Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Seed/Destiny

Chapter 12

It's Christmas Eve. The streets are busy. A lot of people are buying last-minute presents. The Christmas lights shine beautifully while children marvel at the sight. But truth to be told, I'm not the least bit excited.

How could I? My parents left for an overseas trip last week, their return would be on the 28th already. I'm not mad at them. I'm really not. But then I kind of feel lonely because I would be celebrating alone. Of course my friends would be celebrating Christmas with their families. Lacus and her parents would be celebrating Christmas out of the country, in Hawaii, I think. Even though Athrun's father also went overseas for a business trip, his mother was still there to celebrate with him.

Wow. I'm such a loner.

Here I am in the city trying to find my friends a gift. It's also so I won't have to spend a lot of time home alone. Being alone during Christmas Eve was bad enough, but having to spend it at home, with me cooking was worse.

So Miriallia and Lacus felt bad that I was celebrating by myself so they decided to have a Christmas party on the 27th. Lacus would be back from Hawaii then. Us girls plus the four boys would have an exchange gift. Lacus was too kind to let us celebrate in her house.

I didn't have time to buy last week because our teachers kept dumping a lot of work load on us. Not to mention I had a major test in Math. I knew I couldn't fail math, so I spent my days locked inside my room. Thankfully, it was easy because Athrun helped me in some of the parts. The pranks about me being a bitch also came into a halt. I was kind of happy that the pranks stopped after the last fruit juice incident. Maybe when the idiot noticed that I stopped giving a damn about what he/she was doing.

I sat down in my favorite restaurant and ordered for my favorite dish. At least my parents tried to make it up to me by leaving behind cash so I could treat myself. They also told me to tell them what I wanted as a present, they would buy one for me during their business trip. But I didn't really want anything specific, so I told them anything would do. Well that is except for skirts, dresses, high heels and anything of the sort.

Bringing out my 'give checklist', I crossed out the people that I bought gifts for.

Miriallia – a new wallet since she lost hers. Check

Lacus – a girly gem-studded hairpin. Check

Shiho – set of her favorite highlighter in different colors. Check

Kira, Dearka and Yzak – statement shirts. Check, check, check

Mom – an Italian cookbook since she wants to try the Italian cuisine. Check

Dad – a new tie. Check

Athrun – something homemade. Check or not

The thing is, I wanted to knit Athrun a scarf as my gift. I already finished knitting the scarf. But then again, I am not the slightest bit skillful in home economics, so the scarf looked so poorly made. I couldn't give that to Athrun! That would be so embarrassing. So I decided to buy him a gift instead.

After that my attention went into eating my favorite dish, a pepperoni pizza. There was a plus side into these, since I was all alone, the whole slice of pizza would be mine. But then again I didn't feel so thrilled.

I hurriedly ate my pizza at the thought that the shops would be closing soon. It was nine o clock and I noticed that few of the stores were now starting to close.

I went inside one shop to another, but didn't find anything suitable to give Athrun. There were sports shop, gifts shops, men's clothing store and novelty stores. I still couldn't find something decent enough to give to him. Why was it so hard to find a present for him?

He was also the type of person that was so not materialistic. He would be perfectly fine with what you give him, even though it seems to be the lamest thing ever. When you ask him what he wanted, he'd say: "It's the thought that counts."

Before I realized it, it was almost ten-thirty. Most of the stores were now closed. I sighed in defeat, maybe I would just buy him a gift on the 26th, but the stores wouldn't be on sale anymore. Goodbye to the fifty and seventy five percent off on all items. No more buy one take one signs hanging on the door. Boo hoo. But it didn't matter, since it was for Athrun, the one I really love, after all.

I walked briskly to the train station. If I missed the last ride, then I would be taking a taxi, which was much more expensive than taking the train. I couldn't express how relieved I was when the public announcer said that there was one last ride before the train station closes.

When I entered the train, I was surprised that there were still a lot of people inside. Usually there were only a few, during the times I rode at this time. But then again it's the holiday season, what would you expect.

I got home a few minutes past eleven. I set the gifts I bought for the gang and for my parents under the Christmas tree where Athrun's supposed gift was also located. I took it out of the wrapping and realized that it was really horrible. My agenda for the 26th would be to buy him a new present.

Watching a movie marathon would be the best thing to do when you're alone. What perfect movie to watch other than 'home alone' right? It was certainly the appropriate movie for me to watch, considering that I was also home alone like that kid, the only difference is that there are no burglars in my case.

As I was getting to funny part of the movie, my cell phone rang.

It was from Athrun. Why was he calling at this hour?


I had no idea how this happened. Me and mother were just enjoying her homemade dinner a while ago.

"Mom this spaghetti is as delicious as ever."I praised her as I helped myself into another serving.

"Thank you Athrun dear!"My mom smiled at me. "I thought you would get tired of eating the same dish every Christmas!" She sighed in relief.

"Of course not mom! You only bake these dishes once a year! How could I get tired of something that I look forward to?" I said to her.

"Is that true?" My mom jokingly asked me. "Or are you just trying to make me feel better?"

"It's true mom!" I nodded my head like a child. "These are my favorite dishes ever!"

"Well if you say so!" She laughed as she drank water. "Before I forget, I have a present for you." She reached for something beneath the table. "Here you go!" She handed me a big box.

"I have something for you as well!" I stood up and went to the Christmas tree and got a red box. "No wait, this is for Cagalli." I put the box down and got a smaller red box, which was identical to the gift wrapper that I used to wrap Cagalli's gift.

"I heard that Cagalli's celebrating Christmas this year alone." My mom said to me.

"Yeah. Like dad, Aunt Via and Uncle Ulen had to attend a business trip." I frowned at the thought of Cagalli eating alone.

"Why didn't you invite her to join us then?" My mom suggested.

"I already asked her that, but she said that she had some last-minute Christmas shopping to do." I replied as I gave her my present.

"But it's almost ten already. The stores should be closed by now. She should be done shopping. Why don't you give her a call?"She said.

"Okay. I'll call to see if she's home."I grabbed my cell phone and started to dial Cagalli's number. But before I could press 'call', my mom collapsed to the floor.

"Mom!" I rushed to her side and shook her a bit. She fainted! Maybe she was straining herself too much. She never had a strong body to begin with, but she always worked hard with whatever she was doing. The last weeks were hectic for her as her company was closing a big deal; maybe she didn't get much sleep,

Without further delay, I called an ambulance to take my mother to the hospital as soon as possible.

"How is she doctor?" I stood up to go near the doctor as he exited the room where my mom was currently confined.

"Your mother is fine." The doctor answered me. "It's just that she needs to rest. She has been overworking herself hasn't she?"

"She has." I agreed to what he said. It was true that she seemed so busy during the last few weeks.

"So you should make sure that she gets a lot of rest for the following days, you never know, her condition might worsen." After those words he excused himself to attend to other patients.

I felt bad about this. I knew that my both my mother and father were working so hard because I was about to be a college student. The university that I want to attend to is a bit expensive so they tried their hardest. That's why my father wasn't here to join us for Christmas.

When I went inside the room, my mother was still fast asleep. I felt so guilty and went outside because I couldn't bear it that my mother was suffering that much.

As I sat down in the benches outside my mom's room, I figured that I needed someone to talk to. I browsed my phone's contacts. I've already called my father and told him what happened; he said that he could catch the next flight home. Meer was partying her heart out with her other friends, I perfectly knew that. She wasn't the type that you could talk about stuff like those. Either she'll be so uninterested or pretend to listen.

I found the name of the person that I could easily talk to. Cagalli. I pressed the 'call' button finally, hoping that she would answer.

"Hello?" A voice from the other line came.


As soon as I heard what happened to Aunt Leonore, I frantically turned off the television and hurried outside. But first I made sure that the windows and doors were all locked and that I unplugged all of our appliances.

The fastest way to get to the hospital was by running, since you couldn't use a car because the roads were all covered with a thick blanket of snow. It wasn't even snowing the moment I came back and now there were heaps of it. I clutched my clothes closer to me and started to run. Since it was so cold already, I doubt that I would even sweat.

Fifteen minutes was all it took for me to reach the hospital. I was panting as I went to the nurse's desk to ask where Aunt Leonore was. When the nurse finally gave me her room, I muttered a quick 'thanks' and rushed to the 7th floor.

"Room 735." I said to myself as I pressed the buttons on the elevator. Why was Aunt Leonore in the hospital anyways? I was so worried to death about Aunt Leonore and Athrun.

The door of the elevator opened and I rushed to where Room 735 was. As I neared the room, I saw Athrun's figured outside.

"Athrun!" I called out to him. He heard me and stood up to go near me.

I was so breathless when I stopped running. My palms leaned across my knees and I finally stood up straight to face Athrun.

"Athrun wha-" My eyes widened in surprise at what happened next. I wasn't able to finish my sentence because a pair of strong arms wrapped themselves around me. Athrun pulled me closer and held me tighter. If it was a normal situation I would inwardly be jumping for joy, but it wasn't. But forgive me for blushing a bit, okay? It has always been a fantasy of mine to be held by Athrun like that.

He's trembling. He must be so terrified. I closed my eyes and wrapped my arms around his back. "Is she okay now?"

"Yeah she is." I could feel his hot breath whispering in my ears. I hope he doesn't let go soon. Or else he would have seen my face so flushed. "Thanks for coming Cagalli."

"Of course I'd come. You're my best friend. I'd do anything for you." The words came out of my mouth. It was true of course! Although I'd prefer if he'd see me as someone more than his best friend, but this is perfectly fine for me. As long as I'm always beside Athrun, it's more than enough.

He finally let go of me, to my tad disappointment. We sat in the benches outside Aunt Leonore's room and he began talking.

"It's my fault Cagalli." There so much sorrow in those mesmerizing blue eyes of his.

"What is?" I asked him. What did he mean by that? Did he mean what happened to Aunt Leonore? But why?

"That mom's in the hospital right now." He sighed.

I didn't respond and waited for him to continue.

"Because I want to get in a very expensive university, my mom and dad have been working their asses off. And now my mom gets hospitalized from having a fatigue. I feel so guilty." He trembled at those last words.

I patted his head to cheer him up. "Of course every parent would want the best for their child, that's why they're trying so hard."

"But my mom…" He started to say. "Her body's not that strong to begin with."

"That's why you should study hard to get in the university that you want so that your parents' hard work wouldn't be in vain." I gave him a warm smile. "Don't be so hard on yourself Athrun."

"Thanks Cagalli." He seemed to lighten up, to my relief. I really didn't like seeing him so down in the dumps. He finally smiled back, which sent my heart leaping so furiously. "I was right to call you."

I laughed nervously at his compliment. "Come on! You're flattering me!" I scratched my head and realized that I brought some present along with me. I panicked when I saw that it was Athrun's present! It wasn't my bag! How the hell will I get home without my wallet and phone? And why did I bring along this present? Of all the things that I could have brought with me! Good thing that my keys were inside my pocket.

"No I'm not." He laughed. "It's true!"

I hid the horrendous scarf on my back, wishing that he wouldn't notice it. But he did. Damn his skills.

"What's that?" He asked me.

"N-nothing!" I stuttered, trying to think of a very convincing lie. "It's a very stupid gift! I highly doubt that you'd-" Crap! I gave myself away! Why didn't I just stop talking after I said that it was a very stupid gift?

"Can I have it?" He requested.

I hid it from his view and started flailing my arms around in panic. "No you can't! I'll give you another present on the 27th! I promise! Just don't take this one! I tried to make a handmade present but I ended up messing it up!"

"I want to have it." He insisted. "If you're the one who made it, then I'll take it." He reached out his hand.

"Athrun! I swear this one is messed up! I'll just buy you a present!" But the look on his face seemed like he didn't want to give up.

"It's really okay." He gave me a comforting smile. "The more that I want it because you put your effort into it."

"Are you sure?" I asked him but I was starting to think of how to shoot it inside the trash can across us.

"Yes I am." He grinned. "Hey look it's the famous band 'The Yellow Ribbon' over there." He pointed behind me.

"What? Where?" I turned my head to look. 'The Yellow Ribbon' was my favorite band and it was my dream of seeing them in person because I've never been to their concerts before. But they weren't there…

"Gotcha!" Athrun pulled the gift from my hands.

"That's not fair Athrun!" I pouted. "You lied to me!" I felt stupid that I believed a stupid prank like that!

"Thank you for this present!" He started to open it.

"Hey you can't open that!" I tried to stop him but he pulled the gift out of my reach.

"Why not?"

"Because it's not the 25th yet!" I reminded him.

"Yes it is!" He pointed to the clock across us. It was past 12 indeed.

"I'll be opening this!" He grinned and pulled out the horrible scarf from the wrapper.

"Say it." I said to him.

"Say what?" He asked me.

"Say that it's ugly already!" I fumed.

"No it's not!" He stuck out his tongue and draped it around his neck. "How do I look?"

"You look like an idiot." I replied bluntly. Is he really appreciating that ugly looking scarf?

"You're to kind!" He gave me a pinch on my cheek. "Thank you for this. I'll give you my present on the 27th okay?"

I blushed when he pinched my cheek. "Whatever." I pretended to be unaffected, but I really was.

I was glad that I wasn't alone during Christmas.


Done! :D

Currently listening to: For You by Azu

Please read my other stories It Just Happened and Meyrin's Attempt

Ciao! Auf Wiedersehen!