Author's Notes: Um, this is just a little random, sort of fluff-ish piece. It's set, I suppose, Pre-"Nevermore", but with the knowledge of the sister we randomly found out Myka has in "Age Before Beauty".

Disclaimer: They're MINE! ...but also, not. ...Yeah, more so not...

...

"Myka..." He was trying to have an honest conversation with her for once and she was being stubborn and evasive like usual.

"What?" Her tone was irritated.

"There has to be a reason."

She frowned, keeping her attention on the snowy scenery passing by as they drove, and continued to chew on her right thumbs cuticle. For a few long beats, she stayed decidedly silent before the looks she could see Pete shooting her out of her periphery made her finally murmur, "It makes you fat..."

"What was that? You're mumbling," he prodded, smirking.

She glared over at him, dropping her hand into her lap. "Sugar makes you fat," she ground out before gesturing at his waistline. "I mean, look at you."

"Hey! I am not fat," he stated indignantly. "I have a wrestlers build, thank you very much."

"Yeah, well, all those cookies you eat are not helping with your 'wrestlers build,'" she shot back.

"You're mean."

"And you're a child."

The pair lapsed into a silence like the one they'd been sharing before Pete had randomly started asking about Myka's "issue with sugar," as he had phrased it. This new silence lasted all of five minutes before Pete spoke up again.

"...Did your dad tell you you were fat or something when you were a kid?" he asked. His tone was genuine this time. He really just wanted to understand.

"Pete, I'm not talking about this, okay?" Myka sighed, a note of desperation in her voice.

He threw up a hand in defeat, keeping the other on the steering wheel. "Right. Sorry. Dropping it."

Myka nodded and fell silent once again, propping her elbow up on the doors armrest and placing her chin in her hand. She stared out the window.

A few more minutes passed, and then: "I was, uh... I was a twig when I was little." She kept her gaze away from Pete and focused on the rows and rows of snow-laden pine trees passing by as they drove. "But as I started getting older, I started putting on more weight. I mean, as I look back on it, I realize it was completely normal weight gain for a growing girl, but... well, he would make comments now and then, compare me to my..." she looked upward, sighing out, "gorgeous sister, and I felt... flawed." She glanced over at him and shrugged slightly. "So, I stopped eating anything with sugar in it. Thought if I were skinnier..." She shook her head.

Pete stayed silent, just listening to her. His sister had once told him never to comment about a woman's weight even if she had been the one to bring it up, and it seemed to be the intelligent thing to do in this case. He, in no way, wanted to give Myka any reason to pull away from him when she was just starting to open up.

"Having a positive self-image when you're an adolescent girl is hard enough, but combine that with being the bookworm, and being the sister of Tracy Bering... and with my father..." she trailed off, shaking her head again. She returned to chewing her cuticle for a few long seconds as those scenes from her childhood played vividly and painfully in her head.

Swallowing, she dropped her hand back into her lap once more. "And, well, I-I... I know it's irrational –stupid even–, but it's kind of like, ...having the willpower to not eat sugar, ...y'know, something that a lot of people, especially children, struggle with? Well, it kind of feels like it was one of the only things I managed to do right for my dad. And now... well, I've just been such a disappointment to him..." She looked over at Pete, frowning, trying to gauge whether or not he understood what she was struggling to explain.

And he did. He was finally beginning to understand her. "By eating sugar, you feel like you would be disappointing him again."

She nodded and gave him a small, sour smile that vanished faster that it had emerged. "See? Stupid." She shook her head at herself.

A moment later she gave a bitter laugh and added, "The irony of it is is that after I really started watching what I was eating and taking care of myself, he started calling me 'too skinny'." She looked sideways at Pete and gave him a small, disenchanted smile. "Just can't win..."

There was a contemplative beat, and a rather long one at that, then Pete shot her a cheeky smile. "Well, I think you're fine the way you are," he announced decidedly.

She gave him a mild look. "Just fine?" she questioned. "Not perfect?"

He shrugged. "Well, you're still a nerd." And then he grinned at her again.

She rolled her eyes, but smirked in return, feeling, strangely, the tiniest bit better. "Gee, thanks," she said dryly.

He nodded. "Yup." He'd gotten her to open up a little to him and he'd managed to get her to smile, too. His job was done.

At least for now, anyway.

THE END