This is based between episodes 14 and 15. This is actually technically a sequel to another oneshot I'm writing, but that one will be a while before I post it.

Jahara watched as Ave tried building small houses out of his Tai Chi cards, his shaking hands constantly knocking them down. They were the only two there because Luka and Garnia had been sent out on separate assignments. And that only meant one thing….

Mishka was planning on punishing Ave again. The new General had been there for barely two months and would punish anyone for a failed mission, his favorite target being Ave. Just the other day Ave had succeeded in retrieving one of the Tigeroid Tai Chi cards and was punished because he didn't wait for Tigeroids to come and eliminate them. Their former General had been far less strict with punishments and had rewarded for success….

Another card house fell apart, making Ave jump. Jahara helped pick up the cards. "Are you going to celebrate your birthday this year?" She wasn't exactly sure when it was, because Ave never celebrated it before. She knew he had lied when he first told her when it was. She did assume it was around this time of year, today just happening to be the eleventh anniversary of when the war against the Tigeroids started.

Ave shrugged and continued to build another card house.

"Is it soon?"

He twitched.

It probably was. She didn't know much, but something had happened on his birthday years ago that caused him not to want to celebrate it. So maybe it was….

Ave's Communicator beeped, making him stiffen. He opened it and flinched as Mishka's voice came from it.

"There's a Tai Chi card nearby. Go get it."

Ave closed the device and picked up his cards.

"Do you want me to come with you?" Jahara asked.

He shook his head, "You'll only get punished, too."

"If you're not back in a few hours I'll come help you," she watched him leave.

He was more nervous than he was showing. Not only had he been able to say a full sentence without using phrases, puns, or multiple adjectives, he spoke directly to her and didn't call her "Sweetie". And whenever they were together, mission or not, he was usually very talkative.

She would have been more worried if she had been sent. Without anyone else there, Mishka could punish Ave for just about any reason he felt like when there would be no witnesses. It had happened a few times before.

If Ave had a choice between two of his greatest fears, getting sent back to Suhn or getting captured by the Tigeroids, he would willingly turn himself over to them and maybe even tell the Tigeroids anything they wanted to know. And he was already almost at that point…. If this turned into another failed mission, he would probably let the Tigeroids capture him next time, even though he hated them even more than Luka did.

She got up. Regardless of how the mission went Ave would most likely appreciate being rewarded his favorite comfort food: a muffin.

Ave didn't come back until several hours later, looking like he had been through a tough fight. He pressed an ice pack against his shoulder, wincing. What caused it, Jahara knew it wasn't from the fight.

"We can get the card back later," Jahara said.

He looked up at her, shaking worse than he had before, "There wasn't a card."

She could only guess that meant Mishka had tricked him with a false mission (again). These past few months had been really hard on him and putting him under a lot more stress than he already had. If this was when he decided to be captured, she would help him.

"Ave," Jahara set the muffin she had kept out of sight on the table, stuck a candle into it and lit it. She pushed the muffin towards him, "Happy birthday."

If you're interested in a short story (maybe around six chapters) of a minor AU where Ave would get captured by the Tigeroids let me know. I have a few ideas for it already.