By Midii Une

Chapter 8

“shouldn’t be so complicated
just hold me and then
just hold me again”
--Rob Thomas

“Trowa calm down man, don’t blow a gasket,” Duo said, but his voice was unsure and a little wavery. “Hilde knows what she’s doing . . . I hope . . . shit.”

Duo peered over the railing of the balcony, the canvas awning below was obviously a little worse for wear. Their escape route was obvious, but that was the only clue. Hilde and little Miss Trouble could be anywhere by now. He muttered a few more choice curses under his breath.

“Dammit Hilde what were you thinking,” he thought.

Trowa glared out over the city of Bonaficio, a jumble of buildings, tangled streets and people. He couldn’t believe he’d trusted her to just stay there. But she had lulled both him and Duo into a false sense of security by being so damned cooperative, so sympathetic about Cathrine. He didn’t know how she’d managed to get Hilde to go with her but he swore that he would never be surprised by anything she did after this. She must have set something up with Niente somehow. The streets here were full of her allies, his glare intensified remembering that kid and his flowers, her smile. Her beautiful smile. There was danger out there too, the Alliance would be on her trail by now.

“Dammit Midii what were you thinking,” he thought.

A blur of motion crossed Duo’s line of vision as Trowa suddenly stepped up on the narrow balcony railing and jumped off, turned a somersault in midair, landed on his feet on the sidewalk and took off running. A few people passing by stopped and applauded.

“Sheesh,” Duo groaned. “Doesn’t that guy ever take an elevator? Ooooookay, I guess I’ll just wait here in case they come back, Trowa buddy. If that’s alright with you.”

He sighed. Trowa was too much like Heero. He never talked, just acted.


Heero, Quatre and Wufei were drinking coffee at an outdoor cafe on a sunny street corner discussing strategy. Heero was in a foul mood, they had traced them here to Corsica but that was it, he didn’t even know if they were still here on the island. “Duo,” he thought. “This isn’t a game, you baka. Where the hell are you?”

The streets were full of people, it was only an island, but they could be anywhere and it was no use searching aimlessly, Heero thought. A pair of giggling girls passed by the table, their heads together and talking non-stop. His frown deepened, in the mood he was in laughter was intensely irritating. Then he stared after them. One of the girls was slender with familiar black hair and the other one was a blonde wearing a very familiar-looking blue dress.

That was Hilde Maxwell.

And Midii Une was with her.

Wufei noticed too. Midii Une. He’d never forget her and her stupid luck getting a hit on him. She was probably laughing about him right now, he knew it, that’s what she and Maxwell’s woman were giggling about. He stood up and yanked his gun out of the holster hidden under his jacket. Heero put a hand on his arm and shook his head.

“For now we’ll just follow,” he ordered, Quatre had already caught on to Heero’s strategy and was carefully crossing the street to cover that angle. “Be careful she’s good, she’ll notice anything suspicious.”

“And Wufei,” he added.

Wufei looked at him impatiently.

“Be careful not to touch,” Heero said, unable to resist pushing the other pilot’s buttons. Like it or not, a little bit of Duo had rubbed off on him over the years.

Wufei was right. He actually was the source of Hilde and Midii’s amusement.

Hilde gasped with laughter and her eyes watered. “I know I shouldn’t say this but I’m kind of glad you shot him. As long as it wasn’t serious. I’d have loved to see his face,” she said. “Wufei really gets on my nerves. It’s like he doesn’t know my name. He never says hello. He just mutters ‘woman’ and looks at me like I’m a worm or something.”

Midii laughed as Hilde’s face contorted into a creditable imitation of the glare of the Chinese pilot. Then she sighed, Trowa would be angry at her for this, but they needed clothes. Il Ritmo de la Mare was a special place and she had a feeling this was going to be one of the most important nights in her life. Her smile faded, dreading his anger, but then what did it matter. After tonight she’d be back with Stefan or maybe even dead, at the very least they would have to disappear for a very long time. All this time spent with Trowa and nothing was resolved between them. She silently berated herself, what did she expect. There was no future with him, there never had been.

Hilde noticed the shadow cross Midii’s face. She thought about what she and Duo had come to realize. Trowa and Midii were in love. She wondered how long the two of them were going to continue being so stubborn about denying it. Maybe something would happen tonight. At Il Ritmo de la Mare . . .


Trowa entered the hotel room, he was alone, announcing his presence to Duo with a resounding slam of the door.

“Nothing, huh,” Duo asked. Trowa didn’t answer, he only went and leaned against the wall. To tell the truth Duo was starting to get seriously worried, it had been hours. If anything had happened to Hilde he’d kill Midii Une himself and Trowa be damned. What the hell could they be doing? There was only one thing that ever kept Hilde out of the house this long at home. Shopping.

“Shopping,” Duo said aloud, the sudden realization hitting him like a ton of bricks.

“What,” Trowa said, looking up. “What are you talking about?

He really wasn’t in the mood for one of Duo’s weird monologues right now. Something must have happened to her, he couldn’t find her anywhere. What if he never saw her again? And if anything had happened to Hilde he’d never be able to forgive himself for getting her and Duo involved in this mess. Midii was going to cost him everything again, his sister, his friends . . . but somehow, uppermost in his mind was the thought that she was in trouble, she needed him . . . and he couldn’t find her.

“I said shopping,” Duo said. “I bet they went shopping.”

Almost on cue the door swung open and the two culprits came in. They stopped short when they noticed Trowa and Duo staring at them angrily.

“Uh oh,” Hilde said, she’d known it was coming, but it had been worth it.

Trowa’s relief was so intense he almost smiled. Almost. She was back, she had come back. She was safe.

“Midii,” he said, walking over to her, then his face clouded with anger. He grabbed her arm, ignoring the startled looks on everyone’s faces, pulled her into the bedroom and slammed the door, clicking the lock.

“Well,” Duo chuckled. “It’s about time!”

“Tr-Trowa,” Midii stuttered. She was shocked by his behavior, he always showed so much self-control, he always acted so cold.

He shoved her so she fell down on the bed and he leaned over her.

“Shut up,” he said, his face close to hers, his green eyes sparking furiously.


White was definitely her color.

It made her look even more like an angel, Stefan thought. And to him she really was. Spending just these few days with the lovely and innocent Cathrine Bloom had affected his outlook on life a little. Sure he’d laughed at her when she suggested he consider turning his life around. He’d never even considered it a possibility before but there was something about her. Her sweet trusting nature, her odd belief that even someone like him had redeeming qualities and could start with a clean slate, if he wanted to. Well maybe he could. A slightly wistful smile appeared on Stefan’s face, one that would have shocked anyone who knew him well. He smiled wider, the look on his face would have knocked Midii, who knew him better than anyone, right over. He thought that he might be falling in love. Falling in love with Cathrine. He watched her admire herself in the mirror, the elegant lines of the dress accentuating her marvelous figure. It might be worth it to change, to win the heart of a girl like her.

“Cathrine,” he said, his voice sultry with desire. “I might just consider keeping you, the way you look tonight.”

She blushed and turned her head. This was a nightmare and yet it seemed like a dream too. A handsome, sensual, dangerous man who admired her so much. He made her feel exciting and beautiful. Just like the romance novels she read on those long shuttle trips when the circus traveled from place to place. And when Stefan moved to touch his lips to hers Cathrine reached up her hand and touched his cheek.

She let him kiss her.


Quatre updated Heero and Wufei on what he had found out following Midii and Hilde on their shopping trip that afternoon. Actually he was surprised himself that he found out so much, it was amazing how much the two of them liked to talk. He’d heard a few choice comments about Wufei that he wouldn’t be repeating and Quatre blushed a little remembering some of the things Hilde had revealed to Midii about herself and Duo and some of the embarrassing things they’d done together. He hadn’t realized women talked about things like that together. In a way he was grateful Dorothy was so aristocratic and secretive, she certainly would never tell anybody the things they did, he hoped. He couldn’t picture it.

Heero drummed his fingers on his folded arms, trying to hide his impatience. Quatre had just zoned out there for a minute. They were congregated in front of the hotel they had followed Midii and Hilde too. He glanced up at the building, Duo and Trowa must be in there somewhere. Their little game was just about up.

“Go on Quatre,” Heero prompted.


Relena stood on the balcony of her hotel room leaning her arms on the railing and looking out over the city of Bonaficio. Heero was here on this island somewhere but how would she ever find him. She sighed. This place was so lovely and peaceful, so romantic too. If only she could find Heero, how she’d love to walk through the streets with her arm pulled cozily through his. She imagined herself resting her head on his shoulder. They would drink wine at an outdoor cafe and eventually wander back to her hotel room. She’d give him the key and he’d open the door for her and then . . .

“Go on Quatre,” she suddenly heard his voice say. Heero’s voice. She’d know it anywhere. She leaned far over the railing and almost called out when she saw him standing there. But she decided to afford herself the luxury of just looking at him for awhile. The setting sun was casting a rosy glow over his deep brown hair. The breeze from the sea nearby was ruffling his hair slightly as he stood there with his arms folded, an impatient look on his face.

“Oh God,” Relena thought. “Heero, it’s been so long.”

As always when she saw him her heart constricted with longing. She strained to hear what they were saying and she caught some of the words.

“Il Ritmo de la Mare. Tonight,” Heero said, repeating the information Quatre had given him.

“Il Ritmo de la Mare. Tonight,” Relena repeated softly to herself. He’d be so surprised.


The rosy glow of the sunset reflected in Dorothy’s dark glasses as she stood around the corner of the building listening as Quatre updated his comrades on what he’d discovered. The sound of his voice reminded her how much she missed him. It was difficult being so close and not being able to touch him, Dorothy thought despondently. She was pathetic, disguising herself and following him around like this. But she couldn’t have stood to wait alone on the colony. This mission sounded like it was becoming more complex and dangerous by the minute. Spies, hostages, the Alliance.

Dorothy narrowed her eyes. She’d be there at this Il Ritmo de la Mare tonight. She’d find a way to extricate Quatre from this mess. Surely when he saw her he would realize there were more important things to do in life than chase after his deceitful little ex-secretary. She stretched a little and smiled, thinking of his kisses and the two of them alone together in a dark hotel room. Quatre wouldn’t be at Il Ritmo de la Mare for very long tonight. Not if she had anything to say about it.


“Don’t say anything. I mean it,” Trowa said. “Don’t bother telling me any more lies. I should never have trusted you, never let you out of my sight. You could have gotten Hilde killed and if I’d lost you I’d never see my sister again. Did you even think about that? When is this nightmare with you going to be over? I just want my life back, the way it was before you showed back up.”

“I knew what I was doing Trowa,” she ventured softly, unable to tear her eyes away from his angry face. “I didn’t tell you because I knew you wouldn’t understand.”

He remained silent so she dared to continue.

“There’s something else, since honesty is so important to you. I let your Preventer friends pick up our trail. It could be dangerous tonight, I think you’re going to need the backup. Quatre was following us, I made sure he heard all the details,” she said, closing her eyes and turning her head away as he stared at her.

He looked down at her, she was so close he could see each silky black eyelash against her pale cheeks. He frowned he hadn’t meant to be this way, but she’d scared him. Trowa reached out his hand to touch her cheek, he should tell her. Tell her that she’d scared him, that he’d thought she was in trouble and that was why he’d lost his temper. She was the only one who had the power to make him lose it like that. Because he loved her.

He wants me out of his life, he’s never forgiven me for what happened when we were children and I don’t blame him. All I ever do is bring him trouble. Why does it have to be this way, when I love him so much? She peeked at him from under her lashes and saw his distant look but not the hand reaching toward her. Midii rolled over on her side, turning away from him.

“It’ll all be over tonight Trowa,” she said tiredly. “After Cathrine’s safe I promise to stay out your life. For the rest of mine.”

Duo and Hilde, foreheads pressed against the bedroom door, looked at each other and groaned.

“Trowa buddy, you just blew it big time,” Duo whispered.


“Midii, are you okay,” Hilde asked, closing her eyes and tilting her face up to the light as Midii applied her eye makeup. “You’re being awfully quiet. What happened?”

“I was thinking maybe you shouldn’t come tonight,” Midii said. “It really may be too dangerous Hilde. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for any more people getting hurt.”

“No way,” Hilde replied, inspecting her reflection in the mirror. “I wouldn’t miss it. You’re not responsible for what other people do Midii, despite what Trowa Barton might say.”

Midii stared at Hilde and Hilde blushed a little and looked at the carpet. She hadn’t meant to let her know that they’d overheard their argument.

“You look wonderful tonight Hilde,” Midii said, ignoring her comment about Trowa.

Hilde happily nodded her agreement, she would never have picked this dress for herself, she was always drawn to plain old pink and purple. Safe colors and she usually wore sweaters and leggings. But in this clinging dress of shimmering silver-gray she looked so different. She smiled, wait until Duo saw it. The front looked prim enough with a traditional jewel neckline, but the back of the dress plunged daringly low. Hilde peeked over her shoulder.

“Nothing shows that shouldn’t back there, does it,” she asked Midii, who was pulling her hair away from her face into a knot while leaving most of it long and hanging down her back. She curled two long strands into ringlets with the curling iron they’d picked up and touched up her deep rose lipstick.

“I think you’re covered,” Midii said, glancing at her. “Barely.”

She couldn’t help but smile a little at Hilde’s excitement and Duo’s reaction when he saw how wonderful she looked. Hilde should dress up more often, Midii thought. She glanced at Trowa but he was ignoring them, looking out the window with his arms folded. Without realizing it she stared at him forlornly, wouldn’t he even look at her, she wondered. Hilde poked Duo. “Say something nice to her,” she whispered vehemently.

“Hey Trouble, you look great,” Duo said sincerely. He was married but that didn’t mean he still couldn’t appreciate other women. Especially other women in skintight, lowcut dresses. Trowa better get his act together or he’d lose her tonight, the way she looked.

“Trouble,” Midii said, questioningly and Hilde poked Duo again.

Midii looked at the floor, a little embarrassed. That was all she’d ever been to anybody, trouble. Especially to Trowa. She wished this night were over, one way or another. Trowa turned from the window at the sound of her voice. He didn’t know what to do to change what they’d both said in the bedroom. That wasn’t what he wanted, was it? Duo was right she was trouble. But still . . . he hadn’t imagined she could have ever looked better to him than she had on that first night he’d seen her again. But tonight, tonight . . . his emerald eyes lingered on her body in the simple midnight blue satin dress. Simple but devastating and so beautiful. If he could only have that moment back, he saw her on the bed beneath him. Heard her voice. “It could be dangerous tonight.”

The way she looked tonight was dangerous. He was in danger of forgetting everything and everyone else but her. He wouldn’t let anything hurt her.

“I swear I’ll protect you,” he promised silently, forcing himself to tear his eyes away from her before she could notice his look.


Mezzo stared at her as she stepped out of the taxi in front of Il Ritmo de la Mare. He could take her right now if he wanted to, it would be so easy. Let her surround herself with the best Preventers had to offer. It wouldn’t stop him. Before the night was over she’d be pleading with him to kill her, to put her out of her misery. He took a drag of his cigarette and looked at the burning tip and smiled. Eventually, he’d give in to her. Eventually. She should have known, should have known that traitors didn’t get an easy death.

When she and Niente were together again, then he’d make his move. That was how he worked, let Stefan deal with Preventers, he’d deal with Midii. He studied her as she stood under the lamppost, the soft light gleaming on that golden hair and the smooth satin of her dress. An amused smile crossed his face, leave it to Une to go out in style. He’d never seen her looking better. Both of them, Niente and Une, they’d loved the glamour of the business, thought they were too good to dirty their hands. The higher-ups thought they were something special but the rest of them knew they were just a couple of lucky kids who’d just never happened to get caught. It was time to show those two what it really meant to be intelligence operatives. He suspected they wouldn’t like it one bit.


“I don’t like this Trowa, buddy. I don’t like it one bit,” Duo said, bending his head toward Trowa’s and whispering to him. Trowa nodded agreement. The place was dark and smoky, there were lots of people and there were too many exits and little alcoves to hide in.

“Oh Midii, it’s perfect. So beautiful,” Hilde said, bending her head toward Midii’s and whispering to her. Midii nodded, she loved this place, she had been here so often during the war. The tiny votives glowing on every table, the open-air terrace on the cliff over the sea with the strings of tiny sparkling white lights glowing on the roof and railings. You could hear it’s rhythm in the background always, like a backbeat to the music. The rhythm of the sea. Il Ritmo de la Mare.

He spotted her. Stefan had said she would be coming. His wide, friendly smile broadened to unbelievable proportions. Signorina Midii was a little girl no longer, she had grown up very beautifully indeed. A pity his nephew didn’t see that. Stefan was a smart boy but he could be very stupid sometimes. Ah well, no matter, she seemed to have found someone to take care of her. The tall one with the green eyes, he never took his eyes off her.

“Signorina Midii,” he shouted, grabbing her hands and planting loud wet kisses on both her cheeks. He held her at arms’ length and looked at her with appreciative eyes. “Il Ritmo de la Mare has missed your presence. It shines brighter tonight because you have returned, and looking so exquisite too.”

Midii blushed. Stefan’s uncle, Paolo Niente, tended to exaggerate. Everyone was his best friend. Every woman was the most beautiful he’d ever seen. His personality and the beautiful location made Il Ritmo de la Mare the popular nightspot it was.

Paolo’s eyes widened as he noticed Hilde. He greeted her as effusively as he had Midii. “Who is your beautiful friend, Signorina Midii,” he asked. “Her eyes are bluer than the sea and in this dress she shines like the stars.” He twirled Hilde around so he could see her better and his eyes widened at the sight of the back of her dress. “A beautiful and daring lady I see,” he complimented her, kissing her hand.

Duo and Trowa stared at Paolo. Who the hell was this guy? He had both Midii and Hilde blushing and giggling like schoolgirls.

“Stefan told me to tell you he’ll be here around midnight, Signorina Midii,” Paolo said. “When he sees you like this perhaps he’ll come to his senses and marry you, give you lotsa pretty babies. We all agree he couldn’t find a better girl for a wife. Then you’ll both settle down and stay here with us on Corsica!”

Trowa looked like he was going to choke at that comment and Duo slapped him hard on the back.

“Sorry mister,” he said to Paolo, they had to get away from this guy before old Trowa blew a gasket, not to mention himself. If this old perv kissed Hilde one more time . . . “We gotta be looking for a table, so it was nice talking to you and all but . . .”

Paolo grinned and draped a big arm over Duo’s shoulder. “For Signorina Midii and her friends, the best table in the place. You are all friends of Paolo now,” he said, pulling Duo along while the others followed, Hilde and Midii barely containing laughter at the sight of Duo’s face. Even Trowa had to smirk.


“Sorry sir, the club has reached maximum capacity. You’ll have to wait out here, but I’d say your chances of getting in tonight are pretty low,” the bouncer told Heero. Heero narrowed his eyes and scanned the room. There she was. “I’m with her,” he told the bouncer. The bouncer widened his eyes and looked where he pointed then back at Heero, Wufei and Quatre. “Ahh, friends of Signorina Midii. Please step this way.”

Heero just pushed the man aside and strode in. He couldn’t wait to see the look on Duo’s face when he showed up.


“WHAT,” Duo nearly shrieked, he was still recovering from having that guy’s big hairy arm around his neck. “Heero’s comin’ here tonight?”

Midii nodded. “You’ve seen this place, for Cathrine’s protection we need all the help we can get. It was the only way,” she explained.

Trowa couldn’t help but be impressed by her logic, she did seem to know what she was doing. He wished he could trust her. If only this night were over and Cathrine were safe. Then he could concentrate. Concentrate on what to do about these feelings for Midii. How he ached to touch her. Her skin seemd to glow like the satin of her dress and it looked just as soft, maybe softer. And she was so close beside him.

Midii scanned the room nervously. Even with Trowa and all his friends here she felt so vulnerable. She wanted to reach out and grab Trowa’s hand, beg him to hold her and never let go. If he was holding her she wouldn’t be so afraid. He doesn’t care, she reminded herself, he’s just counting the minutes until you’re gone and then he can go back to his regular life.

“Heero, hey,” Duo called, waving cheerfully. Might as well act casual and normal, he was here now and he couldn’t change that.

“Duo. Trowa,” Heero said. “If it wasn’t for this turning out to be such a good plan I’d be very upset with the both of you. But as it is . . .”

Heero stopped and looked at Midii, he couldn’t help but notice that she was a very beautiful woman. The perfect target, the perfect lure. He was going to find out exactly what the Alliance was hiding tonight, as long as he stayed close to her.

Trowa didn’t like the way Heero was looking at Midii. He had the cold, detached look on his face that he always had during a mission.

“What plan, Heero,” he prompted.

“I understand you want your sister back,” Heero said. “We’ll make sure nothing happens to her. She’s a civilian. But I have the feeling all hell’s going to break loose tonight and your little friend and her partner are going to be at the center of it.”


Heero was engrossed in his conversation, not even bothering to scan the room or admire this wonderful, fairyland of a place, Relena thought. She smiled a little, at least she didn’t have to worry that he was interested in somebody else. Even the beautiful girl sitting at the table next to him. All he’d done was flick his eyes over her with his usual cold, clinical disinterest. She herself was the only girl he’d ever looked at any differently. But it wasn’t enough anymore. The war had been over for a long time, it was time for Heero to try and start a normal life.

She sighed. Duo and Hilde had gotten up and were dancing, their bodies pressed close together and she could see Duo press his mouth to Hilde’s shoulder and his hand moved in gentle circles on the bare skin of her back. If Duo could do it there was no reason Heero couldn’t. The time for the perfect soldier was over. She and Heero had earned a chance at happiness like that. Tonight she was going to show him. Relena walked purposefully out of the darkness of the terrace and into the flashing lights of the main room.

Heero felt eyes on him and a warm feeling flooded his body. There was only one reason for him to feel like that.


He looked up and saw her standing there, the colored lights playing on her face. Relena. He hadn’t seen her in over a year, tried so hard to push her glorious beauty out of his mind. In all this chaos surrounding Midii Une he’d even forgotten to remember her birthday this year. He’d told himself it was for the best. Relena was not for him, she belonged to the world. The guardian angel of peace. He was only her lowly soldier, doing his best to protect her wonderful dream.

This was no place for Relena.

Encouraged by his look, Relena walked up to the table and sat down beside Heero in Duo’s empty chair. Heero looked at his watch, he had till midnight to get her the hell out of here.


The atmosphere at the crowded little table was strained. Quatre wished there was something he could do about it. He saw immediately that Trowa and Isabela were no closer to reaching some kind of understanding than they had been before they’d run off.. “Not Isabela,” he repeated to himself. “Midii, Midii.” He couldn’t stop thinking of her as his sweet friend Isabela, no matter that there was now no doubt as to who she really was. How could Trowa resist her in a place like this? Quatre shook his head as the two of them glanced at each other for about the hundredth time in the last hour and then jerked their heads away again, afraid to let their eyes meet. He knew if Dorothy were here he’d have to take her in his arms and dance with her, just like Duo and Hilde were doing. He smiled at the two of them. At least one of them was finding a normal life and some real happiness, leave it to Duo to be that one. Despite all the tension in the atmosphere he still had the time to share a special moment with his beautiful wife. How he wished Dorothy were here. And how strange that Miss Relena had appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. Heero should be happy to see her, but he wore his usual mask of indifference. What was wrong with all of them?

The man at the bar watched the young man and woman at the table, the near-miss glances, the anxious look on his face, the heartbroken look on hers. Stupid young fools that didn’t realize how precious love and life and time was. It wasn’t long ago he’d lost his wife, a beautiful, golden-haired angel so like that girl over there. She’d sparkled in exactly the same way. If only they’d had more time together and yet those two sat there like that, wasting this beautiful night, their time together. It happened again. The tall young man looked yearningly at the woman beside him, but she was studying her hands in her lap, as he turned his head away she glanced at him, her eyes bright with unshed tears. Those two needed a push in the right direction. He got up from his barstool and walked over to the table in the center of the room.

“Una ragazza graziosa come uni dourebbe balarre,” he said to the girl, his liquid Italian syllables falling softly on her ears. Yes, he thought, a pretty girl like her should be dancing, but not with him, with the stubborn young man at her side who was suddenly starting to pay attention. She shook her head shyly, looking down. “Come,” he said, speaking in English this time. He grabbed her hand and pulled her out on the dance floor.

Heero took his eyes off Relena long enough to notice Midii was gone. “Where’d she go,” he asked, starting to rise from his chair.

“It’s okay Heero, she’s only dancing. She’s right there,” Quatre said, his eyes on Trowa. That man had the right idea, this might just light a fire under his friend at last.

“Really,” Midii protested, feeling Heero and Trowa’s eyes on her. “I should sit down. I’m not here to dance.” And yet, how she loved to dance and this song was so beautiful and the words hurt her heart.

“Don’t worry little one,” the man said, dipping her so low to the floor that her golden hair pooled dramatically against the dark wood. “The one you love will come to rescue you from my unwanted attentions in a very short time.”

Duo and Hilde returned and sat down, breathless and happy. Duo looked at Heero and Trowa and rolled his eyes in annoyance. He had had enough.

“Listen you guys, this is just plain ridiculous. R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S,” he said, everyone at the table became silent and listened to him. “Here you are, it’s a great night, the stars are shining and all that othe romantic crap and you’re just sitting there. Loosen up for god’s sake. Trowa, listen to me, everyone in this goddamn room knows that you’re in love with her and that she’s in love with you. Stop denying it and go get her, you know things are gonna get bad later. Don’t have any regrets, you’ve wasted enough time already. Alright, so she’s the enemy. So what. You can help her. Haven’t you noticed the look in her eyes. She looks at you like you’re her salvation. The same way Heero over there looks at his princess when he thinks no one’s looking. The same way I look at Hilde. In this life some of us are givers and some of us are takers, but we need each other. We need to find that person. She needs you and you know damn well that you need her. What the hell are you waiting for? And you Heero, God knows you’re even worse. You know that you need Relena to save your icy soul but you keep running away. Give it up man, it’s about time.” He paused and looked around at the stunned faces surrounding him. “Okay, okay! I’ll just shut up now.”

“Oh Duo,” Hilde said softly. “Oh Duo.” She wrapped her arms around him and pressed her face against his neck. “That was so beautiful. I love you so much.” She drew his head down to hers and kissed him.

Relena glanced at Heero and he met her glance. She took his hand and they walked off together toward the terrace. Quatre had already gotten up, as Duo talked he’d caught a glimpse of familiar long blonde hair. He had taken Duo’s advice and followed after the elusive girl he loved.

Trowa looked out on the dance floor and found Midii. Duo was right, so right. Her eyes were on him from across the room, she was looking at him. How could he not have seen how she needed him, as much as he needed her.

Midii’s partner saw Trowa starting to take notice, just one last touch and he knew the stupid boy would come to his senses at last.

“She is so beautiful, just like you my darling Sofia,” he thought. He pulled her Midii against him and touched his lips softly to hers.

“You are very sweet,” he murmured, his hand caressing the bare skin of her back.

Trowa stood up so fast his chair crashed behind him and he was beside her in an instant. The man backed off, a pleased smile on his face, how he hated to see young people waste time. His plan had worked perfectly. The younger man was taking the girl in his arms now and holding her close. Everything would work out for them now, he would ask his Sofia to look down on them from heaven.

“Midii,” Trowa said softly, tilting her chin up so she looked at him. “Are you alright.”

She nodded. “He was just being kind,” she said. “I’m sorry, I tried to get him to stop. I know we need to stay close now.”

He pulled her closer. “Yes,” he said. “Very close.”

“Trowa,” she murmured, resting her chin on his shoulder and pressing her hair against his cheek.

He forgot everything. Everything but Midii and the night. Forgot Cathrine and why they were there. Why, why had he waited so long to hold her again, he wondered. His hand brushed over her hair and he pushed the silky strands aside to caress her neck with his fingers, touching her skin reverently, catching his breath as he drew his hand over her collarbone and felt the pulsing of her heart beneath his palm.

“Midii,” he started to say. “About this afternoon . . .”

She turned her face up to look at him and he forgot what he wanted to say. He had to kiss her. “Midii,” he repeated, taking her face in his hands and pressing his lips to hers.

TO BE CONTINUED . . . Next time on Alone/Together . . . Midnight comes and all hell breaks loose!

Chapter 9