Note : Argh, this is not beta read and probably should be, but I wanted to get it out before the holiday was completely forgotten. I ,heh, probably need to do some creative revamping on it too, but...oh well!
Title : For These, Thy Gifts (um, I didn't have a title, so this will have to do.)
Author : Dalton!
Disclaimers : Gundam Wing characters and the misc. products used here are for entertainment purposes only. Check my bank account. You'll know I'm not getting paid to do this!
Pairings : None in a romantic sense, but the boys are all here with Sally.
Warnings : I can't think of any.
Dedication : To Lilias who I promised to send the Gboys over for Thanksgiving.

Something felt wrong.

Sally stepped back from her work at the medical supply table and took a thorough look around the room. The church's basement was busy with smiling volunteers and needful guests miling about the food and supply tables or chatting at the card tables set up for dining. The young woman stood back with her arms crossed, regarding this scene of holiday charity. They had blankets, coats, socks, bandages, sewing kits, pamphlets, water, food, warmth and many other needful things; but something still seemed to be missing. There was something empty that ached for completionm, but Sally was at a loss to find it.

Trying unsuccessfuly to ignore the nagging feeling, Sally turned back to her task, taking another small bag from the floor to fill with first aid items. Someone stepped up to the table and because she had her mind busy sorting the collection of medical itmes before her, Sally only glanced up high enough to see the priest's collar.

"Good afternoon, father. Have you come to volunteer or collect for the needy?" She accidently knocked a pile of bandages and dove for the arrant ball that rolled across the table in a mad dash for freedom.

The priest snatched up the ball before she could reach it and tossed it playfully into his other hand.

"Well, 'sister', " the unusually playful tease of the priest's voice made Sally snap her attention to the grinning violet eyes above. "You might say I'm only passing through. Gotta give last rites to some fellows who are just dying to meet me."

"Duo!" She happily hissed the surprised exclamation and pulled him quickly to the side.

"Hey, hey, hey," He chuckled, peering around the room from under his cap. "No need to introduce me to the crowd. I'm sure there's a few here that wouldn't want to run into me again, or would be more than happy to take on a rematch. What are you doing here?"

"I should be asking you the same thing, " Sally frowned, worrying about the danger of recognition the gundam pilot had put himself in. "Alot of these people used to be my co-workers, my friends, you could say. I don't believe in their cause anymore, but I wanted to offer some kind of annonymus aid to help their personal needs. It seemed the right thing to do, especially today."

Duo scratched at his temple as he glanced around the room of homeless and hospital people. "Yeah, well, I guess you gotta do what you think is best. We shoot 'em down, you stich 'em up. Sounds kinda funny to me, but, then, this war is a very weird thing anyway."

His hungry gaze kept returning to the food table and Sally thought she could hear his stomach growl. "Do you want me to get you a plate? I could bring it around back in the alley. I don't think it's wise for you to mingle with the crowd here."

"Unless you can carry five heaping platefulls, I'll have to sadly pass on that." Duo nodded his head toward a familiar dark haired figure lurking near the entrance. Wufei's dark eyes slid from their watch at the door to rest on the other two for a brief moment.

"Are all of you here?" Sally turned her head to search the room for the others.

"No, they're outside." Duo pulled down the tip of his cap in an unconscious gesture. "We were kind of hoping you would, uh, put us up for the night...or a few days...or a week. Got ourselves into a little bind, nothing we can't work ourselves out of, but it might take a few days and we knew you were in the area, so..."

Sally smiled and pulled a set of keys out of her pants pocket. Their metallic clinking was music to Duo's ears. "There's a green station wagon in the parking lot of the market down the street. I should be done here in about an hour, if you can amuse yourselves for that long. You might want to stop and pick up some food. My cupboard's bare. Here's a few dollars to cover the cost."

"Sally, if there weren't so many unwelcome witnesses, I'd kiss you." and as if to prove this, Duo snuck a quick arm around the young woman and gave her an elated hug.

"Oh, shoo." Sally's mock annoyance was punctured with a grin. "Get out of here before you're recognized. And tell Wufei to get some sleep. I can see the bags under his eyes from here."

Duo snickered as he began to make his way over to the waiting gundam pilot.

"Oh, " Sally rememebered. "And happy Thanksgiving."

"Thanksgiving?" Duo's eyes widdened, talking to himself as he passed through the busy room. "So this is what all this hubbub is about. It's Thanksgiving, huh. I had completely forgotten."

"Forgotten?" Wufei caught Duo's ending comment as he passed him through the door. He stepped smoothly behind the braided boy and followed him out with a growl. "You better not have forgotten what it was you went in there for. Do you think we sent you in to "molest" that insufferable onna? We have more important things to do..."

"So, you saw that, huh?" Duo's grin grew wider. The stoney pony-tailed boy wasn't as completely impervious to "weak" feelings as Duo had thought. Wufei's grumbling rants covered alot of inner feelings, even the ones that would do him the most good.

Having more fuel to prove his guess about Wufei's feelings for Sally, Duo couldn't help but prod the bull. "Don't worry, Wu-man. I wouldn't dream of moving in on your territory. But, now that I think about it, she is rather soft beneath that military jacket and she smells pretty nice, like fresh soap and....ow! hey! Let go of my braid, Wufei!"

Twenty minutes later the small group had found themselves in the parking lot of a large grocery store. At the insistance of Duo who claimed it was Sally's idea and added that it was Thanksgiving and a turkey was definately not to be left out, he talked them into shopping. Everyone had gone into the store except for Heero who had decided to pass up the "wonderful world of shopping according to Duo" and wait in Sally's car.

Heero didn't stay in the car for very long. The confines of its interior mixed with the unlimited view from its untinted windows were too much for the overly-cautious young man who ached for some moving space and a crowd to disappear in. The market's parking lot was full of cars and the occassional shopper coming to and fro. The only person in Heero's direct vicinity was a man collecting carts from the slot behind him.

Heero sighed only once before he opened the car door. He hated supermarkets. They were usually crammed with unneccessary distractions and useless items. What a person had to wade through to attend to simple needs was too much for this particular soldier. One should be able to go into a store, spend no more than ten minutes, twelve at tops if an item was out of stock, then be out and on his way with no hassles, no disruptions, and definately no advertisments.

As he closed the car door behind him, Heero was already mentally calculating the time it would take to remove the easily distracted Duo from the store.

"Do you know what I'm going to do tonight?"

"What?" Heero's question was more of a confused comment than a genuine response to the man who clicked the last of his collected carts into place.

"I'm going to see "Charlie's Angels". Have you seen "Charlie's Angels"? It's on at 6:30 and 9:00 and maybe even midnight. I'm going to see "Charlie's Angels". Then on the twelth I'm going to see "The Grinch". It's like the cartoon, but it's not."

The man, Heero now noticed, seemed to be what some may have termed as "retarded" while others may have called "mentally slow". It didn't matter much to the young gundam pilot as he nodded and continued his walk to the entrance of the store. The man, who seemed to be in his forties, was no threat to Heero, and that's all he needed to know. Therefore, when Heero heard the clatter of metal carts follow him, he paid it no heed. The man with the mind of a child continued his happy litany of current blockbusters, iliciting no encouraging response from Heero. He received no discouraging response either, which was probably what made him buddy up to the strange, quiet boy.

Once they reached the automatic doors, they parted; Heero , to find his co-pilots and the man to his duty with the carts. Heero didn't think about him again once he entered the bustling world of a market's last opening hour on Thanksgiving Day. Mothers and grandmothers bumped carts through the crowded store, trying to find last minute items they had forgotten when they wisely went shopping the weekend before. Only now, as they began the preperations for the big feast, did they realize a certain item was missing that they could not make do with out. Children who couldn't be left alone or who couldn't be left with the equally busy other half of the parental couple, darted among the stalled carts with shrieks of excited laughter. A couple of single men silently moved through the hectic shoppers with their arms full of what their female counterparts had forgot: bottled alcohol and potato chips.

Heero took one look at the chaos and chose to stay near the candy machines at the entrance. He sent his cold glare out into the crowd so that if anyone of the other four would see, they would know their shopping time was undoubtedly over.

He saw a familiar black pony-tail bob past an Oreo display, but Wufei did'nt notice the grim Heero statue on the other side of the cash registers. Infact, Wufei was busy trying to shut out the ocular and oral bombardment around him. He had lost the other three boys when Duo ran after some "hot super coupon deal" in another aisle. A child who decided to find the toy surprise at the bottom of a box of Trix before his mother could impair his intentions had blocked Wufei's attempt to follow the braided tornado. Multicolored bits of sugar-nutritious cereal scattered messily about the aisle, so with a swallowed curse, Wufei changed course and found himself unbelievably lost.

Strains of the overhead music managed to seep through the other miscellenious noise to Wufei's ears which made him pause in disbelief. "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?"

The music harolded another seasonal rendition, "Jingle Bells", as Wufei turned into the next aisle. The chinaman was greeted with rows of green garland, red bows, gold ribbons, and silver paper all cheerfully extolling the garishness of a holiday that should not have been seen before the first of December.

Wufei's eye lids slit to a dangerous level. "Injustice," he mumbled as he swiftly left the abominable display of early Christmas commercialism behind.

Rounding the corner, he immediately bumped into a deceivingly lean wall of muscle.

Trowa glanced away from the advertisement video he was watching, "You should be more careful with yourself in here."

Though the other's tone of voice was more mothering than insulting, Wufei squared his shoulders and tilted his chin up as if he had been offended. "I know how to take care of myself. I don't need you telling me what to do to survive an infernal supermarket."

There could have been a gleam of amusement in the emerald eyes that returned to study the tv screen, but no one would ever see it. Trowa chose to leave Wufei's comment unanswered as he returned his attention to the video of a man in a chef's hat confronting a table full of food items.

This action bothered Wufei more than a verbal response would and he turned to take a look at what Trowa deemed more interesting. "What is this?"

"A promo for some new kitchen knives," Trowa answered in his usual calm monitone without removing his gaze from the tv set.

"Kitchen knives." Wufei snorted. "A waste of good steel."

"Not quite," surprisingly, Trowa had more to say. "Cooking is a very precise and noble art. Through the ages, sharing a meal has become one of the few events where people could come together in relative peace. The cook, or chef, plays a pivotal role in creating and maintaining the good will of his diners. The slightest mistake in temperature, a pinch too much of paprika, a vegetable sliced too thickly, or any small alteration could make a meal a success or a disaster. As important as the weight and cut of a blade is for a tool of war, so is the importance of the sharpness and dexterity of a cutting knife for the master chef's kitchen. Wars have been started over a poorly prepared feast, while peace has been acheived with the aid of a beautiful banquet. All of this is impossible to believe, I'm sure, but study your own experiences with food. When you are uncomfortably stuck at a dinner table with the ever prattling Duo Maxwell, doesn't the warm spices of Quatre's beef stew pull your senses into a more pleasant experience? Then, on the nights when Heero tosses plain baloney sandwhiches on the table, things just don't go so well, do they?"

Wufei didn't answer. His head was tilted slightly to the side and he had moved closer to the taller boy and the tv set. His interest had been piqued by the idea of such a small, here-to-fore useless, item playing such an important role.

Trowa stood back to allow the other boy better access to the video display, his voice returning to its previously detatched air. "Now that I think about it, you could be right. No one cares about the delicate balance of a good meal anymore." His soft green gaze passed over the contents of a cart that a shopper parked next to the knife display to reach around other customers for a can of spam. The cart was cluttered with the heaviness of canned peaches, canned tomatoes, and cans of cheese spread. "It is a waste of steel."

"Are you insane?" Wufei exclaimed from his rapt attention on the tv screen. His voice carried a touch of excitement. "Look at the blade slice through that tin can. I'd wager it could cut a nail...look, what did I tell you? Two nails, five tin cans and it still slices the tomatoe with exact precision. These knives are honed to perfection. Look at the tapering of the blade, the length and grip of the handle, and the sharp tip in perfect porportion to the ridges of the cutting edge. It''s...."

"Amazing?" Trowa offered.

"It's almost..." Wufei's voice was low and full of awe, "beautiful."

Quatre stood against a shelving of discounted goods watching the two young men lost in the wonders of the latest developement in cutting knives. His genuine smile complimented his angelic features, but it waivered a bit as he spied the cool blue gaze of familiar eyes at the other end of the long aisle. His grin returned in full force as he chuckled inwardly at the impatient warning from Heero. With a cheerful wave to let him know he got the point, Quatre broke away from his post to gather the others. He hated to disturb Trowa and Wufei when they seemed to be enjoying themselves, but he had to agree with Heero. Even the typically patient Arabian was becoming unnerved by the grabbing, frantic chaos of last minute shoppers. He hoped Duo found what he was looking for, because the check out lines were already winding to block the paths of other unfinished customers.

"Excuse me , Trowa?" The blonde patiently interrupted. "Would you mind grabbing a place in line while Wufei and I find Duo? I think our time has been cut in half; maybe even more than that."

With a raised eyebrow, Trowa followed Quatre's gaze down the aisle where Heero sent them another notably direct stare. Without a word, the taller gundam pilot accepted his new duty and set off for the busy check out counters.

Having been pulled from his moment of peace, Wufei grumbled slightly, "That baka better have found something worth enduring this torture. If he has nothing, his braid will be on the serving platter tonight."

Quatre bit back a chuckle as he pointed Wufei toward the freezer section. He remained at the kitchen knife display until the other young man had dissappeared around a mountain of toilet wrap at the corner of the frozen food aisle. He glanced at what had pleased Wufei so much, then turned and made his way to the opposite end of the store, a smile tickling his aqua eyes.

Heero began to relax a bit when he saw the three go into action, though, to the outside viewer, his stance and statement never changed. His mind took in and appreciated the deployment of duties Quatre laid out to the others. As he included the role he would have to play to pull Duo away from his nirvana, a slightly familiar voice interrupted him.

"Can you get me those?"

Heero's eyes slid up to the man-child he had encountered in the parking lot. The man was pointing at a pile of stacked hand baskets sitting under a candy machine behind Heero. Heero bent to collect the baskets for the man, hoping that he would not go into another out-of-place speil on movie synopsis and times.

For the first time Heero looked full into the man's face as he handed over the baskets and he noticed that the man kept his gaze diverted, toward the ground. Even when he politely said "thankyou", he never moved his eyes from the floor, as if he was almost afraid to look into another person's eyes and see his differnece reflected there. Heero knew that look. He often kept his own eyes lowered to avoid attention and the return stares of those who might know he was different. Heero was different, though in a dangerous way; not different in the childishly trusting way of this "retarded" man. But what did "retarded" mean anyway? An absence of man's intelligence? An absence of man's malicious, hurtful behavior? Lost in this thought, Heero caught himself studying the man more than he intended.

The man took a step away and paused. Without turning, without looking up from the floor, he said, "My name's Jimmy. See, I have a tag here with my name on it." He thumbed aside his employee jacket and grinned proudly down at the metal name tag pinned straight on his button-down shirt. "What's your name?"

Heero didn't have his true name, but even giving out this borrowed one was hard for him to do. A soldier didn't offer any information that might compromise a mission. He didn't offer information period. Therefore, he was amazed when he heard himself saying, "Heero," without a pause.

"Heero," the man repeated. "That's a nice name."

Heero blinked. He had never really thought about it. It was just a name. He didn't know quite what to say, so he muttered a thankyou.

This seemed to please Jimmy and he began to shuffle off with his load. Something made the older man stop, put down the baskets and come back to the nearly mute boy by the gumball machine.

"You know what?" Jimmy said as he rummaged through his jacket pocket. "You're my new friend." A muddy blue marble was lovingly plucked out of the pocket and pushed into Heero's palm. Jimmy didn't say anything more, and Heero remained just as silent as the man picked up his baskets and serenly shuffled through the store's chaos to fulfill his duties.

Loud, angry voices from somewhere in the store pulled Heero's gently baffled gaze from the marble warming in his palm. It was Duo. Yells like that could only be caused by the self-proclaimed god of death.

Wufei was thinking the same thing as he rounded the end of the tall freezers and found the Braided Boy Blunder trying to protect the last Tom Turkey from two determined women.

"Ladies! Ladies!" Duo tried his award winning smile on them once again. He didn't get it. His charm was not working on these two and they were still insisting on going over his body (preferably dead body, one of them had threatened) to get to the last turkey.

"Listen, kid," the skinny, more harried woman barked at him with her hands on her hips. "I've got twelve guests coming over tonight who are expecting enough food to last their full three day stay and if you think the twelve pounder I got at home is gonna cover it, you got another think coming. I want that turkey!"

"Excuse me, " the chubbier red-head piped in while she shifted her toddler onto her other hip. "I think I was here first so you really have no claim over this turkey. You'll have to make do with your "12 pounder". At least you have something at home already."

"What?!" the other woman's shrill voice made Duo's eye tic uncontrollably. "How dare you assume you have more rights to this than I do. If you'd only thought to buy earlier instead of working on pumping out more annoying, unwanted children, then you'd not be in this situation yourself." She glared at the five year old who sat in the half empty basket picking his nose. "I've got more important people to take care of." She sniffed disdainfully.

"Now wait just a minute," Duo hefted the cold turkey under his arm. In his eyes, he had felt he deserved the rare turkey more. It was for his friends who hadn't had a decent meal in weeks and for Sally who was generous enough to offer them her place to hole-up in. His little "family" deserved a decent Thanksgiving as much as anyone else and he was willing to fight for it, but now he wasn't sure just what was right. "No need for insults, lady. You know, there's a perfectly nice big smoked ham in the next freezer..."

"Can't you hear through all that hippie hair?" The skinny woman shrieked completely out of control. "I want a turkey and I'm getting a turkey! So hand it over, kid!"

Duo blinked once at this enslaught, then his smile changed to the type of mad grin he wore behind the reigns of Deathscythe. The little boy in the other woman's cart pulled his finger from his nose, his mouth agape as if he could sense the change in the teenager's attitude. Duo gave him a little wink, which sent the tot into a fit of precious laughter.

The mother didn't see this. She only saw her defeat and accepted it resignedly as she maneuvered her basket out of the fray. "Come on, Michael," She called to the seven year old drooling at the icecream selection. As if she had eyes in the back of her head, she said, "Pick out whatever flavor you want. We can afford a little desert." With a chirp of glee, the boy dove into the freezer for the Rocky Road and paddled after his mother.

"Guess that just leaves you and me, sonny." The skinny socialite grinned a feral smile.

"Are you sure about that?" Duo managed to look innocently clueless which brought about the momentary confusion he hoped it would. As the woman's thoughts shifted to wondering if she was dealing with a complete idiot, Duo sighted Wufei and took the plunge.

"Wufei!" he yelled, scrambling out of the corner he was trapped in, "Gather the horsemen! The Appocolypse is upon us!"

Wufei barely had time to dodge the mad woman's enraged cart-attack as Duo sprinted past laughing like he had just been released from an insane asylum.

"Baka!" Wufei yelled after the retreating theif. Remembering where Trowa was waiting, he added, "Lane 12! Head for Lane 12!"

Duo vaulted over a table laden with donuts and changed his course. The woman's cart smashed against its unmoving side, knocking HoHo's to the floor and she cursed at her escaping prey.

It seemed store security had finally decided this particular Thanksgiving Day argument had taken a turn serious enough to get involved in. Yelling and cursing was to be expected; but leaping and running was not kosher. Wufei grumbled as he tried to slip unnoticed to the exit where Heero was posted. This grocery trip was definately over.

Trowa was next in line in lane 12. He had strategicly deduced the quickest moving line, but now he wondered if he'd have something more to offer the check-out clerk than the desert dish he had grabbed at the deli counter. Quatre had shown a particular affinity for marshmellows and this jello concoction was full of them. Now, all he needed was Duo's turkey and they would be on their way. He could wait, but he wasn't sure the cashier would as the line inched closer to her. He didnt' worry too much. The others would come through in time. For the time being, he was curiously content with studying the cashier's cash handling proceedures.

His brow knit, perplexed by her slow progress. "Your rate of performance would improve 25% more if you cut your nails to a third of their lenght. Your fingers would be less hampered on the keys as well."

The cashier regarded Trowa's helpful advice with a nasty scowl as she tapped her unbelievably long, manicured nails on the glass top of the counter. Fortunately, her rude comeback was halted by a shout from a few lines down.

"Trowa! Heads up!"

Trowa whiped around to see a grey, frozen cannonball come sailing through the crowd toward him. Quicker than the missile, Trowa grabbed up a discarded hand basket and got ready for the crash. The turkey hit the back of the basket with a splintering clunk. When it rolled out and thudded on the conveyor belt, Trowa could see the cashier's pale, shocked face through the broken basket bottom.

"Is this all you will be purchasing today?" Her memorized response slipped shakily out of her open mouth.

"Nope!" Duo bounced through the line, tugging a seven year old boy by the hand. "His mom's got more. Just hold on a sec and we'll have it all here for you. By the way, awesome move, Trowa. Let's see if you can catch the rest."

Like a boy happily playing on a baseball field, Duo tossed each item of the surprised mother's basket to his tall friend who never missed a single throw. When everything had been uncerimoniously delivered to the cashier, Duo pulled the astonished woman up to the front admist protesting grumbles from the other people in line. Trowa had a feeling the uber pleased smile on Duo's face might not even be displaced by the future death threats the boy would soon receive after leaving the store empty-handed.

No, not quite empty-handed; for as they moved through the bustling exodus of shoppers, Duo, the nimble-fingered thief, found himself a prize.

"Where's the turkey?" Wufei's harsh question hit them as they ran into the other three outside.

"Turkey?" Trowa was right. Duo's grin never waivered. "Who needs turkey when we've got this!" He produced a large teddy bear tin of flavored popcorn.

Trowa took Wufei by the arm while Quatre slipped between Heero and Duo. If they got to Sally's car without a public homicide, it would be a thankful thing indeed.

Like an angel out of the blue, Sally's caramel curls could be seen traveling through the crowded parking lot. All intentions of tar and feathering the popcorn theif were immediately dropped in the face of their generous benefactor.

Sally didn't miss the obvious discomfort of the small crowd. "Ok, what happened? Half of you look like you're about to jump into your flight suits and take on a few Taurus's."

The dam burst.

"All I did was borrow some popcorn...."

"And give away our turkey."

"And call up the notice of store security."

"He did what? Duo..."

"Hey, 'tis the season, right?"

"It's not Christmas yet! Can we get through one holiday at a time?!"

"He's really sensitive about this holiday thing, isn't he?"


"Trowa, you got the Ambrosia desert! You remembered! See guys, we're not completely empty-handed."

"Is that jello?"

"That looks...unedible. Am I expected to eat that?"

"It's really delicious...."

"Hey, we still have my popcorn. And, wow! It's got cinamon flavor!"

"You don't want to know what I think you can do with your cinamon flavored popcorn..."


"Popcorn and jello for Thanksgiving. It could be worse."

Instead of interrupting or stopping the argument, Sally walked to her station wagon, got in and started the car. One by one, the voices dropped to silence, then each gundam pilot sheepishly took their places behind the woman in control. Duo ended up alone in the back of the wagon with his popcorn tin. Quatre felt he'd survive the drive that way. Quatre graciously agreed to take the middle between Heero and Wufei while Trowa balanced the Ambrosia on his lap next to Sally.

As Quatre crawled into the backseat, a skinny flat box slipped out of his vest and onto the floorboard. Heero picked it up for him which Quatre uncharacteristicly scrambled to return to the hidden folds of his vest. It was too late. Wufei had already recognized the box.

"What are you doing with....that's one of those knives..." By now, Wufei would know one of those kitchen knives from a block away. He looked from the covetous object up to the blushing face of Quatre who surprisingly offered the box to Wufei.

"I, uh, was planning on saving this for Christmas, but..."Quatre grinned. "Happy Thanksgiving, Wufei."

The hard exterior of the Shenlong pilot froze in confusion, then slipped to a softer tone as realization hit him. The use of his tongue forgotten, Wufei could only stare at teh beauty of the gift before him. The look on Wufei's face was enough thanks for Quatre and he sat back with a grin as Sally pulled out of the parking space.

"Since you've all calmed down now," Sally spoke up, "I've got some good news."

Heero responded with a lift of his eyebrow as Duo leaned over the seat back behind him and asked, "Oh, yeah? What's that?"

"I've got a friend in town who's kindly agreed to take the lot of you in for Thanksgiving dinner tonight." Sally sent a silent prayer of thanks to the brave Lilias. "Do you think you five can handle a normal holiday meal for a change?"

"Are you kidding?! Bring on the turkey!"

"Duo , your'e shouting in my ear."

"We should thank your friend when we get there. She's very nice to do this. We should've brought something."

"We have Ambrosia."

"And popcorn!"

"If you mention that popcorn again, I will..."

Sally grinned to herself as she drove. She glanced into the rear view mirror at the boys she had taken under her wing. Duo was happily tossing popcorn into the air and trying to catch it in his mouth. Wufei clutched at his rectangular box and tried not to let the smile in his eyes reach his mouth. Quatre twisted around to grab a handful of popcorn from Duo. Heero stared silently out the window, rolling something small and round in the palm of his hand. Trowa was trying to balance the jello bowl on the seat between them so he could remove a small flute from his pocket. Duo had just suggested a song and helped himself to the first verse.

"Over the river and through the wood to Lilias's house we go. The horse knows the way - No, offense, Sally - to carry the sleigh through the..."

As Quatre and Trowa's flute joined Duo, Sally realized she had found what she had been missing that day. It wasn't the extra mittens, the baked rolls or the medicinal balms that she thought she had misplaced in the chaos of volunteer duties. It was the true feeling of the holiday that had escaped her. Here, now, in the car with these remarkable boys who fought selflessly for what they believed was right, Sally found herself thanking the higher power above for bringing them into her life and the lives of others. As the song began a second round accompanied by Wufei's complaining curses, Sally felt truely thankful, indeed.

the end
(c&c? flames? rotten veggies? flowers?)