Word Count: 2,497. Cut it close, didn't I? ^_^;
Notes: Eh . . . I'm horrible at humor. But hopefully the fic is at least light-hearted. Maybe? Kinda? Sorta? *Hides* I did my best! Anyway, this is in response to Black Rose's "99 Ways to Propose to Relena" Challenge. If nothing else, it's something to pass the time, and better than staring into the sun and deciding that it -is- possible to melt in this summer heat . . . Erm, anyway. ^_^;
Mission Status: Phase One.
A dark figure snaked through one of the Peacecraft Gardens, darting from hedge to rosebush to tall fountain, keeping out of sight of the security cameras and the patrolling guards. The figure literally snaked, moving on hands, knees, and belly through the grasses, though avoiding the mud because getting covered with the sludge would not coincide with mission perimeters at all.
Back against the cold, unyielding stone wall of the fountain now, the dark figure rose up ever so slightly and peered around the edge, glancing at the last security camera that stood between him and his goal. It was pointed to left, but was beginning it's sweep back, so the figure ducked again. Softly, he began to count backwards to himself in Japanese, tensing as he did so. Upon hitting "one" he jumped up and darted quickly across open ground. He reached the wall just as the camera was swinging back, but luckily he was now directly under it and, therefore, out of it's range.
Still, he was out in the open, and upon checking his wristwatch he noted that the guards would be making another round in T-minus three minutes and forty-three seconds. Out in the open would not be a good place to stop and rest.
Checking his utility belt--and wrinkling his nose at a memory of Duo doubling over in laughter when he had first mentioned the thing to him--the dark figure un-hooked a device with a launching mechanism. He glanced up at the empty balcony just above him, judging the distance. Yes, he could make it, and the wall itself would provide plenty of handholds if he needed them.
Mission Status: Successful.
He was about to pull the trigger on his little device when a sudden sound stopped him. Blinking, and caught off-guard, he turned his head towards the sound. A ringing? This was not in any of his mission possibilities, and therefore impossible. He frowned at the sound--coming from a clump of vines directly under the balcony--as if asking it to leave his presence immediately so that he might regain his sense of logic. To no avail, of course, as inanimate objects took a while to respond to his death glare.
This would not do. This was suppose to be a mission comprised completely of stealth. The sound would attract the guards. Relena would not be too happy with him, either, if she woke up to find two comatose men lying in her garden under her window. That, of course, had been one of the main factors of why the sneaking figure had simply tried to avoid them.
Moving quickly to the little clump that was giving off the offensive ringing sound, he dug his gloved hand into the pile, immediately encountering a hard object. Withdrawing it, he found that is was a small, black cell phone.
He glared at it again before flipping it open and bringing it to his ear. He had thought about simply smashing the thing, but he wanted to deliver his threat to the person on the other end, first.
"I'm going to kill you." He said simply, knowing exactly who was on the other end.
"Hey, Heero!" Said Duo's voice cheerfully, and Heero closed his eyes and sighed. "Thought I might catch you there."
"Very funny. Now hang up."
"Uh-huh, one sec though-- Relena knows you're coming."
" . . .You're not exactly the perfect soldier anymore, buddy. Besides that, you've been acting weird all weak."
Weird? Him? Hmm. Re-adjustment of mission perimeters required.
"Does she suspect the mission itself?" Heero inquired, frowning. He had not been that obvious, he was sure.
"I don't think so. Hilde would've hinted at something if so . . . But she does know you're up to something."
Heero grunted, beginning to flip the phone closed.
"Duo . . . " Heero muttered in a warning tone, glancing at his wristwatch. He had a two minutes and twelve seconds exactly.
"I know, I know, but don't you think you're overdoing things a bit? I mean, you could just take her out to dinner or something--"
"The mission required something more direct."
"--Or if that's not your cup of tea, you could just knock on her door and ask, Heero. . ."
Heero grunted again.
"I know you're not exactly the most romantic guy in the universe, but for God's sake, you live in the same building! You sleep in the room right down the hall from her--sometimes, anyway--and wouldn't it be a bit easier to do this . . . I dunno . . . the normal way?"
"Goodbye, Duo." Heero flipped the phone closed, but not before he heard a sigh and a quick, "Good luck, buddy." Heero considered throwing the thing into the fountain, but knowing Duo, he would want to be paid for the phone. So, instead, the cell went into an empty pocket.
Heero glanced at his wristwatch and nearly growled. Fifty-two seconds. Cutting it close, wasn't he? Making a mental note to hurt Duo later, Heero took a few steps backward, craning his neck to look for a place to aim. Finally, he brought the device in front of him, held it in both hands, and pulled the trigger. A tiny anchor-like metal hook shot out, a cord attached to it, aiming for the railing. He tugged a bit after it had caught, then nodded to himself as it held. He hooked the thing back onto his belt before proceeding to shimmy up the wall, rather quickly, as he could hear faint footfalls down the path and around the corner, coming nearer. He reached the top and then crouched down, peering through the railing. Quickly, he yanked the dangling cord up after him just as two guards came around the corner.
Heero watched them go by, his gaze adjusted to the twilight. After they had passed the corner, Heero stood, pressed flat against the wall, his right hand less than an inch from the sliding-glass door leading into Relena's bedroom. Slowly, he peeked around the sliding-glass door and into the room, took a quick assessment and then pulled his head back.
The room was dark, of course. Darker shapes made up the furniture, and a slight glimmer from the far wall told him where her vanity was.
Mission status: Phase Two.
Carefully Heero inched his right hand toward the glass, not moving at all except for that. His gloved fingers caught the edge of the door handle and pushed.
He sighed. Unlocked. Would she never listen to him when he told her to lock it? Hadn't he just proved that an assassin could make it this far without alerting anyone?
Still, that was a note for later, and the mission definitely took precedence for now. He hesitated a moment, then slowly and silently slide the door open, turning inside and then quickly--yet still silently--closed the door behind him. He moved away from the faint light the window gave and into the shadows. Quickly, he slipped around to her bed, crouching as he reached it.
He smirked, reaching out to where he knew she slept.
Mission Status: Succe--
She wasn't there. Puzzled, he stood, glancing down. The bed wasn't made, and the covers were pulled back slightly, but there was no lump signifying a body. Meaning . . . well, she wasn't sleeping, obviously.
Puzzling. He glanced at his watch and pressed a button to make it show the time-- 1:27am. She should be asleep. Occasionally, she stayed up late to finish work, but he had made sure . . .
Suspiciously, he turned, scanning the room. Dresser, vanity, closet---Where was she?--bathroom (light off) bookcase, dark figure, phone--
Wait a minute.
But just then the aforementioned figure stepped forward, out of the shadows, it's arms folded. Heero frowned at it, but then it spoke in an irritated female voice.
"Why don't you start by explaining why you snuck into my room at one-thirty in the morning?"
Heero reached over and clicked on her bedside-lamp, bathing the room in sudden light. His eyes stung a bit as they were forced to re-adjust, but he ignored that and crossed his own arms over his chest, in imitation of the figure. This was unexpected. He was not happy.
Mission Status: Unknown.
"What were you doing hiding in the shadows?"
"What were you doing hiding in the shadows?"
Heero frowned. This was not working out. "I asked first," He murmured, finally.
Relena sighed and moved towards him, seating herself on her bed. She was in her nightgown-- the blue one that he liked, Heero noted.
She raised both eyebrows at him, leaning back to study him. Finally, "You pop out of the shadows enough . . . I figured it was time for payback. Besides, I spend too much time with you for you not to rub off on me a bit."
He frowned at her. The shadows was his thing. She was supposed to lie in bed, silhouetted by the moon, and he was supposed to appear by her side, gently wake her up, and--
Mission is not going according to plan.
When he didn't reply, she wrinkled her nose. "And you're covered in dirt."
Glancing down at the black outfit he wore, Heero thought he didn't look that bad. Irritated, he eyed Relena for a long moment, deciding to blame her for the fact that he was on uneasy ground, now. He was not about to admit defeat, however. He never failed a mission. At least, never did and then admitted that he had.
He began to take a seat next to her, but Relena shook her head frantically and pushed him back up. He blinked at her, and then she explained, "You're filthy, Heero. You need a shower."
"I am not."
"You are too."
Throaty, frustrated noise.
Then, "Heero, please will you at least explain yourself?"
Explaining required revealing the mission goal. And revealing the mission goal this early would result in mission failure. So, "No."
" . . You're acting like a sullen child." But there was more than a touch of amusement in her tone, and she seemed to be holding back a laugh.
Heero, however, found this even more offensive than her sigh. He frowned, assessed himself internally, then shook his head. He was not being sullen. "I am not."
"You are too."
Slight, muffled giggle.
She bit her lip, but she was smiling now. "All right, fine. You dressed in stealthy black clothes, snuck through the garden, crawled up the wall, let yourself into my room because . . . you had a sudden urge to touch my blue, embroidered sheets?"
"You were supposed to be asleep."
"But I wasn't."
Heero studied her. She was far too amused by this. But still, the mission hadn't failed yet. If only for the sake of proving Duo wrong-- That grin of his would be absolutely insufferable if Heero came to work empty-handed tomorrow-- he dug into one of the containers in his belt, withdrawing a small black box. Saying nothing, he tossed it to her, then crossed the room to sit in the closest chair. Crossing his arms again and leaning back, he glared at the lamp beside her bed. He was not being sullen. And if Relena had just cooperated, the mission would've been accomplished!
" . . . Heero?" Relena asked, slowly. At least she seemed serious now. He said nothing, and after a moment heard the small click of her opening the box. She gasped. "Oh, Heero . . ."
Curious, now, Heero turned his head towards her, lifting his eyebrows to gauge her reaction. Wide eyes, hand over her mouth, previous gasp-- surprised, okay, but did she like it or not?
"Does this mean what I think it means?" She asked, quietly, staring at the object in her hands. Heero blinked at her.
"Diamonds and black boxes usually do allude to an offer of marriage, Relena."
She said nothing, still staring at the ring--which Heero had taken forever to pick out and had actually driven Duo nearly insane, for a change, with how many stores he went to-- but he had finally found the perfect one, in his mind, and hoped that Relena accepted it.
She seemed to, but she still wasn't saying anything. Heero frowned, then stood, eyeing her.
"I . . .I don't know what I say. I wasn't expecting . . . " She trailed off.
Trying not to lose his air of confidence, he cleared his throat, bringing Relena's attention back to him.
After a pause, he said simply, "Before you decide . . . I should let you know, I'm a soldier. Even after so many years, I can still feel the wars. I'm not sure if I'll ever lose them. No, wait, let me finish. I still have nightmares of some of the things I was forced to do. I have blood on my hands, Relena, and it won't ever really wash away. I don't deserve you, but I do love you, and I'm willing to do my best."
That said, he let out a small breath and looked away from her.
"So." Pause. "How about it?"
She said nothing, though a small smile was tugging at her lips. Finally, she laughed slightly. "Since you're being honest . . . I have my own faults, too. I'm not the perfect White Dove the public seems to think I am. I have a temper, and I tend to be very stubborn. And," Her eyes sparkled in a serious way, "I'm a horrible cook. But I love you too, and I think I always have. So the answer is yes."
Breathing an internal sigh of relief, Heero resumed his former seat. Yes. She had said yes.
Phase Four: Honeymoon.
"Well . . . " Sally announced, striding into Wufei and Duo's joint office, "It's official. They're engaged. The papers are having a field day." She tossed a newspaper onto Duo's cluttered desk, headline proclaiming the Vice Foreign Minister's engagement.
"That's great." Duo glared at his computer screen. "You think he could've at least not erased all my recent files. I mean, he succeeded, didn't he? And that damn report on that asteroid belt in L3 took forever to finish!"
Wufei shrugged unsympathetically from his own desk. "You compromised his mission."
Duo huffed. Sally looked very amused.
After a moment, Duo sighed and decided to stop trying to finish re-writing the report for the moment. He dragged the newspaper closer and paused.
"You think that maybe now that he's engaged he's finally gotten a hint in romance?" Duo inquired, eyeing the front page.
"Who, Heero?" Wufei asked, looking up and raising an eyebrow.
Sally laughed. "Nope. Not a clue."