Author's Note: Not as good as the first two, but it has its moments. Stick with me, the fourth part (Ordinary World) promises to be a doozy, but ya gotta read this one first!! Don't worry I won't let you down there are still lots of good parts in here!! And hey, if you read this whole story, starting with "Studying Duo" you might be able to pass it off as a summer reading requirement. After all, it's actually the size of a novel ^_~. This one's a definite R ( I think I've finally got the hang of writing lemons, well they're probably only limes. ~_^ I would describe this as containing *adult situations*)
LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD
By Midii Une
. . . after "Returning Favors"
Officer Sieben looked the girl over and he liked what he saw. A little pale and sad-looking but that could be overlooked. Strands of her wavy blonde hair fell charmingly about her face and she kept her extraordinary violet eyes fastened to the floor as she murmured a request to see Col. Treize. And her figure . . . He could only hope that Gen. Treize would order him to search her and make sure she wasn't carrying any concealed weapons. It wasn't a likely scenario, but there was always a first time.
He knocked on the office door and entered. "There is a young lady to see you, Gen. Treize," Sieben said.
Gen. Treize paused for thought. It had been so long he had started to believe he had failed, that she would never come to him. Could it be Linnea Lang?
"What does she look like?" he asked Sieben. The word "delectable" was on the tip of Sieben's tongue, he was as fond of pastry as he was of pretty girls, but he didn't dare say such a thing in front of His Excellency. "Young, very pretty," he substituted instantly.
Treize's eyes lit up, although many girls fit that description, he knew it had to be her. She had drawn out the game but he had finally won, he was sure of it. He knew that yet again one of his little birds had returned to its cage.
She stood by a window waiting, the same as the first time he had seen her.
Her eyes were different, no less beautiful, but they had lost their luster as if she had lost all the youthful, carefree joy that had personified her. Although it was to his advantage, Treize felt resentment that someone had taken that from her. He had been able to tell from her kiss that she had been deeply involved with someone. One of those Gundam pilots perhaps. The resentment however was not enough to stop him from taking advantage of her vulnerability to seal his victory and complete his conquest. You didn't win wars by doing things halfway. "
Someone hurt you?" he questioned softly, pulling her against him comfortingly and gently stroking her silky hair. "Don't let the actions of a foolish boy break your heart Linnea. To let you go anyone would have to be a fool. Believe me. Close the book and forget it ever happened."
He held her closer and without conviction she said, "This isn't why I came here."
But, she asked herself, if that was true why could she feel every beat of her heart like a heavy thud in her chest? Why did his hand on her hair make her feel like she had come home from some far away, awful place? Why did she feel that if he pushed her away now life just wouldn't be worth living? How did he know how much she needed someone to care about her right now, to hold her? "
I think it is," he said, tightening his grip on her to prevent her from pulling away. "Start your life all over again. Trust your decision to come here. Trust me that this is the best way to forget the pain."
She didn't resist when he tilted her face up to his and he kissed her over and over with increasing intensity and she closed her eyes when he slowly undid the buttons of her white silk blouse and pushed it away from her shoulders. Her body gave in to him and as for her mind, her mind was numb with pain and it didn't care what happened to her anymore but her body remembered passion. She clung to his promise that it would make her forget. And oh how she wanted to forget, to erase the look in Duo's eyes as he had told her that he had been wrong about her, never known the real her and wouldn't have liked her if he had. Told her that everything they had been to each other was a mistake. A huge, awful, painful mistake.
He had a strange impulse to push her down on the desk and make love to her right here and now in the office when her kisses and soft sighs signalled her surrender. But since he was a gentleman he lifted her in his arms and carried her into the bedroom which fortunately adjoined the office. Lovemaking should always take place in a bed, Treize thought, preferably a large one.
She lay in the gloomy half-light of dawn still dazed with sleep, the room she was in could have been any room, any place. It remained an unidentified location in the dim light that filtered through heavy velvet curtains. Last night could have been a dream, a strangely realistic, erotic dream. She could still be in the Cinq Kingdom, the arm draped possessively over her as she lay in a tangle of sheets could be Duo's.
Her eyes slowly adjusted to the light and she glanced at the man sleeping next to her. She shut her eyes quickly. It had not been a dream. She had really done those things. With him. And in doing so she had closed the door forever on Duo. She didn't even remember making a conscious decision. How had she ended up like this?
She sat up carefully and tucked the silk sheet around herself and rubbed her hand over her eyes trying to come fully awake. She thought about it. She could never go back now, not ever. Linnea hadn't thought her heart could ache any more than it had the last few days, but she had obviously been wrong. For a long time she sat there as the light in the room grew brighter, thinking about what she should do now, what direction her life should take. Finally she decided.
She had to start her life again, her life without Duo in it. Well, she would show him, show everyone that she could do it. She was young, she was smart and now she had connections in high places. Freedom for the colonies, peace for space. Her goals had not changed and she could work on those goals from right here in Luxembourg. And her first step would be completing Epyon for Col. Treize. He was right. He was always right. Their goals were not so far apart. And if it took a battle to make it happen so be it. She studied history, war was as old as humankind, who was she to try and stop it?
He looked at her as she sat there, the pale skin of her back as smooth as the silk sheet she was wrapped in, her long hair streaming down her back in soft waves. She was as still and motionless as a beautiful piece of sculpture. Treize reached out a hand and tugged softly on her hair and when she turned to him he could see that she had made a decision. That she was ready to agree to be his ally. Some of her confidence had returned, replacing the lost, broken look. He pulled her down so she lay against him again. "
Col. Treize," she said softly. "It's Gen. Treize now," he answered, as his hand traced an absent pattern on the soft bare skin of her back. But I think when we're alone together you can just call me Treize . . ." "
Treize," she tested the name and raised her head from his shoulder and leaned her chin on the hand that rested on his chest to look at him. The movement caused her hair to brush softly over his arm and shoulder. The whisper-light touch of it on his skin made him want her again.
Victory was a powerful aphrodisiac. She had come back and she would never, never leave. What a challenge she had been. He had transformed her from a frightened girl with a stubborn attachment to the rebellion forces to a woman who would do anything for him.
Yes, he had made the right decision, he thought. There were women that needed the act of passion to tie them to you. He had guessed correctly that Linnea was one of those. For others it was the promise of passion withheld, the occasional brief touch, a significant meeting of the eyes. A thought of Lady Une slipped through his mind and was gone again. This new relationship had nothing to do with what they shared, and if she knew about it she would understand and support him as she always did. Nothing Treize could ever do would change Lady Une's image of him. Then he focussed his undivided attention on Linnea again.
Linnea thought objectively to herself that this wasn't love. He did not love her and she did not love him. But as she had learned, love was overrated and what they were beginning to share was a more than tolerable substitute. And if she didn't love him, he couldn't hurt her.
Thanks for the fuel. I'm sorry, I don't think I'll ever be able to return the favor," Duo told Miss Noin as he prepared to leave the Cinq Kingdom. "
I wish you would stay here. Won't you please take some time and think about it," Noin said. "Miss Relena doesn't know it but the Cinq Kingdom is going to need the Gundams to defend it. Romefeller won't rest until absolute pacifism returns to the shelf as a textbook theory. And that means Miss Relena's in danger. The whole Cinq Kingdom is at risk. I know you're upset . . ." "
I don't want to talk about it. I just have to get out of here," Duo said. "My mission has always been to protect the colonies. Staying here on Earth was never part of the deal. There's no reason for me to be here." "
Like Linnea he couldn't stand to stay in the Cinq Kingdom a minute longer than he had to. He had dreamed she came back, dreamed she was sitting on the bed looking at him, her purple eyes shimmering with tears. But when he went to touch her she disappeared. DeathScythe especially reminded him of her. He opened the cockpit and saw her sitting there working on some gadget. Her smile was so sweet and her eyes full of trust. Trust he had destroyed. It was over between them, it could never be fixed. But that didn't stop the sharp edges from hurting, it didn't stop him from aching for her. "
If it makes you feel better I think we're all going to end up back on the same side eventually," Noin said, making a final attempt to get the Gundam pilot to stay. The Cinq Kingdom needed all the help it could get. A pilot like Duo Maxwell could make all the difference. "The Treize Faction, like us, is up against Romefeller. It's inevitable that our two sides will fight together in the future."
Fighting alongside Treize Khushrenada was not a sufficient temptation to keep Duo on Earth. In fact it was the last thing he ever wanted to do. All Noin could do was watch him leave. And as he headed for space Duo made a decision. He wasn't ready for love or the responsibility that went with it. To hell with love . . .
Vier," Treize said, calling his former lead engineer to attention. "This is Miss Linnea, she will be heading up the Epyon project as of now. Your job will be to see that she has everything she needs. She is in total command of the project. Do you understand?"
Vier looked in disbelief. This Miss Linnea was nothing but a schoolgirl. She was in command? He would follow her instructions? Gen. Treize could not be serious. He looked at him. He was indeed serious.
The girl brushed past him impatiently and went to inspect the construction that was taking place on Epyon. Her pretty face crumpled into a petulant frown and she tapped a finger to her lips thoughtfully. "
Your Excellency," she said. "I'm afraid not much of this can be salvaged. It will be best to wait until I restore the designs and start over. I'll do the best I can to save some of this, but . . ." She shrugged a little and tapped on the chunk of Gundanium alloy with the tip of her black riding boot. She hopped nimbly down off the arm joint of the mobile suit and without hesitation sat down at his computer terminal and started restoring the files that the virus had deleted. She did it without effort, the design seemed to be complete in her memory.
It really had been her, Vier thought, continuing to look at her in disbelief. This girl was the one who had designed Epyon. Hers was the design he could not recreate . . . it was his replacement design that she said could not be salvaged. Everything came to her so easily, things he had tried years to accomplish. She obviously had the General's favor. And now he would have to take orders from her. A mere girl.
She spoke again, this time there was a smile in her voice. "Gen. Treize, I hope the coffee here is better than what they tried to pass off at OZ headquarters?"
Vier was shocked at the casual way she addressed His Excellency. But Gen. Treize only seemed amused and only too happy to indulge her every wish. "
Of course it's better. Imported specifically for you from Vienna. I had them create a blend for you. Vier, go track down some coffee for Miss Linnea. I'll leave you awhile, I know how you get lost in your work." "
Mmmhmm," she said absently, barely hearing him, already absorbed in Epyon.
Quatre couldn't stop thinking about Linnea. He couldn't believe what a mistake he'd made in trusting Linnea's feelings and happiness to someone else. He had failed her and now she was lost, as lost as Trowa must have been in space. He had only wanted to do the right thing by keeping his love a secret from her, but she must have figured it out. And that had somehow turned her away from him. He wished he knew what had happened, but Duo wasn't talking and Linnea was nowhere to be found.
He had pledged to protect the Cinq Kingdom, he believed totally in Miss Relena's dream of absolute pacifism. There was no reason for people to fight. But when his commitment was over he would find Linnea, someday. And this time he wouldn't stay in the background of her life. Duo had apparently given up on her, this time he would be free to try and convince her to love him back. Maybe he should have told her how he really felt, but it was too late now. But, it didn't matter what she did, she would always be Linnea, the girl who had literally dropped from the sky and into his life, the girl he would always love.
Hilde leaned her chin on her hand and looked out the window of her apartment. It was still hard for her to believe she might never see Duo Maxwell again. He hadn't said it in so many words, but she knew he had gone to be with that mysterious girlfriend of his. She sighed and wondered if that nameless girl, that he had actually only mentioned that once, knew how lucky she was, if she could really appreciate how wonderful Duo was. "If only I had met him first," Hilde thought to herself. He had obviously liked her and found her attractive, if only he weren't attached to someone else.
Her heart skipped a beat as she saw a boy on the corner in a black jacket. For a moment it looked like he could almost be Duo. But of course he wasn't. She thought back to the moment they had almost kissed, remembered how her lips had tingled in anticipation of a kiss from him. Hilde touched her fingers to her cheek on the place his lips had actually landed. Well, a kiss on the cheek was better than nothing.
Maybe someday she'd see him again. Stranger things had already happened. And this was a war, things were certain to change. She herself had already changed so much. No, she wouldn't give up on him. She had a feeling it just couldn't be over between them.
TO BE CONTINUED . . . Next time on Love is a Battlefield . . . Hilde and Duo are reunited . . . Linnea tests Epyon and sees her true enemy . . .