For all intents and purposes, this is still Lily's fault. XD (And this was written right after Seed in '04 so it obviously disregards Destiny.)

Disclaimer: Gundam Seed is © Sunrise, Bandai, etc.. Not mine!

Surprise

"No! Cagalli! For the- Put THAT SCREWDRIVER DOWN!"

Kira winced as another crash sounded from behind the closed bedroom door before turning to give Lacus a questioning look. Smiling serenely, she popped a cookie from a nearby tray into his mouth. For once, he took the wiser path and remained silent, munching on the cookie.

A moment later the door slammed open.

Athrun tried to walk out but was yanked back inside by Cagalli and the door was slammed shut again.

Kira reached for another cookie.

--

Cagalli made a face. "Honestly, Athrun, I just thought a little sip might loosen you up a little."

He gave the drink another suspicious look. "Remember the last time I had one of those?"

"Kira made that one!"

"I'd rather not take any chances with your family."

"Oh!" She took a sip, set the drink abruptly down, and said, "Come on, try not to be so difficult! Just wear it? PLEEEAAASE?"

Athrun eyed the costume laid out on the bed with some distaste. "WHY do we have to go to this thing again? Halloween's not for another two days!"

"But it's on a Sunday this year," she said matter-of-factly, turning to smooth out the wrinkles on the outfit, "so all the parties are on Friday. And we were specially invited."

"Can we specially refuse?"

"Athrun!"

"Fine, fine. But I want to lodge a formal protest with Representative Athha-"

"Noted and DENIED. Lacus and Kira are getting into the spirit of the occasion. Why can't you?"

"They're going as PIRATES. You want us to go as . . . as . . . It's not suitable for your station!"

"It's a PARTY."

"Couldn't we go as Frankenstein's monster and the Bride of Frankenstein or something a little more traditional?"

She raised an eyebrow. "You REALLY want to see how scary I can be, Athrun Zala?"

"Well, whatever, but I REFUSE to let you wear that outfit!" He pointed at the offending outfit hanging in the closet.

"But you always say I ought to wear more dresses and at least it has a skirt-"

"Not THAT short! And there is NO WAY I'm dressing up as your pimp daddy!"

She stuck out her tongue. "Spoilsport."

--

"All right, fine!" Cagalli's voice came through the closed door. "I'm going home to find something else to wear then. Kira will help you find something and I'll meet you at the ballroom at 7:30 sharp. Stop pouting." There was a moment of suspicious silence when Kira and Lacus might have wondered exactly how Cagalli was getting Athrun to stop pouting if they hadn't been being sickeningly lovey-dovey themselves and feeding each other chocolate-covered strawberries.

A moment later the door opened and Cagalli strode out, glanced at Kira and Lacus who had suddenly come to attention, a half-eaten strawberry between them, and winked. "I'm counting on you guys."

--

"The only thing I'll be able to get him to wear is a suit," Kira had told her the previous week with the long-suffering sigh of a friend who has tried and failed one time too many to get his best friend to loosen up.

"Fine," she had replied, smirking, "that works for me."

Lacus's eyes had immediately lit up. "I have the perfect outfit for you, Cagalli-san!"

Kira didn't ask why Lacus had that particular outfit in her closet. He was just looking forward to when Cagalli returned it.

--

Athrun, dressed in a suit and gloves ("Which makes me feel more like a chauffeur than a butler!"), and Kira and Lacus dressed as a pirate captain and his lady love arrived at the ballroom rented out for the party at 7:30 sharp. Kira and Lacus were fully decked out for the occasion, Kira complete with a feathered pirate hat and Tori wearing an eye patch perched on his shoulder. Lacus was wearing the top part of a long pirate jacket without the pants to go with it. Instead she sported a short skirt made of the same material as the jacket and a thigh holster complete with revolver. One of the Haros had been temporarily painted black to serve as a cannonball.

"Where's Cagalli?" Athrun asked, looking around and wondering with some dread what type of outfit she'd been able to come up with on such short notice. He'd confiscated the original outfit, feather boa and all.

"She's probably already inside," Lacus said reasonably. "Let's just go in and take a look."

"All right," Athrun said, shrugging, following Kira and Lacus in.

"Why are the lights of-"

Light flared from the ceiling.

"SURPRISE!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!" monsters, vampires, witches, ghosts, superheroes, jesters, and black cats yelled, noisemakers going off and confetti flying through the air.

With some confusion, Athrun looked around at the assembled guests, the table piled with presents, the HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ATHRUN BANNER, the triple-layer fudge chocolate cake topped with cherries and strawberries, and belatedly realized that it was his birthday, and, like every year, he had completely forgotten. But that became completely unimportant once he caught sight of the person chiefly responsible for that two second personal revelation standing behind the cake.

I should have let her wear the hooker outfit.

Cagalli was decked out to perfectly match his "butler" outfit in a very sexy and, for those boys with dirty minds like Athrun Zala, very naughty maid outfit. The hem of her apron barely covered the top of her thighs and he made a mental note not to let her bend over or sit down for ANY reason during the party. The outfit was laced up and tied with a cute bow in the front in a style which he was sure no REAL maid would ever consent to. She was wearing fishnets and black Catholic school girl shoes and he had to manfully restrain himself from running over to her and having his wa-errr, having a stern talk with her about how to properly present herself in public considering that she was a public figure and all. Yeah. As it was, Kira and Lacus were leading him towards Caga-the cake, and as they walked he found himself being extremely pleasant and thanking everyone they passed for coming and for all the gifts and birthday wishes.

His best friends sat him down behind the cake and Cagalli (still standing, thank God – and better yet behind him to block her from prying eyes) put her hands on his shoulders and said, a little sheepishly, "Happy Birthday, Athrun?"

"Cake and presents!" came the good-natured cry around the room, and the birthday boy was just feeling eight again when Lacus and Kira began leading everyone in a stirring rendition of "Happy Birthday."

Athrun's face was a bright shade of red as he blew out his candles.

Cagalli had whispered, very softly, below the sound of the singing, as she leaned in to give him his birthday kiss on the cheek, "You'll have to unwrap my present after the party."

His only thought, as the slices of cake went around and Cagalli glanced away from him, blushing slightly and nervously fingering the bow on her maid outfit, was:

BEST. BIRTHDAY. EVER.