by Dev-Aki Basaa
"Oh, Duo. You poor dear, you must be devastated."
Duo brought the delicate teacup to his lips, and drew a deep breath of the clear liquid's thick aroma. It smelled hauntingly like Heero, a green tea blended with ginseng, his morning brew. Relena kept it stocked because she believed it to be Heero's favorite. It wasn't, but why correct her?
Jesusfuck, why was he here?
Relena had sent a limo for him at the scrap yard. The girl had eyes everywhere, he swore; he'd only been gone from Headquarters for an hour, yet there was the car, ready to whisk him away again. Yuki had been annoyingly impressed by it all - the car, the invite to Government Central, meeting with The Queen of the World. 'Former', Duo had reminded him, but he didn't think Yuki had heard him over the buzzing in his ears. And Duo was a sucker too, because he couldn't lose face in front of his lone employee, staring at him in awe. So he had joked about his connections and climbed into the limo, giving Yuki one last bragging wave before being driven off to the last place he wanted to be and the last person he wanted to see. He was such an idiot some times.
He took a sip of the tea and winced. It was searingly hot - also the way Heero drank it. Duo wasn't sure if that was because Dr. J had trained away all his taste buds or Heero was just a glutton for punishment. Duo looked up at the almost weepy expression on Relena's face and then returned to sipping his tea. He suspected the latter.
"So, nothing is known?"
Duo shook his head. He almost wished there was more to tell, just so he could withhold it from her. Perhaps she was well meaning, but he'd long ago lost all tolerance for her, having been the biggest pain in his side once he and Heero had started their relationship. It took her a year to get it. He didn't know what she'd been thinking - if she didn't grasp the nature of their relationship, or thought Heero was going through some kind of 'phase'. He took another sip. She loved him; he realized that, and Heero did hold her in extremely high regard, but she always seemed to feel his intentions amounted to more than just that. In her mind's eye, he'd vowed to protect her, so he must love her as well. And, who knows, maybe Heero could have loved her, but he'd placed her on such a massive, grand, untouchable pedestal, that she never had any chance at being real to him. She was an icon, a symbol of both his tortured past and of the world's and the colonies'' hopeful future. The poor girl was everything to him, except what she wanted to be.
He needed to stop this train of thought or he'd feel sorry for her again. Perhaps he should remind himself of the countless invitations to Government parties and Pacifism Balls his name had been omitted from. Or maybe the numerous appointments Relena had arranged for Heero without his consent, another tactic to draw him away from him and closer to her. Heero had turned down the chance to be the Head of Government Central Security, the Vice Minister of Internal Intelligence, and the Chairman of Interstellar Travel; he wanted none of it. He found contentment as a Preventer and as Duo's lover. Even Relena couldn't ignore how happy they were together, and so, finally, she came to terms with it. However, there was one last little aggravating touch to her acceptance. She still seemed to believe that a part of Heero belonged to her and had no qualms with equaling herself to Duo's role in Heero's life, if a celibate one. She'd claimed a piece of him - he was her little prince and always would be - and nothing anyone said could deter her from that. Not even Heero. So, they'd given up, content that she had at least accepted their relationship and Duo's name now appeared on invitations - which didn't come nearly as frequently as they once had. And Heero would always protect her, giving him the chance to rectify the death of the little girl and her dog from his past.
Duo had thought once that if he got a dog, one rescued from the shelter, that would mollify Heero's perceived obligation towards Relena. And he had indeed named the dog after the one that had died, and it did help immensely. Heero *loved* that dog, their Mari, but it didn't negate anything towards Relena. And so, as Relena had to accept Duo's role in Heero's life, he too had to accept Relena's. But, in the end, he'd won. Yes, Heero had Relena on a pedestal, but it was him in Heero's arms.
"My advisors tell me there's nothing that can be done at this time."
Duo set down his teacup, the china clinking like a bell against the saucer.
"Yeah, well, you know, Preventers are on top of it. Nothing they haven't handled before."
Relena nodded. "Of course, I have full confidence in Miss Une. She has done remarkable things with the organization."
"Yup. She sure has."
Relena nodded again and smiled. Duo gave a half-hearted grin in return, then shifted in his seat, tapping his booted foot against the coffee table leg, the china rattling softly. Relena folded and refolded the light pink cloth napkin resting on her lap, the long awkward silence continuing, neither making any full eye contact. Duo gave up tapping for beating out a drum rhythm with the tips of his boots. His heels served as the occasional base drum. After Relena re-folded all the napkins on the tea station, her expression suddenly brightened and Duo stopped mid-rhythm, realizing she'd found something to say. This was the longest conversation the two of them had ever had.
"So," Relena began, "had you kept in contact with Heero at all?"
Heh. Duo looked up, biting his lip against curling into a devious grin.
"No. No contact," he answered, swallowing a chuckle. He was taking way too much perverse pleasure in hiding that from her. It wasn't lying, he justified, he was just protecting Preventers' interests.
"Ah, so I guess we're in the same boat, then."
Duo grumbled, there she went again with thinking she and he were just two peas in Heero's pod. He reached for the teacup and took another larger sip; it had cooled considerably and in one swallow, his cup was empty. He set it back down and rapped his fingers against the glass of the coffee table before him. He needed a stronger drink than this.
"We'll just have to be each other's support through this trying time." Relena reached out and patted his hand, stilling his tapping fingers. What? Duo looked down at his hand. She patted it... like... like he was some helpless soul, lost without his lover. Like he was an emotional wreck, unable to handle the harsh reality of the situation. And she was exactly right.
What the FUCK was he doing!?
Duo shook himself, bringing his hands to grip his knees, his fingers biting into his skin. He was a Preventer, a former Gundam Pilot, The God of Death, for Christ's sake! He was the man Heero Yuy, Mr. Perfect-fucking-Soldier, chose to spend his life with.
He was better than this.
Duo jumped to his feet, almost knocking over the tea station setting at the end of the coffee table. The china clattered as he steadied the cart, adrenaline thrumming through his blood like it had during the war; like it always did when he saw that predatory look in Heero's eyes, right before he fucked him silly.
"You know what," he said, looking down at a still seated Relena, waving his arms just a little too much. "I'm sorry, but I've got to go. There're some things I need to take care of at Headquarters."
"Oh." She seemed a little taken aback at first, but recovered and reached for a pretty pink phone on the coffee table. "Of course, let me just call around the limo..."
"Actually," he cut her off, already backing his way towards the door, "call me nuts, but I'm going to run." That was one of the stamina tests, wasn't it? "Been real, Relena. I'll keep you updated."
He gave her a last little wave and turned around, already picking up his pace, marching out the door. She may have said some polite, little goodbye in return, still thrown for a loop, but he hardly cared. He had work to do - he would be there for his koi and kick the ass of anyone who dared touch him. You had to love Preventers' consented violence.
His strides had quickened and he broke into a dead run before he reached the front steps of the Main Embassy Complex, dodging people as if they were obstacles on his course. A few obstructions let out small cries of alarm.
*Look out world*
Duo felt the breeze whip across his face, making his braid dance behind him as he darted out the front gate, onto the road before him. An evil grin curled across his face.
*Shinigami is back*
 - I SO stole this from the movie, "My Best Friend's Wedding", but it was just too appropriate not to ^____^