Oh, I know it's early, but who am I to disappoint. Wait, Tegan, you can't disappoint a day early. Oh, right, right. Anyway, since I just have my two incredibly easy finals tomorrow, (oh yeah, careers and fashion merchandising, those require a lot of thought.) I decided to post it. One more day and I'm no longer a freshman baby! Ooh yeah.

This was a bugger to write. I swear, Milliardo and Relena would not channel for anything! It took me the longest time to figure how to get everything across in the conversation between the two of 'em. I had the vague idea of what I wanted to write about, but not exactly how to write it. Sigh, it came out nice though. But I'm not exactly sure if it was Shakespeare that is credited for that phrase of not. I never can remember some of those.

Anyway, everyone have a happy summer, do everything I wouldn't do, get into lots of trouble, run across that busy, rush-hour traffic on the highway, have as many near-death experiences as possible, and I'll see you all next week at the latest.

 

Disclaimer: Yeah, they're not mine. Though I'd happily buy Heero or Quatre, if only for one night. Oh baby, oh baby. Then I'd have my way with them. Rooowr.

 

In the Garden of the Beast: Chapter 6

 

Milliardo stood gaping for quite sometime at what he thought was his long, lost sister. Until Lucrezia elbowed him sharply in the side, and reprimanded him with a look. He shook his head free of the dazed look it had worn, and shakily invited Relena in.

She graciously accepted to be out of the cold, later winter night, and stepped threw the threshold.

Seeing the awkward moment between the siblings, Lucrezia spoke softly. "I think I'll retire for the night, after checking on Relie one last time." She smiled at Relena. "it was nice to see you again sur." Kissing her husband lightly on the cheek, and she walked gracefully up the stairs, and out of sight.

Milliardo looked awkwardly at his young sister again, a slight dazed at her sudden and unexpected appearance. "Why don't we sit down and talk." She suggested, knowing her brother too well to be angry at his lapse of common sense.

"Ah, of course."

Once seated in the comfortable cushioned chairs, Relena stayed silent for quite some time, gazing at the fire with a look of deep thought upon her face. The crackling flames sent dancing shadows across the room, distorting mere objects with it's flickering light.

Milliardo cleared his throat as a vain attempt to start a conversation. "Relena," he paused as if trying to decide a better way to start. "Rele, what are you doing here?"

Relena looked at him with unmasked surprise, which quickly turned into amusement. "I came back to see you Milli. It seems you've been quite busy." A sly smirk and wink was sent his way.

He coughed, and blushed, while mumbling something incoherent to Relena's ears. Then continued the conversation. "Is it truly that bad at the castle?" Relena could clearly see the worry in her brother's light blue eyes.

"Oh, heavens no Milli!" She said with a laugh. "It's nice there, really. I have friends, and Heero- Oh Milli! He's taught me to read, and he has such nice gardens. He's really not the person you described him to be. But then again, I suppose you didn't get the best impression of him at the time."

He eyed her suspiciously. "No, I suppose not. Heero, is that his name? Doesn't sound very French."

"That's because it isn't." Relena gave a small smile.

"Then what is it?" He asked.

"Japanese. You do know where Japan is right?"

"Asia." He gave a goofy grin, and Relena just chuckled. A few moments of silence descended upon them once again.

"Hey, don't they eat with sticks there?" Relena giggled.

 

Heero was not doing well at all. A great spasm of pain erupted through his chest at highly irregular, and often intervals. He gasped sickly as another wave hit him, with the pain splitting through his lungs and heart, oscillating spikes of heat and cold alike swelled his body, reaching into his extremities. Then it suddenly passed, and he was left panting for breath, and sweating profusely.

It happened again and again, each time weakening Heero till he was sure he would die with next coming of the agony. It was almost to the point where he wished he would die, if only to end all the suffering and grief he felt. But he knew he couldn't.

Another rush came, and Heero succumbed to the darkness that had been threatening him for so long.

So this is what it feels like to have your heart broken, was his last thought as he slowly drifted away.

 

Milliardo nervously eyed the rose as his sister from the kitchen sink as she obliviously fingered the petals while he stood preparing the tea.

"Did he give that to you?" He asked finally as he handed her her cup.

She looked mildly surprised as she noticed for the first time the cold rose she held in her long fingers. "Yes." The reply was soft, and almost inaudible, as if something great weighed upon her mind.

Milliardo chose not to push the issue of what was obviously a sensitive subject. But quietly sipped his tea, waiting for his little sister to say something so ease the inauspicious air between them He knew it was stupid, but Milliardo felt vaguely uncomfortable with his sister after not seeing her for such a long time. Oh, of course he had missed her, but really, and he didn't like to admit this, things had been better off without her here. He inwardly grimaced at the thought.

He in took a shaky breath, and dared to ask a question. "Relena, why are you here?" He looked her straight in the eyes as she raised her head at the inquiry.

Her look narrowed, and she considered it heavily for a moment. "I don't really know I guess. I don't really know why I came back, other than to see you of course." She said carefully.

"Are you planning to stay here?"

She took some time to think about this one as well. "No, I suppose not."

"You suppose?" He looked her in the eye.

"Well, I was sure I would be much happier here. But now." She gestured with open hands. "I don't really feel like this is my home anymore. It's different now. I mean, I do love you frere, but I just don't feel as if I belong here like I used to." She looked regretfully at her brother.

Milliardo gave a thoughtful sigh of relief, and smiled warmly. "I understand. Frankly, I don't think there is enough room here for four."

"Four? You mean." Her face lightened up with a happy smile. "Milli, congratulations. So," she said like a regular gossip exchanger, with hands on knees, her torso leaned forward with interest. "What's the baby's name?"

"Relie." He shrugged, ignoring the mannerism. "It seemed to fit at the time. But one can only hope he does not inherit some of your more intolerable personality traits."

"My personality traits?" The last was said in an innocent tone. "It's your personality traits you should be worried about. Honestly." She huffed mockingly. "Well, I suppose I wouldn't really be able to handle being around a child of yours all the time anyway." Milliardo chuckled at her smirk.

"So you're going back then?"

"Yes, I guess so." The uncertain tone of her voice worried her brother.

"You guess? Relena, where you plan to live the rest of your life isn't something to guess about. Do you truly wish to go back there, or not?"

"I don't know." She let out a shaky breath, and concentrated to keep from tearing up in front of her brother. "It's so, different there Milli, and even though it's been so long, it's still new, and frightening."

"Relena, of course it's frightening, new things always are." He stood before her, hands on the young woman's shoulders, looking deep into her face.

"It's not the place that's new Milli, it's the feelings. I've never had to deal with the things I feel when I'm around Heero." She diverted her gaze as her eyes began to water.

"Relena," he sighed at the awkwardness of the question he was about to ask. "Do you love him?"

"Yes." She replied instantly, without thought.

"Then nothing else matters. Yes, love is scary, and you can get hurt. But love is also wonderful, and something you don't want to live your life without." He brushed away a treacherous tear with his thumb from her cheek. "You should tell him. Right away."

"What if he doesn't feel the same Milli? And I look like a big fool? What am I supposed to do then?"

"I don't know Relena, I really don't. But love is a tricky thing, which involves taking risks. If you put yourself out there, yes there is the chance of getting hurt, but isn't that worth it? A wise man once said, it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all."

She laughed through the tears that trailed down the sides of her face. "You've been reading too much Shakespeare."

"Who?"

She laughed again. "Nevermind."

 

"You sure you don't want to stay the night? Lucrezia makes a mighty tasty bowl of mush." Milliardo hugged his sister fiercely.

"I'm sure. But I really think I should go back as soon as I can. It's for the better." She spoke through her brother's thick mane of hair.

"Well," he said stepping back to look at her, hands placed firmly upon her shoulders. "Make sure to invite us to the wedding. And don't forget to visit." His smiled warmed her heart, while at the same time inflicting a familiar pain of sadness. But she knew it was time to leave, but this time it would be without regrets. After all, she thought, she had grown up.

"I will Milli. Take care of yourself and my new sister and nephew." She winked.

A short laugh quickly permeated the air between them. "I will, and you make sure to do the same. Now, don't go breaking any hearts."

She smiled once again, and firmly plucked on petal off the spectacular rose. Placing it once again in her mouth, she familiarized herself again with the sweet taste as it dissolved and the indistinct sensation of traveling by magic.

Stepping onto the pristine, white gravel in the intimate silence she had come to know so well, Relena gave a happy, but anxious exhalation.

"Now," the tone was final. "I am home."