My Blue Heaven
Heero arrived at home after a long day's work with only one thing on his mind: he MUST have a talk with Relena. He had been so concerned about her erratic behavior that he had even talked with Quatre about it. Quatre wasn't married but Heero figured that since Quatre had 29 sisters he would probably be the best person he knew to consult with about a distraught pregnant wife.
"Just treat her gently, Heero," Quatre had advised. "You haven't lost your temper with her, have you?"
"No, but I've been tempted," Heero had admitted. "I'm really frustrated with her. She has never acted this way before."
"Before she was pregnant?"
"You have to remember that her hormones are causing her moodiness. Just hold her and be loving and she'll come around eventually."
Eventually. Heero wasn't sure if he could be patient that long.
Heero found Relena in the living room. She was trying in vain to put a book back on a high shelf, but her bulging belly was making it impossible to reach that far--even when she stood on her toes.
"Here," Heero said, taking the book from her. He was careful not to let her know that he was amused by her predicament because it would unnecessarily upset her. "Let me help you." He put the book into its place.
"Oh, Heero," Relena moaned. "I'm SO FAT!"
Heero hugged her by standing at her side because she was far too pregnant to be hugged from the front anymore. He stroked her light brown hair.
"You're not fat, you're pregnant," he murmured into her hair, saying exactly the right thing for a change. "There's a difference, you know."
"It doesn't FEEL different when I can't reach anything or tie my shoes--I can't even SEE my feet!" she complained. "And look, you can't even hug me the right way."
Heero just rocked her gently and rubbed her swollen tummy, knowing that that would soothe her.
Because he was a very young husband--and like most men he found that women were a complete mystery--poor Heero inadvertently chose exactly the wrong moment to bring up the subject that Relena had been reluctant to talk about.
"We really need to talk about giving this baby a name--"
Relena pulled away from him. "Oh, Heero--you know I don't want to talk about that!" she exclaimed irrationally. She went to their bedroom as quickly as she was able in her advanced condition, closed the door and lay on the bed, sobbing.
Heero followed her only as far as the closed bedroom door. He sat on the floor next to it, listening to her cry. It was obvious to him that she did not want to see him right now, though he was afraid that being so upset this late in her pregnancy might be harmful to her in some way.
Only when Heero was convinced that Relena had cried herself to sleep did he venture into their bedroom. He found Relena lying on her side, curled up as much as a nine months pregnant woman could. He took a quilt from the chest at the foot of the bed and covered her.
He wasn't quite sure what to do next, but calling the doctor was ruled out for the moment. He didn't know what she needed, but he needed to hold her because he felt so lonely, and he was bewildered by her behavior. He lay down on the bed facing her, slipped one arm under her head and placed his other hand on her tummy. The warmth of her, the smell of her skin and hair and the love he knew she felt for him provided some comfort. He felt the baby move and smiled at the wonder of their child growing inside his wife.
But then his thoughts traveled back to the problem about naming the baby. He had been trying for the last few months to get her to talk about it but she always said that she was busy or too tired or even that she didn't "want to think about that right now." But as her due date neared Heero felt a sense of urgency about the matter, so he had been more persistent about trying to get her to talk about it.
"Oh, Relena, please talk to me," he moaned miserably and held her more closely. "I need you."
Relena stirred and looked up at him. "I'm sorry, Heero," she said quietly. "I don't know what's wrong with me."
Heero squeezed her gently. "Have I done something wrong?"
"No," she assured him as she put her free arm around him.
"Why won't you talk to me about naming the baby?" Heero asked carefully. "He is due any day now and we MUST give him a name."
Relena started crying softly. Heero felt terrible, convinced that he had said the wrong thing yet again. So he apologized and held her and waited for her to speak, all the while hoping that he wouldn't make another blunder and make her feel worse.
When she was ready, Relena told him all about her problem.
"You know how much I miss my father," she said. Heero nodded. She cuddled into his shoulder so he hugged her tightly, knowing that that was what she needed. "It makes me so sad when I think that he'll never...be able to...to hold his grandson," she explained as a new flood of tears began.
"Do you want to name the baby after your father?"
"I don't have a problem with that," Heero assured her. "Joseph was his name, right?"
"I don't understand why you couldn't tell me."
"Because," she answered, still crying, "because that isn't the only name I want to use." She tried to sit up but failed so Heero assisted her. How she hated feeling like a beached whale! She tried to reach for the box of tissues on the bedside table but it was too far away so Heero handed it to her. She continued to cry so Heero put his arm around her, feeling like a failure of a husband because not only did his wife find it difficult to tell him her troubles, but he couldn't comfort her, either. He was being much too hard on himself, but he didn't know that.
When Relena decided to speak her words came out in a rush.
"I know that you and my brother don't like each other very much but I love my brother and if it wasn't for him keeping you from sacrificing your life to end the war then I wouldn't have been able to marry you and spend my life with you and be so happy and we wouldn't be having this baby and...and..."
"You want to name him Miliardo as well?"
"Yes." Relena looked at him and another rush of words poured forth. "I know that it was his fault that the Earth was in danger in the first place, but in the end he did the right thing and he is still my brother and...and I love him."
Heero put a finger to her lips. "Can I tell you something before you say anything more?"
Relena nodded, mentally preparing herself for the list of reasons Heero would have against naming their son after her brother.
"Relena," Heero put his finger under her chin and tipped her face upwards so she would look at him, "everything you said is true and I've thought about it a lot. I know that I wouldn't be alive if it weren't for Zechs...er, your brother, and that's why I wanted to name our son after him."
Relena was in complete shock.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
Heero let out a short exasperated laugh. "Because, my love, you wouldn't let me," he answered bluntly.
They both began to laugh at the irony of the situation. Heero kissed her forehead and suddenly his laughter ceased. He pressed his lips to her forehead again. He was right--she WAS too warm.
"You have a fever."
"How long have you had it?"
"Since this morning. Now, don't worry, I'm just a bit under the weather, that's all."
"I'm calling the doctor," Heero said decidedly as he reached for the phone on the bedside table.
Relena put her hand on his arm to stop him.
"Really, Heero, you're being silly."
"I am not." He picked up the phone and dialed the number he had memorized several months before.
Heero was in the operating room holding Relena's hand when little Joseph Miliardo entered the world by emergency C-section. He stayed with her in the recovery room and when the doctor felt she was ready she was transferred to a private room.
At Quatre's insistence, he and Duo had been staying with Heero and Relena for the past week. Quatre had acted on a hunch, although he didn't know the reason for feeling this way. He was very intuitive--and especially so with the people he was close to--so they didn't question it when he told them that it was important for them to be there before the baby was born. Now they knew why.
They had spent many hours in the waiting room doing just that: waiting. Duo wanted to pace the floor but he knew that his nervousness would disturb Quatre so he read old magazines and dozed off and on while Quatre sat in quiet contemplation and drank numerous cups of tea.
Duo had even had a cup of very sweet tea just to make Quatre happy, even though he detested tea and only drank it when he had to to be polite. Quatre was unaware that he disliked tea, but it was Duo's own fault for never having told anyone and after so many years and so many cups of tea he'd be embarrassed to admit it.
Quatre didn't feel like talking, which was a good thing because Duo didn't either.
When the nurses would finally allow Duo to visit Relena he walked as carefully as he could so that the sound of his boots on the highly polished linoleum wouldn't disturb the sleeping new mother. He sat down on the edge of the bed and, leaning forward, he kissed her forehead; partly in greeting but also to feel for himself how high her fever was. Although her temperature had dropped she was still quite warm.
Relena opened her eyes when she felt Duo's kiss. "Hi," she said weakly.
"Hey, little mama. How're ya doin'?" Duo asked, keeping his voice low.
"Well, to tell you the truth, I am really worn out," Relena admitted, slowly saying each word. It was obvious to Duo that she was too tired to talk.
"You have every reason to be," Duo assured her.
"Did you see our baby yet?" she asked. Her feverish eyes brightened.
"Sure did," Duo answered, smiling. "He's quite the little fella."
Relena's eyes shone with motherly pride. "He's beautiful, isn't he," she said; it was a statement rather than a question.
"Just like his mother." Duo winked. "You need to get some rest now," he said, patting her hand. "I'll stay here till Heero gets back."
"Where is he?"
"Quatre took him to the lounge. No doubt he'll make sure Heero drinks at least one cup of tea while he's there." Duo grinned. "You know Quatre--he thinks that tea is good for whatever ails ya."
Relena nodded slightly and tried to smile.
"Just close your eyes and get some sleep now, Babydoll," he said as he stroked her eyebrow to soothe her so that she would close her eyes. "You need some more rest so you'll get better soon."
Duo sat on the bed, watching over Relena as she slept. He looked up when Heero and Quatre entered the room, greeting them wordlessly with a nod and a worried expression. He stood up and moved out of the way.
Quatre quietly approached Relena's bed. Without a word, he put his cool hand on her feverish brow. He placed his hand on her chest for a few moments; he then put his hand to his heart and closed his eyes. Quatre had a unique gift which allowed him to sense the feelings of others; this was the method he used. Heero and Duo patiently waited to hear what Quatre would say.
"She is very ill, but not gravely so; she will recover," Quatre said solemnly. "She has a strong will to live and a family that needs her. That's very important. Heero, have they let her nurse the baby yet?"
Heero shook his head.
"They should," Quatre said decidedly.
After he had had a lengthy discussion with Relena's nurse, Quatre found Heero pacing in the waiting room.
"What's wrong, Heero?"
"The doctor is going to examine her so they kicked me out."
"How is she?"
"She was starting to thrash around in her sleep. I didn't want to leave, but they told me that that wasn't unusual for someone with a high fever and they made me leave anyway."
Quatre noticed that the circles under Heero's eyes were even darker than before.
"Heero, you really need to get some rest," Quatre gently suggested.
Heero turned on Quatre, his blue eyes blazing. "Do you really think that I could sleep when I don't even know what's wrong with my wife?" he said angrily.
"You need to keep up your strength, so why don't you go down to the cafeteria and get a bite to eat?" Quatre persisted. He knew that Heero's temper had flared from worry as well as from lack of food and rest so he didn't take it personally. "Duo's there now. I'll stay with Relena until you come back. Is that okay?"
Heero was suddenly ashamed of himself for snapping at Quatre. "I'm really sorry I was angry with you, Quatre. You didn't deserve that."
"It's okay, Heero. You're not yourself right now. I understand that."
"Well, I'm not really hungry but maybe I should try to eat something," Heero conceded.
"Good." Quatre smiled. "I'll tell them to page you if they need to talk to you."
Heero stepped off the elevator on the first floor and headed toward the cafeteria, passing by some shops, the chapel and miscellaneous offices without even noticing them. When the smell of the various foods reached him his stomach turned so he decided against trying to eat. He found the florists' shop and ordered a dozen red roses to be sent to Relena's room.
As he was walking back to the elevator he stopped in front of the closed chapel door. He decided that it would probably be comforting to sit in that quiet prayerful place for a little while.
When Heero entered the chapel he was surprised to find Duo kneeling in the second row of pews. Duo turned to see who was there; he was as surprised to see Heero as Heero had been to find him.
Duo made room for Heero to join him on the padded kneeler. "There's plenty of room," he said quietly.
Heero knelt beside him; not because he wanted to kneel but because he knew that Duo expected him to.
"I thought you were in the cafeteria," he said.
"I couldn't stand the smell of the food--it made me feel sick," Duo explained. "So I came in here instead."
"I couldn't take the smell of the food either," said Heero.
"She's not worse, is she? Is that why you're here?" Duo asked anxiously.
"No. They made me leave so the doctor could examine her," Heero answered.
"Well, that's a relief."
Heero was quiet and was lost in thought for a few minutes; Duo stopped talking because he thought Heero was praying.
"I'm not very good at praying," Heero admitted. "Relena and I pray together but she always says the words. I never know what to say."
"Would you like to use a prayer book?" Duo asked, offering Heero the book he was holding in his hand. "That helps sometimes."
Heero shook his head.
"You know, Heero, God doesn't care about what words you use just so long as you are respectful of Him. Sometimes we aren't even able to put our feelings into words because we are hurting so much, but He knows what's in your heart. Just giving your pain to Him is prayer too."
Heero nodded; he had never thought of that. He bowed his head, shutting his eyes and resting his forehead on his clasped hands. Duo sat on the pew and searched for other appropriate prayers in the inter-faith prayer book that he had found in the rack on the back of the pew in front of him.
After a few minutes he looked over at Heero. Heero was still kneeling but was now sitting back on his heels, his head still bowed and his eyes still closed. He had wrapped his arms about him as though he was cold and he was rocking very slightly, almost imperceptibly.
Even though Duo knew that Heero was upset, rather than cold, he took his jacket from where it lay on the seat beside him and put it around Heero's shoulders. He laid his hand on Heero's arm. "Come up here and sit with me, okay?" he said, and Heero complied. Duo put his arm around Heero's shoulders. "You don't have to comfort yourself, buddy," he told him. "I'm here." Heero allowed Duo to draw him closer so that his head rested on Duo's shoulder.
"I'm so tired," said Heero; the weariness was evident in his voice.
"I know. And you're worried and stressed and you haven't eaten anything in almost two days."
Heero nodded in agreement.
"My mother died when I was born," he told Duo.
"So that's why you've been so anxious since you found out that Relena was havin' a baby, huh?" Duo replied. "I always thought that you were just having first time dad jitters."
"Relena and our son mean everything to me. I don't know how I could keep on living if something happened to them," Heero admitted. "I wish the doctor knew why she is sick," he added miserably.
"The doctors must be frustrated about not knowing that too. Makes their job harder when they don't know what they're treating."
"I never thought of that."
"Say, I found some good prayers in this prayer book. I could read them out loud so that you'll be praying with me--if you want to, that is."
"Our Father..." Duo closed his eyes and began the prayer from memory. By the time he finished praying the Lord's Prayer he noticed that Heero was fast asleep. Duo thought that Heero was probably not in the most comfortable position for sleeping, but he didn't want to move him for fear that that would wake him up. As tired as Heero was, he reasoned, he could use any sleep he could get, regardless of how comfortable he was. So Duo decided that he might as well read some prayers quietly since he couldn't move and didn't want to wake Heero up by reading too loudy.
"...and baby makes three."
Heero awoke slowly; in his sleepiness he was trying to remember where he was. When he realized that he was in the chapel with Duo, everything suddenly came back to him. He sat up quickly.
"Why did you let me sleep?" Heero asked anxiously.
"Because you were tired."
"How long was I out?"
"About forty-five minutes."
"Forty-five minutes! Duo, I need to get back to see how Relena is doing!"
Heero jumped up from his seat, banging his knee on the edge of the pew in his haste. He paid no attention to it and headed quickly toward the stairs. He flung the door open and took the steps two at a time, with Duo close behind.
"Heero, why are you taking the stairs? She's on the sixth floor!" Duo asked incredulously as he ran, trying his best to keep up with Heero's frantic pace.
"It'll be faster this way," Heero answered, not slowing down one bit.
They were both slightly winded when they reached the door to the sixth floor.
"I'll tell you something, Duo," Heero declared as he reached for the doorknob. "There aren't going to be any more babies. This is it."
Duo put his hand over Heero's to keep him from turning the knob.
"Whoa--hold on a minute there, Heero," Duo challenged. "Don't you think that Relena should have a say in that?"
"It's for her own good."
"If you were smart you would keep those thoughts to yourself," Duo freely gave his unsolicited opinion.
"What do you mean?" Heero was genuinely puzzled.
"Heh...When I saw that look on her face when she asked me if I had seen the baby yet I noticed how her eyes were shining. She was so happy; her face just glowed."
Heero was quiet. Duo put his hand on Heero's shoulder and patted it as he said, "Believe me, sure as I'm standing here, there's gonna be more babies."
Duo moved aside so that Heero could open the door. "Not so fast, now," he said, and Heero slowed down to a fast walk.
When Heero and Duo reached Relena's room the found Quatre sitting at the foot of the bed, holding a pocket watch. He looked up at them. "I'm timing her so I can wake her up when she needs to switch sides," he informed them.
They all looked at Relena. She was fast asleep with her precious little one in the crook of her arm. His blanket and her nightgown covered her discreetly, but as they looked more closely they saw that the baby was nursing enthusiastically.
Heero brushed a stray lock of Relena's sweat-dampened hair back from her face. He turned sharply toward Quatre and saw that he was smiling.
"Her fever broke about forty-five minutes ago," Quatre was happy to announce. "So I insisted that they let her feed him."
Heero bent down and kissed Relena's pale cheek and then he kissed his son's fuzzy little head for the first time. Little Joseph Miliardo opened his eyes and regarded his father intently. Heero immediately noticed that their light blue color perfectly matched those of his namesake, making him think that it was all the more appropriate that they had named him after his uncle. He watched him as he closed them again and went back to the all-important business of filling his tummy.
Heero traced along the side of Relena's face with his fingertip, down her jaw line to her chin. He noticed the tiny smile at the corners of her mouth as well as her look of deep contentment. It was then that he realized that Duo was right--there would be more babies.