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fic - x'mas AC198 part 22 [haven] - the turnip patch
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turnippatch
turnippatch
fic - x'mas AC198 part 22 [haven]
Title:  X'mas AC198
Series:  Moments of Haven
Part:  22



X'mas AC198 Part XXII
A Moment of Haven


"You really feel something for him."

Heero paused in the act of flattening the box of oatmeal to look at his companion curiously.  He assumed Trowa was talking about Duo, though he wasn't certain what would have prompted the topic.  The oatmeal, perhaps?  Heero had vowed to take Duo's 'martyr to the oatmeal' rant to heart.  So far, they'd managed to finish their vacation with the leftover flavor varieties being balanced, so they seemed to be off to a good start.  "...I don't know how to take that."

"However you like."  Trowa continued to stack their cans of soup neatly into a paper bag.  It was probable that the careful arrangement would be completely undone once the bag was transported, but until then, there would be order from chaos.

Trowa's answer was, as usual, unenlightening.  Heero turned it this way and that in his head, considering the possibilities.  "You're... surprised?"

Trowa shrugged and continued reading the label that had caught his eye.

Heero set the flattened box down on top of the stack to recycle and turned his attention to the tea.  Some of it would go home with Quatre.  Wufei would reclaim the rest.  "...At us?  Or in general?"

"Both."

"...I'm still not sure how to take that."

He seemed amused by this.  "I'm not sure how to take it, either."

"Did you take it for something else?"

"No offense."  He checked the refrigerator for what perishables would need to be consumed before they left.  "I'm just not accustomed to seeing relationships that mean something."

"Fair enough."  Heero wasn't really used to seeing relationships at all.  He thought maybe he and Duo ought to get out more, but that had little to do with seeing other relationships in action.  Not unless they double-dated, or something equally dreadful.  Ah, well.  They could create their own standards.  "Even now?"

There wasn't war now.  People didn't use meaningless relationships to take the edge off the fear or loneliness anymore.  Trowa still lived amongst impermanance, though.  That was the way he liked it.  That was the way he was used to.  "They're different.  They're..."

"Normal?"

"Normal.  Relatively speaking."  Circus acts and carnies weren't exactly a baseline for the mainstream.  "I thought we were more like... soldiers."

"We were.  Maybe we're something more now."

"You must be."  He poured himself a glass of milk.  "Soldiers have 'arrangements'.  Relationships of convenience.  Not... what you have."

Heero moved a box off the table and set it down on the countertop.  Following that, he leaned against a barstool and made no more move to tidy up the kitchen in preparation for their departure.  "But it is, isn't it?  A relationship of some convenience.  At least according to the ladies.  Surprising, really, if you think about it."

"Relena?"  They'd heard something of the story.  He didn't know who the other 'ladies' were, but he knew Relena had had a hand in things.  She didn't strike him as the 'convenience' type.

"Yes.  The basis of their theory was that Duo and I fulfilled each other's emotional needs, to the point where we would never look elsewhere for our physical needs.  As such, it seemed to make the most sense that we fulfill each other's physical needs as well."

"Relena speaks of 'true love'."  He spoke the words with a tinge of skepticism.

"Maybe their sales pitch was put together with us in mind.  'True love' would never have motivated us to try this."

"Practicality did?"  As reasons went, that was a good one.

Heero shrugged, not particularly perturbed by their humble beginnings.  "As I said.  A relationship of some convenience.  If it had not worked out so conveniently, if we needed to go through all the normal courting rituals, I doubt we would be doing anything at all."

"A relationship of some convenience," Trowa echoed thoughtfully.  He understood relationships of convenience.  When he looked at the relationship of his two comrades, he could see it.  He could see other things, too.  Puzzling things.  "But you really feel something for him."

"I do."  The answer was firm and immediate.  "That is not to say that I would engage in this sort of relationship with just anyone, given enough exposure and proximity.  No, I think Duo and I happen to be very well matched."

It was a strange match, Trowa thought, but stranger matches had happened.  Their rapport seemed genuine somehow, and easy to follow, but when he thought about them separately, the math just never came out right.  "I wasn't surprised when we found you two on the sofa."

Heero lifted an eyebrow at him.  "You would be the only one."

"Well, it wasn't what I had been expecting," he allowed.  "But it was no surprise.  For the kind of people we are, sharing what we've shared.  And then you two, living in close quarters.  It happens."

Heero considered that for a few weighty moments before nodding his head slightly in acknowledgement of the point.  His gaze wandered out the window for a few moments more before he spoke.  "I don't think I'm cut out for that sort of casual behavior."

"Oh?  It's just sex.  You strike me as the kind of guy that could do something like that without any undue emotional attachment."  He admired that about Heero, the way he did things with a minimum of fuss.  He kept things simple and uncomplicated.

"Maybe."  Heero seemed unoffended by his words, though the neutrality of the answer avoided any indication one way or the other.  "But even without emotional attachment, there's still... it's still a moment of vulnerability.  Emotional, physical, take your pick.  If it's to have any worth at all, if you're to get anything out of it, you need to let your guard down, even for just a moment.  I'm not one to go handing that vulnerability to a person casually."

"Hm.  Interesting."  Somewhat reassuring, too, to hear that he still thought in terms of weakness and vulnerability.  It had been a source of a slight confusion, Yuy's willingness to engage in a relationship.  Even no-strings-attached arrangements betrayed a need.  He had considered it odd that Yuy would reveal such a weakness to somebody, but if that somebody had been chosen carefully, then perhaps the exposure was mitigated.  "You did say you were committed.  I didn't think much of it, but I should have known.  When you commit yourself to something, you really commit."

"If it's worth doing, it's worth giving your all."

History had certainly proven Yuy's belief in that.  Trowa couldn't imagine him ever doing anything in a half-assed way.  That had its pros and its cons.  Fools used that sort of devotion to ideals, good or bad, to find their paths to ruin.  Heero Yuy was no fool.  "Did you not commit until you decided it was love, or do you love because you're committed?"

The question prodded Heero into a startled look.  It turned contemplative a couple of seconds later.  "Both.  We gave it a lot of thought before we decided to do this.  I thought it would work.  But then to decide it was love... that was a decision I made."

"A decision?"

"I think love means something different to everyone.  I looked at what I feel, and decided that it was love.  Is it what someone else would call love?  I don't know.  I don't care."

Another fascinating answer.  Heero's emotions held conviction as always, but Trowa had wondered at its source when it came to love.  "You keep looking over your shoulder.  Does Duo have different ideas?"

A rueful smile settled upon Heero's lips.  "I'm on the lookout for Relena, actually.  Possibly Quatre.  I fear them more, if they were to overhear us.  Duo... should know where I stand.  He doesn't believe in this 'true love' thing, either.  Fears it a little, even."

"If he fears it, he must believe in it."

Heero shook his head.  "No, he doesn't fear it that way.  He doesn't fear that depth of emotion.  He fears the fantasy.  He knows it doesn't exist, so if he finds himself in the middle of it, then he knows that there's a problem, that something will shatter when reality reasserts itself."

Perhaps Trowa would have to give Duo more credit.  He knew Duo to be a cynic, but he hadn't expected such a level of grounded realism out of him.  "And do you fear shattering Relena's fantasy?"

"That... seems unnecessary to me.  I doubt I could do more than dent it, though.  We're foolish men that don't understand our own hearts, after all.  She can believe whatever she wants about us, so long as she believes that we're in denial."

"Women."

Heero correctly deduced the source of his commiseration.  "Does Catherine have dreams for you?"

"Perhaps.  I'm not sure why the two of you don't get along.  You're the same, I think, as you are when you come to Relena.  I think Catherine would like for me to be happy, but I think she would growl like the fiercest of lions if someone were actually to approach me."  Thus far, the issue had not come up, but he looked forward to getting some kicks out of it when it did.

"I don't growl."

"Really."  If Heero hadn't been Heero, Trowa wouldn't have been sure how he could say something like that with a straight face.

Heero applied a dignified spin to the whole matter.  "Whomever she decides to be with will have to put up with me eventually.  Better sooner than later."

"Ah."  He seemed to be missing the point.  Why did he assume that he had a say in Relena's personal life?  He existed there by her tolerance alone.  There was some protective instinct in him that made him presume so much.  Yes, he and Catherine could get along quite well, if they were to bond over the proper subjects.  "Did you ever find out what Duo thinks about that?"

"No."  The faintly pensive look gave him away.  He didn't look like he wanted to know for sure.  "He seems amused by it.  He's... probably just happy she's not competition."

"Hm."

"Hm?"

"An attachment.  A claim."  Luxuries.  "No, not a soldier's relationship."

"Do they really need to be so separate?"

"You want a soldier's relationship?"

"I don't like drawing so many lines.  We limit ourselves in such a way."

Trowa thought lines were nice.  He thought Heero thought they were nice, too.  Maybe Heero just had a lot of lines?  He was far too orderly not to have some lines.  "How would you reconcile the two?"

Heero gave the question a few seconds' thought before answering.  "We started with the camaraderie, respect, trust.  We translated that into the physical to... well.  Just because.  And now, instead of being temporary, we've just made it... a permanent sort of temporary.  Some things may have needed to be adjusted in order to accommodate for that, but in the end, it's not too different, I think.  In your time, you must have seen relationships that meant something."

So Heero had lines.  Maybe they just veered off in lots of strange directions.  Temporary wasn't supposed to be permanent, and things didn't just 'get adjusted', but Trowa supposed he could sort of see it, if he tilted his head sideways a little.  Maybe Heero could make it work.  He could make a lot of things work.  But most people weren't like Heero.  "Those were usually mistakes."

"If it wasn't based on a misunderstanding, something one-sided perhaps, then it was probably just a mistake because of the circumstances.  Circumstances we're no longer in."

"Circumstances you could be in again."

"Circumstances that are mostly under my control, then.  I'll do what I have to to keep that as unlikely as possible.  And if I fail, and it turns out to be a mistake, well, some mistakes are worth making."

"Make love, not war...?" he murmured to himself.  Heero Yuy, still bending all that energy and focus toward keeping the world at peace.  But what would the world think, to know his reasoning?  Had Relena rubbed off on him?  Duo?  Peace?  "Heh, you're a changed man, Yuy."

"I don't think so.  It's the world that has changed.  I've just changed with it."

"I admired you once, for what you were."

"I don't want your admiration."

He thought maybe he had been wrong about what Yuy was.  "You're something else now."  But maybe no less admirable.  "I saw us as soldiers.  Wufei saw us as warriors.  You?

"People with a job to do, who went out and did it."

"Hm."  That was probably what made him special.  "You fill my mind with interesting thoughts, Yuy."

"I hope nothing that will come back and haunt me in the future."

"Hm."  He heard some of the others coming their way, and took advantage of the opportunity to drop a line he knew Yuy wouldn't be able to pursue.  "You know, Quatre thinks some interesting things when he's drunk."

"What?"  But then Relena and Wufei entered the kitchen, and with an irritated scowl, Heero was forced to drop the subject.





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