Disclaimer: Duo and Heero and the rest of the GW gang aren't mine. This
story is. Nuff said.
See Part 1 for warnings
************ Time passing or scene change
*~*~*~*~*~* Major POV shift
Marriage + Chapter 6
Quatre hung up the phone,
smiling slightly in amusement. Trowa, just entering the room, raised an
eyebrow in silent inquiry.
"Lady Une," the Arabian answered, "calling to let me know
that she and Sally would not be arriving today after all. Apparently,
forms indicating an upcoming change in marital status for two Preventer
employees appeared in her email this morning, along with a note reminding
her of all the pertinent items of the labour laws and the organization's
own regulations. Apparently, dealing with said pertinent items and preparing
a few contingency plans to deal with someone's probable reaction to them
is going to cause a slight delay in her departure from Preventer HQ."
Trowa blinked. "Heero sure isn't wasting any time, is he," he
"No, he isn't," Quatre said. "He's already off 'running
errands' himself - and I know one of those is to pick up the rings
that he ordered after things settled down last night. I suspect his plan
today is to stay clear of Duo till things are far enough along that he
won't be too likely to back out. And of course, I'm supposed to
be keeping Duo too busy to even think about backing out."
Quatre beamed beatifically at Trowa's inquiring look and said, "I
have completely free rein in arranging the wedding. Heero gave me only
two stipulations: it has to be before the end of his month of vacation,
and they have to end up with the same surname but he doesn't care which
or if it's hyphenated as long as it's the same. He said that when he was
on his way out, he would slip a note under Duo's door telling him to talk
to me about wedding plans, so I'm expecting him any minute now."
Giving his lover his most angelic look, the blond said, "For some
reason, I don't think he's going to trust me to make them on my own."
Surveying the piles of brochures, catalogues, fabric samples, sample flower
arrangements, etc. that Quatre had somehow managed to acquire already
that morning, Trowa said drily, "Well, I really can't imagine
Later that day - much later that very long, very hectic day - Duo
finished braiding his hair and flicked a few loose hairs off of his shirt.
He hated formal dinners. But Relena apparently expected the Winner
household to dine formally, and, rather than stirring up a fuss over something
so minor, Quatre had given in.
Swinging by Heero's room to see if he was back and ready to go down for
dinner, Duo was appalled to discover Relena, dressed in only her slip
and camisole, standing inside the doorway, ostensibly looking for an opinion
on which of two dresses she should wear. Heero had, understandably enough,
barricaded himself in the bathroom. Taking matters firmly into his own
hands, Duo sent a passing servant to request that "Miss Catalonia
please assist Miss Peacecraft in dressing for dinner", sent Relena
back to her room, and sent another servant to locate either Abdul or Rashid.
Relena had resisted at first, but when his voice had dropped into a Shinigami
growl (and he suspected his eyes were making his displeasure pretty clear
too, judging by her quick avoidance of his gaze), she had caved in and
retreated in at least temporary defeat.
"Okay Heero, it's safe to come out now," he said, knocking lightly
on the bathroom door.
"Yeah, I got rid of her."
"Permanently?" Heero asked wistfully as he opened the door a
crack, revealing that all he was wearing was a towel.
"Unfortunately, no. She's really gettin' out of hand, isn't she?"
"That was exceptionally bad, even for her. I think our little announcement
sent her into desperation mode."
"Yeah, well, this next bit just might send her right off the deep
end then," Duo said. 'I am so going to regret this. But I
can't leave Heero in here by himself, especially after Dorothy's warning.
Relena's gettin' way too aggressive,' he thought. Duo was very
carefully not thinking too carefully about why the thought of Heero
being driven to locking himself in the bathroom to escape Relena had roused
all his protective instincts. Something told him he wasn't prepared to
deal with that just yet.
"You wanted to see me, Master Duo?" Rashid inquired from the
"Yeah, Rashid. Could you please get somebody to move all Heero's
stuff to my room while we're at dinner? Then this room can be cleaned
and prepared for Lady Une's use when she arrives later instead of the
small room Quatre had previously planned on."
Rashid sent Heero a questioning glance. Receiving a slight nod in response,
he agreed, "Certainly, Master Duo."
"Thanks, Rashid," Duo said as the burly Maguanac left the room,
closing the door behind him.
"Thank you, Duo," Heero said, resting his chin on Duo's
shoulder and giving him a grateful hug.
"No problem Heero. But since Relena obviously isn't going to give
up too easily... You watch my back, I'll watch yours. 'Kay, partner?"
"Okay," Heero answered, quickly crossing the room to remove
something from his jacket pocket. "Catch," he said, tossing
a small box to Duo before starting to get dressed.
Averting his gaze from Heero's body as the towel was dropped, Duo examined
the small box. 'Ferguson's Custom Jewellery? Oh shit, don't tell me...'
Shooting a nervous glance in Heero's direction, he opened the box to reveal
a narrow "half" eternity ring. Set in a three-strand band of
plaited tri-colour gold, diamonds alternated with deep blue and violet
star sapphires. Each sapphire was small, but every one had a perfect six-pointed
star in it. Tilting the ring, it was clear that the stones were natural,
not synthetic since the star moved as the viewing angle changed.
"I know eternity rings aren't traditionally used as engagement rings,
but I thought the flat design wouldn't catch on things or get in the way
like a solitaire would. I could have got coloured diamonds, but the colour
wasn't nearly as nice, and sapphires are almost as durable as diamonds.
And sapphire symbolises loyalty and faithfulness, which I thought was
appropriate for our friendship and the fact that you're doing this out
of loyalty to said friendship," Heero said, sounding almost - nervous?
"I picked the plaited band because it reminded me of your braid.
And I went with stars instead of a regular cut because I know how much
you loved to lay out and watch the stars at night on Earth..."
"I - it's beautiful, Heero," Duo said, blinking rapidly. 'Aw
shit, Heero, now look what you've gone and done - I'm gonna end up cryin'
if I'm not careful.'
Heero hesitated, then held out his left hand to reveal an identical band
on it. "I know usually only one fiancÚ wears the engagement ring,
but we're both engaged, so that didn't make much sense to me. We're
partners, equals - so I thought it was more appropriate for us both to."
'Fuck, that did it.' Duo slid the ring on his finger quickly, then said,
"Just a sec, I think my braid's coming loose," and slipped into
the bathroom, barely getting the door shut before the first - and only
- tear slid down his cheek. 'That is without a doubt the sweetest, most
romantic thing I've ever heard. But that does not change the fact that
it was my best friend saying it, not someone I'm in love with and
who's in love with me. I should not be reacting like this.' Working
quickly, Duo yanked out his braid, knowing Heero would notice if it had
not been redone. Replaiting it, he pulled it tight enough to make his
eyes water, hoping that would stop any more tears from coming.
Re-opening the door, Duo said in an exasperated tone, "Darn hair
just will not stay in tonight! Did it tight enough to hurt this
time, hope that it finally stays put!
"Come on, let's go get this damn dinner over with. Oh, and Yuy -
you owe me big for abandoning me to handle Q's wedding planning
frenzy by myself!"
With Duo beside him on one side, Quatre at the end of the table on his
other side, and Trowa and Wufei across the table from him, Heero felt
secure enough to ignore Relena's intent gaze. Curling his fingers so that
his thumb could brush against the engagement ring, he thought about the
other things that sapphire symbolized, the ones that he didn't
mention to Duo, but that played an equally large part in his choice of
stone. 'As well as symbolizing loyalty and faithfulness, sapphire expresses
love and yearning. Maybe I still can't tell him with words, but at least
I can use the language of gemstones to carry the message until I can...'
"Why Duo, what is that I see on your hand?" Dorothy asked archly.
Inwardly, Heero braced himself for the storm that was sure to follow.
Much to his surprise, Relena merely stolidly ignored Duo's enthusiastic
explanation of the ring, his insistent display of Heero's matching one,
and all the assorted exclamations of admiration and approval that followed.
'She's up to something. She must be. She can't have given up that
easily. My door was locked when I went in to shower, and she was
in the room when I went to come out and get dressed. Either she's learned
how to pick locks - unlikely that she would "lower" herself
to such a level - or she got hold of a key somehow. I was SO glad
to hear Duo come in looking for me...'
The thought of being reduced to locking himself in the bathroom to hide
from Relena made Heero want to cringe. 'But I can't regret it since
it kicked Duo into that protective "mother-hen" mode that he
used to get in during the war if I got hurt on a mission... And that
got me moved into his room. If looking a bit foolish is what it takes
to make a little more progress with Duo, I can live with that.'
Climbing the stairs to go to her room, Dorothy stifled a yawn. She hadn't
intended to stay up so late, but debating current Earth Sphere policies
with Chang Wufei had been far too invigorating to quit just to go to bed.
Even Yuy and Maxwell had abandoned the discussion ages ago and gone off
to their room.
'I cannot believe those rings that Yuy picked out. I knew he had
it bad where Maxwell was concerned, but the thought that went into those
rings... What I wouldn't give for a mate as thoughtful and romantic as
Heading past Relena's room, she noticed that the door was open a crack.
'Three guesses where she's slipped off to, and the first two don't count...
She's not going to like what she finds!' Since she had still had to finish
getting dressed after solving Relena's dress dilemma, Dorothy had ended
up being the last one down for supper. On her way down, she had seen Rashid
carefully supervising as a couple of servants packed up Yuy's belongings
and carried them off, out of the guest wing and towards one of the large
suites in the main hall. 'No need to guess whose suite either -
I knew Maxwell would know what to do with that cautionary hint
I gave him!'
Seeing the door of Heero's former room standing open, she peeked
inside to see Relena, clad in a skimpy negligee, staring around the empty
room in dismay. Deciding that, for once, discretion was perhaps the better
part of valour, Dorothy silently withdrew and slipped into her own room,
hoping to avoid the hysterics that were likely to ensue if she ended up
explaining to Relena exactly where Heero had been moved to. 'Fun
as that might be, I have had much too pleasant an evening to ruin
it by giving myself a headache from all her screeching.'
[chap. 7] [back to CalicOcat's