In the Garden of the Beast: Chapter Four


Relena was really trying her hardest to pay attention to the book, but, well, it was boring. Just plain boring she concluded, as she sighed, and shifted for the fifteenth time in the last ten minutes. Placing her cheek against her palm, she stared at the man across from her, and was annoyed at how calm and occupied he seemed. Not one bit bored or anxious.

She huffed again, and looked longingly outside at the dark, ominous clouds.

"Don't think about it Relena," Heero said matter-of-factly and he turned another page.

"But it's not raining yet Heero." She said in a voice reaching the tone of a child pleading for their parents to buy them a piece of candy.

"Doesn't mean that it won't."

"So, it could also not rain. Ever think about that? And then at the end of the day, we'd look back and say 'Well, that was a missed opporunity.' And it would be, it would be." She looked him straight in the face.

He gave her a puzzled look. "Alright, that was odd Relena. And it always rains here, eventually."

She sighed. "But I just wanted to go outside and see the garden."

"I know. Don't dwell on it." She sighed again, and gave one last forlorn look to outside the window. But soon return to her book, though she was highly distracted with Heero's claws massaging her upturned palm and all.

"But really Heero, it hasn't rained yet. I mean, it was fifteen minutes ago we had the conversation and it hasn't rained yet. That's a miracle around here. I say we go out and browse the gardens."

Heero sighed, and went back to his book, trying hard to ignore Relena foot up his pant leg.

Relena sighed, after five long minutes of trying her hardest to persuade Heero to take her outside, she had given up.

"Fine." She stood up with a puff. "I guess I'll just have to ask Quatre to take me outside then. He's so much nicer and polite anyway. He's always such a gentleman." She turned to walk away.

Heero sighed in defeat, and stood up after her. He'd be damned if he let that Quatre around Relena. He had noticed how all the women in the castle fawned over his blonde friend. No sir, not around his Relena. "Fine Relena, but if it starts raining, don't expect me to give you my coat if it does start raining."

An hour later, in the gardens, Heero was coat-less, dripping wet, and perturbed.

Meanwhile, Relena was wearing the aforementioned coat, and admiring the roses. While babbling on a bout something or other. Heero stopped listening when she started speaking directly to the plants like they were newborns.

"Aren't you just precious? Yes you, are, yes you are! Oh, I'll take good care of you. And you'll be so pretty! Not that you already aren't, but you'll be dazzling once I'm done with you!" She made those disgustingly cute faces at the plants, and Heero thought for not the first time that perhaps his girlfriend might be clinically insane.

"Don't say anything Maxwell." Heero gave a sharp glare to the braided youth as he walked in the front doors behind Relena, his fur damp and fluffy.

He put his hands up in defense as he tried to smother a laugh. "I didn't say anything Maitre."

He ran a claw through his unruly-fluffy hair. And sneezed.

Oh wonderful he thought as he sneezed again. Fichu.

"This is all your fault you know." Heero spoke nasally from under the covers of his bed.

"I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about chéri." Relena checked his temperature in the common way of placing her hand to his forehead and cheeks. She let it linger on the left side of his face, and with a trace of regret, took her hand away.

"I always used to do this when my brother was sick." She said quietly as she looked down at her now (thanks to Catherine) finely manicured hands.

"I wonder how he got that way." Heero replied dryly. Well, as dryly as one can when their nose of full of mucus.

Relena didn't reply, just silently kept looking at her hands.

Heero sighed. He seemed to be doing that a lot since Relena had arrived a year ago. "I'm sorry. Please go on."

"Okay." Her voice seemed a little uncertain, and wavered a bit. "He would lay in bed all day, whining. I used to scold him all the time about it" A faint smile. "But I always took care of him. I'd bring him soup, and would fluff his pillows for him. You should have seen him, the cat and her kittens would always come in and keep him company the whole time. They were always very fond of him." She smiled gain, but now it was more of a last-ditch effort to hide the tears, and keep them in her eyes, instead of running down the sides of her face. But that didn't end up working very well, and the droplets of saline fell onto her crossed hands that were entwined tightly together.

Heero forgot all his annoyance at this point, and sat up at much as he could, without risking passing out from the pressure ratio of inside his head to the atmosphere inside the room. But, he ignored this, and gently took her into his arms, which she took advantage of as she wrapped her arms around his waist and sobbed quietly into his mound of fur called a chest. He murmured softly, and stroked her hair, while every once in a while stopping to blow his nose, sniff and sneeze, or cough.

After some time, her sobs finely subsided, and she disentangled herself from hold. She hurriedly wiped her face, and smoothed back her hair, all the while avoiding the beast's eyes.

Heero felt a great pain in his chest every time he saw how much pain she felt to be away from home. He slowly considered what he was about to do as he watched her sit on the side of his bed.

She really was beautiful he had resolved over the past year of time. He especially loved her hair. He had slowly became infatuated with the feel of it, and how it shined even in the dimmest light.

"Would you go back if you could?" Heero asked silently.

Relena turned to face him. Did she just hear what she thought she heard? "Yes." She admitted before she had time to consider a more diplomatic response.

He took in a breath, and resisted a coughing spasm. "Would you-" he choked. He waited a moment, and began again, this time with a different thought. "I can do it."

Relena's eyes widened. She nodded dumbly at the thought of returning home. Of seeing her garden again, the pets, her brother. Oh, how she would love to see her brother. So much must have changed in the past year. How the cottage must look! She bet it had fell into ruins with her brother the only person there to be its upkeep. How he must have starved she thought. But quickly reminded herself of the nice lady friend he had that was always baking him those exotic Italian treats.

Heero said something. She quickly stopped her reminiscing. "What? Pardon, I wasn't listening." She flushed with embarrassment.

"Never mind," He said quickly. "Go to the chest over by the wardrobe." He pointed one strained claw towards the other side of the room from which they were located.

She stood up, and strode across the rugs and carpet, barely making noise in the deep blue yarns beneath her feet. She paused before the dark oak chest that reached to about her mid-thigh, with it's exquisite carvings of a French fashion.

"Inside, in a light blue silk cloth is a rose. Bring it here." She obeyed, and brought the light package over to him.

Before unwrapping the rose, he paused, and considered her carefully for a moment. "Relena?" He swallowed. If he was going to do it, it might as well be now. "Say hello to your brother to me." And mentally punched himself in the gut for such cowardice.

She smiled brightly. "Of course I will."

He nodded with fake satisfaction, and unwrapped the rose, the same rose that had started this little story. With tips of dark crimson velvet, that turned slowly into pink, then melded gently into a soft yellow in the middle.

Plucking off one of the magnificent petals, he held it out to Relena. "Put this in you mouth, on your tongue, then think about your home to return." Then he handed the whole rose to her. "Take this with you. If you ever wish to come back, just repeat the same, but think about here instead."

"Of course I'll come back," Heero was hoping she would say. But she must of been caught up in her emotions, and stared dumbly at the rose and the one petal she grasped between her thumb and forefinger.

"Go," Heero whispered, and she looked at him. "Go, now." He repeated.

The petal tasted like sugar dissolving on her tongue was the last thought she had before she met the darkness, with what she thought was Heero saying something in Japanese that sounded like "Watashi anata ai suru." It's a shame she didn't know enough Japanese, to say: "I love you," back.