On firs in Japan

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Warnings/notes: drabble-ish shortie, written for Christmas.

Disclaimer: I don't own Weiss Kreuz.

written at 6th december 2005, by Misura

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"Is that a Christmas-tree?" Schuldich asks, for once breaking his rule to never kick in open doors - because he doesn't really expect that Crawford's going to shake his head and explain that no, the fir that's standing in their living-room, decked out in silver and red, isn't a Christmas-tree at all.

"Nagi likes it." Crawford sounds slightly peeved. Maybe he's a bit drunk; if he'd really expected Schuldich to dance around the room and go all nostalgic just because of a tree, Crawford is in dire need of having his head examined (preferably by a certain telepath who wouldn't use the opportunity to snoop around a little at all, of course). "Tot thinks it's fun."

Whoopee. The odd couple has approved. Schuldich wonders what will happen if he whines about nobody having inquired about -his- opinion, but he decides he's not curious enough.

"How about Farfarello?" If anyone can get away with thoroughly destroying Crawford's Christmas-tree without any serious consequences, it'll be Farfarello, Schuldich thinks. Being insane's very convenient when people try to blame you for something.

"Farfarello is still sulking about not being allowed to help decorate." Crawford doesn't smirk, Schuldich has to give him that much. It's a little unsettling to think that Brad Crawford, evil mastermind, would want to smirk because he's managed to decorate a living-room and a fir all by himself, but then again, Crawford wouldn't be Crawford if he wouldn't find a new way to unsettle Schuldich every week.

Schuldich supposes that it does explain the lack of taste; in typical American tradition, Crawford has spared no effort to transform the living room to a place that reminds Schuldich of his worst childhood nightmares, a world filled with plastic and fake.

Later this evening, he'll need to think about whether that makes Crawford more human, or less. At the moment, he has to find a way, any way, to avoid having to pass through this room any time he feels like grabing a snack from the kitchen, or watching TV with other people around. (Watching TV with Nagi around can actually be a lot of fun, especially when Schuldich tunes in to some romantic movie, and loudly expresses his opinions about the intelligence -or lack thereof- possessed by the main-characters and the people who wrote their dialogues.)

"Did I ever mention it's a German tradition to spend Christmas all by yourself?" Obviously, Schuldich doesn't expect Crawford to buy that kind of nonsense, not even for a split-second, yet Crawford has proved that, on occasion, he's not above taking a hint. Possibly, Schuldich's hint could have been a bit more subtle, but it's late, and he wants Crawford to understand him perfectly. (At least, he wants Crawford to be very much aware that if he forces Schuldich to put up with this sort of rubbish, Schuldich will be very unhappy, and likely do something to spoil the Christmas-mood.)

"No, I don't believe you ever did." Crawford's face is frozen in that expression that says he's not going to give even an inch. "Perhaps because you usually prefer to be truthful." A vague hint of a smile plays around Crawford's lips, though it might just be Schuldich's imagination. He knows Crawford remembers one of the many occasions on which Schuldich has spoken out loud what Crawford only thought.

They're a good team that way, and while it's nice to see Crawford acknowledging that every now and then, Schuldich isn't fooled into assuming that Crawford's going to let him escape the horrors of the living-room this December.

"Are you going to bully me into singing songs by the Christmas-tree, with Nagi and his bunny-girl?" Schuldich demands, putting a whine in his voice that indicates he's not wholly serious. Yet. "Doesn't that go against the spirit of the holidays?"

"Just a present will suffice. Nagi isn't overly fond of your singing voice, I believe." Crawford relaxes a little, which is a hopeful sign. "I don't foresee any jobs for the remainder of the year, by the way, so you should be at liberty to spend your days anywhere and anyway you want."

From someone else, that might have been a false concession, a bone thrown to a dog whose teeth are sharper than his wits. From Crawford, it's about the best Schuldich's going to get, even if he's learned by now that Crawford's gift isn't infallible, that even Crawford may use a word like 'unforeseen circumstances' in a report without lying through his teeth.

"Do we still have that small fridge lying around?" Schuldich knows he's pushing it, but he also knows that Crawford knows that he knows that, which means that Crawford will realize that this matter is of some importance to Schuldich.

"I've already had Nagi transport it to your room and plug it in." Crawford nearly smiles again. Schuldich concludes that Christmas has done something scary to his favorite uptight American, and that he'll have to find some way to use or abuse that during the next few days. "I also kept Tot from painting it over, or putting a few stickers on it to make it look less grey."

Schuldich supposes he should be at least a little pissed off at Crawford flaunting his precognition like this, and then cracking a joke on top of that, only his imagination insists on showing him what his room might be looking like right now if Tot had been given free rein to redecorate. True, Nagi was probably with her, but Nagi's spineless when it comes to Tot.

Theirs is the kind of love that makes Schuldich hate romantic comedies even more than he already does on principle, because they're the living proof that the stuff that happens in those movies, however unlikely, can actually happen in real life as well.

Staring into Crawford's eyes, Schuldich suddenly wonders why Crawford doesn't feel the same, or if he does, and simply doesn't let it show. Neither makes overly much sense, because Crawford may be great at lying to whoever thinks they're employing Schwarz, yet to everyone else, Crawford's about as honest as a man who doesn't legally exist can get.

"Is this where I say thanks?" Schuldich prefers not to question Crawford's sanity or IQ, since he knows that when Crawford says 'jump', he'll waste no time asking 'why?' or even 'how high?'. When Crawford says 'jump', Schuldich will jump, because over the years, he's grown to trust Crawford.

Being who and what he is, he'd rather bite off his tongue than admit that, which is probably a good thing, since Crawford's likely to freak out at Schuldich telling him something so sentimental. Crawford much prefers to deal with people who are either above emotions, like Nagi, until recently, beyond emotions, like Schuldich, or people whose mood changes every minute, like Farfarello. It's the only vice Schuldich has ever discovered Crawford to have.

"No, of course not." Crawford shakes his head, once. "This is where you ask me what sort of present you should get for Nagi, after which I hand you this list, and inform you that buying anything not on it will result in your allowance being cut in half for three months."

Schuldich accepts the list, spotting some items that surprise him - a manga about a singer and a writer hooking up, in spite of the writer being a total jerk, and the singer being a bubbly brat - and some that don't surprise him at all - a computergame in which the player can pretend to be a hero with superpowers who's on a mission to save the world.

"You're growing soft, Crawford. You used to think up punishments that were actually scary." Schuldich grins, carelessly shoving the piece of paper into a pocket of his trousers. There's a set of carkeys in there as well, which Crawford still doesn't seem to be aware of being missing from his wallet.

Maybe he does though, and is just too nice, or too tired of last year, to confront Schuldich about having borrowed his car a couple of nights. Schuldich figures that he'll give Crawford the advantage of doubt.

"And what about you?" Schuldich continues, because Crawford doesn't appear to have anything left to tell him. "Don't you have some list with gifts I can get you?"

Crawford's glasses can't quite hide the fact that Crawford's eyes widen ever so slightly, during a fraction of a second. Schuldich considers that a victory, which means he ought to feel like he can afford to be generous and, in fact, buy Crawford something from his list, as well as something that will amuse Schuldich a lot, and Crawford not at all.

"No, I don't." Crawford shrugs. "Do you?"

Schuldich wonders, just for a moment, if Crawford would actually buy him whatever he'd ask for. If he were to present Crawford with a list that'd only consist of, say, a motorcycle, would Crawford give it to him, purely for the sake of Christmas? It's a strange idea, one more suited for amusing daydreams and jokes than for the world Schuldich lives in.

"Nope." Schuldich shrugs. "I don't really believe in Christmas." He can't not add that; it wouldn't fit him at all not to take this last chance to voice his opinion, after Crawford has already given him what he wanted.

"Christmas is nothing more than what people make it to be." Crawford turns to adjust one of the decorations, depicting a little cherub blowing a trumpet, and Schuldich decides that he might as well get out of here.

OWARI