2-5-2003

Title: #32 The Right Thing
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat <calic0cat@fastmail.fm>
Story Completed: Feb. 5, 2003
Genre: Shonen Ai/Yaoi, Angst, Domestic, Friendship
Pairing: None yet
Rated: PG-13
Warnings: AU, OOC, Swearing
Archives: At Mediaminer.org under Calic0cat. Anyone with archive permission for my other fics can help themselves; anyone else, please ask.
Disclaimer: Duo and Heero and the rest of the GW gang aren't mine. This story is. Nuff said.

Notes: The arc begins between one and two years after Endless Waltz. Heero POV in this story.

'Thinking'
"Speaking"
************ Time passing or scene change

Author's Notes: See earlier fics for notes on the arc as a whole. Feedback is appreciated.

#################################################

Heero pulled the door closed quietly. The muffled weeping in the room he had just left made him wince. He had not wanted to hurt Relena but he had felt the need to make his feelings very clear. There was no point in giving her false hope.

Turning to go downstairs, Heero saw Zechs standing at the foot of the stairs. 'Shit,' he thought wearily. 'Just what I *didn't* need.' Stifling the urge to sigh, he continued down the steps. At the foot of the stairs, he stopped, his path blocked by Zechs. Raising his eyes reluctantly to meet the taller man's, Heero was surprised to find a sympathetic look on his face.

"It isn't easy, is it?" Zechs said quietly. "Noin..." he said in explanation to Heero's raised eyebrow.

'Ah.' "No, it isn't," Heero answered. He had still been guarding Relena when Zechs had abruptly returned from the Mars Project alone. Relena had told him simply that "things hadn't worked out" between her brother and Noin.

"She *will* be alright, Heero," Zechs added as he turned to move out of Heero's way. "If the feelings aren't there, it's best that she knows. Maybe now she will be able to move on."

Heero headed through the kitchen and out the back door to the garden. Settling to the task of weeding, he wished Duo were there. He felt like a complete asshole right now and a hug from his best friend would be greatly appreciated. 'First I accept Relena's apology and make her happy by telling her that I forgive her, then I turn right around and hurt her.' But he couldn't pretend to feel something he didn't. And even if he could, that wouldn't be fair to either of them.

If Relena had not hurt him and sent him running to Duo, he *might* have ended up going along with her wishes eventually, even without being in love with her. The lure of a permanent home with someone who cared about him and didn't seem to mind if he had difficulty dealing with other people might have been enough to persuade him to marry her. And before Duo coaxed and prodded him out of his isolation, he wouldn't have realized just what a disaster that would be.

After the night that he had asked Duo about how he'd known he wasn't in love with Hilde, Heero had pestered him with more questions on the subject of love and marriage. Despite Duo's insistence that he wasn't the right person to answer those kinds of questions, Heero found his answers helpful more often than not. He had still been torn over whether or not to rule out all possibility of a relationship with Relena even if he *wasn't* in love with her. After all, according to things he'd read, not all marriages *were* based on love. Maybe he never *would* fall in love with anyone.

Heero had difficulty imagining himself feeling that way about anyone. Eventually, he had asked Duo whether being in love was essential to marriage. Duo had done a lot of muttering under his breath about overgrown kids wanting to know why grass was green along with a number of other, unrepeatable, things, then had said, "Look Heero - Relena's an 'ai shiteru' kinda girl. She's looking for that complete, absolute, total, head-over-heels-in-love, they-lived-happily-ever-after fairytale marriage. If you can't honestly tell her 'ai shiteru' and be prepared to say it and mean it every fuckin' day of your lives, even when she's pregnant, the size of a house, and cranky as all hell, then you wouldn't be doin' *either* of you any favours by marrying her. She might say she'll settle for caring, but she'd never be satisfied and you'd end up hurting her anyway. And that is the *last* thing I'm gonna say on the subject. You have any more of those kinda questions, go talk to Q. Hell, talk to Hilde for that matter, she'd have a better take on that subject than *me*."

Duo had made a good point, but Heero hadn't been prepared to discuss love and marriage with Hilde. They were getting along pretty well now, but nowhere near *that* well. So instead, he had observed her closely when her fiance happened to drop by the office. Or call on the phone. A couple of times Heero had walked past her office and seen Hilde gazing into the distance and smiling faintly, a note or small gift from Rick laying on her desk. He'd seen the happy anticipation on her face when Rick was in town and supposed to pick her up from work for a date.

And Heero had watched Rick when he came by to visit. He had seen the matching look of anticipation. The indulgent smile Rick had as she flung herself into his arms with a squeal of delight when he showed up unexpectedly. The tenderness in the way Rick caressed Hilde's cheek before she tugged him off to the privacy of her office. And Heero had known, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he could not give that to Relena. It wasn't *just* the desire that was missing. None of those other feelings were there either.

There might have been better ways to approach the subject. Maybe he could have phrased things a bit less harshly. But he had had to tell Relena that they could never be more than friends.

Gathering up the weeds for disposal, Heero thought unhappily, 'I know I did the right thing. But I *still* feel like a complete asshole. I wish Duo were here.'