Author: Enchantress101
see part 1 for warnings, disclaimer

Shades of Obsession + Chapter 22
Lies & Truth


A splash of fiery red raced up Zechs' neck in a way that I'd never seen before and spread into his face as Noin's lips met his. He stood there, stunned with his hands at his side and his eyes wide open in obvious surprise, and later I wondered if it was from the fact that she was kissing him, or that she was here in the first place. It was only later, though, because I wasn't really able to think much of anything as I watched this happening.

Okay, so it was only for a second, it was a peck, really, but to me, the kiss lasted an eternity.

Could Noin be . . . was Noin the one? The one who wrote that letter, the one that Relena was incessantly bugging Zechs about? My head whipped around to stare at Zechs' sister. Yep, she was wearing a smug and pleased smile on her face as she watched on.

It ended when Zechs took a careful step back, separating his lips from hers. I could finally breathe. He looked a bit like a deer caught in headlights as he stared at the smiling women. "Ah, Lucrezia and Sally. It's been . . . a year? What a surprise."

"A pleasant one, I hope?" Relena urged, eyes bright and anxious.

" . . . of course." Zechs took some time to rub at his face, as if trying to determine whether or not this was all a figment of his imagination. No, Zechs, it was real, damn it. All real. "Come in, sit down . . ."

This brought all of their attention to me, since just about every surface in the living room for sitting was covered in some sort of bag. They stared at me--I stared back. "Uh . . . hello."

Relena looked hesitantly up at her brother. "Duo! I didn't even notice you there."

"Er, yeah," was all I could say.

Zechs stepped forward and quickly began moving bags away from the couch. "Didn't I tell you that Duo is staying with me now? He had some . . . issues with his apartment and needed a place to stay."

"That's nice of you to offer, Zechs," Noin said as she sat on an empty space on the couch. Relena sat closely next to her, and I could see her sneaking peeks into one of the bags. Sally balanced on the arm of the couch and also looked at the purchases with questions in her eyes.

Zechs brought a stool from the kitchen and sat on it. "You . . . look well," he said to Noin.

Noin smiled and thanked him.

I stared at the woman, unable to remember the last time that I'd seen her so feminine. Usually, military getups weren't flattering to the female figure, but now she was dressed in a knee length skirt and some sort of sweater top with sparkly sequins or something plastered all over it. In fact, she looked like she'd let Relena dress her or something.

"Oh, Relena lent me these clothes to wear," she clarified as she tugged at the sweater. "There was a problem with my luggage at the space port. Apparently, it's on vacation in Mexico right now, but I should have it back in a few days."

I relaxed a bit at that. Okay, so maybe she wasn't out to flatter my boyfriend with sexy outfits. Yeah. That's right.

"Don't worry, Lu," Relena said easily, "we'll go shopping later and get you some really nice things."

The other woman winced at that. I barely resisted my urge to snicker.

"Speaking of shopping . . ." Relena began, looking around.

Oh, good one. Nosy witch.

"What's all this?" Relena directed this to Zechs, not me.

"Someone decided that it would be a wonderful idea to torch my apartment for a Christmas gift," I said bluntly. I got to my feet and began picking up some bags one by one. "So I took the money I got from my insurance and went out and had some fun. I'll leave you all to your reunion."

I dragged the stuff I'd selected down the hall and into the bedroom, but not before I sent Zechs a we-need-to-talk look.

It took all of my willpower not to put my ear near the vent or the door crack to eavesdrop. Instead, I turned on the television and began pulling the price tags off of my new clothes and laying them out on the bed to admire them while ripping a butt load of CDs onto my computer. It was a pretty good distraction--the next time I looked up, an hour had passed, and I'd barely thought about what was going on in the other room.

My stomach began to rumble, and it occurred to me that I'd forgotten all about the pizza. Okay, well . . . I was the master of stealth, I'd just sneak by them and into the kitchen. They'd never see me.

I tiptoed out into the hallway and past the group as they continued to converse with each other amicably. I spared a glare for Miss Noin and headed into the kitchen.

You can imagine my surprise (and anger) to find the two boxes of pizza sitting on the counter, completely empty. The pigs, I swear--

"Duo?" Zechs called softly from the living room.

Great. They were all looking at me now. "I, uh . . ."

He winced. "I'm sorry. We ate all of the--"

"Hey, don't worry about it. I'll just make a sandwich or something."

Noin laughed. My right eye began twitching. What exactly was so funny? Because I wasn't seeing how all of the pizza being gone was funny.

"You should've been here. Relena ate most of it. You'll have to excuse her, she's a bit of a hog when she's hungry." Noin poked Relena in the ribs.

"I am not!" came Relena's indignant response.

Sally smiled behind her hand. "Oh yes you are."

The girls began chattering and bickering in a friendly manner amongst themselves, and I just had to gag. Did I care that Relena ate enough to feed all of the starving kids in Africa? No. I rolled my eyes and turned to the fridge where I began making faces at its contents.

"Hey."

I whipped around and almost dropped the head of lettuce that was in my hand. Zechs was standing behind me, giving me a worried look.

"What?"

"I . . . about that . . . what you saw was--"

Wow, Zechs at a loss for words? I guess having your ex randomly showing up and kissing you could do that to a person.

"Umm hmm." I wanted desperately to say more, to ask some questions, but I was vaguely aware of Noin watching us out of the corner of her eye as they continued to talk. Now was not the time. "Later, okay?"

"It's not what you think--"

"It better not be," I mumbled under my breath. "I do trust you, okay? I don't think that you're the type to two-time someone."

"I'm not."

"Okay then."

With the island blocking the girls' view, he rubbed my lower back gently. "I'll get them to leave soon, and then we can talk."

"Umm hmm."

He rejoined the group, and I quickly finished up what I was doing and went back into the bedroom after swiping up a few more bags.

I flopped down onto the bed and began munching on my food. This was just . . . argh. And I wasn't only talking about the dry and crusty sandwich in my hand, okay? How I longed for that greasy, cheesy, yummy mess, but more for my boyfriend to be sharing it with me and not in the living room with his ex-girlfriend . . . I snatched up the phone and dialed Quatre's number.

"Hello?"

"Will you listen to me while I bitch for a second?"

"Of course. What else are best friends for?"

"Good, because you will never guess what just happened."

"Umm . . . there must be pigs flying now."

I snickered. "Probably, but I haven't checked. Relena, Sally and Noin just showed up."

"Just out of the blue? That's random."

Out of the blue? Random? I was thinking that it wasn't. "Noin, you know . . . you remember how she was about Zechs, right?"

I waited for a few seconds.

"Oh hell." Quatre sighed heavily. "What happened?"

"She kissed him."

"What!"

"It was for like, a second, and there was no tongue or anything involved. But she felt comfortable enough to do it in the first place, with people around, and that makes me wonder . . ." I nibbled a bit more on the sandwich as I flipped over onto my back.

"What has Zechs said about it?"

"Not much, because they're in the living room having a nice and friendly reunion, but he did have the chance to tell me that it's not what I think. Whatever."

I heard Quatre shuffle around a bit. "I hope that nothing's going on."

"Me too." Just then, to my utter delight, Zechs came into the room and shut the door behind him. It was time for The Talk. "Look, I gotta go. I'll call you back later."

"Okay. Take it easy."

I hung up and then turned to face Zechs. "So what's going on? You and Noin were an item?"

"Yes, Noin and I were dating. We broke up some time in January of the past year."

"Why didn't you tell me?" I demanded. "I mean, you know about Heero. Shouldn't I have known about Noin?"

He sat down on the bed next to me. "I didn't think that it would matter. Heero is around all of the time, but I never thought that she would show up here."

"Well, she's here now, damn it. What does she want? Does she want to get back with you? Was she the one sending you those letters? Is she the one that Relena's trying to set you up with? Is--"

"Hold on!" Zechs smiled at me. "Down, Duo, down."

I blushed and punched him a bit roughly on the shoulder. "Shut up. I'm just worried, alright? I don't want some woman trying to move in on my territory, ya know."

"Don't spend another second thinking about it. Even if that is the reason why she's here, I'm not taking her back."

Damn straight. Better not. "That's good."

"And to answer your question, yes, she sent me those letters, and yes, Relena has been--"

I growled and glared up at him. "Why?"

"She thought that Lu and I were the perfect couple. And Lu is like a big sister to her. They're very close, and she was very upset when we split up."

Would it be too much to ask him not to call her Lu (yuck)to my face? Probably, so I decided not to say anything about it. "And why did you two call it quits?"

"Well . . ."

Oh, what was this? His eyes began wondering around the room, causing my radar to tell me that there was a good story here. I practically hopped into his lap and began pulling on his shoulders. "Oh, tell me, tell me, tell me! What happened!"

He laughed a bit. "I'm afraid that you won't think very highly of me after you hear it."

"Unless you knowingly murdered a child, raped an animal or ate another human being, I don't think I'll be that upset."

The weird look that crossed his face made me laugh into his shoulder. "Okay . . . I'll tell you what happened." Zechs cleared his throat. "Some time ago, Relena was traveling around the world, making speeches and attending peace conferences, but there was a man who we suspected was following her."

"Jeeze, why would anyone want to do that?" I muttered without thinking. Zechs gave me a warning look. Oops, okay, okay.

"Anyway, Noin was second in command under me, and I was unavailable at the time, so when she saw the man in the crowd at one of Relena's welcoming parties, she decided to go ahead and make her move. The place was pretty crowded, and she didn't want to make a scene. The man was pretty drunk, so she invited him upstairs . . ."

I laughed. "And he went?"

"Yes, he did. Now remember, I didn't know anything about what was going on, and when I asked around for Noin, no one could find her. But as Relena's agents, we were supposed to wear a tracking device at all times. So I found her in the bedroom with the man, who hand his hand on her . . . well, needless to say, I was not please with what I found."

I nearly fell off the bed as I began to laugh even harder. "Oh, please continue! This is great."

"I just turned around and left, so I didn't see when she handcuffed him to the bed post--"

I began snickering.

"Not like that. I didn't see her handcuffing him and calling for backup. I thought that she'd been cheating on me."

"You poor thing."

He smiled a bit. "Not really. I . . . I'd realized some time before then that I wasn't . . . well, I didn't want to be with a woman, and really, I saw this as a perfect excuse to break up with her. So I jumped at the chance and told her that it was over."

My Zechs had done what! Too funny! "Zechs, you coward!" I cried, slapping him on the back of the head. "You couldn't just go up to her and tell her the truth?"

"And step all over her heart? No. Of course, I heard about what had really happened later, but by then I'd already broken up with her . . ." He gave me a serious look. "Noin was really in love with me, okay? She would've been devastated to know that I wanted to break up with her because she didn't have the right parts. I had to have a better reason than that."

"Ah. I see."

"Do you think I'm . . .?"

"Pathetic? A little bit."

"If there's one thing I have difficulty with," he said to me honestly, burying his face in my hair, "it is letting down people who really care about me."

"Oh, that's nice to know." And it was. "But if you ever decide to call it quits with me, Daddy, please have the guts to tell me the real reason why. I'm a big boy, I can take it."

His blue eyes began to shine dangerously as he pulled me closer to him. The feel of his warm body pressed against mine made me dizzy, so I dropped my head down into the curve of his neck with a soft sigh. His hands went underneath my shirt, but my back and down again, teasing with the waist of my jeans before running up the front of my chest.

"I don't think I'll ever call it quits with you, to be honest." Zechs' voice was husky and low.

Oh, god, those hands . . .

Those hands . . .

As he lowered me down onto the bed and shoved all of the stuff I'd bought out of the way, I couldn't help but wonder whether or not Noin had loved the feeling of those hands as much as I did.

+

Okay, so I was officially thinking that there was some kind of conspiracy in the works here, involving Sally, Relena and Noin. I stared at the three women as they entered the office the next working day with Preventers shirts on and everything, walking closely behind Une as she gave them the grand tour of the area.

What. The. Hell.

I snapped my mouth shut as they came my way. The last thing I wanted now was to talk to them, so I 'accidentally' knocked over some pens and ducked under my desk to retrieve them as they passed by, all laughs and giggles.

Once their voices were gone, I came out and glared at their retreating backs. I needed to figure out what was going on here--

"Can I interest you in some lunch?" asked a deep voice from behind me.

I whirled around and jumped up. There was Zechs, giving me a sexy and devilish smile. Ahh, just who I needed to see. "Of course, let's go."

To my dismay, when we arrived at the cafeteria, the three girls were down there already. Zechs, being the good man that he is, felt obligated to sit with them. So I found myself at the table with Sally, Noin and Relena, sandwiched between my lover and his unsuspecting baby sister.

Suddenly, I wasn't too hungry anymore.

Sally eyed the two of us curiously. "Zechs, you can Duo seem to be close friends. Do you spend a lot of time together?"

"Zechs was Duo's bodyguard for a while, didn't you know?" Relena rushed in. "It would be only natural for them to be friends now." Then she smiled and changed the conversation. "Hey, why don't we give Noin and Zechs some time alone together, hmm? I'm sure that they have some things to talk about--"

"There's no need, Relena," Noin said calmly.

"What? Why not?"

"Isn't it obvious? Zechs and Duo are lovers."

The fork that I had in my hand clattered onto the table. Next to me, Zechs stiffened visibly. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, how the hell--

Sally just gapped at us. Relena slowly turned to face her brother, face ashen and hand shaking. "Is this true?"

"Uh . . . uh . . . uh . . ." I said stupidly.

"Yes, it's true."

Relena's eyes nearly popped out of her head. "Since when?"

"It's been a while."

"It's been a while and you never told me?" Relena got to her feet. "I--you--why?"

Before Zechs could answer, she turned on her heel and stalked away. The table was deadly silent, and I was too stunned to speak.

Zechs leveled a narrow glare at Noin. "You had no right--"

"Did you really think that I was going to sit here and let you play her for a fool, Zechs?" Noin asked heatedly in a way that shocked the hell out of me. I eyed her carefully. That wasn't the tone I'd take with the guy I was trying to get back with. "Relena is like a little sister to me. She had these romantic ideas about us getting back together, and I wasn't going to let you--" she gestured to me, "--or anyone else laugh behind her back about it. It's not right."

"What the hell do you mean, you?" I demanded. I didn't like her tone one bit.

"That's enough." Zechs said coldly. "We're not going to have a fight here. I'm going to find Relena, and then you and I will talk." Zechs walked away, leaving me alone at the table with Noin.

"Lu," Sally said slowly, "sure there were better times and places that you could have--"

"She needs to grow up, Sally."

"Yes, but--"

"But nothing. Look," she turned to me and stared at me point blank. "I don't have a problem with you, Duo. I want to make that clear. I'm just looking out for Relena's best interests, okay?"

Relena's best interests? So dropping a huge bomb like the fact that her brother was screwing the guy 'responsible' for keeping Heero away from her, without warning, was for her best interests?

My eye was twitching, I think, and I decided that the best thing for me to do at that moment was to get up and leave. After wandering mindlessly through the halls for a few minutes, I decided to wait for Zechs in his office, but when I got there, I found that it was already occupied by Relena and Zechs.

Hmm . . . the door was open a bit . . . Yeah, I probably should have turned around and gone somewhere else, but I'm nosy. So instead I pressed myself against the wall and listened.

I heard some sniffling, and then Zechs said, "Relena, please talk to me."

"What do you want me to say?"

"I . . . Relena--"

"I'm so angry with you right now!" she exclaimed suddenly. "I can't believe--" Relena heaved a sigh. "It's not only that you're with him. It's more because you didn't tell me!"

"I knew that you would be upset."

"Were you ever planning on telling me?" Relena demanded.

"Yes. I don't . . . You would've known eventually because I won't be leaving him any time soon."

Oh, that was really nice to know.

" . . . you--you sound like you really lo-like him."

"I do."

"Oh." Sniffle. "Well, that's, ah, good. And he seems to like you too."

Zechs chuckled. "I hope so." He paused for a second. "I hope that you will not give him a hard time--"

"I'll do my best."

"Thanks. Are you okay now?"

"Yes. But can I have a moment, please?"

"Sure."

I danced away from the door and pretended that I was just coming down the hall. Zechs came out and immediately spotted me. "I was just coming to look for you."

"Oh?" I rocked back and forward on my feet and looked up at him. "Ah, how is everything?"

He sighed and leaned against the wall next to me. "Fine, I think. I just wish that things hadn't gone the way that they did."

"Yeah."

"Would you mind if I went to find Noin? I'd like to have that talk with her."

His face changed, darkening a little bit. Oh ho ho! Looks like someone's in trouble. "No, go ah--"

Suddenly Relena burst from Zech's office and blocked her brother's path. "Zechs, don't. She was just concerned for me. Let me go and talk to her, please."

Zechs nodded after a brief moment of hesitation. "If that's what you want."

Well, hell. That wasn't what I wanted, that's for sure!

"That is." Relena gave me a quick, unsure look. "Well. As long as you don't hurt my brother, I do believe that everything will be alright between us."

"Relena," Zechs admonished gently. She just smiled up at him.

I, however, was a little suspicious. Did that mean that she wasn't going to try to push Noin and Zechs back together? Was her scheming over?

I could only hope. Because if Noin was set on having Zechs, then we were going to have an all out war.

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