Title: SD Gundam Force – Reception in the Land of Ark

Author: LJ

Summery: Zero, Captain, Shute and Baku are taken to Bakunetsumaru's homeland, Ark. There, the three discover more about the blazing samurai, as well as his family and the horrors of Ark's civil war.

Rating: PG-13

Pairings: Zero/Bakunetsumaru, Captain/Guneagle

Author's note: Been playing around with this idea and Baku's family for a bit, finally got off my lazy bum and wrote it. ;) This story doesn't follow much of the Series, so I guess an AU. Most of the names that I have come up with came from mostly Bleach, or were Bleach inspired (I.E. Ikakumaru and Fujikumaru were inspired by a Soul Reaper and a Zanbacto respectively). And some I just made up on the fly. Most of the terms I got from Rurouni Kenshin.

Disclaimer: I own Tantemaru (Baku's father), Isantemaru (Baku's Mother), Shintumaru, Fujikumaru, Kentakemaru, Tatemaru, Uutemaru, Asurekumaru, Matarkemaru (Baku's brothers), Ikakumaru and Inkamaru…god that's a lot of names. Also the town where Baku's family resides Kentyo. Please don't sue I'm a poor college student!

Chapter Three: Reflection

Shintumaru walked over to Baku's room, a hot drink in hand, and slid the door back. Inside, Baku was whimpering face down in his pillows, Zero near by on his side muttering.

"I'm never drinking with you again, Baku…" Zero said looking quite ill. Baku grunted in response.

"Still can't hold his sake…well, the bath is nice and hot. That always helps with a hangover," Shintumaru said smiling warmly at the two. Baku slowly lifted his head and raised an eyebrow.

"Hot…bath…? Claiming it now, it is mine." Zero slowly sat up and held his head looking over at Baku with a smile. Shintu chuckled and sipped his drink.

"If you want Zero, while you wait for the bath, I can give you some tea. It's a special mix it'll help. It's the only way I can deal with it in the morning." Zero looked up and nodded smiling.

"I'd appreciate that a lot, thank you." Shintu smiled and nodded.

"Of course, anything for family," Shintu said turning and going into the kitchen.

"I'll be out shortly," Zero said after Shintu, who cried back an affirmative.

"Ow…loudness…" Baku whimpered. Zero got up and went over slowly rubbing the small of Baku's back. The heavy armor that they wore was off, reveling their lighter under armor that served as a thin layer between their vital systems and any other weaponry that would pierce the heavy armor. Baku looked much smaller without the heavy armor pads on his shoulders, heavy chest armor, helmet, and thicker skirt of protective paneling around his waist. Zero realized once again, that he was the older in the relationship.

"Feel any better…?" Zero asked kneeling down next to his love. Baku sighed and glanced up, his chocolate eyes blurred from his hangover.

"Little. You look really nice today…" Baku said his voice horse from the night before and the heavy drinking. Zero shook his head slowly, before immediately regretting the action and holding his head. Without his heavy armor, Baku realized he didn't look quite as feminine. It was the curves of his armor that hid the strong frame beneath.

"I feel 'nice'. I'm going to take your brother up on the tea. Do you want help to the bath?" Baku slowly sat up and chuckled.

"No…Although you're welcome to join me after you're tea. Personally I can't stand Shintu's remedy, too sweet, but you'll like it. After all you've got that thing for Sayla's cakes." Zero helped Baku sit up more comfortably and rolled his eyes.

"I can't help it. I've always had a sweet tooth." Baku smiled at him and slowly stood up smiling.

"Yeah, so will you join me?" Zero stood up and nodded.

"Yeah, I will, after that tea. I'll meet you out there okay?" Baku smiled and kissed Zero gently.

"Great. Love you, Zero. Just don't take too long or the water will get cold." Baku got up and left wrapping a towel around his waist. He seemed to be taking his hangover better than he and put on. Zero chuckled and got up as well, putting his armor back on out of habit, heading for the dining room where Shintumaru was preparing tea and another drink. Shintumaru looked up and smiled.

"I will warn you, my tea is rather sweet. Here." Shintumaru handed Zero the hot tea cup and went back to the other drink. Zero took a sip and did find it sweet, but soothing.

"Ah…much better, and it's not that sweet. Trust me, when I was little, I used to try and make my own tea and I nearly made myself sick it was so sweet. What are you making there?" Zero sat down and sipped the tea slowly, feeling the herbs and spices sooth his trembling stomach and sore head. Shintu smiled almost sadly and looked up.

"It's for Kentakemaru; it's his food for the day. I've been making it for him for the past year, each day I hope that I will go in and find him awake. I've been adding different medicinal herbs suggested to me by the doctors. It's so hard without knowing what poison he has been hit with." Shintumaru frowned and continued his work. Zero hung his head and drank his tea.

"Perhaps I can help. I know some healing spells, and some things about poisons." Shintu looked up and smiled.

"I'd appreciate it actually. The more knowledge I can gain to help Kentake is the better." Zero smiled and finished his tea, feeling quite like his old self.

"I'm a part of the family now; it would be my honor to help you." Shintu finished his tea and stood up gathering the drink.

"Thank you. I can see why Baku fell for you. You are a good mech. You can follow me to his room." Zero stood and did just that, eager to try and help his extended family. Shintumaru carefully opened the screen door and entered the room of his second brother. Zero followed and frowned in shock at the Musha Gundam in the bed. He had gold and red armor, with trims of black He looked drawn and weak even in coma. Though he once looked to be equal in size and stature to Shintumaru, he now reminded the Knight of Baku after his battle with Asuramaru back in Neotopia.

"I'll try a healing spell, it might help…" Shintumaru smiled at Zero and nodded.

"Whatever you think best, Zero." Shintumaru knelt down and gently caressed his brother's forehead, concern flooding his features. "He was going to become a priest…" he murmured. "He was considering it after one of his difficult battles in the war. I truly hope that things will get better for him." Zero put a hand on his brother-in-law and smiled.

"It will. We must have faith that goodness will prevail over anything else." Shintumaru chuckled and nodded.

"Yes. Faith is what kept father and I going when Bakunetsumaru disappeared. Faith and dedication to Kentake here." Shintumaru took a deep sigh and shook his darkened thoughts away, his warm smile returning. "Well, Ken, I know you hate this stuff, I can't stand the taste of it, but perhaps today it will help. After all, Bakunetsumaru is back, and he brought his friends and chosen one to visit," Shintu said to his brother and he carefully lifted up his shoulders, resting his head in the crook of his elbow. "Zero here is a Knight from another world, and says he may be able to help you. If he can make Baku-kun smile like he did when he was a child, then I'm sure he can help you fight this poison." Zero smiled and went around to the other side of the simple mattress and helped hold Kentakemaru up. Putting his hand over the Musha Gundam's forehead he muttered a spell of healing, praying to whoever would listen that he would be restored to his strength.

"Oh Mana, return his strength to him, and draw out this poison and illness from his body." Shintumaru watched in awe as a glow began to surround his brother and Zero's hand. He had never seen such magic, and indeed believed such things to be long dead from any world. As the glow subsided, Shintumaru looked in awe at Zero.

"It still amazes me," he said smiling before shifting and gently opening his brother's mouth to pour the drink into his mouth. "I never thought I'd see such true magic."

"Baku said the same thing. He always makes fun of me though, saying it's nothing but cheep tricks. I know he doesn't man it though." Zero smiled and helped encourage the unconscious Musha to swallow the tea slowly. "I hope it will work. What were the symptoms he originally came down with?" Zero looked up at him as Kentakemaru swallowed reflexively.

"Originally we thought it was simply a bad infection from a wound. Then he began to loose consciousness daily, until one morning he didn't wake up. He did have a fever, but we were able to get rid of that quickly with some remedies. There was a time though he did have convulsions before he would loose consciousness that may have only been once or twice though." Zero frowned and furrowed his brow in thought.

"I've heard of the same symptoms. It's similar to a poison used by the Dark Axis in the early stages of the war in Lacroa," Zero said before quickly taking out one of his precious Princess Roses and a pack of small herbs.

"Ah, what…what a beautiful flower…" Shintumaru said in shock. Zero handed them both to Shintu with a serious look.

"Crush the flower's center with these herbs and make a tea with it, the oil from the pedals can be crushed as well and put into a small vial. It will help with fever, usually seen with this poison. It helps when administered right after the poison takes effect, but I don't know what will happen after it being so long." Zero frowned and shrugged. Shintumaru took the flower and herbs and smiled.

"Anything is better than this. Thank you, Zero." Zero smiled and shrugged before standing up after helping Shintu finish administering the tea to Kentakemaru.

"It's the first time I've ever had a family, I want to do everything I can to help. I'm going to go and see if Baku's going to stay in that bath all day, or let someone else take a turn." Shintu chuckled and nodded.

"Good luck, there's little else that Baku enjoys more than one of his baths. If all else fails, you can always share it, right?" Shintumaru smiled slyly and gave Zero a wink, causing the knight to blush and laugh nervously.

"Um, yeah I suppose we could…" Shintumaru laughed warmly and waved Zero off to the bath.

"Have fun!" he said as Zero left. Baku was right; Shintumaru did have a knack for embarrassing people easily. Zero didn't think he could turn any more red but he managed, as he left for the bath, passing a curious Captain and Shute on the way.

"Did you burn yourself, Zero?" Shute asked smirking a little as Zero tried to control his blush.

"N-no, I'm just going to go and have a bath…I'll see you later then…" Zero quickly went off trying to avoid and ignore the giggles from Shute, and innocent questions of Captain.

Bakunetsumaru sighed and settled into the steaming bath water. Taking a wash cloth he wet it and began to scrub at the dirt behind his neck. It felt like it had been years since he had been home, not simply a few months. Folding the wash cloth and dipping it back into the water, Bakunetsumaru leaned back, putting the hot cloth over his eyes, sighing in relief.

"Well, maybe I'll let you marinate a little longer before joining you," Zero said, startling Baku out of his daze. Baku lifted the washcloth and smiled.

"Naw, come on in, I could use some company." Baku sat up and watched as Zero removed his armor again, admiring his strong frame.

"You were right about your brother," Zero said smiling, a blush still across his features as he took off his helmet. Baku laughed and nodded.

"Probably made mention of sharing a bath huh? He's so predictable…ah…watch it, the water might be too hot." Zero sat on the edge and let his feet touch the water sighing.

"Hardly, I've been sleeping with you for how long now? I've gained the same tolerance for heat that you have. Besides…" Zero slipped into the water and let his body adjust to the heat. "If it really was too hot, then you wouldn't be in either." Baku sighed and nodded. It was true, though. Heat was something neither of them hated. For Zero, he got cold very easily, and usually required several blankets to keep warm. For Baku, heat wasn't an issue; he could tolerate warmer temperatures better than anyone in the family.

"So how was Shintu's tea?" Baku asked, watching as Zero began to wash his face and neck.

"Good, not too sweet for me," Zero smiled and moved closer to Baku and sat next to him sighing. "I saw Kentakemaru, I gave Shintumaru some remedies from Lacroa, and they just might help the poison." Baku brightened and looked at him.

"Really?" Zero nodded and sighed.

"Might, I've seen the poison before, and usually if administered quickly, the remedy I gave him would cure it, but I'm not sure about it. It's been over a year, as you told me. I can only hope that the damage can be reversed." Zero looked down into the water, the steam causing droplets to collect on his metal skin. Baku smiled and pulled him close, kissing him passionately.

"Then we will pray that it does help. Anything is better than what he's going through now," Baku said, holding Zero close. Zero smiled and kissed him back reaching for the washcloth and whipping off a smudge of dirt on his cheek.

"True, and you need to take more baths, Bakunetsumaru, you're still filthy." Bakunetsumaru sighed and pulled away playfully.

"Yeah well you're no knight in shining armor either," Baku said smirking at his own pun. Zero sighed and rolled his eyes splashing the samurai half heartedly.

"Oh knock it off, will you?" Zero began to wash his head and neck smiling. Baku sulked and began washing as well, before smiling and slipping the wash cloth down Zero's back.

"How about I get your back…?" Baku said smiling lovingly. Zero gave him a look but relaxed turning his back towards his love.

"All right, then I'll get yours, how's that?" Baku smiled and wrapped an arm gently around his waist leaning in close and nipping playfully at his neck.

"Deal…" he said, a smile clear in his voice.

"Now then," Tantemaru said looking as both of his sons, and guests sat down at the breakfast table. "We do have some serious matters to discuss." Baku sat down and ate his rice balls looking worriedly at his father.

"What's the matter, father?" Shintumaru said drinking his tea. Zero looked worried but kept his tongue, after all, he wasn't a true part of the family yet.

"Apparently, one of the generals, who is an old friend of mine, has made mention of a shinobi who is causing a lot of trouble." Shintu frowned and chewed on his rice ball, shrugging.

"So? It's not like we're a part of it. Kentyo has been peaceful so far," he said with his mouth full.

"Don't talk with your mouth full," Zero said out of habit. Shintu blinked and swallowed, giving his brother a look. Baku simply shrugged and shoved another rice ball into his mouth.

"He has the family mark," Tantemaru said simply drinking his tea. Baku blinked and stared at his father.

"What?" he asked, with his mouth full. Zero gave him a look and sighed.

"Don't talk with your mouth full," he said again, more sternly.

"What's a shinobi?" Captain asked.

"It's a ninja," Baku commented off handedly. "How could someone on Kibaomaru's side have one of our family marks? Fujikumaru, Tatemaru, Uutemaru and Asurekumaru are all gone!" Baku's face was full of confusion, and searched for an answer from his father or oldest brother. Zero blinked and spoke up.

"What about Matarkemaru? Didn't you tell me he ran away?" Tantemaru frowned and nodded.

"It seems to be the only reasonable explanation. Either that, or someone took the mark from one of our fallen in battle as some sick trophy." Tantemaru's eyes flared with an inner fire at the thought, his hand gripping the tea cup far too strongly, causing a crack to appear.

"Matarkemaru wouldn't betray us," Shintumaru said firmly. "Nor would he betray mother." Zero frowned, feeling he caused the beginning of a rift. Baku carefully reached over and held his hand sighing.

"Let's just hope that that's true," Bakunetsumaru said finishing his food. Tantemaru nodded slowly and put down his cracked cup, collecting himself.

"It seems that is all we have left in this world is hope." Baku and Shintu frowned worriedly at their father, knowing that though life was hard on them, it was even harder for their father.

"Well, I hate to eat and run," Baku said cleaning his mouth. "But I planned on visiting mother's resting place today. Will you guys be all right while I'm gone?" Baku asked looking to Captain, Shute and Zero. They nodded, Zero giving his lover's hand a squeeze.

"We'll be fine. I think I'm going to investigate the town. Maybe I can find some other ingredients to help Kentakemaru regain consciousness."

"I think Shute and I will join you, Zero."

"Yeah, I wanna see more of this place. I've already seen a lot of Lacroa." Baku smiled and nodded before getting up.

"I won't be long. I'll be back before noon, okay?"

"Take the time you need, Baku-kun," Shintumaru said smiling. Tantemaru nodded as well and chuckled. Baku smiled and bowed to his father and brother.

"I'll be back in a while. Don't cause too much trouble, okay?" Baku said looking to Shute. Shute smiled innocently and chuckled. Zero smiled and got up giving the red and white Musha a kiss on the cheek.

"We'll see you later then." Baku nodded and headed off feeling complete. Exiting the home, Bakunetsumaru whistled for Entengo, who trotted up eagerly to his master. Baku stroked the horse and chuckled before grabbing the halter for him. Slipping it over his nose, Baku mounted his companion and gently lead the mechanical horse out of the yard.

"We're going to see mother today, Entengo," he said loosely gripping the reins. Entengo didn't need a halter, in all honesty, but Baku needed something to hold on to, knowing that visiting his mother would be a hard thing to do. Entengo whinnied to try and comfort his master, trotting off towards the cemetery.

Baku barely remembered his mother. He was two when she passed on. What he did remember, though, was her smile, and her warmth. When she fell ill, their bonding was cut short. Isantemaru was afraid that her son would fall ill as well, though it pained her to not hold him. Bakunetsumaru didn't understand when he was little why his mother never woke up again, but he knew in his gunsoul that she was gone forever.

"Hrrrfff…" Entengo tossed his head slightly, trying to bring Baku back to the here and now. Baku shook his head and smiled patting Entengo's neck.

"I know. I just…miss her more than anything else. If only we knew what made her so sick, maybe then it wouldn't be so bad." Bakunetsumaru sighed and gave a half hearted smile. "Another thing I should have asked the Dai Shogun when I had the chance." Entengo trotted on, slowly going up the stairs to where the family resting place was. Baku watched as it came into view and dismounted when Entengo stopped.

"Hrrrfff…" Entengo gently nudged Baku for a stroke, and got one. Bakunetsumaru smiled and then walked up to the headstone. Entengo waited to the side, watching as he passed the headstones for his older brothers, stopping at his mothers first. Carefully removing a stick of incense, he lit the tip and blew it out, leaving a glowing ember left. Carefully placing the stick in the ground, Bakunetsumaru knelt down and bowed his head praying for his mother.

"I know it's been a long time, mom, and I'm sorry about that. I'm sure you've been watching over me, so you probably don't really want to hear about where I've been. But I want to tell you that I've found my one. You'd like him, his name is Zero. He's the best thing that's ever happened to me, mother. I hope you approve." Bakunetsumaru smiled and cleared his eyes relaxing. "I love you, mom. I promise I'll visit more often now that I'm back home. Miss you…" Baku whispered hanging his head and trying not to cry. Entengo walked up to him and nuzzled his cheek, trying to cheer the Musha up. Baku smiled and stroked Entengo's nose before getting up and turning to his brothers' graves and lighting the incense as well.