Unless I'm mistaken there's a spoiler in here somewhere. So unless you've reached chapter 4 in the actual game I advise against reading any further. It's not really that big a deal but I'd feel bad unless I warned you.

The Birthday Boy Remains Unwilling

Chapter 1

As with any mission thorough reconnaissance was one of the cornerstones of success. Jet Enduro was well aware of this, even though he was personally more inclined toward the faster rush and attack approach when it came down to it. Something about the meticulous research that came with such work and all the sneaking around it required usually failed to appeal to him.

This, however, was a not one of those times. Today he would indeed be careful. Failure was not an option.

He had surveyed the area for nearly fifteen minutes now and so far he had seen no signs of the enemy. According to sources he had gathered the day before, various tasks should keep them busy and absent around this particular time. Regardless of this information he had decided to remain in hiding, spying the room to make absolutely sure. And sure he now was. The place was empty.

Content with the situation he rose from his place crouched by the staircase and entered the kitchen of Tesla and Shalte, the uncle and aunt of a certain Virginia Maxwell. Today he would enjoy breakfast in silent stillness and peace with no one around to bug him with unwarranted conversation or other forms of slow torture. At the very thought a silly smile spread across his face and being alone there was no reason to hide it.

Reaching inside the cupboard he fished out a white porcelain plate and went on to pour himself a bowl of breakfast cereals. He reveled in the moment, listening to the birds sing outside the window and the crackle of the cereal as he poured milk into the bowl. The atmosphere was soul soothing in every aspect. He sighed in contentment; everything was absolutely perfect.

Happiness is a fleeting thing however; it was something he should have known. Things NEVER worked out his way.

In an explosion of sound Gallows, Clive and Virginia burst through the front door. Jet dropped his spoon into the bowl, splashing milk onto the table.

"You should've been there!" exclaimed Gallows, the larger one of the trio, "She was like all over me."

"Gallows, a girl you met at the ARMs smith?" Virginia sounded skeptical, "I think you're making stuff up again."

Clive nodded his head in silent agreement.

"No way, I'm telling the truth!" claimed the Baskar with a look of shock on his face, "That's cold man, doubting me like that."

Jet remained completely still, even holding his breath, while watching his teammates approach the table where he sat. Perhaps they would walk by without paying notice to him? He kept his fingers crossed under the table.

"Jet!" Virginia called out his name unnecessarily loud.

Letting his breath go in a massive sigh, the white haired man sunk deeper into his chair. He had been discovered. It was now a fact: the morning had turned around and gone to hell, bringing his good mood along for the ride.

"It's a beautiful day outside, you should've come with me" the girl sat down by the table, opposite of him. She put her bag of groceries in front of her, then pushed it aside as it obscured her view of him.

"Well, it's too late now. You're already back." Jet muttered. He suddenly felt like crying.

Virginia ignored his sullen behavior. It was, after all, his standard mood. Instead she began chatting with Clive who pulled out a chair next to the sulking boy busy fishing his spoon out of his breakfast cereal.

"So what did you go out shopping for?" she asked looking at the gift-wrapped package he placed on the table.

"I bought Kaitlyn a birthday present" answered Clive, pride in his voice as he talked about his daughter.

"That right? When's her birthday?" wondered the Baskar sitting down on the other side of Jet.

"Actually, it's not for another two months…" the green haired man adjusted his spectacles as he spoke.

"Two months? Jeez, you're such a geek Clive" Gallows laughed.

"What's wrong with being out on time?" Clive looked confused. He couldn't understand what he'd done to trigger this amusement from his friend.

"…Ah, nothing. Forget about it."

"Two months… that's August right?" Virginia spoke thoughtfully.

Clive nodded. "That's right.

"Come to think of it," she looked at her friends one at a time, "we've known each other for a good couple of months now but we still haven't had a single birthday"

Everyone, except Jet who didn't really give damn and was busy thinking up reasons not to choke on his breakfast, pondered over her words for a moment and came to the conclusion that she was indeed right. There had been no such celebrations in their past as a team.

"My birthday is in October. So that'll be in about three months." Clive informed them.

"Hey, mine's in October too!" exclaimed Gallows, excited for some odd reason.

"And mine's in December, so there's still a while to go." Virginia told them.

After that there was a short silence during which Jet wondered if the conversation would indeed end up where he feared it would. As the noisy people around him began turning their heads toward him it was confirmed; it seemed he was about to join the conversation.

"Ah, crap…" he sighed. "What?"

"We were talking about birthdays, Jet" Virginia looked slightly concerned. She always looked like that when he was being too silent or glum, or irritable or any other way for that matter.

"I don't know mine" he was quick to answer, so much it seemed suspicious, "I wasn't really 'born' as in you know, the normal way, remember?" he tried not to sound bitter for he knew that would only work as fuel to the fire. It went so-so, which was not good enough around a certain female drifter.

"Jet…" she reached over the table and squeezed his hand gently. Jet stared at their joined hands for a moment and then at her. Why she did those things he could never understand. Was it to make him feel better? Why would it?

Everyone had turned quiet, looking at him with growing pity. Jet closed his eyes and slowly counted down from ten. There were very few things he despised more than pity. The conversation had suddenly turned into a test of restraint; and he was very close to losing his temper.

Virginia must have for once read him correctly, for she quickly hid her worry retracting her hand from his.

"How about… we decide a date right now?" she exclaimed with forced exuberance, clasping her hands together as she presented her brilliant idea. "It could be you your birthday from here on."

"That sounds like a great idea" Gallows concurred, "How 'bout it, punk?" the larger man hit his younger comrade on the back in a friendly fashion. "Your first birthday."

"I don't feel like celebrating." Jet replied plainly. He sighed, "It's not like it means anything, anyway."

"Come on." the Baskar pursued, "You've got to have a birthday. I mean, you'll get gifts! How can you say no to free gifts?!" he exclaimed with an expression of great incredulity.

"You just want an excuse to get drunk, that's all…" Jet accused.

"Hey, now that's not true at all! I resent that!" Gallows protested, donning a look of hurt.

"Whatever. I don't care…" Jet sighed, overcome by that exhausting weariness that came with arguing with his thickheaded teammates.

"Ok, so how about tomorrow? If you really don't care, you won't mind if we go ahead and hold a party, right?" Virginia had seen the chance and grasped it. If she knew him right he would never admit he actually did care.

Jet groaned. He was just about to answer when he realized the predicament he'd backed himself into. There was really only one way to answer.

"Fine! Whatever." he spat, abruptly leaving the table bringing his plate over to the sink, "Throw your stupid party. See if I give a damn!"

Virginia smiled a victorious smile, she knew better than to take his fits of rage seriously. He was like this most of the time, after all. Rather then being discouraged, she felt compelled to throw him the greatest party ever, one that was sure to get him in a better mood.

"So what kind of gifts do you want?" she inquired with honest curiosity.

Before Jet could answer, Gallows interjected.

"Oh I know what you could give him, Virginia!" he winked, a sure indication of what was to come, "A kiss!" he exclaimed with a wicked grin. "I'm sure he'd enjoy that!"

"Shut up Gallows!" Virginia stuck out her tongue at him and the turned back to Jet, "But… If that's what you want…" she blushed fiercely.

"All I want is some freakin' peace and quiet!" the young man exclaimed angrily, striking out with his hands, "Jeez, you people drive me crazy! I'm out of here." and with that he stormed out of the house, leaving his three friends behind.

"He didn't seem all that thrilled…" Gallows pointed out.

"It's a difficult issue for him." reasoned Clive, "Perhaps you could have less blunt about it?"

"Me? What about Virginia, she started it!"

Her mind elsewhere Virginia ignored the accusations, staring at the closed front door.

"Poor Jet…" she sighed after a moment, her gaze leaving the door to rest on her hands folded in her lap.

"Jeez, don't say that!" Gallows exclaimed, "He'd kill us if he heard you."

"Still, I just wish I could make him happy." Virginia blurted out, immediately blushing as she realized what she had said and how it must have sounded, "I mean, uh, we could make him happy… and in a non-romantic way" she explained, which of course only made it sound more suspicious.

Gallows burst into laughter.

"Don't try and deny it, Ginny. It's clear as day you've got the hots for that sulky punk."

"What!?" she tried to sound shocked but Gallows only laughed harder. Virginia turned to look at Clive for support. The older man shrugged.

"It's actually quite obvious…" he claimed.

"Don't you worry" Gallows told her, grinning mischievously, "Let's throw him this party and I'll help you score - I mean, capture his heart."

And so the kitchen turned into a conference room, where plans were devised and decisions made. Ideas were tossed back and forth and possible scenarios looked in to, the most frequent question being: "how would Jet react?" and "Would this piss him off?"

When Tesla and Shalte returned home some time around noon Virginia was busy baking a cake, pouring all her unrequited love and some flour into the task whilst Clive was outside told to locate the soon-to-be birthday boy and prevent him from returning home in the midst of their preparations. Gallows had, as per his own request, been sent to acquire booze and other things he claimed were necessities.

"Uncle Tesla" Virginia spoke as she looked up from her cake baking and noticed her perplexed relatives, "Would you say it's obvious I have a crush on Jet?"

"What are you doing, Virginia?"

"I'm baking him a cake"

"Oh"

"Well?"

The man looked over at his wife. She nodded in affirmation, "Yes, uh, it is… noticeable." he scratched the back of his head in a display of discomfort. His wife came to the rescue.

"I'm really happy for you, Virginia" Shalte gave her niece big a hug, "This cake you are baking, is it to help you in your confession?"

"Well, no. We're going to throw him a party tomorrow." Virginia explained.

"Ah, so it's the boy's birthday?" Tesla asked.

"It will be from here on." Virginia stated, confusing her uncle and aunt whose knowledge of Jet was still rather elementary. She added some finishing touches to her questionable piece of pastry and stowed it away in the refrigerator.

Unfortunately baking and cooking had never been her forte. Growing up she had always been more into guns.

Now she would have to move on to the even more troublesome task of gift shopping. Whatever could Jet want? The only things he would ever admit to enjoy were money and loneliness. None of those made for very good birthday presents. Especially not from a girl to the guy she has a crush on. No, she would have to think long and hard and come up with the perfect gift.

If only he had wanted that kiss…

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Seems kinda lighthearted so far but I'm not entirely sure how and if the story will develop from here.

Hope you enjoyed it so far.