Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

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ProfAllister
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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by ProfAllister » Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:06 am

So, MoashLannister asked me to post this on his behalf. I'm not exactly certain why, but I guess that's his business.

I'll get around to paying my own comments on the stories so far at some point in the future, but it's not my turn in the spotlight, so without further ado...

Victim: monkeywitha6pack
Prompt: Shizune and Hisao, first Christmas living together trying to decorate the apartment together in a way they both agree on
As the elevator dings, I step off of it and onto my apartment floor, a plastic bag in my hand. The cold air of winter makes me shiver despite all the layers of clothing I’m wearing, but soon I’ll be back home. To where warmth and affection are waiting for me.

Walking down the hallways, I greet several neighbours as they pass by, preemptively wishing me a Merry Christmas. Truth be told, I’ve never held much value in the holiday. Before, it was just an excuse for me to get presents from relatives and the like. This year in particular however, Christmas is going to be of far greater significance.

After a bit of walking, I finally reach my the entrance to my home at the end of the hallway. I open the door and take off my shoes, the heater here immediately providing a comfortable warmth. As I walk down the hall to our living room, I’m met with quite a sight.

Despite the actual holiday being days away, the living room already seems like it’s celebrating the Christmas spirit. The walls are adorned with lights, the table is already outfitted with a green and red tablecloth, and right next to the small TV is a small Christmas tree. I’m dumbfounded at the sight of it all, feeling as if my apartment somehow traveled forward in time.

Of course, there’s only one person responsible for this, and she’s currently coming out of our bedroom in a green and red sweater.

[Oh, you’re home.] Shizune signs once she sees me, without surprise or even the slightest bit of excitement. [Well, what do you think? And if you say that you aren’t impressed, you’re sleeping on the couch.]

[I…] I can’t find the appropriate words to sign to her, so I simply put my package down on the table and sit down on the couch. Honestly, considering how thorough Shizune decorated the living room, I’m surprised the couch itself isn’t green and red. [Where did you find the time for this?]

[You underestimate my ability to work efficiently. Shameful.] Shizune adjusts her glasses in a smug manner, approaching and sitting on the chair beside the couch. [For that transgression, I won’t be sitting next to you on the couch.]

[Are you seriously going to punish me for that?] I sign, an incredulous look on my face. Shizune always seems to think of something I do wrong and punish me in the most roundabout ways imaginable. [What’s next, a ban on sleeping together when I forget to buy dinner?]

[Don’t give me ideas.] Shizune gives me a smirk, as if she’s really considering the thought. Thankfully, the last time we had a ban on that ended rather badly for the both of us, so I doubt she’ll want a repeat of that. I know I don’t.

[Seriously, tell me what you think.] She asks, her features softening a bit. [Great? Amazing? Meticulously perfect? All those adjectives are acceptable.]

[...I don’t like it.] I respond as bluntly as I can, causing her to actually look shocked. [Not that it isn’t beautiful but…]

[But what? Is what I’ve done not satisfying enough for you? Should I buy a sleigh and two dozen reindeers too?] Shizune retorts, looking extremely annoyed. I was hoping not to have another argument so close to the first Christmas we’re celebrating while living together, but it seems that was too optimistic. Arguments are part of our relationship, for better and for worse.

[It looks beautiful, and you did a wonderful job.] I repeat, trying to placate her. If there’s one thing that’ll set her off, it’s insulting her competence. [I just wished it were different…]

[How?] Shizune signs, her frustration growing. [How different? Do you want the lights to be five inches to the left? Do you want me to throw out the tree? Do you want me to rearrange the entire room so that it’s facing east instead of west? What do you want me to change?]

[I don’t know.] I answer without thinking, my frustration building up as well. It’s funny to think that after all this time together, something as simple as Christmas decorations can drive us to this point. [I just...I don’t know. Something about it just makes me feel a little sad, alright?]

[Well you can keep feeling sad.] Shizune gets up, glaring at me. [Until you give me a good reason, the decorations stays. If you don’t like it, pay this month’s rent in its entirety.]

And with that, she walks to our bedroom and slams the door. I don’t know if it’s because she couldn’t hear it or she’s just that angry, but that slam is probably the loudest thing I’ve heard in a long time. Even in our more heated arguments, it’s never gotten this bad.

Again, I note how this all started because of Christmas decorations, and I couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of that.

I look again at the decorations she’s spread out, which must have taken quite the effort, regardless of what she might say. It all looks so good, and yet...I don’t like it. Not in any visual sense, but from some reason I’ve yet to fully internalize.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Knowing that confronting her now would simply lead to another heated argument, I decided to watch some TV to cool off. Predictably, most of the channels are currently showing Christmas shows. I pick one at random and decide to stick to it, putting the remote down and simply letting my mind wander for a while.

It’s funny to think that we’ve gone almost an entire year of living together, when sometimes it feels as if we’ve only been here for a week. An argument over a missing item, or a minor delay in doing the chores, or even who’s supposed to make the bed. One would think time would do away with those things, but it hasn’t.

Some might consider that grounds to move out, and yet we’ve stuck together through it all. Our mutual stubbornness, while being the cause of our verbal sparring, is also the thing binding us together. Nothing less than that would be enough to keep one of us from simply breaking off from the other out of frustration.

Hell, we’ve been in a relationship for so long, it’d be crazy to think of us breaking up over something as stupid as that. Arguments are par for the course, and it’s not as if we hold any grudges over them.

I hear her sitting down next to the couch, but I don’t break my gaze away from the TV. Not because I’m still mad, but because I know what she’s going to do next. Shizune leans her body against mine, one arm wrapping around my body. I can feel her warmth enveloping me, and I return the favour my leaning my head down to rest on hers.

We can’t talk like this, but we don’t need to. Sometimes things are just better when we’re conveying our feelings without the need for words.

Coincidentally, the program we’re watching is a romantic movie, the couple on screen being everything we weren’t: overly affectionate, never speaking up against one another, and completely boring. It almost seems unrealistic how they never seem to even have differing opinions, to the point where they might as well share one mind.

Perhaps I’m a masochist, but I’d prefer Shizune’s energy than this...lazy way of proving that you’re in love with one another.

Unsurprisingly, she breaks away from me. I turn to look at her, and her face looks oddly shy. [Are you ready to talk now?] She signs slowly. [Or do you want to keep doing this for another hour?]

[I’m ready to talk now, and I think I can give you a proper reason this time.] I respond, not bothering to turn off the TV. [I wanted to decorate this place with you. It’s our first Christmas together, after all.]

[Is it really that important to you?] Shizune asks, not a hint of sarcasm in her expression.

[Well, yeah.] I feel my cheek heating a little at the admission. [We’ve been in a relationship for three years now, and this is our first year living together. Remember last Christmas?]

[...No] Shizune replies, looking mildly confused. [I can’t say I do.]

[Exactly. We didn’t do anything last Christmas, or the year before that.] I try my best not to seem frustrated or angry at that fact, and find it surprisingly hard to.

[We were completely separated during that year and a half, only visiting once every few months, if even that. Our birthdays, anniversaries, Valentines, they went by and all we could do is send crappy postcards and letters to each other because we were stuck with college duties.]

[We agreed that was for the best.] Shizune argues, though she doesn’t seem like she really wants to. [We couldn’t let our relationship get in the way of our education, and in the end we did manage to reunite and rent a place together. Isn’t that worth it?]

I nod my head in agreement, then gaze at her seriously and sign. [Did you feel lonely during that time? Did you ever want to break our agreement and take a train down to where I was?]

[That isn’t relevant now.] Shizune answers, trying to sidestep the question entirely.


[Perhaps it doesn’t, but humor me.] I implore, feeling just a bit desperate for an answer. [Did you, during the year and a half spent away from me, feel lonely? I’ll tell you right now that I did, that I wanted to come see you, even knowing you’d be angry. It got so bad one day that I had one foot in the train station, ready to buy a ticket...]

She glares at me for a bit, seeing if I’m going to falter. I’m not, and when it’s made clear to her, Shizune gives up and answers. [Yes, I did.] Her hands are fast, as if she’s embarrassed to even answer that. [Perhaps not as...extreme as you, but yes. Being apart from you for so long wasn’t easy, I’ll admit that much.]

[Maybe I’m being greedy.] I start to sign to her, my face inching closer to get a better look at her. [But now that we’re finally living together...I don’t want us to just do things separately anymore. I want this place to be home. Our home, our Christmas.]

Shizune places a hand on my cheek, cupping it slightly. She smiles at me, a humorous one at first, but eventually softening to be genuine affectionate.

[You’re being silly.] She signs once she pulls her hand away. [This is our home, no matter who’s doing the decorations or the chores. As long as you return here every night, sleeping next to me on our bed, that’s enough for me.]

Just as soon as she signed those words, Shizune suddenly gets up, adjusting her glasses and looking down at me with a smirk on her face. [...Dishes and laundry for an entire month. Mopping the floor for two months. Those are my terms if you really want to me to take down and redecorate the place with you.]

[...Alright.] I agree without even putting up a fight. [If you wanted me to do that, you could have just asked.]

[And be in debt to you? Not a chance.] Shizune looks incredulous as she signs that, and oddly adorable too. [Shall we get started or do you still want to see more of this romantic drivel.]

[Glad to know you don’t like this stuff.] I tease, closing the TV and getting up from the couch. [I’d move out if we were going to watch things like that all Christmas.]

[God, no.] Shizune gets up and starts to walk towards the spare room, motioning me to come. [Seeing those two on screen makes me skin crawl. All compliance with hardly a challenge or even so much as a reasonable discussion. Absolutely disgusting.]

[And unrealistic.] I add as she opens the door. The spare room is technically supposed to be for guests who decided to stay overnight, but seeing as that’s never happened it’s basically become a repository for all our junk and equipment.

Of course, Shizune forced us to organize the place regardless. As I’m thinking about how that made things convenient for us, I suddenly felt her lips touching mine in a quick kiss before breaking away to grab a ladder.

I let out a sigh. As much as I want to return her kiss, I know she won’t allow it until we’ve completely redecorated the entire living room, so I simply start helping her get the ladder out of the room, though I’m unable to get rid of the smile I’m currently wearing.

Who knew such a silly thing as taking down decorations just to put them up again could make me so happy?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[A bit to the left.] Shizune demands, tapping her foot in irritation. [No, not your left. MY left.]

[Last time you said left, you were referring to my left.] I counter, the ability to sign being difficult with a bunch of Christmas lights in my hand. [I thought you pride yourself on consistency.]

[...Two months of laundry.] Shizune says simply, her face tolerating no argument against it. [And make sure the green and red lights are alternating. There, I’m giving you that consistency you so desire by reminding you of things you should remember yourself.]

[Thanks, I appreciate it.] I reply sarcastically before setting up the last of the lights. My body is tired from doing the labor, both in taking down the decorations and in rearranging them. Discussing how to rearrange things took up an entire half an hour by itself, as Shizune insists on changing it as much as possible, while I insist on keeping it mostly the same. A weird inverse of our stances earlier.

I’m sweating, my girlfriend is shouting orders at me, and I haven’t even gotten a minute of rest or something to eat. And yet, I’m satisfied. Doing this with her is more than worth the effort.

As I finally set up the lights on the wall and step down from the ladder, Shizune flips the switch. The lights look pretty, though they’d probably look even prettier if the main lights were off. I turn to Shizune, who simply looks at the lights with a look of acceptance.

[There’s a reason I decorated things so early.] Shizune signs, her face turning towards me. [Well, a few reasons actually: you were tired from college recently, my own ability to do the job correctly, among others. But the main reason is that I plan to throw a Christmas party here, and Misha is going to attend.]

The sudden news almost makes me fall from the ladder. Once I balance myself, I immediately sign back. [Wait, is she really? Isn’t she really busy in America?]

[She’s apparently found time for herself, though I have my suspicions about how true that statement is.] Adjusting her glasses, Shizune immediately points to the Christmas tree. [Move it closer to the couch. That’ll be the last of the redecorations...for now.]

Despite feeling fatigued, I make my way near the TV and lift up the small tree. It’s lighter than I thought, though still a strain to my already dwindling strength. I quickly move it right next to couch, placing it down with a thud.

[Good job. It was completely unnecessary, but good job nonetheless.] Shizune gives me a teasing smile as she lays down on the couch. [All this ordering around is making me thirsty. Care to grab me some juice from the fridge?]

[Orange or apple?] I respond, feeling as if I’m barely able to stand.

[I was being sarcastic.] Shizune gives me a disapproving glare. [Three years together and you still can’t discern that. Shameful.]

[Well, I’m not exactly in the best mental state.] I reply, though immediately sign again when her glare intensifies. [And it’s my own fault. I know, I know…]

[Good. Now sit.] Shizune lifts her legs up from the couch, motioning me over. Eager to get a break, I drop down on the couch as her legs come down to rest on my lap. Having been in this position before, I immediately put my hands on her legs and begin rubbing them. [Ah, you don’t need me to tell you. Good.]

[There’s never a break with you. I know that much.] I retort before my hands go straight back to rubbing her legs. [If I don’t get a job as a teacher, I can at least make a living as a masseuse.]

[Don’t get too confident. I’m still more skillful in that regard, or are you forgetting the time your face looked like it was in climax?] Shizune smirks as she sees my face go red from the memory.
[Still, I appreciate the service. My legs were rather sore after making so many trips to the mall for all those decorations. You cannot fathom the depths I had to go to in order to get a Christmas tree that can fit into our living room.]

[You really went all out on this, didn’t you?] I say, once again stopping my massage. A minor inconvenience about our relationship, but something we’ve grown accustomed to. [...I feel bad about redecorating now.]

[Oh, for heaven’s sake.] If Shizune could have let out a sigh at that moment, I have little doubt she actually would. [No use feeling bad after the deed is done. Stand by your choice like a real man, or have you not grown a backbone after all that time spent with me?]

[Sorry, sorry.] I say, immediately proving her right. [So, Christmas party? How big is it going to be?]

[Well, an early Christmas party, seeing as it’s one day before the actual day.] Shizune shifts her body, now laying on her front with her head turned to face me. [My back, if you would.]

[As my master commands.] I reply sarcastically as my hands move to her back, rubbing it gently at first before slowly getting harder and harder, only stopping to sign something to her. An inherent disadvantage that we negated by placing a mirror whenever she wants a massage...in the bedroom, which isn’t where we are.

[I’ve taken the liberty of inviting your parents.] Shizune continues as I keep massaging her. [And mine, though I doubt my father will actually attend. The same goes for Lilly’s branch of the family, who I also sent an invite out of simply courtesy. A few of my old associates at Yamaku, Misha included.]

[Sounds like a lot of people.] I note as I move to her upper back. [Are you sure they’ll all be comfortable with how little space we have.]

[That’s assuming they bother to come.] Shizune corrects me. [Truth be told, I expect it’ll simply be me, you and Misha. She’s the only one who’s accepted my invitation, in any case.]

[Just like the old days.] I feel a bit of nostalgia while signing that. It’s been quite a while since the three of us spent time together. We’ve been in touch ever since she left for America, but the distance sometimes makes it difficult for us to maintain our bond, which bugs Shizune more than she cares to admit.

[Just like the old days.] Shizune repeats, looking a bit wistful. [I wonder what she looks like now. She told me she got rid of the pink dye her hair had, and lost a lot of weight.]

[I’m sure she’s still the same person, deep down.] I say, trying to assure her. [The moment you two reunite, it’ll be as if nothing really happened. After all, isn’t that how we were like when we finally got together, after all that time apart?]

[I don’t know, I feel like she’s no longer the Misha we knew. At least not entirely.] Shizune actually looks worried as she signs that, looking away from me for a split second. [I wonder if it’s better if we keep our distance. That reuniting will simply expose how far we drifted off from one another.]

[Do you believe in Misha?] I ask, a simple question to deal with a simple problem. If there’s anything that Shizune’s taught me, it’s that sometimes things are simply less complicated than we make them out to be. [Do you still believe that you two are friends? That you want to be her friend?]

[Yes!] Her answer is immediate, and she seems almost offended that I insinuated otherwise.

[Then believe that she feels the same way.] I give her a calm smile as I sign that, feeling amused that I’m playing the rational one for once. [She wouldn’t put in the effort to maintain communications with you if she didn’t want to talk to you, and she certainly wouldn’t come all the way here if she didn’t believe that you two are still friends.]

She takes a moment to think about it before signing back. [I hate to admit it, but you’re probably right. I’m simply letting our distance influence my perspective.]

[Wow, you’re admitting I’m right. Who are you and what have you done with my girlfriend?] I respond sarcastically, chuckling a little.

[Shut up and massage me.] She commands, and I go back to rubbing her back, my face showing a smug grin. We don’t say anything further as I continue rubbing her back until my arms start to get tired.

[Thank you.] She says just as I finish, somehow knowing that I’m done. [Not for the massage, that was only above average.]

[Ouch.] I sign as I lean back onto the couch. [Sorry that I’m not in the best of shape, I just redecorated my apartment room.]

[Bah. Work out more.] Is all Shizune says as she sits up on the couch, staring at the package on the table. [So, when are you going to tell me about the cake?]

[So you knew it was a cake, huh?] I respond. [The bakery I frequently go to happened to have a discount, even more so since I was a regular customer.]

[Cheap and efficient. I’m impressed.] Shizune compliments me, reaching for the package and opening it to reveal a rather nice looking chocolate cake. [...This isn’t your Christmas present, isn’t it?]

[It’s part of it.] I confess, not wanting to give anything away. [I figured we should make up for not spending the last two Christmases together, so I’m planning something else. But you’ll just have to wait and see.]

Shizune flashes me a predatory grin. [I’ll wring the secret out of you soon enough, but for now I’m content with simply eating this cake along with you. 70-30 my way, of course.]

[I bought the cake.] I claim, rolling my eyes. I don’t really care how much of the cake I eat, but I also know that giving Shizune any leeway would be tantamount to surrendering, something she’ll never let me live down. [65-35. My way.]

[You forced me to redecorate.] Shizune inches herself closer to me, her grin persisting. [60-40.]

[50-50 and I’ll grab the untensils from the kitchen. Final offer.] I cross my arms, indicating that this is as far as I’m willing to go.

After a second of consideration, Shizune finally relents. [Deal.]

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[I can conclude.] Shizune says after finishing her last slice. [That you’ve bought a good cake.]

I can only chuckle in response, knowing the rather satisfied look she showed after eating her first bite of it, and the bite after that, and the bite after that. The cake was really good, and I almost find myself sad that it’s all gone now.

[Glad you agree. I’ll buy another one during Christmas itself.] I offer as I turn on the TV again, showing another Christmas special. [It’s not a part of my surprise gift, but it’s something I feel like I should do.]

[Because you’re the man of the apartment?] Shizune asks, the snark practically oozing from her face.

[No, because I love you.] I respond earnestly and without any hint of sarcasm on my face. It seems to work as Shizune looks like she’s caught off guard, actually flustring for a split second.

[I love you too.] She answers, and then gets up. [I suppose it’s only fair.]

[What’s fair?] I ask, raising my eyebrow. What I’m met with is an almost shy smile from Shizune, meaning that it’s something really romantic or really unpleasant.

Without answering me, she walks to our bedroom and closes the door, meaning I probably shouldn’t follow her. Instead I sit back and watch the Christmas special, only half paying attention as my thoughts wander into other things.

It’s already been three years that we’ve been together, but it only feels like the last year, and specifically the last few months, where we’ve started progressing at breakneck speed. In that span we’ve finished our college educations, are now looking into promising job opportunities, moved in together and have spent more time with each other than ever before.

And yet…

I still feel like doing more with her. Not immediately, and perhaps not even for a while yet, but I don’t want the momentum we gained to stop. I want to keep going, both in my career and in my relationship with her, to see how far I can go. No matter what, I refuse my life to grow stagnant and unsatisfying.

First things first, create an unforgettable memory when Misha gets here. I think both Misha and Shizune deserve that most of all.

As I continue musing about the future, I hear the door open and I can’t help but open my mouth at the sight of what comes out, even if part of it is obscured by the TV. As Shizune walks back to the couch, I get a better view of what she had in mind, and my jaw drops even further.

She’s wearing what can only be described as an outfit for a very sexualized version of Santa Claus. Her Santa hat is normal enough, but below that is a strapless red crop top with white fur trimmings, allowing her black bra straps to show on her shoulders. Accompanying that was an extremely short mini-skirt, red and with white fur trimmings as well.

As she saunters towards me, holding up a mistletoe and smiling devilishly, I can’t help but be awe-stricken by how utterly effortless she looks right now. Guess I wasn’t the only one with the idea of creating an unforgettable Christmas memory.

[This WAS supposed to be for after the Christmas party.] She signs, stopping just in front of me. Her pose gives off a domineering impression as she looks down upon me with a playfully menacing look. [But seeing as how you’ve already given me a present early, I figured it’s fair that I do the same. Besides, I need to let off some steam after being forced to decorate this place twice.]

[I would imagine. Are the other presents related to this...outfit?] I pretend to be dismissive about the whole situation, but both of us know who’s in control here. She jumps onto me, sitting on my lap as I wrap my hands around her to keep her from falling.

[You’ll find out when it’s time. Trust me when I say that it’ll be more than worth it.] Shizune signs, playfully dangling the mistletoe in front of me before pulling me in for a long kiss. She tastes sweet, and there’s hints of the chocolate we ate just a few moments ago. When we finally part, she looks straight into my eyes, her gaze having affection and lust in equal measure.

[Now then…] She signs with her chest pressed to mine. [Shall we…”redecorate” one last time?]

The only response I give her is a kiss on her neck as any pretense of holding back vanishes. Christmas may not be here yet, but this is certainly the time to be merry.
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

Discord ID: ProfAllister#9754

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Dec 22, 2019 1:06 pm

Total Eclipse of the Heart
From Mirage_GSM for Lap
(As last year, the prompt as well as comments will be at the end of the post for spoiler reasons)

It was swelteringly hot as was to be expected for late August - just a few days before the end of the summer holidays. There was a lot still to do for the coming trimester, but for that evening Hisao had asked me out for a date.

He’d made a big secret out of it, too, adamantly refusing to tell me what we were going to do. All my three guesses had been wrong, so I reluctantly had to give up my desert at lunch today… Well, I thought I’d at least have to give him points for creativity, even if I wasn’t confident he had come up with something actually good.

We met up at the gate at half past five. He was wearing the shirt I’d picked for him when we’d been shopping the week before and had a jacket casually slung over his shoulder, waving to me with his free hand. All in all he made quite the dashing figure, and I felt an approving smile form on my face.

I remembered how my father had complained about his sweater vest when that day had been literally the only time I’d ever seen him wear it. But it wouldn’t do to think about my father that day, so I banished those thoughts from my mind and greeted him with a peck on the cheek.

“So, are you going to tell me where we are going now?”

He held his jacket awkwardly between his chin and his shoulder before he replied, “Not quite yet. For now, we’re taking the bus to the city.”

During the drive we did some small talk about our respective days, because other than lunch we hadn’t seen each other much. I’d had a lot of paperwork to manage in the student council, while he was helping Misha with what was left of her summer homework – apparently quite a substantial amount…

In the city he led me to a small restaurant. Nothing too fancy, but it seemed nice, and I knew he couldn’t afford any more expensive places at the time. Still I gave him a mock-annoyed smile.

“You know that a dinner-date was my second guess, right? If that’s your plan, you’re going to return my desert – with interest!”

He waves his hands in denial before responding. “Don’t worry, this is not the main event. Let’s just eat something first.”

So we had a pleasant dinner. The food was good, and the interior was rather tasteful. I wondered if Hisao had scouted out the location beforehand. Anyway I mentally awarded him passing marks for the dinner date so far, though I still had no idea what he was up to.

After we left the restaurant we headed for a small park nearby to take a walk. It was now half past seven, the sun had already set, and twilight had set in.

I was increasingly curious about what Hisao was up to. The park was quite the romantic location, but Hisao made no move to find a place to sit down. Instead he seemed to be quite nervous, alternately checking his watch and staring up into the sky.

“Is anything wrong? Are we meeting someone here?”

“No, that’s not it, I just…” He trailed off still looking up to the sky as if searching for something. Then he grabbed my hand and started to march off swiftly, almost dragging me behind.

We left the park and marched on through the city, Hisao checking his watch a few times on the way. Since he was holding my hand, I couldn’t talk to him, and I was starting to get a little angry at his antics.

The street was snaking up a small hill, and when I noticed Hisao starting to breathe heavily I finally decided to put an end to this.

I stopped walking and pulled my hand away from him. “I have no idea what is going on here, but it can’t be worth you risking a heart episode like this!”

He turned to me guiltily. “I’m sorry. You’re absolutely right. Let me catch my breath for two minutes. We’re almost there, and there is not much time left.”

I shook my head exasperatedly but went along with his antics for the time being.

Ten minutes later we arrived at the top of the hill, rounded a street corner, and…

Hisao stopped abruptly. “Damn, we are too late. It is already ending,” he cursed and then pointed up at the sky.

I looked up to see the moon just starting to leave the earth’s shadow – a lunar eclipse just starting to end.

Hisao looked at me apologetically. “I’m sorry, I thought we’d watch the eclipse from the park, but it seems the moon wasn’t yet high enough in the sky to be seen from there, so I thought coming up here…”

I silenced him with a sharp gesture. “Do you mean you dragged me through half the city to this…” I look around me. “…rather run-down area and risked a heart attack, just to show me a lunar eclipse?”

“Yes.” His reply was so meek I can hardly decipher it.

I was shaking. I was thinking I could hardly contain myself much longer.

“Hisao, you know what you are?”

“No.”

“You’re a dork!” At this point I couldn’t contain my laughter anymore. “But you’re my dork.”

And I kissed him straight on the lips.

***

“…and that’s the story of the first date your father ever took me on.” I finish the tale looking across the table at our seven year old daughter.

The other guests around the Christmas dinner table – Hisao’s parents, Hideaki, Misha and her girlfriend Lynda – are all smiling while Hisao is trying his best to sink into the floor. Misha has just finished translating for those of our guests who don’t understand sign.

“You’re already finished? But I wanna know what happened next!” our daughter complains.

From the grimaces of our guests Misha has just let out one of her trademark laughs. Then she replies both in sign and out loud. “That’s a probably a story you’re not nearly old enough for, Lilly-chan…”

The End.

And now as promised the prompt for this story:
Prompt:
On Aug 28, 2007, there was a lunar eclipse visible in Japan. Who did Hisao view it with, & what happened next? If you really need/want to make it holiday themed, move the eclipse to December, I'm sure only Mirage will check the date to see if it actually occurred then :wink:.
Comment:
OF COURSE I checked the date! I also checked the time, duration, maximum elevation etc – all of which gave me the inspiration for how to write this story in the first place…
And in the end I didn’t move the eclipse to December but the story as a whole. :-)
It’s been a few hectic weeks for me, so I’m glad I was able to write this before Christmas.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by Lap » Sun Dec 22, 2019 2:21 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Sun Dec 22, 2019 1:06 pm
OF COURSE I checked the date! I also checked the time, duration, maximum elevation etc – all of which gave me the inspiration for how to write this story in the first place…
And in the end I didn’t move the eclipse to December but the story as a whole. :-)
It’s been a few hectic weeks for me, so I’m glad I was able to write this before Christmas.
I love it! Of course you got my prompt, since I mentioned you. I'm glad you came through. Clever way to make it Christmas-themed despite the astronomical limitations.

I literally LOL'd at
“You’re a dork!” At this point I couldn’t contain my laughter anymore. “But you’re my dork.”
Thank you for a delightful story.
Avenues of Communication: Shizune suffers an accident.
Akira's Surprise: Akira pays a surprise visit to Lilly, Hanako and Hisao on Christmas eve. S9 Entry.
Arrival: Hanako's first days at Yamaku. (On Hiatus)
Home: Hanako & Hisao at University, sharing an apartment with their friend Lilly (on Ao3).
One-shots

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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Dec 22, 2019 3:04 pm

You're welcome.
Just for the record: Prof insists the drawing was indeed totally random...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by Lap » Sun Dec 22, 2019 3:58 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Sun Dec 22, 2019 3:04 pm
You're welcome.
Just for the record: Prof insists the drawing was indeed totally random...
I'd like to have a word with that random number generator. I think it may be developing sapience...
Avenues of Communication: Shizune suffers an accident.
Akira's Surprise: Akira pays a surprise visit to Lilly, Hanako and Hisao on Christmas eve. S9 Entry.
Arrival: Hanako's first days at Yamaku. (On Hiatus)
Home: Hanako & Hisao at University, sharing an apartment with their friend Lilly (on Ao3).
One-shots

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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by Feurox » Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:15 am

A fantastic story Mirage! Wonderfully done, though that prompt seems a bit too perfect for you ;)

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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by KSFFWriter » Tue Dec 24, 2019 6:04 pm

Technically my first story posted here on the renai, I think. Glad I made the mostly self-set deadline of "Before Christmas"!

Title: Christmas Double Date
Victim: EurobeatJester
Prompt: Write a story about Hisao and the girl of your choice heading down into town during a winter holiday (so Christmas or New Years), and include them meeting another one of the “pairs.” For example, if you pick Hanako, have them run into Emi/Rin or Shizune/Misha. Write the encounter however you want! Getting coffee, getting into a huge fight, etc. Have fun!
------------------------------

It was supposed to be our Christmas date, since I'm not going to be here on Christmas day. Just Hanako and I, doing something simple... tea at the Shanghai, and probably a small meal. It's our usual sort of date. We tried a few fancier ideas early on, but they just ended up being tiring for the both of us. She's been getting a bit better about people since we started dating, and since Lilly left, but she's still Hanako. Just two people eating and drinking together is probably the ideal date for us.

I'm not sure how we ended up this way.

"Ahaha~ So~ It's a Christmas date~! But~! Does it even count if it's not Christmas? What? Shicchan, it does? Wahaha!" Misha and Shizune were both looking very much their usual, wearing their Yamaku uniforms. Even as thick as the winter uniform is, they still have scarves on. Matching scarves, oddly enough, Misha wearing blue with pink stripes, and Shizune wearing pink with blue stripes. Neither really suits them, but I'm not going to try to play fashion guru here.

Hanako is sitting beside me, against the window, while Shizune and Misha sit across the table from us, in the little booth here in the Shanghai. It's a relatively quiet day here, though Yuuko is bustling around attending to a few new guests, and thankfully not so focused on us. At least Hanako isn't panicking. She was the one who agreed to this double date when we ran into these two, so I guess she was at least willing to try.

"Hicchan, are you spacing out~?" Misha signs as she speaks. "You shouldn't~! You're on a date with three~ cute~ girls~!"

"I'm definitely not on a date with all of you." I say it before I really think, but then Misha just laughs, and Shizune adjusts her glasses... looking torn between complaining at me and complaining at Misha.

Misha translates Shizune's signing. "But it's not a date for Misha and I~! What? Shicchan, I'm pretty sure they know that~!" Still, Misha looks somehow disappointed in Shizune pointing that out.

Hanako giggles though. At least it seems to draw a smile from Misha, though she doesn't comment directly.

Shizune signs, and Misha speaks to me, hands on her hips, a stern-ish look on her face. "That's right! It's already~ December! Hicchan, your student council members are very~ concerned about your university applications! What are your plans? You have to learn about them and strike early~! Ahaha, is that right, Shicchan?"

"I'm going to Tokyo Institute of Technology. I think it was mostly Mutou's recommendation that got me accepted." I can't help it. I have to relish the shock on Shizune's face at my answer. It's not exactly an easy school to get into, and I think I may have deflated whatever bragging she was aiming for.

A moment later, though, she looks quite pleased as she signs. "That's great~! It's a really~ good school, Hicchan!" Misha laughs after, and continues on her own, still signing. "But~ What about Hanako?"

Hanako shrinks away from the question, and for a moment, Misha looks a little embarrassed. But Hanako does manage to speak, with her hand over her scars. "I'm g-going to Rikkyo. It's... n-not too far from Hisao's school, and I w-want to be close."

Shizune smiles and gives a small little clap with her hands before signing. "That's great! Shicchan says she was worried~ before, that you might not apply anywhere. Shicchan, that's strange to say."

Hanako blushes, but she's still smiling anyway.

I speak up. "What about the two of you?"

"Ahaha, Hicchan, we're not attached! Shicchan's going to Tohoku, near here! She's got a scholarship from Yamaku~!" Shizune adjusts her glasses, looking vaguely smug. It is a good school, so a bit of smugness is deserved.

"I'm~ going to America! There's more work for interpreters there, Hicchan~! And~ my English isn't bad either!" Misha smiles brightly, though her comment draws a sidelong look from Shizune, for some reason.

That's a surprise, and it must show, because Misha laughs again. Hanako looks to her for a moment before speaking. "That's i-interesting. America s-seems like a f-fun place."

Misha smiles brightly. "Ahaha~ It might~ be! You can come visit sometime~!"

To my surprise, Hanako nods, smiling, though she doesn't comment further.

Shizune sipping at her tea reminds me of my now-lukewarm coffee. The Shanghai's coffee isn't the best, but it's still fine even when it's not hot anymore. A few quiet moments pass, as we all just sit together. Shizune and Misha sign to one another, but without translation. Hanako looks out the window at the gray winter landscape outside... no snow, unfortunately. She's come a long way from how she acted when I first came to Yamaku, but... Hanako still needs time to recharge between social events, and I can't help wondering if this date she spontaneously agreed to is a bit much. Not that I'd actually ask her that, especially in front of the others.

Still, to my surprise, it's Hanako that starts the conversation again. "Wh-what are you doing for Christmas?" She looks to Shizune as she speaks.

Shizune pauses a moment before signing. Misha's voice is a bit muted, oddly. "Shicchan says she's going to her family's home in Saitama~. She's not looking forward to it (really, Shicchan?) but seeing her little brother might~ be fun. What about you, Hicchan?"

I put my empty cup of coffee down. "I'm going back home too. My parents want me home at least for Christmas day. I think they're just missing me after I've been at Yamaku for months."

"Ahaha~ Hanako, are you going~ to~ meet~ them~?"

Hanako shakes her head quickly, hand over her scars again. "I c-can't. I'm s-staying at Yamaku, I... it's... m-meeting his parents w-would be..."

Misha wilts slightly at Hanako's reaction, but then giggles. "I'm staying at Yamaku too, Hanako~. You don't have to be embarrassed! What? Shicchan, I already~ told you that!"

Shizune looks annoyed as she signs at her friend, and Misha signs back, before letting out a slightly odd-sounding laugh. "It is what it is, Shicchan! But, Hanako, at least you don't have to be lonely! We can see each other over break~!"

Hanako hesitates a moment, and then nods, just slightly. "I-if you want to."

"Ahaha~ really?" Misha's laugh sounds a little off, but she's smiling again, so at least that's something.

Shizune signs again, and Misha looks to her, before blinking. "You want to stay too, now? But Shicchan~! What about your family? That doesn't matter as much as me? Haha~, what are you saying~? That's silly, Shicchan~!"

But after a flurry of signing, Misha looks to Hanako. "Do you think we could all do~ something? Shicchan says she wants to stay too~." Shizune adjusts her glasses, giving Hanako a surprisingly friendly and cute-looking smile.

Hanako nods again, blushing faintly. "Y-you don't have to s-stay because of me. But if you w-want to, it might be fun to... d-do...something."

But now there's three sets of eyes on me. Oh, right. I guess if they're all going to be here, then I should probably stay too. I look to Hanako. "Should I call my parents and tell them I'm staying too?"

Hanako's eyes widen, and she shakes her head quickly. "Y-you don't h-have to. W-won't they think I'm k-keeping you a-away from them? I..."

I catch Shizune's eye, as she looks at me with something approaching a challenge. Misha has her hands on her hips, and her cheeks puffed out comically, as though mimicking an angry anime character. Why are they getting involved in this?

But it wouldn't do to leave for home and have my friends stay here to keep my girlfriend company, would it? "I'll call them. I think I'd rather stay here with everyone anyway. Is that alright?"

Hanako looks at me for a long moment, but then smiles and nods, just slightly.

The other girls smile to her as well. There's a moment or two of quiet, before Shizune snaps her fingers, ear-crackingly loud as always. Misha and Hanako both jump at the sound, though Misha's mentally present enough to translate, at least. "So~! That's settled. Shicchan will figure something out for all~ of us to do~! But! For now, a double date should have dinner, right~? Ahaha, Right, Shicchan~! That's right, we definitely need food~!"

While they try to get Yuuko's attention, I look to Hanako. She looks away at first, but then smiles to me. ""Th-thank you. I think it might be... f-fun."

I just give her a smile, and then turn to Yuuko to order with the others. I'm not sure how we ended up like this, all together for this date, and for Christmas itself, but... my first Christmas with Hanako really should be with my- with our friends, as well. But previously, Hanako seemed a little distant about her plans for Christmas, reading alone in her room. Right now, she's haltingly speaking with Shizune about ideas everyone can do together. Maybe I still need to believe in her a little more.

Right now, it looks like our first Christmas together is going to go just fine.

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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by Craftyatom » Tue Dec 24, 2019 7:14 pm

PKMNthiefChris wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:42 am
Almost Home For Christmas
Thank you for tackling my prompt! Your story's short, but sweet. The interaction between Saki and Hisao is fluid and believable, and their relationship is set up well, given how little exposition we get. It sometimes feels like the pacing is a bit fast, but I suppose that's kind of the point of a simple prompt and quick one-shot; there's an issue, they (somewhat ham-handedly) figure it all out, and spend the holidays together. Well done!

I get the impression that, in trying to write a rather hands-off prompt, I ended up making it a bit more difficult for you by adding so few constraints. Or maybe I'm overthinking things, who knows. Thank you again for writing it!
Main route: COM(promise)
One-shots: Crafty's One-Shots (Brief Exchanges, Dark Winter Sky, Dreamy, Project Blue Curtain, and more!)
Old poetry: Google Drive Collection

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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by sgtpepper » Tue Dec 24, 2019 8:42 pm

Victim: Tetrax333
Prompt: Rin goes Christmas shopping alone for a friend.
A light layer of snow gently crunched under my feet as I walked. It’d been lightly snowing since I’d left my dorm, gradually accumulating on the icy sidewalk. I was dressed appropriately for the weather, or rather as appropriately as I could be. I idly ran my fingers over my uniform jacket. It wasn’t the warmest, but it was still better than no jacket at all, even if only by a thin margin.

There was nobody else walking around, the air heavy with the distinct silence of a winter's night. A few businesses still had their lights on, their muted glow illuminating my face as I passed by. The Shanghai was open, surprisingly. As far as I knew, Yuuko was their only employee, and it was probably too late for her shift to still be going, especially with tonight being Christmas Eve.

Admittedly, I wasn’t as familiar with the other businesses in town. My introduction to town, via Shizune and Misha, hadn’t allowed me to get acquainted with much beyond the Shanghai and the convenience store.

Shizune and Misha had come by, actually, to invite me to come with them for Christmas. I politely declined. I would’ve felt out of place. I didn’t feel like we were all that close, but maybe things were different to them.

I’d also turned down their invitation in the half-baked hope that my parents would get time off for Christmas and have me come back home. Those hopes had been extinguished, however, when Mom had called me before her evening shift. She offered to let me come home anyway, but I turned her down. In the past, I could’ve gone with friends to the arcade or park if my parents weren’t around, but now they were so estranged from me that I’d just end up sitting around, alone.

A patch of ice caught my foot, breaking my trance and forcing me to focus on the scene in front of me again. The snow was accumulating steadily; there looked to be about a quarter-inch on the road now as I continued towards my destination.

~

The lights of the convenience store drowned out those of the surrounding houses and homely businesses as I approached. Unlike the crypt-like silence of the deserted town, the convenience store had a steady stream of people going in and coming out while a Christmas-y song played. I’d read that convenience stores were especially busy on Christmas Eve, when everyone was busy with preparations for the next day.

I shuffled through the aisles, trying to keep my head down while idly studying the other people in the store. Most of them were older, wearing thick coats and idly shuffling down the isles with small piles of goods in their hands. I recognized the green uniforms of some students from Yamaku. I quickly diverted my gaze from them, not wanting to create an awkward situation or accidentally stare at a missing limb or other physical condition. Not that it really mattered, though, since I didn’t recognize any of the students beyond perhaps seeing them once or twice in the hallways.

A pair of tied off sleeves caught my attention. I didn’t have to look at her face to remember her name. Rin was unique, as she seemed to view me with as much apathy as I viewed her. I looked away quickly, but she still spoke.

“Hello.”

Her voice was monotone, and when I looked up I saw she had an expression to match.

“Hello.”

I paused, uncertain if I should add to my greeting. Seeing that Rin was making no move to do so herself, I spoke again.

“What are you doing out here, Rin?”

“Buying. At least that’s what I wanted. I don’t think Emi would like this, though.”

She nodded at the items on the shelf. I had to agree with her, I don’t think Emi would appreciate a stick of deodorant as a gift, unless Rin was trying to tell her something. I smiled slightly.

~

The cashier handed me my receipt. I took my bag with the other hand, absentmindedly stuffing the receipt into my uniform pocket, where it joined Rin’s. I’d ended up just buying some instant noodles, while Rin had just bought a small can of coffee. I paid for both, as the cost was negligible and Rin didn’t seem to have any interest in paying. Rin was still standing by the door, looking at me with her with her trademarked deadpan expression.

We exited the store, stepping out into the now snow-covered town. I rummaged around in the bag and pulled the can out, holding it out to her. She looked at me for a second.

“Pocket.”

If there was one thing to admire about Rin, it was her straightforwardness. Drawing closer, I awkwardly slid the bag down my arm so I could use my hand to pull her pocket open. After a few tries, I slid the can into her pocket. She was wearing her normal uniform pants with sandals on her feet.

I backed away and began to turn around. I still hadn’t accomplished my half-assed goal of exploring the town. Perhaps there was an arcade or a park somewhere that I could go to, just like old times. Rin would probably just go back to the dorms. Hell, she might even live in town and could go home.

I hadn’t gotten very far before a voice sounded behind me.

“Hisao.”

I turned around to see Rin still standing where I left her.

“Aren’t you coming?”

I looked at her blankly.

“Coming where?”

“Back.”

I almost turned her down and kept walking. I wasn’t in the mood to socialize. I needed to just carry on, wandering around aimlessly until… I felt better, or something. Despite all of that, though, I found myself walking with Rin as we started back towards Yamaku.

~

The walk back was considerably harder than earlier. The sidewalk was blanketed in the still-falling snow. I absently worried about Rin as she trudged through the snow in open-toed shoes, but she showed no signs of distress.

We talked as we made our way back. She caught me off guard by talking about her life. She was from a well-off family; her parents were able-bodied and quite successful. Her mother had been a singer, and her father was a locally famous lawyer. It’d been her father’s idea to send her to Yamaku, where she would remain year-round. Her mother had tried to protest, but couldn’t bring herself to go against her husband.

The way she delivered it all in her normal monotone, matter-of-fact manner of speaking made it all the more sad, as it made it sound like she just viewed it as normal to be evicted by her parents.

“I don’t think Dad likes me.”

My mouth shot open, part in shock but also part in instinct to say something reassuring.

“I…”

Say something, dammit!

Say what? “I’m sure that’s not true?” Given how direct she was, I’m pretty sure “that” was actually true. I can’t even tell her that I know what it’s like - sure, I wasn’t extraordinarily close with my parents either, but they’d never thrown me out.

We’d stopped walking. She stood a few paces in front of me. Her shoulders shook with what I assumed were restrained sobs.

“Well… I like you.”

I was able to phrase it like an off-hand rebuttal to her statement, but it was obvious how much weight such a sentence carried.

I took a step towards her, but she suddenly turned and ran into me with such force that I nearly fell over. Her sobs broke the tranquil quietness of the night as I embraced her tightly.

~

The warmth of her room was a nice contrast after being out in the snow for so long. The warmth combined with her faint cinnamon scent was like a heavy blanket, luring me to sleep. Rin was snuggled against my chest, her tie flopped to the side. Gently stroking her hair, I surrendered myself to sleep as the snow continued to fall outside.

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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by Downix » Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:42 pm

A Hidden Obsession

Victim: PabloPabloPablo
Prompt: Class 3-3 has a secret Santa event just before winter finals. The rest is up to the writer.


Puzzled, I turn the slip of paper over in my hand a few times. No matter how I read it, the answer is the same.
On the paper, a name.
Akio Hayashi
Who?
It's someone in my class, but beats me who it could be.
Wait, let's try a process of elimination.
Akio's a boy's name, so, let's limit it to the boys.
Guy in the corner with the headband's name is… Haruhiro, or Haruhiko, something like that. Behind me is Taro. There's the beret guy, um… Maeda, right. The other guy on the front row has a French name. That leaves me with… the boy sitting next to Hanako, with the cane.
So, a secret Santa exchange for a kid I've never spoken to, hung out with, or even knew existed.
Such fun.

Observation Journal, Day 2…

Why am I putting up with Kenji's madness, and actually writing down "Observation Journal" in the first place? Having approached him to learn about Hayashi, I was given binoculars, camouflage paint, three fake passports (where is Djibouti anyways?), a bucket of glue, and about 500 one cent Euro coins in a nylon bag. Oh, and this journal.
"Target is at 4 o'clock," comes the voice over the walkie talkie.
Groaning I message back, "What does that even mean?"
"Look over your left shoulder!" Kenji barks at me through the small handheld device.
Turning that way with the binoculars, I see him, limping along while talking to a pair of girls. One of them is the girl who sits next to him behind Misha, the other a girl I'm not familiar with.
That reminds me, I should call Nanako tonight to see how she did on her university prep test.
This mall should tell me what I need to know about what his interests are. Checking the 'target file' Kenji prepped, if he's right they will hit the bookstore. Just need to find out what books he likes, and present picked.
And there they go, approaching the entryway… and walk right past it.
"Dammit," I curse as I move to follow them. Past otaku shops, comics, the group finally stops at… a cosplay store? Well, he is with two girls. Guess it's for them.
Casually observing through the binoculars, I see little of note, other than Akio waiting while the girls picked over the garment racks.
When he looks over the magazine racks, I quickly focus on the titles. As I read the titles he picks out, a plan of action sets in.

Wearing the scarf I'd received from my own Secret Santa, and thanking whomever got for the warm present, I idly watch as Akio opens his box. Once in sight, his face freezes in amusement before he withdraws the magical girl wand from within.
The room erupts in laughter as he barks out with, "Okay, which one of you got this? Fess up! Come on!"

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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by Craftyatom » Wed Dec 25, 2019 12:17 am

I use my one-shot thread for all my secret santa posts, but I figured I'd make a post on this thread as well, for consistency (and to make Mirage's job easier):

From Craftyatom for Oddball - The Waiting Games
Main route: COM(promise)
One-shots: Crafty's One-Shots (Brief Exchanges, Dark Winter Sky, Dreamy, Project Blue Curtain, and more!)
Old poetry: Google Drive Collection

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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by Downix » Wed Dec 25, 2019 12:26 am

Excellent work from everyone as ever.

As for the RNG, I firmly believe that it is a magical system designed to get the ideal prompt to the right writer. Perhaps an Ouija board like arrangement.

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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by PsychicSpy » Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:13 am

Just in time for Christmas, too!

Victim: nuclearstudent
Prompt: We were alone in the storm together, and so grew close. It seemed as if the rain would never end; as if it would drown us and drag us away from our shelter without a trace left behind. We smiled regardless.

'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Misha couldn’t sleep. As she turned over onto her other side, she flashed a glance at the digital clock on the nightstand.

“1:00 AM,” she groaned. On top of everything that had gone wrong today, now she couldn’t even sleep? On the one night of the year where you’re actually supposed to sleep. Christmas Eve. She kept replaying the Hakamichi Christmas party and the disaster it had been. It was all her fault, too.

She tossed a few more times before sighing deeply and throwing off the covers. She’d get some water; if anything, it would at least distract her for a moment. She tiptoed out of her room. The floorboards in the Hakamichi guest room were notoriously squeaky, and Misha had no intention of talking to anybody, or ruining anybody else’s night.

Making her way out of the room and down the hall successfully, Misha began to descend. The kitchen was through the living room from where the stairs ended. As she crept down the stairs, she heard a low voice murmuring something. She moved slowly and stopped close to the end of the steps.

“It’s Christmas, honey. Shizune is 18, and Hideaki is 15,” the low, male voice said. It was coming from the large lounge chair off to the side of the room. A fire crackled and popped in the hearth.

“It’s been a real challenge raising them. Shizune is starting to step into her own, and even though she’s at that school, she’s still a handful. She even brought her boyfriend home this Christmas. Can you imagine? Our Shiichan, with a boyfriend? He seems a little submissive for her, but maybe he’ll become a man with her.” It was definitely Shizune’s dad, and he seemed to be talking to something he was holding.

“Hideaki, on the other hand, is by far not a man. In fact, I believe he might trend in the other direction. It’s a little embarrassing, seeing him try to emulate a woman, but maybe he too will recognize that he should emulate me instead, or even his cousin. I may not agree with your brother all the time, but Akira’s a good kid. Masculine role model for Hideaki, at the very least. He still has a few more years, and maybe his peers in high school will make him see differently about his style,” Mr. Hakamichi continued. Misha decided it would be best not to interrupt him and just to try to get water later. She turned around to go back up the steps and carefully began to make her way back to her room.

Squeak! The step cried out. Mr. Hakamichi leaned over from the chair and swung his head. “Who goes there at this late hour?” Misha knew the jig was up, and besides, she’d already fucked up enough as it was. She nervously came back down the stairs and stood at the bottom.

“My apologies, Mr. Hakamichi,” Misha said, bowing her head. “I was coming down the stairs to get some water from the kitchen.”

“Well then, go get your water,” Shiichan’s father said angrily as he pointed at the kitchen door. Misha quickly scurried to the kitchen and filled a glass at the sink. ‘You fucked up, Misha,’ she told herself. ‘You disappointment. Why didn’t you just keep to yourself and stay in your room? You should just go up, crawl back in, and stay there for the rest of the time here.’ She hurriedly walked out into the living room, but Mr. Hakamichi snapped his fingers.

“Come here,” he commanded, and Misha slowly moved back to the armrest of the chair. She noticed a picture frame was sitting in his lap. A younger man with a full grown beard was smiling, his arm interlocked with a smiling young woman. She was wearing a floral yukata, with a familiar looking hairpiece.

“Is that your wife?” Misha blurted out. She immediately looked down at her feet, embarrassed again. She expected him to lash out, verbally or maybe even physically, but he just sighed.

“Yes. Yes it is. This was us on Tanabata. This picture was taken soon before I proposed to her,” he explained. “She was so beautiful. We met through work, and I knew I was falling in love with her early on. I tried to woo her, and despite the best efforts of her brother, she fell for me too.” He looked directly at her. “Have you ever been in love?”

Misha reflected back on every time she had teased Shiichan, and every time Shiichan had teased right back. “Yes, sir,” she said quietly.

“And have you ever lost it?” The next question provoked her thoughts. She had watched on as Shiichan had grown more and more attached to Hiichan, and it was nice to see her so happy. A part of her realized though that it meant that they truly would never have a future together. There was no hope for her, and that it was only a matter of time before they started doing couple things without her.

“Yes,” she replied again, biting her lip to keep her emotions in.

“I can tell.” Misha looked up at him surprised. His eyes were sympathetic. “Sometimes, the older generation can tell things. That’s why your generation should respect us. We are much wiser than you are.” Not expecting a reply, he added, “Don’t worry; your secret is safe with me.”

Thank you, Mr. Hakamichi,” Misha quickly responded. He waved off as if it was nothing.

“I lost her 11 years ago. Cancer,” he said, looking back down at the picture, his voice getting lower.

“I’m very sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you. Christmas time was always a time for us to be together as a family. She wasn’t just my wife; she was my partner, my friend. And Christmas is so hard without her.” His voice was beginning to waver. Misha delicately placed her hand on his shoulder.

“It’s ok, Mr. Hakamichi,” Misha said, trying to make him feel better. He sniffed a bit, and patted the armrest. She sat down on it. She thought about how she had run away from the Christmas Party, after seeing Hiichan and Shiichan kiss under the mistletoe, and how her depression had brought her down to a low point.

“Thank you, pink girl,” he replied, wiping his eyes. He sighed shakily. “And to you as well. You seem like a nice girl despite your flaws. I’m sure the right girl will come along for you.”

He stood. And pulled her into a bear hug. She slowly wrapped her arms around him as well. He released her after a moment, and smiled. “This was a good talk. Thank you for humoring an old man, even if showing emotions is weak.”

“It was no problem, Mr. Hakamichi. And thank you for the kind words,” she responded. He smiled, his eyes twinkling with some sort of hope. It was a strange look for him.

“Now run on to bed, so that Santa may come and visit this house.” Misha smiled at him. She walked towards the stairs and paused at the bottom.

“Merry Christmas, Mr. Hakamichi.”

“Merry Christmas, pink girl.”
NO KATAWA BAD
My collection of oneshots
Avenues of Communication: One of the best Shizune/Hisao fics I've read, written by Lap
S10 entry (Misha oneshot)

NuclearStudent
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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by NuclearStudent » Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:18 am

That was sweet. I did not expect that.

I'm surprised that Jiggy took Misha's feelings of romantic attraction seriously. I know I don't treat teenage love with any seriousness at all.

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cpl_crud
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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by cpl_crud » Wed Dec 25, 2019 4:24 am

Here's mine - I hope that I met the deadline...! I'm not sure if it's too short (as I have read some of the others) but I hope that this is what you were looking for. Merry Christmas
Victim: MoashLannister (Detective Emu)
Prompt: A working adult Hisao is able to have the holidays off to spend some quality Winter-time with his loving wife and child....except the wife cannot be any of the main six KS girls.

A Winter at Home.

Damnit. Will this traffic ever move?
The taxi driver’s shoulders slump ever so slightly, as if he can sense my growing tension. I’m not sure what his problem is, I’ve been watching the meter trickle ever higher since we got stuck on this on-ramp. It’s been half an hour since the last intersection and yet I can still see the tri-coloured lights through the rear of the car. Plumes of exhaust, condensed by the frigid air, trail lazily from the back of the cars lined up in front of us. In them I can see the red and orange blinking lights signalling the calamity ahead that has kept us trapped.
“I’m sorry sir… what time is your flight?”
I look at my watch; my brain trying to look polite and not signal that I’m not counting every second to take-off.

“It departs in 45 minutes. I only have carry-on and I’m checked in.”

“Hmm.”

That doesn’t fill me with much confidence. I’m hoping that I can somehow get into the priority security lane, else I’m doomed. I bite my bottom lip in frustration. I want to scream, to punch the roof – something to vent some of the tension that is building up within me, but I also don’t need this driver to kick me out of his ride in this traffic.

In a way, it’s my own fault for taking an assignment on Christmas Eve. Originally it was a great idea; jam a few extra days into the pre-holiday period so that I could have an uninterrupted fortnight with the family. It’s typically unheard of in Japan, but the kids had been dreaming of going away for so long that I knew I had to do something.

But if I miss this flight, it means another night in Tokyo. That means we miss the flight out of Sendai, and at this time of year every seat is booked out. Six months of planning, of begging for overtime, of negotiation with the boss – gone.
Maybe I should call the wife and have her go ahead with the kids on her own. I’ll work something out. I wonder how long it would take to kayak to Okinawa…?

The taxi lurches forward another five meters before stopping again, jerking me from my scheming.
I let out a sigh as I realise the futility of fulminating in the back of the taxi. Que sera sera and all that.

Whatever will be…

Damnit, why do I keep doing this to myself? And why now, when I want to calm down? What is it about the human brain that makes us relive our worst days over and over again? Here I am, with a great life; a beautiful wife, talented children and a well-paying job, and yet not a week goes by that I’m haunted by the mistakes I made in high school, nearly a decade ago.
Everyone has those formative experiences; the mistakes that rattle you from your self-centred worldview and show you that you need to appreciate others. And, by the very nature of that metamorphosis, they are embarrassing moments. The unrequited lover letter sent to someone who barely knows you. The public speaking event at school where you made a fool of yourself. That time you thought it was OK to wear a hoodie from the internet to class. That time you got 100 likes on a Facebook post and you boasted to your friends that you were about to “go viral” and “become an influencer”.

And then there are those of us whose “moments” were much more personal, but are somewhat more influential.

Like me.

Most days I don’t remember that fateful evening, but on the days that I do, I can still see it clearly. I can see the orange-red sun streaking through the windows. The cheap, government-issued bedsheets crumpled up atop the bed. Hanako’s tears wrapping her eyes; a salty mixture of rage and dismay.

Maybe I never really recovered from that dressing down. Maybe part of me retreated within myself and didn’t want to expose my core to anyone. For one, it did make me take a back seat in my relationships. Without making the tiny deposits that are required in relationship, all my friendships evaporated by the time I finished my first year of university. I’m sure I’m still friends with everyone on Facebook, but I haven’t logged in there for nearly a year. Maybe I should. I know I missed the 10-year anniversary last year because I had drifted that far from everyone. I guess that means I have 4 more years before the next event.

Sometimes I wonder if that incident was the reason that it took me another five years before starting another relationship, and also the breakneck pace we moved at once we met. Married in 10 weeks, pregnant in 14 – was that me simply trying to make it harder to leave me – to reject me…?
Stress does strange things to the mind. It pulls it in ways that you could never imagine it would go on its own. And the stress of this traffic is driving me slowly insane. The darkness calls me, and it is fuelled by those wispy plumes of exhaust.

This is why I hate cities. I hate running late. I hate traffic. But most of all, I hate myself. I hate myself for taking this extra assignment, for not leaving a day between work finishing and the trip starting, and for not leaving the hotel with enough time to get to the airport. I could have taken the train and made it with time to spare, but that seemed too much of a hassle. I could have had less to drink last night, gone to bed a little earlier… any number of things that would have prevented me getting myself into this situation, but I didn’t, because I am an idiot.

A terrible, self-loathing idiot.

Sorry, I’m not sure if I’m going to make my plane…

I tap out the message on my phone. I don’t think that I could face a phone call over something like this. If I don’t say it out loud then maybe it won’t become real. It gives me time to gauge the reaction, to find someone else to blame.

Did we get travel insurance? Would this be covered?

Just how much money did we spend? The tickets were discounted so there’s no way we’ll get a refund. I’ll never live this down.

Ok honey, be safe! We’ll work something out. Love you!

The message pops back up on my phone almost as soon as I sent it. She’s watching.

The taxi’s engine revs a little, and we pull forward a little… but there’s something different this time. To my left I see the bright red glow of a warning flare… and another… A policeman with a flashing signal baton is spinning it furiously at the taxi driver. The engine revs as we are directed past the flipped car. As the taxi picks up speed I barely have time to survey the accident that caused our delay, but I can at least see two firefighters grappling with the jaws of life as they cut open the car’s a-frame.

“Looks like you still might make it…” the taxi driver mentions as he pours on the speed in the now-empty freeway.
“T-thanks,” I stammer. So what if I miss the flight, or we miss our holiday? At least I’m going home, in one piece.
Things could have been worse…

Que sera sera.
My Novel - Now available The Zemlya Conspiracy
Blog: http://cplcrud.WordPress.com

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<Suriko> Crud would be patting Hanako's head
<Suriko> In a non-creepy fatherly way
<NicolArmarfi> crud is trying to dress hanako up like miku and attempting to get her to pose for him in headphones and he burns money

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