Darker than Black Christmas Carol:

Chapter one

Christmas Eve had fallen upon the year. The city of Tokyo was doused in thick falling snowflakes, and sparkling lights decorated along the buildings of Shibuya shined brightly in the night. Pedestrians were bundled up in sweaters, thick jackets, gloves, boots and scarves, but the layers were useless against the brittle air. A few of them were trying to balance gifts stacked up over their heads, or prayed his or her stuffed bags wouldn't rip.

Most of the motorist drove slowly through the slush on the roads, but there were others that were blazing by. A red SUV had skidded through a red light and collided with a sports car. A woman and her son would have been plowed into by a vehicle that was making a sharp turn too fast if it weren't for the railings.

Hei and Yin walked amongst the many beings, Hei presented in his usual green coat, and Yin wearing a warm black coat with a purple liner over her dress. She had her arms wrapped around her to keep warm as much as possible, while Hei walked slumped over, ignoring the cold, with his hands in his jean pockets.

Hei hated this time of the year. Besides Yin, he had nobody to celebrate Christmas with. He had had his sister when they lived in China, but that had been years ago. The memory he had of their last Christmas together with their parents was a pleasant one. A few months later his parents were killed, which landed him and his sister in the custody of the Syndicate. During his time in South America, there had never been time to exchange gifts with anyone, and most of them were Contractors who could care less. One had come to Hei and had said, "Bah, humbug!" Hei felt like saying the word, but he didn't want to ruin the day for Yin.

He had bought her a lovely necklace, but it didn't do her justice since she couldn't look at it with her own eyes. She had said she loved it, and that she was pleased with the gift. She had given him a watch in return.

They descended into the subway nearby, watching their step on the slippery stairs. Hei put his day ticket in the machine slot, walked through the split gate, and took his ticket on the other end. Yin followed. They walked through the underground market, and descended another flock of stairs to catch their train. It pulled into the station, and opened its doors to allow its passengers on. Hei gestured for Yin to enter, in which she bowed her thanks, and stepped onto the somewhat empty car to sit on a vacant seat. Hei took the spot next to her. The doors closed moments later, and the train began its journey down the murky tunnel.

A clicking sound from the train's wheels on the track, and a couple of commuters coughing or sneezing from colds monopolized the car. Hei glared down at the ground while Yin stared at nothing, keeping her legs close together so no old perverts "accidentally" fell to look up her skirt.

Hei thought of what might have been a Christmas this year if the meteor hadn't struck the earth. He imagined sitting by a Christmas tree that had gifts stuffed under it near a cracking fireplace. His sister, Bai, would come barreling down the stairs after waking up to stargaze at the two-dozen presents, and then she would begin to pour through them to find hers. She would be displeased she hadn't gotten what she wanted, and believed she would get it next year. Hei could see he had gotten a few pares of socks, shirts, and pants, but no toys.

He had been pleased one year when he had gotten a telescope since he loved staring up at the stars.

A thought crossed his mind, and he realized he wouldn't be spending Christmas only with his sister and parents, but with someone else as well. He had Yin, and he did love spending time with her, but he felt like something was still missing.

Hei would have liked to celebrate the year with Mao and Huang, but Mao would have given him his bowl of cat food from Rika as a gift, and Huang would have probably handed over a pack of cigarettes. Hei frowned at the thought.

Amber would have been a blast to be with, and he knew they would have done a lot of nasty things in one night. He loved her dearly, and he could see being with her, but he felt she wasn't the one.

Another thought came to him, and he pictured himself holding Misaki in his arms on a couch in front of a fireplace to keep warm. Hei imagined giving her a gift that pleased her deeply, and she giving him something he would love as well. Her being by his side was enough, but that could never happen. Misaki and Hei lived two different lives. He was a Contractor and the Black Reaper, and she was the Section-Chief of the Foreign Affairs whose duty was to arrest him. The thought of them being together was too far fetched, and it could never happen.

The train came to a stop in their station. The doors opened in which Hei and Yin exited and headed up the stairs. It was still snowing, which irritated Hei since his feet were getting cold from trotting through slushy snow. He prayed the cold season would be short.

"Bah, humbug," muttered Hei.

-----

Misaki gazed at the falling flakes outside, wishing to feel free like that and have no worries to deal with. Unfortunately her desk was piled with files and folders of Contractors that had been arrested, or had been active in the past forty-eight hours. None of them included BK201, which she felt relieved. No matter how she looked at it as a cop, a part of her prayed that he would never be caught, but if he did Misaki hoped she wasn't the one throwing the cuffs on him. It would have killed her to do that to someone she held close to her heart, even though he was a Contractor.

There were other things that were boggling her mind. For one, Christmas had arrived, and Misaki would most likely spend the day with her father. It had only been them since her mother had died ten years ago. She didn't have anybody else to celebrate the year with besides Kanami, and she was bad enough. Misaki had gone with her to a Christmas Eve party where she had gotten plastered, started dancing foolishly on a table with dozens of guys around her, and regurgitated on them. She hadn't remembered the night, but Kanami had recorded the whole party and showed an ill and crapulent Misaki the following day. She swore to watch how much she drank.

Kanami had regretted bringing Misaki along due to the fact the police department had been stopping motorist to check and see if anybody were drinking and driving.

"I had told you to hold your breath!" Kanami had stated to Misaki. "But you were like, 'I'm a cop, we'll be fine.' Lucky for me you had passed out."

The Foreign Affairs was planning on having a Christmas party tonight, and everyone was excited except Misaki. Saitou was singing Christmas songs in English, which he was doing a poor job at. He tried to harmonize Deck the Halls, but he kept on saying, "deck my balls." Ootsuka chuckled at it, but Saitou, being thickheaded, didn't understand what was so funny. Kouno was wearing a Santa hat and continuously teased Ootsuka if he could unwrap her.

"Why, I had asked Kunio if he could do that," Ootsuka replied with.

Kunio heard her comment from his desk and coughed from the words as his cheeks blushed. Kouno frowned at her statement, which made Ootsuka smile in delight.

Saitou began singing Jingle Bells, but it was coming out as, "jingle balls." Misaki wished he would give it a rest. She didn't even feel like celebrating at all due to the events that had happened for the past six months. The human population was trying to take the law into their own hands about Contractors, causing their own deaths, and her colleagues thought it was all right to have a good time at the moment. To her there was no time for any of that, just like when spring had arrived and everyone had gathered under the Cheery trees while she was busy at work. Things needed to be done, which called for less fooling around. Misaki thought about reprimanding everybody, but she decided to let her colleagues have their fun.

Misaki stood to leave for the night. She put on a heavy red coat, threw her purse over her shoulder, and headed for the elevator.

"Chief!" called Saitou. Misaki turned on her heels to look at him sprinting over to her. He had on a party hat that was slightly tilted to his left, and some glitter on his face. "You're leaving?"

"Yes, I am. I'm supposed to meet my father early tomorrow," she lied.

"Oh." Saitou's eyes slowly looked up and then blushed. "Mi—mistletoe."

Misaki frowned as her eyes followed Saitou's to see she was standing under mistletoe that some moron had hung earlier.

"Eh, right," muttered Misaki, and then sidestepped out from under it.

Saitou stared at her flabbergasted, and then averted his eyes from hers. She looked at him baffled, as she wondered why he looked so depressed. She let the thought linger from her mind and said, "See you later, Saitou."

"Ah, right. Bye, Chief," replied Saitou while avoiding her eyes.

He walked backwards a few steps, and then turned around to head back for the party. Misaki hit the down button for the elevator, waited a few minutes for it to arrive on her floor, and stepped in it. She hit the basement button, and leaned against the back wall while riding the elevator down.

There was only one person she wanted to spend the holiday with, and he was nowhere to be found. His last words to her had haunted her every time she closed her eyes. It wasn't true, at least not all of it. His real name might not be Li, but the man she knew to be Li was indeed still alive. If that part of him weren't, then he would have ignored her plea about sparing Hourai.

Misaki wanted to see him again, but she may never get the chance in her life time because of their opposite positions.

The elevator reached the garage floor and opened its doors. She walked pass a few aisles before reaching her car, unlocked her car with her key remote, and entered it to start up the engine. Misaki hated this time of the year. It was a pain to drive a sports car in this type of weather, especially in a stick.

Misaki frowned as she placed the shifter in first, and headed out on the treacherous roads. To her surprise, there had been mostly SUVs that had plowed into rails, or were lying in ravines.

----

Hei and Yin reached their new apartment they had been staying at after disappearing after Hell's Gate. He hated the dull and unkempt place. His neighbors were rude and they were always yelling and screaming through most of the nights, and his landlord was a douche bag who refused to fix the heating. Hei had asked about it, but the zit-covered face little prick had stated, "Either get a blanket or pay me double your rent."

Hei had half a mind to make his landlord his Christmas tree this year, but the only thing that had stopped him was the lab dolls locating him.

They ascended the snow-covered stairs, and walked down the icy balcony to the far end room. Hei unlocked the door for room 201, ushered in Yin first, and stepped into a bleak room. The room itself was diminutive and rectangle in length. There was no sink or bathroom, only tatami mats and two futons lying next to each other. An enclosed window lay on the back wall, and a forty-eight centimeter television sat on the right side of the wall next to a small-rounded heater.

He turned on the heater and television, and sat down with Yin to watch the evening news. Hei regretted it since they were talking about the many decorations throughout the city. He lay down on his futon while placing his hands behind his back to grown about the continuing nonsense fluttering around the world. It was bothersome and he wanted it over with so he wouldn't have to worry about the crap for another year.

What was really annoying was that a lot of radio stations started playing Christmas music at the beginning of November, so in reality he had to deal with the Holiday for two whole months. Why was that, and who was the one who thought of it? If Hei ever found out who that person was, he was going to fry him or her. It made no sense to him, and it seemed pointless since in America they have big sales after their Thanksgiving. Why couldn't everybody wait until then to get into the holiday spirit?

Hei's eyes became heavy and he found himself falling asleep. He hoped he would sleep through tomorrow completely.

DTB Christmas Carol

Misaki safely pulled up to her apartment, exited her vehicle to get her shoes soaked in a slushy puddle, and entered the building. Wet track marks from other occupants led the way over to the elevator in the back. Misaki followed it, adding to the mix, and noticing a janitor mopping up the mess with a slippery sign nearby. He muttered to himself of the mess he had to clean up, but he held his tongue while he toothlessly smiled and bowed at Misaki as she walked by. She returned the gesture.

She reached the elevators, hit the up button, and waited for it to arrive. The numbers above counted down slowly to L. The door opened in which Misaki entered, and hit the tenth floor button. The door closed and the elevator began its umpteenth journey upwards. She crossed her arms and began to think of what to do tomorrow.

Misaki thought about calling off Christmas dinner with her father, and instead eat at a restaurant that would have its doors open. It seemed heartless to do such a thing to him, but she was sick of doing the same thing every year. She felt like doing something different, but what? What was there for her to do tomorrow? Misaki thought about going to work, but her father would have kicked her out of the office, and ordered her to head for his place.

Li was probably enjoying himself wherever he was at, whereas she felt like she was dying. She would have liked to spend one Christmas with him, but that wasn't likely. How life could be so cruel to one being.

The elevator door opened. Misaki stepped from it and walked down the cramped and brightly lit hallway that had Garlands running down the halls above the doors. Misaki reached her room, opened the door, and entered it while flicking the lights on. Her answering machine was blinking with half a dozen messages on it. She hit the play button to listen to a bunch of advertising agencies that had her number talking about last minute shopping prices, or other nonsense that were a bother.

"Misaki, sweetheart. I'm calling to make sure you know to be by for dinner tomorrow around three," said her father from the machine. "I love you."

His message was the last on her machine.

Misaki loved her father too, but ever since she had gotten that call before Hell's Gate, she became more distant of him. She had been seeing him less, and she would think up reasons of why she hadn't called him. She wanted to interrogate him about what he knew, but she was afraid to know the answer. To her it was best not to know since she wouldn't have to throw her cuffs on him.

There was a knock on her door. Misaki sighed and walked over to open it to see Kanami smiling at her. She was wearing a red skirt that came down to her knees, a white down jacket, and a red scarf. She also held a grocery bag in her right hand.

"Kanami?" questioned Misaki. "If you think I'm going to a bar with you, forget it."

"I'm not," replied Kanami. "I'm spending the night with you since we both don't have someone to spend Christmas Eve with. And I brought beer to help settle the mood down. Just don't drink so much."

Misaki stared at her friend baffled, but she then smiled and gestured Kanami in.

----

Hei was in a deep and dreamless sleep. Nothing seemed to exist for him, except blackness. His brain felt like it had fallen asleep itself, giving it a sequence that was darker than black. He believed this was how death would feel when his luck ran out. It had its moments of not dreaming, but it also gave Hei a feeling of emptiness and loneliness.

A furry feel brushed his face, which stirred his mind from the darkness.

Hei thought at first it was a dream developing, but that was impossible and ignored it. It was probably his blanket, or maybe Yin's hair. It didn't matter anyways. He felt his mind slipping into the abyss, making the loneliness consume him again. It was his only comfort that made him feel safe once in a while, but tonight it was doing nothing for him.

It felt like he needed someone to lie beside him tonight that would comfort him, and even though Yin was nearby; she herself didn't sleep. In a way, she was always asleep since her eyes were forever dowsed in darkness. Life could be cruel to even the sweetest beings.

The furry feel swept across his face again, hindering his darkened dream. Hei opened his eyes and sat to gaze around the room. The television was turned off, and the heater wasn't keeping the room warm anymore. Yin wasn't anywhere to be seen either.

A cat that blended in the dark caught the corner of his left eye. He turned his head slightly to stare at it, noticing the thing was sitting while wagging its tail and it had a red collar. Hei's eyes widened in shock from the unreality he was seeing.

"That's not possible?" questioned Hei. "I—I must be dreaming."

"You're far from dreaming, Hei," said the cat. "Far as you know, we Contractors don't dream. But then again you are human too."

"But, you're dead! Aren't you?"

"Yes, I am dead, Hei," replied the cat while nodding its head.

It couldn't be true. This was some kind of joke and Yin had to have been involved. He stood from his futon, flicked on the lights, and began opening the closet doors to see if she was hiding in one of them. There was no sign of her. He put on his shoes, opened the front door, and marched outside into the heavy down pour of snow.

He treaded around the office and apartment, and stormed down the street while leaving a trail of footprints. Unfortunately he couldn't find her. Two centimeters of snow had developed on his shoulders and head, causing him to shiver from the cold. He decided to give up trying to find Yin, and turned around to head back home, but Hei stopped in his tracks at the sight of the black cat standing on a snowy fence. Not a drop of snow had accumulated on him, or had fallen off the fence.

"If you are seeking out Yin, forget it, Hei," said the cat. "I sent her out for the night."

"What? Why?" Hei furiously asked.

"To talk to you alone, and so that she doesn't have to feel alone tonight."

Hei stared at him baffled, and then grinded his teeth together while frowning. The darn cat wasn't making any sense, and if the thing weren't already dead, Hei would have killed it. He was in a bad mood due to the year, and the cat was making things worse.

"Start talking about why you are here and how?" growled Hei.

The cat sat on the fence, showing no signs that his bottom froze from icy cold snow, and it titled its head sideways to smile down at him.

"Always straight to the point, hey, Hei?" teased the cat.

Hei's rage rose, making his face no longer feel the cold breeze blowing against his skin, as his jaw line tightened and his teeth ached from the stress caused by his anger. He was tired of the games and he really wanted to hurt someone if the annoying cat didn't explain soon. Where was his landlady when he needed her good old broom?

"Start talking, now!" demanded Hei.

"All right. Bai had sent me."

Hei's wrathful mood diminished and stared at the cat with a blank stare. His sister had sent the cat to speak with him?

"Why?" he asked.

"Bai knew how lonely you would be, and she knew you would be despising this time of year," said the cat.

"So she sent you to keep me company tomorrow? That's more like a nightmare if I could have one!"

"Far from it, Hei. I'm here to tell you there will be three others that are going to meet on the hour beginning at one a.m."

"What? You're not making any sense! What do you mean three others'll meet me? Who?"

"You'll find out, Hei."

The cat jumped off the fence and ran off in the opposite direction, not leaving a footprint in the snow. Hei frowned and chased after it. The cat turned a corner in which Hei did as well, but lost sight of the thing.

Hei grinded his teeth again and muttered, "Damn it, Mao, what have you gotten me into now?"

-----

A/N: I decided to do this for the holiday. There will be five chapters total and I hope to have all of them done and posted by New Years. I'm looking over these only once or twice; so if you notice any mistakes, please let me know what and where.

Thank you.