( And again! Okay, this might seem similar to Jadzia's version, but I promise I didn't copy, I just really really wanted to write a bath scene...)

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Murrue looked from side to side, all around her, in order to be totally sure that someone wasn't watching. This was so embarassing...The door in front of her looked just like any other aboard the Archangel, but...

Neo Lorrnoke stood beside her, a happy smile on his scarred face. "Well, come on, let's go in!"

Murrue hugged herself and stared at the floor, mumbling. "I thought you wanted to look round the ship first..."

Neo laughed. "There'll be plenty of time for that later. Right now, if we have time to take a break, then we should use it, don't you think? Come on, it'll be fun!"

The woman glanced up at the tall man, not able to hide the small smile quirking at the corners of her mouth. The Colonel was so different now from the surly sarcastic prisoner he had been a few short weeks ago. He was so cheerful and playful now, he really did seem like another person. She liked the change, and she could tell that the other members of the crew did as well.

She finally sighed, and pushed the button to open the doors in front of them. However much she had protested, a hot bath really did sound good...

Inside, the changing rooms waited just ahead, and a small corridor led off to the left. "Go on, then," Murrue pointed Neo in the direction of that corridor. The man looked baffled, blue eyes showing confusion. "What's that for?"

She cocked her head to one side, unsure what he meant. "That's the men's side..."

The Colonel's smile faded, and an expression of immense disappointment crossed his face instead. "You mean it's not a mixed bath?"

Murrue flushed. "No, it isn't."

"But there's no-one else in there..." He wore a pleading look. "Come on, can I go in there with you? Please?"

Murrue's blush deepened. "N-no!" she stuttered, trying to push him down the corridor.

His broad shoulders slumped, and she thought he had finally given in. Then, quick as a flash, he took hold of one of her slender hands, and walked into the changing room, pulling her along behind him.

"L-let go! Please let go!" Murrue tried to remove her hand from his grasp, panicking. What was he going to do?

Neo turned around in surprise, and immediately let her go when he saw how frightened the Captain was. He held up his hands.

"I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to scare you. I just...I really wanted to be able to take a bath with you. I promise I wouldn't have done anything..."

She still looked rather afraid, her face hidden by her dark hair. Neo could make out a red blush on her cheeks, and despite everything, smiled. "Please, trust me, okay? I'll stay at the other end of the bath and everything..." His tone had become wheedling, and he reached out and gently tilted her head up to face him. "Do you trust me?"

The Captain didn't answer him, just stared at him with those wide dark eyes of hers, as if trying to see some hint of falsehood, but then sighed softly, and nodded. Pulling away from him, she stepped into one of the changing rooms, and closed the door behind her.

Neo's heart was racing, and he felt slightly giddy with anticipation. He really wasn't going to try anything, but just the thought of being in the bath with her...

Afterwards, they both stood clad in towels, and Neo made as if to climb straight into the bath, when the Captain caught his wrist.

"Wait! You can't just go in there...you need to take a shower first.."

He blinked, bewildered, but nodded.

Why shower before a bath? Oh well...

The two of them stood in the (unfortunately communal) shower, turned away from each other as they washed. Neo found that he really wanted to turn around a little and look at her, but he had made her a promise he wouldn't try anything, and he wanted to keep it.

Murrue risked a peek behind her to make sure he really wasn't watching, and let out a faint sigh of relief. She was about to turn back when she caught sight of the livid scars on his tanned back. They were ugly gashes, and looked as if they must have taken a long time to heal. The biggest stretched all the way down his back, and Murrue winced in sympathy. Her gaze travelled a little lower...and then she turned back quickly, cheeks burning.

What was that for? There was no need to look that far down!

The pair of them stepped into the hot water of the bath, clad in their towels. The water was perfect, and they sat down at opposite ends, as they had agreed. The heat of the water, and the steam was very relaxing, but Murrue was far too nervous to enjoy it properly. Even though she did trust him, she was incredibly embarrassed, and worried in case someone came in and saw them both together. So she huddled in the corner, eyes fixed on the water.

Neo glanced over at her, seeing how nervous she was, and felt a twinge of guilt that he had asked her to do this. But...he hadn't been able to help himself. Ever since he'd discovered there was a bath like this on the Archangel, he had entertained a daydream of one day asking the Captain to take a bath with him. And with those kids out of the way...today was perfect.

She looked just as he had pictured her. Her cheeks were flushed from the heat of the water (and probably embarrassment), and her dark eyes were bright from the steam. Some of her auburn hair had escaped from the clip she had fastened it up with, and the damp tendrils framed her face, making her pale creamy skin stand out even more.

Whoa...she's stunning. Even better looking than normal. This was definitely the right decision...

Neo was able to understand now how much this Mwu must have loved the Captain. If it was anywhere near what he had come to feel for her, he was able to understand why he had given up his life to try and save her. He was sure that if anything like that happened again, then he would do the same.

It's ironic how quickly things change. When I got here, I didn't care if I hurt her, or made her cry. Now all I want is to make her smile, to be able to heal some of the pain she still feels...

"I'm sorry."

The Captain looked up at him in surprise. "For what?"

"For the things I said when I first got here. For making you cry..." She shook her head, more of the dark hair slipping from it's restraint. "No, it's okay. You didn't know what was happening, it's nothing to be sorry about..."

"But still.." he said earnestly. "Now that I know why you were so upset..I wanted to apologise."

She smiled a little. "Thank you."

He smiled back, the expression soft and gentle. His long blonde hair was tied back slightly, and he looked so much like Mwu that Murrue felt her heart flip, and had to look at the water again, blushing furiously.

"I - I..I wanted to ask...you have so many scars...how did you get them?"

It was clearly not the question the Colonel had been expecting. "Huh? These? Well..." he sighed.

"I'm not really sure. I was in a military hospital for a long time, at least three or four months, before they healed properly. They hurt like hell. I didn't know how I got them, and it wasn't before they had almost healed that they told me. It was the same guy who told me who I was, some kind of doctor. He said I'd gotten them when ZAFT destroyed the ship I was on, and that I had been the only survivor, all my comrades had been killed. Since I didn't have a clue either way, I believed them, as I had nothing else. That's why I ended up fighting ZAFT. But I guess...that what I was told isn't true. I don't really know what was real and what wasn't. But I thought that here...I might be able to find it. Because I believe in you."

Murrue gasped, as much in surprise at what he had just said as in sadness for the lies he had been told. Moving close to him, she took him into her arms, not caring who came in and saw them, only wanting to comfort him.

"Don't worry.." she whispered in his ear. "It'll be okay. You'll find what you're looking for, I'm sure of it."

Neo closed his eyes, breathing in the scent of her soap, and wrapping his arms around her slender body.

"I think maybe I already have..."

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( Awwwww, poor Neo-san, huh? I don't know how the EA explained to him where those scars came from, but logically they must have had to tell him something... And the scars on his back...I checked out phase 31 of GSD, the shower scene. The things I have to do, huh:blush and giggle:

Andon that note, this series of stories has come to an end. I think 50 chapters might just be enough :laughs:

But I still have lots more ideas, so I'll probably start all over again with a new collection.

Please read and review, and thanks for all the reviews I've had! )