A Moment of Perfection
[Peacecraft Residence, Earth, AC 198]
Two weeks ago, Relena confronted me and asked me if I loved her.
I didn't know what to say, so I told her the truth.
Secure in the knowledge that I cared for her, she'd smiled, but the
gentle curve of her lips was bittersweet. It had been months since the
violent storms of her youthful crush had calmed and I think she always
knew that I didn't love her the same way she loved me. Even so, the
truth is never an easy thing to deal with.
"So this is where you snuck off to," said Relena. She stepped past
the drapes and joined me on the balcony.
"All the guests are gone," she said. She leaned her back against the
rail on my right-hand side and repeatedly smoothed her full skirts. It
was her eighteenth birthday and she was wearing a gown that made her
look at least three years older.
The night sky was free of clouds and the moon was bright enough that
I could pick out individual stones in the garden path below, but there
wasn't enough ambient light for me to tell the colour of Relena's dress.
I had danced with her twice earlier in the evening and I should've been
able to call it up from memory, but I couldn't, and it bothered me.
When I forced myself to stop obsessing over such a small,
insignificant detail, I became aware of her eyes on me and I knew that
the moment was about to upgrade itself with a capital M.
"You're not happy here," she said.
The stars seemed to brighten and my ears tuned in involuntarily to
the distant whisper of a broom being pushed across the dancefloor.
Definitely a Moment, with a big fat capital M.
"I'm happy knowing you're safe," I replied.
"You don't have to stay here," Relena stated.
I turned to look at her and she turned to look up into the sky. She
rested her hands lightly on the railing. Her fingers seemed so thin and
fragile, encased as they were, in a pair of tight satin gloves.
"Being my shadow isn't much of a life," she said. Her fingers
tightened on the rail.
I didn't know what to say. A big part of me was afraid to leave. The
rest of me didn't want to. I liked knowing that someone needed me. That
was the kicker though; Relena really didn't need me anymore.
"Look! A shooting star!" she pointed and together we watched as it
blazed a path across the sky.
"Did you make a wish, Heero?"
I nodded. "Yes."
Duo taught me about that; making wishes on a falling star. It was at
some forgettable school, not long after we first started working
"I can't tell you what I wished for, of course," Relena said softly,
"but, if it's to come true, then I should say goodbye now."
She kissed me; rising up on her toes to press her lips against my
cheek in a chaste kiss that lingered too long to be considered a peck,
but was too swift to make me feel uncomfortable. She whispered goodbye
as she settled back down and left in a swirl of silk and lace before I
had the chance to say the same.
She probably preferred it that way. It gave her a feeling of letting
go instead of being let go of.
I left that night and I never did say a formal goodbye.
I did send her a new teddybear though; impulsively bought at the
spaceport giftshop only minutes after my transport had landed. I bought
a card there too, a cheesy postcard that read: 'You haven't lived until
you've visited L1!' I wrote 'mission accepted' on the back and sent it
along with the bear.
Looking back, I can't help but think that Duo would've better
appreciated my little attempt at humor.