Disclaimer: Uni, Gamma, and Aria belong to Amano Akira~


His fingers were warm when she laced hers through. She didn't think anything of doing this, but knew, deep down, that holding hands would have been more appropriate than this intimate linking of fingers. But he smiled at her. He didn't nervously, awkwardly adjust his hand away from hers. All he did was smile. They resumed their conversation normally.

Sometimes, she would dream of him. The dreams were secure and comforting, and they reminded her of him. But when she dreamt of him, she would dream of her mother too. The two were always connected in her dreams, like links. No. Her mother wasn't the link. They were. Uni and Gamma. Her mother was the jewel between the links, so bright and ruby red, glowing clandestinely but with force. And now she's left them without her light; they sit dull and disconnected without her. She dreams of them both, and it's such a lovely dream. The two of them standing next to each other, or sitting, but always together, and smiling at her. They don't speak. But it's such a lovely dream. So lovely, that she would wake up in tears.

And the dream would be over.

One day, she wondered if he ever hummed to himself. Her head was resting on his shoulder, eyes plastered on the car window that was open a little bit. She started to hum a tune, an upbeat melody she heard somewhere. Uni started at the chorus, or at least she thought it was the chorus, and hummed it through. She thought she had been pretty off-key, but Gamma picked up right where she left off. Uni peeked one of her blue eyes up at him. Yes, he was smiling. Catching herself doing the same, she rejoined him in the song, and they finished it as soon as they started. They were both chuckling by the end. Then Uni remembered, it was a song her mother would sing during her visits, and her heart broke a little.

She missed her mother terribly. Uni wondered if Gamma missed her the same way, but doubted it. Of course, he and her mother had known each other more closely, laughed together, confided in one another. Aria was special to both of them; she was Uni's mother, she was Gamma's boss. Well, Uni was his boss, too, now. But she was sure her mother held an important place in his heart. She was irreplaceable. Uni didn't want to replace her. In a corner of her mind, she knew she would never be able to, but with all of her honest heart, she never harbored the wish to. She loved her far too much. And she knew he did too.

There are times when she wonders if Gamma sees Aria in her. Sees her as if she is actually her mother and not a separate person. When he looks at her remorsefully, or with a smile that she doesn't recognize, a faraway smile that remembers older times. Is that when he is looking at Aria? She wonders that, and wonders if those ties are what's holding him back. If he had loved her mother that way, and if he saw Uni as a daughter-figure he was to look after. Or if he couldn't love another woman after Aria. Or maybe…he did love Uni? But her mother was still so strong in his heart, as she was in her daughter's? Maybe the memory of her mother was holding them both back. Maybe it was a good thing, keeping them from messing up the foundation they were shakily rebuilding. Maybe it wasn't.

Maybe they were holding themselves back, and Aria had left them to take care of one another, smiling on them kindly.

Uni didn't know. She felt guilty sadness, as she thought of her mother secretly bearing feelings for Gamma, too, but never being able to speak them aloud. Dying with a peaceful smile on her lips, while thinking of the two people she loved very much.

Uni's heart ached. She loved her mother so much, and she loved Gamma, too.

If indeed her mother had loved him, Uni decided she would do the same and keep those feelings locked away. There would always be hesitance and uncertainty in those days of hugs and hand-holding, humming and laughing. There would always be those dreams of two people Uni loved and couldn't have. There would always be that pain in her heart, but it was alright. Uni knew she would bear it.

Because she was afraid of replacing her mother, erasing what was once so strong and beautiful.

A/N: I tried not to make Uni sound selfish, or make it seem like a love-triangle. I really hope it didn't come out this way! Thank you for reading, and please let me know what you think!