A/N: Okay, quick explanation. This story is the direct result of a freewriting exercise I engaged in that kind of got away from me. The purpose of this was to get a better feel for the character I'm writing by putting them in a situation outside of their comfort zone. One thing led to another, and the next thing I know, I have 5,600 words on my hands.

This story is completely unrelated to "A Deal with the Devil". In fact, it takes place in an entirely different timeframe. The kids are still, well, kids. The same age as in the show. Maybe a little later. It IS in the winter after the BPS.

As always, Ed, Edd, n' Eddy is the property of AKA Cartoons and Danny Antonucci. All you see here is a sad, sad fanboy who can't even control his own writings. Enjoy anyway!


The snow fell from the sky softly, teeny tiny flakes of ice covering the cul-de-sac in white. Night had already fallen, and it had become too cold to go outside comfortably. Christmas was on the way, and it showed. The houses were draped and covered in twinkling lights, and ornaments of festive appearance decorated the lawns. Within the houses, children laughed and lounged, ecstatic about the approach of the best day of the year.

"I hope you die in a fire!" was the latest in a series of shrill screams that shattered the silence of the night in the trailer park. It came, of course, from the Kanker trailer. The sisters had had some sort of fight once more, but it sounded different this time. It sounded serious. Words that no 12 year-old girl should ever know, let alone use with such precision, had been screamed and yelled with harsh emotion.

Some of the park's other inhabitants poked their heads out drowsily, only to hastily pop them back inside when they saw the trailer's screen door open, allowing a short, slim form to hop out and slam it shut behind her.

"You get back here this instant!" came the yell from inside the trailer, a much huskier voice, belonging to the eldest sibling. Lee Kanker slammed open the screen door, but didn't step out. Her red curls stood out starkly against the falling white snow, covering her eyes, and several scratches and bruises dotted her face. "I said get back here!"

"Why don't you go suck a prick, Lee?!" came her sister, Marie's retort. She had short blue hair which covered her right eye, a generous dusting of freckles on her face, and was hastily putting on mismatched mittens and a frayed old burgundy coat. A scarf hung from her arm as well.

"Thtop being such a baby, Marie!" came the third voice, belonging to May Kanker, the youngest of the three. When she was particularly upset, her lisp got that much more pronounced. The bucktoothed blonde popped her head out of the trailer's window, scowling. She had a black eye and several scratches on her face. "We THAID we were sorry!"

"Fuck off, May!" was Marie's answer. Without waiting for a retort, she lifted her coat's hood over her head and ran off, heading for the junkyard. Her two sisters were left standing there in the cold, in their underclothes.

"Was it something we said?" May asked, almost sadly. Lee didn't answer, instead closing the door. She didn't lock it. Marie would be back soon, after all.

Marie Kanker fumed. The skin around her left eye was already darkening into a bruise, just one of many across her face and arms, and her hair was disheveled. As could be expected, she'd gotten in a fight with her sisters. Both of them at once, as a matter of fact.

"I hate them," she whispered venomously, kicking at a snow-covered tin can, sending it skittering off into the junkyard. But this was not true. Truth was, she loved her sisters. That was why she was so angry at them. Because no matter what bullshit they pulled (not that she was some innocent angel, mind you), she could never stop loving them. They were, after all was said and done, basically everything she had in the world.

She tried punching a few snowdrifts to vent her frustrations out onto the world, but gave up after a few tries. All she managed was to get tired.

She shivered a little as the cold snow chilled her, and made a note to ask mom to get new coats as soon as they could. These weren't all that good at keeping out the cold. Then again, her boots were pretty old, too. Chances were snow was seeping through.

A glance around herself told Marie there wasn't anything really interesting for her to see here. Just as well, she thought. All she needed was a walk to cool down and clear her head. She figured it'd do Lee and May some good too. Those two had a lot to apologize for, after all.

The young girl sighed, hugging her arms, and looked up. She couldn't see the stars, but the moon shone brightly, a beautiful lunar halo around it. She smiled, just a tiny bit. Sure, it wasn't a fully working car engine in action, but she could still appreciate how pretty that moon was. She dimly wondered what caused that halo around the moon, but couldn't think of anything to explain it. It was one of those things, she supposed.

On a whim, she turned to look at the cul-de-sac, to where she knew kids were inside and warm. Maybe they were enjoying some hot chocolate, like mom sometimes brought home when she wanted to spoil them a little on cold nights. Maybe it had marshmallows in it.

Marie felt her stomach growl at the thought. She wanted a better look, but from this angle, all she got was the tops of the houses and the junkyard's fence. She looked around herself, and saw a white, snow-covered hill that was usually a pile of refuse as tall as she could hope for this situation.

With little ado, she started climbing. She almost slipped twice, but managed to regain her grip both times. That said, a shower of snow down the back of her coat during the second slip had left her wet and cold inside. Eventually, she made it to the top, and settled there, holding her knees to her chest, and watched the houses for a nice long while. It was funny how small everything looked from up here, she thought.

The lights were glaringly bright, blinding her at first. The decorations on the lawns were garish at best, corny for the most part, and downright pathetic at worst. But Marie could see the silhouettes of the children indoors, laughing or smiling or watching the telly. Well... except her little Double D's house. There, all the lights were out, and no sound could be heard from inside it.

"Figures," Marie thought. "He's always the first to go to bed." To say she knew a lot about Double D's regular schedule would be an understatement. She made it her business to know. She turned around to say something to May about how boring Double D could be sometimes, but her quip and smile died on her lips. A pang of pain and regret hit her when she saw the empty landscape. Right. She was alone.

"This sucks," she muttered, hugging her knees closer. "Why do my sisters gotta be such assholes?" A nagging little thought prodded at her, something about how maybe her sisters weren't the only ones at fault here. Marie angrily waved it off. If she wanted to hear nagging, she'd talk to Lee.

"Oh, drat," a small voice broke into her thoughts. "The clouds are much too thick to see the stars. Accursed cumulonimbus formations..." Boyish, but just barely, with a certain cultured edge about it. She blinked and peeked over the edge of her hill, trying to get a glimpse of who it was invading her icy kingdom. In her unconscious mind, she already knew, and it set her heart pounding.

Sure enough, it was the thin Ed, Double D. As every winter, he was bundled up in that ridiculously thick, flashy orange jacket of his. As always, he had a hat on his head. And as always, he was too busy with some sciency thing to notice Marie watching him. True to form, he was fiddling with what looked like a telescope. Marie had never seen one up close, but knew he kept one in his room. She'd even looked up the word in her mom's dusty, practically untouched dictionary after she heard Double D talking about it.

Double D looked up at the sky, rubbing his chin thoughtfully through mittened hands. Marie kept looking down at him, entranced. He really was the cutest of the Eds, in her opinion. He wasn't exactly sexy (he lacked muscles and self-confidence, for one), but there was something about him that drew in Marie. Maybe it was his naïveté, maybe it was that way he always made an effort to be polite, no matter what. It was a welcome break from drunken assholes at the trailer park, that was for certain.

"Maybe if I calibrate the objective lens for longer distances..." Double D said aloud to himself. He went back to fiddling with his device. Marie had to admit she was curious as to why he was out so late, for one, and why he was out here in the junkyard instead of back in his room.

Marie shivered again. Shit, it was cold out. Laying on her belly in the snow to watch her Ed probably didn't help, either. Still. She glanced at the snow and grinned. It gave her an idea on how to get his attention.

Double D was so focused on the calibration of his telescope, he only noticed the snowball when it smacked into his face and dropped him to the ground.

... Okay, so it wasn't the most complex or effective of Marie's plans, but they couldn't all be winners, right? If it didn't involve car parts or engines, she really wasn't the best person to ask. "Besides," she thought as she watched him get up and look around himself with obvious confusion and suspicion, "it worked. It got Double D's attention, right?"

It did, to say the least. The poor boy was glancing around himself, expecting a follow-up attack to ensue. He cautiously bent down and started piling up a snowball of his own. Just as he was done smoothing it into a perfect elliptical shape, he heard the noise of snow shifting above him. He looked up and saw a short, slim figure leaning over the snow hill's edge.

"Eddy?" he called out, cautious. The proportions weren't right, but you never knew. "Eddy, is that you?" Was it possible he wasn't the only kid outside on such a cold and lonely night? The snowball certainly indicated there was another person out there with him, but who it was was up for debate. He narrowed his eyes to get a better look, and felt the bottom drop out of his stomach. He recognized that blue hair, that mischievous eye, and that cheeky grin.

"MARIE?!" he screamed, suddenly very afraid. This girl had been his stalker and tormentor for a long time now. Whenever she appeared, it was rarely good news for him. He often walked away from such encounters with several bruises and enough lipstick on him to paint a Picasso.

He gave his treasured telescope one hurried glance and snatched it off of its tripod. He took a last look towards the top of the snowy hill, ready to take off as fast as he could. He hesitated, just a second, when he saw Marie's expression change. But just for a second. He ran forward anyway, mumbling "oh, dear" repeatedly to himself.

But halfway home, his conscience caught up with his fleeing form, and he gradually slowed down. He turned around and looked at the hill he'd fled from. Marie was still there, not moving. Double D bit his lip and looked around himself, anxious. This was a trick, he was sure of it. It always was, when the Kankers were involved. There was no way Marie Kanker had anything resembling real emotions.

But she'd looked so...

She'd tormented him for a year and a half now, taking every possible opportunity to humiliate and belittle him in front of his peers.

So had Eddy, once upon a time, Eddward Marion reminded himself sharply.

That wasn't the same thing. Eddy was our friend!

Ah, so now we differentiate between "friends" and "others". Very illuminated of you, Eddward. I'm sure nothing bad ever came from making such distinctions.

She's a Kanker!

Now you're sounding like Eddy.

The debate was meaningless. One way or the other, he couldn't just walk away. He reminded himself that Christmas (the season, not the day, as the brave part of his mind had to remind the cowardly one) was a time for forgiveness and good will. With a deep breath, he got to work.

Behind him, Marie's mouth twisted sadly when she saw him bolt, turning from what she'd hoped was a friendly smile, into a sad little frown. It wasn't something unexpected, but it hurt a little anyway. Served her right for trying to be friendly, for once.

"He hates you," she thought, and had to admit she wasn't surprised. She'd turned his life into a nightmare for, what? One, two years now? She'd lost count, to be honest.

She regretted it. There, she said it! She'd thought any sort of attention from him was good attention. That was why she kept following him around, tormenting him, kissing him against his will. She just wanted him to like her back. If she kissed him and smothered him often enough, she'd reasoned, he'd eventually come around.

It turned out she'd managed the exact opposite. Now every time he saw her, he bolted like a scared rabbit. And it made her want to cry, just a little. She wanted to let him know she was willing to talk, to take it slower, but didn't even know where to begin. Was there some sort of "I'm Sorry I made your life a living hell, let's kiss and make up" card you could buy somewhere?

Rhetorical question. There wasn't.

Marie should know. She'd checked.

She stood and brushed some of the snow off of her. It was cold as shit out here, but she was getting used to it fast. With a last look at where he'd been, where the strange tripod still was, Marie resigned herself to go back home. Her sisters must've had enough time to cool off by now. She certainly had.

Marie climbed down far quicker than she'd climbed up. It probably helped that she slipped one fourth of the way down and rolled to the bottom with a wet FWUMP. She got up and shook off the snow as best she could, but some of it had already soaked through. Marie growled. This was not her night.

She took a few steps home, but stopped and glanced backwards, brushing her bangs out of her face. The tripod was still there, in the snow. She scratched the back of her head. She knew it would rust if she left it there.

"But why should I care?" she thought. "He doesn't." A convincing argument, in Marie's opinion. Yeah. He deserved to have his tripod thingamajig rust.

With her mind set, Marie turned back around and headed for home, holding her coat and scarf close against her. All she wanted right now was to warm up at the trailer and just forget this whole night had ever happened.

Of course, things are hardly ever that simple.

She felt a snowball hit the back of her head with very little strength behind it. She turned around, more curious than angry, expecting to see maybe May or Lee, come to make peace in their own stupid way. Instead, she saw Double D, sweating profusely and smiling very, very nervously. He shifted from foot to foot, evidently eager to run, but somehow controlling himself.

A brief silence ensued. Double D glanced back towards the cul-de-sac, his second snowball already melting in his hands. The only sound to be heard was the howling of the wind among the falling snow. Then Marie's visible eye narrowed and her lips curled into a wide smile.

"Oh, it's on," she said, and bent down to gather snow. "Come to Mama, baby!" she crowed, holding a large snowball in her hands within seconds. Double D yelped and turned, running, with Marie hot on his heels.

Twenty minutes later, Marie was laughing, hiding behind a snowdrift. Yet another weakly thrown snowball landed next to her, one she quickly snatched up and added to her growing stash.

She had been very surprised when Double D hadn't run home from her, but instead dived into a makeshift snow fort he'd built after his initial scare, near the entrance of the junkyard. He'd also made many snowballs in advance, small delicate ones that hardly did anything on impact, especially compared to Marie's large, heavy ones. Squealing from the cold, Marie had taken cover behind a snowdrift and started working on her own arsenal, occasionally throwing a potshot over the snow pile.

So far, Double D had avoided all her shots, thanks to his hastily made fort. All Marie had was her snowdrift, but she was alright with that. She was having fun! And if the glimpses of his face had been any indication, he was having just as much fun as she was.

For once in her dealings with Double D, she wasn't thinking of kissing him or making him pretty or anything like that. Hell, right now all she wanted to do was not lose against this wimp! She would never live it down if it got out she'd lost a snowball fight against Double D, of all people.

Marie giggled and waited a moment, before bursting out of her shelter and flinging snowballs as hard and fast as she could. Double D, who'd popped out to throw his own projectile, had time to whisper "oh, my" before being overwhelmed by Marie's barrage, going down like a sack of potatoes.

The blue-haired girl whooped and ran forward, feeling victory close at hand. She leapt over the snow fort, and landed on the dazed nerd, straddling him. His eyes bugged out on impact as the air was blown out of him, and Marie quickly clasped his shoulders with a viselike grip.

"Gotcha, Muffin!" she said, victorious. To further claim victory, she quickly shoved a handful of snow down the back of Double D's jacket. With a loud, girlish squeal, he began to squirm and thrash to get the snow out of his coat. After several failed seconds of squirming, Double D finally managed to roll over, pinning Marie under his jacket's bulk... only for the motion's own momentum to keep them moving, pinning him under her once again. He could only blink, severely confused at this outcome.

Marie looked at his expression and bit her lip, holding back for the longest time possible. She didn't last long.

She started laughing. Not her usual manic cackle, but something a little more regular, less grating on Double D's ears. A genuine laugh, born of her enjoyment. Marie was cold, wet, had snow all over her, and yet was happy.

"C-Could you get off me? Please?" came a nervous request below her. Marie was too busy laughing to give it much heed, collapsing on top of her prisoner of war, and shaking both of them with the force of her laughter. Which, as most genuine laughs tend to be, was contagious.

Below her, Double D couldn't help but start snickering as well. Nervously at first, but progressively changing as he shed his fear, until he was laughing along with her. The two laughed like loons for a minute or two, until it became chortles and snickers. Marie got back into a sitting position, still giggling. Beneath her, Double D was smiling. He was still tense, but he felt a bit more relaxed than he had been for a while now.

Above him, Marie wiped a tear off her cheek, letting out a final chuckle. She looked down at him with a smile, and he responded in kind. For once, the two were not in a negative behavioral loop. For once, they were being civil to one another, friendly, even. For once, he smiled at her. And without giving it much thought, she cupped his cheeks, leaned down, and kissed him.

It was not her usual slobbery kiss, nor was it the beginning of a kiss barrage. She didn't even have makeup on today. It was just their lips brushing together for a second, and separating again. She was surprised at the warmth of his lips and of his breath on her skin. It felt sweet to Marie. A split second of heaven and no longer, but it was still a split second more than she'd ever gotten with him before.

She took a breath, just the tiniest bit nervous. She'd never been this gentle with him before, and she had no idea what came next. She didn't hate it. On the contrary, it had felt wonderful. But it left her feeling unsure. And she hated THAT.

Marie pulled back, half expecting the sockhead to bolt or yell or go into a fit. But to her surprise, he just looked up at her, wide-eyed and red in the face. He bit his lip nervously. Marie giggled. He was so... so... Adorkable! THAT was the perfect word for him.

She lifted herself off of Double D and sat in the snow right beside him. She missed his body heat, but he'd probably want to get up into a more comfortable position soon, if not already. And indeed, with a bit of a struggle thanks to that bulky coat of his, he managed to get up into a sitting position.

"So," Marie began, "enjoy that, cutie?" She smiled at him, but this time Double D didn't quite see it as a predatory smirk. Rather, it just seemed like an overenthusiastic smile.

"It was... new," he admitted sheepishly. Marie noted how he touched his lips with his fingertips without conscious thought, almost involuntarily. He was smiling, too, but it was much more subtle than Marie's. The girl leaned back and watched him for a bit.

He was nervous and self-conscious now, fidgeting on his seat and unable to sit still, smoothing out all traces of snow from his clothes. Marie, on the other hand, was still disheveled and wild-haired. She was aware of it, and she did not give a flying damn. She crossed her arms, waiting for Double D to stop fidgeting and look at her.

The silence became awkward quickly. Double D cleared his throat. Marie tapped her fingers on her arm. She quickly realized that spineless as he was, Double D was not going to start the talk.

"If it's worth anything, I'm sorry," she said. Double D turned to regard her curiously. Marie was quiet, thinking again. Lee would've yelled at her, May would've been dumbfounded, and Ma would've been disappointed in her. Apologizing to a man? It was unthinkable. They were there in order to TAKE such punishment without complain, and didn't deserve any better. She'd made a clear effort to always understand her Ma's lessons, to understand what men were really like. But whenever her own experiences came into play, she couldn't help but get just the tiniest smidgen of doubt.

"M-My apologies, Marie, but I don't understand what you mea-" he tried, lamely.

"Don't you play dumb with me, cutie. I get enough of that with May back home." She paused for a moment. "I ain't dumb, y'know. I know I scare the living sh- poop out of you."

"You are a bit..." Double D seemed to think for a moment, looking for the right word. "Intimidating," he finished. Marie snorted.

"That's a new one." She sounded uncharacteristically sour, Double D noticed. "I don't think you believe me. I kinda expect you to hate me. But I am sorry. For, y'know. The stuff." Marie scratched her head, uncomfortable and unable to meet his eye. This shit was harder than she expected.

Double D blinked, concerned. Even a year later, after all that had happened through their lives, this girl surprised him. Pleasantly, for once. He touched his fingertips to his lips again. Her lips had been soft. That was all he could think about. Just now, her lips had been soft and cool on his. It was a strange thing to think, but...

Another awkward silence ensued. Marie shivered again. "Cheap-ass author can't even let me have a decent coat," she thought accusingly, like I were made of money or something.

"Well, Marie. If it's worth anything, I accept your apology wholeheartedly," Double D said with forced cheeriness and an equally forced smile, holding out his hand. Marie looked at it, smirked, and, unable to hold herself back, took his hand and squeezed it until she saw tears spring to his eyes.

"Thanks, Muffin. It means something to have you say that," she said sweetly, while Double D nursed his bent and mangled hand back into shape.

"Th-Think nothing of it, Marie," he whimpered through a smile, making Marie's own smile wider.

A short silence fell over them yet again. The two looked up at the moon, shining alone in the night sky. Marie's smile gradually faded.

"It's kinda sad," Marie murmured softly. Double D turned to look at her curiously. He was still massaging his hand, but at least the tears had stopped.

"Is... something the matter, Marie?" he asked hesitantly, although Marie was glad to hear almost no stutter on his voice. "What's sad?"

"Us. I mean, we are. I've known you for, what, two years, and this is the longest we've ever talked. I mean, you've asked me to give you a cup of sugar, or sign some weird paper so we'll switch homerooms. But we've never, y'know," she shrugged, unsure where she was going with this, "talked." She glanced at Double D, gauging his reaction. He was looking at her, his interest unwavering, polite. There was a bit of a far-off look in his eyes, evidently remembering their 'talks' throughout their history. He nodded in thought, wordlessly asking her to go on. Marie shrugged.

"I dunno, Muffin. It just seems... sad, is all."

"If I may interject," Double D started. Marie raised an eyebrow and nodded. "The situation isn't entirely on your shoulders, Marie. I've never been... particularly receptive to having a conversation with you." Marie sighed, irritated. She should've expected this. The guy was so spineless, he'd apologize for something that wasn't even his fault to begin with. No wonder he was such an easy patsy that one time Dutch got angry at Eddy.

"Of course you haven't been. You're a little too busy running from a hateful blue-haired cunt to be," she sneered, and noted Double D's wince at her use of the insult.

"I've never hated you," he murmured. "You're just a little aggressive sometimes." Marie grit her teeth and said nothing. There he went again, finding a way to be polite about anything.

Another brief silence ensued. They seemed to be a motif of their conversation by now. Marie glanced his way and rubbed her arm, wondering how he was taking this. This was literally the longest conversation they'd ever had, and she'd just apologized for making his life a living hell. All in the same sitting. Even that massive brain of his seemed to be having a hard time analyzing it all. An irritatingly long time, too. She was two seconds away from standing up and burying him in snow out of sheer impatience when he broke the silence.

"I think you might already know, but my name is Eddward, with two D's. I like reading, and learning. I like finding bugs, and I love it when things are neat and orderly. I enjoy spending time with my friends, most notably Ed and Eddy. I find it exhilarating to witness the creativity of others and exercising my own, and I enjoy building machines for Eddy's scams," he said. Marie listened, confused. She shivered once and moved just a bit closer to him. Double D turned and looked at her expectantly.

"What are you looking at?" she asked, defensive.

"Well... for a conversation to develop in a satisfying way, I believe we must know a little about each other. I do not think I know anything about you, other than your name and address."

"Oh." Marie felt herself grow a little red in the face, a bit embarrassed. It did seem sort of obvious, now.

"Well..." she started hesitantly. She wasn't shy. She had no reason to be, not around Double D. Once you've seen a man in his skivvies, she thought, you're practically married. She'd just never tried this whole "opening up" thing with anyone who wasn't family.

"My name's Marie Kanker, but I bet you already know that. I love cars. I love how they work, I love their bits and pieces, I love learning how to put them back together. When I'm around a car, I can pretend I'm smart about something." Eddward listened raptly as his bully told him about her passion. She scratched the back of her neck irritably as some snow she'd had back there melted and soaked through. "I don't like school. I know it's important if I ever wanna get out of that trailer park, but it's a real pain."

"I see," was all Double D said. Not to silence her, but urging her to go on. Marie drummed her fingers at her side.

"I'm not good at this, y'know," she said, complaining lightheartedly. "The whole touchy-feely thing."

"Please, continue," Double D urged her, a gap-toothed smile on his face. "I find myself enraptured by your introduction. It will be my privilege to finish hearing you out." Marie snickered. She loved it when he talked gibberish like that. Still, his point got across.

"I don't like books. I don't like people," she counted off mentally. She paused. "But I love my sisters." It felt weird to say it, considering how often they fought. But this was as much for her as it was for Double D. She needed to be as honest as possible, for once in her life.

"I like painting. I really like painting," she admitted. "It's something I'm good at." Double D nodded. He remembered seeing her work in the classroom. It was no masterpiece, but there was some definite talent there. "I guess that's all I can say here," Marie finished, frowning. Double D nodded again, assimilating all the information. After what seemed like a minute or two of deliberation, he once again offered his hand to Marie for a handshake. He was clearly nervous, and was wincing in advance already.

"Well, M-Marie... it's a pleasure to meet you." Marie stared at the outstretched hand blankly, then burst out laughing. Now it was the cackle that Double D had learned to fear. His hand shook a little, as did the rest of his body.

"You're a real corny guy, y'know that?" she said, a mocking edge to her voice. But she still reached out and shook Double D's hand, gently this time. "Good thing I find corny guys so cute."

"Eh-heh-heh..." Double D laughed nervously. Usually, Marie would've jumped him here, at this show of weakness. But she held back, remembering the sensation of that tiny kiss. The softness, the warmth of it. Maybe the cold was making her go soft in the head, but for now, she held back. A part of it was this sensation, one she wanted to try to feel again later. And a part of it was the idea that maybe now she could start convincing him she was not a movie monster.

Plus... her sisters must be worried sick about her by now. Marie had to guiltily admit that the argument had been her fault, at least partly. She wouldn't apologize straight-on, but maybe Lee would get the hint if Marie ran her bath for her a few times.

"Hey, Double D?" Marie broke the silence again.

"Y-Yes, Marie?" Double D prompted, still straightening out the last few kinks in his fingers. "Ah! There we go!" he murmured happily as he wiggled them, mobile once again. His celebration was interrupted by a hug from the girl next to him, her face dangerously close to his ear.

"M-Marie?" he asked, surprised and wary. With any other person, his personal bubble would've been an extremely big deal. With Marie, said bubble had been invaded so much so often it practically felt like her bubble sometimes. Plus, Double D had to grudgingly admit that this girl intrigued him. He'd known next to nothing about her before tonight.

"Thank you," she whispered, uncharacteristically quietly, to the terrified boy with the violated personal bubble. "I really needed that." Before he could answer, she landed a quick peck on his cheek, and jumped to her feet, her trademark predatory grin back in place.

"I'll see you around, Cutie Pie?" she asked, almost hopefully.

"I hope so, Marie," he blurted out. His eyes went wide and he covered his mouth with his mittens, red-faced. Marie giggled. Her own light blush didn't show well, thanks mostly to the bitter cold making her cheeks sting.

"I'll take that as an "I love you, Marie", then!" the blue-haired girl snickered, and before Double D could get his spluttering retort out, she leaped over the snow fort's outer wall, and ran towards home.

Double D, now alone in his fort, touched his cheek. And smiled. He'd come out here in order to watch the night sky away from all that light pollution. He was not expecting to meet Marie here. And he was not expecting a civil, eye-to-eye conversation, either.

The next few weeks were going to be fascinating, he knew.

Marie entered the trailer and shook off the snow that had piled up on her shoulders. She removed her scarf and the jacket, hanging them up by the door. The snow boots went then. She gave a small shiver as she was left in her regular clothes. It was warmer inside, but it was still rather cold.

"Marie!" Lee's voice boomed. The middle Kanker sister turned towards the stairs and, sure enough, saw her sister growling down at her. "'Bout time! Where'd you go, sis?! I ought-a pound you flat for lea-"

"Not now, Lee!" Marie yelled back, stomping up the stairs past the redheaded Kanker sister. "I'm gonna run you a bath!"

"Don't you use that tone with me, you little-! Wait, what?" Lee wasn't sure she'd heard right. May, who'd poked her head in from the doorframe to listen in, reared back when Marie passed her and entered the bathroom.

"You heard me!" Marie yelled, slamming the bathroom door. Silence ensued. They heard the sound of running water. Lee and May turned to look at each other, slack-jawed. Had Marie gone crazy? The bathroom door opened again, and Marie poked out, shaking her fist at May. "The same goes for you, Snoutface!" SLAM!

It was a few seconds before Lee finally understood. She chuckled.

"Heh. Gotcha loud an' clear, sis." She turned to May, who was still looking at the bathroom door like it had spouted eyes and a mouth. "Hey, May! Come downstairs and help me fix Marie some dinner!"

"Lee, what's goin' on?" May asked, baffled. She was still trying to make sense of this, but she dutifully followed her older sister.

"If ya don't get it, yer dumber than a sack of rocks," Lee said, fully intending to explain the situation to her sister, anyway. "Now pass me the ketchup, wouldja?"

A/N: Ta-da! Done. Maybe. I might continue it. I dunno. Probably not. Like I said above, this began as a writing exercise. Before long, I got kind of enamored with the concept. I don't know if it's very good. I feel like I might have taken a few too many liberties with the characters, even if I gave their lines a reading in their voice in my head. But I'm happy with the outcome.

The fight between the sisters is left entirely up to your imagination. I can't really think of anything off the top of my head which would make these three get in such a vicious fight, so I leave it to your imaginations.

I'm not strictly an Edd/Marie shipper. I'm fairly open in what is shipped or not, and you'll likely see that in the future in my works. But this particular concept was foremost in my mind for over a week, before I devoted three full days to it.

Edit: Made a few punctuation and pronoun corrections (thanks to PhoenixVersion1 for pointing out an especially glaring one). Pointing these out to me is a welcome service. English isn't my first language, and sometimes it kinda shows a little.

I'm eager to see what you guys think. Leave a review if you liked it! And leave a review if you didn't, too. Those are vital as well. Critique is always appreciated!