Reverand Maynard
Warnings: 13+6; mild language; mild lime; mild WAFF; Septum
Disclaimer: LEGALLY: Not mine. MORALLY: The views of a certain narrow-minded General in no way reflect those of the author. ^ ^

SS: Certainly, Love

General Septum felt his stomach lurch reflexively at the sight of the two men walking in the door. The one at left, General Khushrenada, was a scheming bastard as it was, manipulative and conniving. But with that thing, that masked creature at his side . . . why the pure evil was palpable.

And to think, he mused as he pushed his plate away from him, his appetite waning, the unholy atrocities they perform in the realm of political and world domination must pale to those they perform in the darkest depths of night.

Septum shuddered at the thought, his disgust outwardly apparent as he watched the pair take a table not far from his own. It was obvious to him that they were of that wretched sort, men who took pleasure in the company of other men, and for more reasons than lively discussion or camaraderie. The one, that thing they called Zechs, was far too pretty to be anything less and the other, the General, elegant beyond any man's standards. It was painfully obvious.

Why, in all of the establishments in the city, must they break their unholy bread so near him?

The only concession he could give was his agreeance to many of Treize's ideals. The man loved war, so did he. He also wished for armaments, as did he. But the similarities stopped there. They were nothing alike.

Still, he watched them, Khushrenada and his second, that long-haired heathen of a man, no doubt hiding his shame beneath that metal mask. They were fascinating in a gross sort of way to his simple mind. Like an atrocity that called, no demanded your attention, while your gut begged you to divert your glassy eyes.

He continued to stare, and completely lost his appetite.

+

"He's doing it again." Treize commented while spreading a pale napkin across his lap after momentarily catching the heat of Septum's glare.

Zechs did not raise his eyes from the menu, "I know."

"Why does he do that? So pensive, so . . . belligerent and blatant. It really is odd."

"Do you think he has suspicions?"

Treize looked at Zechs then, his heart fluttering by faint degrees.

"Suspicions?"

Now it was Zechs' turn to look at his friend and regard him with what, had the obscuring mask not been in place, Treize would have recognized as amusement, "Our plans, Treize . . . for revolution."

"Ah, yes," Treize felt immediately dense. He sighed. "No, I'm certain he's beyond ignorant of our intentions" He looked again at Septum who was still gawking at them with evident distaste, steepled fingers pressed against thin lips. "But I wonder . . ."

A moment passed in which they ordered their lunches and Treize had yet to continue.

"Yes?" Zechs finally asked.

"I think--" Treize began, quirking a honey eyebrow that matched perfectly the waves of his hair, "I think he rather fancies us together."

Zechs, to his credit, managed to not to choke on his water, though he was grateful for his mask. But perhaps the idea held less of a shock for its familiarity.

" 'Fancy'," Zechs said, "is probably not the best term. But yes, it's quite probable. He's certainly not the first."

Treize looked at his friend, inwardly hopeful, outwardly perplexed, blue eyes glistening, "How do you mean?"

"Surely you've heard the rumors, Treize."

"Rumors?"

Zechs sighed. So naive for such a cunning fellow. Perhaps his rank protected him from the petty trifles of common gossip.

"Just that, Treize. That we are . . ." he made a strange gesture with his hands, " . . .together. In fact, it seems common belief that I am no more skilled for my position than a paperboy, and that I was promoted simply to act as your . . ." He faltered at the words and Treize took a guess:

"Vastly intelligent and extraordinarily capable second-in-command?"

" . . .boy toy." Zechs finished. "And most importantly that we are both assuredly . . . how did Noin put it . . . candy-coated queers."

Treize cocked his brows in a deliciously amused expression, "I see." He thought for a moment and then, "Noin?" The question was somewhat incredulous, thinking that if anyone had a reason to believe Zechs a homosexual it would certainly not be her. In fact, he was rather inclined she might have proof of the opposite.

Zechs nodded, "As well as her cadets, half of the Alliance officials, nearly all of Romafeller-"

"Thank you, Zechs." Treize interrupted with a halting gesture.

His second gave a shadow of a grin, "Sir."

Just then their food was brought to them and they ate for a moment in amiable silence until Treize asked: "Why do you think that is, Zechs?"

Zechs resisted the urge to shrug and instead held his glass with both hands, "Perhaps it's because we're always together--that is, when we're not continents apart. And . . ."

"What?"

Zechs almost blushed, " You can be a bit . . . demonstrative."

"Demonstrative?" The other man asked, "Surely one cannot misinterpret a well-meaning hand on the shoulder or the occasional friendly embrace." He scoffed at the idea, "It's not as if I've ever groped your thigh."

This time Zechs did choke, covering it with a light cough. "Certainly not, sir. Have you tried the wine?"

Treize smiled a bit as he watched Zechs down the a glassful of the burgundy liquid. The clever bastard--changing the subject. Treize wouldn't hear of it.

"Have we had anyone look into the rumors?"

"Of course not. They'll fade in time and their perpetrators are surely harmless," was Zechs' innocent reply.

"So . . ." Treize began again, "we're certain there's no truth to them, then?"

Zechs became very still then, and long moments passed before he looked away from his lunch and up at his friend. Even then he remained silent and his eyes, hidden behind that shield that Treize knew was for more than just protecting his identity, revealed nothing to Treize. Nevertheless, over the years, Treize had learned to read the man's emotions through that one perfect part of him that remained unhidden: his lips. And the fact that they were now slack, and ever-so-slightly parted, was more than enough evidence of his surprise.

If ever they looked like a couple, it was then. Both unyielding under the other's gaze, both waiting for some response, and both coming to terms with the slow realization of themselves and all the possibilities spread between them.

Across the room, a bitter old man finally averted his eyes in disgust.

"I don't know, Treize," Zechs was finally speaking, obviously choosing his words carefully and still holding that gaze, "What's your take on the situation?"

Treize was watching those lips, slightly reddened from the wine, a little tense now that the question had been asked, the right corner dancing minutely, as if he might smile one millisecond and frown the next.

"I think," he finally said, leaning forward to rest his chin on his hand and waiting for more signs from Zechs. He smiled slightly and saw Zechs do the same. That was enough. " I think we should pay General Septum a short visit."

+

The nerve of those two! Fawning over each other like that in the midst of God and everyone! Spreading their sin and corruption! May their souls be damned.

Septum was practically foaming at the mouth. He knew those two were damnable sodomites but to have it flaunted in his face! Blast them!

And so blinded by his rage was he that he failed to notice their advance until they were upon him.

God save him from His almighty fury!

+

"General Septum," Treize greeted as he glided next to Septum's table, Zechs in tow, "good to see you're doing well."

"Treize," Septum practically growled, pulling his plate back to him so that he might make his hands less idle by picking at the cold meats.

"You know Zechs, don't you? Would you mind if we-"

"Yes."

"Good then." Treize said, ignoring the man's protests and directing Zechs to sit across from Septum and then did so himself.

Septum was furious. How dare they!

"So how are the girls, General? Susie? Annette? Doing well in school, I presume." Treize was handling himself beautifully, skillfully deflecting the man's anger. Zechs sat next to him, stately as ever.

"Impeccable," Septum gritted through coffee-stained teeth. "And you?"

"Oh," Treize took the liberty of almost lounging, sliding back in his seat and folding his hands in his lap, "Zechs and I had just finished our mid-morning nap and we decided that lunch was in order. Isn't that right, dear?" He regarded Zechs.

Zechs did commendably well for having not been told the plan. "Certainly, love."

Septum was shaking with rage. These sick words in his presence at his table?!

"I feel like taking a walk now. You?" They were ignoring the other man now, talking as if he were not there, though their show was solely for his audience.

"Certainly, love."

"Come now. You're certain the sun won't be too much for you? Or who knows what boorish folk might be rambling about. I daresay we might venture home instead, try to think of an entertainment more suited to your delicate sensibilities?"

Zechs was a rock . . . a rock with a small grin, "Certainly, love."

Across the table the General was clutching the table top, a modest growl escaping his lips, the anger building inside him like a steam engine.

"Oh dear," Treize said, sitting up and forcing Zechs to look at him under intense scrutiny and a suddenly serious expression. "I'm afraid, my love, that you've missed a spot of wine . . . here," he said, idly gesturing at his own lips as he saw Zechs trying hard to play along yet not fully comprehending. He was sure the brows beneath that mask would be drawn together in confusion. It was the perfect moment.

"Here," he repeated, "let me get that for you."

And an instant later, he leaned forward, Zechs too shocked to move away and held doubly still by the hand that Treize slipped behind his neck, and licked an imaginary drop from Zechs's lips. He drug his tongue over the crevice between, eyes open, waiting for Zechs to open his mouth and invite him in. And when he did it a second time and was yet unrewarded, he slipped his free hand up Zechs's thigh and into his lap. Zechs's surprise reflexively brought his mouth open, accompanied by a little whimper and Treize's tongue slipped past the soft barrier.

Somewhere in the backs of their minds during those first moments both men heard a gasp and then a disgusted grunt. A moment later and the table was shaking as their table-mate beat a hasty retreat, cursing their names and shouting nonsense about the devils of Sodom. But all of this quickly faded into the background.

The kiss had raised in pitch since that first touch of pliant lips. Where Treize had once been invading Zechs, they were now both eager participants. Treize held the other man in a desperate grip, meshing their mouths together with no little urgency. Zechs, while seemingly more timid, expressed himself in little whimpers, not unlike that first surprised one, and soft undulations against that hand held against his groin. Treize had never felt anything so warm and softly inviting at the inner depths of Zechs' mouth. And when they parted, for all the world he wished they hadn't, he felt heady, drunk on the taste of Zechs.

After that Treize wanted to stare into cool, icy-blue eyes and caress a soft cheek, but there was, as ever, that damned mask. It had been an impediment during their kiss but, rapt in the sensation of the moment, it had been easily ignored. Now he had to resist the urge to stroke the cold metal.

No matter though. A second later and Zechs turned away from him, staring momentarily at the toes of his boots before he stood, and turned to leave.

"Sir," he excused himself.

"Wait," Treize said, catching his sleeves but Zechs kept his back turned.

"Please," Zechs pleaded, "you must excuse me."

It was then, with his fingers clutching the woolen material of Zechs' coat, the table in front of him disheveled from an ignorant man's rage, and the last shred of his dignity about to follow Zechs out of the room, grasping at his coat sleeve just as he was now, that he finally felt the eyes upon him. The entire establishment had eyes just for them, gawking, as Septum had, at the curious circus that was Treize and Zechs.

"Zechs," he breathed, and let the man go. He watched the red coat, streaked with the golden blond of Zechs's hair, walk out and into the lobby.

Treize was still sitting there when a waiter came by to inquire about what had happened and, with all the elegance of a well-bred general, tipped the man generously, bowed deeply to his audience, and left. He hoped he could find his friend.

+

He found Zechs in one of the secluded gazebos out behind the establishment. He was sitting straight-backed, surrounded by prickly jade vines, the deepest of crimson roses and whitewashed lattice work. He stared out onto the calm waters of the Laian River, it's pretty blue paled by that of his gaze. Beside him, on the bench, lay his mask.

Treize approached, sat down next to him and they waited. For what they were not sure, but the two sat silently, watching the river, the bridge, the birds that begged at their feet for the bread they did not have. A half hour passed that way and Zechs finally spoke.

"I'm sorry." Somehow with the mask off, the man's voice was softer, more sincere. Or perhaps it was his mood.

"No," Treize argued, "My actions were foolish. It appears I grossly misinterpreted the situation."

They had still not looked at each other when Zechs replied, "I wouldn't say that."

"Oh?"

"Your aim was on, you were just . . . a bit too quick on the draw."

Treize smiled softly. "I see."

Now Zechs was smiling. "Septum certainly did."

Treize laughed a little. "Yes."

"As did everyone else. How will you explain yourself?" Zechs was finally looking at him, the sun casting delicate patterns over his features, painting him in it's warmth. Treize always felt a little breathless when his friend removed the mask, but this time, staring at those lips, memory fuzzing his mind, he was positively drowning. He lightly touched a soft cheek.

"I won't. Let Une defend my virtue. I'd rather spend time exploring different pursuits."

Zechs closed his eyes momentarily at the touch, an adorable expression but at the same time such a pity to lose sight of those blue diamonds. But then Zechs turned his head and rested it on Treize's shoulder and smiled. All was suddenly forgiven.

"Something more suiting your delicate sensibilities, perhaps?" Zechs was asking and Treize lay his own head atop Zechs's before replying.

"Certainly, love."

end

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