And After...
by Lara
September 2002

This is a work of amateur fiction and does not intend to infringe on the rights of Sunrise, Sotsu Agency, Asahi TV, and Bandai Visuals. No profit is being made.

The story is set in early 196.

Pairing: none at the time of the moment, implied past 13x6.

Warnings: Not a happy story. Not at all. Fairly confused and depressed character ahead, and a rather bleak outlook for him. Mostly I am putting this one up because it makes me uneasy when it lurks on my hard drive.

 


The sharp, clean smell of hospital was the first thing Treize became aware of. It stung a little in his nose, but when he tried to turn away from it, a shot of pain prevented him from moving.

At first he was not entirely certain what it meant, and he tried to remember why he would be there. Why the air would smell like this. And why he felt like abandoning this thought because it meant far too much of an effort and simply was not worth it.

Hospital, his mind supplied. Not a good place to be. Bad things happened before coming there.

What had happened this time?

The memories were there, just beyond his reach. Whenever Treize attempted to force the thoughts to come, they slipped from his mind. It was frustrating to try and remember.

A lot of things had been frustrating lately.

What things?

That question took a while to form, but when it was there, it refused to go away again. Treize pondered it for a while before deciding that the question in itself was frustrating and that he did not want to think about it.

He fell asleep again.

 

When he woke once more, the memories were there for some reason. Zechs' desperate stand against Earth, the battle in space around Libra... the fighting... the explosion of Tallgeese II that had turned the world into blackness around him. That should have killed him. But that had failed to do so.

It was tempting to give up now, to just let go until awareness vanished again and everything became blessed darkness once more. He was not supposed to be alive. He was a relic of the old era of war, without a place in this new world. It was time that others took his place and saw things to their proper end.

Yet even as Treize's mind was determined not to struggle and abandon this battle which he did not want to fight, his body betrayed him by clinging to the smell and to a faint beeping noise. Unconsciousness would have felt so good... but no matter how much he tried, be could not fall back into it. Something was drawing him towards awareness, and his treacherous body was cooperating and letting itself be woken.

He could not have said how much time passed between that first awareness and the moment when he woke definitely. It was all drifting around him, together with shadows and feelings from the battle. At some point he imagined that there was a voice talking to him, but if there were words, he could not understand them. Breathing became easier at a sudden, though his throat felt dry and raw. Slowly he also became aware of the aches, big and small, that seemed to spread across his entire body. It was not as painful as he had always imagined; only dull pains that were not going away but instead drew him more and more into reality.

Opening his eyes was something he had not wanted to do. It just happened when he woke after a brief lapse into sleep. There was not much to see; the room he was in seemed dark, and he could not make out any definite shapes. A small light was burning at the wall directly opposite him, but it seemed blurred and he could not focus on hit.

There were voices again, somehow familiar, and Treize tried to turn his head towards them but found that the muscles would not obey. The light became brighter at a sudden, making him close his eyes reflexively.

"Treize? Can you hear me?"

Cautiously he blinked again, holding his breath when he saw a figure with long white blond hair leaning above him.

Could it be?

But no, they had been enemies in the end... He would not have come back anymore after all Treize had done.

"Milliard..." he whispered, frustrated at a sudden that his voice would not carry.

The figure shook its head. "No, Uncle Treize," she said, and there was sadness in the words. "Not Milliard. I am sorry."

Not Milliard... Treize sank back again, only now becoming aware that he had tried to sit up. Not Milliard. Of course not.

"Treize, can you hear me?" It's me, Dorothy."

He forced himself to nod once, mostly because of the pleading tone in her voice.

Dorothy. Not Milliard. Not his lover.

"Don't try to talk just yet. The nurse is going to fetch something to moisturize your throat. She will be back in a moment."

This time he did not bother to nod, but he opened his eyes again. It still was all blurred, though it was getting a little easier to pick out some edges and lines. He wondered why he cared.

"You will be alright again, Uncle Treize," Dorothy said. "You just need some time."

Alright again... was that what he wanted? He was not even supposed to be alive anymore. This was stolen time he was living on, tricked out of fate and death somehow. It was not supposed to be like this.

There was the sound of an opening door.

"Anna said he has woken?" a new voice asked. To Treize it sounded familiar, and for some reason he did not feel surprised at hearing it here and now."

"Just a minute ago," Dorothy answered. "I am not sure whether he is really aware of his surroundings yet."

Treize wanted to protest at this, but he simply did not have the energy to do so. Besides, after a moment there seemed to be no real reason for correcting her.

"Doesn't matter for now. His vital signs look good... decent blood pressure, and he breathes well on his own... Your Excellency? Blink if you understand me."

At first he felt almost offended at being asked to do something this simple, at being considered so weak. But then he obliged as his mind finally connected the voice to a face. Doctor Bolkonski, an old friend of his family. It was only to be expected that he would be here.

"Very good, Your Excellency. I will give you some fluid to drink now that will make talking easier. Just swallow. It won't be much." A straw was placed in his mouth, and tasteless liquid came out of it. Treize swallowed, a little embarrassed that he needed help like this.

It took effect immediately; the sore feeling in his throat lessened, though the third swallow almost made him gag. Bolkonski seemed to have noticed, because the straw disappeared again.

"I suggest that you wait some moments so it has time to spread. We had to assist your breathing for a while, that always leaves patients with a raw throat. But that discomfort will be gone in a few hours."

Treize nodded slowly to show that he had listened and that he had understood, then tried to open his mouth. There seemed to be no way back into unconsciousness, and part of his mind was demanding that he seize the opportunity to ask questions when there was nothing else he could do. So many things had to have happened, and he did not know anything about them. With a small shock he realized that he did not even know how the battle had ended.

"Who... who won?"

He could make out a small smile on Dorothy's face. "We all lost. But that does not matter because in the end it was the only way for everyone to win."

Treize wanted to tell her to not be so cryptic, but then resorted to just closing his eyes as a sign of displeasure.

Dorothy thankfully took the hint. "Your Lady surrendered when you were... out of the fight. And the colonies did the same."

So at least this part of his plan had worked... he had been concerned that the surrender of the Earth would come too early, but there had been no way to delay the battle with Wufei any longer.

"And then?"

"They have started negotiations on reparation payment and disarmament."

Treize frowned. This wasn't what he wanted to hear. "Milliard?" he asked. Earth had surrendered, and so had the colonies. But what about the White Fang?

What about his beloved?

There was no answer for a moment, and then Bolkonski spoke. "You need to rest, Your Excellency," he said. "Sleep is essential to your recovery."

That in itself, the refusal of an answer, told Treize enough. They would have said so if Zechs were near somewhere, and they would hardly have avoided his question like this if Zechs were alive still. There would have been no other reason for them to avoid answering.

"So Milliard is dead," he whispered, wishing at once to be able to take back those words and to pretend that he did not know what had happened to his lover. Anything to maintain the illusion that this war he had created had not cost the life of Zechs. But there was no use in pretending; his mind knew the truth, and his heart would have to learn it too. Zechs dead... it seemed so unreal to him. He had never seen the younger many anything but alive; Zechs had always seemed to live more intensely than everyone else. He had been truly alive... how could he be dead now?

Dorothy cleared her throat. "We do not know anything about him, Uncle Treize," she said, and he could tell that she was carefully measuring her words. "He was not among those found on the battlefield."

"She is right," Bolkonski interjected. "We've been keeping an eye on those lists, and his name doesn't appear there. But we will talk more tomorrow, Your Excellency. You really must rest."

How could they expect him to rest now?

"Please... what happened to him?"

A look passed between Bolkonski and Dorothy before his niece spoke. "He destroyed Libra's main reactor with Epyon. The engine exploded, and after that we do not know."

Treize sighed softly, closing his eyes again. An exploding reactor... not eve Epyon could have withstood that.

Zechs dead...

"Uncle Treize?"

Zechs couldn't be dead. He had been supposed to live in peace after the war had been seen to its proper end. Treize's efforts had been to rid the world of war for as long as possible, but despite all he had told others and himself, he had ultimately done it for Zechs. Zechs had represented the rest of the world. Zechs couldn't be dead...

"Treize, you must rest. Try not to think too much about it."

He almost laughed at this. How could he not think about it? His lover was dead, so how could they expect him to just brush it aside as if it were a minor issue?

"Your Excellency?" It was Bolkonski who spoke this time. "I am going to increase the dose of the anesthetic a little. It will keep the pain down, and it will make you sleep. Try not to fight it." He adjusted something at the side of Treize's bed, at one of the machines. "A few minutes, then you will feel the effect."

Wearily Treize looked at the elderly man. He did not want to sleep, not after hearing about all this. But they would not listen to him, and he did not have the energy to try and convince them.

Zechs couldn't be dead... Epyon had to have withstood that explosion. Gundanium's heat resistance could have been just high enough... and it could have been higher, had he not decided to sacrifice some stability in favor of speed and flexibility. If Epyon had been constructed just a little bit differently, then Zechs' chances would have been far higher...

"We will leave now, Uncle Treize. But I will be back in the morning."

The last test results had pointed at a better heat resistance than any of the previous Gundams. OZ' information on this had not been complete, but it was safe to assume that Epyon was more stable and resistant than at least the first Gundams had been.

Reactor explosions sometimes did not develop so much heat...

But deep inside Treize knew that he was just trying to deceive himself. Zechs had died. It had all gone so terribly wrong. Zechs should have been the one to survive, not he.

So wrong...

But maybe...

No...

 

The End

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