Hey everyone! I'm back with another KazuJuu fic! This one's inspired by a pic my sis drew (( http(colon-slash-slash)www(dot)deviantart(dot)com(slash)deviation(slash)55108613 )).
Anyway, Getbackers doesn't belong to me, and never will. ;D

Shogatsu
By Aquarius Galuxy

"Those two were best friends, long before they came to Infinite Castle."

-O-

Golden rays of sunlight shone from the clear azure sky, gently warming the compounds of the Japanese shrine. A wintry breeze picked up, winding languidly around the visitors to the shrine as they strolled into the ancient structure to pray for a good year ahead.

Juubei hurried towards the entrance of the shrine as quickly as he could in his simple brown kimono and geta, pausing near the top of the stone steps. Why were the Fuuchouins walking so slowly? His parents and sister followed behind the royal descendants, almost resigned at his brash enthusiasm. But then Kazuki caught his attention, a mischievous twinkle in his liquid hazel eyes.

Hope soared in his heart when the Fuuchouin turned to his father, chattering excitedly. That cheerful voice was muffled by the wind and the crowd around them – Juubei was left to wonder if they could head down the steps together, now that their shrine visit was done with.

The older Fuuchouin nodded to his son; the next thing Juubei knew, Kazuki was running towards him, neatly dressed in a flower-patterned kimono, white socks and geta similar to his. A lock of his hair was secured behind in a tortoiseshell comb; bells sounded in the wind, but the older boy could not tell where his charge had kept those twin weapons of his.

Yet all those did not really matter, because at that point in time, when Kazuki ran towards him, a small part of his mind couldn't help but wonder at how pretty the Fuuchouin looked. Even if he was a boy.

With a sudden awareness of his thoughts, Juubei coloured, averting his gaze instead to their fathers. The elder Fuuchouin wore an approving smile; his own father, however, gave him a look that bespoke of a silent warning to keep his charge safe. He nodded. Protecting the slight boy was his priority.

"Let's go, Kazuki," he said lightly, flashing a quick smile at his friend.

The Fuuchouin slowed to a walk before him, arms held loosely at his sides as he answered with a grin. "Hai."

Together, they made their way down the seemingly endless stone steps, where Juubei kept close to Kazuki's side, but not so that there was a lack of space for his friend.

He could feel the weight of the long needles in his sleeves, which would serve to protect Kazuki from harm, be it from physical attack or injury. Then it struck him that this was the first Shogatsu they were spending together. Furthermore, it was Kazuki's birthday. This was a joyous occasion, and he was spending it with the Fuuchouin, at least for now. A smile crept up his lips.

Spread in front of the shrine and the steps leading up to it were two long rows of shops, framed on either side by the rest of the village. A thick crowd was in the middle – from their height, those people seemed miniscule.

It wasn't too long before they reached the bottom of the stairs, where the crowd seemed the thickest. At this rate, they might be separated... A slight tinge of worry nagged at his mind, until he felt a slender hand grab his. The scent of flowers reached his nose. Kazuki was beside him, giving him a cheerful smile. "I won't lose you, Juubei."

Somewhere in the time they knew each other, his friend had dispensed with the formalities, settling for calling him Juubei, instead of Juubei-kun. Him, well, he'd never bothered to attach the same suffix to Kazuki's name, figuring that they would be as close as their fathers were one day. Still, the fact that Kazuki called him by name alone brought them yet closer, though just how close they would be in the future, he had no idea then.

It was thus that they walked, hand in hand, past the shops, barely catching glimpses of wooden roofs and thick cloth banners above the swarm of people. Further away from the shrine, though, the crowd thinned, granting them the sight of the intricacies of each stall, from takoyaki to toys, weaves, mochi and more traditional food. White paper lanterns were strung high above the shops, adding to the festive atmosphere.

Something small at the corner of a shop caught his eye. He turned to Kazuki, catching the friendly smile and curious gaze the younger boy cast at him. "Wait here for a moment, Kazuki. I'll be back really soon."

"Where're you going, Juubei?" There was a spark of interest in his friend's eyes.

He should have known that the Fuuchouin was too sharp to merely accept his words at face value. "Aaa, I saw something that looked interesting. Will you wait here for me?"

"Hai, hai."

He hadn't realised that their hands were still linked, until he made an effort to ease his own away. It made him smile, this closeness they shared.

At least he didn't need to worry about their getting parted, now that there weren't as many people around. Hurrying towards the decorated shop, Juubei lowered his gaze to the neat rows of white wood-and-paper fans, each bearing sakura patterns and the kanji for 'spring'. It would complete Kazuki's demure outfit so well...

"'Jii-san, how much is that fan?" the Kakei asked, pointing at one of those on display. Mentally he was counting how much his parents had given him as otoshidama, as they had done for Sakura. If he didn't have enough, well... Juubei bit on the inside of his lip.

"That'll be eight hundred yen," the old shopkeeper replied with a wizened smile. At that moment, Juubei felt as if he ought to thank the man with all his heart. The money he had received was just enough, and that he gladly handed over, attention fixed on the fan the old man had given him in return.

Kazuki had turned to gaze at the surrounding shops during the interval he was away, but when his feet pounded against the packed dirt ground, the younger boy shifted to face him.

"Here you go, Kazuki. I got this for you." He watched as realization dawned on his friend. Hazel eyes widened; lips parted; a slow intake of breath. There was, perhaps, nothing more beautiful than this.

"Thank you so much, Juubei!" Kazuki accepted his gift with both hands, the purest of smiles pulling at his lips. Juubei felt an elation that he could not quite begin to describe, only knowing that it made everything appear ten – no, a hundred – times more wonderful, and that caused him to want this moment to last forever.

Then he changed his mind. Maybe... just maybe, Kazuki's smile was the most beautiful thing that ever existed.

-X-

shogatsu - New Year
geta - Japanese traditional slippers
otoshidama - the money parents give their children during New Year (Kinda like the Chinese tradition as well)
takoyaki, mochi - Japanese traditional snacks

;D And for 800 yen a fan, I think Juubei's been cheated of his money. XD Methinks sometimes he's that gullible. So anyway, how was the fic?