A/N: Here's yet another Little Men fanfic.

Disclaimer: I don't own Little Men—the book or the TV series.

Watching and Waiting

Nat sat on the fence, playing his violin. With his eyes closed, he was lost deep within the music. But he didn't need to think to play. Thus, his thoughts were swirling confusedly even as his music never faltered. He wasn't sure entirely when he had started to see Nan in a different light. Maybe it was the time she had given him the trophy when she and Franz had won the skiing competition, maybe it was the time they had kissed as an experiment, maybe even the time she and Bess had fought and she had been so sad about her bugs, or when she had discovered that some people really didn't believe women could be doctors.

He thought about the kiss, brief as it was, much more than he probably should have. He wasn't old enough for courting. But he imagined that when he was, he'd ask Nan. That thought was almost laughable. Nan wouldn't want him. She'd be happier with someone like Dan. Or with no one at all. Sometimes he wondered if Nan would ever be ready for courting. She was very independent.

Opening his eyes, he looked across the yard. Nan was helping Mrs. Jo take in the laundry. Dan was helping Nick mend one of the loose boards on the porch. When Nan had first arrived, Nat hadn't thought much of her competitions with Dan. But now, he wondered if they would be better suited for each other. There was a thin line between love and hate after all. But then again, maybe that phrase pertained more to Dan and Bess.

When Dan had asked him if there was anything he needed to talk about concerning Nan, Nat had been completely taken by surprise. Of course Dan wouldn't have guessed about the money. He was asking for a different reason. He thought Nat liked Nan. And now, alone, Nat could admit that he did. Sure, she was a tomboy, but one day, that would make her a strong woman. Like Mrs. Jo. Nan would be able to take on men's roles, and think for herself. She would save lives as a doctor. And, if he was lucky, Nat could be there to support her. He was too young to think of courting and marriage. They both were. He wasn't even ready to tell Nan he liked her yet. That would come in a few years. For now…

Nat stopped playing, and hopped down from the fence. Carrying his violin back inside and placing it in the case on the table, he went back outside to help bring in the laundry. When Asia called for Mrs. Jo's help, Nat moved beside Nan. Out of the corner of his eyes, he watched her. She worked quickly and efficiently. Suddenly, she was telling him about her latest find. Some sort of beetle he had never heard of. But when she described it, he knew what it was.

Yes. This was their relationship. Not just friends. Best friends. And for now, that's all they would be. And in a few years, maybe more. They still had time. For now, Nat would wait. He would be content to watch her, and wait.