A large stone structure sat on the edge of a Makai clearing. For miles around, there was only stillness and burnt grass, the remains of a wildfire several years before. The stone structure was somewhat like a human house, but was somewhat more lop-sided and had an odd aura shrouding it. An average demon would assume it was a old training temple that had been abandoned after the wildfire. They were half-right.
The first half, anyway.
A bellow echoed through the converted training area, "THE SUN'S UP! Get up get up get up the sun's up!" A loud thumping noise followed the yell, as if an extremely large dog was galloping down a flight of steps. The sound wasn't of scrambling paws, however. It was of something airborne and very hyper banging off the walls like an insect careening around the inside of a lampshade.
CRASH! "Suzuki! Wake UP!" The voice was tinged by a strong Northern Makai accent. Inside one room of the dwelling, a demon with frizzy blond hair was slouched over the low table that occupied most of the room. On the wooden surface were various containers of substances, half-finished handles and other weapon parts, and other random crafts that were partly completed, as well as carving and binding tools that were designed to infuse with spirit energy. A lamp's flame burned low in one corner, embers dying from having burnt the major portion of the lanturn's fuel.
One mint-green eye slid open, glazed. A hoarse, foggy voice called back, "Jin, shut up." The craftsmen's tongue was thick with the stale taste of sleep.
"But it's Christmas!" The wind Shinobi protested from outside the door, his arms crossed in a pout. His bare feet floated several inches above the wooden floor.
Suzuki groaned softly. With a supreme effort of will, he managed to open both eyes and sit up, fighting off waves of post-sleep dizzyness. He growled, "Remind me again why we're celebrating this ridiculous human holiday."
"Because we don't have anything better to do, because we're stuck here on probation until you and Shishi figure out a way to outsmart the tethering charm, aaand because I was bored."
"Don't remind me. Fine, fine, I'm coming. Go bother Shishi...and don't tell him I told you to do that." The former clown sat up and rubbed the sand out of his eyes.
Jin called merrily, "On it, Chief!" and Suzuki heard a loud thud as Jin zoomed off, ran head-first into the other end of the hallway, bounced off, and turned a hard left without missing a beat. He shook his head, partly in frustration because he still hadn't figured out how to break the charm that Koenma had sentenced that kept the 6 demons bound to stay within 8 Makai miles of one another (Koenma figured they couldn't go far enough to cause trouble that way, and the likelyhood of these particular 6 demons agreeing on a long-time plan was very small), and partly out of amusement at how Jin planned to wake up the irritable swordsman.
Shishi, as it happened, had already awakened when Jin went crashing down the corridors of the dwelling to wake up Suzuki. The arrogant fighter sat on the edge of a training mat in the room he'd claimed when they'd managed to agree on a temporary dwelling until one of them figured out how to break the charm Koenma had sentenced upon them. His elbows rested on his knees, his finger interlaced. His two long purple bangs fell across his eyes, but he made no move to push them away. He gazed out the window with far away eyes, mind in another place entirely. The room was perfectly still, the air quiet and full of serenity.
Thud! "SHISHI! Christmas morning!" With a yelp of surprise, Shishi leapt off the mat in a very undignified manner. One hand flew to the long weapon that rested by his side. It was a fair piece of work, one he'd customized himself. Half of the long weapon was fire-forged steel, designed to ward off even the strongest hits from an opponent. The other edge of the weapon was fiercely sharp, tipped in diamond and able to slash through almost anything, not to mention deliver some nasty wounds. At the bottom was a small wooden handle. The 8-foot-long, javelin-shaped weapon was able to handle both offensive and defensive fighting. An excellent weapon for many situations.
Including ripping the head off one elf-like demon who stood on the other side of the now-open door, grinning like a Cheshire cat.
"JIN! I'm gonna KILL YOU!" In a large room that had been a sparring arena and was now what passed for a living room in the demon world, the 4 other occupants of the house listened to Shishi's angry howl and the violent crashes that followed as Shishi pursued Jin furiously upstairs.
As the wind Shinobi's laughter peeled down the corridors, one large, blue-haired demon asked with amusement, "Think Shishi'll actually hurt him this time?"
A smaller demon with ice-blue eyes and a chill aura responded, "Eh, probably not. I think he'll wait until there are no witnesses before murdering him."
The remaining demon was far shorter then the rest, and resembled a young human with messy brown hair. An oversized, multi-colored cap hung off his head to one side. He piped up, "Hey I wonder if everybody actually followed through with Jin's 'Secret-Santa' idea, or whatever it was."
A general murmur of agreement ran through the room, showing they'd all humored the air elemental and helped concoct what he called a Secret-Santa exchange. In a fit of Ningen holiday obsession, Jin had written all 6 of the roommates' names on slips of paper, and each demon had drawn the name of one of their former teammates. Each was instructed to get an object that particular demon would value but did not own, and place it in a box or conceal its appearance with paper.
Gift-giving, though a part of general life for one month of the year in the human world, was not common in the Makai. Demons did not have Christmas, or any holidays resembling Christmas. There were festivals, but none like the human Christmas. Why Jin decided to force his companions to celebrate the festival that year was a mystery no one would ever know, for no one could even vaguely understand the way Jin's devious mind worked, not even Jin. But for lack of better to do, they'd gone along with it.
Chu had taken a tree from the innumerable demon forests, and dragged it to their dwelling, where Rinku and Jin had taken great delight in decorating it with various small trinkets that had accumulated in the house over the months. Thanks to his own cleverness and his knowledge of chemical electricity, Suzuki had rigged the ends of the branches to glow different colors, invisible Christmas lights. With threatening from Jin to trash his posessions, Shishi had reluctantly carved small angel ornaments (with devil horns, for the Makai flavor) and a large wooden sculpture of a rabid-looking reindeer wearing a harness, and placed them around the burnt temple (the reindeer standing guard at the front entrance). Even Touya contributed by dripping water off the roof and then freezing it so that sharp, glittering icicles crowned the building.
At that moment, Jin burst into the room wearing a toothy grin, ears wagging in amusement. Several seconds later, a murderous-looking Shishi skidded into the room through the same doorway, eyes glowing. His fangs flashed as he snarrled, "Where is that little-"
"Present time!" Rinku interjected before the swordsman had a chance to finish his sentence. Having grown used to restraining roommates who were ready to tear open Jin's intestines, Suzuki and Touya yanked Shishi down into another chair.
Chu narrowed one eye. He was slightly put-out because Touya had refused to allow him to buy eggnog, the one human tradition he quite liked. The fighter rumbled, "Aren't there customs that occur before the opening of presents? Like singing those hideous carols to rip out the eardrums of their fellow men and make them squirm in agony?"
There was a slight awkward pause. Then Jin responded, "...That's not quite that what the songs are intended to do, but good idea! Let's sing!"
"Let's not." Touya said flatly. The other 4 demons nodded. Jin's ears drooped for a moment, then perked up again.
With the same constant grin, the wind Shinobi announced cheerfully, "Fine, ya bunch of whiners. I'll sing by myself!" He took a deep breath.
"NO!" yowled Chu, Rinku, Shishi, Touya, and Suzuki together.
"Fine, fine, the presents. Just don't sing!" Suzuki said hurriedly, holding up his hands. "Who's going first?"
"ME!" called Jin and Rinku at the exact same time, Jin still floating cross-legged in mid-air. The two demons whirled to face each other. Their glares met and held steady, the air between them sizzling fiercely over the right to have the first Christmas present.
While his former teammates held a stare-down, Touya quietly reached over to the 6 presents beneath the deep-purple fir tree, and extracted his own package. It was wrapped in periwinkle paper that looked suspicously like the sketching paper Suzuki used to lay out designs for a weapon or item he was working on. Either Touya's gift-giver was Suzuki, or the gift-giver had nicked the paper from Suzuki's room.
As Rinku and Jin sent each other looks that might have been poisonous enough to cause each other internal bleeding, rhe ice master carefully removed the sheets of paper from the package and placed them to his right. Wasting was harmful to the environment. Why humans continued to waste so much material was a mystery, but it was definetely not a habit demons wanted to pick up.
The gift was a snowglobe, but there were two major errors within it: 1. It had no figurine within the glass. And 2. It had no snow. But as Touya's fingers brushed the top of the round glass sphere, snow suddenly appeared, whirling within the clear walls. The ice master watched with fascination as the snow magically appeared and disappeared when he touched the snowglobe. As he fondled the gift, he discovered that each number of fingers on the globe changed the color of the snow. 1 finger caused a swirling white blizzard, 3 fingers a flury of scarlet, 5 fingers a cloud of moving snow that was as dark and mysterious as midnight's depths.
"Amazing," Touya murmured. The silent snarrling between Rinku and Jin snapped as they whipped around to look at him. The expressions on their faces were of shock mixed with outrage, and were absolutely priceless. Suzuki was pleased. Touya continued, "How did you get the colors to change that way?"
"Magic, skill, and a lot of free time." Suzuki responded, fiddling with one of the tiny angel-devil statues.
Chu grumbled good-naturedly, "Sure, he gets the good present. Knowing my luck, I got Rinku and he gave me one of his yoyos or something."
"Shut it!" Rinku barked back fiercely, but the effect was lost for the fact that Chu was at least 3 feet taller then Rinku. With a wicked grin, the alcholol-loving demon reached down and picked up Rinku by the scruff of his neck. He dangled the boy in the air. Rinku fought back valliantly, his sneakers striking the air, but to no avail. "Lemme down!" he protested with some desperation, not at all liking being seperated from the ground.
Chu said, "Sure, runt." and released Rinku. The small fighter crashed to the floor. Throwing a last resentful glare at Chu, he got up and placed himself in a relatively-safe spot on the floor between Shishi and Touya.
Jin was already ripping through his own present, exclaiming, "What'djagetme what'djagetme what'djagetme!!!" He paused, then held up his gift.
It was a small bag of coal, stained black from the inside.
Suzuki, Chu, and Rinku immediately began howling with laughter. Touya looked up from his snowglobe and let out a whuff of amusement. Shishi, who had remained in a sullen silence until now, couldn't conceal an evil smile of mirth that a would-be world conquerer himself would have been proud of.
The wind Shinobi let out a cry of outrage, dropped the bag of coal, and bounded forward to cause Shishi serious bodily damage. Drawing back a fist, he snarrled, "WHY YOU LOUSY-"
The swordsman reached up with a hand and caught the incoming fist, throwing it roughly to the side and blocking the hit. Jin stumbled, surprised to be thrown off-balance. Still smirking like a snake who'd just swallowed a mouse, Shishi suggested, "Even I'm not that cruel. Look in the bottom of the bag."
Suspicously, Jin rummaged through the bag of coal. He came up with a small gold coin. The coin was ancient, covered in the language of the Old World Makai. It had been buffed so it shone with a golden hue. Jin, having a particular obsession with shiny things, adored coins like these and collected them when he had the chance.
"I should still pound you for that coal prank." he growled amiably, flipping the coin between long fingers.
And so the morning proceeded. From Rinku, Suzuki recieved an elegant demon-energy cast that could mold demon energy into workable physical forms. From Jin, Rinku was given a soft blue pouch to protect his serpent yo-yos. From Chu, Shishi recieved a pen that could write on any surface, from glass to butter, in luminous navy ink. And from Touya, Chu recieved a pair of boots made from unscratchable leather, and a packet for Alcholol Addicts Anonymous (the others had a long laugh when he pulled that out of the box).
The 6 demons lounged inside the ex-sparring room, fiddling idly with their presents. Eventually, Suzuki turned to Jin and asked, "So...is that it?"
The wind demon, floating several feet above the floor, considered. He brightened. "Not yet! The food!" Jin flipped in the air, and floated over to the kitchen door. "Lucky for you, I've planned ahead and pre-cooked the food." With a wink, the Djinn adept vanished into the kitchen.
Chu and Touya's eyes came up in alarm. They looked towards the kitchen. Chu said slowly, "Jin's cooking again? That means..."
Shishi closed his eyes and rested his forehead against two of his fingers. "We're doomed."
30 minutes later...
Jin's voice rang merrily from the kitchen "FOOD!" His 5 fellow housemates exchanged resigned glances. With Suzuki in the lead, they reluctantly trotted into the kitchen to face their inevitable doom at the hands of Jin's cooking.
In the entrance to the kitchen, Suzuki suddenly froze and halted abruptly. Chu and Rinku had to slam on the brakes to avoid running into the clown craftsman. There was silence. Silence with Jin under the same roof isn't normal.
Shishi shifted his weight uneasily, and glanced over Suzuki's shoulder, shoving Chu aside for a better look at the table Jin was buzzing around. "The food looks...normal?" he questioned dubiously.
"Appearances can be decieving." Touya growled. "But might as well give it a try." Suzuki nodded, and the 5 fighters settled into the chairs surrounding the table. Jin flitted around them, bringing plates and forks from the kitchen cabinets. A plucked Makai bird sat in the center of the table, surrounded by pecha berries. Fish sat to one side, skinless but missing only the head and tail. A dish of mashed potatoes rested on one end of the bird. On the other end sat a vat of thick blood soup, the main ingredient of which was literally cooked blood.
Jin flopped down into his chair and gazed at them expectantly, sapphire eyes gleaming. "Well?"
Shishi looked at Suzuki. "You try it first." the swordsman told him.
The craftsman snorted. "I'm not trying it. Chu, you try it."
"I ain't tryin' it." said Chu flatly. "Rinku, you try it."
Rinku protested, "No way! Shishi should try it!" The four began bickering with each other about who should be the first to try the food that Jin had prepared. The wind Adept looked on, ears twitching with humor.
Finally, Touya snarrled, "I'll try it just to make you all shut up!" He grabbed a fork. This proclamation indeed shut the four demons up very effectively.
As Touya sliced a sliver of meat from one of the bird's thighs, Rinku piped up, "Don't do it! You've got your whole life ahead of you!"
Just to be annoying, Shishi put in his own two cents. "Careful, Touya, it might be poisoned...on second thought, go ahead."
The ice master threw a spoon at Shishi, who just barely dodged it. The piece of silverware clattered to the floor behind him. Before anyone else could pipe up, the piece of meat vanished down Touya's throat. They waited patiently for him to die a slow, painful death of food-poisoning.
When nothing happened, Suzuki asked hesitantly, "...It's safe?"
Touya considered the taste in his mouth for a moment, then nodded. "Far as I can tell, yeah."
They didn't need any further encouragement. With only a slight pause, the demons ripped into the food. All was well for the first minute or so. But then...
"What the hell is that??!?!" Chu yelped with disgust, staring at the greyish-green lumps that poured out of the Makai bird's side through the hole from which the aussie fighter had ripped a leg out for himself.
"Jin, " Touya asked slowly. "Did you gut the bird before you cooked it?"
Jin's lips moved into a pout. He pulled out a pen and a pad of paper, scrawling something down. "Note to self: Gut...bird..."
From the other side of the table, there was another outraged cry, this time from Shishi. "He put the fish skin in the soup! What kind of moron put SKIN in soup?!?"
"Well, I figured it had to go somewhere..." the elf muttered, eyes lowered. The others hissed in disgust.
Just as there was about to be a mutiny, Suzuki stood up on his chair and bellowed, "ALL OF YOU SHUT UP!" His housemates froze, and looked up at him slowly. He continued in a slightly calmer voice, "Why don't we just order pizza?"
"Yeahyeahyeahyeahyeah!" Jin trilled. The others enthusiastically agreed. Jin bolted for the phone.
Chu ran after him. "You are NOT orderin' the pizzas again! Last time we let you order, you got us 7 pizzas with mushrooms and pineapple on 'em!"
The other four looked around the table. Touya said with amusement, "Well, this day's certainly taught us something." There was a pause as they thought about what that particular day had taught them.
Shishi finally responded, "That Christmas sucks?"
There was a general chorus of, "Hell yeah."
Author's Note: Believe it or not, I wrote all of this in one day, which accounts for how horrible it is. There's a long story behind this, but it sums up to: First, I thought I'd do a yaoi Christmas oneshot (which I had an awesome idea for). Then I decided not to write a Christmas YYH fic. Then I discovered Shishi (who I now adore, even though I've never seen an episode with him in it) and came up with the idea for the six demons having a Secret-Santa project after the image of Shishi giving Jin a bag of coal flashed into my mind (which I could not ignore). Then I decided not to do that after all. Then, today, for no good reason whatsoever, I decided I had to write this. And I wanted to put it up by tonight, the 23rd, so y'all can read it tomorrow on Christmas Eve (like anyone would, it's really not good at all). And so...here's what came out of it. I wrote most of it during my parents' Christmas party (which had to be today), and the rest after. Well, I DID want to write something for Christmas, so this is my Christmas presents to you guys. Merry Christmas! And, I don't want to sound like I'm begging, even though I am, but PLEASE REVIEW!!!!! I am desperate!!! I neeeed reviews! Like taquitos! TAQUITOS!!! And...ok now I'm being more crazy then normal. I'll shut up. Please review. See? I can be sane. Really.
Oh, and this is a message to the writer of The Dark Side, the only decent Shishi-centered fic, in my opinion, worth reading (the pairing too is awesome, yet bizarre): Hi hiei-mi! Your fic has ensnared me with invisible charms for no reason whatsoever! It rocks! UPDATE IT!!!!! Update it or I'll have to kill you-oh crap, I just said that outloud...he he...UPDATE!!!!