Disclaimers: Gundam Wing was created by Sotsu.

No monetary profit is being made by this.

Summary: Zechs has a proposition for Duo. (Non yaoi version)

Winner Enterprises First Anniversary Fanfic Competition, 2002 - Honourable Mention - http://www.angelfire.com/anime3/winner01/winnerfics04.html

Author's note: Set after "The Final battle" but before Endless Waltz.




The white haired pilot pushed his captive into the dimly lit room. Duo hit the floor with an audible 'oomph.' He stood in the next instant, glaring at his captor. He could barely make out the other's features, but he didn't have to. He heard the click of a gun and saw a glint of metal in Zechs' hand. In the dark room, Zechs' eyes glowed. "So you're going to kill me," Duo said, evenly. "Makes sense, I suppose.

Always knew I would die sooner rather than later. To tell you the truth I thought Heero might be the one to do it, or that I'd die in battle, but hey."

"Duo, sometimes you talk too much."

"So kill me."

Zechs hesitated.

"I hope you're not expectin' me to beg," Duo said. "Cause you'll be waitin' until your hair turns white ... Oh wait..."

Zechs smiled. "On the contrary. If you begged, I'd be very disappointed, Duo Maxwell. I think very highly of you."

"Thanks for the compliment, now are you gonna shoot me or what?"

"Before this weapon is discharged, I want you to listen to what I have to say."

"Well get on with it. I haven't got all day."

Zechs paused before he spoke. "So much has happened in this war, Duo. Millions are dead."

"Tell me something I don't know."

"All my life I have struggled for a peaceful Universe."

"Could've fooled me."

"Just listen to me, Duo. I used Libra in the hope of bringing about peace to the colonies and Earth ... I believed I was right in what I was doing as a Peacecraft. At the time I didn't realise I was as bad as the ones who started this war. I became a warlord. Many more died because I prolonged this war. Fought and killed instead of talked and listened. I believed by turning the light on the ugliness of war, people would strive for peace, but my message was lost. I became righteous, pompous... My own sister, Relena became ashamed of the Peacecraft name. How many more will die? How many grieve over the loss of loved ones, friends and family? I can't answer that. I don't think anyone can. Perhaps you can, you're the God of Death."

"More than you can imagine," Duo said, answering Zechs' question.

"That's what I've been afraid to answer," the other replied. "Damage that I cannot... that no one can fix. How long will the pain and suffering endure? For how many generations? How many thousands of years before it's all forgotten and war breaks out again? That cannot happen, Duo. No one must forget what happened here. I was wrong in the actions I took, looking back, but I cannot change the past. I tried when I became Preventor Wind, but I could only do so much. I couldn't right even half of my wrongs. I want to do more, Duo, but what can I do? I cannot bring back those lost to the war, or give comfort to those in grief. How much blood is on my hands? I can't expect to be forgiven when I can't even forgive myself." Zechs paused. "Duo, there's one thing I want you to do for me."

"Before I die that is?"

Slowly Zechs handed his gun to the young Gundam pilot. "I want you to kill me."

Taken aback, Duo stared at the gun.

"Take it," Zechs said. "...Take it!"

Duo took the gun, unsure.

"It's fully loaded, I assure you."

Duo hesitated.

"What are you waiting for?"

"Why me?" Duo asked. "Why not Heero, or one of the others?"

"You're the God of Death, Duo. It seemed fitting that I should meet my death in your hands."

"Zechs, I'm honoured, but I-"

"But what?"

Duo lowered the gun. "I can't."

"I want to die," Zechs stated. "It's my last hope for peace."

Duo took a breath. "No."

"What sort of God are you!?" Zechs screamed, his eyes almost brimming with tears. He slammed his arms down, his green robe fluttering.

"I wouldn't be much of a God of anything if I went against the will of the Universe. It's not your time Zechs. Shinigami knows that. Even the God of Death has no right to take someone before their time."

"Please, Duo ..." A tear escaped the tall man.

"I'm sorry, Zechs."

"Then I'll do it myself!"

He tried to take the gun from Duo, but the Gundam pilot wouldn't let him.

"If you kill yourself, you'll just have to come back and do it all over again. That's not the answer either, Zechs.

"Then what is?!"

"Only you can answer that. I can't answer it for you. All I can tell you is you have to look for peace within yourself."

"And how do I find that?"

"I can't answer that."

"Please, Duo..."

"I canít .... Take care of yourself, Zechs Merquise." With that, Duo Maxwell began to walk away.

Zechs paused before he spoke. "And you also, Shinigami."

Zechs left the complex and began to walk. He didnít know where he was going, this Autumn night, but he was sure it was somewhere. Miles and miles alter, he came upon a dark, deserted beach and walked out onto the cool, soft sand and listened to the ocean crash quietly upon the shore. Zechs sat down and let the subtle sea breeze caress him. Zechs sat and sobbed quietly, for the lives lost, the grief, and for the torment of his own soul. He cried well into the night, his long hair wet with tears. His body felt cold and he felt truly alone. Would this pain ever stop? Would it lessen? It was a long time before Zechs dried his tears and took a deep breath, filling his lungs and body with fresh air. For so long he had welcomed death, longed for it, but for now he realised it was not the answer, not yet. He began to meditate in total serenity. He closed his eyes and began to envision a peaceful Universe, a lasting peace, which he hoped to help bring. He was not sure if this would exonerate him, but it was a start, a new beginning.




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