title: Choir Box: Chair of Peter the Apostle
fandom: Gundam Wing
characters/pairings: Treize/Une, Treize/Zechs, Relena
rating: G/Teen
warnings: some sex
summary: Treize gets nostalgic.
notes: song by Lethanon: Vici Amorem
much gratitude to Lethanon, for sharing her abundant talents with us, and allowing me to tag along on this journey. please make sure to go download the song to get the full effect, and go to her site to get fansong cds from Leth. because she rocks. ^_^
these fics will have strong Catholic overtones, but if i do my job right, they won't be essential to the fics. all the fic titles will come from feast days in the Catholic calendar.
this one has a fairly obscure feast, so... some info from this site - There seems to be a lot of discrepancy in how this feast actually started and why. The intent of the feast today is to celebrate the primacy and authority of Peter and his office. The chair was secured in Bernini's magnificent "Altar of the Chair" at St. Peter Basilica in the 17th century.

His favorite song was playing on the radio. There were always those kinds of little reminders around, so Treize had gotten good at ignoring them. He couldn't ignore his wife, sobbing quietly on the toilet seat. He'd tried to comfort her already, but she wasn't listening to him. He pulled the straight edge smoothly down the line of his cheek. Another day to conquer the world.

He washed off the last of the foam from his face, and slapped on some aftershave gel. He folded the towel in thirds, hanging it neatly from the bar, and he turned to face his wife again.

He got down onto his knee, and took her arms into his hands, pulling her hands away from her face. "My Lady," he entreated, "please don't be do distressed. We've only been married for five months. Don't you want to enjoy our newlywed time?"

Une's eyes were red and puffy. She looked away from Treize, self-conscious. "I know... I do... But I want so much to give you an heir."

He cupped her cheek in his hand. He could talk to her until the universe ran out of oxygen, and she wouldn't hear him, even if she hung on every word. "My Lady. When the time is right, we'll be blessed with a beautiful child, I promise you. Having an heir isn't as important to me as having a happy family."

"Maybe we're being punished," she posited, turning away from him. He didn't like the black tone of her voice. She had a dark side, he knew, and she could be very hard on herself.

Treize fell to his most trustworthy manipulation, hating himself more by the second for it. "Une. I'm so sorry. I've failed you." He put his head down on her lap, and closed his eyes.

"No!" She cried out, horrified. "Never, no! You honor me far more than you should!"

He shook his head against her lap. "No, no, I've failed you. We should have run away and eloped, rather than... We would be a family already if I'd had the courage."

"No," she sighed, the fight draining from her. She put her hands into his hair. He felt the urge to stiffen and pull away, but he restrained himself. He was still very sensitive about his hair. "No, it was... it was the right choice. We weren't ready to be parents then."

He lifted his head and smiled at her. "You're going to be a wonderful mother." It was true, of course. She would be. Like a mother bear, she would be fierce and loving. "I'm so lucky. I look at you, and I think how extraordinarily lucky I am to have you. Please forgive me."

She put her hands on his face urgently. "There's no offense to forgive, there never could be. And I'm the lucky one, to have you."

He kissed her, leaning up on his knees. The bathroom tiles felt like they were cutting into his kneecaps. Her kiss was salty from her tears, and too desperate to be satisfying. He ended the kiss, leaning his forehead against hers, stroking her face gently. "Please have faith, my Lady. My Une. It will happen when the time is right."

"Yes, Treize," she murmured, a silent 'sir' dangling from the end of his name.

He kissed her forehead, and stood up.

He never had to think about what to wear. His closet was full of the most stylish and fashionable clothing a man could ever want, and somehow, he knew exactly what he wanted to wear each day. He picked the navy silk suit with the midnight shirt, and the coordinating tie that was halfway between navy and midnight, and had a red diagonal pinstripe pattern. He dressed with mechanical swiftness, evading even the smallest glances of himself in the mirror.

He sometimes hated what he saw when he looked in the mirror.

Dressed and ready to go, he gave his now recovered wife a kiss before picking up his briefcase, and then he was ready for work.

He never drove himself anymore. His driver this week was named Larson. He was a new hire, and was still too nervous to make conversation well. Treize opened the paper and made a show of reading it intently to alleviate Larson's nervousness. He disliked newspapers in general. They were dirty things that reeked of shoddy production. He didn't like the writing in them, either. Language was an essential art, and should not be forced into prostitution like that. Still, he glossed over the headlines, reading an ad or two as they made their way to the office.

The absolute truth was, he didn't want a baby right now. No one seemed to realize it, but he was still too young. He was barely twenty-one. He should be in college, having torrid affairs with multiple people, and learning new and interesting things to expand his mind. He put his shackles on himself, so he didn't feel he had the right to complain, but he was already sacrificing so much.

Une would not understand. All she had ever wanted in life was to be his wife. He respected her as a woman and as a person, so he was happy to be able to make her happy, but there was a limit on how much he could share with her. She just refused to see anything about him that didn't fit into her perfect image of what life should be.

"We're here, Mr. Khushrenada."

Treize smiled at the butchering of his name. He didn't blame the man; it was an odd name. "Thank you, Larson. I'll need you again at noon."

"Very good, sir."

Treize strode through the bank lobby, smiling at every teller, clerk, receptionist, officer, and security guard as he did. There were only two customers at this early hour, Mr. Helfflemanne, who was always here before 9:30 on a Tuesday morning, depositing the till for the music shop, and Mrs. Livingworth, an elderly woman who was eking out her existence with dignified desperation. She refused to look Treize in the eye. She had worked for Mr. Peacecraft and for Mr. Peacecraft's father for a total of 42 years, and she never looked a Khushrenada in the eye, often loudly decrying the sorry state of a world where the only bank in town was owned by those people. Treize had a constitutional abhorrence for the very name Peacecraft, a disposition that was nurtured from conception by his family's long but bloodless 'feud' with the Peacecraft's, and confirmed by his own personal experience with the current bearer of the name.

Still, he winked and nodded at the bank officer dealing with her, silently approving whatever overdraft or penalty waiver she was requesting. She had served the city for her whole life, even if the family that she served didn't properly compensate her for her work. It was an easy write-off.

His secretary greeted him with a toothy grin and a cup of bitter coffee, like she did every morning. She was wearing the skirt with the slit in the side that went all the way up, and when she sat down, he could see the lacy top of her thigh-high hose. He found her to be very crude. She lacked any sense of self-respect or dignity. It was barely even worth his time to fuck her.

She ran down his schedule for the day. Meet with this person at 10:15, and meet with that person at 11:20. He had two conference calls to make, and his father wanted an update at noon. He shook his head, and held up two fingers. Going to the nursing home to see his father was always an exercise in patience. It was physically painful to see the man who loomed so large in his mind reduced to a patient in a bed with a call button. His father was paler and sicker than he liked to see, but still, the only thing he cared about was the bank, their investments, their land, their stocks... It was wearying. Treize cared a great deal for money. You couldn't have fast cars, exquisite champagne, roses petal baths, or imported truffles without it. But for his father, money was an end in and of itself, and Treize could never quite swallow his disgust at such blatant greed.

He would have a blessed hour of solitude before his day was taken away from him. He set aside the coffee cup, arranging the papers that littered his desk in the order in which he wanted to be bothered with them. Then his eyes flicked to the flip photo album to his left.

On the cover, there was a picture of his wedding day. Une was stunning in her dress, and he was impeccable in his tuxedo, and they were feeding each other pieces of cake in a manner that was both romantic and tasteful. He didn't see that picture, even when he was looking at it.

He didn't have many of these treasures anymore. He had, of course, lost all right to them when he failed to keep his word. But there were a few scattered remains of the life he could have had, dotted here and there in his daily routine, reminders both of his purpose and his failure.

He hadn't looked in a few days. Thoughts of another child in his life still nagged in the back of his head. It would be all right.

He flipped back the cover. The first picture was of his family, his father's red face prominently in the middle. He flipped past that. The next picture was from his engagement party. He had his arm behind Une's back, and she was looking at him adoringly. Next to them, Relena Peacecraft was smiling up at them, her little pink plastic handbag swinging from her clutched hands. She was a cute child. Not terribly pretty, certainly not outstanding, but cute. At the corner of the picture, there was a line of white that was obviously just the edge of a head of long, pristine hair.

The next picture was from graduation. Une was there again, demurely holding his diploma. The choir was running around in the background, chasing something or someone. He was smiling proudly at the camera.

Zechs was standing next to him, smiling equally proudly.

Treize paused for a moment there. Zechs looked so young, nearly half a head shorter than Treize. By the time his last year in school began, Zechs had sprouted up, and was within a hair's breath of being the same height. His hair gleamed in the sunshine, a startlingly bright white, like the sheen from diamonds. His ice blue eyes were trained on Treize, crackling emotion evident in their piercing gaze. How Zechs had loved him. His rebellious prince.

He flipped to the next picture, now at the ceremony announcing Treize's appointment as CEO of the bank. Zechs was there, in an all-black suit, looking devilish and stunning. They stood side by side, clinking glasses of champagne, winking at each other. Ten minutes after the picture was taken, Treize was pounding into Zechs in the break room. Treize shifted in his seat. There was such graceful nobility in everything about Zechs. He was the perfect embodiment of everything every Khushrenada had ever aspired to be, and the perfect explanation of why no Khushrenada would ever outclass a Peacecraft. Zechs had nobility bleeding from his veins, oozing out of every pore. He was mannerly and dignified and charming and clever, even when he was just a little kid, playing in the mud.

Treize flipped to his favorite picture. It was himself and Zechs when they were just kids. No one from either family had ever approved of their friendship, but he was reckless enough and Zechs was tenacious enough that they managed to continue being friends, despite the protests from their respective families. This picture was taken by his uncle, a despicable man who had probably taken it to get him into trouble at home. Zechs was wearing a ridiculous looking sailor suit, his white hair nothing more than sheen around his head at this age. He was wearing a suit jacket and short pants. They were both up to their knees in water from the pond in the back of Treize's uncle's house, standing shoulder to shoulder, glaring up at the camera. Everything about Zechs just screamed royalty, so that even now, one almost had the feeling looking at the picture that someone was about to lose their head.

Milliardo. They still called him that at the time, but Treize had always hated that name, that Peacecraft designation. He had wanted to steal a part of the prince for himself, so he convinced his friend to start calling himself Zechs. And so his thievery began. He would piece by piece steal more and more of him, until Milliardo was gone, and only Zechs remained. He stole every forbidden adventure and private moment and kiss and touch and emotion, exchanging Zechs' offerings for lies and empty promises. By god, he'd been a marvelous villain, slowly slipping away with the King's treasured son, grinning all the while.

And now, as a result, some other man had his hands on Zechs. Treize snapped the photo album shut, and shoved it away, ignoring the sick feeling that was churning his gut. His precious treasure, his stolen love, living far away in the arms of some other man who could not be deserving of the jewel Treize had rightfully stolen. It was a painful thought, but what right did Treize have to complain? He'd had a chance to run away with Zechs, to leave behind every obligation and responsibility he'd assumed and find happiness with the one he loved. It had been his choice to stay here and live out his father's life, run the bank his father's father's father had founded, live up to the name his family had built, make a family with his noble wife, and forget the love that he had stolen and lost, and forget the little girl that had his hair and his eyes, forget everything that didn't fit into the picture postcard existence that everyone else aspired to, and live out his days in luxury and refinement, an empty shell trodding through life, the real him trapped inside, with nothing but photographs and memories to keep himself alive.

After all, it was his destiny. He was supposed to rule the world. Everyone thought so.

He was a fraud, of course, but if he couldn't be regal like Zechs, and he couldn't be noble like Une, he could at least be the most successful fraud anyone had ever known.

He sighed, and picked up his first file, a series of legal documents that needed to be approved. He hated these melancholy moods. At least today was Friday. He'd go see Father Maxwell, and boast of his sins before letting them get washed away. He'd spend the afternoon with his father, and then tomorrow, he'd spend the day in with his wife, making up for this morning.

Frowning, he looked over his schedule. He'd have to squeeze in screwing his secretary before lunch; that way, he could get rid of that sin with the rest of them, and be free and clear for the weekend.

the lyrics to the accompanying music...

Choir Box: Vici Amorem

Verse 1:
Neutiquam erro
Cursum perficio
Odi et amo, quere id facere forasse requires
Nunc et in hora mortis nostr

I am not lost
My journey is over
I hated and love, perhaps you ask me why
Now and at the hour of our death

Amor non vincit omnia
Vici requiem
Ave vale amor
Tuba mirum, spargens sonum,
Vici Amor

Love does not conquer all
I conquered eternal rest
Hail and farewell love
Through all the regions of the dead
I conquered love

Verse 2:
In vino veritas
In vinculis estiam audax
Deo vindice
Et kyrie me destruit

In wine there is truth
In chains yet still bold
God will prove us right
And Lord will destroy me


Si vis pacem, para bellum
Pacem appellant, meum pactum dictum...

If you want peace, prepare for war
They call it peace, my word is my bond...