A Christmas Spirits
offered a challenge - I didn't make it first, but I think this is still fun.
Warning: Total insanity, Seigaku style. I'm hoping to have the second part done
Let me know what ya think. Pairings have yet to be decided. Yeah, flying by the seat of my pants here.
SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1Oishi was trying very hard not to laugh, but the sight of Tezuka
Kunimitsu with a pink apron around his waist, meticulously measuring out
chocolate chips, was trying his self-control.
Tezuka's expression was as
disciplined as ever, but around his eyes a hint of frustration was starting to
show, and his former vice captain knew that finding amusement at his difficulty
would be less than polite. Still, it was nice to know that there was something
Tezuka found difficult.
From the nearby counter, the
CD player blasted the Christmas songs that Kikumaru had programmed. Oishi was
rather enjoying the different interpretation, but he could tell from occasional
glance Tezuka was casting it that Rockappella Christmas songs weren't
fulfilling Tezuka's rather traditional demands on the Christmas season. Strange
that Tezuka wasn't a bit more open minded, especially considering Tezuka was a
closet Gackt fan. Not that Oishi was going to point that out with this crowd in
Inui had firmly been shoved
out of the kitchen after proposing a few "additions" to the recipes which no
one (with the exception of their host, Fuji) would dare to try, but Kawamura, Fuji and Kikumaru were crammed in the kitchen, with them,
a tight fit. From the living room, he could hear Kaidou and Momoshirou debating
(rather loudly) the appropriate way to hang garland.
All in all, it was bringing out a warm fuzzy feeling in Oishi. Studying for entrance exams was going to take a lot of time, and there wasn't going to be many chances to be together before the third years graduated in April for them to spend together.
"No, Fuji!" he heard Kikumaru and Kawamura say at the same time, and he turned with a bit of trepidation to see what the teams' tensai had gotten into now. A part of Oishi was wondering if it would have been a good idea to force Fuji out of the cooking area as well, as from what he'd seen and heard, Fuji was a legendary killer cook. Fuji seemed unable to resist "experimenting" and when that was combined with his notoriously questionable sense of taste, the results were disastrous at best. So far it was only through Kawamura's watchful eye that two catastrophes has been prevented (one involving the oven and wanting to speed things up, and the other baking soda, salt and corn starch), and he hated to think of what the cookies Fuji had decorated looked like.
Fuji's gingerbread men looked decidedly… odd. Somehow or other Fuji had mangled the cookie cutter, and was now free handing the shapes with a knife that reflected a slightly manic gleam from blue eyes, and while he supposed some people would think the tennis racquets and tennis balls were cute with their green and red frosting, he thought the cup-shaped cookie labeled "Inui's Special Christmas Juice" was pushing it. Fuji's sense of humor was just too demented.
Tezuka sighed from behind him, a slight sound that was closer to a heavy breath than anything else. "Fuji, how much longer is your brother going to be gone?" Tezuka asked.
Fuji set the knife down, and Kikumaru quickly snatched it to keep him from performing anything unholy with it. "Yuuta went to make sure we had enough chips – since someone invited Fudoumine without telling me they were coming, I was a bit concerned," he said, pitching his voice so it could be heard through the living room.
"I didn't mean to, Fuji-senpai!" Momoshirou's voice objected, coming back. "I was-"
"Trying to get Kamio jealous that you had something special planned, and in the end you ended up inviting the whole Fudoumine team," Inui's voice came. "The mistletoe should be put there for maximum efficiency, Momoshirou."
"Mistletoe?" Kikumaru, Kawamura and Oishi echoed, suddenly having visions of what could go wrong. Mistletoe and Inui sounded like a bad combination, because Fuji wasn't the only one who found odd things funny.
"We're all guys here, Inui," Fuji pointed out, smiling pleasantly. He kneaded the dough, squeezing it so it slipped through his fingers in a creepy fashion.
"That makes it more fun. I estimate I'll be able to catch fourteen clueless couples, and three of them will be caught twice. Intentionally."
"Fourteen!" Kikumaru exclaimed. "But… there's us, St. Rudolph's, Hyotei and Fudoumine…" He started to count on his fingers, narrowly missing slicing his pinky off as he forgot he was holding the knife he had rescued from Fuji. "Ow!!!" He began dancing around, bleeding all over the cutting board and the dough he, Fuji and Kawamura had been working with.
"Eiji!" Oishi exclaimed, grabbing a towel and leaning across the island to staunch the bleeding.
"Ow, ow, ow!!"
Fuji sighed as he stared down at the ruined gingerbread. "Guess we need to make another batch."
Tezuka would have rolled his eyes, if he was inclined to that kind of action. Instead, he merely went back to stirring the chocolate chips into the batter.
Ryoma checked the clock, noticing that it was almost six. His teammates had been planning a Christmas party for the last week, and were probably already over at Fuji's place decorating, but he had a family obligation – the traditional family Christmas dinner.
He, Nanako, his father and mother sat around the table with the remnants of a huge meal on the table, idly talking about inconsequential things. They didn't often all see each other, since his mother was very busy with her law practice, and he tended to be quite occupied with his tennis club, but it was… almost nice to see them together.
Not that he would admit that.
It was weird, being in Japan for this Christmas. For so long he'd been told it was his homeland, but he'd never really thought of it much. Even though his mother and father spoke Japanese at home and followed many Japanese customs, he'd never really thought of coming back, to Japan.
Especially not for Christmas.
He missed the snow. He hadn't realized how much Christmas was a part of his life until the little things were gone, and it was disconcerting to realize that he was really in a different culture. He wasn't "that Japanese American" kid anymore… he was "that kid who used to live in America."
Maybe the culture shock was finally setting in.
Oblivious to Ryoma's musings, his father was rambling on, something about the Christmas specials they used to watch. "Remember when you were little, and we'd watch Rudolph? Or Frosty?" Nanjirou asked, sighing a bit nostalgically. "You were so cute then – not the brat you are now."
"Be nice, dear," Rinko said to her husband with the patience of long trial. "It's his birthday."
And didn't he know that.
Having a birthday on December 24 really sucked, Ryoma thought for the hundredth time as parents smiled at him. In America, he had been used to getting screwed over on the whole gift thing. People were way too inclined to double up on gifts, and whenever he did get birthday money, he almost invariably spent it on gifts for others for Christmas. Not that his family was Christian or anything, but when you spent your entire life indoctrinated in a culture, you tended to want to participate. He didn't know that many Buddhists in America.
"Ah, but remember? We'd all sit around the house, and wait for the Christmas shows to come on… my favorite was It's a Wonderful Life…"
His stupid father actually had tears in his eyes now… Ryoma was going to throttle him.
"I liked Miracle on 44th Street," his mother replied.
"A Charlie Brown Christmas!"
"A Christmas Carol!"
"The one with George C. Scott, of course."
"Bah. I prefer the one with Bill Murray."
"Is it? How about A Christmas Story?"
"Oh, that's a good one! I think I have a tape…"
Listening to his parents go on and on about Christmas was enough to make Ryoma feel exceedingly homesick for America. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," he said softly, looking down at his feet, where Karupin was twining himself around his owner's ankles.
Nanjirou and Rinko stopped, looking at their son in surprise. It was exceedingly uncharacteristic of their now-thirteen-year-old child to seem nostalgic about anything. "Um, Ryoma? Would you like to watch A Christmas Story? I have it on tape, and I can make some hot chocolate and…" his mother offered.
He shook his head. "I have a party tonight. I should get going…"
"Oh?" His parents exchanged looks that meant They Knew Something Ryoma Didn't.
Ryoma hated it when they did that.
"I'm leaving," he announced, rising from the table.
Every time the doorbell rang, Tezuka cringed inside. Not that he showed it. Right now, though, he was ready to do someone some bodily damage with a tennis racquet, which was most un-Christmas like.
It was all Oishi's fault.
Oishi had decided that team bonding was important, and after hearing that Ryoma's birthday was tonight, he had decided that throwing a birthday-slash-Christmas party would be a great way to spend one of the last days of the year together. Tezuka would have told him that Ryoma probably would have preferred to be left alone, but then Fuji fell in with the scheme.
No one messed with Fuji when Fuji wanted to be amused, unless they had no sense of self-preservation. Wisely, Tezuka had decided to let them do what they wanted, hoping to perform damage control when it became necessary.
When. Not if.
Fuji's parents had obligingly abandoned the house to the Seigaku team for the festivities, but then Fuji had decided that inviting his brother was a must, and of course Yuuta wasn't going to come unless the rest of St. Rudolph's could, and didn't they owe Hyotei for helping them train for Nationals? What should have been a small, intimate party somehow exploded. When Momo arrived that afternoon, announcing that, oh, by the way, Fudoumine would be on the way as well, Tezuka had resorted to a large bottle of aspirin he had begun carrying ever since being named captain of the team.
People were slowly beginning to arrive. Yuuta had returned from his shopping errand, only to begin yelling at his brother over what he had done to the tree.
"Aniki! How can you decorate the tree with tennis balls?" Yuuta demanded, a vein throbbing in his forehead. He pointed at the tree, which had about fifty tennis balls hanging from it with yarn, along with more traditional ornaments.
Fuji gave his younger brother the smile which made so many people want to throttle him. "I thought it was fun. I put glitter on them," he said, pointing out the ones he had decorated.
Fuji was weird, more than one person in the room thought. Kikumaru was staring at the tree, pointing with his freshly bandaged finger as he said something to Oishi which Tezuka was sure he didn't want to hear, while Momoshirou, still in the process of hanging lights with Kaidou's reluctant help, was yelling something about snakes and ladders. Kawamura was conspicuously missing, probably in the kitchen, trying to salvage some of the cookies that they had been baking.
Inui, though, was wearing a family grin that Tezuka knew was trouble. "Our first couple!" he said.
"Huh?" Yuuta asked, having missed the early conversation about mistletoe.
Fuji looked up, and his smile froze for just a second before he glanced at his brother. "It's mistletoe."
"Mistletoe? Aniki, you can't mean-" Yuuta's eyes darted upwards, saw the dreaded berry before his feet took a step backwards, but it was too late.
For lack of a better word, Fuji POUNCED.
One second, the taller boy was standing upright, the next he was buried underneath his smaller, devious older brother, who tackled him to the ground. "ANIKI!"
"Rules are rules!" Fuji said playfully, sitting on Yuuta's chest quite calmly.
By now, the entire room was staring at them. Fuji bent down slowly, leaning his face close to his younger brother's. He smiled at his brother's panicked expression before brushing a light kiss across Yuuta's forehead.
"You're too fun to tease, Yuuta."
Before Yuuta could do anything, Fuji had managed to crawl off of him and vanish into the kitchen. Yuuta lay in shock, unable to believe the attack.
Tezuka decided then and there that he didn't care about damage control, he was going to stay on the couch the entire evening. Right after he checked to make sure there was no mistletoe above him.
Inui blinked for a second. "Maybe now's the time for me to say this. There's eight strategically placed sprigs of mistletoe – one in honor of each team member. There's also one special "Lucky Mistletoe" where you have to French kiss whoever you end up under it with."
"F-french kiss?" Kikumaru stuttered. "How do we know it's the special one?"
"It's the one right next to you, Kikumaru. Just take another step to the right, and you can kiss Oishi…"
"Nyah!" The acrobatic player raced across the room, blushing furiously, but that was just when Yuuta finally managed to get hold of himself.
"ANIKI! I'm going to kill you for inviting your psycho teammates!" Yuuta yelled, coming to his feet and preparing to dash into the kitchen.
The two excitable boys crashed into each other – right under more mistletoe.
"From now on, everyone must at least kiss on the lips," Inui added. His smirk looked more evil than any of them could stand.
Kikumaru and Yuuta stared at each other in horror. It was quite clear neither of them were thrilled about the idea of kissing each other.
Kikumaru took a second to think on it, before shrugging helplessly. "Shut your eyes," Kikumaru said, "and I'll kiss you quick."
"You'll kiss me? I don't think so! Not after what Aniki did! You shut your eyes!"
"Yuuta, I'm older! It'd be weird if you kissed me!"
As Yuuta and Kikumaru argued over who was going to kiss who, the doorbell rang, and Kaidou went to the door to open it.
Mizuki Hajime stood at the door, flanked by Kisarazu Atsushi and Yanagisawa Shinya, who were wearing expressions of curiosity. Evidently, Kikumaru and Yuuta were yelling loudly enough to be heard through the door.
"My, isn't this interesting?" Mizuki said. "Yuuta-kun, how about I kiss you to show you how, then you can show Kikumaru-kun?"
Kikumaru eeped in horror, grabbed Yuuta by the collar and kissed him firmly on the lips before breaking free. His eyes welled up with tears, and he was back across the room, tackling Oishi in a hug. "That was my first kiss!"
Inui's evil laugh echoed through the room as Oishi's own horror-stricken face showed that he realized that he was quite aware that he and Kikumaru had just ended up under the Lucky Mistletoe.
So was Momoshirou. "French him, Oishi-senpai! Show us what the Golden Pair can do!"
"Wh-what?" Kikumaru babbled. "I'm not kissing Oishi in public!"
"Then you'll do it in private?"
"Yes- No- Hey! That's none of your business!"
Mizuki's laughter echoed through the room as Kikumaru argued with Momoshirou, Oishi tried to calm his partner down, and Inui muttered something about forgetting to adjust for the inherent chaos having the party at Fuji's house would bring, and how he should have doubled his figures.
Tezuka gave into the temptation to bury his head in his hands.
Half an hour later, Inui was adjusting his figures much, much higher. So far, eight couples had managed to fall under the mistletoe, and the party still wasn't in full swing. Ryoma still hadn't arrived, and of Hyotei, only Oshitari and Mukahi had appeared with Jirou in tow, but it seemed that everyone else was there. The Fuji family had a big house, but even with all the space, the press of people was nearly crushing.
Inui loved it. He'd already filled twenty pages full of things he hadn't know. It was too bad they hadn't let him make a special juice, but research had shown that spiking the punch at this kinds of functions was expected. So of course he'd taken it on himself…. All in the name of science, of course.
In another hour, things were going to get very, very interesting.
Tezuka seemed to have attached himself permanently to the largest sofa, and no one quite dared get near him. It was a pity, because Inui was sure it would have been quite amusing to watch him kiss someone.
Kikumaru had protested kissing his partner for ten minutes, until Oishi had finally just seemed to get fed up (good data – even Oishi's seemingly unending patience did have a limit), and had grab the acrobatic player's face in his hands and given him the kiss of the lifetime.
The room, which had by the time gained the rest of St. Rudolph's and all of Fudomine with the exception of Shinji, had gone utterly silent in shock.
Kikumaru pulled back slowly, blinking his eyes slowly as he tried to orient himself. "I-I…"
"Shall we get something to eat?"
Kikumaru nodded wordlessly, obediently following Oishi to the snack table. He was quiet for all of eleven minutes, which Inui realized topped his old record by two minutes. Interesting… if you wanted Kikumaru to shut up, just get Oishi to kiss him. Now how to put that to use…
Fuji had, by this time, reappeared, carrying a tray of cookies which had apparently been deemed edible. Inui glanced at them a bit nervously, knowing that Fuji had helped cook them. He trusted Fuji's cooking just about as much as he trusted his own juices – and that was not at all.
"Interesting, isn't it?" Fuji asked. He laughed as Kamio ended up bumping into Kaneda under the mistletoe, who had been getting a plate of food. "That's an interesting one."
"Not really," Inui said, watching as Kaneda shut his eyes as Kamio kissed him quickly. Kamio looked utterly disgusted and annoyed, and Kaneda looked relieved that he didn't end up dead. "Kamio is going to be paying more attention now, which means he may be avoiding some of the people I had been hoping to research his relationship with."
"Give him a few more glasses of punch," Fuji advised sweetly.
Inui gulped. Fuji would figure it out, wouldn't he?
"It'll be fun," Fuji said. "However, if anyone gets sick, YOU are the one cleaning it up." Fuji's eyes opened wide, displaying uncompromising sapphire depths, and Inui agreed quickly, knowing that ticking Fuji off would be a very, very bad idea.