He was twenty-one before he let himself figure out that he loved her. She'd made it clear that she loved him from the moment they met practically. And not once had Megabyte ever had a reason to suspect she'd gotten over it. She dated, and sometimes she was even a little bit happy with other guys. Sometimes they made her laugh. Sometimes she was even beautiful for them - he'd seen her once in a very beautiful dark purple dress.
Her skin was pale silk and her hair was winter wheat under a gray sky.
And when her date showed up, Megabyte fled back to the island and couldn't explain to himself or anyone else why it bothered him so much. Why hearing, from Jade's kitchen, sent him into a place where the back of his skull was white hot and the quiet unsettled him.
He never let her talk about her love life around him. And every once and a while, when a man would give her a look in public, he had the urge to throw something in the guy's direction. It actually worried him, the suddenly violence in his temper that had never been there before.
Adam and Ami would say nothing when he asked them for some kind of advice. They laughed at him. He accused them of being twelve and went on his way.
Then came Christmas. And Christmas shopping. And somewhere, on the 21st sitting in front of a music store it started to dawn on him.
Firstly, because he looked in through the window and saw Byron Lucifer's Greatest Hits box set and didn't even think about keeping it for himself. Secondly, because he realized he'd already gotten two other things for Jade but still had no idea what to get anyone else. He hadn't even really thought about what he'd wanted to ask for himself.
He tried to tell himself that it was just that Jade was so easy to buy for. They liked all of the same things. They frequented Byron Lucifer concerts on both sides of the Atlantic, and everyone knew better than to try to take the remote from them when a cheesy B-grade monster movie came on.
Then a very pushy lady with a stroller and three other screaming kids nearly ran him over and he realized he'd been standing in the middle of a mall like an idiot remembering if it was him or her that fell asleep during their last Killer Cucumbers marathon.
It was him. He fell asleep first and when he woke up she was nuzzled into his hair and stroking it a little bit. She greeted him with a smirk. And his hands flew out and he tickled her fiercely until it drove them both to the floor. Then the phone went off and it was her latest boyfriend.
And that unexplainable feeling came back. So Megabyte retreated back to the ship without even saying goodbye or stopping the tape.
Still, didn't mean anything. They all had things like that. Ami and Adam practically had the layouts to every museum in the world memorized because they'd been there so many times.
Didn't mean anything.
Couldn't mean anything.
Megabyte kept it rotating in his mind like an oyster with a grain of sand on it's tongue. He couldn't let it go, and he didn't know why he couldn't.
And then, he got shocked in to undivided attention by Jade's mental voice. [Rescue me!]
[This Christmas Party my mum's having. I'll meet you behind Mrs. Thom's house.]
Megabyte found a restroom and teleported his things home. On a whim, he grabbed a cheesy Santa hat from the bed post. He wanted to see if Jade would laugh or just turn bright red. Either was well worth it. The idea of her cheeks turning blush pink amused him greatly, he was halfway through a laugh when he teleported.
He landed neatly and Jade stood hugging herself in the snow waiting for him. Her hair was in long curls and a beautiful scarf wrapped it's way around her neck. The way she smiled made everything in Megabyte come to grinding halt.
And he knew it then.
Knew that he loved her.
Absently he took the Santa hat off of his head and held it in his hand at his side, because his father had always told him to take his hat off when important things happened.