And They Lived Happily Ever After
by Lara
March 2001

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 ducks went after the small crumb of bread as soon as it landed in the water, squawking excitedly and shoving each other out of the way. Several of them dove at the same moment, attempting to catch the soggy morsel, and in the end one of the smallest snatched it from another duck's beak, twisted its way through the crowd and devoured the bread once it had reached a more quiet spot.

Tossing another piece of bread into the pond, Treize heard an at first unintelligible mumble from his right side. Replaying it in his mind, he eventually identified it as something that could have meant "shadows again". Combined with the nudge against his ribs, Treize concluded that he was supposed to do something about it.

He inched to the left until he reached the edge of the blanket that was not in the shades yet, then settled down again, feeling a second sun-warmed body snuggle close once more. Lips brushed his cheek, and Treize leaned into the touch before crossing his arms again and resting his chin on this makeshift pillow.

A bumblebee buzzed around their heads, settled finally on a yellow water lily that had just begun to bloom. The flower shook a little under the weight of the insect, the narrow stem bowing graciously. For a moment the bumblebee scrabbled into the chalice, busily doing whatever it was that insects did there before backing out of it again and taking to the air. Treize watched it lazily for a while as it circled a bed of cornflowers, then lost sight of it eventually.

The movement of Zechs' arm casting some more toast at the ducks caught his eyes. Again the birds paddled around, cruising the area of water right in front of the two men on the blanket like little corsairs.

"So loud," Treize murmured as the ducks quacked excitedly, bickering amongst themselves for the bread. The animals were pleasant to watch, but the noise they were emitting was unnerving.

"Mmhm," Zechs agreed sleepily before they both returned to basking in the sun, relishing the warmth in the aftermath of their lovemaking.

The decision to spend the afternoon outside in the garden had definitely been one of the best he had ever made, Treize mused, idly twirling a strand of long white-blond hair in his fingers as he looked across the pond. The light of the sun was reflected by the rippling waves, causing him to narrow his eyes a little before he turned away entirely, letting himself rather be blinded by the beautiful face of his lover instead.

Leaning towards Zechs for a languid kiss, Treize closed his eyes as their lips met once again, savoring the sensation of having his lover with him. A miracle in itself, considering everything that had happened to them... Treize pushed those thoughts away as soon as he noticed where his mind was wandering. This was not the time for serious contemplating, but for being simply content. Somewhat of a change compared to most of his past, but he was not going to complain. Sharing lazy kisses in the summer sun was more perfect than he could ever have imagined.

Zechs attempted nestling closer to him, and Treize willingly gathered him into his arms, placing a soft kiss on his cheek before tucking the younger man's head beneath his chin. Taking a late flight to arrive as quickly as possible had taken its toll on his lover, and Treize was just happy to let him catch up on lost sleep, as long as he could hold the slender form close. Nobody would disturb them in their little sheltered spot that was so wonderfully cut off the world by the surrounding reeds and goldenrod bushes. The butler had been given the day off, Lady Une had received a friendly note saying that Treize regretted not being available for the next 24 hours under any circumstances. And Mariemeia had been picked up by her cousin some hours ago.

Treize was not entirely certain whether it was wise to leave his daughter in Dorothy's company, but his niece had been convincing enough, insisting that Mariemeia needed a possibility to 'indulge in girl talk', as she had called it. And while Treize seriously doubted that Dorothy was even capable of chatting, he could not deny that Mariemeia liked her cousin. Of course Dorothy had known just why the girl was supposed to go out for the day, and her raised eyebrows, winks and comments full of innuendos had been somewhat irritating. But she was gone now, and had promised to bring Mariemeia back home in the evening.

The slow, even breaths brushing across his chest told him that Zechs had succumbed to sleep finally. A small smile graced those sensuous lips, his expression relaxed for once. So rare to see the younger man like this, all tension gone, making him almost look his age and not old beyond his years. Treize seized the opportunity to study the beautiful face at length, memorizing every line, every detail. He was delighted when he spotted an entirety of three freckles, tiny telltale signs of their hours in the sun. They would probably fade again quickly, but right now they were there, even though Zechs would probably never believe it.

The duck crowd was slowly dissolving, the animals returning their attention to whatever it was that they usually did. Mainly paddling around and quacking, it appeared. Such a leisurely life, Treize mused as he closed his eyes, his mind almost immediately switching into a state less aware of the surroundings. Noises became distant, blurred; at the same time Zechs' scent was easier to identify, and the body in his arms was recognized as belonging there by his instincts.

No need to think, no need at all to do anything but be there and live the moment. No war, no peace. No responsibilities, no duties. Almost a fairytale ending for them, reward after all the dangers and adversities. Just he and Zechs in the warm afternoon sun.

The End

La Casa