|How the Bee Stole Christmas
Author: Mr Khan PM
One Captain in the Gotei 13 is determined to put a stop to this pointless holiday, and who can possibly stop her? Holiday fluff, implied YoruSoi, one-shot fusion of the works of Tite Kubo and Dr. Seuss.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Suì-Fēng & Yoruichi S. - Words: 3,611 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 2 - Published: 12-09-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7621337
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
How the Bee Stole Christmas
By Mr Khan
Author's Note: What can I say, despite my lack of free time, this was an easy idea, given a simple story adaptation from Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." The only tough part, really, was making up my own rhyme scheme where I deviated from Seuss' original… Enjoy, and happy holidays to you all!
Every Shinigami in the Seireitei liked Christmas a lot…
But the Bee, who lived in the Squad Two barracks, did not!
The Bee hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be, perhaps, that her braids were tied too tight.
It could be, perhaps, that she did not think holidays were alright.
But I think the most likely reason of all,
May have been that her heart was two sizes too small.
But whatever the reason, her heart or her braids,
She sat there on Christmas Eve, in between raids,
Plotting more missions, scheming more plans, seething in hate
For this holiday was one thing she just could not tolerate
The snow blanketed all that region of Soul Society at the waning of the year, a downy comforter compelling those who could to stay inside and keep warm. The frigid beauty of the scenery complemented the festive atmosphere that spread across all of Seireitei. Well, almost all of Seireitei. Soi Fon, Captain of Squad Two and Commander-in-Chief of the Onmitsukido had lodged a formal protest against the celebration of Christmas this year, just as she had every year before since the holiday had been introduced to Seireitei. And, just like every other year, her protest had gone unnoticed.
Her main problem with the holiday was that it was too close to New Year's. There was no reason for the Shinigami to relax their vigilance on two days separated by a mere week like that. Granted, she didn't like New Year's either, since any time off was detrimental to their duty, but New Year's was somewhat more entrenched in Soul Society tradition. Soi Fon figured she should focus on destroying one holiday at a time. This holiday had first appeared in Seireitei only 53 years ago, when the holiday had begun to be celebrated as a cross-cultural phenomenon in the World of the Living. It had been 30 years ago that the Captain Commander had yielded to the festive spirit and instated the holiday as an official one for the Gotei 13. New Year's, on the other hand, was timeless.
She also disliked Christmas' traditions in particular. It was a holiday of sloth, gluttony, and avarice. Unlike New Year's, which at least had some ritual and tradition to it, Christmas was all about people acquiring needless luxury items in the form of "presents," decorating with gaudy junk, and stuffing their faces with unnecessary foreign foods. Since the holiday revolved entirely around these tangible goods: food, presents, all she had to do was dispose of these goods, and then the holiday would be dead. To dispose of them was easy: just apply stealth, which was her specialty.
Stealth would not be enough, however. To move at the speed required, she would inevitably emit a spiritual pressure signature, calling attention to her activities. But it was fortuitous that this holiday involved an individual stealthily sneaking around in the night. This "Santa Claus," according to legend, seemed to do just the opposite of what she intended; stealthily going around in the night and giving away gifts rather than stealing them. If the fools that celebrated this holiday spotted a fat man in a red and white coat going about in the night, they would, perhaps, take no great notice of his activities, and thereby allow her to get away with her scheme and put an end to this idiotic holiday.
But then she couldn't do something like that alone. She lacked the proper physique.
"What I need is a pawn…"
The Bee looked around.
But, since Santa did not exist, he was not to be found.
Did that stop the young Bee…?
No! The Bee simply said,
"If I can't use Santa, I'll get a substitute instead."
Marechiyo Omaeda was feeling overworked. Of course he had to be in the one division that only grudgingly celebrated Christmas. Even that loony Mayuri Kurotsuchi was more civilized to his subordinates at this time of year than Captain Soi Fon. As he scribbled away at the paperwork regarding the mission they had completed earlier that day, he heard the door to his office slide open.
"Damnit, I thought I said no disturb-... " His face fell when he saw his irate Captain standing in the doorway, and fell further when he saw what she bore: a suit of the kind worn by Santa Claus, as well as a fake white beard.
"Omaeda, I have a mission I need you to undertake tonight," Soi Fon quipped.
"But tonight's Christmas Eve!" Omaeda protested, willing to take another smack to the face to try and secure at least one night off this year.
"Christmas, hmf," Soi Fon grunted. "That's the problem I'm trying to address."
But, having found and clothed her fat man
The bee saw one large flaw in her plan
She could not, unsupervised, rely on her pawn
For he was the type to have less brains and more brawn
So she took up a sack and gave it to him
Then she cast off her haori and, because she was slim
She fit right in the sack.
And then, with her zanpakuto drawn
She was able to prod him, and urge him on.
Soi Fon prepared with the few daylight hours that remained, gathering supplies and stashing them at key points all over Seireitei. Night fell, and then Soi Fon stowed herself into the sack and, with the threat of Suzumebachi's sting, put Omaeda to work.
The first target was Squad 11. Applying all of his Onmitsukido-honed skill, Omaeda-Claus slipped into the barracks of the notorious fighting squad. The traditional architecture, namely the sliding shoji, made breaking into the barracks-houses easy. Omaeda carried two sacks with him: one bearing his Captain, who could see everything through the loose-knit fibers of that particular sack, and another with which to conduct his looting.
Every time the sack filled, Omaeda stashed it aside and retrieved another, from the piles Soi Fon had hidden all over the place. He made quick work of Squad 11's decorations, which were less elaborate than others they would find on that night. Then he broke into the seated officers' quarters, finding a number of stockings bolted to the walls.
"The stockings go first," Soi Fon directed. Omaeda complied, knowing she had Suzumebachi in the sack with her, and that she could have him killed in a flash if he refused, or tried to betray her deplorable mission. The officers' barracks were being used as the main concourse for festivities in the squad, where they had their Christmas tree and piles of presents. All sorts of consumer goods, some from the World of the Living, were snatched up in Omaeda's plunder sack and, with the man moving at surprising speed for his girth, removed from the Squad 11 headquarters.
The Squad 11 mess hall came next, with all kinds of odd foods, mostly from the European or North American regions of the World of the Living, being taken indiscriminately. Omaeda wished he could ask if he could dispose of the food simply by eating it, but he knew what the answer would be, so he continued his work.
The Christmas tree was the last thing he addressed, as per Soi Fon's orders. In all cases, the tree would be the hardest thing to remove, since they could not be stowed into a sack. Instead, Omaeda tipped the tree over onto the floor, slowly and carefully so as not to make a sound, and then prepared to push it out the door, where he would have more room to handle it more easily.
And the man grabbed the tree and he started to shove
When he heard a small sound like the coo of a dove.
He turned around fast, and who did he see?
Little Yachiru Kusajishi
Who was not more than One-hundred-and-three
Yachiru blinked sleep from her eyes, not quite believing what she saw.
"Santa Claus! Is it really you?" the energetic young shinigami said, breathlessly rushing up to the disguised Omaeda. "Why are you stealing our Christmas tree?"
Now the fat man was neither very smart nor very slick
But with a jab in the ribs and a threat from his boss
He gained incentive, and was not at a loss
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick.
"Why my sweet little tot,"
The fake Santa Claus lied,
"There's a light on this tree that won't light on one side."
"So I'm taking it home to my workshop, my dear,"
"I'll fix it up there, and I'll bring it back here."
The fib was successful, and it fooled the child
But gave her a curiosity that soon drove her wild
"Cool!" Yachiru exclaimed. "Do you have your reindeer here? Where are they parked? Is it cold up in the workshop? How fast will you have the tree back?"
Omaeda looked back soundlessly, once again at a loss for an answer, until he felt another angry elbow-jab come from the sack that hung at his hip.
"Now listen, kid," he said, dropping all pretenses. "If you don't shut up real quick, I'll take all your gifts and you'll have no Christmas!"
Yachiru stopped in her tracks, fooled by the fake Santa and cowed by his apparent wrath, looking up at him with watery doe-eyes and her lower lip trembling.
"Sorry kid," Omaeda continued. "It's been a long night. But run along and go back to bed while Santa takes your tree away."
"Right," Yachiru agreed. "Merry Christmas!" she said, and dashed back to her sleeping quarters.
Now reasonably certain that she was asleep again, Omaeda proceeded, quietly dragging the tree out of the Officers' barracks, then, at shunpo speed, hefted the tree away to one of the resupply points, grabbed another sack, and moved on to the nearest squad, Squad 9.
In a long night of labor, Omaeda-Claus managed to successfully plunder Christmas away from all the squads except Squad Two (where decorations, the preparation of lavish food, and the exchange of presents had all been banned by Soi Fon's order), as well as from the Kido Corps and the Research and Development Society. It was a tremendous feat for one man, but with the constant threat of two-hit death sitting in a sack at his side, Omaeda pulled it off.
It was a quarter to dawn, all the Shinigami asleep
When bee and pawn appeared at Sokyoku Hill
There they tossed all Christmas-things in a heap
And there with the Sokyoku, Christmas they'd kill
Although Omaeda at least understood the motives behind Soi Fon's evil plan, he still thought that this part was overkill. The Sokyoku was designed to destroy shinigami criminals down to the last spirit particle, and surely a bunch of inanimate decorations, food, and presents did not really need to be utterly annihilated to put a stop to Christmas. A few simple Kido could have made a pile even this large (and it was large, a huge lump of stuff, securely packed, as tall as the Sokyoku itself) into an unrecognizable jumble.
"Is it all ready?" Soi Fon asked. Her curt voice had an undertone of smug self-satisfaction.
"Yes, Captain," Omaeda replied, trying as hard as he could to keep the regret out of his voice. You got to do a lot of grim things if you worked for the Onmitsukido, but this was the first time he ever felt what he was doing was unconscionable, and considering that most of his Onmitsukido work entailed killing other Shinigami, that was saying something. "Everything should be in the pile."
Dawn broke, and with it came the changing of the night-shift guard, leading the night-guards in squads across Seireitei to discover what they had lost. Despairing cries could be heard here and there, even from Sokyoku Hill which was isolated well away from the various squads' barracks. Soi Fon heard the sounds; the fruits of her vigilance, of her effort to make sure that discipline was not lost in Seireitei.
And the bee with her bee-feet ice-cold in the snow
Silently gloated and gloated "For I've made it so!"
"It can't come without ribbons!"
"It can't come without tags!"
"It can't come without packages, boxes, or bags!"
She gloated and gloated until her ego was sore
Then the bee saw something she hadn't before
The pile was not yet complete
For there was one present more
It was a normal box, though somewhat larger than the average present size Soi Fon had observed throughout the night of plunder. The box itself was wrapped in glossy black wrapping paper, tied in an elaborate golden bow. It was slightly taller than it was wide, and was marked with a tag.
With a smile most unpleasant, Soi Fon leaned over to grab up the present. Whoever it had been intended for in the past, it was bound to be burned now. Drawn by the smallest of whims, however, Soi Fon glanced at the tag on the present, wanting to know who she was depriving of pointless material excess.
To: My Little Bee
The tag gave Soi Fon pause, for only one person had ever referred to her thus, and she grabbed the present and picked it up. There was weight in there, some heft to the box. When she held the box closer to her, however, she felt a bit of movement, which caused her to drop the box in surprise. When the box hit the ground, it bounced a little in the snow, and meowed.
Suspicion tore through Soi Fon's mind rapidly, then she knelt down and deftly slit through the box's golden ribbon. There staring up at her out of the open box was a black cat, looking at her with compelling, golden eyes. The cat leapt up out of the box, and, without thinking, Soi Fon caught it in her arms.
The cat issued no noise, simply staring at her even within her embrace, but Soi Fon understood. This was a gift she could not protest, a gift that she could not claim was avaricious or purely superfluous. This was a gift she could not destroy, even if she did still choose to toss the cat in the pile and annihilate it down to the last spirit particle. The gift would endure even if the cat did not.
It was thus that Soi Fon finally understood things. The pile of gifts, decorations, and food were intrinsically worthless, and she could destroy them, but she could not destroy their meaning. A gift was not just a thing, a material acquisition transferred from one person to another, it was an expression of the friendship, or (as she looked at the cat) the love, that existed between the giver and the receiver. The decorations were not just gaudy adornments strewn about at random, but served as a symbol of the festive spirit that existed within the Seireitei. And the food, it was not about the ingredients or all those excess calories and fat, it was about the people who ate it together.
The despairing cries she heard coming from across Seireitei were not people mad that they had been deprived of material goods, junk food, or even a day off. They were sad that their gifts, their expressions of their appreciation to one another, had been taken away. She had taken them away, she had tried to sabotage the camaraderie that existed between the Shinigami of Gotei 13, and she saw that not only were her actions borderline treacherous, but that she had tried to deprive people of the joy that she felt right then and there, holding that black cat in her arms.
She set the cat down, silent tears beginning to trickle down her face.
And what happened then?
Well in Seireitei they say,
The bee's small heart grew three sizes that day.
There was a puff of smoke before her, and from the smoke, ice-cold in the snow, emerged the naked Yoruichi Shihoin. Soi Fon blushed fiercely while Yoruichi ducked for the present, removing from the bottom of the box a tightly-packed trimmed-down Onmitsukido uniform and putting it on. The revealing uniform did not make her warm, but it at least stopped Soi Fon's furious blushing and made Yoruichi decent for an appearance in a Christmas story.
"Yoruichi-sama, I…" Soi Fon began.
"Shhh," Yoruichi cooed, placing a finger over Soi Fon's lips. "It's okay. You haven't done anything you can't take back," she said, looking at her with purest happiness in her eyes. "Now let's go save Christmas," she added, an anticipatory smile growing on her face.
Soi Fon shook her head vigorously. "That's not what I meant!" she pointed past Yoruichi.
Omaeda, following Soi Fon's orders and ignorant of her discovery of the present, had been setting up the Sokyoku for use. The giant halberd pointed towards the Christmas pile, roared into a fiery ignition, and then began to move.
Faster than the Sokyoku, however, were the Captain of Squad Two and the Goddess of Flash. Coming up with the same response, their bodies too flared with energy, shocking white to combat the flames of the Sokyoku, and the two women dashed off faster than the eye could see.
"Shunko!" they cried, though none save the other could hear, for their voices were drowned by the energy of the technique they had invented, as well as the roaring flames they sought to destroy. Soi Fon with a fist and Yoruichi with a kick, they swatted the halberd aside.
The Sokyoku, its flames extinguished, fell into the snow, which still leapt up into steam from the still-heated metal of the execution device. But this all occurred comfortably far away from the Christmas pile, and the two women stood side-by-side, still flaring with energy and with triumphant looks on their faces.
Omaeda looked on dumbfounded as Soi Fon and Yoruichi retracted their power, calling back shunko. "Hey, Saint Nick," Yoruichi said. "C'mon, it's time to deliver the presents to all the good shinigami boys and girls."
Omaeda still looked dumbfounded, not knowing how to reply to such an odd request, and still trying to process what had occurred.
"You heard her," Soi Fon said. "Move it!"
"Yes, Captain!" Omaeda said smartly.
And now that the bee's heart did not feel quite so tight,
With the others she shunpoed through the bright morning light
Bringing back Christmas to all in Seireitei
So that they could again celebrate the holiday
So it was that happiness and understanding came to the bee
For as she later said to her Lady Yoruichi
"Christmas day will always be,"
"Just as long as we have we."
"So, how was it?"
"Awful!" Yoruichi replied, pointing accusingly across the room in which they all sat at her friend, Kisuke Urahara. "My Little Bee may be a cold, slave-driving taskmaster of a Captain, but she would never… uh…" she trailed off, realizing she had inadvertently reinforced his point.
"I hated that you made me rhyme when I spoke," Soi Fon said. "I never rhyme, at any time."
Inoue Orihime raised her hand, "wasn't that a rhyme?" she asked. Sado Yasutora nodded emphatically.
Kon laughed, "she got you there!" Both were quickly cowed by a death-glare from the iron-eyed woman which seemed to be carving reishi straight off their souls.
"But I destroyed the Sokyoku," Ichigo Kurosaki observed. "Why is it there in the story, but Yoruichi-san and Soi Fon-san are on speaking terms?"
"That's definitely a continuity error," Rukia Kuchiki added.
"Well, I…" Kisuke began to explain.
"He needed some sort of equivalent for a place called Mt. Krumpit," Uryuu Ishida said, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose authoritatively. "The original story had a tall mountain where the main character could dump all the Christmas stuff in such a way that it would be irretrievable, so he picked out something similar from the Seireitei. He ripped off a story I read when I was learning German when I was younger, Der Grinch. I think it was an American kids' book originally."
"Kisuke…" Yoruichi growled, rounding on him with a fist raised.
"C'mon," Kisuke pleaded, "it's Christmas, right? The season of forgiveness, the season of- ow!" Yoruichi smacked him hard on the head. She turned back around to find Soi Fon staring at her with watery eyes.
"What?" she asked.
"That was the best Christmas present anyone has ever given me," Soi Fon said as a lump swelled on Kisuke's skull. She hugged her Yoruichi-sama, who returned her embrace.
Yes, it was just another Christmas day at the Urahara Shop.
Christmas day is in our grasp,
So long as we have hands to clasp