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Open Windows
By Tabula Rasa
A Prequel to Opening Doors
One-shot, 01xRP (of course), but all UST

 Disclaimer: So not mine.

 Summary: How Heero came back, and the circumstances which lead to the situation in Opening Doors. But it's not necessary to read that first, although I'd like it if you read it at some point.

~*~

The moon was helpful tonight. It stayed behind the clouds, for the most part. Security had been heightened around the perimeter, and there were guards in the garden, his chosen point of entry, tonight. He wasn't concerned.

 The wall was easy to vault over. He was quiet enough that a guard wouldn't notice him. He kept to the shadows, slinking from one bush or tree to the next.

The target was in sight now. He crept toward the house. A rustle came from the bushes on his left, and he spun, just in time to see a dark shape hurtling itself at him.

"I don't know who you think you are, man, but you're not going anywhere!" The guard landed on top of him, and they both tumbled to the ground.

Heero smiled. He would know that voice anywhere. He heard it in his nightmares. He was planning to go easy on the guards, but not this one. He flipped, smashing his attacker into the ground. He elbowed him in the stomach, and jumped to his feet. After a "hmph," the other guy did the same.

The guard launched himself at Heero again. Heero was ready, and swooped his left hand around, reaching behind the man's head. His right hand was held off by the other man.

Heero got a tight grip on the thick braid, and tugged, hard. "Hey!" Duo shouted, and let go of Heero, reaching back to free his hair.

Heero jumped back, and landed on the ground. He kicked his leg out and swept Duo's feet out from under him.

Maxwell grunted as he landed on the ground. Heero was instantly kneeling over him, his gun barrel in Duo's face.

"Hey!" Duo sounded happy. "Heero! Why didn't you say it was you?" He ignored Heero's gun and sat up. Heero sat next to him on the ground.

Duo groaned and pointedly rubbed the back of his head and then his butt. "You couldn't of gone easy on me or anything." Heero didn't answer. "I didn't think so" Duo laughed.

"Ya know" he continued, "if you wanted to sneak into Relena's room" he nudged Heero's ribs with his elbow, "you should have just told me. I can get you in, buddy."

"I'm not trying to sneak in." He didn't have to look at Duo to know what sort of face he was making. "I'm making sure no one else can."

"And why are you doing that?"

"She is in increased danger. I'm going to be her bodyguard."

Duo laughed. "Oh, sure. I get it. *Body* guard. Uh-huh. Sure thing, man."

Heero growled, very softly.

"Come on, Heero, buddy. I'm your best friend. If you can't tell me, who can you tell?" After a moment of silence, Duo sighed and stood up. "You're not fooling anyone, you know that."

Heero stood, and they both brushed themselves off. "Go back to patrolling" Heero muttered.

"Yeah, sure" Duo groaned. The moon came out from the clouds for a moment, and Heero saw Duo grin at him. "Good luck, Heero. See you in the morning" he winked.

Heero debated getting in another fight, but decided it would take too much time. He let Duo wander off muttering "Marquise is gonna love this."

The rest of his mission would be simple. Heero reached the wall, which was covered in ivy. That would have to go. He had no trouble climbing up the wall and onto the ledge outside Relena's window. It was plenty wide enough to stand on. Worst of all, the window was wide open. Frowning, Heero folded himself through the window. Something would have to be done about that, as well.

He was inside her room. He slipped out of his shoes, and went to look at Relena. He had imagined (what little time he had devoted to imagining the end of the mission) that she would, of course, still be asleep, pale in the moonlight. Dressed in the small, white, satin...thing... he had seen in a shop window once. She was lying on top of the covers, her long golden hair splayed out across the pillows. When he leaned over her, she sensed his presence, opened her eyes, and smiled softly at him. She raised her arms up toward him and...that was where he cut himself off.

In reality, she was burrowed under the covers, and he could only see her from the nose up. Most of her hair disappeared under the blankets. He leaned over her. She did not wake up. He leaned his face down right next to her, and she still did not wake up. Heero frowned and straightened. He had not planned for the sleeping-through contingency. At least this prevented the screaming contingency.

He looked around, at a loss as to what to do. Finally, he placed his gun on the bedside table, pulled back the covers, and slid in bed next to her. Relena chose then to stir. She lifted her head and blinked at him, still more asleep then awake. "Heero?"

"Yes?"

She dropped her head and went back to sleep. Heero wasn't sure whether he should be insulted or not. He lay on his back, staring up into the darkness, and folded his arms across his chest. What now?

He decided to sleep.
 

Relena buried herself further under the covers. She had a strange dream last night. Not that it was so unusual in content, but it had felt very real. And she was curled up on one side of the bed-- usually, she ended up spread all over the place.

She kept her eyes shut, pretending that it would keep the dream real. She slid her hand across the bed, but, of course, it was empty. She sighed, not really disappointed. It was what she expected. But... What was this?

She brought something light and dry back to her side of the bed. She opened her eyes and squinted at it. It was dead grass. How on earth had that gotten into her bed?

She quickly scanned the room, but it was empty. She sat up, hoping she could still go after him-- and saw him. He was crouched by her door, fiddling with the lock.

He hadn't noticed she was awake, so Relena stayed in bed. She took all the pillows and arranged them behind her, then sat and watched him take her lock apart and put it back together. She smoothed her hair and waited patiently. There was no need to hurry, after all. He was here.

Heero half-turned his head to check on her, then went back to the lock. He did a double-take, and stood up, facing her.

"You're awake."

"I am" she noted. "You're here."

"I am."

Relena leaned back on her pillows and considered him. She carefully arranged the sleeves of her large flannel pajamas--her favorites. She held up the plant bits, twirling them in her fingers. "You got grass in my bed."

The air pressure changed. The words "in my bed" seemed to be echoing around the room. Relena lost track of where the grass was. She couldn't stop looking at Heero, who kept staring at her.

"Sorry." But he didn't look sorry at all. He started to walk toward her. Relena tried to swallow, but there was something in her throat blocking it. Her heart was pounding, and she wished it wasn't, but she couldn't remember why. Heero had reached the side of her bed. They hadn't broken eye contact at all. He leaned toward her, and she leaned toward him. Her mind was blank - she didn't have the faintest idea what was going to happen.

He sat on the bed next to her. They were going to kiss! She thought. Relena closed her eyes.

Noise in the hallway. Something loud and boisterous. "Duo" Heero muttered. They jumped apart instantly, Heero flinging himself away until he was leaning against the wall, arms folded.

Relena sat straight up and readjusted her pajamas. She hoped her face wasn't flushed.

Just in time--the door sprang open, since Heero hadn't finished reassembling the lock. Relena pulled the covers up to her neck. Duo stood in the door, looking expectant. His face fell when he saw they were far apart and Heero was completely dressed, except for shoes. He had brought Wufei and Sally with him, probably for protection from Heero. Pagan was following behind, trying to keep them from disturbing Relena.

Sally winked at Relena, who blushed. Wufei was scowling. "What's going on? Why are you here, Yuy?"

"I'll speak to you about it in a moment." Heero went over to the window, and put his shoes back on. He nodded at Relena as he passed, then pushed past everyone into the hall. Duo, looking disappointed, followed him, as did Wufei. Sally rolled her eyes and closed the door behind her.
 

Relena, not eager to face everyone again, took a long shower, then took her time getting dressed. By the time she reached the kitchen downstairs, only Pagan was left. "Your friends all went down to Preventer Headquarters" he told her, trying not to look too relieved or curious.

Fighting back yet another blush, Relena went up to her office and got some work done before everyone came back.
 

"And then the window was wide open." Heero concluded, scowling at everyone.

"I think you'll have to take that up with Relena" Sally smiled.

They were on their way back from Preventer Headquarters, where Lady Une had been happy--and rather amused--to give a special comission to Heero Yuy. Heero was now detailing how he had broken into the Peacecraft Manison last night, and what changes in security had to be made. Duo had been less pleased about Heero's blow-by-blow account of their encounter, especially since Wufei seemed so interested in the part where Heero used Duo's braid against him, and had asked for a demonstration when they reached the Peacecraft mansion.

"So you got in the window" Duo pressed, hoping to get some revenge, "and then what happened?"

Heero shot him his best death glare, but Duo had built up an immunity over the years. It became obvious to Heero that, unfortunately, everyone was waiting for him to answer Duo's question.

"I waited for her to wake up, which she did, a few minutes before you noisily arrived."

"Your shoes were off!" Duo whined.

"I didn't want to wake her up" Heero smirked.

Since everyone knew it was perfectly possible for Heero to stand against a wall for hours on end (more plausible, in fact, than him crawling in bed with Relena), they let it drop.

They found Relena in her office, where she listened quietly as they explained Heero was now head of her security.

"No" she said, after they finished. Everyone was so surprised, there was quiet for a few minutes.

"What?" Heero said. Duo, Wufei, and Sally began backing towards the door.

Relena stood up to face him. "You can't be my head of security! You're paranoid to the point of it being ridiculous! You have a gun! You attack without provocation--"

"I do not" Heero sounded indignant.

"You attack with the slightest provocation, then. Sometimes it's imagainary!"

Sally was dragging Wufei and Duo out the door. She shut it, and pulled the guys away when they tried to listen at the door.

Relena and Heero didn't notice they were alone, but they had long forgotten anyone else was in the room.

"It's not that I don't want you around" Relena sighed and sat back down. "Heero, I'm very glad you're here, of course. And I *don't* want you to leave. I want you to stay, Heero, but..." she lowered her eyes, "as my friend. Not as your assignment."

"I will always protect you" he said firmly.

"I know. That's why you don't need to be my bodyguard. I know you'll always protect me. You know it too. You don't need to control everything, Heero."

His frown suggested that he did.

"I'm your head of security" he said firmly. "It's official."

Relena sighed and looked away. He didn't get it. Well, at least if he was here, she could work on him. She understood why he had stayed away-- that was just who he was, and she loved him for it. She was grateful he had found it in himself to come back to her.
 

Heero was away most of the day, reorging her security personnelle. He ate dinner with her, however, and they wandered into the library together after dinner. Relena tried to read but couldn't concentrate.

"Why now?" she asked.

"Hmm?" he looked up from his computer.

"Why did you come back now?"

He was looking at her carefully. "The Preventers are having a lot more to do now than before. There's been a rash of violent behavior. They have more than they can handle. They can't protect you like they should. So I came."

Relena considered berating him for being arrogant-- but he was always arrogant. They sat for awhile, Relena letting her thoughts drift.

After building up her confidence, she rose and announced she was going to bed. Heero closed his laptop and stood up to follow her.

Relena tried to control her breathing and not stumble as she led the way up the stairs and into her room. Heero stood in the middle of her room as she gathered her pyjamas and slipped into her bathroom to change. After brushing her teeth and washing her face, she emerged to find Heero where she had left him.

Casting quick glances at him all the while, she slipped into bed, scooting over to leave one side empty.

"Are you going to sleep?" he asked.

She nodded.

He pulled the chair out from her desk, and turned it to face the center of the room. He then turned out the lights, and sat in her chair.

"What are you doing Heero?"

"Guarding you."

"Are you going to stay in that chair all night?"

"Yes."

She sat up, looking at him in the light coming through the window.

"Aren't you going to sleep?"

"No."

She sighed, trying to think of something to say. "Would you open the window please, Heero?"

"No."

"No?"

"No."

"Why?"

"It's dangerous to leave it open. That's how I got in."

"But it's too stuffy in here to sleep" she protested.

"We'll install A/C."

Her heart did a fluttery thing when he said "we," but she ignored it for now. "But it's too hot tonight. And you're here. You'll protect me."

She could almost hear him grumbling under his breath.

She watched his dark, slim body move across her room and crack the window.

"More please" she ordered.

He sighed, and pushed it open a few more centimeters.

"Like I had it last night" she insisted.

She could feel him scowling at her, but he pushed it open all the way. She could feel the cool air immediately. Heero was leaning out the window.

"Thank you" she whispered. He jerked his head in acknowledgement. "Don't sit in the chair" she whispered again, not sure if she wanted him to hear or not.

He moved until he stood at the edge of the bed. "What?"

"You don't have to sleep in the chair. It's a large bed" she forced out. Relena lay down and pulled the blankets over her. She closed her eyes, waiting.

After a moment, she heard him kicking off his shoes, and crawling into bed, fully dressed again.

She tried to keep her mouth in a disinterested straight line, instead of the large grin it was threatening to make. She turned to face him.

Heero was laying on his back, his arms crossed. She scooted closer to him. "Why do you sleep like that?"

"Like what?"

"With your arms crossed?"

"When I was young, I travelled around a lot" he said after a pause. "This is the most comfortable way to sleep in a chair."

"Oh. It's still comfortable?"

"Yes."

"Doesn't it hurt your circulation?"

"No."

"Your hands aren't ever numb when you wake up?"

"No."

"Oh." She inched herself closer, until she was curled against his side. She reached an arm across him, pushing his arms down until she could rest her arm on his chest, her hand over his heart. It was beating awfully fast for someone trying to go to sleep, she thought. She smiled now, leaning her cheek on his shoulder. "Good night, Heero" she whispered, letting her eyelashes brush against his neck.

"Hn" he said, but sounded oddly flustered.

As her mind became drugged with sleep, she thought she felt Heero's hand brush her hair away from her face, rearranging it behind her head like delicate lace, before coming to rest across her back.

She slept.

~*~