NXYZ Community Christmas Fic Exchange
Title: Christmas Eve Encounters
Written for: Estactic Pentenshi
Special Message: Merry Christmas to one of my favorite people!
Beta: Sadistic Soldier
A/N: This is the first installment of three stories for my wonderful friend EP! As much as I hate favoritism (HA!) this is my favorite of the three, so please enjoy!
Everyone left him behind again. All of his friends and teammates were busy with something or the other and he was left with, what, an empty house for the night while his mother visited his sister and brother-in-law's family and his dad was stationed in another country. Perfect if he wanted solitary, but today was Christmas Eve and the last thing he wanted was to be alone for most of the holiday tomorrow.
He would've invited the whole team over to his empty house for a celebration, but everyone had other plans. Buchou was visiting family in another part of Japan, Sanada had the dojo to run, Yanagi was vacationing in Europe, Yagyuu and Niou were spending their time together, Marui was staying home to watch over his two younger brothers, and Jackal wasn't fun to be around with alone.
Kirihara Akaya was all alone for this joyous holiday season.
However, that did not deter him from going into town to shop for Christmas gifts for his family and teammates. Even if he wouldn't see any of them for another day or so, he wanted to be sure that they knew how honored he felt to be a part of the family, both blood and tennis team respectively.
After a full day of shopping, Akaya decided to rest from the blistering cold in a small family-owned restaurant near the train station. The weather had taken a turn for the worse and he didn't feel like braving the storm with all of his belongings. The journey to his house on a good day was about a forty minute walk, but in this weather it could take nearly three times as long.
Entering the small restaurant known as Kajimahara Sushi, Akaya was embraced with a strong current of warm air. Eyes surveyed the building; he could see that while the eatery was decent in space while the décor gave him the sense of home. Dressed in the holiday fashion, the restaurant was playing Christmas music lowly in the background.
After quickly scanning the sign telling him to seat himself, Akaya continued to assess the customers. A few couples lingered about, as well as an old man at the bar, but only one individual captured his attention. The girl was seated alone in a booth that faced the door, but had two plates set in front of her. There was no indication that another individual was there, so he summed it up to a girl waiting for her date to arrive.
Two waitresses emerged from the kitchen; one with a plate of tempura and the other with a menu. Both were chattering away happily before having to part to take care of their respective duties. The one with the menu stopped in front of his booth and smiled at him as she handed over the menu. Not bothering to catch her name, he simply glanced over the menu once before ordering some tea and a shrimp roll.
Since the restaurant wasn't busy his order was out not five minutes later. Akaya made sure to drink his tea slowly to savor the warmth and taste. Shedding his snow-covered jacket, he realized for the first time that he had never been alone for any holiday. There had always been a family member or a teammate for him to spend time with. Just last year Niou hosted a holiday party at his mansion and they all had traded gifts. He wondered if any of them had bought gifts to hand out as well.
His concentration broke as the two friendly waitresses chattered in the booth behind him. He mused over the fact that there were still people in the restaurant to take of, but they were neglecting their duties. Sanada would've slapped him if he were slacking off, so why should anyone else be able to?
Their conversation pulled him in as he chewed on the shrimp roll.
"She's been coming here for five years now," one woman said.
"Every year?" The waitress that had taken his order asked.
"Mmhmm," her friend replied. "She sits at that same booth every day for a week before Christmas."
"What does she do that for?"
"I don't know. Maybe she's waiting for someone, but it's pathetic to wait that long," her friend sneered.
The two didn't get a chance to continue since the door chimed, signaling the arrival of another customer. With a few quick goodbyes, Akaya was once again left to eat in silence. He replayed the short conversation in his head a few times and became angry. The waitress called the girl pathetic, but he saw her as optimistic. If anything, Akaya would've said that the waitress was pathetic for saying such a lowly thing about someone she didn't know.
After removing the black knit hat from his wild hair, Akaya stood up with his belongings and bags to move over to the booth the girl was in. He steeled his resolve to confront the girl, but once he reached her table all sense flew out the window. All he did was stand there awkwardly for a couple minutes before the girl looked up from her book.
"Merry Christmas," she greeted him happily, with no signs of discomfort or weariness, and gave him a bright smile. Her clear gray eyes crinkled lightly at the ends since she was happy to have someone to talk to.
"Uh… yeah, Merry Christmas," Akaya managed to mutter in response. He lost track of why he came over here in the first place. He shouldn't have bothered the girl if she was so content by herself, but this thought diminished when he could clearly see that she desperately wanted company.
"You can sit down," the girl offered politely and Akaya, albeit a bit hesitant at first, took the seat across from her.
Now that he was up close he could see that the girl was a couple years younger than him. Her face still had the roundness on her cheeks, eyes a little wider with innocence, and a heart-shaped face with long midnight black hair that framed it nicely. He could definitely say that she was cute.He coughed a bit as the thought crossed his mind – the thought making him feel like a pedophile which made him blush a bit (though unnoticeably), before she caught his attention.
"I expect that you want to know why I'm here by myself," she stated clearly, obviously thinking that his intentions to converse with her were to find out information like everyone else.Her eyes lowered, the brightness they held before now dimming.
"Well, you can tell me if you want, but I came over since you looked lonely," he explained sheepishly, not yet comfortable with the unknown girl.
Her eyes widened as she gave a look of surprise before covering it up with a gentle smile. "That was very kind of you…" she trailed off, not knowing the boy's name.
"Kirihara Akaya," he supplied.
Her smile widened a bit more as she tried out his name, "Akaya-kun."
Akaya blush lightly at the sound of his first name coming out of the lips of the young girl in front of him. He wasn't sure what to make of the girl yet, but he figured that she was still young enough to call him something that affectionate.
"Would you like some tea?" She offered him, breaking him out of his stupor. He nodded dumbly in response, but gave her a quick smile to cover it up.
She giggled before introducing herself, "My name is Doshida Risa, but you can call me Risa."
"Alright, Risa-chan," he didn't waste a minute to try out her name and as he said it, he began to reclaim his confidence, "what are you doing out here all alone on Christmas Eve?"
Her eyes gave a look of pain, but she quickly masked that with a look of longing. She reached for her heavy winter jacket next to her and removed it to show him a delicately wrapped present. Placing the present on the table, her eyes changed to a look of sorrow.
"I come to this restaurant, because my big brother loved to take me here. He left five years ago to go to America and said that he would return for Christmas. Without saying what day he would return, I began to wait here nearly all day for a week for him to return. Since this place is near the train station I thought that I wouldn't be able to miss him, but…" she trailed off, looking sadly at the smooth red paper that held her gift intact.
"He never came back, did he?" Akaya guessed, since she looked as if she was about to cry.
"That's right. He hasn't even called in those five years, but" she paused to look up at him with determination in her eyes. "I believe that one year he'll come back. I just know it."
Akaya scrunched up his hair in thoughtfulness, his mind going over what the girl said. What should he say to the determined girl? Her brother hasn't sent word for five years, but…
"It's good to not give up, Risa-chan, but I don't think spending a week in here by yourself is a good idea," he said before glancing over his shoulder to look out the window. "Why don't I walk you home since the weather let up?"
He noticed the way her eyes brightened when he said that, though there was still some sadness lingering. She smiled gratefully at him. "That would be very nice Akaya-kun," she agreed before setting down the money she owed for the meal. He did the same before leading her out the restaurant door.
They started walking together, looking at the sceneries they were passing by, and most of all, the purity of the whiteness surrounding them.
"So, Akaya-kun, what're you doing by yourself on Christmas Eve?" Risa asked, she feels marginally happier since Akaya came to talk with her.
He grinned at her and gestured to the bags he was carrying. "I was out shopping for my family and teammates."
Her face scrunched up in a cute pout, her head tilting to look at him clearly. "Teammates?" She questioned.
"Aa, my tennis teammates. I'm a Regular at Rikkai Dai High," he told her while watching the traffic up ahead.
"Oh? You must be really good then! I don't play any sports," she told him sadly, but curiosity taking most of it away. "Would you mind if I came to one of your games?" She asked politely.
Akaya's eyebrows shot up. "Why... why would you want to see my game? I'm not all that great compared to some of my other teammates," he explained.
"I don't mind. You sound like a great person, Akaya-kun. Much like my older brother," she replied.
Akaya smiled softly as she skipped ahead of him. So, he reminded her of her brother. How interesting.
"You can come if you'd like, but there won't be any more tournaments until spring," he complied.
She stopped a bit before looking back at him, grinning happily. "That's okay! I can wait. Thanks!"
They continued talking on the way, Akaya wondering just how natural it was for him to talk to a girl he just met a few hours ago.
Not too much later they reached her house and Akaya realized that they were only a street away from his own. Risa talked mindlessly about school, her friends, but mostly her brother.
"You remind me of him, you know," she told him as they reached her front door.
He smiled down at the petite girl. "I'll take that as a compliment."
Her eyebrows furrowed as she suddenly took a serious face. "It is. My brother's the best, you know?" Akaya chuckled a bit, amused at how defensive Risa was of her brother. He was about to give her a reply to what she said before he noticed that she paused in front of the door. She frowned at the door in concentration for a good minute before turning back to him, changing the subject completely. "Would you like to come over for Christmas tomorrow?"
To say Akaya was shocked would only begin to cover his surprise. He didn't expect that to happen. At all. "But, your parents-"
She giggled, interrupting him. "They won't mind. They love having my friends over and I'm sure they'd be happy to have you. You don't have anywhere else to be right?" She asked, making sure that Akaya didn't have any other plans since she knew that his family and teammates were preoccupied.
Akaya bent down on one knee and hugged the young girl. "I'd be happy to Risa-chan," he accepted before releasing her, noticing how a sprinkle of pink dusted her cheeks.
Her grin spread and her eyes were filled with happiness. "Great! Be here by nine and, Akaya-kun," she said while thrusting forward the gift for her brother, "Merry Christmas."
Once again, he was caught off guard by the girl. He accepted the gift and watched her skip happily into her house. Curious, he opened the box to reveal homemade holiday delicacies. Akaya realized that she must've made new ones every year for her brother and was touched that she gave her hard work to him.
Smiling, Akaya made his way home to wrap up the gifts and spend the night playing Tekken while munching on the treats his new friend gave him. His thoughts lingered on the little girl who made his day worth it.