I didn't think I'd ever get this part out....it just seemed...I dunno overwhelming. After 9-11 I didn't think I'd return to this fic any time soon. But with time comes healing and I hope this all works out well for everyone. Duo and Heero *want* me to write this fic; they wouldn't leave me alone about it.
Well here it is. Hope you enjoy it.

Now, I've been getting a lot of questions about why "Duo didn't change Heero's name like he did the other guys."
Well the answer to that is simple: I messed up.

You see, I wrote Chapter One with the idea of having a blurb from Duo's biography as the start for the chapter, and so I used Heero's name. Well later on in chapter four, I thought...well this is silly! Duo said himself that he changed stuff around so that everything was protected; he didn't tell Sam anything sensitive. So I changed the other 3 boy's names.

Unfortunately I forgot that I already had used Heero's real name in chapter one, and since I am a lazy sot, I decided not to go back and change it.
Therefore, everybody with the exception of Duo and Heero get their names changed to protect their "innocence" *evil feral grin*


Title: He's Mine; Heart and Soul (7/12?)
Author: Perotessa Detwieler (cearda@ultimanet.com)
Category: dramatic, Shonen-ai, slight angst
Pairings: R+1, 2+1 and apparently, Collin + Samantha! who knew?!

Disclaimer: Proof of ownership?! I don't need to show you no stinkin' proof of ownership! But suffice to say....I don't own them, except for any original character that pops up.
Those I own and keep in small bottles in my room.
I am not making any profit, I am just borrowing them for a while. And maybe sneaking them off to stay with me after this project is done. :)

Rating: PG

Warnings: Maybe a bit of rough language. Mostly though, this one is pretty mild. Just know that Heero, poor Heero, is now married to Relena. Talk about a ball n' chain!

Spoilers: None really. Set after the Series and Endless Waltz.

Author's Request: Please be gentle! This is my first try at a GW fic. If people are OOC my bad. *bad llama* I am open to feedback, but flames will be tossed in the old trash bin. You won't get a rise out of me...just crush my feelings and we don't want that now do we? Thought not.

Archived: At DHML archive under Perotessa Detwieler. http://kikotei_fic.tripod.com/
I don't have a site for GW fic....so if anyone else wants a crack at it, just tell me.

Song Info: The song is called "It's a Long Road" and is off the First Blood soundtrack. I thought the lyrics really fit. I have the mp3 as well and yeah it's a soldier's lament. http://stallone.hyperlink.cz/soundtra/rambo/track12.htm

Notes: Duo Maxwell schemes to get Heero to return to him, after Heero marries Relena Peacecraft. However even he didn't know how far he would have to go to get the love of his life back.


Chapter 7 - Rising from the Ashes

Being with Heero was like ...standing under a waterfall. It felt good for a while, but then it began to sting. After a while, before you even realize it, it's taking off your skin, snapping your bones, and pounding you into mush.

But I didn't mind. I mean it's not like you can kill Death now can you?

He was just so...intense.

However, only when I was with Heero did I feel that the blood on my hands was being washed away.

-- from "Confessions of a Gundam Pilot" by Duo Maxwell



Earth - Italy: DiGiacomo Compound
Early Summer - A.C. 202

Heero Yuy looked over the large wedding party with his normal stoic statement. His eyes betrayed nothing of what he was feeling inside. Guarding this wedding was a very important task for him. The bride was the daughter of a high ranking political figure in ESUN and one of his company's clients. Although Heero thought of this mission more as a favor than a cut and dry assignment. He liked Melinda and thought highly of her father, Councilman Gillermo DiGiacomo.

The Councilman placed a lot of faith in Heero and his ability in protecting him and his family.

It didn't hurt that Melinda liked him as well and wouldn't have her special day without the services of Iron Eagle Protection Services or the presence of one Heero Yuy.

Heero checked the heads-up display of his wearable computer again, checking the transponder tags of his people who were scattered amongst the guests and along the perimeter of the event.

Everything was going well. So far so good. All the background checks had come back clean and so far, the party was going well. If there was any trouble at all it was that the kitchen staff was one hand short and a bit frantic that the food may not be presented to its best effect. Other than that, Melinda's special day had gone off without a hitch.

Watching Melinda twirl in the arms of her new husband, Heero couldn't help but think back four years to his own wedding day...


/Its a Long Road, When you're on your own/
/And it hurts when they tear your dreams apart/

Earth - Sanq Kingdom
Early Summer - A.C. 199

Heero Yuy, recently titled Duke of White Honor, and newly married husband to one Relena Darlian-Peacecraft, watched as his bride went twirling around the dance floor in the arms of his ex-lover, Duo Maxwell.

He truly was regretful for leaving Duo, but in his own self-evaluation of the situation, marrying Relena afforded him two prime opportunities.

One, to have up close access to Relena to insure her safety and consequently the safety of the fragile peace, and therefore helping to further his mission to establish and keep the peace. And two, put an end to all the whispered speculation regarding his relationship with the Sanq Queen.

What he was doing was simply the right thing.

Being married to the Foreign Vice Minister also gave him access to many other people who were crucial to world peace.

However, even knowing this, and confirming it in his own mind, didn't lessen the tightening in his chest as he watched his braided baka. He had the sinking suspicion that this may be the last time he saw his lover.

Duo had been the only pilot to come to the wedding.

Wufei and Sally Po were on an assignment for the Preventers, Quatre had business on L4 that needed his personal attention, and Trowa was giving an exclusive command performance for the Governor of L3; a honor that didn't come along every day.

To Heero all were understandable and acceptable excuses not to make the 5 to 7 hour trip to Sanq.

Try and explain that to his new wife!

Relena had been incensed over what she considered their callous attitudes! Heero pointed out that they had sent their regrets and all had sent gifts. The Queen of Sanq kingdom wrinkled her nose and countered with: "Do you know who did RSVP? Duo Maxwell! I never would have invited him if he wasn't your partner. Honestly, he always turns up like a bad penny."

Heero decided that it wasn't worth the aggravation of fighting with her over Duo's good points, and left it alone.

There was something about the smile on Duo's face that bothered Heero to no end. Duo had arrived two days ago and Heero had waited for the unavoidable confrontation with him.

Heero knew how Duo felt about this whole situation. He was sure that the braided baka would try to talk him out of his course of action. He had set up a string of counter arguments and hardened his heart to any pleas or ploys that Duo might come up with.

And then he waited.

Duo never came.

Heero was unsure as to how this made him feel, a little bit relieved but also very hurt.

A hurt he tried to disguise.

So now he watched...

Watched as Duo danced with his new wife. Watched as when the music stopped, Relena jerked her hands out of her dance partner's. Watched as Duo placed a kiss on the back of her glove, then turned around and walked away.

Perhaps out of his life forever...

All without saying one word to him...not even goodbye.

Heero walked up to his wife puzzled as to what had just transpired. "Relena?"

<'What did he say to you? Where is he going? Is he coming back?'> Questions which would go unasked and unanswered.

Relena turned, gracing him with a brilliant smile. Or at least her version of a brilliant smile.

"Everything is fine Heero. In fact, it's now perfect."

Heero would have argued that.

With Duo's exit, the day for him lost much of it's luster and became a pale imitation of what it once was.


/And every new town just seems to bring you down/
/trying to find peace of mind can break your heart/

There was a two tone alert beep in his ear, his ear-cuff communicator going off.

"Yuy; Go."

"Curtis here. So far everything looks good Okashira. Looks like they're going to cut the cake, and then toss the bouquet, a few more dances, and then off to the honeymoon."

Heero chuckled softly. "You're really enjoying this aren't you TJ?"

"Who me?" Heero could almost see the innocently statement which would flit across TJ's face by his voice. "You know how much I love raspberry filling! Of course I am enjoying this little shindig! We get all the food and drinks we can stuff down our gullets and the bride likes us! No service entrances for us. Not this time. I like the way you pick the clients Okashira."

Heero tilted his glasses a bit to cut the glare off his screen, and shook his head in exasperation. TJ Curtis, Teeje to his friends and in his own mind, had the most annoying habit of pulling Heero's chain. It was because of his personality and his abilities that Heero kept him around. That and the fact that he trusted him to watch his back.

He keyed an overview of the party and where his people were in relation to their positions in the house.

He quickly cued all his agents and gave out assignments.

"Listen up people time for sweeps. Abbot, Novak, Fulton you're on perimeter. Wagner, Kip you're to check the restrooms. Lisa, Jones kitchen. Jackson, Kingsley why don't you give your best to the bride and groom? Curtis, maintain position."

'Affirmatives' came from everyone except TJ, who chimed in with a 'Roger Dodger'. Heero shook his head in faint exasperation and cut audio before his undignified snort of laughter could be heard.

Well, this certainly wasn't the life he thought he would be living when he married Relena. Not by a long shot. The twenty-two year old Heero Yuy was nothing like the still idealistic nineteen year old Heero Yuy who had married Relena Darlian-Peacecraft.

He quickly came to the realization that marriage wasn't a permit to perform surveillance twenty-four/seven. The final nail got nailed into that coffin on their honeymoon when during one of those pleasant "couple" things, he had been talked into rowing them out onto a lake. He hadn't liked the idea at all, thinking that it was a prime opportunity for a possible assassination attempt. However, Relena wasn't having any of that. She had a security detail whose job it was to protect her and was at that very minute on the banks of the lake, keeping those unauthorized away. They were safe.

Against his better judgement, he did as she asked and rowed them out onto the lake. Relena had smiled and laid back under a white parasol. Heero kept his eyes peeled looking for trouble.

Trouble came in the form of a bored Relena who wasn't getting any responses to her attempts at small talk with her new husband. In a fit of pique she had toppled them over throwing herself overboard and into the murky water.

Heero went frantic trying to get himself to the surface to get a lung full of air in preparation of diving underwater after her. What if she hit her head? Or had swallowed water and was choking? Or was entangled in underwater plants?

When he did break the surface, his eyes and ears quickly picked up on sounds of a high power motor coming towards them. A quick sweep of eyes confirmed this, as a silver boat came speeding towards them. He dove underwater looking for his unfortunate wife.

She was trying her hardest to get to the surface. However her skirt with its frills and ruffles were hampering her movements and she was thrashing wildly just a few feet underwater.

Heero grabbed her arm and pulled her towards the light. They broke the surface together; Relena hacking and coughing; shaking with shock and terror. Just as he was able to flip over onto his back and get her into a position where she wouldn't slip back underwater, two strong arms reached out and plucked her out of his grasp.

Eyes wide in shock he could only watch as a member of his wife's security detail lifted her limp body up and place her into the silver motor boat. A second boat was slowly gliding into position next to it. A member of his own security detail held out a hand to help him climb into the boat.

He looked at the hand blankly then back at Relena. Seeing his look, the team member gave him what he guessed was suppose to be a comforting smile.

"Don't worry sir. We have her."

Heero stopped and blinked at the man. His whole world narrowing down to the sight of Relena being hustled out of danger not by him, but by her own security detail.

<'She doesn't need you to protect her Heero. She has "them"!'>

Utterly confused and unsure for the first time in his life, Heero quickly took the hand that was offered him and hauled himself into the boat.

Seeing that both of their charges were secure, the boats quickly powered up, swung around, and headed towards shore.

Heero sat on the floor, slumped over, fists clenched at his side. <'Well...what do I do now?'>


"Oi Okashira!"

Heero blinked, breaking away from his memories. A hand patted his shoulder twice before coming to rest upon it lightly. He turned and saw his Second in Command T.J. Curtis standing next to him with an exasperated and yet bemused statement on his face. "You ok Boss?" he asked.

Heero nodded once curtly. "Aa. What is it?"

"You've been standing there staring off into space. It's almost time for them to cut the cake, and you haven't danced with the bride yet."

The Duke of White Honor started guiltily. "I've been preoccupied. It's not easy coordinating all you guys at once." he protested weakly. "Besides I didn't think Mel would miss me."

TJ shook his head and divested Heero of his monitor/glasses. "She's been casting glances your way through the last two dances. She finally ordered me to fetch you."

Heero gave TJ a sidelong look. <'Fetch? I'll just bet.'>

"Yare yare. I'll go. No more champagne for you, Teeje. You ruin my party, I ruin yours."

TJ gave his commander, his Duke, his friend a crestfallen look. "You ruin all my fun, Okashira."

"Ninmu Kanryou!" he nodded with a smirk on his lips and stalked out to the dance floor.

Melinda DiGiacomo-Kaufman, 25 years old newly appointed head of a design firm and the woman who put the sparkle in Max Kaufman's eyes, made a stunning bride. The young woman, in all her wedding day finery, simply glowed with happiness and contentment.

Heero came up to Melinda and her dance partner, an uncle or some such, and tapped on his shoulder. "May I cut in?"

"Your Grace! Of course." The bulbous nose 'uncle' stepped aside. "It's good to see you, Your Grace." he said smiling.

The 22 year old Duke gave the man a wane smile and looked at Melinda, taking her into his arms and whirling her off.

Melinda laughed softly. "My my Heero! You most definitely are doing better in the 'social graces' department. At least you didn't shove a gun in his face and threaten to shoot him."

Heero's smile gentled, became genuine. "Can't have that now can we? It would ruin my reputation and appearances are everything. Congratulations Melinda."

Impulsively the bride hugged her protector. "Thanks Heero. It truly was a special day, with you and yours here it just made it even more special. I knew that nothing would go wrong if you were around and I am not disappointed."

Heero, bowed his head, "I am glad to be of service."

"Where is your wife, Your Grace?" the new bride asked. "I heard that there was going to be an economic summit in Sanq, but I didn't think she was so personally involved in Restructuring as to go."

Heero's shoulder's twitched in a shrug. "Restructuring is very important to Relena and you are correct; she didn't attend the economic summit. Instead she had a full day scheduled. The same old, same old. A hospital wing to be opened, a school to visit, engagements to be carried out."

Melinda's grey eyes searched then caught his, boring into them. "Heero tell me the truth, do you think my marriage will turn out like that? Where we're walking separate paths?"

"Oh no Mel! Of course not. What you and Max have is the real thing. You love each other, you're both willing to work and make sacrifices to keep your marriage going strong. That's something Relena and I didn't have." He tried to reassure the new wife.

"I am glad you're here. You're not just the security director for this family Heero, you are a part of this family. I am honored to have known you."

The music came to it's crescendo and the dancers stopped. Some clapping their appreciation to the band. Heero stared into Melinda's grey eyes and smiled. "You have no idea how much that means to me Mrs. Kaufman. You better go and collect Max; you'll be cutting the cake next."

Impulsively the new Mrs. Kaufman brushed a kiss to the Duke's cheek then went to go look for her husband.

A chuckle nudged into Heero's thoughts. "Well well well looks like the Boss is quite the ladies man."

Heero rolled his eyes. "Bakayaro. Shut up TJ."

His second snickered, totally unrepentant. Heero grumbled softly under his breath and retrieved his monitor/glasses. Although he didn't put it on.

It was a strange twist of fate that had thrown the totally irreverent and perpetual screw up TJ Curtis into the life of the isolated and broody Duke of White Honor.


/it's a real war right outside your front door, I tell ya./
/out where they'll kill ya you could use a friend/

After the lake incident Heero became more and more isolated, solitary and withdrawn. As a wedding gift, Relena had given him his own twelve man security detail who would watch out for him twenty-four/seven. While appreciative he didn't understand why he should have a team. Hell he was trained in infiltration and assassination. If anything the team should be protecting themselves from him!

It had only taken two months before he had thrown his hands up into the air and gone to Sanq's Security Council and told them in no uncertain terms that he didn't need a security detail. They were just twelve men who would be better off protecting some other interest of the kingdom.

The council didn't want to upset tradition and more importantly the queen, who was adamant that he be protected as per his station. Heero brooded then offered them a compromise.

He really didn't need a security detail. However if they were going to be so adamant on his having one, he would take only three men. Two for perimeter sweeps and one for a close contact bodyguard.

Relived that they wouldn't be reprimanded by the queen, the council quickly agreed and the task of picking the three best men was totally up to the Master of Arms.

Granted, the man knew of Heero's reputation and tried to find three agents who would complement him and not get in his way. He tried really hard, and Heero was appreciative of his efforts. However, Heero still didn't like the idea of having a security detail and was resentful. This of course didn't endear him to the three men who were picked to tail him.

Within six months, Heero was known as being a very difficult assignment. More than once he had simply disappeared right before his guards' eyes. Frantic searching was the result of those little ventures.

When Heero would show up again, a smirk of gratification would be on his face as he stalked past a quickly assembled search team. To him it was a bit of a game, and why not? He was after all trained to ditch security teams.

Besides they got in the way of HIS mission!

Unwelcomed in most circumstances and unneeded in others, he often found himself at loose ends. To alleviate the hurt and frustration, he'd disappear and attempt to rework in his own mind the mission parameters.

After one very stressful wild goose chase, one of the perimeter guards demanded to be transferred. The Master of Arms had sent a replacement. Actually had received a recipient of a dare from the K4 division and sent him to the Duke.

If there was one thing he really hated to do it was breaking in new guards. Heero rolled his eyes in exasperation. There really was nothing he could do to get out of adding this new member, so he may as well see what he was like, break him, and send him scurrying home like the others.

The soldier, for that was what he was, stood at attention. Eyes riveted in front of him, shoulders square, chest out. The Duke looked him up and down taking in the tone of his skin, the shape of his eyes, the make up of his skeletal structure.

"At ease." he said. "Where are you from soldier?"

"Okinawa, Sir."

Heero looked him over again, a brow arched slightly. "You're Japanese?"

"No sir. My father was a citizen of the North American Empire and my mother is Japanese."

"I see. So what's your name private?"

He winced slightly.

<'When have I ever had interest in a person's name before? You're going soft, Yuy.'>

"Curtis, Thomas James, sir."

Heero smirked. "So I suppose I can assume that you either are on a bet or lost a bet and that's why you've been assigned as part of my security detail."

To his credit, Curtis didn't even bat an eyelash. "On a dare, sir."

"I see, and how long is this dare to last?"

"One week, sir."

"You're fortunate, private. While you only have to deal with me for a week, your two compatriots are doomed to be by my side until the day I can figure out a way to dismiss them." he snorted in faint amusement.

"Very well. You should change into your official "Let's-chase-Heero" uniform and get to know your two teammates. Dismissed."

T.J. saluted smartly, then turned and strode out of the room.

Heero snorted again, shaking his head. <'Poor unfortunate Curtis. You have no idea what hell you've just entered. Welcome to my life.'>

The reluctant Duke had tried every trick he could think of to get rid of Curtis within 48 hrs. Nothing had worked.

Fortunately or unfortunately however you looked at it, Heero quickly found that Curtis was perfectly cut out for close bodyguard duty. Heero tolerated him for one simple reason. He could be as cold, aloof, and stand offish as he liked. TJ didn't care.

Nothing phased him.

If Heero disappeared for an hour or two, TJ would stay at his post and wait for him to return. There really wasn't anywhere else for the Duke to go. He was after all married to the Queen of the kingdom, he had a suite of rooms in Sanq Castle, he would come home sooner or later.

The first time Heero pulled his by now infamous "Now-you-see-me-now-you-don't" trick on TJ, the sentry simply shrugged and reported to his two teammates Jansen and Kragen: "The bird has flown the coop".

It was up to them to scramble and look for the Duke. TJ went to the surveillance room and watched the video monitors. He had a real good laugh watching Marc and Greg running around looking for Heero like chickens with their heads chopped off.

While he had the prime location to watch as Heero snuck back in through their admittedly scattered perimeter and headed for his suite. TJ gave the other surveillance guys a thumbs up and melted into the shadows, catching up with the 'Duke of Ice' just as he was about to enter the corridor to his rooms.

"So, you found me." said Heero turning around to watch TJ come after him.

"Didn't take too much effort, just waited for you to come back that's all." he shrugged.

Heero tilted his head to the side and looked at TJ assessingly. "Hn." he finally said, turned on his heel and walked to his rooms.

And that was that.

No reprimand. No humiliation. No explanation. No apology.

The message was pretty clear: 'What's done is done and we can't change it.'

Teeje puzzled over it for a little while then shrugged it off.

Besides his week was going to be over soon and he could return to his normal regiment and tell them that he survived a week in the company of the Duke of Ice.

Surprisingly when the week was up it found him at the desk of his commanding officer, begging him to remain at the Duke's side. The commander had already asked the Duke if he would be open to having Curtis stay on his security detail.

Duke Yuy had shrugged and said: "Do as you like."

Well he "liked" TJ out of his hair, and apparently TJ liked being treated like something found on the bottom of your shoe.

When Monday rolled around, TJ was clothed in his dress formals and followed along after Duke Heero Yuy of White Honor quite proudly. He had found his niche.


Sitting at one of the tables, a plate of cake in front of him, and TJ his only company, Heero realized that he felt good, mellow and relaxed.

Everything had gone off without a hitch, which most assignments did. When Iron Eagle came in they came prepared.

Heero idly listen to TJ as he talked about one of the bride's maids that he thought was a real knock out and his attempts throughout the reception to get to know her better. The Duke rolled his eyes and let the idle chatter wash over him.

His introspection was brought up short when TJ stuttered to a stop. The silence cued Heero and his eyes snapped open to see...

"Councilman DiGiacomo." he started to rise. A hand on his shoulder and platitude of "No no don't get up." halted the action. Uneasily he sat back down and cast a glance at TJ.

Teeje cleared his throat. "I think I see Veronica. I am going to go see if I can't get her number." he winked at Heero. "Wish me luck." he waggled his eyebrows and left.

DiGiacomo chuckled softly. "No matter how many times I meet him, that Curtis fellow always is amusing."

"He keeps all our spirits up, that's for sure." replied Heero.

"I am glad you decided to come, Your Grace. It is a shame your lovely wife couldn't attend as well."

"I am sure she wanted to, but she had other engagements which had already been scheduled." A touch of bitterness crept into his voice, but he kept his feelings carefully shuttered away.

The Italian frowned slightly. "Heero even though this is a job to you, we've welcomed you and your team into this family and you are like a son to me. I care for you and want to see you happy. I know it might not be my place but I've seen condemned men happier than you are. Is everything alright between you and Relena?"

"I don't think things have be right between Relena and myself for a long time." a humorless laugh. "No I know things aren't right. If they were, do you think I would have created Iron Eagle?"

DiGiacomo had no answer to that. "If there is anything I can do..."

"Thank you, Memo but this is something I am going to have to deal with on my own."

The councilman patted Heero on the shoulder. "Try to enjoy the rest of the party."

Heero gave him a wane smile as he rose and moved off.

Things hadn't been right between himself and Relena for months. It was his own yearning for something which Relena and all the station, protocol and Public Work couldn't fulfil that gave birth to Iron Eagle Protection Services.

He snorted and thought back to that night two years ago...


/where the road ends thats the place for me/
/where I make my own fate/
/where I am free thats the place I wanna be/

It had started out inconspicuously enough; just another Official reception for some high ranking members of ESUN. As husband to the Queen and Duke of White Honor, Heero had dressed to the nines in preparation of another long boring night making small talk with people who had lived through the war but didn't truly understand it.

In Sanq, Heero was regarded as a war hero. It didn't matter that he himself didn't feel like one. The Queen was quite adamant in his importance in the establishment and continued prosperity of peace. For had it not been Heero in Wing Zero who had blasted the protective shield over the Brussels palace, and rescued her from the madman Dekim Barton?

With such stories told and retold over and over again, Heero dreaded attending dinner receptions. Tonight was not going to be any different. He knew he was losing touch with that part of his conditioning, the part that kept him separate from people for his own self-preservation and their safety.

That was why he was here in one of the small banquet rooms trying to reinforce barriers and shields which had started to fall into disuse.

The only other occupant of the room was TJ Curtis, his single and solitary bodyguard. After a thirty minute battle of wills and protocol he had been able to talk the Sanq Security Council into allowing him only one bodyguard. He had dismissed Kragen and Jansen from service and kept TJ on for the simple reason: he could tolerate his presence.

Even now, Teeje sat quietly in a corner in a guard position yet out of the way.

It was probably fortunate that TJ didn't have his gun with him, as Relena entered the room in a flurry of taffeta; the door banging on the opposite wall so forceful was her entrance.

Heero blinked at her in slight confusion before feeling a deep sense of detachment rise over him and smooth out his features.

"Heero! So this is where you've been hiding! I've been looking for you. Isn't tonight exciting? It's just the beginning; a new beginning for us."

Her heels made loud clicking noises as she walked across the floor to stand next to the chair he was in.

"Exciting? How so?" he queried.

She giggled, reaching out with one of her gloved hands and smoothing it down his lapel. "I know I've been distant and secretive lately. I just wanted to keep it a surprise for everyone. As of tonight, I am relinquishing many of my executive powers within ESUN, and delegating a large portion of my duties to other member nations so I can concentrate on Sanq." she beamed, proud of her announcement. Her smile mellowed a bit, and she pinked; looking at him through her lashes. "And you...husband." she finished softly.

The stoic mask held; Prussian blue eyes stared calmly at her. "So that is what all those meetings have been about recently. I was beginning to wonder; I haven't seen you in weeks."

"There was and still is much to arrange. Deciding which members would handle what best and other such matters."

The young Queen smiled at her husband, a sparkle of excitement in her eyes. "I am relieved that ESUN agreed with allowing me this luxury. I do enjoy my duties as Vice Foreign Minster. However, with Restructuring of Sanq still a priority to me I had to do something. I am hopeful that with more time to devote to Sanq I can truly get involved in a more personal level with Restructuring and with the people."

Heero said nothing, for indeed there was nothing he could say. Not that his wife noticed he mused, as she walked around him and leaned a hip against the large table he was seated at.

"This will also give me the opportunity to concentrate on Public Work since I am the Head of State. And time to reestablish and groom my public image; our public image. I am sorry Heero for leaving you to your own schedule or engagements, that couldn't be helped. But now you don't have to do them alone, now I can go with you and you can come to mine; we'll be together."

Her hands flittered about in a nervous manner before she was able to clasp them together. She cleared her throat daintily forging ahead into what he supposed was her main point. "As you know, I really don't put much faith into opinion polls or media generated gossip and speculation, however even I must admit that as a couple we have been lax in our duties to the public. Many have asked me where you are when I go out. And I came to realize that the papers are correct. We are a young, dynamic, popular royal couple. I am beginning to think...maybe it's time for us to start thinking of the future." She blushed. "Maybe start a family...?"

Heero glared ineffectually at the tabletop. Studying in passing the ingrained wood. "Heero...please...the war is over. The soldier is no longer needed. Instead please, beloved let me protect you." She smiled softly and slipped onto his lap, twining her arms around his neck.

"You've always said that you live for your mission? Well...as Queen of the Sanq Kingdom I do hereby give you a new mission. I want you to be the best husband you can be. To live a life of peace, a peace you worked so hard for. Let others take your place on the battlefield Heero, your tour of duty is over. You belong here caring for the people, a benevolent monarch watching over them and gently guiding them on the path of peace. That is your new mission Heero."

She giggled flirtatiously, placed a quick kiss to his hard unyielding lips, and slipped off his lap flouncing towards the door. "The announcement will be soon; I can't wait for it to be implemented. It will be nice to be free to do as I like once more." she said tilting her head back for a moment relishing her soon to be freedom.

She turned slightly looking over her shoulder. "I'll be waiting for you my love." She blew a kiss at him then left the room.

Heero clenched his hands on the armrests of the chair till the wood creaked in protest. Growling softly he felt his blood boil; an anger he had rarely felt surging through his veins searching for an outlet....which it found as Heero suddenly stood up; the chair scraped on the marble floor with a sickening screech which he ignored. "That BITCH!!!! Who the hell does she think she is?!" he raged.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd say she thinks that she's your wife."

Heero glared at TJ who gulped and hunched in on himself. "Ok....that didn't go over well..I'll just sit over here quietly."

Crossing his arms over his chest, the threw himself back into the hard chair's embrace and scowled darkly at the doorway.

<'First she takes away my mission, then she makes me a Duke. Ok ok...so I followed along meekly enough, but hell I THOUGHT that was going to make things easier for me to protect her, but nnnnoooo! She has to go and take away my weapons and then makes ME like her; giving me that damn security detail! Like I can't protect myself?! Me!? I am Heero Yuy for Gods sake! I've been protecting myself since I was six! There ain't no way in hell that I need HER protection!'> he snorted softly to himself.

<'I feel like one of those toy soldiers. Like I've been wrapped up in tissue paper, put into a box, and then placed high onto a shelf for my "own protection". If anything, the people need to be protected from me. Once again she's interfering in my mission.'>

He sighed and ran his hands through his hair scooting the chair forward so he could rest his elbows on the tabletop. He gazed thoughtfully at the doorway then sneered.<'So she thinks that she can give me a mission huh? I've only one thing to say to that Relena...Mission Refused!'>

He stood up and stalked out of the room. Almost immediately he felt his silent shadow gathering to follow him. He whirled on him and snarled. "KISAMA! You are to stay here! Don't you dare follow me!"

Shocked, TJ did exactly that.

Heero left the Castle proper and wandered around the streets of the city. He watched as people window shopped, or hurried home from work. People walked by talking to each other, young couples held hands and walked close, children ran past laughing and carefree. Everything was so vibrant and alive. They didn't worry about an attack. There was no tension in the air.

Heero narrowed his eyes slightly, an idea nibbled at the edge of his mind. A formless idea which was even now tumbling, cycling, splitting, and taking on shape and clarity. Absently he walked to the park and sat down on a bench, watching the leaves of the trees sway in the breeze; birds took wing with a whirl.

If he couldn't protect Relena, not for lack of trying but because of her own stubbornness in the issue, there had to be something else he could do. He frowned slightly. There were others on Earth who held the same views as Relena did: of peace and helping to maintain it. While she was Queen of Sanq and Vice Foreign Minster, there were other people who were not in the spotlight but were just as vital to maintaining the fragile peace.

He blinked.

So...if he was prevented from continuing his mission on the primary target he should change to the secondary target.

<'I can't protect Relena...but I CAN protect the peace. All I have to do is shift my focus.'>

He mulled over his idea a bit more; it was quick and rough but had promise. <'I can make this work.'>

Heero stood up and felt a surge of adrenaline flow through him. Something he hadn't felt in years and damn but it felt good!

That was the birth of the idea for Iron Eagle Protection Services, a company which provided bodyguards, surveillance, and protection for high profile and political clients.

Heero was shocked how quickly his company caught on and garnered accolades from those they protected. He has been a soldier his whole life, but never had he felt such personal fulfillment as he did now.

/the road it long yeah/
/each step is only the beginning/
/no breaks just heartaches/
/oh man, is anybody winning?/


Three hours later, the bride and groom had left the reception to much rice throwing and many well wishes. The party was starting to wind down and guests were either leaving or starting to retire for the night.

The Iron Eagle team was also packing up. A nocturnal shift comprised of the secondary team headed by Stephen Nichols, Commander of Beta Team, was already in position and ready to take over for the tiring Alpha Team.

Beta Team had come in on the company's private jet, which was currently ready and able to transport Alpha Team back to Sanq.

"Ok everyone who has a ticket to go to Sanq onto the bus!"

Heero sighed and rubbed his eyes. Leave it up to TJ to pump humor into a situation where everyone just wanted to fall over due to exhaustion. They really hadn't done anything too physical but the mental stress was getting to them, even he felt it. Soon though, soon he'd be on the jet headed for home. He'd even be able to sleep in his own bed tonight.

He climbed aboard the transport bus with the rest of his team, while Kip Bowden slipped behind the wheel. Kip was their regular driver, he was also their pilot. Although depending on how tired he was he probably would be replaced by someone else.

Heero looked over his team. They looked good. Tired yet they chatted amicably with each other as the bus started on it's way towards the airport.

TJ slipped onto the bench seat next to Heero and cast him a sidelong glance.

"Eh, Okashira nice party huh?"


"Oh great. What we're going to resort to grunt dialogue now, huh? I know you're tired but you're not THAT tired."

The Duke turned towards Teeje with a glare. "I am on the phone." he explained tersely. "Checking messages on the machine. Gods I wish Dana was awake." he paused, thought about it then shuddered. "Maybe not. I am sure she wouldn't appreciate being called at what 4:30 am?"

"Heh! Imagine that. Heero Yuy afraid of a girl. I am shocked and amazed!" TJ teased.

Heero ignored him and turned back to his phone call. Of all the team, only TJ had actually read the book "Confessions of a Gundam Pilot" and he had quickly made the connection between the Heero Yuy in the book and his Duke. He took great pleasure in teasing Heero about his past reactions to the very persistent Relena Darlian who had pursued him throughout the war.


/it's a long road and it's hard as hell/
/tell me what do you do to survive/

Heero was...satisfied. Normal people would term what he was feeling 'happiness', but to him it was satisfaction. It made him grin.

After Relena's delegation of responsibilities, Heero decided to make a few changes of his own. Sure she might want to spend more time with him, but he had had enough of being the Queen's 'Dog-walker'. Besides, his own mission had changed been re-evaluated. There was no longer a primary target to world peace. With delegation came more opportunities to upset what ESUN worked so hard to create. It was his responsibility to see to it that peace was maintained.

Working with Preventer's contacts and within the private sector, he came up with the idea of Iron Eagle Protection Services. With the help of Lady Une, WuFei, TJ Curtis, and the head of Sanq's Security Council, he created a company which specialized in providing security for high profile political figures who could potentially be targets for terrorists.

Iron Eagle, which received glowing recommendations from the ESUN's Preventers, soon became very popular. So popular that within 18 months, Heero found himself coordinating three different teams of nine members each.

All was well in his little world. That was until the day the "Book" came out. It figures that it would be TJ who would bring it to his attention...

"Hey man! Check it out! Look what I got!"

Heero looked up from the laptop and stared dumbly at the book that was thrust into his line of sight.

"What's this?" he asked taking a hold of the hardcover book.

"Confessions of a Gundam Pilot By Duo Maxwell?" He blinked and looked up at TJ for confirmation.

The ex-solider nodded his head and slid around the desk. "Did you actually fly with this guy? He seems so cool! Hey check out page thirty-four!" he snickered.

Heero thumbed to the instructed page and started to read. <"...we all admired Heero. He was a font of strength and sanity in an insane world..."> He blinked. <'Uh...yeah right. I was just as insane as the rest of the damn world! Gods Duo how could you have thought that..."He'd do anything to make sure a mission was accomplished. I think I fell in love with him for exactly that reason?...I loved him then, and I love him now...I'll love him forever...?">

Heero swallowed thickly and softly closed the book, and stared off into space.

"Okashira? Oi! You in there?"

He blinked and looked at T.J. as if seeing him for the first time.

"What do you think? This thing is an international bestseller! Went to the top of all the bookseller charts here and up in the colonies! I mean the guy said he was a Gundam pilot and I know about you so I thought I'd get it...and then I saw your name in there and I was kind a wondering....is he talking about you?"

Heero paused, considering his answer. Slowly he nodded. "Yeah. Actually he is."

TJ's eyes widened. "Cool!" he breathed.

And that had been that.

Other than the occasional teasing about his past, TJ never said anything about Duo or his relationship with him. He didn't know if it was out of respect for a personal matter, or if he really didn't care. Either way the book simply gave TJ a glimpse into a life that Heero had been trying to live past since marrying Relena and was failing miserably.


/When they draw first blood thats just the start of it/
/day and night you gotta fight to keep alive/

The young Duke was starting to nod off when he felt a poke in his side. The fact that he only cracked open one eye was testament to how tired he was.


Teeje grinned at him, totally unrepentant. "It's April ya know. Your anniversary is coming up soon. What you gonna get Relena?"

"TJ, it's three in the morning. How the hell am I to know what I am gonna get her for our anniversary?"

The Eurasian chuckled. "Why not just do what you do every year and have Dana go get you something?"

Heero's other eye opened. "What are you saying TJ? That I don't know my own wife well enough to pick out something she would like?"

TJ was practically trembling now in an effort not to laugh. "Well it's just...you know. Dana knows you both so well!" he exclaimed keeping his voice pitched low enough not to bother the other members of the team.

"I mean the last time you thought to get her anything...remember how she just looked at you?"

Heero grimaced. <'He would bring that up.'> "Ok so I admit it, I really have no idea what a woman would like. I tried." he said testily.

"Hn." grunted TJ.

Heero arched an eyebrow at him. "Isn't that my line?"

TJ drew himself up, arms crossed over his chest. "Honestly though Heero. It's been four years. I've never said anything because it's not my place to say anything, but you gotta let it go."

"Easier said than done my friend. A task not made any easier now that he's on his way to Europe." the duke pointed out.

TJ shot him an intense look before hissing: "I won't lie to you Heero, not like I could even if I tried. I just don't understand what this fascination is with the-"

"SHHH!" Heero warned.

TJ looked at the other members of the team most of whom were dozing. He ducked his head, whispering harshly. "You know who."

"And what does that have to do with picking out an anniversary gift for Relena?"

"Heero I saw the scrap book."

The duke froze then shrugged noncommittally.

"Damnit Heero I am only trying to look out for you! If she finds it. Remember the fit she had when he was found?! You'll be lucky if she doesn't go whoop-ass on you!"

"She's a pacifist. She won't go 'whoop-ass' on me."

TJ cursed under his breath. "Yare yare. At least I tried, ne?"

Heero shrugged and reclosed his eyes. "It's all you could do really. I thank you for your concern Teeje, but everything is fine. Although I do think I will go with your suggestion and let Dana pick out something for Relena."

He could feel TJ's eyes on him, but the long time bodyguard didn't say anything else as Heero lost himself in memories.


It had been a year ago. Iron Eagle was still in its first stages of operation and the client list was being culled by stringent criteria. On this day, Heero and TJ were having a working breakfast comparing notes on how assignments were going. Making changes as necessary and deciding when to cut their losses if a threat wasn't imminent.

Teeje put down his tea cup and rummaged around in his attaché case for a report and handed it to Heero. "Well see the status of the Graceson surveillance is good right now. We have no--"

The door suddenly opened, and Relena stormed in with the newspaper in her hand, which she slapped onto the table.

"Good morning to you too, Relena-sama." TJ drawled. She ignored him and stabbed a finger at the paper. "Can you believe it? The Empire must be getting desperate if they honestly believe that HE is their prince!"

Heero's eyes flickered down to the headline:

'Long Lost Imperial Prince Found!"

The picture was of a smiling face he knew only too well.

A small frown settled between his brows. The caption read: "Duo Maxwell confirmed through DNA to be Emperor Jonathan Mathis's lost son. His ascension and crowning is set for July 15th A.C. 201"

"Hn." he grunted not trusting himself to speak as too many questions raced through his head.

"That's all you have to say!? Hn!? Heero!!! He's a prince! The North American Empire's prince!"

Heero looked at her confused. "Yeah...and..what? What do you want me to say? He's a prince I never knew. We all thought he was an orphan." he shrugged.

"This has nothing to do with whether he had parents or not. I mean obviously he does. This is about how the Empire will now use him as a foil against ESUN's agenda! What better weapon can they use? A downtrodden beggar who has turned everything he's touched to gold! First a book, and then that plane race, and now this! He's young and charismatic and just so damned perfect!" she raged.

Heero blinked at her in surprise. "Rel, as you well know the North American Empire has taken to your message of pacifism and peace. They simply do not agree with ESUN's call for a world nation. Instead they prefer their own individuality and autonomy. And I must say it is working out rather well for them. I really don't see why you have such an objection to the Empire."

"My problem isn't with the Empire, it's with HIM!" she stabbed a finger down on the picture.

"What? Do you think I am going to pack a bag and scurry off to Washington?" he asked in exasperated frustration.

"YES!" she exploded

Shocked silence.

Heero crumpled up the napkin that was on his lap and reached out for his wife. Hesitantly she went to him and allowed him to gather her up and settle her down on his lap.

"Relena I am not so shallow as to disregard my wedding vows. I made a promise to honor and cherish you and that I can do. I am not going to break my vows just because Duo is suddenly a prince."

Relena let out a shaky laugh. "I've been acting foolish haven't I?"

"If I say 'yes' will you get mad at me?"

This time her laugh was genuine. "I am sorry." she said softly. Taking his hand she kissed the back of it and stood up. "I am sorry for interrupting your meeting. Good day, Heero. TJ." She gave a nod to the bodyguard then left the room much more subdued than she had entered.

TJ blinked in bemusement and picked up the paper skimming over the article. He looked over at his Boss and saw that the frown hadn't left his face. In fact it had gotten deeper. Slowly, TJ folded the paper and put it down. "Heero? Did you mean it? You're not leaving....I mean I am just making sure..."

The duke shook his head. "Just because he's a prince? No, I am not leaving. However..." He stood up and walked towards the window to look out over the sunlit gardens. He closed his eyes, sighing. "If he asked me..." he said softly.

He could feel TJ's troubled gaze on his back, but didn't turn to face him.


/it's a real war, right outside your front door I'll tell ya/
/out where they'll kill ya you could use a friend/

The bus ride to the airport and the subsequent plane ride home was done in a blur. The DiGiacomo's compound was far enough away from Sanq that it would be a long arduous trip via ground. Why drive when you could fly?

Even though TJ wasn't officially Heero's bodyguard anymore, he still watched out for his Okashira. After saying goodnight to everyone and receiving a promise to meet tomorrow for a debriefing, TJ hustled Heero into a car and drove him to Sanq Castle himself.

Together the two friends stumbled out of the car and walked through the dark, mostly empty corridors to Heero's apartment.

Per usual, it was TJ who broke the companionable silence between them.

"It was a beautiful wedding, ne Heero?"

Heero grunted softly floating in a haze of his own exhaustion and memories.

"Kinda reminds you of your own wedding day doesn't it?"

"Unfortunately." They continued down the hallway with an uneasy silence between them. TJ waiting, sensing there was more to Heero's statement.

"Melinda asked me if her marriage was going to turn out like mine. I told her no. That Max loved her. That what they have is real, and it made me think. Why did I marry Relena? I mean I know intrinsically "why" I married her, but even that was stripped away within the first couple of months and I was left with no purpose. I guess I don't understand her..." he said haltingly.

TJ gaped at him. "My god Heero! What do you mean you don't understand her?! She's a woman for Christsakes! I mean hell! I am not even seeing her and I know what she wants from you!"

Heero looked at Teeje blearily. "Well go on....tell me. What does she want."

The bodyguard blinked at his charge as if he couldn't believe what he was hearing. "She wants you as her husband and lover, you big lummox! Not her protector; hell she's got more than enough of those as it is.

She wants to sit up late at night, drinking wine in the candlelight, telling you her secrets. She wants to build and share her life with you!" he howled.

Heero stared at TJ as if he had grown a second head. "What if I don't want to do that?"

TJ flailed his arms around in exasperation. "Then why the hell did you marry her?!" he demanded.

"Because it was what was expected of me." replied the Duke in a soft confused voice.

TJ frowned. "Don't you love her?"

The sable head shook from side to side. "No, I don't. I've never loved her and I never will." he said firmly.

"That's harsh." whispered Teeje.

Heero shrugged. "The truth hurts."

Teeje snorted. "Shit yeah....but is that the truth? or just something you keep telling yourself?"

To that, Heero had no answer.

TJ sighed long and low. It was times like these that he truly didn't understand his friend and wondered how the hell they had lasted as long as they had. Heero Yuy really was a mystery and a hard nut to crack. It was no wonder that Relena still was trying to find a way into his heart.

They stopped at the door to the Duke's suite of rooms. TJ gave Heero a sidelong glance, drew in a bracing breath then blurted: "I love you Heero."

The once "Perfect Soldier" and current Duke of White Honor jaw dropped to the floor.

TJ noticed the slack jawed look and waved his hand in a dismissive manner. "Gawd! You Hentai! Not like that. I mean you're like the older brother I never had. I think my father would have really loved you and approved of your discipline. You're not a screw up like I am."

Heero stared at his friend, eyes wide. If you had dropped a Gundam on his head he wouldn't be more surprised or sandbagged. The moment of seriousness that TJ had bought with his admission ran out though with his next statement. "But sometimes...sometimes I just wanna beat your head in."

Heero gave a short coughing laugh. He drew TJ into his arms in a comraderie embrace and slapped him on the back. "You are truly a good and loyal friend Thomas James Curtis. I bless the Gods which talked you into staying at my side all these years." He drew back; honesty and truth shining in his Prussian blue eyes.

"Goodnight TJ."

Out of habit and the need to cause a bit of mischief, TJ saluted the Duke smartly. "Your Grace."

Heero rolled his eyes and shook his head in exasperation before turning away and opening the door to his rooms.

Entering the suite he sighed tiredly. He glanced about his suite. The rooms were dark yet not unlit. Soft light from the recessed lights cast a welcome glow, keeping the deeper shadows at bay. He instantly knew that he was not alone.

"Ugh..." he sighed and decided to take care of this intruder head on.

He found her curled up in one of the winged back chairs in his bedroom. At least she had the good sense not to be in the bed. He grimaced. He really didn't want to do this tonight.

"Relena? Relena wake up now." he urged softly.

Fragile skin over those penetrating blue eyes flickered then snapped open. Relena Darlian-Peacecraft opened her eyes and took in the sight of her husband kneeling next to the chair she had fallen asleep in.

"Heero..." she moaned, rolling the "r" turning his name into what he suspected was to be a seductive purr. Unfortunately it grated on his nerves, and he moved away from her, straightening up.

He turned and started to remove his tie. "It's late Relena. What are you doing here?"

The queen of Sanq kingdom frowned slightly, muffled a yawn, stretched, uncurling from the now cramped position she was in, and rubbed at her eyes. "I was waiting for you. You never called." Seeing how his back stiffened at this she quickly tried to assure him. "I was worried."

"Why? It was a simple assignment; my team was with me. There really was nothing to worry about."

"It's just I-" Relena stopped unsure as to how to go about this. If only she could start over. She loved Heero and had hoped that one day he would return her feelings. She knew that he wasn't in love with her when he married her. He might have liked her, maybe even loved her in his own limited way, but he wasn't ~in love~ with her. He had been just as distant and standoffish as he had always been.

All throughout the war she had followed him and he had run. He came to her only when she had backed off. Regulated him to a part of her mind where she could recall the memory of his burning eyes and the passion of "omae o korosu".

She found it odd that when she had finally given up on pursuing him, he calmly stepped back into her life. It hadn't been the whirlwind fairy tale romance she had hoped it would be. Instead, he had been with her silently.



His beauty and faithfulness a shining beacon which sparked her hopes for something more.

She had been the one to propose marriage. He had stared at her mutely for what for her felt like a lifetime before bowing his head and saying yes. That had been one of the happiest days of her life, only eclipsed by her wedding day. Even the inclusion of Duo Maxwell hadn't dimmed it. She had Heero, his body but never his heart.

In four years of marriage she knew that she never would have that which was most important and that which he still guarded resolutely. The only reason Heero stayed with her, she was sure, was because he just couldn't figure out a plausible reason to leave her and go to L2.

When Duo was found to be the long lost son of Emperor Jonathan Mathis, fear as she had never known it, nipped at her heels every day. The newly crowned Prince Duo could, if he wanted, request an audience with the Queen of Sanq and thereby get to see Heero again. But he didn't.

It had been one of her close advisors who calmed the young Queen's fears, reminding her that the North American Empire and ESUN were on opposite ends of the political spectrum. For Heero to go to Duo, or Duo to come to Sanq would be such a black mark on either one of them that it would spell disaster.

However even that knowledge didn't ease her fears of loosing her husband. Maybe it was her own insecurities that made her see TJ Curtis as a potential rival for her husband's attentions. It was irrational and unreasonable but the fear was there.

Biting her lip, she solidified her resolve and plunged ahead. "I know I shouldn't worry about you Heero, but you're my husband; I love you. I just wish you didn't put yourself in danger like you do."

He shrugged, digging around in his dresser for sleepwear. "The threat to myself is negligible. In comparison to the people I protect it is an acceptable risk."

"Acceptable to you," Relena choked out. "But not to me. Never to me."

Heero's shoulders slumped and he turned towards her. The true depth of his exhaustion suddenly apparent as she took in his haggard appearance. "I really don't want to get into this tonight. However if only to calm you down, Curtis never left my side."

If that was suppose to calm her down, it did exactly the opposite. Relena frowned. "Heero? Why do you keep him around?" she asked truly puzzled.

Her husband sighed. He'd had a long day and really didn't want to have this conversation now. "I could tell you, but you won't like it.."

The young queen gave a sad snort of laughter. "Humor me."

Heero shrugged then pinned her with a very intense look. "He reminds me of Duo."

She frowned. "You're right; I don't like it."

He grinned and started towards the bathroom.

"Heero," she began tentatively. "Is there anything I can do or say which would convince you to having him transferred from his position as your bodyguard?"

The duke's head snapped up and he glared at Relena with an intensity she hadn't felt in years. Icy fear prickled over her skin and she swallowed harshly. "Well, I don't know." he said slowly. "Especially when you take into consideration he is now a private citizen, and working in the private sector, I would think that would be sort of difficult thing to arrange."

Relena blinked. "Then what is he doing in the palace?"

Heero sighed tiredly. "He works for me Relena. He's a friend. Not to
mention he was my bodyguard for a year. He watches out for me; Old
habits die hard."

The queen's corn flower blue eyes slid toward the door as a nameless fear nibbled at her heart. "I see."

"I am glad you do. Now please, wife. I am tired. I've had a long day and it's late. Goodnight Relena."

Dismissed, Relena could only stumble towards the door. "Good night, husband."

/the road is long yeah/
/each step is only the beginning/
/no breaks just heartaches/
/oh man is anybody winning?/

Heero took a short shower, letting the hot water ease away the day's tensions. The small confrontation with Relena was wholly unwelcome and he knew he would have to deal with her fully tomorrow.

He really didn't know where her fears sprang from. He was well and truly ensnared. There was nothing anyone could do to free him. The only person who may be brazen enough to attempt it was roughly 7,000 kilometers away and no threat to his wife what so ever.

TJ was a friend; as loyal as the day was long. Passionate but a pale imitation of what Heero was really craving.

He exited the bathroom, toweling his dark hair and let all his barriers fall. There weren't many who had seen the former "Perfect Soldier" so defenseless. And those who had remembered the sight with vivid detail.

Totally at ease and secure in his privacy, Heero padded over to the large bay window which dominated the southern wall. From his vantage point he could see the formal gardens, dark and foreboding below him. Farther away the city, and even farther off the dark edge which was the ocean.

Frowning, he rested his forehead against the cool glass. <'I have everything a person could want, and yet I do not desire it.'>

Money, rank, position, a loving wife, a gratifying job, dear and trusted friends.

<'I have this...all of this and it's not enough. It will never be enough because I am not with the one person I want to share it all with.'> He turned and looked at his large empty bed which was bathed in moonlight.

He could almost see the pale form of Duo sprawled out on the silk sheets his long chestnut hair unbound and cascading all around him.

<'How I wish things were different. I've made a mistake Duo and I am paying for it every day, every minute that I am not with you. I can feel myself slip away; my soul is dying without you Duo. You said you'd love me forever. If that's so, wait for me beloved. We will be together again someday. Please...wait for me.'>

/The road is long yeah/
/each step is only the beginning/
/no breaks, just heartaches/
/oh man is anybody winning?/

/It's a long road/

/Its a long road.../



Next up: Imperial Crown Prince Duo Maxwell-Mathis finds that being a Prince isn't as easy as it seems. There are the dinners, the concerts, and the extended family.

None of the glitz, glitter, or glamour, though, gets in the way when Duo takes up the fight to stop poverty and bring hope to the children of the Empire.

However, not everyone is pleased that the Emperor has found his son and this disapproval cumulates in a fiery climax which results in Duo meeting Heero again after four long years.

Next in -- He's Mine: Heart and Soul
Chapter Eight: Rebirth