Title: Yin and Yang

Author: Sybil Rowan

Pairing(s)/Characters: No pairings/ story involves Nikol, Colonel Une, and Trowa Barton

Rating: T

Summary: Nikol and Trowa argue over a business lunch and it ends up in a duel under Lady Une's watchful eyes.

Warnings: none.

Author's Notes: This is written for the 'FicTicTacToe' community on Live Journal. My competitor is my hubby, WingedPanther73. We're posting these to our Live Journal blogs. My prompt is #9 "Yin/Yang." Like I said... it's so nice to get back to Trowa spy fics.

Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is owned by Bandai Sunrise.

Beta Reader/ Opponent: My wonderful hubby, WingedPanther73.

Word Count = 1,909

August 2, 2010 09:41pm

Nikol drummed his fingers on the restaurant table and cast his eyes towards the bright red menu with the yin and yang symbol. He wrung the paper wrapped chopsticks in his hands and cast his eyes around for a fork, a disgruntled, deep frown on his face. Not for the lack of Western silverware, but it was for the person who would be joining him and Lady Une for the lunch meeting... that infuriating, commoner... trashy circus clown.

Like clockwork, Lady Une came in, dressed in a lavender suit with a gray blouse. This made Nikol grit his teeth, along with seeing the placid, gentle smile come to her glossy, red lips. When she was like this, posing as politician, she was always so weak and vulnerable. That's what opened her up for the the deceptions that Barton teenager kept spinning.

Thinking of that Barton... he trailed behind her, dressed in a slate colored suit and dark green turtleneck. This sent a wave of fury through Nikol. It was a reminder that his Colonel Une had overlooked him, once again, and chosen Barton for a special bodyguard detail. He had warned her, repeatedly, that she needed protection from Barton. That seemed to goad her towards drawing that horrid teenager closer to her.

He had thought her tougher, solider mindset would have seen through Barton's illusions, but it was to no avail. She kept heaping more accolades on Barton each day... praise that Nikol, a Lake Victoria graduate, not street trash, deserved. Nikol would have to keep sharper eyes on Barton, and if he couldn't find anything, well, he may have to think about manufacturing an accident.

He bolted out of his seat and held out the chair for her before Barton could move any closer to her. She graciously thanked Nikol as Trowa sat across from him. The three of them made their orders. Nikol carefully broached the subject of the power meeting with L-3 politicians. Lady Une smiled and related that, thanks to Trowa's insight as an L-3 native, she was able to address their concerns with OZ's push into allying with the space colonies.

"Glad to hear it," Nikol snapped as their hot-and-sour soup was served. "Spacenoids really aren't sophisticated enough to run politics. Isn't that your impression, Colonel?"

It irked him that Barton's face remained impassive as ever at the insult he threw out; those elegant, sharp green eyes swept over him, then back to his soup. Colonel Une, however, held a disappointed look in her hazel eyes. "You've missed the mark, Vladimir. OZ's duty, what His Excellency Mister Treiz desires, is to act as a friend to the colonies. They'll see everything OZ has to offer and make a willing partnership. That is what I desire, to make Mister Treiz's dream a reality."

Nikol ground his teeth, amazed that she wasn't seeing Mr. Treiz's mandate clearly. "Please forgive my impertinence, Ma'am." He prayed his tart tone wasn't caught, but he pressed on, "But wasn't His Excellency's desire to bring the colonies under OZ's rule?"

"The way OZ chooses to do this is with the open hand of friendship. They offer protection in exchange for submission," Barton answered, picking up his chopsticks with his left hand. Nikol glared at Barton... he even bucked the norm by being left handed.

"You insult OZ!" Nikol glared across the table. Barton looked up with that damnable, blank expression. Not a dram of emotion appeared.

Colonel Une moaned in pain and leaned forward; her face was contorted into acute agony. Nikol's heart pounded, and his need to support her took over. "Please, Colonel, let me take you back to base so you can rest."

She held her head upright and massaged her temples, her face briefly contorted in pain that lifted. She got her glasses from her purse and put them on. Her expression was more harsh. "It's not an insult if it's true, Nikol. You'd do well to listen to Trowa, because I believe he truly has insight into OZ. Then again, I believe you've both had this argument at Trowa's first interview."

"Barton is a spacenoid. How can we ever be sure of his..."

"Enough! You will stop questioning his loyalty." Her eyes were fierce, and then there was a perfect, calm clarity in them. Her voice was tranquil as she said, "Regarding Trowa, I'm perfectly aware of what he is. Do not second guess my choices."

"Yes, Ma'am," he mumbled. He didn't miss how she slipped back into using his last name, whereas, she continued to use that boy's first name.

He had to find some way to make her listen. "I just believe that OZ's stance needs to be aggressive so the space colonies will fall in line, grateful to have a protector take care of their problems. That way, we won't have to worry about any other Gundam pilots cropping up."

"No. The space colonies need to see a peaceful facade, now that they've turned against the Gundam pilots. They're willing to fall into OZ's arms, so long as they don't feel threatened. Any subversive will be held up as too radical so long as OZ doesn't give credence to their claims," Trowa said before taking a sip of tea.

Nikol vowed that he'd put this piece of trash in his place before the end of his shift. He was the one infecting Colonel Une's weak handed approach lately. After all, this surely wasn't the way His Excellency Treiz taught his elite soldiers.

"Anyway, Nikol," Colonel Une interrupted Nikol's dark train of though, "tell me about the progress you've made on clearing out the space mines from around L-3."

Nikol took a deep breath, grateful he was getting an opportunity to prove his worth to her. "The mines are fifty-five percent gone." He couldn't help his prideful tone.

"Who did you send?" He shot Barton a disdainful look at the impertinent question.

"Smith, Ravoni, Giles, Thomas, and Chavis," Nikol snapped, knowing Colonel Une would have asked anyway.

"Trowa had predicted you would only have half the job done, because you kept assigning the same Lake Victoria graduates, rather than the L-3 recruits."

"Lake Victoria is the most respected officers' training. His Excellency graduated from there, as did the Lightning Count," Nikol protested.

"Yes, but they're from Earth, not space. Kyle, Cho, and Hammond were outer haul maintenance men before they joined OZ. They've been trained to spot things in space. They'll have an instinct that can't be taught at Lake Victoria," Trowa answered.

"That old wives tale about New Types? I thought you would be too old to believe that garbage, Barton," Nikol snapped.

"Trowa has a point regardless of rumors or the existence of latent psychic ability. These men are experienced in space operations. You aren't utilizing your men. Once they sign their contracts, they are, first and foremost, OZ soldiers. When we get back to our operation headquarters, you'll change the rotation according to Trowa's plan."

Nikol was about to protest, but her eyes had a lethal glint behind her glasses. This was all the warning he needed to swallow his protest, but his anger was so much more bitter and harder to swallow.

They finished their meal in virtual silence and quickly left for operations headquarters. On the way, Colonel Une stopped by her quarters and, to Nikol's relief, Colonel Une dressed in her unifom. Her expression was stern and determined. This was the Colonel Une he could relate to. He was irritated beyond words when Trowa showed up wearing his OZ uniform too. It was such a disgrace to OZ that such a person now wore it.

When they got to operation headquarters, Nikol made the changes to the duty roster. He shot a dirty look over his shoulder where Barton was in the shadows, arms crossed, face totally empty. Oh how he wanted to tear that hardened mask off and expose the fraud. He had to goad the teenager somehow.

"It looks as if your instincts were on the mark, Trowa. Good work," Colonel Une said, her eyes glued to the monitor as the L-3 recruits were safely collecting the mines in Taurus suits.

"I notice you aren't out there, Barton. Afraid of a little hard work?" Nikol taunted.

Trowa appeared bored as he stopped slouching against the wall. Before Trowa could speak, Colonel Une said, "Permission to join the detail granted."

"Ma'am," Trowa said, throwing a salute before leaving.

"Wait! I should go look after him," Nikol said, realizing the Colonel was now wearing a smile of admiration towards the door that Barton left by.

"As you wish, Nikol," the Colonel said.

It wasn't long before Nikol was suited up and piloting his white Taurus into space. He quickly caught up to Trowa's black Taurus and hailed the teenager. "I'll be giving the orders around here, Barton. Stand down."

"Yes, sir," Trowa replied and guided his Taurus behind Nikol's.

Suddenly, Nikol felt his mobile suit lurch hard left and then down. A bright flash of an explosion flared on his monitor. He caught his breath and realized that Trowa had used his Taurus to pull them away from a stray mine.

"You scum! How dare you," Nikol shouted, feeling blood rush to his face. How could he face his Colonel with this mortification around his neck? He jerked his Taurus away from Trowa's and slammed the large mechanical elbow towards the black Taurus. Trowa's craft slipped aside gracefully.

"Are you two okay?" Colonel Une's frantic tone came over their com-links.

"This boy has overstepped his authority," Nikol answered. "I ask permission to duel. After all, this boy wants to be a part of OZ. It's time he had a taste of its traditions!"

"That's very old-fashioned," Colonel Une responded. "I don't recommend it."

"Don't be afraid, Colonel. I won't hurt him, just teach him a lesson."

"You're not being wise, Nikol," Colonel Une said, "...but you need to get this out of your system. Permission to duel granted. May the best pilot win."

"And that will be me, Barton!"

Trowa's Taurus pulled back into space. Nikol quickly chased after Barton because he knew the teenager was most lethal from a distance. "No running away, Barton!"

The black Taurus suit lofted the cannon and fired two shots. Both arched over the head of the white Taurus. Nikol laughed and taunted, "Is that all you ha..."

Nikol felt his mobile suit lurch forward. Warning buzzers and flashing lights went off around him. He flailed around trying to gain control over his mobile suit again.

"What happened?" Nikol raged.

"It would seem that Trowa's two shots exploded some space mines that had drifted behind your suit," Colonel Une's voice intoned in his ear.

"I like to be efficient, Colonel. I believe that brings the total clean up to fifty-seven percent," Trowa said. The boy's face was in Nikol's monitor. Nikol screamed and slammed his fist into the monitor.

"Come back to the operation headquarter as soon as you have your suit functional, Nikol. Trowa is more than capable of the clean up."

"This isn't over," Nikol vowed after turning off his com-link.