Disclaimer: Gundam Wing and all its characters © Sotsu Agency, Sunrise, and TV Asahi. All fics are not for profit.

A/N: I know, I know. I changed the title of this collection from Squalor to Mars and Venus, and that's because I think it'll be a more appropriate title as a counterpart for my mini-series collection with the same genre called Adams and Eves. Apologies! It won't happen again, promise. :)

As for this next installment...anyone who's been reading my works before will recognize this. It's from my 4xD ficlets series 'Black Ivory, White Ebony', which suffered an untimely demise because of some stupid glitch deleting it--ficlets and all. *sigh* Sometimes, this dark, vast, smelly Pit is just plain irritating. XD I'm going to re-upload the ficlets soon, though not as a series collection this time. Anyhoo, some part of the convo of this ficcie is 'retouched'. Hope you enjoy it!

"Arm Candy"

by Schizoid Sprite

"Above all, remember that the most important thing you can take anywhere is not a Gucci bag or a French-cut jeans; it's an open mind."- Gail Rubin Bereny.

"Fishtail! And not just that—it's latex!" Dorothy managed between gnashed teeth with utter disgust, her eyes rolling. "Seriously, what was she thinking? That she's little mermaid, squeezing herself in that poor garment? She's in a political function, not in a fairytale-themed school play. Just looking at her makes me want to eat sushi."

Quatre hid his cough behind his flute, champagne still untouched. "Dorothy, you're not here to be a fashion critique," he reminded her with a small frown.

Dorothy heard him clearly, but she just craned her neck around to drink in the rush of the would-be recipients of her haute couture brickbats, plainly ignoring him. "And oh, here comes that Miss Senate President. What the—what kind of gown is that? She needs diet, doesn't she? Bet she couldn't breathe in that! And I could've sworn I saw a restaurant with curtains of the same fabric—"


"She's lucky to have a keychain—I mean escort, that young actor. He's got a good taste, with that quite dapper tux. Oh—"

"Dorothy, stop it."

"And that L3 representative… Hmm. Is she wearing an old pillowcase or what? The garment's silently screaming for a trash bin."

"Dorothy, please..."

"Look who's here. Miss Relena! Isn't she so cute? A Barbie doll perfect for a wedding cake topper..."


Now irked by his little chidings, she shot him a glare and partnered it with a sour scowl. "What's your problem?"

"Could you just stop picking on everybody's outfit tonight?" He placed his flute on the table with a heavy sigh. "Honestly, I'm a little annoyed… and isn't it too inappropriate for someone like you to behave like that?"

Dorothy glowered. "So it's now inappropriate to give honest criticism?"

"I never said that."

"Then why stop me?" Dorothy said with an arch of one brow. She took a swig from her own flute without taking her eyes off her escort. "You know that I'm always blasé about these kinds of gatherings. I wouldn't come if I could help it—but you just have to drag me here and bore me to death. Don't you think it's natural for me—for anyone who's in the same godforsaken situation—to find some kind of timewaster?"

He chewed on his lip. "Uhm, I guess that—"

"You owe me big time by just choosing me as your personal arm candy," Dorothy snapped. "I don't ask anything in return but my freedom. Of talking."

Quatre, still biting his bottom lip, raked his hands through his locks. How many times have they talked about this topic? "Dorothy, I've said this a million times before, I'll say it again. You're not just my arm-candy."

"Oh? Don't I just look good dangling on your arm?" she mocked. "A decoration, an accessory? Goodness, Quatre, you haven't even asked me to dance even once since we came here! The longer I stay with you, the longer I become a wallflower. A poor, wilting wallflower at that."

"You can just go away if you like," Quatre said brusquely with an atypically deep frown, impatience finally leaking. "I don't need you anyway."

A sudden surge of apologies threatened to spill out his mouth after he said those words, but he managed to keep it at bay. He furtively peeked through his lashes to see a reaction from her. She didn't look offended or surprised by his sudden change of mood--not one tiny, little bit.

She even asked something that made him narrow his eyes in curiosity: "Did you finish college, Quatre?"

"No…not yet, at least," he said, suddenly suspicious. "I'm planning to apply for a university admission test this year. I really want to finish my studies, even if I have to attend just as a part-time student. It's expected for my sisters disagree with this and they're insisting on just hiring a private tutor so I won't have to leave the..." He stopped when Dorothy yawned. He groaned, irritated. "Why do you even ask?"

"Nothing," Dorothy said casually, pretending to stifle another yawn. "I just have to suggest that if ever there's a course in AB Lying major in Excuses and minor in Alibis, please do take that. I can sure bet you'll be a scholar."

His eyes widened. "I'm not a liar!"

"You said that you don't need me. Isn't that a downright lie?"

"N-no it's not!" He denied defensively. "Why would I need you? It just so happened that we're both Earthside this week—and, coincidentally, we stayed in the same hotel. I can pick up nicer girls, you know—they're scattered everywhere! Nicer… and not like someone who's spitting sharp vogue thrusts at every living thing with clothes on while she herself needs to call someone for fashion 911."

That did it.

"Come again?"

"I said your sense of fashion is bad," he paraphrased. "And I say bad, with a capital B."

"Look who's talking! Where else will you find a multi-billionaire who wears only one style of loafers all his life? Nowhere else but at the CEO's desk of the main Winner Company building at L4!"

He smiled smugly and angled his head in a way like he was patronizing her."You know, sometimes, you need to taste your own medicine. Where else would you find a walking stick dolled up with that frothy piece of cloth she calls a gown, but here beside me, looking as if she's going to eat me?"

"I'm not a walking stick!"

He brushed her off. "And get this—this skinny scarecrow has this deathly pallor and pale hair, and the white rag she wears does her no favor. Seriously, she could pass up as a ghost."

Dorothy frowned. "I think I hate you, Quatre."

Quatre smiled. "I love you, too, Dorothy."

He scooted and snaked his other hand around her waist. He laughed when she pouted and tried to struggle away.

"Sometimes, I find it hard to identify what you really are—whether if you're a woman or still a kid. You're sandwiched between cold logic and childish tantrums."

She didn't reply.

Quatre sighed. "Okay fine, you win. What do you want to do with me now? Now that I pissed you off with—what do you call it, my ROM brain that won't accept any 'inputs' from what you say?"

She snickered at his last words. She tugged at his collar and pulled him closer, so that their lips were now just millimeters apart.

"I think we should at least merge our opposing sense of fashion," she murmured before she fingered the first button of his suit. "You know, you don't really need this jacket…"

He lightly placed his lips on hers and, almost hesitantly, pulled away. "Not the best time for it," he chuckled with a wink. "I think you should fulfill your 'decorative purpose' here first until the party ends, my arm candy."

She beamed evilly. "Right."

Quatre picked up his flute again with a satisfied nod.

"Hey, that's congresswoman Bradfurt, from L2," Dorothy whispered, her sly smile widening. "Scandal extraordinaire, she is. Is there fabric shortage on the colonies? Why does she always mistake balls for red-light districts?"

Quatre suddenly felt very tired, and he could've sworn he'd never been this exhausted before, during the days of war.


Additional A/N: It's very unrelated to this story but...Happy father's day, everyone! Hee!