The smell of ice.

It was a tangible thing in and of itself, curling around him as his blades carved slender pathways through it, ice drift spraying as he came to a halt. It was a cold, metallic smell that held a great silence in its heart, holding him still in the center of the rink as he took it in, his mind merging with it. This oneness with the ice was a talent of his, it always had been. The ice called to him, and he always came. A never-ending cycle he had no intention of breaking.

Other skaters drifted past him, the slender lines of their bodies moving in a slow dance as they turned and twisted, their minds occupied with the music playing through the loudspeakers. A vortex of flashing blades and the sound of steel and ice moving around him until he stood alone amidst a whirlwind of activity.

The oneness.

With the grace of a natural born skater, he pushed forward, avoiding other skaters with instinct, as he took the curves of the rink swiftly. In the space of a few heartbeats, another figure joined him, aligning with him in unspoken communication. He allowed it, but secretly disliked the intrusion. The ice was singing to him, an only to him. The others could not hear it, especially her.

She lifted her hand and he took it, as was his duty, and they turned as one, moving into their routine with a confidence that came with long hours of practice. They danced together, moving away only to rejoin seconds later to the beat of the music and their own heartbeats. When it ended, and their movements halted, he moved away, ignoring the glare she threw at him for embarrassing her. Slyvia was always conscious of what other people thought, and she was constantly angry with him when he showed he did not care. They were partners, after all, they were supposed to work together.

Yet, he could never bring himself to trust her.

She did not hear the song.

* * * *

"Hey, Heero!"

He did not turn his head as he threaded his way through the crowded halls of the community college, his book bag thrown carelessly over one shoulder. Behind him, he heard a number of muttered curses as his best friend, Duo Maxell, pushed past several students to catch up with him.

Duo ignored their glares and simply gave them his best, most charming smile and they immediately relented, smiling back. Duo always had that effect on people. No matter what situation he was in or how much trouble he had caused, he could always get himself out again with a cheerful smile and a flash of his violet eyes.

Rearranging the books in his arms and throwing his long braid over his shoulder, Duo nudged Heero in the ribs with his elbow. "Hey, I heard about your practice with Slyvia this morning. Do you think you could be a little subtler? She's the most popular girl in school. You know her word is law around here. She can destroy you with a single sentence." Duo paused and then shrugged. "Not that you care about your reputation anyway, but I'm your best friend! Don't you care what people think of me for hanging out with you?"

Heero entered his world history class, ignoring Duo, and found his seat in the second row. Duo plopped down beside him, giving a loud sigh, and wearing a long-suffering expression. "Don't you at least want to know what she said about you?"

"No, but your going to tell me anyway."

Duo grinned, happy he had gotten his stoic friend to speak. "She's saying that you're holding her back. She's having it spread around that she's looking for a new partner."

Heero finally met Duo's gaze, his dark eyes expressionless. "And everyone believes her?"

"Well, her mother does fund the skating club."


Duo frowned but the professor walked in and he was stopped from making a remark. Silently blessing the timely interruption, Heero got out his book as other students shuffled papers and zipped book bags. The professor greeted them and was about to the start the lecture when the room doors opened and in walked a strange girl.

She was pretty, in a serene sort of way, with long gold hair and eyes the color of the summer sky. She walked with a lithe grace that drew all eyes to her, and a blush stained her cheeks at the attention as she handed a note to the teacher. Duo whistled under his breath.


The teacher cleared his throat. "Class, we have a new student. This is Relena Darlian. She just moved here from London, so please make her feel welcome." He paused as students applauded in greeting. "Relena, why don't you take the empty seat in the front row?"

The new girl nodded and took her seat in front of Heero, the smell of her perfume traveling up to him: honeysuckle. The scent teased him and he found himself wondering about her. There was a mysterious air about her that intrigued him.

Unfortunately, it intrigued every male within a mile radius.

By noon, she had been approached by five potential dates, and turned them all down. This, of course, only raised her appeal, and four more soon-to-be-broken-hearts asked her out. All failed. The male population was in an uproar. Who was this girl? Why was she so quiet? What secrets were held within the depths of her beautiful eyes?

No one yet knew the answers.

"I can't believe it! Every guy is after her! You'd think they'd never seen a girl before!" Hilde Scheibeker exclaimed, her dark eyes annoyed. Hilde was a year younger than Duo and had been his girlfriend for at least that long. She had a devil-may-care nature just like Duo, making them perfect partners in crime. Their constant practical jokes and pranks made them the life of every party. To the teachers, it just made them the class clowns. "I don't understand it!"

"Everyone wants the unattainable," commented Quatre, as they sat around their lunch table. Quatre was a quiet, peaceful boy with silken white-blonde hair and startling blue-green eyes that simply radiated tranquility. He was the serious one of the group and the most sensitive.

"Still," Hilde said, "they should give the poor girl a moment to breathe. It's only her first day of school!"

Duo shrugged. "Has anyone talked to her yet? I wonder if she has an accent."

"I talked to her for a moment in chemistry. She sounded perfectly American," Quatre said, gathering up his books for his next class. The rest followed his example. "Let's just hope she doesn't meet Slyvia today. Slyvia hates anything that might be competition, and I have a feeling that if she sees Relena, there's going to be trouble."

* * * *

Relena breathed a sigh of relief as she unlocked the door to her house and threw herself down on the couch, her books falling to a heap on the floor. Immediately, her mother's voice sounded from the kitchen, the light tone carrying an undercurrent of anxiousness.


"Yes, mama," she answered, pulling herself up from the couch and tucking errant strands of sunshine hair behind her ears. She went into the kitchen, breathing in the delicious smells of her mother's cooking, and gave the older woman a hug.

"How was school? Do you like it there?"

She shrugged, "It's alright." She reached for an apple from the fruit bowl. Her mother glanced at her.

"Just alright?"

"It's not like Madame Siene's*."

Relena's mother frowned gently. "Relena--"

Relena cut her off. "I know, mama, I know. I need to have a positive outlook."

"The doctor said--" Again, Relena interrupted her.

"I *know*, mother, and I did absolutely no exercise today. I promise," she said, exasperated. "I'm going to go do my homework." She left the kitchen quickly, before her mother could question her, gathered up her books and headed for her room. Once there she fell backwards onto her bed, her hair surrounding her like a golden fan, and tried to blink back the tears that wanted to roll down her cheeks.

"I hate it," she whispered to herself, raising a delicate hand to lay over her heart. The comforting beat under her palm lulled her and she closed her eyes, imagining herself far away from America, in a place she would never see again.

After a moment, she pushed aside her silly daydreams and opened her history book.

* * * *

Madame Siene's: Fictional School of Dance that Relena used to attend.

Author's Note: Well, here is my new baby, 1xR as always. It's not going to be very long, probably about five chapters, just a breather while me and Meio-chan get "Remnants" together. I figured we could all use some sap anyway, though this chapter was a little dramatic. *wink* Don't worry, relative fluff ahead! Hope you all enjoyed, and Sable! I loved your chapter! MORE! *huggles to everyone*

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