DEC '03'

Disclaimer: None of the characters belong to me. FF7 is the wonder child of Square or whatever they are calling themselves now. I’m just playing with them cause they’re such nice bishies *grins*

This is YAOI - boys with boys, caring, desiring, kissing, hugging, groping…um, yeah…but that’s why you’re reading this, yes?

Christmas at Cosmo
By Garden’s Gnome

Yuffie bounced around the Cosmo Candle like all her Christmas’ had come at once. Which could almost be true. Festive lanterns and wreaths hung from every available space - doors, ladders, even the entry to Cosmo Canyon was covered in tinsel and lights. A large tree sat just beyond the circle of light cast by the ever-burning flame of the Candle, a large sack full of gifts at its base. It was this sack that had the young ninja bouncing around like a Jumping. It was beginning to drive the rest of the group nuts.

“Secret Santa, secret Santa, secret SANTA! It’s time for the gifts! Hurry up Nanaki!” the girl called as he danced around the tree.

“When I’m ready and not before, Yuffie. Good things come to those who wait. That’s what grandpa used to tell me when I was a cub,” Nanaki told Yuffie as he made his way from his place near the fire.

“Just hurry it up Red. The damn girl has been like this all-damn day. Give me poor head a rest already,” begged Cid as he fished out another cigarette. Or he tried to before his packet was stolen by Vincent and tossed into the fire. “What the hell you do that for?”

“Because you’re supposed to be quitting,” the red-eyed man told his friend quietly. “I know what you plan for a New Years Resolution and I’m wondering why wait?”

“Why wait? That was my last bloody packet and the shop here is closed. You know I’ll just buy some more tomorrow…If I can last that long,” the pilot said with a sigh as he watched Yuffie drag Marlene into bouncing around the tree with her. Barret’s daughter had been excited about getting presents, just not quite to the same extent as a certain ninja girl. Cid waved a hand at Nanaki. “Well, get on with it old man, we ain’t getting any younger and the gifts aren’t going anywhere.”

Nanaki frowned at Cid’s impatience. “I’m just waiting on Barret and Reeve. I said when I’m ready,” he growled in mock anger. Cid hid behind Vincent and laughed as Marlene dragged Yuffie over to placate their would-be ‘Santa’.

“Here they come!” called Tifa, who had been quietly talking to Cloud near the fire. The pair moved to join the rest of the group.

“Sorry that took so long,” Barret said as he knelt down beside Red, Reeve moving off to one side. A few moments later Barret stood up. Cid was the first to laugh.

“Nice beard, Santa. Love the hat too,” he called to Nanaki who now wore a large white beard that hung awkwardly from his ears and a hat that nearly covered his eyes. Cid looked at the others questioningly. “So, somebody tell me - how are we going to sit on his lap to receive our presents?” Cid dissolved into more laughter until Vincent whacked him on the back of his head.

“Behave.”

“Yeah, yeah. Only trying to have some fun. Loosen up a little,” the pilot grumbled at the ex-Turk.

“You loosen up anymore from that flask in your back pocket and you’ll be a puddle on the floor.”

“Enough!” yelled Yuffie, stamping her foot. “It’s time for the presents!”

Everyone gathered around close as Nanaki pulled open the sack and carefully pulled out the first gift, doing his best to avoid ripping the wrapping with his claws.

“Vincent, come get your gift.”

Vincent walked over and picked up the rather large present. As agreed, no names were given as to who the gift was from so they could figure it out later if they wanted. The gift seemed to be heavy but Vincent ignored it and used his extra-human strength to easily carry the item to the fire.

“Keep going, Red. I wanna see what I got,” begged Yuffie, impatient and still finding it hard to stay still as she hopped from foot to foot. Nanaki pulled another gift from the sack.

“This one is for Marlene,” he said as he used his nose to push the brightly wrapped bundle towards the girl seated next to him.

“Thank you, Santa,” she said in a small voice as she hugged him. A flash went off as Tifa took a photo.

“I want a copy of that,” Barret told her. Tifa smiled and headed off to get a photo of Vincent.

“Alright, this one’s for you Yuffie.”

“Yay!” cheered the ninja girl as she grabbed her gift and went in the same direction as Vincent. Cid and Cloud both breathed sighs of relief as the energetic girl became occupied.

“Oh my…” came Tifa’s voice from the fire.

“What is it?” asked Cloud as he went to see what was going on. Cid stopped him.

“It’s just Vinnie’s gift. Give him a few minutes,” the pilot said cryptically.

“You got Vincent something?” the blond asked as he tried to see what Tifa and now Yuffie were looking at with Vincent. Cid just nodded and motioned for Red to continue.

“Ah, my gift came out next,” Nanaki told them with a small blush as he pushed his aside to open later. “Cid, come hold this open for me.”

Cid moved over to help hold the sack open. Or he would have if he hadn’t been grabbed and hugged by a normally reticent gunman. The blond pilot was stunned for a few moments before he wrapped his arms around Vincent and held the slightly shaking man.

“You did this?” Vincent asked as he held up one of the journals that were in the chest that Cid had found for him. “You know what this may mean?”

“Yeah, you have a chance to be fully human again,” the pilot said quietly.

“Huh?” asked Barret as he took the journal from Vincent’s hand. His eyes widened in surprise as he flicked through pages of notes by Hojo from a journal found in the sunken Gelnika, notes on how to reverse what had been done to the ex-Turk. Vincent really did have a chance to be human again.

“Wow,” was all Cloud said as he read over Barret’s arm.

“Keep going,” Cid told Red as he continued to hold the slightly shocked Vincent.

“Right. Cloud, come over here and help me,” Nanaki asked the spiky haired blond.

Cloud looked at the nearly empty sack and then held it open so Nanaki could reach the bottom. He resurfaced with an envelope, a scroll and two small boxes and a soft package. He handed Cloud the envelope and Barret took one of the boxes. The scroll went to Tifa and the last box to Cid. Reeve got the package. Soon all that was heard was ripping paper sounds and small sounds of surprise.

Yuffie bounced back over and wrapped her arms around Nanaki.

“Thanks Nanaki,” she said as she held up the beaded headband with feathers that glittered with materia chips that could have only have come from him. She even managed to sit still for a few moments as Tifa fixed it in her hair.

Cloud grinned as he pulled a set of keys out of the envelope. He looked askance around the group. Someone would know what they were for.

“Bike keys, Spike,” Barret called out. Cloud flashed him a big grin.

Marlene, with Yuffie’s help, opened her bundle. Inside was a beautifully woven silk robe. Yuffie smiled and explained that it was the robe that all her family wore when going to the Pagoda. Then she invited the girl and her father to visit Wutai any time they wanted.

Barret agreed with his daughter’s pleading to visit Yuffie’s hometown as he finally got his present open. Inside was a piece of crystal from the old Corel Reactor. Embedded within it was his and Marlene’s images.

“You’re a hard man to buy something for, Barret,” Tifa told him. The older man smiled and went to show Marlene the crystal.

Cloud helped Red open his gift. Two sets of slippers fell out. Nanaki frowned at the blond man. Cloud just shrugged and wandered away to look at Tifa’s gift.

Cid laughed at the look on Reeve’s face as the man pulled a stuffed Cait Sith key ring from the wrapping. Vincent tried valiantly to hide a knowing smirk in Cid’s shoulder and joined in the laughter anyways…but silently. It wouldn’t do to have the group know about his sense of humour.

Unrolling the scroll, Tifa smiled at the images drawn in a child’s hand upon the paper. Everyone was there: Cloud, Barret, Aeris, Nanaki, Cid, Vincent, Cait Sith and herself. Even Aeris’ mother was in the picture. Tifa gave Marlene a hug for the picture and planned to frame it the first chance she got.

Cid unwrapped his arms from Vincent. Fishing his gift out of a pocket, he smiled as a set of dog tags fell out of the box. Engraved on them were the date and time of the group’s flight into space. The tags were made of the same material used for the rocket. He smiled his thanks to Reeve as he looped the tags over his head.

All gifts unwrapped and the presents put under the tree, the group moved back to the fire to talk and enjoy the food laid out for them. Christmas was still a day or two off, but there was no better way to begin the festive season than in the company of friends.

END

Notes from Gnome: Hmmm, just a little festive silliness to share with you all. I think it was M-chan who said I should’ve had Vincent as Santa. Now I’m thinking maybe Cait Sith would’ve been good too. Oh well, it’s done and I have a FF8 one to get finished. Laters! ^_^