title: regarding
fandom: Gundam Wing
characters/pairings: Noin, Treize, Leia Barton, mentions of Zechs
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Noin and Treize, set during Episode Zero.
notes: for yumari for this request on fic on demand.

She held herself perfectly upright, her shoulders back and her chin up, the model of a soldier. Still, still, she trembled at the doorway of her instructor. Until the 'training exercise' yesterday, she would have sworn up and down that the Instructor was just another spoiled aristocrat playacting at war. Until yesterday, she would have laughed at anyone who would have described him as 'self-sacrificing.'

What was maddening to her wasn't that he had exceeded expectations; she was strangely thrilled to find him a leader worth following. No, it was maddening to her that she'd been so wrong. She prided herself on being a good judge of character, so how did she misunderstand him so much? Was his performance on the field of battle the anomaly, or was she really that far off?

She squeezed her fists tighter at her sides. All this excessive introspection... wasn't it just a shield to cowardice? She came to the hospital for a reason; her instructor selflessly sacrificed himself to save her. She had to follow his example, had to be more selfless.

It was still hard, though. To herself, at least, she had to admit, her prejudice against him was pettier than classism. His voice was still as clear in her ears as if he was with her still. It was the night before she shipped out to the colony, and she'd been trying so hard to get him to pay attention to her, as almost always. He'd been working on an assignment, so she had no right to complain about his lack of interest. However, when she told him where she was going, his stylus paused, and he smiled minutely. Oh, is that so? I believe Treize will be there as well. ...Have fun with him. His voice had been so melodically amused, but it wasn't because of her, and since then, she'd been plagued trying to figure out what sort of relationship they had, and how Treize, spoiled brat aristocrat that he was, had managed to elicit a reaction from the Ice Prince.

Jealousy was, indeed, a very bitter thing to hold in one's mouth, and its taste was far more palatable when the object thereof was in every way contemptible. However, not only could she no longer look down her nose at her Instructor's dubiously indulgent refinery, but she had to reconsider her past motivations, and reassess her evaluation of herself in the face of Treize's nobility.

It was irksome.

The door opened, and Noin jumped back a step, blinking. A pretty, blonde nurse came out, and looked at her, surprised. "Oh! Are you here to see the patient?" She smiled, but Noin sensed that she was looking Noin over like a tiger appraising another predator. She stepped aside and held the door open.

Noin forced herself to smile and nod at the woman, and then she stepped in; there was no more putting this off.

Treize leaned back in bed a bit, relieved to once again be alone. Hospitals were beastly places that assaulted the dignity of their patients for sport, in his opinion. It was pleasant to be visited by one of his cadets, but at the same time, it had been taxing, maintaining an air of relaxation. It wouldn't have done to make her aware of the lingering pains and aches she might have mistakenly felt responsible for, after all.

She was a good soldier. A good person. Treize could see someone with her focus and determination playing an important role in the world that was coming. She had something that Treize respected and valued, after all. Her sense of honor was what brought her to him that day.

He closed his eyes, his lips curling uncontrollably. He'd almost laughed, really. Just as she was leaving, he stopped her, broaching the topic that he was sure she wanted to breach with him.

Ah, by the way, I believe you are acquainted with Merquise, are you not?

Her whole body had stiffened, and she looked at him, a mixture of disgust, fear, and defiance in her eyes. He liked that about her, liked that a lot.

I... I do know him, sir. We were in the Academy together.

Her tone of voice, her body language, and the things she choose not to say spoke volumes more than those few words. He couldn't help it, really. Partly, because it was about Merquise, and that man troubled Treize more than anyone else alive. He had to test her reactions.

He's an impeccable... soldier, isn't he?

He really did have to bite his lip to keep from laughing out loud. She looked like a feral cat ready to attack. It didn't surprise Treize, of course. It surprised Treize when he found someone of their class who wasn't in love with Merquise.

It surprised him even more when Merquise actually paid attention to the adoring fools around him. And therefore...

There was no way Treize couldn't pay attention to Noin.

He opened his eyes, and regarded the small little bear on the table next to him. It was a token, which probably cost her only a few credits in the gift shop in the lobby. A last minute thought, but at least she'd taken the time to think of it. Probably, she'd been much more concerned about what she was to say than anything else. She'd been so stiff and formal.

It was a cute bear, though.

The door opened again, and once again, Leia Barton in her nurse's costume came in, with a small tray of bandages and medicines. It couldn't have escaped his notice that she locked the door behind her, anymore than that the top button of her dress was now undone.

He raised an eyebrow, intrigued.

"You're alone again?" she purred, smiling. "Was that your girlfriend, then?"

It was a cloying and obvious trick, but seduction was often a clumsy art to average people. He didn't begrudge her the lack of subtlety under the circumstances. "Of course not. She's a cadet under my tutelage. It would be unseemly of me to consort between ranks like that. After all..." He grinned playfully. "There is no such thing as gender on the battlefield."

"Ah?" She laughed musically, and set the tray down, pushing the little bear aside. "Is that so? Well..." Her fingers ran down his arm, ghosting around where the IV catheter was inserted. "I'm glad this isn't a battlefield. Though, really, that could be taken more than one way, couldn't it?" she suggested in a husky, amused voice.

He smiled, and let her play her game.