The Flaws of Perfection
Disclaimer: They ain't mine.
Author's notes: This is a short piece I was inspired to write, and it's been sitting on my hard drive for awhile. HxR, of course, a possible interpretation of the problems in a relationship between the two. I apologize if it's hard to understand for some readers; the language just flowed this way, and you're going to have to figure out what they're talking about on your own. n.n Kudos for anyone who catches the symbolism or the extent of the metaphors throughout the piece.
He had once asked me a question. It had been one of those questions where the corners of his mouth were turned down, his hands rested absent in his lap, and his entire posture was upright yet relaxed, as if every ounce of his energy intended to be spent on analyzing my response. I didn't bother to ask him what he meant; it was never like that, with us. We connected on another level; I knew what it was he meant to say even when he himself didn't, and vice versa.
I just smiled. "I'm waiting," I told him, my hands twisting expertly with strands of my hair, pulling them up and styling them atop my head. I watched his reflection through my mirror. "I'm just waiting."
I felt the intensity of his gaze belie the uncertainty in his tone. He was a soldier, always, and uncertainty was a weakness that had to be masked at all costs. But what many people forgot was that Heero Yuy was also human– a unique one, granted, but a human being none the less, and no human was forever unflawed. Still, he, too, did not ask me what I meant by my choice of words; he knew well enough, or at least enough to hazard a decent guess.
We sat in silence for a while as I finished with my appearance. However, the silence was not awkward; on the contrary, it was relaxing and comfortable. I called these our "in between moments", because they were in between questions and events and errands and life in general. These were the moments where we weren't going somewhere or doing something; we were just two people, sitting together, not afraid to let our beings merge and our thoughts float freely, uninhibited, between the two of us. They were peaceful moments, rare but treasured. In those moments, we had no apprehension of what the people might think; we had no barriers between us to tell us apart. It was just us. Heero and Relena. Relena and Heero.
In the other times, the barriers were all too tangible.
I envy my brother sometimes for his solution to a similar conflict. He had simply turned and left it all behind. He had cut ties, relations, any and all former duties entirely with his death. And his love had followed him right into the afterlife. They hadn't run, really, or hid from reality, because that implies purposefully ignoring one's purpose or responsibility. Millardo simply gave up all duties when he left; he abolished them the way sailors cut the ropes free from the ships so that they are free to glide to different waters. Once Treize was gone, he no longer had anything to hold him back. The one anchor called Noin that had forced his ghost to linger ended up removing herself to trail along after him. They were two of a kind; inseparable, much like Heero and I. And when society threatened to tear them apart, they picked up and left, to create their own reality in which they could be together.
If only it were so simple for myself.
Of course, that option had been ruled out for us long ago. He had asked me, once, only once, if I would consider going away with him, much like my brother had done. Fate is a cruel thing indeed to give me such an impossible choice. I think he knew my answer even before he asked me, but all the same, he had to voice it. Had to, so that there would be no mistakes or regrets later. Even after he heard my answer he just nodded and glanced away, his face giving away nothing. He understood. He understood better than anyone. That didn't stop me from wanting to cry, though.
For me, moving to Mars or the moon or any secluded place would definitely be running away. The world still needed me, as I was reminded day after day as my desk was swamped with new papers. I had far too many strings to cut without being cruel as I was cutting. Yet even though my shoulders were narrow and young, I never minded the pressure so much as to be willing to do anything to get rid of it. Back then, I could shoulder anything so long as Heero was by my side.
Heero was my pillar in life. For all the weight I held up, for all the pressures that bared down upon me day after day, Heero was the one to hold me up. Despite all the things I put him through he was always there when I needed him, without fail. Just for that, sometimes, I had to wonder if he really was human. His strength dazzled me, and I still don't see how he could always think I was a stronger person than he was. Perhaps we have different values in mind when we think of strength. Or perhaps we have the same, but we are blind to our own perfections, if not our own flaws. That is human, certainly.
Whenever they looked at us together, people could only see our stark contrasts; they saw the characters we played and what foils they were to each other. He was the tainted, bloodied soldier and I the pure, white Princess; he saw war as the only solution when I saw peace; he found solace in the shadows where I reveled in the light. I had been given a near-perfect childhood when he still woke from nightmares of his. I was bright and open when he tried to remain cold and aloof. Standing next to each other, we seemed like black and white, sour and sweet, cold and warm to anyone who saw only our outer shells.
They would never understand that Heero and I were truly the same being, once all the layers were removed. We were both selfish when it came to our deepest desires and selfless when it came to helping others; we both wore masks before the public; we both were single-minded and determined when it came to accomplishing a goal. We both, at certain points in time, were the only things to keep one another moving. We depended on each other the way buildings relied on support beams to stay standing. It was so much more than simple love; we were dedicated, connected, meant to be together like opposing puzzle pieces. We just fit. Sometimes I truly believed we were put on this world just for each other. Other times, I believed this world wanted nothing more than to make sure we were kept apart. More often than not, my reality held true to the latter.
Politically, the match was not correct. Aristocracy-wise, the match would be scandalous. I didn't care so much about my reputation, but Heero did. And he was right, in a way: so long as the world needed my image, I needed to uphold it. Everything was still so delicate, stabilizing so slowly. And even if there were some way for this, for us to happen without it becoming a scandal, I doubt Heero would adjust easily to the life. Being such a private and introverted person, I doubted he could deal with the same pressures of the bloodthirsty media, everyday, as I was forced to. He could not take on my life, and I could not take on his, so we were stuck. There was, as of yet, no possible middle ground. The entire world had to change before we could reach across the miles forced between us and touch.
Satisfied with my hair, I begin pulling on my various pieces of jewelry, taking my time attending to every last detail. In this in between moment, I had woken from bed and was on my way to a breakfast meeting– but I was in no hurry to get anywhere, because there was Heero behind me, a thoughtful look on his face, his head resting quietly against the backboard of my bed. He had one knee pulled casually up to his chest, an arm thrown out to his side and over the sheets, another tossed carelessly over his lap. His hair was a sexy mess as usual, his eyes lighter then normal, more at ease than they tended to be when we were in public. My hands moved to don my earrings simply by memory; in the mirror, I could only see him.
I knew he wanted to talk, and he knew I wanted to avoid it. But I am selfish, as I said. I loved this scene too much to taint it with words of what would, what might happen. I think Heero did as well, for he didn't push the subject, beyond a final statement.
"I think... maybe..."
Turning again, I smiled, the sunlight glittering inbetween us. "I know, Heero." I -did- know. I knew that he could no more voice the words he wanted to say than I could voice the answer I wanted to give. Putting our real thoughts– our doubts, our questions– into words meant making them solid. It would give way to more distant ground between the two of us, it seemed like, because voicing our concerns would make them that much more tangible.
So we kept quiet, he and I, in moments like these, and enjoyed each other outside reality– or should I say, in between.
We were neither of us perfect. As I walked toward him, I stopped at the foot of the bed, adding softly, "But maybe... someday."
He nodded. Standing, he adjusted his tie and then strode across the room to hold the door open for me. I checked my appearance one last time, preparing myself to don my mask. Heero already wore his.
I brushed past him, feeling the whip of air between our bodies. And as I stepped back across the border into real life, I turned back, unable to keep myself from delaying it one last time. I spoke into the space between our heartbeats.
"But I can wait."
Watching me, with one foot already on the threshold, Heero was silent. Then, finally, he murmured the words that released the tension from my heart, at least for a little while.
"So can I."
R&R appreciated. I would love to hear what you guys think!