Some sap and fluff here....
AUTHORS: Mel and Christy (Ye Younge Cliffhanger Queenes)
DISCLAIMER: We are not connected to the real owners of Gundam Wing in any way (unless being excessively jealous of them counts).
PAIRINGS: 5x2, 1xR, 3x4
WARNINGS: Angst, yaoi, sap, AU-ish

Key: minor scene change (from person to person at the same place, etc): ----------
major scene change (at another place, some time later, etc): * * * * *
flashback or dream starting or ending: ~*~*~*~
thoughts (and the occasional sound effect): Tadah!
some more sound effects (little ones!): -tadah!-
electronics (phone, TV, intercom etc): <<Tadah!>>

Rebuilding + Chapter 6

Sitting at her dressing table brushing her hair, Relena watched Heero in the mirror.

I've got to get him to talk about this, she thought, worried. He seemed to be opening up again since we found Duo, but the last few days he's been completely shutting himself off... He didn't even take an interest in the meeting today! He's normally so focussed on security, he would have been asking all sorts of questions and demanding proof, but he didn't even pretend to pay attention after Duo wouldn't speak to him.

Heero sat heavily on the end of the bed and slowly pulled his shoes off, tossing them into the corner; then he just sat there, hands dangling limply between his knees, staring at the floor.

"Relena?" he said quietly, voice hoarse.

"Yes?" she replied, quickly, putting the brush down and turning around.

"Do you... I, I haven't been..." He swallowed, still not looking at her. "Do you want to end our engagement?"

WHAT?!"Heero... why would I want to do that?"

"I didn't realise... until all this happened, I didn't know I still loved Duo," he said shakily. "That's not fair to you. I, I do love you, but if I can't devote myself just to you -- "

"But I don't want that!" she exclaimed, getting up and walking over to him. He looked up, startled, as she sat next to him and gently took his hand in hers.

"But..."

"Do you remember what I acted like, the first couple of months after I met you?" Relena said softly, smiling at him. "I followed you everywhere. I stalked you. Did you like it?"

"...No," he admitted. "Duo was right when he said you were kind of scary."

"I was devoting myself completely to you," she said dryly. "For a while, nothing else really managed to penetrate my shell... at first, because I had a massive crush on you and thought it was Love At First Sight. Later -- after Father was killed -- I suppose I was subconsciously hoping you would get the vengeance for me that I couldn't admit that I wanted. I was so tangled up in the idea of loving you, being your 'only one', that I couldn't see you properly. It wasn't until I backed away and started to pay attention to the rest of my life that I actually started to know you, and really fell in love -- and, I suppose, stopped being so... scary."

"As for still loving Duo," she continued, going on before Heero could answer, "I should hope you still do! After everything you went through together, and everything you were to each other, only an incredibly shallow person could cut all those ties and just stop caring. You are not a shallow person, Heero. If you were, I wouldn't have said yes to the engagement in the first place."

"You... you're sure it's okay?"

"Yes," she said simply. "You love me, too, right?"

"Of course!"

"You're in love with me?"

"Yes," he said, puzzled at the question, but certain of his answer.

"Are you in love with Duo?"

"I... I don't know," he said, uncomfortably. "How do I tell?"

You didn't have any trouble working out you were in love with me, love, she thought. That tells me everything I need to know... now, I just have to help you get it clear for yourself. "Well," she said slowly, "what do you want?"

"I want to protect him," he said sadly. "I want to make everything better. I want him happy. It hurts, seeing him like this..."

"Do you want to be lovers again?" Relena asked bluntly.

He opened his mouth to reply, then closed it, blushing at the thought. "I... no. No, I don't. It... it doesn't seem... I still think he's attractive, and I -- um -- I haven't forgotten what it was like," he said, glancing at her a little nervously, "but... no."

"What do you want from Duo, then?"

"I want to be friends again," he said without thinking. "The way we were towards the end of the war..."

"So you love Duo as a friend," she said quietly. "A friend and a brother. Why would I feel threatened by that? As for fixing things and being friends again... you just need to be patient. Duo's hurt and angry and in no shape to face things right now. He still loves you deep down, or he wouldn't be as upset as he is. You know him, Heero. When he's feeling better and more secure, he'll think everything through. You just have to wait, and be there for him when he's ready to talk. He'll come back, to all of us, eventually. We just have to have a little faith."

Heero stared at her for a moment, wide-eyed, as he processed everything they'd said; then a shaky smile appeared on his face as a tear rolled down his cheek.

"Thanks," he said, wiping at his face as he reached out to hug her.

"You're welcome," she said impishly, holding him close so he wouldn't see the tears in her eyes before she got them under control. "My motives were at least partially selfish, though. I didn't want to lose you. Don't forget that!"

"I won't," he said, voice muffled in her shoulder.

"Hmmm... I don't know. The idea might need reinforcement. I know! Shall we go to bed now, so I can ravish you?"

"Relena, you spent far too much time talking to Duo towards the end of the war!"

"Somebody had to give me advice on how to deal with a certain overly-quiet, introverted, mission obsessed, blue-eyed soldier. Who better than him?"

A secretive smile curved her lips as she pulled Heero down to the bed. Thank you, Duo.

* * * * *

The Manguanacs who drove them home insisted on cooking dinner, so Duo and Wufei had something to eat besides microwaved TV dinners again. They also insisted on washing the dishes, and were beginning to hint about the rest of the housework when Wufei finally got them to leave.

"I develop more sympathy for Quatre every time I have to deal with his 'henchmen'," Wufei said dryly, returning to the lounge after locking the front door behind them. Duo didn't answer out loud, but he looked puzzled, so Wufei continued. "When they want to do something for someone, they're an unstoppable force!" he explained. "The first time Quatre mentioned being nagged by them, I thought he was a pushover. That was before they decided that the rest of us needed looking after as well. Now that I know them better, I am amazed by Quatre's patience and forbearance. If they'd been concentrating on Trowa, he would have disappeared. Yui probably would have shot them all, or self-destructed to get away. I don't know what I would have done, but it wouldn't have been pleasant! You... hm! Would you have tried to out-nag them, or played so many practical jokes on them that they had to run away?"

An involuntary giggle escaped Duo. "I tried the practical jokes, but they didn't run," he said quietly, smiling. "I painted Rashid's mobile suit blue with pink polka-dots. He didn't think it was funny." Wufei snorted. "I'm not surprised! I didn't think it was funny when you painted Nataku... though I can see the amusing side now, I admit," he said wryly. "When did you paint Rashid's suit? I never heard about it."

"When I was staying with Quatre after Hee -- the first time."

After Heero self-destructed, Wufei filled in mentally. Duo nearly said it... and it doesn't look like he's done talking. That's good. "I'm sure that wasn't the only thing you did," he said, settling onto the sofa next to the braided teen.

"Of course not," Duo sniffed, smile slowly returning as he automatically snuggled up to Wufei's shoulder. "I water-bombed them a lot. I got to Rashid's hair oil -- did you know he uses hair oil?"

"No," Wufei mused, wrapping his arm around Duo and pulling him closer, "but it makes sense. His hair couldn't possibly stay like that without some help."

"Definitely. Anyway, I put some sickly-sweet floral perfume in it; the other Manguanacs were still sniffing suspiciously at him a week later. And I ran a panty-raid on them."

"You did what?"

"Well, it was a boxer raid, if you want to get technical." Duo snickered softly. "They must get their underwear in bulk. Every single one of them had baggy white boxers, with their names printed in indelible ink on the waistbands. I tie-dyed them... bright colours... then hung them in a tree. It was such a beautiful sight the next morning," he mused. "The entire Manguanac corp, in their robes and pyjamas, standing around the tree admiring my work. Until Rashid bellowed my name, of course, at which point I ran for it. Did you know Quatre's closet is a great place to hide? Very roomy. And there's no dust under his bed, either." Duo looked up innocently at Wufei, and the Chinese pilot had to laugh.

"Yes," he said, still chuckling, "I can see that it would be an advantage if the person whose bed you're hiding under has good servants..."

"It meant I didn't sneeze while they were looking for me. They got me back though. They put a diaper and baby bonnet on 'Scythe a few days later. Never underestimate the deviousness of Rashid..." Abruptly, Duo burrowed his head into Wufei's shoulder and took a deep, shuddering breath, clinging to the other teen's shirt. "Thanks, 'Fei," he said shakily, voice muffled. "I needed that."

"Feel better now?" Wufei said softly, gently stroking his back. Duo nodded without lifting his head. "Yeah," he sighed. "A bit. I... I guess I just needed to think about something else for a while." Something other than the meeting and Heero, Wufei thought. "Are you tired?"

"No... not yet." A yawn escaped Duo, and he blinked. "Oops. Er... not much. I don't want to go to bed yet, though... can we just stay like this for a while?"

"As long as you want," Wufei assured him, hugging him tight and dropping a kiss on top of his head.

* * * * *

Over the next couple of days, Wufei was delighted to note that Duo was coming a little further out of his shell. He talked more, had fewer nightmares and made a few jokes... He even talked about things that had happened during the war, though he still shied away from any mention of Heero's name. Quatre's timing seemed to have improved, too; at least, he hadn't phoned at inopportune moments. That didn't hurt.

Although Duo still didn't want to 'talk' to Quatre and Trowa directly, he e-mailed them to thank them for the clothes and other things they'd bought. Quatre sent back a careful, cheerful reply saying that he'd always wanted to go to some of the shops, himself, and was actually glad to have had an excuse. The e-mail he sent privately to Wufei was much longer and less coherent, babbling hopefully about this sign that Duo was slowly relenting towards him. On Saturday, Wufei saw Sally for another checkup.

"I'm amazed," she said dryly, looking at the new x-rays of his shoulder. "You've actually been resting it; it's healing nicely."

"If I didn't heal well, I wouldn't have done well during the war, would I?" he grunted, struggling back into his shirt and buttoning it up around the sling, one-handed. "Why are you so surprised?"

"Oh, I remember how fast you heal," she assured him, making a note on his medical file. "I also remember numerous occasions where you got injured and then made it worse by overstressing half-healed wounds."

"Always for a good reason," he pointed out. "The war's over. I don't need to do that any more."

"And Duo looked at you, right?"

"...Yes."

"Glad to hear it," she muttered. "I knew I could count on him.... You're fit for light duty, starting tomorrow. Short shifts, of course. Will that be a problem?"

"No," he said reluctantly. "Duo already said it was okay with him."

"But you don't want to?" she asked, eyes narrowing slightly. Is he worried about leaving Duo again? Maybe I should have had him come in too --

"Of course I don't want to come back to work," he snorted. "It means being around you more."

Sally rolled her eyes. "Get out of here before I throw something at you and have to patch you up again -- no, wait. Are you and Duo going to Quatre's New Year's Eve party tomorrow night?"

"I haven't asked Duo yet," he replied, pausing at the door, "but I doubt it. He's doing well, but he's not really up to parties yet."

"Good," she said emphatically. "That's what I was going to say. Now shoo. Stop by Une's office on you way out."

"Did she say why?"

"Tell her I said 'I think you forgot again'," Sally smirked.

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[cont]