AN:  Sequel to Drive. Just a pointless piece of fluff I wrote for my own amusement and decided to share with you guys. O.K., so they're on Mars…now what? Be prepared for buckets and buckets of drippy, gooey sap. Geez, I should move to Vermont or something.  I developed a cavity while writing this, so if you liked it, please review. It will give me something to read in the dentist's office.

Stellar Song by Incubus Story by Lady Dante

Mars Colony, March AC 199

~Meet me in outer space,

We could spend the night;

Watch the earth come up~

Zechs Marquise slowly awakened to the realization that, not only was he not in his bed, he was sprawled rather uncomfortably across something. His eyes snapped open at the sudden knowledge that he was laying on top of someone. He cautiously pushed himself up to rest on an elbow and looked down upon the sleeping form of Lucretzia Noin. He rubbed his eyes, aware now that they were in the middle of the lounge floor in the housing unit. He smiled, recalling how the two ended up in such an awkward position.

The previous evening, just after their shift ended, they met for dinner in the common lounge. After the meal, the couple settled in to watch the broadcast of a speech by Vice Foreign Minister, Relena Dorlian. Zechs had promised his little sister faithfully to watch all of her speeches and send comments afterwards. Last night, however, he and his companion had been quite fatigued from the day's activities and decided to make themselves comfortable during the broadcast. Unfortunately, they both promptly and soundly fell asleep. Zechs congratulated himself on having the foresight to record the speech. He would be able to watch later and then call his sister. Right now, however, he just wanted to enjoy these few moments alone with Noin.

~I've grown tired of this place;

won't you come with me?

We could start again.~

He gazed down at the young woman, still rather astounded that she came with him to this harsh new world…that she stayed. Zechs fingered a lock of Noin's raven hair as he considered the situation. He smiled softly as he remembered the day they left Earth…


"Noin…are you sure you want to…"

"Zechs. Don't make me repeat myself…again."

After a few minutes of silence, Noin smiled up at him a little nervously. "So…how about a game of chess?"

"Sounds good," he responded quietly.


That game changed his life. Chess is a game that leaves one time for contemplation, something Zechs did very well. Upon reflecting on his relationship with the amazing woman sitting across from him, the young man finally decided to let go of the past and move on, create a new life for himself. He also decided to reveal his heart to Noin. He had known what a risk that would be, but it turned out to be the wisest decision he ever made. His declaration was rewarded with a similar response and a renewed hope for the future. 

~How do you do it?

Make me feel like I do.~

Not that it had been all roses and sunshine from that point on. It took the couple a long time work out their problems. There were buried resentments and pain to be dealt with. He had a lot to answer for with Noin and for once he took responsibility for himself. He ceased to blame his past traumas for his mistakes. Noin had been there beside him the whole time, forcing him to take a good hard look at himself. At first, Zech had resented what he perceived as her interference. She was always pushing him to face up to the realities of his life. Not just the mistakes he made, but his successes as well. Noin would not let him wallow in self-loathing. She made him see that everyone deserved a chance at happiness, even him, or, as Noin insisted, especially him. She pestered him unrelentingly to try and build some sort of relationship with his sister. He thought Relena would be better off without the burden of an insane megalomaniac for a brother, but Noin refused to let that be.

Zechs was grateful to her for that interference. He spoke to his sister often, listening to the details of her life. Sometimes she spoke of her duties as vice foreign minister, other times relating the various and sundry problems she faced as a teenaged girl making a place for herself. The small victories and defeats of a promising life. Occasionally, he would also reveal his own struggles to his sister. He had once thought impossible to speak to Relena in the way one family member speaks to another, he had not presumed to expect such a reward. Whether he deserved such a gift or not, Zechs often found himself talking to the young girl about his new life, his lingering doubts, and even his blossoming feelings of love for the woman who saved his soul. He was growing closer to his sister everyday and it was once again thanks to Noin.

~How do you do it?

It's better than I ever knew.~

Their life on Mars was not an easy one, nor was it always happy, but it was their own, free of the complications of the past. The first time Zechs and Noin stepped onto Martian soil was a bit of a shock. The vast wasteland was a truly intimidating sight. The winds were as harsh as the view, alluding to the fact that life here would be demanding. The unexpected beauty of the place was not lost on either of them, but life here did take some getting used to. The red dust that constantly swirled around the collection of newly-constructed habitats had a unique, spicy smell. Noin once commented that it was like living on a ball of paprika. It was vaguely pleasant, but did nothing for someone with allergies.

Daily life here was wrapped up in the routine of constant expansion. Everyone was expected to work hard and contribute fully. Zechs and Noin, for the first time since being commissioned in OZ, were now common underlings. They spent most of their days operating construction suits and hauling material from one locale to the next. The controls of a construction unit were not unlike those of a mobile suit, and the colony's director quickly made use of the former pilots' training.

Zechs had been born a prince, but not raised one and physical labor was not something he shirked. He actually embraced the harsh realities of building a new colony on the red planet. At the end of the day he was invariably exhausted, but fell asleep content in the knowledge that he had accomplished something good and useful that day. Zechs was building something, not tearing it down…and he wasn't alone anymore.

~ You are stellar.

  You are stellar.~

The young man smiled down at the person who filled his heart with hope and peace. Noin was curled up on her stomach, arms crossed under her chin like a child. Her uniform was rumpled, there was a bit of dried sleep in her eye and her hair was a hopeless mess…and she was still the most beautiful woman Zechs had ever known. He watched Noin sleep for a long time, enjoying the peaceful expression on her face and the steady sound of her breathing. He idly ran his fingers through her hair, displacing small traces of the Martian dust that covered them both. They had been too tired to change out of their work clothes last evening and only managed to rid them selves of the dirt on their hands and faces before dinner. He leaned over and kissed her pink cheek. At his touch, she shifted slightly. Zechs settled down next to her and feigned sleep just as Noin's eyes fluttered open.

~Meet me in outer space.

I will hold you close,

If you're afraid of heights.~

Noin stifled a groan as she awoke in the middle of the lounge floor. She was definitely going to be stiff today. She moved gingerly, careful of her already sore muscles, and sat up. At least, she sat up as much as possible without waking Zechs. He had an arm casually draped across her and any additional movement was sure to wake him. Noin ran her hands through her hair and rubbed the sleep from her eyes, glad that Zechs had not seen her in such a state. She looked down at the handsome young man next to her and shook her head. It was 5 a.m., he had fallen asleep in the floor, his uniform was a disaster and Zechs Marquise still managed to look as beautiful as the first time she saw him so many years ago. Why do guys always get the good hair?

She brushed his hair away and gazed at his face. He looked so young. He was young, they both were. At the age of 22, their greatest concern should be what to do after college. Instead, they were trying to create a new life out of broken pieces of the old. They were part of an entire generation of young people who had known only the brutality of war and the greed of malevolent leaders. A normal life was a novelty.

It had bee difficult for Noin and Zechs to blend into the new community. At first, they didn't even try. She and Zechs kept to themselves, more interested in working on repairing their own relationship than building new ones. It didn't help matters any that they were the only permanent residents who were single. There were dozens of temporary workers who filtered in and out, staying for a week or so before being rotated out, but the majority of the colony population consisted of young families. The idea was that the colony would take decades to complete and it would be more efficient and better for morale if families were given precedence. The fact that Relena was Zechs' sister and a personal friend of Noin was the only thing that got the two single ex-soldiers added to the roster.

The rest of the colony eventually warmed up to the two quiet outsiders, particularly Noin, who was asked to take on a teaching position in the new school. She took to her additional duties immediately. It was wonderful to be teaching again and, this time, without the worry or guilt associated with sending young people off to battle. Through 'her kids,' Noin got to know most of their families quite well. Zechs was still seen as a little standoffish and Noin endeavored to be a bridge between her best friend and the rest of the community. It took time and patience, but all her efforts eventually paid off. Here they were, well liked by their neighbors, satisfied with their jobs…content. Well, most of the time.

~How do you do it?

Make me feel like I do.~

She shifted slightly and looked down at the incredibly handsome man sleeping peacefully. Sometimes it drove her absolutely insane to be close to him. Close but not touching. They behaved with maturity and decorum not generally expected of young adults. It was the lingering result of a childhood passed in military training. Every day had been about discipline. Now that it was no longer expected, they couldn't seem to break the habit. The kept a respectable distance from each other during working hours or in public, much to the amusement of the other colonists. It was no secret that the two unmarrieds were a couple. If they hadn't been when they arrived, Zechs and Noin would surely have been a couple within a few months simply by default. The other colonists were careful to pair the two young people up whenever possible, making certain that they sat together at community functions and other little none-to-subtle matchmaking tactics. The common lounge, for instance, was usually vacated by 8:00 in the evening to give the couple time alone at the end of the day. Zechs, ironically, had been the first to notice the conspiracy and it endeared his neighbors to him. When Noin finally realized what was going on she was a little embarrassed. Pleased, but embarrassed.

~How do you do it?

It's better than I ever knew.~

It had been two years since they first arrived at their new home. Two years of hard work and long talks, but the couple had finally settled into a comfortable life. Their relationship had been strengthened enough to foster real trust. That trust provided the support for their love. They said it to each other often. Noin smirked. There had been a time when neither would have dreamed of speaking those words. It was their final competition. Who would say "I love you" first.

Noin leaned in closer, gently caressing the sleeping man's cheek. In the end, Zechs said it first. The young woman bowed her head slightly, resting her cheek against his. She never knew what power three words could have over the human heart. Noin turned slightly and pressed her lips to Zechs' smooth cheek. She had lived through hell and this was her reward, her gift from God. The love of an extraordinary man and the ability to return that love with her entire heart. She continued to lightly kiss the young man's skin, finally brushing her warm lips against his.

Noin was startled when Zechs wrapped his arms around her and spun over, quickly but carefully pinning the young woman beneath him.

~ You are stellar.

You are stellar.~

"Good morning," Zechs murmured against Noin's lips before continuing the soft kiss. His hair fell over his shoulders and across them both, spilling onto the carpeted floor around them like a curtain, shielding them from the rest of the world. His lips left hers briefly and traveled lightly over her cheeks and eyelids, down to her smooth neck. Noin sighed in spite of herself. This was what it was all about. All the hardships, heartbreak and arguments…all of it bringing them to this. She lay contentedly in Zechs' arms, their breathing and heartbeats in sync. Noin was finally with the man she loved in a life she enjoyed. No politics, no unattainable ideals, nothing to stand in their way anymore. She nuzzled his cheek and held him tighter. She was safe and free because of Zechs...because he asked her to come with him.  Noin turned her head to meet Zechs in another deep kiss.

~ How do you do it?

Make me feel like I do.~

Lost in the gentle passion of the kiss, the two were oblivious to the amount of time that passed. As dawn gradually approached, Noin unexpectedly flinched. "Ow."

Zechs pulled back, startled. "What?"

"Leg cramp," Noin replied sheepishly.

Concerned, Zechs immediately reached down and began massaging the young woman's leg, kneading the muscles for a few moments before Noin shyly pointed out that they were not in the best position should someone walk in the lounge. They both chuckled nervously and Zechs helped Noin to her feet. He put his arm around her waist as they walked over to the large window overlooking the vast red desert below. The sun was just beginning to make its ascent into the morning sky, its golden rays streaking across the small cluster of environmental domes that made up the burgeoning colony.

~How do you do it?

It's better then I ever knew. ~

"This was a nice way to wake up…" Noin commented quietly as they watched the brilliant sunrise.

Zechs hesitated a moment before responding, "We could wake up like this every day…"

As Zechs' voice trailed off, Noin kept her eyes trained on the orange disk rising above the blistered terrain. "I don't think it's a good idea to sleep on the lounge floor every night, especially in our work clothes…you know how that dust makes you sneeze." She casually brushed a trace of red dirt from her sleeve.

Zechs gave her a sideway glance and said, "That's not what I meant."

"Oh. What did you mean?"

"I meant," he turned Noin to face him and pulled her closer, "it could always be like this." 


"Don't be obtuse."

Noin snorted. "Look at the pot calling the kettle 'obtuse.'"

"Noin…" Zechs tightened his embrace and continued, "You know perfectly well what I'm trying to say."

"Yes, Zechs, I know perfectly well what you're trying to say."


"And I still want you to say it."

The young man grunted in frustration, clearly displeased with Noin's joy at torturing him in this manner. Zechs scowled and took her chin in his hand. "Lucretzia Noin," he began then added sarcastically, "light of my life…"

"Yes Zechs?" Noin answered sweetly. She was definitely enjoying this.

Zechs took a breath and soberly asked, "Will you marry me?"

"See? That wasn't so hard, was it?"

"No, it wasn't," he admitted with some surprise.

"So I was right."

"As usual…which I find damned annoying."

Noin's reply was a grin before giving Zechs a peck on the cheek.

"Well?" Zechs stared down at her with an eyebrow raised.

"Well, what?" Noin smiled innocently.

Zechs gave her an exasperated glare before demanding, "Will…You…Marry…Me?"

"Oh, Zechs," Noin teased affectionately, wrapping her arms around his neck. "don't be obtuse."

Zechs' expression softened as he leaned down for conformation in the form of a kiss. Just as their lips were about to touch…


"God bless you."


"You're welcome…ACHOO!"

"God bless you."


"Kiss me quick before we sneeze again."


As they kissed, bathed in the golden glow of a Mars sunrise, other members of the colony began to filter through the hallways on their way to commence the day's activities. Construction workers made their way outside the complex in their cumbersome environmental suits. One worker glanced up to the living quarters and spied two figures in the lounge window, locked in a loving embrace and oblivious to their surroundings. Nudging her partner, the amused woman pointed to the window and the scene was called to the attention of the rest of the group. Soon there was a small crowd staring up and clapping in approval. The couple, who could not hear the commotion below, separated and turned once again to watch the sun on its ascent into the heavens.

Noin jumped a bit upon noticing the small crowd watching them from below. Blushing uncontrollably, she attempted to step away from the window, only to find herself trapped in her fiancé's arms. Zechs held up Noin's left hand and pointed to her ring finger. The small group of their fellow colonists erupted into animated cheers, joyously giving their consent to the union. Pleased with the response, the young couple sealed the bargain with another kiss.

+++++++++++++++++++ The End +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Like I said, drip, drip, drip. This is a sequel to 'Drive.' You don't have to read that to understand this one, but I'd like you to read it. It would make me very happy. [bats eyelashes] Then maybe review? I'd be grateful if you reviewed. [big Duo-esque grin] Please?

Disclaimer: In case you haven't read the other 20 or so disclaimers I've written, I do not own Gundam Wing, nor the song 'Stellar.' They are copyrighted by their respective owners. I wish I owned them both. Well, I guess I could settle for owning Zechs, Noin and the lead singer from Incubus…yeah, that would keep me REAL happy…