Author: CalicOcat
Disclaimer: Duo and Heero and the rest of the GW gang aren't mine. This story is. Nuff said.
See Part 1 for warnings

'Thinking'
"Speaking"

************ Time passing or scene change
*~*~*~*~*~* Major POV shift

Mission: Marriage + Chapter 16

"You'll never love him the way that I do," Relena hissed furiously.

"No, I won't, and thank god for that!" Duo responded fervently.

Just as his response left his mouth, Duo saw Heero come around the corner of the house behind Relena. The colour drained from his lover's face, leaving it an unhealthy gray. Cobalt depths filled with unutterable pain met his violet gaze. In the instant of seeing Heero's reaction, the last piece of the puzzle dropped in place for Duo. He finally understood why Heero hadn't given up and moved on; why he had put so much thought into the rings; why he had been so upset over Duo not wearing a helmet; why he had looked disappointed on reading through the planned ceremony; why he had done so many things throughout the short time they had been together so far. 'He loves me! Oh Heero-love, husband-mine, I'm sorry - but that doesn't mean what you think!' He needed to finish his response, fast - but he also needed Heero to stay put while he did so. Almost instinctively, his fingers flicked out instructions, relying on the training so deeply ingrained in them both as to be near instinct to make Heero notice, understand, and follow them. 'Wait. Hold position. Further data.'

Looking straight into those bright blue eyes that belied the spoiled child within, he told Relena, "I will never love Heero the way that you do because you don't love Heero at all. You love the notion of the pretty little girl taming the wild beast; the fairy-tale princess elevating the rank of the commoner who rescued her; the helpless maiden in distress marrying her handsome saviour; The Perfect Pacifist rehabilitating The Perfect Soldier and ending up with The Perfect Marriage. You love the idea of being in love."

Duo switched his gaze from Relena back to Heero, silently begging him to listen, understand, and stop hurting. "I, on the other hand, love Heero. I love him as my best friend, my lover, my partner, the man who makes love to me so tenderly, the man who makes sure I eat properly and get enough rest, the man who pisses me off beyond belief when he orders me to do something for my own good. I don't expect him to be something he isn't, and I don't expect him to be the 'Perfect' anything because I'm sure as hell not perfect myself!"

*~*~*~*~*~*

As Duo spoke, putting into words the nature of Relena's obsession, explaining something that Heero had instinctively known yet had never been able to clearly express, Heero fought desperately to maintain at least a superficial degree of composure. 'Okay, if that's how Relena "loves" me and Duo says he won't ever love me like that, then that's a good thing. But what will he do? Will he love me any other way? God, Duo, please, I need to know...'

As those beautiful eyes turned away from Relena and back to meet his gaze, they went from hard amethysts back to soft pools of violet. 'Dare I believe what his eyes seem to say?' Listening to the words being spoken by a voice that had changed as drastically as the eyes, he realized that yes, he could believe. 'He loves me. Duo loves me!' Light-headed with relief, Heero had to consciously stifle a snicker at Duo's description of him as "the man who pisses me off beyond belief". 'If he can love me when I'm being a protective asshole and ordering him around, then he must really love me!'

Taking one slightly shaky step forward, Heero held out his arms. Duo came past Relena in a rush, flinging himself into them and closing his own arms around Heero with enough force to drive the breath out of him.

"I'm sorry, love, so sorry, didn't mean to hurt you like that, didn't know you were there..." Duo murmured frantically, voice muffled by how tightly he was pressing his face to the crook of Heero's neck.

"I know, it's okay now, I love you too, everything's going to be okay..."

*~*~*~*~*~*

Some of the pain had receded from Heero's eyes while Duo put Relena in her place and some of the colour had come back into his face. 'Thank god, for a moment there I was afraid he was going to pass out...' Now, speaking while gazing directly into those expressive cobalt depths, Duo could see the emotions pass through them, changing as he continued to speak. As hope replaced the pain, then joy replaced the hope, Duo realized it was going to be okay. Relena's presence was virtually forgotten by the time Heero took a shaky step towards him and opened his arms. Charging towards Heero, he was vaguely aware that Relena paled and jumped aside as if afraid that he was about to attack her. 'Stupid bitch. Doesn't she realize that she's just not worth it?' Crashing into his lover with enough force to make him stagger back a step, Duo hung onto Heero with all his strength, desperately trying to apologize for the hurt he had caused with his initial response to Relena.

"I know, it's okay now, I love you too, everything's going to be okay..." Heero murmured in reassurance, holding him just as tightly in return.

'Ow. We're both gonna have bruises. But I don't care! I need this...' Duo thought.

Vaguely, he could hear Relena demanding shrilly that Heero had to talk to her. Heero didn't even deign to reply, instead drawing a startled yelp from Duo as he shifted his grip and lifted him off his feet. Turning and swiftly striding around the side of the house, Heero ducked inside and kicked the door shut before turning back to face it and urging, "Lock it". Duo reached out and clicked the deadbolt in place, then, with a few quick taps on the keypad, set the alarm system.

Heero carried Duo through into the living room, dropping down onto the couch with Duo across his lap. 'God, he's so tense he's shaking. Or the shaking is shock. Fuck, neither one is good,' Duo thought anxiously. Falling back on an old familiar standby for relieving a tense situation, he quipped, "Remind me to send her a thank you card when we get back."

*~*~*~*~*~*

"A what?" Heero blinked, certain that he must have misheard Duo.

"A thank you card."

"Why the hell would you do a thing like that?"

"Well, see, if you think about it, she's the one that actually got us together. Her showin' up at Quat's uninvited made me say we were gettin' married. Her sneakin' into your room made me move you in with me. Her tryin' to play footsie with you..."

Heero snickered, then snorted, then finally gave in and just plain laughed. The irony of the whole situation really was unbelievable. Everything Relena had done to chase after him had just gained him more ground with Duo. As he laughed, however, it started to take on a hysterical note. He had been through so many extremes of emotion today that it was all starting to catch up to him.

"Heero, it's not that funny," he distantly heard Duo say, but he just couldn't seem to stop laughing even though he was starting to hiccup and to have trouble getting his breath.

"Dammit Heero, don't make me have to slap you. Calm down, it's okay now."

Evidently giving up on words, Duo caught his face in both hands, but rather than slapping him, he kissed him. Hard. And long. And deep. And when Duo finally pulled back, the hiccups were gone and the shortness of breath was for an entirely different reason.

"God, Duo, I love you so much..."

"I realize that now," Duo responded, his eyes shadowed with regret, "and I'm so sorry I was such a thick-skulled idiot about it before. I dunno whether I should even ask how long you've been waitin' for me to grow up and realize what was starin' me in the face."

"Probably not," Heero answered, pulling Duo even closer and burying his face against Duo's neck. "Just hold me for a while?" he requested.

"Anything you want, husband-mine. Anything at all."

Arms wrapped securely around one another, they remained on the couch, Duo still on Heero's lap, occasionally whispering a soft endearment or exchanging a tender kiss, ignoring the ringing doorbell, the persistent knocking, and the shrill shouting. Eventually, another, unfamiliar, voice could be heard outside.

Reluctantly, Duo unwound himself from around Heero and slid off his lap. Stalking over to the window, he parted the blinds to see what was happening on the porch.

"What's going on?" Heero asked, wincing as he tried to rub the circulation back into his legs. 'Ouch. Don't recall any of those romance novels talking about that little drawback to holding your lover on your lap for too long.'

"Relena's being served with the restraining orders. She doesn't look too happy... Nope, there go the papers - she just ripped them up. Heh, guess Quat must've mentioned she's got quite the temper for a pacifist - the guy just handed her another set," Duo snickered. "Ooh, that's different. Pargan's leaving! Guess his loyalty doesn't stretch quite so far as to support her in violating a restraining order..."

"Isn't she leaving?" Heero asked, starting to ease to his feet. 'I hate that pins-and-needles feeling of returning circulation. Next time, I've got to remember that half an hour in one position with Duo on my lap is apparently a little too long...'

"Yep, and the guy that served the restraining order is following her. Guess that's the end of that, at least for now," Duo said, turning away from the window.

Seeing Heero leaning rather heavily on the couch armrest and grimacing, he asked worriedly, "What's wrong? You didn't hurt your back carrying me in here, did you?"

"No... My feet and legs just fell asleep," Heero admitted ruefully.

Duo slapped his hand over his mouth too late to muffle a snicker. "Are you insinuating that I'm too heavy?" he demanded in mock indignation.

"Oh no, I am not falling for that one," Heero answered with a smirk.

************

The long shadows of late afternoon stretched across the bedroom floor. A trail of clothing led from the door to the bed, where Duo and Heero lay facing each other, legs entwined, hands roaming down each other's back, mouths pressed together urgently. Drawing back slightly, Heero asked hesitantly, "Duo... will you let me..."

Feeling Heero's fingertips brush his entrance, Duo realized what he was asking. Meeting his eyes, he said wonderingly, "Yes. God, yes. You've never offered before. Why?"

Pulling Duo even closer, Heero buried his face in the cascade of chestnut silk spilling over Duo's shoulder before murmuring, "I had to keep something back. When I first decided to use sex to draw you closer, I promised myself that I would save something for later, for after I told you that I loved you and hopefully found out you loved me too. It didn't really matter to me who took who, so when you asked to take me, I agreed. I couldn't tell you why I wanted to wait and I was terrified that refusing you would push you away. A couple of times I was afraid you were going to ask me to take you too, but I was able to distract you enough to avoid the question. I wanted at least one of our 'first time together' occasions saved for now, when it's making love on both sides, not just sex..."

'Dammit Duo, you've got a hell of a lot to make up for,' Duo thought as he heard the wistfulness in Heero's voice. "Heero, I am so, so sorry I took so long to figure things out. But as long as you loved me, it was never 'just sex', even if I was too busy bein' a baka to realize it."

"If... if I had told you sooner, maybe when I gave you the ring, would it... would it have made any difference?"

Duo sighed. "I don't know, love. I wish I could tell you that I'd have figured things out right away and everything woulda gone perfectly, but I just don't know. I probably would have still gone through with the wedding, but I might have refused to become lovers thinkin' that it wouldn't be right when you wanted more than I was ready to offer. And that would have blocked a lot of the opportunities that you took to show me how great we could be together - and I don't just mean the sex. I mean the cuddlin' and the conversations while lyin' together in bed, and the pillow fight, and the picnics, and even the scrappin' over the riding helmet. And while I was attracted to you way back before I convinced myself you were straight, and might even have been startin' to fall in love with you, I'd done an awfully good job of buryin' all those memories. It was all the things you've done over the past few weeks that made me fall in love with you this time around. Rememberin' what happened during the war just made me acknowledge my feelings, it didn't cause 'em all by itself."

"So I did the right thing in waiting?"

'Oh god, Heero, I hate seein' you so uncertain. It's just so unlike you.' "Yeah, I think you did," Duo assured him.

Rolling onto his back, Duo pulled Heero with him. "Now, husband-mine, how about we find out what it's like to make love when we both know there's real love behind it, hmm?"

Heero dove in for a quick kiss, then pulled back and, with love and mischief dancing in his eyes, smirked, "Ninmu ryoukai."

'Uh oh, I'm in trouble now, Heero's on a mission...'

+

Special note: Chapter 17 is a lemon. If you prefer to avoid the citrus, skip ahead to Chapter 18 - you won't miss anything plot-related.

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