Of Love and Loyalty #1
Rain in Corsica
It rained in the morning. The drops were soft and light, like the shadows that hovered around Corsica's mobile suit factory.
At the tail end of the shower, when the sun chased away the last of the clouds, Lieutenant Walker lowered his goggles and kicked his motorcycle into life. His tires hissed, through already-shrinking puddles, as he set off to find his former commander. Speeding towards the Alliance airstrip where Zechs' jet was slated to touch down, his pulse raced wildly and his mouth was dry with excitement.
The mobile suit he was going to hand over to OZ's top pilot was something special; Walker was certain of that. Yet, the thrill of knowing he'd be giving Zechs such a powerful machine, was only half of what made his throat constrict when he spotted the man's distinctive blonde hair.
He skidded to a stop where Zechs was speaking with a pair of soldiers, and he almost forgot the reason he'd ridden all the way to get the man. Zechs didn't look much different; a bit taller, a bit broader, but he was still clearly the same remarkable person who had taught Walker what it meant to be an officer.
Walker called out and Zechs' cape snapped as he turned about sharply.
"Officer Walker, it's been quite a while..."
It rained again at noon. The drops that spattered against the hangar roof were as hot and heavy as the afternoon itself. Inside, the two men in the shadow of Tallgeese paid little attention to the sound of the rain striking the corrugated metal meters above them.
Zechs regarded Walker thoughtfully while making a show of staring up at the impressive bulk of Tallgeese. He knew what would happen when the Specials unit took to the air and by the slight shake of Walker's hands, the younger pilot knew as well. "I don't have any inspiring words to say to you."
"You don't need to," Walker replied. He unhooked a pair of thin, leather gloves off his belt and slapped them against his thigh before shaking them open.
"If the pilots of the other Gundams are as skilled as the one I encountered, you'll be in for a difficult battle."
"Do you have any regrets, Officer Walker?" Zechs asked abruptly, as the shorter teen worked his fingers into his gloves.
"No, sir," Walker answered firmly. The leather squeaked as he flexed his fingers. He turned and snapped his heels together, straightening up to salute Zechs formally.
Zechs caught his hand as he lowered it and Walker's eyes widened. The tall officer's fingers wrapped around his wrist in a grip that held him more firmly in place than if his feet had been glued to the concrete.
"All men have regrets," Zechs said.
Walker swallowed and stared at the smooth silver of the mask that hid Zechs' eyes. "Even you? But what could you possib-"
Zechs freed the other man's wrist and tilted his head back as he pulled off his helmet. Platinum hair spilled loose and he shoved the helmet into Walker's stunned hands. He looked into the teen's dark eyes and smiled ruefully, "Look at me. What do you see?"
"What do you see?" Zechs repeated. He lifted his focus upwards, to where his reflection hovered, ghostlike, in the goggles pushed up past the Aries pilot's forehead.
Walker blinked, too stunned and confused to form an answer.
"I see the past," Zechs said absently.
"But you," said Zechs, his pale eyes sliding down to claim Walker's gaze again. "You see only the future wherever you look. I admire that."
"Not true," said Walker, finding his voice again. A thin blonde eyebrow winged upwards at his admission and he shifted uncomfortably. "Looking at you, I see the past too... or at least, what might have been...
"I guess I do have regrets," Walker finished quietly.
Zechs retrieved his helmet and settled it under his elbow as he prompted the other man to explain.
Before he could think too much upon the consequences, Walker stepped in and kissed the taller man full on the mouth. Face heated and heart hammering, he turned away and wiped his lips with the back of a hand. "I apologize, Lieutenant Zechs."
Walker swallowed and nodded curtly. "Thank you, sir. For everything."
"Wait," Zechs said. Before the other pilot took more than two steps, he'd caught Walker's elbow and spun him around again. He let his helmet fall onto the catwalk as he gripped the younger pilot's upper arms and dipped his head down enough to look intensely at him. "I shouldn't have asked, when I should have already known the answer."
Walker felt his face heating again. His skin tingled where Zechs' hands burned through the fabric of his uniform and he was caught completely unprepared when those hands moved up to cup his chin and tilt his face upward. His knees went weak when Zechs claimed his lips in a crushing kiss.
He let himself be pushed against the catwalk rail; on either side of his waist, he gripped the rounded metal bar that dug in to the small of his back. It was easy to ignore the discomfort of the railing, after he rolled his head to the side, all he felt was the mouth that teased his throat, just above the collar of his uniform, and the hand that cupped the eager bulge in his groin.
Walker's moan echoed through the hangar. He felt his pants being unzipped, and he wondered if he wasn't asleep and dreaming, when Zechs' fingers curled around the stiffness of his cock.
Zechs caressed the soft skin, letting his fingers glide up and down along the heated flesh. As Walker arched into his touch, he murmured a quiet string of words into the pilot's ear. Uncaring whether or not he'd even been heard, Zechs found Walker's mouth and kissed him softly. He closed his eyes and rolled his tongue around, exploring the sweet warmth of the other man's mouth.
Zechs' thumb swirled around the wet tip of Walker's cock and his tongue moved against the other pilot's at the same pace. He heard the sound of leather rubbing against metal as Walker's grip tightened on the rail and the teen's breathing hastened. Zechs sucked on the pilot's lower lip, alternating gentle bites with flicks of his tongue, and when he felt the shudder and heat spill onto his knuckles, his moan played counterpart to Walker's.
The clouds hovered in the distance, shadowing the faraway mountains. They were creeping ever closer, but the angry gray of the approaching storm was no match for the boiling clouds that darkened the sky above the Alliance base.
Zechs stood on the edge of a platform outside his transport jet and watched silently as noxious plumes of smoke curled up from the mangled heaps of distant wreckage. Twelve mobile suits had been destroyed and the battle had hardly begun. The visual enhancers in his helmet whirred quietly as they zoomed in on the units moving to intercept the attacking Gundam. Zechs tightened his lips into a thin line when an Aries tumbled from the sky. Thirteen.
He was keeping tabs on one suit in particular, the lead of the Specials airborne squad. The pilot dodged volley after volley of missiles with speed and skill.
'You're thinking of dying for me, aren't you?' he'd asked the suit's dark-haired pilot, when they stood in the hangar that had housed Tallgeese.
As the battle raged on, Zechs reflected upon how much he hated knowing he'd been right.
'A brave endeavor...' The words he'd spoken earlier, echoed in his head. 'To do thy duty, whate'er its worth, is better than life with love forever...'
"And love is the sweetest thing on earth," he finished in a nearly inaudible whisper.
Zechs heard Otto's footsteps drawing near behind him, but he didn't look away from the fighting.
"For the soldiers of tomorrow," he said quietly.
On the other side of the base, in the Aries' cockpit, Walker echoed his former commander's words as he hit his thrusters and led his troops towards the grave.
Footnote: That poetry snippet was from Sir Hugo's Choice by James Jeffrey Roche.