A/N: Pairing: eventual 5X9, mentions of 3X4 and 1X2 Warnings: varying points of view(I guess that might be a problem for some), Spoilers: Post-EW
Written for Ravengirl who asked for a fic with these two on the G-Wing fan ML on Yahho. The plot is one of those old 'stuck pretending to be a couple as partners' fics. So old I had to dig it up, dust it off and bring it back to life with a shock of lightning. -raises hands- Rise fic rise! -clears throat- Anyway, it's a bit late but here it is. Let me know if its heading in the right direction.
Part One: A Meeting of the Minds
It was a Monday. She hated Mondays. The fact that it was a Monday morning made it all the more loathsome. It was not a very well known fact that Lucrezia Noin aka Agent Fire hated mornings however, and the poor soul who got her way this particular morning would be lucky to live through the experience. The reason for this usually even-tempered woman's ire?
Une had decided to call her in on her week off.
The only week she would get off for another three months before 'Agent Fire' would be spending God knows how long chasing the scum of the universe throughout the colonies. A full-time job already without crazy Commanders ordering her off her first bit of down time in nearly three months.
"We better be at war for her to order me in like this or she's getting it." The dark haired agent mumbled to herself, not even stopping to wave at a few of her more social co-workers. Lucrezia, more affectionately known as Lu, knew she was looking a lot less like Agent Fire and a lot more like Agent Storm Cloud as she stomped her way through the Preventer's Headquarters. A few cadets were parting for her like the Red Sea for Moses; a sure sign of her present mood.
She had the whole week planned out. It was simple really: sleep, eat, shower occasionally. Maybe it wasn't the best thing to get worked up over, but to Lu, that week was chocolate covered heaven.
And now it was dead.
"If Relena has herself kidnapped again, I'm walking right out of that office and back into my cozy bed and letting Heero Yuy deal with it. I may have been friends with her brother but that girl needs a leash."
An amused voice cut through Lu's increasing-in-volume mutterings, startling the agent.
"I can assure you that Miss Relena has not been captured again, Agent Fire. Such a shame; it would have been highly amusing."
'That cultured, whimsical voice, as well as the commentary, could belong to only one person' Lu thought with a mental sigh of frustration.
With the end of the wars and the elimination of the largest remaining threat to peace, Dorthory Catalonia had found herself bored. Relena was off doing her political duty and keeping the universe happy and the Gundam pilots were without their Gundams, leaving the enigmatic young blond without a thing to do. Or at least a person to bother.
So Dorothy Catalonia had become Une's personal secretary. Apparently that was more exciting. Somehow. Lu had no idea where Catalonia would come up with the idea that typing up letters and filling out files and forms would be thrilling at all, compared to Dorothy's lust for battle but the aristocrat was...astonishingly happy in her position and Lucrezia Noin did not question her about it. She doubted she'd understand the answer anyway. She had once heard Dorothy having a stimulating conversation about the military uses of glow in the dark paints and canned cheese with Duo Maxwell and had been puzzled for weeks.
Lu sighed to herself as the blond before her made no more of an effort to inform her of the 'emergency' mission that needed her 'expertise'. Violet eyes blinked in expectation.
One of Catalonia's pointy, blond eyebrows rose in question. "Yes, Agent Fire?"
That was another one of the girl's numerous quirks. She always called her Agent Fire. Lu got the distinct impression that she was being mocked.
Calmly, the Preventer leaned against the barrier in front of Catalonia's desk, her smile falsely bright. "Anything you have for me on this mission?"
Silvery gray eyes danced with mirth as a deceptively dainty looking hand tried to cover a small gasp.
"Agent Fire! Are you asking me to reveal to you that Commander Une has requested your presence for a mission with Agent Chang Wufei? You know that's against Preventer policy!"
Lu cocked her head to the side. Chang Wufei? The ex-Gundam pilot? Absently, the young woman answered Dorothy. "Yes, I'm dreadfully sorry for that, Dotty. Must have slipped my mind. Old age you know."
Dorothy scowled at the infamous nickname she had been graciously given to her by Duo Maxwell. Noin, her chin on her hand as she stood there drifting off in thought. She failed to notice the wicked gleam in Dorothy's eyes.
"Tell me, how does Fire stay alive without the Wind?"
The ex-Ozzie jerked back, surprise clear on her pale face before the emotion was gone, replaced with annoyance and anger.
"Fire gets along just fine. Wind wasn't needed to start it after all."
With a sharp turn, Lu left Dorothy at her desk, staring at her. A small smile graced the secretary's face.
"No, that it didn't."
Well, Une was looking comfy in her chair. Lucrezia thought with a bit of a mental snarl, not bothering to keep the stormy expression off her face as she approached her Commander's desk. Une looked up, the lights making her round glasses flash.
"Good morning, Agent Fire."
Living up to her name, Lu glared at the woman before her.
"It's supposed to be my week off."
There were no apologizes. "Duty calls."
"Tell duty I can't come to the phone right now."
Light brown eyes hardened at this Agent's attitude. "Lucrezia stop sulking and suck it up. I would not have called you in if it were not important."
Lu flopped down in one of the overstuffed armchairs before
Une's desk. "What's the problem?"
"Noin, what do you remember of Chang Wufei?"
Black eyebrows rose slightly at the abrupt question, before furrowing in concentration. All the higher ups either knew the ex-Gundam pilots or knew of them and in this case Lu's memory wasn't too picture perfect on pilot 05.
In fact, Noin had a vague memory of an irritated, young man yelling at her about being a weak, emotional onna.
Une chuckled at the expression on her agents face. "Yes Chang Wufei has had that impression on many a people."
Arms crossed, Lu tilted her head to the side and gave Une her 'no nonsense' look. It said down to business Une or I'm out of here, gone to bed and tossing this stinking outfit and not necessarily in that order.
Une cleared her throat and began.
"Agent Chang has been tracking down a terrorist cell near the L1 cluster for nearly seven months now. They call themselves Divinity. Just recently Agent Chang has discovered what he believes to be their main base of operations."
"Yippee for him." Lu mumbled only to have Une ignore her.
"The problem is that we do not have enough hard evidence for a trial or even to conduct any arrests. And Divinity has already begun making threats, especially ones that include the ESUN conferences next month."
"All of the Sphere's most powerful big wigs together in one city? Every terrorist's wet dream, Commander. We expect hundreds of threats between now and the end of the conferences."
Une flipped open one of the many folders on her desk before passing it to Noin. Inside Lu read the findings of the investigation on what had caused an empty resource statlite near L3 to explode.
"Divinity has taken responsibility for this and the labs have determined that explosives were used. Divinity is the only terrorist group actually using actions to speak for them."
Lu closed the folder and put it back on the desk, her expression serious. "They've made a threat to the Conferences then."
"Correct." Une nodded, looking grim as well. "We have to take them seriously this time. The demands are impossible; complete independence from Earth, the destruction of the planet and the such. We also, do not negotiate with terrorists."
"We simply go in and arrest them before they blow something up." Lu smirked. "That still doesn't explain why you need me."
Commander Une sat back and set her gaze squarely on Noin's, her fingers steepled together across her stomach as she spoke.
"Normally we would send in a pair, undercover, to retrieve the information to make arrests legal before the crooks are any bit the wiser. However these guys are clever. They've hidden their base as a resort. A couples resort." Une added at Noin's confused face.
"Oh." Understanding filled those unique violet eyes until reality set in and indignation followed. "Wait a minute! I'm not the only female Preventer, Une! Any one of the women that work here could have been used to play Chang's...whatever."
"He doesn't just need a cover, Lucrezia. He needs a partner. Someone close enough to his skill to be trusted as back-up."
"Sally." Noin responded suddenly. Sally Po was a field agent just as capable at playing this role as Noin. She was also a doctor and no stranger to the Gundam Five. The only problem with be that-
"While Agent Po is a respectable replacement, I need Chang partnered with someone who will not tempt him into blowing his cover to return and file sexual harassment charges against."
That kicked Sally off the list. The good doctor had been after Gundam pilot 05 since the end of the war and known to be a bit...forceful in the pursuit of something she wanted.
Noin sighed. Looks like it was down to her, by default.
"Do you accept?"
She snorted at the question.
"Do I have a choice?"
Une didn't answer as she buzzed Dorothy.
"Has Agent Chang arrived yet, Catalonia?"
The secretary's voice was clear through the speaker.
"He's already slinking around your door, trying to hear pass the sound proof walls, Lady."
Une frowned. "Send him in to meet his new partner."
As Wufei had watched, listened to and contributed to Quatre's plan of infiltration to Divinity's home base, the Chinese Preventer became more and more nervous. Commander Une was scouring her Agency right now, looking for the perfect partner to accompany him on this mission.
And Wufei feared Sally Po just may be the lucky woman.
Contrary to popular belief, the heir to the Dragon Clan of L5 was not the arrogant, sexist jerk he had been in his teens. Well, at least not sexist. War has a way of making the young grow up quickly, and peace had given him many chances for redemption.
Wufei knew women could fight. He knew they did not need a man's hand to guide them through life. Two prime examples had been thrust into his face already. Relena Peacecraft kept things running smoothly with the ESUN and Earth/Colony relations and Commander Une ran the Preventers. Wufei no longer held a deep rooted scorn for the female species and the word 'onna' was no longer spat like a filthy curse word at unsuspecting women.
However Sally Po as not a woman. No she was, in Wufei's mind, a demonic harpy set out to frighten him into an early grave, or at least an early retirement.
If Une put Po on this mission Wufei was leaving for L1 to join up with Divinity, justice be damned.
"Wufei are you listening to me?"
Quatre's exasperated voice cut through the nervous haze clouding the Chinese man's mind. Wufei blinked at the groups assembled in his office and gave a small apologetic smile.
"Sorry. Where were we?"
Quatre blinked his own teal eyes in response and looked down at the sheets of paper before him sheepishly.
"Actually I was just commenting on the fact that the rest incorporates just who your partner will be."
"And Wufei was worrying over if that partner will be Sally Po." Trowa commented softly, his one visible green eyed gaze not wavering at Wufei's glare.
Ever the kind soul, Quatre gave his friend a worried look, subtly kicking Trowa's leg under the desk. Trowa winced as his blond lover smiled reassuredly at Wufei.
"Commander Une wouldn't want to endanger this mission by sending Sally along with you. I'm sure whoever it is will be fine."
Wufei was quiet after this but the worry lines that creased his forehead eased a bit. Quatre always has a way of making everything seem okay. Even if you were missing a limb, Quatre could convince you that you didn't really need it anyway and that everything will be alright.
If not on a mission of their own, Wufei knew Duo and Heero would be sitting down with the three of them, crowded around the desk and making plans for the biggest anti-terrorist scheme since stopping The Barton Uprising. Maxwell would probably be giving him a headache right now if that were the case.
Out of an odd mixture of nerves and sheer boredom, inky black eyes glanced at the clock on the wall of the office before Wufei rose to his feet.
"I'd better go report in."
The statement was said with the air of someone who was going to the gallows.
Quatre's sunny parting was overshadowed with Trowa's lower mumble of "You're going to need it" before Wufei closed his office door with a snap.
Nods were exchanged with a few of the seasoned veterans of the Preventers as Agent Chang marched himself towards Une's office.
Unfortunately that meant going through Catalonia first.
Unknowingly taking up a position much like the one Lu had made before him, Wufei quirked an eyebrow at the blond who was easily ignoring him.
"Any news Catalonia?"
Dorothy shrugged. "I need to buy cat food when I leave the office tonight, Agent Chang."
Wufei sighed. He should have known he'd need to be specific with this one.
"Any news on who my new partner might be, Catalonia?"
"She's meeting with Lady Une right now. Possesses a rather fiery temper, this one."
'Always speaking in riddles, Dorothy.' Wufei thought with a sigh. Personally, he thought she was insane.
"That's all I get?"
Forked eyebrows rose. "You want more?"
Wufei shook his head. "Never mind." Why did he feel like he'd just be beat?
Casually, the ex-Gundam pilot approached the closed doors of
Une's office and leaned against the wall, one leg tucked under himself, arms crossed, head bent. To the passerby, it would appear that the young agent was trying to fall asleep against the wall instead of trying to listen through the walls. Inside was suspiciously quiet.
'Soundproof, obviously Chang.' He thought to himself, vaguely hearing Dorothy's voice murmuring at her spot behind the front desk.
"You can enter now Agent Chang."
Wufei didn't respond as he quickly pushed open the doors and stopped short at the figure sitting in front of Une's desk. Her platinum black hair was cropped short with a few spiky strands hanging in a very Trowa-esque manner. They did not cover the resigned violet eyes that stared back into his own. She looked very familiar, much like the woman who used to follow Zechs Merquise around during the war.
"Agent Chang," Une's voice was a loud boom as he closed the door and crossed the room to take the last seat. "This is Lucrezia Noin."
The woman, Noin, raised a dark eyebrow and dipped her head in acknowledgment. Wufei returned the gesture before Une continued.
"Also known as Agent Fire."
Ah, Dorothy's comments made more sense. Honestly, Wufei was just relieved it wasn't Sally sitting here and giving him a suggestive look.
"She will be accompanying you on your mission. I expect you to fill Agent Fire in on everything up until now and be prepared to leave at 0600 hours on Wednesday morning. Understood?"
Two voices rang out in perfect harmony.
With a curt nod Une rose.
Lu kept sneaking quick glances at her partner as they walked through the offices again, most likely towards Chang's office. To be honest, she had no idea what to expect from the man beside her. Scornful remarks about the weakness of women? Forced smiles and a tense partnership in hopes of not pissing Une off? Neither one sounded pleasing or worth giving up her week off.
"Why do you keep looking at me, Agent Fire?"
Chang's sharp question made Lu jerk her head to face his profile. He kept his eyes to the front, his tone somewhat arrogant and lazy at the same time.
'Eugh, he was one of those types.' Lu thought with a mental groan. Just what she needed. Then her partner's question caught up with her brain, making Lu clear her throat embarrassedly.
"I'm simply trying to put your face my prior memory of you, is all."
A dark eyebrow raised. "And what memory would that be?"
He didn't need to sound so...cocky. "One full of a swearing and red-faced child tossing insults around."
Lu watched that eyebrow transform from its graceful arch into an irritated line. Nice. Five minutes with him and already she'd pissed him off.
Instead of blowing up like Lu had thought he would, Agent Chang's expression was one of an almost mocking contemplation. "Well, since we're being so open with each other, I must confess that the only memory I have of yourself is that of a lovestruck soldier following Merquise around in a Taurus. I suppose we're even."
Lu's violet eyes widened in slight outrage. "I was never in love with Millardo! Why does everyone think I was?!" The last question was said in an exasperated tone more to herself than to her partner.
Chang only gave her a shrug. "Hmm, could have fooled me. Perhaps you're in the wrong profession; you should have become an actress."
"Perhaps you are as well," Lu shot back, eyes narrowed in a glare. "You'd make an excellent story-teller with that creative imagination."
"I'm a man of many traits." He said, his smile self-assured as he stopped at one of the closed doors and inserted his identification card into the locking mechanism.
"The ability to annoy people is not a notable trait, Chang." The woman grumbled as she entered the office door after her partner, closing it behind her. Glancing up, Lu saw two others siting at the desk, one very rememberable.
"Miss Noin!" Quatre Raberba Winner smiled brightly as he greeted the familiar face with a short hug. Lu smiled back, thankful for the presence of someone not so...snarky.
"Hello Quatre! It's been a while since I saw you last. How has everything been going?"
Quatre smiles were like the sun. Lu could never really understand how he did that but she enjoyed it nonetheless. It would be foolish not to.
"Everything has been great. My sister is getting married in a week, so it is a bit hectic right now but still a joyous occasion."
Lu grinned and raised an eyebrow. "You have many sisters Quatre. Isn't there one getting married all the time?" She figured with twenty-nine of them, Quatre never had a time in his life where birthdays, anniversaries or weddings weren't the main event.
"Well we are officially half way through getting everyone married off now, Miss Noin. Soon it shall be only on special occasions I'll get to see them all."
"I doubt that."
Trowa Barton was still as quiet as ever, Lu realized, her gaze flashing over to his still form. Former Gundam Pilot 03 sat with his chair tilted back and his feet crossed on Chang's desk, looking relaxed. Of course, it was the kind of relaxed that made everyone at the Preventers keep from actually touching a Gundam pilot. They were found to be very twitchy.
"Hello, Agent Barton." Lu said with a nod and a smile in the silent man's direction. The barest hint of a smile graced Trowa's face as he nodded back, his reddish flop of hair still covering half of his face.
Lu grinned at him. "Actually it's Agent Fire now."
Trowa didn't comment but raised an indulging eyebrow instead.
"Can we just get down to business?" Chang's voice was sharp as he looked at the small reunion between Lu and his friends with an unhappy expression. "You can chit-chat after we've confirmed that Agent Fire is a suitable partner for this mission."
Quatre gave his Chinese friend a pleading look as dark violet eyes narrowed at the remark. Nostrils flared and fists clenched as Lu spoke in a deceptively calm voice.
"Confirm that I'm suitable? Do you not trust Commander Une's opinion?"
Chang regarded his new partner with a cool gaze. "Of course I trust the Commander's opinion but this is a sensitive case and I will not have it compromised by anyone."
Lu snorted. "And just what do you plan to do if I'm unsuitable for the case?"
"Find another partner." Was the short reply, making the dark haired woman's already irked temper boil.
With the grace of an angry tiger, Lu strode around the desk to stand face to face with Chang.
"Let's get something straight here, partner." The emphasis on the word made Chang's eyes flash in annoyance. "I'm here because there is no one else for this mission. Unless you're prepared to put up with God knows how long of Sally coming on to you, I dare you to tell Une you want another partner."
The air was heavy with tension as they glared at each other. Quatre shifted and bit his lip in amusement, looking over at Trowa whose own eyes shone with mirth.
"Well, they certainly are right for the part." The Winner Heir commented, grabbing a stack of messy papers and straightening them up. Trowa nodded sagely. Lu tore her gaze away from the man that was slowly but surely irritating the hell out of her to study Quatre suspiciously.
"What do you mean?"
Teal eyes blinked in surprise. "Commander Une didn't inform you of the mission's details?"
Lu looked at the group assembled, a smidge uncertain. "Well she did say it was a couple's resort that we'd have to infiltrate..."
Chang crossed his arms and leaned back against the wall, his arrogant smirk back on his face. Quatre gave his lover a quick glance before shifting through the papers on the desk and pulling out a shiny, colorful brochure and handing it to the confused agent.
Lu took one glance at it, her eyes widening.
"Marriage counseling?! What kind of place is this?" Tilting the information package slightly, Lu snorted at the corny quotes. "'Need to rekindle the romance? Tired of arguing with your lifemate?' This is the place that the next biggest terrorist threat has hidden?"
Chang snorted. "Obviously." Lu's glare didn't seem to faze him though as he continued to lean against the wall, his eyes closed.
Quatre began to babble about their cover, looking at his friend's disgruntled partner earnestly. "It's actually a very good mission, Miss Noin. Instead of pretending to be in the throes of wedded bliss you can-"
"Be yourselves and hate each other." Trowa said with a quirked eyebrow. Quatre glared at him as a light went off in Lu's head.
"So I can yell at Chang all I want and not blow our cover?"
Quatre frowned. "Well, I wouldn't put it like that but basically...yeah." The last part was said in an almost defeated sigh. Trowa threw a fountain pen up in the air and caught it with a bored expression on his face as Chang huffed in annoyance. Again.
Lu couldn't stop the cackle of glee that bubbled up in her throat her blond friend's expression. Maybe this mission wouldn't be so bad after all.
Notes: Yes, Wufei's still arrogant. I figure that he's always going to be too proud because he has a lot of be proud of in his life.(heir to a clan, a Gundam pilot, a Preventer) And I find it hard to believe he would become this ubber cuddle-bunny like person so suddenly. So yeah. -scratches head- And I think Noin's a funky chick. -punches air- Go military gals. This shall only be updated when I post on the ML so don't expect anything soon.