A Boarding School Facade - by Jooles*

disclaimer - usual stuff. I don't own Gundam

Chapter One

Quatre had been at St. Michael's School a month before Relena finally arrived. She hadn't been able to get to the school before then for reasons unknown to him. According to her, there had been some 'stuff going on in the Dorlian household'.

When she finally did arrive, she did so making her usual trademark statement.

Quatre had been out late with his new friends exploring the non-existent night life of the town thirty minutes walk away from St. Michael's. Needless to say Quatre had been disappointed. Sommerville was almost an exact mirror of his hometown Treventville. Definitely a ghost town. Duo had seemed to like it though. He'd exclaimed upon entering the town that he was going to 'leave the Maxwell mark come the end of the semester'.

Quatre had laughed at that. He had been looking forward to introducing Relena to Duo, wondering what her reaction to his slightly 'eccentric' friend would be like. Then again, he wouldn't be surprised if she took it all in her stride. She had lived with the Dorlian family for over ten years after all.

Quatre and his newly acquired group of friends arrived back at St. Michael's to find Relena's faded pink VW parked outside the main office. According to Quatre's watch, it was a little after 11 o'clock in the evening. If the night life had been so dull, what had he been doing for the last two hours??

Quatre hurried to Relena's car and peered inside. Relena was curled up in the back seat with the tan pea coat Quatre had given her several years ago covering her small frame.

"It's a girl!!" Duo remarked, cupping his hands as he pressed his face against the window.

"No shit Maxwell!" Wufei snapped, pushing Duo aside. "Get away from there. Both of you. You'll scare her otherwise."

"Wufei's concerned, for a girl," Duo teased, "when did this happen?"

"Maxwell, shut it."

"Oh please Wufei. You spend so much time acting like such a big tough 'chauvinist prick', and yet, here you are being all compassionate and considerate for the type of girl you waste no time dissing. Of course I'm going to take a hold of the opportunity to annoy you about it." Duo sneered.

Quatre did not like the turn the evening was now at present taking.

But, Relena being the dove that she often could be; that is when she felt like it, chose that very moment to awake from slumber. Now, most young women, when waking up in a deserted car park, and being faced with a group of strange and mostly unknown men would have screamed, yelled, run for their lives etcera etcera. Relena sat up quickly, looking as though she was about to make a run for it. But then she saw Quatre, and her panic-stricken face brightened into a what Duo later termed a 'dazzling smile'.

"Quatre!" She pulled herself into the driver's seat and opened up the car door.

Barreling out of the car and into his arms she gave him a much-needed reunion hug.

Quatre's new friends stared at the two, dumb struck. Quatre hadn't told them once in the short month that they'd known him that he had a girl-friend. So, why did she look as though she fit the bill?

Relena pulled herself out of Quatre's arms, taking a decent look at him.

"You look okay to me," Relena looked Quatre up and down, scrutinizing his appearance. "But you've lost weight and you need a haircut. Don't they feed you here at the mighty 'St. Michael's'?"

Duo snickered behind Quatre.

Relena looked past Quatre and met a cocky pair of violet eyes. "Oh. You must be Duo," she said simply.

"Oh no. I'm Wufei. That's Duo." Duo pointed to Wufei.

Relena smiled. She knew Duo's game. She'd played it plenty of times back home whenever new kids and new teachers had arrived at school. It was an oldie but a goodie.

"No," she smiled at Duo, letting him know that she wasn't completely clueless, "I'm pretty sure that you're Duo Maxwell. Tall, long braided brown hair, violet eyes, slightly cocky, never shuts up, will pull a prank whenever he gets a chance. Do you wish me to go on?"

Duo gulped. Meeting a girl who had read his game and knew how to deal with him straight off was a rare find indeed.

"I'm pretty sure, in fact, I'm pretty bang-on sure, that you 're the Duo Maxwell Quatre told me about. That is unless I'm in need of glasses and your hair is actually blond and eyes are actually blue." Relena paused a moment, letting Duo know that he could plead mercy whenever he felt like it. Now for the final little bit that would let him know that she wasn't one to trifle with, "I am usually right you know, Duo, and the times that I've been wrong have been few and far between. So, Duo Maxwell, pleased to meet you, I hope that we can become marvelous friends!" At the last bit, Relena stuck out her hand for Duo to shake.

Duo finding himself under obligation, shook Relena's hand, and then did what he should have done at the start, "Pleasure to meet you Relena, I'm Duo Maxwell, and that's Wufei Chang, and that's Trowa Barton." He gestured to the Chinese boy not too far behind him, and the quiet, yet long-legged boy now leaning against Relena's VW.

Duo turned to face Quatre and gestured at him in a peevish manner, "Quatre, what 's with you man? Couldn't you have at least warned us at least once in the past month that you had a girlfriend coming to visit?"

Quatre actually sputtered. While Relena literally snorted... though didn't, because after all snorting is a very unladylike thing, and Relena would soon be under obligation to look quite the embodiment of a lady. Now was not the time, afterall, to start with such unladylike business, such as snorting was.

"Relena, my girlfriend??" Quatre glanced at Relena, who was looking as equally miffed as he felt. "Duo, me and Relena are not like that. Oh, Allah, that's just....." Quatre couldn't quite finish the sentence, too put out to even put into words the images now running inexplicably through his head.

Fortunately, Relena knew just what Quatre was trying to say. And she was the one who was better with words, "Duo, as much as I love Quatre, there's just no way we'd ever be anything like that. Right Quatre?"

Quatre nodded slowly, still slightly dazed and disturbed by the insinuation of him and Relena being a couple.

"What's so wrong with you two being 'together'" Duo emphasized 'together', reveling in the turn the evening had taken.

Relena scowled.

"Duo, me and Quatre wiped out any potentially romantic insinuations when we were say . . . um . . .six years old . . . and . . . eating each others snot." Relena cringed at the last part. But it was true. And she knew that it would shut Duo up. They had nonetheless eaten each others snot. Only once, and just to see if it tasted any different from their own. For the pair of six year olds, they had sadly, been in the wrong with their assumptions, finding that their snot had tasted basically the same.

Quatre looked sharply at Relena. He could feels his cheeks burning up as his newly acquired friends looked at him in now not only amusement but in pity. Relena and his friendship was bound to have its ups and downs more than ever now, especially if she planned to carry on divulging embarassing stories while she attended St. Michael's.

Catching 'the look', Relena herself blushed. "I'm afraid, that I may have said too much."

Duo nodded, even Wufei and Trowa nodded in agreement. "Listen Duo, me and Quatre are friends, really really good friends, and we've got a thoroughly long and boring history that none of you will find in the least bit interesting. But just for the record, I'll just make one thing crystal clear for you and everybody else that has an interest in the topic. Me and Quatre have never been a couple, and will never be a couple. Neither of us plan on ruining our friendship in the near future. Capisce?"

Duo shuddered. He wished he'd never brought the subject up.

Quatre sensing that this was the right moment to formally introduce Relena quit feeling sorry for himself.

"Relena Dorlain, meet Duo Maxwell, Trowa Barton and Wufei Chang" Quatre gestured at each of the boys.

Relena poked Quatre in the ribs gently, "Finally, you get your Winner act together, and introduce me like you were taught when your folks sent you to Madame Manners all those years ago!"

"Relena!" Quatre said sharply.

"Oh, sorry Quatre, couldn't help it," she blushed again, "I haven't been able to tease anybody I actually like for a month. Everybody at home just looks at me like I'm buck naked or something whenever I try and tease a little..." Relena said, rejoicing in the moment of self-pity.

Duo smirked at the 'buck naked' bit, and was about to say something about it, when he noticed Quatre's usually placid blue eyes turn a stormy blue.

"Hey, you were the one who didn't show up on the first day." Quatre said softly.

Relena looked up at Quatre, "Oh yeah, sorry about that. Dad had a heart attack. Mum and him had to stay in the city while I watched over things at home."

Quatre smiled softly at Relena, "Yeah, I rung round a bit, and Hilde told me about the whole episode. You okay?"

"Well, I'm here aren't I?" Relena responded, feeling slightly better now that that little tid-bit of information was out of the way. "Dad's fine now...mum's looking after things properly. And I hired a new manager whose totally bril'! You'd be proud Quatre."

Quatre frowned. "I am proud Relena."

Relena blushed. "Okay, enough with the mush!" She waved her arms around, dusting what remnants of sap there were into the twilight bliss.

Duo laughed. "Relena, you and me are going to get along just fine. This place has been needing a dove."

"A dove?" Relena asked incredulously.

"Yeah, a dove. We're all a bunch of ravens, and all the other namby pamby type of people that attend here. We need someone like you to brighten up this otherwise droll place."

"Gees Maxwell, that's a compliment and a half!" Wufei snorted.

"What can I say, I like to flatter." Duo smiled. He had been serious about the dove bit. Relena looked like the type of person who could brighten any place up.

"Oh, come off it now," Relena cut in, "Can we go inside, it's freezing out here?"

Quatre helped Relena with her satchel and backpack. "It's too late to get you into your dorm, you can crash in mine for tonight."

Duo, Wufei and Trowa followed behind the two friends as they made their way to Quatre's dormitory.

"And they said they were 'just friends'!" Duo exclaimed.

****

Relena had crashed in Quatre's room, falling slave to the sandman almost as soon as her golden halo of hair and head hit the pillow. Quatre's eyes turned soft once again at his friend's motions. He was very protective of her, and was glad that her introduction to his friends, and particularly Duo had gone so well.

Grabbing a clean pair of boxers and a tee-shirt, Quatre changed in the bathroom, then headed to the lounge, where he planned to crash on what was his ratty excuse for a couch for the night.

But, Allah had played him an unlucky hand. Duo was sprawled out on the couch, waiting for Quatre, his twenty questions already in mind.

"So, Quatre old buddy, you didn't happen to mention, once in the past month that you had a best friend, that was like a 'total babe', and that this best friend of yours was actually planning to attend school here. Why is that now?"

Quatre sighed. May as well get it over with now.

"Relena's been my best friend forever Duo. I didn't mention her coming here, because I wasn't sure if she'd actually show up. You will have noticed that she's a month late."

Duo clenched his jaw for moment, then remembering something, unwound himself from his lazy position on the couch. "Heero's meant to be back in the morning. I don't want to be anywhere near here when he gets in."

"Excuse me," Quatre spluttered.

"Well, you know what he's like after he gets back from visiting his family. He's all moody and stuff." Duo whined, grimacing at the same time as he recalled his last encounter with Heero when he'd returned from a weekend with the Yuy family. Needless to say, it had not been a pleasant encounter. In fact a very painful one on Duo's side.

Quatre smiled slightly. He was fortunate enough to have a relatively pain-free relationship with his room mate. Unlike Duo who went round practically asking for trouble. Particularly when it came to the likes of Heero, who was already as serious as a stiffly pressed strait suit. He could be murderous to deal with when agitated by what he commonly termed 'annoying persons'.

Flopping down on the couch, Quatre closed his eyes, glad that the sleep he'd yearned for for hours now was finally coming his way. His last thoughts, as he drifted off to sleep were that of wonder and whether Heero would be angry that they had had a girl in their dormitory . . .

****

"What the hell is that?!"

Quatre was pulled out of what had been a rather lovely dream, to the grazed voice of Heero Yuy. Quatre squinted one eye open, then after observing a very ticked off Heero, pretended to be still sound asleep. He even faked a smallish snore, to make his feigned sleep seem more genuine.

Heero, unaware of Quatre's attempts to ignore his room mate, shook Quatre awake.

"What, Heero?" Quatre muttered, wanting to return to that pleasant dream he'd been having.

"What the hell is that 'thing' doing in our dorm?" A furious looking Heero questioned.

"What thing Heero?" Quatre decided to play dumb.

"The girl on your bed." Heero gestured, starting to get frustrated with Quatre's nonchalant attitude towards the obvious intruder.

"You're a smart person Heero, work it out." Quatre flopped back into the couch, placing a cushion over his head, and effectively blocking the furiously sputtering Heero Yuy out.

"Uh, uh. No way Quatre. You are not getting out of this that easily."

Before Heero could say anymore, he was interrupted by a voice that Duo would later liken to being 'as musical as a woodwind quartet'.

"Sorry for overstaying my welcome Quatre," Relena appeared at the doorway pulling on one of his old Treventville sweatshirts. It hung on her small frame. She eyed Heero wearily. "And sorry for making you . . . uneasy . . ."

Quatre sat up. There was no chance of a sleep-in now.

"And who are you?" Heero questioned, acting as though he had every right in the world to know.

"Relena Dorlian. And yourself?" Relena glared across at Heero, daggers drawn.

"Heero Yuy, haven't you heard of me?" He asked glaring now not only at Relena, but at Quatre also.

Relena smirked. "Ahhh, Heero Yuy. Now that you mention it, Quatre did say something or rather about you." Heero squirmed. He didn't like the way Relena had said 'something or rather'. "What do you mean something or rather?"

Relena squinted, trying to remember just what it was exactly Quatre had written about Heero in his letter to her: -'Heero's pretty withdrawn Relena. I like him despite the fact that he bites your head off if you try and start up a conversation with him. I was feeling homesick a few days ago, and though I didn't say anything I think he knew. I'd been missing home so much that I'd started to fall behind with my chem homework. Anyway, I was feeling so down and everything, I was moping about the place so bad, you would have a go at me if you knew just how sad and sorry I was looking. Anyway out of the blue, Heero practically bursts into my room, grabs my chem workbook and says in as few words as possible, to quit feeling sorry for myself, that we're all in the same boat, and that he'll help me catch up on chem homework if I quit looking like I lost my best friend (which by the way had to contain myself at not angrily replying that in effect I had - after all you're not here). In his own way, Heero did me the world of good that day. . . I know you'd like him Relena. Even though he's so different to you, to anyone I know for that matter, I think that he'd be another person for you to trust. Sometimes I'm not sure how you manage keeping all the secrets that you do . . . and so well . . .'

"Well?" Heero inquired.

"Just that you were 'trustworthy'," Relena said simply. She didn't want to get into an argument with Heero. She had other things going on that she had to worry about. She didn't plan or count on adding 'Heero Yuy' to that already busy head space.

"Trustworthy?" Heero tried the word out on his lips. No one had ever called him 'trustworthy' before. He'd expected Relena to say something, anything but 'trustworthy'. But it was a compliment, and he accepted it as graciously as he knew how.

Quatre expected an all-out battle between Relena and Heero. He knew that Heero didn't like to be psycho-analysed. Especially by a girl. And a girl that was a stranger nevertheless. But no, Heero simply nodded and muttered a typical and indistinguishable "hn . . ."

Quatre assumed that was Heero's way of accepting a compliment.

Relena grabbed her satchel and backpack and pecked Quatre on the cheek. "I'll catch up with you later Quatre. I really should find out where I'm expected to live while I'm here. Wouldn't want to stay where I'm not wanted," she glanced in Heero's direction, "if you know what I mean."

"You're always welcome here Relena," Quatre said, then seeing Heero's scowl whispered in her ear "at least you're always welcome when I'm here."

"Thank you Quatre."

And with that she was gone.

"Why'd you have to be like that with her Heero?" Quatre questioned his room mate. He had held his friend in quite high esteem before that whole incident.

Heero shrugged.

"Typical" Quatre muttered.

He grabbed his pillow and slammed the door of his room, flopping onto his bed making plans for a long and healthy sleep-in. Heero would just have to mull over Relena's visit by himself.

Chapter Four

Relena's move into the girls dorm went off relatively without a hitch. She didn't have much to move into her room, unlike many of the other girls who were already living at St. Michael's. She'd never possessed much. Just the required amount of clothes, treasured possessions and books she felt she could not live without.

Settling into the St. Michael's school life was another thing though. She'd had to sit through a two hour reprimand by the school's principal regarding why she'd missed the first month of school.

"you've missed too much school, your scholarship could have disappeared if you hadn't shown up a day earlier, you'll never catch up, how can you expect to do well now?"

Relena practically fell out of her chair when he finally shut up.

She'd been disappointed upon finding out that she and Quatre shared only one class, that being a music period, which she'd chosen instead of study period.

She'd was bummed even more so when she discovered that Heero Yuy was in not only her political science class, but her history, legal studies, english and maths with stats class. She could have kicked those demon gods who'd played such a cruel and fateful trick on her.

Dropping into the seat of her last class that day, political science, she was faced with yet another demon. Her teacher, felt that upon seeing her records from Treventville and the honorable and astounding references that they had given her in reference to the subject, that she should sit a 'little test' to see where her knowledge was ranked in the class.

Apparently her knowledge of the subject area was equal to that of Heero Yuy's, who just happened to be top of this particular class.

Relena could feel him glaring at her. She'd pissed him right off that morning. Now she'd stolen his precious spotlight. Not that he'd seemed to enjoy it much anyway.

"Damn you demons of fate . . ." Relena mumbled to herself, as she doodled on her ringbinder.

Heero Yuy had taken up vacancy in Relena's headspace. Now, along with worrying about her foster father Frankie Dorlian and whether the gas station would be all right, she had to worry about ticking Heero Yuy off. Then there was the problem that Elena Dorlian's cafe was having a bout of slow business, and when Relena had been doing the books while they'd been in the city, she'd been saddened to say that things did not look good for the Dorlian household.

Then there was Milliardo, and the small matter of the Cinq kingdom.

If anyone, and Relena meant anyone, found out where she was, not only was she a goner, but same for the unfortunate soul who had found themselves to be friends with her.

But no, that worry Relena could push aside.

She didn't have to worry about Milliardo for a while yet. At least not until he was out of Westpoint and up the ranks far enough for them to have the artillery power to get back into Cinq.

And until that day, Relena would wait patiently and carry on with the normal little life that she had built for herself with the Dorlian family.

But, as Relena had muttered before, 'damn those demons of fate . . .'

****

Political science had been absolutely murderous. Not the class itself. Relena had always enjoyed that subject in particular. It was the little run-in that she had with Heero afterwards that had made her dub political science and any other classes that she had to share with Heero Yuy 'murderous classes'.

She was packing her ringbinder into her satchel when Heero Yuy plopped down in the chair beside her.

"Oh, hi Heero," she mumbled, struggling with the zip on her satchel.

"Relena," he regarded her, 'couldn't she do such a simple task, such as zipping up her satchel?'

"There a problem?" She asked, smiling as she successfully zipped the satchel up.

"No, not at all." Heero replied, his voice just lined with irony.

"Quit the sarcasm Heero. You and I both know that you can't handle." Relena replied icily.

"Handle what, Relena?" Cobalt blue eyes were now icily eyeing a very weary looking Relena.

"The competition."

"You, competition? Please!" Heero responded, sounding every bit the snob she had suspected him of being.

"Would you quit being such a snob, please." Relena snapped. She picked up her satchel and prepared to customarily stomp her way back to her new dormitory. (Stomping is something many teenage girls revel in when peeved. Obviously, Relena was of no exception.) However, Heero grabbed a hold of Relena's satchel, motioning for her to stop with her little 'stomping off' charade.

"Quit it Relena. I hate when teenage girls stomp off just to make the guy feel guilty. That stuff doesn't work with me." Heero glared at Relena.

Relena did something she wasn't used to doing. She gave plight to Heero's whims. "Whatever Heero. Just say whatever it is you want to say," Heero's eyes widened in surprise, "I know you're dying to!" Relena said sarcastically.

Heero smirked. "I just wanted to let you know that if you think you've got it easy in this class you're dead wrong."

Relena perked up a bit. Was he challenging her? Oh, she did love a challenge!

"What's that supposed to mean?" She inquired.

"I saw how you practically snoozed through last period. Don't expect to come first in this class and not work for it." Heero rehearsed.

What was he, some sort of goody-good?? Relena shuddered. And he'd had such the bad-boy with the smarts appeal . . .

"What's your problem Heero, can't hack the competition?" She sneered. Relena couldn't believe it. She actually sneered. Where she came from, sneering, was just plain wrong. And so far, since she'd met Heero Yuy, she'd been breaking all the lovely etiquette rules that she'd learnt so avidly when she was still in the Cinq Kingdom.

"Whatever," Heero shrugged. "I figured I should warn you though."

"Well thank you Heero. Do you want a prize for that?" Relena threw her arms up in the air, her ashy-blond hair effectively thrashed into Heero's face, which was positioned just a little too closely to Relena's own. Well, for her liking anyway.

Heero sighed in frustration.

He removed himself from his seat. "I was just offering some advice. And that's all that I was offering. You can take it or leave it. See if I care." And with that he left Relena sitting by herself in the now empty political science classroom. Alone with herself, and alone with her thoughts.

In all his dealings with the female species, Heero had never been quite so easily affected and in such a negative way before. Relena's over-confident, over-smart, and completely sure of herself attitude was in fact getting right under his skin. And what was his effect on her? Did she even have an opinion on him?

And the answer to that was, yes. Relena did have an opinion on Heero. But not a very pleasant one at that particular moment. And not one that you can talk about without using a few shady words. So, with the battle lines drawn, and the two fateful persons at odds with each other, a rather odd friendship was formed.

But not quite yet.

Because in real life things don't happen with the snap of a finger.

Relena planned on staying mad at Heero for at least a week. Then, after struggling with the catch-up work in some of her classes, she planned on approaching him. He did seem to know his stuff. Till then, Relena planned to treat him with a certain cool detachment.

And Heero planned on treating Relena exactly the same way.

****

Several days later Relena had officially settled into St. Michael's school. Relena had spent Thursday afternoon officially catching up with Quatre. He'd heard from Hilde about her foster father, Frankie Dorlian's, heart attack, but he hadn't know the details of it. Relena had obliged him, filling him in on what she'd been doing the past month. Which in Relena's opinion wasn't really that interesting. All she'd done was manage Frankie's gas-station and Elena's cafe, the 'Dorlian Diner'. It was hard going, managing the two businesses at the same time. But luckily, she'd found Rashid, Quatre's former mentor in need of a job. He'd done wonders for the business so far. Relena was hoping that Frankie would keep Rashid on even after he finally returned to work. It was the stress endued from running such a poor paying job, that had brought about the heart attack in the first place. Well, that was what Relena believed anyway.

Relena often pondered how ironic her life was. It was amazing how over ten years ago she'd been living in her parents palace in the Cinq Kingdom, attending etiquette classes and leading the life of a privileged little princess. Now, at the age of seventeen, Relena lived with the Dorlian family who were nowhere near well off in the anonymous hick town of Treventville. At least it was 'anonymous'. In Treventville she was known as just another hick-town girl who would probably grow up and get married to some hick-town boy, and have lots and lots of babies. But these plans (which Relena planned on defying anyhow) quite rapidly changed when she won the academic scholarship to St. Michael's. And, bless Quatre's Allah, she did, numerous times. She'd actually been distraught when the school had first contacted her letting her know that she'd won the scholarship. After all, she'd grown accustomed to being disappointed, and she hadn't been counting on winning the scholarship. But, apparently, the heavens did like her, and now, a month into the school year, she was finally attending the 'mighty St. Michael's'.

She'd been so busy trying to catch up on a month's worth of schoolwork that Relena hadn't been able to talk to her best friend for more then a few snippets of a few minutes since she'd arrived at the school. But, after struggling with her maths with stats catch-up work for an hour that day, Relena had officially given up, deciding that catching up with Quatre would be a useful means of procrastinating even more so.

"Thanks Quatre, I needed that," Relena told her friend as he helped her into her tan pea coat. She'd looked at her watch only moments before and realised that she was going to be late for her first dorm meeting.

" 's okay Relena," he gingerly straightened her coat, frowning at the way she'd mismatched the buttons with the holes of her coat.

Relena glanced down at the coat. "Oh, woopsie."

" 's okay, queen klutz. I'll see you later," Quatre gestured as she made a move to exit the dorm, "Oh, and Relena, do finish your stats work. You really should ask Heero for help. He's a whiz at that stuff, you know?"

Relena scrunched her face. There was no way that she was going to ask for Heero's help. At least not yet. She had another day to go (in her opinion) until she thought it right for her to ask for help. Besides she had better things to do then some lousy stats work. Things like attending her first dorm meeting. And she didn't plan on being late. The reprimand she'd received from the principal had been enough, in Relena's opinion to outlast any future reprimands she was to receive that school year.

Striding out, confident about making it to the meeting on time, Relena hadn't counted on stumbling into Heero Yuy.

"Oh, sorry," Relena muttered to the anonymous person, trying to untangle her arms from around their waist.

"If I didn't think that you were still mad at me, I'd say that you ran into me on purpose." Heero Yuy grouched at Relena, whose facial features glared at him incredulously. How dare he suggest such a thing? And why was he admitting at making her angry the other day? She'd believed that he was completely ignorant to the idea of himself ever being in the wrong.

"So, you're admitting that you were a jerk the other day, then?"

Heero shook his head. "I didn't say anything of the sort. I was just commenting on the coincidence of you and me running into each other."

Relena started to retaliate, but Heero carried on walking in the direction that he'd been heading in before Relena had so rudely walked into him. Poor Relena was left standing in the middle of the corridor looking like a fish out of water.

"Hey, Heero," she called after him.

Heero turned around, impatience just flashing in his oh-so-deep cobalt blue eyes.

"What do you want Relena?"

Relena blushed, why had she asked for Heero to stop in the first place? . . . Oh, that was right, it wasn't because she wanted to drown in those dangerously mocking cobalt blue eyes for a while longer. No, it was so that she could break her five day rule, and ask for Heero's help with her maths with stats catch-up work on the fourth day instead.

"I need your help," Relena said. "Maths with stats. Quatre said you're a whiz at it."

Heero frowned. She wanted his help. He'd been under the impression that she hadn't wanted anything to do with him. Especially after their little tirade in the political science room a few days ago. But, he was interested in this girl, and not just for the reason that she was obviously his equal when it came to the academic area. Nor did his interest have anything to do with the fact that she wasn't too bad looking. It was something deeper, more personal, but also at the same time, having to do very much so with a business deal he'd made just a few days ago. And if his suspicions and his clients were correct in their assumptions then his interest wasn't unjustified.

"You want help. I can give you help."

Relena's face broke into a smile. "Oh thank you, thank you, thank you. You don't know how much of a life saver you are!!" She grasped his right arm, which hung stiffly at his side. Heero squirmed on the inside. He was unfamiliar and in particular uncomfortable with how close she was standing to him.

Relena, seemed to sense his discomfort and pulled instinctively away. "Where should I meet you?"

"At my dorm after dinner." Heero replied.

Relena nodded. She wanted to complain. She had been at his and Quatre's dorm just that afternoon and she had started to get sick of the ten minute trek between the boys and the girls boarding quarters. However, she wasn't one to refuse the help of an obviously educated handsome young man, who though seeming unwilling to help, was going to do so anyway.

"Well, I'll see you after dinner then." Relena responded to Heero's muteness. Moving away from him, she waved as he turned to walk away. He raised an eyebrow. Heero Yuy was not into the whole 'waving' deal. It was just so poofter like. And Heero Yuy was no poofter.

****

Relena had made it to the dorm meeting in time. She'd been formally introduced to the girls boarding at the school. Her room mate Dorothy Catalonia had even shown he around the remaining area of the girls boarding quarters. Not that there had been much to show anyhow.

Dorothy seemed nice enough, although she did have a certain detachment about her that made Relena uneasy when around her. She'd have to be extra careful with her goings on. If anyone found out where Relena was really from, and who Relena really was, then she'd be dust.

Relena always looked forward to dinnertime. It was at this time that she'd get to talk to Duo. She found herself reveling in Duo's easygoing nature. He was so easy to be around, and he didn't ask a whole heap from her. All, he required of her company was a companion who listened quite openly to his jokes and stories, and laughed when the punch line came about. He'd found also, in the likes of Relena that when the others weren't around he could confide in her a few of the internal scars he still carried from his days before he lived at Maxwell Church. In a major confession he'd told her about how he'd managed to get into such a prestigious and wealthy school, such as the likes of St. Michael's. When the priest raising him had died, he'd left in his will a trust fund that paid for his education and living expenses until he was twenty-five.

It was funny the people that Quatre had met at St. Michael's and had come to call friends. Relena had always thought that she had a pretty dismal excuse for a life story, but Quatre's new friends had taught her that there were others out there worse off than her. Duo, though he would never admit it, had had it just as hard as she had.

Duo commented to Quatre and the others while waiting for Relena at the dinner table, that Thursday evening on how Relena spent a lot of time listening to them all talk about their lives, but when asked about her own, would change the subject.

"She's always been like that Duo. I wouldn't bother trying to drag information out of her. She'll tell you stuff when she wants to, or at least when she feels that she can trust you." Quatre sighed, playing with the uncooked piece of meat on his plate. He didn't want to offend Duo, especially since he and Relena had seemed to have hit off so well. But, it was the truth. Relena didn't trust peopl easily.

"Do you mean to say that she doesn't trust me?" Duo fumed. If Quatre was suggesting that the girl he'd told his miserable excuse for a life story to didn't trust him then he was definitely about to bare a grudge. Not only with Relena, but with the sorry bugger (in this case, Quatre) who implied that she didn't trust anybody.

Before Duo could prod Quatre for more information, Relena placed her tray of food down on the table. Duo poked at Relena's salad with his fork. "Lena, you don't eat enough. No wonder you're so thin."

Relena frowned. What was with Duo? He usually welcomed her to the dinner table with open arms and prank of some sort. He'd never lectured her before.

"I'm fine Duo. Just not that hungry I suppose."

Taking her seat, she started to pick away at her salad, stealing a glance at Quatre who amazingly enough was trying his hardest to avoid looking at her. She knew at that moment that before she'd arrived, they'd been discussing her.

"What'd Quatre say about me?" She asked bluntly.

Duo's mouthful of meat sputtered onto the once-clean table. "How could you imply that Quatre's been saying stuff about you?"

Relena shrugged, "I know a guilty person when I see one."

An uncomfortable silence ensued. Wufei picked up his tray and while leaving the table, mumbled something under his breath about Duo and Quatre being stupid bakas.

"Do you trust me Relena?" Duo asked as frankly as possible.

Relena squinted at him. She'd expected something worst. Something like who she really was, where she really came from. She'd suspected that her cover had been blown. How and why, she wasn't sure. But whenever anybody questioned her about her past, Relena almost always automatically believed that they were doing so because they knew who she really was. But obviously, Quatre had kept his word, just like he had for over ten years and counting now. He hadn't told any of his new found friends about the true identity of his best friend. Glancing at Quatre, she smiled slightly, letting him see the relief in her cerulean blue eyes.

"I suppose so Duo. I haven't known you long enough to decide for sure. But, as I said when I first met you, I think we're going to be marvelous friends." Relena hoped that the 'marvelous friends' bit would satisfy Duo's qualms for the time-being.

Duo studied Relena. There was something she wasn't telling him. Actually, there was something she wasn't telling everyone. Despite this, it was obvious that whatever it was, it meant a lot to her. And Duo figured that when she was ready, however long it would take, she would tell him and everyone else just what it was that she was hiding.

Dinner was a rather quiet affair after Duo's outburst and Relena's correcting of Duo's assumptions. She drifted to the library after dinner, in search of a book she'd forgotten to bring with her when she'd left Treventville earlier on in the week.

Holding the book close to her heart, it symbolised the link she felt with it. She took out her first book, 'The Complete and Unabridged History of the Peacecraft Family, the Cinq Kingdom's Royal Family' from the Treventville library. She realised it was probably a tad risqué getting the book out, but it was probably her only connection with her now deceased family.

Heero was expecting her, and she didn't want to make him angry with her. He had, despite holding her in evident dislike, agreed to help her with her stats work. And she was not one to ask for something; then when receiving it not see the true value of the gift and use it accordingly.

So, it was with a heavy heart, Relena stood outside Heero's dorm that mild Thursday night. Heero let her in to his and Quatre's dorm, and was even polite enough to offer her a drink. They'd gotten through roughly two-thirds of the catch-up work when Quatre arrived back from wherever it was he'd spent the last couple of hours.

"Relena, what are you doing here?" Quatre asked, surprise evidently lingering on his face.

Relena, still in study mode, looked at Quatre with glassy eyes. She'd almost had the answer, moreover, she'd been right on the edge of completing the equation. But Quatre's entrance had interrupted her figuring out of the equation.

"Heero's helping me catch-up." Relena told Quatre. There was no way she'd be able to figure out the equation now. Her head ached slightly. She really had been working too hard.

Quatre smiled, and in a moment of boldness, winked at Heero.

Heero unmistakably flinched. "don't think anything of the sort Winner. There's no way I'd be interested in her," Heero pointed at Relena as though she was some sort of dirty thing. He hadn't been coupled with anybody of the opposite sex in years now. The reality was that everybody at St. Michael's was terrified of being within ten feet of him. And what Quatre had just implied made Heero furious. He was answerable to no one. Relena whatever-her-face included.

Heero stood up quickly, getting as far away from Relena as possible. She looked up at him questioningly. A weary look of anguish flashing in her pretty blue eyes. Getting herself together, Relena packed up her books. Heero mentally chided himself. He'd been too rash, and ended up blowing his chances of getting close to the girl. He wasn't sure if he was angry at himself because he'd potentially lost her friendship by slighting her. Or if he was angry at himself for almost blowing his own cover.

Relena, in her uncertainty, was practically throwing her gear into her satchel, trying to bolt form Heero's and Quatre's dorm as soon as possible. In her rush, the book she'd gotten out from the library fell out of her satchel.

Heero picked it up, believing after making and idiot of himself, that he had to redeem himself in front of her at all costs.

"You like these types of books?" Heero questioned, mildly surprised to find her reading that sort of literature.

Relena shrugged. Why couldn't he just leave her alone? Couldn't he take a hint?

"Well?" Heero prodded again. If she admitted to liking books about the Cinq Kingdom then he had a reason to continue with his prodding of Relena. He did need to get paid, and soon also.

Relena snatched the book out of Heero's hand, her fingers lightly grazing his own as she pulled it out of his grasp. "Does it matter what I enjoy reading Heero? I think not. You're helping me with my stats work, not with my selection of plausible literature."

Damn, she'd avoided answering the question. She'd gotten the better of him.

Then she'd had the gall to peck Quatre on the cheek before she slammed the door to his dormitory.

What was it about her that got under his skin so much?

Whatever it was, Heero was going to find out. As uncomfortable as his next encounter with her was bound to make him. He just had to know what it was she was hiding.

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more coming soon. Thanks for taking the time to read