Saber Marionette Fan Fiction ❯ Gifts ❯ It's a Wonderful...Plate?! ( Chapter 4 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]
Gifts: Chapter Four

Lady Aoi's Notes: Watch for the director's cut later this summer ^_~


"Ahh-AHHH!! Yumeji that HURT!!"

"Hang on, Onii-sama," the little boy soothed as he reached down to pull a final strip of tape from his brother's left leg. "Almost done..."

"Well, hurry up and finish, Yumeji! This tape is beginning to chafe and --"


"DAA-OWWWWWWWW!!!" Hanagata screamed, rubbing his arm furiously. Yumeji and his ponta friend's eyes widened in tandem as Hanagata leapt to his feet and began jumping up and down, howling in pain and clutching his arm.


Yumeji merely blinked as he crumpled the final piece of festive green tape into a ball and added it to the pile of small tape balls in the trash bag at his side. "But, Onii-sama," he said, in the most reasonable tone of voice he could muster after three hours of removing tape from the skin of his screaming, crying, swearing and tantrum-throwing sibling. "If you'd just sat there quietly, it woulda been over sooner and hurt a whole lot less."

"Oh, shut up!!!" Hanagata bawled, lowering his head into the crook of his elbow. Sighing, Yumeji merely stood aside as two streams of tears flooded from Hanagata's eyes for what seemed like the nine-thousandth time that evening. "You have no idea what it feels like, Yumeji! No idea what it feels like being rejected by your true love AND ON CHRISTMAS EVE, NO LESS!!"

"Well, no, but--" Yumeji sighed and shrugged his shoulders at the ponta cub as if to say 'he's right, what do I know about stuff like that?'

"Myahhh," the creature answered, shrugging helplessly.

But what, Yumeji?!?' Hanagata bellowed, looking up with tear-swollen red eyes. "He sat right there and let those filthy marionettes abuse me!" Yumeji winced as Hanagata ran his dribbling nose over the sleeve of his short Santa costume. "I bet he even threw my special Christmas gift away, too!"

"Well, it's not like it'd be some big loss, Onii-sama," Yumeji said.

"And what do you mean by *that* underhanded remark, Ototo-chan?"

"N--nothing!" Yumeji stammered, backing up slightly from his older brother's murderously scowling face. "I -- I just meant that -- um... um.... you thought it was a pretty ugly plate so..... maybe all's just well that ends well this time, huh? Oh, don't do that, Onii-sama!" he cried as Hanagata's face crumpled into another fit of bawling. "I'm sure he liked it fine!!"

"N--no he didn't! *sniff sniff* O--otaru-kun hates everything I give him and everything I do for him!! I bet he threw it away, or gave it to that awful Cherry to use as a serving dish *sniff sniff*. Really, and it's a decorative plate o--only, Yumeji!! You aren't supposed to eat off it, and that's just what those she-devils are going to do!!"

"You're shaking me again, Onii-sama," Yumeji sighed and rolled his eyes as Hanagata buried his face against the young boy's shoulder and began crying again. Sighing, Yumeji sat down next to his brother and gently began stroking his hair, as if comforting a hurt and frightened child. "Onii-sama..."


"Have you ever thought that, well --" Yumeji struggled for a moment to put the question in the right words (i.e. tactfully enough to prevent his older brother from sending *him* into orbit that night) "I mean... have you ever thought that maybe you and Otaru-san just weren't meant to be together?"

Hanagata answered this question by emitting a pathetic-sounding gurgle, burp, and hiccup.

"I mean, you're really a cool guy, Onii-sama, and maybe... maybe Otaru-san just can't see that. But I'm sure there are lots of guys out there who'd just love it if you wanted to be their soul mate."

"Oh really? Nabe wond!"

Ignoring the snot Hanagata was currently dribbling onto his shoulder, Yumeji thought for a moment. "Well, what about one of the guys that lives on the other side of the street? I think Soujiro-san thinks you're kinda cute."

"Soujirow-sad iz tagken, Yubeggie. And besigs, ghe's too olg for me."

"Well, what about one of Daddy's friend's sons?" Yumeji asked, smoothing a lock of hair away from Hanagata's wet forehead. "They're all nice guys, I'm sure!"

"Humphf! Daggy's friends thing I'b an idiot, Yubeggie. Rebember thag party we had and thag awful gabe they played?"

"Oh..." Yumeji shuddered slightly as he recalled the impromptu game of 'Throw Mitsurugi over Joshyua's roof' that had errupted at his father's last party. Even Kamatarou had been a little shaken by the sight of fifteen hearty young men, the sons of some of his best friends, hurling his eldest boy back and forth as if he were nothing more than a rag doll. "Well, um, how about Obiichi-san?"

"He lobz bmarioneggs eben more thag Otaru-kug."

"Uh... well, how about Gennai -san?" Inwardly, Yumeji winced at the mental image. "Uh... I mean he is a guy, afterall... I think..."

"You're really gettig desperate now, huh Yubeggie?"

"Uh... well.... I'm sure the right guy will come along eventually, Onii-sama. You've just gotta be patient, that's all!"

Hanagata was silent for a few seconds. And then: "BUT I'B HAPPY WITH THE WRONG MAN WHOSE HERE NOW, YUBEGGIE!!!!" he wailed, grabbing onto his head and shaking it back and forth furiously.

Yumeji sighed. "Okay, Onii-sama... okay. Why don't you just relax a little while I go warm up a cup of egg nog for you, or something. Can you do that?"

Hanagata whimpered like a hurt kitten, curled up in a ball, and began thrashing around on his bed. Deciding this was the only answer he was going to get, Yumeji shrugged and padded off to the apartment's small kitchen.

"Hey, ponta-kun? Let's have a little of that egg nog too, okay?" he muttered to the maroon creature. "After a night like this, I think we deserve to get a little tipsy."

"Myah MYAHHH!!"

As soon as the door to the kitchen closed, Hanagata sat up, made certain Yumeji had left the room, and then went back to rolling and sobbing at an increased pace. He was so busy doing this, he didn't hear the knock on the front door until the frustrated visitor took it upon himself to push the door open and enter uninvited.

"Hey, Hanagata," Otaru said softly. "Hanagata?" he asked again as the blonde boy continued to roll (and quite immodestly, too!) across his bed. "Hanagata?"

"Aww, leave me alone," the older boy sniveled, burying his head beneath the crescent moon-shaped pillow on his bed. "Just leave me alone and let me die in peace from my broken, broken heart!"

"Oh for --" Otaru rolled his eyes. "Oi, Hanagata! You're behaving like a spoiled brat."

"I don't care!! I'm going to have a terrible Christmas morning, anyway, so why bother?! I might as well cry all my tears out now, before Daddy beats them out for getting him the wrong present, or for speaking out of turn, or for some other offense."

"Aw, stop pitying yourself, ya big ninny! If you'd just --" Otaru blinked as the full weight of Hanagata's words sank in. "Huh? Your father hits you if you get him the wrong present?"

The moon-shaped pillow only wiggled a little in response.

"But --" Otaru scratched his head. "But why's that?"

"Because he hates me!" Hanagata wailed, still not looking up.

"Oi, Hanagata, I'm sure that isn't the --"

"It is so! He says I'm a silly, worthless fool who costs more than it's worth to keep him and --" Hanagata simply whimpered for a few moments before getting enough control over himself to continue. "--and that I'm too stupid to be worthy of such an honorable family name."

"Aw, I'm sure he doesn't mean it! He's probably just exaggerating, or --"

"Or what?"

Otaru sighed and shrugged, despite the fact his next door neighbor was unable to see the movement. "Well, I mean... maybe he just thinks that -- that he's doing the right thing or -- "

"Face it," Hanagata cut in. "He hates me. Humph. I could give him the moon and he wouldn't be happy. And he's going to show me how unhappy he is tomorrow."

Otaru just stood there as his next door neighbor proceeded to cry and shake. Huh... so Hanagata had been telling the truth the entire time. Who would have guessed? "Well..." he began again, deciding not to argue with the boy over the personality of a man he'd never met. "I'm sure that... well, that not everyone hates you, Hanagata."

A hiccup that sounded vaguely like an "oh yeah?!" came from beneath the pillow.

"Of course not," Otaru looked around, desperately struggling to come up with a person fitting said description. "Well... I mean... there's Yumeji. He doesn't hate you, right?"

"He's my ototo-chan. He's expected to." Hanagata whimpered miserably.

"Look," Otaru sighed, realizing he was entirely out of options. "Just... nobody hates you, okay?"

"Then why ...." the hero of Japoness had to strain forward to hear his neighbor's next few choked words. "Then why does *everyone* act like...."

"Act like what, Hanagata?" Ignoring his own impulses to stay rooted safely away from Hanagata's bed (and thus, the strong possibility of being hugged, kissed and/or otherwise molested by its current occupant), Otaru found himself sitting down on the pink and lavender satin sheets, anyway.

He needn't have worried, though. Hanagata didn't even look up as Otaru repeated his question.

"Act like what, Hanagata?"

"Like I'm..." a soft, sad sigh escaped his lips. "Like I'm invisible..."

Otaru rolled his eyes. "Aw, hell. Snap out of it, Hanagata! You sure the hell weren't invisible tonight at dinner. People tend to notice when you jump on the table and flash your underwear at them, you know."

"You didn't think it was sexy?" Otaru did his best to stifle a glare as Hanagata peeked out at him from beneath his fortress of pillows.

"Hell, no! Jeeze, Hanagata! Like I'd find staring at anyone's underwear -- uh, to be that."

"You would if it were Lime's, or Cherry's or -- or anyone's but mine!" Otaru narrowly managed to dodge two more jet streams of tears (~How does he do that, anyway?~) as Hanagata buried his face in his hands and began wailing again.

"Then it is true!! You do hate me, after all!"

"Hanagata, for god's sweet sake, just shut up and listen for a second okay?!?" When the blonde finally stopped crying and turned his now even more red and swollen eyes to him, Otaru stared down at the covers, and began picking at a small stain.

"Listen, nobody hates you. But nobody wants you interrupting dinner and being a jerk either, okay? Do you understand."


"Hanagata, when are you going to learn that your life doesn't revolve around us? And that ours doesn't revolve around you? Normal people just don't barge into other people's houses in --" Otaru waved his hand helplessly at Hanagata's short costume "-- in stuff like that and start throwing insults out, okay?"

"I just wanted to..."


"I just wanted to *sniff sniff* have a good Christmas for once, Otaru-kun. Do you understand?"

Sighing, Otaru looked the young man over. Long, almost feminine legs made even longer by his skimpy red and white Santa outfit, clumsy gangly hands currently wiping at a dribbling nose, and a pair of small eyes, the blue irises of which were now inflamed into a despondent and puffy violet.

~It's the most pathetic thing I've ever seen...~

"Yeah, well," he said after a moment, being careful to make his voice as gentle as possible. "You coulda done that by just asking if you could come over, you know?"

"Just so you could slam the door in my face?"

"Hanagata --!" the young man winced and crawled back against his pillows as Otaru struggled to control his temper. "For god's sake, we only slam the door in your face because you're always storming in on things! If you just knocked for once and asked nicely to come in, maybe the girls'd like you better.... and maybe if you weren't such a prick about your gifts, they'dve liked those, too."

"They didn't get me anything, and I'm supposed to be the one who's not behaving correctly?!?" Hanagata scowled darkly.

"Hey now, wait a second," Otaru held up his hands defensively as Hanagata's right eyebrow began its characteristically apoplectic twitching. "That isn't exactly true."

"Oh really? So what did they get me? A few broken bones, a lot of arm hair lost due to duct tape?!"

"I could have done without the mental image, Hanagata," Otaru winced. "And anyway, it's not that at all. After you left, um..."

"You decided you never want to see me again? Thanks for breaking it gently, Otaru-kun."

"Now, damn it, will you stop being sarcastic and just listen? After you left, I saw your present. That was nice of you to get me one, thanks."

Hanagata just blinked. "You mean, you actually liked that monstrosity?"

Otaru shrugged. "It made me laugh. And it also made me realize that I didn't buy you a darn thing. I'm sorry about that, Hanagata," he said as he pulled a small package out of his pocket. "You see, I came over here because -- well, because I wasn't the only one in the wrong tonight, okay?"

Hanagata eyed the package suspiciously. "That isn't going to explode when I open it or anything, right Otaru-kun?"

"No, it's just a normal gift."

"It's not something nasty."

"Uh, no..."

"You're not trying to get me to help wash your dishes are--"


"Oh..." Hanagata gulped and took the small parcel from his friend. "A--alright." Otaru watched as the young man slowly removed the purple ribbon and the wrapping paper, as if the gift might come alive and bite him at any moment. But upon seeing the look of delighted surprise that crossed Hanagata's face as he opened the small box, one would not have been able to guess this.

"Oh... Otaru-kun.... y--you really shouldn't have! It's so-- so expensive...and oh so magnificent..."

"Yeah, well, I got a Christmas bonus at the Happi Burger, and I figured, if you bought me something so nice, then maybe you deserved something..."

But Hanagata was no longer listening. He was busy cradling the Krystal Kave special edition Mamiya Otaru glass plate as if it were a holy relic.

"Oh, Otaru-kuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun..."

"Hey, now, woah, Hanagata!" Otaru protested as the young man dropped the plate gently on the bed and threw his arms around his neck, wrapping his friend in a near-asphyxiating embrace."


And sighting, Otaru returned the embrace, gently hugging Hanagata's back. For a long moment, the two friends merely sat there, wrapped in each other's arms. At last, Otaru pulled himself free.

"It's getting late," he said, glancing at the clock. "I promised to read Lime *The Night Before Christmas*, and I think Cherry needs some help washing up." Hanagata blushed slightly as Otaru returned his hand to his friend's shoulder. "Are you gonna be okay now? I mean, with your father and Christmas and all..."

Hanagata gave him a truly radiant smile. "Now that you're here, I know I'll be fine. Thank you, Otaru-kun."

"Yeah... aw, it was nothin'."

The two stared at each other for a moment.

"Well, Merry Christmas, Hanagata."

"Merry Christmas, Otaru-kun."

Another long pause. Neither looked away. And finally, "Otaru-kun?"


"We're sitting under the mistletoe."

"Huh?" Otaru looked upwards and sighed. "Hanagata, you're supposed to hang that over the damn door!"

"Heh. And what's wrong with making a little tradition for oneself?"

"...." for once, Otaru realized he couldn't argue with him. "I suppose nothing."

"But then, some traditions are nice to keep, aren't they?"

"Yeah, I guess so."

"So, Otaru-kun... w--will you?"

Otaru shrugged. "Just make it quick."

"Thank you."


And slowly, Otaru leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss on Hanagata's cheek. "Merry Christmas," he whispered to the stunned Hanagata. And with that, he was gone back into the night.

Hanagata could only stand there for a moment, his fingers splayed lightly over his right cheek as if to retain the sensation of Otaru's lips on his skin for the rest of eternity. And as he stood there, his face slowly turned a dark and happy crimson.

"Otaru-kun kissed me.... Otaru-kun kissed me...."

Grinning ear to ear, Hanagata jabbed his finger at Kamatarou's scowling portrait.

"Hahahah! In your face, Daddy! Otaru-kun KISSED MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!" And with that, he leapt off the ground and through the ceiling.


"Hey, Onii-sama," Yumeji said, sliding the door to his brother's room open again, "I got your egg nog all ready, so...oh."


Yumeji and Ponta-kun stared up through the Hanagata-shaped hole in the roof just in time to see a Hanagata-shaped figure shooting happily through the sky.


Yumeji sighed and gulped down some of his brother's drink. "I'm glad he's so happy now, Ponta-kun," he said to his small maroon friend. "Cause he sure isn't gonna be Christmas morning when he sees what robe I had to buy for Daddy."

"Mrah mrah meow!!"

But to the figure currently careening happily through space above them, such things, at least for the time being, no longer mattered.