Disclaimer: Gundam Wing and the characters are not mine. I’m only borrowing them and I promise to return them in one piece! ^_~ However, Sophy Winner does belong to me.
Got to get you out
of my mind,
But I can’t escape from the feeling.
As I try to leave the memory behind
Without you what’s left to
(Out of My Mind ~ Duran Duran)
Heero sat bolt upright on his chair and tried to looked calm. This was not easy as his insides were churning with a sensation he had hardly ever encountered… he was nervous.
“Stop pulling at your tie.” His best man scolded him. “It will come undone… _again_.”
Heero quickly moved his hand away from his collar, he had not been aware that he was showing any outward signs of his inner turmoil. “It’s tight.” He said shortly.
Wufei shot him a disbelieving look, but said nothing. However, Quatre laughed. “Isn’t that the common complaint of all grooms?” He asked.
Trowa shrugged slightly. “Only Wufei could confirm.” He said.
The Chinese man’s expression was superior. “I was not nervous.” He said loftily. “I knew _exactly_ what I was doing.”
Heero barely listened to his friends as he once more began to dwell on his wedding. The road leading to this day had been fraught with emotion over the last two months. Several times he had considered halting the plans and putting the date off, but Hilde always insisted that they go through with the wedding as they had planned six months ago. Heero rubbed the back of his neck. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to marry Hilde… he did. He knew that he loved her with everything he had and that she returned his feelings, but neither of them could completely dismiss the two other people who had been most hurt by their engagement. Heero’s eyes darkened. As much as he disliked the thought, he couldn’t help thinking that everything would have been much easier if Duo had just stayed _dead_.
Someone moved into his line of vision and he glanced up to see Lady Une before him. She smiled, but there was worry in her eyes and she looked briefly over her shoulder before speaking.
“Heero, you have some visitors...”
He looked past her and his eyes widened.
“Hey Heero, old pal, buddy!” Duo’s smile was wide and almost manic and his violet eyes sparked with an emotion close to anger. Beside him, Relena was calm and composed, but her eyes flicked over to Duo frequently and there was concern in their depths.
“Duo…” Heero breathed. “Why are you here?”
“I was invited.” Duo flourished the wedding invitation. “So I decided the drop by and offer my congratulations.” He said in a bitter tone.
Trowa, Quatre and Wufei all glanced uneasily at each other and Lady Une’s eyes flashed between the two men. Relena stepped forward and smiled at Heero. “I really hope you’ll both be happy.” She said sincerely.
“Oh I’m sure they will be, Relena.” Duo bared his teeth at Heero. “Like two little lovebirds cooing in a nest.”
Heero’s eyes narrowed. “What are you trying to do, Duo?”
“Me, do anything?” Duo’s expression was all innocence. “I’m just being a _good_ friend.” The snarl was back in his voice. “Just like you were, Heero.”
Relena moved sharply then, jabbing her elbow into Duo’s ribs. He yelped and turned to her. “What the hell was that for?”
“Is this what you call good behaviour?” She demanded. “You should be over this spoilt baby act by now.”
For a minute it looked as if Duo was going to protest, but he met Relena’s eyes and his expression turned to one of guilt. He cleared his throat and looked back at Heero. “So… where’s Hilde?”
“Getting ready.” Heero said shortly. He shot Duo one of his forbidding glares. “Don’t you dare upset her.”
Duo’s shoulders slumped slightly. “Why would I want to upset her? I just want… to see her… say goodby… good luck.” He amended.
*You already said goodbye to her* Heero thought *Why do you want to upset her more?* He was going to object further when Relena caught his eye. She smiled encouragingly, indicating that she would keep Duo in line. “Then you should go.” Heero told Duo. “The ceremony starts in fifteen minutes.”
There was a short and acutely uncomfortable silence. Duo ran his fingers through his fringe and toyed briefly with his shoulder-length braid. “Right.” He said. He glanced at the other men and managed a slight smile. “I’ll see you guys later.”
“You’re staying for the ceremony?” Quatre blurted.
Duo’s smile turned into an almost wicked grin. “I wouldn’t miss it!” He said in parting as he walked out of the door.
Relena sighed. “I’m sorry.” She said. “I should have known…” She stopped and shook her head. “I’m sorry,” she repeated and then smiled at Heero, a sad yet gracious tilt of her lips. “Good luck, Heero.”
Heero stared at the door for quite a while after she had left, while his friends muttered behind him and Une watched him closely. “Heero?”
He glanced at her. “I didn’t expect them to come.” He said. “Relena, perhaps, but not Duo. Not so soon.”
“Perhaps he thought it would help.” Une suggested.
Heero frowned and said nothing. Perhaps… but Duo was obviously still in pain and striking out at the nearest targets. Heero clenched his fists. If Duo hurt Hilde…
In the corridor outside, Relena startled Duo by turning on him and shoving him against the wall. “You did it again, Duo.” She said, her tone equally disappointed and angry. “You lost control.”
She didn’t let him get her name out. “I’m not going to let you take on step further, until you pull yourself together! I refuse to witness a repeat scene with Hilde!”
Pain shot through Duo’s eyes. “I said I wouldn’t hurt Hilde and I meant it.”
Relena sighed. “Yes Duo, I know… but sometimes your emotions get the better of your brain.” She smiled up at him. “Duo, I know that you’re not the fool some people believe you to be, please don’t let your mouth run away when we go to see Hilde?”
“I’ll play nice.” Duo promised and then stared at her intently. “What about you? Are you _sure_ that you want to come with me?”
“Like I said before, someone needs to keep you under control.” Relena’s tones were light, but under Duo’s gaze her expression saddened. “Yes, Duo… it hurts, but I’m a politician, I know how to smile sweetly and hide the pain inside. Hilde will only get good wishes from me.”
Without warning, Duo moved and embraced her. He held her close, his cheek against her hair. “I’m sorry, ‘Lena.”
Relena recovered from her surprise and smiled into the hollow of his neck. “Sorry is easy to say, Duo. Try to put your regret into actions.”
He released her, his old quirky smile back in place. “Yes, Ms Vice-Foreign Minister!”
Hilde Schbeiker swallowed as the pearls were clasped around her throat. She could feel her heart pounding in her chest, almost threatening to burst from her chest. She couldn’t believe how nervous she was feeling, after all, she _wanted_ this wedding, wanted it with all her heart.
“Don’t worry, Hilde.” Sally’s long fingers rested on her bare shoulders. “It’s natural to be nervous on your wedding day.”
Hilde glanced at the older woman. “So nervous that you feel sick?” She asked and Sally nodded. Hilde put a hand to her stomach. “Well… I hope it goes away before the ceremony.”
“Yeah,” Catherine Bloom laughed. “I don’t think Heero would appreciate his bride being sick through the ceremony!”
“Laugh all you can Cathy,” Sophy Winner, one of Quatre’s numerous sisters, smirked. “Soon it might be you standing where Hilde is now and trying not to be sick with nerves!”
Catherine blushed slightly as the other women laughed. In this atmosphere of good will, Hilde felt her nerves dissipate and she began to look forward to the wedding ceremony in a better state of mind.
Sally finished styling Hilde’s hair and gently put the veil in place. “I’ll tell you one thing, ladies,” she said, her blue eyes sparkling with humour. “Wedding nerves are _nothing_ compared to morning sickness!” She patted her huge stomach with a wry smile.
“Or swollen ankles?” Sophy grinned up at Sally who rolled her eyes.
“Let’s just say, I’m going to be happy when this month is over.” She commented. “I…”
Sally was cut off by a knock at the door which opened to admit two familiar people. Hilde let out a little gasp of surprise. “Relena… Duo…”
Sally looked at Catherine and Sophy and they nodded. “Nice to see you, Relena… Duo.” Sally said with a smile. “But I think it would be better if we left you alone?”
Relena shot Sally a grateful look. “Yes… if… Hilde doesn’t mind…”
Mutely Hilde shook her head. Duo smiled at Sally. “Congratulations on getting Wu-man down the aisle, Sally.” He said. “How long before the baby’s due?”
“One month.” Sally replied. She held Duo’s eyes with her own as she passed him. “Be nice, Duo.” She murmured softly. “Please.”
Duo nodded and waited until the three women had left. Hilde shook herself out of her paralysis and moved forward, her hands outstretched. “Duo! I didn’t think you’d come… but… I’m so happy that you did!” She hugged him.
Faced with such a greeting, all the vindictive words and angry feelings fled out of Duo. Slowly his arms lifted and encircled her tiny frame in the white satin dress. “I couldn’t miss your wedding, Hilde.” He said softly. “Even if I’m not the star attraction.”
She looked up at him, a slight frown at his words, but saw nothing except gentle teasing in his face. “I was afraid that you’d still be too hurt…” She moved back and glanced at Relena. “Both of you…”
Relena’s smile was genuine. “Hilde… I made my peace a while ago, all I hope is that you’ll be happy.”
“I _am_ happy.” Hilde insisted. “Even more so now that you two are here!” She looked back at Duo. “Have you… seen Heero?” She asked, a little tremor in her voice.
Duo’s jaw tightened. Thinking about Heero made the bad feelings return again. It had been easy when Hilde hugged him to imagine that she was all dressed up for him… or some faceless stranger who Duo had no connections with. “I… saw him.”
The happiness left Hilde’s face. “Duo, you didn’t…”
“I’ll see you at the ceremony.” He said abruptly and fled out of the door, nearly crashing into Catherine and Sophy
“Duo!” Hilde cried after him. She turned to Relena. “What happened? What did Duo do to Heero?”
“Nothing!” Relena hastily reassured the other woman. “Duo just… acted up a little… we left before things got out of hand.”
Hilde turned away. “I shouldn’t have invited him.”
“He would have been even more hurt if you hadn’t.” Relena said softly. “At least this way he has to face facts.” She swallowed. “I hope you and Heero will be happy, Hilde, I really do.”
“Thank you.” Hilde whispered. “Relena?”
Relena halted at the door. “Yes?”
“I’m sorry that we hurt you too.”
Relena smiled. “Don’t worry about it…” She said as she slipped away, leaving Hilde to her thoughts.
Go ON to PART TWO
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