Of Christmas And Presents
From The Unveiling…
"So Taka-san, what's your present?" Oishi asked.
"Oh? Um, this," Kawamura replied and he held out a rectangular casing for them to see. In it was an ornamental dagger. One from the shop Inui had seen Fuji in, not that Inui or Fuji had told anyone about there meeting. Furthermore, there was an engraving on the metal blade. It showed a person in a karate pose, surrounded by a halo that looked much like fire.
"Fuji gave this to me," he added, before suddenly realizing something, "Oh no! I haven't thanked him yet!" He started to look around for the tensai.
"Fuji!" Oishi called loudly to help Kawamura after he noticed that the brunet was no longer amongst their group.
But he received no answer…
"Eh? Fujiko-chan!" Eiji called when he realized that Fuji was not answering Oishi. That was rather strange for Fuji. "Saa, where could he have gone to…? Hoi! There he is!"
Eiji then pointed in the general direction of a table furthest from where the other regulars were. And true enough; their missing friend was standing there with his back facing them. The group of regulars, minus Tezuka, made their way towards Fuji, curious to know why he had not answered their calls.
"Hoi, Fuji! Why didn't you answer us? Nya? Fuji? Fuji?" Eiji had clapped his hands on Fuji's back when he reached the boy. But the action had not prompted a reply of any sort from his friend. So in slight worry, he had shaken his friend's shoulders.
But there was still no reply.
"Hey, Fuji. Are you okay?" Oishi asked, his forehead starting to crease in worry due to his friend's unresponsiveness.
"Fuji-sempai… Is anything wrong?" Momo asked too.
Neither of them received any form of reply from the motionlessly standing boy. It was as if Fuji had been frozen there and couldn't answer them. Or he had gone into a deep trance that they couldn't break. Either way, it was unnerving the group. Well, besides Inui who, as usual, was noting everything down, although one would notice that he did not look that into his task when compared to any other time.
"Ne Momo-sempai, look over there," Ryoma suddenly said as he tapped his senior on the arm. His golden eyes were focused on a figure standing near the doorway. It was a vaguely familiar figure to him…
"Huh? What?" Momo asked, but did as he was told. His violet eyes widened in surprise. "Hey, isn't that…?"
That question, though directed not to anyone else but Ryoma, was the one that finally induced an almost disbelieving response out of Fuji:
"Yuuta… Is… is it really you?"
Fuji Syuusuke knew that he had perfect eyesight. He knew that even with his eyes more than half-closed he could see everything around him clearly. Sometimes he saw things that even people with their eyes always wide open could not see. He knew that, he was 100 sure about it, that his eyes were currently fully open. Wide open. It was the widest he had ever opened his eyes in public, which meant that his sight was not impaired by anything at all.
He was also positive that there was no spiked punch or any such alcoholic drink on the buffet table from earlier. That meant he was certainly still very much sober. But was it possible that, despite such circumstances, he was hallucinating?
Fuji knew he could ask Inui about it, but his body firmly refused to comply. Instead, he was rooted to the floor; sapphire orbs staring fixedly at the familiar figure of his younger brother standing near the hall's doorway.
Yuuta is here? Is this real?
"Hello, aniki," Yuuta's voice traveled into his ears.
That seemed to do the trick for Fuji. His feet regained their ability to move, he was aware that the regulars were all gathered behind him, his eyes drew back to their seemingly closed position and most of all, he was conscious of the somewhat awkward but certainly genuine smile on his brother's face. Now, to say that Fuji was happy at his brother's appearance was a severe understatement. He was ecstatic and very pleasantly surprised. Fuji then moved forwards until he was of a reasonable distance from Yuuta. He vaguely thought he heard Oishi direct the others not to follow him.
"Yuuta, why are you here? When did you arrive?" Fuji asked. "I thought… I thought you would be returning to St. Rudolph after dinner… Nee-san told me so…" He had never expected to see his younger brother here in Seigaku, especially at such a time and on such a special occasion too. Of course, it also hadn't occurred to him that his elder sister could have lied to him.
"I was going to return to St. Rudolph – there was going to be a countdown to Christmas too – but I changed my mind. Okaa-san and Nee-san asked me to bring these for you and your teammates. There's raspberry pie and apple crumble. Oh and I arrived at midnight, or at least I entered the hall at midnight," Yuuta replied carefully as he held up a bag that was containing the above-mentioned food. He was going to let his brother figure out why he was really here by himself.
"Midnight?" Fuji repeated, eyebrows furrowing. Now why did that ring a bell in his mind?
Midnight… Midnight… Fuji's eyes snapped open suddenly as one thought hit him: My present! That was it, wasn't it? Having Yuuta to come and surprise him was his Christmas present from… from whom? "You were asked to come here, right?" he asked, just to be sure.
"Well… yeah. But I can't tell you whom." That's fast, Yuuta thought. But his brother wasn't called a tensai for nothing.
"Aa," Fuji replied absently as he turned around to look at his teammates.
He could rule out Oishi, Eiji, Ryoma and Inui. Probably Kaidou too, if he remembered it correctly. For it was at about that time when he realized there was a person standing near the doorway and that person was his otouto. Everything after that was pretty much a blur. He now let his eyes roam the faces of his teammates. Most of them seemed surprised to see Yuuta. The only one not showing any form of reaction was…
"Tezuka," Fuji whispered as the realization hit home.
Turning to gesture for Yuuta to come further inside, Fuji then set off – almost running – to cover the distance to where Tezuka was sitting, flipping through the book Kawamura gave him. As Fuji closed the gap, he noted that Tezuka's eyes were roaming the pages, but they seemed to be going at a speed much too fast for anything to be absorbed by his brain. It seemed that Tezuka was actually nervous. Fuji knew that their team captain was definitely human, but sometimes, it made one wonder – just ever so slightly – that maybe he was alwaysthat sure of himself.
But why would Tezuka be nervous about this? Fuji could not fathom the slightest reason why his captain would. Was Tezuka afraid that he wouldn't like it? That was so blatantly illogical and quite laughable. Quoting something Inui might say, he would be 110 happier than usual if Yuuta came to visit him on a special occasion. But it didn't matter. Fuji would thank Tezuka for arranging for his younger brother's surprise visit. This would be one Christmas Fuji would never forget.
As Fuji brushed past the rest of the regulars with Yuuta following slowly behind, Inui was the first to come to the conclusion that Fuji's younger brother's appearance was Fuji's Christmas present. Oishi was the next to realize this, whilst the rest of the regulars took about a minute longer to collectively understand the situation. Unanimously, the seven of them followed after the Fuji brothers, wanting to hear more.
The bespectacled teen looked up almost too quickly (perhaps he could even say it was rather impatiently) when his name was called by the soft, lilting voice of one Fuji Syuusuke. He did not fail to notice that Fuji's eyes were open and that Yuuta plus the rest of the regulars were standing almost right behind the brunet. However, Tezuka ignored everyone else and merely gazed at Fuji, silently asking him to continue speaking.
A true smile with his sapphire blue eyes open, shining with joy and gratitude.
The genuine smile – with eyes clearly open no less – caught Tezuka entirely off guard. He hadn't expected such a gesture… it meant a lot more than words could effectively express. He had never seen Fuji smile like that before, and part of his mind whispered to him that nobody else had to have seen such an expression on Fuji before. His blue eyes were especially dazzling in a way not even Kikumaru's could match. Tezuka realized that amid the heaven-like décor of the hall, with that smile of his, Fuji's appearance was really one of an angel. Why doesn't he show his eyes more often? Tezuka thought absentmindedly. Though perhaps… it might be a good thing.
Fuji would be able to knock out even the most stoic of people with those eyes of his.
But Tezuka found that he really wouldn't mind seeing them more often in any other scenario.
"Arigatou, Tezuka," Fuji said quietly as he inclined his head downwards. "Thank you so much. That was my best Christmas present ever."
For once, Tezuka didn't know how to reply to this show of gratitude and the obvious happiness that Fuji was displaying. The usual given replies when one is thanked seemed much too bland, too ordinary to fit the current scene. But he couldn't keep silent, even though words seemed rather insufficient to express anything at the moment, for it would be just plain rude or it could be viewed as arrogance. Tezuka didn't want either interpretation to occur. And so, he did something that not even Inui would have predicted in spite of his data.
And enjoyed the faces of shock the simple action garnered from all his teammates and Yuuta.
"Don't mention it, Fuji," he then said simply as soon as Fuji regained his composure that had been lost when he had first smiled (although it was just a slight upturning of the corners of his lips) in return.
A strange hush descended as Tezuka and Fuji continued to just look at each other, no further words being exchanged among the duo. The soft smile on Tezuka's face stayed in place long after it was probably needed, as did Fuji's. Nobody dared to do anything to break this rather intimate moment. There was no telling what could happen. Fuji was extremely unpredictable and they had all learnt about his reputation to be sadistic when he wanted to be. As for Tezuka… Well, nobody was insane enough to want to run laps out on a cold winter night, though technically speaking; it was a cold winter dawn.
Somehow knowing that the Seigaku Regulars would not be doing anything to disrupt this silence, Yuuta proceeded on his own. He brought out the raspberry pie and apple crumble from their respective containers. Both desserts had already been carefully cut into slices and Yuuta noted that there was just enough for everyone present, despite a minor miscalculation by his mother and elder sister in the number of people that would be present. Holding the containers in his hands, he went up to his brother and tapped him gently on the shoulders.
It took Fuji a second or so longer than he usually would have to respond to his younger brother. "Mm? Yuuta?"
"You should distribute these, aniki. There's enough for everyone."
"Aa. Thanks, Yuuta," Fuji replied as he took the containers. He gently set them down on the nearest table and opened them up.
The sight of food seemed to rouse everyone from his apprehensive watchfulness of the scene. Momo, typically, was the first to start to gaze at the pies longing. Everything then reverted back to normal when Fuji gestured for everyone – inclusive of Ryuuzaki-sensei, Sakuno and Horio – to come and eat the dessert. Despite it being so late already as well as the possibility of getting indigestion if they ate any more, nobody passed up the chance to taste the raspberry pie and apple crumble. It was said that these desserts made by the two females in the Fuji family were especially tasty.
There were sighs of appreciation and verbal compliments as the first few bites were taken of each dessert. Some of them enjoyed it so much that they tried to steal seconds from the others. The first one to try was obviously Momo, but Ryoma turned him down with all his usual sassiness and cockiness injected into the simple word 'no'. The resulting disappointed expression on the boy's face was priceless and Fuji had hurriedly whipped out his camera to imprint it into the memory card before Momo could protest.
Next, and last, to attempt it was Eiji. He, however, chose a different target that was easier to persuade than Ryoma – Oishi. The teen, still in his cat costume though sans whiskers, padded up to his doubles partner, bent slightly so he was around the same height as Oishi was when sitting and then purred to get attention.
When Oishi looked up at the sound, all he saw with Eiji's face in an almost irresistible begging expression, the cat ears making him look all the more endearing. There was no doubt about what Eiji wanted – the half of the apple crumble he still had. Oishi tried to say no (because he really liked the dessert too), but the pout that formed on Eiji's face was too much for him to make himself disappoint his friend.
"Thank you nya! Oishi!" Eiji said joyfully as Oishi surrendered the remaining apple crumble to him with an affectionate smile that clearly said 'just-what-do-I-do-about-you?'
A sudden flash of bright light alerted them that Fuji had just taken a picture of that particular scene. Fuji tilted his head to the side with a smile as they looked at him, abashed. Then he spoke a little cheekily, "Don't worry, I'll give the photograph to you once it's developed so you can add it to that album of yours, Oishi."
After all the deserts were finished, Ryuuzaki-sensei decided that it was rather late. Or at least it was much later than she had originally intended for this celebration cum Christmas party to end. She ordered everyone, with the exception of Yuuta, to clear up any trash on the floor and to push in all the chairs at the table. So they all set to work, including Yuuta who decided to help regardless of Ryuuzaki-sensei insisting that he was a guest. Kawamura took the opportunity to thank Fuji for the ornamental dagger. It took about ten more minutes before the place was tidied to Ryuuzaki-sensei's satisfaction.
Oishi then suggested that the regulars take a group photograph with their coach to remember the occasion. So, Fuji passed his camera to Yuuta who became their 'cameraman' with Sakuno and Horio watching from the sides. The suggestion to take a single photo eventually turned out to include several more shots for somebody was always out of position at the point Yuuta pressed the 'Capture' button. It took about five more shots to get in one that everyone decided was satisfactory.
Then Tezuka asked if Yuuta would like to take a photo with the Seigaku regulars since he was also part of the celebration. Yuuta's first thought was to decline the offer, but he changed his mind at the barely concealed hopeful look he received from his brother and nodded his agreement. Eiji, who was on one side of Fuji, automatically made space for Yuuta to slot himself beside his elder brother. After handing the camera to Ryuuzaki-sensei, Yuuta then joined the Seigaku Regulars, standing next to his brother.
A few more pictures later, everyone was all ready to return home. Now that the previous hype was gone, they were thoroughly worn out and several of them were already trying to stifle their yawns. Oishi took the opportunity to persuade Eiji to remove his cat ears and tail to much success as the other boy was too tired to really put up a good protest.
Eying the regulars, Ryuuzaki-sensei wisely decided it would be safer if they left in groups or pairs as it was late and they were getting sleepy. Therefore, those that happened to live in the vicinity of each other were naturally grouped together.
Kawamura was to send Horio back home first, whilst Oishi and Eiji would be going home together. Tezuka and the Fuji brothers would be leaving together. Inui was specially instructed to accompany the group that consisted of Momoshiro, Kaidou and Ryoma before going home for there was bound to be some conflict if the three were left on their own. It would be either Momo or Kaidou who would start the conflict, but Ryoma wouldn't be able to stop them easily, if he even bothered to in the first place. Besides, the trio was the youngest three on the team and it would be safer if a senior were there. But one wondered whether Inui would cut the fight short or use the opportunity to collect more data. As they say, old habits die hard.
Bidding each other goodbye with yawns punctuating almost every alternate word for some, the groups left their school grounds and went their separate ways home. As each group departed, their thoughts inadvertently lingered on the Christmas party and the Secret Santa game. This particular experience wasn't one that any of them would forget easily for many different reasons.
Especially and definitely not for a particular brown-haired, blue eyed senior who was walking home with his surprise and his 'Santa'.
Merry Christmas everyone! This story is finally complete too! Mou... Many of you guessed that Fuji's present was Yuuta. Well, Yuuta is. Teehee. Sigh... I want to see Fuji smiling with his eyes open! I love his eyes! They're gorgeous!
Hope all of you enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed writing it! Though I think the ending wasn't that good...