By Stacey Hopson
The next day at school was abuzz about the bruises on Heero and Duo’s cheeks. There were all kinds of rumors. Relena listened amusingly as she warmed up during fencing class.
"I heard they got in a bar fight."
"Nah, it was with a bunch of former OZ people."
"You’re both wrong. They were slapped for trying to pick up some girl."
"That’s not true. Everyone knows Heero’s dating Relena. Right?" the girl turned toward her.
"Um…." Relena was at a loss.
"HEERO YUY!!!" The scream immediately hushed the gym and the crowd parted to reveal a very angry Duo. He raised his saber in Heero’s direction. "I’m callin’ you out!"
As Heero walked over to him, the gym began to fill with a flurry of whispers.
"Duo." He acknowledged coldly.
"I want vindication. Prepare yourself." He put on his face guard and posed ready.
Heero scoffed. "Have it your way, Duo, but you’ll lose." He put on his face guard.
Duo! What are you doing?! Relena fret as she watched the fight begin.
"You’ve gotten better, " Heero mocked, noting that he hadn’t been able to score a hit.
"Quatre’s been teaching me," Duo boasted. "Recognize your handiwork?"
Heero’s eyes narrowed as he parried. "That doesn’t mean you’ll win."
"Let’s make a wager," Duo suggested as he counter-parried. "If I win…."
"It will be a miracle," Heero finished as they tied up, faces glaring at each other. He pushed Duo away with his saber.
Duo fell to the floor and the crowd gasped. He rolled away just as Heero plunged his weapon into the mat, barely missing his braid. He jumped to his feet, saber ready.
Heero quirked an eyebrow.
"If I win," Duo continued, "You have to patch things up with Relena."
"I thought YOU wanted her." Heero replied as he lunged toward the boy.
"I mean closure." Duo corrected, thrusting his saber at him. He almost made a blow. "She needs closure. You OWE her that much."
Heero’s attacks became stronger. "And what if I win?"
Duo put more effort into his attacks too. "I’m…NOT…gonna…LET…YOU!"
Heero managed to swipe at Duo’s chest. It sliced open the fabric of the suit, but missed his skin---barely.
The crowd gasped. Duo, be careful! Relena watched in fear. The loud clanging of their metal sabers rang in her ears till they hurt. Please!
Duo parried a few times and with a last burst of effort, thrust his saber toward Heero. It met the boy’s head on. There was a loud crack and Heero felt Duo’s saber press against his shoulder. Heero’s weapon fell to the floor in two pieces.
Heero looked at Duo. "A deal’s a deal," he said backing away.
Duo stood upright and removed his face guard. His breath was heaving in his chest. He was in total shock.
The crowd burst into a cheer and rushed over to congratulate him. They patted his back and rubbed his head. Duo began to smile as the realization struck him. I WON! He glanced over to the back of the gym where Relena stood looking very relieved. He fought his way out of the crowd and rushed over to her.
He looked as though he had exciting news to tell her, and Relena smiled eager to hear. She let out an astonished cry when instead he yanked her tight against him and seized her mouth in a kiss. Her eyes slammed shut and she froze as a wave of shock and other emotions surged through her. He ended the kiss as roughly as it began, and backed away still smiling in excitement over his victory. Relena stared at him, eyes as wide as they would go.
"Ooooooooooooooooo!" The crowd responded.
Relena was too stunned for words or actions. Duo’s smile began to fade and a look of regret slowly took its’ place. He was about to apologize when he felt a heavy hand take hold of his shoulder. He looked to find the Fencing instructor frowning down at him.
"Come with me, young man."
As the instructor walked him briskly away, Duo glanced back over his shoulder and saw Relena touch her bottom lip with her fingers. He smiled sheepishly before he was out the door.
What was that about? She wondered. She could still feel a slight tingle on her lips from the pressure Duo had applied.
"Wow, Relena!" one of the girls exclaimed. "Looks like you’ve got a new admirer!"
She blushed, half from embarrassment and half from flattery.
"Yeah!" another added. "I wish some guy would fight to win me!"
Relena glanced back at the gym door, the jolt of discovery in her eyes. Was that why, Duo? She pondered. Could you be…?
"He’s in detention," Quatre informed Relena. "But there are plenty of students in there. He shouldn’t be missed."
"Why do you want to bail him out? Can’t you just wait until it’s over?" Wufei asked.
"No, I can’t. I need to talk to him now."
"Women." Wufei muttered. "Always impatient."
"I heard about what happened in the gym," Quatre smiled.
Relena blushed furiously and tried to hide her smiling face.
Quatre smiled wider at her reaction. His blue-green eyes danced. "We’ll get him out for you," he said softly.
Duo raised his head from his desk when he saw Trowa enter the room. He proceeded to the teacher and engaged his help with a problem, drawing the teacher over to one of the room’s many computers---turning his back away from the students. One of the guys next to Duo nudged him with his elbow. The boy made a gesture with his eyes towards the window. Duo looked and saw Quatre motioning for him to come over. He was puzzled until he saw Relena’s head appear as well. They both gestured for him to come. Duo quietly slid out of his chair and proceeded out the window.
"What’s going on?" He asked them.
"Take Wufei’s motorcycle." Quatre replied as he helped Relena lead Duo away. "You two need to talk," he winked at him.
"Wha--?" Duo glanced over at Relena who blushed and turned away. A slight smile tugged at his lips.
"Are you sure he won’t mind?" Duo asked as he straddled the bike.
"He’s the one who offered," Quatre answered. "Now hurry before they find you gone!"
Duo started the engine and revved the motor.
"Thanks Quatre!" Relena yelled over the loud noise, getting on the bike behind Duo. "Tell the others thanks too!"
Quatre nodded and waved as Duo sped the bike away.
Relena discovered quickly that she wasn’t too fond of motorcycles. She clenched her eyes and tightened her grip around Duo, but it only made him go faster. What she didn’t see was the large smile that had appeared on his face.
They finally stopped when they came to an old fisherman’s wharf. Leaving the motorcycle by the pier, they climbed down the rocky slope. Duo led her away from a group of fishermen who might eavesdrop and they climbed up on a few large rocks near the shore.
"Careful, it’s slippery," Duo said, taking her hands. Just then she slipped and Duo caught her, their faces close. "Told you," he smiled. Relena blushed.
They sat atop the rocks, silent for a while, neither one knowing how nor where to start the conversation. Duo just watched the salty wind blow her copper-blond hair about. I wonder if she……Nah. Duo, you’re reading too much into this. He paused. Or am I? He glanced back at her.
Relena watched the waves break against the rocks close-by. She felt his gaze on her but couldn’t bring herself to look at him. She was too confused at her own feelings. What is this I feel? I know he’s a friend, and I like him but…could there be more? She glanced over at him and met his gaze. There was a strange tenderness in his eyes. She felt her heart jump around in her chest.
Just then a big wave crashed against the rocks, splattering them. They both screamed out.
"Why is it that whenever I’m around you, I seem to get wet?" Duo joked.
Relena laughed. "Just your luck, I guess."
Or something else. Duo thought.
"Why…why did you kiss me?" Her cheeks pinked.
Duo sighed. "I’m sorry. It was rough, I know. I got carried away. I—I meant to tell you how I felt first, but…." He blushed a bit too. "I’m sorry."
"Don’t say you’re sorry! Not when I—I …liked it."
Duo’s eyes went wide. Relena seemed surprised at her own words too. She touched her bottom lip again and blushed.
"I did…" she mused.
Duo’s heart was thumping wildly. Was it possible she liked him?
Relena gazed up at him. "What is happening?" she asked in a whisper.
Duo lowered her hand away from her mouth and held both in her lap. "Close your eyes."
She did so shyly.
"Tell me what you feel…here." He tapped just below the middle of her collarbone.
"How about now?" His hand grazed her cheek.
She gasped. "A—a kind of ache."
Duo caught his breath in anticipation. "Sweet?"
His hand fell from her face and Relena heard him sigh deeply. She opened her eyes and found him staring at her, lips parted in a slight smile and eyes dark with emotion.
Her heart began to race madly when he reached for her cheek again, his thumb brushing across her lips. She thought she would pass out from hyperventilation until Duo’s lips met hers. She felt her energy leave and her face flush at the same time. His kiss was tender this time, molding his mouth to hers, working her lips until his final release. Her eyes fluttered open and she stared at him, thoroughly amazed. She noticed his cheeks had a rosy tint too.
"Do you wanna maybe get something to eat?" he asked.
"Are you asking me out?"
"Yeah," Duo smiled, shyly.
"Can you pick me up at seven?"
Relena opened her door at seven-ten with a cross look on her face. Duo’s smile vanished.
"I’m sorry! I rushed over here as fast as I could!"
Relena couldn’t keep the mask in place. She burst into a laugh. "I was just playing anyway," she said.
"O~ho! Good one! You ready? You look…." He did a thorough scan, noting her fitted violet blouse and white mini-skirt. Her hair was up in a loose bun, held by decorative oriental sticks. Small jade teardrop earrings dangled from her ears. "Perfect," Duo finished.
"Thanks," she replied shyly. "You clean up well, Duo!" she teased, gesturing to his outfit. He had on a sandy brown suit with a black shirt unbuttoned at the collar.
"You like?" he spun around. "It’s the new Quatre Winner line," he joked. "It’s not too tight? He is a bit smaller ‘n me."
"No, it fits just fine," she brushed off the back and straightened his sleeves. "I wouldn’t play basketball in it, but…."
"Aw, I thought we could do a little one-one-one," he made a throw.
Relena chuckled and shoved him out the door. "Come on."
"So where are we going?" she asked as they walked out of the dorm lobby. She noticed a few girls smile at her as they passed.
"Well," he began as he paused to hold the door for her.
"You’re welcome. I’m afraid all I can offer this evening is a couple ‘o hot dogs and live music in the park."
They stopped on the front landing.
"I’m sorry," he said shamefully, shoving his hands in his pockets. "I’ve already spent most of my money this week. I didn’t expect all this to happen so quickly."
Relena smiled tenderly. "Duo, it’s okay. That actually sounds like fun."
She slid her arm through his. "Yeah."
At the corner open-air grill, Duo handed Relena a very large hot dog. "Careful, it’s still hot."
"Wow! This is big."
"It’s their specialty. You’ve never tasted a hot dog like this," he bragged. "I got it with everything, makes it taste even better."
Relena took a bite and mulled over the flavor. "Mmmm!"
"Mm?" Duo asked, his own mouth full.
She nodded her head. "It’s good! It’s very good!"
Duo nodded in absolute agreement.
"Now, where’s the live music?"
"Oh! Right this way," he gestured her toward the nearby park.
They had finished their meal by the time they reached the area in question. An elder man sat on a bench under a park light, wearing shades and playing the saxophone. The slow, mellow sound filled the air around him.
"This guy’s great," Duo whispered to Relena as they approached him. They stood a few moments listening as the man finished his chord.
"You never fail to disappoint, Al."
"Duo! My main man! How’s life treatin’ you?"
Duo grinned. "Better than it has been." He glanced at Relena.
"Is that perfume I smell? You’ve got a young lady with you!"
Duo blushed slightly. "Yeah."
"I’m Al. Al Jackson. And this here’s Half-Note," he said petting the German shepherd near him.
"Nice to meet you. I’m Relena." She shook his hand.
"Ooo. Soft hand. You hold on to this one, Duo."
Duo cleared his throat.
Relena giggled. "You play beautifully."
"Why thank you."
"Do you know any slow songs?" Duo asked, removing his jacket.
"Anything for my biggest tipper!"
Duo laid the jacket beside him. "Keep an eye on this will ya?"
The man chuckled at his joke and began to play. Duo rolled up his sleeves and approached Relena. She blushed, smiling as he drew her into a dance.
"Definitely better than the last time I went out," Relena replied.
"Well, I should hope so!" Duo added.
Relena giggled. "So does this mean we’re…dating?"
His blue-violet eyes looked at her tenderly. "If that’s all right with you."
Relena blushed and laid her head on his shoulder. "Yes."
He closed his eyes and laid his head against hers. "Just promise me one thing."
"You won’t make me cut my hair."
"It’s my signature you know."
"I wouldn’t dream of it," she replied. "Besides, it’s something I can lead you around by." She gave his braid a few quick tugs.
She chuckled against his shoulder. They continued to sway to the slow melody of Al’s sax.
"Thanks, Al," Duo said when he finished. He stuffed a few dollars into the cup by the dog.
Duo was about to lead Relena away when she stopped him. She placed a ten-dollar bill in the cup. Duo smiled.
"Seems I’ve been out-tipped, old friend!" he said to the man.
"That’s a smart young lady you’ve got there. I bet she’s pretty too."
"Extremely." Duo replied as he led a blushing Relena away. Behind them, Al began to play the blues again.
They strolled through the park hand in hand until they came to a clearing near the center.
"Look," Relena said.
Before them was the statue where she had taken shelter that rainy night. She let her hand drop from Duo’s hold and walked over to it. Duo watched as she sat down in that same place and ran her hands over the smooth surface.
This is where it all started. Relena thought. And now…. Relena glanced up at Duo. He looked a bit concerned.
"I’m glad I ran into you that night," she said tenderly. His expression seemed to lighten. He squatted down in front of her.
"So am I."
After a few moments gazing at each other, Relena spoke. "I have to say, I---I never felt like this when I was with Heero. I never felt like this at all, really. The most we ever did was hold hands."
Duo was appalled. "In two years, he never kissed you?"
She lowered her eyes and shook her head. Duo shook his right along with her.
"He’s crazier than I thought!" A notion struck him. "You mean…the gym…that was your…?"
Relena blushed furiously. Duo grinned. "Like I said before…He’s missing out."
He leaned forward and kissed her then---deeper this time, letting his tongue savor her sweet mouth. This new sensation left Relena breathless and when it ended, she was gasping for air. Her whole body felt suddenly hot. She noticed Duo had to catch his breath too.
"Sorry," he said, noting her stunned expression. "Too much too fast."
"N-no! I…I kind of …." She turned a bright red. "I kind of liked it too!" She smiled, feeling a bit guilty.
Duo smiled and took her hands, helping her up. As they walked away, Relena laid her head on his shoulder and in return Duo put his arm around her.
At school the next day, everyone was talking about the cute new couple.
"They certainly look happy," Quatre noted during their outdoor lunch. The group stared over at Duo and Relena sharing lunch under the shade of a far tree.
"Yeah," Hilde sighed. "It’s like watching a fairy tale."
"You guys are pathetic," Wufei groaned.
"Come on, Wufei," Trowa spoke. "Tell me you wouldn’t like to see yourself in a relationship like that." His voice had a softer tone than normal.
Wufei just huffed and went on eating his rice cake. Trowa raised an eyebrow at him.
"Well, I for one would." Hilde replied. She glanced up at Trowa and was shocked to catch his gaze. She blushed and glanced away quickly. "What girl wouldn’t? Have some cute guy fawn all over you. Sign me up!" She didn’t see the faint trace of a smile tug at the corner of Trowa’s mouth.
Relena was at her locker, getting her books for homework that evening when she felt a tap on her shoulder. She smiled and turned to face---Heero. For the first time she didn’t feel scared or mad.
"Heero," she acknowledged.
"Can I talk with you?" His eyes looked strange.
Heero led her outside then made sure they were well out of earshot before he began. "I just want to apologize for the way I treated you. It was too harsh." He paused. "I do admire you. I never stopped. I just don’t…Gomen, Relena. Gomen nasai."
Relena sighed. "You HURT me."
"Hai. I understand if you hate me."
A thought crossed Relena’s mind. "Actually I should thank you."
Heero looked slightly surprised.
"You led me to Duo," she smiled.
"He’s treating you well?"
"I’ve never felt better." She was surprised at how true her statement was.
"Then it looks like we both got what we needed. I’ll leave you in peace."
"I hope we can still be friends, Heero." She held out her hand.
Duo had been looking around for Relena and when he found her standing with Heero he felt a sharp pain in his chest. He saw her reach out her hand. When the Japanese boy took it, Duo realized what they were doing. They’re saying goodbye! When Heero walked away, Duo slowly approached her.
She turned and he saw unshed tears in her eyes.
"It’s finally over," she sighed, tears breaking free. "Why am I crying? I don’t feel sad!"
"It’s a release," Duo replied, wiping her tears away.
"Oh Duo!" She jumped to hug him and they lost their balance, falling onto the grass.
"I discovered something when I was talking with Heero," she smiled. "I realized that I’ve never felt so free and so alive. And I owe it all to you." Fresh tears sprung in her eyes and she hugged him. She kissed his cheek and whispered in his ear. "I love you, Duo."
He felt like his heart had exploded from the rush of joy. His eyes flew open wide.
"I thought I loved Heero, but I was wrong…so wrong. You’ve shown me what REAL love feels like."
Tears rushed to his eyes as he let the sheer joy of realization flow through him. She loves me. She’s IN LOVE WITH ME! ME!! He raised her up gently and seized her mouth in a kiss with so much depth and love, it seemed as though he meant to heal her soul with his own.
Relena melted into the deep recess of her consciousness, seeping back to reality only when she heard Duo’s voice, a husky whisper.
"I love you."
Relena began to sob happily, warm tears streaming over her cheeks. Duo proceeded to kiss each one as it fell, repeating each time, "I love you…I love you…."
They lay there a few moments---oblivious to the passing glances of onlookers---tightly embraced within each other, hearts united and souls as one.
They snapped out of their little world when they heard an excited scream. Glancing over they saw Trowa talking to Hilde who suddenly hugged the tall boy’s neck, nearly pulling him to the ground.
They both laughed. "This is new." Relena commented.
"Actually, no. She’s been after him for a looooooong time."
"What made him finally notice?"
"I slipped a note in his locker and used her handwriting," he giggled.
"Duo, you didn’t!"
With a laugh he was up and running as Hilde chased him around the schoolyard.
"Before we dismiss you, class of AC 198, I turn the floor over to your valedictorian. Ms. Relena Peacecraft."
Relena heard her friends cheer as she approached the podium.
"My fellow students," she began. "As we go forth in search of our individual destinies, I offer you one piece of advice. Don’t get discouraged when something goes wrong. Things happen for a reason. And it has been my experience to discover that…." She glanced at Duo. "That things tend to end up better than they were before." She smiled, eyes blurring.
He smiled and blew her a tender kiss.
"So, class of AC 198, I wish you luck. And may the future welcome you!"
The audience broke into applause. The school president then announced, "I present to you the graduating class of AC 198!"
There was a standing ovation and a roar of cheers, then the sky was full of tasseled caps.
Relena dashed over to Duo and as he caught her, he swung her around. They locked into a kiss. Heero walked over to them.
"Omedeto, Relena," he said shaking her hand. "Congratulations. I always knew you would be at the top of the class."
"Thank you, Heero."
He glanced over at Duo and offered his hand. Duo raised an eyebrow, shocked, then took hold of it.
"You take care of her."
Duo smiled and gave him a salute.
"I’m serious. If you don’t, I’ll come find you. And I won’t hesitate on the trigger." His eyes sparkled a bit, displaying his own sense of humor. He nodded at them both and turned away.
"Heero? You’re coming to the party aren’t you?" Relena inquired.
"Thanks, but no. I’m not one for festivities."
Relena nodded in understanding. "Look me up sometime… in the future. Let me know you’re still alive."
He gave her a curt nod and then vanished into the crowd.
Duo took hold of Relena’s hand and she smiled at him. The rest of the gang soon appeared around them.
"Are we ready for a party?!" Duo shouted.
Fireworks lit up the sky over the Sanc Kingdom. The inner courtyard was strung with festive paper lanterns that swayed in the cool evening breeze. The group of friends sat beneath them, chatting and watching the overhead display. Dorothy, Sally Poe and Noin had joined the group in celebration.
"So what’s next?" Quatre asked.
"You should come to the University," Dorothy replied. "They have an excellent, well-rounded curriculum." She brushed back the bangs that blew in his face.
"Yeah. And I bet she could get you a good deal on BOARDING too!" Duo laughed. He was suddenly pummeled with empty drink cups.
"Must you always have sex on the brain?!" Dorothy retorted as Quatre hid his very red face.
"Hey, the boy needs to get laid."
"Duo!" Relena cried, aghast.
The crowd gasped when Quatre fainted.
He awoke with his head in Dorothy’s lap as she fanned his face. Duo was rubbing his arm where Relena had pinched him playfully and the rest of the group was looking down on him.
"You okay?" Wufei asked.
"Yeah," he replied weekly, sitting up.
"I’m sorry, Quatre. I was only trying to help." Duo grinned remorsefully.
Quatre’s eyes narrowed. "Stay out of my love-life, Duo." He said, then to everyone’s surprise, laid his head back in Dorothy’s lap and smiled. His cheeks pinked when she brushed her fingers through his blond hair.
"Oo~kay!" Duo replied, thoroughly amused. He noticed Hilde and Trowa glance at one another and stifle a laugh. He smiled, satisfied with his meddling.
Wufei rolled his eyes at the scene. He caught Duo staring at him mischievously. "Don’t even think about it," he warned, eyes narrowing. "I’m content as I am."
Duo saw Sally Poe steal a tender glance. "I bet you are."
The two sat giving each other dirty looks until Relena pulled Duo back.
"That’s enough, you!" She tugged at his braid.
"Ms. Relena, I hate to say this, but you’re going to have your hands full." Dorothy commented. "Are you prepared for the challenge?"
Duo saw Relena blush. "I’m well prepared," she replied.
Duo noticed the glance the two girls gave each other. Something’s going on. Before he could ask, Noin approached him with a small wrapped gift.
"This just arrived Duo."
"Oh yes!" He exclaimed, taking it. He placed it on Relena’s lap. "Here, I got you something."
Relena looked at him in pleasant surprise. In an excited rush, she tore off the paper and lifted the box lid. Inside was a cherry-stained wooden box. The corners and lid were embellished with antique pewter overlays of an intricate scrolling design.
"It’s beautiful!" She replied, removing it from the box. She ran her fingers across the smooth surface and along the delicate design. "Duo, how did you afford…?" She stopped, not wanting to hurt his feelings.
"I found it when I was scavenging for some parts. I’m surprised someone threw it out. It was still in pretty good shape. Look." He raised the lid to reveal the musical gears. It began to chime out a tune.
"It’s a music box!"
The group closed in to listen to it play.
"A few of the gears were missing so I replaced them. Then I sanded it down and re-stained it, and after, added a coat of varnish. Noin had it tuned for me and insisted on adding the metalwork. I know it’s not much, but I thought you might like it."
"Duo, this gift came from your heart. And that’s enough for me. I love it. Thank you." She kissed him sweetly.
"Aaaaaaaaaawwwwwwww." The group cooed.
"Shut up!" Duo mumbled, then smiled. "You’re welcome."
"I have a present for you, too." Relena said.
"But it will have to wait till later," she finished in a loud whisper.
"What? I have to wait! Why?"
"Because she said so, Duo." Dorothy smiled.
He noticed Relena blush. Now I know something’s going on. He grinned.
A while later another display of fireworks exploded overhead. Duo wrapped his arms tighter around Relena who was sitting with her back against his chest. He pressed a small kiss on her head as they watched the sparkling affair above them. He heard some muffled giggles near him and looked over. Dorothy had managed to unbutton Quatre’s shirt a bit and was running her hands over his chest. She had come to discover that the boy was quite ticklish. Figures. Duo thought as he watched a very red-faced Quatre try to avoid her attacks. Duo smiled amused. If Dorothy had her way, come morning, Quatre would be acting very different. Duo chuckled and glanced around to see what the other ‘couples’ were doing.
Wufei and Sally were playing chess. Sally made a strategic move and in consolation, rubbed her foot against Wufei’s ankle. The Chinese boy raised his eyebrows and blushed.
Trowa and Hilde were watching the fireworks. Hilde bashfully edged her hand over and placed it on top of Trowa’s. To her surprise he grabbed hold of it and turned to smile at her---a real smile.
Duo sighed happily. "This is a perfect ending, you know."
"It’s not over yet." Relena smiled and kissed him. She stood up and offered her hands. "I still have to give you your gift."
Duo smiled as she helped him up. She sneaked him away from the rest of the group and they went indoors. She led him up to the second floor and down a long corridor. When they reached the South wing, Duo realized she was leading him to her room. He quirked an eyebrow. What kind of gift IS this? He grinned, letting his mind wander. Is she thinkin’…? Nah! Couldn’t be. Could it?
When they reached Relena’s room, Max met them at the door. He rubbed against Duo’s legs.
"Hey, fella!" Duo said, picking him up. "You’re a lot bigger than the last time I saw you! Have you been taking care of my girl?" He asked as he petted him.
Relena blushed. My girl. Her heart swelled at the sound. The fact that Duo was returning her affections was sheer bliss, but that he was OPENLY doing so thrilled her all the more. She took him by the hand and drew him into her softly lit room. She made him sit on the bed.
Duo put Max down on the soft comforter as Relena walked to her closet and pulled out a white box tied with a red ribbon. She placed it on his lap.
"Is there a reason you had this hidden in the closet?" he mocked. He saw her blush. He closed his eyes and smiled, biting his bottom lip. I bet I know what this is! He untied the ribbon quickly. Pleeeeeeese let it be…. He lifted the box lid and brushed the tissue paper aside. A very large smile appeared on his face then quickly disappeared as he stared at the gift inside.
"Relena…." His voice was deep. He glanced up at her, eyes dark. "I don’t know what to say…."
Duo saw Relena’s face turn crimson despite the low light in the room.
"I love the color," he continued. "But…." His fingers lifted up a red negligee. "I just don’t think this would fit me!" he teased.
"That’s because it’s not for YOU to wear!" She laughed, snatching it out of his hands.
Duo put the box on the bed, walked over and kissed her deeply. "I love it." He said between kisses. "I’d love it even better on…."
"Well, if you would just…let me…go~oo," she giggled between his hungry kisses. She pulled herself free of his embrace, but Duo caught her hand.
"I hope you’re not doing this just for me," he said, his eyes searching.
Relena gently shook her head. "It’s for both of us." She caressed his cheek. "You just better live up to your reputation," she teased.
Duo hung his head. "Relena…I’m sorry." His voice was full of remorse. "If I had known ahead of time that I was going to fall for you, and if I’d known that there was even the slightest possibility that I was going to BE with you…I would have done some things a lot different."
Relena smiled tenderly.
"I wouldn’t have done them at all!" Duo added. "I---"
Relena stopped his mouth with a sweet kiss. "Duo…That doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that you’re here now, and---and…."
He noticed her eyes tear.
"Promise me. Promise me you won’t ever leave! I don’t think I could live---"
"Why would I leave?" he interrupted.
Relena hung her head. "Heero left."
"Heero didn’t love you like I do. I’m not going anywhere without you."
Relena looked up at him, tears of joy dancing in her eyes. She threw her arms around him and they kissed. Duo pressed her tight against him and he felt her fingers run through his hair, stopping at the beginning of his braid. They were both out of breath when they pulled away, faces flushed and hot from the fire that had ignited between them. With a smile, Relena leapt toward the bathroom.
In a mad dash, Duo shooed Max out of the room and closed the door. He then hopped around on one foot, his braid bouncing behind him, as he tried to pull his shoes off. On the second shoe, he lost his balance and crashed to the floor. He was up with a leap and proceeded to unbutton his shirt. He paused halfway down then began to quickly button it back up. It will be more fun if SHE does this. Looking around frantically for what else needed to be done, he realized…The bed. He flung back the covers and threw off the shams then fluffed the two pillows they’d actually use. He then flung himself on the bed, bouncing up and down. Good! It doesn’t squeak! Obviously their friends would figure things out, but Duo didn’t want them to actually HEAR. He glanced at the door. Or see. He dashed over and locked it. He glanced down at his feet and realized he still had socks on. He quickly shed them and heard the bathroom door open. His head snapped up.
The bathroom light clicked off, then Relena appeared in the doorway. She smiled nervously then approached him.
Duo gazed at the goddess coming toward him. She had pulled her hair up and secured it with those same oriental sticks she had worn on their first date. As his gaze continued down, his eyes widened. He hadn’t realized how blessed she’d been. The long negligee revealed her slim figure to be more voluptuous, right down to her curvy long legs, which peeked out from the thigh high slit in the garment. Relena spun around halfway to him. Duo felt his blood rush and his skin grow hot when he saw the extremely low cut back.
"What do you think?"
Duo clutched his chest with his hands and stumbled backwards, miming a heart attack. He bumped against the door and slid down to the floor, playing dead. For extra emphasis, he jerked his body a couple of times.
Relena placed her hand over her smile then hid her face in her hands. "Oh no! I killed him!" she pretended to sob. "Now I’ll never know how he was in bed!"
Duo laughed and sprang up.
"Nn---nn---NN!" Duo growled as he embraced her. "You look delicious!" He nibbled her earlobe, which made her wriggle and squeal. He then kissed her neck, letting his tongue taste her soft sweet flesh. His lips could feel her body temperature rise. Her breath was heavy in his ear. Duo reached up and pulled out the sticks that held up her hair. It came tumbling around her arms and back. He ran his hands through the silky strands at the base of her neck as his mouth sought hers.
Relena wrapped her arms around him, letting him guide her back to the bed.
"No offence, but I can’t see you buying something like this." Duo said. "I mean, it’s a bit daring of you."
"It was Dorothy’s idea. She got one too." She felt the cool sheets press against her back as he laid her down.
"W-what?" Duo asked a bit surprised. "Is she planning on nailing Quatre?" he smiled.
"That sounds so vulgar."
Duo rolled his eyes and grinned. "Is she going to seduce him tonight?" he reworded.
Relena smiled and glanced away, "That’s not for me to say." She gave him a wink.
"YES!" Duo cried out before bursting into laughs.
Relena giggled. "What is this obsession you have with him?"
"It’s just ‘cause he’s so SHY about everything intimate. I just wish I could see his face when Dorothy…." Duo glanced down at Relena. "I mean, I wouldn’t actually want to SEE…nevermind," he smiled.
His mouth seized hers in a flurry of kisses, restarting the fire between them. He was then against her neck, suckling the tender skin as his hands caressed her shoulders and back. His heart swelled at the thought of being able to do this with her. He decided he would do things right and take his time, letting them both enjoy every sensation.
Relena moaned under him. She was in total rapture. The feel of Duo’s warm hands against her own hot skin and his wet mouth at her neck was enough to make her loose sight of herself.
"Ohhhh, Duo…." She sighed. "I love you."
"I thought they’d be back by now," Hilde said as she munched on a cookie.
"Yeah," Quatre added. "Where did they go?"
"She went to give him his gift," Dorothy said with a smile.
"Well, what’s taking so long?" Hilde asked.
"It’s a special gift," Dorothy replied.
"Don’t we get to see it?" Quatre took a drink of tea.
Dorothy smiled. "Quatre, after the way you fainted earlier, I doubt you’d want to SEE…."
He suddenly spit out his tea. A look of shock fell on his face.
"You mean…they’re…." His cheeks reddened.
"Oh my god!" Hilde replied laughing.
Trowa raised an eyebrow. "You’re not serious."
"I’m VERY serious." Dorothy replied nonchalantly as she sipped her tea. "I helped her pick out the negligee." She gave Quatre a wink.
The boy only turned redder.
Wufei scoffed. "I thought Relena had more sense than that."
"She obviously loves him very much, Wufei," Sally rebutted. "And that’s the ultimate way of showing it." She shoved a piece of cookie in his mouth. "Every woman knows that."
Wufei’s eyes widened and his cheeks pinked slightly as he felt Sally’s foot slide up his leg.
Hilde was giddy with laughter. "I bet Duo’s VERY happy right now."
Quatre hid his face in his trembling hands and tried to ignore the mental picture that kept rushing into his mind. He nearly jumped out of his seat when Dorothy placed her hand on his shoulder.
"Relax, Quatre. No need to get nervous. It’s a very natural thing." She spoke in a low whisper.
"It’s just so…EMBARRASSING!" He lowered his head from her gaze and blushed.
"Well, you need to get over that fast."
"Why?" Quatre looked up at her.
Dorothy propped her chin in the palm of her hand. "It was a two-for-one sale," she smiled.
She leaned closer and whispered something in his ear. The color immediately drained from his face and he landed face forward on the table.
"Quatre!" Dorothy cried over the unconscious boy, slapping his face. "Quatre!" With a heavy sigh she began to fan his face again.
"What did you say to him?" Trowa asked.
"You don’t want to know," Dorothy smiled, guilty. She looked down at the blond boy and shook her head.
"What am I going to do with you?" She whispered to him. She cocked an eyebrow. "You better not do this to me later!"
Duo kissed Relena tenderly a final time. His deep purple eyes stared into hers, now dark blue with passion. He laid his head on her chest, his body still trembling and his breath rapid and shaky. Relena held him close. She could feel his heart beat against her stomach. She brushed back his sweat-dampened bangs and planted a kiss on his forehead. His breath began to return to its normal pace.
"Relena…." Duo sighed. He could still hear her voice ringing in his ears from when she had earlier cried out his name---several times in fact. He glanced up at her, his eyes shining. "I…That…that was…." He struggled to find the right word but it escaped him.
Relena smiled, her face flushed. "I feel the same way," she whispered.
They gazed at each other for a while, not saying a word, but their eyes speaking volumes. Duo curled up behind Relena and wrapped his arms around her, their hands locking together.
"Thank you," he whispered in her ear. Duo felt like crying. At last! I found someone who loves me…just like THEY did. Duo could almost swear he felt Father Maxwell and Sister Helen smile down on him. Thank you!
"Duo? Are you all right?" Relena’s voice sounded concerned.
Duo realized his face was wet with tears. He wiped them away before Relena turned over. Her eyes searched his. She caressed his face.
"I love you so much," he spoke, voice shaking. He placed a kiss on her chest, near her heart. "I’m yours forever."
Relena’s eyes began to tear. She smiled. "Thank you."
Heero leaned on the rod-iron fence near a large manor in the Sanc Kingdom. He crossed his arms and pondered what to do. It had been eight years since he’d seen this place. Not much had changed. Still as quiet and peaceful as ever. Heero smirked.
A gale of laughter broke his concentration. He turned to see a group of children running after a ball. It rolled out the gate and into the street near Heero. The children stopped at the gate and whined.
"I’ll get it." A little boy chirped.
A little blond girl held him back. "Were not supposed to leave the yard!"
The little boy grinned. "You worry too much." He told the younger girl.
Heero picked up the ball and approached them. The little girl gasped and hid behind the boy. The other kids gazed in awe at the tall stranger.
"Did you loose this?" Heero asked, holding out the ball.
"Thanks mister!" The little boy smiled as he took the ball. His violet eyes sparkled up at Heero.
He blinked in shock. He’d seen those wide eyes before.
"Are you lost?" the little boy asked, his eyes peering through long copper blond bangs.
Heero smiled. "No. I’m visiting a friend. Two in fact. I think they live here."
"Really?" The boy’s eyes widened in excitement. "I live here."
"Uh-huh. They’re just visiting." The boy pointed at the other children.
"What’s your name?" Heero asked kindly, squatting down in front of him.
"Hiro!" The boy replied cheerfully.
He was stunned.
Heero smiled. "That’s my name too."
"Cool!" the boy laughed. He grabbed Heero’s hand. "C’mon! I’ll take you to the house!"
"Thanks but no. I’m going to leave." He noticed the boy frown. "Tell me something."
"Is your mom happy?"
The boy scratched his head. "I guess so."
"Does she smile a lot?"
The boy nodded his head rapidly and smiled.
"How about your dad?"
The boy laughed. "He smiles all the time."
Heero chuckled. He rustled his hand in the boy’s wavy, copper-blond hair and stood up.
"You take care, little Hiro. Tell your parents hello for me."
Hiro waved as the tall man walked away. He ran toward the house, the little blond girl chasing after.
"Momma, momma!" he called as he ran into the parlor.
"Hiro Peacecraft! What did I tell you about running in the house? Especially when we have guests?"
"I’m sorry," he said remorsefully.
The queen smiled at him, as did the two guests. The little blond girl tugged on her dad’s trousers and reached for him to pick her up. Quatre smiled and swept her up into his arms.
"Guess what?!" Hiro chirped. I made a new friend today! And he had my name too!"
The queen gasped. She glanced over at the King. "Heero! Where is he?" she asked the little prince.
Duo placed his hand on Relena’s shoulder. "He didn’t want to interfere."
She smiled. "He just wanted us to know he was alive."
"Wow, that brings back memories!" Dorothy replied.
"I wonder if he’s changed much?" Quatre added, glancing at his wife.
"Did he seem unfriendly to you?" Duo asked his son.
"No, he was VERY friendly."
"I hope he’s happy," Relena smiled.
Duo took her hand and kissed it. "I’m sure he is." They smiled at each other.
"C’mon Sam! Let’s go play some more!" Hiro gestured for the little girl to follow.
"My name is Samantha," the little girl stressed as her dad put her down. "Not SAM!"
"Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam!" the little boy teased as she chased him out of the room.
"I wonder where he gets that," Relena said flatly. She, Dorothy, and Quatre stole an accusing glance at Duo.
He shrugged. "What?"
"And so it begins again!" Quatre sighed. The three shook their heads as Duo laughed.
Gundam Wing and its characters are property of their respective owners.
Standard disclaimers apply.
June 14, 2000 @ Stacey Hopson