Even was in the middle of completing the paperwork from his most recent experiment when a yawn interrupted him. As he stretched he turned his eyes to the clock. It was nearing three a.m and he had work to do in the morning. Deciding that he could finish his paperwork the following night, he closed his book and stood. Noticing the discarded sheets riddled with mistakes laying strewn about the room, he groaned and bent to pick them up. As he did so, something caught his eye.

A little figure was curled on the sofa. Soft silver locks of hair fell across the slumbering child's face which was resting on an open book. He looked misleadingly sweet and innocent, lying there dozing peacefully. But Even was terribly aware of the child's true nature, having been on the receiving end of his scathing remarks and contemptuous stares many a time. Ienzo was the only eight year old he'd ever met who could look down his nose at a person twice his size.

Though he knew all of this, Even was still unable to hold back a smile. Ienzo may very well be a sharp-tongued little beast at times, but he was still a child. And this was undoubtably an adorable sight.

Tossing the crumpled sheets into the nearby trash bin, Even gave a wary sigh and approached the couch. He couldn't very well leave him passed out on the sofa like that. Carefully he slipped his arms beneath the boy and lifted. Ienzo stirred slightly but didn't wake, for which Even was grateful. There was no telling how the boy would react to being carried off to bed like a child, never mind that he was one.

Once he was certain he had a good enough grip so as not to drop him, Even headed out of the room and down the hall towards Ienzo's room. "Your going soft, Even." He muttered to himself under his breath. "You shouldn't show sympathy to such a disobedient little brat. He won't be thankful, even a little bit, and you know it."

He complained to himself about it the whole way to the room. He lay the boy on the mattress and tugged the covers up to his chin, tucking him in. As he was doing so, Ienzo's eyes opened and he gazed up at Even sleepily. Even paused, waiting for Ienzo to give him an indignant glare and insist he not be treated as a child. But instead, Ienzo reached out a hand and caught a lock of Even's long blonde hair in his grasp, before closing his eyes and turning his head to the side. A single word left his lips. "Mommy..."

Even's eyes widened, his mouth falling open slightly as he tried to process whether or not he'd heard correctly. "Mommy?" He whispered, questioningly to himself. He was, quite honestly, baffled. Not only was such a tone so uncharacteristic of this child, but the word he'd chosen to utter in his drowsy state was terribly confusing. The boy hadn't once spoken of his parents since he came to them after his father's passing. From what Even had heard, the boy hadn't even known his mother. She'd died in childbirth.

Certainly Ienzo didn't mean him! Did he?

Even began rubbing the bridge of his nose between two fingers. Oh that would be just peachy, wouldn't it? To have the little demonic brat trailing along behind him like a little lost duckling... No. He couldn't bear the thought. Such things were better left to the bleeding hearts like Aeleus and Master Ansem, both of whom the child had taken a shine to rather quickly. Even did not wish to join them in their fate. He'd made it very clear when he'd been given orders to watch the child that he would have no part in Ienzo's upbringing. Parenthood simply did not suit him.

Frowning to himself, Even lowered his hand and peeked down. Ienzo's tiny fingers were still curled around a strand of his hair. He seemed to be honestly sleeping and not faking, so it didn't look as if he were playing a joke. Groaning inwardly, he disentangled the fingers from his hair so he could stand.

"Why 'mommy'? Is it because of my hair?" He asked himself. "Of all the ridiculous things! I am a man! If he's going to become attached to me, he could at least call me something more masculine! I guess Master Ansem gets to be 'daddy' since he adopted the little creature, and certainly I wouldn't want that title anyway. And I'm probably too old to be called 'brother'. But why not uncle? I could be an uncle! Certainly not a 'mommy'!"

Ienzo stirred, rolling over on his side and Even promptly shut his mouth. He backed out of the room, still trying to wrap his mind around this one. It never occurred to him that the child may have been talking nonsense in his drowsy state.

"Ughh... I certainly hope no one ever catches wind of this one..."