Howdy, I just wanted to thank everyone who reviewed "An Oldie But a Goodie": Thanks!
"This Wasn't in the Job Description"
by: the archduke
Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam Wing, nor am I making any profit from this fic.
Chapter 1: The Hunt Begins
Two and a half years. For two and a half years she had been preparing for this day, but no amount of preparation could have been enough. She knew that one day she would have to give up the protection her youth offered her, but still...this was a bit too much. She was caught quite off guard the day after her eighteenth birthday.
This wasn't entirely knew to her, she had had a taste of it even before she had been thrust into the political arena. Her father had been the Vice-Foreign Minister before her, which had put her entire family into the spotlight. But in those days the spotlight wasn't focused solely on her.
Thinking about it, she thought she should be grateful for the two and a half years that she had lived in relative peace. As a leader of the Earth Sphere Unified Nation she had been open game, add in her youth and looks, and she should have been hounded the minute she stepped off of Libra all those years ago. But back then there had been an agreement between herself and those who now followed her every move, an unspoked, yet binding agreement. She had still been a minor and they had backed off, giving her some space. But once she turned eighteen, and legally became an adult, all hell broke loose.
It seemed they couldn't get enough of her. Always asking her questions, trying to get her attention, anything to make her look their way. She supposed she should have been flattered that they were so interested in her, it showed just how popular she had become. But this was only the first day. She shuddered at thinking what the rest of her life would be like.
Today was the day Relena Peacecraft-Darlian had met her greatest adversary ever. No amount of conferences, speeches, or delegates could compare to what she faced. She had stepped up to the line and had been knocked down by the first punch. They might have made her fall, but Relena wouldn't be down for the count. She would get up, dust herself off, and get ready for the next round, because she knew that they wouldn't show her any mercy.
Relena versus the press, and the gloves were coming off.
It was the morning after the first encounter and Relena sat in her bed, running over the previous days events in her head. It had all started normal enough, her waking up to find Zechs and Noin already downstairs eating breakfast. Joining them were Heero and another man, just two of the several Preventers who accompanied her wherever she went. After the incident with Mariemaia, Lady Une had insisted that bodyguards were in order, just to be on the safe side. She had been reluctant at first, believing that the human race had finally learned its lesson and accepted peace, but a close call involving herself, an assasin, and a bullet imbedded in the podium that she had been speaking from changed her mind.
She had come down to breakfast to find four people already sitting there, all looking uncharacteristcally nervous. Relena could tell that they were all avoiding eye contact with her, as if they were guilty about something. She was about to ask them what was going on when she heard a commotion coming from the front yard. She went to the front window to see what was the matter, and that's when she saw it. A sea of people, all with various sorts of cameras, from regular still cameras to sophisticated television cameras, the equipment looking sophisticated and professional. She was used to seeing crowds, but nothing like this. There must have been over two thousand people with cameras in her front yard, all seeming to be watching her front door for some reason.
When they had spotted her at the window thousands of flash bulbs went off, all at the same time, blinding her with a brilliant light. Reflecting upon the incident, she wondered if the light could have been visible from space, she would have to check into that. She had felt a pair of arms pull her away from the window and lead her over to the couch, while she rubbed her eyes trying to get the sparkles to disappear from her vision.
The first face she saw upon gaining her sight back was that of Heero, looking at her with something that resembled concern. She had stopped chasing after him long ago, realizing how ridiculous she must have looked. They now had a quasi-friendship/relationship, built on a foundation of respect and admiration and - hell, she didn't know what they had, all she knew was that everytime she looked at him her tummy felt funny.
"What was that?," she asked while still rubbing her eyes.
"The press. They've been here since 4 o'clock this morning."
"Who let them past the gate?" Whoever it was was going to clean out the gutters the next day, plus mow the grass, and trim the bushes. Since she lived on a palacial estate, this was quite a punishment.
Her brother and Noin had entered the room by then, and she heard Zechs explain. "No one. Some of them started climbing over, and before we could do anything they had short circuited the opening mechanism and rushed through. We tried to get them to leave, but they started shouting about freedom of the press and police persecution, so we just left them alone. But we did warn them that if they tried to get into the house we could legally shoot them, so I think we're safe in here."
"But, why are there so many of them? I didn't think that there were that many news organizations in the universe?"
It was Noin's turn to speak. "They're not just from news organizations. We have all sorts of people here. There's the television news stations, the food station that wants to find out what your favorite food is, the sports station, which is interested in your athletic pastimes, newspapers, news magazines, fashion magazines that want to put you on the cover, tabloids wanting to get dirt on your personal life, and some people who want you to endorse some sort of contraption called the Butt-Buster. It seems you are very popular today." She said this last part with a small smirk that did not go unnoticed by Relena.
"This is not funny, Noin. I knew the press would get more aggressive once I turned eighteen, but this is ridiculous!"
She should have just gone back to bed after waking up and finding a small village on her front lawn, but Relena's sense of duty stopped her from cancelling all of her meetings and hiding in her room all day. She managed to sneak out the back door without too much difficulty, but she had been reduced to wearing some of Zechs's old clothes as a disguise. Relena shook her head at the thought. Having to disguise herself to exit her own home. How degrading.
Once she left her home, she felt confident that the worst was behind her, but once she arrived at the ESUN Capital Building, she found a whole other slew of people waiting for her there. That had been her entire day, being met by a crowd of reporters wherever she went while she tried to go about her daily activities.
Throughout the entire ordeal Heero had been by her side, shielding her from the crowds, giving death glares to all who dared to get too close, and she thought she even saw him reach for his gun a few times when it had gotten really bad.
Now she was in her bed, hoping that by some miracle they had all gotten tired of her and found something more intersting to report on then what her favorite color was. But Relena was a realist, she knew that it was asking too much to be left alone. She was the Vice-Foreign Minister, a former princess and a former queen, but no where in any of her job descriptions did it mention the frenzy that surrounded her at the moment.
Relena once again went downstairs, mentally steeling herself for the upcoming day. Zechs and Noin were at the table, reading the morning papers, her presence going unnoticed by the usually very observant pair.
"What in the hell is this? How can they get away with printing such lies? Whatever happend to journalistic integrity?" By the tone of his voice Relena could tell her brother was not in a very good mood.
"Calm down Zechs, you don't want to attract Relena's attention. Give me the paper, I'll go hide them before she comes down." Once Noin moved her paper down to reach for Zechs's, she saw a slightly angry Relena looking straight at her. "Uh oh."
"What's the matter Noin? Found another article?" Zechs put down his paper and saw his wife staring at his sister, suddenly getting the urge to go back into space this very minute.
"Good morning Relena," Zechs said in a cheery voice, "sleep well last night?"
"Cut the crap Milliardo." She called him by his real name. This was bad. "Give me the paper."
He said the first thing that came into his mind. "What paper?"
"The one in your hand. Now hand it over!"
Before anyone could make a move, Duo came strolling into the room, his own paper opened wide. "This is just too good, too good! I can't wait to talk to Heero about this," he said to himself as he kept on walking.
Relena grabbed the paper out of his hands and backed out of his reach before he could snatch it back.
"Hey, I was reading that!"
"Shut up Duo. Now is not the time," Noin said through clenched teeth.
"You mean she hasn't seen it yet? Uh oh," Duo echoed Noin's earlier sentiments and made his way to where Noin and Zechs were now standing, all three keeping the table between themselves and the Vice-Foreign Minister.
Relena flipped to the front page, and she immediately saw it in big, bold letters:
'RELENA IN LOVE TRYST WITH BODYGUARD'
Under the headline was a picture of Heero helping Relena out of her limo, the picture making it look like they were about to kiss. Of course that wasnt't the case, but the angle at which the photo had been taken at implied it. Only one day had gone by and she was already embroiled in a sex scandal. Her mind went blank except for a single phrase which slipped out of her mouth.