***
Please, I'm begging for constructive critisism. I especially
want to know why I get lots of response for the stories I
think are the worst kind of drivel and none for the ones
that I think are actually good. It is very frustrating when
you have no idea why some stories do and others don't. What
am I doing wrong? Please, I need some outside opinions. I'm
just driving myself crazy trying to figure it out on my own.
***

Anyway, on to the actual story...

***
Title: Always and Forever
Author : Carole
E-mail : kronos999@yahoo.ca

Fandom: Gundam Wing
Pairing: 13x6
Rating: Umm... PG

Disclaimers: Not mine. Wouldn't you be scared if they
were? ~evil grin~

Summary: Zechs has been having the oddest dreams
lately.

Warnings: Shonen ai, Weirdness, Vampires

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Always and Forever
by Carole
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sunlight streamed down through the rustling leaves,
shadows shifting gently across the ground and his face
as he glanced upwards towards green and blue. Zechs
felt the corners of his mouth creep upwards in a
genuine smile, feeling more at peace than he had for
as long as he could remember. It did not seem strange
that he had no idea where he was or why his mask was
only a vague memory. It seemed right. The warm summer
breeze the moved the leaves above, twirled his hair
into his face, which dared to defy its usual
precision, but
he didn't mind.

There was a low masculine laugh to his left and he
turned, pulling long platinum strands from his mouth
with one finger as he did so.

"You should let yourself out more often, Milliard.
You're always much too serious."

"Sir?" he asked, confused.

"You need to smile more often."

Treize himself smiled, before he turned away to look
out into the forest. Zechs blinked, keeping his stride
in pace with the General's. Suddenly, all that had
seemed so normal before, warped into something
strange. Why was he here? Why was Treize with him?

"Where are we, sir?"

"Don't you remember?" Treize turned to him once again,
that smile still on his face. "I invited you to spend
your leave with me in Bremand."

Bremand? With Treize? Why couldn't he remember?

"You really are adorable when you're confused."

Zechs' head jerked back minutely, taken aback. No one
had called him adorable in years and one's superior
officer certainly did not do such a thing.

"Come, I said I have something to show you."

A warm hand enfolded his, fingers intertwining. But
there was no time to wonder as the ginger-haired man
moved forward, no time to be amazed as his heart sped
up for no reason he could name.

The trees moved by, towering giants that seemed to
hunch over as they moved deeper into them. The sun did
not reach the ground here, it was moss covered and
damp. Treize, however, did not slow, moving with a
surefootedness that would have been hard placed to be
matched by the most agile jungle cat. Somehow, he
remained unstained, his clothing impeccable as always.
Zechs
knew, though, that his own condition could hardly be
as pristine.

He was sweating, his palm in Treize's damp. Not from
their pace, but from something else. Something was
watching them jealously. There was someone else here.

"Treize, we have to stop."

"What are you talking about, Milliard?"

"Someone's watching us.

Treize stilled for a moment, listening. Without the
rush of noise, Zechs listened as well.

//Mine, you can't have him...// the trees rustled, the
wind blew. //You shouldn't be here.//

"There's nothing here, Milliard. Just us."

Couldn't his companion hear it?

Eyes burned into his and he swallowed dryly, following
the movement of lips. "But it wouldn't matter anyway.
There is no going back." Treize's eyes moved back
beyond him and Zechs turned to follow the gaze. Behind
them, what had been a clear if ragged path, was now a
tangle of brambles and briers, thorns daring him to
try and pass, knowing that any attempt would be
futile.

That unknown thing was out there, even as they moved
forward. It whispered to him, even if the General was
oblivious. It warned him away.

When he saw the light up ahead, Zechs had never been
so relieved. They would be out of these blasted woods,
in the open once again.

The relief didn't last long, though, as the warmth on
his left had faded.

"Treize?"

He looked around desperately. There was no one there.
The clearing, too, had vanished from his sight.

"I told you he was mine." The voice spoke so close to
his ear, and yet there was no mouth to form the words.
It was so familiar, as if he knew it, but that wasn't
possible.

Another, now farther away, whispered. "Leave, leave
him here."

"No!"

"Treize? Where are you?"

"Sir!"

"Treize!"

But there was no answer. The wind blew his hair into
patterns across his vision.

"Mine," it said again.

***

Zechs jerked upwards. "Treize!" he called, before
recognizing the Spartan room that served as his
quarters. He had decided to keep working, rather than
take his leave. After all, it wasn't as if he had
anywhere to go.

He fell back down onto the bed ungracefully, turning
to look at the clock. There were only a few more
minutes until it would go off. There was no point in
trying to return to sleep.

The Lightning Count rose to his feet. At least he
could grab a quick shower. Dreams were just that, they
didn't mean anything. There was no point on dwelling
on it.

***

"They're beautiful, aren't they? Strange, to think
that there can be so much conflict among them."

The stars were beautiful, indeed, shining down coldly
in the chill night air, shimmering points of light
dotting the vault of heaven. Treize's presence beside
him was welcomely familiar though Zechs wasn't sure
why.

He made no reply to the introspective comment for he
knew none was expected. He merely shivered slightly as
one hand brush along his cheek. Strange, that it was
cold. It must have been the night air.

"You're a lot like them, Milliard. An ice prince, so
calm and cool when viewed from a distance, but inside
you don't know which way to turn. Should you fight? Or
should you follow your father's teachings? Which will
you choose?"

Zechs' head turned towards his companion. "I already
have," he said firmly.

"Have you?" Smile, a flash of white teeth. "You burn
so brightly, my friend.
I've never met anyone like you. A wonder that no one
else has noticed... Except for Lt. Noin, of course,
though I doubt her observation will do her much good."

It was then that he noticed it, a shadow against a
shadow, sucking up the light of both moon and stars.
The thing, for there was nothing else it could be
called, slunk up from the ground like thick syrup,
oozing until it was of height with Zechs. Treize
didn't seem to notice.

"Sir! Look out!"

"Milliard? Are you alright?"

Something grabbed him from behind, pulling him
backwards, holding him in place finally as he
struggled. The shadow looked at him, eyes that were
glowing points of blue fired the only features visible
in the indefinable shape.

"Sir, it's behind you."

Treize turned. "There's nothing here."

But Zechs' could see it, mere inches away from
Treize's searching gaze as the other man looked
straight through it. The shadow shifted in a fluid
motion, wrapping itself around blue clad limbs,
caressing with care before folding in on himself.

He couldn't see Treize anymore. The hands holding him
released, but it was too late. Zechs was alone under
the stars...

***

"Are you alright, sir?"

Zechs turned his head to the young soldier that was
questioning him. He nodded briskly, though inside he
mentally called himself to task for his momentary
lapse. It was just that he was so tired. The dreams
had gone from a mere oddity, to nuisance, to something
worse. Now they were affecting his performance and
endangering the lives of those under him. And sleep
was making things even poorer, he awoke more exhausted
than when he left the living world. Maybe he should
have taken that leave after all, then he wouldn't be
the one in charge of locating and destroying the rebel
base. Or not. With the amount of damage the small
group was causing, it was likely he would have been
sent anyway.

A week had past since the first incident, a week that
had been haunted by his superior officer. Part of him
was disgusted at what was obviously some sort of
subconscious fantasy on his part, but as time wore on
he discarded this theory entirely. Instead, he was
left with a feeling of dread, that something was very
very wrong, and he didn't know what. There was nothing
wrong with Treize, logic insisted, but the dreams told
him differently. Something was coming and he didn't
know if he could stop it in time.

"Sir! We've picked up on a communication signal!"

Finally, the rebels had gotten sloppy. It looked like
downplaying their presence in the area was going to
pay off.

"It's them, sir."

Zechs smiled grimly. "Jameson, order the men to their
suits."

***

Things had finished quickly. The rebels' main defense
had been their ability to strike with surprise. This
time OZ had managed to turn the tables. It could not
even be called a battle, a skirmish perhaps. The
majority had surrendered without a fight at all once
their odds had become obvious. Zechs was thankful. It
was good to be going home. It felt strange to be a
passenger on the plane, but he didn't mind. He was
sure that once he was able to see his Excellency once
again, he could put an end to all this nonsense.

***

He knelt down to the level of the delicate petals.
Zechs breathed their delicate fragrance in deeply.

"I didn't know you liked roses."

He flicked his gaze upwards. "You never asked."

Treize gave a slight laugh as Zechs stood to his feet
once again. "True enough. Perhaps I shouldn't make
such assumptions about you."

Zechs raised one eyebrow with as much dignity as he
could muster. "Maybe you shouldn't."

But Treize wasn't looking at him anymore. Instead, he
reached down and grasped the flower, snapping its stem
off with a flick of his wrist.

The red contrasted with pale skin as Treize gave a
slight bow, taking Zechs hand in his own and bringing
it to his lips in a courtly gesture. The kiss was icy,
burning into his skin. The flower was then held out,
its petals ruffling in the almost nonexistent wind.

"For you, my sweet prince."

Zechs took the bloom, skin brushing against skin for
an instant. "Thank you, your Excellency."

He looked again at the flower to hide his blush. "Too
bad it will die now."

Treize's hand suddenly came up and gripped his, and
with this motion came a slight pain as flesh was
pierced.

"Everything dies, Milliard, sooner or later."

The grip changed, loosening fingers from around the
rose which dropped to the ground unnoticed. One
droplet of blood pooled on the tip of his index
finger. Treize looked at it quizzically for a moment,
until he raised Zechs' hand once again.

Gentle lips encircled the injured member, licking it
clean as Zechs froze.

"No matter the protections, even as formidable as
these, that rose was doomed before it even bloomed.
We've just sped up the process by a very little. Time
withers everything beautiful and takes it away from
us."

Clouds that he hadn't even realized were there passed
in front of the sun, the sudden dimness accompanied by
the feeling of wrong that was familiar, like this had
happened before, more than once.

"You won't leave me, will you, Milliard?"

"Treize... I..." Zechs looked down for an instant.

The shadows pooling about their feet seemed real and
alive. The wind whispered. "You can't be here. No,
he's not yours."

He looked up again in alarm. There was something
there. It held Treize in its embrace, a faint
distortion of reality in the shape of a man.

"I..."

Then the world turned inside out.

***

"Sir, wake up."

Zechs was came to himself instantly.

"Yes?"

"We're there, sir."

"Thank you for letting me know." As the other man
turned away, Zechs' hands clenched into fists. Every
time it was the same. And yet he could never remember
that in the dream. The entire thing was frustrating.

*Maybe this will stop once I see him again.* Perhaps
the ridiculousness of it all would jerk his
subconscious out of the rut it seemed to be stuck in.
*Just don't admit to Treize about the dreams you've
been having.* He could only imagine how disturbed he
would be if one of his subordinates were experiencing
something similar about himself.

***

"His Excellency is ill?"

Lady Une nodded. "He's been asking for you. We're not
sure how coherent he actually is." The stern look in
her eyes showed just how much she disapproved of the
entire thing, but if Treize wanted something, she
would do it. Her loyalty was absolute. It was one
thing with which Zechs could find no fault, though it
did tend to make her overzealous.

"When did this happen?"

"He collapsed first a week ago. He seemed to improve,
but everything turned worse after that. The doctors
aren't sure what is wrong. He seems to have some sort
of anemia, but that's all they've been able to tell
us."

"Why wasn't I informed?"

"Why would you be? We can't let word of this get out,
that we're vulnerable."

Zechs understood that. Still, he wished he had known.
Perhaps this was the meaning behind the dreams that
had become even more dreaded than his usual
nightmares. The terror of those was nothing compared
to the despair he felt every morning upon waking,
though the content themselves was nothing frightening.

Their pace was brisk, corridors flashing by unnoticed.
Zechs attention was elsewhere, already ahead of his
feet with the General. The Lady stopped in front of
the door, punching in the security code that would
grant them access. The light on the panel turned green
and he reached for the door handle, turning it and
pushing the door open in one fluid motion, not sure
what to expect on the other side.

Treize was as pale as his bed sheets, a far cry from
the man he knew. "Sir?" he called out tentatively.

It seemed that there would be no answer, but eyes
blinked open, training on him immediately. There was
no doubt that the man was coherent, at least to Zechs.

"Ah, Lieutenant. Would you close the door? I would
like to speak with you privately."

Lady Une withdrew herself without Zechs' intervention,
the click of the lock clear in the silence.

"I knew you would come back to me, Milliard."

"Of course, sir." Why had that even been in doubt?

"And I knew you would believe me. They think it is the
illness talking. Do I seem in full possession of my
faculties to you?"

And he did. "Yes, your Excellency."

"What would you say if I told you I wasn't ill? At
least how they seem to mean it."

"But sir..."

"Do you think that there are things outside the normal
mundane realms? Things that defy logical explanation."

Zechs stayed silent. Treize would explain in his own
time, something he had always done.

"Well, at least you are willing to listen, even if you
don't believe." Treize's face turned to look out the
window. The sun blazed into the room as it crept
towards the horizon. There was only a few hours left
until nightfall.

"Tonight, he will come again to try and kill me."

"Who, sir?"

"I don't know who he is. But I know what he is. He
isn't human, he is a monster."

Suddenly his constant premonitions made all too much
sense. Something in the dark WAS coming to take Treize
away from him, something that Zechs could not allow,
not as long as he still drew breath.

"Does anyone else know about this, sir?"

"No one else has seen him. He hasn't shown up on any
of the security cameras."

Treize looked at him again. "You do believe me, don't
you?"

And Zechs could do nothing but affirm that statement.
"I'll take care of everything, sir."

"Thank you."

"I only am doing my duty, your Excellency."

"Only your duty?" And Treize's eyes bored into his,
searching out all his secrets. The hairs on the back
of his neck rose. Treize knew, he knew about the
dreams.

"Of course, sir."

Or perhaps he didn't know. The feeling faded. He was
just being paranoid. Maybe everyone was right. His
Excellency might not be as coherent as he seemed.
Treize again looked out the window.

***

The first thing he did was to order guards. If cameras
were not to be trusted, perhaps the living could.
Next, though, he had to find out what sort of monster
could be responsible. Zechs recalled the burning
electric gaze from his dream, the shadow that had
swallowed Treize into the dark.

*Into the dark_ after dark_*

Tales from his childhood rose up to meet him, things
that rational men scoffed at. *Anemia.*

There was only one such creature he could think of.
Vampire.

***

The words were running over him, few becoming absorbed
any longer. Zechs glanced at the clock. He still had
time before sunset. There was still time left to
prepare.

Nothing he dug up seemed to tell him more than he
already knew. Holy water and crosses were out, he
doubted he could acquire either before time ran out.
But he did have a sword and that could be effective if
he managed to deliver enough damage.

He continued to scroll down the page. He should get
back to Treize, so to be there before sunset.

His head dipped forward, eyes heavy.

He had to stay awake, he had to.

Why?

It was important, but he couldn't remember.

Something pulled him down into the blackness.

Zechs head fell forward and, as it hit the keyboard in
front of him, he didn't even flinch in his sleep. His
mind was busy elsewhere and such mundane matters were
of no concern to it.

***

It was a world of swirling gray. A vacant landscape,
dismal with lack of color, a plane of dead and dying
foliage. A faint mist floated over the ground,
tendrils of white dampness.

"Milliard."

"Treize."

The man walked towards him, traveling over the rolling
landscape with nary a misstep. Zechs waited patiently.
He knew, somehow, that Treize would be here, waiting
for him.

"I wondered if I would find you here, my friend."
Treize was right in front of him then, so close,
separated by bits of cloth and air. Zechs breathed in
deeply to calm himself.

And Treize bridged the gab between them to whisper in
his ear, pressing himself into Zechs who gasped.

"Would you stay with me, Milliard? Would you be my
rose that doesn't fade?" The words brushed against his
ear in a rush of air.

Until Zechs was pulled away by unseen hands. He
struggled against them. They hadn't given him the
chance to answer. They pressed against his mouth,
against his throat. He couldn't breath.

Eyes widening, he saw the shadow of a man, glowing
orbs where the eyes should be, walk up behind Treize.
It wrapped his arms around the other man, nuzzling
into him contentedly. Dark voids of long hair fell
across the broad chest.

"Mine," it growled at him, and he swore he saw flashes
of teeth that were too long.

But Treize only had eyes for him. "You have to stay
with me. Say that you will. You have to help me, my
friend. Don't leave me alone."

*This is a dream.* He realized, as the blackness
enveloped the other once again. *No, not this time.
This is MY dream and I won't allow it.*

He, instead of struggling, turned to face his captor.
Pushing with his will, instead of his body, Zechs
narrowed his eyes. There is was, an indistinct
apparition, not nearly so firm in substance as the
other shadow. *LET ME GO!* he thought.

And it did.

"No, you can't go to him. You must stay here."

*He wants me to stay asleep, he's with Treize right
now!*

He reached out a hand and grasped the shadow. It fell
away to dust in his grip, vanishing from sight.

Zechs turned quickly, gasping for breath. He couldn't
see Treize, but that didn't matter. He knew the man
could hear him.

"I promise, Treize. Always and forever, I won't leave
you."

Zechs looked up at the swirling clouds above,
whispering, "He can't have you. You're mine."

Droplets began to drizzle down, then pored stronger.
He brushed them from his face with one hand, staring
at the smears of red. This was not water.

And woke up, half on his feet to run to the aid of the
man he loved, whether that love was the figment of his
imagination or not.

***

The guards lay at the foot of the bed as Zechs tore
into the room. He did not know if they were alive or
dead, and for the moment that didn't matter, for a
dark figure was hovering over Treize like a vulture.

Zechs drew his sword.

"Get off of him."

The shadow turned towards him, a pale face lit by
moonlight, long black hair flowing out lightly in the
cool night breeze that wafted in from the open window,
eyes like angry red sparks.

"You!" it said, as if it recognized him.

Before it moved with inhuman speed out the window into
the darkness beyond.

Zechs did not give it a second thought. He followed,
though he spared a moment to judge the distance of his
coming fall and yell orders to the soldiers who rushed
into his Excellency's room.

It was a long way down, yet he managed to roll to his
feet uninjured. His mask fell to the ground, his hair
streamed behind him. Part of him questioned the sanity
of running out into the darkness after a vampire, but
the other part was angry and it knew where the other
had gone, though Zechs couldn't have said how. No
matter where the creature went, he would find it.

And it knew that as well, which was why it stopped
running.

In the darkness, he could make out the faint glows he
knew were eyes. It was watching him.

His entire being focused on the coming confrontation.
Everything else, the alarms and rush of soldiers,
vanished into a more calculating part of his mind.

"You fool," the voice hissed. "You shouldn't be here.
Don't you understand?"

"I'm sure I don't, if understanding is what is
necessary to let me stand by while you kill him."

"Too late for that, he's already dead."

No, it couldn't be. Red anger flowed through him,
infusing his veins with fire, burning him from inside
out.

"And you will be dead too, if you stay," it continued,
but Zechs didn't care.

"Then I die."

With that he rushed forward, battle cry on his lips
full of the anguish of what might have been. It took
him nearly by surprise and the creature as well.

Or so it appeared from its expression with Zechs'
sword embedded in its chest.

It made a gurgling noise.

A clawed hand came up and grabbed his throat, but the
grip was weak. Not nearly as strong as it had been in
the dream.

"I tried to warn you. You can't go back."

The hand let go, and Zechs pulled backwards, the blade
making a sucking sound as it was loosed from its
grisly sheath.

"You can't stop me."

He stared down at the creature, the cause of his
torment, for a moment, before raising the weapon once
more. With a vicious stroke, he forced it through bone
and flesh. Once, twice, thrice and it was done. The
head rolled away like the victim of a demented
children's game, mouth gaping.

Until it began to melt into dust, turning to sand
before his eyes.

In a few moments there was nothing there. Nothing but
sand watered with tears.

***

"Milliard."

Zechs looked around curiously. He wasn't sure how he
had gotten there, but that wasn't unusual. The dreams
always went this way. He was in Treize's room once
again, seated in a chair that was the remnant of a
bygone age.

"Sir?"

"I'm glad to see you're alright."

Treize was looking out the window thoughtfully, his
form blocking out the stars, no longer confined to the
bed but looking strong and hale.

"I was worried that you wouldn't return to me. He
killed the guards, you know."

No, he hadn't know. So, this wasn't a dream then, was
it?

Treize chuckled. "Oh, this is real. Dreams are as real
as you want them to be, Milliard. Sometimes they are
more real than any of this." One hand gestured to the
world at large.

But he hadn't said that out loud, had he?

"Then I'm glad you're feeling better, sir."

"Oh yes, quite, thanks to you."

Treize turned towards him. The look in his eyes made
Zechs freeze. They practically glowed with inner fire,
staring into his soul. And he knew that earlier that
day had been no coincidence.

"He tried to stop what he'd already started. But I
couldn't have that happen. And when one's sire is
dead, one is truly free."

Pink flesh ran over white teeth. It was then that
Zechs realized how pale Treize still was. He stood to
his feet.

"Sir?"

"Has anyone ever told you how beautiful you are,
Millard?"

There had only ever been one voice that had said that,
but it hadn't been real. It was only a dream, wasn't
it? This couldn't be real, either.

He instinctively tried to walk backwards, but couldn't
move. Zechs swallowed nervously.

Treize walked closer, stopping a foot away. The man
closed his eyes and breathed in deeply, smiling again.
Without opening his eyes, he placed one cool finger on
Zechs' cheek, trailing it downward, and left across
his mouth. "Shh... you don't have to worry. There was
never anything to be afraid of." The finger was
removed once again, the faint pressure relieved.

Then Treize pulled his close, enfolding him in strong
arms. That feeling, that scent, that was purely HIM
was almost intoxicating.

"Always and forever."

Fingers tangled in his hair, pulling his head to an
angle and holding it still. Treize's face brushed his
own, before he felt a sharp pain.

And it hurt, his vision narrowing, his world focusing
simply on that...

As it became something else, something as pure as the
pain, that surrounded him. Something far beyond his
youthful fumblings at sex and intimacy. There was
nothing in the world beyond the two of them. There was
only Treize.

He moaned, leaning into Treize, trying to touch, to
have more of every sensation. His heart pounded
loudly, his being drumming with ever beat.

*Please, please, please... Touch me, kill me, feel
me... Please.*

He was hot, but shivering. His vision began to black,
blurring as less and less oxygen reached his brain.
Then everything went white and he could see forms
dancing on the insides of his eyelids as they slipped
closed and his head fell forward.

Treize and the shadow, intertwined with each other.
The darkness, though, was as blurred as his vision,
gaining color, gaining form. The skin lightened to a
hue too pale to be human, the hair went from the
blackness of obscurity to his own familiar platinum.
Eyes that glowed blue turned towards him with a smile
through too pointed teeth.

"Mine," that voice said, one that he knew so well. The
vision came close and closer, until there was no
difference between them. The future and present merged
into one. Together. Always. Forever. Until the end of
time.

~THE BEGINNING~

***
Notes:
As a bit of a celebration for 'What is Your Pleasure,
Sir?' coming in first in the Devil with an Angel's
Face contest, I decided to post this. It was
originally part of a longer story where the GBoys took
turns telling scary stories, but I didn't think I'd
manage to finish the rest of them so you only get
Quatre's. Still, it's a story in its own right. Totally
influenced by Placebo's 'My Sweet Prince' and Annie
Lennox's 'Love Song for a Vampire' which are both
awesome songs and I totally recommend them. The first
is especially 13x6/6x13 with a bit of Wufei thrown in.
Hope you enjoyed! (and if not, please tell me why!)
***