I'm so sorry this one-shot is late! I wanted it done for Christmas, but I failed. XD This is a very new style of writing for me because it's bits and pieces of moments in Genki's life as he grows up and experiences various Christmas moments. It's kind of philosophical, which normally isn't my style. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't claim to own Monster Rancher or the characters. I'm just a huge fan. Tecmo owns everything. I just own the plot.

As the Years Go By

Genki thinks the world is changing.

Dear Santa, my name is Genki and I want…

Genki flashed his parents a large smile, one in which was missing a few teeth, as he held up a new video game. Torn wrapping paper and glittering bows lay strewn about the room as the four year old boy attacked his presents like a dinosaur, the excitement of a young child on Christmas morning being a force unable to be matched.

"He's so full of energy," his mother commented with a chuckle as she began to pick up the mess.

"If he's like this now, I'm scared to see him as a teenager," his father replied with a roll of his eyes.

Dear Santa, what I really want this year is…

"This one! It's perfect!" Genki exclaimed giggly as the six year old pointed to a large Christmas tree; its branches lavished with small green needles and its branches hard and sturdy.

"Are you sure? Once we buy it, there's no returning it," his father spoke up.

"Yeah, I'm sure! This one is awesome and it's big enough for Santa to put presents under!"

"Alright, then this one is the one."

He loved the smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree. It was one of those smells no candle or air freshener could replace, its glory and elegance not being something that could be bottled up and sold. This was his Christmas tree, and no one could take that away from him.

Dear Santa, I've been really good this year and…

The smell of fresh baked gingerbread cookies filled the entire kitchen while an eight year old Genki sat eagerly on the couch waiting for a free sample. The dough had been made from scratch, the frosting as well, and the designs had been hand shaped. Some of gingerbread men would have larger head than the others, while others would come out with burnt arms due to being too thin. It didn't matter, though. He put his heart and soul into helping his mother make those cookies and to him, they were the most delicious cookies in the universe.

He knew Santa would agree with him, too.

Dear Santa, you're not real, are you?

A ten year old Genki smiled as he opened another gift, the wrapping paper crumpling with every tear mark he made. He loved the holiday, but it wasn't the same. No longer did he listen carefully at night to hear jingling bells or clatters on the roof top. No longer did he leave out cookies, milk, and carrots. No longer did he wave at the mall Santa or sing to the Christmas music on the radio. He just couldn't find it in himself to do it anymore.

Christmas has lost its magic.

The fire crackled every time twelve year old Genki poked it with a stick, the end getting black and brittle. He never knew the world of the monsters celebrated Christmas, but he found himself feeling safe, even a sense of belonging. When Holly flashed him one of her beautiful white smiles, part of him wasn't sure if it was from drinking too much of Hare's special punch or not, but he felt his heart flutter in a way that it hadn't since he first felt the magic of Christmas die.

Was it really still alive?

Genki laughed as the fourteen year old watched a drunken Suezo try to dance with Granity only to be shot with a Lightning Attack mere seconds after. The rebels were enjoying the holidays once more along with many of the friends they had met along the way on their journey. With a smile at seeing everyone so happy, the young man grabbed a cup before filling it with punch and taking a swig of it, the amount of people there making the room temperature a bit uncomfortable. As the hero turned to take a seat, though, he almost crashed into Holly.

"Oh! I'm so sorry!" Holly apologized.

"Don't worry about it. I was the one who whipped around and startled you," Genki replied with an earnest smile.

"Are you having fun?"

"Yeah! Are you?"

"Yes, very much," Holly replied with a giggle.

"OOOH! Miss Holly! Look up!" Colt shouted from the crowd with a giant grin on her face.

"Mistletoe!" Holly exclaimed with a gulp and a blush at seeing the traditional specimen.

"You and Genki have to kiss!"

Surprise was one word that could explain how Genki felt at that moment. He expected Holly to fight it or to march off, something in which he had planned to do. Instead, the next thing he knew Holly's lips crashed up against his so fast that it took him a little while to realize what was going on. Just as his mind registered, though, the young girl pulled away before extending her hand out to the young man while everyone else watched in shock at the girl's sudden boldness.

"Want to dance?" Holly asked with a bashful smile.

"…yeah, I'd love to," Genki replied after he got his thoughts together. With a smile, the young man took Holly's hand in his own before leading her out away from the crowd to dance.

He could feel it. He could feel the tug in his heart just like he once had when he was young. The sense of something special filling the empty void that had once become a part of him, and Genki couldn't help but grin as he looked down at Holly; the girl who had opened his eyes and had made him realize something.

The magic never dies.

Genki realized the world isn't changing. He is.

Sorry that was so random. It's not my usual style at all. I really wanted this done for Christmas because I'm sure no one wants to read a Christmas story after Christmas, but I'm posting it anyways. I started this quick one-shot last week, but I couldn't finish it due to my week long intensive class. I hope everyone had a great holiday!

RockyRoadSmith: Signing off! :3