instance of love
What do you suppose love is?
Relena sat and contemplated that one question. Even though there were countless things going on in the world that needed her attention, at this moment in time, that question filled her mind. Ever since she had met a certain cobalt blue eyed boy on that beach so long ago, she had asked herself that question. At first, she asked because she did not know what love was. Now, she asked because what she had thought as love seemed to be erroneous. Sighing, Relena reclined further into her plush chair and drummed her fingers on her desk. What, indeed, was love?
A pair of intense cobalt blue eyes stared at her incredulously.
“Did you see?”
A desperate phrase uttered with traces of panic resonant in the slightly nasal voice called to her as much as the eyes.
When this boy ran from her without telling her a single thing about himself, she had been stunned. But was that the first instance of love? Could she have really fallen in love in that one small fraction of time when all they had exchanged was a look, a phrase and an instinct?
Relena remembered her surprise when the boy had shown up at her school. He had looked so hostile yet she had been drawn to him. Was that the second instance of love? What had possessed her to invite a boy she hardly knew to her birthday party? He had said nothing to her before then, and after tearing her invitation, all he had said was that he would kill her. Was that what people called love? Was that what she called love?
She had seen him again, of course. She had been curious about this boy, this Heero Yuy. She had run out of her own party, against all rules of etiquette and courtesy, to chase after this specter she had thought was love. For a tiny second, he had looked at her with those amazing eyes. They hadn't been hostile then. They had been soft, sweet, even innocent. That could have been the third instance of love. That moment had crashed into fragments when he had pulled that gun on her. The shot that rang out had scared her, excited her. But she had not been hurt. Instead, it had been Heero who ended up lying on the cold harbor ground, looking at the shadowy figure who had shot him. Why had she defended Heero against this would-be rescuer? Was it compassion? Or was it that elusive idea of love that she still questioned?
The fourth instance of love seemed to be when she saw him again in Sank. The same intense eyes, the same ridiculous outfit. She had been immeasurably giddy at seeing him again, housing him, feeding him, all in her own kingdom. They had some quiet moments there, talking about the war and the peace they both hoped to achieve. Was there love when they spoke? Or was it a fantasy?
Relena wet her dry lips as she thought about the fifth instance of love. Just before Heero flew off in Wing Zero to fight. He had brought her close and had asked her to believe in him. His eyes had been shining, full of some emotion she could not comprehend. He had been gentle, reassuring, protective. A moment that had frozen in her mind as the best instance of love she had experienced with Heero. Her heart had beat frantically, trying to prevent him from going out into that horrible, pointless battle. She had wept, worried that she would never see him again. That, Relena had decided, had to be love. Why else would she worry so much about someone?
Then he had come to rescue her from Mariemeia's army. He had destroyed Wing Zero in an effort to save her. He had come for her, only to collapse. She had finally held him then, soothing his tired body with words of comfort. Then he had left her again. And it had hurt. The sixth and final instance of love.
Relena sat up and shook her head. She had no time to worry about love now. There were so many treaties and negotiations that screamed for her attention. But, she wanted to see Heero again. She wanted the seventh instance of love.
---Few days later---
Relena sat and looked at Heero sitting across from her. He looked as handsome as before, his eyes holding the same intensity that had spawned the first instance of love. She would know now if the love she felt was real, if it was love.
“Heero, do you love me?”
Trepidation ran through her system. What would he answer?
“Yes, I do.”
Was that the right answer?
“How do you know you love me?”
“I love you because I love peace. You two are one in the same.”
What did that mean?
“Do you love me as a woman, Heero?”
Silence. A painful, shameful silence. He did not love her like she had thought someone would love another.
“I thought I loved you as a woman would love a man, Heero. This is the seventh instance that I have loved you.”
A slight smile marred his perfect stoic face.
“Relena, you don't love someone in instances. You love them continuously.”
Cryptic, but that was Heero. Wasn't it?
“If you can count the moments that you have loved me, it cannot be love. You can't love someone sometimes. You can't love someone occasionally. You love them all the time, forever.”
Relena listened to Heero's words. He seemed to know what love was.
“Heero, what do you suppose love is?”
A soft smile lit his face. It illuminated his whole being.
“Everyone has a different definition. To me, love is Duo.”
“How do you know?”
“I just do.”
And with that, Heero stood and left.
Relena sat in her plush chair once again and asked herself the question. What do you suppose love is, Relena? To Heero, it was many things. He loved her because of what she represented. But he had never explained why he thought Duo was love itself. Whatever his reasons, Heero loved Duo, as in, Heero was in love with Duo. So maybe the question was wrong. What do you suppose it is to be in love with someone, Relena? Love was a broad, expansive thing. She loved Heero in seven separate instances. Had she been in love with him during those instances? Did her love for Heero continue in daily streams, never ending, never severing?
No. Her love was in moments of time. A fraction of her life.
Never again would she ask, 'what do you suppose love is.' She knew now. Relena stood and walked to her window and said farewell to her seven instances of love. One day, she would be able to say what Heero had said to her about Duo. Without hesitation, she would say, 'To me, love is..'