it looks like it worked. With a few… undesired effects, of course.”

“Undesired effects?” Zechs spat, his brusque voice rising. “Is that what you’re calling war these days?”

Treize did not answer immediately, but slowly turned again to face his old friend. “Milliardo, this isn’t anything I can’t handle.”

“Don’t!” Zechs roared. “Don’t start with that! There was a reason I left in the first place! Why can’t you just let the dead sleep?!”

“Sleep all you want,” Treize shrugged. “Take one of the guest rooms, for now.” His calm demeanor was acting as a drain on Zechs’s will to argue.

“Not going to just invite me into yours?” he offered one last jab.

“As you said yourself, the times have changed. We’ll continue this ‘conversation’ in the morning.” The door shook the room with its slam as Zechs exited swiftly. Invisible to the world, Treize collapsed onto the windowsill he’d been leaning against. It was all coming back to him.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Treize Khushrenada on Mon Nov 06, 2006 1:25 pm

Morning light streamed in through the glass French doors of the parlor. Treize was only having a light breakfast, the recent events having correlated with a significant loss of appetite over the past few days. How was he expected to eat when there were so many other thoughts running through his head? And now there was something else to deal with; something he had been working toward all along but had never really expected to happen.

He sighed, glancing at the food in his plate. He would much have preferred that they didn’t cook it at all, since he knew very well that it would only end up as a new addition to the house’s trash. A distraction from the meal came in the form of Zechs, entering the room from the hall, stretching a bit before he leaned against the frame of the doorway that led into the parlor. He looked disheveled, as though he hadn’t slept well the other night. His chin was covered in at least two days’ stubble, as light as it was, and the hair, though still immaculately pristine, was in slight disarray. Treize found, quaintly, that he was pleased to see that the other was at least in part troubled.

“Good morning,” Treize spoke brightly, with effort, turning his gaze to the windowed doors as he usually did to avoid eye contact. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Zechs come further in, seating himself in a chair at the other end of the table. “Sleep well?” There was no response to that. Zechs was in one of his moods again. The silence could go on for days, this Treize remembered. A maid entered and placed a plate of food before the new arrival, who unlike his host started eating immediately. That insatiable hunger, Treize mused, smiling. There’s nothing I know of that could tarnish it.

“Try some of the coffee,” he made another attempt, returning those deep blue eyes to the one seated across from him. “It’s Italian. Very strong. Isn’t that how you used to like it?” Their eyes met for a moment before both leapt to gaze at something else. It was going nowhere, fast. Pushing out his chair and coming to stand, he nodded to Zechs before taking the ribbed, gray cardigan sweater draped over the back of his chair and putting it on. Even in Venice, November was the herald of the cold.

“I have some things to do. Feel free to use the house as you want.” Passing Zechs swiftly, he headed for the hall.

“Treize,” the call came from behind him, and his procession halted immediately, but he did not turn. “We’ll talk tonight.” Eyes closing for a moment, he nodded, moving on. Tonight.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Zechs Merquise on Tue Nov 07, 2006 6:27 pm

The fire kindled in the parlor’s fireplace warmed the room better than any sort of modern heating could. Zechs had missed that about being around his old friend. The man simply refused to do away with any out of date method that proved more useful than the conventional ones.

It was dark, and so, seated on the carpet with his back against a large armchair, Treize was reading the book in his hands by firelight. The Illiad, the aging title on the cover read. It had been years since he had seen the man read; seen how the process seemed to take control of his whole being, keeping anything and everything else at bay until he was done. Frowning, Treize closed the book, placing it down beside him before he turned those deep blue eyes, glowing orange as they reflected the flames, onto Zechs.

“Now we talk,” he nodded, motioning for the other to join him. Zechs moved to the mantel, leaning casually against it; at least as casually as he could manage given the circumstances. His hair he’d tied back in a loose ponytail with some black ribbon he’d found in the guest room. It was out of the way, at least.

“Treize, you haven’t really changed at all,” he mumbled gruffly, more to the flames than the other man in the room. “It’s like all that time didn’t even pass.”

“I couldn’t change,” Treize sighed slightly. “You know that. And you know why.”

“I do,” he admitted. “But what is it that pushed you through all of this? Me? I can hardly believe that.”

“Why?” The question was simple enough. The fire crackled lightly.

“I’m nothing special, Treize. You’ve known me longer than anyone. I’m so much more fucked up than your average person.”

“You’re different. You’re unique. Conventions today don’t appreciate these traits, and so you’re only able to see them as negatives.”

“If you ask me, the time apart has made you turn my faults into virtues.”

“You might be right,” Treize shrugged, watching a single log, hidden by the stack until that moment, come ablaze. “You were my Endymion for six long years. Endymion is not supposed to wake up.”

Turning to Treize, he sat as well, coming down to eye level. Their gazes met. “So you went through all of this so I would notice?”

“In part,” Treize allowed a small smile to linger in the corner of his lips. “Now you have, and I have a dilemna. Quite simply, what happens next?”

“There’s a war on. Before anything else, that has to be resolved.”

“I know, I know,” he shifted his position to a more reclined, comfortable one. “But it’s grown so complicated. A thousand factors have come into play that I never really anticipated. I destroyed Luxembourg City, Zechs.” The platinum-blonde-haired young man nodded.

“You did what you had to do, to remain sane, I guess. If you hadn’t destroyed it, they would have.” There was a prolonged silence, during which the fire was the only one that said a word. “I took a look at your weapons. What’s the deal with all those fancy swords? The Treize I remember would never have used a rapier. Where’s your Greek ethic?”

Treize laughed lightly, closing his eyes. “That sword I put away six years ago. You told me once that the way I fought scared you. Everything you say I take to heart. I’m not sure you understand that.”

“Scared me?” Zechs smiled, his hand slowly moving from where he leaned on it on the carpet toward Treize. “That was where I got to see the real you. The one I… admired so much.” His fingers gently stroked the other’s cheek. Treize’s eyes opened slightly, a smile hidden in the shadows cast by the flickering fire.

“Well as you said, a war’s on. Maybe that sword will come back into use.” They stayed like that, frozen for a few moments, before the touch was broken, and Zechs laid back, skin warmed by the flames that licked the metal grate a few feet away.

“I missed you,” he barely whispered, knowing still that Treize would hear him.

“Just… at least for a while, stay with me,” he spoke softly as well, gaze returning to the fire.

“I’m here now, aren’t I?” No reply was necessary.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Treize Khushrenada on Mon Nov 13, 2006 7:02 pm

It had been such a gloomy day. Since first light, dark clouds had hung over the city of Venice, blotting out any hope of joviality for its citizens. Even Treize, as he sat in his makeshift office, sparse flames flickering behind him in the fireplace, watched the scene through the large windows that spanned an entire wall and couldn’t help but sigh. The work which had consumed his day was futile. He knew that. These letters he scribbled out and sent off to presidents and prime ministers would do no good. War was brewing, and now that he had gotten the ball rolling on it there was nothing that could stand in its way. They were all hungry for blood, and he could do nothing but point them in a suitable direction for it.

There was a knock on the door. “Come in,” he spoke up to be heard, turning his gaze on the polished wood as the knob turned and Zechs entered. He had shaved again, a dark gray suit and white cravat hidden partly by the same old trench coat. That white hair fell freely down his back, unbound by the ribbon that had tied it for the past few days. He moved to Treize’s desk, sitting on the end of it, looking vacantly down at his lap. Then, after a few moments, he spoke.

“So why didn’t you come looking for me?”

There was a hint of a smile in Treize’s eyes as he opened his mouth to speak, then seemed to reconsider. “I couldn’t,” he said finally. “If I went for you, it would destroy everything. You and I would cease to be what we are. There are certain things people can do, and things they can’t.”

“What are you talking about?” Zechs turned those pale blue eyes to Treize’s.

“You had to come back to me,” he shrugged with his reply. “If I went to find you, it wouldn’t work. You would have run even further, and you knew that. Do you remember the bird, Zechs?”

“No,” the platinum-blonde soldier said shortly.

“Do you, Milliardo?”

“Vaguely.”

Treize’s smile extended then to his lips. “We were so young. I was sixteen, and how old were you? Eleven? Mother bought me that bird. You would have thought with her worrying about my… habits, she would have got a big dog or parrot or something, but she bought that little myna bird. All day it sat in its cage, singing that same song and cringing when anyone came near. So what did I do?”

“You opened the cage door one day when your mother had put it outside,” Zechs replied gruffly, now propping himself up with his palms against the desk’s surface. “You were always too trusting, trying to give it some fresh air. And what did it do? It flew away.”

“It did,” Treize continued. “It did. I opened the cage door and the bird, as one would expect, flew away. But I think you may have forgotten part of that story. Not two days later, do you know what I heard tapping at my window one morning when I awoke?”

“The bird came back,” Zechs slowly remembered. “Stupid animal. It got freedom and it flew back to its cage.”

“But it never left my side after that. I used to take it outside with me, no cage in sight, and it would sit there on a tree or branch near me and come when I called it. I haven’t cried since the day that bird died. I think that makes it meaningful, don’t you?”

“You’re always looking for meaning in all the wrong places,” Zechs bated. “Look for it where you know it is; in the streets, not in a forest.”

“So much like Dorothy,” Treize laughed lightly. “Sometimes I believe you’re her brother and not Relena’s. How is she, anyway?”

“Which one?” he closed his eyes partly. “Relena’s in Switzerland, still trying to maintain Sanque. She won’t give up on that, even though I think she realizes how fruitless an endeavor it is. Dorothy, on the other hand, I haven’t seen in years. How about you? Talked to Une lately?”

“I’m always in contact with her. She’s running our operations in the Americas. Never have I met a more capable woman than that one. She asked about you, you know. About us.” The slightest contact was made as Treize’s fingers brushed Zechs’s hand, neither moving for a minute in silence before Treize relinquished it. “So why are you dressed up?”

“I’m going out for a little while. It seems like you have a few friends who need to hear back from you, and if you don’t mind, I’d like to be your messenger.” Treize laughed again.

“No message will get through to them short of a bullet through the skull.”

“That’s sort of what I had in mind.” Another silence.

“Alright. Any idea when you’re coming back?”

“Not really,” Zechs pushed off from the desk, taking self-assured strides toward the door. “It shouldn’t really take long, though. I’ll call when something happens.”

“Milliardo,” Treize called just as Zechs had stepped over the threshold into the hall. He turned, a few long strands of that hair covering his left eye. “Take care of yourself.” In another instant he was gone, the door closed behind him. This was how it should have been all along.

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