Author's Notes: I haven't written for Gundam Wing in forever! I miss 1xR. But I was thinking about the show and how we never hear about Relena's mom again after episode 6, so I decided to play with post-story characterization.
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing.
Over the rim of her teacup, Relena Darlian leveled an expectant look at the only person in the world who didn't react, in some way or other, to her status as the ESUN's Vice Foreign Minister.
Mrs. Darlian required a second more to swallow her tea, and then she smiled at her daughter. Well, not hers biologically, she reminded herself, though there were features that by chance passed for similar. "Well what, dear?" she asked.
The corners of Relena's mouth tipped upward. "I don't know what you've come here for."
Mrs. Darlian set her teacup onto its saucer and set the saucer on the small table in front of them. The two women sat on the sofa in Relena's Sanc Kingdom office. If she looked out the window, Mrs. Darlian could see the bell tower of a church that had survived not one but two mobile suit attacks in the last twenty-five years. She could remember when it was new, could remember thinking she would attend a service there the next time her husband was available to go with her on a Sunday.
She had so many memories rooted in this country. Every time she so much as looked at Relena, she remembered the true parents of the girl she had raised. As much as she loved her, she had often wished aloud to her husband that Relena could have known the king and queen; that she could have experienced Mrs. Darlian had seen in them since the day Relena was born. And, so secretly she had never said the words to her husband, Mrs. Darlian had wondered what kind of mother she would have been to a child she might have born, if there hadn't been Relena to protect.
And her brother, she added to herself. The boy she had spent years of her life concerned about. Milliardo.
"What about Millardo?" Relena's voice jolted Mrs. Darlian from her thoughts. She hadn't realized she had actually spoken the name.
"Oh, it's…I was just recalling, darling." Absently, Mrs. Darlian reached up to check the set of her perfectly-bound hair, still wheat-colored but losing some of its vibrancy every year. "I suppose I never mentioned it, but your father and I always felt so badly about not finding Milliardo the day…well, the first time the Sanc Kingdom was attacked."
Relena's smile turned wistful. "Badly enough that you decided not to tell me I had a brother, I suppose."
"Darling, we never were certain he survived and didn't want to burden you with the knowledge." She shifted, but the older woman found her discomfort was eased only minimally. "I promise, the surprise was as great for me once I realized it was him bounding around the Colonies as a representative for peace." Mrs. Darlian's face hardened. "Though that lasted very briefly."
"Mother," Relena said, her tone taking on the hint of a warning. "That was the war, Mother. It's A.C. 203! Milliardo's actions occurred almost ten years ago. Why continue to let it disturb you?"
"Eight years may seem a long time to the young," Mrs. Darlian told her matter-of-factly. "And the fact that if we had only found him as we did you, may have prevented so many deaths."
Relena almost sighed, but her mother could see that her political experience kept the exhaustion in check. "Someone else would have done what he did."
"Put a whole through the Earth?"
"His irrationality," Relena said smoothly, "was no worse than my idealism. We chose extremes. It took time to realize that gradual peace was the way to achieve total pacifism. But if Milliardo hadn't led the White Fang, he may never have fought—" The Vice Foreign Minister cut off abruptly. After a moment's hesitation, she finished with, "That Gundam pilot."
Mrs. Darlian took up her tea again. "And?"
"And if their battle hadn't been watched by the Colonies and the Earth, the two might still be at each other's throats. Mother." Relena grasped Mrs. Darlian's hand and peered earnestly into her eyes. "Did you really come here to talk to me about Milliardo's involvement in the war?"
Mrs. Darlian shook off the shadows of the past as neatly as she might have brushed dust from her skirt. "No. I'm sorry, Relena. I don't see you often, so I shouldn't spoil our time together. I'm probably taking you away from some urgent business as it is."
Relena grinned and crossed her legs. Today she wore straight-seamed dress pants and a business jacket over a turtleneck. Mrs. Darlian felt nostalgic for the sundresses Relena used to favor, before her various positions of power put her life in constant danger for the sake of peace. Peace of the world, not her peace of mind. "Of course not, Mother. Please. What is it you wanted to tell me?"
"You're twenty-three, Relena."
"Don't you think…" She wasn't sure how to pose the question. The subject might have called for delicacy, but Relena despised walking on eggshells with those she was close to. Might as well blurt it out, she decided. "Are you waiting for retirement to marry?"
Relena blinked rapidly, tea halfway to her lips. Her mouth worked for a moment, as though silently rehearsing a public speech. Mrs. Darlian anticipated an elaborate list of demands her professions made on her daily, but the only thing Relena said was, "What?"
"I think it's a reasonable question. I don't see how your schedule would allow for you to be in a full-time relationship, so I wondered if you might retire in the near future to—"
"Wait! Mother…just wait." Relena stood up, walked across the room and spun to face her. Mrs. Darlian knew her restlessness well. "How did you know I have a boyfriend? I've never—"
"You have a boyfriend?"
Relena's eyes widened, and she released a breathy, nervous laugh. "Mother! First off, I haven't the least idea when I'll retire…when the world stops needing me, I guess. Second: what, did you think I'm just sitting around waiting to pick a man from the deck?"
Mrs. Darlian shrugged. "You are the Vice Foreign Minister."
"Like that's ever mattered to you!"
Before she could help it, Relena's mother was laughing. Delicate, waterfall laughs that her upper-echelon upbringing had fine-tuned in her life the keys of a piano. No guffawing for Mrs. Darlian, wife and then mother of the VFM. Relena eyed her suspiciously. "I'm sorry!" she exclaimed before Relena could ask after her health. "It's only that you look just like the girl who ran away from her birthday party. You know, you never explained yourself that day, dear."
Relena folded her arms. "I don't think—"
"Oh, Relena, you may as well tell me. What did that friend of yours – what was his name, the blond one – well, what did he say that made you rush off like you did? I always have wondered what got into you." Mrs. Darlian folded her hands primly and hoped it had something to do with a boy. She had so often been such a lonely child.
"Well…" As shy as if she were still fifteen, Relena hesitated. "I'm not sure how to explain it, except—" A knock on her office door interrupted her. Relena practically leaped at the distraction and answered.
Standing in her doorway was a handsome man with dark brown hair that stood up in places but suited him nonetheless. He wore a Preventer uniform and carried a clipboard. On one ear he wore a wireless communication device, no doubt connecting him to the rest of Relena's security staff.
"Heero?" At all once, Relena dissolved into the same brand of laughter that had escaped her mother a minute before. She clutched at her chest, her shoulders shaking. The one she called Heero stood silent. Mrs. Darlian thought he might have been baffled, but his serious face betrayed nothing.
"Are you alright?" he asked in a deep, quiet voice when Relena seemed to have trouble catching her breath.
"Yes," she assured him. "Yes, but—this isn't a very good time. My—"
Mrs. Darlian watched as Heero fluidly encircled Relena's wrist with one hand and pulled her into the hallway. The two disappeared from sight a moment, neither saying a word loud enough for Relena's mother to hear. Ever patient, Mrs. Darlian was not annoyed when Relena emerged again into view. Her cheeks were tinged a light pink as she shut the door behind her.
"That was Preventer Yuy," said Relena, still rather breathless. "I've known him for…for quite a long time, actually." She regained her composure and met Mrs. Darlian's eyes. "I'm sorry about that, Mother. You were asking me about my fifteenth's birthday party?"
"Oh! Never mind, dear." Mrs. Darlian grinned, envisioning a May wedding. She had married her husband in May, right here in the Sanc Kingdom. "I won't ask you again."