Disclaimer – I do not own Ayatsuri Sakon. Sequal to 'A Plotting We Shall Go', but it isn't needed to read that.

Merry Christmas

After having plotted at the café, the four people came up with an idea to get Sakon a girlfriend. It was not the most thought out idea, but that was what happens when one has two teenagers, a child and an adult who was into romance get together to plot something. Each had their own ideas and none thought it would work, so they settled on Sayoko's idea because it had to be done before the holidays were over.

Sayoko had come up with the fact that Sakon would be hard to get a girlfriend when he had little interaction with girls and even had problems talking to them without Ukon. Sayoko's idea was to throw a small Christmas party for Sakon and the friends he had made. They would then hide some mistletoe somewhere in the room and hope that things would work out.

It was to be held at Kaoruko's place as she was an adult and holding it at the Tachibana household was out of the question because they did not wish to bother Saemon and Chizuru. This was expesully so since Saemon wasn't for foreign traditions. It wasn't that he was completely against the traditions; he just did not want to have anything to do with them. Expesully since he felt that many of Sakon's generation were forgetting the old traditions of the country.

Shiho and Sayoko went over to Kaoruko's place to with the decorations they had found and were helping her decorate the main room of the apartment. They hung up a couple of wreathes and garland was strung around the room. Kaoruko was trying her hand at baking cookies and was being quite successful, but that was no surprise as she loved food. She was also making up a non-alcoholic punch for the party.

Zenkichi came to the apartment with a small box, along with the presents he had brought for everyone. He opened the box and showed the two sprigs of Mistletoe. Shiho walked over and looked at the box. "Why are they plastic and why are their two there?"

Zenkichi shrugged his shoulders. "The plastic kind was cheaper and we can reuse it, plus I can use it again for something, even if it isn't for Christmas. I don't just do photography for photojournalism you know. I also do it for asthetic appeal. Much like Sakon and his puppetry."

"But why two?" Shiho glared at him. "I don't recall the need for two."

"You need to ask Sayoko, she has a plan for it." Zenkichi again shrugged his shoulders. He held up one of the strands. "What I do know is that one of these needs to go somewhere where it will be of most use. I trust you with that Shiho as you are quite sneaky and a major tomboy."

"What is that supposed to mean." Shiho snapped at him, snatching the Mistletoe from his hand.

"I didn't mean anything negative from it. It is just that unlike most other girls who are all about looks, you actually have a brain on those shoulders of yours." Zenkichi began to stack the wrapped packages onto a small table that had been covered for that purpose. Sayoko suddenly came in and snatched the other piece of mistletoe, sticking it into her pocket.

"What are you going to do with that Sayoko?" Shiho asked her.

Sayoko grinned mischieviously. "Just wait and see."

"Why don't I like the look of that? She's only eight years old and she's already ploting about boys." Zenkichi shuddered.

"You are just afraid of girls." Shiho said, sticking her tounge out at him. "Also, it may not be what you think. Sayoko is a sweetheart."

"I am not afraid of girls. I just don't get tomboys." Zenkichi stated, only to get slapped by Shiho.

"So what you said wasn't a compliment at all!" Shiho snapped. She glared at him and stormed over to the kitchen where Kaoruko was pulling out the cookies. "Zenkichi… I will never get him!"

"I don't get most men at my work. They always give me chocolates at Christmas. Yet they know that none of them are my type." Kaoruko carefully began to use a spatuala to put the cookies on a cooling rack. "Even if this doesn't work, this should be nice for Sakon to be with people he knows."

"What do you mean, if it doesn't work? You have your doubts?" Shiho stared at Sakon's aunt.

"Don't get me wrong Shiho, but we are talking about Sakon here. I am not saying that I think he is going to be hopeless when it comes to getting a girlfriend, though I do tease him every so often about it, I am one to talk. What I am saying is, I don't think that Sakon is going to fall for this as cute as Sayoko's idea is. And romantic too."

"You have a reason for saying this, don't you?" Shiho looked at her, hoping she didn't have a reason.

"Yeah, I do. Sakon and Ukon, they have solved very many mysteries together. Sakon, that boy, he has an eye for detail that even I have to grudgingly admit that I don't have. But don't tell my rival at work that. He is always trying to find some way to make me look bad because I am a female." Kaoruko bit into a cookie.

"You have a point. I can try to hide the mistletoe, but there is no way that he wouldn't figure out where it is. But I might as well try." Shiho shook her head.

"I know of another reason why this might not work." Zenkichi said, coming over to them. "Most of the girls invited, they may have no boyfriend, for all I can tell, but what I can tell, they are all older then him."

"This makes me glad my sister's aren't going to be here. They are horrible flirts and wouldn't mind taking advantage of him even though he is much younger then the two of them. I didn't tell them about it and I also told them I wasn't coming home for the winter break because I had studying to do before I entered the high school. They thought I was crazy." Shiho commented.

"You two go and start putting the food out and help Sayoko. I am going to go eat some of the chocolates I received at the work Christmas party." Kaoruko disappeared to go find her boxes.

"She received chocolates and she's still single?" Zenkichi spoke up.

"Your forgetting that major break up she had with her fiancé, the one Sakon put behind bars." Shiho commented. "Kaoruko is looking for someone who can accept who she is, even if it means she is a police officer. From what I hear, many of the guys look down on her."

About thirty minutes passed and Kaoruko came back out of her room holding a box. "I really can't wait to open presents!"

This caused Sayoko, Shiho and Zenkichi to wince, as she was more chipper then usual. She continued to speak. "It is amazing what the holidays can do to you! The old man, he is such a spoil sport, but I'd love to give him a Christmas present once, to show that I love my father. But no, he's not into foreign traditions. Also, what do you get someone who's interest is only in puppets! Or the crazy grandson of his… he can't see that Sakon needs more!"

"Are you all right Ms. Tachibana?" Sayoko asked, looking concerned.

"No Ms. I am not that old," Kaoruko commented.

"But you're Sakon's aunt." Shiho commented, looking concerned also. Zenkichi snorted out laughter. "What is so funny, she is his Aunt."

"Yes, I am his Aunt. But… I am only eight years older. He's more like a baby brother." Kaoruko hiccupped. Zenkichi's eyes went wide.

"How is that possible?" Shiho shook her head.

"There is sixteen years difference between Kaoruko's age and Sakon's mother." Zenkichi commented. "The few times I did visit the Tachibana house hold, Kaoruko would be chasing Sakon around trying to get Ukon away from him, making comments that boys shouldn't play with dolls… expesully when friends came over. That was one of the reason Sakon and I never got close until recently when we met up at the University and were both taking classes even though we're young to be there."

"I take it no one has until now been able to get real close to Sakon, have they?" Shiho commented. She then glanced at Kaoruko's box of chocolates and groaned. "No wonder she is acting that way. Those are those special liquor chocolates."

"So, Ms. Tachibana is drunk?" Sayoko asked carefully.

Kaoruko looked at her box and pulled off the label and chirped excitedly. "It's no wonder he wanted me to eat them in front of everybody! He was hoping, as he always does, that I would look like a fool in front of the boss! I sure showed him!"

"Her rival I take it," Shiho mumbled. "I thought she was here to be the adult."

"Don't worry, Kisaragi-sensei is coming." Zenkichi stated. "He'll be able to keep an eye on things."

"Who's this Kisaragi-sensei?" Shiho asked. Sayoko was excited to know too.

"He was one of Sakon and my teachers back in Elementary school. He told both of us that we could make our lives into anything we wanted to do. He's a curator of a museum now." Zenkichi smiled. "He understood Sakon better then anyone."

"I know Kisaragi. He was framed for the museum murders. I didn't want to upset Sakon, so I gave him and the crazy red head so much time before I made my arrest official. I'm glad Sakon pulled through, even though it made me look bad. I don't see Sakon be happy enough." Kaoruko hiccupped.

"You're not being a very good role model for me, but it isn't your fault." Sayoko spoke up. She helped Sakon's aunt to the couch.

"Nah, I am being a good role model. A good role model of what not to do," Kaoruko laughed.

"And Sakon's going to wonder what happened to his aunt…" Shiho said, shaking her head. The doorbell rand and Zenkichi hurried to the door.

"Sensei!" Zenkichi said happily. "It is good to see you!"

"And I am glad that you and Sakon are friends. I have a feeling that not many of the student did get to really know him." The old man spoke up, a smile on his face.

"Oi, it's the guy from the museum!" Kaoruko chirped.

"Whatever is the matter with her?" Kisaragi spoke up, glaring at Kaoruko with venum. He didn't like the fact that she seemed drunk.

"One of my colleuges from work gave me chocates, the liquor kind." Kaoruko spoke up. "The slime ball, he wanted me to eat them at the party to make a fool of himself. He's mad I got the position and I am a female. He's made comments that I should just quit and marry him, like a good little girl.

Kisaragi's face softened. "I see. I guess that means I am the adult here. But that is fine with me. He put added a couple of packages to the pile of presents. I appolojize that I have only presents for Sakon and Zenkichi, but I don't know any one else other then Ms. Tachibana."

"I am not Sakon's mother," Kaoruko retorted.

"Yes, I know your not. This isn't meant to sound rude, but your sister wanted to push Sakon to remain in school and get an education." Kisaragi spoke up.

"Oh, I know it. She still argues with the old man about it. She won't argue with Sakon about it. Go figure!"

"Isn't that what most teacher's want from their students, to see them get an education," Shiho asked. She was very confused about the whole situation.

"Sakon's dream was puppetry, it has been since he can remember." Kisaragi spoke up. "It isn't as if I was telling him not to do something useful with his talents."

"Not to mention the way Sakon was bullied at school," Zenkichi stated shaking his head. The doorbell rang and he went and let Mai in, who bowed her head.

"Yeah, I never could forget all the times that he would come home beat up. Ukon too. If Ukon would have just spoken up back then, it would have saved a lot of trouble. I think Ukon could have beaten those kids up. I am sure of it," Kaoruko piped up.

"Considering that Ukon is afraid of things and screams like a girl, I doubt he would." Shiho comented. "Oh, and did I mention that the puppet is a pervert."

"Ahh, he is the exact opposite of Sakon, is he not? Kind of like their names." Kisaragi spoke up.

"Yes, my nephew's wonderful split personality. He is such a nice, kind boy, I don't get where Ukon's attitude comes from. I mean, we didn't raise him that way." Kaoruko commented.

"Yes, well… he did have you for an example. Ouch!" Zenkichi rubbed the back of his head where Sakon's aunt had hit him.

"So, why exactly did you plan this? I see that you've placed the mistletoe in a nice spot." Kisaragi spoke up. Shiho frowned at this. She didn't bother to look where he indicated. "I don't think Sakon would miss it. He's a very bright young man."

"We're trying to get Sakon a girlfriend." Sayoko piped up. She pulled the mistletoe from her pocket and waggled it for a bit then put it back.

"I see. I don't think there are many people who would put up with Ukon. Because if they can't, then there is no way that Sakon would even think about dating them. Except… there was one girl back in the elementary class with Sakon and Zenkichi, do you remember her?" Zenkichi shook his head in confusion to what Kisaragi was saying.

"Yes, well, it was rather one sided anyways. She ended up being like the other kids at school, which was ironic because she seemed to be somebody Sakon trusted and knew before he started school, but it backfired." Kisaragi continued. "She moved that year too."

After awhile, the other guests other then Sakon and Ukon had arrived. Mai the young actress was there and had brought some more food. Hazuki came with a small puppet that she had made a special Christmas outfit for. The puppet looked a lot like her. Everyone was then waiting for the young puppeteer to show up with Ukon.

When it finally did happen, the first thing that happened was Sakon removed Ukon from his box. Ukon stretched and made a very strange noise as he yawned. "It is so good to be out of my box after being cramped for so long.

Shiho watched as Sakon glanced around, taking in everything around him. He paused as his eyes came to rest on where the mistletoe was and then moved to sit down beside his aunt, pruposly walking way around the spot. Shiho glared at him and silently fumed.

"Well, now that everyone is here, I guess that it is time to unwrap the presents." Zenkichi said excitedly, rubbing his hands. Everyone laughed at this. There weren't many packages to go around. Zenkichi had made copies of some of his photographs for everyone. Kisaragi had gotten both of the two boys pictures of the three of them and Ukon from one of the class photographs. There were other packages too.

Sayoko then brought up her package to Sakon and Ukon. Zenkichi blew out his cheeks. Shiho pulled on his ear and whispered into it with annoyance. "She had those packages wrapped before she got here. It defiantly is not what you think."

Sakon allowed Ukon to open the package with flourish. The redhaired puppet pulled out two cloth things. "What are these?"

"Oh, I know." Hazuki spoke up excitedly. "Those are hand puppets. It looks like one would be able to fit on your hand Ukon. How cute!"

"They're the first fully made puppets I've ever made." Sayoko commented. "Grandfather is letting me carve wood, but he suggested starting with those to get started with full puppets."

Kisagagi's ears perked up. "I take it your grandfather makes puppets?"

"And fixed them too!" Sayoko responded. "He fixed Ukon when he wasn't feeling well. That's when I met O-ni-chan. Let's just say, he was very lost."

Everyone laughed at that. Suddenly Sayoko pulled out the mistletoe from her pocket and held it over Ukon's head. She then kissed him on the cheek. "Merry Christmas Ukon."

Shiho pulled on Zenkichi's ear again. "See, I told you!"

"Yes, well… it is time for snacks, no?" Zenkichi stood up and began to walk to the kitchen. Everyone's face fell except for Sakon's. He paused for a second, then spoke up again. "What exactly is the matter."

"You are under the mistletoe." Sakon responded nonchalantly. "You know what the tradition of mistletoe is, don't you?"

Zenkichi paled. Ukon laughed and spoke up. "I am so not kissing you."

The girls just looked at each other and Kaoruko held up her hands and shook her head no. Shiho then stood up and went to Zenkichi. "Oh, fine. I will. It isn't that big of a deal."

She gave him a quick peck on the lips and then sat back down. Zenkichi was turning red. "Can we please take that stuff down?"

"You take it. I don't know who's idea it was anyways." Shiho responed, not looking at him. The other two girls did though look at him.

"It wasn't my idea!" Zenkichi said as he took down the mistletoe, but it didn't look like they were going to believe him.

"It was my idea." Sayoko stated. "I found out about it from Mariko at school and she said her parents had it at their parties. It seemed like fun."

"You didn't tell us that was where the idea came from Sayoko," Shiho shook her head in astonishment. "Well, anyways, it is a very merry Christmas, no?"

Everyone couldn't help but agree.

Author's notes – Yes, I know this is posted in March and not December, but when someone comes up with an idea, they come up with an idea. Mariko is and OC from Sayoko's Puppet, and she and Sayoko are not friends, but are classmates.