-dodges tomatoes- Um... hi?

Yeah, I know I should be working on the third chapter of Worth, but it's being a real bugger. Help! I just can't write it... -weeps-

Anyway, the plot bunny for this one hit and wouldn't let go... This is the typical, fluffy, OOC type one shot.

It's really not my best, but I thought I'd post it to tide you over until I can dredge up a decentthird chapter...


He wasn't coming.

Umi buried her face in her pillow and willed herself not to cry. Maybe she had been wrong to think that she was even remotely special to him. After the second time that she had visited Cephiro, there had been an unspoken understanding between the two of them that he was closer to her than to Fuu or Hikaru. Maybe she had been wrong. Maybe she had imagined it.

She knew that he was in Autozam on a 'diplomatic mission' or whatever it was that he had called it. But Ferio and Lafarga were both over there with him, and they had each sent notes and had left presents for her with their respective lovers (Fuu and Caldina).

He wasn't the type to forget birthdays… But he hadn't even sent anything, not even an apology note! She pushed her face deeper down into the pillow.

There was a knock, and Umi resisted flinging her pillow at the door.

"Who is it?" She hoped her voice didn't crack.

"Miss Umi, I have a parcel here for you from the Madoushi Clef." The polite voice of a servant came from behind the door. Umi froze and gaped at the door for a full minute. He hadn't forgotten her! There were no words could describe the delight that filled her at that revelation.

She sprung out of her seat and almost jerked the door off its hinges in her haste to open the door. A female servant stood at the door clutching a long, thin box in her arms, wrapped in the strange shimmering paper that served as Cephiro's wrapping paper. Umi eagerly snatched it from her arms, not even remembering to protest when the servant bowed to Umi as she left.

She gingerly set the package down on her bed. She gently began to tear off the wrapping paper, which revealed a simple brown box with two letters sitting on top of it. One was neatly folded, while the other was messy and looked like it had been shoved in at the last moment.

She picked the neat one and opened it, seeing Clef's familiar careful handwriting. Only until years later would she find out how long he had labored over this letter.

Umi,

I earnestly apologize for missing your birthday. Hikaru informed me that the sixteenth birthday is a particularly significant one on your world. I apologize again. I had every intention of transporting back to Cephiro for the day, but we ran into some problems here on Autozam.

There was an assassination attempt on Ferio. The most alarming part of it was that the person behind the attempt was not from Autozam, but a Mage from our own Cephiro. In truth, he was probably the most powerful Mage in Cephiro besides myself.

On to the original purpose of this letter. I will return to Cephiro to wish you a happy birthday in person as soon as I can. In this package is one of your presents, and I shall bring the others when I come.

Best wishes!

Clef

He hadn't forgotten her! She should never have doubted him; she should have known that something like that had come up. She smiled contentedly to herself. Umi picked up the second letter and opened it. This letter was not Clef's; the handwriting was much different and much messier.

Umi,

I don't know what that idiot Mage told you, but whatever it was, it probably had sketchy details of his health. Whoever attacked me was powerful, and if Clef hadn't been there, I would have died. To be truthful, if he had not been there, everyone in our group would have died, and probably some civilians on top of that.

After protecting forty-odd people with a shield and killing the bastard that tried to kill me, Clef collapsed. He was out for hours afterwards, or, believe me, he would have come. Lafarga and I have him under strict orders not to use any magic until tomorrow (He would probably collapse again if he did).

Happy Birthday!

Ferio

PS: Tell Fuu that I'm all right and that I love her.

That was just like Clef. She wondered how Ferio and Lafarga were handling him. If it were up to Clef alone, he would have been out of bed as soon as he woke up. That was Clef for you. A wry grin crossed her face. She could be a bit like that too.

Still… it took evil Mages and assignation attempts to prevent him from coming! She couldn't help the ecstatic grin that spread across her face. She carefully folded the two notes and set them gently on her dresser, then turned to Clef's present. She pried open the two flaps with her fingernails, and eagerly peered inside. A fencing sword lay nestled in a bed of cloth. She delicately lifted it of the box and rested it on her bed.

She ran a finger down the hilt, and shimmers of fading light bounced off the edge of the blade. "It's beautiful…" she breathed. He had made this for her… "Thank you, Clef." She whispered.

--The Next Evening--

Clef steadied himself with his staff. He was still weak, and the transportation spell took a lot out of him. Not to mention the other spell… Ferio and Lafarga would roast him if they found out the amount of magic he had used the day after he was let off his no-magic restriction. He grinned briefly and straitened up. He gazed around and was a bit surprised that the spell had brought him to the exact place he had wanted to go. He hadn't been sure if he had enough power to get this far.

Her door had been left slightly open, and he peered inside. She was sitting on her bed, propped up against the wall. She was reading something and she had a sweet, contented smile on her face. After staring at the paper that rested in her hands for a few seconds, he realized it was his letter that she was reading, his letter that had caused that contented smile on her face. He pulled back and he felt himself redden. He rubbed his neck and tried desperately to control his blush. Once he was sure that he had himself under control, he knocked on the door.

"Who is it?" Umi called out.

"Clef." He answered. Umi jumped up and tossed his letter onto the table next to her. She flung open the door, and then froze. Her jaw almost hit the floor.

"Clef?" She whispered. He realized that he was probably blushing again. He nodded.

"It's me." He said, staring down at her. He hadn't realized that he would be taller than her now. It was… odd.

Umi continued to gape at the now fully-grown Clef. His new look made him look about seventeen, a year older than her. And he was TALLER than her by about a head! He had gotten rid of that stupid headdress, and his hair was a tad longer. He had shed his millions of robes, now only wearing a single pure white shirt and pants. A cape of the same color was fastened around his neck with a deep blue clasp.

All in all… incredibly hott. She had often wondered what he would look like if he was taller… and now she had her answer. She looked him up and down once again and was rewarded by a slight thrill as he blushed faintly under her scrutiny.

"Wow." She finally said. "You look… you look great, Clef." She stepped back and gestured for him to come into the room. He smiled at her with that incredibly sweet smile of his that made her heart jump.

"Thank you, Umi." He said as he walked into the room. They both stood there awkwardly for a minute until Clef remembered something. He reached into a pocket and came out with a small box. He offered it to her. Her eyes widened and she reached out to take it from him. She sank down into a chair and he watched as she opened it. She gasped.

"My god, Clef, this is beautiful." She said in awe as she picked up the necklace.

"It was made by the best jewel smith in Autozam." He didn't mention how much money he had spent to get it made for her. "I'm really glad you like it."

"Thank you! I love it!" She breathed, jumping up and walking over to the mirror that was right next to her bed. She prepared to put it around her neck, when she felt cool fingers take the chain from her. Her eyes widened as she saw Clef standing behind her in the mirror. She could barely breathe as she felt his fingers brush gently against the back of her neck as he fastened the chain.

She stared at herself in the mirror and she had to admit that it looked good on her. The brilliant blue jewel in the middle accented her eyes and it made her look older and more mature. They stood there a moment, Clef's fingers still resting on the back of her neck. Then he stepped back.

"I should be getting back. Ferio and the rest will be expecting me." He said sounding genuinely disappointed. She turned around.

"Thank you again, Clef. I really do love them." He smiled at her.

"Good. I'm glad." He hesitated, than leaned forward and kissed her gently on the forehead. "Goodnight, Umi." He murmured softly. Then he turned around and walked easily out of her room, closing the door behind him. After a moment of shocked silence, Umi reached up and placed two fingers against the place where his lips had touched.


-dodges more tomatoes- Yes, that is where it ends. No sequel!

-hides under desk- Please don't hurt me!

I know it really wasn't that good but... oh well.

Please review!

Raven