[1. Christmas. For Citca-kun's competition. Prompt, Mistletoe. Because it's NeuroxYako, the blurb doesn't really apply. xD Thank you, Wikipedia.]


Christmas;

"Slave. Explain the purpose of this tasteless new lighting."

Yako looked up from the newspaper she was browsing to see Neuro gazing out the office windows with a curious frown on his face. She got up and went to stand next to him. Outside, the streets were crowned with bright, flashing lights – many molded into the shape of reindeer, big men in red suits, and noel trees. People walked below, often as couples arm in arm.

"Don't tell me you've never heard of Christmas before, Neuro. Trust a demon to be so clueless about human tradition......ok, ok, I'm sorry! Ok? I'll tell you about Christmas!!"

"I am already fully informed about this...Christmas." He sneered, rolling the word off his tongue as if it were something terribly insulting. "It is a tradition of pathetic humans buying pathetic gifts to give to other pathetic humans. Now tell me about the lights."

"...Fine, fine." She grumbled, hating how he managed to sound so superior even when there was something he didn't know. Neuro retracted his claws and waited expectantly.

"The lights...are just a decoration. ...That's it." Neuro reached for her face again. "I'm not lying!! There's no malicious intent, no mystery behind it! It's a tradition, just like how people buy gifts for each other each year. Shops use them to draw attention. It's not like people put them up to blind others! ...Um, like you may be thinking..."

Satisfied, Neuro withdrew his gaze from her, to instead examine the office walls. Yako went back to the newspaper, muttering, "I can't believe I said that...I've been spending too much time around Neuro..."

But she was interrupted yet again.

"Slave, as punishment for being so vague in your explanation, you will pay for our purchases."

"What? That's not – wait, what are we buying? Neuro!"

...

...

"...and that's what you put on top of your Christmas tree. Some people put a star."

Neuro held the angel figurine in his hand, inspecting the white wings on its back. He placed it on top of the mini Christmas tree displayed in the store, then grabbed another and pulled off the wings. "Here maggot, Merry Christmas."

"Neuro! I'm not paying for that one!" Yako hissed, trying to shield it from the store clerk. "Don't vandalize the goods!"

"Nonsense. I'm merely going to demonstrate how you humans do have your moments of intelligence."

"Huh?"

He grinned, knocking her to the ground with a delicate gut punch. "Oh, sensei, you don't have to worship the ground I stand upon simply because I so generously gave you a gift!" With one foot, he knocked the wingless angel from her hand and crushed it underfoot.

"See, Yako," He said, bending down, "that was you."

Knowing where he was going with this, Yako only huffed and tried to subtly sweep the dented figurine underneath the tables. Pointing to the angel on top of the tree, Neuro continued, leaning close to whisper, "and that, is me. These clever humans know to put the winged beings at the top of the hierarchy. Maybe you humans are evolving, hm?"

Yako turned her face away, for the first time feeling discomfit by his closeness. She wasn't sure why, it's not like she had minded much before. Maybe it was his face, filled with a strange anticipation, looking so intently upon her. Maybe it was the heat she felt burning her ear from where his hair had brushed past. Or maybe it was because she had suddenly realized that she had never seen him brush his teeth.

"Yeah, if you say so." She allowed, picking herself up off the floor.

"Wow, Sensei, I never knew you liked dirty, dusty floors so much! Shall I make the office floor as dirty as possible too, so you may rub your face so happily over it as well?"

Yako's only possible response was a muffled grunt.

Out of the corner of her (probably bruised, by now) eye, she saw his arm reach down and pluck something bushy and red from under the table. She dearly hoped it wasn't something rotting that was about to meet her face, intimately. She exhaled in slight relief as she felt the pressure on her head lift.

"What is a twig of shrubbery doing in a store predominantly synthetic? Slave."

Yako sat up at last, only to have leaves of the sharp, pointy variety shoved in her face.

She sighed, rubbing her cheek in her usual all-suffering manner. "That's mistletoe. It's another decoration people use. It must've fallen from the roof and gotten trodden over. Accidentally, unlike something else I could name..."

"Mistletoe...hm." Yako glanced up at him, watching as his face turned contemplative, as if he were searching his memory banks for something. "Mistletoe. Hmph. Why use a plant such as this? Why not poison ivy?"

"People wouldn't use that for festive decoration! ...anyway, mistletoe has a sort of tradition surrounding it too."

She paused, reluctant to go on. Neuro smiled, playfully wriggling one hooked finger an inch from her eye to encourage her.

"People...well, people...when two people meet under a sprig of mistletoe, er, it's tradition that they've got to...um, kiss." She managed to finish, fervently hoping he didn't ask any more questions. It was particularly embarrassing to tell Neuro about this sort of thing. Even though, judging from his bored expression, he was clearly unperturbed. Which kind of annoyed her, in a way.

"Hmph. I must admit, you humans have a knack for making up these 'traditions' to get your way."

"It's not like most of us want to! ...well, ok, a lot of people like this particular tradition. But I certainly don't. Kanae didn't help, always trying to trick me into getting kissed...anyway, we don't need it. Let's move on, Neuro. ...Neuro?"

Neuro's lips curved wickedly, hand now holding an entire clump of the aforementioned plant. Yako felt her stomach drop.

"...let's not buy it."

"We will buy this."

"Let's not."

"Only your money is needed. Your agreement is not necessary. Hand me the wallet. Or would you rather I rifle about your person to obtain it?"

"A-Alright, here! Take it."

The wallet was snatched excitedly from her hand, and as Yako watched Neuro grab more decorations with an almost childish fervor, she couldn't help but smile.

...

...

Yako glanced about the room, sipping carefully at her hot mug of tea. She had been kicked out of the office when they had arrived back, his reason being that he wanted to try this decorating thing himself, and it was an hour later that he let her back in.

Of course she was suspicious! With Neuro, nothing was ever pure and simple. But so far, he had imitated the tradition well. And a hot mug of tea on a cold night always made her feel better.

Neuro had done a pretty good job decorating, although there certain things that were clearly out of place....like that three-horned reindeer goring a fat person with a familiar female face and yellow lights as hair. She would have to talk to him about that. As her gaze crept about the office, she realized there was something missing.

"By the way...just curious, but where did you put the mistletoe?" So I know where to avoid.

To her surprise, Neuro sniggered, grabbed a book from the shelf and began reading a passage.

"...Mistletoe. A poisonous plant that causes acute gastrointestinal problems including stomach pain, and diarrhea." He shut the book and turned, beaming. "I hope you're enjoying that tea, Yako."