For Dacia and her damned plot bunny (http://www.raygunworks.net/bunnies.html)

By: Anasazi
Warnings: Non-explicit yaoi and het ficlet (how did I get myself into this, again?), characters I don't generally think about too much, cheating, real life heartbreak, angst, non-bashingness, some OOC (oh, come on, Heero and Relena have been married a long time -- people change), obliqueness. Relena POV.
Pairings: 1+Rx1, 1x2x1 implied
Spoilers: Is it a spoiler than Relena, Heero, and Duo lived to the end of the series?
Summary: And I quote. "Who needs a plot, anyways?" Dacia, you're awesome.

Every Day A Little Death

The breakfast room is full of sunlight. There's silver and china on the clean tablecloth, and blueberry muffins -- my favorite -- steaming in a basket. Heero is already installed in his chair beside the window, reading the newspaper, pen in one hand.

"Good morning," he says, gravely. He gives me that little smile that never ceases to make my heart quiver. I shake myself from my stupor and bend down for our morning kiss.

His lips are warm -- even after all these years, I expect them to echo the marble perfection of his body. Kissing Heero ought to be like kissing a Greek statue, but his lips are warm and a little chapped, and he tastes like black coffee, eggs, and salt. It's a little bit more than a ritual peck, and by the time I straighten up, his hair is a little bit more mussed, and I'm breathing a little bit more heavily.

For a moment, everything is all right, and then I step away, and the movement seems to shatter the peaceful tranquility of the scene. I still can't breathe, but now it is because of claustrophobia. I notice, suddenly, that he's been reading the sports section.

Heero doesn't even watch sports.

"Miss me?" I ask, following our routine. Ladies and gentlemen, I present Heero and Relena, the modern day Astaire and Rogers, in their classic routine -- watch as they dance the Emotional Sidestep.

"Yes." He hands me a plate. The muffin is already broken open, and a little pat of butter is melting in the precise center of the bottom half. His fingers brush mine, and my heart imitates the butter. It's not all good feeling, though. It's worse because I know he isn't lying. It's just that I'm not the only person he misses at night. "Did you miss me?"

I sit across from him, bathed in the sunlight from the garden. He passes my tea over, and I sip. "Yes," I admit, feeling the sting. When we first got married, we tried sharing a bedroom. We've long since abandoned that tradition. Politicians and Preventors keep erratic hours, and our coms are prone to going off at the least accommodating times. We always eat breakfast together, though. The most important meal of the day, he says sometimes, with a spark in his eye.

I know he didn't get that phrase from any public service announcement. I can almost hear the voice saying it --

I bite into my muffin with more force than necessary, and almost choke. "I'm fine," I mumble, before he can say anything. "So, how goes the war?"

He snorts. "Some days I miss Wing." He holds up a hand to forestall my words. "Joking, Relena. Joking."

I had been about to say, 'I know what you mean.' Instead, I shake my head, and eat my breakfast. He jokes more now that he's in love. Just picked up a sense of humor along the way, I expect. Bastard.

He continues, giving little summaries of the things that aren't classified -- mostly how much paperwork he's expected to do, and how little he likes it. I'm not really listening. I'm watching his lips move, watching the sun hit his hair, watching his hand as it curls lovingly around his coffee cup, and hating myself for ever introducing myself to Heero Yuy. His smile softens for an instant, and I know that if I were listening, he'd be telling a story about his reckless partner and some hijink they got themselves into.

"That Duo," I smile, wanting to bite into my teacup and spit the pieces of china across the table. When I see that look on Heero's face, I know he has never been in love with me.

"Yes," he agrees, looking less like a statue than ever. He reaches across the table and takes my hand. His touch is still enough to make me warm inside. "Relena . . . "

I freeze. Here it comes, I think. I'm a rabbit, caught in a web of hope and fear so complicated that the air feels like it's turned to cement. Everything seems to turn inside out, and I think I'm going to be sick. The atmosphere is poisoning me, and I pull my hand from his so I can take double handfuls of my dressing gown and will myself not to faint. "Heero?" Is this the moment where he breaks free? Where he decides to just follow his feelings?

It would destroy me if he left. I know it. He knows it. But the perfect soldier ought to be able to answer this: Is it worse to be devastated with a single stroke, to explode on the battlefield into a million shimmering sparks, to scream until your lungs implode, or to feel your life slip away with every movement and every breath?

Heero's eyes narrow at my sharp gasp for air. He considers me for a long moment before nodding to himself, slightly. "More tea, Relena?"

For a moment, helpless fury grasps me. Beneath the linen tablecloth, my fists clench against my thighs, bunching my gown into wrinkles. Later I will find tiny holes where my nails have driven through the cloth, but all I feel is the burn of air in my throat. I know exactly how Heero used to feel before he pushed the button to self-detonate. If he won't, I think, I will. The lights are too bright as I prepare to meet my destruction head on. I meet my husband's eyes clearly and hear the poisonous breath escape my lungs.

"No more tea for me," I hear myself say. "I'm fine."

Inhale. Exhale. I'm fine. Just a little dead.

end

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