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fic - capes [haven] - the turnip patch
version 2.0
turnippatch
turnippatch
fic - capes [haven]
Title:  Capes
Series:  Moments of Haven
Summary:  Lunch with Relena.
Additional Comments:  *rubs head* Geez, it's darn easy to fall off the writing wagon, ain't it?  Someone oughta install seat belts on that thing.



Capes
A Moment of Haven


Duo investigated the internals of his sandwich discreetly.  Sure, he couldn't identify the greens, and neither the spread, but it looked tasty enough.  "Is it just me, or our sandwiches heartier than yours?" he asked idly, picking one of his sandwich triangles up.  It was only a moment later that he noticed Relena was settling her napkin in her lap.  A quick flicker of the eyes informed him that Heero hadn't bothered with his napkin prior to poking at his salad of equally unidentifiable greens, so at least he had company in his barbarianism.

Relena smiled unapologetically.  "Apparently the kitchen picked up on the fact that you're two healthy, hearty young men."

"Does that mean you don't eat enough?" Heero asked, pinning her with a critical look.

"I eat less than you do, I'm sure, and for very good reason, I'm also sure."

"Oh, I get it," Duo announced brightly, the first inane thing that came to mind.  "It's easier to eat, right?  These little triangles.  Keeps you all tidy and stuff?"

"Yes, it's never dignified having something escape from your meal.  And even less so to have it escape into your lap."

"How dignified is it to eat a sandwich at all?  I mean, anything you've gotta eat with your hands..."

"How fortunate that this is a casual lunch with friends, then."

How uncool that she'd had to carve time out of her schedule for a casual lunch with friends.  Easy-to-eat sandwiches also smoothed the working-through-lunch process, too.  "So, does all the work just pile up for you at home while you're away?"

"Some, but not much.  The Parliament does most of the work these days.  Sanq has learned to get along just fine without anyone occupying the royal palace.  Or without much of a royal palace at all," she added with a wry humor made soft in remembrance of just when and why the palace had been destroyed.

The subject was tactfully shifted.  "The remodeling's going pretty well, from what I could see."

"Thank you.  Actually, it's probably the thing I have the most say in around here, given that it's my ancestral home."

"You spend most of your time in Brussels, though, don't you?"

"I do.  It's where I'm needed right now.  Every time I come back here, I try to schedule the time to get to know Sanq better, visit some place I haven't gone yet, speak to a group I haven't met with yet."

It sounded like she needed to go on the city tour he was leaning on Heero to bluff his way through, though he had to admit, 'thing' or no 'thing', he was kinda glad she didn't have the time right now.  "Slow going?"

"I take that as a good sign that Sanq is as culturally rich as it is.  I hope I never learn all there is to learn about my country."

"Graciously said," Duo complimented, impressed.  He absently wiped a bit of salad dressing -- something vaguely fruity? -- from the corner of his mouth with his thumb, then paused and looked at his finger.  "It would probably be an incredible faux pas for me to lick my finger clean, wouldn't it?"

Heero released a very faint huff of amusement.

Duo turned to him and licked the dressing off with an utter disregard for discretion.  Heero ignored him, but Relena giggled softly, so he considered it a win and turned back to her.  "How weird is it to be working on all of that high-level socio-political-whatever stuff in the capital, and then you go home and choose which colors to paint the ballroom?"

"Yes, there is a little bit of a mismatch...  But I think it's good for the brain to switch tracks once in a while."

"You really have to 'schedule' time to go out?  Well, knowing your schedule, it totally makes sense, but... that kinda means you can't just feel like stopping somewhere for a walk or something, doesn't it?"

"I can certainly do that, if I have the time.  And the appropriate accompaniment."

"Which I'm sure you always do, since Heero is sitting right here and you're not about to reveal potential security risks to him."

"Sanq may be your home country, but we have open borders these days," Heero said on cue.  "There's nothing to stop someone who means you harm from crossing into Sanq to find you."

"I like how I only barely kinda mention the topic, and he goes into lecture mode."

"That was not a lecture.  It was an observation."  His neutral tone developed a whiff of pointiness.  "And you did a lot more than just 'barely' mention it."

Duo resisted the urge to pinch his cheek and patted his shoulder condescendingly instead.  "Hey, I heard you hung out with Quatre a couple of months ago.  I bet he was great accompaniment."

Relena smiled at the whole exchange.  "I did.  He escorted me to an event.  We had a marvelous time fending the lobbyists off each other."

Since Duo's mouth was full, Heero had an opening to engage.  "I imagine he must be very good at that."

"Well, it's much easier to do when they aren't your own.  I hope we can do it again some day."

Heero took a few seconds to arrive at an opinion about that.  "Does he have plans to come down often?"

"Not that I'm aware of.  I may have a trip up there coming up, though."

"With the appropriate accompaniment, of course."

It seemed too obvious to Duo to roll his eyes, but he did it anyway.  "What, you don't trust Quatre to watch over her for you?"

"Quatre won't be with her the entire time."

"I do have a standard guard detail, Heero," Relena reminded him firmly, dryly, and even almost sort of sharply.  "And I'm quite certain you've alluded in the past to having checked up on each and every one of them."

"I wasn't able to meet them personally.  Are they here now?"

Duo looked from one to the other and sighed to himself.  He'd always been fairly certain that he would place himself squarely between Heero and Relena.  He just never thought it'd be quite in this way.  "So why does Quatre have lobbyists anyway?  He's not playing the political game, is he?"

Relena turned to him with a sweet smile, clearly dismissing Heero in the process.  "The Winners could be a powerful lobbying force for whatever cause they like, if they were inclined to use their wealth in that fashion.  Fortunately for us, they choose their causes discreetly, modestly, and thoughtfully.  There are quite a few groups out there, however, that feel they should do the exact opposite."

He chuckled.  "They should be glad they don't.  I get the feeling that they'd only end up on the other side of the aisle from the Winners.  Can't speak for the rest of them, but Quatre'd probably just do it to be perverse."

"You think so?  I didn't..."  She paused for a moment to think back to her interaction with him over their winter holiday, when he had so cavalierly suggested risking Heero's wrath for their own amusement.  "Well, perhaps you're right."

Duo wasn't quite certain what Quatre had done to leave that impression with Relena, and while he did want to know, he also didn't want to know.  "The tabloids were all over him at first, when the 'prodigal Winner son' returned.  I assume he's cleaned himself up well enough to be seen in your company."

"Quatre cleans up very well.  One of the social reporters we ran into assured him he'd be the colonies' most eligible bachelor some time soon."

"Well, that must have set off some speculation."

"Quatre seemed to enjoy it.  I suppose I didn't mind it, since I don't question Quatre's intentions toward me."

Heero opened his mouth to say something, then seemed to think better of it and let it go.

Duo raised an eyebrow at him.

He shook his head slightly, and met Relena's daring look with a calm silence.

She rewarded him with a smile.  Apparently he could be trained, after all.  "Well, I hope a boring old politician like me is fit to be seen in the company of the colonies' most eligible bachelor."

Duo snickered.  "Maybe the two of you can do some good for each other, evening out your images and all."

Heero drew breath for another interjection, paused, then put some food in his mouth instead.

Duo's sudden laugh was quickly smothered with a deliberate cough.  "Sorry.  Just realized what Heero keeps trying to say."  He moved on before Relena really had the opportunity to absorb that.  "Hey, is Quatre still trailed by all those Maguanacs?  I kinda miss those guys."

Relena lost a beat in the transition.  "I saw one or two of them, I think, but I wouldn't be able to vouch for all of them.  Were you friends with them?"

"Friends?  Nah, not really, but we were friendly.  Lively bunch, those guys.  Wonder if Quatre gets to hang out with them much.  Probably not, huh?  Say, what kind of colonies' most eligible bachelor do you think he'd be?  The crazy playboy type, or the brooding eccentric type?"

"Playboy."

"Whoa, that didn't take a moment of thought.  Is he already trying to make the rounds or what?"

Relena paused for reflection, refraining from darting her eyes in Heero's direction.  "Well, I don't really see him as the brooding type."

"You don't?  That's good, I guess..."

"You do?"

"You kidding me?  That guy rivals even Heero in his ability to feel responsible for stuff that's completely not his responsibility."  He steadfastly ignored Heero's somewhat irritable look.  "I think chances are high he's gonna be some sort of caped crusader type, or he'll have some sort of secret deep dark obsession.  Possibly both.  But hey, that could just be my imagination," he finished with an innocent shrug.

"You have an interesting imagination."

"You have no idea," Duo agreed blithely, before Heero could mutter something similar under his breath.  "I mean, it's not like I'm wrong.  He really is hiding a secret Gundam pilot identity."

Denied his first chance to comment, Heero took this second opportunity to insert some practical commentary.  "Perhaps he should avoid this 'eligible bachelor' status.  Someone might dig a little too deeply into his past and find something they shouldn't."

"Whoa, hey, Quatre's a super genius when it comes to this stuff, right?  What if he decides to do the playboy thing, just to throw everyone off the scent?  If everyone thinks he's that shallow, there wouldn't be any reason to dig, right?  Especially if he spreads all this other dirt around for them to sniff up."

"I don't think that'd be a wise, or effective, strategy."

"No, but a guy's gotta have a hobby."

"I don't think he should make a hobby of bad decision making."

"Hm, you might be on to something there.  Either way, I think he'd enjoy being the colonies' most eligible bachelor.  I mean, gotta be funner than his day job, yeah?"

"Quatre has a very rewarding day job," Relena said in defense.  It seemed a particular necessity since Duo seemed prepared to lump her own day job in with Quatre's.

"Sure," Duo conceded easily.  "But rewarding isn't the same as fun.  I dunno, maybe we always catch him at the wrong time of year or something.  He usually seems kinda stressed."

"Well, it's not an easy job, of course.  But as Heero just pointed out, even the job of colonies' most eligible bachelor wouldn't be without its stresses."

Duo winced on Quatre's behalf.  "Ouch.  Talk about no-win.  Well, long as he doesn't let it get to him, I guess.  Sounds like we, his fellow ex-caped-crusaders, have our work cut out for us.  Can we count on assistance from our ex-crowned-crusader?"

"Of course."  Relena laughed lightly, then brightened in exclamation.  "Oh, that reminds me!  While you're here.  They're not quite capes, but I do hope you'll accept."

"'Not quite capes', eh?  Now you've got me curious."

"You remember I made you all Knights of Sanq, yes?  And you all refused the medals.  But I've always wanted to give you something to show for it.  I know, it doesn't really mean much, and giving you something concrete doesn't make it any more significant, but you'll indulge me, won't you?"

"Uh, not until you explain what a 'not quite cape' is."

"A coat to pin your medals to.  You do have medals, you know.  I'm just keeping them for you.  If you won't take the medals, you'll at least take the coat."

"Coat?  Well, I guess it's at least practical..."

Heero snorted.  "You mean the whole ensemble, don't you?  Not just the coat."

Relena glanced innocently at him.  "Well, the coat wouldn't make any sense without the rest of it."

"Relena, just what do you think we would do with a set of formal Sanq dress?"

"You would stand about being utterly dashing in it," she beamed.

He looked at her patiently.

Duo blinked.  "Whoa, waitaminute.  Doesn't that uniform involve tights or something?"

"Well, some caped crusader you are," Relena chided.  "And they aren't tights."

"And a frilly.... thing?"

She harrumphed in a most delicate fashion.  "You needn't take them with you just now, of course.  You're still growing, and it wouldn't make sense to have you fitted now.  But when they do become appropriate, you'll accept them, won't you?"

Duo gaped a bit before composing himself.  "We'll discuss it when the time comes.  How about that?"

"Excellent."  She smiled like someone who had just won the point.





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Comments
lavendarlizard From: lavendarlizard Date: August 23rd, 2011 03:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh my... She'll have them kitted out in Sanq dress and the medals and probably swords and dashing white stallions before they know it. *snork!* Good for her! ^___^

turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: August 23rd, 2011 08:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm sure Duo will change his mind about the outfit as soon as he sees how nice Heero looks with that jacket draped over his shoulders. ^^

Also, yay for sunflowers.  I should take some pics of those little penstemons I bought when I was in your neck of the woods and you can see how they've grown, except they've already finished blooming.
lavendarlizard From: lavendarlizard Date: August 24th, 2011 02:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Studly Heero makes anything better. ^___^

You have little sunflowers or big sunflowers? O_O Oh. I'm so glad the penstemons settled in. ^___^ I can't remember now if they were the purple-blue or the purple-pink. I can picture the plants themselves, but the color... poof. O.o

turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: August 24th, 2011 05:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I haz a virtual sunflower that you sent me?  *doublechecks* Yes, that was you.  Unless it was an accident, in which case I shall feel quite unloved.  As it is in a pot, I will assume it is a small sunflower, possibly a native, which is good, because I distrust flowers that are taller than I am.  The nice and short penstemon were a purple-blue.  I will have a lot of deadheading to do in a month or so, I imagine...
lavendarlizard From: lavendarlizard Date: August 24th, 2011 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)

*bangs head against table* Nothing sticks in my brain anymore. >_< I expect to end up as one of those people in a nursing home with only half a brain in a few years. =P

I'm glad you like the little sunflower anyway. ^____^ He reminded me of sunny people.

I guess a lot of the giant sunflowers would be taller than you; I hadn't thought about that. It could become intimidating. O.o Oh! Once upon a long-ago dreary, I planted a bunch of sunflowers and they grew to be taller than me! I do believe the blue jays cut them down to size... ^____^

turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: August 24th, 2011 06:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I hope you didn't just call me 'sunny'.

They don't really intimidate me, so much as... well, they're always looking down on people.  It's just not nice!
lavendarlizard From: lavendarlizard Date: August 24th, 2011 07:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Oh. Well, you like yellow and most sunflowers are yellow, so I kind of think of 'sunflower yellow' Jei. ^____^ I know, you're much closer to PlansHeero, really, but grumpy is a hard color to settle on. I've tried. O.O

Huh. Even my sunflowers didn't look down on me... They seemed to be ignoring me most of the time. Or maybe they were just on recon for the jays. O.o Maybe yours were afraid you'd come after them before the birds did. ^___^

turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: August 26th, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I suppose grumpy is blue, but I don't really like blue that much.

There was this one sunflower down the street when I was a kid... I never much liked walking past it.  Maybe because it was all by itself, so it sort of seemed like this monstrous beanstalk of a weed.
call_me_ishmael From: call_me_ishmael Date: August 23rd, 2011 10:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
You compared Quatre to Batman.

BATMAN

Things like that are why I never get sick of reading your fics. BAAAAhahahaha.
lisagems From: lisagems Date: August 24th, 2011 04:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, he does have the tragic, you-killed-my-father background, and is a ridiculously wealthy man who is given to building nifty toys that make things go boom...
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: August 24th, 2011 05:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Pargan makes a better Alfred than Rashid, but Rashid will do just fine. =D ... OMG didn't Robin come from the circus, too??  x_x
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: August 24th, 2011 05:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh, I think Duo needs to make a pun on Quatman at some point... ^o^
tyreling From: tyreling Date: August 29th, 2011 08:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL. This is amusing. I love how you wrote their interaction and the dialogue about Quatre going for the playboy path. Hahahaha. And then somehow Relena manages to rope them into accompanying her.
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: August 30th, 2011 07:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Ever since writing Touch the World, my Quatre's never been quite right in the head. ^^
pyrrhical From: pyrrhical Date: January 9th, 2012 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just in case you were ever, ever curious, putting all of Haven into a PDF file for, say, a Kindle, is 1,341 pages and 5.1 MB. Just FYI.
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: January 10th, 2012 05:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, is that all?  Guess I'll need to write harder then...
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