The pilots looked about the command center of the huge space battleship. It was impressive. Noin came forward and shook hands with Howard.
“Hey, wait a minute, I know you! You’re the guy who helped me rebuild my Gundam on earth.” Duo said. “Remember me?” Howard smiled.
“I sure do.” he said.
“Was that after Heero stole all your parts?” Brekke asked innocently. Duo scowled at her as Quatre chuckled behind his hand. Duo pointedly ignored both of them.
“Well, I want you pilots to make yourselves at home. You’ll find the Peacemillion a well equipped ship. Sleeping quarters, bathrooms, hell, we even have a basketball court in this thing. Why don’t you have some fun exploring.” Howard told them. “I’ll take care of your suits, don’t you worry.” Duo’s eyes perked up.
“A basketball court? You’re kidding! Come on, Brekke, let’s check it out!” He grabbed the girl’s wrist and took off down a hallway. She stumbled after him with a squeak. Quatre laughed.
“Quatre, Trowa, why don’t you join them. I’ll call you if anything happens. Take this opportunity to relax.” Noin told the remaining boys with a smile. Quatre smiled back.
“Thanks Noin.” he said. “Come on, Trowa, let’s see what those two are up to.” The two boys walked down the hall Duo and Brekke had disappeared into. After a few wrong turns, they found the court, where Duo was zipping around, dribbing and making baskets from various points on the floor and Brekke stood uncertainly at the free throw line, feet together, clutching the ball like a shield. She gave Quatre the impression of a little girl.
“-but Duo, I don’t even like basketball.” she was whining, wincing away from him as he dashed by and made a lay in.
“Oh, come on! Basketball is easy! Hey Quatre, catch!” he shouted and chucked the ball to the stunned boy. Quatre caught it awkwardly before it hit his face. Then Duo snatched Brekke’s ball and continued his antics. Brekke scowled at the boy and seriously considered giving his braid a good yank to put him in line, but he was moving too much so she didn’t bother. Instead she wandered over to Quatre, pausing from time to time to keep Duo from running into her, giving him irritated looks the entire time. She rolled her eyes as she finally reached Quatre.
“What is it with men and sports?” she asked. Quatre shrugged.
“I don’t know. I’ve never played any before. My parents had me concentrate on other things.” he told her.
“Mmn. Thank them.” she said flatly. Then she smiled. “Want to look around the rest of this place with me? This lunatic will be in here all day.” she said.
“Trowa?” she asked. He shrugged.
“Okay.” The three of them left. Duo didn’t even notice.
Later, the four pilots joined Noin and Howard for dinner. The food was not fancy, but it was the first homemade meal they had had in weeks, and they wolfed it own.
“So Howard, why were you looking for us?” Noin asked, stuffing a bite of baked potato in her mouth.
“Well, Noin, I was actually looking for you.” Howard corrected. “You see, I was traveling with Zechs-”
“You knew Zechs?” Noin demanded at the same time Brekke and Duo drew back in horror. They glanced fearfully at each other. Quatre joined in the worried exchange. They hadn’t given themselves over to the hands of Oz, had they? Trowa watched them blankly. Howard was quickly trying to ease the situation over.
“No, listen to me. Zechs is no longer part of Oz. He wanted to fight with you pilots.” He was speaking to the four individuals regarding him nervously. “But you see, he found one of you-”
“Which one?” Brekke demanded.
“Pilot 05.” Howard told her, not sure how that mattered. “But the pilot only attacked Zechs. He wouldn’t listen. So-” He was cut off again.
“Wufei. That figures. We finally get someone who wants to fight with us instead of against us, and who does he try to join forces with? Mr. Integrity. Damn.” she muttered darkly.
“Zechs want to join the Gundam pilots? That’s great! Where is he?” Noin asked.
“No!” Howard shouted , surprising them all into silence. “None of you are listening to me! Zechs has joined forces with the White Fang! He plans to lead them into a war against Earth. A ‘war to end all wars’, he said.” Brekke groaned.
“Damn you, Wufei.” she murmured to herself. This could have all been avoided if you would’ve only opened your eyes for once and listened to the person talking to you instead of being so caught up in fighting alone, as if you had to prove yourself. She sighed. Boys had no common sense. She was sure of it. Noin was staring blankly at Howard, then the words sunk in.
“No!” she insisted. “Zechs wouldn’t do something like that!” she denied desperately. “He wouldn’t. Not the Zechs I know…” Brekke stared at the woman. She loves him. the girl realized. Oh my dear God, she loves him as much as I love Trowa. Oh, that poor woman. Suddenly too many things made a sickening sense. Zechs was their enemy, and the woman on whom they were depending on to unite them against that enemy was blindly in love with him. Oh no…
“Noin…” Brekke started. But this time Howard interrupted.
“I’m sorry Noin, but it’s true. I wish it wasn’t for both are sakes, but Zechs, as Milliardo Peacecraft, is leading the White Fang, and his next target is Earth.” Noin looked like she was going to cry. I don’t blame her. Brekke thought sadly.
“I don’t believe you!” she shouted back, then slammed her silverware down onto the table and stormed out of the room. The others glanced at each other in silence.
Brekke found Noin later staring out a window in the social hall. She approached the woman cautiously. Noin did not hear her, the girl had entered soundlessly.
“Miss Noin?” Brekke asked softly. “Miss Noin, are you alright?” Startled, Noin glanced back at her. She attempted a weak smile.
“Oh. Hi, Brekke.” she said. “I didn’t hear you come in. I’m sorry about dinner. Did you get enough to eat?” Brekke scowled momentarily. She was tired of people forcing her to eat and telling her she was too thin. She knew it already. They could all just drop it.
“Yes, I got enough to eat.” she said carefully, keeping the irritation out of her voice. “Are you going to be alright?” she pressed. Noin sighed.
“If Zechs really has joined the White Fang, it’s because he feels it’s the right thing to do.” she insisted, though she sounded miserable. Brekke chewed her lip a little before she replied.
“Heero self-detonated because he thought it was the right thing to do.” she pointed out gently. “That doesn’t make it okay,and it doesn’t make it productive, either. All he is going to get is pain. Just like Heero.” she told the woman, glancing out at what Noin had been staring at. The Earth. Brekke gazed at it with a pang of longing for a moment, then turned her attention back to Noin. “I know how it hurts.” she said, very softly. “The way you feel now, I feel it every time I look at Trowa. I know that you know what a mess I was. Don’t let it happen to you. Sometimes things happen. Things we hate, that we don’t want to believe are real. But they happen, and there is nothing we can to but accept them and move on, or fight them and in turn, destroy ourselves. Look at me. Look at the dark circles under my eyes. Remember how red and swollen they were, from crying all the time? And look how thin I am. Sickly, I know that’s what you’re thinking. Noin, I’ve gained close to twenty pounds back. I have to work at gaining weight just so I can be healthy. You don’t want to become what I was, Noin. Zechs is part of White Fang now, and there’s nothing we, nothing you, can do abo-” Noin cut her off.
“Yes there is. I can talk to him.” she said fiercely. Brekke saw the need to cling to that fragment of hope, and remained silent. “I can talk to him, and I will.”