Hello again!! I top my fifth Yami no Matsuei fanfic off by creating a sequel to 'Unreal yet True' by popular demand. Let's just say I've decided to create a story arc out of this, released around the specific holidays it represents. Cool, huh? As always, I do not own the characters, I'm just using them for my own leisure. I guess my warnings are probably OOC-ness, more stupidity, possible spoilers, and the Christmasy cheer you get after drinking copious amounts of Egg Nog (or is that a tummy ache?). Enjoy!!
December 5th, 3:21 p.m.
"...And that's pretty much it," said Hisoka, finishing up his report and sitting back down.
Tatsumi straightened his glasses. "Being made to stay alive though already dead...I'm surprised we didn't pick up on it earlier. Any questions?"
Everyone was silent.
Tatsumi took the report from Hisoka. "All right, this meeting has ended. Everyone please go back to work."
Tsuzuki suddenly stood up. "Tatsumi!! Can I ask you a favor?!"
Tatsumi didn't even glance at him. "No, Tsuzuki-san."
"B-But, you didn't even hear my ques–"
"I don't need to hear your question, Tsuzuki-san. I can only guess, with it being just twenty days away, that you want us to throw a Christmas party."
"You're throwing a Christmas party?!" squealed Yuma, jumping up and down happily.
"I can't wait!!" squealed Saya, jumping with her.
"I never said that!!" snapped Tatsumi. "I was acknowledging the fact that Tsuzuki-san wanted me to authorize another party and I'm saying no!!"
"No buts!! Do you recall the mess you all left in this office for your Halloween party?!"
Hisoka gave a slight shudder. Being just a little more than a month ago, he certainly couldn't forget how he made an ass of himself in front of everyone after listening to a self-help tape directed towards women during his sleep. No matter how hard he tried to forget, it always popped into his head. And certain people weren't about to let him forget his outrageous behavior...
"What mess?" asked Tsuzuki tentatively, acting dumb.
"The mess that took us three days to clean up!!!"
"Well, it took us nearly two days to set everything up," offered Wakaba with a sweet smile.
"And it was my mistake in allowing the party to commence!!"
This was met with protests. Hisoka felt a headache coming up. As his family was not Christian they had never bothered to celebrate Christmas. Not that it mattered, it wouldn't have changed his home life; he still would've been the demon child, locked in a cell and never getting a gift.
That thought made him speak. "Why do you guys care about celebrating such a holiday? It's not exactly a national holiday in Japan; and I doubt all of you are Christian."
"But it's Christmas!!" said Saya as if that solved everything.
"And I'm Christian!!" said Watari. Then he thought about it. "At least I think I am..."
"I don't care!!" snapped Tatsumi, his glasses slipping down his nose. "No means no!! No Christmas party, I don't want this office to be messy!!"
"I'll appeal to Kachou!!" whined Tsuzuki.
"He's already told me to tell you to shut up about a Christmas party!! No party, and that's final!!"
Tears started to build up in Tsuzuki's eyes. Hisoka groaned, hiding his face in his hand. Here we go...
"Tatsumi," Tsuzuki said in a quiet, mournful voice. "I thought having a party would help everyone be happy. It is the time of season to be happy. And Hisoka and I just had such an awful case...aren't we allowed to be happy?"
"Don't drag me into this," Hisoka muttered under his breath.
"I just thought..." Tsuzuki sniffled a little. "That after something like that and it's so close to the end of the year, that we have at least one more party. Don't you want us to be happy, Tatsumi?"
As usual, Tatsumi could not stand up to the power of Tsuzuki's tears. He quickly straightened his glasses. "U-Um, I think a tiny get together in the office wouldn't be too bad..."
Cheers erupted throughout the office.
Hisoka rubbed his head. "Ugh, I don't think I'm going to survive another stupid party..."
"Aw, don't worry Hisoka!!" said Watari. "I'm fairly certain you won't act like a woman at the party!!"
"Don't tell him that!!" cried Saya.
"Yeah, we've just ordered a Pink House holiday edition dress!!" cried Yuma, showing everyone the dress. Hisoka looked without realizing and gagged at what he saw.
"That's it, I'm barricading myself in my house!!" yelled Hisoka. He made a run for the door, but Yuma and Saya caught him as he reached the doorknob.
"You aren't escaping, Hisoka-chan!!" cried Yuma. "Not when there's an opportunity to have you in a dress again!! Anyone seen that self-esteem tape?!"
Hisoka stiffened in horror. Once again, he could not escape the humiliation of Halloween. He wished he knew who sent him that damned tape...
"That tape has been destroyed," said Tatsumi, shaking his head. "Watari saw to that personally."
Watari grinned apologetically at Yuma and Saya. "Sorry girls. Looks like it'll be even harder for you to get Bon in a dress!!"
Hisoka managed to break free of the girls. "I'm not getting into a dress and I'm not participating in this stupidity!!!"
"Oh, but you have to, Hisoka," Wakaba said calmly. She walked over to Tatsumi. "Would it be all right with you if I make the arrangements for the party?"
"Do whatever you want," said Tatsumi, straightening his glasses.
Terazuma, who had been silent for fear of involving himself in the insanity, tried to sneak his way to the door. But five feet away from the door he found himself flat on his face.
"Don't think you'll be able to get away from this, Hajime-chan," said Wakaba, turning around and holding up one end of a chain; the other being around Terazuma's ankle.
Terazuma punched the floor. "Goddammit."
December 10, 7: 46 p.m.
"I'm sorry to draw up this meeting when you all were about to go home," said Wakaba, setting down a hat full of paper. "But I want to announce that I've completed my plans for the Christmas party."
Terazuma muttered a few swear words under his breath; both of his ankles were chained to the table. Wakaba ignored him.
Before she could continue with the meeting, the conference room door was flung open, and Yuma and Saya came in dragging Hisoka, followed by a tentative Tsuzuki.
"We got him!!" the squealed, forcing him into a chair. Having barricaded his apartment right after the meeting five days before, Yuma and Saya had very little hopes of getting Hisoka to come out. But then they enlisted Tsuzuki's help, who begged and pleaded Hisoka to come out. The minute Hisoka opened his room, the girls pounced.
"Nice to see you again, Hisoka," Wakaba greeted sweetly.
"I'm really sorry, Hisoka," said Tsuzuki, forcing a smile. "But it would be a shame for you to miss this."
Hisoka pointedly ignored him.
"Anyways," continued Wakaba. "The Shokan Department will be covered in Christmas decorations and sweet candies. I've even made the arrangements for someone to bring in a real Christmas tree from Chijou."
A few people murmured in excitement. Only Terazuma and Hisoka remained in a stony silence.
"Kachou has asked that we refrain from inviting people from different Departments, given the chaos at Halloween. Then again, we never invited them to begin with and they're bound to show up for this party. Just try being on your best behavior, all right? I'll make sure of this by providing only Egg Nog and non-alcoholic champagne to avoid more drunken chaos as like Halloween."
Wakaba blushed at this. As did Hisoka, who muttered under his breath.
"Well," she continued, ducking her head. "Seeing as it is Christmas, everyone must be inclined to buy gifts. But I understand how limited all our funds are and we surely cannot afford to buy presents for everyone. That's why I've devised a Secret Santa system.
"In this." she held up the hat. "Is each of your names. You'll pull a name out and whoever's name you get you're their Secret Santa. Seeing as the concept of it is a secret, you're not to ask your respective people what they want for Christmas, but everyone can drop hints as to what they themselves want. To keep the secrecy, you must label their gifts with their names, but do not sign it yourselves. However, you're free to leave a note inside the gift to divulge your identity.
"Well, what do you all think?" she asked finally. "Is it a good idea?"
"Of course it is!!" cried Tsuzuki, jumping to his feet. "I'm really looking forward to the Christmas shopping!!"
Hisoka gave him a sideways glare. "Just how are you expected to buy anything now that your pay has been docked for about 300 years?!"
Tsuzuki became teary eyed. "Awww, 'Soka-chan is mean!! You don't say that to Terazuma, his pay has been docked too!!"
"I happen to have a moderately decent amount stashed away," said Terazuma, speaking for the first time without the use of swear words. "As unlike you, I'm not a freelance spender."
"You're all mean to me!!"
"Well, you all seem eager!!" said Wakaba. "Come forward and claim your person!!"
Hisoka, knowing he'd be forced to, put up no protest as he dragged his feet towards the hat.
The two Gushoushin, looking as if they were wondering why they were doing this, took some slips first. Except for the elder one looking surprised at his slip, neither said anything.
"What about Tatsumi and Kachou?" asked Yuma as she took a slip.
"I'll go to them afterwards," said Wakaba. "Seeing as their names are in there, I think they need to participate."
"Crossing my fingers!!" she squealed as she opened the folded slip. Upon seeing the name, a flicker of disappointment drew on her face before it quickly evaporated into a forced smile. "Go on, Saya!!"
Saya took a slip too, looking excited. Hisoka guessed that both probably wanted to be his Secret Santa. Saya wore a simple expression after reading her slip, but didn't burst with excitement. He sighed in relief as he realized neither would be his Secret Santa.
"My turn!!" cried Tsuzuki, taking a slip. It was really hard to tell who he got; he was still smiling after reading the name of his person.
Watari then took a slip. Upon reading it, a truly evil glint emerged in his eyes. Cackling to himself, he rushed out of the room.
"I fear for whoever he's Secret Santa for," muttered Terazuma. He took a slip and read his with a blank expression.
Hisoka was next. Grudgingly, he took a slip from the hat.
Please don't let it be Tsuzuki, he thought as he unfolded the note. He'll drain me of all my money!!!
The slip read, in clear kanji, 'Tsuzuki Asato'.
"Great!!" said Wakaba, taking a slip for herself. She looked surprised at who she got, but returned to a smile. "I'm going off to see Tatsumi and Kachou. I hope you all have fun with Christmas shopping!! Be good Santas and buy gifts!!"
She hurried from the room. Hisoka stared blankly down at Tsuzuki's name, feeling very annoyed at the circumstances.
This feels very cliche to me. Why is it that I have to be Tsuzuki's 'Secret Santa?' Why the hell am I even participating in this?! Damn, Enma must really hate me if I'm stuck in these situations!!
Elsewhere, Enma chuckled to himself.
December 12th, 9:12 a.m.
"This is a lot easier than I thought!!" squealed Yuma, flipping through the December issue of Pink House.
"What, Christmas shopping?" asked Tsuzuki, briefly directing his attention away from his double chocolate cake.
"Well, she did go shopping for his–um, her person's gift and got it," said Saya, also flipping through her own Pink House magazine and making circles with a red magic marker.
Wakaba shot Yuma an incredulous look. "You told someone who you're being Secret Santa for?!"
"Well, it's not like I'm going to tell on her," said Saya. "And she said she'd tell me if I told her who I'm being Secret Santa for."
"And you haven't," Yuma pointed out. "And judging by everything you're circling, you're probably Hisoka-chan's Secret Santa!!"
Hisoka choked on his tea.
Saya laughed, but said nothing. Yuma pouted, folding her arms over her chest.
Tsuzuki smiled to himself. "I know what I want for Christmas." he said it in a clearly loud voice so everyone could hear.
"What, Tsuzuki?" asked Wakaba, smiling a little.
"Well..." Tsuzuki pretended to think about it. "I know I wouldn't mind one of those mini sweet makers. You know, the one that just came out?"
"Tsuzuki, that's for kids!!" laughed Watari, shaking his head.
"I know, but it makes cakes, pancakes and other breakfast sweets, and even has an ice cream maker attached to it!! And it makes really good stuff and takes up as much space as a regular stove! They're selling it for about 7,000 yen, but it's really worth it!!"
Nice try, Hisoka thought to himself. I've already decided I'm getting you the largest apple pie Nagasaki has to offer. Tough luck.
"What would you like for Christmas, Hisoka-chan?" asked Yuma, glaring pointedly at Saya, who just grinned evilly back.
"I dunno," said Hisoka off-handedly. "Not a frilly dress, that's for damn sure." he ignored the crestfallen expressions on Yuma and Saya's faces. "Probably a sword. The one I liked in the training center has chips in it. And not one of those cheap imitations; a real sword."
"That's very hard to come by, especially in Japan," said Terazuma, briefly glancing up from his book.
Hisoka shrugged. "Just a thought."
"A sword isn't Christmas material, 'Soka-chan!!" cried Tsuzuki. "Ask for something nicer!!"
"I really don't care what I get," said Hisoka, standing up. "If we have no work to do today, I'm going home."
Hisoka grumbled to himself as he plopped onto his small couch.
Ugh, what's the big deal about Christmas? he wondered, rubbing his forehead. I've never once celebrated it and never received a gift!
Don't act like there's nothing wrong with you, a voice answered him. You may not be Christian, but not even having your birthday celebrated has really screwed you up. I mean, look at how anti-social you are! You won't let anyone really come close to you!
This is due to the fact that I was physically and emotionally abuse my living life, and that I was raped at age thirteen. I think I have a pretty damn good reason for being introverted.
Ah, but you weren't introverted last Halloween. In fact, you were especially friendly with Tsuzuki–
Enough!! I don't want to remember that!! Why am I even having a conversation with myself?!
It was then that the phone rang. Glad for the distraction from this thoughts, Hisoka went to answer it.
"It might be Tsuzuki on another whining fest," he muttered. He picked up the phone. "Kurosaki desu."
The other end was silent for a few moments until a response came. A response that made Hisoka stiffen in horror.
"Showing your man just how appealing you are will allow for you to raise his awareness," said a woman's familiar voice. "You can't be satisfied by just sitting on the sidelines and not anything happening!! Making the first move requires strength, and strength requires self-esteem–"
Hisoka slammed the phone down as quickly and as hard as he could. He was hyperventilating; gripping the cradle so tightly that his knuckles were turning white.
The curse self-help tape that had single handedly convinced him that he was a woman, to dress in a disgustingly frilly dress, and come onto Tsuzuki.
Didn't Watari-san destroy that fucking tape?! I clearly remember Tatsumi-san and him talking about it just days ago!!! Who the hell got their hands on it?!
He remembered Yuma and Saya talking about wanting to get it. That's it, both of those retards are dead meat!! It's bad enough that I'm being pulled in their festive antics yet again; I'm not going to be humiliated again!!!!
December 13th, 7:30 a.m.
"You caught me at a really early time, Bon," said Watari around a yawn. He stretched out his arms and pressed the on button on his coffee maker. "Is there something I can help you with?"
"The self-help tape," said Hisoka, getting right to the point. "Are you absolutely sure you destroyed it?"
"It'll never be played again," said Watari, frowning a little. He hit the button again, but the coffee maker wasn't giving off a response. "Why do you ask?"
"Because someone pranked my house last night and played the tape."
Watari tapped the on button several times, still not receiving a response from his coffee maker. "Really? Are you absolutely sure it was that tape?"
"I know it was!! I might've been asleep when I heard the whole tape, but I recognized that woman's voice!!"
"Hmm. I hope you don't think I–
"Actually, I'm suspecting the two freaks of doing it."
"Ah, the poor Hokkaido girls? Well rest assured Bon, they didn't take it. My lab remained untouched, the way I left it when I went home last night." He gave the button a good punch. "Dammit, it's broken again..."
Hisoka sighed in exasperation. "I know someone played that damn tape over the phone!! Do you think anyone made copies?!"
"That is a possibility. But I can't imagine those girls going through the trouble when it's much easier to try to force a dress on you."
"Gee, thanks for the support," Hisoka snapped sarcastically.
"I'm sorry I can't be much help. Shit." he shoved at the broken coffee maker. "Looks like I have to fix this. At the current moment I really need coffee, though..." he grabbed his mug and a can of his preferred brand of coffee. "Looks like I'm going on a scavenger hunt."
Before he left, he gave Hisoka a comforting pat. "Don't worry, Bon. Even if the tape fell accidentally into your hands again, the chances of it altering you again are extremely slim. I recommend that you avoid any tapes while you sleep."
"You don't need to tell me that," muttered Hisoka. "I haven't been able to listen to my walkman since."
Watari forced a smile. "Don't be so uptight; have a little fun every once and a while. It's not too often that we get breaks like this. Try and follow Tsuzuki's example; let yourself unwind and enjoy what's offered to you."
Hisoka said nothing to this. He stood in his spot, even after Watari left.
"Let myself unwind," he repeated. "Follow Tsuzuki's example...as if I could pull that off."
Watari giggled to himself, shaking his head.
"For an empath, he's not very keen on things," he told 003, who was perched happily on his shoulder. "Then again, it was lucky I was facing away from him; I thought my face was going to split from smiling."
"Maybe the tape will serve as another eye-opener. But I'm not going to risk trying to slip it to him again. I do have a bigger plot for Christmas though...
"Now, to find a working coffee maker. The office one always has the grounds in it. Let me think..." He suddenly grinned evilly. "I know where I can go."
December 17th, 2:17 p.m.
"I got my gift!!" announced Saya, giggling cheerfully. "I just know my person will be sooooooooooo happy to get it!!!!"
"I doubt it," muttered Hisoka, reading from a book.
"Bon, have you bought your Christmas gift yet?" asked Watari over his lunch.
"Not yet, it's too early." Since I'm getting Tsuzuki a pie, if I get it too soon it'll go bad. Then again, he'll probably eat it anyways.
"Too early?!" cried Yuma, looking at Hisoka with shocked eyes. "Christmas is in eight days!!! How can it be too early?!"
Hisoka ignored her.
Yuma pouted, but said nothing more.
"Did you get your gift, Tsuzuki-san?" asked Wakaba.
"Just this morning," mused Tsuzuki with a small smile. A cake spoon was dangling from his mouth.
Hisoka looked up from his book. "How did you get the money? I didn't lend you any!!"
Tsuzuki went teary-eyed. "'Soka-chan's mean!! I had some money left over!! And I was really eager to get the gift!!" he sighed sadly. "I'd been at a loss as to what to get for days. I thought I'd never be able to think of a gift for–" he stopped himself and forced a smile. "But I got it now and I'm fairly sure they'll be happy to get it!!"
Hisoka stared at him for a moment, absorbing his happy feelings and words. For the first time he considered the idea that Tsuzuki might be his Secret Santa. After all, he was very vague about what he wanted; and Tsuzuki was always afraid to give him things for fear of annoying him. Especially since Tsuzuki gave him things that Tsuzuki himself usually liked, not so much something Hisoka liked.
Tsuzuki sank into chibi-inu mode. "Mmm, but I really want that sweets oven set. I'd be able to make so many of the foods I like..."
Not listening, thought Hisoka, going back to his book. I'm getting you a pie, that's final.
Something prodded at his sub-conscious. Why was he so vehemently against getting Tsuzuki what he wants? As his Secret Santa, wasn't be obligated to get him what he wanted? And after everything that happened, didn't Tsuzuki deserve happiness?
Hisoka grunted, forcing aside the feeling and going back to his book.
It was then that the office door swung open with a BANG!!! Everyone turned to see Tatsumi storm into the room, clutching a slip of paper in his fist. He walked to the front of the room and slapped the paper on the wall. Then he left without saying a word.
There was mass movement as everyone rushed to see what Tatsumi had left them. The note clearly said:
ATTENTION ALL EMPLOYEES!!!!!
WHEN I FIND OUT WHO BROKE MY PERSONAL COFFEE MAKER, THERE WILL BE HELL TO PAY FOR THAT PERSON!!! I GAVE NO AUTHORIZATION TO ANYONE TO USE MY 10,000 YEN COFFEE MAKER, SO THE GUILTY PARTY BETTER BE PREPARED TO ACCEPT FULL RESPONSIBILITY!!!! THE GUILTY PERSON OR PERSONS HAVE TEN DAYS TO ADMIT THEIR GUILT, OR ELSE I'M DOCKING EVERYONE'S PAY BY SIXTY PERCENT!!!!!
Tatsumi Seiichirou, Secretary of Shokan Department
Tatsumi's notice was met with much comment.
"Hell hath no fury–"
"Gee, couldn't tell he wasn't on caffeine when he wrote this–"
"Why write a notice, why not just announce it–"
"He'd probably think it'd be too trivial to mention it out loud–"
"So this is how he manages to stay up all night. Looks like he is human after all–"
Hisoka shook his head, feeling much sympathy for Tatsumi as he returned to his desk. As he walked, he caught a whiff of fresh coffee. Turning his head, he saw Watari still sitting, sipping merrily at his cup of coffee.
Hisoka sat down. Of course he did it. His coffee maker was broken, and sought out another one. Not to mention Watari seemed to be the only one not affected by Tatsumi's rages.
But would he risk getting everyone–yes, he would.
Hisoka picked up his book and began reading again. He didn't care about pay cuts. He just hoped to survive the coming Christmas celebration with his dignity intact.
December 22nd, 1:21 p.m.
Hisoka sat down at his desk, sighing heavily. It had taken him his entire lunch hour, but he got the largest apple pie Nagasaki's best bakery had to offer. And it was a heavy pie to boot; it would certainly keep Tsuzuki busy.
Well, my shopping's out of the way, he thought, flipping through a new book he had gotten out of the library. I can imagine that Tsuzuki will be a tad bit disappointed, but this pie should keep him in good spirits...
And why are you avoiding getting him what he wants? asked a small voice. Why are you deliberately causing him disappointment?
It's not deliberate. I just don't have the time or the patience to deal with his childish behavior. He wants a fucking kid's toy; a very popular girl's toy!! He'll grow out of it in a matter of weeks; what's the point in getting it if he's only going to use it once?
But to give him pleasure in having it...that's what you want to do, isn't it? Give him pleasure?
Hisoka turned bright red, and was grateful for the emptiness of the room.
After the hell he suffered, Tsuzuki deserves to be happy no matter how childish or how stupid the reasoning is. And you're going to snuff away the happiness you and everyone else has been building up in him just because he's acting like a spoiled brat? Pretty poor reasoning.
He sighed heavily, tossing aside his book. There was no way he could concentrate on his book while he was arguing with himself. He looked at his watch and scoffed. The lunch hour ended fifteen minutes and absolutely no one was back.
"That's it, I'm going home," he said out loud, standing up. As he headed to where his coat was hanging, his fingertips accidentally brushed against the chair stationed in front of Tsuzuki's desk.
Hisoka reeled as a wave of emotions flooded his senses. Tsuzuki's emotions of worry, pain, and sensitivity that had been left on that chair were now clouding his subconscious.
He could hear Tsuzuki speaking clearly as if he were standing next to him.
"I don't think I'll be getting it..."
"Should I really do this?"
"Why did I buy this, it'll only annoy him..."
"Maybe I nagged too much..."
"This did cost me more than the one I got for whom I'm Secret Santa for..."
"I really, really want it..."
Hisoka yanked his hand away. Tsuzuki's emotions left him as quickly as someone turning on a light.
Tsuzuki had obviously been conflicted. He wanted the stupid oven, and at the same time was fretting about a gift he was giving someone. A 'he', to be precise.
Damn, he really is frightened of offending anyone, Hisoka thought, staring down at that chair. All the while hoping for a kid's toy while being afraid of getting on people's nerves. It didn't get on my nerves, but...I'd already bought a pie for him...
"Shit," he cursed, storming across the room and snacking his coat. He hoped he had enough time and enough money to pull this off, especially with Christmas just two days away...
December 22nd, 8:28 p.m.
"Gomen, but we just sold out of those a few minutes ago."
Hisoka sighed heavily, but thanked the store clerk. He left the toy shop and collapsed onto a nearby bench.
Seven hours. Seven hours of nonstop searching. Seven hours of going to every damn store in Tokyo. Seven hours of turning up with absolutely nothing.
Dammit, Tsuzuki!! Hisoka fumed, kicking a patch of snow in front of him. Why the hell did you have to decide on such a stupid, though grossly popular, present?!
It's your own damn fault that you decided to stop the indifferent attitude about the whole thing so late. You would've been able to easily buy it last week, but no!! You just had to get him a large pie!!
Hisoka kicked another small pile of snow. Why the hell was he even going to such lengths to get that damn thing anyways?! He wasn't Christian; Christmas meant nothing to him. And Tsuzuki always saw fit to get his way.
It's because you love him, you baka!! You love him enough to stick with him through thick and thin!! You love him enough to pull him out of Touda's flames and save him!! And, you love him enough to be going around so close to Christmas looking for the gift he's been nagging about for weeks!!
Hisoka turned red at what his inner turmoil was implying with 'love', but quickly shook it off. All we have is a deep friendship. I certainly don't "love" him; and he certainly doesn't "love" me!!!
Oh, what makes you so certain of that?
That was true enough; even as an empath, Hisoka was pretty much clueless about Tsuzuki's real feelings. And though Tsuzuki made blatant remarks and displays to him, those were just jokes...right?
He realized he was shaking terribly and then noticed that a blizzard was in progress and he was slightly buried.
I don't have time to have conflicting emotions, he fumed, quickly jumping to his feet. He brushed off the snow. I know this is only to shut him up. But the storm is getting bad and it's useless to recheck Tokyo. I'll continue my search tomorrow.
December 23rd, 6:10 a.m.
"Ah, so you won't be in today Kurosaki-kun?" asked Tatsumi on the other line. Without his ten thousand yen coffee maker, he was sounding very tired. Then again, he had managed to wake up before everyone else. "You left without a word yesterday..."
"I had a change of heart about something," said Hisoka simply into the cell phone. He glanced warily at the sky. A few snowflakes were falling from it.
Tatsumi chuckled. "I see. You finally decided to get Tsuzuki-san that oven, Kurosaki-kun?"
Hisoka stiffened. How did he...?
"Well, take your time getting it. And best of luck; the Chijou paper said it sold out in Tokyo, Osaka, Toyama, and Akita."
Hisoka sighed. "That narrows my search a bit."
"Indeed it does. Best of luck."
Five hours later...
Hisoka cursed as he left a small toy shop in Hiroshima. If he had to hear 'Gomen, but we're out' one more time, he was going to kill somebody.
Well, it's not in Hiroshima either, he thought, crossing off the store on his list. Where the hell else am I going to go?
His cell phone rang. He scoffed and turned it on. "For the last time, I'm not buying you a cake, Tsuzuki–"
""Now that you recognize the beauty that you hold, it never hurts to show it off," said a woman's voice. "Not so much to be frowned upon, but so you can make a statement to everyone around you. Repeat after me: it's okay to wear tight–"
"How the hell did you get this number?!" Hisoka roared into the phone. "When I find out who you are, you better hide because I'm going to rip you a new asshole!!!"
Someone giggled on the other line and then hung up.
"Dammit!!" he cursed loudly, turning his phone off. "Why is this happening to me?!"
He realized that everyone within close proximity of him was staring at him with either annoyed or frightened expressions.
Shaking his head, Hisoka checked his list again to decide on another city.
"Tsuzuki owes me big," he muttered, deciding on Okinawa. "And I should probably get caller-I.D. on my phone..."
December 23rd, 9:54 p.m.
Hisoka kicked open the door to his apartment, completely out of breath. With a loud groan he heaved the present into the entryway.
"I found it," he gasped, closing the door. "I finally found it..."
Indeed, Hisoka did find the oven after searching the entirety of Japan all day. Having found it in a small shop in the outskirts of Hokkaido, he wasn't too happy about having to lug it home, considering how heavy it was! And it wasn't just some kiddy oven; it was a life-sized actually working oven!! He could see why Tsuzuki wanted it so much.
As he dragged the over into the living room, his phone rang. Sighing heavily, he abandoned his efforts and went to get it. "Kurosaki desu."
"Hello Hisoka," came Wakaba's voice. "Since you weren't here today, I thought it was important to tell you that Tsuzuki-san had the idea of going to Midnight Mass tomorrow night. And since we have to finish decorating here, majority ruled that we open gifts tomorrow night instead of the morning after it.
"Is that okay with you? To open gifts on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day?"
"I really don't care either way."
"Good! Be sure to bring in your gifts tomorrow to place underneath the tree!!"
Hisoka grunted, then hung up the phone. He then surveyed the oven sitting in his living room. The pie had been easy, seeing as it had come in a gift book. And everyone had been given a roll of wrapping paper...how the hell was he suppose to wrap this?!
His phone rang again. Feeling annoyed, he grabbed the phone. "Kurosaki desu."
"'Soka-chan!!!" came Tsuzuki's voice. "Where were you today?"
"None of your business and no, I didn't get you anything," Hisoka said bluntly, then hung up the phone.
It rang two seconds later. "Dammit, Tsuzuki, for the last time–"
"Showing your man just how appealing you are will allow for you to raise his awareness," said the woman's voice. "You can't be satisfied by just sitting on the sidelines and not anything happening!! Making the first move requires strength, and strength requires–"
"LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!!!!!!!" roared Hisoka, pounding the phone into the cradle a few times before hanging it up. He really wanted to hurt someone; particularly the bastard who kept pranking him with that fucking tape.
"Shit, I better get wrapping," he muttered. He got the wrapping paper and just as he started, the phone rang yet again.
"First off, you must keep telling yourself that's okay to let loose those feelings you might deem unacceptable. You must break loose from the ties that you or someone else might've–"
December 24th, 7:43 a.m.
Hisoka staggered into the office, looking tired as all hell and dragging in his poorly wrapped oven. "Ohayo."
Wakaba smiled at him as she hung up a wreath. "Ohayo, Hisoka. I'm just about finished decorating. You can put your presents over there."
She motioned to a huge tree covered in lights and decorations on the other side of the room. Sighing heavily, Hisoka grabbed the oven and teleported to the tree. He stuffed the oven unceremoniously behind the huge tree, tearing a bit of wrapping paper. He was a lot more gentle with the pie; he gently put it underneath the tree next to what was no doubt Wakaba's present to her Secret Santa.
"Everyone else should be arriving shortly," said Wakaba. "Tatsumi-san said we can't start celebrating until later. Is that fine?"
"Whatever," said Hisoka, sitting down at his desk. He fumbled around, looking for the book he had started reading just two days before.
One by one, everyone started filing into the office. Hisoka paid no attention to their entries, only concentrating on his desk. But when he heard two familiar voices advancing on him, he diverted his attention.
"Hisooooooooooka-chan!!!" Yuma and Saya squealed, looking exceptionally pleased with themselves. "We got the dress!!" they pulled the Pink House holiday special dress out from no where. "Please try it on!!"
Hisoka threw down the book and ran for it.
"Aw, please try it on!!" cried Saya as they chased after him.
"Please, it's Christmas!!" cried Yuma.
"No way!!" Hisoka yelled. "I'm not Secret Santa to either of you, so I'm not obligated to do it!!!"
This commotion got a few laughs from the Shinigami, but also attracted attention from the other departments. And when they saw that a party was going on, they demanded to join in on it.
"Okay, okay!!" yelled Konoe. "You can come!! But we created this party as a present exchange! Unless you all have presents to exchange, don't expect anything!!"
"So much for keeping a lid on this," said Terazuma.
"Why can't he just blow them off like he does us?" asked Tsuzuki.
December 24th, 9:00 p.m.
"All right!!" called Wakaba. "With three hours left before we go to Midnight Mass, we can officially start the party!!"
This was met with cheers, though Tatsumi and Konoe looked thoroughly annoyed. Even if the party was suppose to officially start then, everyone had been partying all day. Though Tatsumi wanted them to squeeze in some work, none had been done. Now the office looked even messier than it did on Halloween.
Hisoka sat at his desk, drinking a cup of Egg Nog quietly. What he had thought would be a small party was turning into a full-fledged riot. All these people around...it was killing his empathy.
"Please try on this dress, Hisoka-chan!!!"
And the two idiots weren't leaving him alone.
"Yeah, try it on!!" yelled a man Hisoka didn't recognize. "You looked really cute in that one dress on Halloween!!"
This was met with laughter and catcalls.
"That's it, I'm going home," said Hisoka. He made to stand up, but Yuma and Saya forced him back into his chair.
He had doubts he would survive the evening. This was all too apparent as everyone started singing Christmas carols in bad English.
One hour later...
"It's time to open gifts!!" called Wakaba, smiling brightly.
Hisoka was relieved for this. Both Yuma and Saya had been hanging off him for a long time and he was ready to kill both of them.
"WAI!!!!!!!" cried Yuma, Saya, Tsuzuki, and Watari. All of them rushed for the tree like eager children.
"C'mon, 'Soka-chan!!!" called Tsuzuki, waving him over. Hisoka sighed, dragging his feet to the tree.
Konoe got his gift open first. With a small smile, he lifted up a huge triple decker strawberry cheese cake.
"I've been wanting to try this," he said smugly. He read the tiny card with it. "Thank you, Akamine."
Chizuru smiled from over her present. "I was a little surprised when Kannuki-chan showed up in Okinawa with the idea, but I'm glad to participate."
Terazuma picked up his gift wearing a distasteful expression. Everyone could see why; it was wrapped in the shiniest, prettiest golden and red wrapping paper in existence. Hesitantly, he wore off the pretty wrapping paper, revealing a black, new laptop.
A look of relief washed over him. "Well...this is all right. Thanks..." he briefly read the card and sighed. "Fukiya-san."
Yuma grinned at him over her present. Hers was also wrapped in pretty wrapping paper. Unlike Terazuma, she delicately took off the wrapping paper, revealing a rectangular box. She opened the box and promptly shrieked.
"What?" asked Tsuzuki, who was still looking for his gift(s).
Yuma reached into the box and pulled out a beautiful baby blue dress covered in sequins.
"I've wanted this for a long time!!" she gasped, hugging the dress. "It's one of Pink House's best dresses, but it's so expensive!! I've been too busy spending my money on buying Hisoka-chan dresses!!"
Hisoka gagged, though Yuma didn't see him.
"But only..." Yuma stopped. She glanced at Saya, who was pretending to busy herself with her gift. Within seconds she was glomping Saya. "No wonder you wouldn't tell who you were being Secret Santa for!! You're my Secret Santa!!!"
"Finally you figured it out," said Saya, patting her friend on the back. "You're suppose to be the smart one!!"
"Aw, you're mean!!" Yuma gave her a peck on the cheek. "Thanks so much!!"
"All right!! Let me open my gift!!" Saya gently tore off the pretty wrapping paper to reveal a box similar to Yuma's. She opened it and the scent of cherry blossoms hit the room.
"Oh!!" she gasped, pulling out a traditional Japanese kimono decorated in cherry blossoms. Within the box were what seemed to be hundreds of cherry blossom petals. "It's absolutely beautiful!!!"
Yuma fished around the cherry blossoms and pulled out a note. She read it briefly and lifted her head. "Smooth. Very smooth, Tsuzuki!!"
Hisoka felt his chest tighten. Tsuzuki?
"Wai!!! Thank you, Tsuzuki!!!" cried Saya, jumping to her feet and rushing over to him for a huge hug.
"I was hoping you'd like it," he said, smiling sweetly.
Tsuzuki was her Secret Santa? he thought, feeling thoroughly disappointed. Then...who is mine?
Hisoka looked around for his gift, finally noticing a long box wrapped in standard Christmas wrapping. Feeling relieved that his didn't have the pretty wrapping, he wasted no time in getting it open. He pulled off the top and glanced inside.
A traditional katana was resting against dark blue velvet. Hisoka took hold of the katana, removing it from its box. Conversations around him ceased as everyone saw his gift.
The handle was black and dark blue, but had designs of crescent moons on them. Hisoka slid the blade from its sheath to see a carving of a word on the dull end of the blade close to its handle.
'Engetsu'. 'Crescent Moon'.
He slid the blade back into its sheath, marveling in how clean, how fresh it looked.
Well, I did say off-handedly that I wanted a sword. And this is a really fine sword.
Everyone started speaking again. Hisoka noticed a note that was still inside the box. He set the katana back into the box and picked up the note. Taking a deep breath, he unfolded it and read:
This blade is a bit of an heirloom in my family. But I have no more use for it, and you were always better than me with this sort of thing. I know I can trust you to take care of this sword; unlike your baka partner, I know you're responsible enough to keep it in the best condition and not break it. I don't usually celebrate Christmas, so if the gift's kinda odd, I'm sorry. But you'll probably like it nonetheless.
Hisoka felt his chest tighten. So Terazuma had been his Secret Santa all along But as an empath, he easily concealed his feelings as he looked up. "Thank you, Terazuma."
"You got him that, Hajime-chan?!" exclaimed Wakaba as she opened her present."A sword?!"
"How did you manage to get a sword in Japan?" asked Tatsumi, who had been ignoring the loud festivities. Now he was observing Hisoka's gift with interest.
"It's an heirloom," said Hisoka, holding up the note.
Wakaba held up her gift. "Ooh, a gift card!! And it's worth...5,000 yen?! Thanks, Kachou!! I'm going to buy a lot of things with this!!"
"You're welcomb," said Konoe, having given into temptation in regards to his gift.
"Wai, lab equipment!!!" cried Watari, pulling beakers and test tubes out of a box. "Wonderful!! All mine are broken!!" he read the card that came with it, stood up, and pulled the elder Gushoushin into a bone crushing hug. "Thanks so much!!!"
"Tatsumi, aren't you going to open your gift?" asked Tsuzuki, still looking for his gifts whilst the pie lay still wrapped unnoticed at his feet.
"I'll wait 'till you all are done," said Tatsumi, managing a small smile.
"Nonsense, open it now!!!" said Yuma, shoving a nicely wrapped gift at Tatsumi. Even before Tatsumi could unwrap it, Hisoka knew it was a bottle of fine wine.
"Wow, an imported wine!!" observed Chizuru. "You don't get many of those, huh? Are you going to save it or pour some?"
Tatsumi eyed everyone in the room. He was pleased with his gift, but it was easy to see that he was wary of getting everyone drunk. Especially on fine wine.
"I think I'll save it," said Tatsumi, ignoring the disappointed sighs. "Well, maybe I'll open it. But for tomorrow, not tonight."
"Ooh, here's another for you Tatsumi!!" cried Tsuzuki, lifting a moderately large box and giving it to Tatsumi. That particular present had been in the same area as the oven and Hisoka expected Tsuzuki to easily find it. But, he continued his search on the other side of the tree.
Tatsumi set the box on a nearby desk. He ripped off the wrapping paper to reveal a consumer box holding an espresso maker.
Well, that's one way to replace his coffee maker, thought Hisoka. Tatsumi looked mildly surprised to see the espresso maker. He picked up the note with it and read it silently. He said nothing for a few minutes and everyone held their breath, waiting for his response.
Then he said, "Am I right in assuming that it was you whom broke my 10,000 yen coffee maker...Watari-san?"
Watari didn't seem to notice Tatsumi's subdued attitude. He just grinned evilly at him over his equipment.
Tatsumi sighed heavily, but said no more. He seemed quite happy about the espresso maker, though he was now wary of the fine wine. Who knew if Watari had somehow managed to slip in a potion...
"Sugoi, so many books!!" cried Chizuru, opening her gift. She pulled out a few hard cover copies. Something stuck out in the books and she pulled it out. "Ooh, and a free renewed library card!!"
I wonder who gave her that, Hisoka thought sarcastically. His assumption was confirmed when Chizuru pulled the younger Gushoushin into a hug.
Tsuzuki had yet to find his gifts, though Hisoka had a sinking suspicion that he was deliberately holding out.
"Dammit, stop being a baka!!" snapped Terazuma. He grabbed the pie that everyone could clearly see now and thrust it under Tsuzuki's nose. "Here's your gift!!"
Tsuzuki's face fell when he saw the size of the gift. While Hisoka was annoyed at how childish he was being, he was inwardly glad that he had a change of heart and got him the damn oven.
"Oh...okay," Tsuzuki said softly. He took the gift and opened it. He pulled out the large apple pie. His face brightened a little, but he still looked a little disappointed.
"That's Nagasaki's best selling apple pie, isn't it?" said Wakaba, obviously trying to keep Tsuzuki in high spirits.
"It is," said Tsuzuki, forcing a smile. "Well...I had been wanting to try one. After all, they're so expensive and so popular..."
Hisoka resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Tsuzuki's disappointment and hurt was leaking out like crazy. Why won't he check behind the damn tree?!
Chizuru was looking for her gift under the tree while the other girls rushed to Tsuzuki's side, offering him sweets. With Tsuzuki on the verge of tears, Hisoka was about to go get the oven when Chizuru said, "Hey, what's this?"
Everyone looked up. Hisoka felt his annoyance fade as Chizuru struggled to get the oven out from behind the tree. Tatsumi went to help her and they lifted it into view.
"It's for you, Tsuzuki-san," said Tatsumi, wearing a smile.
Joy leapt into Tsuzuki's face. He wasted no time in ripping off the already torn wrapping paper to reveal the oven.
"WAI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" he cried, jumping up and down. "It's here!! It's really here!!"
"This is the oven you've been whining about for weeks?!" said Terazuma. "I was expecting some sort of microwave!! This is a real oven!!!"
"And not just any oven!!" cried Tsuzuki, hugging it as much as he could. "It makes any sweets you want!!!"
Wakaba picked up the note that Tsuzuki had torn off the oven. She quickly looked up and gave Hisoka a big smile. "I always knew you had a soft spot, Hisoka!!!"
Dread consumed Hisoka as he suddenly became the attention of everyone in the room.
"HISOKA-CHAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!!!!!!" cried Yuma and Saya, glomping him tightly. "You really are wonderful!!!!!!!!"
"'SOKA-CHAN!!!!!!!" squealed Tsuzuki, squeezing in to glomp him along with Yuma and Saya. The combined grips would surely suffocate him. "Thank you so much!!! I always knew you loved me!!!"
All Hisoka could do was gurgle.
"All right, let Kurosaki-kun go, he can't breathe," said Tatsumi. "Let's continue, shall we?"
December 24th, 11:24 p.m.
All the gifts had been opened (Wakaba had gotten the younger Gushoushin adventure books, and Tatsumi got the elder Gushoushin books on law and money management) and the party started up again in full swing.
Hisoka got himself another helping of Egg Nog and sat down, his headache worsening. As the Christmas hour drew nearer, the louder and more hyperactive everyone got. Now it seemed like everyone was going with Tsuzuki's suggestion to go to Midnight Mass.
Forgetting the fact that hardly any of them were Christian (or Catholic) and that they were all dead.
If they think I'm going to Midnight Mass with them like this, they're crazy, he thought, sipping his Egg Nog. And this is the last time I participate in this kind of insanity. I'm not even Christian, dammit!!! With the way everyone's acting, you'd think it was New Years!!!
"Anyone know any more Christmas hymns?!" asked Watari. Why was he staggering? All the wine was non-alcoholic!!
"How 'bout 'O Holy Night?!" slurred Tsuzuki, who then proceeded to sing in English again, but very poorly.
He's acting drunk, too. The only alcoholic thing here is Tatsumi-san's wine. Unless...
He looked at the bottle of fine wine, but it was untouched.
"No no no no," slurred Terazuma, waving his hand heavily. "You-you're doing it wrong!! The song is like this!!"
His English wasn't any better than Tsuzuki's.
Hisoka glanced at Tatsumi and Konoe, hoping that they would pick up on the behavior of the Shinigami. But they were seemingly oblivious to the whole thing.
"I tried it on!!" cried Yuma, twirling around in the dress Saya had given her.
"You look so pretty in it!!" said Saya, who hadn't changed into her kimono. "I knew it would look good on you!!"
Yuma flashed her a broad smile. "I know I can count on you, Saya."
Then to Hisoka's utter horror, Yuma promptly jumped on Saya, knocking them both flat on the desk next to Hisoka where they proceeded to kiss the life (more or less) out of each other.
Hisoka quickly jumped to his feet, convinced that alcohol was somehow involved. Yet everyone was oblivious to their behavior. Especially the two girls making out right in front of him.
"This is going to be a long night," he muttered, taking another sip of his Egg Nog.
He froze. It tasted funny. Having drunken Egg Nog for the better part of the party, he could tell how different it seemed. It even smell funny. And it looked...a little watery.
Hisoka immediately put his glass down.
"Let's dance!!" cried Wakaba, pulling Terazuma with her. Hisoka noticed for the first time that they were playing music. A bunch of Christmas carols sung in English.
At least that's what it sounded like. The tape playing the music sounded like a blend of English and Japanese singing. Wait...no, that wasn't singing. At least not the Japanese part.
Hisoka hesitantly approached the stereo blaring the music, keening an ear and his empathy. It sounded melded...he almost couldn't hear it.
Wait, there it was. There was Japanese in the undertones of the song, but it wasn't singing. Where had he heard that voice before?
"Holidays are a wonderful time to spend with the ones you love. You need to sing out wonderful songs!! Grab a partner and dance and dance and dance!! Get really friendly with your dancing partner. Sway your hips a little, that'll appeal to them–"
Hisoka clamped his hands quickly over his ears. He knew that loathsome voice. That was the cold voice of the woman on that fucking self esteem tape!!! It was working as a subliminal message on that Christmas tape!!
He had to get out of there.
"I-I-I'm going for some fresh air," he announced, running back to his desk to grab his jacket. He tried his hardest to ignore Yuma and Saya, whose attentions quipped when he spoke.
"Aw, stay a little while longer!!" cried Yuma, climbing off her friend.
"Yeah, you still have to try on the Pink House dress!!" cried Saya, sitting up on the desk.
Hisoka made a successful dash for the door. "I'll be back in a little while!!"
Several people yelled after him, but he ignored them and made his way towards the outside.
Good, I'm far away from them, he thought, reaching the door outside. I can take this opportunity to go home. They're all too drunk to notice I'm gone. Well...maybe I better put some wards around my house...
Hisoka lost his train of thought as he left the Juohchou building.
There was a crescent moon in the sky and it was crystal clear. But small snowflakes were flittering from the sky and falling gracefully onto the ground. And along with the snow it was very cold. Colder than it was when he had gone to work.
"Shit," he cursed, tightening his jacket around himself and started walking. "This is suppose to be Meifu!! I don't mind the snow, but I could do without this chill!!"
A soft chuckle came from behind him. "Leaving so soon?"
Hisoka stopped in his tracks. He took a deep breath, breathing in some snowflakes, and said, "Why aren't you at the party, Tsuzuki?"
"Oh, I'm still going to stay," said Tsuzuki, approaching him. Hisoka glanced at him out of the corner of his eye, noting he was holding something behind his back. "And I couldn't help but notice you leaving. Why not stay up a little longer? Midnight approaches."
"I..." Hisoka had a billion reasons, but for some reason couldn't voice them. He decided to switch gears. "You seemed to be acting pretty drunk in there."
"Ah, that was just a show. I'm pretty good at acting, aren't I?"
Better than anyone I've ever known. "Hardly. I take it the tape creeped you out a bit too, huh?"
Tsuzuki came around to stand in front of him, looking a little surprised. "Why would I be creeped out at Christmas carols?"
Looks like I'm the only one who picked up on the subliminal messages.
"Anyways," said Tsuzuki, redirecting the topic. "I was a little hurt that you were going to leave before I gave it to you."
Hisoka eyed him suspiciously. "Give me what?"
"This." Tsuzuki handed him a nicely wrapped present. "Merry Christmas, 'Soka-chan."
Hisoka took the box. His heart was pounding like crazy. Tsuzuki got him a present? Even though he wasn't his Secret Santa?
He remembered the thoughts he had picked up when he had touched Tsuzuki's chair.
"Why did I buy this, it'll only annoy him..."
"This did cost me more than the one I got for whom I'm Secret Santa for..."
So Tsuzuki was referring to him after all.
"Open it," said Tsuzuki, almost eagerly.
Rolling his eyes, Hisoka tore off the wrapping paper to reveal an elegant dark green velvet box. Gold framed the edges and formed a beautiful design on the lid. It even wove into the bottom, forming four small, but sturdy legs to hold the box up.
"I got in this color since it's your favorite," said Tsuzuki, pointing to the green velvet.
Hisoka forced back a sigh. "Tsuzuki, green is your favorite color. Mine is blue."
Tsuzuki's face fell again, so Hisoka spoke again. "But thank you. It's a really...nice looking box."
"It's not just a box," said Tsuzuki. He pointed to something on the other side. "It's a music box. Wind it up."
Hisoka felt around the other side, finding the key. As he wound it up, he noted that the key was in the shape of a violin. He wanted to know why, but he reached the wind's limit.
"Open it up," said Tsuzuki, smiling.
Hisoka complied. On the inside there was a delicate crystal stage holding a piano. He watched as a tiny man glided out from behind the curtain of the 'wings'. He glided towards the piano, but before he sat down, he faced Hisoka and bowed. The he sat down and his hands moved.
A sweet melody came from the box. It sounded oddly familiar. Hisoka watched the pianist 'play' in synch with the melody. It reminded him of something not too long ago. Of a sad girl with a beautiful voice.
Then it came to him. "This is–!!"
"Amethyst Remembrance," Tsuzuki confirmed, his smile broad. "It was a nightmare getting my hands on one, seeing as Maria is dead. But I did, and...I thought you would like it."
Hisoka couldn't find his voice. It truly was a wonderful gift. "It's Maria's song...it must've been expensive–"
Tsuzuki winced a little. "Well, a little bit. But I think it was worth it."
Hisoka stared at him. "Worth it?"
"I can't spend my money on sweets forever, can I? Besides..." his eyes became sad, though they held a warm glow. "I owe you so much, Hisoka. Everything you've done for me these past few months. Never once did you ask for anything in return for what you've done. So I thought...money doesn't matter. And it doesn't matter whether I'm your Secret Santa or not. I decided that no matter what I'd get you the perfect present." He laughed nervously. "It was hard to decide upon, but I figured you'd like a music box. Add some color to your gloomy apartment."
Hisoka didn't snap back at his comment. He watched the pianist as the song came to an end. He stood up, bowed again, and disappeared behind the curtain. Then he closed the lid.
Tsuzuki started getting worried. "Um, do you not like it? I'm sorry, I probably should've chosen something better–"
Hisoka interrupted his apology by throwing his arms around Tsuzuki, music box and all.
"Don't apologize, baka," said Hisoka, tears stinging his eyes and releasing. "It's a wonderful present. And you don't have to thank me for anything or repay me for anything. What you've done for me is more than enough."
Tsuzuki awkwardly returned the embraced. "What have I done?"
"You saved me, you damned baka!! If you hadn't gotten under my shell, do you think I would've participated in something like this, or even cared? You helped me out, and it's because of your help that I'm where I am today."
Tsuzuki choked a little, tightening his embrace. "I guess we're even then, huh? Oh wait, I haven't given you your second gift!!"
Hisoka leaned back to look at him. "Second gift?"
"Of course! You gave me two gifts after all!!"
Hisoka raised an eyebrow. "And what did you have in mind for a 'second gift'?"
"This." before Hisoka could stop him, Tsuzuki leaned forward and claimed a kiss. A wave of emotion exploded in Hisoka's mind; Tsuzuki's feeling leaking out into him. But it didn't hurt. The mixture of joy, nervousness, and most of all love washed over him pleasantly. With emotions like these, Hisoka felt better about his empathy and even closer to Tsuzuki. Abandoning indifference to the wind, though keeping a tight hold on his expensive music box, he returned Tsuzuki's kiss.
They broke apart, startled by the bells going off. Tsuzuki laughed a little as he looked up at the Juohchou building. "I didn't know we had bells!!"
Hisoka sighed heavily. "It's Midnight, Tsuzuki."
Tsuzuki grinned at his partner. Before Hisoka could react, Tsuzuki leaned close again and gave him a peck on the forehead. "Merry Christmas, 'Soka-chan."
Hisoka's mouth quirked, not quite a smile but close. "Merry Christmas, Tsuzuki."
It was then that his cell phone rang. Pulling away from Tsuzuki, he answered it. "Kurosaki desu."
"You might say to yourself 'this is a fat blob who will never get anyone to love me'," said that woman's damned voice. "You have to realize that's simply not true. Repeat after me: I–"
"I'LL KILL YOU IF YOU EVER CALL ME AGAIN!!!!!!!!!" yelled Hisoka, slamming his phone shut.
"Cheer up," said Tsuzuki, smiling. "It's Christmas. Let's celebrate!!"
"You still want to go to Midnight Mass?"
"You bet!! I promised everyone we would go, and I never go back on my word!!" he grabbed Hisoka's wrist. "Let's go get them!!"
"Oi!!!" yelled Hisoka, almost losing his grip on his music box. "What if they're all too drunk to go?!"
"Then there's no harm in the both of us going!! It'd be nice to go as a couple!!"
Hisoka's entire face turned red. "Since when are we a couple?!"
"Awww, but you kissed me!!!"
"You kissed me, that's different!!!"
"Don't be mean, 'Soka-chan!!!!"
Hisoka grunted, but put up no further protest as Tuszuki dragged him back to the Shokan Department.
Well, this fiasco isn't nearly as bad as the Halloween party. I was able to avoid the subliminal message tape successfully. I guess all I have to is survive New Years. And Valentines. And White Day.
Dread consumed him, but it evaporated at Tsuzuki's glee.
And now he thinks we're a couple. I really don't know what to make of it. Somehow the idea isn't as bad as I had originally thought. After all, he did get me a nice gift. But if he's joking, then I'm going to kill him.
Watari gave a whimper of disappointment as he put the corrupted Christmas tape into the filing cabinet.
"Well, this plan didn't quite succeed," he sulked. "Bon picked up on this tape. His empathy really is something...and the prank call aren't fazing him..."
He grinned evilly. "Well, this wasn't entirely a failure. Tsuzuki and Bon did do a nice lip lock. And of course I had to interrupt it."
Watari reached into the drawer and withdrew a familiar tape entitled 'Tasting Your Fantasies'.
"I think I better make it up to Tsuzuki," he decided. "But not at New Years, there won't be time. Definitely at Valentine's Day."
He laughed as he dropped his tape into his bag. "Operation Seduction; ready to go underway in two months!!"
He closed his bag. "In the meantime, I better go rejoin the festivities. Even a hardworking Shinigami like me deserves a break."
Giggling evilly to himself, Watari left his lab ready to set his next mission into motion.
Whoa, that was long!! I'm glad it's done, posted just two months after 'Unreal Yet True'. Not quite a true messaging tape 'fic, but I think it turned out all right. What do you all think? Don't be afraid to express your opinion. Everyone, have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, and thanks so much for reading!!