A Gundam Wing/AC Fanfiction – Hinter dem Horizont

Disclaimer: Usual disclaimer applies.

Character(s): Heero Yuy/Duo Maxwell/Relena P

Pairing(s): 1xR

Genre(s): Hurt/Comfort/Friendship/Family

A/N: Warning, possible AU and AR. And please note that English is not my native language, so please pardon me for any possible grammar and vocabulary mistakes.

Brussels, March 23, AC 200

2045 hours

Peace and war. Two things that were contradictory; but something that human had longed for a long time and something that human had tended to tread for as long as humanity could remember.

Human hearts are the roots of the evils.

Heero Yuy once had said to Relena Darlian this somehow twisted logic. But she knew; that every words of it were true. All the wrong and good deeds came from human hearts. Human hearts were incarnation of both evils and goods, and the tragedy of war inflicted upon humanity was the wrongs of human themselves.

It is essential to always remember that humans are wicked, Heero told Relena, but is also essential to understand that humans are a sea of thousand possibilities. As long as the concept of fighting remains in people's hearts, real peace might be impossible. [1] But as long as humans live with their emotions, I believe real peace is not impossible.

It bemused Relena that Heero was saying all of those philosophies to her. Heero never stroke her as a person of words, but she knew him well enough of his true nature; the one with pure heart filled with such kindness and warmth that this world so desperately needed.

Relena sighed, and took a frame of photograph standing by the monitor on her office desk. Her finger slowly ran over a figure with dark brown hair wearing a black Preventer uniform, standing in guard behind her on the podium; his intense Prussian blue eyes were as bright and sharp as she could remember. The picture was taken a year ago by the mischief sneaking of Duo Maxwell during the press conference in Washington D.C and he gave it to Relena as a 'lovely memento for the princess'. She had been since keeping the only photo of Heero on her desk, carefully cleaning its smooth glass surface every week. Heero had resigned as her personal bodyguard last year, focusing on his job as a Preventer senior special agent and what she had heard last that the ex Gundam pilot enrolled into a university to pursue his degree in computer science and engineering. Relena couldn't be happier to hear the news. Sure, she was missing Heero's company so badly, but she was glad that Heero could finally decide and do for his own good. She knew Heero would make an amazing student with his extensive knowledge in many things.

Not to mention his skills with firearms and many other military weaponries, she thought and chuckled.

Her phone rang and she snapped out of her musings. She picked it up, and her secretary's voice greeted her, "Miss Relena?"

"Yes, Claudia?" Relena sighed inwardly, expecting some minor problems from her paperwork within the call.

"Commander Une from Preventer is on the private line number one, and she said this was urgent. Shall I patch her through, Miss?"

Commander Une? Relena's stomach twisted, and suddenly she felt a wave of fear washed through her. "Yes, please do so, Claudia. Thank you."

The phone beeped and a few seconds later the stiff voice of Lady Une greeted her, "Relena?"

"Commander Une, this is an unexpected call. Is something wrong?"

"I'm already in front of your door," Une said in hustle voice. "Can I…?"

Relena blinked in slight surprise. "Sure," Relena dropped the phone, and hurried to the door and opened it. Lady Une stepped in hastily, her appearance made Relena startle. Her hair was a mess, dark circles were under her eyes, her uniform was wrinkled and she looked utterly exhausted.

"Oh God!" Relena exclaimed, grabbing the older woman's arm and guided her to the couch nearby the window. "What happened? I'll get you some tea! Wait – "

"No, no, we have a… emergency. You will be best to come with me now," Une shook her head, and this time, she was the one who grabbed Relena's arm and gave her a tight squeeze; her bloodshot eyes were solemn. "Relena, Heero is in the Preventer's hospital. He is currently under surgery. He was shot on the stomach and the chest. He's in critical condition."

Realisation drowned slowly into her and Relena felt her heart stopped beating for a moment. Her hands ran to her mouth and chest, a tear subconsciously streaked down her cheek. "What…? Why? What do you mean? It can't be…"

"Come on," Une whispered softly, "he needs you."

Relena was beyond tired. Two hours and a half, and they still hadn't got any word of Heero's condition. Duo Maxwell and Chang Wufei were present, the braided man pacing forth and back the waiting room in anxiety; his knuckles were white from his strong clutches, showing the apprehensive state he was in. The Chinese man was leaning against the wall, refusing to give himself any comfort. Both dressed in their Preventer uniform; messy and dishevelled with various dirt and to Relena's suspicions, blood stains. She had a strong feeling that it was Heero's blood.

It was Wufei who told her of what had happened. They were on a investigating mission; believing a force of rebel was in undercover move to raising in the border between Germany and Austria, but they were misinformed about the rebel force structure and power – the undercover agent sent beforehand was discovered and eliminated. The rebels then had been sending the headquarters a false information using the agent's communication device identity, and thus confirming the real threat of the rebel force. Heero and Duo were the first to lead an ambush without knowing it was a trap, and they were met with rounds of ruthless gun volley. Duo then threw two grenades, but the suspected leader managed to cheat the death. Heero instantly leapt into pursue, but with minimal knowledge and information of the layout, he was led to another bunker hall and was shot right on his abdomen and chest. It was only to Duo's quick thinking and reflexes that he threw another grenade to the bunker, barely saving Heero with half-dragging him across the floor before the grenades exploded. If not for Duo's instant reaction, Heero would had been shot to death.

"But wasn't Heero in university?" Relena inquired weakly; she was trembling so badly. "Why wasn't I informed of this rebel activity? You should have known better! This could escalate into a riot if the public found out! God, I wasn't working for nothing! I am a Vice Minister for nothing! You should have told me!"

"I have no authority on that matter. You will have to ask Une herself. But I believe that the blown cover of our agent is the link to all of this. We were given false information that led us to take wrong measures – and it delivered us this chaotic results. I personally apologise for this, especially for the casualties it produced. I have a part to blame too, I should have known better. Maxwell and I should have held Yuy back."

"But – but what about him going to university? Why was he in the mission?"

"That's part of his undercover."

The absence of Duo's frantic pace made Relena look up, and she noticed a doctor in a green hospital gown was approaching them. Relena immediately rose to her feet and sprinted to the doctor, followed by Duo and Wufei closely behind.

"Minister?" the doctor called.

"Yes. How is he?" Relena burst out, and Duo and Wufei glared at the doctor.

"Stabilised," the doctor began, and the trio released a relief sigh simultaneously. "But not yet out of the woods. The bullet on the chest fortunately missed his heart, but it grazed his lung, and made him suffer from a traumatic pneumothorax. We had to perform thoracotomy on him, where we were forced to take a surgical action. In other words, we had to open his chest. It should heal just fine, save for the post-thoracotomy pain it is. However…" the doctor stared at Relena, taking a deep breath. "There were two bullets hit his liver. He had lost a massive amount of blood. It was lucky that he was brought in the right time, just a few minutes later, we would have lost him for sure. We are able to stop the bleeding for now, but he might need a transplant. He would be kept under a strict surveillance to see if his liver will be able to regenerate on its own. I advise that it would be wise to prepare for the worst, Vice Minister. Two bullets on the liver… it is no good thing, Minister."

"Shit," Duo cursed loudly, while Wufei finally shrunk to the plastic chair nearby. Tears flowed freely down Relena's cheeks, and she felt suffocated. She then broke into broken sobs, dropped beside Wufei, who reluctantly pulled her into his awkward embrace. The doctor shook his head.

"The nurse will prepare the necessary forms for the transplant notice and precaution. I was informed that you are Agent Yuy's next-of-kin, Minister?"

"Yes," Relena breathed. "Yes, I am, doctor."

"I will need you to read the forms and to sign them," the doctor said gently, smiling warmly. "Let me ease your worry a bit by informing you that Agent Yuy's doing his best. He's fighting so hard. He will survive, I can feel it. Please, follow me."

"I'm coming with you," said Duo hoarsely, but Relena shook her head.

"I'll be fine, Duo. You just stay here and wait for the others. I won't be long." She assured, giving Duo's scrubby hands a brief squeeze. Duo nodded, and Relena noticed a streak of dried tears on his gaunt face. "Everything is going to be okay." And then she walked away, following the doctor.

"Jesus Christ…" Duo murmured, shaking inevitably. "Jesus, Heero… this means that he isn't out of danger yet, is he? What… what if he went under organ fai - ?"

"Stop betting on him, Maxwell," Wufei growled, but he was as doubtful as Duo. "Yuy will pull through. He always did."

Duo didn't offer any respond, and the two agents fell silent into their respective thoughts.

New York, August, AC 198

This year's autumn had been specifically ruthless, for Relena. The summit would take for three days, and Relena wished that she was somewhere warm, like Indonesia, rummaging through the street foods flooded every corner of the populous city of Jakarta. Oh, how she really missed doing the mischievous with the help of Heero… Heero had always been the one who understood her inside and outside.

But it seemed that there would be no sneaking out today. Her paper works were terrifyingly piling up into two high stacks in front of her, and if she tended to procrastination tonight…

"Give me those," a deep and calm voice distracted her from her mischievous thoughts, and Heero was standing in front of her; his hair was still damp after the shower. "You go wash yourself. I will take care of these."

Relena smiled warmly as she reached for Heero's hand. "No, really, it's fine. You have exhausted yourself with the tour today, you should go to sleep. I'll be fine. These papers," she wagged her hand to the piles, "are my company tonight. Nothing compared to what you have gone through for me. But thank you for the offer, Heero. Always." Relena gave her most stern look to her bodyguard, and Heero knew he was lost.

"I am your company tonight," Heero still tried to offer, and Relena laughed at this.

"I would love to hearing to your musing tonight, but I suggest you to go get some rest yourself."

Heero didn't answer, and instead sat down on the chair nearby the desk. He stared at Relena, a hint of amusement flashed on his deep blue eyes. Relena couldn't help but chuckled at the familiar move. This had happened almost every night.

"Fine, but I order you to go to sleep after an hour. Direct order, Heero Yuy," Relena stated, a smug smile tugged at her lips. Heero nodded in consent, and she returned to the papers in front of her.

There was only a pleasant silence for a while before Relena spoke up, not bothering to look up from her work. "I was under impression that you are lack of sleep lately, Heero. I hope that you're not pushing yourself too far. Even you need a decent sleep, I'm afraid."

"I'm obligated to your safety, Relena. I cannot let my guard down around you, especially in a summit or tours."

"But I'm concerned for you."

"I'm taking a good care of myself," Heero said calmly. "Otherwise, I won't be able to protect you."

Relena sighed, but she didn't push further. "Fine, you know yourself better. Well, what do you see beyond the horizon today, Heero?"

She loved to ask him such question; because she loved the answer he would give her. With his tendency to only speak when needed, his choice of words of mundane things flew like lines of those philosophy books. It also made her think and understand. That was why she loved his company so much.

"Our world," he answered solemnly. "Filled with so much mixed emotions of people."

Relena smiled again at his answer, briefly looking at him. "Do you feel today?"

A brief silence.

"Always," his voice was no more than a deep whisper, deep in thoughts. "I have always been feeling, Relena."

"What do you feel?"

"I thought," he began slowly, contemplating of his next choice of words carefully, "that what the world needs is simply mutual understanding."

That perked Relena's full attention. "Mutual understanding?"

"If human try just a little bit to understand each other, conflicts can be eluded." Heero frowned, searching his brain for words he rarely used. "Like you. You tried to understand me, a soldier with complete different view and world from you, but you tried. Then you understand my struggle to find myself a place in the world of peace, and you guided me how to survive and cherish what I have. I tried to understand your thoughts, your world, your view; and I found the resolve to continue to fight. Fight for what we have achieved with bloods, with millions of life that had vanished in the war. Sacrifice is always needed for one point in mutual understanding, because human hearts are both good and evil. It would always be. Imagine if human hearts and mind are not so complicated, then understanding is the easiest thing to do to achieve mutual peace. But then, people born from many different circumstances and evils have always rooted deep inside human mind and heart since they were born. Things that seem very simple even like disagreement is one of mischievous thoughts born from seed of evil in humans."

Somehow, her eyes were hot upon the long contention. "Why do you think people are so hard to understand each other, Heero?"

Heero gazed at her, his Prussian blue eyes swarming with unidentified emotions. "Because they don't feel, Relena."

Relena shook her head sadly. "You've come a long way to feel, Heero. Because the goods are already within you. Your once callous and cold-hearted self was just a mere mask of a soldier you were made into."

Heero already slipped into his perfect soldier mask, his eyes and expression betrayed no emotions. "Sometimes a cold heart is very much needed for the cursed devils, Relena. You cannot deny it."

Relena smiled dejectedly, giving her friend a nod of agreement. She plunged back into her papers, the rest of the night ceased into a plaintive silence.

On their last night in the city, when Relena finally stretched after finishing all of her work, she looked up to find Heero was deep asleep on the usual chair nearby her desk. She smiled and approached Heero as silent as she could, only to find that the young man's arm burned under her touch. She frowned in disapproval, he had been overexerting again. Dismayed, she unwillingly shook Heero gently, "Heero, wake up. Get on to the bed, you're burning up. Come on, get up, get to bed. I'll have Claudia to get you some medicine."

Heero stirred and groaned, fluttering open his heavy eyelids as his eyes glazed under fever. "I'm fine."

"No you're not," Relena rebuked, voice firm. "Move to the bed. You're burning up. Come on. It's an order, Heero. I don't accept a no."

Moaning softly, Heero rose to his feet and swayed slightly, slowly stumbling to the single bed by the wall. Relena made no attempt to assist him, she knew him well enough not to make a gesture that admitting his 'weaknesses'. She would only run to his aid if he failed to make it safely to the bed.

Heero collapsed on to the bed with a heavy sigh, already half asleep. Relena gently tucked the blanket over his body, her palm touching his forehead to measure the fever. It felt like a candle light being put right under her palm. She then swarmed around the bathroom and filled a small basin with cold water and doused a clean cloth in it. She walked back to Heero's bed, and put the wet cloth on his forehead.

"Why am I the one who's taking care of you? It should be the other way around," she rebuked playfully, and Heero opened his eyes, conveying a silent apology. "Didn't I tell you to not to over work yourself? Really, Heero, you should have known better."

"I'm sorry," Heero murmured, making an attempt to sit up but was pushed back gently into the pillow by Relena. "I miscalculate my body strength."

"Even when you're sick you're still as calculating and technical as you were on your feet…" Relena muttered, slightly annoyed. She reached for a phone on a small table beside her bed, calling for her secretary's room. "Don't sleep yet. You have to drink medicine. Just hold on a little longer. And you're sleeping in here tonight. I'll be sleeping in your suite room. No buts."

"Hn," was all Heero gave in response, relaxing into the cold the wet cloth giving him. "I'll be fine."

"I know you will," Relena snorted. "As if Heero Yuy would be defeated by some fever."

A smirk tugged Heero's lips. "You know me well."

"Not as well as you know me…" said Relena softly, a small pang of emotion jabbed her chest painfully. She painfully aware that she barely knew everything about him, even after all these years and the coexistence they spent together. In contradiction, he knew her inside and outside; her deepest thoughts, her sacred feelings, he would only need one look into her eyes and he would comfort her with his warm and strong squeeze; and she would feel safe. He had never needed any words to offer her his comfort. His presence alone had made her feel complete; she was happy, she was grateful.

"Would you open more to me, Heero?" Relena whispered; it was a silent plea of desperation. "Would you let me into your life, as I have let you to be the only one who understands me the most? Would you let me be your pillar when you fall? I want to take care of you, Heero. I don't want you take the entire burden on yourself. Let me, Heero." Let me into your heart. I love you, Heero. I love you.

Even under the burning fever, Heero's eyes managed to keep its sharp and bright look. His voice was soft when he spoke, steady and calm, "I need time, Relena. I'm in the process. You're guiding me right now. Please understand that you are important to me. Emotions are tiring, but I'm pulling through. I'm trying my best to be a whole person. I'm aware I'm not perfect, and you are here to make me better. And I'm thankful for that."

Relena nodded and smiled. "Thank you for letting me know that, Heero. This is as what you said, isn't it? Mutual understanding."

"Hn." Heero nodded, giving Relena's arm a reassuring grip before retreating it to the cloth on his forehead. "The cloth is already hot."

Relena grumbled playfully, taking the cloth and wetted it again with water before putting it back. But she was relieved. She finally knew that she had her chance, she had a place in his heart, and she would willingly wait and help the young man with all her might to become a whole person.

Because, she noted in her mind, a small laugh escaped her throat as she realised in her mind, Heero has made me a whole person. I'm complete. You make me a better individual, with all your weaknesses and strength.

I will wait for you, to eternity if needed.

Brussels, March 24, AC 200

0045 hours

The steady beep of a heart monitor and hums from the life support machines filled the dark private ICU room. Relena took a deep breath, once again reached her hand to the limp, lifeless hand in the bed. His hand was soft and cold, yet it was warm at the same time. She looked at Heero's face mournfully, a single tear dropped down her cheek. An oxygen tube was attached under his nostrils, aiding his breathing as he recovered from major surgery. Relena studied the monitor above Heero's bed. It showed his vitals' signs; his heartbeat a little slow and his blood pressure were slightly under normal. They had eventually to replace his liver, and with Relena's influence, they were able to get the matching organ and the doctors wasted no more time. His handsome face was marred with small cuts, expressionless, lost in oblivious slumber. He looked so young; and Relena couldn't help but smiled at his peaceful expression.

She leaned forward, her other hand caressed his face tenderly. Heero had come a long way through the war. She was so proud of him; that one moment that was only her privilege to see the real him. It was that night on Libra; at the end of the Eve War. The way he looked at her then, moments before launching in his Gundam, was something she would never forget for her life. She had never seen his eyes so expressive before; so full of passion and warmth. She begged him not to go, not to fight, not to leave her; but Heero asked her to believe in him, to believe in his ability to put an end once for all to end the war. Please let me go, he asked her softly, and she let him, finally trusting him to be able to save the world and make it out alive.

As the cockpit's hatch closed over him, Relena saw his eyes glimmered in such strong emotions. He was so beautiful; truly remarkable in every way. It was her first time she had the privilege seeing Heero Yuy in that way; really seeing him under the mask of the heartless and callous perfect soldier: an individual with a vast heart, feeling, passionate… humane. He had taken a giant leap in his short life; a mere 16 year old boy, much way too mature and wise beyond his age, but in the same time was so naïve in the false belief of adult. She knew that instant that he needed her, to guide and show him the beautiful way of life in peace, to contribute with what power he possessed in him to protect what he had saved. He was so pure, but so intense, and so kind.

Relena gave Heero's lifeless hand a tight squeeze before retreating back, and made her way to an emergency bed specifically prepared for her in the room. The kind doctor had told her that Heero had passed the critical situation, and all they had to do now is to wait for his body reaction to the new organ. The doctor assumed that the young agent would not regain consciousness until two days, approximately. She then had requested Claudia to arrange for her a small desk to be prepared in Heero's hospital room in the floor nursing unit, and that she was to bring all her work and her laptop there. She would not leave Heero. She wanted herself to be the first he saw when he opened his eyes.

Relena took off her cardigan and propped herself under the thin blanket in the small bed. She turned to Heero, whispering softly, "Goodnight, Heero," and let herself fell into an exhausted slumber, relieved that Heero was there – with her, alive.

It was all mattered for now.

March 27, AC 200

0600 hours

It was dark.

He was in the pit of nothing; in the darkness, engulfed in a comfortable nothingness. He wasn't cold, nor wasn't he hot. He felt nothing, just floating in the depth of the darkness. It was soothing and comfortable. He liked it.

But then he could hear muffled voices around him. Blurred words, depicting no sense that he could not understand. But he didn't care. Though, the voices were bothering him. He wanted to be left alone; not to hear, not to feel anything. Of course the voices didn't stop…

The blanket of the darkness began to dissipate around him. Real sounds came to his ears as he slowly coming back into the land of living. At first, he was numb. But with each passing second, he could already feel the suffocating pain coursed through his whole body. He felt a burnt on his chest and his abdomen, something was wrong…

He struggled to open his eyes, to register his surroundings, so he could make out the shapes surrounding him. He felt horribly nauseous; the burning feeling in his chest wouldn't go. His eyelids were so heavy, protesting not to open, but he had to take in his status. How is the mission…?

The sounds around him were now much clearer. Murmurs, as if they were trying not to wake him up. His eyelids lifted halfway, revealing a tiny slit of his deep blue eyes. Everything was a blur, and he blinked to gain a clearer view into his vision. He could make out a figure in white clothes, apparently talking to his companion. A girl, he concluded. Long hair… Re… Relena…?

"Re… Relena…" he croaked; his voice was hoarse. It hurt to talk. Damn, it hurt to breathe. "Are… you…"

Relena gasped as she turned around sharply and rushed to the bed. "Oh God, you're awake! Thank God… oh, Heero! We were so worried!"

He felt a soft hand grabbed his, gripping it tightly. Relena's body rocked from her sobs, but nevertheless she smiled. She reached her second hand to Heero's hair, stroking it gently. "It's alright, Heero, you're going to be okay. How are you feeling?"

Heero blinked, couldn't find the strength to answer her. He moved his fingers in Relena's hand to tell her that he was okay, but the fact that all he could do was to muster all of his energy into that simple movement told him that he wasn't okay.

"Agent Yuy?" another voice called him, and his eyes turned to the person behind Relena, a man in his forties with a white coat. "Can you understand me?"

Heero nodded slowly, already exhausted. The doctor smiled knowingly and walked to his other side, placing a hand on his arm.

"You are in the Preventer's hospital," the doctor elaborated slowly. "You were shot in the chest and stomach. We have removed the bullets, but one grazed your lungs, and the other two hit your liver. You were required to take organ transplantation for your liver." The doctor stopped, waiting if his patient had caught his explanation.

Heero blinked again, and nodded slowly. He was beyond tired, his eyes were heavy and his aching body demanded him to rest. But he needed to know what had happened…

"I'll keep it short," said the doctor, noticing that his patient was already in his limit. "The surgery was successful, but you should not expect to be back to your former condition for a few months. We will take strict observation to see your body to adjust with the transplanted organ, and the massive loss of blood for a few hours did some damage to your body cells. All I want to say for now is just take it easy, take a lot of rest. Further details should be given after you're feeling better."

Heero's eyes turned to Relena, his lips shakily whispering, "Wu... fei? Duo...?"

"Duo and Wufei are all right. They're unscathed," Relena gave him a reassuring smile. "Go back to sleep, Heero. We all will be here when you wake up."

But even before Relena had finished talking, Heero already slipped back into consciousness, his breathing was slightly laboured. The doctor sighed, and made his way to the door.

"He's okay for now," the doctor said. "His vital signs are good. He's doing quite well."

Relena nodded thankfully, and returned to her chair beside the bed, preparing herself for the long wait.