Summary: Milliardo and Dorothy argue a court case in front of Relena involving Middie Une. She is caught spying on Romefeller, but no one can figure out who she's working for. Middie Une's life hangs in the balance while Trowa and Lady Une recover from their battle wounds/comas. 6xMU (Yeah, I know... try to find another one like this!)
Warnings: Sexual situations and some strong language. Twisted time line. It takes place right before Milliardo joins the White Fang and before Trowa uses Zero. Lady Une wakes up earlier than cannon and interacts with Treize before he goes off to space with the Tallgese Two. Just keep in mind, not cannon! Also there will be: 13+11, 9+6, 3+MU... ever feel like you've done algebra after rating your stuff? I think that covers everything important. Also, Lady Ann Une and Middie Une are cousins in this one. I don't own Gundam Wing characters, Sunrise/Bandai does. I'm just borrowing them for entertainment purposes. Big note... I borrowed Illya Kuryakin from Man From UNCLE for a brief appearance at the end. I just couldn't resist making my favorite spy into Middie's handler, therefore, he is owned by someone else... not me... what a shame!!! This story is named after my all time favorite Portishead song; it really describes the mood of this story.
Special Comment: Don't throw the tomatoes until you've read it!!! There are things I would change if I wrote it now instead of eight years ago, but I do like it overall. I think I would mellow my version of Middie out somewhat. I may go back and totally revamp this in the future. The strange thing is that I tried to keep her and Milliardo platonic, but the story refused to work that way. Sorry to everyone who likes these spy dramas; it took me so long to post this because I had to work on some Weiss Kreuz fan-fictions for a contest. Much love to my "Bata-Bunny" husband who endured his beloved Lucretia Noin being "dissed" in this fiction!
SPECIAL NOTE: These stories were written a long time ago, but I've never really done much with them. Some success with Weiss Kreuz fanfiction has encouraged me to go back and post all my old things here. My Gundam stories are typically comedy or spy-thrillers. These are some of my great ideas I got before I went to college so my writing isn't as good. I just feel compelled to get them on the Internet and off my hard drive. I haven't read any Gundam fanfiction in several years either so have no idea what's come and gone. This is mainly a purging on my part, but I still hope there are people who enjoy them. More will be on the way.
Chapter 1: The Spy
When Middie Une came to stay.
"Good morning, Lady. I trust you're feeling better?" Treize asked. He pulled back the drapes to let the gloomy dawn light drift in. Rain had fallen non-stop for the last three days on the Luxembourg countryside.
It was down to a thick mist now. The first day Lady Une had emerged from her coma was at the storm's end. Treize was in the middle of meeting with several Romefeller officials about the rumors of the new White Fang terrorist group, but he left to be by her side as she emerged from her slumber.
"Mister Treize, I must protest this treatment. You have many vital things to attend to rather than me," Lady Une said.
"Lady, you are my most vital thing at this moment," he said, going over to the sideboard in the massive guest room in the Khushrenada estate's west wing. He had long since designated these apartments to be Colonel Une's for the rest of her life, with the provision that she never married. "There are some things I must tell you this morning that I wish I didn't have to. I want you to eat first and get settled into your day."
It felt awkward to have Treize serve her in bed, but she was entirely too weak. He helped her with the broth and toast she was allowed. He even oversaw her pill cocktail.
"Thank you for all of your care. I never imagined that you would be so involved," she said, hoping to draw him into saying the words she most desperately wanted from him.
"Every one of my soldiers deserves the best care possible. I provide it for you and Milliardo and you both pass it down to your subordinates. Now there is a large concern; a rogue fraction with my name on it. Also, Romefeller has coronated a Queen in your absence. The world has started a new war, and you, my dearest Lady, have awakened in time to be an important part. You will go down in history, but enough of that. I will give you your assignment when you've recovered enough," Treize said.
"Yes, sir," she said, hoping her bitterness didn't show. Suddenly she remembered a horrible thing. She sat up rapidly. A shooting paining throughout her chest froze her upright. Treize had her lay back and brought her water as she fought for air.
"What disturbed you?" he asked.
"My adjutant? Did he make it?" she asked.
"Yes. Captain Nickole is fine. He escorted you all the way to Earth. He went AWOL after I refused to let him stay with you," Treize said, setting the water aside. "His affections for you have grown into something unhealthy. I don't approve."
"That fool! I jailed him for incompetence after he almost killed me! Damn! No, Mister Treize, I was referring to Lieutenant Barton. The mobile suit prodigy I wrote you about before I was shot. Please tell me he still alive. He is wonderful," Lady Une said while she studied Treize's impassive face.
"Lady, please don't get excited. He was killed in action. His remains never were recovered," Treize said. She sensed Treize was withholding something. Treize turned his face away from her and asked, "Did he mean something to you?"
"I regret that such a valuable tool to your regime was lost. That's all," Lady Une replied carefully. She was passionately in love with Treize and she had no desire for anything to come between them, especially a misunderstanding over her admiration for one of her all-too-young soldiers. Treize nodded, satisfied with her answer. "A Queen? Please catch me up on current events."
"I will as I have my breakfast." He went over to a chair and gathered up her burgundy bathrobe. He help her into it and took her in his arms as though she weighed nothing. She relished the brief contact as he walked her over to the wheelchair by the door. He draped a plaid blanket around her and pushed her down the empty hallway to the end, where a French door lead out to a wide balcony.
The air was crisp and moist, but Lady Une felt renewed by her first exposure to Earth in months. She had grown to love the space colonies, but the Earth had the power to rejuvenate her. She could tell Treize was distracted. He gave no outward sign. It was something she instinctively knew from serving him for so long.
"You had a female cousin a long time ago, Lady?" Treize asked.
"Yes. Her name was Middie. She disappeared when she was twelve. My uncle was terminally ill at the time and she had three younger brothers. No trace was ever found of her," she explained. Treize halted her beside a table set with his breakfast under a large blue umbrella trimmed in gold. He sat and put a napkin on his lap and regarded her with his sapphire eyes for several long minutes.
"She ran away according to an old report. Why did she leave?" Treize asked. Lady Une's brow furrowed in confusion.
"I haven't thought about her in ten years or so. She ran away because their family had no money. My uncle was disinherited because he married a beautiful women, but she was very poor and had a criminal record. Her mother ran off when she was seven years old, so she had to make a lot of very hard decisions at an early age. My parents refused to help them, and I was just starting my military career, at the time. Her brothers stopped hearing from her after awhile, and it was assumed she passed away," she explained.
"Your cousin has been found and is quite alive," Treize said.
"What? Where is she? Is she well?" she asked. She knew Treize would be annoyed at her raised voice and barrage of questions, but this was no ordinary situation.
"She is not well. As a matter of fact, she would have been better off missing. You see, she was working for the Earth Sphere Alliance as a covert operations agent. Miss Une was discovered brokering information from Romefeller to something called the White Fang Organization. Right now she's in custody in the Sanq Kingdom," Treize said.
"A spy? My cousin was a spy for the ESA? How could this happen?" Lady Une asked. She slumped back in the creaking wheelchair trying to absorb the shock.
"A master saboteur as well. We suspect an assassin, but we have little proof of those charges," Treize said before beginning his omelet. "What's left of the Earth Sphere has made an appeal to Queen Relena to hold a trial in the World Court."
"The World Court is ruled by Romefeller. Only members of the OZ Specials or Romefeller can argue cases. Why not just have a prisoner exchange?" she asked.
"Because the ESA is almost nonexistent any longer. This scandal could destroy them, so the ESA has officially disavowed her. They were rather put out to find that she's been selling information to the White Fang. They're a new annoyance that has sprung up for Romefeller. The ESA hopes we will take on the job of eliminating someone who they no longer trust. If we were to let her go, you can only imagine what they would do to her, Lady. It wouldn't be pleasant. I relied on several favors to make sure she stays in Romefeller custody," Treize said.
"Thank you, Mister Treize. What will happen now?" Lady Une asked.
"I've arranged to have a member of the OZ Specials argue the case on her behalf," he answered after a sip of hazelnut coffee.
"Milliardo Peacecraft," Treize answered. Lady Une gasped as she clutched the padded armrest. Her arch rival? Milliardo would be in the perfect place to extract his revenge against her. "He can be trusted. He has no hard feelings towards you. He blames me for the past events and I willingly take sole responsibility for them. Here," Treize said, sliding a photo over to Lady Une. She picked it up and shook her head. The angular blond girl had large blue-gray eyes that held a proud and defiant glint.
"She looks like her mother. She was very beautiful and deceptively delicate," Lady Une said. "Can I see her?"
"When you're well enough to travel, I'll have Milliardo escort you. I'm still under house arrest."
"How did she take the news?" Milliardo asked.
"Well enough, all things considered," Treize said, taking a seat behind his desk. He studied his blond friend. Milliardo leaned against the mantle while sipping a scotch on the rocks. The blazing fire had made the room uncomfortable. Treize removed his gray suit-jacket as he took note of Milliardo's furrowed brow.
"You're upset by this?" Treize asked.
"Hun? Yes. A little. How did you know?" Milliardo asked.
Treize pointed to Milliardo's drink as a distant grandfather clock struck ten-thirty in the morning. Milliardo swallowed the remains and put the glass on the mantle. Milliardo took a deep breath and said, "This is the last debt I owe you. Once this is finished I never want to speak to you again."
"I regret that you no longer consider us friends," Treize said.
"We've been through this before. I'm not discussing it with you again. Especially since you're asking me to grovel in front of my sister. She'll be heading the World Court bench," Milliardo said.
"I know. Her feelings for you will make her weak. That's why I chose you. Manipulate her into letting this girl go," Treize said, making Milliardo a second drink.
"I won't condescend to her any longer. She destroyed what I loved the most. I abdicated my throne with perfect faith that she would nurture the Sanq Kingdom. Instead she bowed to Romefeller and let it be violated so that she could be coronated Queen of the World. All hail Queen Relena! Long live the bloody Queen," Milliardo shouted and then hurled his glass in the fire. It flared with shattering sound.
"She is carrying out your..."
"No you don't. I'm not listening to you any longer. I'm tired of the Earth and all its warring ways. I'm sick of being a solider and your puppet. After this I will resign my OZ Specials commission. The only place peace exist is in space. I intend to defend that, since the Sanq Kingdom no longer exists. I will make sure Romefeller will not make any more headway in the space colonies," Milliardo said, seething in ill-contained wrath.
"As you wish. I will miss you," Treize said, standing. Milliardo headed for the door. He paused and turned to face his former friend.
"I'm sorry I didn't take better care of Colonel Une like you asked. She is a fine woman. I hope she recovers," Milliardo said.
"She will take her place by my side once again," Treize answered, walking around to the front of his desk.
"When will you tell Ann you love her?" Milliardo asked, turning towards the door again. "The next time she's listed as killed in action?"
"Consider where Noin is. Still on the Peacemillion? Once I thought she was one of OZ's most promising officers. Now she's thrown her lot in with the Gundam pilots and listed as a traitor to OZ. If she's ever caught, not even I can stop the treason charges against her."
"Noin's too smart to be caught. She's being foolish by defending my sister. An error that she will come to see soon," Milliardo said. He left as Treize sat pondering how war shaped relationships into bizarre things.
Trowa sipped his coffee through a zero-gravity straw. The news reel from Earth had finished. He was left with stirred memories that had long lay dormant. The blond girl on the reel was once his. Betrayal severed the relationship in the harsh light of war. He didn't remember exactly how she had betrayed him, just that she had.
He had thought bitterness was the only emotion he had left for her, but he was confused by the rush of long forgotten emotions. Worry and fear for her current condition came to him. At the foremost was a deep, abiding affection. His amnesia blocked off the reasons why he was no longer with her.
"Wow. As if that chick will get a fair trial. Thirty bucks says Relena will fry her," Duo said.
"Trowa, what's the matter?" Quatre asked. Trowa shook his head.
"I'm a little tired. I need to get some sleep," he lied to Quatre. The Arabian's face fell into a hurt expression. Trowa found that Quatre's uncanny empathy was more accurate then any polygraph. "I'm sorry. I just need to sort through some things before I talk about them. Please try to understand."
"...and she was selling secrets to the White Fang. Boy, I hope Relena does get her," Duo carried on to Heero, who was busy reading one of Quatre's books on Aristotle's teachings.
"Goes to show you can't trust a woman," Wufei groused as he floated to the ceiling of the mess hall. Noin shot him a dirty look and hurled a drink bottle at him.
"Well, if I know Romefeller, they will seek the death penalty," Noin said after she turned back to Duo.
"Good. One less spy for the White Fang and..."
"She's not a spy for the White Fang," Trowa said. Everyone turned to the normally silent green-eyed boy in amazement. "I knew her once. I think we were very close. I can remember the feelings, but not the events."
"Was she your girl?" Duo asked, giving him an abashed gaze. Trowa nodded. Duo patted Trowa on the shoulder and said, "Aw, man, I'm sorry. You shouldn't let me run my big mouth all the time. Rough break for her. It sounds serious. Maybe Heero could talk to Relena?" Heero looked over to Trowa. They both shook their heads. "Why not?" Duo asked indignantly.
"Because," Heero began, "he can't remember what kind of terms they parted on and she is still a covert agent for what's left of the Earth Sphere Alliance. It would be best to wait and see how this is going to play out before he puts himself into the picture. Her cousin happens to be that lady-Colonel he was spying on for us."
"That Lady Une? No way! Boy, was she a nut ball," Duo snorted.
"I grew very fond of Lady Une. I will always treasure the time I spent with her," Trowa said softly.
"Will you stop letting me stick my foot in my mouth?" Duo shouted angrily at Trowa.
"Keep your mouth closed then," Heero smarted off as Trowa floated out the door to the crew's quarters.
"Trowa." He turned to see that Noin had followed him. "She's in good hands. The word is out that Milliardo will be defending her."
"I trust him," Trowa said. Noin followed him to his quarters. "I'm glad that Middie and the Colonel will get to meet. I know that Lady Une missed having a close family, but I can't quite remember her talking about Middie. I'm sure I took the assignment because of Middie. I just wish I could remember."
"Come on, kid, I'll tuck you in," Noin said, smirking at the memory of the last time she had to play Trowa's mother. It was Antarctica, and he had a serious reckless streak she had the urge to tame, as if he were one of her mobile suit students at Lake Victoria Military Institute.
"I swear, I don't know why I bother with you," she teased. She tossed him some pajamas. She pushed herself towards the doorway. "Don't worry. If she is innocent, Milliardo won't let her get hurt."
"I know she's an espionage agent, but I have a feeling she didn't kill that man," Trowa said.
"What makes you so sure?" Noin asked.
"I wish I knew," Trowa replied. Noin left Trowa so he could change and so she could get him some warm milk. The confused look in those elegant, green eyes begged for some mothering once again.
Milliardo unclenched his jaw as he was ushered into the throne room of the Sanq Kingdom Palace. His eyes traveled over to the girl dressed in an elegant white gown with a scarlet sash. She rose from her dais and glided over to him.
He bowed stiffly. It halted the embrace she had raised her gloved arms for. Milliardo felt hollow satisfaction at the hurt in her eyes. He offered his elbow and cast a challenging look at the palace guards that started to follow the royal siblings.
"We have private family business to discuss," she said, taking his proffered arm. He lead her down a side hall that opened to an English garden.
"So you're claiming me again? I thought after you destroyed the Sanq Kingdom you rejected me as well. According to Romefeller you have denied our relationship," Milliardo said.
"I know I've done things that have hurt you, but I was hoping that you could see that the entire Earth and space colonies being unified is the only course that will lead us to true and everlasting peace. That is what our family has worked so hard for and died for," Relena answered.
"No. I don't agree. You're forcing the only truly peace-oriented individuals into submission to the real aggressors. As long as people walk the Earth, war will exist. Romefeller needs to let the space colonies live untouched by their bloody ways. I promise, if Romefeller comes near the them you will have war on your lily white hands, little sister," Milliardo said.
"Well, big brother, as long a there are groups like the White Fang gathering arms against the Earth no one can achieve peace. Our father..." Relena paused when Milliardo stopped and glared down at her.
"Never presume to lecture me on our father's teachings. I was not the one who dissolved the Sanq Kingdom," his said through gritted teeth. "I trusted you with my most beloved possession in the world. You've hurt me in ways that I don't know how to forgive. You are a foolish little girl, but I was more the fool to abdicate my throne to you."
Tears were streaming down her delicate face. His heart started to melt on its edges. He looked away from her cerulean eyes and began to lead her through the garden again. Milliardo said, "I didn't come to castigate you, Relena. I came to declare myself as the barrister for Middie Une."
"You? Why, Milliardo?" Relena asked.
"I'm repaying a debt. You came close to being assassinated by Romefeller when you were still a school girl. I was still disguised as Zechs Merquise and they had tracked you down as the last heir to the Peacecraft monarchy. They realized that the Peacecrafts couldn't be revived or it would jeopardize their moves to control the space colonies. I asked General Khushrenada to belay that order. He did out of friendship, but such a large favor cries out to be returned," Milliardo explained.
"I don't understand why this spy has earned Mister Treize's attention?" she asked.
"Her cousin happens to be Colonel Ann Une," Milliardo said.
"Lady Une," Relena voice hissed low. "I see. That woman deserves no favors. I haven't forgiven her for what she did to my adoptive father."
"Forgive so that your trespasses can be forgiven," Milliardo said. "Lets put aside the past for now and try to work on one of our father's favorite Christian teaching. We could both use some reflection on it, Relena. Take me to this girl."
Milliardo entered the large, windowless room below the Sanq Kingdom Palace. It was empty, except for three things: a king sized bed with red crushed velvet covers, a mahogany desk and double chair set, and the girl. Her blond curls were piled on top of her head. She wore a powder blue dress loosely wrapped around her gaunt body.
Milliardo shut the door and walked over to the desk. He took a seat across from her, noticing her faint scent: lavender. He had never seen larger blue-gray eyes in his life. Pure, but far from innocent. Her lips curled into a defiant smile.
"What brings an OZ Colonel to visit me?" Her French accent charmed him a little. "After all, I thought that all the Romefeller lap dogs would be busy with the White Fang." He was offended by the insult.
"My name is Milliardo Peacecraft. I'm here to discuss your trial. I've been asked to represent you," he explained. Her soft laughter bounced around the blank white walls.
"You? Why not save the expense of a trial and put me in front of a firing squad at dawn? To hell with you and Romefeller," she said.
"I don't want to be a part of this either. Since we have to deal with one another, let's stay respectful. You've wasted all of your choices in this game. We have to get up on Romefeller's stage and at least pretend that this will be a fair trial. I'm not here to harm you or sell you out. I will do my best to defend you, but it doesn't look good," Milliardo said. He flipped through the manila folder he brought with him.
"This is insane. Why is Romefeller doing this? I don't understand?" she asked.
"I'm not sure I understand. After all, I'm just a lap dog," Milliardo said, drawing a blush to the girl's high cheeks. "You can trust me to do everything within my power to help you."
"Why?" she asked with hostile eyes. Milliardo slid a photo of Lady Une across the table. She studied it and nodded slowly. "Are you her friend?" Middie asked.
"We were comrades in the OZ organization. Mister Treize and I have a history with her and in order for me to be free of them, I must repay this last debt. Let's leave it at that and get on with this sham," Milliardo said.
"Just make up anything. I don't care. Make sure I remain with Romefeller until the end. I don't want freedom," she said, pouring herself a glass of burgundy on the table. It sat next to her half-eaten dinner. She offered some to Milliardo; he nodded casually.
"Why?" he asked.
"Being a disavowed spy is like begging for death. Your side wants you gone because of the ways you can hurt them. Your enemies suspect you of being a triple agent. They would do away with you just to save the headache and protect themselves. I'm sure I have more contracts out on my life than I can handle. You see, Colonel Peacecraft, I have no one on my side. Surly that isn't right," Middie said, giving him a sly smile.
"It looks like you worked yourself into quite a mess," Milliardo said.
"I do work for the Earth Sphere Alliance, but I wasn't selling to the White Fang. They make Romefeller look like pussycats. I was gathering information on Romefeller's mobile doll program, but things got a little confused. I admit to espionage and sabotage, but not assassination," she said. She filled their wine glasses once again.
"I don't know why, but I believe you. Do you have some way to prove that you didn't kill Duke Heinrich von Velum?" Milliardo asked.
"I don't do assassination jobs any more. A boy I knew almost got killed from one of my assassination jobs. Never again is what I told my handler with the ESA," she explained.
"What were you doing then?" Milliardo asked.
"While I was gathering information on the mobile doll program, I found out that a particular Romefeller noble was selling secrets to the White Fang. A personal matter was brought to my attention and I got careless. I thought that Ann was killed in action; it caught my attention. An assassin from the White Fang slipped under my watch. I was picked up before I could do anything," she said, swirling her wine around the rim of the glass.
"Let me have all the information you gathered about the Duke. If I can prove someone else killed him I can manufacture reasonable doubt about you being a spy. You might serve jail time, but at least that keeps you from the death penalty," Milliardo said.
"I don't care about how long I stay in jail. I've done horrid things in my past," Middie said. A somber expression came to her face.
"Nothing deserves death except if you did kill in cold blood," Milliardo said, having a fond distaste for assassins. It was one of the reasons he never could develop a friendship with Lady Une. She had no compunctions about assassinating people who stood in Treize's way.
"Do you have a woman?" Middie asked. It took him off guard.
"Yes. She's in outer space right now with the Gundam pilots," Milliardo answered not really wanting to think about his Italian rogue. "She was once a top officer with OZ. She's considered a traitor and a rebel. I think she's... following her convictions."
"I had a paramour once with beautiful green eyes. I betrayed him to the ESA. Loyalty to an organization over conviction causes a person to do horrible things," she said.
"Keep your eyes on the true purpose. This has larger ramifications than either of us has figured out. I'll go over your data tonight. A fresh pair of eyes may catch something," he said.
"Okay. Rue del Meer, number 18. Ask for Josie and tell her that you're my uncle Illyia. She'll give you the documents," Middie said, taking a sip of her wine. Milliardo started to stand, but was halted by her hand on his wrist. "I know that you soldiers look down on spies, but we live an entirely different life than you."
"This is interesting," Milliardo said. He set the folder back down and got comfortable.
"You soldiers get to stand on the battlefield and face an opponent with honor. There are no lies between you and your enemy. Just the truth," she said. It brought up Heero Yuy's intense persona to Milliardo's mind. He and the Japanese boy were far from finished with their duels.
"We spies can only face our enemies after the fighting is finished. We have to extend the hand of friendship while we plot and scheme," she said.
"Are you saying that spies have no morals?" Milliardo asked.
"Morels? Yes. It's the privilege of honor we aren't allowed. No matter how many saintly deeds you try to perform it never seems enough. Sorry. It would seem that I'm in a rather dismal mood. You see, my morals are being questioned and that is one of the last things I have. It's all mine," Middie said.
"Why did you become a spy in the first place? Your cousin is a soldier. Why not follow in her footsteps?" Milliardo asked.
"Ann and I were separated early on. We ended up on opposite sides of the war. We lived two different lifestyles. She lived like an aristocrat while I had to fight for every scrap of food I've ever eaten.'
'When I was a child I had no choices, but I vowed I would never live like that when I got old enough. I have a taste for fine things, and I found that my looks got me places. Along with my talent for hacking, it made me a star in the underground market for information. It was destiny when I was approached by the Earth Sphere Alliance," she said, drawing her legs up on the chair. "How is Ann?"
"Fine. She'll be able to travel soon," Milliardo said.
"I don't want to see her. Make sure she stays away," Middie said.
"But why?" he asked.
"Because it could cast her in a bad light with the OZ Specials. I don't want her ruined by my actions. Why reunite with my cousin only for her to watch me jailed for 30 years or worse? It's cruel and stupid," Middie replied.
"I understand," Milliardo said, standing again. "I'll try to talk her out of it. I'll see you after I've looked over your files."
He left the cell and sighed. His honor wouldn't let him stand by and see such an intelligent girl punished for things she didn't do. If she was innocent, he would stand against Relena and all of Romefeller to save Middie's life. This no longer involved his debt to Treize.
"The decision to have Miss Catalonia defend the honor of Romefeller has passed unchallenged," Duke Dermail announced to the assembled Romefeller members.
Dorothy's heart beat wildly. She had been chosen over full lawyers and various royalty. She stood and walked over to the podium where the Duke had stepped down. The gentle applause warmed her unlike anything she had experienced until then.
"Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. I will put all of my efforts into ridding the world of this threat to our strength. It is the hidden things that work in the cloak of darkness that we need to remain vigilant against. I am your humble defender against those things that would weaken us. I accept this honor and will do my best to live up to Romefeller's standards," She said into the microphone and then curtsied to further applause.
Duke Dermail offered his elbow, which she took. The assembly melted into informal clumps of social groups, most of which passed by Dorothy and offered flattery to tickle her over-stimulated ego. The gray man lead the yellow-haired girl to an empty side chamber. It only had a sofa and coffee table. Sunlight gleamed through a window that overlooked a majestic mountainside lake.
"Oh, Grandfather, I'm so thrilled," Dorothy said. She flung herself into the Duke's waiting arms.
"Today you take your first steps towards joining Romefeller," he said, holding the girl at arm's length now. "Your parents would be proud."
"I'm doing this to honor them. I wish they could be here," Dorothy said and sat on the sofa. A servant appeared with tea. The Duke sat beside his granddaughter and sipped his steaming cup. "I'm still baffled as to why I was chosen."
"It's simple, my sweet. You spent time in the Sanq Kingdom's think tank with Queen Relena, so you are qualified to argue cases," Duke Dermail said.
"And?" she asked, being clever enough to know there was more.
"Have you seen the girl?" her grandfather asked.
"No," Dorothy answered putting her tea aside.
"She's a waif. She presents an innocent air that Romefeller couldn't go up against with much force. The world would consider us no more then petty thugs if some older man were to try the case. When the world sees you arguing against Mister Peacecraft it will turn sympathy our way," Dermail explained.
"Good, but that won't make my job any easier. Colonel Peacecraft is fighting for Mister Treize once again," Dorthy pointed out.
"Your Uncle is still on Colonel Peacecraft's bad side. The falling out is permanent," the Duke said with a wicked smile behind his mustache. "I had long prayed for the day when I could say those words. To be rid of that particular Peacecraft is a blessing."
"Yes, but Mister Milliardo is a brilliant tactician. He even rivals Uncle Treize. I admire anyone that skilled in the art of war," she said in a dreamy tone that caused her grandfather's eyebrows to shoot up.
"Stay focused, Dorothy. We need to have that girl executed. She's knows too many Romefeller secrets. I caution you again, don't let that girl look too sympathetic to the world. We can't afford to look bad. Your best friend would come under heavy criticism. We can't have that now that we've crowned her," Dermail said.
"Miss Relena can stand against a little mud slinging. She's strong. Have no fear, Grandfather. I will handle this situation with all the skills you've taught me. Middie Une will be dead by next month," Dorthy said with a sardonic smile coming to her lips.
Trowa rubbed his eyes and sat up. He finished unstrapping his sleeping restraints. He'd had another dream about Middie. She kept sinking through the ground and Trowa couldn't quite reach her. Her screams grew soft as two winged Lady Unes swooped from the sky with swords lifted high.
One tried to hack away at him while the second weakly defended. He ran from the battle only to collide with Middie. She was bloody, with no shine to her eyes. Middie grabbed his wrists and started to drag him towards the vicious Lady Une, who reigned victorious over the passive duplicate. That's when he woke up.
Trowa floated down the hall towards the mobile suit bay. He found Heero Yuy working on the Wing-Zero with Quatre's assistance. He gazed at them through his thick bangs until they noticed his presence. Quatre floated through the air and stopped in front of Trowa.
"Not another one. Why don't you have Miss Sally give you some sleeping pills?" Quatre asked.
"I don't want to start drugging myself," Trowa said, pushing upwards so that he drifted in front of his Heavyarms's cockpit. Heero and Quatre followed. "Is my Gundam ready for space combat?"
"We did the adjustment ourselves," Heero answered. "I still owed you from Antarctica."
"You're a good friend, Heero. So are you, Quatre. Thank you. I'm going to try to get some sleep," Trowa said, slipping into Heavyarms cockpit. "I got back one of my memories this morning. I was working side-by-side with Doctor S and he kept calling me 'Nanashi' rather than 'Trowa'. I don't think I had a name. I just wish I knew how I got the name Trowa Barton. Did I tell either one of you?"
"We traveled together across Europe for several months, but you never really talked about your past," Heero answered. "You mentioned a group of mercenaries and you briefly mentioned Middie Une once. I do know that you are an expert on mobile suit electrical systems."
"You played the flute and you use to like Voltaire," Quatre added. "You have a way with animals and logic."
"You also snore horribly and you aren't a picky eater," Heero said to get a sinker from Quatre. Trowa gave Heero a mock glare. Heero gave him a smirk and said, "You did give me a few things before you went to go spy on Lady Une. I have them sealed away on L-1. If we ever get there, I'll return them."
"If you want your flute back, I brought it with me," Quatre said. He suddenly pushed off towards Sandrock. He appeared with the small black box. Trowa stored it away for later. He hoped he remembered how to play. Quatre said, "I gave it to you when we first met. Do you remember? We fought and I ended up surrendering to you."
"I wish I did. It sounds like an interesting story," Trowa replied.
"It is, but I'll tell you later. You should get some sleep," Quatre said, smiling brightly. They left Trowa alone. He put the crash harness over his shoulders to prevent the effects of zero-G. He shut his eyes and slumped back into the seat in a fitful sleep.
"Steady, Lady," Treize said. He held his hands out to her. She took his assistance and pulled herself out of bed. He helped her take her first steps in months. She stumbled into his well-muscled arms. She kept her face down so his sharp eyes wouldn't catch her blush. He helped her back into bed and pulled up a chair beside it.
"The trial starts in five days. With you permission, I would like to attend," she asked, pulling the blankets up over her yellow pajamas.
"Milliardo tells me that your cousin doesn't want you in attendance," Treize said.
"Why?" she asked.
"She doesn't want you cast in a bad light, and she doesn't want you to experience the pain that might follow at losing her a second time," Treize said.
"I still wish to go, Mister Treize. If you'll allow it," Lady Une asked timidly.
"No. I want you here. She is right. Besides, Doctor Blaylock said that travel could put your heart under stress. If they find her guilty, I will consider letting you go see her." Treize looked directly at her and lifted her chin with his fingertips.
"But, Mister Treize..."
"I know what's best for you right now," he insisted. The concern in his sapphire eyes killed her protest.
She nodded and fought away the tears. Even though her mind had recovered from its dual nature, it was still unthinkable disobeying Treize. She entertained the thought of running away for a second and dismissed it as improbable in her weak condition.
Besides, she had never experienced this kind of attention from Treize before. It was the one thing she had craved for years. Leaving his affection wasn't something she was strong enough to do just yet.
To be continued.