-The Best Gift-

A One Piece Christmas fanfic by Digitaldreamer

Chapter One: Where's Everyone's Christmas Spirit™?

Well…December is here at last! I'm so excited! And so to celebrate this I bring you…the Best Gift: A One Piece Christmas Fanfic.

Surprisingly there will only be a few hints of pairings in this fic, it will mostly be nakama-ship, but you can expect a bit of ZoLu as usual. So be warned, there shall be a bit of boy love, but in small doses, so it should be enjoyable even for the none shonen-ai crowd.

Anyway, I do hope you all enjoy it! I now present to you part one of The Best Gift!

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Some people say Monkey D. Luffy is childish.

In a way, he is. He gets excited easily, by the smallest things. He can be selfish sometimes, and getting ideas through his skull is neigh impossible. He has those wide, innocent eyes, one would even go as far to say that the boy was rather naive. Honestly, who became a pirate with the intention of great adventures as opposed to the plan of pillaging in this day and age? Who was honest now-a-days?

Luffy was, and this proved that perhaps not everything was entirely wrong in the world.

But people who truly know him know that Luffy is in fact an adult, a powerful fighter, and he is capable of making difficult decisions. He seems silly and immature, but there is more maturity and wisdom to him than meets the eye.

However, unlike most people who grew up, Luffy hadn't lost his inner child. He can still smile and laugh without a care in the world, and find wonder in the smallest of things. He can go through each day without a care in the world.

One could say that perhaps childishness wasn't such a bad thing, in this case.

One would also probably wonder what this fact has to do with this story, so I shall proceed to tell you now.

Now, as you may know, there are many different worlds. The world in which the Grand Line resides is but one of these, but one of our main concerns lies in a different world. This world is known as the spirit world, a world at the very center of all the other ones that governs all sorts of things. It is here that the Gods, mystical creatures, and the spirits of various holidays reside.

And it is here that our tale begins.

In the spirit world there is a hall known as Holiday Hall, where all of the holiday spirits reside. Valentines Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, they were all there.

And now Captain "Red-Hair" Shanks was stuck in the Spirit of Christmas' office.

It was admittedly a nice office, decorated with Christmas decorations year round. There was a large Christmas tree in one corner, a pile of presents beneath it. It was snowing from the ceiling in that corner as well, though it was notably toasty in the office itself. Then there was a large desk, on which there sat many Christmas cards and a small dish filled with miniature candy canes.

Sure, it was a nice office. But Shanks was really starting to get sick of being there.

The red-haired captain sighed, unwrapping yet another candy cane. Given that he had been doing this for several hours, he had gotten quite skilled at unwrapping the candy cane without breaking it in half. Shanks popped the candy cane into his mouth and twirled it with his tongue as he set his feet upon the desk and leaned back in the large, spinney chair.

Really, when the Spirit of Christmas had just popped up and asked Shanks if he wanted to come with him for a cup of eggnog, Shanks hadn't expected this. He had simply assumed that this was all just a weird dream caused by drinking too much and soon he'd wake up to a horrible hangover and Ben halfheartedly saying that he really shouldn't drink as much as he did. Since he believed it was all a dream, Shanks had gone alone. He hadn't expected this all to actually be real and to be stuck in the Spirit's office for six hours.

"Come on Shanks, just take the job," the Spirit of Christmas' voice crackled over the intercom, sounding desperate.

"No. Just because you're failing at your job doesn't mean you can just blackmail me into doing it for you," Shanks replied calmly, taking a sip of his twentieth glass of eggnog.

"But the boss says-"

"Do you really think I care what your boss says?" Shanks demanded, raising an eyebrow.

There was silence for several minutes, which Shanks took advantage of to stuff a few more candy canes into his pockets (the stash he had built up over the past few hours was getting low, best to restock while he could). Then finally, the Spirit of Christmas' voice crackled over the intercom once more.

"Well….I do believe you remember the little…'incident' last Christmas rather well?" the Spirit drawled.

Shanks made a face. "Yes, I remember the incident," he said, sipping his eggnog and wondering where this was going.

"Well….interestingly enough, I have a few…pictures from said incident."

Shanks choked on his eggnog. After sputtering for a few moments he finally regained his voice. "I thought we burned those?"

"Oh no, no, I have access to all these little memories," the Spirit cackled, clearly enjoying this. "Now…imagine what could happen if say…Ben were to get a hold of a few of these pictures?"

The Red-Haired pirate gasped. "Now that's just low!"

"Ohhh, now this one with you and this girl is QUITE interesting…is that frosting from the Christmas cake on-"

"You wouldn't!" Shanks cried, his face becoming as red as his hair. Oh, he remembered that evening far too well…

"Oh, I will. You know I will, I do enjoy seeing the sparks fly between mortals….but I also enjoy keeping my job," the Spirit crooned. "So what say you agree to my terms?"

Shanks let out a low growl, teeth crunching down on the candy cane in his mouth. "What were the terms, again?" he demanded, cutting off the Spirit's voice. He snatched up the paper in front of him and began to read through it as the Spirit of Christmas began to explain.

"Ah…well, you see, lately there just hasn't been any Christmas Spirit™-"

"Whoa, whoa, hold it! Why's Christmas Spirit copyrighted?" the red-haired pirate inquired, poking at the tiny little ™ on the page.

"Oh…um, the Spirit of Thanksgiving felt that her holiday wasn't getting enough love, so she went and tried to steal the term. We had a rather nasty spite over it and soon enough it went to the courts, and I ended up getting it copyrighted. Now that fat bitch can't use it and try to get everyone to focus on her holiday. I can't see why she thinks it would help anyway, honestly!"

Shanks shook his head, this place was crazy. "Okay then, go on."

"Right, anyway. Lately there just hasn't been enough pure Christmas Spirit™; everyone's too busy running around fulfilling all the obligations and focusing only on getting that they all just seem empty. There's no spirit to holiday anymore, it's all commercialized."

The red-haired pirate snorted. "Isn't that kinda cliché? 'Oh no, there's no Christmas Spirit, what'll we do?'"

"Shut up. If there's no spirit to a holiday, then the Spirit of that holiday is fired, and that holiday is canceled. And since my holiday seems to be lacking in spirit, the boss plans on canceling Christmas."

"Cancel Christmas?" Shanks repeated, raising an eyebrow. "Why would your boss do that? The holiday's celebrating his birthday, for crying out loud!"

"He's sick of being upstaged by that fat red-neck anyway," the Spirit of Christmas explained dully. "So unless I find proof that Christmas Spirit™ still exists in the world, I'll lose my job, and Christmas will be cancelled forever."

"…and you want me to do the job for you?" Shanks asked dubiously.

"Well, yes. All you have to do is fly around and record some proof that Christmas Spirit™ is still alive and well."

"Hmmm….well….lemme think about it," Shanks drawled, tapping his fingers on the desk and taking a sip of eggnog. After a few moments he opened his mouth, making as if to say 'no'.

"Oh, now this one looks quite embarrassing…imagine what would happen if I leaked this to press? I hear you're quite famous-"

"All right, all right! I'll do it!" Shanks cried.

"Excellent." The Spirit sounded quite relieved. A new piece of paper, decorated to look quite Christmassy, suddenly appeared before the red-haired pirate, along with a green pen. "Just sign on the dotted line, please."

Shanks made a face, glancing quickly over the first few lines of the contract before deciding that it looked like a rather boring read and choosing just to sign in his loopy signature.

The moment he signed in the shimmering green ink, the contract vanished in a few gold sparkles. However, instead of vanishing, the sparkles rose up and began to swirl around Shanks. All the pirate captain could see was a blur of gold, red, and green, and before he knew it he was clad in a rather tight, shirt-less, revealing red leather top with white fur lining, as well as a pair of very short and tight red leather shorts. He also had a floppy red hat with a bell on the end, long black gloves, and pointed black boots that reached up to the tops of his shins. A long wand designed with candy cane stripes appeared in his hand.

Shanks' jaw dropped and he let out a rather unmanly scream. "What is this?" he cried, sounding completely appalled.

"Oh um….did I forget to mention that by signing the contract you officially become the Spirit of Christmas until your duties are fulfilled? That includes all the um…perks…"

"I look like some kind of Playboy Sugarplum Fairy!" Shanks shrieked.

"No no, you look like a Playboy Sugarplum Spirit of Christmas," the Spirit of Christmas corrected.

Said Playboy Sugarplum Spirit of Christmas just stood there for a moment, looking absolutely outraged.

"Um…well…you'd better get to your job then! The sooner you get it done, the sooner you can get out of that horrendous outfit! Now if you'll excuse me, I hear Water 7's rather nice around this time of year. Merry Christmas!" With that, the Intercom finally clicked off, and Shanks was left completely alone.

"Why that little…" Shanks made several enraged sounds before taking a deep breath. "When this is over with, I'm gonna shove some of that damned Christmas Spirit™ up his ass…"

But he would have to get this all over with, first.

With that, Shanks began pacing around the room and thinking. He spent several long hours doing this, chewing on candy canes and drinking far more eggnog than was good for a man.

Finally, on his seventieth cup of eggnog, it hit him.

Luffy!

If there was anyone that was bound to still have Christmas Spirit, it was Luffy! All he'd have to do was catch a bit of that childish enthusiasm of his on video, and Shanks would be free!

His plan set, Shanks shot to his feet and glanced at the wand in his hand. He gave it a doubtful look, then a small, experimental wave. Nothing happened.

The red-haired pirate gave a curse and threw the wand to the ground. "Stupid wand-"

He was cut off by a burst of green and red light, and before he knew it he was suddenly rushing through a warp hole that was colored red and white, the stripes rushing past him in blurs of color.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Shanks screeched as he sped through the warp hole. "WHEEEEEEEN I FIIIINNND THAAAT DAAAAMNED SPIIIRIIIIT I'M GONNA KIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLL HIIIIIIIIIM!"

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"Ohhhhh jingle bell, jingle bell, MERRY CHRISTMAS!" Luffy sang at the top of his lungs as he bounced all over the Going Merry. His arms were spread wide and his head tilted up to the sky so he could catch the snow flakes that slowly drifted down from it with his tongue. One would have thought that he was cold, clad in only his usual ratty red vest and jean shorts, but he was either perfectly comfortable in the frigid climate or oblivious to it.

Probably the latter.

"Kore ga konya no okurimono sa…Sing!" Usopp was prancing alongside Luffy, singing as well. He, however, had the foresight to wear a coat.

"Jingle bell, jingle bell, HAPPY NEW YEEEAAR!" Chopper continued from near both of them, where he lay back in the snow making a snow angel, a wide smile on his face.

"Owaranai, uta kikoeruhazu!" the trio sang together, continuing to dance through the snow as if they hadn't a care in the world.

Nami watched this from the galley, taking the hot chocolate Sanji offered her with a nod and a smile. She took a sip of it, sighing as warmth spread through her body and glanced back out the window once more.

Before Thanksgiving had even been over Luffy had already gotten excited about Christmas, and he quickly had dragged Usopp and Chopper into things. In spite of the fact that their ship didn't have a single decoration upon it and the holiday was says away, the boys simply got more and more excited, much to chagrin of the more…mature members of the crew.

And of course, the fact that the ship had just docked at a winter island, which was in full swing for celebrating the season, hadn't helped matters.

Of course, it wasn't to say everyone else wasn't getting a bit excited over the matter as well. Nami found herself planning out how they'd spend money on everything this year, Robin seemed to be quietly enjoying the atmosphere, and Sanji kept wandering around muttering in excited tones about "Nami-swan", "Robin-cwhan" and "mistletoe".

Zoro leaned against the mast as he watched Luffy, Usopp, and Chopper dance around, giving a small smile in spite of himself. He really could care less about the holidays himself…even though they always made him a bit nostalgic, remembering Christmases long past.

…Kuina had always loved the holidays. She always kept trying to stick decorations to his head, claiming he was just a chibi Christmas tree.

He hadn't been enjoying Christmas very much since she had passed away…but now he had new nakama to watch get all excited. To see his captain's face glowing like that brought a smile to his face and warmth to his chest that the swordsman hadn't felt in ages.

It was a welcome change.

"This is gonna be so awesome! Only one more day until Christmas!" Luffy cried in an excited tone, his eyes shining.

"Yeah! This is gonna be great!" Usopp cried, then paused, thinking for a moment. "Except we have no tree…or decorations…..or…anything."

Luffy's eyes widened and he glanced around, realizing that they were in fact lacking in all thing's Christmassy. This was a problem.

"AHHH! YOU'RE RIGHT!" he screeched, clamping his hands to his face.

"AHHH!" Chopper shot to his feet and mimicked Luffy's expression. What would they do without decorations! The doctor had told him all about those, weren't they supposed to be important?

"WHY DIDN'T YOU NOTICE EARLIER?" Usopp yelled, shocked that his captain hadn't noticed such a glaringly obvious problem.

"I-I don't know! What are we gonna do?" Luffy cried.

"AHHH!" Chopper screamed again.

Usopp watched their panic for a moment, suppressing a grin. Time for yet another one of his amazing tales to point them in the right direction. He put on a solemn face and folded his arms, shaking his head.

"I don't know…what are we going to do?" the sharpshooter muttered. "I mean, if we don't have any decorations, Santa's not gonna come."

"HE'S NOT?" both Luffy and Chopper simultaneously shouted.

"No, no he's not. And just think, if not enough people decorate their trees, Santa won't have enough Christmas Spirit™ to fly in his space ship!" Usopp cried, waving his arms.

Luffy blinked in confusion. "Space ship?" he repeated. "But I thought he flew in a sleigh, with reindeer?"

"He does…but you see, if we don't decorate our ship, it'll cause a big chain reaction that will end in Santa making an alliance with aliens and using a space ship instead," Usopp explained, as if it were common knowledge.

"REALLY?" Chopper gasped.

"Really," Usopp nodded. "And if there's not enough Christmas Spirit™ to fly his ship, Santa will crash into the ocean and drown! The little boys and girls will never get their toys ever again, and Christmas will be ruined forever!"

"FOREVER?" Luffy and Chopper cried simultaneously, eyes wide.

"Forever."

"NOOOO!" Chopper cried, tears coming to his eyes.

"WE HAVE TO SAVE CHRISTMAS!" Luffy screamed. With that, he and Chopper rushed up the stairs to the galley, babbling about decorations, Christmas spirit, Santa, and spaceships.

Usopp remained behind, cackling. Yet another mass of naive, gullible ones fooled by his amazing wit.

"NAMI! NAAAAAAAAMI!" Luffy cried as he charged into the galley, starling Nami and causing her to nearly drop her hot chocolate.

"What? What is it?" the navigator cried, fumbling with the mug and standing, assuming it was some sort of real emergency.

"WE HAVE TO HURRY AND GET A TREE AND DECORATE THE SHIP AND GET PRESENTS!" Chopper babbled, waving his arms.

"WE HAVE TO NAMI! OR SANTA'LL GET ABDUCTED BY ALIENS AND HIS SPACESHIP WILL CRASH AND CHRISTMAS WILL BE RUINED FOREVER!" Luffy rambled, looking frantic.

Nami's eye twitched. That was what this was about? "Decorating the ship would be…" she grabbed both Luffy and Chopper's heads, then proceeded to bang them together, "EXPENSIVE!"

Both Luffy and Chopper collapsed to the floor, groaning and rubbing their heads. They gazed up at Nami with hurt, puppy-dog looks.

"Why waste all the money we sto- borrowed from the last island? Santa won't be able to tell the difference between a mikan tree and a fir tree anyway. And we don't need presents either, so that's that," she declared calmly.

"Ah, Nami-san is so forceful!" Sanji spoke in a singsong voice. Even so, he sounded a bit bummed. They had always decorated the Baratie around Christmas, and there had been mistletoe and all those cute girls…

Luffy and Chopper stared at her with wide eyes.

"B-but…but…it's Christmas," Chopper whimpered.

"Yeah! It won't be the same without a tree and everything!" Luffy cried.

Usopp came changing in, babbling about how they needed a tree and he had hundreds of trees back in Syrup village every year. Apparently he had heard everything and was trying to come up to their defense.

"But we had hundreds back home and-"

"Doctrine always hung up mistletoe and tried to catch all the men back in the villages-"

"I want a Christmas treeeee!"

It was then that Zoro poked his head into the galley, blinking as he watched the commotion. "What's this about a tree?"

Sanji suddenly grinned. "Hey, we don't need a tree! We can just use Marimo's head!" he said.

Zoro's eyes narrowed and he just barely pulled one of his katana from its sheath. "My head is not a Christmas tree, Ero Cook!" he snarled.

"It sure looks like one, Moss-head!"

"Magic eyebrow!"

"Oh Christmas Tree, oh Christmas Tree!"

"RAAAAARGH!"

"What's all this noise about?" Robin inquired as she entered the galley, a book tucked under her arm. She paused at the door, blinking as she took in the site of Luffy and Chopper at Nami's feet, giving her puppy dog eyes, with Usopp behind them. Zoro and Sanji were paused in mid-attack at each other, both staring blankly at her. The navigator herself was rubbing her temples, apparently getting a headache from it all.

"Robin, Nami won't let us decorate the ship!" Luffy whined, being the first to speak up. "It won't be the same!"

The dark-haired women rose a perfectly arched eyebrow and glanced back at the navigator, whom shook her head. Robin just gave one of her mysterious smiles.

"Captain-san is right, Navigator-san. It wouldn't be same."

"See, even Robin agrees!" Chopper cried, and the chatter almost started again, but Nami cut them off.

"ALL RIGHT! ALL RIGHT! We'll decorate the ship!" Nami shrieked.

"…YOSH!" Luffy cheered, pumping his fist into the air. He, Chopper, and Usopp once again began to dance and sing. Zoro apparently settled down and simply glared at Sanji, whom had gone into random babblings about mistletoe once more.

"QUIET!" Nami cried, once again bringing about silence. "We have to BUDGET, all right? Six hundred and fifty-thousand belli…ah…that seems like too much…but if we split it, it should be enough, and it is Christmas…"

"I will budget with love, Nami-san!" Sanji crowed, while the rest of the crew gave mumbles of excited agreement. Conversations once again started up again until Luffy's voice rose above it all.

"OH, OH! Can we go shopping now? We gotta get a really big tree and cool lights and decorations and presents, presents, presents!" Luffy cried excitedly, jumping up and down. Chopper mimicked his excited babbling, clapping his hooves together.

Nami watched their excitement and sighed, shaking her head and smiling. "Oh, all right. Let's go."

Luffy's face spread into a grin and he punched his fist into the air. "YOSH! LET'S MAKE THIS THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!"

"AYE!"

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To Be Continued…

Will Shanks be able to complete his quest? Will the crew be able to find everything they're looking for when they're so close to Christmas? And…is that ACE as the village Santa?

Find out next time in part two of the Best Gift!