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(fic) Intangible - Not a rock, I'm just Ruth
All Me, no apologies
(fic) Intangible
Title: Intangible
Author: Ruth
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: n/a
Warnings: All I know of fencing I learned from Errol Flynn movies.
Word count: 1041
Symbols: / = italics

"If you let me know what you're looking for in a recruit, General Kushrenada," said the headmaster irritably. "I might be able to suggest suitable candidates."

The youngest General of the United Earth Alliance smiled and shook his head. "I'm afraid I really can't say what I'm looking for, Master Jaeger. It's an intangible quality that's very hard to define, but I'll know it when I see it." The headmaster muttered something under his breath. Treize Kushrenada chose to ignore him.

His grandfather, the Duke Dermail, had charged him with forming a special squadron of mobile suit pilots. The Duke had plans for this new Order of the Zodiac. Treize had his own plans.

He walked briskly across the open area between the buildings and towards the gymnasium. There were several classes going on. There were two possibilities in the gymnastics arena, but it was the young man in the fencing class that caught his eye.

He was lean and wiry. His movements were swift and sudden. Treize's branched eyebrows rose as the youth disarmed an obviously older opponent. /I have seen that riposte only once before,/ he mused. /Is it possible?/

"Who is that youngster in the third ring?" Treize asked Master Jaeger, indicating which boy with a subtle shift of his chin.

"Zechs, sir, " said Master Jaeger. "The son of Vicomte Merquise."

/Merquise? Merquise? Ah, yes, Merquise!/ Treize smiled. "I have a favor to ask of you, Master Jaeger."

"Stay after class," said the instructor. "Master Jaeger wants you for a special exhibition with General Kushrenada. I am judging the duel."

Zechs agreed. The silver-haired fourteen year old was glad to keep his mask on. It was hiding the confusion he had been feeling for most of the week. Until a few days ago he had been content to be Zechs Merquise, adopted heir of the Vicomte Merquise. Now /he/ was the Vicomte and his step-father had imparted to him a secret in certain papers that were left to him. His sister was alive. It had dredged up ugly old memories, of a fire and gun shots and a terrified young prince named Millardo Peacecraft running for his life from a massacre with a throat so torn by smoke he would always sound a little hoarse.

/Her name is Relena. Cordell Darlian and I swore we would keep you safe. His wife had recently lost her child, so he announced that she had given birth to a little girl. You must know this, if anything were to happen to Darlian, it is you who must protect her. It is your duty./

I don't want this, Father! He cried silently.

"Are you ready, Count Merquise?" asked a warm, proud voice. His Excellency was waiting, his mask tucked under one arm, foil at his hip. The fencing outfit fitted like a soft glove and Zechs could feel his face start to color at the sculpted strength it revealed.

"Of course, Your Excellency," Zechs said gruffly.

There was a patter of applause from the curious students who remained to watch.

"An appreciative audience, Master Merquise," Treize purred with satisfaction. "Shall we give them a proper show?" He slipped his mask on.

Zechs felt a coldness rise inside him. It was exactly like the coolness he had felt during the battle simulations. "En garde," he growled.

It would be the hardest battle he'd ever fought. He quickly learned he did not have the advantage in strength, so he switched tactics to speed and agility. He parried and dodged, pressing in for the attack and backing off.

Treize's hand never moved from the small of his back. Zechs parried again, trying to remember all the things Pagan had drummed into him from the time he could walk. The metal of the foils shivered together with a singing sound. He backed away.

"Fault," said the judge. "Match to His Excellency." Zechs looked at his feet and felt his face color. He'd crossed the boundary.

Zechs would make sure the next match would not be so easy. He jumped to the attack. This time Treize was the one who kept moving, trying to direct the dance of clash and thrust. Their foils came together, locking on the bell shaped guards. Treize raised an eyebrow at him through the mesh of his mask, the touch of a smirk at the corner of his mouth.

Zechs resisted the urge to grin back. He'd discovered this move by accident during a lesson with his fencing instructor. In the clinch, you twist like so. . .

Treize looked startled as his blade snapped. Zechs backed off.

"Match to Merquise," announced the judge unnecessarily. Treize looked at Zechs thoughtfully for a long moment, then chose another foil. This was final bout -- the tie-breaker – this time all bets were off.

"Watch the eyes," whispered Pagan's far-away voice, but Treize's eyes never flickered. It was as if he had slipped on a mask beneath the fencing guard, hiding all he thought. Zechs circled again - and was aware of the boundary line off his left heel. If he was forced across it, the match belonged to Treize. He would not be caught so easily. His blade sliced the air, circled, came back to touch the red heart on his Excellency's chest. At the same moment, he felt Treize's guarded tip touch his own.

The gymnasium erupted with applause and cheers, drowning the judge's voice.

"Well done, Vicomte, well done indeed!" Treize slipped off his mask and offered his hand. Sweat plastered his reddish-gold hair to head. Zechs pulled off his own mask to accept the handshake. "That is the first time I have ever come close to defeat. My congratulations."

"Tell me," he continued. "Have you ever piloted a mobile suit?"

"Only in simulation, sir," Zechs admitted.

Treize nodded. "I'm forming a new squadron at Victoria Base. I'd like you to come and join the Order of the Zodiac. Your inexperience will be corrected very quickly with your aptitude. You have the qualities I have been looking for."

"I –," Zechs gulped. "I would be honored sir."

"Excellent! I'm sure you and Sergeant Noin will get along very well." He smiled again and stroked his chin with a thoughtful expression. "Yes, exactly what I'm looking for."



9 comments or Leave a comment
ginalin From: ginalin Date: January 23rd, 2005 01:47 am (UTC) (Link)
A Zechs zero manga? I really loved that.
All I know of fencing I learned on the internet too, and it was intriguing.
I had these two fencing in a story too. It's an almost irresistible scenario.

just_ruth From: just_ruth Date: January 23rd, 2005 01:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Sure! Especially if you stop and think about them in the fencing outfits.
ginalin From: ginalin Date: January 23rd, 2005 03:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Mmmm. Fencing outfits. I love how it goes with that whole European aristicratic thing that both Zechs and Treize have going on.
damoyre From: damoyre Date: January 23rd, 2005 10:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very nice. :)
just_ruth From: just_ruth Date: January 25th, 2005 10:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you.
hexadecimal00 From: hexadecimal00 Date: January 24th, 2005 04:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Very well done :)

You handle Treize so well, I'm jealous. (That sounds rather dirty compared to my intended meaning, but I'm leaving it just because. ^^)

just_ruth From: just_ruth Date: January 25th, 2005 10:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
trowacko From: trowacko Date: January 24th, 2005 08:01 am (UTC) (Link)
oooooh. i loved your descriptions of action. the match was very well told, very, very nice. i particularly loved Zechs' thoughts, his drive. besides <.<;; Zechs. Trieze. fencing *____*
just_ruth From: just_ruth Date: January 25th, 2005 10:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fencing is always fun. Glad you liked it.
9 comments or Leave a comment