Title: "A Very Sakurazuka Christmas" and "It's A Wonderful Life": More Selected Selections from Yuuko Ichihara's Christmas Anthology!
Series: Holic, X/TB
Notes: More Christmas bedtime stories from the world's premiere storyteller, Ms. Dimensional Witch.
Marley was dead, to begin with. And Yuuko was soundly trashed.
"BAH. Humbug!" She let out a burp. "Christmas--only thing it's good for is having people use me for last-minute gift ideas! Actually, wait, I like it when they do that. GOD BLESS US, EVERY ONE."
Watanuki sat with his head on the table, and let out a miserable sigh.
"Now that she's figured out the true meaning of Christmas, can I leave for the night?"
"Never! Never! Never!" squealed the peanut gallery of Maru, Moro, and Larg. "It's time for our annual Christmas bedtime story--!"
Yuuko gasped and swayed to her feet. "You're right! Now where'd I put that book..."
Larg hacked said book up from whatever served as his digestive tract, and it stuck with a moist splunk! to the floor. Yuuko gingerly peeled it up and shook off the worst of the Mokona-goo. Watanuki turned a very festive shade of green.
"Now," Yuuko began, settling into her armchair and flipping through the book's pages. "'A Very Sakurazuka Christmas'..."
"...and then the Little Matchgirl froze to death dreaming of a life she could never have." Setsuka shut the book and smiled at her son. "What did you learn, Seishirou?"
"Mr. Hans Christian Andersen had a very realistic view on the fate of the weak in society, even at the time of year when humanity is purported to be at its most giving," Seishirou said smoothly. His toesies wriggled in his footie pajamas.
Setsuka giggled and pressed a kiss to his forehead. "Very good. Ah, but how could the Matchgirl have improved her lot?"
Seishirou pondered for a moment and kicked his feet.
"Death was one such release, as represented by the Matchgirl's joy at leaving her cruel life accompanied by the spirit of her grandmother. However, she could have perhaps murdered her abusive family by setting the family house on fire, and--as the only living heir--taken any inheritance or insurance money to buy a shuttle to a more prosperous area. Were she attractive and tragic-looking enough, such characteristics coupled with some clever maneuvering would be able to secure for her a much more comfortable living arrangement with a soft-hearted, childless, and hopefully well-off couple."
Setsuka cooed and embraced him. "Oh, such a lovely and clever little boy! I love you so."
"And I don't love you." Seishirou smiled back. "Is it time for presents yet?"
Setsuka pinched his cheek. "Ah-ah-ah, not until tomorrow morning. Must allow time for mother to convince Santa of what a good boy you really are. Now, give mother a kiss."
Seishirou dutifully pressed a kiss to her cheek. Setsuka tsked and giggled.
"That wasn't a kiss. Let me show you..."
"--and I think I have to stop there, because our dear Watanuki is being rude."
Watanuki had curled up in a corner and was covering his ears with pillows. His eyes were wide and horrified.
"Tha--where do you get these stories?!" he demanded.
Yuuko shrugged. "Around. Now, are you going to behave yourself? The rest of us would like to hear some more."
"Of a different story," Watanuki said firmly. "One without depressing literary analysis and creepy family interaction."
"Geez, fine, Mr. Scrooge." Yuuko skimmed through the book. "Aha! Here's a classic--'It's A Wonderful Life'..."
Christmas: a merry time of year for most people. Most people except for Kamui, that is.
"Everyone I love is dead inside and or out and it's all my fault," he mumbled around the rim of a glass filled with heavily alcoholic 'nog. "I wish I had never been born."
"Oh, you don't mean that," Fuuma murmured soothingly, petting the boy's hair.
Kamui shrieked and pitched his glass at Fuuma's head. Fuuma stopped it with a glance and spared a peek inside. He pouted.
"You didn't leave any for me..."
"Whatareyoudoinghere." Kamui backed away slowly, skittering along on his hands and ankles until his back hit the wall.
Fuuma set the glass down neatly and beamed. "Why, I'm your guardian angel! Don't give me that look; Fate's the one who made the pun. In any case, I heard your wish and have come to prove to you that the world is a better place with you in it."
Kamui gave him a withering glare. "You'd be hard-pressed to prove that."
"Ah-ah-ah." A finger tsked. "Phenomenal cosmic powers, you see."
Fuuma gestured to a swirling dimensional portal. "That and the wormhole I bought from the lovely Ms. Yuuko Ichihara of Dimensional Witch Inc.; who serves all the portaling and catering needs of the Antichrist!"
("Product placement in a storybook?"
"Watch it, Scrooge, or I'm shoving you under the mistletoe with your friend the tentacle monster.")
Kamui peered into the portal suspiciously. "All it looks like to me is a swirling mess of special effeeeeeeeeects--!"
Fuuma had sped up the process by shoving Kamui through the portal mid-sentence. He followed along in short order, and the two of them soon hit the snowy ground on the other side. Kamui groaned and peered around.
"...," he commented.
Greenery and cityscape had crashed, embraced, and entered into a loving co-arrangement with each other. Bicyclists and elk frolicked together down the streets where gas-guzzling metal beasts once did; street vendors pushed roasted chestnuts and healthy soy-based holiday treats. The city population was just enough to show some holiday bustle, but not enough to put undue pressure on natural resources. And as far as the eye could see, not a one was without an environmentally-friendly, cruelty-free and toasty-warm coat on their backs. The smokestacks for the properly-maintained and union-staffed factories in the distance seemed to belch rainbows.
"Uh," said Fuuma. "...oh! There's a distraction; a familiar face."
Kamui shot a disparaging glance in the direction Fuuma pointed, and his face fell.
"...Kotori?" he whimpered.
Fuuma patted him on the head. "Don't worry about losing your cool, no one here can see us. Now, let's watch how miserable she is without Kamui-chan."
"Kotori--!" trilled one of her dozens of school friends. "I see you're back from rugby practice! Whatever would they do without their nationally-recognized star?"
Kotori gave a sunny smile. "Oh, they never would have to! I've never been ill a day in my life, and have far too strong of a mental state for any tragedy to shake me! And fate has been ever so kind to me, so that will never change!"
"Oh Kotori!" crooned her friends. "Teach us how to be like you!"
"Oh my friends!" she crooned back. "I most certainly will! But I simply cannot do it right now--my parents will be here ever so soon to whisk me away to our family Christmas celebration of replanting the rainforest!"
"Kotori, my darling!" trilled Saya.
"Mommies!" squealed Kotori. She waved goodbye to her friends and skipped up to her parents. "Mommy Saya, Mommy Tohru, are we ready to go mend the wounds our misled forefathers inflicted on the planet?"
"Very soon," cooed Saya. "But first we must pay a visit to our family doctor, who performed the revolutionary medical procedure that allowed Mommy Tohru and me to have you without having to involve the aid of a man outside our relationship! For using men for their sperm is wrong."
"And use the word 'fore-bearers,' my dear--'forefathers' is heteronormative!" added Tohru.
"Yes, mommies!" She skipped off at their sides. "Let's go save the planet!"
"If I jump off a building here, will I die?" asked Kamui.
"Nope," said Fuuma.
Kamui curled further into his miserable ball of sorrow.
"Um. Well." Fuuma scratched his head. "Think of all the people you brought together for the end of the world thing! They would've never met in this timeline, you know."
"Oh really," Kamui mumbled acidly. He pointed across the street.
"Christmastime is so wonderful, especially when you don't have to worry about having some silly fate to die for another!" Sorata skipped along joyously with a full bag of gifts. "Haha, whatever that means! It's so nice to visit the city while on leave from the monastery-slash-wildlife preserve! Eep! I have crashed!"
"As have I, on leave from the shrine-slash-small animal shelter," Arashi replied. "I have dropped my gifts all over the sidewalk."
"Allow me to help you pick them up!" offered Sorata.
"My blushes, for I am Independent and yet, Shy," said Arashi. "I hastily pick up my things and mumble my thanks."
"Allow me to treat you to a healthy seasonal treat for this trouble!" offered Sorata. "I find myself attracted to your independence, and your kindness hidden under a veneer of ice! You're also hot, and I comment on this with charming brusqueness!"
"I punch you in the gut for your presumption." She did so. "Yet I am secretly drawn to your boisterous personality."
"I steam on despite the pain in my ribcage!" Sorata wheezed out. "Healthy seasonal treat? I now appeal to your practical side by noting the chilly weather!"
"I reluctantly accept, and after a series of wacky misadventures and soul searching with my world-wise and sassy friends, we end up in True Love." Arashi slipped her hand in the crook of his arm and walked toward the nearest coffeeshop. "And since there's no silly curse on me involving a sacred sword tied to my virginity, we can have a guilt-free sexual relationship!"
"YAY!" cheered Sorata.
"Well, that did have all the subtlety of most the romantic comedies I've seen," Fuuma said. "And with a lot less pointless downtime. Needed more car chases, though; so I give it an overall seven out of ten."
Kamui crashed down to the pavement beside him. Fuuma sighed.
"I told you that you wouldn't die."
"It was worth a shot," Kamui mumbled through a mouthful of gravel.
"And now a word from our sponsors!" said the television screen mounted on the highrises. "Still looking for a special gift? Come stop in at Karen's Closet for tasteful, sexy, and affordable lingerie for all sexes! Fifty percent of profits go toward the Kasumi Center For Women's Education and Empowerment! Haha, because it's not like the most successful businesswoman in the Northern Hemisphere needs the money! And if you're looking for a gift for the techie in your life, consider Beastcrosoft! We have half the evil of Microsoft and twenty times the functionality, at a quarter of the price!"
"Heyheyheyhey, no more jumping!" Fuuma scolded, hauling Kamui back from the door to the highrise by his collar. "This was your wish and my cash that went into renting this portal, so damned if you aren't going to watch the whole thing--ah, here we go!"
Fuuma spun Kamui around to face the next scene. "There's the Sumeragi. Even if the entire world is better off, you can bet that Fate still has beaten the crap out of him."
"Ohohoho, Subaru, hurry up!" trilled Hokuto. "The rainforest mission will be leaving soon! What will all the animals do without your magical and veterinary expertise?"
"Ah, but he has me to get him there on time," said Seishirou. "And he will always have me, since we were able to elegantly and cleanly sort out all our differences and severe personality problems with no stress about some silly destiny battle looming over our heads!"
"The shock collar helped, too!" added Hokuto.
"Of course it did!" Seishirou agreed hastily. The collar around his neck beeped menacingly.
"I couldn't possibly be happier," sighed Subaru. "Especially since Beastcrosoft invented that Fate-B-Gone machine!"
"I was wondering what that thing strapped to his head was," commented Fuuma, referring of course to the beeping machine latched to Subaru's head that was shooting laser beams at a fanged, snarling little fairy that kept trying to descend on the man.
"Well, you two have fun!" Hokuto ordered, kissing Subaru on the forehead. "I have to get back to my wildly successful fashion design career! I was planning on meeting my head model for lunch to discuss some plans--"
"Miss Sumeragi--!" Kakyou jogged up to the group, dressed stylishly in Hokuto-ware and in darling pigtails.
"OKAY. FINE. I GET IT." Kamui stomped over to the group, arms waving crazily. "I bet Yuzuriha and Inuki fight forest fires!"
"Sounds about right. Though I bet Kusanagi helps them out; always thought he'd make a great Smokey the Bear."
Kamui growled. "Oh oh oh, let me guess, and Hinoto does tap on Broadway?"
Fuuma peered at a nearby poster. "Looks like it's interpretive modern dance, actually."
Kamui attempted to tear said poster down. No dice. "And what are you here, hmm?! Do you feed starving whales in the Artic?!"
"Fuuuuuuma! Fuuuuuuuuuma! Ah, there you are, silly!" giggled Kotori. "I was looking all over the city! We can't leave without you!"
"Woof!" said the dimension's Fuuma, emerging from an alley with his tail wagging.
"C'mon, the helicopter is leaving soon! You need to sniff out the best places to plant!" Kotori put his leash on and skipped off. "We're off to save the world with our wonder-pup--!"
"Bow-wow!" Fuuma-pup said excitedly.
"You see, Kamui, your existence does mean something good," said the non-canine Fuuma. "It means that I was born as a very sexy human instead of a dog."
"Woo," said Kamui, miserably.
"It means we can get it on?" Fuuma added, helpfully.
"..." Kamui glared upward.
"Well, it does. And what's done is done; trying to unmake your existence now would only cause the destruction of the world you live in." Fuuma gave a merry chuckle. "And that'd be an even worse Christmas than you're already having! Am I right?"
Kamui sighed. "Yeah, I guess..."
"I thought so!" Fuuma slapped Kamui on the back heartily. "Now, let's go back. It's just about time for the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, and you can't drink all that eggnog by yourself..."
"...and then Kamui went back to the dimension that he had sullied by his very birth and drank himself into a stupor. The end."
"Of the many possible meanings of Christmas, that story managed to hit none of them," Watanuki grumbled.
"What about 'disappointment' and 'binge drinking'?" Yuuko tsked a finger. "Keep an open mind about your Christmas meanings, kid."
The clock struck midnight, and Yuuko let out a yawn.
"Alright, you're off the clock. I'm not shelling out holiday pay. Maru, Moro, Larg, off to bed with you--"
The lights in the room suddenly dimmed, and a familiar face misted into sight next to Yuuko's armchair.
"Oh, did I miss the annual story?" Clow pouted. "That's the problem with this Christmas ghost job, you see; inflexible hours. If you keep trying to break that bottle over my head, darling, you'll throw out your back."
Yuuko stumbled back, panting. She chucked the empty wine bottle over her shoulder and marched off to her treasure room.
"...know how to deal with ghosts; sent in all those boxtops off my Ghostbusters cereal way back when..."
Clow turned to Watanuki and smiled. "Once she gets back with her ghostbusting gear it'll get a little hectic, so I recommend you head home."
Watanuki was way ahead of him, and nearly out the door. "Godspeed, sir."
Clow swept a bow. "Merry Christmas, dear boy. Ah, Yuuko, you always did look ravishing in neon orange..."
Title: The Pageant That Never Was
Series: Kingdom Hearts II
Notes: Xemnas forces his artistic vision onto the annual Organization Christmas play. Will Axel be able to ruin it in time?
Christmas in the Castle That Never Was harkened the arrival of two things: Axel's drunken assault on public-appropriate behavior and the annual Christmas play.
"Ho ho ho!" Axel slung an arm around Roxas' shoulders and leered. "I've got mistletoe down my pants and you've been a naughty boy, so howzabouts we make like Frosty and blow this joint?"
Roxas very gently flicked his forehead, and Axel toppled to the floor. The stage bell sounded.
"Places, people!" demanded Xemnas, stomping through the backstage crowds in a froofy director's scarf and froofier cap. "I will not have another of my productions be ruined by your ham-footed incompetence!"
He glanced down at the near-comatose Axel on the floor.
"Well, there goes the brunt of the problem..." he said, airily. "To your stations, everyone!"
"Forsooth for I am the Ghost of Christmas Past-Imperfect and I have come to dub thee the Emperor of Christmas and you have to save Santa I think?" Demyx paused, gasping for breath.
Xemnas stumbled dramatically about the stage, one hand pressed to his forehead. "Ah me! This burden is!--too much for mortal me to handle. I MUST PROTEST!"
Xigbar wheezed and adjusted his grip on the rope suspending Demyx above the stage. "How much does this idiot weigh?"
Lexaeus rolled his eyes and gave his rope a solid tug. "Stop your complaining or the Superior will have our heads for 'ruining his creative vision.'"
"I must insist oh Emperor of Christmas it is your destiny look for my friends the other spirits of Christmas have come to try and change your mind?" Demyx heaved another breath as Zexion and Saix descended from above the stage in gaudy angel costumes.
Xemnas clutched at his not-heart dramatically and fell to his knees. "Oh spirits! You have!--come to sway my decision. Alas! Alack!--for I am not so easily duped! Even by!--songanddance."
"Oh, great Emperor of Christmas," swooned Saix. "Do open your mind and ears to our humble melodies--for it is all we humble ghosts have to offer to your Greatness in exchange for your help in our mission."
Zexion glared from under his halo, and mumbled something unintelligible. Demyx gestured awkwardly with his arms.
"Yes oh Ghost of Christmas Present-Conditional you are right we must express our need for the Emperor's aid through the magic of interpretive dance?"
Out came Marluxia's kickline of sentient mistletoe monsters, and out came Marluxia dressed in faux-fur-trimmed sequined hotpants, thigh-high boots, and a jaunty Santa cap. The Castle That Never Was Jazz Band belted out a sexy trumpet wail.
"Santa Baby, slip a sable under the tree...for me..." Marluxia purred into his microphone. "Been an awfully good girl..."
Xemnas took evasive action against the spotlight-stealing and shoved Marluxia off the stage. The jazz band faltered out on a sour note.
"Ah!--I am not swayed by such showy shows of sparkle and glitz! And those are my boots," Xemnas hissed in a lower voice.
"You are right, of course, glorious Emperor of Christmas!" Saix spared Marluxia a molten glare. "We shall woo you with more honest methods!"
"..." said Zexion. Demyx swayed over on his rope to nudge him with a toe. "Rightlikewiththereindeerchorusreindeerc
A line of decidedly un-merry reindeer traipsed in from stage right. The Christmas lights woven into their antlers twinkled courageously nonetheless. Xaldin heaved a sigh and began.
"'X' is for his ex-cell-lence..."
"'E' is also for his excellence..." continued Vexen. He tapped one hoof-ed hand to his temple and sighed. "The language is weeping..."
"MNMANEENNMAMMMMSSSS," sang Axel's Dusk understudy.
"'N' is for his noble grasp on the intricacies of poetic form..." Larxene certainly was thinking about doing something to Xemnas' form; it involved knives.
"--and then there's a biiiiiiig oooooooooooold ASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!" belted Axel, stumbling onto the stage in a half-on Santa suit. "Merry Chrissmiss! Happy--thing! Let's welcome the baby with the sash!"
Hatred seemed to radiate off Roxas as he was lowered from the ceiling dressed as the New Year's Baby. Axel let out a wolf-whistle, and was promptly sent crashing into the set by a burst of light energy. The whole thing gave a mighty groan and tumbled down on top of him.
"I was wondering how he was planning on ruining Christmas this year," Demyx commented when his rope stopped swaying. "He had me fooled with the alcoholic coma."
"He always manages to pull through." Larxene nodded appreciatively. "It's a Christmas miracle."
Axel emerged, battered and bruised, from the heap that used to be the set. He spat out a tooth and grinned a bloody grin.
"God bless us, every one! Anyone got a festive back brace? I think I pulled something..."
AND NOW FOR MORE BLOBS???
Notes: Ever wonder what Gingetsu's parents look like? I know, me too. Anyone who can figure out what prompted this miniature acid trip gets a cookie?
'Twas the night before Christmas, and all was happy and gay--for Gingetsu's parents had come to stay 'til next day.
"I'm sure I will love them!" said Ran with a skip in his gait. "With such a wonderful son, I'm sure they've remarkable taste."
"Good eve and hello!" tooted Gingetsu's mere. "You do live up to all his fuss."
"Quite true," added his pere. "Your jailbait charm is but a plus."
Ran was, uh, understandably confused.
But when dear mama offered up the baby albums, only Gingetsu was unamused.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good roboclaw!
Indeedydo. MERRY CHRISMAHANAKWANZAKA.