Author: Reverand Maynard
Warnings: 13x6; Treize; light lime; much angst (in a very Treize kinda way)
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Author's note: This is a companion fic to 'Twice as Much". It occurs the evening of that fic.

SS: No Matter

The Dark Hills
Dark hills at evening in the west,
Where sunset hovers like a sound
Of golden horns that sang to rest
Old bones of warriors under ground,
Far now from all the bannered ways
Where flash the legions of the sun,
You fade-as if the last of days
Were fading, and all wars were done.
-E. A. Robinson

He sat in a leather armchair, a blue silk robe about him. His hair was still damp with sweat but it bothered him little enough as it was something he too rarely experienced anymore. Held in his right hand, a glass of cognac swirled slightly. Outside, the noise of the rain had settled to a steady whisper against the windows. Inside, the room was dark save for the little light spilling in from the hall that painted the still, white form on the bed in a soft glow. He sipped his cognac, then spoke softly, almost inaudibly.

"Milliard... we know each other well. As the children we were, the men we've become. Perhaps no other knows my mind half as much, and none know your sorrow as I do... and I do know it well... every trace of it, every bend and alley, like an intricate map. Now I know your body, too... how I could get lost there..." Recent memory gave him pause, stirring him, but he curbed his reaction and continued, perhaps quieter... if that were possible.

"I wonder what you will think of me..."

The figure on the bed stirred, but it was only that. It settled a moment later, breath even and deep. Treize had more to say.

"I have made a ruin of this life of mine, this world... as masterful as I may seem. Good intentions are just that, intentions. They fade in the dark of success... success that has lit my path to corruption and deception... I am not unlike these mobile dolls. Opposed though I may be to their soulless existence, it is so like my own... and perhaps that is why I cannot abide such a machine. Men such as myself have paved the broad path for such things, flat and even. I have no defenses against the products of my own transgressions... nor do I deserve them.

"You, Milliard, have such defense, such worth. There are others, too. You draw them toward you like gulls to a shore, there they flock... there they abide, oddly comforted by the steady thrum of a too wild ocean. Even your storms will push them toward harbor... your rage shall bear them passage.

"I know... you shall not need me. It may seem selfish to leave a mess of my making for you to straighten... consider it a last direct order... or a final request, however suits you."

Here, he drank from his glass again, this time draining its contents. He set it aside and managed a very small smile that somehow contained no mirth at all.

"I was once so eager to hold you as I have tonight... Trivial as it may seem, it has dogged me for more years than I dare count. I was once so desperate to keep you near, claim you as I know I could have... my own. None other. And now I thank the God I have so long ago forgotten that I've had even one glimpse of such splendor... to have known you at all... to have loved you...

"You see, Milliard, another has come that I cannot ignore, and while you might save us yet, she has little power to do so for herself... and no obligation to correct the mistakes of others... to live in the world that has been so wronged by her father... for I will not wrong her, Milliard. Not more than I have already..."

The beat of the rain overtook him. It was loud in his head, loud in the small room. It hammered at the windows more like hail than rain, more like rocks than water. Observation of the man on the bed, however, still asleep and with no signs of waking, told Treize that the noise was not the making of the rain ... nor anything other than his speeding mind. By the time it caught up to itself, the words had already spilled from his mouth.

"I have a child, Milliard.... There could be no mistake. She is as much my daughter as you are your father's son... Of course, she does not know her father... She asked me... she asked for my name, Milliard... and I think it was not until then that I realized... that I had a heart to be broken...

"I fear... I fear she will never know me... while, yet something in me wishes that to be true... and something more wishes that I might have... might not have taken..." Frustrated, he stopped. There should be no regrets, but it was difficult. Difficult to say, difficult to ignore. For now, he would move past such things. There would be time for regrets soon enough.

"I do think, however... no, I am certain. I am quite certain she will know you. They have plans for her, Milliard. Precisely what I know not, but they would have her follow my path, I think... and I would sooner perish than live to see that... Milliard... it is important to me that you not let that happen. You mustn't..."

"Treize?"

The sudden sound from the quiet bed startled Treize into silence. The question was a puzzled one, though, and he felt certain he had not been heard. That was best. He'd said enough.

"I'm here."

As the softly lit figure turned in the bed to regard the voice that carried through the dark, sheets shrouding it as if spun of pure vapor and not flesh at all, Treize rose and walked to the bedside, shedding his robe along the way. He slipped under the sheets and moved close behind his Second, his friend, his lover, embraced him, kissed his neck, his shoulder, his hair, and settled against him. "I'm here."

"I dreamed." Zechs said, his voice low and distant as it carried into the darkness.

"Of me, I hope." Treize offered.

"Of war."

Treize petted the blond head he nuzzled. "Have you not enough of war in this realm that you must invent more in your sleep?"

"Not our war, Treize... another."

"You sound surprised. Ours is not the first and shall not be the last."

"Then why fight at all?"

Treize almost smiled, but was too saddened to do so. "Indeed."

Still within Treize's embrace, Zechs turned until they faced one another, pressed together from nipples to knees, legs tangling, arms grasping, breasts and bellies pressing in and out with the breath of sudden passion.

"Make love to me again, Treize. Make me dream of you and not fighting."

It was a look of adoration that Treize gave him. Such a prize he held in his arms. Such a gift... "Perhaps it was my touch that curses you so... I, the giver of war..."

"You're wrong," Zechs argued and kissed him fiercely. "It is the red god of war, and only I bear that title."

Treize conceded. "Then let me take the battle from within you... draw it out as venom...

"Yes..."

And then they moved, writhing in the other's embrace, clutching a memory in the making, pushing toward a future neither knew existed, from a burned empire, from the knowledge of their own deceit, toward a precipice... and fell.

"No matter what, Milliard," Treize pleaded in the midst of their lovemaking, moving inside Zechs as if the other man were the only thing anchoring him to reality... to himself and his thoughts and everything he would never know... "Remember that..."

"Treize..."

"... no matter..."

++

*Red God War is a reference to Mars in mythology... though I like to think of Zechs as taking it from Stephen Crane's 'Red Badge of Courage'.

end

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