Fandom: Gundam SEED
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Summary: For Nicol's seventeenth birthday, he gets no presents, no surprises, and not a single birthday wish. Yet he can't bring himself to complain or remind anyone. It's too nice of a day for that.
Notes: Set in the 'everybody!lives!verse' that popped up in the last round of no_true_pair
Nicol could hear Mayura and Miguel in the shower, though it was hard to tell if the noises were pleasure or just Mayura fussing with Miguel's prosthetic parts. It didn't really matter - Nicol had slept badly and slipped off to sleep on the sofa midway through the night.
While he very much had his own bedroom, that wasn't the message that he wanted to send. Retreating to his bedroom meant he needed some time to himself. Sofa meant that he was sorry, but three in a bed just wasn't physically working for him.
Nicol closed his eyes, shifted a bit, and pulled the woven blanket that Cagalli had given him back up over his face. A little more sleep would be good.
"Have a good day, Nicol!" Mayura's voice drew him back out of a light sleep. "Call me if you need anything, okay?"
Nicol peeked out from under the blanket to see her leaning over him. He blinked and nodded.
"And don't forget to take your pills." She kissed him on the cheek and smiled. Her hair was still a bit damp-looking, which meant it hadn't been too long.
"I won't," Nicol replied as Mayura tucked him back in.
He listened to her fuss around the kitchen for a bit longer before the door opened and closed.
Nicol shifted again, wiggled the fingers on his right hand a few times, and closed his eyes again.
"Don't sleep all day."
Nicol peeked out from under the blanket again to see Miguel sitting on the coffee table, offering him a glass of water and tiny saucer of pills. Nicol knew without looking that Miguel had his own 'breakfast' there, too.
"I just didn't sleep well," Nicol said, carefully dragging himself upright.
"I know. I felt you tossing half the night til you crawled out here." Miguel held the dish a bit longer as Nicol took the glass and drank a bit. "Sure you'll be okay on your own?"
"I'm fine," Nicol replied. He took the pills in his right hand to prove his point and dumped them into his mouth. Knocking back the rest of the water, he swallowed them easily.
"There are bagels in the kitchen," Miguel noted. He washed his own pills down with coffee, which didn't surprise Nicol at all. "I need to get going, though."
"Have a good day," Nicol said softly. He just didn't feel right and hoped a little more sleep would help. "I'll get a bagel later."
Miguel frowned, but didn't push as Nicol pulled the blanket back over himself.
Nicol dragged himself to the bathroom closer to lunch time than breakfast time. He needed a cup of coffee and food in his stomach, but he felt better than he had. A hot shower helped, too.
He sat down with a sandwich made out of a bagel and a bit of everything else from the fridge and started checking his phone for messages. Aside from a few basic texts and a reminder that he was welcome to earn a few dollars playing piano at the one cafe, he didn't have any real messages.
A few bites into his sandwich, Nicol glanced up at the calendar on the wall to see what everyone else had scheduled. Maybe he would go play piano for a bit. Fresh air would be good, as would music.
His gaze caught on the date. Instead of the black and white kitten he'd been staring at for the whole of February, there was now a fluffy orange kitten in a tea cup. It was March. March First...
Nicol set his sandwich down. He'd managed to forget his own birthday. He was seventeen.
Everyone else had forgotten as well, though. Not a single message had mentioned his birthday. Mayura and Miguel certainly hadn't said anything.
Leaving him at home to his own devices didn't really speak for a surprise party later, either. Though that would be a possibility.
Nicol finished his sandwich and washed the handful of dishes in the sink. Before he knew it, he'd cleaned most of the kitchen and opened all of the windows in the apartment to let in fresh air.
He was alive, after all. That was as much of a present as he ever could really get.
Nicol gathered up all of the kitchen linens, dumped them in the hamper and put out new ones. He straightened the living room and folded the multicolored blanket that Cagalli had given him and hung it on the back of the sofa.
He did laundry, vacuumed, and generally smiled every time he wandered through a patch of sunshine.
The apartment was pristine by the time laundry had finished, and Nicol took his time folding and hanging newly dried towels, shirts and sheets.
He'd made a song list while he worked and once he changed into something a little more appropriate, Nicol headed to the little coffee shop cafe to see if anyone was playing. The two girls behind the counter waved to him when he entered and he waved back.
A duo waved to him from the little area set aside for musicians. Nicol had gotten nicely acquainted with the piano there over the last few months.
"Come play with us!" the woman called. She looked like she was just unpacking her acoustic guitar. Her husband had a set of bongo drums on his lap and was idly tapping them.
There went his mental song list, but Nicol didn't care. He couldn't contain a wide smile and nodded quickly.
"Let me get a drink first and then I'll be over," Nicol replied. The three of them had at least twenty songs they could play together, and Nicol never tired of listening to the two of them, either. Anna had a great voice and Li was solid and supportive and knew how to get even the smallest audience excited.
The three of them played for hours, with the couple playing every third song on their own. They knew Nicol needed to rest. Nicol kept his phone out and checked it frequently. But no new messages appeared. He thought about letting Athrun know he was managing a performance that wouldn't cause drowsiness.
However, he kept getting lured into more songs, into the music and the crowd. Girls would come up and sing along and for a couple of songs, an older gentleman even pulled out a harmonica.
Nicol felt good. He didn't even notice the time until Li told the crowd that had gathered that they only had one song left.
Tips were quickly split four ways, with the fourth share going to the cafe. Nicol made enough to cover his drinks and give him a bit of pocket money, which was more than he'd expected.
"Want to come over for dinner?" Anna questioned as she packed her guitar. "We didn't mean to keep you late."
Nicol shook his head. "I'm fine, but thank you. I should get home. Text me when you want to play again, though."
Anna nodded. "We will. You did really good today, y'know."
"Yeah," Nicol replied. "Felt good, too."
The apartment was still empty when Nicol got home. He closed a couple of the windows he'd left open, but not all of them. He'd have to watch though, in case it started to rain.
His phone finally beeped. Nicol grabbed for it. But it was just Mayura asking what he wanted for dinner. And if he felt any better. She was going to be late, but she'd pick something up.
He replied, and then turned on the radio in the kitchen. Shopping lists didn't make themselves, after all.
Nicol was in the bathroom, making sure they had a decent reserve of toilet paper, when Mayura arrived home.
"Nicol? Is Miguel back yet?"
"No, not yet," Nicol replied as he made his way out and took the carryout bags from her. "Anything you want from the store? I'm making a list for tomorrow."
Mayura gave him a bit of a strange look as she took off her shoes.
"No, I don't think so," she said softly. "But thanks."
"Okay..." Nicol took the bags into the kitchen and started to unpack. Everything smelled amazing and he hoped Miguel would make it home to eat his food while it was still warm.
He was still digging out boxes and containers when Mayura slipped up behind him and wrapped her arms around him, kissing his neck and thoroughly distracting him.
Nicol shivered and was unable to hold in a soft gasp. Mayura's touch went right through him and she certainly wasn't wasting time.
"Dinner..." Nicol managed. The food would reheat, he knew, but...
"I know," Mayura whispered in his ear. "But after, you're all mine."
Before Nicol could reply, there was the telltale sound of a key in the door and Miguel banged in.
"Perfect timing," Mayura called, unwinding herself from Nicol. "I just got home with dinner."
"I didn't think I'd ever get home," Miguel replied. "Did you..."
"Start telling Nicol all the naughty things we're doing after dinner?" Mayura interrupted. "I did."
Nicol knew he was blushing and instead of replying, he fussed more with their food.
Thoroughly sated and downright exhausted, Nicol had forgotten about his birthday being a possible reason for the attention he'd just gotten from both Mayura and Miguel.
Mayura had claimed the first quick shower, leaving Nicol and Miguel curled together on the bed under a thin blanket. The bedroom window had long since been closed and Nicol could hear thunder in the distance.
"Doing okay?" Miguel questioned, reaching to carefully run his fingers through Nicol's hair.
"Yeah... not sure walking is going to be a thing for a bit longer, though," Nicol admitted with a soft laugh. "You can shower next."
Miguel chuckled. "Or we could shower together..."
Nicol wasn't sure how clean he'd get from that, but it did sound nice.
By the time he and Miguel had washed and dried themselves, Mayura had changed the bed sheets and re-made the bed. She was wearing polka-dot pjs - thin pants and a tank top - and was flipping through a magazine.
There were two small wrapped packages and a card beside her.
"Happy Birthday," Miguel said.
"Here," Mayura said, offering him the card. Nicol took it and opened it quickly.
Instead of a birthday card, it was an invitation as well as a set of instructions. Give Nicol a nice quiet day, don't mention his birthday... And there would be a big party over the weekend with everyone...
Nicol couldn't hold in the tears. Not when he'd already had the best day he could have asked for.
"Stop that," Miguel said, nevertheless reaching to pluck the card away and set it on the night stand before nudging Nicol onto the bed properly. "And just so you know, it wasn't just us - it was Athrun and Rusty and even your friends at the cafe."
"We've got big stuff for you, too," Mayura said as she held up the small wrapped boxes. "But those have to wait. You get the little gifts first."
The smile on her face said they were things that were better off not being opened in public.
Nicol didn't know what to say. So he just went with the only words that would come out.
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!