The day before Christmas Eve.
I don't know why, but I always liked the wait for Christmas day. I guess it's because I like the overall "Christmas Spirit" more than the holiday itself. It's a time of giving, peace on earth, good will to all and love.
...I know, that's not what a lot of people seem to think about these days (sales, stress, the "gift of getting"), but I still like it for the original reasons.
As for giving... I'm Jianliang Li, age seventeen. I'm standing inside of a candy store, shopping. I already bought all I wanted to give to my friends, family and Takato. Now, I'm thinking about buying some candy for a Christmas get together at home. I guess I've done all the giving I can do for the season, unless I encounter a few more Santas with bells and metal pots next to them.
Maybe some of those chocolates with cherries in them would be good, I know Takato likes cherries. We invited the Matsuda family over, my parents have been trying to get to know them since Takato and I met as Tamers five years ago. They've put more effort into it in the last year or so.
Oh, winter green candy canes? Haven't seen those before. Might as well pick them up.
I take the candy to the counter. I picked up a few mini-ribbon candies, those winter green candy canes and Christmas tree marshmallow treats (from the same company that makes those chicks and bunnies at Easter). I spot a few miniature gingerbread men in boxes off to the side of the counter and grab them as well.
"Having a party?" The cashier asks, trying to be friendly.
I nod, reaching for my wallet. I pay for the candy with a smile. "Merry Christmas." I say before turning away with the bag of candy.
I lower my head in expectation of the cold air from outside. It started snowing a little heavily on my way over here. It doesn't bother me, I like the snow as much as I like the season. Beautiful white crystals falling from the sky. I find it peaceful.
I hear someone behind me clear their thorat. I turn around.
"Jen?" My eyes look into a somewhat troubled face.
I smile. "Takato? I wasn't expecting to see you here." I almost always smile when I see Takato.
He gives me a little less than half a smile in return. "Jen, I wanted to find you before tonight...Um... There's something I want to tell you and ask you."
"What is it? Is something wrong?" It's not hard for me to tell Takato's nervous.
"My parents know I'm seeing...someone...but I haven't told them who it is. They assume it's Juri, but lately, they've been asking to meet my 'mystery girlfriend' and this morning, my mom suggested that she come for Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow night... ...Well..."
"...Jen-chan, would you like to come to dinner tomorrow night?"
"I take it you still haven't worked up the courage to tell them, right?" I ask, still smiling.
"It's hard, Jen. You know that... You were lucky your parents were so open to it, they only get upset if we're out past your curfew." Takato replies, a bit nervous, "Mine aren't exactly like that."
"And you suppose that tomorrow night will go well if I suddenly show up and say, 'I'm your son's mystery girlfriend?'"
"Well, no, but at the very least, I can guilt them into not throwing me out by saying 'It's Christmas eve' over and over." He replies, sort of jokingly.
I rest my hand on his shoulder, "It won't turn out like that, Takato, and if it did, you know you could stay with me." I give him a serious expression, dusting a few flakes of snow off his jacket.
"I know, I don't think it would come to that." Takato looks down. "...So, will you go?"
"Do I have a choice?"
"It's a date."
"And will be one hell of a night..." Takato mutters. I laugh, "Seriously, Jen-chan, be ready for anything..."
"Takato, we don't know how they'll react."
"Exactly. Remember how nervous you were when you told your family?"
I nod. I was nervous that night at dinner... I guess Takato's doing a "show don't tell" version of what I did. Halfway through the meal I said "I'm gay, pass the soy sauce." The reaction I got was soy sauce and my father saying, "That's nice." They took it easily, the 'worst' reaction was from my brother who merely asked, in these exact words, "Just wondering, would a naked girl still turn you on?" while I poured the soy sauce.
Later on, my parents had a short discussion about curfews (no dates past eight on school nights) who I was with (Takato) and...sex. The third discussion was awkward when my reaction to "have the two of you had sex?" was an obvious "Yes" even though I said "No." They, thankfully, accepted the 'no' and...I thought the straight version of "the talk" was awkward.
Still, Takato's family was more strict than mine, so it was possible for a negative (or worse) reaction from them. I'm expecting negative like I did before... Takato's probably expecting to be thrown out on the street. He's heard those stories, we both have.
We continue walking to my apartment building. We're both silent, Takato is very nervous. I can tell just by looking at him.
"...Jen-chan, I can say that...'she' couldn't make it to dinner, if you want." Takato says when we get closer to my apartment building.
"Takato, if you want to tell them, I'll be there for you. Even if you tell them like I told my parents...well, a little more sudden, but, still the same way. Sudden."
"...Thank you, Jen-chan." He gives me a hug with one arm, "I'll make it up to you."
"Takato, you don't need to. I'll always be there for you..." I give him a light kiss on the cheek, "Always." I whisper into his ear. He blushes, he always does that when I kiss him. "Want to stay with me until your parents come over? I got the new Shin Sangoku Musou game...Of course, whenver my brother visits, he hogs the playstation, we could sit in my room..."
Takato laughs, "Jen-chan..."
"What? I meant just watch television or something..."
We make our way into the apartment building, going straight to the elevator.
I press the button for floor six. As soon as the doors close, Takato latches onto my arm lovingly, like he does every time we're alone in the elevator.
The doors open at floor six, Takato stands casually as the doors open.
Good move, too. My parents and Xiaochun are right in front of the door. Then again, my whole family has seen Takato and I kiss and, really, and only Lianjie really comments on it (usually it's "get a room.").
"Jianliang, what took you so long?" Xiaochun says, "We thought you got trapped in the store!"
"Sorry." I bow my head as Takato and I step out of the elevator, "I had trouble finding Christmas candy, two days until the holiday, you know."
"I see you managed to find your boy toy!" Xiaochun says. I blush, Takato blushes even deeper.
"XIAOCHUN!" I shout, following it with a groan. Xiaochun has...nicknames for Takato like that.
My father chuckles, "Takato, good to see you. Your parents called, they should be here in a bit. I told them you would meet them here." With a smile, he adds, "I had a feeling you would be coming home with Jianliang."
Takato bows his head, "...Thanks." He looks nervous again.
"Something wrong?" My mother asks.
"Takato's still..." I trail off, we start to walk back to my apartment.
"In the closet?" Xiaochun asks, bluntly. She developed that habit about a year ago. Sometimes I think I should have come out at a dinner where she was at a friend's.
"...Yeah..." I say, rolling my eyes, "You haven't... mentioned anything in front of them, have you?"
My parents shake their heads, "No, we didn't." My father says.
"Don't worry, Takato, we'll keep it a secret." My mother says.
"I can keep a secret!" Xiaochun adds, smiling.
"Oh, so why is it that you had a show and tell project titled 'My Gay Brother?'" I ask. About a week after I came out, she invited me to her school. I turned out to be her show and tell project for that day. The reaction of her teacher was priceless, especially since I was her student when I was Xiaochun's age.
Xiaochun laughs nervously, "Well...I got a B+!"
"Jen-chan?" Takato gives me a confused look.
"I'll tell you later, it's a long story..." I whisper, "Let's just say Ms. Shinobu will never look at me the same way again."
We walk into my apartment. I hear laughter as we walk into the door.
Those voices... Lianjie and Jialing...
I look up. Two pieces of mistletoe, suspended by two fishing poles in the hands of my older brother and sister, both visiting from Hong Kong University for the holidays.
"...Oh, very funny..." I mutter. I tend to be their target when it comes to pranks that put me in an awkward position. They don't mean to be mean, of course.
"C'mon! Pucker up!" Lianjie gives me a kissy-kissy face, pointing to Takato. I roll my eyes.
My parents are in the kitchen, but Xiaochun is standing by our Christmas tree with a camera.
"This'll be a great Christmas card picture!" Xiaochun gives Jialing and Lianjie thumbs up.
I sigh. I grab Takato by the shoulders, taking him by surprise.
"JEN-CH-MMPH!" I kiss him on the lips. The flash of a polaroid and the sound of my siblings laughing, I won't live this down.
I break the kiss, smiling, "Takato-chan?"
Takato laughs nervously. He still isn't used to kissing in front of others, especially my family.
"Guys, do it over! Takato looks like a reindeer in the headlights of a semi!" Xiaochun shouts, looking at the polaroid. "And Jialing blinked!"
"I did not!" Jialing shouts, almost dropping her fishing pole.
Takato and I slip off our shoes and sneak off as Xiaochun and Jialing start to argue.
I sit on the couch, Takato does the same. There are two playstation controlers on the coffee table, and the TV has a Shin Sangoku Musou game on the screen, just before a battle begins. I press the start button.
On the screen, a soldier runs to his commanding officer in an army camp. He clasps his hands together and bows. "Report from the spies! The main Shu force has definitely camped!" Ah, the battle of Jie Ting...
The general replies, "So, was the enemy camp pretty?" ...I sometimes wonder if Lianjie plays this battle more than the others in the game because of me.
"Wha...? It...It was normal I suppose..." Replies a lowly private.
"People! We must destroy their formation with the beautiful one of our own! This is the art of battle!" Zhang He addresses his troops in a way I can only describe as 'gay.'
"Very funny, Lianjie!" I look over to Lianjie. He's standing at the Christmas tree, drinking egg nog.
"What? I like Zhang He!" Lianjie walks to the playstation, "Jie Ting just happens to be my favorite battle." He takes the controler from me, "Now, watch the master..."
I shake my head, "Takato-chan and I are going to watch TV in my room."
"All right, but come back later. I'm finally going to beat you in versus mode."
"You and what army?"
"The Wei army."
"Good luck..." I mutter, Takato and I get up and leave. We rush into my room before Jialing or Xiaochun can stop us.
"Sorry about them." I say, closing my door. "It's just an older sibling thing, really."
Takato smiles, "Jen-chan, I like your family. I wish I had brothers and sisters like yours."
"Oh, you want to be a show and tell project, too?"
Takato laughs, "Well, I guess there could be some downsides..."
"So, what's your favorite part of the holidays?"
"You...And the decorations."
"I'm having a bit of trouble with mistletoe..."
"It gives me an excuse to kiss you."
"Like you need an excuse." I kiss him on the cheek, wrapping my arms around him, "Now-"
There's a knock at the door, "Takato, your parents just got here!" It's Xiaochun.
Takato goes slightly pale, I let go of him, sneaking a quick kiss on the cheek. "We'll continue this later." I whisper.
Takato nods, slowly reaching for the doorknob.
"Just relax." I say. "Save this for tomorrow night."
He nods, opening the door. He tries to look casual.
Takato's parents stand in our living room, talking with my parents. Lianjie is still caught up in battle, while Jialing is heading towards us.
"Hide this!" Jialing whispers, "Xiaochun filled me in, and I told Lianjie." She gives us the polaroid of Takato and I kissing.
"...You really do look like a reindeer caught in the headlights of a semi." I laugh, tossing the polaroid into my room behind me. It lands in the waste basket, face down.
"Nice toss!" Xiaochun gives me a thumbs up, then runs off to the Christmas tree to help Jialing put gifts from the Matsudas under it.
"Your gift is hidden in my room," Takato whispers, "well, your real gift."
"Oh, if it's in your room is it what I think it is?" I whisper.
"Takato!" Mr. Matsuda calls, motioning for us to join him and my father, "I was just telling Mr. Li about your mystery girlfriend. Is she coming to dinner tomorrow night?"
Immediately, giggles errupt from Lianjie, Jialing and Xiaochun. A sharp glare from my mother shuts them up.
Takato nods, "Y-Yes. At six."
"Great!" Mr. Matsuda raises a glass of egg nog, turning back to my father, "I knew he was seeing some girl, always going out on weekends, had to be a girl."
"Hm, my son has a mystery girl of his own." My father says with a nod. "She's a very nice girl, from what I hear."
"Ah, from what I hear about your son, she must be lucky to have him." Mr. Matsuda adds, sipping his egg nog. I hold back a chuckle. "Why haven't you met her?"
"Oh, I have, to be honest. I just keep forgetting her name... Taka...yuki...Taka...fumi... Something like that... You know me, terrible with names!"
Takato looks like he's about to have a heart attack after hearing my father say 'Taka.' Thanks, Dad...
"Relax." I whisper, "they'll find out something's up just from the way you look."
"Takato, come on and have a candy cane." Mr. Matsuda says. "Or are you and Jenrya playing a video game or something?"
"Can't." Lianjie says from the couch. "General Zhang He is fighting hoards of Wu soldiers."
"...Huh?" Takato's father gives Lianjie a confused glance.
"Lianjie has the playstation for the night." I say.
"I haven't played in almost a year, Jianliang, I love this game..."
"You just like slashing warriors by the thousands!" I reply.
"Point being? It's not like you have any dating sims I'd like..." He refers to my shounen-ai dating sims. Good going, Lianjie...
A sharp poke in the back with a candy cane from Jialing makes Lianjie follow up on his statement.
"A-After all! I don't...LIKE dating sims!" Poke! "The girls are too shallow!" Poke! "No girl would really act like that!" Poke! "Only losers who can't get dates play dating sims!" Poke! "Except those who already have someone! Like you and Takato!" STAB! "SINCE YOU BOTH HAVE GIRLFRIENDS, I MEAN!"
"I suppose..." Takato's mother says, confused. Takato's even paler.
I groan, Lianjie can be such an idiot at times...
"So," My father says, changing the subject before either of Takato's parents can say anything, "do you two like turkey? I found a very nice sized turkey today at the market, it's been in the oven since noon. Want to take a look and see if it's done?"
"I love turkey!" Takato's father heads into the kitchen with mine. My mother and Takato's mother follow.
I stroll over to the playstation and unplug it. "Oops."
"...Sorry..." Lianjie mutters.
I plug the playstation back in. "...At least they didn't ask questions."
The rest of the night goes well, Lianjie kept his mouth shut. Takato and I sat next to each other at dinner. To my surprise, he built up the courage to hold my hand under the table. No-one noticed. Takato's father was too busy talking about working at the bakery, while his mother and my mother talked about...well...Takato, Lianjie, Jialing, Xiaochun and I. Talking about their kids, pretty much. Just as embarrassing as it sounds, too.
The Matsudas left about an hour or so after dinner, after we all sat in the living room, drank egg nog and talked. Most of the candy eating was done by Xiaochun and my father, especially the latter.
When they left, Jialing started with the questions.
"So, who's Takato bringing to dinner tomorrow at six?" Jialing asks, closing the door, "Who's this 'mystery girlfriend' if it's not you?"
"I'm going to his house for Christmas dinner." I say. "He's coming out tomorrow."
"...Oh. Why tomorrow?"
"He thinks it's safer to tell them on a holiday they can't in good conscience throw him out on." I reply.
"Yeesh, poor guy... Well, who's to say they won't take it easily?" Jialing asked.
"You saw how excited Takato's father was about this 'mystery girl,'" Lianjie speaks up, "they want grandkids."
"...Good point." Jialing lowers her head in thought, "Are you ready for anything, Jianliang?"
"Positive and negative?" Lianjie asks.
"Mostly negative. It's what Takato expects."
"Be there for him." Jialing says, "This will be a long night for him..."
"You know I will." I nod, "I won't let him get hurt."
"I know how protective you can be, I won't doubt that." Jialing smiles, "Good luck, Jianliang. Tell us how dinner tastes."
I nod again, smiling, "I will." I head into my room. "Good night."
I walk into my bed room, closing the door and sighing loudly. Tomorrow is Christmas eve...The night Takato finds out if his parents will accept him or hate him... ...Great. Tomorrow is going to be a long awkward day.
Don't get me wrong, I love Takato and I will always be with him. I'm up to this, I just wish I knew if he really was. Takato can get emotional at times, and I'm worried something might happen to him. He was always careful around his parents. I never went there after we became a couple, he was worried they'd catch on or walk in on us kissing...
I fall asleep playing out what might happen tomorrow night in my head.
I woke up the earlier than usual. I wanted to sneak a few of my gifts for my family under the tree before they woke up, stuff I didn't want Xiaochun to shake or things in obvious packaging (if it looks like DVD box, it's probably a DVD or game). It's Christmas eve.
Tonight's the night. Takato comes out, and it's either a Merry Christmas or all hell breaks loose... Either way, I'm going to be there for him. No matter what.
I tip-toe into the living room. I don't need to turn on the light... A "WEI FORCES LOST" message on the TV screen with Zhang He on one knee with his head down provides enough light for me. Lianjie is asleep on the couch with a controller in his hands... Now to do this without waking him up.
It's almost five o'clock, no-one will be awake until eight. Why? It's Christmas eve. Everyone in the Li family takes their time to wake up on this day. It's tomorrow we all wake up early to the sound of Xiaochun screaming "IT'S CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS!" over and over again...At 12:01 in the morning, usually. 12:03 at the latest.
I carry all of the gifts in a box I had in my closet. I sit next to the tree, doing my best to hide each new gift behind another gift. I doubt I'll be heard over the music from Lianjie's game, either way...
Without warning, the lights turn on... I hear Jialing whispering to Lianjie...
"Wake up, you idiot! You fell asleep playing that game again!"
Lianjie growls, "Sleep. Now. Lianjie tired."
She kicks him in the leg. "Wake up!"
"Ow!" Lianjie wakes up, clutching his shin. "What is it?"
"It's almost five! Everyone else will be awake soon! Remember what we planned?" I'm guessing they haven't noticed me, sitting next to the tree.
"Right, right..." Lianjie got up and yawned, turning to the tree, "Oh, hey, Jianliang..."
Jialing sighed, "Oh, sorry, we didn't know you were here, too."
"It's okay." I whisper. "What are you two doing?"
"A surprise." Lianjie grins, "Just finish up what you're doing and play a game or go back to sleep."
"All right..." I finish putting the gifts under the tree quickly, not paying much attention to if they're hidden well or not. If there was a surprise out there that could bring the ever-opposing forces of Li Lianjie and Li Jialing together, it had to be good.
I sit at Lianjie's usual spot on the couch. "All right, I'll wait here."
"Good! Don't look away from that screen!" Jialing smiles. "Come, Lianjie! To our cars!" Both of them march out of the apartment.
I shrug. This could turn out to be an interesting morning...
They sneak back into the apartment about fifteen minutes later...Well, sort of...
"DON'T LOOK! JIANLIANG! DON'T LOOK!" Lianjie "whisper"-shouts from behind me.
"Shut up, stupid!" Jialing shouts. I hear the sound of them struggling with something.
I see the kitchen lights turn on, shining against the walls. "You, table. Me, here." Lianjie says.
"No, YOU, table. ME, here." Jialing snaps. I hear the sound of Lianjie being pushed to our dining room table, and the sound of him tripping.
"Ow! Fine! Fine! I'll cover this!"
At that point, I put in a dating sim to keep my mind off of Lianjie and Jialing's mysterious project.
Ai To Kirai (Love And Hate), one of my favorites. I play as the young high school soccer star "Jenrya Li" (no default name, so I go with my own) who is chased by both guys and girls in his classes.
"Jenrya-san, w-will you...go...go out with me?" Asks Tenjin, blushing.
I select "No," I want someone else... Of course, doing this ends up with both Tenjin and I seeing the Headmaster after an incident involving a girl who asks me out next...
I spend the next hour or so trying to get a date with a guy who looks similar to Takato, which is why I usually decline everyone else in the game...
I feel someone tap my shoulder. I turn to that person, it's Lianjie.
"Hey, Romeo, try to pick up Mercutio some other time." Lianjie says, "The surprise is ready! Go wake Xiaochun!"
I nod, "All right." I get up and turn off the playstation, heading straight for Xiaochun's room. I turn on her light, she covers her head with a pillow, growling.
"Too early. Me sleep..." She mutters.
"Xiaochun, Santa just dropped off his gifts!" I say, mock-excited.
She bolts right up, "YES!"
She glares at me. "Jerk!"
"Lianjie and Jialing have a present or something outside-"
She tosses her covers aside and runs right by me. "Thanks!"
Yep, the word 'present' always wakes her up, especially on Christmas eve.
I come out of Xiaochun's room, my parents are being lead out of their room by Jialing and Lianjie is doing his best to keep Xiaochun from entering the kitchen.
"Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls," Lianjie begins, "Family and...FAMILY!" I roll my eyes, "We have come from the land of Europe to bring you these gifts-"
"Lianjie, we went to the shopping mall down the street." Jialing corrects Lianjie, rolling her eyes.
"...THEY ARE IMPORTED-"
"Made in China. Yeah, 'imported.'" Jialing mutters, "The wine glasses are from such a foreign land!"
"...Enjoy." Lianjie mutters, moving aside and letting the family through the kitchen and into the dining room.
On the table is a gingerbread house, surrounded by six plates with a Christmas breakfast. Green and red dyed eggs, with a side of ham, two candy canes next to a wine glass of egg nog and...Did they actually get figgy pudding? And for dessert, Christmas chocolates.
"Wow..." My father says, an impressed smile spreads across his face. "A Christmas breakfast from you two?"
"Hey, it took me a while to set up that gingerbread house. Those candy cane shingles don't stay on with just peanut butter, you know!" Lianjie says, proudly.
"What'd you use?" I ask, worriedly. Lianjie being creative with any sort of fix for any sort of project can be hazardous.
"Melted taffy, after they fell off...The third time..." Lianjie replies, "So, I used peppermint taffy instead of peanut butter."
Jialing shrugs. "And you want to be a programmer when you make an amazing architecht."
"...Very funny." Lianjie mutters, "I'd better not find any shells in my eggs-" A loud smack echoes through the apartment.
"This coming from the guy who thought egg whites were the egg shells?" Jialing shouts.
"I was ten!"
"Exactly! No ten year old is that stupid!"
"Let's just eat!" Lianjie shouts, raising his arms in the air, sighing.
Xiaochun runs to the table first. "Yeah!"
"We save the house for dessert, got it?" Lianjie says as she reaches for a candy cane tree.
"...Okay..." Xiaochun says, pulling her hand back as everyone sits down.
That morning is definitely going to become one of my favorite Christmas memories with my family. Ever. Lianjie and Jialing never did anything like this before, they're usually the ones fighting this time of year...
...Well, they still fought, but it was still a nice surprise. The food was excellent, and the argument between Lianjie and Jialing over who did the most work was priceless. Perhaps this is how tonight's dinner will work out...
...Right. Takato's parents are going to freak out and I know it.
Still, there's always hope that it will go well. Sure, Takato's father was excited his son had a mystery "girl" and maybe he'll be understanding if this "girl" turns out to be a boy.
"Are you ready for anything, Jianliang?" I hear Jialing's voice in my head. I need to remember, be ready for anything...
I spend most of the day watching videos in my room, things like the Love Hina Christmas special, and some older specials. I catch the Japanese dub of a Simpsons Christmas special on TV, too. The first one, where they get the dog, Santa's Little Helper.
After that, I take a shower and get ready to leave for Takato's house. It's about 5:30, the sun is already starting to set.
I sigh, going to the door. "I'm leaving." I say.
"Good luck, Jianliang!" Lianjie waves from the playstation.
"Good luck." Jialing says, waving to me from the tree. She's adding a few last minute decorations she picked up the other day.
"Thanks." I nod my head, "See you later tonight." I leave.
This is it... Dinner with Takato's parents. This could turn ugly or it could turn out to be a nice family dinner. There might just be a long awkward silence, but at least there won't be yelling...
...Not much yelling. I hope.
I walk out of the building. Snow starts to fall from the sky before I reach the end of the block.
Snowfall... ...So peaceful, I always found it to be soothing, no matter what the situation. Even this.
I won't lie, I'm nervous. I'm worried Takato's parents will freak out, maybe make it so we'll never see each other again. ...Or worse. They could throw Takato out. I don't want to believe it's a possibility, but it is.
The snow falls faster, I'm almost to Takato's bakery\house.
If I'm this nervous, I wonder how Takato feels. I wonder how he spent the day. Trying to act casual? That wouldn't be easy for Takato. I just know he's more nervous than I am, Takato is probably hoping I can't make it and cancel at the last minute.
I reach the bakery, a sign is written on the door. "Guests - Please proceed to the back door. Bakery Closed for Christmas." I walk around to the back of the building.
I knock at the door. I'm ready for anything...I hope.
Takato's mother opens the door, "Jenrya? What are you doing here?" She says, obviously surprised to see me. "S-Sorry, but could you come by later? We're expecting a guest tonight."
I'm silent, I lower my head after a moment. "...I'm your guest...Tonight."
"...What?" She looks at me, quite obviously confused by my statement.
"I'm sorry I'm a little early." I say. I'm early by about ten minutes, not that it would matter, the same thing would happen anyway.
"...Jenrya, what are you saying?"
"...Takato invited me to dinner tonight, six o'clock." I say, I'm afraid to say 'I'm the mysterious 'girl' your son has been seeing.'
"We're expecting Takato's-" She's silent, her eyes widen as she makes the connection. "...T-Takato!" She shouts.
I hear Takato's foot steps from inside. "Y-Yeah?"
"...Jenrya is here." She says. "...I...I need to finish dinner." She walks off in a hurry, leaving the door open.
Takato walks to the door. "Jen..." He whispers.
"...Sorry, I wasn't sure what to say..." I shrug, shaking my head. "Can I come in?"
"It's okay, Jen...chan." He whispers the 'chan.' He opens the door wider. I step in, taking off my shoes, "...This is it."
"I'm here for you." I say, "Anything happens, I'll be there."
"Thank you, Jen."
Takato's father enters the room, "I heard the door open!" He says, "Is she he-" He freezes in place, staring at me. "...Jenrya?"
"Hello." I bow my head.
Takato's father stutters for a moment, he finally focuses on Takato. "...Takato...?"
"...Surprise?" Takato says, smiling weakly.
His father turns one-hundred eighty degrees and leaves the room without another word.
"Surprise?" I turn to Takato.
"It's all I could think of to say." He shrugs. "What would you have said?"
We both listen to the shouts in the kitchen.
"Were you aware of this?" Takato's father...
"Not until two minutes ago?" Takato's mother...
"Why didn't we notice anything?"
"I don't know! What should we do?"
"You're asking me? He comes out with the Li boy in tow and you expect me to know what to do?"
"You're the one who wouldn't stop talking about his girlfriend, and now look at things!"
At least they aren't yelling at us.
Takato sighs, "...One hell of a Christmas, huh?"
"For what? I'm sorry I brought you into this." He says, "I wanted them to find out, I just didn't know how to tell them..."
"Still, I'm worried about how dinner might turn out." I mutter.
"Yeah, all that yelling, I wonder if they'll notice that the turkey is burning..."
"You're being surprisingly humorous."
"It's how I deal with being worried." Takato shrugs, "Sort of, at least. It keeps my mind off what might happen."
I nod. "I see what you mean."
Takato's father comes out of the kitchen. "...Sorry about that." He says, trying to smile. "Please, come ou-INTO the dining room... Dinner'll be ready soon."
We both nod, slowly making our way to the dining room table. We sit next to each other. There was a pot of tea on the table and tea in each cup. Peppermint flavor, for the season.
"...Well, so far so good..." Takato says. "Some shouting, but none of it was 'get the hell out of my house,' 'I have no son' or 'you will never see that boy again' so I guess we're okay. For now."
"I think it's more of a shock if anything, but it's only been a few minutes. What did you do today? Anything to prepare for tonight?"
"I just stayed out of my parents' way and hoped for the best." Takato sips his tea. "...Oh, and took the mistletoe over the door off."
"My parents wanted me to greet 'her' at the door and kiss 'her' under the mistletoe while they snapped a polaroid. They scrapped the idea after the mistletoe vanished without a trace."
"I see-" I glance up. "Er... Takato, is this where you usually sit at dinner?"
He looks up, his eyes widen. "...Damn, they did find it!"
Mistletoe, right above us.
"Well?" I smile, mostly joking.
"Jen-chan... This isn't exactly the time..." He glances to the kitchen door. "...But screw it." He kisses me on the cheek. I shift in my seat and kiss him on the lips.
We hear sound of a doorknob turning, we immediately sit normally.
"Takato... We need some help in the kitchen..." Takato's mother says, "Would you mind giving us a hand?"
"I can help." I say.
"No! No! That's okay... You're the guest!" She says, "Takato?"
Takato nods, getting up and walking into the kitchen.
Why does something tell me they don't need help in the kitchen? I have a feeling Takato's trying to explain this to them...
"W-What?" I hear him shout. He sounds somewhat surprised.
Bad news? Good news? We're expecting bad, but good news would come as a nice surprise...
I sit silently, expecting Takato or one of his parents to come out with bad news, or shouts, or anything...
...Except a turkey...
Takato comes out of the kitchen, holding a large turkey on a platter, his parents come after him with other foods. Potatoes, gravy, rice, the usual.
Takato sets the turkey in the center of the table and helps set the other foods around it. Takato sits next to me again.
"Well?" I whisper.
"They needed help getting the turkey out of the oven." Takato whispers back, "They didn't mention you or anything... I was expecting something other than, 'help me with this turkey, son' from my dad... Trust me."
Takato's father clears his throat, about to carve the turkey. "...So, Jenrya, h-how long have you and together been Takato- I mean, how long have you and Takato been together?" I try not to laugh, it's obvious how nervous he is.
I glance to Takato, giving him a 'What should I say?' look. He shrugs in response, mouthing the word "TRUTH?"
"A-about three years." I say, a bit nervously.
"That long? I'm amazed we started noticing it only recently..." His father trails off, he puts a piece of turkey on a plate, then passes it to me, I pass it to Takato. "Do you like drumsticks, Jenrya? Or white or dark meat?"
"White meat, please."
"All right." He carves off a piece of white meat and passes it to me on a plate. "There you go."
"...How did you both... realize you were in love?" Takato's mother asks next.
Errr... That's more of an embarrassing story... ...Let's just say, the issue 'came up' while Takato and I were at a hot spring with Hirokazu and Kenta over summer vacation one year, "Um... One summer, at that resort we went to with Hirokazu and Kenta... ...He told me he liked me." I say, leaving out the, now infamous with Hirokazu and Kenta, 'hot springs snake incident' (As Hirokazu calls it, Takato is still embarassed about it to this day). "Well, actually, it started with... Uh..." I glance to Takato, he's blushing, furiously. I'm doing the same.
"Long story short, we kissed and that was it!" Takato finishes.
"...I see..." Both of Takato's parents say in almost perfect unison. ...Wonderful, just like my reaction to 'the talk' from my parents... It's obivous something they probably didn't want to hear was left out.
"Well, I'm glad you're happy..." Takato's father mutters. I hear a hint of a disappointed tone in his voice. I sort of expected it, Takato is an only child.
"By the way," Takato's mother says. "I take it you haven't looked up."
"Huh?" Is she serious...?
Takato's father rolls his eyes and looks away. Takato looks up, blushing again.
"Y-You're not serious!" Takato shouts.
"It's a law." Takato's mother shrugs with one hand, her other at her side...
"Um...Jen?" Takato's blushing worse than I've ever seen. Worse than when he kisses me in front of my family, our friends, or when I surprise him with a kiss.
"Just do it." Takato's father motions with his hand, still looking away.
I feel the blood rushing to my cheeks even more. "Uh..."
Takato sighs, looking up at the ceiling, almost glaring at the mistletoe...Then to me. He grabs me by the shoulders and kisses me on the lips.
...Oh, damn it, another polaroid! Is there a camera god that hates me or something?
Takato's father lets out a loud sigh, while his mother holds up a developing polaroid, smiling, she looks at it. "Hm, Jenrya, you look like a deer in headlights."
I blush. That's a first for this kind of polaroid... The kind Xiaochun, Lianjie and Jialing blackmail me with is another story.
"Well, let's eat." Takato's father says, rolling his eyes again. I guess their reaction is somewhat mixed, Takato's father is obviously disappointed (but not mad, which is good), and his mother is shockingly supportive.
Thankfully, this looks like it won't turn into the awkward dinner I expected...Well, it's not AS awkward as I expected.
"Jenrya, you haven't touched your food... You're not hungry?" Takato's father asks. "We can skip right to the egg nog." He suggests, then mutters, "I know mine'll be extra hard this Christmas..." Like I said, he isn't yelling. That's always a plus in my book.
"No, that's all right. I just...got caught up in my thoughts." I reply, I cut a piece of turkey and eat it. "It's very good."
Takato sighs in relief. "...Thanks for coming, Jen." He whispers.
Dinner goes by without any problems... Takato's father occaisionally whispers something, but that's about it and it's nothing too negative. He got a little more talkative near the end. Takato's mother was much more talkative, mostly asking about our dates and things like that. She seems to support us, a lot. Neither of us expected that kind of reaction from her, not in the slightest.
After dinner, we have some egg nog. I see a higher rum to egg nog ratio in Takato's father's glass than I've ever seen in Lianjie's or anyone else's glass. After a glass or two, Takato takes me to his room, telling his parents he wants to give me a gift. His father adds more rum to his egg nog, while his mother just nods.
"Jen-chan..." He begins, "I wanted to give you this tomorrow, but, I might as well give it to you now." He opens the door. We walk into his room, I close the door behind me. He goes to his closet and looks around.
"Are you sure, though? I didn't bring your gift with me." I say, we had planned to exchange gifts over lunch tomorrow.
"It's okay, you showing up for dinner tonight was more of a gift than anything." Takato approaches me with a small wrapped gift. "Here, Merry Christmas." I take the gift, smiling.
I start to open it, it's a small rectangular shape. The wrapping papper is Digimon, Terriermons with santa hats. "Thank you, Takato."
"It's...not much." He says. "I was looking through a box and found an undeveloped throw away camera..."
It's a frame...With a picture of us, three years ago at that resort. Hirokazu and Kenta must have taken it with Takato's camera. We're sitting at a table together, sharing a soda. This was a few hours after 'the incident.' Our first official date.
"Sorry, I know it's not much-"
"Thank you." I smile, giving him a hug.
"Jen-chan..." He whispers. I give him a kiss on the cheek, I see him blush, as usual.
I came home late that night. Takato and I spent a good fifteen minutes, um, making out more or less in his room before there was a knock on the door and his father saying, "if you two are doing what I think you're doing in there..." and trailing off, muttering something again.
My parents waited for me, as did Lianjie and Jialing. Xiaochun fell asleep on the couch.
"How was it?" Lianjie asks.
"Dinner was good... Takato's father was upset about it, but not in a necessarily bad sense. His mother supports it."
All of them give sighs of relief, "That's good, very good," My mother says, lowering her head and sighing lightly. She glances up after a moment. "What's that in your hands?"
I stop, looking at the picture Takato gave me. "Just a gift from Takato."
My father looks at the clock on the wall. "Well, you broke your curfew, but because it's Christmas day, I'll let it go."
"It's Christmas day?" I ask.
"For the past three minutes." He says, "We were starting to get worried."
"Sorry." I bow my head. "I lost track of time."
"It's all right, Jianliang." My mother says, "We'll make an exception tonight."
"Now, get to bed. You'll only get a few hours of sleep before Xiaochun wakes us up." Jialing says. "It's a miracle she's been asleep this long past midnight."
I nod, taking off my shoes and leaving my jacket on the hook by the door. "Good night. Merry Christmas."
"Oh, Jianliang, one thing," Jialing says. I stop, "I know we sometimes tease you and Takato, especially last night with the mistletoe... We just want want you to know, you're our brother, and we're glad you and Takato are in love, okay?"
"Yeah, sorry if I bug you while playing as Zhang He in this game." Lianjie says.
I shake my head. "It's all right, I kind of like the occasonal joke. Thanks."
"Good night, Jianliang." My mother says. "Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas." I say, going into my room and closing the door.
And what a Christmas this was...
Oh well, time to get a couple hours of sleep and meet Takato tomorrow. He needs to open his gift, too.
I'm glad things look to be working out all right for him. His parents will be used to this in time, I hope. From now on, we don't have to sneak around as much.
I place the picture and frame on my nightstand. I smile, looking at him in the picture. I love him, I'm glad Hirokazu talked us into that trip.
I glance outside of my window. It's starting to snow again. It looks so peaceful.
The season of love and sharing... I can't help but love this time of year.
This turned out to be a Merry Christmas for us both.
Original Author's (AKA Ori's) Notes:
I should begin by quoting the message a certain someone sent me along with his edit of this story:
"[Ori], again, I IMPLORE you, please take a vicodin (or three, even!), give it five minutes to kick in and then read this. Please, let's have some civil notes that don't turn into self-loathing rants and borderline epic suicide notes. - Taiki"
One, I want to point out his whole "Take a vicodin" thing is a line from House ("...give it five minutes to kick in, and go kiss her ass." -Wilson). Taiki likes making those references towards me and I just don't see a reason to complain about being compared to a medical genius. It's mainly because of my health and growing collection of canes. If you need to know more, check the profile. Also, I should mention, I didn't have an infarction like House (I WISH IT HAD BEEN! It'd be less detrimental to me in the long run!), my problem is autoimmune and screwed up both my legs and other joints. If it moves, it hurts!
And no, it's not lupus, it's never lupus. Even when it's lupus, it's not lupus.
Second, Taiki practically begged for all my old Leekatos to go up, so...Yeah, fair warning. That's the other reason this re-upload thing is sort of embarrassing for me. It's mostly my old slash fics...Yeah, I wrote a lot of them... He got all but two of my old Leekatos. The two he didn't get being the first one I wrote (it sucked, a lot, and I'm not just bashing my work this time) and another I won't name. I promised him I'd reconsider the latter if requested by an old reader (again, I doubt that many are still here, but I've been wrong before).
Lee Rinchei = Li Lianjie (Lee's elder brother)
Lee Jaarin = Li Jialing (Lee's older sister)
Lee Jenrya = Li Jianliang (Lee, the Tamer, duh)
Lee Shiuchon = Li Xiaochun (Lee's little sister)
Lee Janyuu = Li Jiangyu (Lee's dad)
Shin Sangoku Musou = Dynasty Warriors (Okay, in Mandarin that'd be... "Zhen Sanguo Wushuang" ...Yeah, now I'm just showing off my Mandarin skills)
These are their names in Mandarin Chinese, I've checked the Kanji\Hanzi myself numerous times. Though some use the spelling of "Shaochong" for Xiaochun, I don't. Her name means Little (Xiao3) Spring (Chun3). I have no idea where Shaochong came from. Oh, and I'm not 100% sure on Janyuu, his is the only name I haven't seen the spelling for.
The original used the spellings "Linchei" and "Jaarin" for Lianjie and Jialing because, when I wrote this, I didn't have the spelling. Taiki was nice enough to change it for me in his edits. Xie xie, Taiki!
Now for some civil notes...
...Okay, here goes. This was probably, of all the fics of this type I ever wrote (and that was...an unfortunately high number), this was one of the best. There, I said it. Happy, Taiki? I'm not insulting the story, I think it was relatively well written for something I typed. Oh, and Jianliang's coming out line ("I'm gay, pass the soy sauce.") originated from a gay stand up comedian I once saw, his name escapes me unfortunately. This is the line that inspired it:
"I came out to my family during Thanksgiving dinner. I told my mother, 'pass the gravy to a gay man.' She passed it to my father. Chaos ensued."
And I have no idea why I had this trend, but this was written during a period where half my fics were POV fics and half of them were coming out stories... Damn it, I wrote a lot of these things. I really can't believe I wrote so many... It's a loooong story.
This was my all-time favorite Jenkato next to the other one I can't upload (the one that doesn't suck, he really wasn't kidding about the bad one). I'll still try to get it out of him. I can see why he's embarrassed by some of my requests so I understand his reluctance towards re-uploading them. I really wanted to get his Jenkatos back up.
In his original drafts of this and some other fics, Takato would refer to Jen as "Lee" which is what he did early in Tamers. However Takato later calls him "Jen" as they grew closer in the series. Ori admits this was a mistake on his part and asked me to change it in this and the others. Other edits, there are not many at all. This was not only one of Ori's last fics before he left but it was his official 100th fic. So there was a quite a bit more thought and work put into it than his earlier works, obviously. And the rather bland summary is my fault. I put this up early in the morning after Xiong and my brain was not at its best.
And, yes, I make those House references because I know they put Ori in a good mood. And if Ori's in a good mood this project can run so much more smoothly.
EDIT: Apparently question marks and exclamation points used in tandem cancel out the latter of the two being used. More than a few sentences that were questions ended with only an exclamation mark because of this. I have corrected this but I want to go on record saying this error was my fault for not thoroughly checking the story after it was uploaded. I only pre-read before the upload.
God, I can only imagine what this means for Mugen E's formatting. And here I was proud of my editing!