Perfect Illusions

She's never been perfect.

Her illusions always are.

No Tupperware containers contaminate her fridge, no warmed leftovers are ever served for dinner. Somehow, the correct amount of food is always prepared, and her children always love it. Even the broccoli. They complain about it of course, but eat it anyway, and smile at her afterwards. So does her husband. So does her Heero.

And if he's just a little detached, a little far away, that's okay. He's a war hero after all. He fought in a Gundam. It isn't his fault if her dreams are too bland for him. She'll rescue him of course though. Rescue him from blood, and death, from fighting and life. She'll rescue him, and trap him in perfection.

A pinned butterfly, he won't even flutter his wings because he has nowhere to fly to. Not now, not when pacifism has taken won. Not when he has no battles to fight. She doesn't think of it like that of course. She wouldn't want to admit - even to herself - that he might stay with her simply because he nowhere else to go.

She prefers to call it love.

She prefers to lie.

Dorothy doesn't.

Dorothy always mocks her, but Relena used to that. Used to breathy sarcasm threading through insincere words that would be too saccharine to bear if they didn't fall from the lips of the ice-blonde girl who has never been her friend, but always been there. Heero and Dorothy don't get on well. She reminds him of what he's lost, and he's nothing but a weapon to her. A weapon to lash at Relena with.

Not that Relena is unhappy, oh no oh no. Why would she be happy? She has everything she wants. Queen of the World, with the boy she wanted and beautiful, intelligent children... she can't be unhappy. It must be Dorothy that is unhappy. Dorothy, who taunts Relena simply out of her own bitterness, for surely it can't be that Dorothy is telling the truth. Surely the Heero that Relena married is the same one she had pursued. The prince from the stars is her husband, not some young boy who had been broken and then remoulded into the shape of the Perfect Soldier.

She married perfection.

She is perfection.

She doesn't believe a word Dorothy says. She learnt long ago what a mistake that was. She's never quite learnt to ignore Dorothy though, which is what Dorothy wants. Dorothy loves the way that Relena is so frozen in her own image of what she should be. She loves to prove to Relena that she's nothing but a sugarspun dream of a young girl. Burning Relena into ashes with a single kiss, Dorothy makes her stronger and shatters her illusions. Not for long of course. Dorothy can't stay forever. She doesn't want to anyway.

No brave knight is she to storm a castle guarded by roses, lit by sunshine, and then carry off a princess trapped in her own dreams. Neither is Heero. Poor Heero, sucked into the castle when he was too naive to understand what would happen to him as soon as he entered the porticullis. Poor Heero, who was trapped in a fairytale by a single kiss bestowed upon him at the altar of a god whom neither he or Dorothy believe in. It's possible Relena doesn't as well, but she must appear to at least. And anything that Relena appears to be, she is. How can the Queen of the World be anything but pure and honest and truthful?

Dorothy knows how.

She knows how Relena can be dark and savage, raging with the anger of a creature whose dreams have been betrayed from the very start, whose dreams came true but turned out to be nightmares in disguise. Relena can kiss with hunger, with hatred, with everything but the love that she so sweetly proclaims to Heero. She can be selfish, cruel and stupid. So stupid. Stupid enough to think that Heero would love her, stupid enough to think that she loved him. Stupid enough to never stay away from Dorothy, to be the one to make the first move by needing Dorothy to be the aggressor.

Relena is stupid like that.

Dorothy doesn't care.

Heero doesn't notice.

He's in his own world, and Relena is no part of it. She has never been. She can keep him inside her illusion of perfection, but she can never really have him because the boy she wants is not the man he's become. That doesn't matter, she doesn't want the man he's become. She's content to let him wander around, and console herself with the illusion of happiness.

She's never been perfect but her illusion always was.

Author's Note: The change in tense is deliberate. You figure out why. winks