A/N: I'm a little concerned that I was able to get so easily into Treize's character, or at least what I think is Treize's character. This fic is from his point of view. I've never written so specifically for Treize before, so the quality of the characterization is up for debate. However, I've never written straight-up 13x11 before (in fact, I've been on a canon GW spree lately). My forte is, as far as I know, 1xR but I thought I'd try my hand at "new" pairings and go back to the series.
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing and am making no profit from this story.
Warning: Rated for adult innuendo.
Any feedback you wish to give is greatly appreciated.
The Real Lady
There were two Unes. Speculation from many Oz officials to Colony diplomats had yet to confirm which one was the real woman. Was it the nail-hard field commander who would jeopardize the fate of the Colonies just to capture the five Gundam pilots? Or was it the gentle representative who would risk her own life so she could rescue a couple of those same boys?
Treize enjoyed the mystery. It was a personal secret of how the woman he called Lady had come into his service. Rumors of an affair were bountiful, but he had scarcely touched the woman. Much to his amusement, the Colonel became so flustered whenever he expressed any physical interest that Treize simply allowed the distance for her comfort. And the aristocrat did want to comfort her.
After all, it was because of him that she had become two people within one body.
"You should be shot, Treize, for your disgrace toward this woman." That he was fascinated by her personality disorder only made him all the more despicable, and he knew it.
Standing in the doorway, he took in the atmosphere of her hospital room. The lights were bright, but not so bright that they were imposing rather than cheery. The roses he had brought in the day before had not yet begun to wilt, and they were the brightest splash of color in the room among all of the pristine, sanitary white. That was, except for Une herself. The lusciousness of her mahogany hair was a shock against her bleached pillow, and she lay there like Sleeping Beauty, hands resting peacefully at her sides, face relaxed with her impenetrable sleep.
He approached the guest's chair by the bed and sat down quietly. While her coma-induced sleep would hardly be easily easily-interrupted, he still held respect for the serenity that the location demanded. "Forgive me, Lady," Treize said softly. "I realized this morning that my visits have come with talks of only this blood-bathed era of ours. A woman permitted to skip this war is a blessed woman indeed." His full lips spread with a smile. "Although I daresay you would disagree with me. Even so, while the way of it displeases me, I am glad you been given the opportunity to avoid some of the required tragedy of today, I have a selfish desire," the demagogue confessed, "to maintain and protect your sweet nature."
Her hair, loose upon her slim, pale shoulders, reminded him of the first and thusfar only time he had met the Lady known as Representative Une. She had known who he was, naturally, but it seemed at that time she hadn't been aware of her other self. It had been the first in a very long time that Treize Khushrenada had felt confused.
"Treize felt somewhat idle standing in a dimly lit hotel suite – in his nightclothes, no less – on Colony L1-A0101, the Colony nearest Earth. It may have been dangerous for him to be here this uncertain time in the war, but he did not fear danger. Was not leadership one large danger in itself?
He lifted a pure crystal goblet to his lips and drank. Even red wine did not bring him particular joy tonight. Organizing his thought processes was a grueling task, especially for him.
Besides, if Oz could not keep their current accord with the Colonies, they would ultimately end up entering with them in combat, as they were now arming themselves, whether or not they sided with the Gundams again. He would return to Earth soon enough, but it from was here that he could see his potential ally/enemy the way the Colonists did, and he trusted that the point of view would help him in the future.
Most would think Treize's way of thinking was entirely without sanity. "No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness," Aristotle had said, and the Austrian aristocrat agreed with the philosopher. After all, if he was going to have the title of Excellency, was it not important that he have a good reason for being so called?
The truth was, the majority of the human race was completely unsure of what they wanted for the world. But Treize Khushrenada was not one of those people. He had a vision, and he had a means of achieving it. Even if it meant deaths, even if it meant taking up with a gerontocracy like Romefeller, he was determined to be one of the few saw his dream for mankind actually happen.
Whatever the cost.
A sturdy rap on his door broke through his thoughts, and he reached for a richly comfortable robe and secured the belt. "Come in," he called in a voice that was kind even as it was loud. He poured a second glass of wine for his expected guest.
The room door opened neither swiftly nor slowly and closed thus behind the arrival. Treize turned to Une with a smile, wineglass in hand. The smile promptly fell as he saw her. This was unusual, as even a glimpse of her normally uplifted him. Perhaps it was her hair...
For years Treize had wondered was his Lady would look like without the strict buns she wore habitually, but his imaginings had not come close to the real thing; he had not known her tresses would be quite so long nor how it would shine as she moved.
The lack of her uniform in favor of a navy blue business suit with matching skirt and jacket was flattering to her. Modest heels graced her feet. The colonel wore her body well. He had never suspected that she could; she was always so unconscious of her appearance beyond its professionalism. Through her brown eyes, not obscured by glasses, she regarded him with a soft smile. This smile the leader of Oz knew to be Une's but at the same time had never seen it before.
"Lady," he said, startling himself with the high tone of surprise in his voice, "you are…different this evening."
"Oh?" There was a change in his loyal subordinate's tone. It was…softer, graceful. Less harsh. "Does my choice of ensemble disappoint you, Your Excellency?"
She sounded genuinely curious, but there was no trace of the concern that the Lady he knew so often held when seeking his approval. "Lady, you are always beautiful," he assured her. He was stunned to see that, though she bowed as was normal when he complimented her, she did not blush in the slightest. In fact, he noticed that she had not tried to avert her eyes upon first seeing his state of attire. A feeling of disappointment did creep into him now. Where was the innocent woman he was always so delighted by?
"Lady," he began, and then had to stop. He didn't know precisely what to say, and finally went with, "How are the operations on Space Fortress Barge going? I have heard of nothing new since your last report."
"Well, Your Excellency." Her answer was smooth, nearly conversational. "I am sure that with Space Fortress Barge monitoring the Colonies, Oz will be that much closer helping to bring about peace."
The word "peace" from her mouth startled him once more. "Peace, Lady?" He was ashamed by the utter confusion in his tone.
"Of course, sir. I've no doubt that Oz is being spoken of at this very moment as the organization that will turn the tide of the war for the better." She smiled and approached him in long, confident strides. Her air was similar to one of the noblewomen he had known in his life, and it troubled him greatly. He offered her the full glass of wine in his hand and considered her as she drank from him.
The woman who stood before him was, quite obviously, not the same person he had first taken under his wing. While there was no possibility of an imposter, for he knew every physical inch of Une, the mind behind the intelligent eyes was a stranger to him. Who was this self-assured bird that, though her approach was unrecognizable, still held so much apparent love for him?
Half of the enjoyment he had derived from Lady Une came from her normal behavior of aptitude, only for her to show childlike embarrassment whenever he treated her like a true woman. This Une seemed to be quite the opposite, though the able attitude remained. She seemed to be just like the Une he knew so well but for her fashion and some of her countenance.
He decided to test it. Setting down his own glass, he gave her a smile – one that was genuine, of course, but also one that plotted. "Lady, your faithfulness always reminds me why I will not surrender my hopes for the future." And he took her gloveless hand, distracted only momentarily by the unknown softness of her skin, and pressed his lips to the back of it.
That proved it. The Lady of before would have jumped at the contact and most likely would have begun to stutter. This Lady held a vastly different reaction; a gorgeous smile, and a grateful nod of her head. Composed was what Treize described her as. It was entirely unexpected, and he did not know what to do.
"Master Treize, it shall be in your name tomorrow that I go to represent Oz within the Colonies. It is the greatest honor that could be bestowed upon me." She pulled her hand away. "Thank you."
Perhaps, Treize surmised, this was the woman that Colonel Une had subconsciously desired to be. Had she thought that he might have preferred this Lady? And indeed, he could not deny that this Une brought forth feelings that any man might have when stirred. Was it possible that Une had created this side to herself out of a wish?
"Oh, my dearest Lady," Treize thought in horror even as he smiled at her. "What have I done to you?" And what did he do to her now, as he pulled the glass out of her hand and wrapped an arm about her slender waist?
Treize was given an idea as he tasted his wine again, this time from her lips. Lady Une did not resist him but rather responded with a mutual emotion, and all at once there was no war, no Oz, even no world...
"Lady…what I have done is both unforgivable and irreparable. Perhaps God kept you alive to remind me of my sins and how I shall doubtlessly burn for them. As I should," Treize admitted to the woman who could not hear him. "Or perhaps it was not God's doing but one of the young men you saved. I've no worry that the Gundam pilots have integrity; who would be more fit for the word righteous than they? I should thank them if I ever discover that it was they who saved you. And yet I am selfish even now, for rather than feeling gratitude that you are at least alive, every moment I wish you would awake and tell me that you are loyal to me still. But such things I have no right to hope for. And yet I continually plan the future. By this time next month, Queen Relena will be free of Romefeller's cage, and I will take her place as Chief Representative."
He shook his head, recalling his last words to her before she fell into her coma. "I am sure I've confused you. For it is true that I last told you that I have no right to rule the world, but here I am. My indecisiveness must frustrate you, and for that I am deeply sorry. It is both a plague and a blessing to me, Lady, that the only thing I can do for anyone now is to free a young girl from the binds of the Romefeller Foundation. And should I fail, I will at least have the comfort of knowing that you would have supported me in this."
Treize took a long, deep breath. He let the life-giving air fill his lungs, wishing he could pass it into this woman and trade existences. "But even then God would not have me. And if you wake again, Lady, who will you be? Will you be the Colonel or the Representative? Will you be both? Will you maybe even be neither?"
Such a tortured soul, thought Treize. The actions of this woman ranged between the condemnable and the praise-worthy, but nothing she may have done made her deserving of such an insecure fate. The fault of that was his alone.
The world did not need two Unes, and neither did he. Besides nature, he had trouble figuring out the difference between them. Some might hypothesize that it was simply that one Lady understood him and one did not. But there had been instances with both minds where she had appeared to not know him at all, and then the next instant understood him completely. What a puzzle.
"No matter what, Lady. You are mine. Given the choice, I would never replace you, nor can you ever be replaced." Treize stood up. He reached out one finger to gently stroke along the line of her perfect jaw. "Beauty does not last, Lady, but love does. If I do nothing else for you, I promise this: you shall never be without my love. It makes no difference who you are."
He bent over her and in that moment adored her as much as any mortal can adore another. He was not, in that second, the god she saw him as but merely a man who desired her encouragement.
Treize had compared her to Sleeping Beauty, but she was not that fairytale princess. This maiden would not return to him with the sweetness of true love's kiss, even it was true love that he wished to offer her. He let his proud forehead touch hers with unmatched care. His lips lowered tenderly to hers; there was a stirring, but not one of life."Despite my longing for you, Lady, I must not be the prince that you should live happily ever after with." The thought pained him, and he straightened again. He was a tall, majestic figure in that modest hospital room. But that was by appearance alone. In reality, he felt very much like a failed knight.
Turning on his booted heel, he went for the exit. As he always did, he felt unworthy in her motionless presence even though she could not say he was.
"Know this, Lady," he murmured at the door that would take him back to the world of war, away from her. "As long as I live…" The promise he made, however, was empty in his mind; for he did not know how much longer he would live.
"I will always be yours so long as whoever you are will go on loving me. She is the real Lady."
Treize Khushrenada would, if nothing else, live how he could.