Author: Calic0cat
see chap. 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer

Fragments + Chapter 10

God, I'd fucked that up. I'd known that I'd have to deal with it sooner or later but he'd taken me totally by surprise with both circumstances and timing and I'd done a lousy job of handling the issue. Not that I really knew how the hell else I *could* have handled it.

I knew that I had to stop Heero, had to get him back into the shower where the noise of the water would at least partially mask our voices, then try to straighten this out. Try to explain things before he took off and put himself in danger. He was struggling to escape my grip but I had no problem holding him at first. Then things changed.

For an instant, as Heero went rigid in my grasp, I was seriously afraid. He'd just gone into pure soldier mode and I didn't think I could stop him if he turned on me now with the intent to maim or kill. Fuck, I *knew* I couldn't; the guy could bend steel bars with his bare hands after all. And with his Swiss-cheese memory, god only knew what the hell was going through his head. But then he was suddenly plunging towards the bathroom, gagging. Stunned, I guided him to the toilet and steadied him while he lost what little was in his stomach. 'What the hell...'

Once he seemed to be done, I flushed the toilet and led him into the shower stall. Thankfully, the resort seemed to have a virtually unlimited supply of hot water. Heero needed it right now; he was shaking like a leaf after that little episode. I sank down to the floor under the spray, pulling Heero with me. He didn't resist, even when I wrapped my arm around his shoulder and drew him close to me. But he didn't lean into me the way he would have mere minutes ago, before I'd fucked things up. And he wouldn't meet my eyes, not even for a second. His gaze stayed firmly fixed on the floor.

With my lips close to Heero's ear, I started to whisper, opting for Japanese rather than English for two very important reasons. First, Japanese always got through to Heero faster and more effectively than English, especially when he went into soldier mode. Whether it was genuinely his mother tongue or whether the effect came from his training being conducted in that language I didn't know and it didn't really matter. I just knew that it worked better than English when I really needed his full attention. Second, the resort and Mattis himself had ties to L3 with its European background. Anyone monitoring the bugs would definitely know English but it might require a little effort for them to find someone with a good knowledge of Japanese, particularly a good enough one to deal with the distortion from the shower masking my words. Doing this at all was one fucking huge risk but Heero hadn't exactly left me a hell of a lot of choice. I either tried to explain or risked him taking off and putting himself in danger.

"Listen to me," I whispered fiercely. "We are partners. Friends. We're Preventers, peacekeeping agents. We're undercover, not really married. As much as I care about you, as much as I would like to make love with you, I can't while you still don't remember. It wouldn't be right. You've never given me any indication before that you would be interested in me in that way; I have to take that into consideration.

"We can't talk like this for long; it's dangerous. Suspicious. And there's ways to filter out the interference from the shower. But I couldn't leave you thinking that I didn't want you. Didn't care for you."

Heero was silent for several very long minutes. I had a counter running in the back of my mind, keeping track of exactly how long the shower had been on, how long we'd been in here together. How suspicious this was. Long before it hit critical level, he said hesitantly, "Just care?"

I swallowed hard. This was more than I'd been prepared to discuss just yet. "No, not just care." I was going to leave it at that but Heero literally was holding his breath so I forced myself to continue, "Not just care. I love you." Carefully, not wanting any room for misunderstanding, I clarified, "Not just Odin. I love *you* - both the normal you and Odin." I leaned over - slowly, giving him plenty of time to pull away or stop me - and pressed my lips to his tenderly in a chaste kiss. Heero responded after a moment, a bit hesitant but willing. I didn't continue the kiss for long; I was all too aware of the passing of time.

As I drew back, I said softly, "Okay for now?"

Heero nodded very slightly, eyes still not quite meeting mine.

"We've been in here a long time - want to help me with my hair?" I offered. The offer wouldn't mean nearly as much to "Odin" as it would have to Heero; he didn't know how important my hair was to me. Didn't know how unusual my allowing him to brush it yesterday morning had been. But he seemed to really like my hair, to find the sheer length of it fascinating. I was hoping that getting him to help me with it would smooth over the discomfort that was hovering between us right now.

His eyes finally met mine, startled. I smiled at him as warmly as I could and gently brushed his own dripping hair away from his eyes. He finally nodded slightly, eyes still locked on mine.

"Great," I said, switching back to English. As I stood and turned to reach for the shampoo, I let a tiny sigh of relief escape. That had been close. Too close. And I wasn't entirely sure that things were truly okay even now. All I could do was hope that they were good enough to last for a while.

+

Since we were going to the party tonight, we decided to take things easy today. Heero was very subdued. Serious. The smiles and laughs that I'd learned to expect from Odin were gone. Whether that was entirely my fault for fucking up so badly this morning and hurting him or whether he was getting more memories back, I didn't know. But despite how badly I wanted, needed, my partner back to himself I hated seeing the changes taking place. Hated seeing the emotional shields start to return.

We went for a walk in the late morning, finally ending up at one of the hotel's restaurants in time for lunch. Then we headed back to our suite for an afternoon nap, making one small sidetrip to pick up our new suits at the boutique, altered and crisply pressed, ready for wear.

Yesterday, I'd decided that if I did try sneaking out of the party, I would need to do so without having to take the time to change clothes. Thus every possible bit of my outfit was black. I'd have even opted for a black shirt if I'd dared but I thought that would be pushing my luck. It wouldn't really matter anyway. By the time I turned up the jacket's collar and crossed the lapels in front, the shirt would be completely hidden. The only extra thing I'd need to take along was a pair of dark gloves.

Now the only thing I still needed to do was figure out how the hell to explain to Heero that I was going to be leaving the party for a while and that he would have to stay there on his own and cover for my absence. Well, now that we'd done it once, weird and embarrassing though it was, I supposed that it wasn't particularly unusual for newlyweds to shower together. That would give me the opportunity to explain, now all I needed was the explanation itself...

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