Darker than Back Christmas Carol
Hei jolted awake while throwing his covers aside. The room felt pleasantly warm to him, as he noticed his heater was blaring on full, and the morning sun was shining through his window. He then gazed around it to see if anyone was present, but there wasn't. What had happened last night? Was it true, or was it only his imagination? Whatever it was, he had made up his mind of what he would do to assure the future he had foreseen didn't become true.
Hei stood to walk over to his window and stare out it. It had stopped snowing, giving the city an elegant white glow, as three boys rumbled around the snow-covered streets while throwing snowballs at each other. He cursed that he couldn't open the window, and hurried over to the door to put on his shoes and throw on his coat. He busted through the door, bolted down the stairs, and ran over to the boys.
"Excuse me!" shouted Hei. The three boys looked over at him puzzled. "Can you tell me what day it is?"
"Have you been hit in the head, Mister?" the short boy asked.
"Yeah, it's Christmas Day, you baboon," said the plump boy.
He smiled with glee while ignoring what the two boys had called him since he was amazed that the three spirits had done everything in one night. Maybe it wasn't too late to fix things.
"Tell me, do you know if there are any food markets that are open right now?" Hei asked.
"Eh, my dad had said some of the stores in the subway's mall should be opened," said the tall boy.
"Thanks," said Hei. He dug into his pant's pocket, pulled out three thousand yen bills, and handed them to the boys. "And Merry Christmas."
Hei ran off down the street, kicking up snow behind him, as the boys blinked at him baffled. They stared down at their new currency, and then they looked at each other still dumbfounded.
"So what's the morons deal?" the plump boy asked.
"Who cares," smiled the tall boy. "Because of him I can get what my parents wouldn't get me for Christmas."
"Yeah!" agreed the short boy.
Misaki's eyes slowly and displeasingly opened and stared at the clock to see it read nine in the morning. She frowned at it as she fiddled for her glasses and placed them on. She sluggishly stood from her western style bed, scuffled into her living room, and remembered Kanami had crashed on her couch, as she noticed her friend sprawled over it while snoring heavily. Misaki shook Kanami's shoulder to wake her. Kanami moaned in protest, and shifted her body position so she was facing towards the back portion of the couch.
"Hey, Kanami, get up!" ordered Misaki.
Kanami didn't respond, as she clicked her tongue and returned to her dreams. Misaki rolled her eyes while throwing her arms up in defeat. She returned to her room, grabbed her work clothes from her closet, and entered her bathroom to shower.
After a half an hour of cleansing her body of the midnight stench and doing her hair and makeup, Misaki reentered her living room to see Kanami was still fast asleep. She believed her friend could sleep through an earthquake.
She sighed at the thought and exited her apartment to head to work. Even though it was Christmas, to her work still needed to be done since Contractors wouldn't take the day off to see their relatives, if they hadn't killed them yet.
Misaki walked up to the elevators and pushed the down button. Moments later it dinged on her floor and opened, allowing her to step onto the elevator. She hit the lobby button, and waited a moment for the doors to close so the elevator could descend. Seconds later she reached the lobby floor. She stepped from the elevator, exited the apartment, and headed over to her car. As she drew closer to it and saw it covered in thick piles of snow, along with the roads, she decided to take the subway.
Yin kneeled quietly while Kiko snored away the morning. She thought about returning to the new apartment Hei and she were sharing, but after seeing Hei last night with the former MI-6 agent, she believed Hei was going to want some private time with the officer woman. She contemplated about what she had said to Kiko, wondering if it were true to her feelings, and as she had thought it through the night she was right.
She placed her finger in her tea she hadn't finished last night, and gazed around the city. Hei wasn't in their apartment, or anywhere else nearby. She continued her search and found him roaming around the subway with a turkey in a grocery bag. He was smiling as he wished everyone a Merry Christmas. Suddenly he stopped and gazed at her spectre slightly surprised.
"Yin?" Hei questioned, but he then smiled while saying, "Merry Christmas."
Hei continued on, heading up a set of stairs, which Yin recognized.
"Merry Christmas, Hei," whispered Yin.
"Nn?" muttered Kiko, as she tiredly woke and squatted. "Yin, why are you still here? Don't you have a relative you want to be with?"
"No, but I was hoping I could spend the day with a friend, if you don't mind?" Yin asked.
Kiko titled her head curiously, but then she smiled and said, "I would love that."
Hei trampled through the snow as he headed down a familiar neighborhood with his bag swaying. He didn't know if what he was about to do was the right thing, but he had to see them again. They were a blast to be around, and it wouldn't seem right if he didn't drop by to say hi. He turned into the apartment complex where he had stayed at to hide, walked up to a door on the first floor, and knocked on it. He waited patiently with a smile on his face, and he couldn't help wanting to know what his old neighbor's faces would look like when they saw him.
Seconds passed with no answer, which caused Hei to knock on the door again. Time slipped by again and still no one opened the door. Hei figured they were still asleep from the partying. He turned to leave, but then the door opened.
"LI-KUN!!" shouted the red-haired girl ecstatic.
Hei turned around while scratching the back of his neck and said, "Eh, hello, and Merry Christmas. I got a turkey for you all."
The red-haired girl stared down at his bag, and then looked over her shoulder to shout, "Hey, everyone, Li-kun's back!"
His neighbors, still asleep, woke up suddenly, and barged over to the door.
"Eh? Li-kun?" they shouted.
They grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him into the room while slamming the door shut. Hei kneeled in front of the small table, as the rocker dude put the turkey in a small fridge.
"How are you back?" his landlady asked.
"Immigration let me back for the holidays," said Hei. He hated to lie to them, but he thought of it more like protecting them. "I was in the neighborhood, and I wanted to stop off and wish everyone a Merry Christmas."
"Well doesn't that rock!" said the rocker dude.
"We're sorry, Li," began the plump man. "We didn't get you anything."
"Ah, it's all right," spoke up Hei. "Just being here is enough."
They began to talk about what had happened while Hei was away. They mentioned about the Contractors, which they said they didn't mind them; stating humans were as bad, if not worse. Hei smiled at their comment.
The subway train was deprived of commuters, making the advertisement of Christmas stuff hanging from the ceilings and strung up along walls seem senseless. The train rocked slightly side to side, as the metal wheels clicked in a continuous rhythm on the tracks. Misaki sat quietly in the center against the wall, as she waited for the train to arrive at Shibuya.
The train pulled into a station and opened its doors to allow a few commuters on. A middle-aged man stepped onto it and sat a few seats down from Misaki. He pulled out a black berry from his coat pocket and began texting someone, as the door closed. The train continued its journey down the darkened tunnel.
Misaki glanced towards him and noticed he was wearing a business suit. She guessed he was heading for work since he didn't have anybody to spend Christmas with, but then she noticed the ring on his finger. She began to wonder if his job had forced him to go to work.
Life was a hard case to deal with. In order to live in this world you had to spend most of it working. In her opinion there was little time for fun and family. Because of it she thought best not to get involved with someone so she could worry about her career.
However, after meeting Li, she couldn't stop thinking about what it would be like to be with someone and maybe have a family. She imagined having children running around a small apartment complex, and perhaps a cat or dog too.
Misaki blushed at the thought, and then shook it away, as reality hit. The man she liked a lot was the most fearsome Contractor in the world, and she was the one who had to arrest him. How could they live a normal life like that? Was such a thing even possible?
The announcer over the speaker indicated they had arrived at Shibuya. The train came to a halt and opened its doors.
Misaki exited the train and headed up the stairs to trample through a thick layer of frozen flakes. She began to wonder if the man she knew as Li was ever thinking about her; not only now, but also after the situation at Alice's party, and her catching him holding a bra.
She would love nothing more than to spend the day with him; eating tons of food, and maybe strolling through a park hand in hand. However, that wasn't likely. Misaki wished the meteors had never crashed, but if it hadn't then she might have never met Li.
Li? Was that even his name or only a cover name so he could hide from the authorities? She knew Hei was his codename, so what was his real name? It had to be Chinese, unless he was lying about his race, but she doubted it.
Misaki walked up the ramp to the Head Quarter's entrance, and entered to head over to the elevator. A security guard, wearing a Santa hat, bowed at her in which she returned. She hit the up button to have the door slide open. She stepped in, hit the Foreign Affairs floor, and waited a few seconds before reaching it.
The door chimed open. Misaki gazed at the mess throughout the office, and her co-workers passed out on the floor drunk. She sighed at them, knowing she wouldn't get anything done with them snoring away, and hit the down button.
Once the doors opened again on the lobby floor, she exited it while bowing at the security guard, as she wished him a Merry Christmas, and departed the duplex. She retreated to the subway, and headed to the last place she thought about going to.
Hei laughed hysterically with his former neighbors, as they devoured a party mix, and downed beer and sake that hadn't been drank yet. He began to feel a little tipsy and decided to stand up to sing a D'espairsRay song poorly. The red-haired girl whipped her right arm forward at him to give energy while everybody clapped ecstatically.
After two hours of partying, he apologized that he had to leave them.
"Ah, but it seemed like you just got here?" said the plumped man.
"I know, but there is someone else I need to see," replied Hei.
"A woman?" asked his Landlady.
Hei smiled while nodding. Everyone awed at him, in which it made him blush and scratch the back of his head. They wished him good luck, and a Merry Christmas.
"Thank you, and Merry Christmas," he replied.
Hei left his old apartment and headed for the subway. The sun was shining down through cloudy skies. He felt jolly, which the cold didn't affect him, or was it the booze. It didn't matter to him. The only thing he cared for was to see Misaki. He was risking being arrested, but he would take the chance to see her on an important day like today.
He heard footsteps approaching him, which caused him to look up to get a look at the person so he wouldn't run into him or her. He stopped in his tracks as his eyes widened in shock at the person. The person also didn't move any further while she too looked on surprised.
Misaki looked so beautiful standing before him, her hair pulled back, and her brown eyes sparkling behind her glasses. Hei wanted to run over to her and embrace her, but a part of him was telling him to run. She was a cop and she was going to arrest him. He ignored that side of him, and listened to his heart pounding heavily against his chest for him to say something, but he couldn't find the right words. To his relief Misaki was also struggling with her emotions.
He fiddled with his mind to think of something, but the words were scrambled in his head, as if someone had poured out letters from a bag for him to form a sentence.
He mingled with what made sense, and spat out, "Would—would you like to get something to eat?"
Misaki didn't respond. It seemed to Hei that she was trying to believe that what she was seeing was true, since her eyes where dazzled in confusion. He waited for her to reply, wondering if she was going to take him up on his offer, or take him to the police station. He prayed it wasn't the latter while his palms dowsed in sweat on a cold and chilly day.
Her body settled down as she smiled at him, allowing him to breathe easier.
"I would love to," she replied.
Hei returned the gesture, walked up to her, and held out his hand. She looked at it for a second, and then took it. They walked down the street, looking for a place to eat, as they kept on avoiding each others eyes since they felt a little sheepish. They located a ramen restaurant and entered to see the diminutive and somewhat unoccupied diner. A couple of people were sitting on stools in front of where the chef was cooking meals and handing them over.
Hei and Misaki took a cramped booth and sat across from each other. Their eyes met for a few seconds, but then they averted away. They continued their actions until a waitress came up to them.
"Can I get you two something?" she asked.
"Eh, I'll have three bowls of ramen," said Hei.
The waitress stared at him puzzled for a second, but then she looked over at Misaki to ask, "And you, Miss?"
"One bowl of ramen," said Misaki.
The waitress bowed and walked off to give the chef the order. Hei gazed at the floor, and figured if they didn't look at each other he could avoid speaking to her, but he didn't want to. He fought against his discomfort and stared at her. She looked down at the table, but gazed up to look into his eyes. Her eyes glimmered with delight to be with him, but they also showed their uncertainty concerning their situation.
"I—I can't stop thinking of you," began Hei. "I had a dream of you last night. I had to see you, no matter what the cost."
Misaki looked at him puzzled. She was probably contemplating on how it was possible for him to dream. She averted her eyes as her lips worked out words to say something, but nothing came out.
Misaki came to her senses and was about to speak, but the waitress had come by to give them their meal. She blushed slightly as she thanked the waitress and took her meal. Hei bowed his thanks while he took his. The waitress returned the gesture and walked off.
Hei picked up his chopsticks, as did Misaki, but they didn't touch their meal. They instead gazed at each other. Misaki looked down at her food so she could find it slightly easier to speak.
"So—what happened in your dream?" she asked.
Hei told her a portion of his dream. After he finished telling her about the little girl Riku, she stared at him flabbergasted. They didn't speak for the longest time, as they fell into the restaurant's silent atmosphere. He felt awkward and wished they could talk to each other as they had last time together, but they were walking on thinner ice. Misaki could no longer look the other way about Hei and Li being the same person.
Hei cursed at his thoughts. He had said to her that Li was dead, but that wasn't true. The truth was that there was no going back for him, and he wanted her to forget about him so she could move on. Unfortunately she couldn't. He wanted to make sure she would give up in which he hung around his old apartment, hoping she wouldn't snoop around it, but she had. Misaki had even chased after him until he had vanished from her sight.
"S—so, where do we go from here?" Misaki asked, as she looked over at him.
Hei didn't avert his eyes while he thought of a reply.
"I don't know," he finally said. "But where we go, I want to be in your life; no matter what."
"It would be best if we stayed away from each other."
"Maybe, but could we stay away from each other?"
Misaki pondered on his words, her eyes glimmering with thoughts, and then returned to her meal.
A half an hour later they finished their meal. Hei paid for it and exited the restaurant with Misaki. It had started to snow again, adding to the accumulation that had already developed.
They walked down the snowy terrain, and came up to the small park with the elephant slide. The slide was blanketed by the thick snow, as was the bench.
He guided Misaki into it, making her stare in wonderment of why they were entering it, and stopped her beside the slide. Misaki and Hei's footsteps indicated they were the parks only occupants, giving it a dismal and lonely feeling. Something above her caught her attention in which she looked up.
"Mistletoe," muttered Misaki.
Hei looked up as well, and then they gazed into each other's eyes. They kept their gaze on each other, and reframed from blinking so not to miss the moment they were sharing. Snow had built up on her shoulder and hair, which gave her an elegant look that resembled an angel.
Hei closed the gap between them, believing she would back away from him, but she didn't. Their bodies were slightly apart, but he was close enough to smell her warm breath. His heart raced hysterically, as he vigorously wanted to kiss her, but he wasn't sure if she had felt the same thing. He placed his right hand on her cheek to caress it, wanting to see if she would fight him on his emotions, but she merrily melted into his touch.
He slowly drew to kiss her in which she flinched back slightly, as she herself wasn't sure of her feelings. He didn't fight her uncertainty, and let her decide what she wanted to do. Her eyes stared deeply into his eyes, as she searched for anything in him that showed her he was deceiving her.
After what seemed like an eternity to them, she closed her eyes and pressed her lips to his.
Five years later
Misaki's apartment was decorated with Garlands along the walls, and a Christmas tree in the corner with presents underneath it. Her friends were gathered around talking about what they were giving or getting for Christmas. Ootsuka, wearing a Santa dress to look sexy for the guys, stood next to Kouno while laughing at a joke told by a co-worker as she held a glass of eggnog.
Kanami was gossiping with a man from her work, as she gazed around the crowded room looking for someone. Kunio was talking with his wife while holding a cup of punch.
Misaki stood in the far corner as she drank a cup of punch. She wore casual clothing, her usual glasses, and a Santa hat covering her hair that hung loose behind her back. It seemed like she was avoiding the party, but that wasn't the case. For the past four years she had to deal with this holiday, which was slightly annoying, but she dealt with it to be with him.
Someone started to sing which caught her attention and noticed Saitou had begun caroling, "Rocking around the Christmas tree." She figured he'd get a course wrong, but she didn't expect him to roll the r in rock into an f.
Misaki frowned and was about to knock him across the back of his head, but she stopped as Ootsuka shouted, "Saitou! I'd stop singing if I were you!"
"Why?" Saitou asked.
"I don't think Misaki wants her daughter to hear you sing the f word."
"What are you talking about, I'm singing Fo…"
Kouno smacked the back of Saitou's head and said, "It's coming out as a bad word, Saitou."
Saitou did what was asked, and went over to the table to pour another drink. Misaki sighed and returned to her drink. Every year that big dolt tried to sing a Christmas song, and every time he got something wrong. She didn't know why he even bothered.
"Mama?" cried out Misaki's daughter. "Mama?"
"Over here, sweetheart!" called out Misaki.
Moments later a pair of brown eyes and an adorable face appeared out of the crowd. Her daughter had her looks, but she had her father's black and silky hair, giving her elegance in Misaki's opinion.
"Mama, what you doing?" she asked. "Come on."
"I'm fine sweetie," replied Misaki.
"No you not. I tell, Mama."
Misaki averted her eyes from her daughter while frowning, but then she looked down at her while trying to smile.
"I'll be fine. Go and enjoy the party with Saitou and the others," she said.
Misaki gestured her daughter to have fun. The little girl stared at her for a second, and then trotted off to disappear in the crowd. Misaki watched in delight, as Kanami worked her way over to Misaki displeased.
"What's the deal, Misaki?" Kanami whispered.
"What do you mean, Kanami?" Misaki asked while finishing her drink.
She walked over to her kitchen counter to get another glass with Kanami on her tail.
"You know perfectly well. Riku's father?" pointed out Kanami.
Misaki frowned at her friend, as she sipped at her glass.
"It's all right," replied Misaki.
Kanami's jaw line tightened, grabbed Misaki by the shirt to direct her to the back room on the right, and stopped her in front of her western style bed.
"There is something wrong, and I know Li-kun is somehow involved," replied Kanami.
"When is it not?" replied Misaki with a shrug.
"That's why I am concerned. Do you ever think of what will happen?"
"I don't know what to think anymore; especially about our situation. I just want to forget about who he is and move on with our daughter."
"But you can't, can you?"
Misaki stared at her friend, and then looked away since she knew it was true.
"Does he know?" Kanami asked.
Misaki gulped from the empty feeling at the pit of her stomach. It had been wrong to tell her friend about the thing she was facing now. To her problem, Li and she weren't even married.
"No, I haven't told him yet," replied Misaki.
"Does Riku know?"
Misaki rounded on her friend and glared at her devilishly for asking such a question. Kanami raised her hands in defeat.
"Look, Misaki," began Kanami, as she lowered her hands. "You can't go on like this. You and Li need to sit down and talk. That's all I'm going to say on the matter."
She exited the room and closed the door to leave Misaki alone. She stood still as she thought about the tight pinch concerning Li and she. Misaki didn't know how to tell him, but she knew she had to.
"What do I do?" muttered Misaki.
She exited the room to look for her daughter. Misaki roamed around the crowd as she bowed while saying Merry Christmas. She found her daughter standing by Saitou, walked over to her while smiling, and picked her up.
"Mama?" Riku asked.
"I'm sorry I've been a party pooper, sweetie," said Misaki. "I've always had this problem around the holidays."
"I know, Mama."
Riku hugged her mother, making Misaki feel warm inside.
Misaki carried Riku around the room to talk with her guest, and laughed at certain things that had happened through the years. It felt wonderful to her to get the monkey off her back, but she wished Li was here.
Kanami was the only person that knew his identity, which pleased her that her friend had kept it a secret from everybody. Li had been helping her bring in wanted Contractors, making her job easier, but it had riled up a few feathers in her department.
Their relationship had developed over the years, partially because of Riku, but also because they loved each other dearly. Her father liked him, at least she thought since there was a few times he had given him a hard time. He had asked Li his occupation in which Li had stated stock boy. Her father had frowned at him. Misaki believed at times he knew more about Li than he would admit. It had put her on edge a few times.
Her front door opened. Misaki looked towards it to see a man with short black hair that was dripping wet and beautiful blue eyes. He wore a blue coat that was covered in snow, a green turtle neck sweater and blue jeans, and he held two shopping bags. He removed his thick black shoes, set the bags down, and walked over to Misaki and Riku smiling.
Misaki returned it as she let their daughter down to run over to him.
"Papa!" yelled Riku ecstatically while she held out her arms. As she reached him, Li picked her up and held her on his side to smile at her. "Where you been?"
"Last minute shopping," said Li.
"Really? What you get me?"
"Now what's the surprise if I tell you, Ri-chan? You'll just have to wait until tomorrow morning."
"Ah, but, Papa?"
"Riku, sweetheart, you know better to ask him those questions," said Misaki, as she walked up to them and kissed Li.
"I sorry. Where Yin-san?"
"She's spending the Holiday with Kiko," replied Li.
"Why not 'nvite 'Iko-san?"
"We did. They'll be by tomorrow to give you their gifts."
"Li-kun," said Saitou behind him.
Li turned around to see Saitou, Kouno and Ootsuka were standing next to each other. He slightly bowed at them while smiling.
"Merry Christmas," he said to them. They returned the gesture. "Enjoying the party?"
"Yes, we are," said Saitou.
"As long as he isn't trying to sing Christmas Carols," said Kouno.
Li chuckled at his comment and said, "As long as he doesn't mix up words to where it comes out as bad words."
"Eh, well, sorry about that, Li-kun," said Saitou.
Li nodded his head to show it was all right.
"Eh, I have something to tell you, Li," said Misaki.
Li gazed into her eyes puzzled at what she wanted to tell him. She found it hard to look into his eyes like the Christmas five years ago. Misaki fought with her emotions, ordering her eyes to look at his. She slowly stared into his blue eyes to see they showed fear in them. He figured it was bad, but that wasn't the case. It was good news, but it was going to put them in a deeper situation.
Misaki opened her mouth to say the words she had wanted to tell him for the past week, but a cat had caught her tongue. It was hard for her to speak, since they were far from getting married. She would have found it easier to say it if she had a ring on her finger, and if Li wasn't the Black Reaper as well.
Li put their daughter down and placed his fingertip on her lips.
"Before you tell what's on your mind, let me tell you what is on mine," said Li. He reached into his coat pocket, fished around in it, and pulled out a small box. Misaki looked down at it puzzled and knew what it was. "I wanted to wait until tomorrow morning to do this, but with everybody present, I thought it best to do it now.
"I know we have had or differences through the years, but I couldn't see myself with anybody else but you." He got on one knee, opened the box to show a diamond ring that sparkled in her brown eyes, and held it out to her. Misaki placed her hands over her mouth, as she gasped at it and tears ran down her cheeks. "Will you marry me?"
Misaki couldn't believe what she was seeing and hearing. The man she loved with all her heart had asked her to marry him. She desperately wanted to say yes, but their occupations kept on crossing her mind. It wasn't wise for them to do this. If anybody in her department had found out the truth, their life and future was doomed. Not only that, their children would be frowned upon for the rest of their life.
What was she to do? She was in such a pickle she didn't know which way was up to climb out of it.
Follow your heart. A voice said in her head.
Misaki smiled at Li and nodded her head, as she said, "Yes. Yes I will marry you."
It was worth the risk if it meant she could be with Li as long as they could.
Li smiled up at her and then stood to embrace and kiss her. She melted into his arms as she let the moment overwhelm her while her guest watched them while smiling. Misaki would have been embarrassed to kiss him in front of everyone, but not today or anytime in the future.
She pulled away from him, looked into his eyes as she found it easier to say what was on her mind, and said, "I—I'm… pregnant."
Li looked at her shocked, but then he smiled in glee.
"Pegant? What that?" asked Riku while looking up at her parents.
Li and Misaki stared down at her.
"It means you're going to have a little brother or sister," said Li.
"Really? What broter, siser?"
A/N: I know I'm a little late, but Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.