A/N: Some 1xR for the masses. I enjoyed writing this one. Angsty/fluffy romance. Note: Major LIME warning, so this one's rated mature.
This was written with an idea of what Heero and Relena could be like years after the end of Gundam Wing when they are adults and in charge of themselves. It's a stretch, but…you'll see.
It's also an early birthday present to both Mizaya and kmf! Love you, ladies! Have wonderful birthdays!
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing and am not making any profit from this fan fiction.
Best of Strangers
The sky was darkening in the middle of the day, and that suited her perfectly. Here, in the old, cobblestone streets, people scurried toward homes or workplaces, thinking they should beat the rain that would certainly arrive shortly. She could see the Danube from the patio of the café she sat in; to her, it was a rushing water road bringing trade and goods and history to this centuries-old town of Vienna.
She had chosen the café for its unpopularity. It was nice enough, but there was no extravagance to it, so most tourists hunted refreshment elsewhere, and the locals were all in school or at work. There were a few solo customers who were, like her, enjoying the graying scenery with a cup of coffee and a muffin or a bagel. The day demanded this; lazy late brunches and sitting around doing nothing.
Of course, as the ESUN's Vice Foreign Minister, Relena Darlian was rarely allowed the luxury of doing nothing. For now, she was alone but occupied with paperwork that needed seeing to even though she was technically on vacation.
Relena was given one vacation a year, during the fall. It was painfully short, just a little less than a month (September), but she used it to her full advantage each time. She always chose a spot outside the Sanq Kingdom but still in Europe so that she was not too far away in case something happened and she was called back. Also, she was not such a big deal in Europe. People were used to her here, in this continent where music and art were almost always favored over politics. Though she was cautious, normally wearing sunglasses or styling her hair in a casual way (today it was loose and straight) so that she went mostly unrecognized, she never worried that the media would break up her relaxation time.
In her hand was a plain black pen that kept making notes in document margins, often followed by her signature on straight lines. With a smile, she thought as she always did that it felt odd to be working in such an aesthetically appealing place. If things had gone differently in her life, perhaps she would now be writing poetry instead of working out ways to smoothly export goods from Earth to the Colonies without taking up citizen travel routes.
Relena mentally shrugged. She had never been good at poetry anyway. And if she was honest, she wasn't here to do work at all. She was simply passing time until…
The rain began then. It started in trickles; drop, pause, drop drop, pause, drop. Then it came harder until it poured, rolling off the roof that covered her head and falling to the street like little silver needles. It would be cool and refreshing on her skin, Relena thought, with a promise of getting icy in a few weeks' time. The evening temperatures were already compelling her to wear a light jacket.
The world stayed the same around her except for the fact that it was growing wetter by the minute and the few remaining passersby were scrambling to put up umbrellas. She leaned over her work once more, scribbling suggestions and underlining points she thought important. Relena had just wrapped the fingers of her left hand around her Styrofoam coffee cup to take another sip when a shadow fell over her.
The pen fell from her right hand and her left drew away from the cup as she looked up. On the other side of the cloth-covered table, she saw first a pair of lean hips covered in casual blue jeans held up by a black belt that was just visible from beneath the hem of a button-down white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up to reveal dark forearms and strong hands. Relena's eyes paused momentarily on the hands, which rested on the edge of the table as though not daring to get any nearer to her. After being satisfied by the sight up them, she continued her assessment by noting the flat stomach and broad chest beneath the slightly damp shirt. He must have gotten caught in the rain for just a moment. Her gaze finally landed on a pair of eyes, several shades darker than hers, but just as blue.
Her pulse jumped and her heart quickened. Relena had to swallow before she could smile. Every year her reaction to him seemed to only intensify, and she was never sure if that was a good or bad thing.
It pleased her that her voice, at least, remained unrevealing of her sudden emotion as she spoke. "Hello, Heero."
Upon her saying his name, those deep blue eyes seemed to darken like the sky had beneath the fringe of untamable mahogany hair that looked nearly black while wet.
Heero Yuy said nothing for a moment, which is what he did every time he first saw her. Like Relena, he first had to perform a quick study. It had, after all, been a whole year since they had last laid eyes on each other.
What did he see, wondered Relena, while he looked at her? Could it be anything as relieving for him as looking at him had been for her?
Heero wasn't sure if he would call the feeling he was presently experiencing "relief." He might have labeled it "approval" or even "arousal," if it came to a physical point. As it was, he much preferred to simply relish the feeling of being near Relena Darlian rather than analyze it.
He took in the relaxed professionalism she expressed through her choice of dress – the ankle-length, full-circle lavender skirt that he could picture swishing around her legs as she walked went well with the sleeveless, collared black blouse that accentuated the thick fall of her sun-colored hair. She wore plain gold hoops in her ears, and he caught a glimpse of a gold chain that had tucked itself behind the neckline of her shirt. He couldn't see her feet but imagined that she wore sophisticated heels that would still manage to be comfortable while walking. She was always classy in dress and in manner. Twenty-four looked good on her. She was always so damn beautiful, and never once had Heero been able to fully handle it.
His scan of her complete, he allowed the corner of his mouth to turn upward fractionally. Smiling was still not something he was accustomed to doing on a regular basis. "Relena."
She stood up and began gathering the files she had been paying attention to. "You're a little early," she started, her face perfectly composed. "I didn't expect you in from L1 for another twenty minutes or so." Heero watched, fascinated, as her hands fluttered over the large manila envelope, over the lid of her coffee, and brushed over the leather of her purse, as though she expected it all to disappear on her without warning. It was the closest to being outwardly flustered that Relena would ever be. "Would you like lunch?" she went on, her eyes darting up to his for only half a second. "There are some terrific bagels in this—"
He cut her off abruptly by reaching across to the table and grazing his middle and index fingers over the wrist not wearing her designer watch. When her gaze flew up to his, he kept it there with a deep look and came around the table until he was right in front of her.
Heero said nothing, only moved his fingers from her wrist to the gentle curve of her jaw and tipped her face up to his. He wanted to savor her; the coolness of her skin, the texture of the few strands of hair that clung to his knuckles. His eyes reluctantly closed right before hers did. Their lips, which were colored light pink from no doubt her favorite lip gloss, met so slowly that the friction was torturous and reminded him of other times that had been faster, hotter. And even now a simmer began just below the surface of his flesh, through each vein. He could feel the breath leave her in one, swift rush, and he fought not to deepen the kiss too quickly.
But he wanted to, wanted to, wanted to.
It was a good thing she had set down her envelope and coffee seconds before he had touched her or else she might have dropped them. Her free arms lifted to patiently twine around his neck, pulling them closer. In the end, it was she who took the initiative, touching the very tip of her tongue to his lips, which parted for her with some eagerness he was unable to suppress. And she tasted like coffee and toasted wheat with a dash of cinnamon from her bagel. Beyond that, it was the taste of her that managed to intoxicate him within the space of a second.
The scattered others sitting on the café patio didn't mind them. Europeans were used to lovers. The problem was that even with this third annual meeting, Heero wasn't yet used to being a lover, not in the proper sense of the word. Although that thought – or any, for that matter – wasn't currently filling his mind, it had been his whole focus on the shuttle ride from space down to Austria.
All too soon, Relena's hand lowered from his neck to his shoulders, tenderly pushing him away. The kiss broke, and she gazed up at him; she was still a few steps away from dreamy-eyed, but he would fix that before the day was through.
"You're wet," she murmured, one finger edging the damp collar of his shirt.
He noted that she certainly didn't seem to mind getting herself wet while pressed against him, and he was forced to store away thoughts of running showers lest he need a cold one right away. "What room did you check into?"
"Suite 605 in the Palais Coburg Hotel," she told him, taking advantage of the distracting question to step out of his arms and pick up her things. "What room did you send your things to?"
"It's behind the lobby counter right now. I'll pick it up when we get there." And he tried not to think of the most-likely gorgeous king-sized bed with the feather pillows and silk sheets that she preferred. It wasn't the luxury he was looking forward to so much as the fact that it would be her bed.
"Alright," she agreed readily. This would be an easy accommodation; they were getting better at this little meet-and-greet. "It's only a few blocks away. And the rain's letting up." Slinging her purse over her shoulder, she smiled up at him. "It's just a quick shower. The rest of the month is supposed to be fairly sunny."
"We can come back here tonight if you want."
Relena shook her head. "In the morning. I don't want to walk while the stars are out."
A nearly-imperceptible lowering of his eyebrows gave away his puzzlement, but of course Heero said nothing.
Together, they stepped out from under the cover that the café provided and began the short walk back to the Palais Coburg Hotel. Vienna welcomed them with quiet streets and beauteous architecture. This world was blend of the artistically pleasing things in life; opera, music, theatre, dance. There was nothing celebrated the same way a Viennese waltz was.
But Heero and Relena were not here to see the city so much as they were here to see each other. And as it was only the third time they had been in contact with each other in as many years, there were constantly small signs of attachment being shown. A brush of guiding fingers to an elbow, a softly-spoken word of direction. It was impersonal as of now. They would wait until they were completely alone.
But that didn't stop Heero from boring his eyes into the top of Relena's head, and it didn't keep Relena's hands from tingling with the yearning to touch him, to feel proof that he really was there.
When they finally arrived at the hotel, two hearts had begun to beat just a little faster. They paused at the counter to retrieve Heero's luggage, and Relena smiled when she saw that he had brought with him no more than a medium-sized duffle bag and a laptop computer case.
He followed her into an elevator with shiny, gold-plated walls that reflected their tense forms. On the ride up, Relena occasionally shifted her manila envelope from one hand to the other while Heero's jaw seemed to increasingly tighten as the seconds ticked by.
Twelve stories above the cobbled streets outside, Relena led him to a set of double doors at the end of the floor. She had rented out the penthouse suite, of course. Not because she wanted it but because that was what was expected of the Vice Foreign Minister – finding extravagance wherever possible.
She swiped a card key taken from her purse through the encoded lock and pushed open one door. They went inside, one after the other, and Relena crossed through the foyer to the little parlor (the suite was about as large as a sizeable flat) to set down her purse and files on a small counter. She heard a small thump as Heero set his luggage down by the door, and then she heard a light click as the door shut behind him. She took a breath–
—and could not finish inhaling before Heero was behind her, his hands closing around the narrow curve of her hips. He spun her around so that she faced him and her back was to the counter. Relena had only half of a moment to register the heat in his eyes before he seized her mouth with his own. Immediately on fire, she brought her arms up to hold him tightly around his back, pulling him closer. She gasped when he slid his tongue into her mouth and moaned in protest when he ended the kiss just as quickly to drag his lips from her jaw to her ear.
He knew all of the places that would make her putty in his hands. For the most part, Relena liked to think it was the same for her toward him, but it had been a year. Testing was required. Just as he was letting his hands roam from her hips to the middle of her thighs, strong fingers already starting to bunch up the material of the long skirt she wore, Relena let her own hands slide up beneath the cotton of his dress shirt, and she pulled her fingertips from the range of muscles at his back around to the training-hardened abs at his stomach. He inhaled sharply at her ear when she slowly stroked the sensitive flesh there, and Relena might have smiled if she currently had the focus.
Energized and more than aroused, Heero pressed her against the counter and forced himself to let go of her skirt. If they kept this up, they'd be on the floor before either of them even glanced at the bedroom, and although his libido protested loudly, he didn't want their first time this year to be so rushed. There would be dozens of other chances. Relena wasn't helping with his progress, however, by dropping little closed-mouthed kisses to his neck and starting to undo the buttons of his shirt.
Taking it upon himself to secure a change of location, Heero took her hands and put them around his neck before kissing her. In the next moment, he had slid his hands beneath her and then she was up, her legs wrapped around his waist.
He carried her into the bedroom, the act not so romantic as it was hurried, and in the dark he deposited her among satin sheets and down pillows. She reached for him, and Heero lay down beside her on the bed in time for Relena to pull the shirt off of him and toss it to the floor below. So much for taking it slowly. He tucked her against him and distracted her with teeth and tongue as he pulled her own blouse over her head, taking in the sight of her flawless skin against glossy blankets, covered by a black bra of lace that had him wanted to nip and tease. The necklace she wore had gotten turned so that whatever hung from the gold chain was behind her neck.
He remembered too late that Relena enjoyed torturing him about as much as he enjoyed making her crazy. Before he could get a good grasp on her, she had pushed herself further up to bed to switch on a bedside lamp and pull down the thick covers. He chased her, and there was a faint tinkling of her laughter before he silenced her with bruising kisses and pleasing hands.
"Heero..." she breathed when he broke away for air.
She was the closest thing to an angel he had ever seen. And while he did not truly believe in such things, Heero had always believed in Relena. She had risked her career and reputation three times now to come to a popular city and meet him like this. And every time she gave herself to him without conditions or assurances.
But it had been an easy choice for Relena to make. He had gone away for years, living and working in outer space while she gave her life to an always unstable peace. But then he had contacted her one day through simple e-mail and said he wanted to see her. She had been shocked, of course, because as far as Relena had known it had always been the other way around.
They had met in London. They had had dinner and discussed their work, although Heero had kept his mostly secret. They had passed time before he had walked her to her hotel with intent to see each other a couple more times before Relena's vacation ended. But Heero had not left that night or any night before she had been forced to leave for the Sanq Kingdom again and he had been compelled to return to L1.
She had fallen in love with him and had kept it to herself for three years. They had decided to meet once a year and the following September, he had joined her for a walk by the Seine in Paris, only to stay by her side as long as he was allowed to.
They shared bodies, they shared minds, but they had yet to share hearts. In that way, they were still completely unknown to each other. And while it was true that Relena suspected she knew Heero Yuy better than anyone else, he had never told her much about what effect the war had had on him or how he reacted to this peace they had forged. He had never spoken of his past or, for that matter, what he wanted for his future.
As for Relena, she always thought she was an open book to everyone, but there were hidden chapters that were only shown to Heero. Yet because she never explained how she felt to him, Heero couldn't read those chapters.
They were, in a way, the best of strangers.
Heero was frustrated as he struggled with the hook-and-eye fasteners of her bra – he had never gotten very good at undoing them. Eventually Relena's grew impatient as well and reached behind her own back to help him. He rested his chin on the smooth slope of her shoulder to watch and relearn when he saw something glint at her spine. He focused his eyes to better see what the shiny thing was.
He immediately pulled away, relinquishing all contact with the woman that he was thirsting for and was thirsting for him. Confusion pulled a dark hood over Heero's eyes and he stared at her, his eyes darkening with something other than lust.
It took Relena a moment to catch up with him, but once she realized that the heat they had ignited was starting to dissipate, he dropped her hands to her skirt-covered lap. "What's wrong?" she asked quickly, concern blooming in the blue of her eyes. "Heero?"
Heero did not say anything using words; instead, he reached out to touch the light line that was her gold chain on her neck and carefully pulled it around until the object at the end fell to the front where it was supposed to be. He saw and felt Relena inhale sharply, the skin of her chest rising to press against his fingertips.
In the dim light of the bedroom, between Heero and Relena, glinted a gold chain with a gold ring that sported a large, multi-faceted diamond.
Relena bowed her head, a curtain of sun-colored hair spilling over her shoulders. "Heero—"
"We said we didn't need to check up on each other." Heero's voice was low, quiet…deadly. Not toward her though. "I know you date a little. But I swore I wouldn't look into any of them unless I had a really good reason. I haven't had one. Until now."
Relena's eyes tilted downward at the ends with a frown. "Heero, please…"
"I don't know how I could have missed it. The Vice Foreign Minister…" The way he said her official title sent spears of cold up Relena's spine. "Relena Darlian…you, engaged. And I find out…like this." Heero didn't say the words he was truly thinking: Right as I'm about to have sex with you. Sex that isn't just sex.
Embarrassment flooded Relena's cheeks with red. "I didn't mean to hide anything from you. I was going to tell you, Heero, first thing. But then we…" She shrugged, motioning to their shirtless forms. "Heero, believe me, it isn't—"
"What I think?" The words came out as a snarl. "I know we haven't made any promises, but damn it, Relena! You could have written me!"
"What are you so upset about?" she demanded, a note of irritation entering her voice. "You are making assumptions, and it's not like we're seriously involved anyway."
That was a hurtful blow he hadn't expected. But it only fueled the rage building up inside of him. There was a boiling mound of something revolving deep inside of his ribcage, and it was threatening to explode. "Not seriously?" He slid a knee forward on the bed, and before Relena could react, had her by her upper arms and was above her, pressing her down into the mattress beneath him. He kissed her forcefully, partly to prove a point and partly because he – specifically a certain part of him – still wanted her madly. When he tore away, he could feel her fingers digging in the flesh of his shoulders. "Is that not serious enough for you, Relena?" In a moment of coldness, he rolled off of her and sat on the edge of the bed. He felt the mattress shift as she sat up again.
Relena eyed his back, noting the various scars she knew so well. She wrapped her arms around her, desperate to maintain a bit of the warmth she could only get from him. "You don't know anything, Heero."
He gave a short snort of disbelief. "I know what kind of guys you date, Relena. Tall, good haircut, prominent social status, and a handful of money he occasional donates to charity funds depending on how closely the paparazzi is watching." His voice lowered even more. "He's never gotten his hands dirty, never touched a gun, never seen a real battle—"
Heero's angry personality analysis was shot and killed in his throat. He braced both hands on the bed before he looked over his shoulder. Relena was looking at him in a way he had never seen before; there was an iciness to her eyes he never would have expected her to give him. It was the look she gave to other politicians and dignitaries. Not to friends. Not to Heero.
"He's Quatre," she repeated. "Quatre Raberba Winner. His hair's a bit too long right now, and he creates charity funds." There was a hiss in her tone, and he could hear the anger readying to prick him. "He's exacted a death toll that would shock even you, I think. He's equal to you in real battles."
All the tension flew out of Heero. "I…hadn't heard," he murmured, not sure what else to say.
"That's because you don't keep in touch with any of the people who care and worry about you!" She went up on her knees, balling her hands into shaking fists. "You don't tell anyone where you are until you send me that one e-mail a year to let me know you're alive so we can meet up and fuck for a month!"
If he was any more emotional, Heero might have flinched at her words. He had begun to realize halfway through her tirade that this had been on her mind for a very long time. Instead, he waited for a moment to let her just breathe and said, "Are you in love with him?"
"What does it matter?" She threw up a hand, then used it to grand her blouse. She stood on the floor and held the shirt in her hand. "You'll assume things, won't you? It hasn't been announced yet, but I may be getting married to a friend of yours. Can I expect that one annual letter for a little affair every now and then? Make sure you figure it out and let me know before you leave, Heero. You won't talk to me any other time."
"Hold on." He stood up from the bed too and dragged his hand through his dark hair. "When did you start dating Quatre?"
She sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. "We've never actually dated, Heero." Before he could demand an explanation, she added, "He suggested it to me. A marriage between representatives of both Earth and the Colonies could mean ceasing all the feuds between the two. He loves me, Heero." She gave him a direct look and saw his arms cord as he shoved his hands into his pockets. "He acts like he's only a good friend, but he does love me. Friends can always tell."
"Does he know about us?"
He understood now. "I don't want to walk while the stars are out." She had felt like she was betraying the former pilot of Sandrock.
Relena shook her head. What kind of 'us'? "No one does, of course. But he… I don't know why he pretends," she finished. The truth was that she knew exactly why Quatre pretended to not really be in love with her. Friends could always tell, and Quatre knew that she was in love with Heero.
He couldn't fathom why she was telling him that Quatre was in love with her. "Do you love him?" he heard himself ask, hardly believing it was his own voice presenting the question.
"I said 'friends,' Heero." A small smile encroached upon her face. Perhaps she was surprised by his question. "No. But he gave me this ring to wear while I think about it. I'm going to say no, but…" She shrugged. "I feel like maybe I should say yes."
He was silent for several moments. He wanted to ask why, and he wanted to find out why she was going to say no. But there were no words available to him. After a minute had passed, he rounded the bed, but she sat down, securing more distance from him. "I don't…" he began, and then paused. "I don't e-mail you just for sex, Relena. You know that."
She chuckled, but the sound was bitter. "More assumptions. London, Paris, Vienna. We go somewhere, we meet, and we have incredible sex. We hardly leave the room for a month. We never talk, Heero. Quatre talks to me."
"I was raised to believe talk was cheap," he told her. Her eyes widened somewhat, and he realized that this was the first thing he had said of his days before the war. "Action. Acting on your emotions…that's what I was taught." He spoke softly, and he didn't meet her eyes. It seemed that Heero wasn't even truly speaking to her.
Relena waited for him to go on, to elaborate or perhaps even confide something. This seemed to be too much to hope for, however, because he kept his gaze averted from hers and his mouth stayed closed. After several painful seconds, she sighed. It was a sound that held defeat, and it made him go stiff. He didn't like to think that Relena was a person who could ever give up on something. "Heero, maybe we should think about…"
Before she could finish, Heero turned on his heel and walked out of the bedroom. Relena sat stock-still on the bed, staring at the door he had just disappeared through. She could practically feel the blood drain away from her cheeks. Was he that angry at her and/or Quatre? Was he simply 'acting on his emotions' by running away from a potential problem? That wasn't the Heero Yuy she remembered from A.C. 195. She could not accept that somehow in the span of nine years he might have become afraid of – anything.
Uncomfortable with being by herself, and feeling too exposed, she put her shirt back on and realized Heero's was still on the floor on the other side of the bed. The opening and closing sounds of a door never came.
Instead, Heero returned, looking the same as before. At least, that was Relena's original perception. She wondered if he meant to pick up his shirt or maybe just say goodbye.
He did neither of those things.
Heero came to her and opened one of his hands, which had still been clenched into fists. In the center of his palm rested a small object; a ring. It was less extravagant than the one that hung from her neck. The diamond was smaller, simpler, but it seemed to sparkle brighter.
Relena openly gaped at it. "What's that?"
A corner of Heero's mouth relaxed just enough to quirk upward. "It's a ring."
"I know, but…" She brought a closed hand up to rest against her chest, something she always did when she was worried or confused. Her fingers brushed the cool gem of Quatre's ring. Her eyes shifted from Heero's to the ring, and then back to Heero's. "You can't be serious." Too experienced with surprising turns of events, Relena did not become flustered, but a faint line materialized above her nose while she assessed the situation. "You were planning to give me this, to propose, this time?" Her heart began to pound at the idea.
"No." Her heart fell— "I was planning to propose three years ago in London." It rose again as far as her throat. Heero's smirk fell, and he looked at her very seriously. In his eyes, Relena could almost see memories of that first time passing through his mind. "We were twenty-one. All I could think of was that no one equaled you in getting a…reaction from me," he said after a moment of searching for the right word. "And my plan shifted when you invited me into your room."
Into my heart, she wanted to say.
"So I waited. I wanted to do it last year in Paris. That time I hesitated. I could think of too many reasons to hold off." Heero shook his head, glancing down at the ring before catching her gaze again. He had to pause to take in what he saw in her eyes and even then he couldn't identify it. "But those reasons don't matter now; not if it means I won't get to keep you if I don't ask."
She stood up. She wanted to be closer to him. Heero didn't kneel, and she inwardly smiled. She had never expected him to, if it ever came to this.
"Will you marry me?"
The words sounded practiced, but not false. Years of giving and listening to speeches caused Relena to recognize a rehearsal, and she nearly laughed. Heero Yuy was methodical about everything.
The humor vanished from her mind. She felt her fingers shake as she reached up to touch the hand of his that held the ring. She nearly jumped upon feeling how cold it was. Relena had never thought Heero had the capacity to be nervous. "I… That depends, Heero."
His brow furrowed.
"You've forgotten something." Her blood rushed. Technically, she knew she was being an idiot for not saying yes right away and securing something she had wanted for years. But Relena Darlian did not rush into things without certain assurances. "You haven't said whether or not you really love me."
He blinked, staring at her for a moment. "Relena…"
"Sorry. I just need to hear it, Heero." The hand at her chest tightened.
"I love you." He said it, not with ease, but this time there was no hint of a rehearsal. There was a brief look of enlightenment on his face as though he had not actually expected himself to be able to say the words. Just as quickly, another expression clouded the impending smile. "Do you?"
Relena laughed. And it wasn't a laugh that politicians, friends, and even Quatre heard; it was a genuine laugh that had her tossing her head back. Her stomach shook until tears came to her eyes, and when she finally stopped laughing long enough to reach out to him, she buried her face in his bare shoulder.
Heero felt wetness touch his skin and noticed that her shoulders were trembling. "You're crying," he murmured, a hand unconsciously lifting to brush through the honey-colored strands of hair that flowed down her back. "Why?"
"Because my answer is yes." Looking up, she pressed quivering lips to his concernedly frowning ones. Excitement churned in her belly. "Yes, I do love you. Yes, I'll marry you." Though tears still glittered on her cheeks, she grinned as his he reached for her left hand and slid his present onto her middle finger. "It's a beautiful ring."
Heero looked faintly discontent. "It isn't as nice as—" She cut him off with another kiss.
"It's from you," she told him firmly. Bringing her hands up behind her neck and under her hair, she unclasped the necklace she wore and set it and the larger ring it bore on the bedside table nearest them. "Nothing is nicer – more wonderful – than that." In mock annoyance, she crossed her arms. "You're going to get me in trouble with everyone for not telling them I've heard from you for three years now."
"What about Quatre?"
"He'll be alright, Heero." A sweet smile crossed her face. "I know he really will be." She was in total disbelief. She'd come here for a pseudo-affair and had ended her first day in Vienna as Heero Yuy's fiancée. "God, you should've asked me years ago."
"Your speeches intimidate me." He smirked down at her, pulling her closer.
Relena eyed him from beneath her eyelashes. Slowly, she intertwined her fingers with his and brought his hands up to the waistband of her skirt. "Am I intimidating now?"
Liking her train of thought, he reached across her with one hand and switched off the lamp she'd turned on earlier. He whispered something in her ear and felt her smile against his skin as she pulled him back down to the bed.
"I love you," she murmured. "Stranger."
Heero silenced her with his mouth and proceeded to forget about the rest of the world while in her arms. Maybe it had been Quatre who had made it happen. Maybe it had just been cloudy Vienna skies and the sight of her in a café.
No matter what the cause, only one thing mattered. Heero and Relena would never be strangers again.