Disclaimer: The Gundam Wing characters do not belong to me. One of these days I really need to find out who does own the five lovely boys and their compatriots. Sometime before I go to Japan....

Author's Notes: This story is told half in flashback, half in "present day". I tried to make which is which clear, through word and paragraph seperators. I hope you won't have too much trouble; I have faith in you as a reader. Oh, and this is a stand alone story, having nothing to do with my "Broken Road" series. You proably figured that out though:)

Dedication: To my Mom, my Dad, my brother and my Grandma. In this crazy world, I've never had to look far to find love.


In a Family Way
by Kristen Elizabeth



October, AC 204
Colony L1-2150

Squinting her eyes, Relena Peacecraft-Yuy glanced up at the artificial sun that somehow failed to illuminate all of the back alleys of the L1 colony. The direct light was too bright; she stepped back into a shadow to avoid its painful glare. The man at her side noticed the movement.

"Are you all right?" Heero Yuy looked at his young wife with concern.

Taking his hand, she nodded in reply. "Have you figured out where we are?"

With a silent sigh, Heero looked down at the scrap of paper in his other hand. "This is useless", he declared. "We're on a fucking goose chase."

Relena squeezed his hand. She could feel his frustration; it was very uncharacteristic of him to vocalize it, though. "Maybe we should go back to the hotel and get some rest. Start fresh in the morning?"

After a moment of contemplation, Heero agreed. "You do look tired, kirei."

"Thank you, darling", she snapped. Her brush with anger faded quickly. "I'm sorry....you're right. I am a little tired."

Heero cupped her hand with his chin. "You don't have to come with me every day, you know. I know the doctor said you could, but if you're not feeling up to it...."

Relena threaded her fingers through his and brought them away from her face. "I want to be here." Raising her chin, she kissed him softly. "I need to be here for you."

"But, what about..."

She cut him off with another kiss as she took his hand and placed it on her slightly rounded abdomen. "I think the baby's siding with me on this one."

"I can't believe I'm outnumbered already." Heero shook his head, amused.

Relena laughed. Hand in hand, they began to make their way out of the dirty alley. "I'd say 'get used to it' but since it's definitely a girl, she's destined to be Daddy's little angel. She'll have you so wrapped around her finger, I'll never get a word in edgewise. Then I'll regret having said that."

"Sounds frightening", Heero said, truthfully.

Her elbow jabbed into his ribs. "I was thinking 'adorable' myself."

Having reached the main street, Heero held up his hand to signal for a taxi. "I don't have to tell you the idea of being at the mercy of someone who can't even hold up their head is...scary", Heero mumbled, almost too far under his breath for her to hear.

Relena thought for a second. "That's it. I'm shipping you to Duo and Hilde's for a week, sometime before the baby is born."

Heero looked down at her, incredously. "Why? What did I do?"

"If after spending a week with their brood, you don't come away with some appreciation for parenthood, then you are a lost cause." Relena's blue eyes twinkled in jest.

"There's a mean streak in you, kirei."

"And don't you forget it."


Relena woke from a dreamless doze. Although the hotel room's blinds had been closed, she could tell that the colony's artificial sun had been dimmed for the evening. With what little light filtered in, she focused on the figure of her husband across the room. He sat at the small writing desk, his back curved, face pressed into the piles of maps, newspaper clippings and official files that spread out in front of him...fast asleep. His ubiquitous laptop was open, but shut down.

Settling back into the pillows, Relena placed a hand on her belly. The knowledge that just inside her body was a tiny baby she and Heero had created, warmed her completely. She eagerly anticipated the day when she would be able to feel the baby kick. Solid proof that it was actually there, alive and healthy.

Right now, it was all still so brand new. She didn't feel she had been given ample time to comprehend it. The news of her pregnancy had brought so many things into their lives. Not just the anxiety of newly discovered responsibility, but questions that had never been answered. Questions that had never even been asked. Questions that had brought them here, to L1.

Relena closed her eyes, remembering.



July, AC 204

"Heero...I'm pregnant."

She watched as all color drained from her husband's face. "You're....you're what?"

Taking a deep breath, she repeated herself. "I'm pregnant."

His Prussian blue eyes lowered to her stomach, then lifted back up to meet her gaze. "But...we've only been married for..."

"Two months", she supplied.

"Are you sure?", he asked after a moment. "I mean...how long have you known?"

"I've been suspicious for about a week, but I didn't want to get my hopes up until I talked to Sally." Relena smiled. "She ran a few tests today....and it's true. We're going to have a baby in March."

Some of the shock seemed to be wearing off. Heero approached her and gently ran a hand through her long, honey colored hair. "A baby..." Suddenly, his arms wound round her shoulders, enfolding her in a strong embrace.

"You're happy, then?", she whispered into his neck.

He didn't reply, only held her tighter. After several long minutes, he pulled back. "Wait....you said that Sally knows?"

"Well...she did perform the tests, Heero."

"So...if Sally knows, then Noin knows...."

Relena smiled at the mention of her sister-in-law. "I suppose so."

"If Noin knows, then Hilde knows..."


"And if Hilde knows, then...."

Realization dawned on Relena just as the communicator lit up. Duo Maxwell's face filled the screen. "Heero! Relena! Are you there?? Hello? It's me!! C'mon....answer! This is big, you two....really, really big!! Heero Yuy...father extroidinare!! Hello? Helloooooo??"

His voice continued as the couple slipped quietly out of their room into the safety of the main hallway of the Peacecraft manor.


Much later as they lay in bed, bodies intwined, the night air from the open window drying the post-coital perspiration from their flushed skin, Relena asked him again. "This makes you happy, right?"

His fingers ran up and down her arm. "What...this?" His words were as impish as Heero Yuy could manage.

She lightly slapped his hand. "The baby." His fingers stopped, but he said nothing. Lifting her head from his chest, she looked down at him. "Heero?" Her husband turned his head to the side to avoid meeting her questioning stare. A lump settled into her throat. "I think that answers my question", she whispered.

When after a minute he still failed to look at her, Relena sat up, clutching the covers to her chest. "You know...if you don't want this baby, now is the time to tell me."

His eyes closed. "What makes you say something like that?"

"I'm not exactly getting an overwhelming wave of parental feeling from you, Heero." She paused. "Do you want this baby or not?"

He muttered something.

"Sorry....can't hear you", she said sharply.

"Of course I do", he repeated, louder than necessary.

Relena's stomach settled a bit. "Then why are you being like this?"

Finally, Heero's head turned. Sitting up, he pulled the covers from her hands, baring her slender body to the moonlight. "Ever since you told me about this baby, I've had one thought going through my head. Over and over again."

She found herself shivering slightly, from the night air and the intensity in his voice. "What is it?"

One hand slipped around her waist. The other covered her lower abdomen. "There's a baby here, Relena. Our baby. When he's born, his name will be 'Yuy'."

"Of course *her* name will be Yuy." Relena smiled. "That's as it should be."

"No!" His voice raised a notch; his eyes clouded over. "Yuy, Relena. Yuy. How can we give our child that name? It's nothing! It's a dead man's name that I was given for anonymity."

Relena's brow crinkled. "Heero? What's wrong?"

"I just...." His chin touched his chest; the hand that had been pressed to her flesh relaxed. "What can I give this child besides half his genes? I have nothing to give him. No history, no family....no name." His shoulders lifted helplessly. "Our baby deserves more."

"Oh Heero..." Relena gently stroked his temple. Laying back, she guided him down until his cheek rested against her breast. Her arms wrapped around him protectively. "Heero...you are so much more than you give yourself credit for. And despite what you may think, everything you are inside will be more important to our child than any name you can give her." She smiled again.

"I need to give our baby more, Relena." His fingers absentmindedly twisted a lock of her hair.

She stared up at the ceiling. "So...what are you saying?"

"I'm saying...." He readjusted his cheek against the soft cushion of her chest. "I want to know who I am." His hand slid between their bodies to cup her belly once again. "For him."


"Him", Heero reaffirmed. He was quiet for a moment. "I've never needed to know before, Relena. And now...I can't stop thinking about it. Who am I?"

She wanted to tell him who he was. Her husband, the love of her life, the father of her child. But she bit her lip instead. "Then...we'll find out."



She approached him quietly as not to wake him. His sleep had been so erratic since they had arrived on L1 almost two weeks earlier. It was as though being back on the colony had taken over his every thought to the point where even sleep was too much of a distraction from his mission.

Relena carefully reached for a file that lay under his hand. When she had succeeding in taking it without waking him, she brought it back to the bed and turned on a lamp. Heero lifted his head, but only to settle it into a different position.

Cautiously, almost reverently, Relena opened the file and spread the contents around her crossed legs. Preventer file #1167493, obtained from the conquered OZ alliance in AC 195.

She could recall the day she had seen this file for the first time, as clearly as if she were living it over again.



September, AC 204

"Heero...buddy...pal o' mine..." Duo Maxwell pushed his dark sunglasses back on his forehead. "If you don't stop pacing, Shinigami will be forced to do something drastic."

Heero shot his old friend a familiar, icy look. "Don't you have children to look after?"

"Several. Fortunately, they're inside the house with my wife. And your wife, I think."

"And what did Relena ever do to deserve that?"

Duo placed a hand over the breast pocket of his black, clerical shirt. "Ouch. A crack on the kids. There's no limit to how low you'll go, Yuy."

"I know this is an impossible concept for you to grasp, but I'm waiting for what could be the most important package of..." He stopped. "Never mind."

"Hey, I get it, Heero." Duo stood, shoving his hands in his pockets. "The file is going to be able to tell you a lot. But driving yourself crazy isn't going to get Wufei here any faster."

Heero slumped into a chair, willing his hands and feet to stay still. "He should have been here by now", he muttered.

Duo shook his head. "I never thought I'd see you this worked up. Remind me to be elsewhere when your kid is born."

"Don't worry....you will be." The braided man laughed and settled back into his own chair. Heero glanced over at him. "You think I'm crazy for doing this, don't you?"

His friend lowered his sunglasses back into place and put his hands under the back of his head to cushion the base of his skull. "Who the hell am I to judge you, Heero?"

"You think I should just let it go."

Duo's shoulders lifted. "You want to find out who you are."

"Yeah. Nothing wrong with that." Heero folded his arms across his chest. "Aren't you ever curious?"

"About what?"

Heero scowled. "About who you are, baka!"

Duo leaned forward on his elbows and turned his head, staring at Heero from just above the rim of his glasses. "I *know* who I am, Heero. I'm Duo Maxwell." He sat back. "And that's enough for me."

He said nothing. There was nothing to say. Obviously, Duo couldn't understand; in his childhood, he had known love and care briefly. Heero had not.

"Knock, knock?" The soft voice of Quatre Raberba Winner called out to them from the doorway leading back into the house. "Heero? Duo?"

"Out here, Quat-man!", Duo replied. In a moment, their blond friend stepped onto the patio, raising his hand to his sea-colored eyes to block out the bright sunlight. "When did you get here?"

Quatre smiled. "Not too long ago."

"Let the weekend begin!!!", Duo declared.

"Has it arrived yet?", Quatre asked when Duo had settled down once again. Heero's scowl deepened. "I'm going to take that as 'no'."

"Wufei's on his way", Duo filled him in. "All that time they've been searching for the file...and it was right there at the Victoria Base. Crazy."

"It was very nice of Lady Une to look for it", Quatre said, sitting down in another lounge chair.

Heero pressed the tips of his fingers together. "Remind me to send her a thank you note", he muttered.

"And a fruit basket!", Duo added, earning him another icy look. "Hey! Where's Trowa?"

"Relena sent him to bed a few minutes ago when she learned he was awake all night, piloting our shuttle." Quatre closed his eyes. "She looks really great, Heero."

Duo nodded, as though the compliment had been paid to him. "Four months of pregnancy does that to women. Having seen it four times myself, I know what I'm talking about."

"Going for a world record, Maxwell?" Chang Wufei's sarcastic words drifted onto the patio. Heero shot to his feet. The Chinese man joined his friends, a brown paper wrapped package in his hands.

The man in question laughed loudly. "Nah...I just married the sexiest woman in the universe. Can't keep my hands off her."

Wufei shook his head sadly. "It's positively dishonorable how little modesty you possess, Maxwell." His attention turned to Heero. "I hear you've been waiting for this."

Heero accepted the package that Wufei held out to him. "This is really it?"

"Absolutely every bit of information OZ gathered on Dr. J. The Preventers assimilated it into our files after the war, in case it might ever be needed. Honestly though, it's just been taking up space." Wufei crossed his arms.

Quatre watched Heero carefully. "Are you going to open it?", he asked gently.

Heero didn't reply, except to turn the package over and begin to work at the tape with his fingers. After a second, he pulled a thick, manila folder from the brown paper. Balancing it in one hand, he opened it. A picture of Dr. J greeted him; the man's tiny glasses stared at the camera, seemingly plotting against it. Heero shut the file.

"Heero?" Duo's voice was almost subdued.

"I'll look at it later", Heero announced. He glanced up at the sun. "It's lunchtime anyways."

"Food!", Duo bellowed, as though he were fifteen again. Grabbing Quatre's hand, he pulled the smaller man to his feet. Quatre was the only former Gundam pilot over whom Duo felt he had free physical reign. "C'mon!!"

Wufei and Heero watched as Duo dragged poor Quatre back into the house, braiding flying every which way. When they were gone from sight, Wufei turned to his friend. "I hope this helps", he said shortly, but honestly.

"It can't hurt", Heero replied.

The Chinese man studied him intently. "I don't know about that. Not knowing might be preferable to knowing."

"Easy to say when you know."

Wufei shrugged. "That's probably true. Just think about it though." With that, he followed after Duo and Quatre.

Heero looked up at the sky again. A cloud moved over the sun, temporarily shielding the ground below. The file in his hand was heavy. Whatever secrets it posessed, he was ready to discover them. After all, it wasn't just for his own sake now.

At least, that's what he was telling himself.

Reluctantly, he walked back into the house.


It wasn't until that night that he had a chance to open the file again. Relena was in the bathroom, getting ready for bed. Duo, Hilde and their troop had retired early; their youngest daughter, Grace, had come down with a cold. Wufei had returned to the house he shared with Sally Po. Quatre and Trowa had also turned in for the night. The manor was quiet again and he was, for the time being, alone.

He set the file onto his desk and watched it for a moment. Then, with a sudden, decisive movements, he grabbed it. The old Japanese man's picture stared up at him as soon as he lifted the cover; he quickly turned it over. OZ encoded documents lay underneath it, neatly decoded translations written in bold to the sides of each column.

Dr. J. Colony L1-2150. Engineer of Gundam 001, "Wing Zero".

Heero sighed. This was nothing new. He set the first page aside. The second and third pages, he soon found, were simply technical schematics of Wing Zero. They joined the first page in the discarded pile. The fouth page, however, held his interest.

Dr. Jyutsu Sakui of Earth. Post doctorate degree in Engineering Mechanics from Daigaku University in an undisclosed area of Eastern Asia. Moved to the L1 colony in AC 165. Joined the political party headed by Heero Yuy in AC 171. Present at his assasination in AC 175. There was no more information after that date.

Rubbing his temple, Heero turned to the next page. His back straightened. A badly photocopied birth certificate lay in front of him. He grabbed it and brought it up to his eye level. Although it was hard to tell, it was obvious the document did not belong to Dr. J. Heero squinted at the date. Early May....AC 180.

His mouth was dry. The date was right. He studied the rest of the document closely. In May of AC 180, a baby boy had been born to an H. R. at New Hospital on L1. There was no information beyond that on the mother and absolutely nothing listed on the paternal side. The baby, however, had weighed in at 8 pounds, 8 ounces with dark hair and blue eyes.

No name had been given to the child.

He set the document down with numb fingers. A cold sweat covered his body. There was little doubt in his mind that he was looking at his own birth certificate. The information was sparse, but it all seemed to fit.

"Well...it's a start", he said to himself.

"What is?", Relena asked from the doorway to the bathroom. She looked painfully beautiful in a peach colored, floor length satin nightgown, but as always, it was an unconcious beauty she radiated.

Heero closed the file. "Come here."

Relena approached him, surrounding him with the scent of honeysuckle. As soon as she was beside his chair, his arms snaked around her waist; his forehead came to rest on her belly. "Heero?" Relena ran her fingers through his hair. "What's wrong?" She glanced down at the file on the desk. "What did you find?"

He looked up at her. "I'm not sure yet", he replied truthfully. Without warning, he pulled her onto his lap.

She continued to play with the short hair at the back of his head. "May I look?" He nodded, before burying his face in her shoulder.

It only took her minutes to find the birth certificate. When she had looked at it for a minute, she shifted to see her husband better. "This is..."


A smile spread on her face. "Maybe? I'd say it's more than just a start."

"How many baby boys do you think were born in May of 180, Relena?"

Relena sighed. "OZ may have been a group of power hungry bastards, but they did their research, Heero. Why would they have this in Dr. J's file if the baby in question weren't somehow connected to him? Or the thing about Dr. J that they cared most about. The Gundams." Heero's shoulders lifted. "Well, that settles it", Relena continued as she replaced the birth certificate in the folder and closed it.

"What settles what?"

"There's only one way to know for sure." Relena stood up. "We're just going to have to go to L1."

Heero blinked. "What good would that do? All we have is very blurry birth certificate with no names."

"You said it was a start."

"I lied."

Relena propped her hands up on her hips. "Giving up a little early aren't you, Yuy?"

There was a spark in her husband's eyes. "Never."

"Good. I'll talk to Quatre about a shuttle first thing tomorrow." She turned to head to bed, but Heero caught her hand, holding her back.

"Relena..." He reached for the other hand. "You don't have to do this. I don't want to drag you into something that could go absolutely nowhere."

"It's a good thing you didn't say that when you proposed to me."

"I'm being serious."

Relena leaned forward and brushed a kiss across his lips. "When aren't you, darling?" She straightened. "We'll go to L1 and see what we find. If all we end up with is a vacation, so be it." Her eyes closed. "I know how much this means to you, Heero. And I know you won't be happy until you see it through. Now...come to bed and get some sleep."

Heero didn't argue with her. He simply followed her to their bed.



She replaced the documents in the file in their exact order. Standing up once again, she walked across the hotel room to Heero and put the file back where she had found it. He was still asleep; his sleekly muscled back rose and fell with each breath. To watch Heero sleep was to witness the one time when he had no control over himself. In his sleep, he was just as any other man. Unconcious, unaware, lost to his dreams.

Relena bent down and kissed his dark hair. "I hope they're pleasant dreams."

But, in her heart, she feared they were not.

She was right.


Of the dreams he could remember, the one he feared the most was the one that invaded every sense he possessed, the one that took ahold of his mind, weighing him down with its particulars, never releasing him until dawn. He never told Relena about any of the dreams; he certainly never told her about this one.

In the dream, he was eight years old. There was no reason why that age seemed to haunt him the most. Perhaps it was because, at that age, a child should still be a child. An eight year old should not be handling explosives. Or learning pressure points.

And no eight year old should have to kill.

Killing, however, was the theme of this particular dream. In it, every man, woman and child he had ever killed appeared to him. He could hear their cries for mercy, he could see the fear in their eyes. The taste of blood was in his mouth; the smell of gunpowder clogged his nostrils. A hundred hands clawed at his skin.

The sensations were not new. The dream had been coming to him in this exact way ever since the war had ended. He had hoped they would stop when he found Relena again and let himself accept her love in return for his own.

He had been wrong.

It was at this point in the dream when he would usually wake. This time, however, the crowd around him grew silent as they slowly parted. In the space that cleared, he saw Relena.

She sat in a rocking chair, a pile of embroidery on her lap. Her body, clad in a long, sheer white nightdress, was extremely pregnant; one arm cupped the large mound, fingers trying to caress the baby inside. Heero approached her cautiously.

As he came closer, she picked up the embroidery needle. "I wanted to sew his name on a blanket", she told him. A look of repulsion settled onto her face. "But he doesn't have one. You didn't give him one."

He said her name. "Relena....." Instead of replying, she stood and shook her head sadly, the sickened look still playing on her features.

Just then, her expression went from disgusted to shocked. The eyes that had held such contempt only seconds before, flew open. The embroidery thread fell to the ground; her hands clutched at her swollen belly as her back twisted in incredible pain. A strangled cry escaped her lips, unlike any he had ever heard before. Heero watched in horror as a grotesque red stain appeared on the front of her nightdress, slowly streaking down her legs to form a puddle of dark blood around her feet. The embroidery needle, now ten times larger, protruded from her lower abdomen. She looked up at him, the same fear as his victims in her eyes.

"Heero...", she whispered. "Look what you did now....."

"NO!!", he heard himself scream. "Relena!!!"


He woke to her shaking his shoulders. His head jolted from the desk. "Relena?"

"You said my name in your sleep. I'm sorry...I thought you were waking up."

Heero sat up and blinked to focus his eyes. His wife stood in front of him, healthy and intact. Her hand rested on her only gently rounded belly. He covered the hand with his own. "You're all right? The baby...he's all right?"

"She's all right." Relena expression became worried. "Are *you* all right, Heero?"

"I'm fine." He brought the back of her hand up to his mouth, running his lips across the soft skin. "What time is it?"

"Eight AM. I hoped you'd wake during the night so you didn't have to sleep like that." Relena pulled her hand away and placed it on his shoulder. She began to massage the tight mass of muscles located there. "Whenever you do, you pay for it in the morning."

Heero's head lolled forward as she worked out the kinks with practiced ease. It was just like Relena to know exactly what he needed. "Did you sleep okay?"

"I missed having you next to me." She kissed his ear.

He winced as she hit a sore spot near his shoulder blade. "I missed being there."

Relena gave his upper back a final pat. "Are you going to take a shower before we head out?"

Heero stood up and stretched. "Are you implying that I need to?"


He found himself leaning in to kiss her. It was the only way he knew to shake the after effects of the dream. "I can take a hint." He took her chin and guided her lips to his. Relena kissed him back, meeting his tongue with her own.

"Get moving, Yuy", she whispered.

"I'm moving."


The taxi drove them back to the neighborhood in question. Relena watched Heero's face carefully as helped her out of the car, paid the driver and turned to look at their surroundings. The section of Colony L1 that they were in was certainly not the part of the colony that made it into a tourist brochure. The streets were dirty, far dirtier than any Relena had seen in her rather sheltered life. The prevading color was grey. Grey, concrete street, greying buildings. Even the sparse patches of grass were monotone.

Heero took it all in without so much as an extra blink.

She threaded her arm through his. "She's around here somewhere, Heero. We just have to find her."

He lowered his head. "Maybe she doesn't want to be found."

"I can't believe that." Relena pressed closer to his body. "I don't want you to believe that either."

"Which do you think would be easier to bear? Not having a family? Or having a family who never bothered to look for you?"

Relena's grasp on his arm tightened. "I can't answer that. Besides....we don't know *anything* yet, Heero. There could be reasons..." She shivered. "We don't know."

Heero nodded, his only motion of acknowledgment and agreement. From his pocket, he pulled out the scrap of paper. Scribbled on it was the name it had taken nearly a week of interrogation to produce. *Hejini Raiha*, he thought to himself. *If you're here, I'm going to find you.*



One of Quatre's private shuttles took them to L1 a week after Heero obtained the file. Relena hated to bother Quatre, but Millardo and Noin currently had the Peacecraft shuttle on their second honeymoon. She was glad that they could take the time off to be together. Noin had confessed to her that she planned to use the time wisely; after nearly six years of marriage, they had yet to concieve the child they both badly wanted. Relena fervently hoped it was for lack of trying and not a biological problem. Her brother, despite his cool exterior that almost rivaled her husband's, would make a wonderful father.

A taxi took them from the space dock to one of the colony's more exclusive hotels where Quatre had made reservations for them. He seemed determined to make their time on the colony as comfortable as possible, perhaps to make up for the emotional stress he had to sense Heero was under. Relena was grateful for their old friend's insight and thoughtfulness and was sure that, deep down, Heero was too.

They rested for a day after their arrival, Relena at the hotel's spa; Heero, hunched over his laptop, committing the data from the file on Dr. J to his hard drive. Relena let him be; he had to have something to do. Heero could never sit on his hands when there was a mission waiting for him. Even when they made love that night, she didn't feel he was entirely with her, a fact she forgave him for instantaneously. There were tears in his eyes when his release came; he fell asleep soon afterwards. She lay in the dark, holding onto him.

He wanted to find himself so very badly that he couldn't see that everything he was, he had already found. In her, in their friends, in their child. Relena's sleep was fitful that night.

In the morning, a taxi took them to New Hospital.


"I think I should do all the talking", Relena said as the hospital's automatic doors slid open.

Heero looked at her strangely. "Why?"

"Well..." Relena chose her words carefully. "Let's just say that out of the two of us, I'm a tad more...diplomatic."

"I'm not going to hold a gun to a nurse's head, Relena." The words were sarcastic, but he squeezed her hand tighter to let her know he wasn't angry. The truth was, she probably was the best one to get information out of the hospital's staff. Relena could negotiate with anyone.

They approached the nurse's station hand in hand, but it was Relena who cleared her throat to attract one white uniformed woman's attention. "Excuse me", she said once she had it. "How can I gain access to the hospital's maternity records?"

The woman's brow crinkled. "We don't usually just let people walk in and look at our records, ma'am."

"I understand that, but birth records are generally open to the public, are they not?"

"What are you looking for specifically?" The nurse seemed unwilling to give in.

Relena disengaged her hand from Heero's and placed it on the counter. "I need to find out everything I can on a birth that took place at this hospital twenty-four years ago."

"Well..." The nurse spread her hands. "I'm not sure we can help you with that. A lot of our records were destroyed in the war."

"I see." Relena felt Heero's body tense. "Would it hurt for us to look? Perhaps the one we're looking for was spared."

"I don't know...", the nurse began. Suddenly, an older nurse appeared at her side.

"Can I help you?", she asked Relena as though she knew her younger co-worker was not. "I'm Caroline Morrison, head nurse."

Relena smiled at her. "Yes, we were just wondering if we could take a look at your records. Birth records, specifically."

Nurse Morrison looked her up and down. "You're Relena Peacecraft."


The older woman looked at the younger nurse. "This woman used to be Queen of the World", she informed her, quietly. She looked back at Relena. "Follow me. The records, what's left of them, are in the basement."

Relena and Heero followed her to the elevator. Heero slipped his hand back into hers. "Did I do a good job?", she asked him.

"As expected", he replied as they stepped into the elevator.

Nurse Morrison pressed a button and the doors closed. "You'll have to forgive Nancy. She's only been with us a short time. Thinks the records are some great secret." The elevator began to descend. "Truth is, they are accessible to the public. Especially you, Ms. Peacecraft. Yuy", she added quickly.

A sudden thought came to Relena. "How long have you been working here, Nurse Morrison?"

"Oh, I've only been head nurse for about eight years", she replied. Relena nodded disappointedly. "But, I was a maternity nurse for many years before that."

Heero bit his tongue. It would useless to ask this woman about his own birth. She had probably been witness to hundreds of births in her tenure; why should his stick out in her memories?

The elevator came to a sudden stop and the doors opened onto a long, shadowed hallway. Relena held onto Heero tighter as they stepped into it; to one side, marked with large, black block lettering, was the morgue.

"The records room is the last one on the right", Nurse Morrison informed them. "Everything that wasn't destroyed during the war was transferred onto the computer system. You'll find the mainframe in there, along with the paper copies." She was quiet for a moment. "On second thought, let me help you. The mainframe can be tricky to work with."

"I think I can handle it", Heero told her in a low tone.

She ignored the condescension in his voice. "No, no...I insist. It's my pleasure."

Relena caught Heero's eye over the top of the woman's head and winked. He returned the gesture with a nod of acceptance. The trio made their way down the long hall to the records room.

The nurse held the door open for the couple, shutting it gently behind them once they were all inside. Relena scanned the room warily; she felt Heero do the same. Long rows of high shelves ran back and forth, stuffed full of hundreds of seemingly identical files.

Inwardly, Heero sighed. The answers he sought seemed even farther away.

"Now, you said you were looking for records on one specific birth?" Nurse Morrison brought their attention back.

Relena nodded. "We think it might haven taken place in May of 180."

"At this hospital?"

"At this hospital."

The nurse bustled over to a shelf. "We file maternity records according to the mother's last name. What was it?"

Heero's hand tightened around Relena's. "We don't know", he replied. "That's why we're here."

"It may have started with an 'R'", Relena offered.

"Let me see what the mainframe can come up with." They watched as the older woman settled herself at the computer, located at one end of the room, and began pecking painstakingly at the keyboard. Heero fought to keep from pushing her to one side and taking over.

"You said May of 180 or March?", the nursed asked.

"May", Heero answered, clentching his teeth.

After several long minutes, the nurse's face lit up. "Ah, here we go. There are four records that match the criteria. Do you want me to print them off?"

Relena nodded. "Please."

When the paper was in his hand, Heero quickly read it over. "Sarah Rhineman, baby girl Joanne....Maria Rivera, baby boy Jesus....Kelly Reeves, baby boy Jonathon....and Allison Ricks, baby girl Samantha." The paper creased under the pressure of his hand. "I don't think this is what we're looking for."

Nurse Morrison looked crushed. "What do you mean? How do you know?"

Heero handed the paper to Relena. "The person we're looking for is probably Japanese."

"Oh." The nurse put her hands on her hips in thought. "Oh! Japanese? And you said the last name started with an 'R'?" Heero nodded. "How do you know that?"

Relena answered. "We found a document with the intials H. R."

"Well...if the person you're looking for is Japanese, that means their last name begins with an 'H'. Confuses the heck out of the newer nurses when they have to file, but it's culture, I suppose." She looked Heero up and down. "I'm surprised you didn't know that about your people."

Heero closed his eyes. "I don't have any people."

She seemed to ignore him as she began typing again. After a minute, another paper began to come through the printer. She ripped it off and handed it to him. "Only two files this time."

"Patricia Hayes, baby girl Victoria", Heero read. "And.....R. H. Baby boy."

Relena felt his disappointment seeping into her own body. "Heero....", she began.

He crumpled the paper in his hand. "I'm sorry to have wasted your time", he told the nurse. Still holding onto Relena's hand, he began to head for the door.

"Wait!", Nurse Morrison called after them. "There's someone you ought to talk to." Picking the ball of paper from the ground, she approached the couple. With a pen from her uniform, she scribbled something on the wrinkled sheet. "Sandra Simmons. She's retired now, but she was a maternity nurse long before I even came to work here. They say she remembers every woman who got wheeled into her delivery room. I don't know how much truth there is to that, but it can't hurt for you to talk to her. There's her address."



Relena wished her coat was warmer as artificial autumn air swept over them. They were walking down a long row of identical apartments that made up much of the colony's residential area. If only they had an exact address....

She bit back the thought. They had come this far, despite the odds stacked against them. There was every reason to believe they could go even further.

As long as they were together.



"Ms. Simmons?"

The old woman, shrunken in her advanced age looked up at Relena from behind aged spectacles. "Yes? Can I help you dear?"

"We...my husband and I...we'd like to talk to you about a birth that you might have been present for at New Hospital in May of 180." Relena pushed the words out with one breath, hoping that the old woman could keep up with her.

She underestimated Sandra Simmons. The old nurses' eyes sparkled. "You've come to the right place. I never forget a woman who comes into my delivery room."

Heero forced a smile. "So we've heard."

"Come in...come in", Ms. Simmons ushered them inside her apartment. When the door was closed, she gestured to an ancient sofa. "Please...make yourselves at home." Relena sat on the sofa delicately, pulling Heero down next to her. "May I get you something to drink?", the woman offered her guests.

"No, thank you", Relena politely refused.

Ms. Simmons settled herself into an armchair. "So...May of 180, you said." She pulled at her chin, lost in thought. "Twenty-four years ago....about as long as the two of you have been alive."

Relena smiled. "Exactly. Can you really remember the babies born back then?"

"The unique ones, yes." Ms. Simmons looked Heero up and down. "And I can tell the birth you're looking into was a unique one."

Heero remained silent as Relena filled the woman in on what they knew so far. "So, Nurse Morrison sent us to you", she finished. "She thinks you might be able to remember."

"Of course I remember it", Ms. Simmons confirmed. "Hard to forget a birth like that."

"What do you mean?", Heero leaned forward.

"Well...assuming it is the one I'm thinking of, nothing really stood out about the birth itself. The mother came in around midnight....labor lasted until ten the next morning with a completely normal delivery." The old woman closed her eyes. "What makes me remember it was the mother. Young....no father. No one at all to help her through it. And when the baby...a boy...was born, I handed him to her. And she didn't know what to do."

Ms. Simmons shook her head. "Never saw anything like it before or after. It was like...she didn't want to touch him. Like she was going to break him." She took a breath. "Beautiful baby, though. Japanese babies always are though."

"So...she was Japanese?" Heero wrung his hands unconciously.

"Raiha. That was her name. I remember because it was so pretty. I told her as much."

Relena took Heero's hand. "What happened after the baby was born? Did she take him home?"

Ms. Simmons nodded. "Sure. We released her two days afterwards. By then, she would at least hold the baby. Still, I hated to let her go so early. She needed a few days to rest and get used to being a mother. But what can you do?"

"What was the baby's name, Ms. Simmons?", Relena asked.

"If she gave him one, I never knew what it was. In the nursery, we called him 'Aka'. Someone told us it meant 'baby' in Japanese."

Heero's hand was clammy. "And you don't know what happened to Raiha after that?"

"She didn't give us an address, so no one could check up on her." Ms. Simmons thought for a second. "You know...now that I think of it, there was a man who came to visit her while she was in the hospital."

"A man? The baby's father?", Relena inquired.

Ms. Simmons stifled a laugh. "I rather think not. He was an old man, much older than she. My age, I'd say. And he was missing an arm. Had some sort of metal contraption instead."

Heero and Relena exchanged a look. Dr. J.

"Do you know what he came to see her for?" Relena covered their intwined hands with her other hand.

"I'm the one who let him into her room. He said he was from an adoption agency. Wanted to talk to her about her baby's future. I didn't think anymore on him after he left. After all, she left with her baby."

Heero closed his eyes. "Is it possible she could have changed her mind later and given the baby to him?"

"Now that I do not know. You'd have to ask her."



Heero looked down at the paper in his hand. A week. It had taken a week to get the name of this back alley street. A search through the entire H section of the L1 colony's communicator directory for the name Raiha had produced a number, but no address. The woman at the communicator headquaters had been reluctant to give any information at all, but after a bit of Relena's negotiating, she offered the name of a street that a Hejini Raiha lived on.

It was this street that Heero and Relena had been walking up and down for the past hour. He could feel his wife's exhaustion, even though she made no word or sound of complaint.

"Do you want me to take you back to the hotel", he asked.

Her back straightened. "No...I'm fine. Don't worry about me." *We're so close, Heero. How could you ask me to leave your side now?*

Heero looked up at the far off metal structures that encased the colony. "The lights will be dimmed soon. We shouldn't stay here after dark."

Relena held onto his arm. "You're with me. I'm not worried."

He was about to reply when, from an apartment a few yards away, a woman stepped into the alley, a garbage bag in one hand, a cigarette in the other. The woman was short, petite, and as she came into the light, Relena could see she was Japanese. "Heero...look", she whispered.

Her husband had already noticed though. She felt him take air into his lungs. "Excuse me", he addressed the woman with more politeness than Relena could ever remember him having used. "Maybe you could help me. I'm looking for a Hejini Raiha. Do you know if she lives around here?"

She puffed on her cigarette. "I'm your girl. What do you want?" When neither Heero, nor Relena replied, she continued. "You're not from that baka church, are you? Look...I've told you people, there is no god..."

Heero blinked. "You're Hejini Raiha?"

The woman's already slanted eyes narrowed. "Now it depends on who's asking."

He found that his mouth was completely dry. He could barely remember how to speak. Only Relena's arm intwined with his kept him going. "My name....my name is...Heero Yuy", he managed to say. "I'm your son."

She regarded him for a long minute, a blank expression on her face. "I don't have a son", she finally replied. "You've got the wrong woman, chibi shonen."

"I don't think I do", Heero pressed on. "I've done all the research...I know you gave birth to a boy at New Hospital twenty-four years ago. That boy...was me."

"Someone's given you the wrong information, aka-chan. Cause I've never had a kid." She dropped the garbage bag into the alley and took another drag on her cigarette.

Heero stepped forward. "Look at me." Relena blinked at the raw emotion in her husband's voice. Emotion that she herself had never been able to invoke. "I'm not asking for a lot here. I just want you to tell me....that it's possible. That you might be my mother."

"You're not getting it, are you?" Raiha dropped her cigarette and stepped on it. "I'm not your mother! You are not my son. I'm sorry to have to let you down like this, but you're not mine."

Relena winced as her husband's voice raised a notch in frustration. "I'm not an idiot! I can put two and two together enough to know that you're lying to my face." He took another step towards Raiha. "I was born in May of 180, wasn't I? You gave birth to me. You took me home with you." He paused. "You gave me to Dr. J."

"I don't know what you're...."

"Didn't you?!" Heero's fist clentched. "Just say it!"

"Look, I think you two had better leave." Raiha backed up into her apartment's door. "Get your facts straight before you start running around, calling people 'mother'. Don't bother to come back." She closed the screen door. "You're not mine", she repeated before closing the second, heavier door.

Heero was silent after she disappeared from sight. His chest rose and fell with labored breath. When Relena reached for his hand, he pulled it away abruptly. "That's it", he finally said. A bitter laugh bounced off the alley walls. "End of the line, baby."

"No, Heero." Relena reached for his hand again and once more, he pulled it away from her. "You can't give up so easily. You need to talk to her again. Maybe she'll...."

He cut her off. "What's the point, Relena? What's the fucking point? I'm nothing; I belong to no one. Least of all that woman in there." He laughed again. "I knew that coming into all of this. It was beyond moronic for me to believe I am anybody worthy of anything."

Relena fought back the urge to slap him. "You believe that? You honestly believe that?", she asked him, her tone low and deadly. His shoulders raised, indifferently. "If you do, you really aren't worthy of our baby." Her hand touched her stomach. "When are you going to get it, Heero? When are you going to see what is so plainly and clearly in front of you? Who you are....who you've always been...." She ran a hand through her hair to calm herself. "When are you going to wake up??"

Heero's glare was cold. "I wouldn't expect you to understand, Relena. You've had *two* last names."

"And you have one", she replied, just as coldly. "It's too bad that you're too hung up on ignoring it to accept it for what it is."

"We're going back to the hotel", Heero announced suddenly.

Relena shook her head. "You're going back to the hotel. I really don't want to be around you right now."

"I'm not leaving you here, Relena." She could hear some of her husband in the words, only shadowed by the old Heero she had been talking to for the past few minutes.

"You don't get a choice, Yuy. I'll be fine without you. I've done it before."

Heero's eyes narrowed. "Have it your way." Backing into a shadow, he disappeared from view.

Relena released a pent-up breath. Turning on her heel, she marched to Hejini Raiha's door.


"What the hell are you doing back here??" The voice of the woman who answered the door was like nails on a chalkboard. "I told you not to come back!"

Relena's eyes flashed as she strode into the cramped apartment as though she had been invited. "Believe me, this is the last place I want to be. But I have something I have to say to you."

Raiha plopped back down in her armchair. "I don't want to hear anything from you." She flicked cigarette ash to the floor.

"I really don't care what you want right now." Relena took a step forward. "I know who you are. I know you're my husband's mother."

She took a drag on her cigarette and blew out a mouthful of smoke. "I told you....I've never had a kid. Don't you think *I* would know if I had..."

Relena put her hand up. "Stop. It's all bullshit." Her use of the word surprised even Relena herself. "Look, you may have been able to stave off my husband, but I'm not that easily dissuaded. You're his mother, aren't you?" The woman refused to answer. "Aren't you?!"

"So what if I am? What difference does it make now?" Raiha's voice was small, a drastic change from the defiance of only a moment before. "It's been too long....too many things have happened." She took another puff. "I might as well not be his mother."

"But you are. And that's all he wants to know...all he needs to know." Relena shook her head. "How could you do it? How could you look at your son and tell him he doesn't belong to you when that's the only thing in the world that he wants to hear?"

Raiha looked up at Relena, curiousity in her black eyes. "You're pregnant, aren't you?"

"Yes. I am." Her hand went to her belly, protectively. "I may not be a mother quite yet, but I love this baby more than I love my own life. And if she ever came to me later in life and asked to belong to me, I could no more do to her what you did to Heero than I could kill her with my bare hands." Every muscle in her body was taut; her anger at the woman threatened to burst.

"Ah..." Raiha put her cigarette out and leaned forward on her knees. "But you're not planning on abandoning that baby, are you? You're not unable to take care of it...unable to love it the way it needs to be loved."

Relena's stomach turned. "Are you saying that's why you abandoned Heero? Because you thought you were giving him a better life?" Raiha raised her shoulders. "Do you have any, *any* idea of what kind of life you gave him by giving him to Dr. J?"

"A better one that he would have had with me."

"No." Relena took another step forward. "You handed him over into hell. You gave him to people who turned him into the perfect soldier. The perfect killing machine." She placed a hand on either arm of Raiha's chair, leaning over the older woman. "You didn't even try to love him. And you gave him to people who couldn't possibly love him either. You killed a part of him that almost didn't come back to life."

Raiha swallowed heavily. "It was the right thing to do...."

"It was the wrong thing to do", Relena retorted. "And you know it...don't you? That's why you couldn't tell him who you are. You're ashamed of what you did to him." The woman didn't reply. A deadly pause followed. "What is his name?"


"You heard me. When he was born, what did you name him?"

Raiha stood up, causing Relena to step back suddenly. "If you thought I was a bad mother before, you're going to hate me now." She took a breath. "I didn't name him. They asked me to, but I couldn't think of anything."

"But..." Relena looked at her, incredously. "You must have had him for awhile before you gave him to Dr. J! Surely you called him *something*."

The woman's face softened unconciously. "There was something", she whispered. "I called him 'Ben' every now and then. He seemed to like it; he'd laugh..."

"Ben? Why Ben?"

Raiha's eyes moistened. "That was his father's name. Benjamin..." After a moment, her back straightened. "Don't even ask me about him. There's been enough ancient history drug up for one day."

Relena looked at the woman. She wanted to hate her for what she had done to Heero, but all she found she could muster was sympathy. Heero's words played in her memory.

*Which do you think would be easier to bear? Not having a family? Or having a family who never bothered to look for you?*

"I have never felt more sorry for anyone in my life...than I feel for you, Hejini Raiha" She took a breath. "Your son....is wonderful. You almost ruined him. But fortunately for me and the people who care about him, you didn't succeed. He is strong and loyal. Indefatigable. He would die for me and our child. And he's capable of love. These things are a part of *him*. They don't come from you."

She moved to the door. "What makes me feel sorry for you, is that you don't know him. And you never will." There was a pause. "You know, I used to think that who we are is based on who we came from. Then I fell in love with man who had no idea who he came from. Now I know better." Relena opened the door, letting in a blast of manufactured autumn air. "From one mother to another....I hope you never forget that."

The door slammed behind her as she made her way back to the waiting taxi.


He was asleep when she let herself into the hotel room. Shaking off her coat, she approached the bed and looked down at him. His eyebrow twitched; he was lost to his dreams once again. After stripping down to her camisole, Relena lifted the comforter and slid in beside him, snuggling up against his warm body.

His eyes flew open. "Relena?"

"Shh..." She touched his lips. "I didn't mean to wake you up."

"You're back." He pressed a kiss into her hair. "You smell like cigarette smoke, kirei."

"You found me out." Relena ran her hand down his cheek. "I've been hitting the bar scene."

A chuckle escaped his lips. "Well....if it's just that...." The rare smile fell. "Relena...I..." He stopped. "I'm...I wanted to say I'm sorry...for before... I shouldn't have left you there....it was unforgivable."

Relena pressed herself against him even tighter. "I love you so much, Heero." A stray tear created a puddle at the base of his neck

His arm circled her shoulder. "What's wrong?"

She shook her head. "Nothing. I just want to make sure you know. And of course I forgive you. I would do anything for you, Heero. And I'll never, ever leave you."

He stroked her hair. "I think I figured that out when you agreed to come on this pointless mission with me."

"It wasn't pointless, Heero." She counted his heartbeat as it pounded in her ear. "Can you honestly tell me that you didn't learn anything?"

"What do you mean?"

Relena worked her hand into his shirt, warming her still cold fingers against his bare skin. "You came here to find out who you are, right?"

"Yes. But..."

"Tell me who you are, Heero."


Her fingers found a nipple and began to trace a slow pattern around it. "Tell me who you are."

"I'm....Heero Yuy", he began.

"Go on."

"I'm....I'm a former Gundam pilot."

Relena's hand retreated to start on the buttons of his shirt. "Yes."

"I'm one of the more dangerous men in the universe."

She chuckled. "Okay..."

"I'm...." He watched as she undid a third button, then a fourth. "I'm your husband."


"I'm...about to grab you and roll you onto your back."

Relena's eyes sparkled. "In my delicate condition?"

Heero's eyes closed as realization, long absent, settled in. "I get it, Relena." He opened them again to look at her. "I know who I am. I should have known all along." His lips found hers in a long, soulful kiss. "What would I do....who would I be without you?" His kisses moved from her mouth to her neck.

Tears threatened to spill onto her cheeks. "You'd still be you. No one can ever take away what is yours inherently." She caught his head in her hands, forcing his gaze upwards. "No one can take away Heero Yuy...except Heero Yuy. Just as no one can take credit for creating Heero Yuy except Heero Yuy."

"Heero Yuy...." He trailed his fingers down her spine. "....is a lucky son of a bitch."


Heero kissed her right breast, then her left. "He fell in love with someone who's seen his best and seen his worst....and accepts both."

The tears fell despite her efforts to hold them back. "She doesn't just accept both. She loves both."

"That's what I'm going to give our baby, Relena." His lips played on her stomach before lowering to gently kiss her very slightly swollen belly. "Loving the best and the worst of whoever he is."

"She is."

Heero raised an eyebrow. "We'll see."


March 27, AC 205

"I can see the head!", Sally Po declared. She glanced up from between her patient's legs.

Heero looked at his struggling wife. "Did you hear that? He has a head."

Gritting her teeth, Relena somehow managed to hold back all sarcastic remarks. "SHE!! *She* has...a head!!"

"Relena....it won't be too much longer. Just a few more good pushes." Sally gave her a warm smile. "You're doing great."

The pain was building. Relena grasped onto Heero's hand as tightly as she could. He barely flinched. Sucking in a huge breath, she pushed with all her might. A scream escaped her lips after a long moment of silent effort. She released the breath.

"Very good", Sally remarked. "One more, Relena. Just one more."

Heero turned his face into her neck. "You can do this", he whispered.

Relena nodded. Gathering every ounce of her strength, she prepared to push their child into the world. In only minutes, she would be a mother...for the rest of her life. She was ready. Heero's hand was warm in hers. He was ready.

The delivery room resounded with a loud scream of pain, immediately followed by the strangled cry of a newborn infant. Relena opened her eyes to see Sally hold up a tiny, wrinkled infant. "It's a boy!", she announced.

Exhausted though she was, Relena began to laugh. Tears coursed down her cheeks. She looked up at her husband who had been shocked into a near catatonic state. "You win, Yuy", she managed to say. "It's a boy." Heero said nothing, only continued to stare at the baby. "Is he okay?", Relena asked Sally.

Sally laughed. "The baby's fine. As for *him*...well, he's doing better than Duo did when Hilde gave birth to Abigail. At least he's still concious." She carefully laid the baby on Relena's stomach and approached Heero with a pair of surgical scissors. "Hey...daddy." He blinked and looked at her. "Ready for your big job?"

He took the scissors from her and slowly began to cut the cord that still connected the child to Relena's body. When the task was complete, he brushed a bead of sweat from his forehead. Sally took the scissors from him. "Would you like to hold him?"

Heero nodded and cleared his throat. "Yes...I would."

Sally reached for the sterile baby blanket a nurse handed her. Wrapping the infant in it, she placed him in his father's arms. After a second of looking at father and son, she made her way back to Relena's side. "All right, honey. I know you're tired, but there's one last push you have to make..."

Their exchange was lost to Heero as he examined the impossibly tiny baby. His face was red and wrinkled, but Heero could still make out the child's perfectly formed features. Nose, mouth, ears, eyes...all in the proper spots. He fought back the urge to count toes and fingers. The baby opened its mouth and closed it in what could pass for a premature yawn.

Heero smiled at his son. "Hello", he whispered. He turned and looked back at Relena. "I'm a father."

Relena's eyes shone. Her arm lifted, beckoning to him. Heero walked to her and gently transferred the baby to her arms. Kneeling, he put his arm around her shoulder and delicately touched the baby's cheek with his free hand. "Thank you", he told her. "Thank you for making me a father." He kissed her forehead.

Sally watched the new parents with a tear in her own eye. Clearing her throat, she addressed them. "Does this beautiful little boy have a name?"

The couple exchanged a look. Relena finally answered Sally. "Benjamin. Ben."

Heero's brow crinkled. "Ben? I thought we had agreed on William for a boy."

"I like Ben."

After a second, Heero's face relaxed. "So do I." He looked back at the baby. "Welcome to the world, Benjamin Yuy. I think you're going to like it here." His gaze met Relena's. "I do."

Relena closed her eyes, a smile on her lips. "I do, too."


The absence of his body next to hers woke Relena up. Her hand searched his half of the bed; her eyes slowly opened when the hand found nothing except his lingering warmth on the sheets. She sat up and blinked the sleep from her eyes. A glance at the clock told her it was well past midnight. With mounting concern, she pushed the covers from her legs and stood up.

The Peacecraft Manor was frighteningly quiet in the extremely early morning hours. She hugged her arms around her body for warmth as she made her way down the hallway. It was strange. She still expected to have to stretch her arms to do so, as though she were still pregnant. After over a month, she had yet to get used to her old, slender figure.

His voice reached her ears, causing her to stop in her tracks. The sound was coming from the nursery. As quietly as possible, she crept to the nursery door, finding it open just a crack. She opened it a bit more to get a better look inside.

In the soft, muted light of a baby's lamp, she saw her husband, standing by the white wood crib, their son safely and securely asleep in his arms. He was talking to the sleeping child in a low, soothing tone. Relena strained to hear what he was saying.

"....so I asked her to marry me. I didn't think she'd say 'no', but I was still terrified. You'll know what I mean when you're older. A lot older." Heero lifted Ben a little, resettling him against his shoulder. "And that's the whole story. Well....at least as much as I can tell you right now. I'll tell you more someday." He paused; Relena froze, worried that he had sensed her. After a moment, he continued. "What I want you to know right now is that you are someone....very special. You have a name you can be proud of. And you have a family who loves you more than anything else in the world."

Relena pressed a hand to her mouth as tears began to fall.

"It took me a long time to be proud of who I am. I probably never would have without your mother. And now you." Heero closed his eyes. "You don't ever have to worry about me leaving you. 'Cause it's never going to happen." He dropped a soft kiss onto his son's head. "I love you and your mom way too much to ever leave."

The hallway was just as dark and quiet as before, but as Relena walked the short distance back to the bedroom, somehow, it was anything but frightening.