by Midii Une
Trowa stared out the window at the snow and sighed, leaning his head against the cold glass and streaking a finger through the mist his breath made on the window.
Now that staying home on Christmas Eve was important to him, it just figured that he was stuck here at Headquarters. Of course someone had to do it and he had volunteered months ago. Before he knew. Before he knew that he would want to spend Christmas Eve with Midii.
Well, what else was new? Christmas Eve had never been a happy time for any of them and they had all agreed long ago that at least one Gundam pilot should be on duty at Preventers every Christmas Eve. It was such an important anniversary and a tempting one for terrorists or anyone who might want to interrupt “peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.”
He wondered what she was doing now. He had insisted that she go to Duo and Hilde’s party with Quatre and Dorothy. He didn’t want her to be alone, even if he had to be. Not like that other time, their first Christmas Eve together, the night of that mobile suit attack, the night of the events that separated them for so long, the start of the memories that had threatened to keep them apart forever.
Trowa’s face took on the intent look it usually wore when he was engaged in battle. Never again, he promised himself, looking at the stars, now that they were together he’d never let them get separated again.
He turned from the window and automatically his fingers pressed the buttons on the vidphone.
Hilde shrieked over the noise in her crowded little living room, “Midii!! Trowa’s on the line.”
Midii softly closed the folding doors between the kitchen and the noise of the party in the other room.
“Hi,” she said softly, her hand reaching out to trace his face on the screen. “All quiet at headquarters?”
“I just wanted to tell you I missed you, that’s all,” Trowa said.
“I miss you too,” Midii answered. “Are you sure I can’t come there and keep you company?”
“Stay there and have fun,” he said, he thought he could hear Duo in the background trying to impersonate Nat King Cole and singing Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire. “How’s it going over there?”
“The usual,” Midii said, smiling in spite of herself. “Hilde’s being the perfect hostess and Duo’s chasing everyone, including Heero, with a sprig of mistletoe and claiming to be the God of Christmas Past.”
Her voice faltered a little sadly. “Christmas Past . . . oh Trowa I wish I was with you tonight.”
“I know. Me too,” Trowa said, their fingertips touched on the screen. “Next year I promise I’ll be home for Christmas. Now make sure you let Quatre drive you home and ask him to walk you up and check the apartment . . .”
“Yes sir,” she teased, saluting him. “Although I can manage to unlock the door perfectly well all by myself.”
“If you’re not a good little girl you won’t get your Christmas present,” he teased back.
Her eyes sparkled impatiently. “That again! Oh Trowa just give me a little hint? Where did you hide it? I’ve searched the whole apartment,” she begged.
He shook his head. It wasn’t easy hiding Christmas presents when your wife was an ex-spy, a very curious ex-spy at that.
“Tomorrow you’ll see,” he said. “I’ve got to go now. Good night, I love you.”
“I’ll wait up,” she promised, blowing a kiss at the screen. “We can start to celebrate early.”
Midii cracked the door from the kitchen and peeked out at everyone, the party was winding down. Duo had caught Hilde and was making the most of the privileges of mistletoe. Heero didn’t need mistletoe for an excuse as he smooched with Relena in a quiet corner beside the glow of the Christmas tree lights, it made her giggle a little to see the perfect soldier acting so romantically. Who would have thought? Quatre was sitting on the couch solicitously massaging Dorothy’s swollen ankles, she was hugely pregnant.
Midii smiled. She had her own surprise for Trowa and the thought of it gave her an idea. She silently slipped into Duo and Hilde’s bedroom, looking appraisingly at herself in the mirror, turning sideways a little and running her hands down the sides of her waist. She sighed and sat down heavily on the bed, her fingers absently running over the soft red velvet bedspread. Her eyes met the mirror Midii’s eyes and the two of them shared a mischievous grin.
He was definitely in for a surprise this Christmas.
As he had told Midii, all was quiet at Preventers Headquarters. That was a good thing, but with nothing happening time seemed to pass so slowly and there was nothing to do but think of the past and how alone he felt without her.
Trowa decided to walk the halls, it was almost too quiet and still, the building dark and dim except for the light in his office. There were other people there too of course but Trowa wasn’t one to involve himself in conversation with casual acquaintances.
A man mopping the floor looked at the Gundam pilot walking the halls. It didn’t look like the Preventers Organization was going to be called into action this Christmas Eve, he thought. It was the perfect time to polish the marble floors. The place was usually crawling with activity.
“Not a creature was stirring not even a mouse,” the janitor said softly, barely garnering a glance from Trowa for his trouble. He was lost in his own thoughts, remembering the tremor in her voice and her words . . . Christmas past.
He didn’t want to remember that other time. He wanted to replace the sad memories with new ones.
Suddenly the few lights that were on in the building flickered once, twice then went out. The emergency lights barely began to glow when the lights flashed back on again. A head poked out of one of the office doors and Trowa heard a discreet cough. It was one of the computer technicians and the man was looking rather pale and disturbed.
“I think you should take a look at this,” he said, beckoning Trowa into the room where the mainframe for the entire organization was stored.
On every monitor, and there were hundreds of them in the control room, the same words scrolled rapidly across the screens over and over.
Midii looked out the window at the crystal cold night sky. Each star was delicately picked out in glimmering white detail against the stark blackness. The night was perfectly clear. Just like that other night, she shook her head to drive away the droning sound of mobile suits. It was far away and long ago. And perhaps by now, the dead had forgiven her as Trowa had. The children they were should have been curled up in front of a fireplace somewhere while their loving parents read them stories about Pere Noel.
Instead they had been fighting a war and learning to distrust each other in the middle of a battle in the snow. Neither of them at that point knowing much about the reasons that motivated those they fought for. It had simply been a way to keep alive, a method of survival.
She turned away from the window and the memories and thought about Trowa, thought about the love they shared now. So much happiness at last that she thought her heart would burst. A love as beautiful as any gift Pere Noel had ever given anyone. There were some happy memories buried deep within her about Christmases past with her father and brothers, a tree with angels and sparkling lights. But, she couldn’t remember her mother at all.
Midii sighed a bit sadly. Trowa didn’t even have that. But she would see to it that he was never alone again on Christmas. When she loved she gave everything to that person, as she had to her family. Right or wrong didn’t matter to Midii. Just love. She would make sure of his happiness--always.
As Trowa frowned at the screen, soft sounds of alarm beeped from one screen that had stopped scrolling. The security program showed the layout of the building, intruder alerts were popping up in every corner office on every floor but the security cameras showed nothing amiss anywhere.
“I-I think it must be a virus,” someone said, breaking the stunned, apprehensive silence in the room. Trowa turned his cold green gaze on the speaker.
“Obviously,” he said, turning on his heel and abruptly leaving the room trying to decide how concerned he should be about this strange turn of events.
He peeked into a couple of the offices, all of them were still locked and totally undisturbed. Was it a virus, he wondered, or was someone playing games with them?
Hilde looked out at the clear night sky and leaned back in Duo’s arms. She liked the view outside better than the one behind her. They were alone at last but there was still a messy room full of cookie crumbs, pine needles and empty wine glasses. It’ll still be here tomorrow she told herself. With his arms around her it wasn’t difficult to resist the urge to clean it up.
It felt so wonderful to be wrapped tightly in his arms tonight, she thought, shivering slightly. It felt wonderful to be making happy Christmas memories to drive away the past, the fear and anxiety she had felt for him and that he had felt for her on Christmas Eves not long ago.
She turned in his arms and found that despite his merrily exuberant holiday mood earlier in the evening her husband now had an uncharacteristically peaceful look on his face. It was an unaccustomed sight but she cherished it. He could be as lovely as an angel when he so chose, his chestnut hair floating around him, the white lights of the Christmas tree illuminating his face. He took her breath away.
Duo etched the memory of Hilde’s shining eyes on his heart and tightened his arms around his love. A peaceful Christmas at last with her safe in his arms. Who could ask for anything more?
Midii smiled. He’d be here with her soon, she could sense it. The glowing numbers on the clock told her it was almost midnight, almost Christmas. She felt giddy with excitement as the child she had been had never felt. Sudden, uncontrollable emotions had been nothing but liabilities in a war zone. And only once had she ever given in to them, only for Nanashi.
She moved around the room quietly lighting the candles she had set all around and softly humming an old Christmas carol, one of her favorites.
Running footsteps grew louder and louder behind Trowa as he turned from checking yet another floor. All seemed quiet yet again.
“I was checking upstairs on the twelfth floor,” the officer said. “Found this envelope with your name on it by a broken window.”
Trowa carefully opened the envelope, it was still cold from the night air that had been coming in the shattered window.
He looked at the folded piece of white paper and saw red.
The former Gundam pilot turned on his heel and stalked off toward his office.
Duo lowered Hilde carefully to the floor and started to slide his hands beneath the soft red silk blouse she wore.
“Owww, Duo,” she protested.
“What,” he questioned, his eyes wide. “What did I do?”
“It wasn’t you,” she groaned. “It was this.”
She held up a particularly sharp and nasty looking Christmas ornament hangar.
“Yikes,” Duo said sympathetically. “Better let me take a look.”
He pulled her into his lap with her back to him and reached around the front of her to unbutton the blouse, gently he eased it off revealing the ivory white skin beneath.
“Heh,” he chuckled. “This is just like unwrapping my Christmas present early.”
“Mmmmmhmm,” Hilde moaned as his warm hands roamed softly over her quickly cooling bare skin.
Duo found the red scratch that marred her perfect skin and bestowed a healing kiss on the spot.
“Guess the floor is out, huh,” he said, disappointment apparent in his voice.
“We do happen to have a bed,” Hilde suggested, her voice suddenly low and sultry.
“That is true, my dear Mrs. Maxwell,” Duo agreed, standing and swinging his petite wife up in his arms. He anticipated the lovely sight she would make laid out on their new velvet bedspread, her dark hair fanning out against the soft red fabric and her white skin gleaming like a pearl.
But when he got to the bedroom he stared in disbelief and more than a little disappointment.
“Hilde? Where the hell’s that new bedspread you just bought?”
Trowa carefully pushed open the door to his office, a faint gleam of light shone under the crack of the door but it was silent inside. He drew his gun and pressed it against his thigh carefully, just in case . . . she sat there on the desk in the dim, flickering glow of candlelight in a pool of deep red velvet.
“Interested in some privileged information, Preventer Barton,” she asked, her wide-set blue-gray eyes luminous in the soft light.
He had to force himself to appear angry.
“What were you thinking,” he asked, his voice hard but his hands gentle as he pushed her hair off her shoulders and tipped her chin up so her eyes met his. “What if someone else had found you here? What if I had shot you?”
“No one finds me unless I want them to Trowa,” Midii said, smiling at him sweetly, confident he would forgive her little prank, preparing her best pout just in case he proved difficult. She could see the indecision on his face and pushed ahead with her explanation.
“Did you forget who helped Heero test this very security system? Did you also forget who managed to be in the building for more than an hour the last time before he even caught on? Besides didn’t you get my note?”
He pulled the note from his pocket and flashed it at her. All the paper contained was the dark red lipstick imprint of a pair of familiar lips. She shrugged and grinned as an unwilling smile broke over his handsome face.
“Alright,” he said, putting his hands up in surrender. “I admit it, you beat the system--again. Still, Midii you have to be more careful. Please, you’re going to give me a heart attack one of these days.”
“Or at the very least, gray hair,” she teased, her hand reaching out to tug on his auburn bangs. “Let’s just say I was doing my job. You know I like to perform unannounced tests on the system and tonight was perfect. We’ll have to fine tune the security in here again after the holidays. Besides, I missed you so much my love that Icouldn’t stay away from you a moment longer. I had to be with you tonight, please understand.”
He sat down beside her on the desk. It was very hard to be upset when the woman you loved was perched on the desk in your office illuminated only by candlelight and apparently wearing nothing but a red velvet bedspread.
“Now that I’ve found you, what do I do with you,” he asked, his emerald green eyes sparking with love and desire.
“Unwrap me of course,” she whispered close to his ear, pressing herself against him. “And then I’ll make you a promise. No more breaking and entering. No more showing up the Perfect Soldier by breaching his security system. I promise to be a perfectly well-behaved wife and mother from now on.”
“That’s good,” he said absently, suddenly more interested in what lay beneath the wrapping than discussing the trick she had played on him as the soft red material slipped out of her grip with a soft tug of his fingers. “But you don’t have to change Midii. I love you and I missed you too. Besides, to me you already are the perfect wife and--and . . .”
His voice caught on the last word and his hands stopped moving abruptly as his eyes widened with understanding and slight disbelief. What had she said?
“Mother,” she supplied, a jubilant grin lighting up her face, pulling his hand down to place it against her abdomen. “Joyeux Noel, Papa.”
“I can’t believe it! I’m a father,” Quatre repeated for about the dozenth time, a dazed look in his sapphire blue eyes.
“Are you happy my darling,” Dorothy asked, her voice sleepy and slurred from her ordeal. All her stunned husband could do was nod. She was stunned too, it was such a surprise that she could hardly believe it was real. Still she was pleased that it had all happened so quickly. After a sudden onslaught of sharp pain in the limo on the way home from the party they had barely made it to the hospital on time.
“Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, my little Felicity,” she whispered, pressing a soft kiss on her baby daughter’s fine blonde hair. The baby was surprisingly alert and Dorothy shifted the infant in her arms so she could see her father.
Quatre grinned as the baby’s lavender blue eyes focussed on him intently.
“She knows me already,” he said, his voice having become that of a proud father in the short 20 minutes since he had achieved that honor.
Dorothy patted her hand on the sheet of the hospital bed and Quatre glanced around to make sure no one was looking. He kicked off his shoes and crawled under the blankets next to his wife and daughter, holding Dorothy softly in the curve of his arm. She soon drifted off to sleep in his familiar embrace, even her excitement about the baby couldn’t drive off the exhaustion of labor.
Felicity Winner remained wide awake however. Quatre held out a finger and her little hand tightened around it and gently tugged the hand closer to her. Satisfied, the tiny girl finally fell asleep, already having her father wrapped around her little finger and exactly where she wanted him.
“You’re just like your mother,” he whispered to his angel softly. He was thrilled that Felicity had come to join them tonight of all nights. She would drive away any of Dorothy’s lingering doubts about the past. His wife’s nightmares of the first Christmas Eve they had spent together on the Libra would be banished forever by the fortuitously timed birth of their darling daughter.
Duo didn’t get to see Hilde on red velvet as he’d been imagining ever since she’d bought the damned bedspread but he discovered that white flannel sheets decorated with tiny reindeer could be just as conducive to romance when you were truly in love. Although he continued to wonder vaguely in the back of his mind just what had become of it. He had been looking forward to trying it out . . .
As she slept in his arms he held her tighter. He didn’t want to sleep yet. They had just spent their first peaceful Christmas Eve and he wanted to savor the moment. No crazy people trying to destroy Earth or start another war. Just peace and quiet and the person he loved most in all the universe snuggled close against him, the even sound of her breathing more beautiful to him than the song of angels.
It was like a sign from heaven, the ever-superstitious Shinigami thought to himself. This one night of perfect peace could mean the end of all of it. Maybe they had finally achieved it. True peace at last.
He kissed Hilde on the tip of the nose and went to sleep himself.
Hilde’s eyes popped open and she smiled at the sight of his face so close to hers. Finally he was asleep! She extricated herself from his grasp and slipped out to put his presents from Santa under the tree and fill his stocking with goodies. From the broad hints he had been making ever since Thanksgiving she knew what he expected.
He was still such a kid at times, her Duo. She grinned at him snuggled under the flannel reindeer sheets. And she was glad that he was, making him happy was so much fun.
Midii yawned and blinked her eyes, a tiny frown creased her forehead, Trowa’s desk was hard. It was definitely time to go home. Her hand moved in the darkness, searching for her lover, the candles had long since burned out.
She sat up, feeling cold and indignant and alone, clutching Duo and Hilde’s missing bedspread to her chest with one small fist. “Trowa? Where did you go,” she called, jumping when he appeared suddenly from under the chair space of his desk.
“I was getting your Christmas present,” he explained, scooping her into his arms and holding her in his lap on the chair.
“Brr, it was cold without you,” she said, shivering slightly.
“Well, you’re hardly dressed for the season, although you do look good in red velvet,” Trowa said, cuddling his chilly wife. “Where did you get that thing anyway? I say we keep it, I’m pretty fond of it.”
“That is a secret I’ll never tell,” Midii said, smirking, wondering what poor Hilde must think about her disappearing bedspread.
She cleared her throat as she nestled her head under the curve of his chin.
“What,” he asked, flipping on the lamp on the table behind him.
“You said something about a present,” she reminded him, bouncing a little impatiently on his lap.
Her excitement made him smile. He hoped that she would like it, he really wasn’t sure if it was the right thing. Would she understand?
Carefully Midii unwrapped the silver paper from the small velvet box and opened the lid.
Tears filled her eyes, softly overflowing and rolling down her cheeks.
“Oh Trowa,” she whispered. “Help me put it on.”
“Did you see the engraving,” he asked, relieved that he’d made the right choice after all.
She peered at the little gold cross in the lamplight.
“Always,” the tiny writing said.
“Everything’s really alright now, isn’t it,” she asked, her fingers touching the metal of the cross at her throat.
He nodded, his face brushing against her hair as he held her close. The past was finally forgotten. It was time for a new life to start, for all of them.
~*~The End--Merry Christmas~*~
At this point you can cue the song “White Reflection” from Endless Waltz, I did, *sniff* that sure was sappy!!Hope ya liked it anway and Happy Holidays from me to all of you! (reformatted 12-08-01, originally published 12-00)