Red was running out of time. The festival would be starting soon, and she still hadn't managed to find the right gift for Gobo. She had found some lovely new paint brushes for Mokey, gathered some lima beans so that Mokey could make Boober a pot of lima bean soup and found a set of sparkly blue stones that would be perfect for skipping for Wembley.
But nothing that she'd found so far had seemed right for Gobo. And she really wanted the gift to be just right.
She'd considered new strings for his guitar, but he already had two spare sets and she was pretty sure that Mokey had gotten him some for the last festival. She'd thought about making him a hat for when it was cold, but she wasn't nearly as good at that sort of thing as Mokey was, and unless she was mistaken Mokey was knitting him a scarf anyway.
Her gift needed to be special, and she simply couldn't think of anything.
Red tugged on one of her pigtails, closing her eyes in frustration. Cantus would be arriving in the Great Hall to officially begin the festival at any time, and she wasn't any closer to finding a gift for Gobo. It didn't matter that he probably wouldn't be upset if she couldn't come up with something, or if she just picked something general that he'd like. She wanted to get him something perfect.
She opened her eyes with a sigh, finally noticing that she was in the cave that led to Outer Space. "I wonder...?"
She edged closer to the hole, growing bolder when she couldn't hear any sign of the furry monster on the other side. Slowly she moved closer until she could poke her head out through the hole and into Outer Space. It was darker than normal, but still light enough for her to see. And the only sound she could hear was her own nervous breathing.
The furry monster was apparently somewhere else.
Red took that as a sign and eased her way out of the hole and into Outer Space. She'd only taken a few steps when she noticed something on the ground. She reached down to pick it up, growing excited as she studied it. It was a bit like the postcards that Matt sent Gobo, but it was bigger, especially when she unfolded it. One side was covered with pictures and writing, while the other looked like some sort of map.
She clutched it tightly, only her fear that the furry monster might return keeping her from jumping up and down and cheering. It was the perfect gift for Gobo.
She dashed back through the hole in the wall and into the caves. There wouldn't be time to wrap Gobo's present before heading to the Great Hall, but that was all right. Besides, it wasn't like Mokey was going to be able to wrap Boober's soup either.
She raced through the caves, making a quick stop at the cave she and Mokey shared to pick up the paintbrushes and skipping stones that she had hidden behind her Tug-a-tails trophy, and skidding into the Great Hall only an instant ahead of the sound of Cantus' pipe. She nearly ran into Mokey, just barely managing to stop in time.
Cantus lead the minstrels into the Great Hall, the music from the magic pipe filling all the fraggles with wonder. He came to a halt in the middle of the Great Hall just as the final notes faded away.
Red grinned, for once not paying much attention to Cantus as she glanced around the Great Hall for Gobo. After a moment she found him standing with Wembley over by the pool. She'd give him his present last.
As soon as Cantus finished speaking everyone began giving out their gifts. Mokey loved her new brushes, and Red just knew that the painting Mokey had made for her would look perfect hanging on the wall next to her hammock. Boober actually hugged them both when they gave him the still-warm soup, and Red was thrilled that Boober had gone to so much trouble to get the one type of moss that would finally get the berry stain out of her favorite shirt.
She made her way over to Wembley and Gobo, handing Wembley his skipping stones just as he handed her a new leaf to go cave sliding on. They both grinned at each other, then Red turned to Gobo.
"It took me forever to find the right gift, Gobo, but I think you'll like it."
He took the thing she'd found, eyes going wide when he saw the map on the back. "Red, this is amazing. Where'd you get it?"
She bounced up on her toes with a bright smile. "I was up near the tunnel to Outer Space, and when I realized that the furry monster wasn't there I snuck in and found it."
Gobo's eyes went even wider. "You went into Outer Space to get this for me? Really?"
Red nodded, moving a little closer and bumping Gobo's shoulder with her own. "Yeah, really. There was no one there, though, and I was only out there for a minute."
Gobo smiled, nudging her back. "Yeah, but you still went into Outer Space. That would be enough to make this special, even without the map on it. Thank you." He reached back and pulled out a small stone. "It's not much, but it reminded me of you."
The stone was smooth and it seemed to change colors as Red turned it around; first blue, then green, then purple, then a soft grey. And every now and then the light would catch on a small sparkle and make it flash. "Oh, Gobo. It's beautiful."
"You really like it?"
Red smiled, trying to decide just where the perfect spot to display the stone would be. "I love it."
Gobo grinned, carefully folding his new map of Outer Space. "I'm glad."
Red grinned back, then glanced over to where Wembley was talking with Mokey and Boober, gesturing excitedly with his hands. "Happy Mid-Winter, Gobo."
"You too, Red."