Relena frowned faintly. He had been slightly distracted ever since he had gotten home from work tonight. She said his name again, this time a little more insistently.
Heero blinked his attention away from the view out their window. "Hm?"
"Is everything alright, Heero?"
There was an automatic response upon his lips, something to placate her worries, but then he paused. Upon further consideration, he sighed. "I want to tell you... about my first love."
And then it was her turn to be taken aback. "I beg your pardon?"
Letting the curtains fall back into place, he turned to face her fully. "I think I'm going to be preoccupied with something for a little while, and I think you deserve to know why."
Preoccupied? With something to do with his first love? That did not bode well. She ventured a brave smile through the sudden racing of her heart. Heero loved her. Heero had married her. And Heero respected her enough to believe that she could handle this. Her smile firmed. "Alright."
The corners of his eyes crinkled a little, letting her know her mettle had not escaped his notice, nor his approval. He reached out to her and pulled her close, dropping a kiss upon her forehead. "I love you," he murmured.
She closed her eyes for a moment, letting his words and his presence soak into her being, determined not to think about the reasons behind the declaration. While not unusual, it was never without meaning. "So tell me about this first love of yours," she said lightly. It was with equal resolve that she chastised the stray thought that labeled this person a 'floozy' without any of the facts at all.
He gathered his courage and let there be space between them, keeping his arms around her waist, but allowing the potential for eye contact. With a meditative breath, he began. "His name was Duo."
"His..." she automatically echoed in surprise, pulling back from him. Belatedly, she recognized the reflexive gesture as a possible rejection, though she'd only been startled by the revelation, and she took a moment to relax back into his loose embrace. He loves me, she reminded herself. "Heero... You're...?"
He shrugged with a rueful smile. "I've never thought so. He lived down the street from me. We were sort of casual acquaintances for a few years before we became friends. And then... And then we were in high school, and... what do they say? 'Exploring our sexuality'?"
They'd been together long enough that the idea of Heero fumbling around awkwardly in exploration brought forth a wave of sweet nostalgia, though perhaps a small, irrationally petty spurt of jealousy, as well. Someone else had seen that part of him. Someone had known him as a hormonal adolescent, and it wasn't her. But he seemed to be waiting for some sign of acknowledgment from her, so she nodded encouragingly.
His eyes went a little distant. "We messed around a little for a few months... but we never got far enough that our relative genders ever really came into play, so..."
"You graduated?" she guessed.
He nodded, attention returning to her. "Complete and utter avoidance of the issue," he added with a soft snort. "I think there was a moment once when we both realized that we weren't just messing around, that it wasn't just coincidence or convenience that brought us together... and then we quite deliberately ignored that epiphany. That's what it seems like in retrospect, anyway."
"Men," Relena murmured with an exasperated good humor, needing to find that iota of levity to make things easier.
"Even worse. We were boys. Boys who were..." He shook his head, and she tried to figure out how much regret was indicated in the gesture. "When graduation rolled around, our... 'arrangement' wasn't a big thing, supposedly, so when we went off to different schools... that was that."
Only it wasn't that simple if it was coming up again. "But you loved him?"
"I..." He looked frustrated for a moment. "There was something, something other than what we just pretended, and it wasn't just me. Maybe we didn't recognize it, or maybe we refused to acknowledge it... but I think I did... love him. As much as I could, under the circumstances. Life was... easier when he was around. Maybe because it was just that time of life, or maybe because we were in complete denial, but...." Pleading eyes turned to her. "Is that... alright with you?"
He didn't need her approval, or even her understanding for such a thing, but it touched her to know he craved it. She hugged him tightly, laying her head upon his strong shoulder. She could feel the tension there. "You were my first, Heero, but... My father died when I was young, and my mother eventually remarried. And even though she loves Stephen dearly, and she's found a wonderful man to grow old with, I know she doesn't love my father any less. She's never stopped loving him. And that's alright."
Her reassurances didn't relieve him. He nodded in acceptance of her point, but negated it. "But Duo's not dead."
A shiver ran down her spine at the uncertainty of it all. Was he just being the overly responsible man that he had always been, trying to hold on to guilt that wasn't his to bear? Or was he implying something else entirely? She swallowed before mustering the courage to ask her next question. "Heero... why did this come up, all of a sudden?"
He disengaged the embrace gently to look her in the eyes, looking equally as nervous. "I ran into him today."
That could have meant too many things. She firmly reprimanded her heart for jumping to conclusions. "Oh?"
He nodded. If his hands had not been fixed on her hips, he probably would have run his hand through his hair in that utterly endearing fidget of his. "At the post office. I thought I was seeing things at first. But there he was... He lives across town. Moved here not long ago for his job. We only talked a few minutes while we were in line, but..." He shrugged uncomfortably. "It was enough to get me preoccupied."
She had always believed in speaking plainly, and she knew it was a trait he appreciated. "I love you," she started, following it with a kiss, something comfortingly familiar to soften the blow that was as difficult to deliver as it would be to answer. "So what are you trying to tell me, Heero? Or figure out for yourself? What do you plan on doing?"
He stuck to the simple, obvious things first. "I love you, Lena. That won't change."
"I believe you." She did, and it wasn't simply blind faith. Heero was not the sort to take such things lightly, nor did he lack in his own plain-speaking characteristics.
He smiled wanly, glad of her words, and yet left with only the hard questions to answer. "We only spoke for a few minutes..."
"Do you still love him?"
"We must be different people now. I know I am. And the teenage version of myself loved the teenage version of him." He dropped the eye contact, looking off into the middle distance. "But... there are things... left open between us."
"You were never 'together', so you never broke up," she pondered, willing to be understanding, to help him understand. She didn't like such a helpless look on his face. No break up, no closure, and Heero got antsy when there were loose ends to be tied up. "You only spoke for a few minutes?"
He nodded absently. "On the usual things. It didn't come up. It may be nothing more than history to him." He fixed her with a suddenly intense look. "I'm not looking to revive anything. It's history; let it be history. But..."
She stroked his cheek with her hand fondly, pushing back his hair, tracing the line of his jaw. Perhaps claiming those paths as her own. She gathered her confidence to her with another kiss. He believed he only wanted to put this behind him, and yet things would have been settled at the post office if the connection between them had been dead. He could have known with a single glance if there was nothing left to speak of. Had things really changed between the two if he continued in his denial?
Something from the past remained. It would be so easy for her to help shove it under the rug. Heero trusted her judgment, valued her opinions, wanted her happiness... and because of that, she could not bring herself to abuse that honor. It worked both ways. "Do you know how to contact him?"
"We exchanged cards..." He chuckled a little, not quite aware of how much effort had went into asking the question. "Such an 'adult' custom. Things... have definitely changed."
"Then you should call him," she decided, getting the words out before she could think better of them. "Wait an appropriate amount of time first, of course. And then talk. Like the old friends you are, suddenly and unexpectedly reunited. And if it should come up... it comes up."
He measured her solemnly. "Are you sure?"
Her smile was faint, but there. "It's not my decision to make."
"I won't do it if you don't want me to."
And in the face of such love, how could she deny him? "I love you, and trust you to act honorably. You need this, Heero. I would never stand in your way."
He wrapped her tightly in an embrace. "Love you, too," he said, and it was like unto a promise. "I can't guarantee what will happen..."
She shut her eyes and cast her die. "What will be, will be."
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This piece of fiction is the intellectual property of the little turnip that could. The basis for this fic, i.e. Gundam Wing, Kyuuketsuki Miyu, et al., is the property of someone else. The author can be con tacted at jchew at myrealbox.com. This has been an entirely automated message. http://www.cs.hmc.edu/~jchew/misc/gw.html
last modified : 4/16/2005 02:21:59 PST