A/N: Hey there :3 So I got into a new fandom a while back thanks to a certain someone (You owe me for starting up my obsessing habits Mr. Uke .) And recently with the holidays coming up, my friends and I started a secret Santa thing and I figured "Hey I can probably do a fanfic with this" I'm sorry if it seems OOC I can't really do the characters without actually playing the game first.
She toiled away at the machine, her foot gently pressing down on the pedal as she ran the dark fabric through the needle. The young miss pushed her glasses up her nose, smiling proudly at her completed outfit. She felt a particular amount of pride in this one this time. The young woman designed this herself and for once it looks perfect; almost close to Eri's level. She looked at the calendar that hung precariously over her desk. The blue numbers were counting down the days until that wonderful time of year. Just hide this for one more day and she should be okay.
"Neku, you better like this." She sighed as she stared at the coat. Let's hope there aren't any mistakes.
The brunette slipped a new plastic cover over the fabric, opaque white obscuring the unique, bold yellow lines ran down the sleeves of the cardigan. As she stared at the simplistic work, she smiled, the young man being the only thing she thought about. When they did that secret Santa drawing, she felt lucky to have gotten Neku has her recipient. It was her chance to pay him back for everything.
Back in the Underground, Shiki was thrown in the Reapers' game at the cost of her own appearance and was forced to take on that of her best friend. The joy in being in Eri's body was warm, simply perfect. She had a chance to recreate herself and become the person she desired to be. However, the idea was short-lived. The young girl came to realize that she could never come anywhere close to Eri's level of perfection. No matter how she looked – her body or Eri's – Shiki was still Shiki on the inside, the Shiki that she assumed had nothing. Neku was the first to embrace that. He didn't care about who Eri was or what talent she had. He genuinely cared for Shiki as she is. Eri has her own level of perfect and Shiki had hers. Neku helped to open her eyes to that fact. Not only that, but it helped the brunette understand that Eri had felt a similar jealousy towards Shiki. Shiki had sharp eyes, the nimble hands and the skills to bring designs to life, something Eri had trouble in succeeding in. Neku accepted Shiki and everything about her, her flaws, her personality, just everything. It gave Shiki a reason to redeem herself and helped her realize that she can only be herself and that she should be proud of who she is.
A faint blush crept along the brunette's fair cheeks as she nuzzled her head into the comforts of her pillow, hugging Mr. Mew tight against her chest. She simply couldn't wait. She couldn't wait to spend her first Christmas with everyone – Eri included of course. She couldn't wait to present Neku the coat she designed. The girl could smell freshly baked cinnamon buns glazed with melted icing and the refreshing sharpness of peppermint just thinking about it. The idea of being able to sip something warm with everyone made her laugh quietly and warmly. She rolled on her back, holding the black kitten over her head. "Just one more day, Mr. Mew." She sighed forlornly. "And just maybe…" That tune from the radio filled her head, adding on to the pink. "We'll stay warm mistletoein'" She sang quietly.
"W-What am I saying?" She furiously shook her head as soon as she sat up. "Neku's just a friend!" That's all they'll be.
Suddenly her phone began to ring, distracting her from her musing. It was a notification with Eri's name tagged underneath. She unlocked her phone to see what her friend was up to. Then her heart seemed to sink a bit. It was a picture at their favorite café… Only this time Eri was with Neku and he was actually smiling, something that he did mainly for Shiki, Beat and Rhyme. Eri was almost a stranger to Neku, barely an acquaintance considering how much they actually interacted with each other. The pink-haired miss was flashing a brilliant grin as she usually did when she took pictures with her friends, her arm hooked around Neku's. The young man was smiling rather warmly as he looked at the camera as if he was giving a chuckle. The two looked as if they have known each other for years. Heck, they even looked like a couple.
Come to think of it, Neku and Eri had been hanging out a lot more as of late. Most of the time, it was on Eri's suggestion for the two of them to simply go out somewhere either window shopping or having lunch. Shiki was well-aware of these plans herself, but she didn't really pay attention to how often they were hanging out until now. "Calm down, Shiki." She told herself as she took a deep breath. "They're just hanging out. It's not a big deal."
There was no denying it though. Shiki was beginning to become a little envious of the two. They're her best friends. Problem is, who is she jealous of? Is she jealous of Neku for spending more time with Eri or of Eri for spending more time with Neku?
"Yo', Merry Christmas, Phones!"
The orange-topped teen covered his ears at the immediate outburst. "Beat, I'm standing right next to you. Is shouting really necessary?" Neku sighed as he closed the door. "And stop calling me 'Phones'. I don't wear 'em as much as I used to."
Rhyme, donning a green variation of her usual sweater, candy cane stockings under her shorts, and a fur-trimmed Santa hat, gave her sweet smile to their orange-haired host. "He's always excited when it comes to Christmas."
"I can see that." Neku rubbed his ear, only half of his hearing capability returning after that painfully loud greeting. He watched as Beat stomped into his living room shouting holiday greetings to Eri who proudly greeted him back with a playful wink.
"Beat, the present!" Rhyme reminded him as she followed Neku down the hall.
The skateboarder quickly realized what Rhyme was referring to for once, reaching into his black backpack in a haste, ignoring how he managed to dishevel his gray jacket over his shoulder and how his beanie- decorated with holiday pins to match the spirit – had fallen to the ground. "I'm not sure if you'd like dis, but here. I 'ad to ask Rhyme to help me pick."
The blonde smiled, shyly shuffling her feet and clasping her hand behind her back. "At least he knew what he wanted to get you."
The pinkette took the silver-wrapped box he held out into her hands. It barely managed to fit in the palm in her hand, but she had a fair idea of what was inside. She snapped the tape open and unfolded the paper carefully, revealing a black velvet box. On the top lid was the brand name Pavo Real in champagne embroidering. "Wait, you seriously didn't." She slowly popped the box open, revealing what she had been eying way before the holidays began. The sterling silver chain dangled in front of her eyes, swinging a silver moon embedded what seemed to be a set of pink stones. Two were pale, opaque and small but the one set between them was slightly larger and crystal clear with a brighter hue. Eri looked up at Beat who grinned at her with his arms crossed.
"A'ight, Shiki helped me out too."
Neku shrugged as he took a sip his favorite coffee. "Obviously." Much too obvious indeed. Beat would often rant to him about how finding Eri a gift was becoming such a pain especially since Eri only wrote "Something I would like to wear" on her wish list. The guy ended up calling Shiki up for Christmas shopping in the end. Even though Neku often accompanied them, he wish he didn't at times. He would get impatient with Beat and Shiki. Although, he had a problem telling if it was because of the time they took trying to decide just to walk away in the end or something.
He felt a tug on his grey sleeve and peered down at Rhyme. "Something wrong?"
The younger child smiled sweetly, her cheeks warm with pink. With a wave of her hand, she gestured him to come closer as if she was about to whisper a secret to him. "So did you get a mistletoe ready for you and Shi-"
With a flushed face, he stood up and started making haste to the living room. "Yo Beat, hand me that box under the tree, would you?" He requested, trying to keep his voice at its normal volume. Hopefully, his gift to Rhyme would be enough of a distraction from the subject.
Rhyme gave a rare cheeky giggle. Being the youngest, one wouldn't expect her to be so aware as to what was going on, but she knew. She knew just how much Neku cared for Shiki and how much Shiki cares for him in return. She even knew that Neku was well aware of his feelings for her. Too bad he didn't realize that Shiki reciprocates.
Hey, speaking of Shiki, where was she?
The lights shed their warm glow over the powder white snow that blanketed the concrete. Restaurants and cafes kept their doors open to the people and the people walked slowly about, smiling as they indulged in the holiday spirit. They all dressed warmly with their brand name jackets and huddled close to their dates or lovers. Some were simply walking about with close friends, cheeks stung red by the bitter as they smiled sweetly.
Hachiko stood proud on his pedestal, the snow barely covering the top of his bronze head. He oversaw Shibuya as people moved along the flow into the scramble and out. He did not have much company other than the few couples on the benches nearby. Then there was the one who sat at his feet alone, her icy breath billowing over the plush she cradled in her arms and a box wrapped in treble and bass clefs forming a heart next to her.
Shiki didn't really remember how she ended up in front of Hachiko's statue in the first. One minute she was reading Eri's last status update and the next she was just here. Okay, so maybe she did knew. Eri's last update was about how cozy Neku's place was and how his parents were so different compared to him. "Merry Christmas from Neku Sakuraba's house! His parents are so nice! Neku, learn a thing or two from them, would you?"
Shiki felt the envy in her heart rise once more. It almost seemed like Eri was trying get on Shiki's nerves, but that could never be the case. Eri had a preference for guys who were more outgoing. Then again, things can happen. All it takes was a certain spark and then the next day, you're in a relationship. It just seemed unfair. But then again, Neku and Shiki were only friends. That's all they could be. Nothing more nothing less.
"Hello, Miss Misaki." A gentle voice greeted.
The voice sent a jolt down her spine and she froze as soon as she looked up. Platinum blonde hair contrasted against the gray skies as the snow drifted down delicately.
Her voice was caught in her throat, unable to speak. That gaze and tone was almost haunting as they were directed towards her. "J-Joshua…" Her body tensed up as he took a step towards her. Just when everything that was horrible about the UG began to fade, it all rushed back starting with the games' composer. "I swear if you-"
He shushed her and smiled, pulling his scarf down from his face. "It's Christmas, my dear. I'm not so ill-mannered to kill someone on such an occasion." He sat himself next to her. "Although you don't seem like the kind to spend Christmas alone like this."
"Should that be any of your business?" She mumbled bitterly at the blonde.
Joshua stared at the brunette, eying her harsh gaze and furrowed brows. This girl was different from how she was seen in the UG. But then again, her true appearance was her price. In comparison to the appearance of her best friend, she was rather plain, a little too bland. Still, for Neku's price to be her existence… She must be something special. "No hard feelings about the Reapers' Game?"
She glanced at him, eyes bitter but soft. In truth, Shiki was rather grateful to the Reapers' game. She came back to life and she learned to love herself as she is. She was her own perfection. Not only that, but she finally understood Eri and she made wonderful friends with everyone she met. But now, with things as they are, she found herself wishing she was dead. She found herself wishing she never had met Neku, knowing that no matter how they met, she would find herself falling for him again.
"Is it about Neku?" The young man asked as he stared up into the sky.
Shiki remained silencing, not bothering to neither look at Joshua nor entertain him with a response. He took note of this and turned his gaze to the darkly colored clouds that blanketed Shibuya's skies. "So it is." He sighed quietly, his white breath billowing and fading into the winter air. "Shiki, you're very lucky, you know. You're free. Free to spend Christmas with the people in your world."
"What do you mean? What about Mr. H? And the other reapers?"
The teen gave a lighthearted shrug and a small chortle as a start to his response. It was a little naïve to think that just because he was the Composer that he would get along with those on his side. "Mr. H and I are authority figures for the Reapers' game. We have to maintain it for the new players who arrive on Christmas day."
She felt her heart sank at the thought of people dying and losing their lives on this holiday. They said that Christmas was a time for joy and merry memories. Then again, recent events can make her say otherwise. "That doesn't seem right though." She muttered. "Isn't it lonely? I mean, even I have to admit that you're not so bad if it weren't for the fact that you compose the Reapers' game."
"Why don't you ask Neku?" He responded. Eyes closed and elbows set on his knees as he leaned forward comfortably. "I'm not that lonely. I have Mr. Hanekoma as company and my time as Neku's partner is still a fun memory." Pause. "Shiki, you remember your price for playing, don't you?"
How could she forget? She took on her best friend's face as a result of her envy over her beauty and talent. She had Eri's body and style for a week and learned within an hour that she could never be Eri. How the pinkette could stand wearing such exposing clothing was beyond her understanding.
"You're still the same as before. You have no belief in yourself only the reason and subject are different. I'm sure Neku has told you back in the UG, am I right? He prefers you to be yourself, your real self. He has a preference for reality, that guy." He stood up, throwing an end of his knitted scarf over his shoulder. "You were his price for a reason." Joshua gave her a sly smile, opening his white coat, unveiling the gun hiding under his belt. "If I killed him again, the results would be the same."
Seeing the scared look in her eyes told him absolutely everything. She cares much for the antisocial teen and losing him would mean her world would crumble away. If Mr. Mew could speak, he would've been choking under her clutch. He turned around, buttoning his coat closed. "I wouldn't kill him though. It's bad enough he won't forgive me. I'm sure it'll only worsen if I make you cry or do anything to you for that matter." His sneakers crunched in the white snow as he disappeared into the Scramble. "Just smile for Neku. That could've worked as his secret Santa gift."
"Bring the beat!"
"It's your turn to choose the song, Beat." Rhyme laughed sweetly as she watched her brother and Eri play DDR. Five rounds and Beat was losing 3 to 2. Well Beat had always been a better skateboarder than a dancer.
"C'mon, Eri, one more round and then I'll take you on!" Shiki cheered.
"You've got hands for sewing, Shiki. I'm not sure if you have the feet to dance though!" Her friend teased.
The house was full of laughter and merry-making. Even the usually sullen Neku was giving a faint smile especially with the brunette's presence by his side. Pink stained his pale cheeks watching her laugh as smile. Whether she was in Eri's form or her own, that smile was always the same. It was genuine and unique to him. It was something special.
The sound of his name brought him down to reality and out of his musing, his face now flushed to a deep red. "Y-Yeah?"
The brunette stood up and took his hand, pulling him out of the living room and out to the back porch in a huff. "Come with me for a bit."
"Shiki, I can walk you know." He sighed, as he looked down, hoping to hide the blush that continued to creep up to the tip of his ears.
They stopped at the glass doors that led to the winter wonderland that was Neku's backyard and stepped outside, locking the door behind them. The air was frigid and the snow drifted in the air slowly as they made their descent to the powder white ground. Shiki smiled bashfully as she kept her mitten-covered hands behind her back. The teen could only guess that she was his secret Santa. The thought of it had his heart skipping beats, choking him with his own voice.
"Merry Christmas from me and Mr. Mew." She giggled as she presented the box. "You're free to open it right now if you want."
Curious, he took the box into his hands and carefully opened it, flipping the lid on the thin cardboard. Beneath layers of silver and gold tissue, he pulled out the neatly folded black fabric. He unfolded, eying the careful stitching and the gold lines that ran vertically down the sleeves, matching his usual shirt. It was simplistic, but he liked it. It was a Shiki original after all.
"Hey Shiki…" He gave her a warm smile, pulling her close as he clasped his hands around her waist and rested them on the small of her back. The girl's cheeks quickly burned with a fiery red as her head touched his chest. Despite his cold attitude, he was warm. She could hear his heart beating rapidly, practically hammering away at his ribcage. He tilted her head up, having her eyes looking at his face. The young man tucked her hair behind her ears and touched his forehead with hers. "Thanks." He whispered.
Shiki's senses flared up, dulled and flared up again as soon as their lips touched. Her mind was thrown into a swirl of confusion and joy all at once. She found it in herself to relax and reciprocate the gesture. Her heart fluttered and things almost seemed like a miracle. The young teen had certainly felt silly for everything she was feeling earlier. Joshua was right. Her world would crumble without Neku and she would be his price if Neku had to play the game again.
The kiss broke at the sound of a bell-like tone emanating from her phone. "Eri texted me?" She flipped her cell open… And she couldn't stop smiling.
Merry Christmas! :) I see you love your gift!
A/N: Like I said, I'm sorry if it's OOC and if there are any grammar mistakes D: For now I'll take this chance to explain a few things in the story.
- The line that Shiki sang in the beginning "We'll stay warm mistletoein'" is an actual lyric from the song "You're My Christmas Angel" by Mac Hoff. Or was it Huff?
- Eri actually did plan on making Shiki jealous which is why she spent so much time with Neku before the story took place. Why? Eri's text explains it all :D
- I had trouble with the secret Santa set up since I somehow managed to confuse myself while writing it, but in short. Neku to Rhyme, Rhyme to Beat, Beat to Eri, Eri to Shiki and Shiki to Neku. What was Rhyme's gift? Well, I don't know what Neku would've given her :T
- In a way, I did establish Joshua as an actual Christmas angel... I think
It's all rushed D: It's a fail fanfic, this one! D: -dies-