Normal Lives - Chapter 1

Lush green valleys, deep purple heather covered hills, snowcapped mountains, the voices of birds floating on the sweet snow-tinged breeze. Silently, I looked on as two people met in a forest clearing. One, a man dressed in wolf skins, with the eyes of the bird he was named after, Merlin, and the other a lithe girl who had the presence of a woman and flowing raven hair, called Ganieda. "You intrude, stranger," her strong voice carried from the back of her grey steed to the man on his sturdy hill pony.

As I reached to turn the page, caught up in the tale, a hand twice the size of my own grasped mine, their other taking hold my novel. The book began moving and I looked up to meet dark green orbs framed in a face I knew better than my own. A broad smile spread across my face as my blue-grey eyes danced. "Hey!"

He laughed in his deep and full way, replying in a sing-song manner, "Again she was lost in her book, lost in one of her other worlds." The offending book was no longer in my grasp, but instead on the table beside the chair where I had been curled. Again my hand was in his, indeed I do not think it had ever left, as he gently pulled me to stand. We headed toward, I assumed, where the visitors that I had forgotten were coming, until now, sat waiting.

Glancing up at his gentle profile, strong chin, shock of brown hair, and wonderful eyes I felt so lucky having found him. Almost loosing myself in another semi-trance, I shook my head and grinned as I saw the familiar brown braid flick past the stair door above us and hearing my friend's agitated voice, "HILDE! Help! No Wufei! Ahhh!"

Loosing my hand from the man beside me, I jogged up the few remaining stairs, laughing the whole way. "Heya, Duo!" My call stopped the scene before me in freeze-frame. Duo was being dragged across the floor with his hair by the red faced Chinese man, an exasperated brunette getting ready to jump in, as all the other occupants of the room, excluding the prussian eyed watcher in the corner, sat enjoying the show.

Glancing at the dark haired man coming up behind me, I smiled and then turned back to the group. With Wufei releasing his hair, Duo sat down next to Hilde sheepishly. The gentle blonde at the table sat down his tea and smiled warmly. "Hello, Ami, Trowa," he nodded to us in turn. "It's been too long."

"Indeed it has!" I turned and saw the former Queen of the World standing relaxed by the door. From the corner of my eye I saw that the eyes of the watcher in the corner had not left her since she'd arrived only a few seconds before with her quiet gait. Grinning I met Relena in a big hug and whispered into her ear, "The Silent Watcher has you in his sights, dear sister."

She laughed softly, "If he didn't, I think should be worried, no?" Her smile reached all the way to her beautiful eyes and I marveled that this man who so obviously loved her hadn't already lost himself in them and confessed. But then again, I keep forgetting of whom I speak, and that he hardly knows what he's feeling.

After the round of greetings was complete, everyone sat down again. Heero in his corner, Duo on the floor in front of Hilde's chair, Quatre, Sally, and Wufei at the table by the window, and Noin on one end of the couch where I sat next to Trowa. As my eyes roamed around the room, I wondered what had happened to all of them in these past two years that I didn't know of. They are my family and I regret that we had lost contact with most of them for any amount of time.

The peace was holding as best as could be expected. In fact, I was glad that the politicians and the people had begun to take over the control from Relena's hands. It may have made her stir-crazy at first, but I could tell that she was much more relaxed than when I had first met her. The years that had begun to show in her tight smile were steadily flowing away, revealing a much relieved young woman, ready to live her life.

The braided man rested with his arms behind his head, while Hilde unconsciously twirled his long braid in her hands. The two had been married in 198 and now had an adorable son called Tayt, in almost every way a young version of his father. They still run the junkyard, not necessarily a prosperous business, but they're happy, and that's all that matters.

Inevitably, Quatre had taken over the Winner Family Corporation and ran it wonderfully. His gentle and young appearance often would mislead a client to believe that he would be easy to manipulate. Those years as a soldier had not been wasted on him though. He is a shrewd negotiator, but of course, he never takes advantage of someone. I'm not sure what has transpired with Dorothy Catalonia, last I heard, they were just friends, but any blind man could have seen that they were both trying to hide the feelings that they had.

Preventers had taken control of all the rest of us.

Heero had worked with them as a free agent, only accepting certain assignments while staying at HQ for periods, and then leaving. I had come there to find him, after hearing that was where he was. In addition to finding my childhood companion, I also received a job. The Preventers took interest in my mechanical background and hired me to work on the maitinence. Trowa did more steady Preventer work, but undercover in the circus, observing the moods of the places they traveled. After we were married, he took a job at HQ, but still was out in the field as much as possible. Sally and Wufei had done more 'normal' jobs than the rest of us. They were the coordinators of the regular sweeps and checks that kept the peace. Of the last two members of this hodgepodge group, Relena's platinum headed brother and his partner, they had gone to Mars, where the terriformation project was just underway. I believe that they have been reassigned to Earth for the time being, but where exactly is Zechs? I have no idea.

Now we were here. Except for Zechs, we were all here...and we were all just staring at one another. Finally, Duo couldn't stand it anymore. "So! Who wants to spill first?"


Author's Note: Whew, finally done. seems so much longer when I'm writing it! This story is taking it's own sweet time in forming in my mind, and then the fact that I keep getting pulled away by other things when inspiration strikes...*sigh* Anyway, I'm working to keep everyone as IC as I can, and to explain everything...but I'm taking a different approach to this, most likely it's going to be a reflecting on the war, mixed in with their 'normal lives.'

Oh, and the first paragraph is about/from the book I was reading when I started this chapter. It's called Merlin by Stephen R. Lawhead.

This is my fourth fic (two finished and one other in the process), so I'm very glad for any CC that I can get. ^_^
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