So, I'm coming to live from Walt Disney World and because I'm on vacation I've actually had some time to work on a few stories that I've been meaning to get to. This piece was the first part of my pledge for this years Church of Lemons. Actually this was also my first non-Occam's Razor universe piece, so yay!, (I guess). That being said, I have removed the actual lemon scene from this version because I'm not really sure about 's policies regarding that sort of thing anymore . . .
This is only two parts and I'll be editing the second part over the next couple of days so I'll have it up soon. Until then, enjoy!
Disclaimer: If I owned GW I'd be posting my stories on an animation board.
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Thursday, March 12, AC 201, 8:37PM – Brussels, the Grounds of Université Libre de Bruxelles, Event for the ESUN Foreign Minister
'Something's not right'
The thought barely had time to cross his mind when the vehicle in front of theirs burst into flames with a deafening roar. The burning SUV was thrown backwards, its front flipping over as the vehicle was thrown into the air and toward the front of their own SUV. Around their route the crowds that had gathered scattered in nothing short of blind panic.
Their driver swore fiercely under his breath and slammed the brakes and tried to swerve out of the way while simultaneously, beside him Relena gasped in surprise and horror, but the tiny sound was stifled as he threw himself on top of her and pulled her to the floor of backseat. No sooner had they made contact with the floor below him than the vehicle pitched forward, its hood crushed under the weight of the mass of twisted, burning metal that had exploded in front of them not two seconds ago.
Beneath him Relena attempted to stifle a scream but he hardly heard it over their driver's continued stream of curses as he tried to control their car. Above them the glass shattered around their heads only to be thrown on top of them as he felt the SUV lurch to their left and roll over on its side, finally coming to a stop.
Slowly, he lifted his head. The air around them was filled with screams and the sounds of panic. He could already hear footsteps approaching the toppled vehicle. Relena was now on top of him and their eyes met as soon as she lifted her head from where it had been tucked against her chest. She looked to be in shock, he could see the haze that coated her eyes, as though she was still processing what had just happened . . . but for now that was going to have wait.
"Relena," Heero shook her shoulder gently and her eyes immediately came back into focus, he tried to keep his voice calm as he spoke "Relena, reach up and see if you can push the door open."
But before she had even pulled her arm out from under herself the door above their heads was suddenly wrenched open, and before he knew it, Relena had been lifted out of the overturned SUV and a pair of hands had seized him by the collar of his jacket and were hauling him through the broken, singed metal of the vehicle's door.
Heero righted himself as soon as his feet touched the ground and immediately whipped his head around to find his girlfriend. He found her just in time to see her fall into a sitting position, her knees apparently too weak to stand; a Preventers officer immediately knelt next to and hauled her to her feet again and began to whisk her off to what Heero hoped was a safe location. He tried to take a step toward her, but the same hands that had pulled him out of the SUV were still on his shoulders, and the person they belonged to was demanding his attention.
"Heero, answer me, are you alright?" His head instinctively turned to the sound of the voice and found Duo's concerned gaze. He friend gave his shoulder a gentle shake, "Say something, buddy."
Training instantly kicked in, "I need you to go get Relena, take her straight to the hospital –"
Duo's eyes widened, "Is she hurt?"
He shook his head in reply, "I didn't see anything serious, but make sure she gets checked, and then keep her there." He locked eyes with Duo, "No matter what she says, don't let her leave until I get there."
"You're staying back?"
Heero reflexively scanned the area around him again, "I want to find out what happened here, I'll be right behind you." Even as he was speaking, Duo removed his service pistol from his shoulder holster, clicked off the safety, and turned in the direction Relena had gone. Before he could even taken a step however, Heero's hand darted out to grab his shoulder and spin him around, "Duo, please . . . make sure –"
Duo cast him a lopsided, but reassuring smile, "I won't let her out of my sight, buddy, promise."
With that Duo spun on his heels and disappeared into the steadily growing crowd of people. Off in the distance sirens were approaching, the screaming had died down as it was slowly replaced by the scampering and frenzied noises of those coming to help. Heero took a deep breath to collect himself; the air smelled of gasoline and the sickening distinct scent of burned flesh. He squared his shoulders back and reached into his jacket pocket to remove his cell phone, about to flip it open and call Une, see what he could find out.
Then there was a new noise, something whizzed through the air, and struck the wrecked car about twenty feet in front of him. He looked up out of instinct and was met with a deafening explosion and an intense flash of light. He was knocked off his feet, a wave of heat washing over his exposed skin as he fell. He hit the ground hard, the back of his head connected painfully with the ground below it.
The screaming and sounds of panic renewed themselves. There were footsteps coming toward him, but he couldn't see who it was. The world around him faded to black.
Friday, March 13, AC 201, 10:42AM – Saint Mary's Hospital Intensive Care Unit, Room 208 (DAY ONE)
Relena. Even through the unexplained haze and throbbing pain that was clouding his head, he recognized her voice . . . he would recognize her voice anywhere . . .
"Heero, can you hear me?" She sounded concerned, "Squeeze my hand if you can hear me."
Even as he heard the words, he had the sudden realization of her hand over his own. He felt his head loll to the side as he tried to force himself back into consciousness.
"Heero, you're in the hospital. Please wake up, squeeze my hand."
The tingling numbness in his limbs started receding and fought his way through the grogginess to muster the focus to press Relena's fingers against his palm. He heard her release a relieved sounding breath and shook his head from side to side trying to clear the from his mind and force his eyes open.
Relena must have sensed his actions because suddenly there were two hands on his shoulders gently holding him down. "Heero, don't try to move around, you're still very heavily sedated"
"From what?" his words came out slowly despite the fact that he was slowly becoming more aware of his surroundings . . . why couldn't he manage to open his eyes?
"You needed surgery, you were hurt in the attack yesterday." Relena sounded anxious, upset . . . something was not right . . . why couldn't he open his eyes . . .
"Yesterday, how long have I . . ." Heero took a breath and tried to steady his voice, "Relena, tell me what's going on."
He heard her sigh and she removed her hands from his shoulders to take his hands and lift them to his face. Gently, Relena placed his fingertips to where he should have been able to feel his eyelids . . . but there was something else there . . . gauze . . .
The fog was instantly gone from his mind, quickly replaced by a dizzying sense of being suddenly overwhelmed, "Wha – what . . . why are my eyes bandaged?"
"The doctor said it was the second explosion, the flash damaged your –"
"Relena," he cut her off abruptly, his voice unable to completely conceal the disbelief he felt watch over him "am I blind?"
"No!" she answered immediately, practically yelling at him, "No . . ." she reeled in her voice and moved her hands from his eyes to the sides of his face, cradling his head between them. From the sound of her voice she was trying not to cry, "The doctor says it should be temporary . . ."
"Should be?" Heero felt the breath leave his chest as he tried to process this information, "How long . . . What . . . what's going to . . ."
But Relena did not get a chance to answer, at that point a door opened and several pairs of feet entered the room, three from the sound of them. Relena's hands left his face and there was a sound of a chair scrapping across the ground, Relena must have stood up to greet the visitors who he could hear collecting around what he assumed was the bed he was laying in.
"Hey," the voice was unmistakably Duo's as was the hand that suddenly clasped him on the shoulder, "how you feeling there buddy?"
Before he could respond though, another voice, this one curt and crisp, spoke, "Agent Maxwell, we're going to have to save the pleasantries for later. We need to deal with the matter at hand immediately."
"Commander Une, I have to say again that I do not believe your plan to be the best course of action." Relena sounded harsher than Heero had ever heard her before.
"I understand your concern, Foreign Minister, but as I already explained to you –"
"And as I explained, I'm not going to allow you to put Heero in danger just because –"
"Ladies," a new, male voice interrupted, "Ms. Foreign Minister, Commander please –"
"Yes, please," Heero interjected, trying to keep the anger out of his voice, "explain what is happening."
Three people audibly sighed while a fourth continued speaking, the unidentified voice from before. "Agent Yuy, my name is Dr. Addy, I'm the Head of Optometry here at Saint Mary's." Heero heard the doctor take a step closer so that he was right next to the bed. "Agent Yuy, you were standing very close to the second explosion and were looking directly at it when it occurred."
Heero shook his head slightly, the events slowly coming back to him . . . the sound of something whizzing through the air, the explosion, the heat on his face, the light . . . "And the flash . . ."
"The light from the explosion seared your retinas, Agent Yuy. I examined your eyes and then conducted some minor laser surgery."
"Surgery for what?" Heero couldn't help the urgency in his voice.
Dr. Addy's hands were suddenly on his face and Heero realized his was unwrapping the bandages from around his eyes. "I surgically inserted two blackened lenses under your cornea and fitted them over your irises."
"Because if you have any hope of recovering your eyesight you cannot allow any light to contact your retinas for at least two weeks." The doctor finished removing the bandages as he spoke, but even as they came off Heero could already tell that the world remained black.
In the meantime, Relena had apparently taken his hand again, "It will only be for two weeks, Heero."
"Yes," Dr. Addy added, "and you'll have to keep the bandages on for the two weeks as well, you had some burns on the skin around your eyes. The lenses I inserted are just a secondary measure. You'll have to keep all light out of your eyes for two weeks to allow your retinas sufficient time to heal." As he spoke, Dr. Addy gently touched the skin around Heero's eyes, presumably to inspect it. Even with the very light pressure being applied, he felt himself flinch from the pain.
"And then he'll be able to see again, right doc?" Duo sounded even more apprehensive than Relena.
Dr. Addy sighed, "Yes, if all goes well after I remove the lenses, Agent Yuy should regain his vision." The doctor tilted Heero's head forward and began the process of wrapping new bandages around his eyes.
"No," Relena's harsh voice interjected into the conversation again, "he will regain his vision." He felt her squeeze his hand, "You'll be fine, you just need to make it through two weeks, and you'll be fine."
Heero nodded in spite of himself. His mind was reeling as he tried to process what he was being told. For at least the next two weeks he was not going to be able to see and while Relena was apparently certain that everything would be alright after that, Dr. Addy did not seem convinced.
"Unfortunately, that's not our only problem." Une brought herself back into the conversation and Heero heard her take another step toward him, "Agent Yuy, we were unable to apprehend the individuals that attacked Ms. Peacecraft's convoy."
Heero felt himself lurch forward, "They got away?!" Even as he spoke, Relena was gently forcing him to lie down again.
"Yes, our forensic team tells me that they used grenade launchers to blow up the vehicles." Heero could almost hear Une shaking her head the way she did when she was angry with herself, "Obviously we are concerned that they may try to kill the Foreign Minister again."
Off on his left side Duo snorted, "Yeah, I'd say that's a pretty safe bet since it was only luck that they didn't get her the first time. How could they have known which car she was in?"
"They wouldn't have." Heero and Une both spoke at the same time, but Une continued, "However the first vehicle they blew up originally was listed as the one Agent Yuy would be traveling in."
"And its public knowledge that I'm head of Relena's security as well as her boyfriend and would be with her at all times," Heero finished for her and turned his head in the direction of Une's voice. "How are you going to handle this?"
"Heero," he felt the bed dip and was surprised by the realization that Une had sat down on the end of it, "officially, Relena is the one that's in this hospital room, not you. As I said before, we are concerned that these people will try to kill Relena again and the last thing we need is whoever did this knowing that they blinded her head of security."
"You want me to try to keep acting as though I'm perfectly fine." Heero calmly concluded for her.
"The plan is this: You're going to leave the hospital with Relena in a few hours. We're going to tell the press that she did not sustain any serious injuries and was kept overnight for observation. You will go back to Relena's home with her and you'll be staying there the two weeks that you recover or until we catch these people, whichever happens first." Une paused for a moment as if to build herself up to what she was about to say, "Relena will be there to help you at the manor, but in order to make this cover a credible one, you're going to have to make a few appearances with her in public – like escorting her into work Monday morning as per your usual routine."
"Une, it's not safe!" Relena sounded upset to say the least, "Heero shouldn't be putting himself in danger by protecting me when he can't –" she abruptly stopped talking, but her words were not necessary.
Une sighed in return, "Relena, it's the only way to –"
"Une's right, Relena. I'll do what she says." Heero answered calmly. "If these people found out that I couldn't see they'd immediately take advantage of the change in personnel that would be needed and come after you."
"We'll pare down Heero's tasks to the bare minimum, which will basically consist of being seen with you in public occasionally so as not to arouse suspicion." Une lowered her voice into a softer tone, "We won't leave Heero without support, Relena."
"I'll be with you guys the whole time," Duo added. "I won't let ya out of my site, you'll be so sick of me I'll have to ignore you for a month just so you can get over it."
Relena let out a frustrated sounding noise but her voice sounded defeated, "It's not safe . . ."
"But it's necessary." Heero concluded for her.
10:05PM - Residence of the ESUN Foreign Minister, Foreign Minister's Bedroom
Relena sat on the edge of her bed and kicked off her shoes. Her bedroom was almost completely dark except for the light that emanated from the gap under the bathroom door; inside Heero was probably finishing up the shower he had insisted on taking before they went to bed. Relena shook her head and stood to get her pajamas out of her dresser; Heero was still pretty out of it from the painkillers they had given him at the hospital, but he had refused her help when they had finally gotten back over an hour ago.
The ride back from the hospital had been quiet to say the least. Seven people had been killed in the attacks, another dozen or so seriously wounded and Heero seemed to be taking this personally for some reason. He had taken a seat next to her in the car and had not moved again until they arrived at her manor. Heero knew the layout of her house like the back of his hand and so he had no problem getting upstairs and into the shower. As Relena got dressed she tried to think ahead to the two weeks before them . . . things were going to be difficult, but they would take this one day at a time . . .
She had just pulled a tank top over her head when the bathroom door opened and Heero walked out clad in only a towel. Relena watched him walk across the room, slowing when he got to the area where the suitcases that Duo had brought from Heero's apartment were on the floor.
"Heero?" Relena tried to keep her voice casual as she stood and walked to where her boyfriend was now rooting through one of the bags, "Can I give you a hand? Duo packed those, I'm sure they aren't organized in any way."
"I'm fine," he answered stoically and pulled out a small article of clothing, feeling it for a minute before slipping off the towel around his waist and pulling on the pair of boxers. As he stood and turned back toward Relena; she saw in the dim light that Heero had a dark bandana tied loosely around his head like a blindfold so that it covered his eyes. He held something out to Relena, "Could you wrap this for me?"
Relena nodded and reached out to take Heero's and gently led him to the edge of her bed, allowing him to sit down before she positioned herself next to him and began to wrap the bandages around his head as gently as she could. To her surprise, Heero put his hand on her leg while he waited for her to finish.
She taped the edge of the bandages shut and immediately slipped her left hand in his while the other wound its way around his neck. Relena couldn't be sure how long they stayed like that, instead choosing to concentrate on Heero's steady breathing; Heero however pulled away from her and felt up the side of the bed until he found the edge of the comforter and pulled it back a bit. Relena took this to mean that Heero was ready to go to bed. "I'll get your pills."
"I don't need them." His voice was not sharp, but it was not warm either.
Relena shrugged, unconsciously squaring her shoulders back, ready for a fight, "The doctor said that you need to take the antibiotics or you could get an infection. And . . . Heero, you must be in a lot of pain . . ."
He sighed as he swung his legs onto the bed and under the covers, "I'm fine Relena."
This time he at least sounded as though he was trying to comfort or convince her. Relena took a breath; she felt defeated, she just couldn't bring herself to be upset with Heero . . . she couldn't imagine how helpless and frustrated he must be feeling, "Heero . . . please, just take the pills . . . just so you can sleep tonight."
She watched his expression and despite not being able to see his eyes, she could tell he was about to object, but to her surprise he sighed in response and held out his hand. Relena didn't waste a moment, practically leaping for the nightstand, doling out Heero's medicine, and depositing the pills into his hand. By the time she had put the caps back on, Heero had already taken the medicine and was now completely reclined in the bed.
Relena considered him for a moment before standing and walking around to the other side of the bed, pulling back the covers on her side and getting underneath. Heero was lying on his back, hands resting on his chest. Before she even realized what she was doing, Relena pulled herself across the mattress and pressed her body against his side, reaching one hand up to tilt his face down to hers and pressed a gentle kiss on his lips. Heero sighed as they broke apart and wrapped an arm around her body to pull her closer; Relena nestled her face into the crook of his neck and inhaled the distinct scent that was Heero.
Again, she paused to consider his situation. Heero was by no means a vain or egotistical man, but that didn't mean he didn't have his pride. Pride; though he would never admit or show signs of it, Heero prided himself on his work and part of that work was keeping her safe. She knew that Heero had been mentally inventorying his self worth since he'd woken up in the hospital this morning. She knew he was doubting everything about himself, about his life . . . and how he fit into hers . . .
"Heero?" She'd meant her voice to be soft, instead it came out as little more than a whisper.
"Hn?" He sounded drowsy, the pain medication must have been taking affect.
Relena tilted her head back so that her mouth was next to his ear. "Heero . . . nothing could ever change how much I love you."
He inhaled a little sharply, indicating that he had heard her, but said nothing else as he drifted off to sleep.
Saturday, March 14, AC 201, 8:00AM – Residence of the ESUN Foreign Minister, Foreign Minister's Bedroom (DAY TWO)
There was a noise off to his right. Instinctively, Heero sat bolt upright in bed, whipping his head around, trying to ascertain the situation, why the hell was it so dark –
The events of the day before suddenly came rushing back to him just as a pair of hands closed around his shoulders.
"Heero, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you."
Relena sounded worried to say the least, "It's alright . . . I just . . . I . . ." he trailed off.
The mattress beside him lifted and he heard Relena's feet touch the ground then walk to his side of the bed and take his hand. "I've cleared my schedule for the weekend so we can just stay here for the next two da–"
"I don't need you changing your schedule to accommodate me, Relena." He couldn't help the bitter tone in his voice.
Relena paused for a moment, apparently thrown off, but recovered quickly, clearly trying to keep her voice light sounding, "Heero, I'm not changing my schedule, I just want to be here to help you."
Heero sighed, and swung his legs over the side of the bed, "I could use some coffee . . ."
As he predicted, Relena stood immediately, he could almost hear her smiling. "Go – good. I'll be right back."
"Actually, I'll just meet you down there." Relena answered with an 'okay', and she was out the door almost instantly.
He waited until he was sure she was a good bit down the hall before standing and feeling his way over to his suitcase. In reality he wasn't sure that he could stomach coffee, but he needed to get Relena out of the room, he didn't want her to watch him try to get dressed and ready for the day.
Heero's fingers closed around the top of one of the suitcases and began rifling through the clothes in it. It didn't take him long to find a pair of pants, a t-shirt, and a button-up shirt to go over it. A minute or two more of searching revealed a pair of shoes of some sort which he pulled on over the first pair of socks he found. As he finished tying the laces, he ran a hand over his face and discovered two and a half days worth of stubble protruding from his chin. Logic screamed that shaving without being able to see your face was a bad idea, but even as he was thinking it, he found himself rooting through the suitcase again and coming up with his shaving kit.
8:05AM - Residence of the ESUN Foreign Minister, Kitchen
Duo had determined sometime ago that Relena's house was by far his favorite place for breakfast; the large kitchen was bright and cheerful, the coffee was good, and in the course of his extensive searches and samplings he had yet to meet the pancake that could rival Paegan's. He downed the last of his coffee and just as he was about to stand for a refill, one of the kitchen door swung open and Relena stumbled into the room, still rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
The braided man couldn't help but smile at the bunny rabbits that were splattered across her pajama pants, but Relena didn't seem to notice, "Good morning, Princess," he greeted her in his usual over enthusiastic tone, "how are we this morning?"
Relena had already busied herself with the coffee maker, but stopped to turn around and greet him properly, "We'll I'm perfectly fine this morning . . ." her voice trailed off.
Duo shrugged and crossed the room to join Relena; he leaned up against the counter next to her and thought how to best phrase his next question, the direct approach seemed best, "How's Heero doing?"
He saw Relena's head dip to her chest and her shoulders fall even as the words left his mouth, "Heero's . . . Heero's, well Heero." She lifted her head to meet his eyes, "He's spoken a total of eight complete sentences to me since we left the hospital yesterday. I did manage to convince him to take the painkillers last night but I think I've pushed my luck as far as it is going to go in that area, and I'm pretty sure he just chased me out of the bedroom so that he could get dressed without me offering to help."
Duo couldn't help but shake his head as he put a comforting hand on Relena's shoulder. However, to his great shock, no sooner had he touched her than she spun around, threw her arms around his neck, and started crying into his chest. He felt himself stiffen out of reflex but relaxed instantly and brought his arms up to hug her, letting her cry for a few minutes before finally speaking, "Relena, it's gonna be fine."
"What if it's not?" She sniffed and took a step back so that they were looking at each other; her expression was both pained and terrified, "Duo, he's a wreck. And I know he's trying to stay calm and focused for me because he doesn't want me to see him . . ."
"Scared." Duo finished for her.
Relena nodded again and it looked like she was about to break down into tears once more, but she collected herself, "I can't imagine how he must be feeling. Knowing that there's someone out there who's trying to kill me and not only is he almost completely helpless to do anything about it now, but he might be forever and –"
"Don't say that." Duo cut her off softly. He stepped back from her to place his hands on her shoulders, "Relena, listen to me. You are the only thing in the world that Heero truly loves. You are his entire life." Relena dipped her head back down to her chest, but Duo gently grasped her chin and lifted her face up again. "Look, I know that this is going to be hard for both of you, but Heero's got to be going out of his mind knowing that you're in danger and he can't protect you the way that he usually can."
"But acting like nothing is wrong isn't going to help the situation either!" Relena's eyes started filling with tears again, and her voice was strangled when she spoke, "I know that Heero doesn't want to be taken care of . . . but just for now why won't he let me help him?"
Duo sighed in an exaggerated way and let his arms drop to his sides, "It's a guy thing, Lena, that's the best I can tell you." He gave her a lopsided smile, "We don't want you girls to think we can't handle ourselves." The braided man stepped back to swing his arms up behind his head the way he usually did when he was about to tangent into a story, and sure enough, Duo stayed true to form, "Like when I had to get my appendix taken out, and I was all drugged up for like a week and Hilde tried to keep me in bed and bring me soup and ice cream and stuff, and I just wouldn't listen to her when she said to just take it easy!"
Relena rolled her eyes, Duo's story not having his desired reassuring effect, "If I remember correctly you then ended up in the hospital when you wouldn't stay in bed and fell down the stairs while insisting in a morphine-induced stupor that you had to go to work at 3:00 in the morning."
Duo replied with his trademark grin, "Hey, I didn't say handling things ourselves was the smart thing to do." He grin softened into an understanding smile, "I'm just saying that I know Heero can be like the more stubborn person on the planet, but just try to –"
Whatever Duo's last bit of advice was, Relena never found out because at that moment a great deal of commotion erupted from the hall outside the kitchen. The sound of clanking silver and shattering glass filled the air only to be drown out by a string of very creative curses and a high-pitched voice frantically apologizing. After exchanging a glance, Relena and Duo both bolted for the door, throwing it open and coming upon a scene that under different circumstances might have been somewhat humorous.
Heero had apparently collided with one of the maids, Karen, who had been carrying a large tray with a full tea setting on it. Both of them were now sprawled across the floor, covered in scones, cream, and jam. On top of this however, was Heero's appearance. Relena eyed him carefully for a moment, trying to figure out if the cuts on his face had been a result of the collision, then quickly realizing he had tried to shave after she left. Aside from this . . . well obviously Heero had gotten dressed in the dark that morning, but his outfit only served to emphasize that point. He was wearing red and white running shoes and a pair of black dress slacks that looked like they probably went to a three piece suit, from underneath of them a pair of blue socks peaked out. Her eyes continued to travel upward, and the top wasn't much better; the loudest Hawaiian shirt she had ever seen had been paired with one of Heero's gray Preventers t-shirts that he wore to work out in.
Karen managed to get herself to her feet and the movement snapped Relena out of her daze; she and Duo simultaneously moved toward them. Duo helped Karen away from the mess while Relena knelt down next to Heero and put a hand on his shoulder, "Heero, are you alright. Here, take my hand and –"
"I've got it Relena," his voice clearly conveyed the embarrassment he was feeling. Before she could stop him though, Heero put out a hand to push himself up off the ground, not realizing that there was broken glass right underneath. Heero wrenched his hand back, swearing under his breath again, and almost fell backwards as he lost his balance. Relena's arm shot out to grab him though, the other immediately seized his now bleeding hand. She grabbed one of the napkins that had fallen off the tray and wrapped it around his hand as gently as she could. "Heero, come with me, let's get that cleaned up."
With a defeated sounding noise he accepted her help and got to his feet, allowing Relena to lead him back up the stairs, into her bedroom, and then into what he assumed was the bathroom. She sat him on the edge of the bathtub and carefully unwrapped the napkin. Little shards of glass were still sticking out in a few places, but Heero did not so much as flinch was she removed them. He sat silently while she cleaned and bandaged the cuts.
"None of these look too deep, I don't think that you'd need stitches." She tried to keep her tone light as she spoke.
Relena closed her eyes and remembering Duo's words, tried to push back the tingle of frustration she felt in her chest, "I'll go get you some different clothes."
"What's wrong with my clothes?"
His voice conveyed genuine confusion; apparently Heero really didn't realize what he had put on. She opted for a safe answer, "Well, um, they're covered in jam." Before he had a chance to respond, Relena ducked out of the bathroom, returning a few minutes later with a new (matching) outfit, and set it down on the edge of the tub next to Heero.
Heero didn't respond, rather he just sat their rubbing his newly bandaged hand. She had never seen him look so dejected and she could only imagine what was going through his head at that particular moment. For the time being, she got the distinct feeling that Heero wanted to be left alone. "So, um, I'll just leave you to get changed then." She took a step toward the door, stopped before opening it and turned back around to kneel in front of Heero, putting her hands over his, "I'll be in my office so . . . if you need me . . ."
"I'll be fine Relena." Heero stood and pulled his shirt over his head, then picked up the clean one and shook it out, "I'm just going to . . . walk around the grounds or something . . . keep myself busy . . ." his words broke off into unintelligible mumbles and Relena took that as her cue to leave.
9:32PM - Residence of the ESUN Foreign Minister, Foreign Minister's Bedroom
The next time she saw Heero, he was already in bed. Relena had spent a few hours trying, with limited success, to work in her office, but finally gave into the fact that she simply could not concentrate and had gone to find Heero and force him to talk to her for a while. But Heero was no where to be found; Paegan had finally told her that he had left the manor almost an hour ago and that Duo had insisted on accompanying him. The day wore on into night and it was almost 9:30 before Paegan informed her that Heero had returned ten minutes ago and apparently had gone straight to bed.
She knew that he wasn't asleep, and indeed he sat up when she opened the door and stepped into the bedroom. Relena smiled brightly even though she knew it didn't matter, but it helped her to hide the dismal feelings that were threatening to overwhelm her, "You're back." She crossed the room and began changing into her pajamas, "So where'd you and Duo go off to?"
Heero pushed himself into more of a sitting position, "Just walked around the grounds for a while, then to the garage, Duo did some work on the Shelby. I didn't want to just sit around all day." Despite the normal tone of the conversation, Heero sounded almost worse than he had this morning.
Relena finished dressing and climbed into bed next to him; Heero must have heard her and felt the mattress dip because he laid his head back down as soon as she did. "That's good." She edged closer to him and put a hand on his chest, "Maybe tomorrow you and I can get out of here for a while."
Heero didn't respond right away but after a few seconds murmured in a quiet voice, "Yeah . . . let's see how tomorrow goes . . ." As he spoke the words, he rolled a little to his left so that his back was partially to Relena. "Good night."
Relena stared at him for a moment, trying to fight back the swell of tears that suddenly threatened to spill over. No, no she couldn't cry. Heero had enough to deal with right now, she couldn't make him feel worse by crying. Instead she leaned across the bed to the nightstand and switched off the lamp, making the room just as dark as it was to Heero.
Sunday, March 15, AC 201, 9:07AM - Residence of the ESUN Foreign Minister, Residential Bedroom (DAY THREE)
Relena was already gone when Heero awoke the next morning. As he sat up in the bed it occurred to him that he had no way to tell what time it was. He had to content himself to getting a shower and finding some clothes to wear before he could go downstairs and find out how much of the day he had slept through already. Judging by the groggy feeling that still plagued him even as he pulled his shoes on, it had been far longer than he usually slept; the pain medication was no doubt messing up his usual sleep cycle.
He carefully made his way down the stairs, checking for any maids carrying trays of tea before crossing the hall into the kitchen. The smell of coffee brewing told him that it was still morning. The sound of a chair scraping across the floor met his ears was almost immediately followed by a pair of feet walking across that same floor in his direction, "Heero," Relena sounded happy to see him, "you're awake. Sit down, I'll get you some coffee."
To his relief, she did not try to lead him over to the table, her footsteps instead clicking off in the direction of the gurgling coffee pot. As he found his way to the table and sat down, he listened to the sounds of Relena pour a cup for him, then crossing the kitchen floor again. He had never really thought about how quietly she moved, there had never really been a need to because she was always within his sight. Even as she set the mug down on the table in front of him, he couldn't help but think how delicately she must handle everything she touched for it to make so little noise.
"So," she spoke as she sat down opposite him, "Une called this morning. She wanted to check and make sure that we were both set to go for tomorrow."
Heero nodded, "Duo will be driving us in tomorrow, he's planning out most of the operation."
He heard Relena's spoon clink in her cup as she stirred her coffee, "Une said that she'll be sending Duo by later today with a pair of sunglasses for you to wear and that I should try and arrange your bandages so as much of them are hidden as possible."
"That's fine." He couldn't say why, but for some reason, Relena was suddenly the last person he wanted to be having this conversation with. "I'll work out the details with Duo when he comes by today."
"Alright," Relena's voice was still cheerful sounding, but certainly not as bright as before and a pang of guilt cut through him at this realization. "So I thought that maybe we could do something today to get you out of the house, go for a walk, or a drive –"
"I don't need you to baby-sit me, Relena." The words had come out much harsher sounding than he intended them and even as they were leaving his mouth, he wished he could take them back.
He heard her breathe in sharply followed by the sound of her chair being pushed back from the table and her footsteps going in the direction of the sink where she apparently deposited her coffee cup. She took a shallow but long breath before she finally spoke, "I-I'm sorry, Heero. I wasn't trying to –"
The wave of guilt that washed over him was too much to handle, he stood from his chair, intending to go to her, "Relena, I didn't mean –"
"I'll just leave you alone then." The words caught him off guard and before he could recover, Relena had slipped out of the kitchen. For a moment he just stood there, cursing himself for what had just happened before throwing the mug he held in his hand in what he was pretty sure was the general direction of the closest wall. He heard the glass shatter on impact and the liquid splatter across the floor but it did nothing to ease the unusual feeling of anger that suddenly overwhelmed him.
Relena had just left in tears, he didn't need to see to be able to tell that, and for no reason other than the fact that he was being so obstinate he couldn't accept the help of the woman he loved. Heero unconsciously ran a hand over his face, he had no idea how he was going to get through two weeks of this without emotionally destroying Relena. For now though he need to get out of the house and calm down while he tried to come up with a way to fix things. He slowly walked in the direction of the door that connected the kitchen to one of the manor's many gardens and stepped outside.
9:32AM – Residence of the ESUN Foreign Minister, Foreign Minister's Private Office
Relena blew her nose again and tossed the tissue into the wastepaper basket. She shook her head, completely disgusted with herself; it had taken her nearly twenty minutes and half a box of tissues to calm down and stop crying, but that was not the reason behind her disgust.
As she sat on the floor, her back against the wall behind her desk, she couldn't help the feelings of anger that crept over her when she thought back to Heero's words. Anger . . . how could she possibly be angry with her boyfriend of over two years for being frustrated and discouraged because he had been blinded? Part of her brain screamed at her that Heero shouldn't be taking his irritation out on her, but the other, much larger part was furious with herself for making him feel even more helpless than he already did.
For the n-th time in two days she tried to put herself in his place and think about how despondent and powerless he must have been feeling . . . but she wasn't sure how much more of this she could take . . .
Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard the door that went to her bedroom open. Had Heero come to look for her already? The first thought to cross her mind was the irrational desire to hide under her desk; she just didn't want to see him this mome –
"Hello? Heero? Lena? Anyone here?"
Relena jumped to her feet and grabbed a tissue as she called back to Duo, "I'm in my office, Duo. I'll be right –"
Before she could finish however, the doors burst open and Duo strode into the room, "Hey, there you are. I got here and Pagean said he didn't know where either of you two went. I'm not interrupting anything am I? 'Cause I can always come ba –"
Duo's words died on his lips as his eyes finally came to settle on Relena. She dipped her head to her chest, even though she knew it was useless trying to hide the fact that she'd been crying. The braided man pursed his lips and shook his head, his shoulders falling as he did, "Man, that guy . . ." he scratched the side of his head thoughtfully, "Alright, I'm going to go find Heero."
Relena's head shot up, "Duo, it's fine, really. There's no need to –"
But Duo was already walking back out the door, "Hey, we're just gonna have a little chat, Princess. Nothing to get worked up about."
Relena watched him leave, the sudden sinking feeling in her stomach somehow worse now.
9:58AM – Grounds of the Residence of the ESUN Foreign Minister, West Gardens
Heero lifted his head and listened, he was sure he'd heard footsteps approaching –
"Hey, Heero! There you are buddy!" Duo joined him rather quickly. Heero could tell he was standing over him, more than likely wondering why he had been lying in the grass. To his surprise though, Duo did not question him, instead he heard his friend plot himself down on the ground next to him. "So how's it going?"
There was no question that Duo was a master of deception, but to Heero he would always be a bad liar. "You saw Relena, didn't you?"
"Yeah, I ran into her upstairs." Duo answered as if there was nothing wrong.
They lapsed into silence and just when Heero was about to stand up and continue his walk, Duo spoke again, "So do you remember a few years ago, back before Hilde and I moved to Earth and I joined Preventers, how I had to have my appendix removed?"
Heero thought back, it had been May of 198. Hilde had called him in the middle of the night hysterical, he and Relena had offered to go out to L-2 and stay with them for a few days, but Duo had insisted that they not come. "Of course I remember."
"Yeah," he heard a noise like Duo was stretching, "well see the thing is that . . . I still have my appendix."
Heero felt his eyebrows wrinkle under the bandages and waited for Duo to keep talking, "See, I was working in the scrap yard taking apart this old V6 engine and apparently there was still some fuel residue in the module because as soon as I got near it with the blow torch, the compression chamber exploded and next think I know I'm waking up in the hospital and Hilde's telling me that I had to have surgery to take a three-inch piece of shrapnel out of my stomach."
Heero felt his own stomach lurch at this revelation, "Why didn't you tell us?"
To his annoyance Duo just laughed in response, "Have you called Quatre or Trowa or anyone yet to tell them that you're blind?"
Heero shook his head, defeated; when Duo was right, he was right. His friend however, ignored him and continued talking, "I was mess, they had to take out like a foot of intestine, I could hardly eat, I couldn't walk . . . but that didn't stop me from trying. That part about me falling down the stairs was true. I hadn't been taking my medicine like the doctor said I should and got a blood infection and a really bad fever and next I know I'm back in the hospital."
Heero shook his head, trying to process this information, "Why are you telling me this now?"
"Because," Duo's voice suddenly became quiet, "after I took that tumble, I woke up in the hospital again only this time Hilde wasn't there."
Fortunately, Heero didn't have to ask what Duo was talking about, after a moment he started talking again. "The nurses went and found her as soon as I woke up, apparently she'd been in the cafeteria for almost the entire two days I was out. As soon as she came back in my room, I could see why she couldn't bring herself to wait in there the whole time."
"Because it was upsetting her seeing you like that," Heero finished for him.
"Yeah, but it was more than that. It was also because she couldn't help me. She was mad at herself for letting this happen to me, like if she had just forced me to stay in bed this wouldn't have happened." Duo shifted on the ground next to him, "The fact of the matter was, that I wouldn't have listened to her no matter what . . . and as a result I was hurting both of us. For as much as I love Hilde and want to keep her safe, she feels the same way about me. As hard as it was to admit that I couldn't completely take care of myself for a little while, I knew that Hilde loves me and that she just wanted to make I was alright . . . the same way I would for her, if God forbid something ever happened to her."
Heero pulled himself into a sitting position and he heard Duo respond by getting to his feet, "Relena loves you Heero, she wants to take care of you the same way that you spend your life taking care of her." Duo put a hand on his shoulder, and Heero stood up to join him, "Come on let's go to the garage, I think I've almost got that Shelby up and running again, you can give me a hand."
"I can't see anything, Duo," Heero reminded dryly, him as they set off in the direction of the garage.
"That's alright, you can just keep me company then."
8:45PM - Residence of the ESUN Foreign Minister, Foreign Minister's Bedroom
Even blind, it wasn't hard to find Relena. As soon as he entered the bedroom he heard clicking coming from her office connected to the room; he shook his head at the sound. She was typing. Whenever Relena became overwhelmed with something she threw herself into work as an outlet . . . apparently his stubbornness had pushed her to that point.
He tapped lightly on the office door, but didn't wait for a response before entering. The typing stopped as soon as he stepped through the threshold and he stopped just inside the door in response. More than any other time in the past three days, Heero wished he could see at that moment, see what Relena's expression was, her posture, how her eyes looked . . . he couldn't read her like this. Mentally he shook himself and cleared his head; it didn't matter how he was feeling about this. He was there to ask for forgiveness and hope that she would not demand he leave her alone as she should have days ago . . .
"Is everything alright, Heero?" To his amazement, she still sounded worried. He dipped his head to his chest; he really did not deserve her sympathy and concern after how he had been acting.
Mustering up the strength he needed to find his voice, Heero walked toward her desk, stopping as he came to the edge of it, "Relena, I'm sorry –"
"Heero, it's fine, I kn –"
"No, it's not fine." he gently cut her off, "It's not fine, Relena. For the past three days you've been trying to look out for me and . . . and I've been treating you like you I didn't want you around."
"I understand if you need some time to yourself . . ."
The caring tone in her voice was only making him feel that much worse, "I didn't . . . it's not . . ."
There was a scraping noise and seconds later, Relena was lacing her fingers between his own. She lifted their hand to her mouth and gently kissed his knuckles, "It's okay. I know that this is going to be a very hard two weeks for you. You don't need to explain –"
"No, I don't, but I want to." He turned in her direction and lifted his free hand to find her waist, "I owe you an explanation." Without warning he drew her into his arms, crushing her against his chest. Relena gasped slightly but made no sign of protest, choosing instead to wrap her arms around his neck. Heero stroked her hair for a moment, inhaling her sweet scent, and trying to prepare himself for what he was about to say.
"Four days ago I thought that the only thing that scared me was the possibility of something happening to you. To be honest, I never really thought about something happening to me, I always assumed that if something ever did happen I probably would survive it." He felt her tighten her arms around his neck at these words, "The possibility of being blind for the rest of my life . . . it scares me . . . but I realized that most of that fear is coming from being afraid of . . . of what . . ." he sighed, exasperated that he still couldn't bring himself to say it, ". . . that I might lose you . . ."
A heavy silence blanketed the room and Relena let one of her hands slide down from his neck to rest on his chest, "You think that I would leave you?"
You should, his mind screamed at him, but he kept that part under control, "No, I . . . it's . . . not you."
Relena suddenly pulled back from his embrace but cupped his face between her hands, "You think that you wouldn't be good for me anymore."
It wasn't a question, it was a statement, and unfortunately an accurate one. "You deserve better than having to spend your life worrying about your blind boyfriend."
"Heero, it doe –"
But he didn't stop at her objection, "I wouldn't be able to take care of you the way I do, I'd become more of a liability than anything else –"
"Don't you think that having you in my life is more important to me than your ability to protect it?" Her voice was firm, but not loud, "Heero, don't you understand that I love you, not the job you do, not whether or not you can stop people from trying to kill me. I love you."
He was mentally listing the faults in her logic and was ready to voice them as soon as she stopped talking, but never got the chance. As soon as Relena fell quiet she covered his lips with her own, pulling him into a heated kiss. He was barely aware of what was happening when Relena began pushing him backwards without breaking their kiss. He tried to open his mouth to protest, but she only took that as an invitation and slid her tongue into his mouth.
She continued to slowly move him backwards, but finally stopped when his back connected with something. Relena broke away for only a moment but if gave him enough time to collect himself and realize they had come to the door. There was a clicking noise, and the door behind was pushed back, causing him to nearly loose his balance, but Relena seized his arm and yanked him a few steps forward into the bedroom. She immediately pressed herself up against him again, but harder this time, and in an instant they were falling backwards. He reflexively put an arm out to try to break their fall, but instead of the floor it met with something soft and quickly realized it was the bed as Relena came down on top of him and began attacking his lips again.
"Relena . . ." he breathed his half-hearted protest into her mouth.
"Shut-up, Heero." With that she dipped her head to his neck and began kissing and sucking the sensitive skin there while whispering softly to him. "I love you Heero. I love every part of you. I love when you smile, I love how you'll bring me flowers when I'm having a bad day, I love how you insist on driving whenever we go out, I love that you'll sit through the crappy movies I love without a single complaint, I love how you obsessively organize your underwear drawer, I love when you hold me as I'm falling asleep . . ."
She was drug, her words were intoxicating, he didn't even notice that she had been undoing the buttons on his shirt until she suddenly pulled it off his shoulders and ran a hand over his bare chest. He couldn't take it, he found her chin with his hand and forced her head up to meet his lips again while allowing her hands to continue over his chest, then to his stomach.
- - - - -
They were both covered in a thin glaze of sweat and Heero was sure that Relena could hear his heart pounding in his chest. She tilted her head so that she could wedge it into the crook of his neck, she rested one hand on his chest, while the other tangled itself in the hair at the base of his head, "I love you, Heero." She kissed his jawbone, then his cheek, "Nothing could ever change how much I love you."
She moved her hand from his chest and found his own, lacing their fingers together, "We'll get through this together."
He bent his head to find her forehead and planted a long kiss on it. "One day at a time."
Monday, February 16, AC 201, 8:06AM – The Earth Sphere Unified Nation Capital Building, Personnel Entrance (DAY FOUR)
The sun was shining; he could feel it on his face as he stepped out of the car. He turned and offered Relena his hand, hoping that it was close enough to her to look natural. Apparently it was because Relena took it and stepped out of the car and only to the walkway of the Capital Building's back entrance. Heero guided Relena around him so that she could walk into the building ahead of him. He tried to look like he normally would, pretending to scan the area while keeping a hand on the small of Relena's back as they walked across what should have been the last forty or so feet to the building's doors.
Relena stretched her arm behind her and took Heero's hand in hers, giving it a gentle squeeze as they continued to walk.
Then, out of the calm morning air, a gunshot rang out, then another, then another. Instantly, his senses began screaming. A sharp pain ripped through his shoulder, someone screamed, Relena gasped as he pushed her towards the door, he could vaguely make out the smell of blood, his head started spinning, and he felt like he was falling.
But still it was dark.
Okay, that's the end of the first part – I'm editing the second part and I'll try to have it up by the end of the week. Is there any interest in reading the unedited, lemon version? Should I post it on blissfulignorance? This was the first thing I've ever written with a lemon scene so I'm not quite sure what to do with it.
Thanks again, hope you enjoyed, and see you soon!