Tinsel, Christmas Trees, and Santa Hats
It was almost Christmas. Anyone could tell, just by looking out the window. Colored lights gleamed and glittered all over town, decorations ran rampant, and Christmas-y music blared from every radio station.
It seemed that there was only one apartment that didn't have any decorations at all. And once Yukimi noticed that (with some slight suggestions from his sister), he was determined to change it.
"We're going to decorate today!" he announced out of nowhere one afternoon, about two weeks before Christmas, standing in the middle of his sitting room with his hands on his hips.
It wasn't immediately apparent to Yoite, who was sitting by the window like always, if the man was talking to him or to no one and nothing in particular. After all, he was grinning so widely that one could not see his eyes, and he wasn't even facing the teenager on the floor.
"… Decorate," Yoite replied flatly. "With what?"
Yukimi sweatdropped, smile sliding off his face. It was true, he didn't know if he had any decorations to put up. He made up his mind in a hurry, though, and turned to face his charge, plastering a grin back on.
"If we don't have anything, we'll buy some!" was Yukimi's exclamation. "So, let's search!"
Yoite quietly got to his feet and headed for the door, but was checked on the spot as Yukimi grabbed his collar and dragged him towards the back closet. "You're not getting away that easily, brat," he growled, hiding a sadistic grin. "For once, you're going to be helping me out here."
The blue-eyed boy treated Yukimi to his most icy glare, but the adult just ignored him and flung open the closet door wide. Yoite sighed as the other began tossing stuff every-which-way, dodging what he could and wondering where on earth Yukimi had actually acquired most of this junk.
"Aha!" Yukimi shouted after a minute. "Look what I found!" He held aloft a large cardboard box that looked to be half decomposed, the words "Christmas decorations" scrawled sloppily across the top. Yoite didn't even want to know what kind of "decorations" the thing was supposed to hold. He took a hesitant step backwards to escape, then another.
However, he was unable to flee, when the blond man shoved the dusty, spider web covered box into his arms, almost knocking him over, before Yukimi practically dove back into the closet again, junk and trash and other knick-knacks spilling all over the floor.
"Check the content of that box," he called over his shoulder. "It should contain tinsel and a wreath."
'A wreath?' thought Yoite, opening the top with extreme caution. He half expected a host of moths to swarm out, but was relieved when none did.
Indeed, there was gold, red, and green tinsel, but the wreath… "… This might have been a wreath a decade ago," the teen said with disgust just lacing his voice, not touching the brown… thing… on the bottom of the box. "But now- no."
"So we'll pick one up later. Not a big deal." Yukimi's voice was muffled from that his head was buried in pile in the closet. Yoite glanced to the kitchen, then began to edge that way.
Twenty minutes of scouring the house later, and Yukimi had to concede that there were no more decorations in the house. And the box that Yoite had attempted to "hide" in the trash can, which was now sitting on the couch, wasn't going to cover it for him.
"Let's go, Yoite," he said firmly, grabbing his coat from the rack near the door. Yoite's eyes widened, before his sleeve was grasped in his caretaker's firm grip and he was pulled towards the door.
First stop, downtown. Yukimi went in search of tree decorations and lights, almost literally dragging Yoite along with him. Yukimi's obvious excitement was practically enough to make his charge shudder.
Two boxes of light strings were enough to satisfy Yukimi, as was three small boxes of decorations for a Christmas tree. He bought them and deposited them in the car.
However, before that, as he was walking to the checkout counter, two somethings caught his eyes. A slow, devious smile spread across Yukimi's face as an idea came to him. He snatched up one each of the items, buying them with the rest of the stuff. Yoite didn't notice.
Something occurred to Yoite as he was climbing into the back seat, pulling up his knees. "What kind of tree do you intend to get?" he asked hesitantly, afraid to learn the answer.
To his mild disconcertion, Yukimi laughed. "A real one! A wreath for the door, and a real tree for the house, albeit a smallish one. It has to fit in the car."
Yoite almost groaned.
The Christmas tree lot wasn't huge, but there were plenty of selections to choose from, and plenty of people there already, searching for the perfect tree for their home. "Okay, Yoite, go look for a tree that's not too expensive," Yukimi instructed said person, "And not too large. No running off, either."
He himself headed off towards the north part of the lot as if on a mission, leaving a very resigned Yoite to wander the south side, very unenthusiastic about his job. He would much rather be at home and watching the snow outside fall.
And yet… it was almost peaceful, this. Wandering about in the snow, most of which had been trampled to a point where it was easy to walk in, but not slippery, with the grey cotton-ball clouds overhead sprinkling a dusting of cold whiteness over everything… the snow muffled all sounds, so that all Yoite could really hear clearly were his footsteps and his own breathing. At the sight of the fog that was his own breath, condensed, he felt a faint, very slight urge to smile.
True, the cold wasn't too pleasant, but the whole atmosphere wasn't really so bad. And the surrounding trees themselves filled the chill air with a warm, inviting fragrance that tickled the nose and made one want to pause and simply breathe in the scent.
But there was a job at hand, and the sooner it got done, the sooner he could get inside again and get warm. So, despite his own misgivings, Yoite set himself to looking carefully at the juniper, white fir, red pine, and other evergreens around him.
He was almost beginning to enjoy himself, despite that he found not a single tree up to his standards (whatever they could be), when, just as it was getting dark, a familiar shout distracted him again. Yukimi jogged up, red-faced from the cold, and grinning.
"I've got the perfect tree," he said immediately, "And I've already bought it, so we've just gotta get it loaded into the car. You'll have to sit in the front seat, but that's not a big deal, ne?"
Yoite just shrugged, following Yukimi to the front again. The tree that Yukimi had chosen was about five feet tall, green and pretty, and was just right for a small apartment.
It was loaded into the back seat, with Yukimi hardly complaining about the needles that got shed everywhere. As they were headed home, Yukimi commented, "Raikou and Gau will probably be by later, since they're in town and wanted to come by. I'm ordering out for dinner."
Decorating plus a headache. Joy.
All right, so that was a little harsh, but if there as anything that could bring on a headache to anyone, it was Gau and Yukimi in the same room. Yoite sighed and let his forehead rest against the cold window, eyes unfocused.
Turned out that decorating a Christmas tree, even such a small one, wasn't as easy as Yukimi had apparently thought it would be. Nor Yoite, for that matter, who had never done such a thing.
Admittedly, it was fascinating, seeing the blond man trying to string up lights on a tree that seemed to enjoy pricking anyone who came near. The one downside to that tree- it had sharp, thick needles that really could hurt a person. One experience was enough for Yoite to keep his distance.
After a day that was very… unusual… such as this one, Yoite was glad that in winter it got dark early. He didn't want to be running all over the place again.
The apartment was clean, for once, and lights had been strung up so as to be seen from outside, via the windows. Yoite sat a few meters away from the tree with a mug of hot lemon tea, watching Yukimi struggling with the light strings and attempting to keep them from getting tangled up. The man was muttering several somethings under his breath as he worked that certainly didn't sound like they were Christmas carols.
Speaking of Christmas carols, the radio was on, and some woman was singing a Western Christmas song, in English. The melody was fairly soft, the music not really suiting the atmosphere. However, the current song would have cracked anyone up who had seen the situation themselves.
"I'll be home for Christmas
You can plan on me…"
Grudgingly, Yoite had to admit that the place looked nice. Once the tree was finally decorated, Yukimi flipped off the overhead lights, so that the room was gently lit by the multicolored lights strung up everywhere.
Yukimi flopped down onto the couch to observe his work, wincing as he felt his scratched-up hands. He glanced over at Yoite, who was quietly sipping his drink, blue eyes absently taking in the scenery.
"Enjoy yourself today?" Yukimi asked lazily, knowing that the boy had most certainly not. He wondered when it would be a good time to get out those last two items he'd bought earlier in the day.
Yoite didn't answer, but since he seemed to be complacent and content enough, Yukimi didn't press him.
"Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents under the tree…"
After about ten seconds of silence, Yukimi got to his feet again and rummaged in the one bog he'd not emptied and pulled out a box with something glittering and gold in it- a star.
"Here, kid, put this on top," he instructed Yoite, tossing the box at the boy, who barely caught it, off guard from surprise as he was. He stared at it in confusion.
"… On top of what?"
Yukimi was incredulous. "On the top of the tree, of course. It's supposed to light up. Come on, get up and just do it."
Placing his tea down and standing, Yoite walked over to the small tree in the corner and stared down at it. Finally, he opened the box as best he could without taking off his brown gloves, pulled out the star, examined it closely, then, wary of the needles on the tree, placed it on the tree's top branch, which was about level with his shoulders.
"I'll be home for Christmas
Where the love-light gleams…"
Yukimi grinned. "Well done. Now, one more thing. I got you something."
"… What was that?" Yoite was confused.
Rolling his eyes, Yukimi snatched one last thing from the bag, hiding it behind his back. Yoite was only able to catch a glimpse of red before it was hidden from his view. His brow furrowed slightly.
"What's that?" he asked, suspicious but not letting it show. "Why are you hiding it?"
Yukimi was looking extremely pleased with himself. The teenager in front of him took one step backwards at the grin that spread across his face.
"I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dream!"
Raikou could hear the music coming from inside the apartment as he knocked twice on the front door to Yukimi's place, before pushing it open to step inside. "Konbanwa, Yukimi-senp-"
He stopped a step in, jaw falling slightly open at the sight he beheld. Besides that everything was clean, it looked positively festive, glowing with the soft Christmas lights hung all over, the little furniture there was draped in red and green blankets and such.
But this wasn't what made the samurai pause to gape. He had entered the room just in time to see Yukimi snatch Yoite's hat from his head and shove a red and white Santa hat on in its place. Yoite looked positively horrified, and had gone stiff.
Gau poked his head in as well, and cracked up. "Nice look, Yoite-kun," he giggled, pressing a hand to his mouth.
Yoite groaned softly, before covering his face with his hands as everyone around him laughed.
"You'd better watch out, you'd better not cry,
You'd better not pout, I'm telling you why,
Santa Claus is comin' to town!"