by Orla
Part Three

Warnings: None... yet.
Pairings: 13+SP, 5+SP??

Authors note: Treize's meeting with Leia Barton is shown in Heero's Episode Zero story. There's not much to indicate what sort of person Leia was, so I've made it up to fit in with this fic and my Leia Barton shouldn't be taken as canon! ^^

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

#...# indicate song lyrics
Excerpts of 'Farewell Love' are copyright to Clannad
(the song is from their 'Lore' CD)

AC 198: December 30

"Une's calling a halt to the investigation." Sally announced as she walked into the office that she and Wufei shared.

He looked up, a slight creased between his brows the only evidence of his puzzlement. "For what reason?"

Sally flopped down in a chair opposite him. "Because so far all of our possible leads have turned into dead ends. And Une thinks that now we can put the arson down to an isolated incident. She'll get some people to keep an eye on places, but otherwise..."

"We're off the case." Wufei grimaced slightly. He then looked sharply at his partner. "And you agreed with her?"

Sally stared out of the window with her arms folded. It was a fine day and the ground gleamed whitely under a thin blanket of snow which made everything look so clean. She drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly.

"I do... to some extent." She admitted. "Nothing else has happened and I would have thought that someone who really had a grudge against Dekim, Dermail or... Treize... would have made another move by now."

"Maybe." Wufei said grudgingly and Sally smiled. He hated to let go of something. She looked over at him. "Don't be so down 'Fei, at least this gives us a chance to enjoy New Year's Eve!"

He snorted. "Some compensation! Christmas Day was bad enough... spending it with that horde... including Maxwell. What the hell was in that egg-nog of his?"

Sally chuckled. "I have no idea, but it certainly made you... er... loosen up!"

Wufei shot her a suspicious look. "You swore that I didn't do anything strange."

"Well, you didn't..." Sally's eyes sparkled. "Nothing _that_ strange anyway."

He glared at her. "Fine. As soon as I've handed in this report to Une, we're going to the cafe and I'll buy the coffees while you tell me _exactly_ what happened this time!" He stomped out of the room, waving his report and muttering under his breath.

Sally grinned. Wufei would be a little annoyed, and maybe a bit embarrassed, when she told him that the only "strange" thing he had down was to compliment her highly and tell her how much he cared about her while he was drunk.

She sighed and idly fiddled with the controls of the radio on Wufei's desk. Classical Chinese music blared out for a moment before Sally made a face and changed the station.

"It's a poor deal when I have to get him drunk before he says something complimentary..." She muttered as some celtic music washed over her. She didn't really mind though, she understood Wufei well enough to know that, drunk or sober, his words were never empty. And that knowledge alone made her feel warm.

"Complete opposite to Treize..." She murmured, staring at the ceiling. "That man was as smooth as glass."

#Secrets I left behind for a while now#

Sally frowned slightly as she caught the words of the song coming from the radio. The smooth, delicate music tugging at her feelings and memories.

#Change the pictures...
Change the pages...
It matters little how I knew you...#

Why was it that every second thing she saw or heard was reminding her of Treize these days? And worse, making her... someone who saw angst as a waste of time... feel regret?

#Voices of memory, I hear you.
A book of stories told... stories old
Dreams of good times...
Dreams of sad times...
And foolish moments we will long share.#

Sally sat up and pinched the bridge of her nose, stopping the tears that prickled her eyelids. Really, it was stupid to be acting so sentimental.

*Maybe it's because I banished everything so quickly,* She mused. *I never really did analyse my feelings in the end.*

#Twilight is creeping on the hillsides
The candle's burning bright... burning bright
Silent feelings
Silent my eyes
I wonder how much will always stay#

She leaned over and sharply shut off the radio. It was a good thing that Une had pulled them off the investigation she decided. *I was getting too moody for my own good.* Sally's eyes brightened as she heard Wufei's steps approaching the door. And what better way to banish moodiness than to tease your excitable partner?


AC 191

"Well?" Nicola virtually leapt on Sally as the other girl walked out of the examination room.

Sally gave Nicola a huge grin and flashed her the thumbs up.

"It went VERY well." She said. "I _know_ I passed that... possibly even well enough to get near one hundred percent!"

"I wish I had your confidence." Nicola sighed. She nudged Sally in the ribs and handed over Sally's mobile phone. "Here... so... are you going to contact you-know-who now?"

Sally shot her friend a dirty look. "I wish you'd stop trying to make my friendship with Treize Khushrenada to be more than it is." Sally looked at the phone. "But in answer to your question, yes... I will. But not by phone."

"Oh yes... I forgot that you've been to his apartment." Nicola sighed. "And you selfishly refuse to tell me anything about it!"

"That's because there's nothing to tell."


Sally shook her head as she walked away from Nicola. Truth to tell, she had missed her meetings with Treize over the past four days, but she was damned if she was going to let the other girls know.

Treize was in his apartment when Sally knocked on the door and he smiled when he saw her.

"I take it you did well." He said, ushering her inside. "If I'm to judge by that sparkle in your eyes."

"Well, it's too early to be sure." Sally said. "The results won't be up for another four days, but... yes, I think I did pretty well." She sat down on the deep blue couch and smiled up at him.

"Glad to hear it." Treize murmured. "Coffee?"

"What? No champagne?" Sally asked, eyes wide.

Treize chuckled. "Oddly enough I don't have any to hand. Besides, the champagne should wait until we get your results.

"Ah well, it that case some good coffee is a perfectly acceptable substitute." Sally said and Treize bowed.

"I'm so glad that the lady is happy." He went into the kitchen and Sally leaned back on the couch. Treize's apartment was the epitome of style. Elegantly and tasteful furnished, the place spoke of money and power without resorting to gaudiness. Sally admitted that Treize's place made her feel alot more comfortable than she expected, in fact she was almost too comfortable...

The vid-phone shrilled loudly and Sally jumped. She twisted around and looked at it. ringing on Treize's desk.

"Sally? Can you answer that?" Treize called from the kitchen.

"Well..." Sally hesitated briefly and then shrugged. All she had to do was tell whoever it was that Treize was busy and take a message. She got up and activated the phone.

"Treize! I... who are YOU?" The pretty blond woman on the screen stared at Sally in surprise.

Sally looked calmly back. "I'm sorry, but Treize isn't available right now, can I..."

"So it's _you_! You're the one!" The woman's face flushed with anger. "It's your fault that he's not listening to me!"

"Ah... you would be Leia I take it." Sally half-turned to call for Treize, but found him already beside her. "Good, I think you should take this." She said firmly and made to retreat, but Treize's hand clamped down tightly on her wrist, making escape impossible. He looked at Leia's face on the screen, his brows drawing together.

"Treize!" She cried. "How could you? How could you take up with... that?"

Sally blinked.

"Leia, I thought I explained things last time." He said coolly. "Two years ago we parted most amicably, agreeing that we didn't suit, and now... suddenly you want to resume our relationship. I have told you that it would be a bad idea and there is no need for these hysterics. And..." He added
grimly. "I won't permit you slur this lady."

Sally, busy trying to release herself from Treize's grip, paused and stared at him.

"But..." Leia's eyes were wide. "But..."

Treize sighed slightly. "Let it go Leia, I will not become a pawn for your family." He shut off the connection before Leia could say other word.

Sally thunped Treize in the chest, rocking him back and causing him to stare at her. "Sally..."

"Don't do that to me again!" She snapped. "Deal with your romantic messes without me next time!"

"Sally..." Treize released her wrist and placed his hands on her shoulders, forcing her to look at him. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you feel uncomfortable, but I thought it was best to have you beside me then."

"You've given her the wrong idea, you know." Sally said. "Now she's going to think I'm your new girlfriend."

"Would that be so bad?" Treize asked softly, his royal blue looking intently at her face. "I would be lying if I denied that I wanted more from you than just friendship, Sally."

Sally said nothing, she wasn't sure if she really trusted herself to speak. She was still angry, but at the same time she was uncomfortably aware that her brain and body were not cooperating right now. Treize pulled her closer, a slight smile on his face as he grazed his lips along her cheek, moving
towards her mouth.

"Why did you break up with Leia?" Sally asked suddenly, halting his progress.

Treize pulled back. "Is it that important?"

"Yes." Sally said bluntly, looking directly into his eyes. "It's very important."

Treize drew in a deep breath and let it out. He released Sally and paced away from her, before pausing and seating himself on the couch. "Very well then..." He indicated that she should sit beside him and waited until Sally was seated comfortable before he continued.

"I met Leia when I was injured defending a new colony from some terrorist activity in AC188. She was a nurse at the workers hospital and took care of me." Treize smiled slightly. "I suppose the only excuse I can give for getting involved with her was that I was young and she was very pretty, very charming."

"And when you recovered you realised that that wasn't enough?" Sally asked.

Treize's lips twisted ruefully. "Not so quickly." He admitted. "I lingered near her for a while after I recovered. However, I gradually became aware that there were too many differences between us... as Leia seemed to be aware of the same thing. So we decided to part."

Sally frowned. "But... then why is she trying to get you back? You mentioned something about her family, but I don't quite..."

"Leia's father is Dekim Barton." Treize explained. He watched Sally's face as she struggled to remember the name. "He's very big on the colonies... and very ambitious. It would be to his
advantage to tie me to his daughter and use my family to advance himself."

Sally looked at her hands. "I can't fault your decision on those grounds." She said eventually. "And I'm glad you agreed to tell me why you broke up with Leia, Treize." She bowed her head, her loose hair falling forward to hide her face. "I've seen what happens when two people ignore the warning signs that their relationship won't work..."

Treize's hands brushed back Sally's hair and he caressed her cheek, tugging at her chin to get her to look at him. "Care to tell me?" He asked softly.

Sally smiled and gently removed his hands from her face. Her expression was slightly sad as she shook her head. "Not yet."


AC 199 - January 1st

Sally opened her eyes and instantly regretted it. "Ow..." She moaned softly, lifting one hand to her pounding head. "Okay... drinking that many cocktails and all those glasses of champagne was a BIG mistake." She mumbled.

After a few minutes of lying in bed and wishing to die, Sally attempted to open her eyes again. The light stabbed her head, but it was a bit more bearable and she decided to attempt the hazardous task of actually sitting up.

The next thing Sally knew, she was lying on the floor, looking at her floorboards and her head was whirling. "Okay... that was nasty..."

There was a groan from the next room and Sally blinked. There wasn't an echo in her apartment, was there? She reached up and fumbled for the edge of her bed, pulling herself upright and sternly telling her rebellious head and stomach to behave. There was a glass of water on her bedside table and she gulped all of the lukewarm water down in a effort to ease her dry throat.

There was another groan from the next room, this time Sally could make out some muttered Chinese swearwords. She grinned slightly. Now she remembered... Wufei had imbibed about as much alcohol as she had during last nights New Year's party. He was so drunk that she hadn't been sure if he was capable of getting back to his apartment safely, so Sally had shoved him on her couch for the night.

She managed to get up and stumbled to the living room. Wufei was huddled under a mound blankets and curses were emitting from the mound. Sally smirked despite her own aching head and went to the kitchen. She knew a few good remedies for hangovers and now seemed like a good time to put them together.

Wufei snarled at her when she pulled the blankets back. "Leave me alone, woman!"

"Oh shut up, Wufei and drink this." Sally snarled back and thrust a glass under his nose.

"What is this junk?" He asked, wrinkling his nose.

"Tomato juice, some spices and a bit of sauerkraut juice." She said as he suspiciously sipped it.

Wufei spluttered. "What?"

"It replaces lost nutrients." Sally explained, sipping her own glass of the mixture. "And when you've drunk that, eat this..." She thrust a persimmon at him. "It'll relieve your headache."

Wufei looked a little disbelieving, but he drank the mixture and started to nibble on the persimmon. Sally WAS medically trained after all... He did, however, stare disbelievingly at her when she ran her fingers through her hair and pulled it in clumps.

"It stimulates the scalp." Sally explained. "And helps relieve headaches too. I can show you..." She reached out, but Wufei back away.

"I'll stick with the persimmon." He said stiffly and Sally shrugged.

"Suit yourself."

There was a loud rap at the door and they both winced in perfect synchronization. Sally got up and opened the door.

"Yes...?" She frowned. There was no one there... only a long package at her feet. After glancing down the corridor, Sally crouched down and examined the package.

Whatever it was, it had been roughly wrapped in brown paper and was tied with rough string. Sally gingerly picked it up and ran her fingers along the length. It was unlikely that anyone would be trying to blow her up, but still...

"What is it?" Wufei asked from behind her and Sally shook her head.

"I have no idea." She said bringing the package inside. "I didn't see anyone." She got some scissors and some latex gloves, slipping them on before snipping the string carefully. She unwrapped the paper and then leaned back, staring at the contents of the package in consternation.

"Why," said Wufei, looking at puzzled as she. "Would anyone send you an old Alliance rifle... and some paint pellets?"


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