Disclaimer: The Gundam Wing characters do not belong to me,
I am only borrowing them for a short while and promise
to return them in one piece.
//...// indicate flashbacks
"I think that was the most magical evening of my entire night!" Nicola enthused over her museli the next morning.
"Uh-huh." Sally answered, frowning as she chewed her toast and marked a particularly complex passage in her textbook.
"Of course I noticed that _you_ went off and hid somewhere!" Nicola waved her spoon reprovingly, splattering milk on on the table. "And I found the most delicious guy for you too!"
"MmmmHmmm." Sally re-read another passage, committing it to memory as Nicola's words flowed over her. She swallowed the last piece of her toast. "I'm going back to the dorm." She said, closing her book and standing up. "See you later."
"Wait!" Nicola practically inhaled her museli and charged after her. "Sally! Are you mad at me?"
Sally paused and looked at her. "Nicola, why would I be mad at you?
After all, you only emotionally blackmailed me into attending a function
I didn't want to attend and wearing the most ridiculous
outfit I've ever worn. Nope, nothing to get _mad_ about."
"I hate it when you're sarcastic." Nicola grumbled. "Can't you yell, like normal people?"
Sally smirked as she pushed open the door to their room. "What, and spoil all my fun?"
"Huh, I... OH!" Nicola squealed. "Look at those roses!"
"Well, you could hardly miss them." Sally said drily as she took in the huge bunch of red roses that was almost taking over the surface of Nicola's desk. "From one of your admirers, Nic?"
Nicola blushed. "It could be from Alex." She said with a little giggle as she examined the roses blissfully. "He said he would make contact... and look! Here's a card."
"That's nice." Sally sat down on her bed. "So what does it say."
Nicola grinned and looked at the writing on the envelope. "To Sa..." She blinked. "Sally, they're for _you_." Wide-eyed, Nicola held the card.
Sally blinked. "What?" She took the card and opened it. She found herself staring at some beautiful copperplate handwriting and a familiar name. "Oh... they're from Treize."
Nicola's jaw dropped. "T-Trieze?" She stuttered. "As... as in Treize Khushrenada? D-Duke Demail's grandson? The most brilliant and most handsome soldier in the Specials?"
"I guess that's the one." Sally said. "No wonder his name was sort of familiar." She added thoughtfully.
"SALLY!!" Nicola's scream brought a whole crowd of curious cadets to the door. "How can you be SO calm? WHY is Treize Khushrenada sending you flowers?"
There was a chorus of gasps from the other girls and Sally felt her cheeks flush in annoyance. "We met last night." She said and mentally edited out the dance and especially the kiss. She could see that the situation was already going to be blown out of proportion without her spilling everything.
A babble of questions fell from various lips as the other girls interrogated
Sally. What had he been wearing? What did he say? Was he very gallant?
And more importantly... What did the note
Sally used her superior height to keep the contents of the note from their prying eyes. "It's nothing important." She insisted. "Yes... he's very handsome and I guess he's gallant... if that really matters, but really it wasn't that big a deal!" She glared at the others. "Now... please LEAVE ME ALONE!"
In the face of Sally's anger, the other girls backed off and filed out, although they all shot Nicola significant looks. It was clear that she was expected to spill any details she learnt later. Sally flopped down on her bed and sighed. Nicola was silent for a moment, staring at the flowers.
"So... are you going?" She asked finally.
Sally blinked. "Going?"
Nicola had the grace to blush faintly. "Well... I saw that he'd invited you to lunch today."
Sally groaned and pulled a pillow over her face. "Didn't anyone tell you that it's rude to read over people's shoulders?" She asked in a muffled voice. There was no answer and Sally sighed again. "I don't know." She said. "I'm tempted to say no."
"Because... well... I don't know if I want to get involved with anyone... least of all someone who's so... famous."
Sally pulled the pillow from her face and sat up. She scanned the note
again. Treize's words were very charming, saying how interesting he found
their meeting the other night and that he would really like to get to know
her better. Sally shook her head. She had been so rude to him, how could
want to meet her again? Still... it seemed a little off to just ignore the note after he'd gone to all the trouble. She bit her lip, perhaps it would be best to meet him at this cafe he'd suggested and then tell him that she wasn't interested.
"It's a very fancy place." Nicola said in her ear, making Sally jump. "You'll have to dress up."
Sally's lips thinned. "Oh... really."
Sally prided herself on being honest and therefore would have been lying if she had said she didn't feel an ounce of nerves as she approached the elegant French cafe. She fiddled with her ponytail and tugged on the edge of her sweater. Suddenly her decision to meet Treize, dressed in jeans and a green sweater didn't seem such a good idea after all.
"But this is who I am." Sally reminded herself. "And if he can't take it then that's definitely a good reason for me not to encourage him."
With a determined expression, Sally pushed open the doors to the cafe and walked inside. She ignored the surprised looks on the faces of the waiters and waitresses and looked around for Treize.
He was seated at a table by the window, reading a newspaper. He looked up and smiled, although she noticed that his eyebrows twitched slightly. He was dressed in a casual, yet stylish, navy suit and looked entirely at home in the elegant surroundings.
"I'm glad you could make it." He said as she sat down opposite him. He looked at her attire and smiled ruefully. "I suppose I shouldn't be that surprised..."
"I did mention last night that I wasn't really into dressing up." Sally said tartly. One of the waitresses approached and Sally ordered a plain coffee before turning back to Treize. "Thanks for the roses by the way."
He inclined his head. "I'm happy that you liked them."
"Although I think the sheer amount was a bit... ostentatious." Sally added. "You really didn't need to send me an entire garden of roses."
"Just showing the depth of my regard, Sally." Treize said mildly and she stared at him in disbelief.
"Oh really?" She shook her head. "Treize, I can't understand why you want to get to know me better when there are a ton of girls who I'd have thought would suit your tastes much better."
"Sally, you barely know me... how can you know what would suit my taste?" Treize asked.
Her coffee arrived and Sally sipped it before replying. "Well, you're Treize Khushrenada." She said. "You've been born with the proverbial silver spoon in your mouth. You must be used to associating with people who have a lot more grace and style than me."
"I'm surprised at you Sally." Treize said. "You're making assumptions based on my birth, assumptions which have no basis in fact." He smiled. "Regardless of background I appreciate people who interest me... and you _do_ interest me." He leaned forward and locked her eyes with his. "Unlike many others of my acquaintance, you don't care for my background, it's irrelevant to you, and I find this most refreshing."
Sally drew in her breath. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't flattered by this." She admitted. "But I think it's only fair to tell you that I really only came today to tell you that I'm not interested in a relationship."
Treize's eyes flickered slightly and he leaned back, his expression unreadable. "I see. Would you mind telling me why?" He smiled faintly. "And for the sake of my masculine pride, Sally, please don't be too brutal."
Sally blinked, at least he was making a small joke about this. She was
impressed, other men would probably have been a lot more annoyed with her
announcement. "Well... no matter how interesting
you find me and despite the fact that I think you're handsome and all, and more intelligent than most guys I've met... I don't think we'd suit each other. Also, unlike some girls I know, I didn't join the Alliance with the intention of catching a husband. I have a goal and I really want to achieve it... which also means that I don't really have time for romance." Sally looked determined. "Eventually I want to help make some kind of visable difference to the world."
"You want to make your mark on the world?" Treize asked quietly and Sally grinned.
"In a way, yes... I guess so, doesn't everyone?"
"Oh yes..." Treize's eyes were very intent. "That's my ambition as well."
"Don't tell me," Sally quipped. "You want to be King of the World?"
Treize was very still for a moment and then he laughed. "Not quite." He said. "But Sally, I admire your ambition and drive. Not many people have the courage to go for what they want. In that way we are alike." He smiled at her. "So I can't agree with your comment that we wouldn't suit."
Sally shrugged. "Maybe, but I'm not convinced."
"How can you be so sure when we hardly know each other?" He asked. "It's unfair to assume without giving me a chance."
Sally frowned. "But I just told you that I don't have time for romance!"
"How about friendship?"
AC 198 Christmas Day
"Merry Christmas, Miss Sally!"
She smiled at the young man standing by the huge Christmas tree that dominated the main hall of Lady Une's mansion. "Merry Christmas, Quatre."
He held out a beautifully wrapped present. "Is Wufei going to be joining us?"
Sally took the gift with a smile and thanked him. "I don't know. I did tell him, but he muttered something about not believing in it and that he had work to do and so do I!" She smiled ruefully. "He's such a workaholic sometimes."
"I resent that remark, woman!"
Both Sally and Quatre turned to see Wufei walking into the hall, brushing snow off his shoulders. Sally raised an eyebrow.
"So Scrooge decided to join us after all." She smirked.
Wufei looked puzzled. "Who is Scrooge?" He asked and Sally shook her head.
"It's good to see you, Wufei!" Quatre beamed and held out a present to the Chinese man. "It wouldn't have been the same without you here as well."
"I only came because I hit a dead-end with the leads on the arson." Wufei said, accepting the present with grudging thanks. He also handed Quatre a small gift which made the blond Arabian smile sunnily before he excused himself to go and find the others to tell them that everyone had arrived.
Sally frowned once Quatre had left. "A complete dead-end?" She asked in surprise. "There's nothing to indicate _who_ could have done it?"
Wufei shook his head. "All the possible suspects have iron clad alibies."
"How... frustrating." Sally sighed. "I guess that means we have to go back to square one. Yay." She added sarcastically.
Wufei rubbed his chin. "However, we were investigating the angle that it was related to Dekim Barton's actions. I was wondering if it might not have something to do with either Duke Demail or..." He hesistated for a brief moment and Sally filled in the end of his sentence.
"Or Treize." She couldn't stop the slight sigh from escaping her lips.
Wufei looked at her, searching her face with intent eyes. "I've noticed that this incident has been bothering you alot." He said. "Do you suspect something?"
"No." Sally said honestly. "I don't have any ideas." She looked away, and her eyes fell on a portrait at the far end of the room. A portrait of Treize Khrushrenada that had been painted when he was just twenty years old. "It's just... it's brought up a bunch of memories that I thought I'd left behind." She turned back to Wufei and smiled faintly. "But I don't really want to explain them yet."
Wufei's lips tightened slightly. "Understood." He said, and Sally knew he meant it. Wufei wouldn't pry if she didn't want to explain just yet. "The only thing I ask..." He said. "Is that you tell me if this is going to affect your work."
Sally nodded. "I will Wufei, I promise." She held out her hand. "Now why don't we go and enjoy this Christmas party?"
He snorted and the tension in the atmosphere disappeared. "We can try." But he took her hand anyway.
Sally laughed. "You really are a Scrooge!" She teased.
//"I don't believe you, Sally!" Nicola cried. "How can you say that you and Treize are just friends when you've been spending so much time with him?"
"Because that's just what we are." Sally said patiently.
"But for the past two weeks you've been going out to dinner... to movies... walks in the park... hasn't he...?"
"So you haven't..."
"No!" Sally looked at Nicola in irritation. "Is it so unbelievable that we could just be friends?"
"Yes!" Nicola argued.//
Sally shook her head as she recalled the arguement she'd had with Nicola before she had left the dorm. But it wasn't only Nicola who didn't believe that Sally hadn't 'done' anything with Treize. They just couldn't conceive the idea that Sally could just be friends with their prize catch. She grinned, she'd have to tell Treize about this one... he'd probably find it quite amusing.
He did. In fact he laughed quite loudly when she gave him a verbatim account of her arguement with Nicola.
"I fear I'm doing your reputation a diservice, Sally." He said finally.
Sally wrinkled her nose and stirred her coffee. "I don't care what they think." She said. "It's my life and what really matters is how I see it!" She looked at him and smiled. "I'm not about to abandon a decent friendship just because of a load of gossip."
Treize smiled back at her. "That's good to know." His eyes turned serious. "After all, I think would miss you and your barbed comments."
An unexpected heat rose up within Sally, one which she quickly quelled.
Nicola's remarks were really getting to her, she decided and quickly changed
the subject. "So did you enjoy the function
you attended last night?"
Treize shot her a searching look at the sudden change, but said nothing and began to tell her some anecdotes about the party Duke Demail had thrown.
Sally was only half-listening. She was feeling mildly disturbed about the feelings that had ran through her earlier and Treize's expression when he had said he would miss her. She recalled a conversation that they had had a few days earlier when she had come to his apartment and heard the end of a telephone conversation.
//Sally knocked sharply on the door of Treize's apartment and then pushed open the door. He turned and smiled tightly at her and she noticed that he was on the phone.
"No... no, Leia." He said and she could hear a note of frustration in his urban voice. "It just won't work... no... I'm sorry." She watched as he rubbed his temples and closed his eyes. "I can't give you what you want." He said firmly. "Farewell, Leia."
"Old girlfriend?" Sally asked bluntly once he had hung up the phone.
He looked at her blankly for a moment, as if he had almost forgotten she was there and then he sighed. "Yes... I made a mistake getting involved with her." He admitted. "Her family..."
"I thought you said family background wasn't so important to you." Sally said a little sharply.
Treize shook his head. "It's not that. It's the _ambition_ of her family that concerns me. Beside which... Leia and I... we weren't suited."
He wouldn't say anything more and she didn't press him. After all, it wasn't really any of her business.//
*But I was curious* Sally admitted to herself now as she leaned her chin on her hands and looked at Treize while he talked. *And that's disturbing... I shouldn't _care_ so much.* She wondered if she was falling under Treize's spell, just like so many other women. She looked at him. He was charming, intelligent and handsome... what was not to like? And to be perfectly candid, if she was going to get romantically involved with anyone then why not him? Sally tilted her head and narrowed her eyes, admiring the light in his blue eyes and the way the light made his hair look like...
"Sally?" Treize's voice broke into her musings and she straightened.
"Yes?" Sally blinked.
"You had the oddest look on your face." He said. "What were you thinking about."
"Your hair." Sally said promptly, making him raise an eyebrow. "Your hair just reminded me of milk chocolate... and now I really want some."
Treize said nothing but merely indicated to waitress. When she came over he smiled. "Could you bring us the dessert menu?" He asked. "The lady needs something sweet to eat, before she climbs over the table and starts chewing on my hair."
Sally's eyes widened. "_Treize_!" She said, slightly embarrassed as the startled waitress took off, and he smiled teasingly at her. She laughed and shook her head. "Okay... so maybe I deserved that!"
"Oh you did." He said. "Now... what were you really thinking?"
Sally didn't want to say. Not now, not yet. "Nothing special," she said. "But I did want to tell you that I won't be able to meet you for a while. My exam is in four days... and I really want to study without distractions."
"Heaven forbid that I become a distraction." Treize said. "I do understand, Sally... only..." He reached out and took her hand. "Let me know as soon as the exam is over."
Sally looked down at his hand covering hers. "Hmmm..." She said carelessly. "I guess I'll consider that."
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