title: pristine
fandom: Gundam Wing
characters/pairings: Zechs, Duo
rating: G
warnings: Zechs woolgathering
summary: Zechs, the snow, and death.
notes: for clare, for, er, christmas... um. for spring! ^_^ asked for gw and a prompt of snow... don't know how you feel about Zechs, hon, but when i think gundam wing and snow, i think zechs...

He staggered away from his escape pod. The snow was thick here... in his unsteady state, he remembered his youth, and the Christmases spent in the Alps. There wasn't a part of him that felt young anymore. He looked up at the sky. Did Noin get out of there in time?

What was it about him that urged people close to him to commit suicide for his name?

He trudged through the snow, going away from the escape pod, climbing up the mountain. He should be going down; the lights of the small town were visible even from here, whereas he was walking into the darkness. Still, he had little doubt that he'd be saved. It was his fate that he would be denied the comfort of the grave, as far as he could tell. The moonlight and the stars made the snow even more beautiful and incredible, and it seemed natural that he should go up.

When he no longer had the strength to move, he let himself drop into the snow, and he leaned against a tree. He thought about his sister, and how she was feeling. Would she be more anxious for him, or for Noin? Even as he thought it, he had to know the answer. He barely knew Relena, and Noin was one of her closest friends.

He closed his eyes, and thought about battles fought, and comrades lost, and quiet nights, like this, that resided far back in his memory. He thought of his lovers, the ones he had buried, and the ones he left behind. He wondered about some of them. He wondered why he never let Noin have her way when he was so willing to be accommodating to strangers, on occasion.

He fingers were getting cold. It was almost spring; this late snow would be the last, and as it melted, it would flood the valley, making a good harvest possible.

Was everyone so philosophical at death's door? It must be tiresome for death. He smiled to himself. He must try to be a more courteous guest. After all, death was an old friend. He should greet him with a smile.

"You really are an idiot, aren't you?"

Zechs opened his eyes, and looked up. "Ah. I was waiting for you, Sir Death. It's been a while, hasn't it?"

Duo rolled his eyes. "Great. You're delusional and stupid. It's no wonder everyone is willing to lay their lives down for you, Prince."

"Don't call me that," Zechs murmured, closing his eyes. "You know I hate it."

"Yeah, and I hate it when idiots go falling out the sky on my watch and make me trek all over hell's half acre so they can stargaze. We all deal. Give me your hand."

Zechs smiled. "Are you going to take me away, Sir Death?"

"Sure," Duo promised loftily. "I'll take you to the moon and back. Just give me your hand."

Zechs reached out, and let Duo lift him to his feet. Duo slipped his arm around Zechs' waist, and led him down the mountain again. "You can take me anywhere you like."

"Yeah, you say that to all the boys," Duo teased. "Behave yourself, and I'll give you a treat when we get to my ship."

"I know you say that to all the boys. If we're going to start flirting with each other, we should use new lines."

"Fine, I'll pull out the fresh material when I'm not freezing my ass off."

Zechs smiled, and looked up at the sky. "Did she live?"

"Let's just concentrate on getting your royal ass to safety, ok?" Duo sighed, and pulled Zechs a bit closer to him. It occurred to Zechs that he was taller and heavier than Duo, and maybe he should be standing a bit straighter, but Duo wasn't objecting, and Zechs was enjoying the closeness. "One step at a time, right?"

"Whatever you say, Sir Death," Zechs sighed. He reached out to catch some snow that had frozen a premature bud on a bush.

If he was courteous to death, one day, he might be able to pass over that threshold, to a place of peace that those he loved and admired had already found. He would have to resign himself to patience until then.