sidestory to somewhere, lying respectively between parts 6 and 7. hope you all enjoy!

Title: Somewhere
Author: kc-chan
Rating: R
Warning: Language, yaoi, angst, AU, possible OOC, lemon.
PAIRINGS: 6+5/5+6 ; 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.)

Special thanks to all those who replied, including crystal-san, wystii-san, ionis-san, trixie-san, bonne-san, manon-san, morgan-san, tricka-san, ezra-san, FeatheredEdge-san, Azzie-san, Cheshire, CP-san, AA-san, Tachara-san, Ayla-san, marilyn-san, Dacia-san, Madisonne-san, gaf-san, wingnut-san, antigone, xellas-san, Llewlyn-san, Hidama-san, dark song-san, bana-san, carol-san, xellas-san, kia-san, nena-san, yane-san, golden rat-san, karina-san, and anyone else I may have forgotten. Thank you!!

Somewhere [ the holiday side story ]

Wufei sighed with despondency, pushing loose strands of hair that had escaped their slack prison of his hair band. After a better part of an hour, he had still not gotten the string of lights out of their original tangles.

Marie walked in with Millardo holding mugs and a bowl of peppermints. "See even after a five minute break we didn't miss much."

The blonde grinned and settled a mug next to the Asian man. "Hot chocolate to help you focus."

Wufei gladly took the offered beverage and from the corner of his eye, he could see Mariemaia opening up a new box of decorations and ornaments.

"Sure you don't want help with the lights?" Millardo offered.

He looked at the strand in his hands and the box full of more beside him. "Knock yourself out, Miri."

Grabbing a strand, he sat down next to the smaller man and began to unravel the year old knots.

Unwrapping the carefully swathed glass ornaments, Marie watched as the afternoon light danced along the vibrant colours. There were the simple round globes of multiple shades. Her favourites were the hand made craft pieces from school and childhood. The simple jar cover that held her eight year old self-grinning in a Santa hat, held to the tree with a single ribbon. Or the reindeer that looked more like a moose made from a few old wooden clothespins. Running a slender finger along them was akin to remembering glimpses of her life.

She carefully unwrapped the ballerina, one of her first ornaments she had ever picked out. It was absolutely hideous shades of pinks and purples with something akin to orange. Grinning, she held it out to watch it twirl.

"Hey? Fei?"

He looked over at her, watching the ornament twirl as well. "Yes, Marie?"

"Remember this ornament?" she asked.

"Hm?" he pretended to remember it, even when logically he never would.

Millardo slipped his arm around Wufei's waist, "I remember that one. That ugly thing was the ornament she picked out for her own tree when she was what eight?"

Wufei forced a faked smile and nodded. "Ah, I remember." Not.

"Who wouldn't?" Millardo murmured.

"Okay, okay!" she chuckled. "So my interior decorating skills at eight sucked to high heaven. It wasn't as bad as the dog."

"That was a dog?" asked Wufei as she held up the ornament.

"Hard to believe, I know. I always thought it bore a great likeness to a llama," the Sankian man chuckled.

Sticking her tongue out at both of them, she carefully placed to two rather ugly ornaments aside. "At least mine have character, unlike some people Miri!" She joked.

"Mine are called classic," he informed her.

"Classically dull," she countered, offering a glimpse of the ornate ornament.

"It is pretty um... classic Christmas," Wufei offered in consolation to the taller man.

"Gee, thank you Wufei," he snorted.

"I like the pretty glass balls too, Miri," Marie offered in condolence.

"There we go," the European man grinned, holding up an unraveled set of lights.

Glaring balefully at the taller man and then down at his still tangled set, he gave a hearty sigh. "Okay, what is the secret?" He asked.

"Secret?" Millardo asked innocently.

"You could have the entire box to yourself," Wufei reminded him.

"Or I could tell you the secret to unraveling the lights," Millardo replied.

"Or you could do that," Wufei agreed.

"I need a refill," Mariemaia announced, standing and picking up her empty cup.

"Already?" Wufei asked, sneaking a peak at his own cup which was nearly full.

"Could you bring in the snack we popped in the oven when you come back in?" Miri questioned.

"No problem," she grinned, heading towards the kitchen.

Once the girl was out of earshot, the tall man leaned close to the Asian man and whispered, "It's not your fault, Wufei."

With a defeated sigh, he turned his black eyes towards the older man. "Was it that obvious?"

"Only really to me. Just remember that Mariemaia is part of your family now too. We're in this together, okay?"

Wufei smiled the tension in his back relaxing. "Thanks."

"No problem," Millardo replied, tucking a holly branch into Wufei's loose ponytail with a smile.

Wufei gave him a questioning look and reached back to bull out the branch. Twirling it between two fingers, he pondered aloud. "I'm not sure if the feelings of intrusion will ever go away, Miri."

"They will. I promise. Just give yourself time."

"I know."

"I've brought food!" Marie announced, entering back in from the kitchen.

"Did you remember to turn off the stove?" Millardo asked, picking up a new strand of lights and working on untangling them.

"Yes, Miri," she sighed, placing the plate down as well as her cup.

Two shakes later, Millardo held up another strand of unknotted lights.

Wufei merely gawked, "How... ?"

"Practice makes perfect," the Sankian man grinned proudly.

Rolling his eyes, Wufei placed his set of still snarled lights aside and sipped from the cooling hot coco cup. "They're all yours then. I'm going to help unwrap the ornaments."

"Giving up so soon?" Miri mock taunted.

"Yes. They have defeated me. Go avenge me, Miri," Wufei replied with a deadpanned tone but the grin on his face belayed the truth.

"I'll defend your honour!" the blonde snickered.

"Hopeless," Wufei grinned up at the man.

"Oh! Look at this ornament!" Marie exclaimed.

Wufei looked and kept on looking, "That's a horse, right?"

Marie glared as Millardo looked up, "I always thought it was an elephant, personally."

+

Mariemaia pushed around the eggs on her plate, poking and stabbing at them once in a while, but none of them seemed to be making it to her mouth.

"Care to tell me why we are pureeing the eggs?" Wufei asked, looking at the girl before sharing a hidden look with the tall blonde.

"Marie?" Millardo asked, resting his fork on his plate.

"Anything wrong?" Wufei added, intently looking at her.

Sighing the redheaded girl lifted her head and faced both of them. Once her eyes rested upon Wufei she finally began. "Wufei?"

"Yes?" he asked, a small fear rose silently in his mind, hoping against hope that she had not learned the truth. And a glance to his side, he could see Miri held the same hidden fear.

"Does it upset you that we only celebrate Christmas?"

There was a held silence before Wufei could muster up words to answer her. "Um, what would cause you to ask that?" Then came the rushing relief.

Millardo was silent and curious.

"Isn't there a holiday or anything you wished we celebrated?" Marie asked once again.

Tucking a strand of hair behind his ear, Wufei thought about his response for a moment. He did not want to sound bitter, and he needed a minute to control the emotions tied with his still very raw past. "Not really, Marie. I do not really... That is to say Marie." He paused and began again. "I don't always associate my heritage with joyous times, Mariemaia. For me, personally, holidays were a time of duty and respect to traditions. Ceremonies of burden and a reminder of my ancestors and their institutions they bestowed upon us."

She took it all in and then glanced at her still full plate. "I'm sorry, Fei. I didn't realize... "

Wufei smiled softly. "Of course not, Marie. How would you know if I have never mentioned or talked about it before?"

Meeting his kind smile with one of her own, she agreed. "True."

After an internal debate that always seemed to rage within him, Wufei continued. "My clan celebrated the Winter Solstice, the arrival of it. Dong Zhi."

"Dong Zhi," she repeated, attempting to sound it out correctly.

Chuckling, Wufei repeated it again until Marie responded correctly.

"What did it celebrate?" She wondered, finally picking up her fork to eat her now cold breakfast.

"Let me heat that up, Marie," Millardo said, taking the girl's plate and tucking into the microwave. Leaning back, he gave his full attention to the Chinese man.

"Well it has different celebrations going back to what part of China you were from. For me, I was taught that it was a holiday where a family or clan would get together to drive away evil spirits and restless ghosts that might cause harm. We would do this by having a thanksgiving. We would give thanks for a good year. It was a joyful celebration," he mused for moment, remembering a long forgotten happier time of his past.

"We would make rice dumplings that would be used as sacrifices to my ancestors. They would also be given as gifts to friends of the family and relatives. It was a celebration of hope." Wufei smiled.

"Rice dumplings?" Marie asked curiosity piqued now.

"Well they are really called Tang Yuan. It's a dumpling made from rice flour and my clan would always make some food with red bean." He clarified.

"Would... Do you want to celebrate?" Marie asked shyly. "I always feel like you gave up everything-"

"Marie," Wufei interrupted kindly, as if not to further distress her. "I never gave up anything. I chose to separate myself form my past for personal reasons. Reasons that," and he spared a glance over to the blonde who seemed entranced with the conversation, "Reasons that seem a little selfish now." Wufei held back for a moment. He never really opened up on his history and culture to anyone. Well, he was not sure how much Fei had either.

But, seeing Marie's face intently fascinated and drawn up in pending excitement that long hidden pride flushed back into his being. It would be nice to share his past. It wasn't bitterness either. Besides, it would never hurt to get on the good side of his ancestors, because the world knew he needed any help that they could send.

A blossoming smile bloomed on his face and he asked her, "Would you like to celebrate Marie?"

"Yes!" she exclaimed.

Millardo smiled as if he had won some victory, though what victory it was baffled Wufei. "Well, maybe later this week when we go food shopping we'll get the needed ingredients along with the supplies of food we'll need for Christmas, alright?"

"Yeah!" She trumpeted, grinning happily.

"Now hurry up and finish breakfast," Wufei intoned looking at the recently heated up food before her.

"The car will be here in ten minutes," Millardo informed the girl who then started to panic.

"Damn! I'm gonna be late!" She cried out, all but inhaling her breakfast and flying out of the kitchen to finish getting ready.

+

Wufei swore he was going to grow gray hairs early. Something he did not necessarily think a man in his early twenties was supposed to worry about.

"Fei!" Marie intoned, tapping her foot in impatience.

With a resigned sigh, he followed her with their cart down the isle. Funny, he never saw food shopping as something he was ever supposed to look forward to. Then again, he never imagined raising a child. It was too bad that Millardo wasn't able to make it.

Grinning, he pushed the cart, ticking off items on his list, as they were not so graciously dropped in the cart by Marie.

"What else do we need for Tang Yuan?" she asked, dropping the rice into the cart.

Looking over his list, Wufei replied, "Ginger and slab sugar."

"Slab sugar?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I don't think they'll have it here. I'll probably have to go to a specialty store in Chinatown to get it," he informed her.

"So ginger," She replied, dropping that into the cart. "That enough?"

Wufei blinked, "Aa, more than plenty."

"Next!" she demanded with a smile.

"Onto the deli, we need to order the turkey, chicken, and ham for Christmas Eve supper with everyone," Wufei smiled, as he and Marie navigated their way to the deli counter.

+

"Keep on adding the water slowly," Wufei instructed to Mariemaia, turning the spoon in the bowl of rice flour.

"Like this?" she questioned, concentrating on making the water pour steadily.

"Perfect," He complimented, then added "you can stop now. I think it's ready to be made into dough."

Millardo took the pitcher from the young girl. "I got out the cooking boards" the blonde informed Wufei.

Neatly dividing the dough between the three of them, Wufei demonstrated how to roll the batter. Millardo chuckled as he smeared a bit of the white goo along Wufei's cheek.

Marie laughed as Wufei pouted. "Keep your hands on the batter!" He mock scolded the older man.

"You're no fun," Miri grinned.

"Of course not!" Wufei grinned back, sticking out his tongue.

"Ah, so you are admitting to it?" The blonde countered.

"Miri! Fei! Concentrate!" Mariemaia commanded.

"Okay, okay," the Chinese man smirked. "Now divide the dough up into about twenty pieces. Then we will wrap a piece into a piece of slab sugar," he demonstrated with uncanny ease. "Then roll into a ball."

The European man gave a hidden glance to Marie which she returned.

"What?" the black haired man asked in his defense, catching their conspired look.

"Nothing," Marie shrugged, though a smile tugged at her lips.

"Do you want me to turn on the syrup sitting in the pot on the stove?" Millardo asked, setting aside his somewhat oval-ish rice balls.

"Thanks," Wufei replied, turning to help Marie finish hers. "Just put you finished rice balls next to the boiling syrup.

"Done!" Marie exclaimed.

"Now bring them by the pot," Wufei instructed. "Drop a few in at a time and we'll know they're done when they begin to float."

"So we made the simple ones huh?" Miri asked dropping a few of his rice balls into the boiling water.

"Well, I wasn't sure if your culinary skills were up to wrapping and stuffing them," the Chinese boy laughed.

"I think they're beginning to float!" Marie exclaimed.

"Well, then get me a plate to place the finished Tang Yuan on," he instructed, glaring at Millardo who happened to be poking the done dumpling, making them bob up and down.

The taller man grinned and winked at the glaring man.

+

Lady Une shuddered at the sheer amount of people in the mall. It wasn't possible that this many people would converge in one area simply to shop. "Can't we just order things, Marie?" she asked.

With a sigh, bright blue eyes turned up to meet Anne's. "Anne! This is what the holidays are all about!"

"Really? Overstuffed and overheated shopping structures? Who knew?" The woman replied impishly.

"Anne! No! I covered everybody on my list but Miri and Fei. I still am trying to figure out what to get them."

"You haven't decided yet?"

Strolling with the older woman, Mariemaia shook her head. "I didn't come to the mall with a strategy Anne."

"Pity. We might have needed one."

"Be serious!"

Feigning innocence, Anne smiled. "I am."

With a chuckle, Marie explained her situation to Anne further. "My friends had to bale last minute, family outings and such. And I can't very well go with Miri and Wufei if I need to buy presents for them."

"You win. Lead the way," Anne instructed.

Fatally that was a mistake Anne soon discovered. Five stores later, the brown haired woman stood in next to a fountain with Mariemaia, who had still not discovered a present for either of her fathers.

"So," Marie finally said, glancing around at the stores about them.

"So?" Anne asked.

"Do you have any ideas as to what they might want?" she ventured.

Pausing a moment, Anne pushed her slipping glasses back up onto the bridge of her nose. "Um. Sorry to say that Christmas lists haven't come up in any recent conversations with them."

"Hm" Marie replied, tapping her chin in thought. "You wanna think over it over a lunch?"

"Why not? Um... Which way is the food court?" Anne asked.

"This way!" And Mariemaia lead the way.

A few minutes later, the head of the Preventers found herself staring down a plate of fries, smothered in what she assumed was cheese. "Is this stuff even safe to eat?" She ventured.

"French fries drowning in cheese are like a totally complete source of calcium!" Marie explained, dipping and consuming one.

Anne just gave them a long, skeptical look.

"Trust me," the younger girl said reassuredly.

Sipping her soda, the brown-eyed woman steeled up her courage and picked up a fry. "Well, here goes nothing."

"Well?"

"Not bad. Not good for me, of that I am certain. But not bad," Anne replied.

"They are like so like half the reason for even going to a mall!"

"The other reason being the cute boys, right?" Une grinned, cheekily.

Laughing with merriment, Marie nodded with a conspiring wink. "Now you have the right holiday spirit!"

"Speaking of holiday spirit, do you have any idea where to start on for gifts for Wufei and Millardo?" Anne inquired.

Slurping her soda, the redheaded girl shrugged. "I thought about a few books for Wufei but... "

"But you don't know what the bookaholic already owns?" Anne finished for the girl.

"Exactly. I swear that I've seen libraries with less books than him."

"And you'd probably be right." Anne mused. "How about a gift certificate?"

"Too impersonal," she replied, eating another fry.

"Like you feel it says an easy way out?" The brown haired woman inquired.

"Kind of. And I don't know enough about his martial arts to even begin to know where to look for something there," Marie lamented.

"That is tough," the older woman agreed.

"And after that I get stuck. He can't have weapons so that leaves out swords and so forth. I think he already owns every history book ever printed. The weapons thing includes antiques!" she slouched with defeat.

"Well, I know you know him better than that, Marie," Anne replied, dunking her own fry into the cheese sauce.

Shrugging, she glared at the plastic tabletop. "I thought I did and now it seems as if I don't."

Panic lodged itself into her mind. `She could not have figured it out! Millardo swore to me that they were covering perfectly!'

Oblivious to the older woman's reaction, Marie continued. "I mean, he likes to ski and I never knew that. Heck, I didn't even know he could. And he loves really dorky old twentieth century Hong Kong cinema flicks. Even if I think they're dumb."

"Those are ideas!" Anne encouraged.

"But everyone will be there!" Mariemaia interjected.

Blinking, Anne pushed her glasses up on her nose. "Now I don't follow."

"Anne! Wufei is such a serious guy. I mean I know he isn't. Miri knows he isn't. But, I don't think he would like everyone else to know that."

"Marie. We all know that Wufei acts serious like ninety-nine percent of the time," Anne said gently, looking the girl in the eyes. "But we all also know that he can joke around. Besides, you shouldn't worry about those things. You just get him something you'll think he will like. That's all you have to do."

A small smile wormed its way onto her lips. "You think so?"

Returning her smile, Anne nodded. "I know so." Then after a moment added, "What about Miri?"

Scoffing, Mariemaia waved her hand. "Oh, he's the easy parent. There are a bunch of poet's he likes. Relena helped me you there with the names. I just need to go to the bookstore and pick them out."

"Poets?" Anne repeated. She would not have pegged the ex-OZ lieutenant as a poetry lover.

"Yep. I came armed with like 5 different poet's names. I'll just need to pick a few different volumes of classic Sankian poets."

"Interesting," Anne commented.

Grinning, the girl nodded in agreement. "That and the newest mech flight game. Between him, Heero, and Duo they are all really competitive."

"Then I can guess Heero and Duo are getting the same game from you as well?"

"Well, Duo is. I figure him and Heero can share it. I ended up getting Duo a bunch of like old, old school computer games."

"Like how old school?" Anne inquired.

"They are like these old sixteen million pixel games!" Marie chuckled.

"Wow. That old."

"Yep! And Heero was totally easy to shop for."

"Computer parts?"

"Computer parts. Doesn't everyone give him random computer parts?" Marie asked.

"I think so. The boy is so wired that it's a wonder I actually have seen him in the offices, separated from his machines." The older woman laughed. "You took care of everyone else?"

Nodding, the girl sipped the last of her soda. "Quatre and Trowa are done. Plus you and Sally and Noin. My friends and I already exchanged gifts. Plus I already gave my present to the Preventers on the team that watches over my boring life. So really it's only the parents that are left."

"So the old Hong Kong cinema films?" Anne questioned, standing up and dropping the empty containers into the trash.

"Sounds good to me!"

+

"I still think the tree is crooked."

From under the tree, one could hear a voice float up. "Maybe you're looking at it crookedly, Marie," Wufei groused.

"No, I'm looking at it straight," she corrected him. "About five degrees to your left, Miri" she instructed.

Grunting to keep his hold on the pine tree, the blonde grumbled, "I don't think I can move the tree just five degrees, Mariemaia."

With a muffled sigh, Wufei's voice replied, "Just try it on three. One. Two. Three- now."

The two men shifted the tree under the girl's critical eye.

Panting, Millardo asked, "Better?"

Studying the tree for a long minute, Mariemaia shook her head. "Nope." Ignoring both of her fathers' groans, she corrected them. "It should be like a hair back to the right."

Wufei muttered something that sounded very much like a curse.

"Wufei?" Millardo called out.

"Hm?" the Chinese man replied.

"Tighten the damn tree stand." He instructed.

"But it's still lopsided!" Marie complained.

Sliding out from under the pine branches, Wufei shook needles from all over his body. "I'll be pulling pine needles from my hair for weeks."

Millardo glanced at the tree. "It looks fine." Then he offered a hand to the smaller man.

Accepting it and standing upright, Wufei looked at the tree as well. "No. Marie was right. It was slightly lopsided."

Marie nodded with agreement. "See, Miri?"

"Well, maybe it will even out if we put all the heavier ornaments on one side," Wufei commented.

"It couldn't hurt to try," Millardo agreed.

"Guys!" Marie exclaimed, eyeing the two of them in disbelief.

"Just tell everyone that the floor is uneven," Miri suggested, leaning against the wall.

The redheaded girl merely sighed in defeat.

"That could work," Wufei nodded in agreement.

"Say, where are the lights?" the taller man asked.

"In the bin that says lights?" Wufei replied with a smirk.

The blonde didn't warrant the Chinese man with a response, just a glare.

"You're eyes are obviously going."

Ruffling the smaller man's black hair as he strode past, Millardo grabbed a strand of lights.

"You know, in less than a month we get to take all this stuff down," Wufei mused, eyeing the strands of lights, cranberry strands, and ornaments with trepidation.

"Ever the optimist," Miri chuckled.

"I prefer the term pessimistic realist," Wufei countered.

"I need help with the lights, guys!" Marie called out.

"Coming!" they both responded.

+

[cont]