AUTHORESS NOTES: So I got this really random, really sudden urge to write some Kyle/Wanderer, since it seems this fandom is seriously lacking it. Though, most of it is Ian/Wanderer (Which, I'm not complaining about, cause I totally love that coupling) Anywho, I thought this plot was cute and adorable, so I just went with the flow. Er, sorry if anyone is out of character. I did try to keep them in character for nine-eleven year old's. Now, enjoy! Reviews are appreciated. :)

DISCLAIMER: Don't own it, never will.

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HIDDEN MEANING
A KYLE/WANDERER ONESHOT
BY MUFFINTINE

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Childhood is supposed to be a carefree time in our lives – just fun, laughter and games. Though, for every young child there comes a time when they develop a small – tiny, even – crush on another little girl or boy. And being children, as they are, clueless about the ways of love and courting they react in the only way that seems reasonable: they bully, torture, make fun of, laugh at, and trip the poor little soul that happened to catch their eye.

Now, Kyle O'Shea was no exception to this. In fact, he was the prime example. The strangely tall fifth grader known for his immeasurable temper was in puppy love with Melanie Stryder's little sister, Wanda.

Sweet, innocent, Wanda with her waist length golden white hair and abnormally large silvery eyes. The little fourth grader he couldn't seem to tear his eyes away from at recess. The little girl who when she talked to him caused his face to erupt in red and for him to stutter like an idiot till he ran away, leaving her behind baffled. She was so small and adorable Kyle hardly knew what to do in her presence. The poor eleven-year-old boy was at a loss on how to handle these unfamiliar and just plain strange feelings. He didn't feel this way when he was around Melanie, Jodi or Sunny. No, it was always only Wanda.

Somehow, he convinced himself it was the poor nine-year-old girl's fault that he only managed to make himself look like a fool in front of her and thus decided that she should be punished. He started out small – a persistent poke to the back, ignoring her, and even tripping her occasionally. It made Kyle feel better for a little while but soon when Wanda's impossibly huge eyes whelped up with tears he begin to – possibly – feel a tiny bit of guilty for being so cruel to her. However, after upsetting poor little Wanda Stryder for so long, he was bound to catch the attention of Melanie Stryder.

The Melanie Stryder who was known for being violent towards those who dared to hurt her precious little sister's feelings. It was widely known in their elementary that if you messed with Wanda, you messed with her older sister, too. Even Kyle – although, he'd never admit it – feared the ruthless tomboy. This was why he gulped when the acclaimed tomboy started marching towards him, a livid expression on her face. It was in that moment that he immediately regretted what had transpired earlier that morning.

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"Gees, Ian, you walk way too slow," Kyle teased, his infamous mocking grin sprouting on his mouth.

Ian, the little brunet boy in question, frowned deeply. "Maybe you walk too fast."

Unable to think of any good comebacks, Kyle turned his head half-way to give his brother a small glare. "Quiet, we're going to be late because you're so slow."

"I wasn't the one who couldn't find his lunchbox even though Mom told us the night before they were on the counter," Ian retorted, jogging to come and stand next to his older brother.

"She did not!"

"Did too!"

"Not!"

"Too!"

"Not!"

"Too!"

Kyle let out a roar of aggravation as he turned and tackled his younger brother to the ground. They landed softly in the grass and promptly began to toss and turn, rolling all over the place, hitting each other and exchanging childish insults. Their backpacks and lunchboxes lay forgotten on the sidewalk as they continue to bicker and beat on each other.

"You know," a voice said, interrupting the two boy's squabbling. "You two really shouldn't fight."

Ian was the first to spring up off the ground, grass covering him head-to-foot, and a goofy smile planted on his face. "Wanda!" He exclaimed.

She smiled. "Good morning, Ian," her gaze wandered to behind the boy in front of her to Kyle who had yet to get off the ground; she hesitated. "You too, Kyle."

Kyle felt the heat gathering on his cheeks. "Yeah..," he drawled, pulling himself up from off the ground.

"Good morning, Wanda!" Ian responded; happiness etched into his voice. He gave Kyle a sideway glance. "Don't be mean, Kyle," he reprimanded. "Say something other than 'Yeah..'!"

"No, it's really alright," Wanda cut in. "He really doesn't have to."

"But," Ian protested.

Kyle shifted uncomfortably; it was getting harder and harder for him to fight the red tinge that threatened to spill across his cheeks. He spared a glance at Wanda and he lost that fight – his face flushed.

Wanda looked at him curiously. "Are you alright, Kyle?" She asked shyly.

His heart fluttered, skipping a beat. Frantic to cover the feeling up, Kyle chose to glare at her.

Wanda looked surprised for a moment and then averted her gaze.

When Ian saw his brother had no intention of responding, he punched him in the arm. "Kyle! Don't be a butt! Answer her!"

Yes, I'm fine. "Why should I talk to stupid girls, like her?" Kyle sneered, making sure his icy glare stayed locked on Wanda.

Her hurt expression struck a chord in his chest, filling him with guilt. Tears began to whelp up her eyes and the second she shed one, Ian was at her side play Knight-In-Shining Armor, as usual. Kyle torn his gaze from her and turned to stalk off towards the school.

"Oh, Wanda, don't cry," he heard Ian say. "Kyle's just a big meanie, you really shouldn't pay any mind to what he says…"

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"Kyle! You—You meanie head!" Melanie roared, stomping towards him. "How dare you call Wanda stupid?!"

Said boy gulped and stared wide eyed at the furious brunette.

"Nothing to say?!" she snarled, lunging forward at him.

Not expecting the physical attack, Kyle was taken completely off-guard when Melanie's fist smashed in his face, causing him to stagger backwards. He let out a surprised gargle of pain. Melanie stood there, triumphant. "Now," she hissed. "Go apologize."

By now, the whole playground was buzzing and children from all directions were running to see what was happening.

"Did you see that?"

"She just punched Kyle!"

"Kyle?!"

"Is he going to hit her back!?"

"But boys aren't supposed to hit girls!"

"Are they going to fight?!"

Kyle's face was throbbing and he was sure his nose was bleeding so the last thing he needed was all the incessant noise. He glared at the people surrounding Melanie and him. "All of you, shut up!"

There was a collective gasp.

"Did he just say 'shut up'?"

"He said a bad word!"

"Kyle's in trouble now!"

Melanie, however, wasn't through. She lunged at Kyle once again, but this time he was expecting it and was able to dodge in time. She toppled forward a few feet, steadied herself, and turned her body to face Kyle. "You're not going to get away from me!"

Kyle's eyes widened. There was no way he could fight Melanie. He may have been a mean, self-absorbed git with a temper, but he wasn't about to hit a girl. "Wait," he called. "Melanie, wait—"

Melanie threw another punch.

He dodged.

"Why should I wait?!" she screamed. "You called my sister stupid!"

It was hopeless; there was no way that the unreasonable girl in front of him could ever understand why he'd called Wanda stupid. He didn't actually think she was stupid, of course, but he didn't quite know why he felt he had to be mean to her to cover up that certain fluttery feeling in his stomach.

"What is going on here?"

Everyone froze that that familiar, deep voice that could only belong to one person.

"It's Mr. Jeb!"

"Oh no!"

"Melanie and Kyle are going to get a dentition!"

Both Kyle and Melanie froze up and moved their gazes to land on an older-looking man with a displeased frown on his face. "O'Shea, Stryder, yer comin' with me."

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As Kyle sat in Mr. Jeb's office, he couldn't help but feel nervous. Was he in trouble? After Mr. Jeb had made Melanie and he follow him to his office, he'd sat Kyle inside and was talking to Melanie just outside the door. They'd been gone for minutes and the constant ticking of the clock was starting to get to him.

Suddenly, the door swung open and Melanie stomped in. She stopped in front of Kyle, an angry frown on her face. "Sorry!" She blurted and then bolted out of the door. He stared after her in confusion – not quite sure what to make of her apology. A moment passed before Mr. Jeb sauntered into his office. He walked straight to his desk and sat down, not uttering a word to Kyle – he just stared at him.

After a moment of awkward silence, Kyle spoke up. "Um, Mr. Jeb—"

Mr. Jeb cut him off. "Shh, I'm thinking."

His mouth sealed itself shut. Thinking? The eleven-year-old wondered. I hope not about my punishment…

"I think I'll have chicken for lunch!" Mr. Jeb announced. Kyle just stared at him in confusion, not sure what to think. "Now, O'Shea, do ya know why Ms. Stryder attacked ya?"

"Uh—" Kyle gulped. "Yes?"

Mr. Jeb leaned back into his chair and hummed, stroking his gray beard. "Why did ya call little Ms. Wanda Stryder stupid?"

Kyle's face flushed a brilliant scarlet color.

"Ya don't really think she is, do ya?"

"No…" Kyle's face turned a darker red, if possible.

"Well then, why did ya call her stupid?"

"I..," he trailed off. "I really don't know."

Mr. Jeb nodded. "I thought ya might not," the older man leaned forward in his chair, locking eyes with the oldest O'Shea son. "But I know the reason ya called her stupid."

Panic built up in his chest. Could Mr. Jeb possibly know how he felt about the younger Stryder? All the heart-throbbing, blushing, nervousness, and the impulse to be mean to her? "You—you do?"

"Yes, I do. Ya see, O'Shea, ya got a thing called a crush on little Ms. Wanda."

Kyle blinked. "Crush?" he repeated, dumbfounded.

"Ya like the little lady, she makes you all warm in side, ya?"

"How did you—?"

Mr. Jeb winked and laughed heartily. "Trust me, ya like her. And ya know, ya really shouldn't be mean to the girl ya like. They don't like that too much. Now, I think ya should take yer little butt and find her somethin' real nice. Then ya should apologize."

"But—"

"No buts, yer gonna do it, or else yer gonna get a week's worth of detentions, ya hear?"

Kyle nodded. "Yes sir."

Mr. Jeb stood up and walked over to Kyle. He patted him on the head, mussing his hair up slightly. "Now, I think yer gonna do great. So get your rump out of here, and go give Wanda a flower or somethin'!"

Kyle hurried out of the office, nervous as hell.

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Give the lady something nice. That's what Mr. Jeb had told him to do. Well, he didn't know what the old man expected him to give her. He was eleven and the only way he could get money was from his mom, and there was no way she was going to just give him cash without asking what it was for. Kyle cursed, kicking the dirt underneath his foot. He only had ten minutes of recess left, and if he was going to find something, he was going to need to find it quickly.

This sucks. He thought.

Just then, something caught his eye. It was a small dandelion that stood tall on a patch of grass. A grin broke out on Kyle's face. That was it! That's what he'd give Wanda – the dandelion! Kyle bent down and plucked the single flower from its grassy home. Now, all he had to do was find her.

He scanned the play ground looking for her head of golden white, or his brother. She always seemed to be with his brother. Kyle scowled at that. In the corner of his eye he caught a flash of gold, and the he saw her. She was on the swing, by herself, rocking back and forth almost mindlessly. He clutched the flower in his hand tightly and walked in her direction. His heart was beating a million times per minute and he thought his head might just explode he was so nervous, but he was going to do it! He would, no matter what – even if he did look and sound like a total idiot. Kyle stopped in front of Wanda, staring at the ground as if it had grown a head. His face felt so hot, and he didn't even think he would be able to get a coherent sentence out of his mouth.

"…Kyle?"

His eyes snapped upward; cobalt met silver. He gulped. "Um, ah, hi?"

Wanda looked at him curiously, as if she didn't quite know what to make of him talking to her. She made a hurt face. "What do you want?" She asked softly, without a hint of malice. Though, she'd always been like that. Soft spoken and nice – it was almost a flaw. But, perhaps that's why he liked the girl so much.

He fidgeted nervously. "Well, I-I just wanted to…" he trailed off, his face growing impossibly red. Honestly, this was so embarrassing! He never said sorry to anyone, except when his mother forced him to. "To say that…"

Wanda waited patiently.

"To say…" Kyle inhaled deeply and pushed the flower upward and at Wanda. "That I'm sorry for calling you stupid," he took another deep breath. "And that I think you're really pr-pretty."

Wanda stared at him, silver eyes wide. She reached out and took the dandelion from Kyle and just looked at it with curiosity. She returned her gaze to Kyle and smiled warmly. "Apology accepted," and with that said she stepped forward and engulfed Kyle in a hug.

His mind was reeling. Wanda was hugging him? She was actually, really, hugging him? His brain turned to mush in that instant and he involuntarily wrapped his arms gingerly around her. Wanda pulled back from him, stared him in the eye, stood on her tippy toes, and planted a soft kiss right there on his cheek.

Kyle thought if he died in this moment, he'd die happy.

She pulled back the next second, much to Kyle's disappointment. "I've gotta go," she said. "Mel's probably looking for me."

"Er—um, yeah, she probably is."

Wanda smiled once again. "See you tomorrow, Kyle!" And then she bounded off, leaving behind a very confused, very elated Kyle.

Perhaps Mr. Jeb was right, being nice to Wanda hadn't turned out to be a bad thing.

Not at all.

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FIN.