The Blood of Peace
Third Movement, the Tenth Part: Silence
WuFei watched as Meiran wrote in her journal. Since their marriage not too long ago, Meiran had confided to WuFei that she liked to keep a daily journal for posterity. Something to show their future children. WuFei smiled at that. Their children. It was a wonderful thing to have a future to look forward to . He continued to watch his wife as he pretended to read a treatise on sword play. She looked lovely in the candle light, her luminous golden skin and her dark eyes and hair reflecting the small beam of dancing light.
"Stop staring at me, husband. I can feel your eyes."
Meiran spoke without looking at him, still intent on the words in her journal. However, her neck betrayed a slight flush, indicating that she liked the way he watched her. The moon was high in the sky and most had gone to bed, even the enemies; but not his diligent wife. She liked to stay up and keep him up too. This time, WuFei flushed. She knew how to keep him up, that was for sure.
"You are still staring, husband. Quit it. I'm serious."
Although the words were admonishing, there was a deep sense of satisfaction and joy underneath it all. WuFei could hear it and it warmed his heart.
"I like staring at you, wife. It's fun."
Snorting in a very unlady-like fashion, Meiran turned her head and looked at WuFei. Then she stuck out her tongue, crossed her eyes, and scrunched up her pixie face. When WuFei burst out into laughter, she laughed with him.
"Gods, how did I end up marrying the ugliest girl in Space?"
"And how did I end up with a husband with the biggest ego and the smallest peni-"
"Don't go there, wife. We both know it's not small."
Meiran giggled. Of all things that could possibly get a rise out of her unflappable husband.. Still, he had not been the same recently. He laughed with her, he still had that rock solid bond with his brothers, but something within was definitely amiss. WuFei was different and she bet it had something to do with that battle with Treize. If only he would talk to her about it. Maybe it was time to force the issue, even if she had to break this wonderful and light mood.
"Husband, just what has been wrong with you lately?"
Meiran had decided that soft pussyfooting would not get her answers so she had gone with the direct method. If anything, WuFei could not possibly deny that he had misunderstood the question.
"I don't know what you mean. I'm fine. I'm just not fit to be the Master of the Sword. You know that."
He said it so matter-of-factly, like he was saying the sky was blue. It disturbed Meiran to hear her once confident and masterful husband sound so.. defeated.
"You are fine. If you weren't fit, I'm sure Heero would have replaced you by now. From what I can see, Heero isn't the type to hang onto someone who could not fulfil a position to its fullest."
WuFei shook his head, denying Meiran's statement.
"No. Heero may have a strong sense of duty and honor, but it is nothing compared to the love he has for us. Before this war, duty was all there was to him. Then he met us, he met Duo. And he had to choose between duty and love. Now, this war has taught him that there is more than duty and so he lets his emotions guide him instead. Emotionally, Heero would never let me go. Even if I can't be his Master of the Sword."
WuFei thought he had sounded logical and reasonable. Therefore, he was immeasurably surprised when Meiran pounced on him and pinned him down. Her face was only an inch from his, her eyes shooting angry sparks. If he hadn't been so damned surprised, he would have been very aroused.
"So what? What if Heero is acting on his emotions? What's wrong with that? Emotions are truer than anything else in this world!" Meiran bit out her words with acerbic certitude, like she was lecturing a forlorn five year old who had misplaced his candy. Her tone made WuFei feel like a fool even before she finished her lecture.
"You see," Meiran continued, "your problem is that you only think of honor. Did you honestly think that you were the best swordsman out there? Stupid boy, there is always someone better than you! So you lost to Treize, big freaking deal. A true warrior would not sit and mope about how he lost; a true warrior would take the loss, see how he could improve and then go on. If you throw down your sword after a defeat, all you are saying is that you can't stand to lose, just like a petulant child. You are not a child, husband. Stop this moping and get your ass in gear. It is war. They need you to be at a hundred percent. They don't need this sullen, 'I-am-too-weak-to-fight' boy. I did not marry a boy. I married a man. Act like it, already!"
There was a silence after Meiran finished. WuFei had nothing to say to her for once. She was right, of course, but he would not admit that right now. Not when he had been 'moping' for the past few days. She would never let him see the end of it if he admitted that she was right.
"I get it, wife. So, are you going to get off me or do something else?"
Meiran did not miss the sly look or the apologetic tint in his voice. Maybe he had understood what she was trying to say, but he would rather swallow Altron blade first than admit that to her. Well, she would give him his pride. She was a dutiful wife, after all. Clambering off of her husband, Meiran sat by him and straightened her clothes. She then walked back to her desk and started writing again. Feeling neglected, WuFei spoke.
"Wife, you write in that thing everyday, but you don't tell me what's in it. What are you writing about right now?"
For a moment, WuFei thought that she would not answer. But she placed her pen into the crease of her journal and turned to face him. With a serious look that made her look more mature than her fifteen years, she answered him.
"Today, I'm writing about Nataku. She is my idol."
Puzzled, WuFei tried to remember if he had ever heard of a Nataku. Nope.
"Who is she? Is she a female warrior like you?"
At that, Meiran's eyes lit up like a thousand stars.
"Oh, gods, husband, that is the best compliment ever. Nataku is the ideal of who I want to be. She is the goddess of justice, the incomparable warrior, the compassionate queen. I want to be Nataku, you see. She is the quintessential being who I want to emulate. What do you think of that, husband? If I succeed in becoming like Nataku, you'll be married to the greatest warrior of all time."
"Well, you would be the second greatest. Remember, there is always someone better?"
Meiran smiled at WuFei's attempt at humor. Her husband had gotten her message. And he would try to become a better person for it and most likely stop badgering everyone around him with useless apologies and sentiments. He would be back to normal soon, fighting with justice and honor in his soul and love in his heart. Meiran's continued smiling confused WuFei. She should have lashed out with some come-back at his half-assed comment, but she hadn't. She just smiled at him. Feeling warm and heady with excitement, WuFei leaned over and grabbed Meiran's hand. Then with a gentle yank, he pulled her to him. Much later, a gentle breeze snuffed out the candle and cooled the heated bodies entangled in the bed. Twin smiles of satisfaction thanked the wind in sleep.
"Oh, gods of the northern reaches, hear my prayer. Let there be peace, gods of justice. Oh, gods of the southern marches, hear my prayer. Let the souls of the dead rest, gods of war. Oh, gods of the eastern fronts, hear my prayer. Let the pain of the living end, gods of mercy. Oh, gods of the western towers, hear my prayer. Let the war-torn lands recover, gods of seasons."
Relena recited her childhood prayer with more fervor than she had ever done in the past. Before now, the prayer had just been something to memorize, yet another thing in her brain along with a hundred other things. But when she prayed now, her heart fused with the words. There was nothing tedious about it anymore. The words rang true.
As she repeated her prayer over and over, her mind conjured up images of all she had seen so far. The bloody fields, mangled men in the hospital camps, the tears of those who had lost their loved one. She also saw faces dear to her heart. She saw Dorothy's determined eyes whenever she glanced at an injured or dead soldier and saw her lips move in a silent prayer. She saw Noin's face ravaged with pain whenever she thought or talked about Milliardo. She saw Heero's dead eyes that lit up when they landed on Duo. She saw Duo's violet orbs admonishing her, encouraging her, laughing with her. Throughout her prayer, she saw these images over and over again until they were just one large, blurred image. Tears threatened at the edges of her eyes, but she refused them. She still had that promise to keep. She would hold them until she saw Heero and Duo again. If she saw them again. Taking a deep breath, Relena repeated her prayer once again. And again. She repeated the prayer until her throat ached from the constant use.
As she lay in her bed, Relena thought. That was all she ever did now, think and rethink everything. Her marriage to Treize had not been a maiden's golden dream, but it was working. Her husband was the soul of courtesy, always asking about her well being and welfare. He had presented her with a crown and a ring, but there was no love. He had yet to do anything physically intimate with her. Relena was relieved at that, but also suspicious. Why wouldn't Treize take her virginity and make her his? Wasn't that what men did?
Sighing, Relena admitted to herself that even though she was an expert in political matters, other things such as the physical side of marriage, confused her to no end. Even after being married for what seemed like an eternity, she had yet to figure out what marriage was all about. Her dreams of flowers, romance and being swept off her feet were dead and buried. Instead, the reality of smooth and urbane courtesy coupled with a deep layer of politeness was what she had. Then there was the matter of ending this war. So far, Treize had listened to her and discussed terms about Earthian with her, but there had been no definite outcome. She desperately needed Treize to stop advancing into Earthian, but the man refused to do what she asked. Her reasons were stable, logical, even brilliant, and yet Treize did not follow her advice. He really wanted this war to culminate into so much bloodshed that the peace would seem 'worth' the price.
Right now, as she sat here and prayed and thought, nothing, not even peace, seemed worth the price. According to her husband, tomorrow would be the final assault into Earthian. The castle was failing around the outer walls from the constant assault and the people inside were most likely demoralized to the point where they were ready to give into Treize. However, she could save Earthian. As much as she hated this war, she would not allow it to end by Earthian's conquest. If anything, she had decided that Earthian would do poorly under Oz's rule. Her people could accept Oz because she had married Treize. Earthian would not because the conquered never give up, even if the ruler was a benevolent one. Heero would see to that. So, she had found a way to save Earthian and Heero from the final attack. She just hoped it would work. Tired of thinking, Relena closed her eyes and breathed deeply. The bed sheets around her body fluttered with the movement and then settled comfortably around her. Maybe she would get some sleep now.
Treize entered his tent and found his newly made wife and queen sound asleep. He contemplated her visage for a moment before sitting beside the bed. Treize smiled gently. Although his new queen was a formidable politician, when she was asleep, she seemed but a child to him. She still had traces of childhood that lingered on her pretty face, refusing to give ground to a harsher adult world. Her innocence was pure, just like her beliefs. Relena Peacecraft-Kushrenada was a rare woman, and Treize was happy to have her lead beside him. Hopefully, she would raise Mari to be like her and him after he died.
Treize reached over and smoothed some errant strands away from her face carefully, taking care not to wake her. Relena had not slept well since their marriage. She probably thought that he did not notice, but he missed nothing. This war sickened her. He knew it every time her eyes looked out into the horizon. But that would be for the best. If war made her ill, the peace that she would achieve would seem more precious, fragile and worthy. She would work doubly hard to keep it intact because he would have taught her how useless wars were to the world. The glory and the honor, they were just pretty masks to cover the realities of war. If anything, before his death, Treize wanted to open people's eyes to the truth. War was pointless. Even peace might be pointless. But together, they created the most beautiful souls like Relena, Heero and that fiery warrior-boy WuFei. Soon, people would know and Mari could lead the revolution. Pensive and deep in thought, Treize did not notice that Relena had awoken.
"Treize, what are you thinking about now?"
Her voice was still a little bit thick with sleep, but it was clear and steeped in apprehension. Smiling at his wife, Treize shook his head.
"Nothing, Relena. Just thinking about tomorrow. Get some sleep, it will be a long day every day after tomorrow. I will go talk to my generals."
With that, Treize got up and left the tent. Relena lay in her bed and stared at the tent flap that was still moving from the breeze created by Treize's wake. Tomorrow. It would change everything. With tired eyes much too old for her face, Relena stared out into space. Her lips started moving by their own accord.
"Oh, gods of the northern reaches, hear my prayer. Let there be peace, gods of justice. Oh, gods of the southern marches, hear my prayer. Let the souls of the dead rest, gods of war..."