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fic - girl talk [haven] - the turnip patch
version 2.0
fic - girl talk [haven]
Title:  Girl Talk
Series:  Moments of Haven
Summary:  Relena, honey, we feel your pain.

~ Girl Talk ~
A Moment of Haven

"So tell me, Relena," Duo started casually.  "When are you going to find yourself a nice man to keep you grounded?"

Her hands stilled for a moment before they resumed transferring the dinner leftovers to an airtight rubber container.  "As soon as I find one that passes Heero's inspection," she replied lightly.

"Heero, when are you going to allow one of these guys to pass your inspection?" he asked, leaning a bit to bump their shoulders against each other in a teasing fashion.

Heero grunted as he handed him a soapy plate to be rinsed.  "When one of them passes."

Relena and Duo both rolled their eyes at that.  "You're one to talk, Duo," she complained.  "You're almost as bad as he is!"

"Am not!"

"Are too!  Not that there are really all that many guys to be inspected."

"And yeah, I admit that those guys were totally not worthy of passing.  But you get approached plenty, don't you?"  He slid the cleaned plate into the drying rack and shut off the water, waiting for the dishes in the sink to pile up again before he started to rinse them once more.

"Like I would ever even consider a man whose attraction to me cannot stand up to the force of even one of Heero's lesser glares!" she sniffed haughtily, setting the dish she had been working with down on the counter next to Heero.  He took it, carefully rinsed it off beneath the faucet without getting any of the already washed dishes dirty again, and sunk it into his tub of suds.

"And well you shouldn't," Duo agreed.  "You deserve better."

"You know, Duo...," she started idly, seating herself at the dinner table where she could observe the two men standing next to each other at the sink.  "You pass Heero's inspection."

"What?!" he squawked, jumping slightly.

"I just mean to say that that's a very special thing, is all," she soothed.  "I'm not trying to imply an interest or anything.  It's just rare for Heero to deem anyone as good 'significant other' material."

"Oh."  He said it rather warily.  "So?"

"Well, what about you two?"

"What about us?"

Relena bit back a sigh.  "You're both still single."


She blinked at them, trying to figure out if Duo was doing this on purpose or not.  "And?  And when are you guys going to get hooked up with someone, hmmmm?  You know, find someone to settle down with.  Wake up next to.  Eat dinner with.  Wash the dishes with."  Oops, she shouldn't have said that last bit.  Maybe that was getting a little bit too obvious, but really!

"We're young, Lena.  And now that we're out of the war, there's no hurry.  If there's something I've learned, it's that it's okay to slow down now."  Duo turned the water back on and started washing the pans that Heero had placed in his side of the sink.

"I'm young, too," she muttered to herself, before continuing on in a more normal tone of voice.  "You're young men.  Aren't you supposed to be consumed with thoughts of finding that special someone?  Well, okay, maybe women tend to want that 'special someone', and men are more willing to settle for just 'someone'."

"I resent that," he responded mildly.  "I could have a girlfriend if I wanted.  I just happen to know that none of the girls I've met are special to me, so why should I waste my time on a casual relationship that's not going to go anywhere?  Geez, this is like talking to Ms. S....  I've explained to her that no one I've met passes *my* inspection yet, and my own set of criteria probably isn't as stringent as the list we keep for any prospective boyfriend of yours."

Relena watched as Heero's elbow swung out a bit and nudged his partner's side gently.  He murmured something to Duo, but it was too quiet for Relena to catch.  Duo only grunted softly in response, a touch of humor staining its dry tone.  She rolled her eyes at their backs.  She'd bet all of Sanq that Heero passed Duo's inspection as well.  "Why can't you be normal boys and think with your groins for once?"

"Then it would be hypocritical for us to screen out those sorts for you," Heero offered.  Trust Heero to bring logic into the matter.

"Trust me, Lena, I've love to be normal if I could," Duo said.  "But I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I won't ever be, and it's better if I don't try to be.  And if there's one thing I learned from the ladies on K Street, it's that a groin ain't nothing to crow about."

"Pardon me?"

"The ladies on K Street.  They're, um, ahem, prostitutes."  Duo muttered that last word, casting his eye nervously his shoulder at Relena to gauge her reaction.  When all she did was blink curiously at him, he continued.  "They, ah, yeah.  But they were the nice prostitutes.  The not-so-nice ones were on J and farther on."

"Nice and not-so-nice?"

"Yeah, I wouldn't want to hang out with the girls on I, for instance, but the ladies on K always treated me nice."  He took a moment to evaluate just what it was he was saying.  "I don't mean as a customer," he was quick to explain.  "I mean, back in the day.  I think I brought out some of their mothering tendencies.  More detail than you need to know.  Anyway, yeah, they had a lot to say about men needing to prove their masculinity, and how I shouldn't be one of them."

"Oh."  So Duo was mothered by prostitutes.  Nice prostitutes.  And they were apparently a good influence on him.  "Alright, then.  Heero, what about you?"

"What about me?"

This sounded familiar.  "You weren't ruined by any positive female role models, were you?  So, you know.  Finding someone.  Don't you ever feel like something's missing from your life?"


Relena stopped and thought about that one for a little while.  Well, yes, that was probably very true, especially since Heero wasn't missing anything.  He had Duo, standing right next to him all the time.  Of course he wouldn't have to go looking for love if he was already with the one he loved.  Darnit, why did Duo have to make him so bloody content?  Then he would have had to go searching, and maybe he would have found this other solution on his own and she wouldn't have to go trying to point it out to them.

Oh, but this was so frustrating!  How could she make them see what was in front of their very own eyes?  It wasn't that what they had between them wasn't beautiful and grand and glowing and sweet and good, but if they could just realize, then she could add a few more adjectives to the stack.  There was no reason to stop here, so close to the top, when the top was only a few small steps away.

"Argh!" she cried out suddenly, standing.  Her chair made an unexpected scraping sound against the floor that made both boys jump slightly and look towards her.  "I can't take this anymore!"

"Uh, Lena?" Duo asked tentatively.  "You okay?  Where are you going?"

She paused on her way out the door.  "I'm going to be at Suzuhara-san's house.  Don't wait up for me."

They glanced at each other with raised eyebrows as they heard her march out the front door.  Since Heero's hands were in kitchen gloves and covered with suds, Duo hurried to the front of the house and watched out the window just long enough to make sure that Relena got to their neighbor's house okay.  Yes, Suzuhara-san only lived two doors down, but still, it was their job to keep an eye on her, and so many accidents happen within only a couple of miles of home, you know.

Duo found Heero finishing up the rinsing of the dishes when he returned.  "So, what do you think that was all about?"

Heero shrugged, and dumped out the dirty dishwater.

"I'm glad we were able to get her on a vacation.  I think she really needs a break.  ...Or maybe she needs a man.  Otherwise she wouldn't always be dwelling on this relationship stuff."


"Lena!" Suzuhara-san said as she saw who it was that was ringing her doorbell.


"Oh my, come in, come in!  What's wrong?  Have the boys finally driven you out with their ways?"  She ushered in the poor girl and sat her down on the sofa.

"You could say that," Relena sighed, and then her manners kicked in.  "I hope I'm not intruding on anything...?"

"Oh, no, not at all, my dear.  I meant it when I said you were welcome here.  Can I get you anything?"  Relena shook her head.  "Well then, all that's left is for you to tell me what's the matter."

Relena cast about trying to determine that herself.  "It's... complicated."

"That's perfectly fine."

"I... don't really know where to start.  To be honest, I don't really know why I came over here...."

"Is there a beginning?"

"No.  Not really...," she trailed off.  "Heero and Duo... they're... more than just your neighbors to you, right?"

Ms. Suzuhara had a slightly startled look on her face as she wondered where this was going.  "Well, yes, I suppose.  They're friends, certainly.  Although if I had to be completely truthful, I'd have to say they were really more like... sons.  I just can't help it."

Relena smiled in agreement.  "There's just something about them, isn't there?"

"That makes them so... motherable?"  It seemed even Suzuhara-san was not immune to Duo's motherableness.

"That makes you want to see that they get the best out of life?  Because they deserve it.  So much."  Suzuhara-san nodded.  "You know, I want that for them, too.  I care about the two of them, too, and... I suppose I have no right to interfere, but I'm not really doing anything much at all.  I'm not even trying to tell them anything they don't already know, on some level.  I just... *sigh* is it so wrong?"

"Is what so wrong, dear?"

"...Wanting them to get the most out of life, I guess.  To have the most fulfilling relationships possible.  To push their limits to reach their greatest potential."

There was a patient look on Ms. Suzuhara's face.  "And why would that be wrong?"

Relena shook her head.  "Duo seemed to imply that you were trying to fix them up or something?"

She bore the apparent change of subject well.  "Not fix them up, exactly.  I just want to remind them of what they're missing, that's all.  You have to do that every once in a while, you know, just so they don't forget that such things exist altogether."

"Are they missing anything, though?  Really?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean... if they're already managing to fulfill each other's emotional needs... then what, really, are they missing out on?"

Suzuhara-san was suddenly reminded of another conversation she had had that followed lines remarkably similar to this.  "You think they should be together, don't you?  Well, together as in, *together*, I mean.  Lord, that sounds so childish.  But--"

"It's alright," Relena interrupted gently.  "I understand.  And yes.  I think the potential is so there for it.  But good lord, I've been trying everything I could possibly think of for the last I don't know how long just trying to get them to realize that.  Everything short of just locking them in a room together with a tube of lube and telling them to go at it!"

Suzuhara-san raised an eyebrow.

"I mean it.  I convinced them to sleep in the same bed.  I contrived to get them to spar with each other.  I managed to get Duo to walk into the bathroom while Heero was showering.  I pushed them into dancing with each other.  I got Duo to massage Heero's feet.  I've seen all sorts of things in the last week that for any other two people would have been wonderfully awkward moments that could only lead to blushes, and kisses if we're lucky, or at least embarrassed jerks away from each other, but no, they have to be all innocent and pure about it!  Nothing at all wrong about whispering into each other's ears.  Completely natural to sit so close to each other they're practically in each other's lap.  They're just... so... argh."  She sighed tiredly.  "And after a while, I've got to wonder if I'm doing the right thing.  They're so completely resistant to anything I can throw at them.  So maybe... I don't know.  Maybe I should just stop this."

Suzuhara-san considered the matter for a few breaths, then shook her head.  "I don't think you should.  As you've said, you haven't done anything intrusive.  And besides... I have to agree with your actions."  She stopped for a short laugh.  "I never even would have considered it, a few weeks ago, but someone else brought it up.  I guess he wasn't the only one, but the only one serious, I'd imagine, about them being together.  I know that sometimes the girls think they're having some sort of hidden affair, just to justify the fact that neither of the boys are interested in any of them.

"But Vinnie... Duo introduced themselves to him as 'partners', you see, and for I don't even remember how many months, Vinnie thought that they were life partners.  And I know just disabused him of that notion last month or so, but he really got me thinking.  And I had to admit, I really get a sense of togetherness with them.  As if they're just tied together by this red thread at all times."

Relena nodded.  "I know what you mean.  Individually, they shine with this brilliant light.  But together, they... glow.  Bright, still, but warm.  Heero lightens up, and Duo settles down, and all is right with the world.  Have you ever seen them work together?"

"Yes," Suzuhara-san responded, thinking about those times.  "Mostly back in the days when Haven was still forming, and the boys would help out on the rooftops a lot.  They could dance up there like they were born to it, and still it took me a while to reassure myself that they'd be okay up there.  But all I had to do was watch them, and see how they moved together."

"Two halves of a whole.  They trust each other so much, you know.  On the tour, when we were on L2... it was... beautiful.  If maybe a little sad.  I mean, since L3, Heero had started his campaign to get Duo to cut his hair."

"'Trim', I believe, is the term Duo prefers," Suzuhara-san mentioned dryly.  She actually hadn't noticed Duo's hair right away.  The braid still fell down to just past his shoulderblades, but that was as far as it went.  Ami had had to try to pull it, only to find that she couldn't reach it so easily anymore, before its new length had been brought to her attention.

"Quite a trim, then," Relena laughed lightly.  "And if anyone else had even suggested it, you know Duo would have bitten his head off.  But not Heero.  And then when we were on L2... I wasn't there for most of it, but what I saw....  Duo was gloomy for a day, and then the next day they went out, and when they came back, Duo's hair was shorter by a good half a meter or so.  And when they came in, they marched straight into their room, with Heero only coming out for a little while to find some scissors to trim it back straight.  I don't know how it ended up with ragged ends to begin with, but I could barely bring myself to ask him if everything was alright, let alone ask after any details.  They left the door barely open as they always did, so they could keep tabs on what was going on outside, but what was going on inside... All I could hear were some low murmurs, and it still felt like I was intruding on something intensely personal.  And one of the things that I just kept coming back to was, Duo is letting Heero cut his hair.  Can you imagine what that means?"

Ms. Suzuhara shrugged a little.  "I'll have to take your word for it.  I know Duo's hair is important to him, but I've never gotten the full story on it."

Relena sighed again, wishing she could just stop doing that, but this sigh was at least partially from that warm and fuzzy feeling she got when she thought about them.  "Am I doing the right thing, Suzuhara-san?  Just what do I hope to accomplish here?  I think if I just asked them, they'd probably have to admit they love each other... No, 'admit' isn't the right word.  They'd realize it, because I'm sure they already know it on some level.  And if that's the case... and if neither of them are suffering in any way from the way things are now... then...."

"You know," Suzuhara-san said conversationally.  "I had a husband once.  His name was Jimmy.  And even though I loved him dearly as my best friend, there still was just nothing else in the world at all like waking up in his embrace."

"But they do that already!" Relena cried.  "I've seen them sometimes in the morning, and Duo's just a born snuggler, I just know it.  Some mornings I've seen them through their open door, and he'll be tucked up right up against Heero's side, comfy as he could be."

"Oh, yes.  That.  I've seen that, too.  Quite adorable, actually.  I caught it on film, but you don't have to tell them that."

"You did?"  Relena smothered a giggle.  "Can I have a copy?"

She looked at her with mild disapproval, ignoring the fact that she was the one that had the picture to begin with.  "So they wake up next to each other sometimes.  But not all of the time.  You just happen to have forced them into that situation.  And when I had to wake them up that one time, they didn't seem to mind finding themselves in that position.  And as you say, I'm sure Duo enjoys it, at least.  So what could be wrong about us trying to give them that on a regular, permanent basis?"

"Us?" Relena asked, raising her eyebrow at the woman with a small amount of suspicion.

Suzuhara-san easily admitted the point.  "Lena, dear, I've been trying to fix the two of them up with people for a long, long time now.  It's part of my job as a mother figure to them.  I try to do it discreetly and quietly, so when Duo, for instance, tells me that this girl fails to meet his requirements in that category, I say no problem.  I don't want to push them into a relationship just for the sake of a relationship, after all, and they both do seem to have this aversion to casual relationships.  In any case, after talking to Vinnie, I started thinking, like I said.  And what I finally realized was that no girl was ever measuring up to Duo's standards because he was always measuring them against Heero.  So obviously he's never going to find anyone who fits his standards better than Heero, yes?  And if that's the case, then he'll never be able to find anyone to snuggle up to for the rest of his life, and we don't want that, now do we?" 

There were a few moments as Relena digested that.  Finally, she shook her head.  "No.  No, we don't.  They deserve more than that."

Suzuhara-san tilted her head at the girl curiously.  "You love them, don't you?"

Relena started a little before recollecting her thoughts.  "Yes.  Yes, I do.  But not romantically.  Well, I admit that for quite a while, I was... confused about Heero.  And maybe I only love Duo because of what he does for Heero.  But after seeing the two of them... I know that what I feel is entirely different from what they have between them.  And maybe I'm just a little envious of that.  If I had something like that, I would reach out and grab it and hold it tight and never let go, and I can't see how they're not squeezing every last gram of joy and happiness out of it that they can."

"They're just pigeon-holing, that's all, Lena," Ms. Suzuhara comforted her.  "Duo has Heero well-established in his best friend niche and just doesn't see the possibilities.  And somehow I doubt the idea of romance has ever even occurred to Heero.  So it's just up to us to get them to think outside the box, isn't it?"

have i ever thanked y'all for sticking around and not running and screaming in frustration like Relena?

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