Secret Santa

Christmas for a Goat

© 2007 by Plantress

This page was last modified: 2007/12/20

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Shura had some memories of Christmas from his childhood before Sanctuary. Blurred impressions of a Christmas tree, presents, and someone dressed up like Santa Claus were all that was there, though. Those memories hadn't had an effect on his least until today. He didn't know why Athena thought that it would be a good idea to throw a Christmas party. On reflection he realized he didn't need to know all of her reasons, just that he had to go to the party she was so excited about. Well, go to the party and buy a present for another Gold Saint. It could have been worse, he guessed, and at least he had a few days to get ready.

After they had drawn their slips of paper, Athena left the room. They all exited after that, heading down to their temples. Although it was annoying that Capricorn was one of the temples farthest from the training grounds, it was one of the ones closer to the main temple so for once he had a lesser distance to walk. He heard the others passing through on their way down as he headed toward his rooms and dismissed his Cloth. The Capricorn Saint opened his piece of paper curiously...then stared at it. Why in Athena's name had he drawn Milo? He had nothing in common with the Scorpio Saint! But he was stuck with it now. At least he hadn't drawn Deathmask. He had no idea what he would have bought for the Cancer Saint.

After he had spent some time worrying and trying to think of something that would suit the Scorpio Saint, Shura headed down to the training grounds to clear his head. Aioria and Aiolos were already there. He wondered why they were training so hard. He headed back up to his temple that night, still blank about Milo's present. There was the smell of baking drifting through Taurus temple and he paused to wonder what Aldebaran was up to before he went the rest of the way up.

By the next morning he still hadn't thought of anything to give Milo. He decided to make a list of the things that he knew the Scorpio Saint liked to see if anything jumped out at him. Shura knew that the younger Saint liked women, playing pranks on other unsuspecting Saints, drinking, and his pet scorpions...but that was about all he knew of the Scorpio Saint. Milo might have been one of the most social of the Gold Saints, but he revealed very little of his true personality. Not surprising, really, they all had their own burdens to carry, ones they didn't wish others to know about. Well, Camus might know about Milo's secrets, but the Aquarius Saint would never ever betray his friend.

Shura had thought about asking Camus for help, but that had seemed a little like cheating to him. He was capable of figuring this out on his own and would do so. After staring at his list for at least ten minutes, with no ideas jumping out at him, the Capricorn Saint decided to take a break. Maybe doing something would help him come up with a good idea. Milo was just so different from him it was hard to think of anything that the other Saint would like.

Passing through Scorpio temple was strange. Milo had Christmas carols blaring from a speaker he had hidden somewhere, and the Scorpio Saint himself was standing next to a ladder arguing with Aioria. He wondered if this was another one of Milo's pranks or if the Scorpio Saint was doing something else, but decided to ignore it for now. He headed down toward the training grounds, wondering about what he could get Milo...then was hailed as he passed through Taurus.

"Shura!" Aldebaran called from the doorway of his rooms. "Are you doing anything right now?"

"Not really. I was just on my way to the training ground, but that can wait," the Capricorn Saint said curiously. Everyone knew that the Taurus Saint had been making something in his kitchen since Athena's announcement but no one seemed to know that it was. That was odd now that Shura thought about it. Aldebaran let anyone come and visit him, and he tended to encourage people to stay, so there was no reason for it to be such a secret.

"Then could you come and give me a hand with something?" Aldebaran asked.

"Sure." Shura nodded and started toward the door...only to have Aldebaran grab his arm and yank him inside.

"Good!" the Taurus Saint boomed as he dragged the smaller Capricorn Saint over to the kitchen. Shura had only a glimpse of a chaotic mix of finished cookies and baking ingredients, before Aldebaran shoved a plateful of the finished cookies under his nose.

"Can you tell me how these taste?" the Taurus Saint said looking anxious. Shura took one nervously, then noticed that Kiki was in the kitchen, too, watching him with almost the same expression as the Taurus Saint. Shura swallowed, then hesitantly took a small bite of the gingerbread man. His eyes widened.

"This is good!" he exclaimed. Aldebaran beamed and Kiki cheered.

"See?" The little boy said. "I told you they'll like your present!"

"Present?" Shura asked curiously.

"That's a secret!" Aldebaran said grinning. "Now I have to get started on it, and I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise for you!" Two minutes later, Shura found himself standing out in the middle of the Taurus temple with a small bag of cookies, with Aldebaran slamming the door to the kitchen behind him. The Capricorn Saint shook his head, then continued on down, nibbling on cookies the whole time.

Despite wracking his brains, by the next day Shura still hadn't thought of a gift for Milo and he was beginning to get worried. Try as he might, he couldn't think of anything and he spent the whole day wondering what he was going to do. He thought about going up and asking Camus for advice one or twice, but each time the thought of not being able to accomplish such a simple task himself stung his pride.

Shura was staring at his list in desperation when he suddenly remembered a conversation he had overheard between Aioria and Milo the other day. Milo had been saying he needed a bigger tank to keep all his pet scorpions in, but hadn't gotten one yet. The Capricorn Saint collapsed back against his chair in relief. He hadn't heard Milo say anything about buying a new tank yet and he was sure he would have heard about it if he had. For some reason that Shura could not figure out, the Scorpio Saint delighted in dragging Camus down to see his pets whenever he did something new with them, even though he had to know that the Aquarius Saint hated them. Since Capricorn was one of the temples between Scorpio and Aquarius, Shura always heard all about Milo's little 'pets'.

A quick glance at the clock showed that it was later than the Capricorn Saint had thought it was. He decided that he would head out first thing in the morning.

The Capricorn Saint was used to rising early and had no trouble getting up the next morning. Milo was apparently still asleep when he passed through the temple since there was no Christmas music blaring. There was however a massive amount of mistletoe everywhere. He shook his head in confusion about what the Scorpio Saint was thinking and continued down.

Athens in the Christmas season was confusing and crowded. The Capricorn Saint wove his way through the streets carefully, wondering why so many people were up this early. Since he didn't know where a pet store was, he stopped and looked in the windows of any store that looked promising, but had yet to find anything. He was turning around a corner when he saw a head of familiar blonde hair. For a second what he had seen didn't register, then he froze and turned around. At first he wasn't sure of what he was seeing, since Shaka was the least likely Saint that he could think of to actually be shopping. Then he noticed how stressed the other Saint was. Shaka never looked stressed, even in the midst of battle. Shura made his way over to the other Saint.

"Shaka?" he called out. The Virgo Saint stopped and turned toward him.

"Shura, what are you doing here?"

"Probably the same thing you are," Shura said warily, noting how agitated the other Saint seemed. "Are you alright, though? You look a little ...pale."

"I'm fine," Shaka said. "I just haven't been to this area before, so I don't know where to start."

"I would just pick some place and go in," Shura said honestly and looked at the blonde Saint worriedly. He didn't seem very well at all. "You sure you're alright?"

"I'm perfectly fine," Shaka said sharply. He turned and headed toward one of the smaller shops. Shura hesitated for a second, then shrugged and continued on his own quest. He wanted to get out of here as soon as possible, too.

He finally found a pet shop on one of the other streets and went inside. It was only when he was in the store that he realized didn't know how big Milo's tank was, so Shura just bought the biggest one he could find to be sure. It was awkward to carry, but not that hard. Shura headed back toward Sanctuary, feeling only slightly relieved. He had found Milo's present, but he still had to go to that party.

* * *

Camus finds a present for Aldebaran.

The End of Chapter 12 -- Continued in Chapter 13

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