Zechs still has a piece. Zechs deals with emotional aftermath of the war.
He still has a piece. It's small and fits easily into the palm of his hand. Quickly, it warms up, pressing into his some what over heated flesh. His fingers clench around the sliver, and the sharper edges dig into his skin. There's a small moment and then his hand feels warm and slick.
It cleans, washing away all traces of blood. He scrubs at his hands, uncaring as the soap and rough hand cloth drag against his skin, pulling at the exposure in his skin. The hand cloth, faded and already stained, adds another pinkish mark.
Sometimes he believes he should showcase it. Display it for all the world to see, just above eye level so your eyes was automatically drawn up high, made to look up at his disgrace.
That amused him, when he was nursing a bottle. Relena didn't care for that, she desperately wanted to help, yet couldn't. During their last argument, her last session where she would beg for him to accept her peace offering, her help, she had suddenly stopped.
Stared at him. Her eyes were tired, blotchy and full of tears. Light left them, and the tears were withdrawn with a hasty sniffle. She shook her head. "You don't care. You want to live this way. I can't help that, can I, Zechs?" She looks away, her voice cracking as she continues, "You're foolish. This won't bring them back. This won't bring anyone back."
He knows that, but doesn't say a word as she leaves, Pagan opening the door respectfully for her even as he stares at Zechs with sorrow. He remembers that man, from before Relena was born. Pagan knows how far he had dragged himself down. What part of himself he has lost.
During the war, the helmet, his mask, had felt bulky and uncomfortable. It attracted stares, whispers. He had worn it, with his shoulders straight as if he wasn't wearing it. It had been a burden, but one that had guaranteed his survival in the desperate days that followed the destruction of his homeland.
No one at the Academy knew that in their midst the forgotten Prince of Sanq was learning to fire a gun. He had been good. The instructors had been pleased. They had praised his efforts. Applauded him, telling him that he would make a fine soldier. He sometimes wondered if they had ever seen combat, or were just clear sighted enough to recognise the truth in the world ruled by Romefeller. Their gaze was clearer than his, then.
Shooting straight through the ranks had been easy on his natural born talent. Killing, ordering deaths and missions, he had served OZ well. He rarely wondered then what his father might think. He dared not to.
The war broke the helmet, just as it had broke him. He knows that when it shattered, his way in the tide of war changed. The moment is clear in his mind. The blood, the coppery taste in his lips. The sweetness, that was freedom and a new prison in all the same second.
He could feel eyes on him. It was different from before, and difficult not to go defensive. Lashing out of people, when you feel their eyes ghosting across your skin, made you re think your actions. It was exposure, and under the spotlight, Zechs had felt raw and unrestrained.
Seeing his sister leave, her shoulders hunched with regret and loss and frustration, made his fingers clutch at the last remaining piece of his helmet. He had destroyed the rest, it had been more successful than his destruction of Zechs Merquise. But perhaps, he realised, Milliardo Peacecraft had died the moment he had placed the helmet on his head.
Then he was no one. Just another nameless ruined soldier with a sordid past and a messed up head. His hand jerked, and without looking he knew that rivets of blood bright blood was running between and over his tense fingers.
It was his last reminder of who he was, of what he was. Letting go, was harder than he had imagined. Bringing revenge against his parents, against the destruction of Sanq, had not appeased him. Near destroying the world, in his utter and clear madness, in some ways had brought him to the brink and back again.
For a time he had the world in his grasp, power and purpose had rushed to his head. Without the clunky helmet over his eyes, he couldn't see at all.
Relena was a ideal, of what he was willing and wanting to spill his own blood over. She represented everything his father would have wanted in a child. He, Zechs, was the mistake. He saw no judgement in her eyes, but she had never known their father, the King of Sanq. Zechs felt it plenty enough.
He knew what his father would have wanted. And his blood stained hands, would have only shamed and saddened him.
His sister had the burden of the Peacecraft name. She bore it well, with grace and dignity, while he had just disgraced the name and all that it intended.
This guilt, he knew why he bore it. That didn't make the countless lives he had taken any more bearable to live with. It was moments like these that he felt something akin in emotion to Treize's. The man had thrust himself on to the Chang boy's Gundam. Had left behind the world, so that peace, could have a chance.
He sometimes wondered why he wasn't dead. Countless soldiers had died. Yet he still breathed. Could still see far, without the weight of the helmet dragging him down.
The last reminder was washed clean of blood again. Spotless and immaculate, everything that had died with him, with Sanq.
Zechs was still a soldier. He still kept a gun, more than one, and even though some of them, weren't legal, it never imposed on his mind. At the time he cocked the gun, ready to end it here and now, he thought nothing for his neighbours and only a passing thought for his sister.
Taking a large breath, Zechs shook his head, and smiled ruefully, the first in some time. It was destroyed. That part of his life, was no more.
He stepped back, and was surprised to see his sister there. Standing to calmly for someone near a hardened soldier with a gun. She was spending too much time with Heero, Zechs noted.
"I know. You don't need to say sorry." She smiles at him, slowly and sweetly and serenely. "It's been a while, you know, but would you like to have lunch?"
The last time they had lunch together was in the Sanq nursery. The building had rattled under the sound of bombs falling and crashing, their nurse maid had been quiet and white, before she ran off shaking. He never saw her again.
He makes himself smile. But it isn't as hard as he thought he might be. "Yes." Relena doesn't need more than that. She nods, and opens the door. Zechs frowned, at the key dangling between her fingers. When did she get a key...?
"Good, I'm glad. There's a great seafood place, real quiet and cozy, with the greatest scallops..."
Her voice trails off, as Zechs walks behind, eyes still wary, but Relena still needs his protection. However his instincts are more brotherly than soldierly now.