Disclaimer: I would love to own Gundam SEED, but I don't! Sigh!

Summary: Athrun isn't enjoying himself at the Creuset team's christmas party. Dearka wonders why. Hurt/Comfort

Rating: K+

The ZAFT ship was full of noise, cheer and happiness. Strange considering its occupants were in the middle of a war. Dearka Elsman stood behind Yzak Jule, laughing as the silver-haired teen fought with Nicol Amalfi over the last slice of christmas cake. Rau le Cruset was standing nearby, smirking at the pair of them. Dearka glanced around, and through the gaggle of green uniforms, saw the slumped form of the only elite not joining in the festivities, Athrun Zala. Sighing, he grabbed the slice of cake away from the other two, and made his way over to Athrun.

'Hey, look Zala, food!' he cried, brandishing the cake under the younger boy's nose. Athrun's blank, green eyes rose to meet Dearka's lilac ones. This close up, Dearka could see dark shadows under his eyes. Athrun wasn't sleeping? 'I'm not hungry, Dearka.' Athrun said softly. 'Oh yes you are, Zala! You haven't eaten all day! Now either you eat this cake, or I shove it down your throat!' 'I'd love to see you try that!' Athrun flared. Dearka smirked, 'Would you now?'

Athrun's green eyes widened, caught by surprise, as Dearka grabbed the front of his uniform. The icing on top of the cake met his lips, Dearka was on top of him. He opened his mouth, nibbling the tip of the cake. Dearka smiled, as Athrun, suddenly realising how hungry he actually was, began eating it all. 'See, I told you you were hungry.' Athrun smiled up at him. 'Thanks, Dearka.'

Athrun looked so small right now. Dearka couldn't belive that a strong person like Athrun could look so...so...so vunerable! 'What is wrong with you, Zala?' he asked, concerned. 'Wha'? Oh, no...nothing, Dearka.' 'Yes there is! You're not eating properly, you're not sleeping properly, you hesitate in battle, need I go on?' Athrun ducked his head. 'It's none of your business!'

Dearka pinched his chin, forcing Athrun to meet his eyes. 'Athrun, please, just talk to me.' Athrun's cool, green eyes softened slightly. 'You didn't call me Zala.' Dearka nodded. 'I... don't know...how to...explain.' Athrun whispered. Dearka took his arm and led him out of the room. 'Now tell me. Nobody's here.' And Athrun had told him everything. All about his best friend being in the EA, and how he didn't want to fight him but had to. 'And I don't know what to do! I don't want to lose a good friend, but I don't want him to hurt you either! What do I do?'

Dearka stared at him, and then caressed his face softly. 'Don't worry, Athrun. I'm here, and no matter what the race, no EA pilot is going to kill any of us!' Athrun stared at him, his eyes clouded with pain and confusion. 'I promise, Athrun.' Athrun buried his head in Dearka's chest. 'Thanks.' He whispered, voice muffled by Dearka's shirt. Dearka wrapped his arms around the younger boy, loving the fact that he could comfort Athrun. The closed book had opened for him, only him, and he would not let the battered pages fade any further.

R&R, please!