DIE UPON A KISS A GUNDAM WING FIC BY SANDRA DERMARK BASED UPON SHAKESPEAREAN WORKS Act Zero: The

Play and Cast. DIE UPON A KISS A RETELLING OF SHAKESPEARE’S OTHELLO REWRITTEN BY SANDRA DERMARK Dramatis personae (that is, cast): Othello: Zechs Merquise, né Milliardo Peacecraft Desdemona. Lucrezia Noin Iago: Treize Khushrenada Emilia: Lady Une Cassio: Quatre Raberba-Winner Bianca: Dorothy Catalonia Random Catholic Priest: Duo Maxwell Random Waitress: Catherine Bloom Random Waiter/Roderigo: Trowa Barton Setting: Random outpost cut off from the outside world. Act One: A Wedding, A Promotion And A Complicated Scheme The doors of the chapel were firmly shut, and Treize, who had chosen not to attend the ceremony, was listening to the baroque hymns that were sung within. He personally relished all that German chanting. But, no matter what, he couldn’t forget last week’s trauma. It was a tête-à-tête in Zechs’s office, considering the general’s choice of a right-hand man. The curtains were drawn and a ray of light was cast on the veteran’s inexpressive face. He was sure he was the man for the post. But then, Zechs stood up, looked at Treize with those steely eyes of his and told him coldly: - Pardon me, Khushrenada, but I have already chosen my officer. - And prithee, who is that officer? The response made Treize nearly faint with shock. “Quatre Winner”. The other candidate. The one with the cute looks, who never had proved his worth on the battlefield. That position was made for Treize. And if that usurpator thought himself worthy, he would have to pay. - I do - Treize heard Zechs through the shut door, since he was the bridegroom. - I do - the bride replied. - I now pronounce you husband and wife - Reverend Maxwell concluded before the kiss segued into the hymns again. One hour later, the doors opened and the newlyweds left the chapel. Zechs, wearing his mess uniform with the sword and epaulets; and the bride in a white empire waist gown that contrasted with the color of her hair and eyes. “Lucrezia Noin”, thought Treize. They were followed by Quatre, who had been the best man, and then by the rest of the congregation, their best wishes being made to the newlyweds. Treize felt a warm hand on his right shoulder and pretended to be listening. It was Lady Une, his own wife, for whom he cherished no feelings: theirs was a marriage of convenience, and he wasn’t pleased with women. Something unknown to Une, who, like everyone else in that secluded outpost, saw Treize as the reliable kind. A scheme without possible failure had been hatched upon listening to those baroque hymns,

and Treize would make his move that evening, during the wedding celebrations, because it had been disposed that Quatre would be on guard duty. Act Two: An Offer, An Officer And Ironies Of Life -Yes, sir! - replied Quatre to his commanding officer’s warnings, before the latter departed upstairs, towards his bedchamber, taking Noin by the hand. The newly appointed lieutenant and best man watched them both walk away, staring at each other and disappearing from his view. As they left, Treize entered the hall with his usual confident gait. - I see you’re rather concerned, Lieutenant. Why don’t you take part in the celebrations? - the veteran officer asked Quatre in a warm, sincere tone. - Excuse me, but I have orders to give and take. And I’m also quite a lightweight - was the response he received. - Aw, it’s just one shot! That wouldn’t kill you! - Treize guided the young blond to a table, and a sexy, nut-brown waitress showed up to serve them and took the order. Though it was late in the evening, Quatre couldn’t but help being worn-out and thirsty, partly because of the uniform he was forced to wear, partly because he had to stand up throughout the wedding that afternoon. Besides, Treize had been for countless years in the regiment and could teach him the ropes with that plain speech of his. So, when the waitress returned with the officers’ glasses of sparkling cognac, she received thanks from both of them. - There you have it, Lieutenant. Drink first, ask questions later - Treize advised the younger officer, as the latter put the glass to his lips. The level sank about half an inch as these words were spoken. Soon, Quatre felt a warm surge spreading from his stomach all the way to his fair cheeks, as if he had swallowed a living flame. A second sip followed the first one, and soon the glass was drained to the dregs. - You can have mine, Lieutenant, if you please. I’m not in the mood - Treize handed over his own glass, and the liquor in it had soon disappeared. The other officer’s blue eyes were bloodshot, and his cheeks were lit with color. However, he didn’t stagger or show any signs of more severe intoxication. Then, a waiter who resembled a male version of the waitress showed up to serve them and withdraw those empty glasses. He looked rather concerned. - Quatre Winner? Shouldn’t you be on guard duty? - Let’s go, then! - the lieutenant addressed the waiter with unusual vehemence. - Don’t you look somewhat intoxicated? - I’m not drunk! - Quatre seized Trowa by the collar with his left hand and pulled out his sword with the right one. The waitress who had previously attended to them rushed forth. - A worthy officer, if he didn’t suffer from that despicable addiction - Treize informed her. Catherine was alarmed and rushed in between the opponents to separate them. Upon defending her adoptive brother from the drunken officer, she sustained a slash wound on her left shoulder. Soon the alarm was rung in the banquet hall, and a half-undressed Zechs made his appearance as Quatre was coming to and chanced to throw up, half-conscious, on the floor. The wounded waitress was clutching her bleeding injury, her brother and Treize applying first aid. - What on Earth is going on? - the commanding officer inquired. He first asked his right-hand man, who lay on the floor, coming to his senses. But Quatre’s memories of that evening were

too vague for him to explain what had happened. - Khushrenada? - Zechs inquired. And the response he obtained, in Treize’s usual reliable tone, was the following: -I tried to warn the lieutenant not to drink strong liquor in excess, but I obtained the opposite result. Then, bereft of inhibition, he drew too close to Miss Bloom here, and a fight with her adoptive brother here ensued. She tried to make peace, but a flesh wound was what she received in exchange. Quatre was up on his feet again, standing face to face with his commanding officer’s steel eyes and firm resolution, to receive those cold, stern words in exchange: - Quatre Winner... I love thee, but you can never be my right hand again. Treize stood back, listening to that exchange and watching Quatre turn pale and turn away from Zechs. So long, the scheme had succeeded, and he would soon be appointed his commander’s right hand. But that evening’s events would be put to more disastrous use. Quatre thrust his head on the table as he felt a pat on the back and Treize’s reassuring words: - Are you hurt, Lieutenant? - Shouldn’t I be? - was the reply the young blond coldly gave. - The commander’s wife has power over him. If she helped you to make peace... - Thank you! - Quatre approached Treize and soon set off for the courtyard, where Noin and her handmaids Une and Dorothy, the latter his fiancée, were at the moment. As Treize watched his victim confidently turn away, he thought of the next phase of the plan. Then, he set off for the bedchamber to encounter Zechs. Act Three: Temptation, The Handkerchief And Ill-Placed Trust The handmaids walked away as Quatre entered the courtyard in the clear sunrise. Locking eyes close to him, Noin reassured him gently: - Trust me. You can count on me. As these words were spoken, Zechs and Treize entered the courtyard. Upon seeing his commanding officer, Quatre went in again full speed, not before having thanked Noin for such a generous offer. The dark-haired young woman sat on a bench with her husband. Calmly and gently, she pleaded for Quatre’s sake while stroking Zechs’ flaxen hair. For a while he remained doubtful, until he finally gave in and approved the reinstatement. Noin went back in, in search of Quatre, to inform the young blond of her success. In her excitement, she forgot a handkerchief lined with lace on the cobblestone pavement. As her mistress, Zechs and Treize re-entered the guardhouse, Une picked up the piece of white cloth and hid it quickly in her pocket. - Now, what did you do? - Dorothy inquired, to obtain the response: - My husband. He wants to study that very handkerchief for me to make similar lace. - I didn’t know stone cold Treize was such a gentleman! Then, Une entered the guardhouse, followed by Dorothy. Meanwhile in a corridor within the guardhouse, Zechs and his second-in-command had established a relevant conversation when the latter softly mused: - Wasn’t that Quatre who ran away? I didn’t like the looks of it. - Excuse me? - the officer with lengthy, fair hair asked curiously.

- Nothing at all, just a few intrusive thoughts -Treize made his words seem less important to attract his commanding officer’s attention. - Khushrenada... are you trying to insinuate something? - Did she know him from the start? You know I know; Noin, and Quatre... - Why, we are all acquainted with each other... - Do they keep a relative distance? You know, in conversation? - I wouldn’t call that a “relative” distance - Zechs replied. The glitter in his eyes betrayed a slight internal agitation. - And finding out their signs also keeps me in check - the veteran officer added. Upon giving Treize said information, Zechs remained silent before asking one quivering and doubting question: - Are you trying to insinuate that my wife is betraying me with Quatre Winner? Is that perchance what you’re trying to tell me? - And prithee why? She sings well, dances, paints, bakes, makes lace, speaks fluent French and German, can also defend herself with a loaded gun; and his dismissal was due to an unfortunate mistake - the older officer replied- Why on Earth would they betray you? Those seemingly honest words sank to the commanding officer’s heart, and he could hardly restrain the internal agitation they had brought upon him. With restrained tears and troubled expression, he took Treize by the collar and spat unto his face: - I doubt so. I need proof of their betrayal, or else... - he did the cut-throat gesture with his left hand right before Treize. - And some more advice: beware of the green-eyed monster, that poisons from within. Letting go of the veteran’s collar, Zechs wandered without aim in the opposite direction. He did trust Noin, for he loved her and had thus wed her; but he also did trust Treize, who had saved his life and was esteemed an honest person. Torn asunder by doubt and restlessness, he couldn’t sleep that night at all. That very evening, in Treize’s bedchamber, the kerchief was brought to light. However, his wife could no longer restrain her thoughts: - You scoundrel have forced me to steal from Mistress! Now you want to keep that cloth! - Is that how you treat your better half? You were meant to obey my orders! - I’m your spouse, not one of your soldiers! - she begged for mercy, but he didn’t listen to her pleas and beat her in the back with his rapier’s scabbard. - Now that’s my Une. - Prithee tell me what you really intend to do! - It’s none of your business, you meddlesome magpie! - he resorted to the scabbard again, as she undressed herself and went to bed, dreaming that he weren’t so secretive. As Une shut her teary green eyes, her better half ventured again, handkerchief in hand, into the corridor. Quietly, he entered another room, where a flaxen-haired lad slept quietly, his steady breathing marking the tempo for Treize’s steps. The veteran, quiet as a cat in pace, approached the table and placed the kerchief on it. Then he went back to his own bedchamber, before the changing of the guard called upon his presence. Lady Une was sobbing in her dreams as Treize returned and got to bed beside her, her face resting upon his throbbing heart and her tears dried upon his nightgown. He just hoped that she wouldn’t become aware that he had left that piece of cloth in Quatre Winner’s quarters.

Act Four: Doubt, Despair and Dorothy’s Suspicions They were standing upon a bastion side by side, the cloudy next day. Zechs looked worn out, in stark contrast to Treize, who coldly made the next move with these words: - Just a shot in the dark, but have you seen her lately with a lace-lined handkerchief? The commanding officer hadn’t seen her showing that first gift of his for a day, and he sincerely declared that so it had been. However, he was shocked, as if struck by lightning, by his secondin-command’s further statement: - I saw Quatre Winner wipe his lips with that kerchief. - Really? - Zechs burst out and grabbed Treize by the collar for a second time, but the appearance of Quatre himself -speak of the devil!- interrupted their argument. “Now let’s ask that Quatre Loser about his fiancée”, Treize thought to himself. Zechs listened eagerly to their conversation, but he misinterpreted what he could hear. - So you’re going to marry her? The younger officer laughed heartily. “Why should I?”, asked he taking out the kerchief from his breast pocket and waving it in the air. “So that’s how things are”, thought Zechs, consternated, as he turned pale with Quatre’s statements of his feelings towards Dorothy. Then, a few tears trickled down his cheeks and everything faded to black before his sparkling eyes: he collapsed on the floor, letting forth white froth onto the cobblestone pavement. Then, surprised, Quatre approached his commanding officer, only to be reproached by Treize: - It seems that His Lordship is suffering from a seizure. Now don’t move until he comes to. And Zechs came to half an hour later, only to behold his wife’s presumed lover and laugh coldly into his face, which made Quatre turn his back, worried about the commanding officer’s health and that crazy stare that he had given him as soon as he had come round. Quatre encountered Dorothy in the courtyard, but his fair-haired fiancée was not in the mood for conversation: she had also seen Quatre with that lace-trimmed handkerchief of Noin’s. Therefore, restraining her true feelings, she turned her back on the young blond and replying to his “Why are you so cold today?” with a piercing stare. This made him think that it was a day out of the ordinary, when not many usual and expected things happen at once. That evening, Zechs couldn’t sleep either. Neither could his wife find her lost handkerchief. She also wondered at his state of health, evident in the way he acted: no longer cool and calm, but stirred and restless, betraying intense internal agitation. So she gently and sincerely asked him about his feelings. This was, for Zechs, the spark that burst the powder keg: - Shouldn’t you know it better yourself, you poisonous wildflower? - he scolded her at the top of his lungs, holding back his tears and punching her in the middle of the chest. Then on he went with his false accusation, that surprised Noin and made her wonder about why it should be so. Soon, a consternated Zechs spent all night long wide awake, disturbed by her steady pulse and equally steady breathing; as she had equally thrust her head upon his throbbing heart, that lulled her into innocently spending the night in her own dreams. Next day, the clouds had flocked even more, as if to eclipse the sun. The worn-out commander had called for his right hand, and he was impatiently waiting for Treize to arrive. Finally, so it happened. - And prithee, why did you send for me?

- It is concerning the execution of those who keep my thoughts in check. I thought myself that I would rather be in charge of that lovable succubus -Zechs seemed cooler than the previous day, but it was merely because he hadn’t slept for two nights. - As for Quatre, let me be his undertaker - replied Treize, in an equally cool tone that didn’t betray any sinister intentions. The hours passed on, and that evening Quatre was charged again with guard duty. Looking up the brown-haired waiter and reminding him of Catherine’s injury wasn’t that complicated, and soon Trowa was persuaded that such an affront should be paid with the blood of the officer whose steel had pierced her flesh. Thus, he followed Treize, gun in hand, to the corner of a bastion, where Quatre was going to pass at any moment. The brown-haired lad aimed for the blond officer’s left breast, squeezed the trigger and saw his victim collapse, unconscious, before his very eyes, only to feel the older officer place his gun’s muzzle in his very quiff. - Anyway, you’re fully expendable -Treize coldly said as he pulled the trigger and Trowa pleaded for mercy in a desperate, sincere tone: - I didn’t know you wanted him killed! I did it for Cath...- then, a gunshot interrupted his last words. From his office, Zechs heard the gunshots. “Treize has kept his word, and now I shall keep mine”, he thought upon leaving for his own bedchamber. But there was something within that made his resolution falter, and his steps turn less steady. Noin also heard a firearm being discharged in the distance, and Lady Une reassured her she shouldn’t worry. The dark-haired young woman had stepped into her nightgown and was soon given a good-night kiss by her handmaid, who observed her hug her pillow and shut her eyes as she quietly shut the door. Then, she encountered the commanding officer, who violently shoved her aside. Act Five: Deaths, Resurrections And One Last Kiss Zechs entered a bedchamber lit by a flickering candle clock, to gaze doubtfully and consternated upon his better half. Noin’s steady, calm breathing and her beautiful appearance made him falter. “Should I kill her or not?” Finally, he gave in to despair. As he put the candle out, he mused: “Put out this light, then put out the light of her life. But which kind of fire could revive the latter?” In utter darkness, he gave in to the temptation of a kiss from her lips before Eternity, and his own hands, made them too cold to be pleasant. And she was woken by that kiss, afraid of him, but still hopeful that he soon would be pleased with her again. - Is that you? - she inquired, to hear her spouse burst into tears and insults again. - I swear we’re just friends! - she denied her presumed affair, defending her innocence - Ask Quatre himself! - I’m sorry, but that is impossible. He will not answer. - Quatre... shot...? - sobbed Noin, as tears started to trickle down her cheeks. Meanwhile, Une and Dorothy were drawn to the bastion by the sound of gunshots, to encounter, lying on the cold cobblestones, Trowa Barton with a serious headshot that had deprived him of life and Quatre Winner standing up to take a pill container with a bullet on its lid from his pierced breast pocket. The latter was shocked by the sight that appeared before him upon coming to,

and a drop fell from the skies unto his flaxen hair. So, he was led back into the guardhouse by the handmaids, for it had started to drizzle. In the meantime, Noin’s disappointment had segued into despair, as she pleaded, shedding tears, for mercy. But Zechs remained firm and steadfast, and he tightened his grip on her throat even more for each second. - I still love you! I never had that affair! - a loud click and searing pain signalled that he had broken her airway, and her true voice was stifled forever. Turning blue and desperate upon not being able to breathe, she suffered the lethal and acute condition of suffocation, after which death came as a relief when she lost consciousness. Then, Zechs let her go, as he heard a knock on the door and opened it quietly. It was Une, followed by Quatre. “Wasn’t he supposed to be dead? Treize will have to pay for such failure”, he quickly thought. The handmaid turned pale upon seeing her mistress bereft of life and half out of bed, wearing the purple collar of strangulation. Then she addressed Zechs in a fit of rage and despair: - You have been deceived, Your Lordship. And all for a series of lies told by your confidant, my spouse, Treize Khushrenada. As for Mistress, she is innocent of the deed you have presumed. It was Treize who enticed Quatre here to drink liquor, and also Treize who forced me to steal that handker... - a gunshot was heard, and Une felt a blazing object enter her back at the height of the right shoulder-blade, before collapsing, lifeless, on the pavement beside her mistress. The bullet hole in her back came to view. On the threshold stood Treize, sheathing his gun. Zechs lunged at the older officer and punched him on the head, causing him to lose consciousness. The, he burst into tears, tears of sorrow and despair. “She was innocent, and I have killed her! Now she can’t come back!” Kneeling before Quatre, he forgave the young blond and ordered him to have Treize arrested for lifetime, a punishment he esteemed worse than death. Then, he unsheathed his rapier and thrust it all the way to his heart, as he caressed the lifeless features of his beloved and gave her one last cold kiss. As he lay dying, the new day broke and the ominous clouds were scattered. The doors of the chapel were firmly shut, and Relena, who had chosen not to attend the ceremony, was listening to the baroque hymns that were sung within. All she wanted was to have been a bridesmaid like Sally and Catherine. - I do - she heard Quatre through the shut door, since he was the bridegroom. - I do - the bride replied. - I now pronounce you husband and wife - Reverend Maxwell concluded before the kiss segued into the hymns again. One hour later, the doors opened and the newlyweds left the chapel. Quatre, wearing his mess uniform with the sword and epaulets; and the bride in a white empire waist gown that fit the color of her fair hair and blue eyes. They were followed by Heero, who had been the best man, and then by the rest of the congregation, their best wishes being made to the newlyweds. Relena felt a warm hand on her right shoulder and pretended to be listening. It was the best man, her own fiancé, for whom she cherished the warmest of feelings. No one in that secluded outpost seemed to remember that a fivefold funeral had taken place in that very chapel a few hours before. The End.

Curtain Call.

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