Well, this is the last Christmas Drabble for this year. Thank you so much everyone who had reviewed any of my stories and gave me encouragement. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year. See you all again in 2011! Take care!
Title: A Christmas Keepsake
"No, the heavier decorations should be at the bottom of the tree and the smaller ones near the top."
"Since when does decorating a Christmas tree come with rules and regulations?"
"Can't we just decorate the tree?"
"Please get along, everyone! We have a guest, remember?"
Ukitake couldn't help but laugh to herself at the family bickering that were occurring around the tree. Normally, when one imagined a family getting together to bond over decorating the tree, they're full of smiles and cheers. But this family was much too unique.
And it was just as she had imagined when Ichigo invited her to join him and his family in decorating their tree. Isshin was just throwing decorations upon the tree in his usually exuberant manner, Ichigo was scowling at him to stop being an idiot, Karin was trying to get this family event over and done with and Yuzu just wanted everyone to get along, apologising repeatedly for her family's antics.
But Ukitake saw no reason for her to apologise. She was enjoying herself. And she felt honoured that Ichigo would invite her to a family event and that his family had welcomed her so readily, cheerfully. They were pleased to finally spend a bit of time with Ichigo's girlfriend.
Yes, she and Ichigo are together, or dating as it's known as in the World of the Living. They gotten together last Christmas, but didn't tell anyone until about six months later. And it was unintentionally revealed. She won't go into details, but it involved a fair amount of embarrassment, numerous interviews with the Seireitei's Women Association and protecting Ichigo from Sensei's critical eye. She didn't realise how large her 'family' was in the Soul Society until she learnt of the numerous 'talks' Ichigo had to endure from her fellow Reapers.
Ukitake counted herself lucky that she only really had Isshin, Karin and Yuzu to assure and impress. Isshin wasn't difficult as she had known him for quite a long time before he went missing in the world of the Living nearly fifty years ago. And Ichigo's sisters were a delight to meet, Yuzu was ever so excited to meet her and Karin was just pleased that she wasn't as mad as Ichigo's other friends appeared to be.
It didn't take her long to just be a part of the family.
"Ukitake-san! Come, you can help, too."
Ukitake was pulled from her thoughts when Yuzu appeared before her and took her wrist with her hands, giving a small tug. She smiled at the little girl and rose to her feet, allowing Yuzu to pull her toward the tree, pushing herself between a bickering Ichigo and Isshin. It would do no good if they decided to get physically right next to the beautifully decorated tree. It was likely that it would be used as a weapon.
They could be rather violent when they wanted to be.
Her presence, thankfully, seemed to calm the two men down and everyone went back to the tree, Yuzu oh-so pleased that everyone was getting along. So it didn't take long for the tree to be finished, beautiful and perfect.
Taking a moment to step back and admirer their work, she and Ichigo lingered near the stairs, one of Ichigo's hands resting on her waist, pulling her against his side. In turn she rested her head on his shoulder, leaning against his chest as she gazed at the tree, waiting for Isshin to turn the Christmas tree lights on.
"Did you enjoy yourself?" Ichigo asked.
"A wonderful time," Ukitake replied as she lifted her head off his shoulder to look at him in the eyes. "It's a shame that they don't do this in the Soul Society, though."
Central 46 weren't exactly all that fond of celebrations, believing that it took focus away from protecting the Seireitei, so they frowned upon such joyous occasions.
Ichigo smiled at her, that tender smile he reserved for only a selective few. Then, he plunged his hand into his pocket, searching for something. A moment later, he pulled something out in his clenched hand. As he unfurled his fingers, he presented to her a small white turtle dove ornament.
"You can take a bit of Christmas back with you," he said.
Ukitake's heart instantly melted. No one was really aware of this, but Ichigo was such a sweetheart in private.
"Thank you, Ichigo."
Suddenly, there was a soft little, girlish giggle animating from over their heads. Not bothering to move apart from each other, they simply tilted their heads back to look up. They both simply blinked in slight surprise by the sight of Yuzu standing on the stairs, smiling brightly and holding a small sprig of mistletoe above their heads.
She didn't say anything, just continued to giggle.
Ichigo raised an eyebrow at his little sister while Ukitake gave a small laugh. Yuzu was just too cute.
"You don't need some little plant to get a kiss from me, Ichigo," Ukitake teased as she wrapped her arms around his neck, Ichigo's arms immediately wrapping about her waist. He didn't reply, instead simply leaned forward to press their lips together, the both of them ignoring the obnoxious wolf-whistles from Isshin, the smart-alecky comment from Karin and the joyous giggles from Yuzu.
What a perfect little Christmas this was turning out to be.