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for NemKess's challenge - Not a rock, I'm just Ruth
All Me, no apologies
just_ruth
just_ruth
for NemKess's challenge
Sending this here first before I hit the ML's.


Title: Tea Party
Author: Ruth
Series: Gundam Wing
Disclaimers: Gundam Wing and its characters are owned by the corporation Sotsu/Sunrise, Bandai and others and are being used for entertainment purposes only. You honestly think anyone would pay me for this?
Rating: G
Pairing: Mrs. Darlian + Pagan
Warnings: AU, in the Nemesis Universe
Archive: The Gundanium Line, Lady Wing, NemKess, others please ask
Feedback: please
Summary: She is interim ruler of ESUN, but to her mother. . .
Symbols: / = italics
Thanks: to Anne for a quick beta
Dedicated to NemKess
************

There were two meetings I needed to chair. Duo was nearing panic as the time for his son's birth approached. I did /not/ need to be at an afternoon tea with my old classmate.

But when Mother looked at me that way, how could I say no? Especially since I'd only seen her briefly since the end of the War. I delegated the meetings,; delegated Duo into Lady Une's keeping, and Dorothy came with me to the house. I remembered it as larger. It was small compared to the palace in Brussels where the Interim Council was fumbling it's way to an election. It was far too large for just Mother and Pagan.

"It's ridiculous," I said to Dorothy as I gave a final tweak to my hair before I went out into the gardens. I looked at the white lace gloves that Mother had given me and left them on the vanity.

"Well, the style is a bit too young for you," she smirked.

"I am /not/ talking about the dress." It /was/ too young for me, and flouncy and PINK. A sort of neon strawberry ice shade that washed out all the color from my face, but Mother said she had bought it especially for me.

"I am the Interim President of ESUN and Appointed Chair of the Constitutional Convention!" I tugged at the horrid sailor collar. "I am not ten years old. Dorothy, unzip me." I would go out in my grey pants suit and be damned to Mother. I changed my white tailored blouse for a blue silk shell. I looked older than sixteen, which is what I wanted.

Mother was at the filigreed iron table by the peony arbor. Pagan had trundled out the silver cart with the good tea pot and gold-rimmed porcelain cups and enough cakes and sandwiches to feed a dozen people. She gave me /that/ look when I came out. I tried not to care. She had mentioned inviting an old classmate to tea and I almost choked when I saw whom she had invited.

Algernon.

At Saint Gabriel's, he had fancied himself my "knight in shining armor." He was Captain of the Fencing Team;, all my little "fan club" had told me that the girls swooned over him and that he and I would be the perfect couple. I suppose I went along with it until he had the sheer stupidity to challenge Heero Yuy to a duel over my birthday party invitation. Heero broke his sword and drove the stump into Algernon's mask.

Algernon wet his pants. I couldn't quite work up any enthusiasm for his company after that.

He was wearing just the right black suit that must have been very hot in the sunlight. His blond hair was slicked back just so, and he had just the right tan. His hand was smooth and the nails looked buffed. "Relena, I'm delighted!" He kissed my hand. I put on my "press conference" smile.

"It's a lovely tea your mother has laid out," he said. "Much better than leftovers, eh?"

I dropped the smile. "I beg your pardon?"

"Oh, er, " he floundered. "Bit of a joke."

"Really." I knew what he was talking about. It had been released less than a week ago and when I find out who gave it to the press I might do something straight out of "the Mikado" to the person responsible.

It seems that the practice on the L 2 colony DNA bank had been to take what samples were close to expiration date and, if the donors no longer wanted them or were dead, they would randomly combine the samples into "creche babies." These "leftovers" would then be fostered out into the community. Some intrepid bastard had found out that Duo had tracked his DNA to the "creche babies" and The Colonial Sun printed the story. "WE MADE A GUNDAM PILOT!"

I was glad that Duo was at the hospital.

Conversation was a bit stilted. He'd been "out of touch" during the War. Meaning that he had been hiding somewhere. He was currently in training for the Olympic Fencing team. I didn't remember him being so . . . unremarkable before. My taste in men had changed.

"Doing the small sword, very dangerous," he boasted. "I hear you dabble in the sport yourself?"

This was to Dorothy. Dorothy gave him a smile that usually sent anyone with common sense running for sanctuary.

"Yes," she purred. "I . . . dabble." She was in her usual modified Sanc uniform - tight white pants reminiscent of the OZ uniform with the tail coat and ruffled shirt. She was also wearing her rapier, despite Mother's complaints. I had doubted there would be occasion for her to kill something in Mother's garden, but I was starting to change my mind. "Perhaps you'd care to show me some of your . . . technique?"

"Oh, I couldn't," Algernon took another finger sandwich off the plate. "I wouldn't want a pretty little thing like you to get hurt." Dorothy's smile froze. By rights, Algernon should have crumbled into a pile of ashes from the fire that shot out of her eyes.

I spluttered in my tea. "Excuse me," I coughed, made as if to wipe my face, but then bit the napkin to keep from screaming with laughter. I leaned over and whispered in her ear. "Don't leave any permanent scars."

"Then it's not going to be any fun at all," she whispered back. "I am far less fragile than I look," she announced. She whipped out her rapier and cut the tea sandwich in half before Algernon could take a bite. He sat with his mouth open. "I challenge you, sirrah!"

"That is enough!" Mother cried. "I will not tolerate this in my house! I insist you leave, young lady."

"As you wish," Dorothy saluted her with the rapier and swaggered from the garden. I coughed into my napkin again.

Poor Algernon was shaking. Mother offered a shot of brandy to steady his nerves. She gave me a dark look and I controlled myself.

After some dancing about, Algernon got to the point. He had reintroduced himself to Mother in the hopes of meeting me and getting a position on one of the ESUN committees, not because he was qualified for anything but because we were "old friends." I made no promises, but offered to examine his resume. We finished the tea and returned to the house. He said his goodbyes and offered to see me again.

I made no promises.

Mother looked sad and worried after he left. "I had hoped you would hit it off better," she said.

"Mother, I'm afraid I've changed since we were at Saint Gabriel's," I said.

"I know," she reached out and touched my cheek. "I just hoped. I want you to be happy, Relena." She walked over to a side table and looked at a picture of my father.

I gave a sigh. "I have too many responsibilities, Mother." I found myself looking at the picture too. It was one of him smiling. I remember that he didn't smile very often.

"That's what he used to say." She suddenly turned and hugged me. "Oh, Relena, you have to make time to be happy before it's too late."

I hugged her back and promised I would. Pagan was hovering and when she finished hugging me, she turned and hugged him. I goggled. "Mother. . .?" I squeaked.

"I've been trying to find a way to tell you," she said.

"Miss Relena," Pagan cleared his throat. "I want you to know I have every intention of caring for your Mother as best I can."

"Oh. . . oh, I'm sure," I stammered. I felt like an idiot. I felt embarrassed. I suppose it was only natural. They were both alone, they had known each other for years. Mother had grieved Father truly, but she'd begun to try and make herself happy. I got my feet under me. "I think it's just wonderful. Mother, I want you to be happy, and I know Father would have wanted you to be happy."

"I know, dear," she took my hand, "but I want you to be happy too."

I didn't know what to say, but was interrupted as Dorothy came racing to the door. "Lady Une is on the phone! It's time!"

"Time?" Mother looked puzzled.

"Time," I repeated. "Oh! Time! It's time for Jude to be born. Duo Maxwell's son." I turned and grabbed her hand. "Mother, come with me to the hospital. It's going to be exciting."

"I'll be glad to, let me get a sweater," she laughed.

Pagan gave Dorothy a firm look. "I'm driving," he said.


-fin-

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3 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
ginalin From: ginalin Date: April 23rd, 2004 07:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, darn, Ruth, I wanted Dorothy to run the poncey bugger through!

You see Relena the way I do, a tough cookie who's very devoted to her friends.

Nicely done.
cindyg From: cindyg Date: April 24th, 2004 04:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Cool story! I think I've got to go see the others in this universe. I agree with Relena's opinion of Algernon -- anyone who could mortally offend Dorothy isn't exactly the smartest cookie in the worlds.

PS. You were lucky to unsub from the FAKE ML when you did. Oh, such eruptions as I have had the pleasure to delete over the past few days! But fortunately things have settled down, and maybe common sense will prevail after all.

^____^
kedriaa From: kedriaa Date: April 24th, 2004 08:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent! The setting, the characterisation, the conversation, everything. And I especially loved the way Dorothy handled that arrogant, little ponce! Would love to see her terrorise him even more if he tries to be funny again!

It's nice to see others people finding companionship and happiness apart from the pilots. Didn't expect that pairing but it does make sense.

Pagan gave Dorothy a firm look. "I'm driving," he said.
Teeeheeheee!
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