Written for the '101 ways to snog en route to a colony' fanfiction/fanart challenge.

'Snogs' homepage at http://happyfangirl.org/snogs/ for the rules and other entries.

Author: Asuka Kureru (asukasama@ifrance.com)
Word Count: 800 (dances)
Pairing: Otto/Zechs
Warnings: umm. Sad?
Title: Loyalty undying

In the middle of the field of debris floating in L1's orbit glistened a large bit of titanium, still mostly intact. The fleeting red reflection of the distress lights danced on the white, scorched paint, making it look like it was burning – or bleeding perhaps.

The Tallgeese had never been a good suit for fighting in space. Otto had known the second he had seen the beast. But then, Otto knew lots about mechanics. Before joining OZ, he had been ready to get a career in mechanics – not expecting anything more of life now that his king was no more and his country's dream had been returned to nothingness –and then, he had seen that OZ cadet passing in a mobile suit, so graceful, so precise. He was a mechanic and he had never even known that you could get a mobile suit to move like that. He had fallen in love with the machine and the pilot both, without having seen the pilot's face.

He had decided that he would get enrolled in OZ as a cadet too, 'just to get a more extensive training on mobile suit mechanics', because after all with that war, no doubt that this branch would get more clients soon. Not that he wanted to make money with other people's misfortune, but there wasn't much to live for, now, except money. With money he couldn't rebuild Sank, but, when he had economized enough, he could go live in a place War wouldn't think of touching, and he could dream that he was still there, in the fairytales country of his childhood.

On his seventh bleak, boring week, he had caught a glimpse of a mobile suit in the middle of a whole flock of suits. New pilots, in training, cadets like him. He had only seen one, because that one had been....

Not the same machine, but the same pilot. He could feel it in the marrow of his bones.

And then the man –no, the boy –had landed his suit and jumped down –and Otto had seen the impossible color of his hair and the grace and the stride, and they had all screamed the same thing –Peacecraft.

He had been lost then. Lost his plans for a comfortable, unchallenging life, lost his very life to that man-child –and got his dreams back.

Everything had gotten so fast from there, his request to be placed under Him, the man-child's rise in the ranks, their first combat, his disgust at killing but his pride at having saved Him, His thanks, the battles, more and more, and the complex politics involved with higher ranks, and his disgust at the first man who had tried to buy him. And not once had Otto indicated why he would follow Him to hell and back –literally.

He thought no one knew. He didn't want them to know. Otto wouldn't tell –not even to Him.

Prince Milliardo was no more – He was Lt.Colonel Merquise.

Otto had fallen for Zechs's internal conflicts, for his modesty and his will to succeed alone, for his pain at having to shed the name of Peacecraft, for his need for revenge.

And the attack on Sank. Back to their roots. That magnificent machine of death, power and suicide all rolled into one. The Tallgeese...

The Tallgeese now floated, destroyed, somewhere between L1 and the moon, slowly drifting with the gravitational pull. That suit he had poured his soul into so that it would serve Lieutenant Colonel Zechs as well as himself served him –but he didn't resent it, for it hadn't failed. Nothing could have saved his prince from that explosion... In fact, the suit should have been vaporized, laminated into twisted shards. Instead, the cockpit and the survival unit were still intact, and the emergency siren was singing on every OZ comm. link; help would come in time.

He patted the console with a surly affection, proud of his baby. His prince would live, his dreams would live.

Zechs moaned, in pain, and he couldn't help it, he slid in the chair behind him, trying to support, to comfort, to warm, hugged his sire to his chest, not realizing that he was raining kisses on His shoulders and neck.

Silvery-blond locks were raining down on him, encasing him, and Otto felt his dream, felt true peace, for a fleeting second.

And then there was the bump of a tether link gripping at the suit, and Zechs awoke.

"Otto?" he asked, hesitant.

"Yes."

He felt a kiss on his lips, deep, searing, all-giving.

"You're..."

Another kiss.

"...dead...."

Then nothingness.

He wept.

As he felt himself melt back into the scattered shreds of the Tallgeese, Otto only had one regret.

He had never seen the face of the man he had given his soul to.