(sequel to Jaded—damn, I caved O_o)
By Midii Une
Disclaimer: I don’t always mention this particular but I do not own Gundam Wing, Trowa Barton or Midii Une (sob) I am however the creator of Nathalie Une, Gerard DuMond and other original characters in this fic excluding Christof Une who is the sole property of his creator, Liewe and is used here with her kind permission. For more on Christof (one of my favorite original characters of all time) check out Shattered Hearts and Tears of Despair by Liewe at http://www.geocities.com/spysilencer/liewe.html
This fic includes song lyrics as performed by Matchbox 20, additional inspiration provided by It’s Been Awhile as performed by Stain’d. Beware of language and lemon in this story. Also contains a semi-crossover loosely based on the original Gundam universe.
The others had all gone to bed but Cathrine and Quatre sat outside looking at the stars.
“I hope Midii is alright,” Cathrine said, snuggling in the comforting arms that held her gently.
“I still can’t believe Trowa never said anything. He must have been hurting so much but he never showed a thing,” Quatre said. “What was she like?”
Cathrine sighed. “In some ways she was a lot like Trowa but her feelings weren’t buried so deep. It was only a few days, Quatre I don’t know. One minute she was there and I saw a Trowa I never thought existed. He was happy, actually happy. I didn’t really like her, I think it made me uneasy to realize there was someone out there that could make Trowa seem vulnerable. Maybe I was even jealous that even after everything I’d done or could ever do for him he’ll never be happy unless he finds her again. That damn war ruined everything. She just disappeared when Trowa did, she was too smart to let them take her hostage like the rest of us.”
She shuddered in remembrance of the awful memories of facing death on L3 X-18999 and Quatre took the opportunity to hold her closer, his fingers exploring her soft skin. She wore rather a sheer blouse over a dark lacy bra. Cathrine seemed to wear the clothes unconsciously as if she were unaware how irresistible they made her. She had a wonderful cheerful innocence and a refreshing naivete about her own beauty that drew him like a magnet.
His fingers lingered on a small dark spot on the back of her shoulder. It was a perfect heart, deep brown and dark against her fair skin.
“A little heart! I never noticed this before,” he said, purposely changing the subject in an attempt to chase the bereft look from her usually cheerful, pretty face. Besides, the temptation to kiss the spot was strong and he didn’t resist.
“It’s a DNA tattoo, kind of like a birthmark,” Cathrine explained, the touch of his lips sending a pleasant thrill down her spine and banishing her dark thoughts. “My father told me all the Bloom girls have them. It was a popular thing to do when his grandmother was a girl. They implanted the tendency in the DNA and it gets passed down from generation to generation. I like it, it reminds me that I belong to a family.”
A soft unfamiliar sound, like the mewling of a newborn kitten filtered through the darkness. Trowa lay on his back on his bedroom floor, his arm flung behind his head as he stared up at the ceiling which gleamed whitely in the faint moonlight that came in from beyond the window. Little sounds were everywhere, unintelligible whispers from Cathy and Quatre outside and restless sheet rustlings from the couch Cathrine had turned into a bed for Christof on the other side of the wall. The strange little noise was much closer and it came from the center of his bed. He sat straight up, adrenaline pouring through his veins as if he’d just detected the approach of a squadron of enemy mobile suits.
Nathalie. He jumped up and looked toward where he’d seen her last, sprawled horizontally in a jumble of small arms and legs and taking up a ridiculous amount of room in his bed. His eyes told him she wasn’t there. But his head refused to believe it. She had to be there. For a long time all he could do was look at her, a little miracle that he hadn’t even known existed until today. She was absolutely perfect. Cathy had brushed her long blonde hair into smooth waves and Christof had packed her favorite pink satin nightgown in his duffle bag. “Never leave home without it,” he’d said, only half-jokingly. For not even four she was very smart and she talked with barely a hint of babyish lisp, she could be outspoken and demanding without ever seeming spoiled or willful. Trowa could have gone on and on but he realized suddenly that he was bragging to himself about his own child. He needed to sleep, to think about how he was going to find Midii.
Panic rose in him briefly before he realized that she had hidden beneath the covers and was sobbing quietly, curled up in a little ball. As his heartbeat returned to normal, Trowa flipped on the bedside light on it’s lowest setting and slowly lifted the covers to find a little face staring up at him desolately.
“Is Mommy back yet,” she quavered, a fat tear rolling down her soft pink cheek. “I’m scared. She always leaves the light on when I go to sleep.”
Nathalie pouted, looking pleadingly at her father from under black lashes edged with crystal tears.
His heart twisted, every fiber in his being urging him to tear the very universe apart if necessary in order to find Midii and make Nathalie happy again. He knew better, knew it wouldn’t be that easy if it was possible at all. The child didn’t realize that it would take time to find her mother. Time was something children didn’t even begin to understand, Trowa thought as he sat on the bed with his back against the headboard and let her crawl into his arms. She made a pleased little sound when he rubbed her back softly and before he knew it she’d fallen back to sleep. The lamp made the room too bright so he found an old T-shirt and flung it over the shade to dim the light.
Nathalie’s childish fears resurrected ghosts of her mother in Trowa’s thoughts as sleep continued to evade him. Did Midii always leave the light on because she was the one who was still afraid of the dark, he wondered somberly. He remembered her absolute terror of the dark, even remembered teasing her about it. He hoped now that wherever she was, she wasn’t alone in the dark . . .
He was sitting like that, holding Nathalie close and still awake, when Lady Une’s most trusted aide-de-camp located his position and placed an emergency call at 4 that morning.
Nathalie had found a miniature version of Cathrine’s circus costume while replenishing her toy supply at one of the circus souvenir booths, she sat now on the floor with the fluffy pink tulle skirt poofed around her. The small trailer Trowa and Cathrine shared was now littered with an entire parade of small circus animals that Nathalie jumped through Cathy’s embroidery hoops giggling and shouting commands gleefully. With the resiliency of childhood she forgot her nighttime fears and concentrated intently on the business of play and all the new treasures thoughtfully provided by Uncle Quatre.
The adults were not so lucky, although Quatre couldn’t help but smile briefly when the little girl raced by, galloping a camel across his shoulders as she passed. Despite Cathrine’s doubts about Midii she must have some good in her to have raised such a happy, loveable child like Nathalie. Besides, he trusted Trowa’s instincts implicitly. Unfortunately neither of them knew the correct path in this case. Lady Une had summoned the former Gundam pilots to Preventer HQ, yet they had already dedicated themselves to helping Nathalie and Christof. For the first time Quatre knew Trowa was torn between a soldier’s duty and the demands of his new family.
Midii’s younger brother sat backward on a wooden kitchen chair, hiding his glare behind steepled fingers as he rested his head in his hands. Realization came to him slowly, this was the meaning of the cryptic remarks his sister had often made placing little importance on universal peace and sacrifice for the greater good. She’d always seemed to have a certain malicious disdain for Preventer, even though she’d pulled a few jobs for them. This was the cause, Trowa was the cause.
Oh yes, Trowa was putting on quite a performance, his face showing the strain of lack of sleep and warring loyalties but Christof knew that in the end the Preventer would abandon his sister as he always had. She would die alone in some unknown place and Nathalie would grow up in a cold and uncaring man’s shadow. Preventer had called and so love must wait. He felt like cheering for Midii that she’d had the balls to leave this guy, he’d overheard Cathrine telling Quatre what she knew. Midii had been well rid of old stone face, she had never needed him. And now that she actually did he was going to turn away from her again, as he always had.
It was unthinkable, they had always single-mindedly believed in looking out for each other. Nothing was more important than protecting your family. Their father’s abandonment had banded the two siblings into a comfortable co-dependency. Let the EarthSphere go to hell as long as the two of them and Nathalie were safe and protected. The fact that Trowa even considered answering his Preventer Chief’s call at a time like this struck Christof with shocked disbelief.
He lifted his flushed angry face from his hands to study his adversary. He’d been wrong to come here, wrong to bring Nathalie. Nattie would be better off with him than these heroic, holier-than-thou saviors of the universe. Oh please, he thought, what kind of life would it be? The two of them would just have to wait and trust that Midii would find a way home. She always had. Always!
Nathalie chose that moment to pounce on him, running full force and trusting he would catch her and swing her up. He did of course, turning in his seat and cuddling her close on his lap. She caught on to his t-shirt with a small hand and turned to rub her face tiredly against the soft fabric. Christof felt vindicated. Despite her quick affection for her so-called father and his friends he was the one Nattie turned to when she was tired and wanted a familiar face. They would be fine alone and parting would hardly hurt at all, with luck she’d forget the whole “daddy” incident had ever occurred.
“We’re going out for a walk,” the boy muttered, standing with his little blonde niece in his arms.
As he expected, his words garnered no response.
After walking only a short distance he could feel that Nathalie had fallen asleep. His stormy blue eyes scanned the rows of vehicles parked in a grassy field near the circus site purposefully. Christof’s anger banished any second thoughts about what he was doing. Midii had been wrong to send them here. She had been stupid to believe Trowa would ever care about Nathalie or help them. She had been stupid to ever go on this mission. Stupid, stupid, stupid, he could hate her right now if he didn’t love her so much. He lifted a hand to dash angry tears from his eyes and blinked rapidly to prevent the fall of new ones. With the turbulent emotions of a teenage boy in full control Christof hurriedly picked out a car to “borrow.” As full evidence of his distraught state he passed by a very sporty black number and chose a plain silver sedan. The doors were quickly unlocked and he smirked in satisfaction. Perhaps Midii hadn’t gotten all the espionage skills in the Une family after all, he thought, trying to bolster his confidence.
Unfortunately for Christof, Nathalie was an Une as well. Her eyes popped open as soon as he set her down in the back seat and started to buckle her in.
“Where’s Daddy,” she whispered, groggy with sleep.
“We’re going to go home to wait for Mommy,” Christof explained. “This was all just a bad dream Nattie Angel. Go back to sleep.”
Her blue eyes opened wide, flashing with temper and stubbornness.
“No! I want to stay here. Aunt Cathy said I could be in the circus.”
Christof shivered, Midii definitely wouldn’t approve. This had all definitely been a mistake. He shut the door carefully and headed for the driver’s seat, the sooner they got out of here the better.
Before he could react Nathalie slipped out of the seat belt and bolted out of the car. The small figure in pink tulle and silver sequins was quickly lost in the sea of cars, trucks and vans.
To be continued
Author’s Note: This chapter dedicated to Nightheart who bribed me into writing on it again. I anxiously await her repayment ^_^ …POR is on the horizon…