Somewhere + Part 4 (cont)

"Sadly, I have pressing engagements to attend in Russia all next week. I have to take a rain check," she answered, blowing softly on the cup before taking a gentle sip. "Wonderful, Mariemaia."

"Thank you!" the girl replied brightly.

"So who's going to help with the turkey?" Miri asked snatching a sliced carrot from the plate Wufei was working on.

"Give me a moment then you can have all you want." He batted the older man's hand away. Slicing up the last carrot he handed the plate over and placed a bowl of dip in its center. "Now steal all the carrots you want."

Doing as he was instructed, Millardo placed the tray on the cluttered island counter, and then began opening still warm boxes of hor'dourves. "Fei, pass me a few plates."

"Here you go," Wufei replied, handed the asked for items over.

Relena's fingers snuck in and grabbed one. "Hmm!" She gasped slightly. "They are wonderful!" She grabbed another one and handed it to the red headed girl. "Try it, Mariemaia, they are simply heavenly!"

She was handed a plate, as well as the younger girl. "Great. You two place those in the living room, Lady Ann should be here soon." Dorothy grinned, picking up her own plate and following after them. "Zechs, watch those cranberries."

"Yes, ma'm," he replied with a smirk.

Lifting up the cover, he stirred them before replacing the top. "I'll get the stuff out to teach you how to make the stuffing. Let the girls chat."

"Sounds like a plan." Wufei nodded, walking over to take the items from the European man's hands.

Over the giggling gossiping, the two heard the doorbell. "Marie!" Wufei called, "Go answer the door!"

"I'll get it!!" she bellowed and the stomping of feet was heard running past them. They could hear the door opening and a pleasant `hello'.

"She really missed not seeing Ann," Miri informed his `husband'.

"I'm getting that feeling. I hope Ann rearranged plans to be able to come out with her this weekend," Wufei replied, taking the last few items from the man's hands.

Moving close, the blue eyed man looked down casually upon the black eyed man. "You doing alright?" he whispered.

Managing a small, truthful smile, Wufei looked up. "Yeah. It's better than I thought it would be. Dorothy is putting me on edge, but that's just her. You okay?"

"Aa. Fine."

"I'm glad."


Young bright blue orbs lit up with a holiday glee as she watched her two `fathers' handle the filled dishes through the kitchen door. Grinning wildly, she laughed as more were set down. Placing the last napkin, she surveyed her handiwork. The linens were crisp, the gourds filled and decorated, and the candles burning, filling the formal dining cinnamon, pomander, and spices.

"Coming through!" Miri declared, maneuvering the platter with the turkey. Dorothy chuckled openly, and held the door open for the European man. Wufei grinned as well, holding the gravy boat in one hand and the bowl of string beans in the other.

Once the food was on the table, Dorothy flipped the switch on the wall. "I think we can all survive on the candle light, yes?"

"Sounds wonderful!" Relena praised, smiling as her brother slid into his seat next to his husband. She had to admit that the Chinese man looked stunning in the soft glow of golden candlelight. Not that her brother didn't, `But he always looked good. I hate admitting that I'm jealous. But what girl wouldn't be! My brother is prettier than I am. But Wufei definitely is a looker!'

"So who took time to light all these candles?" Lady Ann asked, taking her seat next to Mariemaia.

The said redhead smiled, turning to her right nodded at the brown haired woman. Her grin was shared by the Sankian princess "We did." Marie replied.

"Its very festive" Ann chuckled.

Relena stood and graced them with a small smile. "I would like to lead the toast." Her brother nodded and she cleared her throat and lifted her wine glass. "Well, I offer a toast to an amazingly quiet year, a peaceful year. To Wufei for finishing his book. To Mariemaia for being on the top of her class. To Ann for helping maintain world and Colony peace. To Dorothy for her amazing negotiating skills and being there for me. To my brother, who actually let me call him by his real name in public." She paused to stick her tongue out at her brother who was rolling his eyes. "But mostly I give a praise to my brother and his husband for the best next year and a congratulations for an amazing two years and to many more."

Miri caught his breath and searched for Wufei's hand. Wufei blinked, balefully maintaining a convincing grin, when he felt a desperate grip of tan fingers clutching his own. "Thank you, Relena." Wufei managed with a surprisingly steady voice.

"Sister" The European man smiled, his fear all being focused on his nearly painful grip on the Chinese man's fingers.

He stood and Wufei ended up standing in tow, the Chinese boy leaning close to hide the fact that the grip on his hand was cutting off blood. The blonde man lifted his glass and tipped it towards his sister. "And here's to another uneventful year. Cheers." Glasses were clinked together and sips taken. The blonde man felt he desperately needed the alcohol now. The death grip he held on Wufei's hand and the comfort of knowing that they had yet to tip his sister off helped to relieve his anxiety. A moment later he caught the supportive amber honey orbs of Ann. The volumes of solace they reflected to him calmed him. His smile became a little surer of itself. He wasn't going to ruin Marie's rigorous planning.

"Well, I don't know about you all, but I am dying to taste this food that I helped slave over." Dorothy stated, leaning on one hand, her eyes glimmering with mischief and happiness.

"I'll second that." Miri laughed, picking up the knife and cutting the turkey. "Lift up plates for the turkey."

Nervously and unconsciously, Wufei twisted the silver ring on his left hand. `I can make it through the weekend. I can make it through the weekend.' He took a deep breath and thanked Dorothy for handing him the mashed potatoes. Piling a spoonful on his plate, he offered them to the Sankian man, who smiled at him.

Food was passed back and forth, meat was served, and wine was served to nearly empty glasses. Wufei just watched it all with his mask in place. `This isn't real. It can't be.' The dancing shadows and the scented spices in the air tantalized his senses. Gay and bright smiles, the flowing conversation of the most mundane of topics.

There were no strategies to plan, to war on the horizon, no pangs of loneliness to swallow him whole. And that terrified him. `I cannot allow myself to grow accustom to this, not when I have no right. I have never earned this. I would have never been in this position had I remained in my world.' Thoughts whirled in his troubled mind. `How many invitations did I simply throw away without even opening? How many events did I pass over to comfort my misery and regret? Regret... I never felt that. I never cared.

`Now I am in a position that I want to so desperately. I would never have been joining Relena at a supper table, never had Marie looking at me with such love and devotion, to have Ann supporting me. Hell, I even talked with Dorothy, and I never could stand the woman.

`Have I changed so much so quickly? How is that possible? A month ago I was so terribly different. Now I've found a family... ' The European man's voice next to him withdrew him from his spiraling thoughts.

"Are you going to be able to join Mariemaia and my sister this weekend, Ann?" Millardo asked politely, ladling some gravy onto his meat.

"I was actually hoping to have hit the slopes but unfortunately the Branch of External Affairs in eastern North America hit a large problem this morning." The tall woman replied, sipping from her glass. "It seems that most of my problems stem from the North American bureaucracy and two hundred year old rancor and grudges against certain countries. Childish really. But anytime a summit comes up they start up again, I swear one day I will merely not invite them."

"The problem is with some small revolution in Russia, which I will be handling on the other end." Dorothy smirked, slicing the meat on her plate with quick strokes. She continued her explanation, "Something dealing with socialism and autocracy. They are revolting against the government to reinstate their royal family. It's quaint really. Most of it is back and forth support and recognition of the newly forming country. Boring idle cat fighting."

Relena frowned over her glass.

"Don't worry, Miss Relena! We'll have a blast!" Marie offered brightly, forming a small mound and hollowing out the center in the potatoes. That grin widened as she poured the gravy into the center, watching it overflow like a volcano. It had to be one of the best things about the holidays. Mashed potato volcanoes.

Brushing a strand of hair over her shoulder, Dorothy looked over at the European man and his husband. "So other than catching up on your downhill form next week, how are you two spending anniversary number two?"

Wufei's flushed, a scarlet hue blooming over his cheeks, as he nearly choked on the wine he inhaled.

"That interesting, hm?" Dorothy innocently asked, white teeth clamping down on a carrot.

Lady Ann felt her cheeks heat up at the small man's reaction, her brown eyes glancing over to the redheaded girl next to her. Mariemaia was merely serving herself more mashed potatoes, completely ignoring the question.

Feeling the stare of the older woman on her, Marie looked up and grinned at Ann. "I know what they do, Ann, I am twelve years old." She whispered under Relena's chuckle.

"I see." Ann replied. Well she certainly didn't know what two men did at that age. Children grew up so damn quick under her reasoning. `But, I suppose it is better than revulsion. She doesn't seem at all upset or even interested in this conversation. Mariemaia, you never cease to amaze me.'

Miri raised a golden eyebrow at Dorothy. The girl had an uncanny knack of prying where she shouldn't. Reaching out, he took a hold of Wufei's hand and wove his fingers through the boy's. "Its just downtime. A few days for me and Fei."

Managing a soft smile, Wufei studied their hands intertwined together. `Yeah. Him and Fei. I just hope Sally's comm is on this weekend. I may be needing her help, desperately. I wonder if slipping a Prozac in his drinks would count as help?'

Clearing her throat, Ann smiled sweetly at the Asian man. "So word has it that you've finished your book. I am amazed, Wufei. You went from wanting to drop the project to finishing it what? Five months ahead of schedule? I should place you in paperwork at the office. Then maybe things would get done," she complimented.

"Just found renewed interest I guess. It gave me something to do. I actually enjoyed it immensely. And it's off at the editors until after the New Year. Any suggestions or editing changes will be done in January." He answered. `Dropping it? Nobody mentioned that to me... Then again it was probably mentioned to help me adjust. Give me something to do so I wasn't bored out of my mind. I can't understand why he would drop it. What else did he have to do?'

"Any plans on helping out that university next Fall?" Relena asked, serving herself another portion of the cranberry sauce.

"We haven't really discussed it," Millardo interceded, pouring his sister and himself more wine. "Does any one else require a refill?" He offered. "It's a decent vintage."

"I did pick it out, Miri!" Relena pouted, giving him the evil sister's glare before turning back to her question towards the Chinese man. "So you are still making an allowance for their proposal?"

"I am curious as well, Wufei," Dorothy added. "What are you actually considering? I hear it was a wonderful offer, a tenure and everything. Do we get to call you professor?"

"I did consider it, I was merely waiting until after the holidays to decline their offer. Maybe later, but I don't feel ready to try and govern adults who are for the most part going to be older than me," Wufei explained, slicing the meat on his plate, dolefully ignoring Miri's glare at his head. So he hadn't discussed it with the man. He didn't feel that he wanted that career goal in life. Another book, more research or anything along those lines sounded more promising. Something that he was skilled at, familiar with, enjoyed.

"Speaking of school, I heard you are top in the class Mariemaia?" Dorothy pursued.

Swallowing the food in her mouth, the redhead nodded. "Yeah, myself and my close friend Dene."

"Dene?" Dorothy asked, serving herself another helping of yams and spinach.

"Regenweald. Dene Regenweald. I've known her since I started going there. We're both tied for number two in the year. Another friend of mine, Alice is number one. We all study together a lot," Marie explained.

"I hear you're going to begin learning Russian? Too bad I hadn't known sooner, I would have offered to bring you along next month when I visit St. Petersburg." Dorothy replied.

"I've been taking lessons with one of the older girls in the school a few times a week since I have a study hall. I'm really only beginning."

"We've arranged it that I have a tutor there once a day for her" Relena explained to the blonde woman. "She's mostly on vacation, since her homework is completed, but she asked and the Russian diplomats will be on the property at the same time."

"Their son is about a year or two older than Marie." Millardo explained, passing a plate of food to his sister. "It should be fun for both of them."

"Hm! We've exchanged a few emails and he seems pleasant. His English isn't great, but we both speak fluent French, so its good practice for me. And he isn't a great skier, at least downhill, so I'll help him with that and he'll help with my Russian. And Relena and I still get time to make a snow fort," She clarified before launching into plan making.

"Snow fort?" Lady Ann asked baffled slightly at the openness Mariemaia was showing. `Not quite the angry child she once was. Trieze how proud you would have been.'

Relena grinned evilly, "We have to occupy my brother and Wufei somehow."

"Speaking of us arriving and being attacked by snowballs, we should get there by Monday evening," the blonde man relayed to her. "I'll be in the office briefly, probably bringing in the onslaught of leftovers I know we'll have. I need to grab a few files, then we'll be flying in on the private jet."

Wufei blinked, `Private jet? Obviously there are some things I must have missed in my exploration. Miri never mentioned a private jet.'

"Oh, that's fine. Just call the main gate and they'll send a car to pick you both up," Relena nodded.

"So anybody have any interesting stories about this holiday? Other than Mr. Winner's parties, I never remember celebrating it," Dorothy inquired.

"Well," Lady Ann began, "I can remember a few incidents in the dormitories, but I think my absolute favourite was when I was serving commander at a British Station about fifty miles from London.

"There was this rundown base we were using as a battle training ground, you know real life situations and all. Well there was a mix of British, German, and American kids basically. I don't know why, but that's what most of us were.

"Anyways, the American soldiers are used to getting Thanksgiving off, I wasn't aware of this, but after making a few calls I gave the Americans extra mess time for celebration, we even had turkeys sent over from the village. The others were not happy about this. The other soldiers stole them and ended up with the turkeys that the staff had cooked for the holiday, and it broke out into a commanding mess. The whole of the soldiers, two hundred under my command, mostly men, ended up with one of grossest food fights that was fought on the makeshift practice battle field."

Millardo laughed, "I remember hearing about that from one of the guys in my dorms. His older brother was there and was suspended from duty for two months for hitting a superior officer with a cooked bird. I actually think that was the disciplinary term they used."

The woman sighed and shook her head. "It was a nightmare, mostly because it was one of my first station assignments as a commanding officer. The General was called in immediately because it had escalated to a point where I could not gain control. My immediate subordinates were knocked unconscious by dishware."

Both other women were near tears in laughter. Dorothy gasped for breath. "Don't tell me they reprimanded you for that? Is it in your file?"

This time the European man grinned evilly, "Actually it has to be, I remember Trieze would make it a point to bring up the Turkey Day Massacre every year in front of you."

Marie wiped tears from her eyes. "They actually named it?"

"It was one of the largest mishaps in OZ. Over two hundred men were put on suspended leave for months. I was placed in a remote outpost to handle five soldiers until they felt I was able to handle a larger group."

"It's a slightly infamous event some of the people who had been in OZ training heard about. They actually declared that no OZ base was allowed to celebrate the holiday. I don't think another one was held until five years later." Miri explained, his smile wide and brilliant.

"It was embarrassing. When Trieze first interviewed me, he asked about it," She grumbled, playfully.

"He did?" Dorothy replied, rather stunned.

"He took great pride in teasing me for it. In fact I was never able to look at a lot of those officers that had been under me that day. This one man, I remember for being the cleanest and most narcissistic man on earth. He had to run to inform me what had happened. He had chucks of potatoes in his hair, gravy all over him. I nearly died of laughter when he entered." She recalled, giggling once again at the memory.

Dorothy placed a hand over her heart and tried to ease her breathing. "Now I am beginning to understand why the Gundam pilots bet you all so very well."

Wufei blinked, rather stunned by the whole story. "I'm inclined to agree."

Ann, still in merry humour, stuck her tongue out at the Chinese man. "You can't tell me that Maxwell didn't try anything."

The Chinese youth faltered slightly.

The tall European sipped merrily at his wine. "Wufei may not want to talk about the wars."

Bright blue orbs beamed at the Asian man. "Please! I know Duo must have done something!" Marie pleaded.

"Knowing Duo? Probably had to have imagined something up," Relena snickered.

"Come on, Wufei," Ann prodded. "I can't envisage Duo giving up something like a holiday to nothing. That boy always does something."

Black eyes relayed none of the panic that was floating in his mind. `I can only hope that the first war was the same. I don't know if we did everything so very similar... ' Sipping nervously from his glass, which he begrudgingly noticed, had been filled up again by the tall man on his side.

"Well, I wasn't there for any of the Thanksgivings, so I couldn't really tell you any stories, only things the others have told me," He began. `Which,' he privately thought, `I don't know if stories were shared, because I never cared to socialize with them and swap tales.'

"Heero, Duo, and I did have a small mission around Halloween in the early stages of the war. The only reason Yuy and I knew that it was Halloween was because Duo had been so inclined to explain it numerous times to us. Maxwell felt the need to celebrate, which of course Yuy declared a break in mission protocol and was opening up the mission to unknown and possibly deadly elements."

The table stared at him.

"Wait, Heero actually said that?" Relena asked, the first person to break from the stunned shock.

"Basically. It might have contained more elements of `omae o korosu' and `bakas' in it, but I didn't really pay complete attention. Duo was bugging Yuy about it, I thought that he had given up trying to persuade me to help him."

[back] [cont]