Their courtship was rough and spontaneous. They didn’t go out to dinner or the theatre. 'I do that enough with colleagues' she’d said, much to his relief. All he knew was that he enjoyed her proximity. Sometimes it was a walk through the city, coffee in hand. Others it was at night, with her in pajamas and they’d just sit and talk. He liked talking to her, because she always said something worth hearing.
The first time she’d let him touch her was in the Spring of AC198. The war was still fresh in his mind but it had dulled to a twisted sort of shadow that stayed dormant. Always there but…manageable. The fight was now hers, and she was a perfect a soldier the peace-loving world could ask for. Much more so than he. He’d stopped flinching when she reached for his hand. He’d found himself soon craving the feeling of her legs slung over his as they talked on her sofa deep into the night. The topics became less serious, more mundane, almost frivolous. He relished them. She was talking about her horse, and how she would have to retire it soon. She’d had it since a child. Something in her wistful but sad eyes had prompted him, and his hand stroked the bare skin of her leg in what he’d hoped was comfort. Her face had turned pink in a way he still found entirely endearing and a softly hesitant voice implored him. 'Don't stop'. He didn’t.
She was bold. When faced with the ignorant, the ungeniune, the corrupt, she took a no-nonsense and very blunt line of truth with them. People loved her for it. He loved her for it. It was bravery and brutal righteousness at its best. He was there during a now infamous televised debate between her and the trade minister on the topic of hikes in exports of essential materials to the colonies from Earth. He’d told her that the levies were to evenly redistribute the larger fuel costs of going to more distant clusters than L1 or L2. She’d asked him why the levies weren’t redistributed through the Earth market on the return journeys bringing back goods from L5. He’d chosen to question her capacity on the subject. His choice had proven fatal. Bold, however, had taken a back seat when they’d began exploring intimacy. 'Can I touch you?' he had asked her, and a pink stain had spread from her cheeks to her neck and the tips of her ears and her voice meek and quiet. 'Y…yes.' As fingers trailed over her bare body, he noted which places made her sigh, which made her squirm, and which made her eyes clamp shut. Her breasts, though small, were extremely sensitive and when he closed his mouth around one stiff peak and suckled gently she made a noise that made his blood boil. He’d smiled when she clamped a hand over her mouth and her the pinkness spread to her breasts.
It had taken a while to let her touch him. He wasn’t used to being in a vulnerable position, let alone voluntarily. But any inhibitions he’d had fled when she’d raised his hand to her lips and slowly kissed his fingers. 'I want you to feel good too.' He didn’t take his eyes off her, still unable to completely hand over control to her. As she freed him from his confines and her hand closed experimentally around him, pulling at him gently, he stood by that decision. The fascination in her eyes clouded by unhindered lust was intoxicating as she explored him. He soon, however, found he didn’t have a choice in the matter, his eyes closing and head rolling back in a hoarse groan as her tongue found the sensitive spot where his shaft met the tip. He’d made a game of it, in future, to never miss a second.
She had an unhealthy relationship with coffee. Nearly every time he saw her, she had a styrofoam cup in her hand, or that silly ceramic mug with ‘Keep Calm and’ something or rather that had become a centerpiece on her desk. It wasn’t just the coffee. He was horrified when he first witnessed two heaped tablespoons of sugar going into her rather modest-sized beverage. He couldn’t stop her from doing it…but he could make sure to offset the effects. 'Come for a run. You don't get out enough.' She was in her Sunday wear. Jogging bottoms and an old tank top that bore paint marks from last year’s redecoration. 'Are you trying to suggest something unflattering, Heero Yuy?' He’d known her too long to let her political ploys and redirection catch him, and she soon found herself pulled out of her front door without so much as a brush through her hair. 'I'm barely fit for public consumption!' 'Isn't it dangerous for someone with no experience to push themselves like this?' She ran out of excuses by the second mile, realising she needed to conserve her breath.
He discovered that when she lay on her stomach and he took her hard from behind, it robbed her of breath. The first time he did that, she clutched on to her pillow and cried his name like a prayer. A couple of stray tears had slid down her cheeks with her release and she’d tried to bury her face in the bedding to hide it from him. 'It's embarrassing.' she’d whispered. It was a sight he memorised in detail for the weeks alone in between.
She was pretty, even when she was sad. He felt a degree of shame when he saw her tears and his thoughts turned to the way they clung to her lashes, made her eyes vibrant and her skin flushed. It reminded him of more intimate moments. But, he knew it was more than that. He’d once seen her, unwashed, ungroomed and wearing what could only be called rags after a stint in Africa trying to better understand the conditions of underpaid miners. He had been tense the entire time she was there, away from her and unable to do anything to help her in what was an exceptionally unstable area. When he saw her on the news boarding the plane after her week in self-imposed hell, he’d let out a breath he didn’t realise he’d been holding. At that moment, she was more beautiful to him than anything else. He’d told Trowa this during one of their irregular catch-ups. The other man had a way of coaxing information out of you and making it seem like your idea. He was a good spy for a reason. 'Emotions aren't static. They move, grow, and evolve much like people. Your affection for her is evolving. It's up to you how you let that affect you.' People like Duo and Quatre used the word love freely, as if the knowledge of it and its meaning were ingrained in them. That lead him to believe that one would simply know when one experienced love. As he saw her wipe her tears on her sleeve, giving him a small sad smile and apologising for inconveniencing him, he had two thoughts. The first was that nothing she would ever do would inconvenience him. He wanted her to come to him. The second was that he couldn’t remember an epiphany, or even a mental acknowledgement that he had fallen in love. But he failed to see how this fast, beating, living, growing feeling could be anything else.
It had taken him no small dose of courage to lower his inhibitions during their lovemaking. The pleasure of their coupling was one of the most addictive experiences he could fathom, and their climaxes often left him breathless with male satisfaction. One night, she’d gripped him so suddenly in her bliss, his own mindless pleasure had torn a sound from him, a deep throaty curse that had left him feeling quite self-conscious in the aftermath. Laying there trying to think of a way to apologise, he hadn’t expected her to speak first. 'I like that.' He didn’t make the connection. 'That?' She nodded, curling into his side and burying her face in his shoulder. 'I like hearing it. Knowing you liked it.' She’d fallen asleep mere second afterwards, the waiver in the voice betraying her fatigue, but his mind ran over her words. It made sense, of course. Her soft moans and blissful cries served to edge him on, told him what made her feel good and what made her see stars, sent a rush of pride through him knowing he made her feel that way. Why wouldn’t it be the same for her? And so, he let himself go. He let the lightning thrumming through his body dictate the groans, the feral growling of her name. He allowed himself to command her to turn over, to suck harder, to ride him faster. He told her how she looked, how tight she felt. And once, on the edge of a dream, he told her he loved her.
He saw her on the news, interviewing on a colony not too far from his own. He spent so little time in his own spartan bedsit now, it felt alien. When her face appeared on the small screen in the kitchenette, the silence in the room was deafeningly lonely. And he found himself faced with the simple facts. This thing between them was no longer casual. After two years, she should rightfully expect a more permanent arrangement. She hadn’t asked, and he knew she wouldn’t. He’d given her no reason to expect that of him. The niggling feeling of doubt crept through his mind a lot less than it used to, and began to feel that the move to her side would be less a leap of faith and more a final stride. 'At twenty years old, Miss Darlian, the media are baffled as to your significant lack in romantic interests. My theory is that you're just extremely discreet. Please prove me right?' He felt foolish, but part of him wanted her to prove her right too.
In AC201, she died. He felt his mind shut off as the bullet hit her, the sound of the shot ringing in his ears. It was point blank, less than three feet away in front of her. In front of him. He remembered the feeling of the man’s neck snapping underneath his hands. He remembered the plummeting deadness inside of him, the cold lump in his throat as her body lay still on the ground. He remembered being entirely helpless, unable to do anything but stare at the woman who just minutes ago had kissed him and laughed as she caught him stumbling over the topic of cohabitation. The woman on the pavement could not be Relena Darlian. Relena Darlian was still in his head, walking him back to her office, sipping at her over-sweetened coffee, asking him whether they should live in the city or out in the suburbs. The suburbs, he said. It’s safer.
When he saw her eyes open, machines pumping life back into her frail form, he couldn’t and wouldn’t stop the choked sob that escaped him. In AC202, she woke up as if from a long sleep. He couldn’t say anything. He settled for laying his head on her lap, his hand in hers. After seven months in a coma, her voice was barely a whisper. 'I like the suburbs.' He turned his face into the blanket then, letting the moisture in his eyes fall freely, away from her. Too many thoughts came to him at once and overwhelmed him. He’d failed to protect her. He was defective. He killed a man out of sheer hate and vengeance. He had no right to keep her. She still wanted him. And he wanted her to want him and it was selfish. He didn’t have the strength to be anything but selfish. Because love was selfish and his had evolved so strong and so hard it was painful. He felt her hand squeeze his so gently, but with as much strength as she could no doubt muster. 'Don't go.' His own words echoed back to him, first spoken as the initial sounds of her heart-monitor filled the room, and reignited the hope of life in him. He wasn’t sure if she’d heard him, or if it was a mere coincidence, but it felt like an anchor weighing him back to the ground, back to this reality, back to her. Because he saw all the fear of losing her, of losing so much more reflected back at him through her eyes. She was as scared as he was, scared he would leave her, that his guilt would spell the end of something they both cherished.No words could have accurately portrayed how he felt at that moment, but the ones he chose brought forth a strained chuckle from the woman at his side. 'You're stuck with me.'
The fourth time Commaner Une of the Preventers offered him a job he accepted. It wasn’t about the money. He made more than enough with a free-market security program he’d developed over a year ago. It was quickly becoming the product of choice on the consumer market, for its effectiveness in decreasing fraud and cyber warfare. His role would be based in Brussels, training the newer generation of agents in his specialties; reconnaissance and aerospace systems. He had no desire to return to active missions. Missions meant a risk he could no longer afford to take. But he could make sure that the next generation of active Preventers was equipped with the best knowledge he could impart, to keep the world he had fought for, she had fought for, in one unified piece. Relena was no longer active in politics; the loss of a lung meant she fatigued easily. But she kept herself busy with charity work and campaigning for various causes most important to her. Her influence was strong even now, and had become a sort of celebrity symbol for friendship between Earth and its colonial cousins. It was extremely effective and he knew she would never be idle.
'I asked you a few years back, Relena, about your elusive love life, which you somehow managed to completely side-step without me even realising. I swear, I got to my dressing room and nearly kicked myself.' The audience laughed. That clip was almost as infamous as her brutal verbal shredding of the former trade minister. 'But, we must revisit the subject. Jason Hearne from the L4 cluster asks if he can steal a kiss from you at your lecture at Compton Brunel University next week.' Relena simply smiled at the audience and looked into the camera, pulling at a chain around her neck. 'I'm afraid, Jason, that my fiancé is rather the jealous type.' The pandemonium was deafening.