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.