My Fallen Prince
by Dev-Aki Basaa
She felt guilty. She hadn't invited him into her home
- her life - right after the second war. He'd been
there, distant but close, in that span of time between
the two wars. Yet, she felt horrible that she hadn't
wanted more than that at the time. Anything more
would have been too much, too soon. She was young,
and there was so much work to do. Not that she had
explained that to him. She hadn't been sure how she
would have worded it so that it didn't come across as
Yes, Heero, I need you, but not yet.
Her life was her work and that meant more to her than
her personal needs. A private, romantic life would
have to wait. She had hoped he'd understood that,
perhaps by instinct. He always seemed to have that
kind of intrinsic awareness. She knew that he'd grown
close to his former fellow Gundam pilots and she
delighted in that. It was what she wanted for him.
Friends that understood him - as she wasn't sure she
could. Perhaps when she was older, she'd thought.
She'd just never expected to fall in love.
And she felt so guilty for it, but couldn't deny the
deep strong feelings she had for the new young man
that had ventured into her life. She wondered if
Heero knew. Though he was never in sight, she had
that sense of him keeping an eye on her - distant but
close - even still. She'd taken him for granted and
it disappointed her terribly that she'd done so.
She'd made him no promises, and yet, it seemed
understood by so many people around them both that
they would come together - the Princess and the
Knight. He had protected her, so would she save him
with her love. It was the stuff of fairy tales. All
she had thought she needed was time to find her role
in this new peace. Time to figure out who she really
was to herself. And in that time she felt she'd
silently promised to him, she fell in love with
another. When her new love proposed, she'd accepted
with tear-filled eyes and joy bursting through her,
then asked that they keep the secret to themselves.
For now, at least. To herself, she knew she meant to
keep the secret until she could confess to Heero what
had happened while he'd waited for her.
She had to find him and be the one to break the news
to him first.
He hadn't been hard to find and she had expected as
much. She hardly thought he'd be hiding - from her,
or anyone for that matter. It had been said to her in
passing, many times, that he had adjusted well to
civilian life. She picked a bright weekend afternoon
to seek him out at his home and was at first only
mildly surprised to find Heero's door answered by one
of the other former Gundam pilots, Duo Maxwell. He
looked a little out of breath, like he'd run to the
door. He quickly explained that he was in the middle
of cooking and invited her in as he ran back into the
kitchen, which was followed quickly by a string of
curses and the clatter of pans. She settled herself
in the living room, wondering why Duo would be cooking
at Heero's home. Was Heero ill? Was Duo checking in
and taking care of him? She didn't give it much more
thought than that, though. Duo returned and proceeded
to be the consummate host, offering her a 'stiff
drink', as he put it (which she declined; she wanted
her head clear to speak with Heero. She took the
offer of water instead), and explained that Heero had
just briefly stepped out.
Duo had obviously known, as so many others did, that
she'd come for him.
Shortly after she had excused Duo to return to the
kitchen and check on his cooking, the front door
opened. She held her surprise in check when a Heero
as she never remembered him to be walked through the
front door. He was dressed in casual slacks and a
simple olive green Henley shirt. His hair was still
just as mussed as she remembered it being, but there
was a softness to his face, a lighter quality to his
eyes. He had a bag of groceries tucked under his arm
and called out to Duo once he breached the threshold.
He didn't even notice her at first. He sought out Duo
instead, meeting him at the kitchen entrance, handing
him the groceries and leaning in to give him the most
delicate of kisses on his lips, which Duo accepted
with a smile before he nodded towards the living room.
"We have a guest."
Heero seemed rather shocked to see her, but no more so
than Relena for what she'd just witnessed. She hardly
noticed what they spoke about when Heero came to sit
in the living room and visit with her. She was too
busy coming to some very startling realizations:
conjoining the pictures of Duo and Heero together on
the wall with the subtle mix of their lives together,
evidenced simply through their collection of books on
the far shelf and the vids that were lined up in the
entertainment center. Some seemed very Heero to her,
others she guessed belonged to Duo - all stacked
together, one after the other. It became even more
clear when Duo joined them, sitting at Heero's side on
the arm of the recliner, leaning in so that their
bodies touched, their hands seeking the other's out.
She almost wanted to laugh at herself.
Such silly guilt she'd felt, for thinking that Heero
had sat idly by and waited for her. What a child's
fairy tale she believed that because of their roles in
the wars that they were ever meant to be together. It
was obvious to her now that this evolved man that sat
before her now never would have come into being under
her care. She would have loved the idea he
represented and only her unwitting self-preservation
of wanting to wait before she allowed Heero into her
life had kept her from ruining four lives: her own,
Heero's, her now fiancÚ's, and Duo Maxwell's. It was
clear the love that lived between these two. The
adoration they displayed in small gestures and simple
words was as palpable as the spicy scents that drifted
in from the kitchen.
She was so wonderfully glad she'd made the trip that
She told Heero of her engagement. She gave him only a
small white lie. She claimed that her reason for
coming to tell him in person was because she wanted to
ask if he'd give her away. Her barely-existing
relationship with her brother had only suffered more
for his disappearance to Mars. She had little family
to speak of with Pargan's death the year previous, and
aside from her dear adoptive mother, there was no one
else and, especially, no men. She was too much of a
traditionalist to have anyone but a personally
important male figure walk her down the aisle. Who
better than the man who protected and supported her,
even, at times, against his own judgment?
Heero didn't say anything at first, a very blank look
coming across his face. Duo had leaned forward to see
his expression and smiled broadly in response.
"That means he's flattered," he told her, resting a
hand on Heero's shoulder and giving a squeeze. At
that, Heero's face seemed to come back to life, his
eyes widening and a small slight smile curling his
"Yes," he answered with a nod. "Duo reads me... quite
well. I'm very touched that you would think of me,
Relena." He nodded again, his mussed hair flopping
even more into his eyes. "I would be honored to be a
part of such an important day for you. I just..."
He cut off and seemed to wince, glancing to Duo as if
looking for help. Duo was already frowning, but there
was a touch of humor still to his face. His hand
brushed up to cup the side of Heero's neck. Though
she couldn't see his thumb, she could tell by the
flexing of his hand that he was gently caressing
"I'm sorry, Relena," Duo said then, not looking up
from the gaze he shared with Heero. "I think Heero's
feeling bad that we didn't think to extend a similar
offer when we wed last year." He looked up, his grin
now crooked and oddly apologetic. "I wasn't sure it
would have been appropriate and we agreed to not
invite you. I can see now that we made a mistake."
He lowered his gaze and leaned into Heero even more.
"I am sorry for that."
Yes, everyone had known of her childish fantasy.
Heero had kept his distance because of that, it would
seem, not as her perfect knight in waiting. And Duo
must have worried over her once rather obsessive
behavior as a smitten 15 year old girl. Though she
had aged, was she still just as blind at times? Again
it was silly of her to have just now noticed the
matching silver bands on their fingers.
Heero glanced towards her again and it was obvious in
his eyes that Duo had managed to say exactly what he
had wanted to express. Their silent communication
amazed her. She shook her head, biting back the
confession of her childishness - she did not wish to
insult them - and reached out to take one of Heero's
hands in hers.
"I think," she began, hoping that the strength of her
sincerity would be clear by the tone of her voice,
"that we have had more than one misunderstanding
between us all. That stops today. I would still love
dearly that you could give me away, Heero." She meant
that even more now than the few moments ago when she
first said it. It had been off the cuff before, a
cover, really. This time she knew, she wanted him in
her life - as the friend she knew he could be to her.
In a sense she would gain her protector back, with the
extra and equal support of the one person that meant
the most to him.
"And," she added with a smile and a squeeze of his
fingers, "I would love to see the pictures from your
Duo's smile widened again and that soft lightness
returned to Heero's eyes.
"I think that could be arranged," Duo answered.
She didn't stay, though. They decided to save the
pictures for another time, perhaps when she introduced
them to her fiancÚ. She found herself delighted by
the comfortable and familiar banter between them as
they saw her out the door. She laughed at the blush
Duo could bring to Heero's ears with his subtle, yet
well said innuendoes. She looked forward to building
that kind of easy rapport with her own love.
Later, on her shuttle ride back to Sanq, she peered
out the window and remembered with stark clarity the
dazzling meteor she'd seen those years ago and how it
came to change her life so completely.
She recalled the idyllic title she'd once given to its
passenger. Her fallen prince. Shaking her head, she
smiled. She'd been so blind when it came to him,
projecting such grand expectations onto him. Here
she'd felt so guilty for not falling in love with him
and there had been no need. That descent to Earth had
altered both their lives, bringing them, in time,
profound love and dear friendship. And what greater
gift she could have gained from that falling star, she