Mai HiME and all its characters belong to Sunrise. Title and a few lines blatantly snagged from Merry Christmas, Darling by The Carpenters. No profit made, no copyright infringement intended.

Yuri, lemon, M-fic... in other words, SMUT! Well, 'smut with a plot', but still. Or is that 'a plot with smut at the end'? Hm.

Too young? Age quicker; it's fun over here. Not allowed where you live? Move, for God's sake! Don't like? Then whatinthehell are you reading one of my fics for?

Other than that, read on at your own risk. And yes, my computer works. No way in hell did I write this at work.

(Lengthy) Author's Notes:
I don't know about any of you, but I am an absolute kid when it comes to this time of year; never mind the fact that I'm in my mid-twenties. I just cannot keep the grin off my face, even with the knowledge that thanks to one of the more... interesting... traditions in this country, I get to have cinnamon dumped over my head within a few days. Pounds of the stuff, knowing my family. They're gonna end up having waaaay too much fun at my expense.

Oh, well. 'Tis the season, so I might as well smell like it, right? Or reek of it, as I think the case will be. Gah.

Initially, I did have a longer oneshot planned, but I'm nowhere near done with it, and it has no relation to Christmas whatsoever, so that will be put off for a later time. And in case anyone is wondering, yes, I am still working on AMR, Aftermath and FORMAT. I apologize for the recent lack of updates, but hope that you will accept this little ditty as my gift to you, regardless.

So... Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or whichever phrase you use for what you celebrate at this time (if you celebrate at all). Happy holidays to all of you; I hope you have a good one this year. Season's greetings and the very best of wishes from Denmark.

Thank you for reading.

Merry Christmas, Darling

Holidays are joyful
There's always something new
But every day's a holiday
When I'm near to you

"Merry Christmas, Shizuru-san!"

She felt the cool, late December breeze ruffle the hem of her burgundy kimono as she stood in the open door, but even the slight chill couldn't make her smile waver as she raised one hand to return the waves from the small group of people moving away from the house and into the winter night.

"Merry Christmas, Mai-san," she called back to the young woman. "Thank you all for coming."

A few more good wishes for both her and her lover were sent her way as she watched them all get into their respective cars. Judging by the very exuberant and somewhat unsteady wave that Midori gave, it was probably a good thing that the former teacher wasn't driving.

She stayed in the doorway until the last taillight had disappeared around the turn in the forest road, then closed the door with a smile and tucked a loose lock of hair behind her ear as she made her way back inside the house. As she passed through the spacious living room, her gaze fell upon the six-foot evergreen that she and Natsuki had painstakingly decorated the previous evening, and she let a brief chuckle escape.

More often than not, a Christmas tree in Japan was an artificial one; small and bought with the decorations already added to it. But Natsuki had, in her usual stubborn manner, decided that if they were going to celebrate this particular holiday, then they were 'gonna do a proper job of it, goddammit'. And even though it was a decidedly Western tradition to take an actual pine tree into one's house for the occasion, she really hadn't wanted to refuse the younger woman.

Besides, the sight of Natsuki prowling around the tree with a scowl of concentration firmly etched on her face as she calculated all the angles for decorating it perfectly had been terribly endearing.

Nothing short of cute, really.

She felt her nose crinkle in a grin at the memory as she continued into the dining room and swept her gaze over the table that their little, extended family had been gathered around not that long ago, sharing a tasty dinner that everyone had contributed to, and conversation that had ranged from fond reminiscing to gentle but pointed teasing that had made several of them cry with laughter.

Now though, the table was cleared of dishes and glasses, the surface of it carefully wiped clean and the candles set upon it extinguished. And the most likely source of that was probably also the one responsible for the soft sounds emerging from the nearby kitchen.

Silently, she continued over to that doorway, and paused with one hand on the frame just to take in the sight that met her beyond it.

Natsuki was facing away from her as she stood by the sink, softly humming along to the low music that sounded over the lightly sloshing water and the gentle clink of porcelain as she rinsed off the large amount of dishes and stacked them off to one side. The light from the small lamp set under the cabinets above the counter surrounded her body with a golden glow, and painted a shadowy outline around her formfitting black jeans and pale green shirt, the sleeves of which had been folded halfway up her forearms.

As the younger woman turned her head to set aside another plate, Shizuru could make out the few strands of midnight-blue silk that had escaped the high ponytail she had tied her hair into earlier, and she spent a few moments admiring the way their color contrasted with the pale skin, and how they served to frame those exquisite features.


The dark head turned again, and she idly realized that she'd said the word aloud. Not that she regretted doing so, especially not as the corners of the emerald eyes crinkled in a warm smile, even as Natsuki's cheeks took on a faint shade of pink.

"Everybody make it out okay?"

"Mm hmm." She returned the smile and stepped fully into the room, picking up a small towel from the counter and offering it to her lover in exchange for a light kiss. "Leave those for now," she suggested quietly. "I'm sure they'll keep until tomorrow."

"Sure." Natsuki let the water drain from the sink as she dried her hands. "I was pretty much done, anyway."

"Always so efficient," she teased gently. "Natsuki would make a very good wife for some lucky man one day." Which was true enough. While the younger woman was still no five-star chef, she had set about learning her way around domestic life with her usual brand of pigheaded determination and highly colorful language, and was making slow but certain progress.

The pale cheeks reddened again, and she got a mildly amused sort of glare in response. "Tough for 'some lucky man', then," her lover told her. "Because I'm not planning on ever marrying a guy."

"Really now?"


The half-hidden twinkle in those green eyes lured her in with little effort and less resistance, and her palms settled against the soft cotton that covered the younger woman's waist. Beneath the material, Natsuki's skin was soft and warm to the touch, and she relished the feel of it as she pulled her closer and felt familiar fingers trace gentle patters on the back of her exposed neck as they kissed.

Several long seconds of pleasant exploration later, she opened her eyes to see the light flush that made Natsuki's skin glow, and she was fairly certain that her own face was no better off. Honestly, the level of intoxication this woman could stir in her should be a real cause for concern.

Well, if she didn't happen to enjoy it so much.

"C'mon." Natsuki took a small step back and caught her hand, guiding her out of the kitchen and flicking the light switch on the way as she led her back to the living room, where she sat down on the couch and stretched her legs out along its length before patting the open space between her knees.

"Siddown," she said softly. "I haven't been able to hold you for hours."

"Now how," Shizuru wondered bemusedly. "Do I refuse a request like that?"

A single, dark eyebrow curved upwards along with one corner of Natsuki's mouth. "You don't," was the dry response.

She chuckled and had to acknowledge the truth of that as she agreeably settled back against her lover's chest. Familiar arms wrapped around her waist in a warm embrace, and she sighed in pure, animal contentment as she pillowed her head on a very nice collarbone and felt those few strands of loose, dark hair brush over her forehead.

"Tonight was fun," Natsuki commented quietly.

"Mm." She let her gaze rest on the tree and watched the low light in the room twinkle gently in its ornaments. "Perhaps we should attempt a repeat next year." Her lips shaped a smile. "Though if Natsuki intends to blush as much during that, I should look into acquiring a video camera."

"Hey... c'mon now."

Another soft laugh escaped her, and she felt the arms give her a squeeze just as a low growl sounded in her ear. When it apparently became clear to the younger woman that that trick wasn't going to work this time either, the growl trailed off into a soft sigh of exasperation, and one of the arms moved away.

Briefly, the cushion dipped to one side as Natsuki adjusted herself to sit up a little straighter. Then the arm came back, and Shizuru closed her eyes as she felt her lover's fingers begin to gently play with her own in a series of featherlight caresses.

She smiled at the sensation. Natsuki had never been someone who excelled at expressing herself verbally. But once the two of them had settled into their relationship, she had started to notice a delightful tendency towards physical affection in the younger woman. Little things at first, to be sure... a gentle touch along her arm, the trace of a fingertip over her cheek... touches like that, all of which had at first been accompanied by furious blushing.

Oh, the blushes still came along with the affection, but they weren't of the full-face, bright tomato-red kind any longer. Rather, Natsuki's many little ways of expressing her love were now accompanied by just the faintest hint of pink covering her cheeks, which was an utterly adorable and terribly sexy sight to behold.

Not that she didn't say the words, because she did, and quite often, too. But this manner was the one that Natsuki was also comfortable using in front of others, and that made it all the more precious.

Natsuki's palms brushed gently over the backs of her hands, and she felt skin curl protectively over her own before tender fingertips coaxed her fingers to full extension. The cheek that rested against her temple grew a little warmer to the touch as Natsuki then slowly slid her fingers in between Shizuru's own and drew them down, effectively entwining their hands.

And slipping something cool onto one of her fingers in the process.

Her heart skipped a beat, and she could hear the increase in its mate's pounding under her head as she opened her eyes. The pure, white stone that now rested on her hand winked cheekily at her in the low light, and she felt her breath hitch.

"I had a whole speech planned out," Natsuki told her softly before she could regain her composure enough to speak. "I was actually gonna ask you on your birthday, y'know... figured that would be a gift that you'd definitely like."

Mutely, she nodded.

"But then I decided... well, that'd be kinda selfish, wouldn't it? Basically saying that I was the best gift I could ever give you."

"You are." Somewhere, she found what she needed to whisper those words, even if she was unable to summon the strength to look away from that ring.

"I know." Lips pressed against her temple. "But I gave myself to you long ago."

"Natsuki..." She turned her head and pressed her forehead against the side of her lover's neck, and felt a gentle thumb wipe away the tear that had made its way down her cheek.

"Christmas is the holiday for lovers," was the low whisper against the top of her ear. "So I thought this would be better." Natsuki raised their interlaced fingers, and she felt the tender touch of lips against the ring and the skin surrounding it.

"I know that... that we can't really make it official... not with the way the law is now," the younger woman went on quietly, and she could hear the slight tremor in that dusky voice. "But I... I guess I just wanted you to know that you're not gonna... wake up one day and not find me there."

A soft sob slipped past her lips, and she felt strong arms assist her as she turned around in lover's embrace and wrapped her arms around Natsuki's neck. The chest beneath her own heaved sharply as she pressed her face into a shoulder that smelled like snow and ice and motor oil and subtle perfume and...

... and home... safety... protection... passion... love.

"So... all that stuff about sickness and health, richer and poorer..." Natsuki's voice was definitely trembling now, but she could tell by the tone of it that she was smiling. "That's what I want to be there for... all of it." A gentle hand stroked soothingly along the length of her back. "I don't know what life's gonna throw in our faces... haven't got a damn clue... but whatever it is, I want – I need – to share it with you."

Briefly, silence reigned in the room.

"So... what do you say?" She felt a kiss against the top of her head. "Will you marry me?"

Shizuru laughed weakly. "Does Natsuki even have to ask?"

The body she rested on shook with a short chuckle. "No... maybe I don't," Natsuki admitted. "But a girl likes to hear confirmation just as much as she likes to be asked. Right?"

She placed her hands against the cushions and raised herself up, meeting the emerald gaze from a breath away and letting the tender regard in its depths envelop her in a golden warmth.


"Yes?" She watched the extra sparkle of joy come forth in those eyes as she felt hands cup her face.


"Just check-- mmph."

Sometimes, Shizuru reflected as she pressed closer and felt her lover's soft lips melt into her own, talking really was highly overrated.

Right now, all she wanted was to lose herself in her lover... to drown herself in the taste, scent and feel of this marvel of a woman who could tear down every single one of her defenses with the shortest of glances or the simplest of touches. This woman who was the only one who could make her break into a million pieces and then pick up all the pieces and lovingly put her back together again.

There was no such thing as too much emotion with Natsuki. Never too much. But there was such a thing as so much, and in this moment, on the couch in their home on Christmas Eve, there was so much emotion inside her that it felt as if her chest could burst with it. And the taste of both her own and the other's tears as they mingled with their kiss wasn't lessening the amount any.

My Natsuki...

Her hands found skin, and the silky heat of it seared her palms as she pressed against it. Ribs were under her touch, and she felt them expand sharply just as air rushed past her face and the lips beneath her own parted in a gasp. She took advantage of that, and let her tongue delve into that warm mouth while Natsuki's fingers pressed into the back of her head, pulling her closer.

Too many clothes. That damnable shirt was limiting her access entirely too much, and her hands made short work of its buttons as the sound of their increased breathing filled the silence in the room.

"Hn..." Natsuki groaned into her mouth as she loosened the clasp on the front of her bra and wasted no time in letting her hands lay claim to the soft flesh beneath the cups. There was desperation in her touch, she knew. A need to possess this woman... to make her shatter so utterly under her hands... make her lose all sense of who she was and know nothing but pure, carnal pleasure.

"Natsuki..." The name was a fevered prayer whispered against warm skin as she laid hot, open-mouthed kissed against the side of her lover's neck. Panting breaths were her reply, and she felt hands tug firmly at the collar of her kimono, pulling at the material until her shoulders were exposed and the garment was loose enough for those same hands to slip under it and onto her back and cling to it.

Her lips closed around a particularly tempting patch of skin, and she felt the arch in the body beneath her as she sucked on it harshly, reveling in the guttural moan her efforts earned her. The finest musician in history couldn't produce sounds sweeter than this... couldn't create music more beautiful than the gasps and sighs that her hands and lips - only hers - could tear from the very core of Natsuki's being.

And God, but this woman made her burn.

"... hahh... Shizu... ru..." Fingertips dug into the backs of her shoulders as she pressed a firm leg against the apex of her lover's thighs. "Ah!"

Oh, she could get drunk on this. She could get absolutely intoxicated from the feel of smooth, pale skin that had grown slick with sweat... from the sensation of strength in a body that at the same time was soft and yielding and so alluringly feminine that it made every inch of her itch to touch it. From the faint tang of salt that met her tongue as she traced it along the valley between Natsuki's breasts.

More clothes were in her way now, and she felt something inside her growl in annoyance at the obstruction as she swiftly unsnapped the buttons, then batted away the hands that came down and tried to aid her in removing the jeans.

"No." She pressed her forehead against Natsuki's and grasped her wrists, settling the hands back on her shoulders. "Like this," she whispered huskily, and watched the brilliant green eyes darken as her own hand slipped underneath the snug denim and past wet curls.

"Just... like this."

Natsuki's nostrils flared in reaction, and she watched her face contort in a snarling groan as she brushed her fingers firmly across the tiny bead of flesh above her opening. Watched the dark head throw itself back against the arm of the couch as she pushed lower... deeper... until her fingers were encased in searing, wet heat.


She said it aloud this time, too, and got a sharp gasp in response as she thrust in again and felt the wet jerk of hips against her hand.


Strands of obsidian silk clung to the sides of Natsuki's face.


Her skin was flushed with arousal and glistened in the light... her lips were red – so red -and parted and her brow furrowed as though in pain.


Her eyes were dark, pupils dilated so that only a thin ring of deep jade was visible.


"... ahn..."

And again.

"... hah... Shizu..."

And again.

"... ru!"

Her fingers were trapped as Natsuki clamped down on them, and hands buried themselves in her hair and roughly pulled her close, and she drank up the cries as though they were water to a woman dying of thirst... swallowed every single one with her lips as the heat – God, such heat – pressed against her digits with almost painful force.


So very, very beautiful... my Natsuki...

- END "Merry Christmas, Darling"


Shizuru: Ara, my Natsuki was so sweet before. I shall have to give her a present to thank her properly!

(Shizuru pulls out a box and opens it, pulling out a red piece of fabric with a tiny amount of fuzzy, white material at the hems)

Natsuki: What... is that?

Shizuru: (blinks innocently) Natsuki has never seen a dress before?

Natsuki: I know what a dress looks like, thanks. (scowls) That is not a dress. That is an overly wide belt.

Shizuru: (pouts) Natsuki doesn't like my gift? (sniffles sadly) Ikezu...

Natsuki: Aw, hell... (sweatdrops and glares at author) This is your fault, isn't it?

Author: Uh... Well... (chuckles awkwardly and rubs back of neck) ...maybe?

Natsuki: (gives author Glare Of Impending Doom and growls)

Author: Erk. ^^; Um, Merry Christmas, everyone. Gotta go!

(Author sprints off into the sunset in a panic, closely followed by a fuming, inarticulately yelling Kuga Natsuki)

Shizuru: (sighs) Ara, ara... I suppose I will have to save this lovely dress for later...