This sidestory takes place between Part 50 and the Epilogue, before 'Heero's Boon.'
I wasn't a nervous person by nature. At least that's what people around me have said. But I couldn't help my fidgeting as I waited for someone on the shuttle to pick up the line. They should've been a day out of England by now, en route to the colonies. As it was, I drummed my fingers on my desk, waiting for a face to pop up on screen.
It turned out to be Sally. "Relena! I figured you'd be calling to check on everyone."
"Yes." I smiled as warmly as I could. Sally looked very...overworked. I couldn't stop my mind from overturning the possibilities of what could've happened to my brother, or Heero, or the others. But if it was something awful, I doubt she would've answered the phone. "I couldn't help but worry, considering how you all take ‘care' of yourselves." She gave me a dark glare, but it was a humorous one. "Did everything go alright?
"Yes, actually. Duo doesn't have a scratch on him for once, and thank God for that. I couldn't deal with his whining nonstop for a whole week. Trowa, Heero, Zechs and Wufei have a couple of cuts, and needed some treatment for slight exposure and frostbite, but nothing too severe. Quatre lost a battle against some kind of knockout pepperspray, but that seemed to have come from the home team."
I raised an eyebrow. "Pepperspray?"
"Yep. Don't bother asking the official story. Quatre's...er...busy right now, and the only ones who actually know what happened are Hilde and Duo. So you know they aren't going to talk even under the threat of a chocolate shortage."
"I see," I said, barely holding a straight face. A chocolate shortage to them would be torture, after all. "How are Noin and Hilde?"
"Noin's just fine. But Hilde chipped a nail. She's going to be very unhappy for a few months."
I couldn't help a short laugh about that. "Well, I guess she's going to have to be compensated for her pain."
Sally laughed outright. "She says she's putting in a claim! If Une takes it seriously I don't know what I'll do. As long as I get to see her face...and take a picture of it."
She would too. "Is it possible at all to speak to my brother and Heero?"
"They wouldn't forgive me if I didn't put the call through. Po out."
My brother's face appeared abruptly on screen. "Relena! Are you alright?"
"I'm fine. I was calling to check on you, actually."
"Heh. I'm the oldest, so shouldn't I be checking on you?" He scoffed, a little bit shyly. "I'm okay," he said, but his voice was deeper than usual. He sounded exhausted. Actually, he looked exhausted too. His blue eyes were even brighter against the darkened skin around his eyes, but they were also bloodshot. The short hairs in the front of his face were sticking out more than usual, and even a bit matted. I didn't want to think about how the rest of him looked.
It made me feel guilty for disturbing him. He desperately needed the rest. "I'll let you go Zechs. You need to rest. Badly."
He laughed. It was soft, but it was there. "I must if you couldn't think of a more diplomatic way to say that."
I only smiled. "Go to sleep. I'll see you when you return."
I disconnected the call. As much as I wanted to talk to Heero, I decided not too. He wasn't hurt. Not only that, he's been through so much more it was pointless to worry about a few cuts. That and I didn't know what Duo had planned. He might've told Heero I am ending our relationship, or he might've already claimed him for his own. I didn't think he did however. I didn't know what made me think that, but I did. And because of that it was impossible for me to hate him! But as I walked from my study to the balcony for fresh air, I realized that I didn't call Heero because I couldn't trust myself. Seeing his eyes in that beautiful face of his, I might've changed my mind.
I didn't want to beg him to stay with me. I didn't want to cajole or threaten, or go back on my word. After all, *I* have ended this, not him. I was the one with the power, but he was the one who would be happy for the rest of his life. I'd rather be in that position.
I waited with the utmost dignity I could. I tried to be ready at any given moment for Heero to come through the door so that I could say what I needed to and be done with it. I needed to do this to get on with my life. But obviously that wasn't mean to be. He was meant to catch me with my pants down. Literally.
Since we were living together, there was no need for Heero to knock when he entered the room. However, he came in when I was trying to pull my slacks up, my rear end high in the air. I was so startled when the door closed that I nearly fell on my face. Instead, I stumbled out of my slacks, landing face first on my bed. "Oof!"
"Relena, what are you doing?"
I pushed myself into a sitting position. It took a couple of tries, but my hair was finally out of my face. "Believe it or not, I was trying to get dressed."
"Is everything alright? I was expecting you some time yesterday. You've been back two days now."
"There were some things that needed to be taken care of." End of statement.
"Oh," I said, and I felt myself deflate. Here I was, sitting on my (used to be ‘our') bed, wearing nothing but a bra and panties, and his eyes hadn't strayed from my face. We have not been near each other for weeks, and haven't intimately touched for months, and he didn't have any sexual tension whatsoever. If he did, it wasn't towards me.
"Quatre said that I needed to see you." He had a puzzled look on his face.
Quatre didn't have the heart to give him a hint. Bless that man. "Let me get dressed and I'll be right out."
I watched him leave the room before I carefully pulled on my slacks, blouse, socks and loafers. I thought about all the time we spent together, and how Heero's behavior had been towards me. He wasn't the emotionless person everyone thought he was. He was a kind and considerate person who smiled and laughed with me, and the sex had always been slow and sweet. But he needed someone to keep him grounded. Someone who could match the passion I knew he was capable of, and someone strong enough to handle it. My job would keep me busy, and the majority of the time we would spend together would be when he was making sure no one was trying to kill me. I thought I could live that way as long as we were together. It was apparent he couldn't.
I stepped into the living room and saw Heero sitting at the table eating grapes. He never ate grapes until Duo had him try some. "When did you arrive at your decision?"
No matter how much I knew him, he still surprised me. "A week and a half ago."
"Ah." He looked at me, hurt. "Relena, I'm sorry."
This was what I was afraid of. Those eyes. It didn't make sense for someone to have eyes like that. "Don't be," I started, seating myself next to him. "I...we both know this isn't going to last. We're running on empty." I couldn't look in his eyes, so I looked at his nose. "We mean something to each other, but there's someone out there who means even more to you."
"Duo," he said, just as a statement. But the tone in which he said his name...it was enough to melt the butter in the fridge.
"Yes, and you are the most important thing to him," I nearly shouted, trying to force the words out my mouth. "There's not enough...love, to keep us going for the rest of our lives." I paused. It was right then that my heart broke into a thousand little pieces. I could feel each one stab me in my chest.
"Do you think of him often?"
He paused. "Yes."
"Do you think of me?"
"Of course I do!"
"That night, in Frankfurt," I had to take a deep breath, "when you and Duo...did you think about me and my feelings?"
He paused, longer this time. Shame was all over his face. "No. I didn't."
"But at night, here, you thought of him didn't you?"
An even longer pause, then a quiet, "yes."
"I finally realized Heero, that no matter what I'll never have your heart. So you might as well go to the person who does." I stood up and went into the kitchen to wipe down the clean counter tops. My hands needed something to do. "It doesn't have to be right this minute, but you should pack your things sometime soon."
As I thought, he immediately packed his things. He didn't have much, so naturally he was finished by the time I decided the freezer needed defrosting. But as he turned the doorknob, he said over his shoulder, "This isn't goodbye you know."
I felt those pieces that were once my heart come back together. Not all of them, but enough to where I felt significantly better. "I'm glad to hear that, Odin."
He wasn't surprised like I hoped he would be. He did his ‘hn' as usual, but there was a bit of pride in it. I felt even better.
I watched him put his stuff in the trunk of his car, shake hands with Pagan, and drive away. I remained at the window for longer than I knew, before I felt the arms of my brother wind themselves around my shoulders. I leaned back into his embrace as he rested his chin on my head, and felt even better than before. I wasn't destroyed like I thought I would be. It would only get easier from here.
Heero did leave some of his strength here with me, after all.