It was Christmastime in Module 77. Considering the war going on and how everyone was separated from their families, it wouldn't be a surprise to find everyone depressed. But they kept their spirits up. The battle had not yet been lost. And there was no reason they couldn't celebrate among themselves. Everyone had an area to themselves where they had set up their tree with the intent to put presents for their friends and open on Christmas morning.
The drama club put their's on the school's stage, the home ec club had their's in the cafeteria, some students had set up trees in their dorm's common rooms, and so forth. Haruto and the other pilots, as well as their friends had set up a Christmas tree in one of the common rooms. A few people had already put their gifts under the tree.
Haruto had put a few under, but kept the one meant for L-elf hidden. He just knew the other would either say what a ridiculous notion this all way (he'd already said so several times) or he'd be able to guess what Haruto had gotten him despite the box and wrapping. He planned to put it under the tree late that night, when L-elf had already gone to bed.
"Just a few more hours to go", Haruto said to himself.
He was currently in the middle of a jog. L-elf had stressed the importance of exercise and keeping up his body's fitness. He had dinner with L-elf, Shoko, and the other pilots. L-elf had meant to use the meal to discuss tactics but Shoko kept cheerfully derailing the conversation to their plans for tomorrow.
"Wait and see what I've made for our feast tomorrow!"
Haruto knew whatever it was would look horrible but probably taste amazing. That night, Haruto pretended to read until L-elf turned in. Then he pretended to be asleep for the next hour. When he was certain that L-elf was unconscious, Haruto began his operation. Using the utmost stealth, he quietly took his gift out of his underwear drawer and left the room.
Once out of the room, he was less cautious. L-elf was already asleep and it didn't matter if anyone else heard him. He came to the room that held the tree. Its lights glowed in the darkness, giving enough light to see where he should go without bumping into anything. Haruto put his gift among the others and stood triumphantly. He turned around and suddenly the lights were on and there was L-elf.
"Agh! How did you?! When did you!?"
"Stealth proficiency: E. I knew it had to be something foolish when you left the room but this is-"
"Wanting to surprise you with a gift isn't foolish", Haruto cut him off.
"Getting me a photo album isn't what I would call a surprise", L-elf said, ignoring Haruto's slackjawed expression at his accurate deduction. "If you want to know a real surprise, check your front pocket."
"Huh? When did you?" Haruto checked the front pocket of his t-shirt and inside was a slip of paper. He opened it and all it said was 'Thank you for everything'.
"Consider that your gift. Now get back to bed. We could be attacked at any time and I won't have you being sleep deprived." L-elf turned on his heel and walked back to their shared dorm room. Haruto smiled at his back and put the paper back in his pocket before following behind him.