Story: MS Gundam Wing: True Protector (all chapters)

Authors: Shanejayell

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Chapter 1

Title: One: Just Communication

Part One: Just Communication

"You son of a bitch," Noin said softly, furious.

Zechs stood uncomfortably on the other side of the desk, his eyes dark and sad. "I'm sorry Noin," he said softly, "but I can't continue to lie to you any longer. I never meant to hurt you and I thought you knew..."

"You never meant to hurt me?" she echoed him disbelievingly. "You come in here, tell me you're gay, and that, basically, the only reason you were with me so long is that I'm boyish enough for you to get it up with, and you don't want to hurt me?!" she all but roared.

Zechs flinched under her gaze, but he continued, "I am sorry. I'm leaving, and I don't plan to be back. Good luck, Noin."

After he left, she just put her head down on the desk and cried.

The soft knock on the door brought her back to reality with a bump. She hastily dried her eyes on her sleeve, and called out "Come in."

Releena entered the room quietly, gently pulling the door shut behind her. She looked worriedly at Noin. "Are you going to be all right?" she asked Noin softly, as she sat down in the chair in front of her desk.

"I'll be fine," Noin said to her softly. Releena didn't answer, just looked at her steadily, and again Noin was struck by the strength of that gaze. Releena obviously knew she wasn't all right, even if she didn't say so.

"Do you want to take some time off?" Releena asked. "I can arrange it with Lady Une. She still holds me in some regard."

Noin shook her head, smiling over at Releena gratefully. "No, thank you. I want to try to concentrate on something right now."

"How about a potentially difficult new job?" Releena offered. Noin looked at her with a raised eyebrow. "Lady Une will give you a full briefing on it, but here's the gist: I've been targeted by a group of former OZ soldiers who say they want me dead. To make matters worse, they have got a technology that can take out a Gundam."

"How did they manage to do that?" Noin said, honestly surprised. Their new suits were state of the art, if not a bit better.

"A new solution: a very nasty little computer virus." Releena said and shook her head at the idea. "So would you like the job?"

Noin looked at the young woman who stood there and realized that Releena was a little afraid. 'Of course, with Heero gone, I can't blame her. I forget, sometimes, how alone she is,' Noin thought. "Yes, as long as Lady Une allows it," Noin answered.

Later that day, Lady Une used her pointer to direct Noin, Releena, and several other officers' attention to the map at the front of the room. "Sally Po," she said, "along with Wu-fei, went to check out rumors of a possible insurgency in this region." She paused, and pointed at the section of the map. "They encountered three modified Virgo mobile suits, and attempted to open communication. They received only what they thought was white noise, but a few moments later, their Peacemaker suits suddenly shut down. Only critical life support functions were left on-line."

"So the virus was transmitted to the Gundams over the radio," Noin said thoughtfully. Suddenly, Une whapped her on the head with the pointer. "Oww!"

"The Peacemakers aren't Gundams. No gundanium allow, just similarly designed," Une prissily corrected, in that moment she looked a bit like a school teacher, not a military commander. Releena smirked at Noin's discomfort, and received a whack herself for her trouble.

"That hurts," Releena complained. Rubbing the bump, she asked "So what do we know about the enemy?"

"They're a previously unknown faction of former OZ soldiers, who call themselves 'the real OZ'," Lady Une said with a wry smile.

"How terribly original of them," Noin commented dryly, a sour look on her face. She may have left OZ years ago, but she still didn't like seeing the name dragged down.

Une smiled sympatheticly at Noin, "They have a rather unusual demand: that Earth's government reverse the general amnesty offered to both sides after the war. They want war-crimes trials for White fang members, OZ soldiers, and the Gundam pilots."

Releena looked honestly confused. "But why on Earth would they want that?" she asked them, surprised.

Noin smiled a bit. "I'll handle this one," she said to Lady Une. She turned to Releena. "You see, because there were no trials, the OZ soldiers believe that in the eyes of the public all OZ soldiers are regarded as criminals. In a way, they feel their honor is in question."

Lady Une nodded. "If we don't give in to their demands, they say they will try to assassinate Releena, who they regard as the primary source of their troubles." Une smiled and shrugged. "Noin and I, after some discussion, have decided to embark on a three stage plan. First, we'll put a double in place, second, we remove Releena from the public eye, and third, we dismantle this 'Real OZ'. Noin, you're job will be to move Releena into a secure location and guard her." Noin nodded grimly. Lady Une's lips twitched, as if she was resisting the urge to smile "And here's our Releena double."

The young woman walked in wearing Releena's typical uniform, and a long brown wig matching Releena's own hair. But Releena didn't think she had ever stomped around the room like that or had ever had that sour of a look on her face. "Hello, Hilde," Releena said, smiling. Hilde just growled loudly.

As Releena and Noin left, Releena saw Une walk over to Hilde. "We'll try to keep this as short as possible," Une said to her with surprising gentleness.

"Thank you very much, ma'am," Hilde said to her with icy formally. Une winced a bit, taking a step back, and Hilde took the opportunity to leave.

Releena looked around the upper story apartment with no little awe. The living room alone was massive, and from what she could see the other rooms were almost as large. She ran over to the window and looked out at a spectacular view of the city below. She turned to look at a smiling Noin. "I wasn't expecting this!"

Noin laughed. "You should be safe here. There's no buildings anywhere around this building near this height, so no one can shoot in easily. I've registered us here under a well established alias with a verifiable history. Also, I've used this place enough times, tipping generously, that the staff doesn't ask any questions." she explained.

"How did you find it?" Releena asked curiously.

"Remember back when I was running missions for you and the Sank Kingdom? I established this as a safe house then." she smiled. "I've always liked to have a fall back position, as well."

"What do you mean?" Releena said, frowning. "Why here?"

"In a standard Taurus mobile suit, I could have you evacuated out of the Sank and over here in an hour." Noin explained calmly. "Just in case."

Releena looked at her in a bit of surprise. "You made sure you could save me," she said softly, looking at Noin fondly.

"Just doing my job," Noin said wryly.

"Above and beyond the call of duty," Releena said smiling. "Have I ever thanked you for how well you've protected me over the years?"

"Not so well, and I had help," Noin said dryly. "The Gundams, Preventers, your brother, Heero..."

"I mean, you've been the one that's always been there for me," Releena patiently explained. "From when Zechs first sent you to guard me." Then Releena blushed a bit, realizing who she had mentioned, "I'm sorry, Noin."

"It's all right, Releena," Noin calmly assured her. "I'm not over him yet, but I do think I can bear mention of his name." She smiled across to her. "I'm sure you can understand, what with what happened with Heero and all."

Releena nodded. "Anyway, I just wanted to thank you, for all you've done for me over the years. In your line of work, I doubt you hear that often."

Noin was actually blushing brightly, smething Releena found herself secretly enjoying. "You're welcome. Now could we please get off this topic?" Noin pleaded.

Chapter 2

Title: Two: Rhythm Emotion

Part Two: Rhythm Emotion.

They unpacked their suitcases quickly, and Releena found herself fondly remembering when they had done the same thing together, back when Noin had escorted her across the world. On behalf of the Sank, she had worked feverishly to try to bring peace to the globe, to help others live by the principles of absolute pacifism, while OZ and the Gundams had battled each other, and the Colony war loomed. And Noin had always been there beside her, organizing, keeping her safe, and reminding her, sometimes forcibly, that she was only human. She had often ordered her to rest, and made Releena's schedule survivable.

"Do you remember when we used to travel together?" Releena suddenly asked Noin curiously.

Noin chuckled softly. "Oh,yes. You snore, by the way," she said to her teasingly.

"I do not!" Releena protested, and Noin laughed. A loud gurgle was heard, and Noin looked at Releena in surprise. "Sorry," Releena said with a little blush.

Noin grinned and shook her head. "Dress up nice, we're going to dinner," Noin laughed. Noin pulled out a bagged dress from one of her bags, and went into the bathroom to change, as Releena began to dig through her own luggage.

Later, they sat together at the restaurant, a three course meal laid out around them, and soft candle light illuminated their features. 'Noin sure cleans up good,' Releena thought, as she looked across at her dinner companion. Noin was in a classically styled black dress, simple and elegant, with a little makeup and her pierced ears as the only accents.

"I noticed no one here seems to be bothered by two ladies eating dinner together," Releena remarked curiously.

Noin nodded thoughtfully. "We're not too far from the city's gay district, so it's not too unusual," she said. Noin looked at Releena in her pink dress, an off the shoulder number that was classy and sexy looking, and didn't even try to mention the 'business meeting' excuse. Of course most people would assume they were on a date, but as long as it didn't bother Releena...

"Well, if I am out on a date, then at least I'm with the best looking woman here," Releena said with a wicked smile on her face. Noin looked at her, dumbfounded, then began to laugh. Releena joined her, her soft laughter a nice counterpoint to Noin's.

"Thank you," Noin said with a grin.

They ate together quietly for a few moments, then Noin looked over at Releena. "I was out on missions a lot this summer," Noin began, "and I was wondering if you wanted to..."

"...tell you what happened with Heero and I?" Releena finished for her. "It really wasn't too complicated, honestly." She took a small drink from her glass of wine and continued, "I've known since the "Endless Waltz" incident how deeply emotionally damaged he actually was. I always hoped he would be willing to let his walls down for me, but in the end, I realized that he didn't want to change. And I couldn't keep waiting for him to."

"I'm so sorry," Noin said softly. "So one day he just packed up and left?" she asked, more than a bit angry on Releena's behalf.

Releena nodded sadly, "He left on a multi-generation colony ship assignment. He may not be back in our lifetimes."

"I didn't mean to bring you down," Noin said to Releena softly. She looked over at her and smiled suddenly. "You know, I've wanted to do this for a long time," Noin said, standing and offering Releena her hand.

Releena took it hesitantly, and Noin firmly pulled her to her feet. She led Releena over to the dance floor, and gently led her to the dance music. They swayed gently together, the soft lighting making everything seem like a scene from a movie.

"You lead very well," Releena said with a smile.

"Thank you, very much," Noin said, holding Releena closely in her arms. "But I couldn't lead so well if you weren't so very good at following." She spun Releena out, drew her in close, and with a stylish move dipped her. The music ended, and the nearby patrons applauded cheerfully. Releena and Noin each took their bows, and they returned to their table. "I hope I didn't embarrass you out there," Noin said softly.

Releena laughed, smiling up at a slightly surprised Noin, "It was the most fun I've had in ages." They finished off their dinners peacefully, and began talking again, softly. "You know, you really impressed me, when we first met," Releena said smiling. "When you shot the OZ crest off that soldier's cap, it really got my attention."

"I had to do something," Noin said with a smile. "Otherwise, I think you'd have tried to fight me, too," she said teasingly. She continued, an impish grin on her face, "Not good for the image of the spokeswoman of absolute pacifism."

Releena blushed, "Thank you for not telling anyone about it."

Noin grinned over at her. "I'm saving it for my tell all memoirs," she said, and surprised Releena with a very evil little chuckle.

Later that evening, Noin gently opened the door and looked in on the fast asleep Releena. The girl slept there soundly, the strain that sometimes showed on her face erased by the sweet balm of sleep. 'She looks so innocent and carefree,' Noin thought. She smiled at her, and gently closed the door. She walked over to the couch, and prepared to lay down there herself.

She remembered when she had met Releena for the very first time: she had been struggling like a wild cat in the group of OZ soldiers' arms. She just absolutely refused to give in, to let them take her anywhere. Much, much later, Noin had found out that Releena had only moments before tried to kill Lady Une, and she had very nearly pulled it off. Noin had known then that this was a girl that was not to be crossed, ever. She laughed to herself softly, and curled up on the couch. 'She's really quite the lady,' Noin thought drowsily.

Releena heard the door open a little, then close, and smiled sleepily. 'Noin, checking I'm all right,' she thought, as she drifted off to sleep.

The great red dragon lay dead on the carred, blackened battlefield, the white armored knight victorious at last in the final battle. The great evil had been defeated, and the land would finally be free of the curse of strife and war.

Rising, he walked towards the chained princess, a long red cape swirled about him like the wings of an avenging angel, and the helm totally concealed the noble hero's face. The white, shining sword was raised once and then came down, and the bonds that held her for so long shattered, she was set free at last.

Releena softly whispered "Heero..." and then gently pulled the helm up and off so she could cast it aside, and see her champion and protector's face. She gasped loudly as Noin held her gently in her strong arms, bent her over, and then ever so gently, sweetly kissed her right on the lips. She drew back, and Releena, with a longing she had never known before, found her arms rising to wrap around Noin's neck to pull her in for another kiss.

With a soft cry, Releena bolted up in bed, the dawn's pale light filling the bedroom. "Where in the world did that come from?" Releena asked herself disbelievingly. She realized her heart was pounding, and her face flushed, but not from fear.

Chapter 3

Title: Three: White Reflection

Part Three: White Reflection.

As she sat there in her bed, Releena reached up to lightly touch her lips, and thought of that dream kiss, of Noin's handsome face bent over her own. Before she had a chance to recover, to collect herself, figure out what she thought, and how she felt about it, there was a rapid knock on her bedroom's door. Without waiting for her to answer, the real Noin stuck her head in the door, the expression on her face grim.

"Releena, we have got to be out of here in five minutes or less," Noin said to her tersely, and closed the door. Without letting herself think about it, Releena quickly began to dress, while she tossed some extra clothes in a travel bag. Obviously, there was some kind of trouble, and Noin would explain when she could. Three minutes later, shoes on, dressed in pants and T-shirt, she stepped out of her room, bag in hand.

"I don't know yet how they found out we're here, but the satellite data feeds show two modified Virgo's inbound, E.T.A. seventeen minutes. We need to get you out of here, as soon as possible," Noin explained. Releena nodded, and followed Noin at a run out into the hallway and down the nearest stairwell.

'I do wish Noin hadn't picked such a tall building,' Releena thought wryly as they barreled down the stairs. "Is there a leak at the Preventers, then?" Releena asked Noin breathlessly, hurrying to keep up with her.

"Has to be," Noin said coldly, her expression bleak. "Either our electronic systems have been hacked, or there's a traitor in our organization." They both sighed a bit in relief as they passed the sixth floor marker. Only five more to go.

At ground level, they took a moment to catch their breaths. "Will they attack the hotel?" Releena asked Noin worriedly.

Noin shook her head. "According to our best information, they're still professionals. It would be a waste of resources, if they attack the building and you're not here. They'll scan for our distinctive lifesigns, then decide if they should or should not attack."

When they finally ran out into the street, Releena nearly stopped in surprise as she instantly recognized the biggest, pinkest car she had ever seen, and it was sitting at the curb waiting for them. The passenger side door was open, and across the front seat, Dorothy Catalonia was waving cheerfully at them both. Noin then all but picked the faltering Releena up and tossed her in, then she dove in right behind her.

"Move! Move!" Noin barked!

Behind Releena, a heavy door slammed shut loudly, and with a throaty roar of the oversized engine they were off. Dorothy flipped two small switches on the dashboard, a pair of lights went from green to dark red, and without turning around in her seat she asked Releena conversationally "How has your vacation been so far, Releena-sama?"

"A little too tense," Releena answered her dryly. She looked over at Noin beside her and asked plaintively "What is she doing here?" Dorothy pretended to look wounded, while Noin reluctantly smiled.

Before anyone could say anything more, the two Virgo's roared by over their heads. They buzzed the hotel tower a moment, looking a little like irritated bees, then promptly flew off. "I've got the E.C.M. system you gave me active," Dorothy said calmly as she gestured to the glowing lights on the dashboard, "but if they know what my car looks like, we're dead."

They waited a minute, then two, before they finally breathed a small sigh of relief. "Dorothy's a Preventer, actually," Noin said to Releena with a smile. "However, she's not listed in any database or payroll file, because of her covert work for us."

"I've got to get my excitement somehow," Dorothy said modestly. Releena softly sighed, and Dorothy grinned at her. "I know a bit about the cost of war," Dorothy said seriously, "and the price of peace. I prefer peace."

"Thank you," Releena said softly to Dorothy. She turned back to Noin with a frown and asked "What are we going to do now?"

"Keep traveling overland, I'm sorry to say." Noin smiled a bit, continued, "I contacted Miss Dorothy earlier, and she's been establishing a cover so we can travel together without problems." She looked out the window, and frowned as she noticed how fast they were travelling. "Where are we going, anyway?"

Totally deadpan, Dorothy answered, "To your wedding, of course. Your cover is going to be as a honeymooning couple."

Noin and Releena stared at her dumbfounded. "What ?!" they both asked Dorothy almost exactly together.

Dorothy grinned at the two of them, and passed them each a slim file folder. She began to recite from memory: "Rita 'Releena' Clark, is getting married to Nicole 'Noin' Clark. You will be then travel together across Europe, honeymoon in the very best hotels and resorts. You're just a very normal pair of boring computer analysts who met on the job and fell in love, with a long, fictitious history I won't tire you with now. All the proper papers have been filed, but I though if we had some photographic evidence of a real wedding, it would finish things off quite nicely."

Releena was barely able to stop Noin as she tried to lunge across the seat at Dorothy, and it didn't help that she almost wanted to throttle her, too!

"Photographic evidence? What are we going to wear for this wedding, you aristocratic twit?" Noin roared.

"Oh, dear," Dorothy said in her exaggerated way, "I almost forgot." Dorothy smoothly pulled the car over, opened the doors and led them around to the trunk. She pulled out one garment bag and passed it to Noin. "Put this on in the back seat, then sit up front. I've put the divider to black so you won't be able to see the bride. Tradition, you know," Dorothy said with a sweet smile. Noin grumbled, but headed off to get changed.

"Well, it's a... very interesting plan," Releena said to her quietly. She smiled a bit, "Noin will probably kill you when it's over, though."

Dorothy smiled, but her eyes were dead serious. "Releena, the enemy we're dealing with here are former soldiers. Very stodgy people, who wouldn't know fun if it ran up to them and bit them on the ass. There's no way they would expect this," she finished, and smirked.

Noin opened the car door and climbed out. She cut quite the fine figure of a woman, the excellently tailored wedding tuxedo hugged her lean form. She reminded one of a noble prince, or a master spy about to go out to seduce the beautiful ladies. "Wow," Dorothy whispered, and said more loudly "Can I marry her, too?"

Releena rolled her eyes, took the other garment bag, and climbed in the back seat to change. Noin leaned against the car and looked at Dorothy steadily, making her sweat a little. Finally, Noin conceded "It's a good plan. I think they will be caught by surprise, assuming they even suspect."

"Thank you," Dorothy said and threw her a mock curtsey. They faintly heard Releena call for Dorothy, and she excused herself to climb in, before she stopped to tell Noin, "No peeking!"

"What's with the lingerie?" Releena sweatdropped as she asked Dorothy in a whisper, as she tried to make sure Noin didn't hear her.

Dorothy laughed and answered "Tradition." She then set about to snap and strap Releena into the various under things, then into the gown itself. "I almost envy Noin," Dorothy sighed, before she stepped out.

Dorothy then ushered Noin back up front, and they were soon on their way. A few minutes later, Noin found herself in a country church, standing nervouly in front of a very amused looking justice of the peace.

"I haven't seen a wedding set up this fast in years," he remarked leadingly.

Noin, totally deadpan, commented, "I knocked her up, and our parents want us to be wed before the baby starts to show."

The priest looked at her in surprise, then began to quietly laugh. Just then the wedding march began, and Noin turned to see Dorothy escort the white clad figure up the aisle. The young priest's words were a blur, and only registered to Noin near the end. "Do you, Rita, take Nicole, to be your wedded wife?"

Releena answered clearly "I do."

"Nicole, do you take Rita to be your wedded wife?" the priest asked.

"I do," Noin croaked.

"Then you may kiss the brides," he said happily.

When Noin heard that, her blood ran cold. She reached over, hesitantly lifted the veil and looked down at Releena's beaming face, and just didn't know what she should do. Or what Releena wanted her to do...

Releena looked up and realized that Noin was completely frozen. She reached up, gently wrapped her arms around Noin's neck, and then drew her down into the wedding kiss. 'I think she kisses better in real life,' Releena thought to herself dazedly, suddenly remembering what happened in the morning's dream.

Chapter 4

Title: Four: True Navigation

Part Four: True Navigation

It wasn't until the wedding photos were developing that Noin had a chance to talk to Dorothy privately. "Dorothy, what in the world are you really doing?" Noin asked.

Dorothy smiled sweetly at Noin, "Protecting Releena, of course!" She continued kawaiily, "It's such a wonderful cover, no one would ever suspect."

Noin rubbed her temple, where the veins had formed a throbbing 'x'. She asked "Don't play games with me, Dorothy, please?"

Dorothy pouted cutely. "You take all the fun out of things," she softly grumbled under her breath. She thought about what to say a moment, then decided to be frank "Both you and Releena show a lack of sense in romantic relationships." She stopped Noin from whatever protest she could make with a raised finger and continued "I care a lot about Releena, but she doesn't love me. She has noticed you, however, so I intend to give her a chance to get you."

"You care about Releena?" Noin blinked at her in surprise, then she shook her head. "Excuse me, but don't I get a say in this?" she asked plaintively.

"Yes," Dorothy said with a smile. "If Releena does snag you, you can always say 'no'. You'd be an idiot, but..."

Noin sighed, but before she could say anything else, Releena walked out of the photo-mart with the package of photos. "Dorothy, did you really have to zoom in on the kiss?" A sweatdropped Releena asked her.

Dorothy grinned impishly as she shot back, "Where else would you have liked me to zoom in on, pray tell?"

Releena decided it was probably safer not to pursue that. "So now we honeymoon?" Releena said dubiously.

Dorothy reached into her coat and handed Noin a packet, "I've booked rooms for you, maps and other information are included. Your new passports are also in there, as well as credit cards and a generous amount of cash."

"And how do we get there? Or are you going to chauffeur us everywhere?" Noin asked.

Dorothy looked thoughtful. "Chauffeuring you sounds fun, but..." she said with a smile. She whistled loudly, and a black, European sports car came around the corner. The young woman who drove it smoothly climbed out and with a charming smile passed the keys to Dorothy.

"Please visit our dealership again," the dark hared woman said, and smiled very warmly at Dorothy. "I've never seen anybody pay cash for a car like that, you definitely have style," she said admiringly.

"To the newlyweds," Dorothy said, passing the keys to them. "Now, if you'll excuse me?" Dorothy said, and followed the dark hared girl down the street.

"I didn't know she went that way," Releena said, surprised.

Noin nodded, "Neither did I." And added in her thoughts 'I should have, though. Mental note: do more thorough background checks on agents.' Noin smiled, went around to the passenger's side and gallantly held the door open for Releena. "Your carriage awaits, madam."

"Thank you so much, kind sir," Releena answered, curtseying a bit and taking her seat.

Releena smiled up at Noin, who felt as if her heart had stopped. 'Releena is really beautiful,' Noin thought, and added a bit sadly 'but what would she want with me, anyway?' She moved to the driver's seat, and sat down. "Next stop, luxury hotel!" Noin announced, starting the car.

The drive was quiet, as they were both preoccupied by their own racing thoughts. Releena found herself looking over at Noin, and admired the handsome woman's profile. 'She's so good looking,' Releena thought, 'and I don't think she even knows it.' She then thought of the interested gaze the saleswoman gave, and the looks Noin had gotten at the last hotel they stayed in. 'She could have anyone,' Releena sighed mentally, 'so how do I get her to notice me?' Releena eyes widened, as she realized what she had thought.

"Are you all right?" Noin asked her worriedly.

Releena blushed a bit. "I'm fine," she said reassuringly. Noin smiled at her warmly, then turned back to the road.

A few minutes later, they reached the first hotel they had been booked in. A old fashioned manor house, it sat secluded from the busy traffic of the nearby highway. A female valet took the car, a buswoman took the bags, and they checked in at the desk where a pretty business suited woman took their information. They then were led up to the penthouse suite by a young woman wearing a old style french maid's costume, who unlocked the door, placed their bags inside while giving them a view of her panties under her short skirt, and handed them their keys.

Noin tipped her generously, and she left, taking a moment to smile at Noin as she said to her sweetly "Our maid service is available twenty four hours a day, so if you need anything, anything at all, just call."

"I think she likes you," Releena said with a laugh. Noin just blushed, so Releena picked up her bag and carried it into the bedroom, where she promptly broke out with laughter again. Noin wondered what was so funny.

Noin followed her in carrying the other bags, and groaned out loud. The single bed was very large, very pink, and shaped like a giant valentine's heart. "Of course, Dorothy made sure to book us into the honeymoon suite. A quick death's too good for her, I swear," Noin sighed in mock despair, and made Releena laugh harder.

Releena then smiled wryly over at Noin, and gently said "It should be all right. The bed's large enought for both of us to share." Rellena looked thoughtful, "You don't grind your teeth, roll over, or sleepwalk, do you?"

Noin grinned as she shook her head no, "I haven't gotten any complaints."

"Good, it's settled." Releena said firmly.

Later that evening, they ate together in the main dining room, where they noticed two very important things: the only guests of the hotel were women, and the french maids flirted outrageously with everyone. "Think Dorothy knew what sort of hotel she was booking us into?" Releena asked Noin with a quirky smile. She adjusted her dress uncomfortably, noticing the cleavage it revealed. 'Yes, Dorothy has a lot to answer for,' Releena thought.

Noin nodded, "Knowing her, the answer is yes." She did cut a fine figure in her suit, as many of the young women in the opulently decorated room noticed. They shared a quiet laugh. One of the maids cat-walked over on her high heels, and bent over to pour their wine, in the process giving them each a generous view of her cleavage. Noin noticed Releena blushed very pinkly afterwards and fought the urge to laugh. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine," Releena said, a blush still visible on her cheeks. She shook it off and smiled across the table at Noin. "This will be another thing for the memoirs," she said, refering to something Noin had said earlier with a laugh.

Noin grinned, "Yeah, I'll put it in right after my secret marriage to Releena Peacecraft, and our eloping together across Europe." Noin smiled warmly to her, "I can't think of anyone better to do it with, though."

Releena smiled back, even though she wasn't sure quite what to say to that, so she left it alone. They quickly finished their meal and retired for the night. And were immediately confronted by the problem of... the Bed. "Why don't you get ready for bed first," Releena suggested to Noin, "them it'll be my turn."

"It sound's like a plan," Noin said, picked up some clothes and headed for the bathroom. She quickly disrobed there, before she paused a moment to look at herself in the mirror. 'Yes, I'm still slim, small breasted and I have no hips,' Noin thought, and made a funny face at herself in the mirror. She pulled on a T-shirt and her boxers, and stepped out of the bathroom.

Releena smiled up at Noin as she passed by, and carried her own bundle of stuff into the luxurious bathroom. She undressed, and sighed softly in relief as she slipped out of her nearly skintight dress. She held up the nightie Dorothy had packed for her, and she groaned softly. Releena sighed, and put it on. She saw her reflection and stopped a moment, making a glamor girl pose before breaking out in a case of giggles. 'Marilyn Monroe, I'm not,' Releena thought with a smile.

Noin gasped softly, as Releena stepped into the bedroom. The nightie was a little piece of silky nothingness that mostly covered everything, but just barely. Releena slid into the bed beside her, and Noin gulped softly. The bed was a large one, but somehow, Noin turned and Releena moved, and they were face to face. Releena's eyes were wide, like a cat's, and Noin could feel them peering into her soul.

Releena could hear the sound of their breathing as she reached out tentatively, taking Noin's shoulders into her hands. It almost felt like she was falling, but where to Releena didn't know. They gently moved closer, and Releena again felt the soft touch of Noin's lips on hers. Noin's arms curled around her, and Releena felt safe there as they kissed again, hotly.

"You know," Releena said softly, "that Dorothy's been trying to set us up?"

Noin nodded. "If you don't want this to happen," Noin said softly, "tell me know."

"Don't stop," Releena said softly, blushing brightly. She looked up into Noin's eyes, and finally said something she hadn't said to anyone before, "Noin, I... love you." Releena blushed harder, and tried to hide her face.

Noin put her finger under Releena's chin, and tilted her face up. "I love you too, Releena," Noin said softly. She smiled suddenly, "You've been driving me mad for days." She pulled Releena into her arms, and then gently pulled the blankets up over them.

Releena stretched luxuriously, feeling warm, content and safe. She realised she was naked, and looking around for her nightgown, eventually spotted it lying on the floor. Right beside it were a rumpled T-shirt and boxers. She turned, and saw Noin asleep peacefully beside her, her short black hair stuck up in all directions. 'Noin gets bed hair,' Releena thought fondly, 'I never realised.'

Noin shifted a bit, then her eyes opened. She unerringly found Releena, and smiled a slow, contented smile. She sat up, then noticed she was topless. Unaccountably shy, Noin pulled the blanket over her chest.

"Good morning, sleepy head," Releena said affectionately.

Noin smiled shyly over to Releena, then said softly "I hope you know, that wasn't just a one night thing."

"I certainly hope not," Releena said, and gently put her hand on top of Noin's. "I know it may be difficult, but I want to wake up every morning with you, Noin."

Noin smiled more comfortably, and firmly said, "I'll do whatever I can to make it happen." she grinned suddenly, "We're already married, so..."

Releena laughed softly, "Why don't we let the marriage stand?" She chuckled softly, "I can't wait to hear what Une will say."

Noin got out of bed, and pulled on her T-shirt and boxers. "I'll be back with breakfast," Noin said with a smile. She headed into the living room and phoned down for room service. She clicked on the television, and froze.

"... to repeat our top story, Preventer's headquarters was attacked this evening. Casualties are unknown at this point, but the buildings themselves are still aflame..."

Chapter 5

Title: Five: Beat of Destiny

Part Five: Beat of Destiny

"I can't believe we're actually trying to steal a Peacemaker mobile suit," Releena said anxiously, as she stood concealed in the shadows by the partially open bay doors keeping watch for any soldiers on patrol. She was dressed in a all-black flight suit, her helmet rested at her feet and a small communication device was attached to her ear.

"Welcome to a life of crime, my dear" Noin answered her over the radio. "I wish we could go through channels, of course, but the enemy must have someone very high up in the Preventers to keep successfully pulling off all their operations against us." There was the sound of a scrape of metal on metal, a yelp of pain, and then some muffled, but creative, curses. Finally, Releena heard a soft click! "All right, lets go." Noin ordered.

Releena quickly walked into the hanger, but she slowed down a bit as she looked over the Peacemaker suit. It had an overall look similar in design to the original Wing Gundam, but instead of the 'nose cone' shield that suit had carried, on this one a semi transparent crystalline matrix shield was used. A newly developed technology, once the shield was powered up, it was nearly indestructible. The beam saber looked like it was standard issue mobile suit tech, but it's appearance was deceptive. Instead of a cutting beam, it generated a disruptive effect in the electronics it passed through, there by disabling the enemy, not destroying them, like the many other weapons systems on the suit.

Releena took the lift up to the double cockpit, where Noin waited. She stood there in her own flight suit as she looked up at the suit herself. Releena slowed to take a moment to appreciate the overall niceness of the view of Noin's slim, sexy body in the body hugging uniform that matched hers.

Noin noticed what she was looking at and blushed a little, before she climbed into the lower navigation and flight control cockpit. She gestured Releena over to the weapons seat above her. "Grab your seat, and let's go," Noin said crisply, as she checked the suit's systems.

"Noin, aren't you in the wrong seat?" Releena asked her worriedly, as she hesitated in front of the cockpit.

"I've seen your simulator scores," Noin said to her with a small smile, as she busily finished her own system's checks.

"How did you find out about that?" Releena asked with a blush as she climbed in and sat down to run through the preflight checklist like a pro.

"I wondered who was sneaking in so late at night," Noin answered her casually, then she grinned, "and beating the combat simulations." She reached over and hit a button on the control panel, the cockpit closed, and they were ready to go.

A low rumble from the engines, then they burst into motion, punched straight through the hanger doors and up and out into the night sky. "Ooof!" Releena gasped out softly, then she added "Quite the acceleration on this thing!"

"Zero to mach one in almost ten seconds," Noin agreed. She touched a few buttons, then shook her head in disgust. "They're so badly disorganized down there, they haven't even launched any pursuit vehicles yet."

"Good," Releena said dryly. 'Occasionally,' Releena thought, 'Noin was a little too much the professional soldier.'

"All right, your point's made," Noin admitted ruefully. "But I think it's been stuff like this that let the enemy succeed so well in their attacks against the Preventers. We got too sloppy," she said with a sigh. She checked the control panel, did some fast mental calculations and announced "E.T.A. an hour, tops."

"Noin," Releena said to her softly, then she stopped. Finally, she nervously asked "What do we do now?"

"First we get in to the hospital and see Une, then we find out who inside the Preventers are the traitors," Noin said seriously.

"I meant, about us," Releena clarified.

Noin was quiet a moment, then she said "I want to be with you, if I can. I know our jobs will separate us at times, but as much as possible I want to spend my time with you." She smiled slightly, "I've found something good, and I don't intend to let you go."

"Thank you," Releena answered, blushing. "If you don't mind, I'd like us to marry again," she said, "under our own names."

"You really are a romantic," Noin said with a small smile. "Will you marry me, Releena?" she asked.

"I'd be honored, Lucrenzia Noin," Releena answered, taking the opportunity to tease her with her full name.

A soft groan from the suit's other cockpit, "And you wonder why I use my last name." Releena's soft laughter brought a smile to Noin's normally severe expression. They quieted down as the trip continued, each occupied with their own thoughts.

Releena noticed that time seemed to slow to a crawl with a gun pointed at you, even if it's pointed by a friend of your's like Lady Une. The gun seemed very out of place in the sterile whiteness of the hospital room, along with those in the hands of several eager officers surrounding them. "Damn," Lady Une said mildly, "I was hoping we would catch an assassin."

"I wondered why getting in the hospital was so easy," Noin said calmly, as Lady Une and several Preventer officers put their guns away.

"Easy?!" Releena said in disbelief, and brushed at the dust and garbage that covered her head to toe from their rather difficult entrance through the ducts.

"Well, relatively easy, anyway," Noin corrected. She got serious as she looked over at Une, "Who did this?"

"Hilde," Une sighed softly, her voice pain filled as she lay back down uncomfortably in the bed. "She came in my office and then shot me, right before she set off the explosives she and her allies planted in Preventer headquarters. Aparently," Une added with a rueful smile, "she wanted to make sure I didn't get out."

Noin just nodded grimly at that piece of news, but Releena looked at Lady Une in shock and disbelief. "Hilde?" Releena asked quietly. "But, she's a friend, and she fought alongside the Gundams, why would she..."

Noin sighed softly, "I'm very sorry Releena. People do change, even the one's we think of as our friends."

Lady Une added, "I did some checking the last day or two." She sighed, waving her hand about, "I haven't been able to do very much else in here. It seems Hilde has been taking on more and more dangerous assignments and actively taking greater risks. And most of them have been involving Mobile suit combat as well."

Releena didn't say anything, her expression deeply troubled.

"Do we know what their objective is?" Noin asked Une softly, her expression grim.

"Hilde gloated a bit, figuring I was dead anyway. Apparently the 'Real Oz' want to reignite the old conflicts and try to restart the war. They're going to use a figurehead to rally the colonies while they mobilize the Earth forces to war," Une explained.

"So what will the figurehead be?" Releena asked quietly.

"We're not totally sure, but we know Hilde transfered massive quantities of Gundanium alloy to a unknown location. They also striped some parts and materials from the Tallgeese III, but exacly what they took we don't know. Another computer virus, this time in our main computer, deleted the data," Une said with a grimace.

"Epyon," Noin said very softly. They both looked at her in surprise, and she elaborated, in a calm, almost deadpan voice "They're rebuilding the Epyon suit, it has to be. It was the symbol of the Colonies' opposition to Earth in the final battle of the last war, and after it disappeared the suit seemed to acquire an almost mythic status. The right pilot could use it to rally the Colony dissidents against Earth again."

"Hilde will be the pilot," Releena said softly, "if what you say is true, she'd almost have to be. We've got to stop her before she can contact the Colonies in Epyon."

"But even the Peacemaker suits wouldn't stand a chance," Une said softly. "They're not Gundams, and even a poor copy of Epyon would still be too much for them."

"We need a Gundam of our own to face it," Noin said softly. "But where..." she started, then her eyes suddenly widened. "The single pilot Peacemaker prototype!"

"We built it with real Gundanium alloy, for the initial test runs." Une said in a whisper. "It's been mothballed, but it should still be in complete working order!" she cried. She popped open her cell phone and began to bark out orders to pull the suit from it's storage and then to prepare it for immediate emergency launch.

"Aso who do we get to pilot it?" Releena asked worriedly.

Noin smiled slightly, knowing just how Releena was going to react to what she was going to say, "I will."

Chapter 6

Title: Six: Last Impression

Part Six: Last Impression

Releena barely managed to keep the blow up from happening until they were in a fast car heading for the Gundam Peacekeeper's hangar bays. "Why on Earth does it have to be you?" she finally asked Noin angrily.

"There's nobody else," Noin answered quietly, "who's piloted a Gundam or even fought one before and lived, who's available to the Preventers."

"What about Wu-fei?" Releena demanded.

"He was badly injured getting casualties out of the Preventer headquarters fire." Noin saw the worried look on Releena's face and quickly added "A piece of the roof fell on him. He'll be all right, but he's in no shape to try piloting a Gundam for a while."

"What about the other Gundam pilots, then?" Releena asked more softly, but something in the tone of her voice said she already knew the answers.

"Trowa and Duo are both basically unreachable," Noin said with a sigh. "Duo's become a professional rogue and wanderer from one end of the solar system to the other, and Trowa seems to have found some measure of peace as a member of the traveling circus," she said softly. "And I don't dare call in Quatre."

Even Releena had to agree with that. Quatre Rebaba Winner had become one of the driving forces behind the reconstruction of the Earth and the Colonies, as well as a major political force. His loss would be devastating to everyone. "And that leaves..."

"Our two former boyfriends, the Lady Une and me," Noin concluded. "The first two are... way, way out of reach, and there's no chance in hell I'm going to let a woman with a serious bullet wound climb into a mobile suit."

"You know something, about what happened to Heero and Zechs. What is it?" Releena asked Noin quietly.

"That colony ship Heero was leaving on," Noin said, focused on the road ahead of them, "I found out Zechs boarded it as well."

"Zechs and Heero," Releena said to herself softly, an very odd look on her pretty face. She smiled, a small, nervous giggle escaped, then she just broke out and laughed. Noin looked astonished, but found the laughter too contagious, and soon both of them were wracked with laughter, so much so that Noin had to pull over to the side of the road until they stopped.

The two grinned at each other a moment, about to speak, when the cell phone chirped and interrupted the moment. Noin pulled it out, and both of them heard Lady Une's voice come in loud and clear "Epyon has launched! I repeat: Epyon has launched! Noin, you've got less than two hours to try and intercept it, understood?"

"Got it!" Noin barked. Then she floored the gas pedal, moved them back on the blacktop with a screech of tires and down the road at top speed. Releena was silent, lost in thought.

"I understand you have to do this," Releena said as she stopped Noin at the cockpit hatch, "but please, make sure you come back to me."

"Of course," Noin said softly, then she grinned at Releena, "we do have a wedding to go to, remember?" Noin leaned over and kissed her, then climbed in and sealed the cockpit. Releena watched the suit launch, a silver and black figure soared into the sky.

Releena's eyes widened as something about the suit's appearance clicked with a memory. 'The silvery knight from my dream,' Releena thought, 'and in it Noin slew the red dragon. Could that be Epyon?' She shook herself and waved, even though she wondered if Noin could even see it, but she didn't really care. Noin would know, that she was sure of.

Noin smiled as she shut down the rear view camera as Releena's image shrank in the distance. She had to focus on the battle ahead, not on who she was leaving behind. She carefully ran through her checklist as she moved, and declared each aloud as she finished "Disrupter Blade, check!" She received the tracking data and studied Epyon's flight path to plan where she would need to intercept it. "Shield, check!"

'That's an awfully inefficient route to take,' Noin thought, 'but she probably wants a chance to show off the suit. Epyon will have more of an impact that way when she tries to rally the colonies behind her with it.' She grinned ferally, 'Gives me more time to reach her, too.'

She opened the throttle and tore upwards to the edge of the atmosphere, up where Epyon hung, and waited for her. "Space drive, check!" It rested there, saving it's fuel as it rotated with the Earth until it reached the proper moment to move out into space. The dragon-like flight mode was a sight that had struck fear in men during the last war, and now they wanted to revive that terror. 'Not if I can help it,' Noin thought, and fired a demolition charge!

The explosive threw Epyon into a short lived nose-dive, but it quickly recovered and rose again even as it changed into it's own mobile suit form. The dragon wings stretched outward, the energy blade ignited and the chain weapon unfurled, ready for battle. Noin's video screen came on and she saw Hilde's face smile out of it at her.

"Well, well, well, it's Lt. Noin. Fancy meeting you here, of all places" Hilde said to Noin with false cheerfulness.

"We don't have to do this," Noin said to her simply. She continued calmly "Hilde, if you power down your weapons and follow me down, we can try to fix things."

"Oh, really?" Hilde said wryly. "Somehow, I doubt Lady Une would be so quick to forgive me," the last part said with real emotion in her voice. Before Noin could reply, or even begin to wonder what had once been between Une and Hilde, she attacked, energy blade swinging! Noin parried, her own blade stopping Epyon's cold!

"Releena would," Noin answered her calmly, only to be answered with a snarl of anger and a series of slashing attacks from Epyon's sword! Epyon drove her backwards, but Noin was too fast for Hilde to get any solid hits in!

As they fought, Noin realized this was a very poor copy indeed, not nearly as fast as her own suit, much less the first Epyon! They bobbed and weaved together along the edge of the atmosphere, their weapons fired as Hilde tried to shoot down Noin, and Noin worked to find a way to disable her foe. Noin had an real advantage in speed and maneuverability, but Hilde fought with a burning fury and little self control.

Noin ran through her suit's arsenal, and fired restraint device after restraint device at Epyon with little or no effect. She shot to disable Epyon's joints but was unable to cleanly hit them. Finally, Noin realized she had only one weapon to stop Epyon with, and as they fought, she began to conceive of a plan to use it!

"Releena," Hilde suddenly growled to Noin angrily! "I hate her! I could have been a great pilot, an ace! But she took the war away from my generation! But now I'm undoing that mistake!" Epyon's tail snaked out and wrapped around the Peacekeeper's arm, heated white hot, but strangely the forearm armor was undamaged!

"Thank god for Gundanium," Noin muttered, and quickly yanked the off- balance Epyon towards her by the tail! Before Hilde could recover, Noin took her disrupter blade and slashed across the chest of Epyon, and right through the cockpit and Hilde's own body!

The scream tore through Noin's cockpit speakers, as Epyon went limp in space with all it's command systems shut down at once. Noin brought her suit in close and gently, carefully cradled Epyon in her arms as she prepared for the long trip home.

Lady Une looked into the antisepticly white hospital room and leaned heavily on Noin and Releena's support. Hilde lay unmoving there in the hospital bed as the monitors tracked her condition. "Will she make it?" Une asked them quietly.

"Hopefully," Noin said softly, a bit of sadness in her voice. "We've only rarely had a direct hit on a person with the disrupter blade, and the long term effects are simply unknown. The doctors are optimistic that there's still brain function and neural response."

"Good," Une said, and smiled darkly as she continued, "I want her alive and awake to face her trial."

Noin rolled her eyes and Releena looked at Une disapprovingly. "Lady," Releena started, only to be cut off.

"Releena, she betrayed her oath, her friends, and me personally," Une said seriously. "I'm not prepared to easily excuse that." She looked at the pained expression on Releena's face and smiled a bit at her, adding more gently "I'll try, of course. But it'll take time."

They all went back to Une's room, where she quite painfully lay back down again. "We'll be back to see you soon," Noin said softly. Une smiled to herself as she saw the two of them leave together, holding each other's hands.

'I wonder when the wedding will be?' Une wondered to herself drowsily before she finally fell to sleep.

Chapter 7

Title: Seven: Love Revolution

Epilogue: Love Revolution!

It took nearly two months to get everything ready for the wedding. Invitations were sent out, the great hall rented, and, to their great irritation, the media was alerted.

Releena smiled ruefully to herself as she peeked out a curtained window and saw the media mob in front of the building, and all the news trucks, reporters and photographers who waited for any word. Apparently, the marriage of "Queen" Releena was still considered to be news.

Thankfully, the fact that Releena was here to marry a woman wasn't so much of an issue to them. Noin's public record and her reputation were such that she was almost considered to be above any reproach. Of course, the fact she was the second in command of the Preventers and the very public defeater of the rebuilt Epyon didn't hurt, either. Her musings were interrupted by a soft knock on the door.

Dorothy smiled at her sunnily, as she closed the door behind her. "Releena, you look good," she said, "and Noin looks absolutely marvelous."

"Dorothy," Releena said, and smiled a bit sadly at the very pretty blonde, "I just wanted to say I'm sorry."

"For what?" Dorothy asked.

"Noin told me you once had a crush on me," Releena said softly, "and I'm sorry that I didn't notice you then. I guess I was just too wrapped up in Heero to notice."

Dorothy smiled and shook her head. "Noin told me she told you, but it's OK. If I had gotten involved with you, I wouldn't have met my new girlfriend," Dorothy said cheerfully.

"I'm so glad!" Releena said with a cheerful smile. "Who is it?"

"It's a surprise, but we will be there, holding hands during the ceremony," Dorothy assured her. "Good luck to both of you, if I don't see you later." She moved to leave, then stopped and did one of her very theatrical turns, "You forgot this." She handed Releena a set of keys, the keys that Releena recognized as the ones that belonged to a very nice sports car Dorothy had loaned them earlier. "For the honeymoon," Dorothy said impishly.

Dorothy then slipped out before Releena could get over her shock enough to say anything. 'The woman always had a lot of style,' Releena thought with a smile. Another soft knock, and Howard came in, a broad smile on his homely face. The former Gundam engineer cleaned up pretty good, dressed to the nines in his tux and tails. Releena had requested him to give her away during the wedding, in place of her departed father.

"They're all ready," Howard assured her with a smile. Releena took his arm and they left the waiting room together as the soft sounds of the wedding march began to play.

Noin stood nervously at the altar, in her expertly fitted gray tux, Sally Po beside her as her 'best man'.. She saw Releena walk up the aisle and felt her breath stop as she saw the white clad beauty. To distract herself she looked around at all the guests gathered there. Quatre, Trowa and Wu-fei actually looked pretty cheerful in their dress clothes, while Duo looked a little uncomfortable and a bit sad. Loosing Hilde had really hurt him, whatever his cheerful exterior. The oddest couple was Dorothy and Lady Une, who stood together holding hands.

When Releena reached her, she saw Une and Dorothy standing together, and chuckled softly. The young priest, the same one who had married them in the fake ceremony, smiled at both of them cheerfully and began the ceremony. Releena managed to keep track pretty well, smiling again at the use of Noin's first name. Noin, predictably, winced. They passionately kissed on cue, to the cheering of the guests and a roar of applause from the crowd. Noin and Releena ran together down the long aisle, the unmarried ladies gathered, and Releena forcefully tossed the bouquet of flowers over her shoulder.

They arched high up into the air, then dropped straight down into the hands of a very astonished looking Lady Une! The normally reserved officer blushed bright red, even as Dorothy stood by her side and grinned cheerfully.

Noin and Releena ran for the curb, where the infamous sports car was waiting for them. Releena passed the keys to Noin and they peeled off together for a honeymoon that would, hopefully, be more peaceful than their last one.

Dorothy and Une stood together watching the car speed away. Une saw Dorothy reach up and carefully brush away a single, shining tear from her cheek. "Dorothy," Une said softly, "why did you ask me to pretend to be your girlfriend?"

"Releena would feel guilty, getting married while I was still single," Dorothy said with a shrug. "This way, she can honeymoon guilt free."

"No," Lady Une said to Dorothy with a quirky smile on her aristocratic face, "I meant, why ME in particular, hmm?"

Dorothy looked over at the beautiful, aristocratic lady and was, for once in her very eventful life, speechless. Lady Une reached over to gently stroke Dorothy's cheek, still smiling that odd, but very pretty smile.

"Look me up," Lady Une said softly, "when you figure out why." She then walked away, and Dorothy was surprised to notice the sexy sway of those uniform covered hips,

'What the hell,' Dorothy thought, 'you only live once.' She ran after Une, and the two of them walked off together, talking.

The End

Chapter 8

Title: Epilogue: Graduation


She made her way through the doors, flashing her ID at the front desk as she walked right by. She knew the way though the twisting hallways, eventually reaching the large inner courtyard. Lush greenery of many kinds helped to create the illusion of some privacy, but concealed windows and carefully hidden cameras allowed them to watch everything that went on there. A path led her to a bench, and she stood there a moment beside another girl sitting there.

"Good morning, Hilde," Noin said to her quietly.

Hilde smiled up at her shyly, her hands cradled in her lap. She was very pale, and was made even paler by the dark green pants and top she had to wear. A medical monitoring device was strapped to her slim wrist, it's soft sounds fading to the background as they talked.

"Good morning, Noin," Hilde answered her softly. She extended a hand, which shook slightly, even as she struggled to try and keep it steady.

Noin took it, gently shaking her hand before letting Hilde tuck it back into the safety of her lap. "The doctors tell me you're making real progress with your exercises," she said softly, sitting down beside her on the bench.

"The physical therapy is helping," Hilde agreed softly, "I can write out my name now." She looked over at Noin sadly as she continued, "But I still can't remember anything."

Noin tried not to wince at that. It had taken several long months for Hilde to come out of her coma, and when she finally awoke her memory was completely gone. Specialists were brought in, test were run, and it was quickly determined that her amnesia was for real, not an act. She really didn't remember anything, to Hilde's own great distress.

Her nervous system was also very badly damaged, so even as they began to treat her physical damage they tried to determine all the effects on her mental state. She seemed to be almost a totally blank slate, with no memory of anything that happened to her before waking up that first day in the hospital. She could talk, read, and probably write, though the shakes she had when she woke up prevented that. But other than that...

The thin girl looked at her, her eyes dark. "Who are you, Noin?" Hilde asked her softly, right out of the blue. Noin looked up at her in surprise, as Hilde continued on saying quietly "I still don't know anything about you, other than your name."

"You know I can't tell you that," Noin said, "we need to give any of your original memories the chance to resurface, rather than giving you any second hand information." Noin smiled wryly as she added "I had to argue with the doctors just to let me tell you my name."

"Thank you for that," Hilde said softly. She sounded so grateful for such a small kindness, really, that it made Noin feel a bit uncomfortable.

Hilde looked off across the greenery of the courtyard, and after a few moments of silence she said, "I do wonder, sometimes, what it was that I did. I know I'm being held captive here, as well as being treated for my injuries. I think it must have been something pretty bad, though," she looked over at Noin sadly, "I know you can't tell me."

Noin sat there silent, unsure what to say to her. Sometimes Noin found herself hoping that Hilde wouldn't regain her memory, it might be better for her.

Hilde smiled sadly, "I'm just glad you come visit, you and the quiet lady."

"What quiet lady?" Noin asked her in surprise. She knew no one else was authorized to see Hilde other than the medical staff treating her.

"She never comes inside, just parks her car on the street. I can see her from my room sometimes, she has long brown hair, and looks a little sad," Hilde said. She looked thoughtful, "Or maybe regretful."

'Lady Une,' Noin thought, 'it must be.' Before she could say anything, her watch chirped softly to get her attention. Noin looked down at the message there and scowled before saying, "I'm sorry, I have to go."

"Duty calls, I guess," Hilde said with a sad little smile. As Noin was walking off, she softly said, "See you next week."

Releena sighed softly, pacing the dark office hallway impatiently. She had come down to try and surprise Noin, but a major crimp had appeared in her carefully thought out plans: it appeared Noin was trapped in the meeting from hell.

According to Lady Une's secretary, she, Noin, and most of the Preventers' brass were behind closed doors with one of their greatest opponents: the government accountants. Releena almost felt sorry for Noin as it was likely that she and Une were being forced to justify every expenditure for the past year, down to the nuts and bolts if needed.

"Looks like you're here waiting as well, Ms. Releena," a familiar, and quite amused sounding, voice said from behind her. She turned to see Dorothy Catalonia standing behind her, a pleasant smile on her face. "Would you like some tea while we wait?" she invited.

Releena chuckled softly, "I'd love to." She followed Dorothy to two plush chairs, the tea already set up for two. She raised her eyebrow at Dorothy inquiringly.

"One of the guards saw you pacing," Dorothy explained. She poured the tea neatly, then sat down across from Releena. She smiled wickedly, "How's married life been for you?"

"No complaints," Releena said with a contented smile. "Are you and Une planning to settle down any time soon?" she asked in return.

Dorothy took a small drink of her tea. "I suppose it will have to depend on how the adoption arrangements go," Dorothy answered her calmly.

"Adoption?" Releena echoed, sounding more than a bit confused.

"Well, we couldn't just leave Mariemea with the Barton family, could we? Une was already making the arrangements when I entered the picture, and I support her completely," Dorothy said with a little smile. She looked up from her tea to see Releena's reaction.

Releena gaped at her, almost like her brain had derailed at the thought of Dorothy and Une raising a young girl together. She shook her head, "I hope you know what you're getting into. I spent a few days with her, and she's one of the most... intense children I've ever met."

"I know," Dorothy said with a fond smile, "that's one of the things I most like about her." Releena laughed softly, and they settled down to some serious tea drinking.

A young woman in a Preventers' uniform jogged up to where they were sitting, and then saluted Releena. She gave her report as if it was a military debriefing. "They'll be out of the meeting in another half hour," she repeated calmly, "even if they have to shoot their way out. That's a direct quote from Lady Une, by the way."

"Thank you," Releena said with a sigh. The girl jogged off, and Releena turned to Dorothy with a shrug. "Only half an hour left."

Dorothy looked at Releena thoughtfully, "I've always wanted to ask you this: what in the world did you see in Heero Yui, anyway?"

"You don't pull any punches, do you?" Releena said with a nervous little laugh. "Well, part of it was a sort of mothering thing. He was so badly wounded, even back when I first met him. I guess I wanted to protect him, make him better." She sighed softly, "And part of it was... well..." She blushed, "I'm a bit ashamed to admit it."

Dorothy grinned as she quickly bargained, "Tell you what. I'll tell you why I had a crush on you, all those years ago, if you'll tell me the rest."

Still blushing, Releena shyly admitted, "I think it was also because he completely ignored me." She pretended to look very surprised, "He's ignoring me?", then a bit indignant, "How dare he ignore me?", then finally a exaggerated, seductive pose, "I'll make him notice me!" To the quiet sound of Dorothy's laughter she sheepishly explained "I got so caught up in the thrill of the hunt I don't think I really noticed the faults of the prize."

Dorothy sipped a bit of tea before finally keeping her end of the bargain. "When I first met you in the Sank Kingdom, you were dressing in that ridiculous school teacher outfit, surrounded by your students, and all I could think was, 'She's so beautiful.' Of course, that was before I even talked to you," she explained with a smile.

"I probably ruined that first impression as soon as I opened my mouth," a blushing Releena said with a nervous laugh.

Dorothy shook her head, "No, once we started debating my crush got worse." She smiled up at Releena, "There's so few people who can actually keep up with me, Releena. Thankfully Lady Une is one, Mariemea, one or two others, and you. I loved sparing with you, crossing swords with our minds over the merits of war versus peace."

Releena blushed softly, "Thank you."

"And you were such a babe," Dorothy said offhandedly, toasting her with her tea cup.

Releena hid her blushing face in her hands, laughing softly.

"Free at last, free at last, thank god almighty we're free at last," they heard a pair of quite happy women's voices chanted together, growing closer by the second. Releena turned to see Noin and Une jogging down the hallway towards them.

Une gently pulled Dorothy out of her chair and into her arms, surprising the blonde with a vigorous kiss. "You have no idea how good it is to see you," Une sighed.

"Gee, I should trap you in budget meetings more often," a broadly smiling Dorothy said with a breathless little laugh.

Une winced, "Don't even joke about that, please."

Noin laughed softly, helping Releena up from her seat as well, "That goes double for me." She pulled Releena into a slower, more thorough kiss until the wolf whistles from nearby Preventer officers caused them to separate.

"Don't you have something better to do?" Une asked the revelers, sounding fairly severe but still smiling slightly. Once they were more alone she turned to the other three, "Lets get out of here before the accountants decide they missed something."

Noin all but shuddered at the idea of dealing with the accountants any more today, "Very good idea. Let's go!"

Une slid a arm around Dorothy's shoulders as they walked out into the sunlight. Noin and Releena followed a bit more slowly, watching their friends walking together. "They do make a lovely couple," Releena said softly.

Noin gently took Releena's hand, smiling down at her. "Yes, they do. But not so lovely as you," Noin answered her softly.

"You know just what to say," Releena smiled, squeezing Noin's hand slightly.

Noin smiled down at Releena, "What say we go home, skip dinner, and go to bed early?"

Releena grinned back at Noin, "Promises, promises."

Une smiled, her arm around Dorothy as they all walked away from the Preventers' building together. Treise's dream of a peaceful world still hadn't come about, but they were getting closer to it everyday. Absolute pacifism, she had realized, wasn't the answer. Only hard work from people with the courage to make the world a better place could accomplish that dream.

Une looked at her lover and her friends, and felt certain that it would be done, someday.

Chapter 9

Title: Notes and comments

Author's Notes:

Why pair up Releena and Noin? They do have a history together, of course, as well as a great deal of mutual respect. And absolutely no sense in romantic relationships, as Dorothy wryly points out to the two of them. That's why she's playing the matchmaker. And, to be completely honest, it just sounded like fun.

Why did I break up Heero and Releena, Gundam Wing's "perfect" couple? I'm sorry, all the Heero and Releena fans, but I don't think they were ever really together. Heero is, IMHO anyway, far, far too traumatized to enter into a serious relationship, while Releena suffered more from a school girl crush than anything else.

Why did I make poor old Zechs gay? First, the Treise thing: their background is never fully dealt with, but a lot is implied about what went on between them. Zechs also gets really, really focused on Heero during the series, to the point of nearly being obsessed. I suspect that Zechs, the last living son of the Sank noble family, must have felt the obligation to try to carry on the family's name, even at the cost of resisting or repressing his own true nature.

Where are all the Gundam Pilots during this story? Wu-fei obviously stayed on with the Preventers, Quatre is likely using his fortune and massive resources for the betterment of mankind, Trowa is still trying to live a quiet life at the circus, and Duo is probably out doing the Han Solo thing: a lovable rogue living on the edge of the law.

Where is it set? I'm being intentionally vague about that. What's currently Europe, certainly, but other than that, hard to say.

Chapter titles are from songs by the group, Two Mix, who did the theme music for Gundam Wing, "Just Communication". They also did "Rhythm Emotion" for an episode of the show, and "White Reflection" for the movie, Endless Waltz. I got the titles off of the CD "Two Mix: Super Best Files '95-'98".

Jun. 13/ 02: Finished at last! Well, OK, not quite. I'll likely revise it a bit later, based on feedback from the readers.

Aug 11/ 02: A Dorothy Chapter! I wanted to explain her being in the Preventers, as well as add some background for Noin, Une and Hilde. Do I believe in this big 'Conspiracy Theory' style explaination of the events of Gundam Wing? Not really. There is more than a bit of evidence to back up the idea, and I always felt Treise died a bit too easily...

I hope that you also try some of my other fics, if this one pleased you.

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