9-11-2004

Title: When
Author: Calic0cat
Pairing: 1+2, OMCxR, mention of 3x4 and 5xS
Rating: G
Genre: Shonen ai/Yaoi
Warnings: None, really
Notes: Written for the GW500 LJ community challenge #37 "My Turn".
Word Count: 920
Archives: At http://calic0cat.freeservers.com/ (my site). Those with previous permission to host my fics, help themselves.
Disclaimer: Duo and Heero and the rest of the GW gang aren't mine.
This story is. Nuff said.

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"I think I'm going to throw up."

"Don't you dare," I hissed in alarm. Damn, Relena really did look ill. Her white-knuckled grip on my arm tightened and she swayed slightly. "Just remember who's waiting for you at the front of the church," I reminded her as the first strains of music drifted out to the vestibule.

She swallowed hard and squared her shoulders in determination. "I'm okay," she said, only a slight wobble in her voice.

Well, at least she hadn't thrown up. And now that the sanctuary doors were swinging open and the bridesmaids were starting up the aisle, she seemed to be regaining the radiant look she'd been wearing earlier today.

I was happy for Relena. Happy and honoured that she'd asked me rather than her own brother to be the one to walk her down the aisle. Of course, I'd actually been *around* for the past few years, helping to protect her and simply spending time with her, while her brother had pulled another vanishing act rather than filling the role that *should* have been his.

Although Relena occasionally worried about her brother and he *had* been sent an invitation to her wedding - assuming that he was still where we'd tracked him to by the time it arrived - she wasn't close enough to him to allow his absence to spoil her wedding day. And she'd quite sternly ordered me in advance *not* to yield my place to him if he *did* deign to show up. She wanted me to be the one to give her away.

So I walked her down the aisle and solemnly surrendered her to the groom awaiting her, then took my seat alongside her mother. And I watched and listened as two people very much in love said their vows. And I was happy for them both. Just as I'd been happy for Quatre and Trowa two years ago, and for Wufei and Sally last year.

But...

I was envious too. Just as I'd been those other times. There was a lonely, empty ache deep inside and I couldn't help wondering... When would it be *my* turn? My turn to stand before friends and family and bind myself to the one person I loved above all others? The one person who made me feel as happy and complete as the newly-wed couple now being introduced to the wedding guests? When would it be my turn?

The couple exited the church and I looked around the crowd, nodding in acknowledgement of familiar faces, very aware of the one face that wouldn't be among them. And I acknowledged that maybe that was the wrong question. That the right question was slightly but critically different.

Would it *ever* by my turn?

The lonely, melancholy ache intensified and I gratefully allowed myself to be swept along with the rest of the wedding party into a flurry of photograph sessions that kept me much too occupied to brood.

But later, at the reception, as I watched the bride and groom dance together, completely absorbed in one another, and as other happily married couples joined them on the floor, the loneliness returned in a rush. Seeing the contentment on Quatre and Trowa's faces as they stepped into each other's arms and began to move with the music, I couldn't help wondering again...

"Will it ever be *my* turn?" I murmured wistfully.

"If you want it to be, all you have to do is ask," a familiar voice answered equally softly, startling me.

I turned sharply. "Duo?!"

He gave me a lopsided grin. "Who else could actually sneak up on you?"

"But - Relena said you'd cancelled out, that something had gone wrong and you couldn't make it..."

Shrugging slightly, he said, "Didn't think I would. Told her I'd have to call in a few favours and I knew I'd be pretty late if I made it at all. But she seemed to think I should come anyway if I could pull it off." He cocked his head a bit and gave me a searching look. "She seemed to think you'd be pretty disappointed if I didn't make it."

I stood speechless for a few moments, torn between blessing and cursing Relena. She knew how I felt about him but she also knew that I'd blown my chance years ago, during the war, long before I'd come to understand what I felt. Duo had made his own feelings, his own wish for a relationship that was more than friendship, clear while we were on _Peacemillion_ and I...

In my confusion over feelings I'd never before experienced, I had told him no. That I wasn't interested in what he was suggesting. He'd been quiet and withdrawn for a while but he'd seemed to get over it and he'd never let it affect our friendship. I'd thought...

"Heero? Was she right?"

I nodded slowly, casting my thoughts back to the first thing he'd said when he'd arrived. "All I have to do is ask?" I questioned softly, unable to believe that it could possibly be this simple. That he could make it this simple.

He gave me a cautiously hopeful smile. "That's all you've ever had to do."

I stepped very close to him and cupped one hand against his jaw. Bringing my lips close to his, I breathed, "My turn?"

"Ours," he whispered back before he closed that tiny gap between our mouths and that empty ache deep inside me was finally banished.

Our turn. I liked the sound of that.

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