The Convenience Of Marriage

The pairings were inspired by Maldoror's The Arrangement. Duo's drink was inspired by Sunhawk's Ions series, specifically Situations.

There were few sights quite as terrifying as Shinigami – also known as Duo Maxwell, when he was in a more congenial mood – with a pump-action 12-gauge shotgun and a smile on his face.

Relena Peacecraft's pink limousine was one of them.

All in all, Heero thought as he watched the limo pull up in front of him with rising dread, I would have preferred the baka.

At least looking at the braided boy's unrelenting black clothing didn't make him feel like he was going blind.

Sighing, Heero resigned himself to his fate, realizing that he must already have been spotted and wouldn't be able to hide. Rising to his feet, he tugged off his work gloves and dusted the dirt and grass clippings off his knees before turning to face the street.

The limo stopped, and its occupant exited in a flurry of pink skirts and ruffles. Heero was momentarily surprised to note that instead of matching her car, Relena's dress was a more sedate dusty rose shade. It was actually quite a nice color, providing a soothing contrast to the Pepto Bismol nightmare in front of him.

"Relena," Heero greeted the girl with a nod. He braced himself for her usual overly exuberant greeting – a hug harder and more uncomfortable than Duo had ever given him, and a kiss sloppier and less wanted than when that same pilot had gotten drunk on New Years Eve.

"Heero," Relena replied with a smile. She stepped forward and gave him a quick squeeze and had let go before Heero could even register that she'd hugged him.

He found himself blinking in bemusement at her. That had been…unexpected. Huh?

Not that he was complaining, you understand.

"I'm so glad you're at home today; I wanted to do this in person, but I didn't want to have to interrupt your work," Relena said.

Again surprised at Relena's consideration for his job – she tried at least three times an evening to get him to dance with her when he had bodyguard duty – Heero just said, "Commander Une refuses to let me work weekends unless there's a mission." Originally, he'd been angered by his employer's decision – mostly because he was wary of civilian life – but now he was grateful for her insistence.

He never thought he'd have reason to sleep in on the weekends, but he did now. Well, if one used sleep as a euphemism for sex.

Smiling softly, Relena said, "I'm glad. You work too hard, Heero."

Shrugging, Heero said simply, "Keeping the peace isn't easy." Relena should know that better than anyone; he was one of thousands of Preventers agents, though admittedly most were not as skilled as he. Relena was the only Vice Foreign Minister.

Relena nodded. "Speaking of peace…"

When it became apparent that Relena was not going to continue on her own, Heero sighed silently and gave into the inevitable. "Yes?" he prompted, making sure to keep his tone pleasant. He'd been in the middle of weeding the front flower garden when she had arrived – not that he really enjoyed it, but it needed to be done, and at least the sun was nice and warm, and the work simple, if tedious – and he needed to prune the roses.

"I wanted you to be the first to know…" Again Relena trailed off.

Heero was less patient this time, and, with a strained smile on his face, asked, "The first to know what?"

Relena gave him a flustered, wide-eyed smile, blushed, and burst out with, "Hilde and I are getting married!"

Heero's eyes went wide, and for the first time in his admittedly short life, he did a rather good impression of a landed fish. Floundering for a response, he blurted out, "You're gay?" Then he winced; he could have been less blunt. But then, tact had never been his strong suit. Still, Relena Darlian-Peacecraft, a lesbian?

Relena smiled in that way that always made Heero think that she was not only capable of reading his mind, but had a copy of the book. "I'm bisexual," she corrected him.

Explains why she chased me for so long, Heero thought with stunned ruefulness.

Relena's smug, knowing smile softened. "I know this must come as a shock – it did to me, too," she said. "Hilde and I have only been dating for a few months, but I know this is forever."

Heero thought that perhaps Relena had just shifted her fairytale, happily-ever-after focus onto a new dark-haired blue-eyed soldier, but did have enough control over his tongue not to say anything. Besides, Hilde was a lot less flighty than Relena when it came to…pretty much everything other than diplomatic situations.

But when the hell did they meet? A few moments of mental searching yielded up the fact that Hilde had joined the Preventers, and was often assigned bodyguard duty for Relena.

Better her than me, Heero decided. A genuine smile coming over his face, he pulled Relena into an abbreviated hug. "Congratulations," he wished her. "I hope you two will be very happy together." He couldn't very well say that he knew those two would be very happy together – he hadn't even known they were dating!

Relena squeezed him tightly in return, then pulled back. "So do I," she murmured, her smile dimming momentarily, before brightening once more. "We're certainly going to try," he said, once more her usual cheery self.

She's a bit more realistic too, I see. I wonder when all this happened? Heero wondered. This would teach him not to keep in touch with old friends – even if they were a pain in the ass.

Come to think of it, Duo is always the one to call me, Heero realized. He hadn't been a very attentive friend, always focused on his missions for the Preventers. He'd need to change that.

"Well, I just stopped by to tell you the good news," Relena said, bringing him out of his self-scolding thoughts. Taking a quick glance at the slim silver watch on her left wrist, she said, "And I need to be going. I have to go drop off the limo at the garage – I'm having it repainted," she said in answer to his look.

Thank Kami! "Oh?" Heero said, feigning polite interest – when in reality he was ecstatic. That stretch metal monstrosity was an eyesore; he couldn't think of any color that would be worse – for anything.

Heero mentally slapped himself at that thought. Never challenge the power of worse, Yuy.

A dreamy smile came over her face, one with which Heero was intimately familiar – it was the same look she used to direct at him. "I'm having it painted dark purple – the same shade as Hilde's hair."

She's really got it bad, Heero realized. Relena had never repainted her car to match his eyes.

Not that he would have wanted her to make such a gesture, but dark blue was so much better than that sickly shade of pink.

"Well, I must be on my way," Relena said, turning to go. Before Heero could even wish her goodbye, she had spun around, eyes going wide. "Oh! I almost forgot. Here," she said, and stuffed something into his hand. "Goodbye, Heero. Don't be a stranger." She kissed his cheek and opened the limo door, climbing inside with a wave.

"I won't, Relena," Heero promised. The door closed, and he and watched as the soon-to-be-no-longer-pink limo drove out of sight.

Wufei, who had prudently hidden inside the apartment until Relena had departed, finally deigned to stick his head outdoors. "She gone?" he asked, the nonchalance in his voice betrayed by his anxious visage.

Heero scowled at his boyfriend. "Thanks ever so much for leaving me alone with her," he said scaldingly.

Wufei shrugged, the hint of a smile playing on his lips. "You've had more experience handling her."

Translation: I have an easier time getting rid of her, Heero thought sourly.

"What did the woman want, anyway?" Wufei asked.

Heero hid a smirk. "She just dropped by to tell us the good news," he said as he entered their small house. He sighed contentedly as the air conditioning cooled his overheated skin.

Wufei raised one ebony brow as he closed the door behind his lover. "Oh?"

Shaking his head in amusement, Heero said, "Apparently, she and Hilde have been dating, and now they're getting married." Ha! Take that, Wufei, he thought as Wufei's eyes widened comically. Holding out the small cream-colored envelope Relena had stuffed into his hand before she left, Heero added sweetly, milking his revenge for all it was worth, "I think we're invited to the wedding."

"Well, that's convenient," Wufei finally said, once he'd shaken off his shock. He grinned widely. "And at least we won't have to worry about her reaction to our own impending nuptials."

Heero started to nod again, then stopped halfway through one repetition, shocked once more. "Our…nuptials?" he asked weakly. Nani!

Wufei's eyes narrowed and the left one twitched. "Yes?" he said, and his expression made it clear that the questioning lilt to his voice was only an inquiry into his partner's mental status.

"When did we decide to get married?" Heero asked, trying vainly to conceal his panic. Not that I really object…but isn't this a bit soon? True, they'd been involved during the war, but that was mostly just stress relief. It wasn't until they'd started working at Preventers together that they'd begun dating – and had only been doing so for not quite a year – and they'd only been living together for six months.

"You asked me last month, at the party Duo, Trowa, and Quatre threw to celebrate their own engagement…remember?" Wufei bit out, righteous indignation and anger seeping from every pore.

Heero vaguely remembered the engagement party. He'd been initially surprised that group marriage was legal on L4, but then that colony did have its cultural roots in the Middle East. He seemed to recall that after drinking several of the bright blue concoctions Duo referred to as 'Maxwell's Hellfire,' he'd been basically drunk off his ass, and very susceptible to suggestion. Duo had been even more bubbly than usual, dancing around in happiness, enthusiastic over his impending marriage…

…and had mentioned that Heero should think about settling down. Several times.

Heero was going to kill Duo. The God of Death was going down for getting him into this mess.

"I was drunk," Heero said, which, even before he got the last word out, he knew was the wrong thing to say.

"Yuy!" Wufei exploded, fire and brimstone burning in his onyx eyes. He was obviously incensed – he only used his lover's last name outside of work when he was really pissed. "This is an injustice of the highest caliber!" With that declaration, he snatched his sword from the display on the wall above the mantle. "And I shall not allow it to go unpunished."

Heero's eyes widened. Kuso! "Eep!" he squeaked, and pelted out the door and down the street away from his ranting lover. Duo… Omae o korosu!