Snow was sparkling in front of the safe house, it had fallen just that night, to make the earth all quiet and peaceful. A few footprints of the people passing by had disturbed the smoothness of the surface. Nobody was out on the streets, everything was quiet and calm. It was just like the earth was supposed to be, right before Christmas. All peaceful, lovely and tender. And inside the houses, fire would warm the people, couples embracing and children playing with new toys. Tonight, the air would smell like cinnamon and fresh cookies, while mommy and poppy...
“Duo, stop daydreaming! You are supposed to get the entry free of snow, not to stare at it!” Wufei’s voice came from the window. Duo snapped out of his moment of contemplation and blew Wufei a kiss. “Yes, my honey!”
“Are you nuts, Maxwell?!” Wufei slammed the window shut, probably hoping he would not nosebleed from the sight of Duo in his winter-jacket blowing him a kiss. Duo snickered, he loved taking actions, nobody expected. Sighing he started destroying the wonderful sight of the entry being all white with soft snow by shoveling a path in it. He inhaled the cold air and worked further and further. Luckily, the ground beneath the snow was not frozen and nobody would slide or fall.
Duo had just completed his work, as a purple jeep slowly drove up the road. Duo raised an eyebrow as it parked just as carefully on the parking space in front of the house. Duo knew only one person in the world who would drive as cautiously as this.
“Hyas, Quatre-kun,” Duo waved, as the blond jumped down from the huge car (well, compared to him it seemed huge), and into the snow. He waved cheerfully and went to the back of the car to open the trunk.
“You look like a cute little teddy bear,” Duo said, not really knowing himself, why he was even cheerful enough to blow Wufei a kiss and call Quatre a ‘cute little teddy bear’. Well, calling Quatre cute was not quite that unusual. And in his blue winter jacket and the equally colored, warm boots he really looked like a blue, stuffed and plushy teddy bear. Quatre had meanwhile half-disappeared behind the trunk-door of the jeep, to get his errands for Christmas.
Duo turned around and was just leaning the shovel against the wall, as something hit him hard on the back - a snowball.
“Teddy bear, huh?” Quatre said, standing in front of his jeep and tapping an annoyed foot on the snow. He was not really annoyed though. Duo eyed him, as he bent down and formed a snow ball with his own hands.
“Yes, teddy bear!” he repeated slowly and threw the ball, aiming for Quatre’s chest. Quatre lightly jumped aside and the ball only hit the car, leaving a white spot on the purple door. Quatre yawned provokingly. But Duo, meanwhile had formed another ball behind his back, which Quatre had not noticed... it hit him hard on the leg.
”Snow fight?” he said, grabbing a handful of snow from a nearby tree. “Twenty hits, and you win.”
“Twenty only? This is gonna be a short fight!”
“I don’t think so, Duo!” Quatre hid behind the jeep and quickly built an arsenal of snow-balls in his hiding place. An extremely big and cold one hit him right on the head, skillfully thrown by Duo. Quatre came out from his hideout and threw five balls at once, hitting Duo twice.
“Shinigami attack!” he could hear before Duo stormed towards the car. Quatre fled behind the house, Duo followed. Once in the garden there were no more hiding places, but tons of snow, and the snow-fight presumed.
Half an hour later, a soaked Duo and an even wetter Quatre came inside the house, laughing and carrying the two boxes from Quatre’s shopping. Quatre’s light laughter could not be missed, as he shoveled the box in front of the stairs to take it up there later. The thud, as Duo let the box drop because Quatre tickled him, set all the alarms off in the house. Wufei came storming out from his room, ready to rip any intruder apart.
“Maxwell... you still didn’t get what you were supposed to do with the snow, or did you?” he said, as he noticed it was only a soaked Duo, how was making such a fuzz. Heero was the next to appear, in an equal demeanor to Wufei, ready to fight the intruder. He came to a halt from running down the stairs and jumping over Quatre’s box right in front of his koi’s nose, who was soaked to the tip of his braid. Nose to nose with him, a puzzled Heero tried to put things together, and find out why Duo was so wet. Using the opportunity, Duo kissed Heero right on the nose and smirked.
“Hey, koi!” He just couldn’t help it, he was cheerful.
Trowa arrived rather slowly compared to the other two He had reasonably figured, since Quatre had been laughing so crazily, that it couldn’t be something harmful. Actually, he came just upstairs to welcome his lover back home. Quatre was still giggling lightly, a cold hand tried to muffle that a little, but Duo and Heero were just too funny. Especially Heero’s puzzlement, which had been quite constant lately. Just like wufei and Quatre himself, he was pretty unfamiliar with something as Christmas, but in the opposite of the Arabian and the Chinese, Heero had never attended any Christmas celebration.
Trowa came close for a hug and was quite surprised when he didn’t feel the warmth he had expected, but icy cold wetness instead. It was then that he realized the two ‘intruders’ were soaking-wet, and that his lover’s lips had turned to a purplish blue color.
“Quatre, are you trying to get sick again?” he admonished the smaller one.
“No, just had a snow fight,” the blond smirked and looked at Duo – Heero had finally disengaged from him and shoveled the box into the kitchen with his foot. Wufei, finding the corridor was much too crowded, returned to his computer.
“You are icy!” Trowa said worriedly and started unzipping the blue jacket. Quatre was just as wet beneath it, and just as cold. He smiled innocently.
“It was fun,” he declared. Duo, whose winter-jacket was a tad more water-resistant than Quatre’s, jumped down the stairs to get some new pants, and dry the ones he wore right now. Heero returned to where he had been coming from, picking up Quatre’s box on the way.
Quatre helped Trowa by sliding out of the jacket and taking off his sweater, which was only another one of his soaked layers of clothing. The Arabian really was wet down to his bones. Standing there in only his shirt, and in the rather watery state he was in, he found it a little cold, after all, and hugged his arms around him, to keep himself warm.
“See, that’s what you get from it!” Trowa protested fatherly and picked the wet bishounen up and brought him into the bathroom. Quatre looked a little guilty, as he was dropped onto the bathroom-carpet. Trowa left with the promise, that he would get something to wear for his koi, and telling him to take a real warm bath. Quatre guiltily undressed and let water into the tub. Slowly the room filled with steam, and Quatre added some soap to it.
Trowa returned with a pile of clothing for his lover, neatly folded, and placed it on a chair. The sight of Quatre, all undressed, squeezing soap out of a plastic-bottle, was kind of cute. Not really aware of Trowa’s presence, the Arabian stopped the water and started to climb inside the tub, finding it too hot to sit down right away. So he stood there, the water reaching almost up to his knees and looked at Trowa, smiling. Trowa smiled back at all the sweetness in front of him.
“What?” Quatre asked, “You gonna take a bath with me now, or not?”
Trowa thought this to be a quite attractive suggestion. Apparently, Quatre hadn’t expected anything else – or so Trowa judged from the way his koi had asked. Finding, that they were not so much in a hurry, concerning the preparations for Christmas, Trowa nodded and walked over to him. He gave Quatre a light kiss, as he fumbled with the buttons of his jeans. Then he stripped out of what he wore quickly, while the other slowly got used to the steaming-hot water and sat down in mountains of foam.
A moment later, Trowa sat down across from him, shoveling the white mountains aside a bit, so he could see Quatre’s face. The Arabian had leaned back and closed his eyes, his face was red – the remains of the change from the coldness outside to the heat in there. Trowa stared at him, not hiding it (there was no need to, and Quatre held his eyes closed anyway). Unbelievable, that beauty over there was his, that Quatre Raberba Winner had chosen the Nanashi to be his lover. But he had, and Trowa could only enjoy that.
The two boys’ legs touched beneath the water, and Trowa gently poked his love’s side with his foot. “Hey, Mizu Me.” Blue eyes opened and smiled at the one across from him in a silent question.
“You are feeling better now?”
Quatre nodded smiling before turning around in the water, so his back was just below the surface. On his hands, he crawled over to Trowa and kissed the soft lips he found there. Trowa nuzzled back happily, a familiar jolt hopping around in his stomach. Quatre just smelled too good, he noticed, and embraced him under the water. Quatre repeated the kiss, deeper this time, his eyes narrowed to mere slits. Trowa’s tongue darted out, poking Quatre questioningly. The blond immediately succumbed to it, and relaxed into a sweet kiss.
Quatre, still holding himself above the surface on his hands, pushed his legs close, so he could straddle Trowa and get his arms free. Meanwhile, the European’s hands ran along the skin below the warm water. Quatre gasped a little from the sweet kissing, and Trowa found this noise to be quite tempting. He had a naked angel sitting on top of him, who could resist? Slowly, his hands traveled down to Quatre’s rear and thighs. As the reached a sensitive area, Quatre tensed slightly and darted his tongue deep inside Trowa’s mouth in reflex. There was no turning back now, without a word, the lovers had agreed where this would lead them to and happily succumbed to it.
Duo had changed into something less soaked by then, and entered the kitchen to start on a Christmas-cake. He intended to make one as good as the ones he had in the Maxwell-church orphanage, baked by one of the most talented: Sister Mary Gena. Oh, how he remembered that cake, and the anticipation on Christmas to get his slice of it. Christmas cake was something really fine and special, he admitted. He stretched his arms, ready to test his baking abilities. He unpacked Quatre’s errands and found everything he had asked for. After taking a last look into the cookie-jar (Quatre and Trowa had been making cookies the whole day before), which he resisted emptying yet, he started weighting the ingredients and mixing them.
Heero, who was done wrapping his presents (which he had found sort of hard to do, and he had a serious hate for tape now), came into the kitchen and looked at the recipe over Duo’s shoulder. He couldn’t read a word of the Shinigami’s handwriting – it wasn’t even written in kenji.
“It’s English, silly,” Duo said, feeling Heero’s weight on his shoulder. Heero let go of him.
“I’m not silly...” he said, but Duo was too engaged in his baking to hear it. Heero, who had hoped to find some distraction downstairs, was a little disappointed to receive so little attention from his koi, but acknowledged that the American had some work to do.
Wufei came out of his room and passed Heero on the corridor. “Where are you headed?” he asked his Chinese friend.
“Gotta pick up a book from the store. They just told me it arrived. Onnas! It was supposed to arrive yesterday. It’s Trowa’s present.”
Heero nodded. “Is Treize coming, tonight?” he asked. He knew Treize had been invited (on the base of their agreement), and he actually liked his presence, when he was not mimicking the Oz-commander. And who would have forbidden Wufei to invite his hentai lover for Christmas?
Wufei grunted as an answer and mumbled something about Treize saying he had no time. It was obvious, that he did not like that in the least. He really did not care about any Oz parties, his love was supposed to spend Christmas with him! But instead, Treize preferred the company of his Oz people, including that Lady Une. How annoying! And only two weeks ago, the commander had promised, he would try to be with him on Christmas. And now that ‘I’m so sorry Wufei’-mail, saying he could not make it. And there he’d be, Wufei, on his little private party with the other four pilots, watching Heero and Duo, and Trowa and Quatre, enjoying each other, while he was all alone. Christmas was screwed up already. He’d probably stuff himself with cookies tonight, just to stand the pain.
Heero watched a grumpy Wufei snatch his jacket from off the hook, slam the door shut, and stomping towards the jeep. Seeing that, he easily resisted the urge to ask whether he could come with him, and preferred boredom instead. He remembered having bought lights in a shop, to add something for the Christmas atmosphere and went to get them and install them somewhere on the windows in the living room. The sales-person had claimed, the green, red, yellow and blue blinking lights were the newest and most popular fashion for Christmas. Heero didn’t know much about this, and he knew the sales-person just wanted to get rid of his stuff, but he wanted to buy at least something for Christmas, and figured the lights would do.
He used a chair to hang them onto the bar which held the curtain. They were sparkling and blinking crazily as he plucked them in. Quite funny. It was just then, that Duo came inside to place a bowl with cookies on the living – room table. He froze, as he saw the wildly blinking lights.
“What the heck is that?” he asked Heero, who stood there looking at them.
“Christmas lights,” the Japanese answered.
“Put them down!” Duo demanded, “This is so non-Christmas, it’s just corny!” He seemed really upset by this. No wonder, this was nothing like the Christmas he used to know. These blazing lights put a whole lot of hectic in it, and he remembered, Christmas was supposed to be calm and peaceful. These light were just taking all that away – they were disgusting.
“You don’t like-” Heero started.
“They are horrible!!!”
Heero shrugged and unplugged them. He climbed onto the chair, to take them down, while Duo strolled back into the kitchen. Heero figured, he would definitely not try to do anything for Christmas again, when his ideas were greeted like that! He dumped the lights back into the box. He had seen these lights in other people’s windows, why did Duo not want them? Well, great, then he’d just sit here, bore himself to death and wait for something to happen, since he apparently had no idea about how Christmas was supposed to be, anyway. He just regretted having spent money on the lights. He thought Duo would like something as flipped as this.
Before he succumbed to boredom, Heero followed Duo into the kitchen, to see whether he could do anything. The pilot was still working on the cake, having all the ingredients spilled around him. Little bowls with eggs, milk, sugar, chocolate-powder and other things were standing everywhere: On the coffee machine, the window-sill, on top of Quatre’s assortment of teacups and on the sink; a typical Duo mess at it’s best.
Heero walked up to his working koi and kissed his neck lightly. Duo was just in the middle of measuring powder-sugar, and pushed Heero away a bit to have room for his work. Heero was surprised by being brushed aside like this. He stood next to Duo, fixing the (surprisingly still clean) chestnut colored braid. Duo reached for a package of hazel nuts, and added them to the ingredients in a big bowl. Heero leaned against the counter close to him. Duo was ignoring him – how annoying! He snorted some, but the American, didn’t even look up.
“Can I help you?” he asked.
“Nah,” came the monosyllabic reply. As if baking would need all his concentration! Heero reached out a hand to tug on Duo’s braid in a final attempt to get his attention. He didn’t see the box with salt right next to him, and knocked it over. Half of what was in there spilled right into the sugar, Duo had measured into a tiny bowl. Duo looked at the mess and growled some. He took the bowl angrily and spilled the ingredients into the trashcan. He then grabbed for the sugar box, to re-fill it.
“Gomen, Duo,” Heero said.
“Get out of here, or I’ll never get finished!” Duo said briefly and put the sugar back on the table with a loud thud.
Heero abruptly pushed himself away from the counter and went to his room, slumping himself in front of his laptop, really annoyed. He wondered whether he should not go and leave the whole house, including whoever was in there, to itself, and celebrate Christmas with Relena or something. Self-torture was better than being tortured, after all. Maybe Relena would at least be kind enough to tell him, what he was supposed to do, since he was always in the way, apparently, according to Duo even silly, and his ideas were horrible. If that was Christmas, he didn’t like it very much!
Duo had no idea about Heero’s change of mood, he finished the cake, and didn’t even notice Wufei had been absent and returned, or wondered why the house was so quiet. It darkened outside, when the Christmas goose was in the oven, and all the sauces, salads, etc. made (well, most of the stuff had been made ready the day before). He was proud of having done all of this by himself, just as he had promised the others. He set the table in the living room and lightened two smelling cinnamon-candles. At Maxwell-church they had always had cinnamon-candles. The children would come home after a long snow fight, just like the one he had had with Quatre, and the house would embrace them with a homely odor of cinnamon and Father Maxwell would have a cookie for each of his children.
These candles were really memory-provoking in a positive sort of way. He poured some grape juice in glasses (looked just like wine), and went back into the kitchen, filling the sink with the remains of his work. When he had finished, his fingers were all dirty and the sink was filled with a dirty stack of kitchen tools. So he decided to wash his hands in the bathroom.
Since Trowa had not locked it, Duo walked in on the two koibitos in the tub. The floor around the bathtub was splashed with water. Quatre was just laying in Trowa’s arms, his head close to his lover’s. His face was flushed, and so was Trowa’s, but they both looked really content. Trowa held the Arabian in a tight embrace, and looking closer a little, Duo found both of them panting slightly.
“I don’t care what you did,” he said, cheerfully washing his hands, “but you’d better get out now, because dinner is almost ready and you can’t spend most of your life in the bathtub. I remember it was about three when Quatre picked a snow-fight, now it’s almost six.”
Quatre blushed even more, but Duo didn’t look at him. Trowa did, though, and chuckled lightly, patting the blond angel.
“Right Duo, we’ll be there in a minute,” he said and kissed Quatre’s forehead, before unwrapping him from his embrace.
“Oh and Trowa...” Duo said, “Lock the bathroom next time. Just imagine Wufei stumbling in a bit earlier than me and getting an chronic nosebleed.” Now, even Trowa blushed.
Finally, everyone was assembled for dinner. Quatre displayed his eternal smile and secretly held hands with Trowa under the table – not that everyone didn’t know that they were doing this. Heero looked expressionless as usual, just that this time, he meant to be, and Wufei, who sat cross-legged on his chair, looked rather sad.
While Duo was outside, Heero took the candles from the table, blew them out and put them away. The strong cinnamon odor was very tasteless and annoying. Finally Duo brought the goose on a large silver plate. Quatre and Trowa looked up greedily as Duo balanced it on the palm of his hand, entering dynamically. Fortunately, he didn’t stumble or fall, otherwise there would not have been a Christmas goose.
“What’s that?” Trowa asked nosily. He was really hungry, somehow.
“Tallgeese ŕ la Duo Maxwell,” came the immediate reply.
“I only see one goose,” Wufei pointed out.
“Oh well, I did have two, but the other flew away.”
Duo set the plate down, displaying the delicious goose to his fellow pilots. Trowa cut it and gave a slice to each of them. After an obligatory Christmas-toast, spoken by the diplomat himself (“My fellow friends, I hereby toast to you in a feeble attempt to wish you a merry Christmas, knowing, that I have no real idea, what it actually is about... and I like you all, cuz’ you are fun!!!”). Duo held back a dirty comment after the toast, and started eating. A while later he looked around and found something was missing.
“Where are my candles?”
Heero pointed behind himself on the shelf, where the remains had been put. Duo grabbed for them and a box of matches to lighten them, but Heero signed him with a wave of his hand to stop. Duo froze and looked at Heero questioningly. The Japanese swallowed, before he could start speaking.
“They are really penetrating,” he declared.
“But they’re Christmas!” Duo protested.
“I know, I have not the slightest idea about Christmas,” Heero snorted, “and you know much better, but I ask you not to lighten these candles, because they stink.”
“At least for once you could listen to me on the day of this stupid celebration!”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Duo set the candles in front of him. He was annoyingly puzzled.
“I just don’t know what this celebration is about, at least not the way you celebrate it. All day long I’ve been feeling crappy. I’ve been pushed and ignored on the feast they call ‘feast of love’, you hear? I just don’t like to have this anymore, I don’t care about frickin’ Christmas and I hate these cinnamon candles!”
“What the heck is wrong with you?” Duo yelled. The others just watched in silence.
“You know what Duo, have your celebration just the way you want it, but have it alone.” With these words, Heero got up and climbed the stairs to his room. That was it. The day was shit, all because Duo chose to be too busy to even care, only having time to insult him. He was only wanting to celebrate the ‘feast of love’ in his own way, not leaving the slightest thing to someone else. All had to be how Duo wanted it, since he seemed to be referring to himself as the only one who knew how to celebrate Christmas. He didn’t know a thing. If Christmas really meant all, Heero had heard about it, Duo was totally stubborn and wrong! He laid down on his bed, and sniffed some. He so had been looking forward to his first Christmas with Duo. And there he was, totally lead down.
“I’ll get him back,” Wufei said shortly and followed Heero upstairs. Trowa and Quatre stared at Duo.
“What?” he said, picking with his fork in the flesh of the goose which suddenly seemed so tasteless.
“He’s right,” Quatre said, referring to Heero. Duo looked up, expressing that he thought Quatre was insane. What did Heero know about Christmas and cinnamon candles, and what did Duo have to do with the fact that he had suddenly gone crazy. There was complete silence for a moment, everyone present was eating rather unwillingly, feeling the thick tension in the air. Finally Trowa let his fork drop onto the plate noisily.
“I haven’t seen you together today except when you came in after the snow fight and he came running downstairs. The rest of the time, Heero had been hanging in his room, alone. And as much as I got, you have brushed him aside yesterday, and today the whole morning, when you were busy decorating the tree as you wanted to have it. And you have brushed him aside the whole rest of the day, too.”
“Nonsense. And how do you know? You have been busy in the bathtub the rest of the day!” Duo dropped his fork now as well and blazed at Trowa furiously. He didn’t realize that he was so furious, because he knew, the tall boy was right. Duo had not done much with Heero lately, since he had been too busy. Trowa didn’t let himself be annoyed by Duo’s rude comment, although he felt Quatre tense at his side, in fury and embarrassment. Instead of fighting with Duo about privacy, and holding his mouth shut sometimes, he picked up what he had said: “At least, I did do something nice with the one I love today. At least I proved to him, how much he means to me, and I can’t claim the same about you.”
Duo’s eyes blazed in rage. How mean of Trowa to talk like that! He was about to jump up, when Quatre caught himself again, and spoke calmly.
“Duo, you love Heero... Do you really want Christmas to be like that?”
Duo stared at him for a moment, than at his plate. He picked up his fork in silence and stuffed his mouth, not even looking at Trowa and Quatre. True, he was really sad by now, and true, he didn’t want to be Christmas like that. No, he wanted to enjoy this celebration with Heero. But now, Heero was furious, even though Duo had made the loveliest dinner ever, had made everything for Christmas to be perfect – perfect cake, a perfect tree, perfect dinner... and then all of it was shattered so easily.
Meanwhile, Wufei sat cross-legged next to Heero’s bed.
“For Duo’s sake, Heero, just come downstairs and eat with us. You need to eat something, anyway.”
Heero had is face to the wall and clutched his pillow.
“Downstairs? To this Christmas-monster?” he asked.
“Geez, you don’t have to talk to him, Heero. But I am sure you’ll get a nice lot of presents and we are all happy to give you something,”
“I don’t care about presents, I hate Christmas”
“Heero!” Wufei said harshly now, “Christmas does not only consist of Duo, you, candles and a stupid dinner! We are there, too, and even if you ignore Duo, you don’t need to spoil mine, Trowa’s and Quatre’s feast, too. Get down there and at least behave as if you could live with it, and maybe you’ll see that it is not so bad after all. How weak to hide away up here like a little child!”
Heero unwillingly got up and followed Wufei downstairs. No need to pick a fight with him as well. But he hated the scene there. When he and Wufei had settled down again, there was only silence. No jokes, or a bit of Duo’s typical laughter. Even Quatre wasn’t smiling. This was just annoying, and any other dinner would have been better than this, despite the delicious food.
Nobody talked, not even to pass the salt around or anything. There was only the light clinging of the cutlery on the plates. Wufei groaned.
“You bakas!” he yelled out all of a sudden. Everyone looked up in surprise. But Wufei was full of it, really. “You are so ignorant, both of you,” he said to Duo and Heero. They stared at him equally dumbstruck.
“Heero is right, this is the feast of love, and you can’t believe how angry I am that Treize said he couldn’t come. So, maybe it is not his fault, anyway. But what you are doing is even worse, because you are having each other, right now, and that is all you are making of it! A stupid fight, spoiling the whole evening. A stupid fight over stupid candles!!! What is wrong with you, don’t you have an idea how precious any moment shared is? Do you have an idea how lucky you are that you can be together this much... don’t you see how you have a chance to learn more about each other by trying to understand?” Wufei stopped yelling and his voice went down to something really sad, really quiet. “There are always things in the way of a relationship, but you can be happy if there only are the little discrepancies of the day. You should recognize and enjoy that luck...”
There was absolute silence now. Wufei stared at his ankles, his mind had totally wandered off to Treize by then. Heero and Duo just felt stupid, and there was a whole lot of pity in Quatre’s eyes, a feeling, he shared with Trowa. Duo swallowed a big lump and turned to Heero.
“I am sorry I made Christmas so unbearable to you. I just wanted to make it perfect... I just wanted everything to be like when I was with the Maxwell’s. Christmas evenings there are some of the most blissful memories I hold dear. I wanted it to be just the same... Guess I totally blew it.”
“Hn. It’s nice you realize that, shinigami. It wasn’t too bad, after all, and I can only expect it to get better.”
“It will, okay? I’ll make it all up to you, I promise. Koibito shiteru.”
“Ai shiteru. Sorry about my fit earlier. Your changes just confused me.”
“I’ll be myself now,” Duo laughed and kissed Heero’s cheek, before almost strangling him in a hug.
Heero let himself be kissed and hugged (not without returning it), and reached for the box of matches on the shelf behind him.
“Nani?” Duo asked puzzled.
“But you don’t like them, so we don’t need to use them.”
“But it reminds you of something you like.”
“I can’t enjoy them, if you don’t like to smell them!”
“Then I’ll like to smell them.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, you can’t just decide to like them.”
“Yes, I can.”
“Really. Let me lighten them and show you.”
“No, I’ll put them away.”
“Oh no, you won’t.”
“Yes, I will.”
“No, you won’t!”
“Oh yes, right now!”
“Give me those candles!”
“DUO! HEERO!!!” Trowa yelled suddenly. Two heads turned around sharply. Two pairs of eyes blinked. And suddenly, the lovers noticed they were fighting again and fell around each others’ neck, laughing. Quatre smiled again... but Wufei did not.
Duo laid his head on Wufei’s shoulder. “Aww... Wufei. I am sure you can celebrate later with him.”
“Maxwell, what are you doing?” Wufei asked and brushed the American away from him, returning to his usual determined gaze.
“Oh, sorry! Treize’s property, I see,” Duo answered.
“WHAT?” Wufei didn’t like jokes on his expense very much.
“Um.. er... someone like some cake?” Duo quickly changed the subject.
Nobody said a word, just to annoy Duo.
“Well, if you don’t,” Duo said slowly, “I might want to tell Wufei about the bathtub...”
“Oh, cake!!! Great!!” Quatre cheered suddenly, blushing hard. Trowa and Duo fell into laughter, which Quatre couldn’t quite understand. Wufei figured that he didn’t want to know about the bathtub and let Duo serve him some cake.
After dinner, Duo announced, that he’d pass out presents soon in the living room, and that they had to take them whether they wanted or not. For a moment, everyone disappeared to return with a pile of things on his arms, more (Quatre) or less (Heero) neatly wrapped up.
“Who’s gonna be first?” Duo asked. Quatre plopped down on the floor in between the presents he was about to pass out. Trowa was sitting next to him, leaning on the armchair Wufei sat in. On their opposites, Duo and Heero sat on the couch, their legs pulled up next to them.
“There’s gonna be an order in which we get the presents?” Wufei asked.
“Actually, I just want to make sure I see all of what you get, cuz’ I am nosey. And this way, it lasts longer and there’ll be much more tension and anticipation,” Duo declared.
“Then ~01~ is first, don’t you think?” Quatre said.
“What? Why me?” Heero asked.
“Just because!” Duo said. He smirked.
Trowa was the first to make a move, he got up and sat down on the side of the couch, handing Heero a small package, wrapped in green Christmas-paper. “Here, merry Christmas. I prepared that in the last six months and it wasn’t easy.”
Nosily, Duo stuck his head over Heero’s shoulder as he unwrapped the package. He found a picture-book with photo’s of Duo and some of the other pilots, too.
“Thank you... it’s really neat. Thanks for working so much for me,” Heero didn’t really know what to say, to express how he really was surprised how much effort Trowa had put into his gift. Wufei got up to see the picture book himself, since Duo claimed it was embarrassing, and brought his present with him. It was a large role, and as Heero unwrapped it, he found it was a large poster of Duo as the “Shningami”, painted in water-color.
“Wow!” Quatre exclaimed, seeing it, “where did you get that from?”
Wufei blushed. “Um... er... Paris...”
“Wait a moment!” Duo exclaimed, “When have you been to Paris???”
“Er.... with Treize,” Wufei stuttered, blushing. There was general smirking around.
Quatre handed both, Heero and Duo, an envelope. “It’s one thing for both of you,” he said.
Duo and Heero hastily unpacked it.
Dear Heero, dear Duo,
I figured it would be nice, if you knew where the things come from you daily seem to consume. I found a little bandage and band aid factory which is willing to give you a tour and tell you how these things are made. Unfortunately, that factory is in Italy. So I needed to book a night in Venezia for you two, too.
I hope you don’t mind.
“Wow, Quatre? Are you nuts???” Duo asked.
“Nah, rich!” was the prompt answer.
Now Duo reached out behind him and grabbed a small package and an envelope for his koi.
“Merry Christmas, Heero-chan,” he said, and gave his lover a soft kiss.
“Thank you,” Heero said, and carefully opened the package, finding a huge sign in it saying:
DON’T TOUCH MY GUNDAM!!!
The others snickered knowingly. The envelope, though was kind of surprising to Heero.
“What? You are inviting me for a fancy dinner with Relena???”
Duo snickered and ripped the word “Relena” from the card with a quick move, revealing the name Duo beneath it.
“Better? How about we have that in Venezia?” Heero fell around his lover’s neck with joy.
“Hai, and I got something for you, too. And I shouldn’t have forgotten I had this all evening...” He handed Duo a small, blue box. Carefully Duo opened it. He found a chain in there with a large, silver cross on it, and a very small card.
“Read it out loud!” Quatre demanded, as Duo picked it up.
“My koi, Duo,” he read, “I wish you a merry Christmas, a wonderful feast of love. I will always love you, no matter whether there’s a Relena or anyone else around. You should never forget that. Ai shiteru, no matter what. I hope you like your present. Heero.”
“And I, myself, should never forget that, either,” Heero added.
“Me neither, thank you.”
“Did you see the back of the cross?”
Duo turned the cross around and held it into the light. A small engraved line was readable. It said Shinigami. Duo kissed his koi again, joyfully, thanking and cuddling him.
Trowa’s gift was a picture-book similar to Heero’s, just with pictures of Heero in there, instead of Duo. Duo saw the first few pages and ended up laughing his head off, which Heero didn’t find very funny. He didn’t find it very funny being photographed without knowing it, anyway. The laughing only stopped, as Wufei interfered to present his own gift to Duo – finest Chinese hair-shampoo (“Will my hair be as shiny as yours then, Wufei?”) and another picture made on Montmartre in Paris, featuring Heero as a eight-year old SD-kid. Duo enjoyed the kawaiiness of the picture and Heero grunted slightly annoyed.
“Did you have to do this?”
Since Wufei was standing in the middle of them all, he got loaded with presents next, so that it in the end, he stood in a little pile of packages, and didn’t know who had given him what. He simply started unwrapping it.
“Ancient Dragon Tales I, thank you. Whose is it?” Wufei asked, holding a book on his lap and running his fingers over the Chinese dragon on the cover happily. It turned out to be from Heero.
The next package he unwrapped was wrapped in very neat golden paper. It was a small box and inside he found a silky white suit, Chinese style, with a dragon stitched all over it. It looked really exquisite, and really expensive, too. Wufei’s gaze wandered over to Quatre, who nodded. “Merry Christmas, Wufei, I hope it fits.” Wufei stared at the silk for a while and the colorful dragon, caught up in the neat hand-work. Quatre really had taste, just on what occasion would he wear that?
Duo urged him, to open a small yellow package, holding a little doll of Nataku in it, with a heart saying Good Night!
“Maxwell!!!” Wufei shouted, but secretly liked the doll a lot.
“Not guilty!” Duo defended himself... Wufei stared at Trowa in disbelief.
“Sorry,” Trowa muttered, “They offered me to make dolls from photographs in a shop, and I just couldn’t resist...” the others laughed, and Wufei carefully set the doll onto the silk-suit, with tender care. It caused even more laughing.
The last package – which could only be Duo’s, then – was even smaller. A small, rather long box. Wufei unwrapped it and read out what was written on it’s side.
“Dr. Neetah’s all day blood-stop ointment. MAXWELL!!!” Duo hid behind the sofa, giggling crazily.
“It’s supposed to help against nose bleeds, but I doubt it’s that strong!” Wufei jumped right over the sofa and pinned Duo to the ground. For a moment, Quatre, Heero and Trowa feared, they might really need that ointment to bandage Duo in a few seconds, but then, Wufei fell backwards onto the ground in laughter.
“No matter how mean, I actually like you jokes, Duo!” he laughed.
Duo got up and brushed the dust off of his clothes. The others were still watching, and he turned to them, pointing at a laughing Wufei: “He’s totally out of it... he called me Duo!”
Next one in the center of attention was Trowa. Heero approached first, since Duo and Wufei still had to catch their breath and Quatre’s present to his koi would of course be last. In a rather battered package (“Wrapping it was no fun.”) Trowa found a booklet.
“Read out some,” Heero advised, and Trowa opened the first page.
“Quatre is one of the few people, you can be mean at, and he still gives you a second chance, when you really need it. ~Rasid
When I first met Quatre, I thought I had seen an angel. Later, I knew I had seen one. I have never seen someone so gentle, intelligent and talented, and I regret not having met him before. ~Hilde Schbeiker
Seeing Quatre grow up was a bliss. You’d never think something so powerful comes out of a family with 29 sisters. ~Ilea Winner”
Quatre was hiding behind Trowa now, flushing, and Trowa flipped the pages, catching a few other quotes – all about Quatre, from people they knew.
“Heero – I don’t know what to say, really. You have even put more work into it, than I have put in yours... it’s wonderful!”
Heero shook his head. “People are always willing to talk about Quatre.” Quatre hid his face in Trowa’s lap, as Wufei set down next to him, handing Trowa a wrapped book.
“Just picked it up today, those stupid onnas couldn’t get it earlier. Merry Christmas,”
“Thank you!” He unwrapped it, and read the title... Then he broke out in laughter. Quatre jerked up his head from Trowa’s lap.
“What is it?” he asked. Trowa handed him the book, laughing out his thanks to Wufei. Quatre read out the title to the others. “Arabic is fun! Learn at home easily.” Quatre giggled and promised to help Trowa a little here and there.
“You gonna get two books, then,” Duo said, handing him a package of equal size to Wufei’s. He unwrapped it, still giggling some and wiping tears of laughter from his eyes. When he read the title of the one Duo gave him, he fell flat on his back, laughing again. Annoyed, Quatre grabbed the book and read the title.
“100 Dirty Jokes about Rich Young Weirdos,” he looked at Trowa, at Duo and then at the book, “Hey?! Why is it always about me???”
“You’re a rich young weirdo?” Duo snorted with laughter.
“Let’s get you a serious present for once!” Quatre fumed, handing Trowa a lovely little plush-clown which was carrying an envelope.
“Read it! Read it!” Duo cheered, still a little overly cheerful from the laughing.
“Dear Kamoku Korohyou,” he read.
“Wait, Quatre’s calling you ‘silent panther’?” Wufei poked Trowa. He just grinned.
“I enjoy every moment with you, and still regret every single one I could not be there. There is so much I want to do with you, but so far, let’s start with a dinner and a precious hotel room in Rome. It’s one of the most beautiful cities on earth, ancient and interesting. Over the hundredth of years, many lovers have enjoyed it, and we should not miss it, either. We’ll make the world ours for three days, there.
“Mizu Me.... that is so sweet... Thank you... Merry Christmas.” He cuddled Quatre’s head and kissed the blond hair lovingly. Quatre cuddled up to these protective arms, enjoying a moment, until Heero tugged on his sleeve, carefully handing him a little booklet, whispering “Merry Christmas.”
Quatre opened it and read.
“It’s quite stunning how stoic, silent and calculating he seems to the outside, and yet how intelligent, feeling and thoughtful he is on the inside. Trowa really is unique, in a positive way. ~Sally Poe
He was the first person to safe me, and I thought he was crazy. But Trowa knows what he is doing, and that is a really good feature. ~Heero Yuy
Thank you Heero. So much work for me, I will hold that dear.”
Trowa pretended being stoic and silent... Wufei handed a flat package. Quatre, still leaning against Trowa, opened it carefully. It contained a calendar with water-color pictures of clowns – all of them were little Trowa’s, in his normal, in chibi- and in SD-form. Trowa had a hard time keeping on pretending to be silent and stoic, especially when Quatre expressed how neat, lovely and kawaii it was.
Duo snickered evilly when he presented Quatre his Christmas-present. Quatre, oblivious like an apple, opened it to find a small suitcase. He laid it on his legs and lifted the lid. It was Trowa who blushed first, then Quatre, and then Wufei got a nosebleed. Duo immediately wanted to try the ointment, but Wufei wouldn’t let him. Heero, who sat across from Quatre got up and peeked inside. Handcuffs, ropes, chains, and other equally strange items. Duo winked at Quatre.
“So next time, I can have my handcuffs for myself.” Quatre hid behind Trowa again, pressing out a faint “yeah...”
“Mh... er... Quatre... I lost your present I think...” Trowa said. Quatre looked up at him.
“How that?” Duo wanted to know.
“See, I placed it under the tree,” Trowa said regretfully, “and it must have run away. I only have a box of candy left...” he handed Quatre a heart-shaped box with candy. Despite his disappointment, Quatre smiled. “I know you meant good, korohyou. What was it then?”
“Mh...” Trowa said, “maybe we can still find it?”
“Uh- if you say so.” Quatre crawled over to the tree and searched. “You are sure you left it here?” He asked. Meanwhile, Trowa had signed the others to keep silent, while his deceived lover was checking the tree. He sneaked out of the room and to a box he had put into the corridor earlier. He took what was in there and returned to the living room. Duo almost gasped, but Heero clutched a hand in front of his koi’s mouth.
“Trowa... maybe you left it somewhere else?” poor Quatre said.
Trowa bent down behind Quatre and let the little animal he held walk free. Still, the others kept silent. Quatre looked aside as something brushed his leg. A blond kitty, still a baby, looked up at him and meowed. The Arabian sat back on his heels and let the cat sniff his fingers. Immediately it rubbed it’s head on Quatre’s hand and purred. Happily, he picked it up and cuddled it. It was so sweet. Trowa was sitting right behind his koibito, watching the sweet scene, just like the others.
“Hey, Mizu Me, I think you found my present.”
Quatre leaned back against Trowa and smiled happily. “Arigatou...”
An hour later found everyone engaged in their presents. Wufei was wearing a perfectly fitting Chinese silk suit, and reading Ancient Dragon Tales, while Heero and Duo were going through their picture – books, laughing occasionally and pointing pictures out at one another. Duo held his silver cross tightly. Quatre and Trowa were sitting on the floor, cuddling and learning Arabic – well, one of them was. Trowa had a hard time pronouncing the words as Quatre told him to, and he sent Quatre into fits of laughter several times. Tenshi, the kitten was sleeping in between Quatre’s legs.
Suddenly, there was a loud banging at the door. The pilots looked up in surprise.
“Who’s got the nerve to disturb us on Christmas?” Duo said, getting up to open the door. The others waited, until Duo returned, smiling.
“And the visitor is... Santa Claus!” he yelled, stepping aside to let a tall man in a red coat, black boots, with white hair and a long white beard enter. One could hardly see his eyes under all the hair and clothing. In fact, they had no idea who this was.
“Hohoho,...” Santa said. Quatre looked rather frightened. “I heard you have been nice kids this year?” he said in a dark voice and dropped his big bag onto the floor. He looked around waiting for an answer.
“If you consider blowing up Oz soldiers and picking fights everywhere as well as blowing up colonies,” here Duo sent a look at Quatre, “nice, yes, then we have been nice.”
Santa shrugged and opened his bag. “Who of you is Heero Yuy?” he asked in his Santa-voice. Duo shoveled Heero forwards a bit. Santa tossed him a piece of cloth. Heero caught it easily and held it up. It turned out to be a dark blue jacket saying 01on it. He raised an eyebrow looking at the strange Santa. “Arigatou, Santa.” He didn’t really know what else to say. Who had hired that guy?
Santa nodded. “And here should be someone called Duo Maxwell, too...”
“That would be me!” Duo smiled, hopping some on the sofa.
“Be careful with that!” Santa exclaimed, as he tossed the Shinigami a shiny, long scythe. Duo stared at it in disbelief. It was beautiful! It looked so mean and nice...! He thanked Santa and ran his finger of the sharp edge, drawing blood.
“I said be careful,” Santa repeated, as he saw it. His gaze wandered over to Quatre, Trowa and a kitten.
“Nice kitten you have there, Quatre and Trowa.”
“I don’t know how you know our names, but I suppose you don’t know the kitten’s name is Tenshi,” Quatre explained. Santa nodded. “Of course I knew. I am Santa Claus, remember?” Trowa figured it was a lie, but didn’t say anything. Santa tossed them both wrapped packages, and before they could even open them, Santa turned to Wufei. He was facing him eye to eye. Wufei’s face reddened visibly. Duo gazed at him – he’d never have thought Wufei was afraid of Santa Claus! After all, Santa was male!
Santa handed Wufei a square box. “Merry Christmas, Wufei, I like that silk suit.”
Wufei just nodded and took the package. Santa took his bag again and waved.
“I’ve got a lot to do still, kids. See you next year, then.” And a second later, a dynamically hopping Santa was out of the house. Wufei was speechless and unable to unpack. Trowa and Quatre, however weren’t. When they both had unwrapped their packages, they looked at each other in surprise.
“Pajamas?” they asked in unison.
“Was that just --- Treize?” Quatre asked in disbelief.
“Uh-huh,” Wufei said in disbelief, gazing at the door. The package rested on his knees. It seemed as if he didn’t understand the world anymore. Yes, that behavior of Treize was weird. Duo jumped to Wufei’s side.
“What is it?” he asked, pointing at the package. “Open it!”
“Here?” Who knew what his hentai lover had put in there. But in the meantime, everyone, including Tenshi, had sat down around Wufei, and there was no turning back. Slowly, Wufei cut the tape, not sure whether it was a good idea. In the package, he found an assortment of things: A katana polish set and a package of condoms (Wufei blushed, but managed not to get a nose bleed), a very tight blue shirt with a dragon on there, only hinting that Treize was a nasty little hentai by it’s tightness. There was a bottle of Treize’s favorite rose perfume, too, and a small black bag.
“What’s in the bag?” Quatre urged, smiling as he saw how happy Wufei was about all he got. Wufei opened the strings in the bag a little and reached inside. Something clanged and he pulled a metallic something out of the bag.
“Oh – oh – oh – Wufei-ei!” Duo cheered, “Do you know what that is?”
“A hotel room key,” Wufei said reasonably, but perplexed.
Trowa poked him in the side, “I think you need to go.” Wufei blushed, and nodded. He slowly got up, embarrassed, since all his friends were watching him. But he was happy, really happy! He grabbed his jacked from the hook.
“You don’t mind if I go?” he asked.
“Of course not!” Duo waved cheerfully, “have fun!”
Wufei turned away, holding his nose. Yeah, finally they had managed to get him nose bleeding again. The sight of Treize in that red Santa suit had almost done it, but of course Maxwell had to top it all!
Trowa walked past him in the corridor and handed him the Ancient Dragon Tales and the box of condoms. “He might like that.”
Silently, Wufei left the house.
“So sweet those two!” Quatre exclaimed once Wufei was out of the door. “You’d never think that person is the commander of Oz,” he added.
“Right, but that shouldn’t worry us right now,” Trowa said. “He is different when he is with Wufei.”
“And what are we going to do now?” Heero asked Duo.
“I still have something to make up to you...” he answered and they said goodnight to Trowa and Quatre.
Quatre picked up Tenshi from the floor. “We’ll clean up tomorrow, I am too tired right now.”
The blond Arabian lead the way to his and Trowa’s room, a purring cat on his arm.
“Hn,” Trowa mused, as his eyes fell on the handcuffs other items Quatre had received from Duo as a gift. He picked it up and followed Quatre... just in case.