My answer is always the same. I just laugh and say, "Hell, no," and leave it at that. I don't bother trying to explain anymore, because it's nobody else's damn business anyway. Besides, attempted explanation tends to get interpreted as attempted justification, and that just leads to some interfering busybody trying to "help" me. Former Gundam pilot and street rat here, people, I really don't need your "help". If I wanted things to change, I'd be more than capable of handling it myself, thanks all the same.
So - no explanations. It's not like anyone else is really going to understand anyway. Even the other former pilots don't get it.
Wufei, for example. First time he noticed it, he got all indignant and pissy on my behalf. Considered Heero's behaviour a real smirch on my honour. He'd have been *more* than willing to "help Yuy see the error of his ways". My polite but firm "thanks, but no thanks" - followed by a somewhat less-polite "just butt the hell out and mind your own damn business, okay?" when he persisted - confused the hell out of the poor guy. He just couldn't wrap his ever-so-slightly hidebound mind around the idea that the whole thing was just fine by me. It kind of messes with his rather regimented and traditional world-view, y'know?
But, hey, much as Wufei might disapprove of the dynamics of my relationship with Heero on a personal level, he accepts that he really can't fault our performance on a professional level, so he mostly just keeps his mouth shut about the whole thing. Oh, he's a little more distant, a little more uncomfortable around both of us than he used to be, and I'm pretty sure that we've both lost a few points where his respect for us is concerned - me more than Heero, probably - but he isn't openly disrespectful and he still works with us just fine, so I can live with that.
In some ways, Trowa's attitude is similar, except that, right from the time that Wufei first brought the whole thing to everyone else's attention, Trowa's reaction was probably the most - ambivalent, I guess, or maybe noncommittal would be more accurate - of the lot. Even now, I'd be hard pressed to say for sure whether he approves or disapproves. Maybe he just really doesn't care, figures that our relationship is irrelevant so long as we get the job done. Whatever. At any rate, he doesn't give us any crap. Which is one hell of a lot more than I can say for some people.
And frankly, that's good enough for me.
But the one person who still, to this very day, can be counted on to periodically have another go at convincing me that Heero's attitude is somehow demeaning to me, is, ironically enough, the one person who I'd originally expected to understand, or at least accept, it. Instead, Quatre was absolutely outraged from the very start. He considered Heero's treatment of me to be disrespectful and patronizing. I think the terms "domineering" and "controlling" turned up somewhere along the line as well.
And as for Quatre's reaction to my acceptance of said treatment... Well, I kind of quit paying attention partway through the lecture on my "obvious lack of self-respect", but the part that I actually did listen to wasn't exactly brimming over with understanding and acceptance.
Sometimes, methinks that the man doth protest too much, to mangle a phrase from good ol' Will, master of the human psyche. At a good half foot shorter than even Wufei, the second-shortest of our bunch, and with a face that gets the term "angelic" applied to it a little too often for comfort, Quatre tends to be just a tad overprotective of his masculinity. The fact that I'm secure enough in my own to just laugh at the aspersions cast my way - hey, you can't spend a lifetime with hair that reaches down past your butt without getting used to drawing a few remarks from the peanut gallery - is something that he just can't fathom.
I don't give a shit if some asshole decides it's funny to call me a fainting violet or a drama queen just because Heero insists on carrying me off the shuttle instead of letting me hobble along on a sprained-maybe-fractured ankle. And I don't give a shit if Heero's protective hovering during my recuperation from a gunshot wound to the gut leads some wise-ass to call me "Yuy's little woman".
I'm not gonna get all pissy because Heero takes the lead in a mission without asking, or even because he speaks on behalf of both of us without checkin' with me first.
And I'm sure as hell not going to get all bent out of shape when he not-so-subtly warns off the latest Preventers recruits by wrapping his arms around me in a blatantly possessive fashion while we're gettin' ready to demonstrate hand-to-hand combat techniques.
Because all of that stuff just means that Heero cares. And if the way that he shows that gets some people's shorts in a twist, well, that's just too damn bad.
'Cause *I* happen to *like* it.
I like knowing that he's always looking out for me in a way that no one else ever has. Like knowing that he'll be there to pick up the pieces when the shit hits the fan, as it inevitably does.
I like knowing that, when I'm sick or injured, he'll take care of me till I'm ready to take care of myself again. That, for the first time in my life, I come *first* in somebody's priorities.
I like knowing that he knows me well enough to go ahead and do what needs to be done or say what needs to be said without havin' to discuss it to death first. That he trusts my judgement enough to know that if I think he's wrong or have something to add, I'll speak up.
I like knowing that he thinks I'm special enough that he needs to make it clear that I'm very definitely *taken*. That I'm *his*, and he intends to keep it that way.
It doesn't bother me because I know that the whole possessive schtick is a boast as much as it's a warning. It's not that he doesn't trust me, 'cause he does. It's more of a "look what I've got, you can't have him, neener-neener-neener" taunt than anything else. And frankly, it's pretty damn flattering to know that he thinks that highly of me. Especially 'cause the feeling's most definitely mutual. I'm his, he's mine, and neither one of us is about to let that change.
And I don't mind the coddling, 'cause the same guy who caters to my every whim while I'm feeling below par will, just as soon as I'm healthy enough, be kicking my ass all over the gym till I can hold my own against him again.
And I don't mind him taking the initiative for us both in words or deeds, 'cause I know that the slightest hint of disagreement from me will have him backin' off and listenin' up in a heartbeat.
And I know that, even while he's busy lookin' out for me, he's trusting me to do the same for him. Trusting me to watch his back, to be his partner.
Trusting me to let him know how much I care for him with actions rather than words. By letting him be protective. By letting him hover. By letting him take point. By letting him send a really clear "hands off, he's *mine*" signal to one and all.
And if sometimes those actions lead people to some false conclusions about the dynamics of our relationship - hey, that's their problem, not ours. Because, in every way that counts, our relationship is equal.
Or, to be more accurate, balanced. 'Cause everybody else may see Heero fuss over me - but, in the privacy of our home, I fuss over him too.
I make sure that he leaves the job at the door. That he feels safe and secure enough in our home to let his guard down and just be Heero, my lover and best friend, not Agent Yuy, former Gundam Pilot 01. I listen when he needs to talk, and talk when he needs to be distracted. I love him into sated sleep, or fuck him through the mattress. Or he does the same to me. Whatever one or both of us needs. Sometimes, the dynamics shift a little further one way. Sometimes, they shift the other. In the end, it all balances out.
So I really don't mind when Heero goes all protective and possessive. It's not demeaning or disrespectful. He's not being domineering or controlling. He's just showing that he cares.
And so am I.