Author: kc-chan
Rating: R
Warning: Language, yaoi, angst, AU, possible OOC, lemon.
PAIRINGS: 6+5/5+6 ; mentions of 5xM/M+5; 3x4; and 1x2x1
++SPOILERS++: to be safe I'll say the entire series especially Blind target, Episode Zero manga, and Endless Waltz.
DISCLAIMER: not mine. . . please don't sue. Only borrowing them.
COMMENTS: that would be nice.<< Other languages are like this >>

beta-ed lovingly by Cheshire. (worship her.)

Somewhere + Part 11

"This isn't wine," Wufei commented as Millardo handed him a glass. "What is it?"

Smiling, the older man replied, "Something stronger." He watched Wufei blink rapidly after taking a large sip. "Cranberry juice and vodka."

Coughing, Wufei looked at him disdainfully. "I think they forgot the juice part." He cautiously took another sip. "Thank you."

Leaning on the balcony next to the younger man, the blonde commented "You looked like you needed one."

Replying mostly with a weary grin, the Asian man nodded. "Next time I decide to write a book?"

"Yeah?"

"Shoot me."

Chuckling brightly the older man replied, "I'd gather with the amounts of people that it looks like it will sell well."

Unsure, the black haired man merely shrugged. "I guess. I didn't really think about this when I took on this project. It was something to do. Otherwise I'd bore myself to death."

"I know you enjoyed writing it" the blonde smirked.

Chuckling, Wufei smiled a true smile for what was probably the first time that night. "It was an absolute guilty pleasure."

Snorting, the European rolled his eyes. "Only you would refer to months of hard, intensive study as guilty pleasure."

Wufei pouted back at the older man.

"You need to stay out here longer?"

Sipping from his drink, Wufei nodded slowly. "If you don't mind. I'm sure my hell spawn editor will hunt me down if I'm missed too much."

Setting his own empty wine glass on the balcony, Millardo nodded. "I haven't had the pleasure of meeting her yet."

"Lucky you."

Inching closer, the taller man chuckled. Carefully, he placed his arm on Wufei's other side, in a loose embrace. "Are you cold?"

"Freezing." He shook his head. "We can head in once I finish my drink. That okay?"

"No problem" Miri smiled. Sliding up, he got up and stood before the leaning man. With a flirty smile, he took the nearly finished drink from the Asian man's hand, settling it on the balcony rail. Leaning in, he pressed his lips against Wufei's in a chaste kiss.

Wufei's eyes opened wide in shock as heat flushed over his cheeks. Slowly, he let his eyes drifted to half closed, leaning up slightly into the kiss. A hesitant, curious guess of a kiss back.

Miri grinned against that butterfly kiss, firmly pressing his lips to Wufei's in a flirty, passionate moment.

That wrenched the Asian man's eyes wide open in shock. `What the hell am I doing?' he screamed mentally even as he tilted his head more and with a little more certainty began kissing the blonde back.

Taking a slight advantage of the younger man's surprise, Millardo glided his tongue into that very willing mouth.

His eyes slid shut as he heard himself moan. As if he had no longer retained control of his body, Wufei found himself sliding his hands to rest on the other man's hips.

A woman cleared her throat.

The blonde quickly pulled back and turned to look at the intruder.

Wufei merely sat in quiet shock blushing darkly.

"Well. At least I finally found you. I hope I wasn't interrupting."

Gathering what he could of his composure; Wufei stood fairly quickly and made introductions. "Ruben. This is my husband, um, Millardo. Miri, my editor and publicist, Ruben Cromwell." Wufei held back his internal squawk, for lack of a better word, at the admittance of referring to Miri as his husband. Given the circumstances he knew about privately. Though his wedding band felt like it was going to burn through his finger.

Ever the gentleman, the blonde stepped forward, slipping a supportive arm around the shorter man and extending his other hand in a brief handshake. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you."

"Likewise" the woman responded.

Wufei felt as if butterflies had started a colony in his insides. "I'm gathering you need me inside?"

"Of course! This is a gathering to promote your book." She started to lead them into the busy room, then turned and pinned Wufei with a questioning look.

"What?" He asked.

"Remind me we have to talk about what you plan to indulge us with next. Literary publicity can not just be wasted."

Wufei allowed himself a soft groan of displeasure.

+

He awoke with the slightly new customary feeling. `Usually,' he noted snidely, `it is the other way around.'

Long limbs clutched around him, a head of pale blonde locks rested on his chest. Yes, Millardo Peacecraft was in fact cuddling him that morning.

`Strange' he thought, absently pushing some of the fine tresses around, `that I am relaxed that another male is resting upon me.'

Wufei had not taken it upon himself to really contemplate his seemingly... `Changing?' his mind offered in a snarky manner.

`Adaptive' he silently corrected. `Adaptive, adoptive, tolerant- anyone of those would be better suited to his-'

`Relationship?'

Grimacing, Wufei wondering how the hell his subconscious could be so active after all that drinking the night before? `Growing companionship' Wufei replied to his mind. It wasn't, after all, a relationship.

He wasn't in a relationship.

He was merely lying in a bed with another grown man, who for all intents and purposes he was pretending to be married to, and raising a daughter with, and happened to have snuggled against his side with his warm breath rushing over his cheek every slow few seconds. It didn't mean he was in a relationship.

`Of course' his mind replied.

`How is it that my subconscious can sound and act like Maxwell?' Wufei groused, shifting slightly. The movements made the taller man cuddle closer.

`Okay. So no leaving the bed. I guess I remain trapped until he decides to make up.'

He turned his head slightly, pouting when he noted that he had to strain to look out the window. He was at the Winner's for Thanksgiving.

It had been different than last years, some ways better, others, not so much. There had been more names to remember, more people to act "normal" to. So many prying eyes. That and Miri had him worried with the quick conversation they had had on the flight over.

"I think she is starting to think something is wrong" he had started, causing Wufei to look over at him.

Wufei looked at Millardo in confusion. "Who is?"

"Marie" was all he replied.

Sighing, Wufei looked over his shoulder. No the girl was still in the bathroom. Keeping one eye out for her, he whispered back to the older man, "How do you know?"

"I've caught her watching a few times."

"Watching when?" Wufei rolled his eyes at the other man, sometimes the blonde could be so obtuse.

"Here and there."

"When?" Wufei repeated, glancing to see if the girl was coming out yet.

"I first noticed a week or so before we had sex."

Wufei pinned the older man with a look. "And it took you this long to mention it?" He had purposely ignored the sex part. Wufei did not like being reminded. Shifting uncomfortably, he added, "Fine time to tell me."

Shrugging unapologetically, the blonde looked out of his window. "I just remembered to mention it to you."

"Gee, thanks" the Chinese man snorted sarcastically.

Turning his head slightly, the blonde fixed him with an agitated glare. "You're welcome."

Wufei fought the urge to do something completely childish, like sticking out his tongue at the older man.

Sighing, Wufei blinked out of that memory, and peaked up over the pillow to the window. The sun was getting higher and the lazy ass was not waking up.

Not that he wanted to be awake either. Wufei could definitely feel the morning effects of a little too much wine last night creeping over him.

The blonde rolled off of him and back onto his side of the bed.

Grinning, Wufei quickly extracted himself and headed towards the bathroom. Shutting the door as quietly as he could, he set about for a cool shower. Which would do nothing for his headache, but would at least cool down his ever seemingly awakening hormones.

Stopping. Wufei blinked rapidly and thought for a long moment about what he had just thought.

"Masaka" he murmured.

He did not just equate hormones, a cold shower, and the need arising from a lack of certain activity.

"Shit."

He had.

"Shit" he repeated looking at himself in the bathroom mirror. "I do not like men."

It felt rather stupid, if not ridiculous to be pointing that out to himself. But he had just... Shaking his head, he figured it was obviously a holdover from one of the many conversations his former pilots had struck up with him. The American had somehow figured out that he and Miri had been...intimate.

"You two did it, right?" the American asked sliding up next to his slightly shorter friend, drink in one hand, his eyes following the movements of the large Thanksgiving gathering before them.

Wufei's eyes merely widened in shock.

"Oh you did it alright" Duo triumphantly smirked.

"Duo!" Wufei finally managed to hiss.

"What? It is becoming fairly obvious, Wu" Duo replied with a casual shrug, as if a friend's sexual life was as common to speak about as the weather would be.

Turning to glare at the American, Wufei snidely commented back, "Exactly what is so obvious?"

"You like him."

The words had the same effect as if the American would have reached forward and punched him in the stomach.

But that wasn't the case.

He was not suffering from a lack of sex. He wasn't attracted to the blonde, ergo; he had no need to even explore a physical outlet for hormonal release.

After the annoying American it had been Heero who had walked up to him as if he was some form of charity case his friends all seemed to have a need to work on.

Yuy had a different tactic than Duo though; he had merely stood next to Wufei and looked at him.

"Not a single word, Yuy." Wufei grated out, sipping harshly on his drink.

The Japanese boy then gave him something that might have been innocent on anyone else but him. "It doesn't look innocent, Heero. Only mildly disturbing and sinister."

"Hn." Heero replied with a shrug. "What makes you think I was going to say anything?"

"One word. Duo."

The Japanese boy merely shrugged.

"You aren't going to leave me alone until I say something?" Wufei grumbled after a long moment.

Smirking, Heero replied, "Nope."

"You people need a life" Wufei commented.

"It won't stop until you say something, either way. We have our ways. Quatre is on our side. I can always send him over."

A faint blush blossomed across Wufei's cheeks. "Seriously. I mean it. Get a hobby Yuy."

Heero smiled. "You are the collective hobby."

"I hate you all" Wufei grumbled, arms crossing his chest.

After Heero had decided his tactics hadn't worked, he sent in the cavalry.

One thing they had miscalculated was how stubborn Wufei could actually be.

Wufei had managed to elude all of their questioning and made it for what he believed to be a safer haven of mingling with Millardo. And while he did question this logic, he felt it was the safer route to go then having to deal with more hounding questions about his already confusing personal life.

"So I take it you've been pumped for information too?" the blonde asked, casually, taking a moment to look over the flustered man.

"Whatever makes you think that?" Wufei asked back defensively, clutching his mixed drink tighter.

"Duo. Followed in turn by Heero, Trowa and finally Quatre. In that order." The blonde easily replied, before placing his empty wine glass on a passing tray.

"Hn." Was all Wufei could reply. `I didn't realize he was stalking me as well. Did he have to keep tabs on me all evening?'

"If it makes you feel better they've been after me too." The European man smiled sympathetically.

"Did you?" Wufei hedged.

"Say anything?" Millardo finished for him. "After Duo pestered me, yes."

Swallowing harshly, Wufei knew he was going to regret asking. "Yes to what? What exactly did you tell him?"

The blonde smiled. And he smiled in a snarky sort of manner too.

"Miri..." Wufei warned in a dark tone.

"Dance with me." The taller man asked gently.

Blinking, the Asian man shook his head. He did not hear that correctly. "What?" He warily eyed the crowds of people.

"Dance with me" the older man asked again.

"Why?"

"Because I asked you to. I want to dance with you." Miri nudged the other man. "Dance with me. You know you want to." The European threw up his best flirty smile as well.

And damn it, Wufei knew the other man had him. Wufei really, really wanted to dance with him and that was his problem. And damned if he would admit he wanted to.

"I'll make it worth your while" Millardo whispered seductively into Wufei's ear.

Suspiciously, Wufei eyed the taller man. "How so?" He felt a tightening in his stomach at the blonde's closeness. A very wonderful fluttering of his pulse as well.

Smiling, the blonde winked. "I'll tell you what I told Duo."

Snorting, Wufei rolled his eyes and took a cautious step back. "I can ask himself, Miri."

Wufei did not like the evil grin that spread across the taller man's face.

"I didn't realize you were that comfortable with him" Millardo grinned triumphantly.

Blushing brightly, Wufei grunted back. "Damn it, Miri. What did you say to him?"

"Dance with me and I'll tell you."

With a resigned sigh, Wufei submitted to Miri's request. "You win. Jackass."

"Completely."

"I hate you."

"Dance with me" Millardo replied, poking the smaller man.

Wufei hesitantly placed his hand into the blonde's and let him lead him to the dance floor.

Grinning, Millardo yanked the Asian man close to him and into a slow dance.

"Duo just winked at me." Wufei dryly commented.

"I didn't notice" Millardo replied.

"You are still as ass." Wufei replied, glaring up at the blonde.

"But you are still dancing with me."

"What did you tell Duo?" Wufei pressed.

"I'll tell you after the song." Miri shushed him.

"Why can't you tell me now?" Wufei pressed. He knew his face was blushing and it didn't help that the other man was holding him so close.

With a sigh, Wufei shook his head. "Why can't you tell me now?"

Nuzzling the other man, Miri basked in their closeness. "I want to enjoy the song and your presence."

"Liar." Wufei whispered back, cheeks darkening. But he didn't pull back. He would more than likely use the excuse that he was merely playing his part as Fei later. Even if it was a total lie.

Lips brushing against Wufei's ear, warm breathed words slid over him. "I like this" Miri whispered.

Wufei felt his knees weaken at that. Silently he let himself be excited about that.

Millardo's blue eyes sparkled and lusted down at the Asian man's. Wufei forced himself to swallow as he felt the taller man's thumb rubbing in slow circles from where his hand rested in the small of his back.

His face was scant inches away from the others and their hips were nothing more than a hairs width apart. The room felt so incredibly warm to Wufei suddenly. His pulse was thumping through his veins, he felt light headed and dizzy. And yet all he really wanted was to have the courage to move a smidge closer and rest his head on the other man's shoulder.

Nestle it right between the shoulder and collarbone.

To have that tempting stretch of skin so close, to be able to reach out and run his tongue along that chiseled jaw line.

To be bold enough to close his eyes and feel the other man's hips pressed against his own.

That hard, strong body snuggled up close enough to feel the blonde's -

Climaxing in the shower, Wufei released harshly. The water had cooled and beat in frozen pellets against his skin. Shuddering, Wufei blinked and rested his head against the tiles.

"Fuck."

The word seemed to echo loudly in his ears.

"Fuck." He repeated, his senses returning to him. He did not just- He did not. "Fuck."

It felt insanely stupid to stand there repeating fuck over and over again.

And yet that was about all his feeble mind could manage at the moment.

"I just fucking... Crap."

That same feeling he got when he danced with the blonde was back.

The feeling wasn't going away.

He didn't want to admit to it, but it was getting obvious. He was... interested? Attracted?

Clenching his eyes closed. It wasn't a nonexistent sensation.

Turning off the freezing water, he stepped out of the shower. He had a lot of things to think about.

And it was all things he really did not feel comfortable admitting to, let alone thinking about.

Carefully he opened the door to the bathroom and peeked into the bedroom. He still was not feeling any better. Noticing the blonde man was still sleeping, he smirked and crossed the room to his clothes. He wasn't going to sleep the entire morning like some people he could name.

Just as he finished zippering up his jeans a familiar voice remarked, "There's no rush."

Turning to glare at the blonde for nearly giving him a heart attack, Wufei growled out "Miri!"

Smirking, the blonde leaned back on the pillows and took his time running his eyes over the other man. "Don't stop. I was enjoying the show."

He suddenly had a face full of Wufei's shirt.

"Miri!" Wufei hissed, blushing furiously.

"Or I'll deal with a strip show too. I'm good either way."

The European man's reply came in the form of a harsh and heated glare. "Toss my shirt back."

"I think I'll keep it by me." Miri grinned teasingly.

Two black eyes glowered at him.

"After it all, it was so rudely thrown at me."

Stalking over to the bed, Wufei snorted, "Whatever. Give me my shirt, Miri."

Millardo merely laughed.

"Get up." Wufei murmured reaching across the bed to grasp the shirt the blonde was holding just out of his reach.

Sliding an arm around the man's waist, Miri yanked Wufei down onto the bed. With a triumphant grin, the blonde circled his other arm, trapping the smaller man and snuggled up close.

Not quite repressing a sigh, Wufei murmured in aggravation, "Miri..."

Tightening his arms, the blonde closed his eyes. "I'm too comfortable to get up now." He pressed his lips against the back of that golden neck.

Wufei valiantly fought down a whimper. He certainly did not need this after what had just happened in the bathroom.

With a gentle tug, Wufei tried to pull away.

Rolling with the motion, Millardo was able to pin the Asian man down in a loose hold. Leaning in closely, the European man slowly nuzzled Wufei.

"I like this better." He whispered into that golden ear that looked like it was begging for the blonde to nibble at it.

"Miri..." Wufei managed. His eyes were terribly lost in the depths of those brilliant blues.

Lips gently cut off whatever else Wufei had intended to say.

Gentle kisses of curious flirting.

"Miri..." the younger man moaned softly, his arms trailing up the length of that long, muscled torso.

"Now this is sexy" a new voice remarked as a door opened and someone plopped down in the chair to the side of the bed. "Had Hee-chan and I known we'd get a show, I would have dropped by earlier."

Ripping away as far as his limited space allowed him, Wufei choked out in bright, beaming embarrassment, "Duo!?"

Dully, Miri noted that he had not known Wufei's voice was able to hit that high in a screech.

With a relenting sigh, Millardo turned over off of the Chinese man. "Good morning Duo. Has anyone mentioned you have absolutely appalling timing?"

With an unrelenting grin, the American shook his head. "Not lately. You hadn't mentioned you too were going to need privacy, Blondie. Had I known, I would have fixed the place up with cameras."

Glaring at the braided American, Wufei grated out, "Have you ever heard of knocking before entering a room, Maxwell?"

Tapping a finger in a thoughtful motion on his chin, Duo pretended to mull over the concept. "Sure. But I never was one for formalities, Wuffie."

"WuFEI" the said man all but growled.

With a dangerous smirk, Duo replied, "That's what the man said, Wuffie."

Wufei very nearly snarled at the grinning American idiot.

Just in case the Asian man decided to attack the American, Miri wrapped a supporting arm around him. Obviously the young Asian man had a losing battle with his hormones and was ready to take it out upon the American.

Duo's eyes did not miss it. "Oh, I see. This is how you calm Mr. Grumpy Pants in the morning, Blondie. I have other methods for dealing with irate Asian men in the mornings if you want pointers."

"There quite through" Heero added, leaning on his lover's chair.

Wufei did not quite want to know what the glint in Heero's eyes was from.

"We should be heading out." Heero finally remarked.

"Yeah. We were on our way to grab some breakfast. I guess we'll see you down there then?" Duo added, getting up with a stretch.

Heero left the room grinning.

As he sauntered out, Duo glanced over his shoulder and asked with an all too innocent face, "Or should I pass it on to your sister, Zechsie that you might be down to catch a late lunch instead?"

"MAXWELL!"

Falling back in a fit of embarrassed laughter, Miri wondered if the whole house heard that one.

+

Quatre handed the American a warm cup of tea and stood a moment to admire the view from his west wing's balcony.

"Thanks, Q" Duo replied, sipping cautiously at the beverage.

"I hear gossip that you walked in on them this morning" Quatre commented.

With a snort, the braided man rolled his eyes. "I did walk in on a beautifully naked Zechs Marquise straddling what seemed to be a half dressed, heartily participating Chang Wufei in a make-out session with some customary groping involved by the later party."

"Hmm. Promising" the blonde grinned.

"Yeah, well Wufei is still glaring at me."

"Well, my dear Duo. He isn't exactly known for his sense of humour. You might have interrupted them."

Giving the blonde a glance, the man shrugged. "I doubt he'd go that far."

"Yet?" Quatre asked, interested in hearing the other man's opinion.

"Yet" Duo confirmed. Then with a shrug added, "He certainly didn't mind Zechsie all over him."

"He is fairly private" the blonde reminded his friend.

"And we don't even know if he admits that he is even interested. And I'm usually so good at getting things out of him!"

With a smooth grin, the Arab boy replied. "Oh that I know. He most certainly is interested."

"And you are privy to this information exactly how? Wiring the rooms again?" Duo asked.

"No. I save that for more needed occasions, Duo" Quatre replied. "Now, as for your question- He is. He is struggling over his own social and cultural perspectives and grievances that we can not do anything about. It is something he has to accept."

"Or not" the braided man added thoughtfully.

With a nod, Quatre agreed. "Or not. But he is fairly cognitive of what is happening around him. I think he is cautiously approaching the whole relationship aspect with Zechs."

"Exploring?"

After a long moment's thought, the blonde nodded slowly. "I do get double readings still. It might be something and then again it might be nothing. I don't know if it is you know who still struggling within Wufei or something else like a beginnings of a psychosis. I would rather hope the former than the later. But still, they are getting further and further apart."

"Which might be why he is holding back. Fear. Fear that he may one day wake up and this would all be gone. I happen to buy into the idea that he subconsciously knows something is happening with Fei." Duo added.

Quatre concurred with the American. "Quite a reasonable fear. He's mentioned it before, although not terribly recent."

"And understandable" Duo indicated. "I wouldn't know what I'd do if I woke up without Heero. He - Wufei- has a lot to loose now."

"He didn't before he arrived here" the blonde noted, quietly.

"Last time he had everything it was ripped away from him - his wife, family, and colony." Duo observed.

"He has lost so much and has been hurt so deeply. It takes so much courage to overcome those fears and pain."

Duo looked out onto the horizon. "He has the strength to do it. Out of all of us, he has such an internal strength."

Quietly Quatre thought about that statement. "His internal strength only goes so far. He has learned to bend and not stand rigid against change here. He has learned that one can only count on oneself for so long before a friend is needed to help you." Shaking his head from deeper thoughts, his turquoise eyes scanned the far skyline in search of answers. "There is the looming threat that is would break him if he lost this."

"I - We don't know if he is that vested Q" Duo reasoned with the empathic man.

"He is vested Duo. More so than we might even begin to realize, Duo. Every time he hits a new junction- revelation -he relays his fears about going back. Like he is pushing his luck by being here. Every time he mentions it, it always begins `If I leave...' or `I have nothing if I go back...'."

"He looses Mariemaia" Duo whispered.

"His child, Duo. He considers her his and Zechs' child."

"And Zechsie? Is it Fei's Zechs?" Duo questioned softly.

There was a short silence. "I do not know. I'm entirely of the opinion that Wufei never made that distinction."

Duo nodded. "But he isn't Wufei's Zechs yet either?"

"No..." Quatre paused. "At least he's never referred to Zechs like that."

After another long moment, the blonde continued. "And as for vested interest here, he would also loose us, Duo." When he had the other man's attention, Quatre went on. "He has gained deep friendships here. I know I have more I know about him than I knew about Fei."

"Kinda sad, ain't it Q? We thought we knew Fei and it is seemingly turning out that we really didn't know his at all. Not really, anyways."

Nodding, the blonde placed his empty cup on the balcony rail. "Fei had his masks. We notice now because Wufei's lack of them. We see our shortcomings with Fei because of the progress we have personally made with Wufei."

Quatre gave out a bitter, self depreciating chuckle. "Fei never called us for anything. We were strangers to each other really. We pretend we weren't, but in all honesty we were."

Duo peered into his coffee, "He never joked back. He wasn't as involved as Wufei was." Looking over at his friend, the American continued. "Didja know he baked for Marie for her bake sale at school? Wufei actually called to mention it. He takes pride in not only her, but his inclusion of us in their lives."

"He would do anything for her" Quatre agreed.

"Hey Q?"

"Yes Duo?"

"Is it bad that I don't miss Fei as much as I should?"

"Hm?"

"I prefer Wufei to Fei is what I guess I mean" Duo explained. "If one can make such a comparison that is."

"Yes..." Quatre quietly murmured.

"I mean don't get me wrong and all. I mourned for the loss of Fei. I really did. But-"

"I feel the same way Duo" Quatre interjected. Wufei is... He is just more open to us. I guess it comes from different circumstances that make for different results."

"Interesting. Makes sense" the American agreed.

"You know that I would miss Wufei terribly if he was ever taken away. Even more than..."

"Yeah" Duo whispered in reply. "I know. Believe me, I know."

+

Mariemaia popped her head inside Quatre Winner's office when no one bothered replying to her knocks. "Quatre?"

Looking up from his desk, the blonde smiled. "Marie. Hello. Please come in."

"Can I ask you a question?" she asked, stepping into the large office and closing the door behind her.

Leaning on his propped up arm he smiled. "Always."

Sitting down on a plush chair before his desk, she looked mightily uncomfortable for a long moment. Wringing her fingers together she finally worked up the courage to ask her question. "Has Fei been acting odd to you?"

It took all he had not to bite off his tongue in surprise. Trying not to look too shocked, he questioned back, "Odd?"

With a shake to her head that sent loose red hairs flying back and forth she murmured, "It's hard to explain."

"Try" Quatre encouraged. "It might help."

Shifting in her seat, Marie kept her eyes focused on the floor. "It's silly. Probably nothing."

Quatre was taken aback. Even if it was nothing it was absolutely bothering the redheaded girl. "Just you're imagination, right?"

Those eyes flashed and slowly she nodded.

Quietly, the blonde continued. "You know everyone in my home when I was growing up used to tell me that. You know adults can be wrong, Marie."

"It's probably my own insecurities" she whispered.

"Even if they are, it doesn't mean that they are trite. I don't think they are."

Looking up at the blonde for the first time since she entered his office, she replied, "Something is wrong with Fei!"

"What's wrong?" he asked not making a judgment either way.

After a short pause, the girl continued, "Little things."

"Like?"

"He used to drink coffee all the time. Now its only tea. He always sat on Miri's right, now it's usually on the left. He has been running in the mornings with Miri. He practices his martial arts. He listens to music now, even in the car. He..." she paused to stop a sniffle, "He rarely touches Miri. And even when he does it looks like it's for show! But then sometimes he looks awfully confused as to why he leans into kisses and embraces!"

Quatre for his part merely blinked and let his hand drift over his heart. Her pain was so terribly much. She had done an excellent job of hiding it too.

"Stupid! Silly! Dumb things!" she hissed angrily, more at her own self than anything else.

"That only you would know since you are around them all the time. The things only one's child would know. If it upsets you Marie, it is not nothing." Quatre slowly replied.

A flicker of hope entered her eyes. "You don't think I'm making things up for attention?"

The blonde had to wonder who had put that idea into her mind. "No" he replied. "I know you wouldn't do something like that, Marie."

"Is it me?" she asked hesitantly.

"What?" he asked, probably a bit too suddenly.

"Is it because I'm not like him?" she asked more forcibly this time.

"Mariemaia..." he whispered in profound shock. "Allah, never. Wufei and Zechs love you, not because you are his daughter, but because you are you. They love you because to them you are their everything. You are their daughter.

"You are so incredibly precious to them. Even if you were someone else, they would still love you. To them you are their Marie. That's all that matters."

She was silent for a long while, taking in everything the blonde had told her. "Then what is wrong and why won't they tell me?" she sniffled, but it was in vein. Tears rolled down her cheeks as a sob burst forth.

Standing up, Quatre walked over to her and pulled her into a hug. He let her sob into his chest, letting what was probably a few months worth of worry and anger be released.

Stroking her hair, he smiled kindly down at her. "Maybe you should ask them. It is probably something small that changed. You are going through a turbulent time and I am sure they are as well. But never think that it is you fault."

With a weak, teary smile she nodded. "Thank you Uncle Quatre."

With a quick hug she left his office looking slightly less upset.

Collapsing back on his chair, Quatre mused a long while. "Do I even warn them?" he questioned himself. "If I do, Marie will surely know I talked to them and I know that would feel like a betrayal to her. It would have to my when I was her age."

Of course he had runaway when he was her age and ended up fighting a terrorist war. "Allah be thanked that some of us are a little more stable in our emotions than others."

Sighing, he closed his laptop and powered it down. He would get no more work done today. Musing a bit, he murmured, "Wufei, Millardo. I hope you are ready for this..."

[part 10] [side story] [part 12] [back to Singles a-k]