AN: I can't help but believe that Mieu, since he is just a baby, would quickly come to think of the rest of the gang as his family. This brought me to think about family places, and so this story was born. I hope you all like it! :)
Disclaimer: I do not own Tales of the Abyss. Namco does.
Although he had spent years trying to deny it, Guy could no longer overlook that fact that he was, in fact, a pushover. And the blue ball of fluffy cuteness that was hanging from his bag, drawing the attentive stares of every female within the city, only proved it.
When Luke had shown up early that morning at his door, the still sleeping cheagle nestled against his chest, to ask him if he could take the creature for the day, he had tried to say no. Although he bore no ill will towards Mieu, and would even agree at the drop of a hat the the child monster was the cutest thing he had ever seen, under no circumstances did Guy wish to be responsible for the living chick magnet. And the women that seemed to flock to Mieu, and thus his owner, aside, Guy could understand Luke's obvious desire for the monster to stop talking, for after a while, the cheagle's voice did get beyond annoying in pitch and volume. He liked Mieu well enough, but that didn't mean he wanted to play babysitter for the day.
Unfortunately for Guy, it had only taken one glance at the blush that had spread across his friends face as his eyes darted over towards a certain melodists' room and a mumbled explanation of 'important business while they were in Grand Chokmah,' and he had crumbled.
"Calm down Mieu," Guy said once again as he stopped the cheagle from falling head first out of his bag, his voice a mixture of amusement and annoyance. "You're going to hurt yourself if you keep this up."
"Mieuuuuu. Sorry Guy, I just can't help it. I'm so excited at finally getting to see Grand Chokmah," Mieu replied excitedly as he once more popped his head out of the bag, his eyes wide as he gazed upon the water-based city. "Last time we were here, Master made me stay at the hotel so I wouldn't be in the way while you guys went to talk to the Emperor. But just look at all that water," Mieu exclaimed once more, ending with the same phrase that had been his catch phrase since they had left their rooms that morning.
"There's a lot of it," Guy agreed distractedly as he finally found the store he had been looking for, his mind swirling with the list of things their rag tag group of misfits needed for the next portion of their journey. It had been quite a while since they had had enough time for shopping, since most of their recent visits to towns and cities had ended with them being chased out by someone they had yet again managed to offend, and he was hoping that their plans to stay for the next few days would give him more then enough time to stock up.
"Hey Guy?" That is, if he didn't go insane first.
"Yes Mieu," Guy replied with a sigh as he bent to expect the sword that sat in its case, his mind mostly focused on the price of the weapon against the meager amount of funds they had left. "What is it?"
"There's a lady staring at me again."
Pulling himself from the mental calculations, Guy carefully turned so that the cheagle was hidden from sight while at the same time putting on a gracious half smile, one that he knew would charm the woman in question. Watching as a slight blush stole over her cheeks, Guy couldn't help the little laugh that fell from his lips, though thankfully she didn't seem to find his amusement in her embarrassment angering. Motioning towards the sword he had just been admiring, it was with a flick of her wrist that a key dangled from between her fingers, her own smiling widening as she leaned towards him.
"Would you like to take a closer look?"
"Yes, please, if you don't mind" Guy said eagerly, carefully shifting out of her way as she came to open the case for him, making sure to keep a respectable distance between them. "I've been looking for a stronger sword, but I'm not quite sure which one I should get."
"Well," the storekeeper said with a slight shrug as she drew the sword from its casing, "if this doesn't suit you, I'm sure we can find something that will." Suddenly turning all business, the woman held out the sword grip first to him, her fingers pointing out the different details as she spoke. "If you look at the carvings on the grip..."
For a long while the two of them talked, though in reality it was mostly the sales woman that kept up the chatter, Guy only throwing in a few words here and there as one feature or another caught his eye on the many swords the woman showed him. It wasn't until he caught sight of the long shadows that had invaded the shop that he realized just how late it had truly gotten.
"So what do you think hon," the woman asked, using the pet name she had picked up for him a couple of hours ago. "Do any of these match your taste?"
"Would you mind if I took a look at the second to last one again?"
Finally making up his mind, for although it put them a bit shorter then he would have liked on funds, for he really did need a new sword, Guy couldn't help but smile as he paid for his weapon and left the shop. In all truthfulness, the day hadn't been that bad. He had managed to get some of his errands done, had spent the day talking with a beautiful woman about something they both had an interest in, and once the conversation had gotten started, Mieu had settled down for an afternoon nap. Thinking of the sleeping cheagle, Guy couldn't help but feel a slight stab of guilt. He had promised the monster a tour of the city, but had instead gotten wrapped up in what should have been the easiest of his shopping plans for that day. Checking the position of the sun, it was with a definite nod that he determined there would be enough time for the two of them to head towards the docks before meeting up with the others back at the hotel. Not only would it give the cheagle a chance to see more of the city, but along the way, he was sure that there was a market or something that he could stop at to pick up something for the groups' dinner that night. Either way, it was a win-win situation.
"Sorry that took so long Mieu," Guy said as he started to rummage through their seemingly bottomless bag, secure in the knowledge that the cheagle had probably burrowed to the bottom of it to take his name. "But I was thinking that there's still enough time for us to go to the docks before we have to meet up with the others, so maybe..." Guy's words died away as the tips of his fingers finally brushed the bottom of the bag, his eyebrows raising ever so slightly as they met leather instead of fur. "Hey Mieu?" Raising the bag so that he could peer into it, a stunning sight left Guy speechless as his heart dropped into his stomach, leaving him slightly breathless.
Mieu, the smallest, youngest, most defenseless member of their group, the one he had been supposed to be watching, was gone.
Turning on his heel, Guy forced his heart to calm the desperate pounding it had taken up in the last few second as he once more entered the store he had just left, drawing the stare and slight frown of the woman he had spent most of the day talking to. Glancing around, it was with a shuddering sigh that he turned towards the woman, hoping that the missing ball of blue was sitting somewhere behind her counter.
"Hi there. Have you seen my cheagle?" As soon as the words left his mouth, it was all he could do to hold back the wince as the woman stared at him like he had two heads, the look on her face making it clear that she thought he was insane. However, the embarrassment was quickly replaced with relief as she nodded, her head tilting slightly to give her a strange look. "Oh good. If you could please tell me where he is, I would really apprecia-"
"He left," the woman interrupted, her hand flicking towards the door as she took the money she was being offered by her newest customer. "About two hours after you arrived, he asked if he could look around, and you said sure. So he climbed out of your bag and walked out the door. It looked like he walked away with some woman..."
The shopkeeper's words were lost as Guy flew from the store, his eyes wide with panic as he desperately tried to catch sight of the blue fur and large eyes that belonged to the teams' cheagle companion, his guilt cutting off his voice. Luke had left him in charge of his pet, and although the noble often pretended that the cheagle was nothing more than an annoying burden, Guy knew for a fact that Mieu's lost would be devastating. And not just to Luke, for all of them, even Jade, had come to care for the smallest member of their party, who had often offered a fuzzy hug and a childish smile when everything became too much for them to handle. Mieu had become less of a pet and more of a friend with every passing day, and he had been the one to lose him.
Just when Guy had been about to go get the others to form a search party for their missing companion, a familiar voice called out to him.
"Mieu mieu, it's Guy!"
"Mieu," Guy called happily as he turned towards the stall where the voice had come from, his voice shaking slightly with relief that the cheagle seemed to be happy and unharmed by his impromptu adventure. Smiling widely at the woman that was leaning against the counter behind the cheagle, Guy practically ran as he made his way towards the shop, each step practically a bound as the guilt that he had lost Mieu fell away from him. However, in the few seconds it had taken him to reach the store, his relief that had died away. Now that he was no longer worried, he was mad. "Mieu, how could you have run off like that? Do you know how worried I was?"
"Mieu mieu," Mieu said sadly as his ears fell to the counter, his body scrunching in on itself as he cowered under Guy's glare. "I'm sorry Guy. I was just-"
"Just looking for something for your girlfriend," the woman cut in, her own glare raised to meet Guy's. "Mieu's told me the whole story, so don't get mad at him just because he wants to do something nice for his mother."
"...His mother," Guy finally asked after a moment of silence, his eyebrows furrowed over the woman's strange choice of words. As far as he knew, Mieu's mother was still in Cheagle Woods, awaiting for the day that her son's banishment would be lifted. If that was so, then what could Mieu do her from here?
"Yah, the girl his master's in love with. You are his master, right," The woman demanded questioningly with steel eyes, looking at him as if he was both the luckiest guy in the world, yet at the same time the biggest piece of slime she had ever had the displeasure to meet.
"The girl his master's...oh, you must mean Tear," Guy said with conviction, finally putting together the pieces of the puzzle the woman had laid out for him. Sending a confused glance towards the still lightly cowering cheagle, Guy slowly shook his head as he turned back towards the storekeeper, his smile charming as he tried to sooth her ruffled feather. "I believe the two of us got off on the wrong foot. I'm Guy, and I've been watching Mieu for a friend of mine. Sorry if I came across in the wrong way; I was just worried that Mieu had gotten lost or taken. Thank you for watching him and keeping him safe. I also apologize for any trouble he might have caused you. Now if you don't mind, Mieu and I really must be going. Luke's going to wonder where we've gone."
"We're going to go find Master now," Mieu questioned as he once again perked up, his ears returning to their former position. Picking up the small package that had been sitting next to him, which even with its tight wrapping was almost too much for him to handle, Mieu happily fluttered to the ground below and started to hobble away, his voice loud and chirping as he walked. "Let's go Guy, let's go find Master!"
"How much do I owe you," Guy questioned with a sigh as he kept a close eye on Mieu, his lips twitching slightly as the cheagle almost fell under the weight of his load. "For whatever Mieu just took."
"Nothing. It's a gift," the woman replied with a wave of her hand, dismissing the issue. "I've gotten more customers in the couple of hours he's been sitting on my counter then I normally do in a week, so consider it paid for. Just make sure he gets those to this 'Mother' I've heard so much about. He seemed really excited to be able to give it to her." Nodding his thanks, Guy swiftly took off after the wandering cheagle, just managing to catch him as he started across the bridge.
"Whoa there Mieu," Guy said hurriedly as he snatched up the small cheagle, just catching him as he began to attempt to make his way through the crowd of feet that would have taken no more notice of him then a bug. "I think you owe me an explanation. Like, first off, who is this 'Mother' that woman kept mentioning. It's not Tear, is it?"
"Mieuuu. Please don't tell them," Mieu begged as Guy weaved his way through the crowd of people hurrying home or to pick up the last minute grocery. "Master and Tear get so angry whenever someone mentions the two of them, I'm scared that they might get really angry at me. Mieuuuu!"
"Don't worry about it; I won't tell anyone," Guy promised as he ducked to the side to let a group of women go by, his signature grin in place. "But tell me, why are you calling Tear 'Mother?' Is that what you called your real mother back in Cheagle Woods before you were banished?"
"I don't know," Mieu said softly, his voice almost too quiet for Guy to hear over the noise of the crowd. "The Elder was the one who raised me after my parents disappeared right before I hatched. That's why he was able to banish me so easily: no one else wanted me to stay. But that's why Tear's my new Mother, and Master's my Papa," Mieu said as he perked back up, his ears rising as he forced his sadness away. "Because according to Anise, Mama's give you hugs, and Papa's keep you safe! And since I joined you guys, that's what Mother and Master have been doing!"
"Yah," Guy replied just as softly as Mieu had started out, his mind consumed with the thoughts Mieu had given him to think over. "You know Mieu? You're exactly right."
Finally reaching the inn, it wasn't long before the others had joined them, chattering and laughing as they recounted the events of the day. Smiling, it was with a silent chuckle that Guy watched Mieu presented Tear with a pair of matching green ribbons with smiling rappings dangling from each end for her hair, the purely recreational kind that would only be a bother in battle, but cute none-the-less. Blushing and slightly flustered, Tear had quickly swept the tiny cheagle into a long cuddle that had lasted throughout most of the rest of the night, earning barely noticeable but still obviously jealous glances from Luke. So, it didn't surprise him when, just as the others were getting ready to head off for bed, Luke once more asked him to watch Mieu, though this time only until he and Tear returned from the courtyard. Hiding a secret smile as Luke offered his hand to the beet-red melodist to lead her away for his own surprise, Guy decided to use the time he had to ask his own final question of the sleepy cheagle.
"Hey Mieu," Guy said softly as he slowly made his way up the stairs towards Luke's room, his voice soft lest he be overheard by one of the others, "if Luke and Tear are your mother and father, then what are the rest of us?"
"Mieu," Mieu yawned sleepily as he cracked open one eye so he could look at Guy, his other already sealed shut with the night sleepers that called to him. "Natalia is my aunt, because aunts are kind and protective when mothers can't be. Anise is my cousin, because in human years, we're about the same age and because we play together all the time. Jade is Grandpa, because grandpas are old and know a lot of stuff about almost everything, just like Jade does."
Yawning, Mieu's words faded into a mumble as he turned in Guy's arms, burying his face closer to Guy's chest in an attempt to become more comfortable. For a moment, Guy couldn't help but entertain the notion of re-awakening the sleeping monster so he could finish the rundown of their little family, but quickly decided against it. Reaching Luke's room, it was a matter of moments before he had Mieu tucked away in bed, his head resting against his pillow in the cupboard that Luke had set up for the cheagle to sleep in. Turning away, he paused at the door as Mieu's mumbling because just loud enough for him to hear once more, this time his words bringing the tenderest smile to Guy's lips that he had ever known.
"And Guy? You're my uncle only because Master's already Papa."
Gently closing the door so that no noise would disturb the sleeping cheagle, Guy quietly made his way towards his own room, happy in the fact that, through Mieu's eyes, he was part of the greatest family he could have asked for.