Hey everyone! Yeah, you're not seeing things – it's me! I'm back! Revived, energetic and twice as annoying :D This, past year updating has been a horror for me, but hopefully with the coming of New Year, my schedule will loosen up a bit and I'll get to write more.
I know that NNG has been more or less lingering there in the last months, but I hope this will make up for it a bit; you see, the idea of a Christmas-themed side story swam in my head for ages... frankly, this was supposed to be the first installment in "NNG Side Stories" event about two years ago, but I didn't manage to finish it in time back then. And so the first chapter of this, massive update, festered on my PC unfinished.
Just as December began, I've prepared myself a resolve to actually sit down and finish it, but in the process I also got inspired to make this a greater event. What originally was a short story about Mikka's preparation for Christmas, quickly turned into something that probably could make a thin book. And thus I present you this – Konoha Christmas Carols!
This is a collection of short (more or less NNG-length) stories, each centered around a different Konoha gennin from my NNGverse. Each of these, little tales is Christmas-themed and provides a different look into your favorite characters! It doesn't matter which of the young Leaves you like most – rest assured he/she has a chapter highlighting their preparations for this magical time somewhere among these chapters.
The genres of these tales greatly vary – from simple comedy, to drama, adventure and even tragedy, to some extend. This is why you'll get a quick info which is it at the start of each installment. But I do hope you'll give each of these stories a try as this is literally the first time I've done a piece with that much diversity in such a small amount of text and I'm really curious how it turned out.
Now, keeping this to NNG length proven to be more of a problem then I imagined as some chapters could REALLY use getting more space, but I was pressed for time and probably rushed some of these tales anyway. But, dependable on the response I get from this, I can try turning this idea into something more annual then a one-time thing, thus I'd REALLY appreciate any comments or thoughts you might have on this endeavor.
Also I don't intent to open ever chapter with an Author's Note... this (along with the last) will be the only ones containing my rant, so you can relax ;) Also, to that end, I decided to make a short Table of Content here, just so that your navigation throughout the entire read will be easier.
One, last thing – it should be noted that all these stories are strictly NON-CANNON for NNG. Frankly, there was never any mention if Christmas exist in "Naruto" world, so it's possible this is more of an AU then NNG ever was. And there is no, particular order to these tales; the only time-frame is that they all take place "within a week before Christmas". Still, despite a demanding deadline and drama tied to switching between styles, I really had fun preparing this and, if you'll wish to get more installments like this from me in the future, I promise to give myself a wider time-span to prepare next time ;)
TABLE OF CONTENT:
Mikka's Shopping Crisis – everyone's favorite medic finds herself fighting for her life as she sets out to complete her Christmas shopping;
Door to Door Visits – in order to make some money to buy presents, Kai and Takaru team up for their most unusual journey yet – caroling;
Kogane's Kitchen Catastrophe – our young alchemist finds herself on her toughest challenge yet as she is chosen to prepare the Christmas dinner for her, entire clan... all on her own;
Inside: Horohoro – a very special installment of the "Inside" series about our beloved ice user;
Konoha's Silent Theater Presents: Operation Woodpecker – Galu is tasked with an important duty – to find a Christmas Tree for Konoha square. But a mission, seemingly simple, turns out to be more of a challenge then the taijustu expert imagined it to be;
Romance Before Christmas – Kusari sets into motion his ultimate plan to finally get a kiss from Kumiko... but this is easier said then done;
Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Hanamaru and Rei receive a mission to fill in for Santa in Konoha's Mega Mall. Right gennin in the right place... or are they?
Christmas Wish – Hitomi and Taki are enlisted to take part in the annual event at Konoha Hospital. Sadly, spreading the joy may not be as easy as they thought... on many levels;
And They Call It Puppy Talk – Tsume makes preparation to stay up all night in order to hear Uramaru speak in a human voice;
A Little Bit of Christmas – Ibuki is determined to spread a little bit of Christmas spirit into the cold, Tanken household, but she may be biting off more then she can chew;
Five Minutes to Christmas – Kitsune and Toku are tasked with preparing Christmas decorations for Konoha's square, however each of them has a very different vision of what they should look like;
Late Night Guests - it's Christmas Eve and Akira receives the most unusual visit from three, unique individuals;
Team 7 Christmas Carols – a collection of short songs composed by the most outrageous squad of gennin;
Home for Christmas – Senkou's Christmas spirit is crushed as he learns that Kakashi won't be present at the dinner table on the masked boy's favorite day of the year;
And with the above, I just want to wish you MERRY CHRISTMAS! Hope you'll enjoy the lecture.
KONOHA CHRISTMAS CAROLS
Carol #01: Mikka's Shopping Crisis
Genre: comedy, friendship, drama
It was a night waaaay before Christmas in Konoha, but already the houses were decorated with bright lights, pushing away the darkness of the chilly evening. Regardless to the late hour, the streets of the village were still pretty crowded with people. The more experienced ones run around in amok, screaming they're not gonna make it in time, but most walked by calmly, unaware of the horror, which Christmas shopping represents. Every year supermarkets swallow several of these brave souls, who try to get the people they care about appropriate gifts. Many are never heard from again.
Among them is a certain, young kunoichi, who traveled down the road with a small sheet of paper in her hand, while her body was hidden underneath a purple coat, which did not let the low temperature faze her. That person is Igaku Mikka and this is her story.
"Lets see" she said to herself thoughtfully as she gazed on the list she made herself. "I already bought everything for my family, so now I just need to find something for Tsume and the guys… and Kai-kun, but I at least know what to present him... after all, he's been staring at that Hashirama action figure all last month... I suppose City Mall will be a good place to start the search" and with that she went on her way, straight to the place where nightmares are born. For she did not know that a great evil awaited her at the destination…
"Twenty percent discount on all jackets!" yelled the salesman, initiating a stampede of customers that charged right into his shop. Many that got injured during the struggle were left behind, but that is the law of the jungle: only the strongest prevail to get the gifts they want. Mikka marched forward, making the automatic door slid open, inviting her to the house of terror. As the glass gates shut behind her, a skinny, miserable man that stood in the corner gave her a warning, which she somewhat ignored: "Abandon all hope, thee who enter."
She first turned right, walking into a narrow alley, not very crowded at the time. At the very end of the hallway her eyes spotted a sign-board that marked her first destination: 'pet shop'. Squeezing between buyers, she managed to reach the entrance, instantly attacked by tens of wild howls, barks, shrieks, meows and squeaks that filled the air. That however did not stop her as she went pass the door. This is where her quest began.
Finding a throwing disc for Tsume turned out to be relatively easy. With a quick flash of her pocket money, the item became hers to manage and the first position of her list could've been crossed off. Little she did not know was that starting now, things were just gonna get worse. Minutes went by and our young heroine finally reached the second stop in her journey: the bookstore! (A/N: evil music in the background)
As she entered, her eyes instantly began scanning the bookshelves for anything that'd be fitting for a present to the second person on her list. She ignored 'The Lord of the Rings', assuming Kokoro wouldn't enjoy a jewelry catalogue anyway and went straight to the next shelf, picking out a familiar-looking book: "Hey, that's the one Senkou-kun's father always reads" she realized, thinking she got her second gift already. As the pages flew however, her face quickly turned red before she managed to put the book back on its place and walk away, hiding her head deep in her jacket.
Looking around nervously, she reached another shelf that got her attention. On every level laid books with titles that seemed awfully familiar, like 'Dragonblood', 'Forgotten Sands' or 'Final Magic'. Finally her curiosity won over her and she picked one, glancing at the name of the author: "Shang? Now where have I heard that name before? Ah, doesn't matter. Having a name like that, I bet the guy's stories suck out loud" and with that thought she placed the book back to the shelf, turning in the opposite direction.
This one was also filled with books of one series, whose author seemed to be named Potter. Carefully Mikka reached out for the one with a subtitle 'Prisoner of Azka-something' and glanced through the pages. As she read few, last ones, she put the book away with a smile showing pity on her face: "People summoning stuff? What a fairytale" and went deeper into the store.
Ignoring the agriculture guide entitled 'The Catcher in the Rye', she stopped before 'Alice in Wonderland', but in the end decided against buying it, coming to a conclusion that a story about some girl going to the funfair wouldn't be very interesting anyway. As the titles began emerging before her, she slowly lost hope she'll manage to find anything, until her eyes stopped at the book with another, strangely familiar name:
"Twilight?" she read, tilting her head to the side. "Sounds like something that has to do with that show for young girls... what was it again? My little brony? Yeah, sounds about right" she nodded to herself approvingly, grabbing the book. "This will be perfect for Kokoro" she decided as she head for the counter with a gleeful smile.
She didn't manage to take more then few steps though as a speeding object crashed into her, pulling them both to the floor. As Mikka rubbed her aching head, she gazed up, shyly apologizing to whomever bumped into HER: "I'm sorry... I wasn't looking where I was going and..." but at this she froze as her eyes widen at the sight: "Kumiko-san?"
At hearing her name, the purple-clad kunoichi also looked up, glancing right into the young medic's eyes: "Mikka?" she questioned surprised. "What are you doing here?"
"Well..." the other girl began, looking away. "I came to finish my Christmas shopping... I still have three gifts to buy and..."
"Christmas shopping!" Kumiko suddenly exploded, bolting up. "Holy crap, that's right – I came here to buy presents!" she freaked, dashing off into the distance: "The horror! The horror!" she yelled as her voiced echoed menacingly through the mall.
Confused, Mikka stared at the spot her former classmate was just a moment ago. Then, with the sound of the bell, announcing the end of another hour, she slowly picked herself up, dusting off. There were still things she needed do by the end of the day.
The hour grew late and Mikka quickened her paste as she moved towards sports center, where she placed her hopes to find gifts that'd allow her to cross off two, more names from the list. Getting something for Galu proven to be an easy task, though carrying two weights around was certainly the opposite. However Senkou's present present a real problem.
She sat down on the bench, trying to figure out what to give Hokage's son, but nothing came to her mind. The crowds passed her by, rushing to their own doom as the merchandise disappeared from shelves at alarming rate.
Mikka watched this with the feeling of helplessness slowly taking over. But, just as she was about to abandon the search, her eyes caught a glimpse of a little gift shop, making them sparkle again. In a flash she grabbed her bags, slipped due to forgetting she was still carrying two weights in them, lifted her bags again and went up the stairs, straight towards the store.
As she entered, her eyes immediately got struck with all the colors of the rainbow as all sorts of things, both large and small, filled the locale, doing their best to attract the attention of potential customers. Glass figures and scrolls and mechanical toy, oh my!
Walking between the shelves, Mikka inspected the various trinkets, searching for something that would compliment her masked teammate. Finally her sight caught a glimpse of the perfect gift, making her eyes widen in a fashion a child look at his Christmas present. In a flash she appeared before the cabinet holding a small medallion, shaped like a lighting.
The glittering design sparkled, even in the dim light of the shop as the kunoichi stared at it, hypnotized. Convinced she couldn't find anything better, she snatched the medallion and happily walked to the counter, placing her choice before the shop keeper.
"That'll be 20 ryou" the cashier announced, making the young girl freeze at the news.
"T-twenty?" she repeated, glancing into her wallet. "But... if I'll pay this much for Senkou-kun's gift I... I won't have enough to buy that Hashirama figure for Kai-kun" she stated miserably, shrinking on the spot.
"I'm sorry" the man responded, giving an apologetic gaze. "But I can't lower the price" he proclaimed, seeing the kunoichi fall into depression. Silence filled the shop, eventually broken by the owner once more, as he asked, somewhat shyly: "So... do you still wish to buy this?"
Mikka took a deep breath, lifting her eyes as she made a quick decision. A moment later she stepped out of the store, placing the medallion into her bag. She might've completed her gift list, but certainly not the way she hoped. Weakly she dropped to the bench as the mall emptied. The sky turned black as stars began glittering high above, announcing the arrival of the cold, winter evening, but the young medic made nothing of it. She just stared blankly at the floor, feeling guilty.
"I know I probably wouldn't have the courage to give that figure to Kai-kun anyway" she reasoned as her eyes gathered water. "Still, seeing him smile because of my gift... that would be..." she sighed, not willing to dwell further into the matter.
"You're still here?" she heard a sudden question and as she gazed up, she noticed Kumiko standing above her, bending forward with a concerned look on her face. "I didn't hit you that hard, did I?" she asked, taking Mikka completely off guard. The only response the latter could give was to shake her head in negation: "Good, coz I was kinda worried" the tactician announced, scratching the back of her head embarrassed. "I realize I haven't even apologized for crashing into you back there, so... well, sorry. How did your gift hunt went?"
"Good... I suppose" the medic replied without belief, lowering her head again.
"Not easy buying stuff for people close to you, is it?" Kumiko asked, settling beside her. "You wouldn't believe the trouble I face trying to find something for Kusari! And, knowing my luck, he'll take that as some sort of invitation to try more, perverted things with me" she laughed nervously, quickly freezing at the fact that what she said was probably true. Uncomfortable silence fell between the two and as the tactician played with her foot, she asked out of the blue: "So, what did you get Kai?"
"W-what?" Mikka jumped at the question, her face turning red as nervous sweat covered her skin. "K-Kumiko-san, surely, I have no idea..."
"Oh please" the other girl interrupted her, waving her hand. "Only a complete moron wouldn't notice you like him... probably why Kai didn't realized it yet" she added thoughtfully, rubbing his chin. "But that guy isn't easy to shop for either. Imagine – I had to go to seven toy stores before I found this" she whined, picking out the Hashirama action figure to show it to the medic.
Mikka's eyes widen at the sight. Her first instinct was to grab the doll... I mean, action figure... but she managed to stop herself. She was desperate, but this would go against her nature after all.
"That pinhead just kept yammering how awesome this thing was" Kumiko went on, slight disbelief plastered on her face. "I mean, for crying out loud, he's already thirteen and he wants to play with dolls! What kind of a ninja is he?" she yelled over-dramatically, flipping her arms. Then she glanced at her former classmate, shifting her eyes between the girl and the figure.
After a short hesitation, she handed the doll to Mikka, much to the latter's confusion: "K-Kumiko-san, what...?"
"It's better if he'd get this from you, I suppose" she explained with a smile. "I'll already have my hands full with Kusari, don't really need Kai following me around, proclaiming his eternal gratitude as well" she joked. "And if this will help you, I supposed that's not a total loss. You can pay me back whenever you can" she added, nearly forcing the doll into her companions grip.
"I..." the medic began, unsure how to react. "I don't..."
"Just take it already!" Kumiko ordered sternly, giving off a warm smile the next instant. "And Merry Christmas" she added with a wink, making the other girl rise up, bowing before her.
"Thank you, Kumiko-san" she announced enthusiastically. "I shall not forget this" she promised, dashing off towards the exit to hide her excitement. After all, doing a happy dance in front of ones peer may not be the best way to earn her respect.
The young tactician gazed after her with a smile on her face. Yet that smirk quickly vanished as a dreadful realization hit her with full force. Panic took over as she grabbed her head, the vision of incoming horror burning deeply into her mind. Her nightmare was just beginning: "Holy crap! With this... I still need to buy something for Kai!"