Disclaimer: About the same as always, I'm out of my head, and know not what I do.

Pairings: None
Warnings: None
Category: Post EW for 500 - Heros Liars and Rogues. Fairly fitting, I think.

A/N: Just a touch over the 500 word mark, and entirely Relena.

Summary: Relena seeks help.

A Different Hue
by Merith

"And that is why it is imperative we enter into agreement with the Georgia Chancellor."

Relena nodded thoughtfully as the speaker finished. He resumed his seat, and the four of her advisors present sat in silence waiting.

Her pen tapped softly on the small sheaf of papers on her desk as she skimmed the wording once again. The restless stir broke her concentration, and she looked up. "I have your opinions on the matter, and will take them into consideration," she addressed them quietly. "That will be all for now, thank you." She gazed at each in turn as they gathered folders, planners and beverages. When the door closed behind them, Relena quit pretending.

Forehead furrowed in delicate lines imitating her arched brows, she flipped to one page in particular out of the hundred five in the proposal. "Universal distribution," she murmured as if reading aloud would clarify the nagging doubt. Her lawyers cleared the contract of any improprieties, or loop-holes. Her advisors were all for the agreement. But still, suspicion remained.

On a tour of the Chancellor's region, Relena found the man to be charming, above board in his manner and most importantly, his household staff appeared to be satisfied, both happy and willing in their duties. "Watch those who work for the ones you deal with," her father had once instructed. "If they appear timid or ruthless, then chances are their superior has made them so." And yet, uncertainty lingered.

With a frustrated sigh, Relena pushed the bound document from her. Her thoughts were clouded, in disarray, and she couldn't put her finger on what made her uneasy - about the document or the man behind it. She swivelled her chair around to face the window. The view from her office showed the south garden with its small patio. Often focusing on its symmetrical layout and careful cultivation, the beauty of its roses contrasting with the spontaneity of the wildflower patch provided her a link to orderliness. That afternoon was proved different.

Something fluttered just out of window range; enough movement to catch her eye but not enough to identify the distraction. Relena rose and pressed her face to the glass, her palms flat against it to either side. She peered upward and realized it came from inside the thick branches and leaves of the tree outside the garden's parameter. To discover its nature, she would have to investigate.

Her feet carried her out the door and to the box elders before conscious thought caught up with her. But by then, she stood at the base of the tree. Leaning back, her hand on the trunk for balance, she searched through the foliage. A spot of color flashed clashing with the greens and browns of the tree. And suddenly she remembered.

Two weeks hadn't passed from when the Fab Five, as Duo had dubbed the gundam pilots, descended upon her, making themselves at home in an impromptu visit. On a day similar to this one, she'd heard their laughter, and looked out to see colorful constructs weaving and bobbing above the trees, tails like streamers fluttering behind. Mesmerized by their graceful beauty, she joined them.

Men now, she marveled at the way they played, running over the grounds, racing the winds. She found a cushy spot on the grass, and laughed at the antics. It wasn't until Trowa's string broke, his craft lost to the current that they even knew she watched. Meetings cancelled, appointments rescheduled, she spent the afternoon learning how to make her own flyer and to put it in the air.

Watching the lost kite's tail wave forlornly, she knew what to do. Resolute, she returned to her desk, keyed the intercom and demanded politely, "Kyle, ring Duo Maxwell of S and M's Salvage, L2, for me, please." She sat back nodding. "It takes one to know one."


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