Mitsukai here. For my 25th story, I would like to thank all those people who had the patience to read my stories. You have my heartfelt gratitude, and I would like to give you this story as an early Christmas gift for all of you. It's in the 'To be a Sanada' AU universe, but I hope that you'll all enjoy this story. It's supposed to be posted earlier, but my computer broke down on me with a vengeance and I almost thought that I wouldn't be able to make it on Christmas Eve. But thankfully I got it up and running again. Sorry if some parts would seem rushed, but I really tried to make this one of my best works. It's also a birthday gift for myself, since it's my second year at fanfiction, and that I've been improving on my writing skills as well.

It's pure, family Christmas fluff. I'm sorry if this would create some cavities, but I'm feeling the Christmas cheer and I can't help it. Dedicated to my ever present readers, and especially to my wonderful, supportive girlfriend who is the Yukimura to my Sanada.

Also, Happy Birthday to the Prince of Tennis, Echizen Ryoma.

Warnings and Disclaimers: Shounen-ai, fluff. Some typos, maybe OOC. Rikkaidai and PoT belongs to Konomi-sensei.


Akaya's brow was furrowed in concentration, the tip of his tongue poking out to the side of his mouth as he stood on tiptoes and leaned forward, making the chair under him wobble slightly. He quickly stopped, making the chair stable again, before puffing out a long-suffering breath.

"Come on, gotta make this work…" He muttered to himself, steadying himself on the chair, trying to keep his balance. He looked up and scowled darkly, fisting his hand tightly as he glared at the object above him. Tensing his legs, he crouched and then jumped up, successfully placing the gold star on top of the Christmas tree.

"All right!" He cheered when he finally accomplished his mission of decorating the living room for the holidays. He stepped on the chair again… only to realize that he landed wrong and the chair cracked under the pressure.

Crap. Was the last thing that he thought about before…

CRASH!

"Akaya!" Quick, hurried footsteps were immediately heard, nearing closer to where Akaya was. "Akaya!"

"Owww…" Akaya winced, rubbing a sore spot on his side where he landed first, but thankfully unhurt, but when he saw what happened to the room afterwards, he groaned in dismay.

The footsteps halted in front of him, and Akaya meekly looked up to meet the gaze of his shocked parents.

"Um… oops?" He finally asked sheepishly after a moment of tensed silence.

-/-

"You should've let us help you decorate the tree, Akaya. Really, you could've gotten yourself hurt." Yukimura scolded his son lightly, who was both pouting and looking guilty at the same time. "Does anything hurt?"

"I feel fine, Okaa-san!" He insisted, looking away, ashamed. "It's just that… I wanted to be the one who put the star on top of the Christmas tree." He answered childishly, crossing his arms and pouting more at his mother, who laughed lightly in amusement.

"Then you could have told your father so that he could've lifted you up to put that star." Gently the former captain brushed away the thick, curly strands away from his son's green eyes, his blue eyes twinkling with motherly love and affection for his kouhai.

"But it's embarrassing!" Akaya grumbled, scratching his cheek lightly as his cheeks puffed out in irritation. "I'm already a big boy! I don't need Tou-san's help for those kinds of things!"

Yukimura can't help but sigh on how similar his spouse and his son was when it came to things that concern their pride. Like father, like son, after all.

"You may be a big boy, but for me, you'll always be my baby boy." He cuddled his son playfully, laughing when the younger male yelped and tried to get away, blushing darkly. "So no talk of being a big boy when mama's beside you, okay?"

"…Hai…" Akaya grumbled, secretly glad that he was still being babied, but would rather die than admit it out loud. Yukimura smiled, pushing his son away, and said, "Now go help your father fix the living room again."

Akaya cringed at the thought of him and his father being in the same room, particularly after the blunder he made, but stood up, and walked slowly as if he was being sent to his execution. Yukimura looked on, amused, watching his son disappear before going back to the kitchen and continue his cooking.

"Tarundoru! Akaya!" Sanada Genichirou immediately barked when his son entered the room. "What have you done to the living room?"

It was a mess. The Christmas tree he had painstakingly worked upon from early that morning was now down on the ground, the various decorations and lights scattered around the carpet. Thankfully, the lights weren't going to be lighted until later, but the fake bristles of the tree hadn't escaped damage, but the presents did.

"… Erm… sorry, Otou-san." Akaya bowed his head low, immediately closing his eyes and waited for the slap that would come. Quick strides reached him and the fast whip of the wind made him tense, but when large, strong hands gently grabbed his shoulders, he peeked up to see his tall father looking down at him seriously, with a hint of concern in his usually stern eyes.

"Akaya, are you all right? Are you injured?"

"N-No… Kaa-san said that I didn't break anything, and I'm not hurting anywhere." Akaya answered after a while, nonplussed. The older teen looked at him for a long time, as if making sure for himself that his son was fine. But he seemed satisfied, as he released the second year's shoulders and nodded to himself. Was his stern father actually going soft on him? The moment that idea hit a giddy feeling overcame him, causing him to smile goofily for a couple of minutes until his father noticed and gave him a couple of laps around the house as a punishment for ruining the tree.

It was in that year when Akaya finally found out about the truth; that he was the real, biological son of, despite all odds, his tennis captain and vice-captain. And finally reuniting with his family, this year would be the first time they would celebrate the holidays together in the Sanada estate, where it would also double as a party of sorts for the Rikkaidai tennis regulars. Now the Sanada family was very traditional by definition, but they did celebrate western holidays, and the holiday cheer was just so infectious that they finally caved in to the first grandson's wishes of celebrating the Christian holiday together with his newfound family.

It was the day of Christmas Eve, and everyone in the Sanada household was busy preparing for the evening party. Yukimura Seiichi, being a future matriarch of the Sanada family, helped in preparing the food and household chores, while Sanada Genichirou, the future husband and their son, Kirihara Akaya, made themselves useful by running errands and decorating the house with lights for the guests coming.

"Ah! I'm so tired!" Akaya finally moaned in relief when he and his father had finished fixing up the living room and had finally finished his given laps. It was a very pretty sight, a tall stately tree decorated with silver bells and gold trinkets, with bright blue lights circling it, with a silver star perched lopsidedly, but proudly on top of it, as Akaya was flat out determined to put that star on top himself, and scowled darkly at his father's height, wondering if he would ever grow that tall.

"Good work, you two." Yukimura entered with two hot mugs, hot chocolate for his son and steaming green tea for his husband, kissing his son on the cheek while pecking his husband lightly on the lips. Sanada smiled slightly at his spouse, accepting his drink with thanks, while Akaya made a retching noise and immediately made the perfect expression of 'eww' at his parents who were having a sweet, romantic moment. "Eww! Don't kiss in front of me! That's disgusting!"

Yukimura looked at his son, chuckling. Even Sanada looked faintly amused, not letting go of Yukimura's waist as they stared at their son who was pointedly not looking at the two of them. "Don't give me that tone, Akaya. This was how we made you, after all."

"Arrgh! I don't need to know!" The younger teen grumbled, trying to make songs sing loudly in his head, as he found his hands occupied with a mug of chocolate. "Niou-senpai was enough!"

"Is that my name I heard?" A distinctly male voice voiced out from the front door, making the family look towards the sound. "Niou? Is that you?" Yukimura gently extracted himself from Sanada's embrace and spiked, bleached-white hair eventually appeared in the doorway, and the Trickster of Rikkadai finally made his entrance, his cheeks flushed pink from the outside cold, but still grinning madly as Yagyuu magically appeared beside him.

"Speak of the devil and he shall appear," Sanada muttered in an undertone, scowling at the pair for entering his house without knocking on the front door. Yukimura on the other hand moved forward and greeted them quite cheerfully, as if two of his teammates had entered the house in a completely normal way and not by sneaking in and scaring them half to death.

"My apologies for not stopping Niou-kun in time, Sanada-kun." Yagyuu turned to the darkly glaring teen, taking off his outer coat and refusing Yukimura's offer to put it up for him, and simply looked at his doubles partner who seemed to almost take up the offer, grinning more widely when Sanada turned his darkened glare towards him for making his spouse work while draping his own coat over a chair and unwrapping the scarf around his neck.

"The door was unlocked, so I helped myself in. Puri." Niou shrugged back as a reply, holding up his bag of gifts for them. "Nice to know that I'm loved around here." He smirked, ruffling Akaya's curly locks, who was looking curiously and excitedly at the bag. "Hey seaweed brat."

"I'm NOT a seaweed brat!" The younger teen shot back, ready to jump on his silver-haired senpai, but with his parents there, he didn't dare. So he settled on scowling at the older teen, who put the presents under the tree and turned to Yagyuu, who smiled at him and gave him his own gift. "Happy Holidays, Akaya-kun."

"Thanks Yagyuu-senpai!" Akaya smiled happily, rattling the box to see if he could hear something inside. "You're way nicer than Niou-senpai!"

"What was that you brat?" But Akaya ignored it, looking imploringly at his father. "Otou-san! Can I open this now? Pleaseeeee?" He used his best puppy dog look, hoping that it would be enough to sway him. "Later, Akaya." Sanada remained firm even then those large green eyes looked at him beseechingly. Damn it, he was not going to give in to that look. Iron will, iron will, iron will…

Akaya pouted when it didn't work and turned to his mother instead, who brought in some warm drinks for the recently arrived teenagers. "Okaa-san! Otou-san won't let me open my own present!"

"I thought you wanted to wait until midnight so you could see Santa Claus bring in your presents, Akaya." Yukimura said thoughtfully as Yagyuu thanked him and passed a cup to Niou, who drank it greedily, causing him to burn his tongue at the hotness of it. Trying not to laugh at Niou's scrunched up look, he turned back to his son, who was still half-sulking, half-begging, the present clutched tightly in his hands. "But…" He paused, making Akaya look hopeful. "All right. Just one, okay?" Yukimura finally conceded, causing Akaya to yell happily and tore through the packaging with renewed vigor, with the older teens looking at him in amusement.

"He's even messier than kids younger than him." Niou shook his head as bits and pieces of the shredded wrapping paper reached his feet, snorting out loud when he saw Akaya's dismayed expression at the full ten volumes of the complete Japanese-English Dictionary right in front of him. Sanada quietly approved of the present, nodding at Yagyuu while Yukimura slipped out a giggle, noting on how his son looked so disappointed. "… I should've known that Yagyuu-senpai would give something like this." He finally muttered quietly.

"Akaya, be polite." Sanada instantly reprimanded his son, and Akaya grudgingly thanked the Gentleman for his gift, with Niou laughing his way out of his seat on how priceless his kouhai looked at that moment. Yukimura smiled fondly, tweaking a lock of dark, curly hair. "Now you've learned your lesson in not opening presents early."

-/-

With Yagyuu and Niou helping out, the preparations for the holiday dinner had turned more or less more chaotic, with Niou 'helping', that was, helping demolish anything that was already properly arranged by either Sanada or Akaya, forcing Yukimura to exile the doubles pair to the couch in the living room, trusting Yagyuu enough to not let Niou sneak into the kitchen and cause havoc there. Yagyuu did his duty dutifully, making Niou sulk and finally promising not to break/misplace/booby-trap anything before being allowed to help the captain in the kitchen. Niou was, surprisingly, a good cook, carefully putting some white icing on some chocolate muffins with Akaya drooling on the tabletop.

"Hey, don't touch it." Niou slapped away the hand that was inching slowly towards the icing. "It's for dessert, and I'll kill you if you ruin it. Piyo."

"But-But…" Akaya looked longingly at the cupcakes. His mother quickly gave him chocolate-flavored pocky sticks, hoping that would satiate his son's hunger for sugar for the time being. "Sorry sweetie, but you just have to wait for a little while more, okay?" He stroked his son's hair and planted a kiss on his forehead, while Akaya tore open the silver foil, half of a stick already poking out from his mouth.

It was definitely a bad idea to keep Akaya in the kitchen where he could potentially jump over any food that would get laid out of the table. Yukimura silently prayed for intervention, and suddenly the doorbell rang, signaling another Rikkaidai regular outside. Yukimura blinked in surprise, before chuckling quietly to himself.

"Gen! Please get that door for me!" The blue-haired teen called out, already washing his hands to greet another one of his friends who was just coming in through the foyer. He smiled when he saw the person who just came in.

Perfect. God did know to answer his prayers quickly.

"Good day, Seiichi, Genichirou." The data master greeted with his usual calm, smiling slightly, also bringing in a bag of gifts for everyone. He started pulling off his gloves, when a blurred object suddenly darted passed the captain and threw itself in Yanagi's unsuspecting arms, the presents tumbling down as Yanagi blinked and looked down.

"Yanagi-senpai! Happy Holidays!"

An almost soft look came to Yanagi's eyes as he stared down at his kouhai, wrapping his arms around the younger teen, almost smiling at his innocence as Akaya snuggled up to his senpai's warmth. But a rather loud cough interrupted their moment, however, and both son and data master looked back to see Sanada scowling at his best friend, who was unceremoniously dumped with the rest of the presents that used to be in the brunet's hands.

"Renji." The vice-captain started slowly, almost stiffly, very much acting like the father who has seen his only girl hugging a another guy other than him, and it made Yukimura giggle, already stepping In to do damage control while still early.

"Renji, welcome." He greeted the teen warmly, keeping a firm arm on his spouse, who looked annoyed. "I'm glad that you're able to make it."

"I wouldn't miss it for the world, Seiichi." The brunet told him, but his gaze was solely on the black-haired teen who was in his arms, looking up at him with complete respect and adoration. "Is there anything I can help with?"

"You can start by taking your hands off my son." Sanada muttered under his breath, and then grunting as an elbow was none too gently buried in his side. "Genichirou," Yukimura chided him lightly, looking at the brunet rather apologetically.

"Renji, if it isn't too much trouble, can you spend some time with Akaya? All of us are very busy and no one can watch over him, since Jackal and Marui aren't here yet."

"Akaya, do you want to accompany me in a walk outside?" Yanagi asked the younger teen gently, and with a vigorous nod from the boy the brunet turned to his future mother in law, bowing low in respect. "Of course, Seiichi. I would be delighted to." He smiled slightly and Yukimura positively beamed in approval. "Thank you Renji."

"Don't trouble yourself Seiichi. We'll be back shortly." Yanagi already has Akaya's hand clasped in his own.

"Come back before dinner, and make sure to bundle up thoroughly, okay honey?" Yukimura was still holding on to Sanada's arm with a strength that would surprise most people. Hey, he wasn't the captain of the tennis club for nothing, you know. The capped teen grumbled, unable to do anything but follow his spouse's wishes. "I don't want you two catching a cold outside. And Akaya, be sure to wear a scarf and your gloves!"

"Okay, Okaa-san!"

"Wonderful!" Yukimura smiled sweetly at his children. "Renji, please take care of Akaya for a while." And with that, the captain tugged his spouse with him into the kitchen, despite Sanada's massive scowl, his flute-like voice still cheerful and warm as he started to work on the dinner, leaving the other two staring at them as they disappeared from view.

"Genichirou, please help me with this, will you?"

Yanagi gave a short laugh. He would definitely give his future mother in law a bouquet of roses as a thank you for this.

"Yanagi-senpai? What's so funny?" Large, innocent green eyes peeked up at him shyly, and he shook his head, still chuckling. He raised his hand and pressed a small kiss on Akaya's knuckle, watching the brilliant blush that spread on the younger teen's face.

"Well then, shall we go on to that walk, Akaya?"

-/-

Everything was covered in white. The roofs, the trees, the plants, the ground… everything was carpeted in a thick layer of sparkling, white snow. Akaya watched quietly as the snow slowly fell down from the darkened sky, childishly breathing out slowly through his lips, causing a thin stream of vapor escape into the cold air. He grinned, reaching out to catch a drifting snowflake in his upturned, gloved palm, not realizing that there was someone watching him during the entire time, affection clearly seen in the handsome features.

"Akaya? Are you enjoying yourself?" Yanagi was sitting on a bench, seemingly content in watching the curly-haired teen run around and play in the snow. He smiled when the younger teen turned to him, delight seen in his emerald eyes.

"Yup!" He nodded happily, holding out his hands, letting the brunet see the snowflakes carefully collected in them. "Yanagi-senpai, look! Aren't they pretty?"

"Very pretty." Yanagi nodded back, but not particularly taking about the snowflakes, finding Akaya's flushed face from the cold a more breathtaking sight. "Akaya, are you feeling cold? Should we head back?"

Quickly Akaya shook his head, though it wasn't the complete truth. He just wanted to spend a little more time with his senpai alone, that's all. "No, I feel fine. Look, Okaa-san dressed me up so much I can't even move!" He made a face, causing Yanagi to chuckle amusedly, prompting him to blush harder in embarrassment.

"That's because Seiichi doesn't want you to get sick, Akaya." Abruptly Yanagi stood up, his hand leaving his coat pocket to brush a bit of snow that fell on Akaya's hair. "And I also don't want you to get sick, Akaya. So bear with it a little more."

Akaya suddenly gasped, grabbing the hand that was on his head a while ago. "Yanagi-senpai! Your hand!"

"My hand?" Yanagi looked at his bare palms and fingers. "Oh. I forgot to put my gloves on before going out." He said it casually, almost like he's talking about the weather, but a small note of sheepishness can be heard in his tone. "I had hoped that you wouldn't notice."

Akaya pouted at him, rubbing the long fingers in between his own, trying to warm it up, looking worried. "That's terrible! What if your fingers fall out, Yanagi-senpai? You won't be able to play tennis again, you know!"

Granted, it wasn't that cold, and that Yanagi's been keeping his hands close to his body for the past few minutes so his body heat would warm them up, but he's still both pleased and amused at that fact that his kouhai's been worrying about him.

"Akaya, calm down." Yanagi said calmly, but otherwise letting the other teen rant, keeping silent while amusedly watching Akaya fuss over his hands.

"And then Otou-san would slap you if that happened! Okaa-san would look disappointed, and you would be kicked out of the club! I don't want that to happen!" Determined green eyes stared back at him. "How could you forget something like that, Yanagi-senpai? You're not taking care of yourself!"

"Is that so?" Yanagi asked, just for the simple pleasure of hearing just how much he meant to the other teen.

"Yes it is so, Yanagi-senpai!"Akaya shot back, already impassioned from his rant earlier. "Geez! You're known as the Master but you didn't even remember to put your gloves on!" He snorted loudly. "So much for being prepared for everything, Yanagi-senpai."

"I'm sorry for worrying you then, Akaya." Yanagi didn't even mind the jab for his apparent carelessness. Only Akaya could get away with it, after all.

"You should be sorry, Yanagi-senpai! If you didn't have me here, your hands would have frozen to death!" Akaya blew on Yanagi's knuckles, his warm breath caressing the tanned skin. Yanagi couldn't help but chuckle and green eyes shot back at him.

"It's not funny, Yanagi-senpai!"

"I know… forgive me, Akaya." His other hand reached up to touch a reddened cheek, watching Akaya flinch in surprise at the coldness of it. "I'm such a careless person, not being able to put on my gloves despite the fact that I knew that it's cold today. Isn't that right, Akaya?"

Akaya opened his mouth to reply, but then realizing what he was saying a few moments ago caused him to close it up, a blush suffused on his face as he realized that he was speaking so rudely to his senpai. "… It's not like that, Yanagi-senpai." He muttered instead, unconsciously leaning into the brunet's touch. He let his gaze move up, only to meet with opened hazel colored eyes as Yanagi leaned forward. Large, thin, bare fingers slowly intertwined themselves with Akaya's slackened ones. Their surroundings were quiet, their only companion the gently drifting snow that covered the park in a sea of dazzling white.

Green eyes widened in shock, his head tilted up as a gentle pressure touched his lips, meeting in a manner that wasn't entirely chase, as kissing cousins may be, but definitely sweet and loving and definitely something for both of them to remember. Almost immediately his body relaxed, knees weakened, almost buckling as his toes curled in his boots, sparks jolting through his body as his heart thudded with a velocity of a speeding train. Lean fingers held his chin securely, warmth emanating from their closely connected bodies, as his eyes slowly slipped shut, leaving him defenseless in the onslaught of emotions that gripped him fully.

Akaya felt dizzy. His senpai seemed to be everywhere, his scent, his touch, his warmth… this didn't compare to that brief kiss during that tournament. Though it was brief, it still gave him shivers up to this day. Now, his lips burned, almost making him feel helpless as the brunet's fingers released his own and wrapped themselves around his waist, his own hands sliding up a clothed chest, fingers curling against a brown coat as his toes reached up to accommodate for the difference in height.

Gradually Yanagi pulled away, a puff of warm breath whispering against a pair of reddened lips as hazy green eyes fluttered open and tried to focus on him. "Akaya? Are you all right?" He didn't even try to mask the amusement in his voice. It was just a simple kiss, and yet his spouse-to-be was already completely dazed. It was adorable. Just what would happen if he went all the way…?

"Uh…" Akaya was speechless, feeling breathless, leaning on his senpai's chest like a rag doll as he tried to collect his thoughts. He had just been kissed. Kissed. And it was his… his eyes widened in comprehension. It was his first kiss.

Yanagi-senpai had been his first kiss.

His cheeks flamed in embarrassment, his fingers reaching out to touch his lips. It still tingled, and he didn't dare look into the older teen's face after… that happened. It wasn't because that he didn't like it, because he did, but…

"Akaya, look at me."

Slowly he looked up, and seeing tender looking honey-brown eyes, his face went even more scarlet. Yanagi leaned down, bending just enough for their foreheads to touch lightly. He smiled, taking out a small package out of one of his coat pockets and presenting it to his flustered spouse-to-be.

"Merry Christmas, Akaya."

Green eyes blinked, smiling almost shyly as he received the small gift, clutching it close to his chest as he whispered back.

"Thank you… Renji-senpai."

-/-

"We're back," Yanagi called out to the bustling Sanada household, having just returned from his short walk with Akaya, their hands linked and hidden in Yanagi's coat pocket. Beside him, Akaya was still a little flushed, but looked indescribably happy, dropping his gaze a little when Yanagi moved to take off their outer clothes to hang them on the rack. Still holding hands, they stepped onto the hallway, stopping as Yukimura appeared out of a doorway and smiled at the both of them.

"Welcome back, you two." He greeted sweetly, quietly noting of their joined hands. "Come in to the living room and warm yourselves up, Jackal and Marui had just arrived. Especially you Akaya, your hair is wet from the snow." He said rather sternly, more at Yanagi than at Akaya.

"I apologize for keeping him out too long." Yanagi knew that the captain wasn't really angry, but still felt the need to apologize to the teen. His hold tightened, looking at the younger teen holding his arm worriedly, and smiled slightly in assurance.

"Well, since you've managed to keep my son company for a while, I think I'll let it slide for now." Yukimura informed the brunet, a small quirk of his lips betraying the stern demeanor he carried out. "Now then, come inside," He ushered the two inside the warmer room, where a giant kotatsu was sitting in the middle of the room beside the alighted Christmas tree and where the Marui, and Niou were now situated, snuggled under the warmth of the kotatsu, with Niou laughing at some story Marui told when the three of them came in.

"Oh, Yanagi! Glad you came by!" Marui looked up, a grin on his boyish face, a bag of candy and chocolates by his side, which Akaya was quick to make a beeline for. "I thought you came over earlier, so I was surprised when I saw you're not here when I came."

"I did arrive earlier, but I was quickly assigned to babysitting duty." Yanagi's gaze went over to the younger teen now drooling on a bag of chocolate coins, his teasing voice making the curly-haired teen look up and make a face before sticking his tongue out at him. Marui yelled back, enraged, trying to grab back his bag of treats.

"Get your slimy hands off my food, you brat! I don't need you slobbering over it!"

"Marui-senpai, don't be so stingy!"

"Akaya, no chocolate before dinner," Yukimura's ever present voice wafted up into the room. "I don't want you eating on a partially full stomach."

"Aww, but Okaa-saaan…" The younger boy whined, looking longingly at the bag while Marui smirked in triumph, with Niou all the while sneaking some of the candy into his own pockets.

"By the way, where's Jackal?" Yanagi looked around, looking for their Brazilian teammate. "And it seems like Yagyuu isn't here too."

"Oh, Yukimura roped them into helping him in the kitchen since we're too destructive in it." Niou answered boredly, picking off a piece of chocolate and popping it into his mouth, smirking on the way his kouhai positively drooled over it. "Yaaaagyu's in it too, as well as Sanada. We're grounded in this room like a couple of children."

"Speak for yourself, Niou." Marui shot back. "I didn't even do anything!"

"Senpai-tachi! You're being too loud!" Akaya glared at them, grabbing Yanagi's hand and pulled him down so they sat under the kotatsu together. "Renji-senpai, sit here so Niou-senpai and Marui-senpai won't bother you!"

Both Niou and Marui blinked at the sudden sound of the data master's first name. "…Oh? So it's 'Renji-senpai' now, is it, Akaya?" Niou's eyebrows waggled suggestively, leering at the second year who now realized his very big mistake. "Puri."

"Hmm… something must have happened already between them." Marui leaned forward interestedly, the grin on his face so wide that his face looked to be almost cracking. "What happened? How did the two of you pass under Sanada's radar?"

Akaya quickly shook his head, a gesture all but blatantly telling them that something did happen between him and the older teen. "Nothing happened! Renji-senpai just walked with me, that's all!" He bit his lip in anxiety, a habit he picked up from his mother. "Bullshit." Niou snorted, leaning closer conspiratorially. He noticed the unnatural rosiness of Akaya's lips, something that you wouldn't get from the cold alone, but rather from… his mind clicked with understanding as the pieces fell together.

Yanagi rested his elbows on the table, looking amused, while Akaya almost shriveled beside the brunet, his flaming face betraying everything that can't be said with words. "Sorry Marui, Niou, but I don't kiss and tell." He answered easily, wrapping his arm around Akaya comfortingly.

"But you're definitely doing some kissing, that's for sure!" Niou declared out loud, cackling loudly, causing Marui to gasp out loud and shriek loudly as if he had uncovered some big, juicy, blackmail-worthy secret. Well, it probably was. "Oh my god!" He squealed loudly, acting like a teenage girl who had heard of the latest gossip. "Seriously?"

Akaya wanted to shrivel up and die. He would rather run a million laps than face this kind of third degree interrogation about his blossoming love life. And it was his senpais too, to boot! He buried his face in Yanagi's arm, finding a little comfort in the hand that was lightly stroking his nape. Yanagi neither confirmed nor denied that statement, only smiling wider.

"No comment." He said simply, chuckling at the younger teen's apparent mortification, causing Akaya to pout at him balefully.

Marui felt giddy. "Wait till Sanada finds out about–"

"About what?" Sanada's deep, rumbling tones were heard behind them and the four regulars turned around to see the other half of their team standing on the doorway.

"Ehehehe… nothing." Marui quickly backtracked when he saw a glimmer of brown peeking through Yanagi's eyelids, a drop of sweat forming behind his head. He would take the Emperor's wrath any day than getting on the Master's bad side.

"You done?" Niou was still smirking widely, quickly changing the subject. While he may be a daring person, he wasn't stupid to actually try and say something like that on Christmas Eve. Sanada might suddenly have a heart attack, and his captain might find himself bereft of a husband this early, and the wedding hadn't even happened yet.

… After the honeymoon, maybe.

"The dinner is done." Yukimura announced happily, holding hands with his spouse, who was still looking suspiciously at the volley specialist and the Trickster. "Come into the dining room so we could all eat and exchange presents."

Akaya's eyes glimmered at the last words, leaving his senpi's side to make his way to the dining room, even bypassing Jackal who just sighed and followed after him, the babysitter that he was.

Their Christmas dinner wasn't a dinner. It was a feast. Yukimura and his group of cooks had outdone themselves once again, mixing both Western and Eastern cuisines in their meal. Everyone stuffed themselves to the brink, and the food still overflowed. Niou had attempted to sneak in some of the Sanada's much aged liquor, but Yukimura was firm in not allowing anyone to get drunk that night. Christmas dinner wasn't as quiet as everyone had hoped. Who were they kidding, this was Rikkaidai they were talking about, and any event with Niou, Marui and/or Akaya in it would bound to be endlessly chaotic. But it was all good with Christmas cheer, as the three troublemakers didn't cause too much trouble, owing to the fact that it was the holidays after all, and they were in need of some relaxation.

It didn't stop them from putting some spices in Sanada's sauce, however.

Sated, the Rikkaidai regulars trudged towards the living room, were the presents were already propped and waiting to be opened. Akaya wasted no time in opening his own presents, and his parents weren't sure if they should be happy or exasperated at the 500 pc. crayon box set Niou had given to their son. Akaya squealed in delight, however, and had profusely thanked his senpai for the gift. His gifts included a gift coupon for the arcade and for a bakery shop by Jackal and Marui respectively, the aforementioned dictionary set by Yagyuu, and another gift from his Yanagi-senpai, a new video game that he had been trying to get for the past few months and had to be put on a three-month waiting list. The moment he realized what it was he immediately tackled the taller teen in a hug, causing Sanada to scowl darkly while Yukimura only giggled and looked at the both of them fondly.

It was a moment of laughter and smiles, especially when Sanada opened his gift from Niou and found a couple of magazines not intended for the eyes of children and a couple of adult toys which had Marui laughing out of his seat while Sanada's cheeks darkened, most especially when Niou winked at his spouse and told him quite cheekily that he hoped that the two of them would use his gifts well. Jackal was covering Akaya's eyes, looking horrified at the sight, while Yagyuu merely sighed and quickly hid the said gifts so the gift giving could continue. A couple of gifts later, including new tennis gear imported from Germany for the Sanada family (courtesy of the recently reunited Tezuka family), and a month-long vacation trip to any country they would choose, inclusive of airfare, accommodation and lodging, all first-class (naturally, from the Atobe family) and other gifts from the middle schools, thanking the Sanada son from reuniting them once again.

Yukimura and Sanada merely watched on their son with affection, with Yukimura laughing and giggling at times and Sanada would break out into the briefest of smiles for the shortest moment before sliding into the mask of stoicism again. They leaned against each other, gazing at their son who looked so happy as he opened his presents and argued with his senpais. This was their family, a highly dysfunctional, crazy, nigh-high destructive family. Granted, only one of them was their real son, but they had come to care for the others as much as they did for Akaya.

"Genichirou, what was that you said about not having any more children?" Yukimura asked teasingly, poking his ever silent spouse's cheek with his finger as he laughed lightly.

"And I thought Akaya was already a handful," Sanada muttered, having managed to break up Marui and Niou's nth argument in a row.

The night grew late, and soon enough most of the regulars had gone back to their own homes to celebrate with their respective families. Akaya was sent to bed afterwards, though he didn't complain as he had many of his gifts to accompany him back to his room. Yukimura started cleaning up, a bit relieved that his teammates had the sense to not make too much rubbish around. Almost immediately Sanada helped, tranquil silence between them as they finally straightened out the whole living and dining room.

Yukimura hadn't realized how tired he was until he sat down on a chair, physically drained. But he was still cheerful, however, letting Sanada finish the work he had started, smiling at his dark-haired spouse and giving him a kiss on a cheek as a thank you for helping him.

"Genichirou, it has been an enjoyable day, isn't it?" Yukimura leaned on his husband's broad chest, the strong, steady heartbeat lulling him into a deep calm. He closed his eyes, feeling warm fingers running through his hair, sighing quietly when lips brushed against his forehead.

Sanada made a sound of quiet affirmation, glad for once that they were able to talk privately with each other. The clock on the wall slowly ticked towards midnight, and the dark-haired teen was deep in thought, absentmindedly fingering the tips of midnight-blue hair, stroking the back of his spouse's neck.

"Seiichi." He spoke quietly. "There's another gift I haven't given you yet."

"Hm?" Yukimura made a sound of surprise, looking up to his vice-captain. "But you already gave me so much!"

That made Sanada smile. "This gift would be the last, I promise."

He stood up, taking Yukimura's wrist so he would also get on his feet. Gently he held his spouse's hands, looking deep into curious, bright blue eyes as he finally said his next words.

"Seiichi… marry me."

Sapphire eyes widened at the request, and Yukimura was far too shocked to give an answer. However, he managed a smile as his heart pounded quickly and almost painfully.

"Usually, when a person proposes, he gives that person a ring."

Sanada pressed their foreheads together and closed his eyes.

"Look down, Seiichi."

There, glistening dimly on his hand, was a velvet box, a silver ring nestled proudly among the silken covers, making Yukimura gasp, pupils dilating as the clock struck midnight.

"But… Gen… same-sex marriage isn't allowed yet… and… we're still too young…"

"I didn't say that I want to get married now." For the first time, a hint of a blush was spreading in the usually stoic teen's cheeks, as he opened his eyes and shifted it away from the angelic face. "But… I love you and I know that you're the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. I just want to make sure that… no one's going to take you away from me anymore." He muttered the last words, his explanation slowly dwindling away in his embarrassment. "Even if we have to go abroad to do it, I would. At least, it would put Atobe's gift to use."

Yukimura was still speechless, a bit touched and still shocked about the proposal. A shy blush started spreading towards his cheeks when the taller teen looked at him hopefully, patiently awaiting his answer.

"Seiichi? Will… will you marry me?"

His quiet voice made the captain smile. Every part of him screamed yes to the marriage proposal.

"We already have a son together, don't we?" His light, teasing voice stayed soft as he stared at his vice-captain, his friend, his lover. "I would hate to have Akaya grow up with a single parent."

"Seiichi…"

"Sanada Genichirou…" Slowly he reached up to touch Sanada's cheek. He smiled tenderly.

"I would be honored to become your wife."

Yukimura didn't expect the sudden smile and the pair of arms that suddenly wrapped around his waist and spun him around, making him laugh as he held on to broad shoulders. He was still giggling as Sanada put him down, turning solemn when his hand was raised and the silver ring was placed in his ring finger.

The ring fitted perfectly, as their hands did; sharing a kiss that was more passionate and loving than the previous ones they shared, looking forward to their now certain future together.

-/-

Akaya sat down on his bed, staring at the last present he hadn't yet opened. It was the gift his Yanagi-senpai gave him outside, and something inside him wanted him to open the present privately. Coloring at the memory, he reached out and touched the silver bow, gently tugging at it until the ribbon fluttered down, leaving the box standing. He was uncharacteristically gentle as he opened his last gift, slowly removing the tape and the wrapper until only the box was left. It was made up of dark velvet, smooth and fuzzy to the touch, making Akaya wonder what was inside of it.

His fingers found the crack in between, and the box popped open, leaving Akaya to stare at it in slight shock and disbelief.

It was a simple pendant, carved intricately with an abstract design, but what caught his eye was the shining emerald in the center of it, glimmering brightly, its deep green color almost the shade of Akaya's own eyes. It was certainly beautiful, and almost hesitantly, Akaya took it out of the box, seeing a long chain drag out after it. A small note fluttered out and landed on his bed and he immediately grabbed it, folding it open and seeing his senpai's handwriting.

Akaya,

When I saw this for the first time, I knew I had to get it for you. It reminded me of you too much, and I hope that if you accept this gift, you would wear it and think of me.

-Yanagi Renji

"Renji-senpai…" He whispered, clutching the necklace close to his chest, his other hand raking down his head and neck bashfully, thankful that he was alone and no one could see him like this. As his fingers brushed against his ear, an idea suddenly came to him, making him smile.

He doesn't wear jewelry often, but this was from his Yanagi-senpai and playing tennis with a necklace on would be too much of a trouble.

Nope. He had a better idea. A much better one.

Settling down in his bed, he stared out of his window, placing his new necklace on the bedside table. Slowly he closed his eyes, letting sleep taking over him fully, but not without thinking at last:

This was the best Christmas I've ever had.


... Yeah. I have no more words to say except thank you very much and have a very Happy Holidays.

Please read and review. Comments are greatly appreciated.

Mitsukai20


OMAKE

The return to Rikkaidai at the end of the winter holidays had sparked much change in the tennis club, especially when it came to the captain and the youngest regular of the team. Yukimura Seiichi was positively blooming, all smiles and constantly beaming at his schoolmates and friends, causing a minor problem when a couple of girls (and some guys) to faint or to stay completely dazed for a couple of minutes when the blue-haired teen smiled winningly at them. When asked on the reason of his suspiciously good mood, he merely chuckled and tucked a stray hair behind his ear, letting some light catch on a glimmering object nestled on his finger.

Kirihara Akaya, on the other hand, stayed completely the same. There was, however, a very physical change in him, one that had most of the classmates puzzled on why he looked so… different when he came swaggering in the classroom.

It wasn't until lunch time when they got a good look at him when they found out.

"Oh my god!" A female classmate gasped, standing up and pointing directly into his face, standing up in shock.

"… What?" Akaya blinked, trying not to look at the finger in between his eyes. "What'd I do?"

"You've had your ears pierced!"

"Oh. This?" Akaya reached out to touch the lobe of his ear, where, strangely, a glittering green object can be seen peeking out of his curly-strands of hair. He pushed his hair back, letting his classmates see the earring completely. "I got it over the holidays."

He smiled, his green eyes matching the emerald color of the jewel embedded in the middle.

"It's a Christmas gift from my senpai."