Title: All I Want For Christmas...
Author: Amethyst Hunter
Rating: PG (minor violence, swearing)
Warnings/Spoilers: Implied m/m relationships.
Notes: A little cracknugget series of shorts for Christmas 2008.
Disclaimer: I want Akabane in my stocking – err, I mean, the GBers don't belong to me.
Summary: The Get Backers gang celebrates the holidays in true chaotic style.
"You're sure it's safe," Ginji pressed as his partner in crime peered around the corner of the room.
"Trust me," Ban hissed, taking another look around for good measure. "This may be the only chance we've got. Now, on the count of three: one...two...three!"
Both Get Backers raced for the gaily-decorated tree in the center of the living room. But no sooner had each of them picked up a colorful wrapped package than the trap descended. "Watch out! Incoming!" Ban yelped, and they barely had time to scramble out of the way of the hailstorm that added a few new shiny baubles to the tree...and the wall...and the floor.
Akabane stood tapping his foot and looking down at them with a raised eyebrow. "Midou-kun, exactly what part of 'do not open until Christmas' was not made clear to you?"
"Aw, c'mon, Kuroudo," Ban wheedled from the floor. "It's tradition to open at least one of 'em before Christmas..."
"Only on Christmas Eve," Akabane noted archly. "It has not yet reached that date."
"It's the eve before the eve before Christmas Eve. That's close enough," Ban said.
"Now, Midou-kun," Akabane said as a stern note crept into his voice. "Remember what happened to those gingerbread cookies we made last weekend. The same thing will happen to you if I catch either of you peeking at the presents before it's time."
Ginji paled noticeably at that, but Ban tried for one last attempt. "You're not scaring me, Akabane. For one thing, you like having us around too much to bite our heads off and paint frosted Js on us. Besides, it's Christmas. You have to be extra good at this time of year or you don't get any presents. And I could sure use the money that I blew on yours," Ban said with an evil smile as he pretended to make crushing motions with his right hand at the box under the tree that bore his lover's name.
Akabane was not deterred. His smile curled into feral promise. "I've already made the naughty list for the year over a dozen times by your count, so it really doesn't matter." He stooped and knelt in front of Ban, gently trailing a scalpel down the other man's chest and all the way to his lower abdomen, stopping just shy of the apex between his thighs. "You, on the other hand, might find a few surprise lumps in your stocking this year if you mess with those gifts...and I don't mean the pieces of coal that Wan-san uses to heat the stove in his shop."
Ban blinked and swallowed, torn between the temptation to push his luck and the wisdom that hollered for him to cut his losses before Akabane did it for him. "But Jackal - "
"Gingerbread," Ginji whimpered from behind him. That shut Ban up fast.
"For everything there is a season," Akabane said smugly as he took back the box Ban was still holding and replaced it beneath the tree.
Any sane person would have thought twice before breaking into the domicile of a witch, but the thief busily working at the latch of the window in Maria Noches' shop was not exactly playing with a full deck of cards. He'd seen the mountain of expensive-looking gifts piled beneath the impossibly large tree inside, and he'd decided to make the holiday come early for himself.
The window was surprisingly easy to open, and in no time the burglar was entering and scuttling for the treasure. He smiled as he scooped up a red and green box, thinking that it surely contained some nice electronics equipment, or perhaps some exotic antique. But he wasn't prepared for the surprise he got when, upon tugging at the first strands of the ribbon, the box suddenly opened itself and clamped down on him with fanged jaws as it swallowed him whole.
Later that evening Maria returned from the day's shopping. She noted that the window was ajar, and went to close it with a thoughtful smile. She paused, and then went to the tree, picking up a red and green box and putting it up to her ear before gently shaking it.
She sighed, not unhappily. "They never learn."
Gouzou Maguruma was a happy man. He'd gotten many wonderful presents from his family and his friends, and now he was sitting down to enjoy the gift his fellow transporters had given him. "Aw, that – I've done that before. Oh come on, I can drive better than this guy, and that's blindfolded! That little speed racer of his wouldn't last two seconds up against my truck. Geez, this guy Martin spends more time jumping around fighting than he does driving, so how come he's supposed to be such a great transporter? Wait, jumping his vehicle across the top of one building to another? Big deal, I did that on the platinum mission!"
In the other room, Akabane scowled at the DVD case that Himiko was reading. "I told you we should have gotten him the truck emergency kit instead of that movie," he groused.
Kyouji Kagami was well aware of the low regard in which he was held; however, that didn't stop him from amusing himself at another's expense. As he conjured up yet another diamond-dust clone to send to Lady Poison's home bearing the latest gift, he chuckled to himself as he wondered just what Doctor Jackal would think of having to deliver the nude, angel-haloed self-portrait Kagami had commissioned expressly for Himiko, and how exactly she would dispose of his tidings this time.
Santa's Little Artist Helper
Clayman found art to be twice as comforting a haven at this time of year, since it was in December long ago that her mother had crossed over to the artists' spirit world. She herself took extra care with her work; though she believed that art was a joy to be shared year-round, it held a special poignancy during the holidays.
When she showed up in the sculpted clay costume, red-suited and jolly-cheeked, as portly and cuddly as any bearded Santa Claus should be, the children at the hospital thought it was the best present ever, and so did Clayman when she saw their smiles.
"Aw, cheer up, Emi-yan," Amon consoled his friend. "Someday you'll be a big star and everybody will flock to see your performance!"
A despondent Emishi Haruki smiled wanly up at his friend. "Thanks, Amon. I just don't get it. I tried so hard, rehearsed for hours, memorized every line perfectly – and they still picked somebody else to star in the Christmas pageant! What does that other guy have that I don't? I'm a natural for the role! I'm jolly, I'm happy, I'm funny, and nobody can crack that sleigh whip like I can!"
"They just don't recognize talent when it shines in their faces," Amon observed sagely.
"Clearly not," Emishi agreed as he stood up to walk along the street with his lone fan. "I mean, anybody can shout 'Ho-ho-ho' on stage, but it takes a comic pro to infuse new life into it! I have an awesome dramatic range that's just begging to be let out with the right materiallllAAAAAHHH!"
"Emishi!" Amon squealed as he watched his friend slip on the patch of ice, go skidding on his back across the sidewalk and plow right into the stacked garbage cans at the end of the alley.
It took a passing paramedic all of two minutes to determine that, aside from his pride, Emishi was not harmed by his impromptu trip. By then the teenager standing on the other side of the street had completed filming with his camera, and he needed only an extra minute to finish uploading the video to his account on the internet. Within the hour the hits to the website had increased fourfold, and at the day's end the most popular video being viewed was titled "Garbageman Falls On Ice."
It wasn't the classic rise to fame that Emishi had envisioned, but every performer had to start somewhere...
The day had gone well with nary a lost transport or dead body, and now Lady Poison and Doctor Jackal were relaxing at the Honky Tonk with a cup of holiday eggnog - Paul Wan's talent for drink-mixing wasn't just limited to coffee. They sat in one of the corner booths, watching as the waitresses Natsumi and Rena decorated the shop for Christmas.
"Are you going to put some up at your guys' place?" Himiko asked Akabane when Natsumi placed a sprig of mistletoe above the front doorbell.
He shook his head, not smiling. "Oh no. Midou-kun doesn't like having to clean up after it once it's served its purpose."
"But it's tradition."
"Yes," Akabane agreed. "And ordinarily I would be delighted to keep it, except that mistletoe is quite dangerous. I would hate to have an unfortunate misunderstanding befall you or Ginji-kun if you should join us for dinner some evening."
Himiko frowned while she watched the waitresses scurry into the back of the shop to gather more decorations. "It's poisonous if you eat it, but I don't see how - "
"Please excuse me for a moment," Akabane gently interrupted as he suddenly got up from his seat, having recognized an enemy of the transporters who was now entering the shop. Before the man had crossed the threshold a J redder than any poinsettia plant was blooming over his torso, and he dropped stone dead in the middle of the cafe.
Himiko smacked a palm against her forehead with a groan. "Jackal! You're supposed to KISS people under the mistletoe!"
"I dare you."
"I think not."
"I double-dare you."
"Forget it, Midou-kun."
"I triple-dare you."
Akabane shook his head. "No thank you."
"What, are you chicken?" Ban taunted. "You're not even the slightest bit curious to see what she got you for Christmas?"
Akabane shrugged. "Of course I am. But Himiko-san's pleasure will be diminished if I tamper with her gift prematurely."
"It's your present, you should be able to open it whenever the hell you want," Ban said as he slunk over to the tree. "It's never stopped me before," he cackled as he picked up the gift bearing his own name.
"I assure you, I have a very good reason for waiting until the proper time to open any present from Himiko-san that is addressed to me," Akabane said. "I would think that you of all people should recognize the importance of this..."
"The brat's got an inflated sense of importance as it is," Ban said, beginning to undo the wrapping paper on his box. "I still say you're missing out. One little peek won't hurt. Why not – GAAAAAHHH!" he screamed when a foul, sticky pink perfume-like substance suddenly exploded all over his face and shoulders.
"That's why not," Akabane chuckled as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief to hand to a sulking Ban.
Ginji loved Christmas, for it meant goodies and gifts and great fun with good friends. Even better was sharing all of those with friends – everything except, of course, the edible goodies.
He was happily chomping away at a candy cane when a too-familiar black shadow blotted out the overhead light. "Good day, Ginji-kun! Are you enjoying the holidays, I hope?"
Trying not to choke on the length of red-and-white striped confectionery delight that he was currently stuffing down his throat, Ginji managed a shaky smile for Akabane's benefit. "Oh yeah. I love this time of year, there's so many awesome things to eat!"
"So I see," the transporter said with a chuckle as he nodded at the candy cane in Ginji's mouth. "Are they your favorite treat?"
"Oh yeah! Candy canes are the best," Ginji said. "You can play with them and decorate stuff with them. Ban-chan told me about a legend once that says the ancient peoples started making them in the shape of their shepherds' crooks. Neat, huh?"
"I suppose, if one is into that sort of thing," Akabane said with polite indifference. He picked up one from the bucket of candy that Ginji had hoarded and studied it with a slight frown. "Hmm. You know, Ginji-kun, I just noticed now. When you hold them like this - " he turned the candy cane upside down - "they rather look like miniature Js, don't they?"
He handed the cane back to Ginji. "Anyhow, I should be on my way. I'm to meet with a client this afternoon. I do hope it will be an interesting offer. Enjoy your candy!"
While Akabane sauntered off Shido chose that moment to drop by the Honky Tonk. He nudged the bucket of candy with a knowing grin. "Better finish that off before the snake bastard hogs it all, you know."
Green-faced, Ginji shook his head and pushed the candy back towards a puzzled Shido. "I'm never eating candy canes again as long as I live."
Maguruma was used to his cohorts' eccentricities. So when he took his children to the mall to visit Santa Claus, he fully expected to see Akabane pull his usual yearly stunt. But when the other transporter did not get into the line that was forming in front of the jolly red giant, Maguruma was curious. "How come you aren't signing up with Santa this year?"
Akabane sighed. "It seems I've been banned because of what happened last year."
"Oh? You start a fight with someone in the middle of the mall display?"
"Heavens, no," Akabane grumbled. "All I did was present my wish list to the man. I don't think that I asked for anything terribly unreasonable. I only requested some bloody rain to ease the drought, after all."
Thinking Of You
"Hello, Kagami? Yes, it's Lady Poison. Yes, I got your present. No, it was not the perfect gift. But to show you there's no hard feelings, I'm sending you a surprise of my own," Himiko said into the phone. "It should arrive sometime today. A large package. Yes."
"Quiet, Akabane," she hissed. "I'm almost done here – yes, Kagami? That's right. Consider it holiday goodwill for all those self-portraits you sent me."
"Himiko-san...it really is quite cramped in here..."
She put her hand over the phone's receiver and kicked the box she was standing next to. "Quit fussing. You'll get to have your fun soon enough."
A-Caroling We'll Go
Shido had learned to appreciate the beauty of music over time, but it wasn't until he met Madoka that he gained a sincere respect for it. Even so, it still came as a shock to him that the love of his life not only enjoyed playing Christmas music, but warped Christmas music at that. But because he cared for her, he kept his mouth shut, bit his tongue and said nothing when Madoka cheerfully launched into the next verse of "Grandpa Just Got Even With That Reindeer."
Santa Claus – not the real Santa, just a hired seasonal employee – knew well the importance of keeping up his sacred image. Disappointing the ones that climbed onto his lap to whisper to him their most secret and fondest dreams wouldn't even have occurred to him, though of course it was impossible for him to personally fulfill each and every one of their wishes.
But when an ogre of a blond brute staggered through the crowd and loomed over him, Santa knew that disappointment would not just be unwise, it would prove downright fatal. And so, when the giant crouched above his trembling form and hissed, "Takuma Fudou, Midou Ban's head on a plate!" in response to the time-honored questions of name and Christmas wish, Santa gulped for air and whimpered that he would of course place this request at top priority come the eve of his gift-travels.
The time had clearly come for him to retire from the Santa business, he realized.
"I fail to understand why you're telling me this," a sour-faced Makubex said to the two men standing expectantly before him. "Just 'cause I can hack the Archive doesn't mean I can prompt it to give you guys the answers you want!"
"We'd still appreciate it if you'd try to look into the records," Masaki said. "I want to know if Hevn will accept my proposal as the gift I'm planning to give her this Christmas."
"And I want for Ginji to grow up healthy and happy, and to have the stable life that he deserves," Teshimine said.
Makubex sighed. "Okay..." It took him several minutes of firewall wrangling, but he cracked the codes and dug for the information they'd requested. When the answers appeared onscreen no one was as shocked by them as the boy wonder. "Holy crap."
Masaki and Teshimine cringed. "How bad is it? At least tell me we're still together as a couple?" Masaki said, wincing.
"Well, what do you know, Sakura," Makubex said to his second-in-command with a huge smile. "The Archive got something right for once!"
"I simply cannot fathom the others' reasoning," Akabane sniffed as he continued to pack the snow into a compact sphere. "My aim is accurate, I abide by the terms of honor and I always defend my teammates' backs. I would make an excellent addition to any battle. So why is it that no one will allow me to join in?"
Ban looked up from the pile of white powdery ammunition he was stockpiling. "Yeah. You see these?" he said, grabbing one of Akabane's snowballs and pointing at the sharp metal objects studding every side of it. "Snowball fights don't usually involve arming your winter surprises with scalpels!"
You Light Up My Life
"A little more, Ban-chan. To the left – no, right. Yeah, like that. There. That's good," Ginji said as he stuck the plug end into his mouth and hummed. Moments later the window was sparkling with multicolored dots.
"It better be," Ban muttered as he wobbled atop the ladder outside the front of the Honky Tonk. "I'm not spending the holidays maimed 'cause of your directional challenges!"
Inside, Hevn and Paul watched the tangled strings of Christmas lights slowly take a more organized shape. "Working off the tab again, are they?" Hevn asked.
"You could say that," Paul agreed from behind his newspaper. "I wasn't going to decorate this year because of the expense, but Natsumi gave me the idea. After all, if one of my patrons is a living battery socket, why not take advantage of it?"