Author: Honor A. De'Mandoren
see part 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer

Matchmaker + Part Five
Gossips

"You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question."
~Albert Camus, "The Fall"

+

Friday dawned, but not everything was back to normal yet. Since our secret was out anyway, I had Trowa pack a bag so he could spend the weekend with me. I wanted my lover with me, and I knew he felt the same as he immediately agreed. I cut work an hour short and picked up Amee myself, expecting to surprise her with the news that we could spend the weekend with Trowa.

She clambered into the car with tears streaking down her cheeks, lower lip trembling.

"Amee?" I reached over the middle consol and hugged her. "What's wrong? Are you hurt?" I didn't see anything physically wrong with her.

"Somebody told me that I c-can't live with you anymore."

"What?!" Okay, where the hell was this coming from?

"T-they said that gay people can't have k-kids."

Oh shit. I tightened my hold on her, pressing a kiss against her forehead. "They're right in a way, but not in this case. That would only be true if I were trying to adopt you. You already live with me, so that law doesn't come into play. Okay? Does that make sense?"

She nodded against my chest, sniffling. Reluctantly I pulled back, watching her face. I could tell she wanted to believe me -- but that she was still worried about it. Our grandmother had alluded to this same law when talking to Amee earlier. Maybe it was weighing in Amee's mind because so many people were mentioning it to her. Things tended to sound true if it were repeated often enough.

Nothing that I could say could really fix this, and I hated that feeling. Silently I put the car into gear and drove home, mind worrying different angles of approach as I drove. I was so wrapped up in my thoughts, I almost forgot to share my news. "Trowa is spending the weekend with us at our house."

Amee brightened slightly. "Really?"

"Yup. He's promised to cook tonight too."

She settled back into the seat, more at ease.

How do I fix this...

+

Amee was upstairs practicing her music lessons when Trowa came in. I hugged him tightly as the front door closed. "Remember what you said about two days ago? About emotional roller coasters?"

Trowa tensed, tilting my head up so he could look at me. "What happened?"

"Someone told Amee that she couldn't live with me anymore because I'm gay."

Trowa started swearing softly.

"The worst part about this is that it's more than just one person telling her that -- I tried to reassure her, but she's being hit by this from so many angles, part of her believes that there must be an element of truth in it. What more can I do?" I whispered. "I hate to see her torn up like this."

"Maybe... " his head cocked a little, and the wheels were turning madly in his mind. "Maybe she needs it straight from the horse's mouth."

"What do you mean?"

"I have a friend of mine, a lawyer. I bet if we let her talk to him, and let him assure her that there's nothing to be worried about, that she would let go of this. After all, it's his business to know all angles of the law."

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. "Let's do it."

"Tonight?"

My eyebrows shot up. "This must be a good friend to come over at a moment's notice."

"He is. If I bribe him with country fried steaks, he'll be over here in five minutes."

"Bachelor who can't cook?" I hazarded.

"Close. His Chinese gourmet is out of this world, but he can't seem to do much else. I'll call him, okay?"

I waved him toward the phone. To my surprise he hit the speaker button. I didn't expect to be able to listen in on this call. On the second ring it picked up.

<<Hello?>>

Imagine the perfect voice for phone sex. That was what I was hearing.

"Wufei, I'm making country fried steaks."

<<... and what do you need?>>

"I need you to come over and give some legal advice. Five minutes, tops."

<<That's it?>>

"That's it." Trowa winked at me, mouthing 'he's hooked'.

There was a moment of contemplative silence. <<All the trimmings?>>

"Would you prefer mashed potatoes or baked?"

<<Mashed. I'll be over in five minutes.>>

"Ah... I'm not at the apartment. Do you know where 68 Country Terrace is?"

<<Trowa. Are you suggesting that you want me to come over to your boyfriend's house for dinner?>>

"Yes."

<<You two haven't done something kinky and/or illegal, have you?>>

"Kinky hasn't been entirely ruled out, but it will be legal. Mostly. Honestly, Wufei, just a little advice."

<<Hn. Alright, I'll be there in fifteen.>>

I was a little fascinated by this. I've never had a friend like that, one that would just trust that his help was needed and come over with no warning. "How long does it take to make country fried steaks?"

"About an hour," Trowa admitted easily. "We better get started."

"That is a safe assumption, yes."

+

Roughly twenty minutes later I heard the door bell. I left Trowa to cooking and answered it.

Roughly 5'8", slim build, black hair pulled back tightly in a pony tail and black slanted eyes. I had not expected a Chinese man at my door, or for him to be so damned good looking.

He gave me a quick scrutiny, a flash of approval over his face. "You must be Quatre Winner."

"That's me," I confirmed. "Chang Wufei?"

"Yes."

"Come inside." I stepped back and let him in, closing the door behind him. "Trowa is in the kitchen."

"He'd better be. What is this advice that you need?"

"Ah... let's sit down first." Amee was doing homework in the study (she's absolutely fascinated with sitting at my desk, I have no idea why) and I didn't want her to overhear. I led him through to the kitchen. Trowa was just putting something in the oven when we came in. The aroma of food was making my mouth water.

Trowa glanced up once the oven door was shut. "Hello, Wufei."

"Trowa." Wufei nodded back. "What is this about?"

"We need you to answer a question."

"Are you purposefully being obscure, or are you trying to get me irritated enough to hit you?"

Trowa grinned. "Both, naturally."

"Quatre!" Amee came around the corner at high speeds. "Is Trowa -- oh, I'm sorry." In the blink of an eye she went from your usual seven year old to a proper little lady. She gave Wufei a charming smile, batting innocent big blue eyes.

Wufei did something of a double take at seeing her, and I noticed that his eyes darted to me before settling back on her. No doubt he was comparing features.

Trowa stepped forward to do the introductions. "Wufei, this is Amara Winner. Amee, a good friend of mine, Chang Wufei."

Amee held out a hand, which Wufei took. He didn't shake it as she expected though, but gave her a proper bow. "A pleasure."

Amee blinked, then giggled a little. She looked a little star struck, not that I can blame her. "How do you do."

Trowa sank down to her level and murmured, "He's a lawyer. I thought you might want to ask a few questions."

Amee bit her bottom lip, glancing at him in doubt, then up at Wufei in blatant uncertainty.

Wufei leaned down and picked her up by the waist, making her squeal. With no noticeable effort he put her on one of the barstools. "Now I can see you better. Maybe you can answer something for me, Amee."

"Um... okay."

"This idiot," Wufei's thumb jerked in Trowa's direction, "called me out of my nice, comfy apartment saying that he needed advice, unfairly bribes me with my favorite meal, but once I get here he won't tell me what's going on. Maybe you know?"

She just... relaxed under his focused attention. I probably would have to. He certainly knew how to be charming. "I think it might be my fault."

"Why? Did you murder somebody and stashed the body in his trunk?"

She giggled, head shaking. "No!"

"Married him under Quatre's nose?"

The head shaking became more emphatic. "Uh-uh. It's just... somebody told me something. They said that because Quatre and Trowa were together, that I wouldn't be able to live here anymore."

I could literally see all the pieces falling into place as Wufei looked at her. He even looked a little indignant. "Ah. Well, they were wrong."

She went back to biting her lip. "Are you sure?"

"Positive. It's true that gay couples cannot adopt children, but once a child is adopted, things stay that way. There is no legal course for taking a child away from a gay couple. Besides, Trowa isn't connected to you legally is he?"

She thought that over. "No."

"I thought not. After all, I haven't been invited to a wedding. Quatre is your father, and the law doesn't have a right to take you away at all because of that."

"Actually," I corrected carefully, "she's my sister."

"Oh." Wufei gave me a considering look. "You did look a little bit young to have a daughter of this age. Are you her legal guardian?"

"Yes."

"Hm. It doesn't change things. The law has absolutely no right to take you away from here, not even if Trowa and Quatre were married," Wufei assured her. There was a certain amount of authority to what he was saying that just lent weight to his words. I could see that Amee believed him.

"Okay."

He nodded to her, and she nodded back with all seriousness. "Good. Now that I've slain my quota of ogres, when is dinner going to be ready?"

"Half an hour," Trowa volunteered. He was smiling slightly at them, obviously pleased. It was a feeling I shared at the moment. I was beginning to really like his friend.

*ring*

Wufei sighed and pulled his cell phone out. "Excuse me a moment." Putting it to his ear, he drifted toward the end of the counter. "Hello." A beat. "No, Duo, I'm not running late. Trowa is cooking country fried steaks." There was an expansive roll of his head. "May I remind you that he has a boyfriend? I didn't have to bribe him with kinky sex, not that I have ever done that to begin with."

Trowa was snickering as he started peeling potatoes. I assumed that this was something of a long-standing joke.

"You can't come over... Don't screech at me! We're not at his apartment, we're at his boyfriend's house... No, there is no threesome involved. He needed some legal advice, and dinner was the lure to get me over here."

Duo sounded like an interesting personality, just from the way Wufei was responding to him. I tapped Wufei on the shoulder to get his attention. "He can come over here, I don't mind."

Wufei put a hand over the bottom of the phone. "Are you sure? I don't wish to impose."

"It's not a problem," I assured him.

"Alright." Lifting his hand off he went back to talking to Duo. "Quatre claims that you can come over. OW!" Wufei yanked the phone away from his ear and glared at it a moment before putting it cautiously back. "Sha zi, don't yell into the phone! You have something to write on? Good, here's the directions."

I sidled closer to Trowa and whispered, "Is Wufei involved with him?"

"Yes," Trowa answered, with one eye on his friend. "Duo Maxwell. We were all room mates at college, that's how we met. They didn't get really interested in each other until last year, though."

"Oh." Well that gave me a better feel for them. Apparently these three had been friends for years.

Amee had been watching us silently, and apparently listening closely to both conversations. On par with seven year olds, she asked the one question that she shouldn't. "What's a threesome?"

I choked. Trowa was shaking with silent laughter, and judging from Wufei's sudden interest in his phone, he had no intention of answering that question. "Not something you need to know," I told her firmly.

"You always say that," she complained.

"I'll explain it later."

Her eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Later like tomorrow or later like when I'm eighteen?"

"Thirty." Maybe. With any luck, she'll forget and I won't have to explain.

She huffed and crossed her arms across her chest moodily, but thankfully let it drop.

Miracles never cease.

+

Duo Maxwell was again, not at all what I expected. He was roughly my height, long chestnut braid down to his waist and brilliant blue eyes that leaned toward being violet. He greeted me with a one-armed hug, (something that threw me for a loop) Wufei with a kiss and Trowa with a full bear hug. "Tro, that smells soooo good! You gotta bribe 'Fei more often." He bounced free and spun to meet Amee. "Wow! It's like looking at a live china doll. Who are you, gorgeous?"

She giggled, giving him a little curtsy. "Amee Winner."

"I'm Duo." He captured her hand, kneeling before her with (fake) rapture in his eyes. "You will marry me, won't you?"

Trowa casually smacked him back in the head. "Stop seducing her, idiot."

Amee just giggled again. "You have funny friends, Trowa."

"They keep life from getting boring," Trowa agreed blandly. "But it's hard to take them out in public."

Duo rubbed the back of his head, pouting at the abuse. "You're mean, Tro. So when's dinner?"

"Ten minutes."

"Excellent. It gives me just enough time to pry the full story out of you. Now, to begin with, can I keep Amee?"

"No," I told him firmly.

"Spoilsport," Duo complained. "I'd give her back. Eventually."

Wufei drifted to his partner's side, eyebrow cocked. "Do you want to use her as a model?"

"Of course!" Duo shot back. "Look at her, she's gorgeous, and she's polite which most girls her age aren't."

"Model?" I asked in confusion.

"I'm a clothing designer for children," Duo explained cheerfully. "I'm always looking for a good model, because most kids in the business look good but have sucky personalities. I can't stand to work with them for more than a week or two."

Amee's eyes lit up. "Really?"

I knew what was coming and groaned. Amee flew to my side and glomped my leg. "Please?"

"Amee... ."

"PLEASE????"

"You go to school," I reminded her. "And violin lessons, and piano lessons, and gymnastics. Do you have time for more?"

"I'm only talking a few hours a week," Duo inserted with all the smooth charm of a car salesman. "Five, tops."

Call me a sucker, but I can't say no when Amee bats those big blue eyes of hers with a little pout on her face. With a sigh I gave in. "Okay, fine."

"YES!" She hugged me tightly, then started bouncing around the room.

"I hope you know what you're getting into," I told Duo.

"Uh... why?"

"Amee has a fashion sense like you would not believe," Trowa informed him. He was damn near smirking when he said it too. "I've gone shopping with her before, and she certainly knows clothes. Be prepared for her opinion."

Duo looked a bit struck by this idea. "Kids with a fashion sense... hold everything, I just felt the world tilt. So, going back to the main topic -- what'd you need 'Fei for?"

Amee stopped doing her victory dance long enough to return to the conversation. "That was my fault."

Duo stared down at her in surprise. "Really? Did you kill somebody and stash the body in Tro's trunk or something?"

She started giggling. "That's what Wufei asked me!"

"And no, she didn't," Wufei assured his partner dryly. "Someone told her that since Quatre and Trowa were lovers, she wouldn't be able to live here anymore."

Duo narrowed his eyes angrily. "That was stupid. And mean."

Trowa reached down and swung Amee up into his arms. She snuggled right into him, I noticed, without batting an eye. Hm... methinks she likes to snuggle with a certain sexy doctor. I really couldn't blame her. "It doesn't matter though, does it?" Trowa asked her softly.

"No," she agreed with a smile. "As long as it's not true, it doesn't matter."

+

Dinner was a riot. I have never in my life been surrounded by so many interesting people all at once. I thought Amee was going to laugh herself into an asthma fit. Some of the humor was above her level -- but she was a smart little girl and most of it she got.

Okay, so I'm prejudiced. Your point?

When dinner was over, we just moved to the living room and settled in there. Trowa pulled me into his lap without hesitation, and I snuggled back into him, pressing my ass into his crotch. I felt him stiffen up slightly and grinned. It wasn't really about sex -- I just liked knowing that I could make him hot and horny for me in two seconds flat. Amee sat on the couch next to us, apparently interested to see that Duo and Wufei were sitting very close together, as any other couple would. I was thankful she didn't say anything, even though she was obviously curious.

"So, Tro." Duo had a devilish twinkle in his eye that did not bode well. "I see that you're as photogenic as always."

Trowa groaned, head dropping onto my shoulder. "I should have known you'd see it."

"Yup."

"It was a very interesting move on your part," Wufei noted in my direction. "I don't think anyone has ever actually bought a tabloid press and shut it down for pushing their boundaries."

"It was the only thing I could think of that would get them to stop," I answered honestly. "Besides, it was a very... intimate moment. It galls me that someone actually was privy to it."

"What was the picture?" Amee demanded.

"She doesn't know?"

I tilted to look at Trowa. "No. I didn't keep a copy."

"It just so happens," Duo waggled his eyebrows as he dug his wallet out of his back pocket, "that I have a copy."

Amee clapped her hands in delight and darted to his side even as Trowa and I groaned. Duo pulled out a newspaper clipping and tilted it so she could see. In a purely female way she squealed and bounced on her toes. "Oh, that's so sweet!"

"I rather thought so," Duo agreed with her, also looking at the picture with a wide smile. "They do look good together, don't they?"

"Mm-hm."

Note to self: find out what happened to the original picture. Even if I wasn't all too happy about other people seeing that moment, I rather like the idea of having my own copy.

*ring*

Oookay... it was very unusual for someone to call me this late on a Friday night. Untangling myself from Trowa, I went to the foyer phone and picked it up. "Hello?"

<<Quatre. I wish to speak with you.>>

I took in a large breath, and slowly let it out. "Grandmother, I have guests at the moment. Can we talk tomorrow?"

<<You never have guests.>>

"I do today."

<<Who are they?>>

"Wufei and Duo." I didn't think she'd be able to believe me unless I actually gave their names. "Why do you always interrogate me when I make a statement?"

<<Perhaps because you've been lying to me for so many years.>>

I was acutely aware that there were four people in the room behind me with at least half an ear cocked in my direction. I turned my back to them and lowered my voice even more. "I'll admit to lying by omission, but no more. And if you want to 'talk' to me only to rant, then forget it."

<<I am not going to 'rant' at you. I want to talk with you with more depth on this... matter.>>

Instinct said 'don't do it'. However, she was my grandmother. I didn't want to just write her off. "Fine. Cicero's at ten?"

<<I'll see you there.>>

I hung up the phone and blew out a breath. Hopefully... this won't be a mistake.

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