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Glancing warily around the hallway outside the lab, Richter Abend hesitantly begins to make his way towards the larger area where the basement-dwelling researchers at Sybak gather.  He can’t stifle his unease, however, as he enters the room.  His sharp gaze quickly takes in the scene before him, and notes one key detail: Aster is missing.  He suppresses a sigh and heads towards Avery.

“Avery, have you seen Aster?”

The other half-elf looks a little surprised, and shakes his head.  “Nope, not since this morning.  He borrowed the spare lab for something, but when I went to see if he was still there about an hour ago he was gone.  No clue where he is.  Why?”

Richer just shakes his head, frowning slightly.  He sighs and mutters, “I’ll just check the room…”

Richter slowly heads back towards his room, and carefully opens the door, fully expecting to be pounced on by the over-eager human.  It’s just the way things work—on this day, each year, Aster insists on some sort of celebration.  It is, after all, his birthday.  What he discovers, however, is not something he could ever have expected.

On his desk is a small plate, with a single slice of cake on it.  The cake is chocolate, a secret favorite of the redhead’s, with most likely vanilla frosting.  There’s no candle, though.  Instead, sitting atop the cake…  Is a naked, three-inch tall Aster.

Richter reacts in the only way he possibly can: he brings his hand up, pressing the palm to his face.

Aster just giggles, watching as Richter finally approaches and sits down in the chair before him.  He smiles happily up at the half-elf, saying, “Happy birthday, Richter!”

Richter can’t help but smile a little, though, at the “present” he’s been given this year.  It’s clear what Aster intended, especially from the small vial of what is obviously the antidote to the solution Aster had inadvertently discovered some months ago that caused him to shrink—complete with a little ribbon tied to it.  He supposes this is better than being tackle-hugged and having cake forced on him, and he watches Aster for a moment before smiling a little more and slowly picking up the fork beside the plate.

Aster grins, watching as Richter slowly eats a bit of the cake.  He sits there, happily waiting as bit by bit the slice is reduced to just the little bit that he’s sitting on.  He hops off and lets Richter eat the last piece, and waits as Richter watches him for a moment.

After a few moments, Richter sets the fork on the plate right by Aster, and watches as the tiny human climbs onto it.  He carefully brings Aster up near his face, and gently tips the blond into his mouth.  As he carefully swallows, he hears a muffled giggle and a “Happy birthday, Richter!” from the blond.  A few moments later he gently places one hand over his stomach, murmuring, “I think this is the best birthday I’ve had yet, Aster.”

Aster grins, calling, “I’m glad you liked it, Richter!” and gently rubs the lining of the half-elf’s stomach.  He thinks he’ll have to use this sort of “present” again in the future.