With Wufei and Draco's help, I am now caught up in school. I can do the spells they're asking me to do in class, both with and without words. Wufei wants me to keep practicing without words, just in case I can't talk.

I still have problems with casting spells in Professor McGonagall's class though. It's not like Charms, where I want something to happen and I make it happen. It's… I'm making one thing into something else. And it doesn't make sense to me. It doesn't make sense why I can't just go grab a needle instead of making a match turn into one. Why would I find a beetle when I want a button?

I also have another problem in school now, and she won't stop following me around. It's weird, since it's not like how Draco follows me. He walks right next to me, and talks to me, and touches me a lot with his hands.

She just follows along behind me, not close enough to look like she's with me, and never says a word. Just… watches me instead. It makes me feel weird, and I don't know what to do about her.

Quatre's still gone, and Wufei and Charlie are coming to pick me up tonight. I'm sitting in the main room of my group's living area, a pile of matches on the table and no needle in sight. I poke my wand at the match set right in front of me, and really, really wish it would turn into a needle. But it doesn't.

I jump when I see Wufei sit down next to me, as I didn't hear him come through the fireplace. Normally, he and Charlie are talking when they come through, Wufei trying to get as much information as he can out of Percy's older brother.

"Still no luck?" he asks, and I shake my head.

"Nothing. It's stupid."

Wufei frowns a little, but doesn't say anything else. He just picks up my bag, and I grab the pile of matches and set them back down next to the fireplace where I took them from. When we get through to Charlie's house, Duo's waiting on the sofa, his leg tapping up and down impatiently.

"I don't see why I couldn't go. I wanna go into a fire and come out somewhere else. That'd be sweet, but 'No, Duo, you don't need to find more ways to cause chaos—' Oh, hey kiddo!"

I smile, running up to give him a hug before crawling on his lap, letting my head rest against his shoulder. I feel him smooth a hand through my hair, fingers twisting the ends of the strands thoughtfully.

"Your hair just keeps growing, dun'it?" he muses, and it's at that point that Wufei comes stumbling through the fireplace, coughing.

"I will never get used to that," he grumbles, stepping aside quickly as Charlie steps out behind him.

"You're getting better! I didn't see you picking yourself up off the floor that time."

The dark look Wufei gives Charlie has me giggling, burying my face again into Duo's shoulder. He's laughing too, his arms looping under my legs and keeping me against him as he stands from the sofa.

"Well, ready to go?"

I look up in confusion, but he's not looking at me. Wufei nods, turning and beginning to say goodbye to Charlie, who waves them away.

"Go, I already know." The grin on his face makes me realize that they all know something that I don't.

I shouldn't, but it makes me upset that I don't know what they do. They're adults; they're allowed to keep secrets from me.

Yet I still feel the burn of a sad anger in my stomach. I let my eyes fall to the ground, my chin resting on Duo's shoulder as I think about it.

We don't go home. Instead, Wufei's pulling up into the parking lot of a very, very large building. There're a lot of different signs on the outside, with different things on each one. They look like the signs at the grocery store that Trowa likes to go to, and it makes me wonder if there's a lot of different grocery stores inside the building.

Duo carries me again, this time into the large building. The noise is startling; it feels like I've stepped into the 'Great Hall' at school. I scrunch my eyes shut, pressing my face into the warm fabric of Duo's hooded pullover.

"They said the food court, right?"

"Yes. Trowa might be running late," Duo replies, shifting his grip on me and bumping me up higher on his side. His shoulder's now too far down for me to hide my face in, and I'm forced to look around me.

There are no stores selling groceries here. There are stores that have faceless people in the windows, bright articles of clothing covering their white skin. There're other stores that have a lot of toys piled in the windows, and other stores with lots and lots of books. I can smell a lot of different things, some of them making my stomach let out sounds and my mouth water. There are so many things to look at, so much noise, and it's really warm in here. Really, really warm.

I keen softly, my grip tightening on Duo. He looks up at me, a soft smile on his face.

"It's a shopping mall. Come on, this way, my minions!"

Duo takes the lead, Wufei following behind as Duo points to different things and tells me about them. I don't really listen, all of my attention focusing on trying to keep track of everyone and everything around me. It's too much though, and I must have made some kind of sound because Duo's pausing, looking at me again.

"It's okay, kiddo. I'm not going to let anyone do shit to you here, 'kay?"

"Maybe we shouldn't have picked the food court," Wufei says from behind us, and Duo tilts his head back to look at him.

"Shoot the guys a text and have them meet us over at the Book Palace."

The sound dies down a lot as we step into a bookstore, and my grip on Duo's hair - which I don't remember grabbing at all - loosens, my curiousity overriding the overwhelming feeling that took hold of me. I let my arms fall to rest around his neck instead of in his hair, and he shifts me again so that we're both more comfortable. It's not long after that I can see Heero and Relena coming into the store, and I tug on Duo's hair again, pointing.

"Hey, 'bout time!" Duo teases, and Heero raises an eyebrow.

"I was unaware of the location change," Heero says, and Duo smirks.

"I thought you could read my mind," Duo mocks, and Heero just snorts.

"No, that would be Quatre."

Duo laughs before glancing around them.

"Hey, any news on how far Tro's out?"

"If he doesn't hit any traffic, he should be here in another ten, fifteen minutes," Relena answers, fingering the hem of her jacket. She's wearing a dark purple hat, all of her hair hidden under it and a large pair of sunglasses hiding her eyes. She looks really funny.

"Well, tell him we didn't eat dinner," Duo tells her, and then taps my nose. I wrinkle it, narrowing my eyes at him.

"We might as well plan out how we want to do this," Wufei says after a lull in conversation.

"Heero and I will start as one group," Relena says. "You can either join us or wait here with Duo."

"We'll switch people out as we need to so that everyone's covered," Duo adds in. I look between them all, frowning.

What's going on?

"I want to be out of here in an hour, tops," Duo continues, pulling out his phone and checking the time. "I don't care if we're not done, I'm leaving."

"You'd think you'd be more excited about this," Wufei teases lightly, "since it's your holiday."

I feel Duo's arm tighten around me, and his voice is cold as he bites out, "It's not my holiday."

"Isn't it a Christian holiday?" Relena asks, and Duo growls. I hiss, my fingers digging into Duo's braid again as he turns to look at her.

"I thought you were Catholic," Wufei adds, and I flinch as Duo's voice rises.

"It's not my holiday, damn it! It's a commercial holiday that promotes overspendin' and tryin' t'out-do your friends an' family by lavishin' gifts, promotin' empty promises of good-will an' hope, an' overindulgin' for a short time, 'fore everyone goes back t'bein' selfish pricks who don't give a shit 'bout anyone else 'gain f'another eleven months. Now, if we're done clarifiyin' that, can we fuckin' go spend our fuckin' money now?"

The others are silent, but it's broken when I fail to hold back a giggle. Duo relaxes then, his hand burying into my hair and smoothing through the strands.

"Happy fuckin' Christmas," he mutters, and I blink.

Christmas?

I've never had a Christmas before. I watched Dudders get to do Christmas, but I had to stay in my cubby and listen. It was like a birthday, only a lot worse and with a lot more food. I never looked forward to it like Dudders did. I'm not sure when it is, except that there's snow, so it must be in winter.

"Well, Heero, let's start shopping. Text us when Trowa arrives?" Relena asks Duo, and he nods absently, his hand still smoothing through my hair. Wufei follows along behind them, glancing back once at Duo before turning around and falling into line. Duo lets out a long breath, a deep chuckle coming after it. It doesn't sound like a happy one though, and I lift my head off of his shoulder to look at him in confusion.

"I hate shopping malls, kiddo. But the guys insisted on celebrating. So, here we are?"

I smile a little, shrugging one shoulder.

"I never did a Christmas before."

He looks at me without saying a word, before nodding.

"Well, then it's good we're present shopping then, right?"

"When is it?" I ask, and… something flashes in Duo's eyes before he grins at me.

"December 25th. I don't know how much we're going to celebrate it at our house, but some people go all out an' shit, with trees an' lights and ribbons an' creepy statues on their lawn. I'll take you for a drive an' we'll go look at some of them if you want."

"See what?" I hear Trowa ask from behind us, and we both turn to look. I feel happy when I see Trowa, but there's someone holding onto his arm, and I feel my blood run cold.

"Hey, Cathy," Duo greets, and I wonder if I'm not the only one feeling cold.

"Hello, Duo," she responds quietly, her eyes never leaving mine. I feel myself tensing, my teeth baring as I let out a long hiss at her.

She's. Touching. My. Trowa.

"Oi," Duo's voice says quietly in my ear, "she's okay, David."

"David, stop that." Trowa's words have my lips closing, cutting the sound off, but my glare doesn't lessen. Trowa pulls away from the woman - Cathy - and steps towards me. My hands reach out automatically, and I'm passed over quickly. Duo steps back as I latch onto my Trowa.

I growl a little as I catch sight of Cathy again. Trowa runs his hand down my back, a gentle hum running through his body and into mine. I relax against my own will, slumping into his body and staring blankly at the length of his neck.

"Cathy, this is David. David, this is my… sister. Cathy Bloom. She's coming to spend Christmas with us."

I nod, understanding, though I still don't like it.

Trowa's mine.

"Hello David, I've heard so much about you. I'm glad to finally meet you," she says to me, and I wrinkle my nose a little. I don't care.

"We have forty minutes, let's finish shopping and get out of here," Duo breaks in, his eyes meeting Trowa's. They look at each other for a bit, no words being said, before Duo's eyes flick to me and Trowa gives a nod.

I think I'm supposed to be having fun finding presents, but it's the opposite. I do find something for Wufei, Heero, Quatre, and Relena with Duo's help, and with Trowa's help I find something for Duo.

I can't find anything for Trowa.

I do find a present for Draco as well, and Duo's snickers aren't helping the blush go away. But I don't put it back.

On the way home Trowa gets take-out, and Cathy sits in the front seat with Trowa while Duo and I sit in the back of the car, me still glaring at Cathy. Duo seems highly amused by this, but it's not funny.

Trowa's mine. Not hers. She doesn't belong here.

I go to put my presents away in my bedroom, Duo promising to help me wrap them up later. I neatly put them away, throwing a blanket over them to keep them out of sight. After that, I crawl under my bed and curl up in a ball, shaking horribly.

I don't want her to stay here. I don't want to share Trowa with her.

He's mine!


A/N: I... I have no excuses.

My brain is fried. Ro's been awake for too long. Any glaring errors or nonsense is a joint effort that I take all the blame for.

ALT