Disclaimer: Cha. I wish.
Summary: Nearly everyone in the universe knows that Wanda's a celebrity... Ian isn't one of them. How does he react when he finds out?
The tiny woman looked up at me with curious eyes. I had been searching for a moment alone with her, but Kyle never left her alone for very long. Luckily for me, Kyle was in the river room taking a bath after a long day in the fields.
"Ian," she greeted. "How are you?"
"I'm okay. I actually just wanted to ask you something."
She waited patiently, her glowing eyes expectant.
I hesitated for a moment. Now that I had her alone, I didn't know how to word what I wanted to ask her. "When you first met Wanda, you called her Rides the Beast and you looked…awed. Why?"
When she realized what I was asking, she laughed. "That's what you wanted to know? You were acting so serious. I thought you had some bad news."
I shrugged uncomfortably. "I was just wondering."
She laughed again. "Wanda used to live on the Mists Planet with the Bears. Didn't she tell you?"
I nodded. "She didn't talk much about it, though."
"Really?" Sunny said amusedly. "Interesting. I suppose that's not surprising, though. She's not fond of attention."
"What happened while she was with the Bears?"
She looked at me with a strange expression. "Has Wanda not told you anything of our culture?"
"She has, but she grazes over the details."
"Once again, not surprising." Sunny chuckled lightly and settled into her seat. "Wanda is a bit of a celebrity. She was born on the Origin, which doesn't really happen anymore. It's the equivalence of royalty among our kind."
"She told us that."
"She's also lived on eight planets when the most is usually four or five. She's seen a lot, she knows a lot. She's incredibly brave because of how experienced she is. Her reputation tends to precede her wherever she goes."
I knew that she lived on eight other planets, but she never told us about her reputation. It made me want to know more.
"I lived in the Second Crystal City around the same time she did. Back then her name was Lives in the Stars. But one day, she and two other Bears were attacked by a claw beast and she had to perform an emergency extraction and insertion procedure."
The news of her being attacked made my blood run cold, even though I knew she was safe, here with us. "What happened?"
"The claw beast attacked her friend's host and she had to act, otherwise he friend would die. It had already killed the guide that was with them. So she coaxed her friend out of his host and incapacitated the claw beast long enough to put her friend into the claw beast's body. It was a temporary fix, but they had to find a more permanent host for her friend, so she rode on the claw beast all the way back to the Second Crystal City to keep the insertion wound closed."
I knew my jaw was slack. I knew it, but I couldn't feel it.
"It caused a pretty big stir and she became a big celebrity. When news caught on that she had no partner, the lines started forming. You have no idea how many souls would love to be in your position right now, Ian."
I felt immediately enraged and humbled at the thought. I knew I never deserved her for her kindness and selflessness, but I had no idea of her courage.
Sunny examined my expression for a long time and smirked. "She never told you, did she?"
"No." My voice was hoarse, so I swallowed. "She didn't."
She whipped her head around so fast, her short, springy black hair moved in a blur. "Kyle!" she cried jubilantly as she bounded from her seat toward the sound of his voice.
Moments later, Wanda approached me from behind. "Surprise," she called softly. I turned and looked down into her smiling, silver eyes. "Jared and I made a quick trip to the closest convenience store and I got you your favorite." She pulled a small tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream and a spoon. "It may have melted a little, but it should still be good."
When I didn't answer, she examined my expression a little more closely and frowned at what she saw. "Ian? What's wrong? Are you okay?"
I studied her for myself. She was indeed a beautiful soul; her expressions were always gentle and graceful, but I had no idea that there was a silent courage beneath her sweet nature. I didn't deserve her.
"Ian?" she prompted again.
I cleared my throat. "Wanderer…or should I call you Rides the Beast?"
She blushed with embarrassment. "How did you hear about that?"
"Sunny told me. How come you never told me?"
Wanda tried to smile, despite her sheepishness. "At first, it was a little inappropriate because I didn't want you to know that I could perform extractions."
"But afterwards?" I pressed. "You could have told me afterwards."
"It never came up."
"And why didn't you tell me that you're a celebrity? Why didn't you tell me that there were souls that wanted to marry you? Or whatever it is you souls do?"
She blushed even darker. "Why does it matter, Ian? I love you and only you. You are the only being in the universe I could ever love."
"But why?" My frustration had exploded from its confines. "Why did you choose me? What in the world—no, in the universe—could you possibly see in me?"
The flush started to recede from her cheeks and she reached toward me to cup my cheek in her tiny hand. "Because you're gentle and kind. You're sweet and tender, sensitive and strong as only a human could be. You're the best of both worlds, Ian. And you were the first to give me a chance. How could I not love you?"
Her words soothed me like nothing else could. Knowing that this beautiful, wonderful, amazing being chose me of anyone in the universe had me elated, soaring with happiness. "I'm only as kind as you say because of you. You bring the best in me, Wanderer. You're the only one that can."
Her face broke out into a beautiful smile and she leaned forward to push her lips against mine. I kissed back with joy and triumph. She was mine, willingly. The celebrity of the souls had chosen me as her undeserving partner, and there was no way I would ever let go.
When she finally pulled away, she held up the small tub of ice cream with a playful smile. "Now are you going to share this with me, or do I have to eat it by myself?"
A/N - Once again, bored. These one-shot ideas keep coming to me and I can't stop them. Show me some one-shot love!