Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam Wing or any of its characters.

A/N: Okay, don't kill me; this is my first 6x9 fic. There might be a little OOCness here. Was set pre-series, Lake Victoria academy times. Tell me what you think. XD Enjoy!


by Schizoid Sprite

"If this is a crush, then I don't know if I could take the real thing if it happens."-anonymous

She figured they would stay in her head to bug her for a while so she didn't bother try fighting them off. Chagrined by the thoughts she couldn't believe were truly her own, she lunged at her sandwich and kept her canteen in easy reach, each bite vicious and messy.

"All I really need is self-discipline," she muttered to herself, weighing the last word with too much emphasis than was necessary. She glided her fingers to her midnight blue hair and tugged at them slightly in frustration when the voices continued in her head. "I'm not here to throw myself to the filthy bandwagon of drooling, scatty little wenches. I'm here to study."

Her voice must have been a little loud because the boy sitting on the nearest table snapped his head to look at her. Instinctively, she threw a what-do-you-think–are-you-staring-at glare at the boy that prompted him to return to his own sandwich. Sighing, she snatched the moist canteen and drained it in one gulp.

Seems like I don't have much of helium in my mood balloon today, she sighed. It was true and the humidity of the surroundings wasn't doing her any favor. In fact she longed to throw her hands in the air and release the shaking scream that was writhing around her windpipes.

She'd already swallowed the last bit of bread when the very source of her irritation entered the cafeteria. It was an achievement to be able to dart her head away from him. She didn't like to note how a lot of girls there secretly suppressed their giggles and glued their eyes to him but she noticed it anyway, and she didn't like it.

"Wasting their parents' money," she said to herself, rolling her eyes. "They shouldn't have enrolled at a military school if all they're going to do is drool for that boy. I wouldn't be surprised if they start a fans club."

She attempted not to look at the culprit of all this foolishness, then realized that what she had just said apply to herself as well, remembering the giddy voices in her head. She heaved a deep breath as she acknowledged the fact.

"May I sit here?"

She looked up and was suddenly glad that she still had the canteen on her lips, because if they're not there her jaw would've dropped. Standing in front of her and pulling a chair, the boy they called Zechs Merquise regarded her with a slight squinting of the eyes and an almost unnoticeable tilt of the head.

Zechs Merquise. She smothered a sigh and remembered why she was acting this way.

A lot of books came her way when she decided she want to join the military. There were tomes about Napoleon Bonaparte, about the history of military organizations established after the death of Heero Yuy, more about the history of the building of the colonies…then there were fairytale books. She wasn't allowed to read too much children oriented books, but when there were chances she'd like to just even scan them—just for the sake of having a 'childhood' before she take up arms and defend her wards. She knew she read Grimms once when she was six or seven, and all she could remember were little things about a talking mirror, a glass slipper, and the ever-present character in all those stories: Prince Charming.

She couldn't recall how the stories described the Prince and she didn't try to visualize him. Over time she forgot him and the tales where he came from—until she flew here to study in Lake Victoria and bumped into a boy that, in almost every aspects, reflects a sense of royalty that could only be expected in a Prince. The sense of dignity that he carries with him when he walks and the aura of authority that comes with it draws her—and everybody—towards him. His charisma, needless to say, was very powerful. She would never admit it but she knew to herself that she'd just officially put the words 'Prince Charming' and 'Zechs Merquise' in the synonyms section of her mental thesaurus.

Don't you dare blush, Lucrezia Noin, she told herself and knew instantly that she did. If there was one thing that she would wish she could strip away right now from humanity, or at least from her, it was blushing. It just added to the list of the things she could not control by self-discipline.

"Sure," she said carefully, detaching the canteen from her mouth. She just wished her bangs were long enough to cover her flushed face.

Zechs slid into the seat and nodded a thanks, proceeding to eat his own sandwich, not paying her another glance. But… was it just her? Or did he really…when she would secretly peek at him, it looked like he was just looking away.

"Delusional little fool," she spat to herself, contempt barely kept in her voice.

Her eyes widened when again she realized she'd said it a little too loud. Sure enough, Zechs was giving her an odd look, brow creased with curiosity.

"E-excuse me," she ducked her head when the heat spread to her neck. She got up and spun on her heel, now all too aware that almost everybody present in the cafeteria, even the counter women, had their eyes fixed on her.

She gritted her teeth and for a while she seemed to foreshadow what would happen next. She has to be careful from now on. It wouldn't be nice to open your locker one day just to find all sorts of death threat and warnings to stay away from that boy.

Reaching the doorjamb gave her a triumphant moment of heaving a deep sigh. She had already set her foot outside when a mass of warmth collided with her back, making her stumble forward with a shriek. At first she thought she was hit by one of the green-eyed cadets who would die just to talk to the Merquise boy, but when large hands grabbed her arms and prevented her from falling, she was sent totally perplexed.

"Don't move and follow what I say," a voice so close to her ear that it tickled her ordered. The hands tightened on her arms and whoever was behind her drew her closer to his body. She struggled but easily failed, and all she could do was turn her head back—and gasp.

Suddenly, Zech's breath was on her face.

"What're you-"

"Walk," he cut her frigidly. He gave a jerk to the back of her knees when she just stared at him stupidly. Against her own volition, she did as she was told, dodging the curious glances of some passing students.

They were walking straight like that, with him pressed against her back and his hands gently cuffed around her tensed arms. His nearness just caused her temperature to rise a little more, not counting the fact that anyone who'd catch a glimpse of their position would start a small gossip marathon in pairs or groups. More than once she tried to wriggle away, but each attempt was rewarded by a tightening of the hands on her forearms. She groaned.

"You'll thank me after this," she heard him whisper. Zechs pulled her to a stop when they reached the door of the girls' locker room. He detached one hand from her and pushed the door open, then gave her a jerk that told her to enter. Gritting her teeth, she obeyed.

He might be the academy's little heartthrob, but he's got no right to treat her like this. Right, there is no gender in the battlefield—but not all battlefields are the same. She'd get even.

He released her once they were inside and Noin took the opportunity to throw him a sucker punch. He caught his breath in surprise and tottered backward, rubbing his nose.

"What did you do that for?" he half-shouted, still shocked. "You should even thank me."

"Thank you?"she disbelievingly shot back. She opened her mouth for a hot retort, but he beat her to it.

"Yes. If I let you walk alone down the corridor, the whole academy will be laughing at you now."


"You better get yourself out of those pants."

"What?!" She suddenly became aware that they were alone in the locker room. Girl's locker room.

He paused for a moment to casually lean against the wall. "How do I tell you about it? Hmm. How about the date today?"

"The date?" She looked up at the ceiling. "Fourteenth. Fourteenth… Fourteenth?!"

A shocked expression crossed her face and he tried to hide his laugh behind a cough. Her blush went a darker shade and she bolted towards her locker while Zechs excused himself and quietly slipped outside.

"You're a fool, Lucrezia," she shamefully hissed between her gritting teeth. "How could you ever forget? And you even have the guts to wear white pants!"

She was standing in front of the mirror with her back to it and head twisted to look at the reflection of her rear in it. An amorphous red shape had bloomed in the middle. Cursing silently, she dug in her locker to find the appropriate things to wear, then found out that she had all her clothes up at her dorm room for laundry. She cursed again, this time aloud.

What now?

She marched toward the door, fingers crossed, hoping Zechs was still outside. Not that he could be of help—well, she thought no man would be of any help when talking about…about things like this, but she terribly needs someone to talk to about her situation now. She pushed the door open and Zechs, who was reclining against the wall opposite the room, snapped his head up her with a raised brow.

"I…" she looked down. "I don't have anything to change my pants to. All my clothes were in my dorm room."

A moment of silence passed between them. Noin felt like she had never been this stupid in her whole life.

Zechs chuckled. He pushed himself off the wall and advanced towards her. She took a step back, but was drawn to him again when he shrugged his jacket off and wrapped it around her hip. She chewed on her bottom lip as he secured it with a knot on her front.

"Thanks," she mumbled shyly.

"No problem," he said with a smirk. "But I still can't forget that blow. I think I need to get even."

She regarded him apologetically as he rubbed his face with his knuckles on the exact spot she'd hit.

"I…well, uh…fine!" She stood straight and scrunched her eyes close.

He raised a delicate brow. "What are you doing?"

She flipped one lid open. "Steeling myself. Come on, hit me. You said you want revenge."

That elicited a throaty chuckle from the platinum blonde. "Gentlemen are taught not to hit ladies."

"You always underestimate us girls, do you?" She hates it when this thing happens.

"No we don't," Zechs replied readily, "I just think you can pay me by doing something else."

She frowned. "And that is?"

She noticed a mischievous glint in his eyes as a wide smile broke across his face. "How do I tell you about it? Hmm. How about the date today?"

She was confused, frowning at his replay of words. "Fourteenth."

"Exactly." He cocked an upwards nod. "I think I'm an unfortunate little guy. I don't have any valentine yet."

It took a minute for his words to register in her mind, and when they finally did, she gaped and went redder, if that was even possible at the moment. He chuckled again.

"Please let me have the honor of having a dinner with you tonight, miss…" He frowned when he realized he hadn't got her name yet.

"Lucrezia Noin," she coyly completed his sentence, extending her hand. She gasped when he took it and planted a light kiss on it.

"Miss Lucrezia Noin." He smiled. "I'm Zechs Merquise."

"I know," she off-handedly answered. He smiled when she ducked her head.

"So?" He offered her his arm. Prince charming.

"Thanks." She took it, shivering when her skin brushed with his. "Now, up to the dorm room."

He laughed again, and she knew was getting addicted to it. When she gets addicted to something, hell would freeze over before anyone could take that addiction away.

fin. XD