Christmas in Death City

Of all the titles I could've come up with... Ah well, it worked at the time, and it's the one I used for the ff.net version of this story - and this time I'm submitting this work on both sites within a close time frame. But meh, it's a holiday fic (yet another one).

This fic kind of reads like a one-shot, but for reasons of length I had to split it into two parts.

Disclaimer: I do not own Soul Eater, Rugrats (referenced briefly), or Frosty the Snowman.

OOC/Screwup Warning: this is my first ever Soul Eater fanfic, so there is a slight chance I may have misportrayed some of the more subtle characters like Liz and Tsubaki (maybe even Soul and Maka to an extent).

Chapter 1: 'Twas Eight Days Before Christmas

Maka and Soul

“Done,” Maka thought aloud as she collected the final draft of her term paper from the printer. Looking outside, she realized that the downpour that had started during the lunch period still hadn’t let up. Gray skies accompanied the drizzle, and even when it stopped for a moment, water still dripped in larger drops off the edge of the roof. Christmas was but eight days away… yet rain was all they got. No snow, not even hail, just cold winter rains plagued Death City. Could things get any more depressing? With exams the next two days, Maka doubted they could.

All of her studying for the exams had been completed within the same course of typing that term paper. In fact, the aforementioned document more or less reviewed everything that was revealed to be on the test. Should she go another round, just to make sure she had all the more important concepts down and wouldn’t draw a blank at any of the questions, or would fixing something to eat be more beneficial? This was the decision that faced her now. On one hand, one last review wouldn’t hurt. On the other, part of doing well on any test entailed good eating habits and getting enough sleep.

A loud gurgling from her stomach quickly resolved that debate.

“Soul, I’m making dinner. Do you want anything specific, or…” It had just occurred to Maka that Soul didn’t even look like he was making any form of effort to study. He was just sitting there on the living room couch, remote in hand, watching TV, in the exact same position in which she left him. “Done cramming already? Or are you going to try and cheat again like last time…?”

“Maka,” Soul started.

“That doesn’t answer the question.”

“Oh, about cramming?” Soul sat up surprised, looking a bit more alert than when he was staring like a zombie at the television. “Yeah, I’m done. Only took a few minutes actually…”

“Really now?”

"Yep, really."

“If that’s so, then I’ll go over the subject matter with you again while I make dinner; another review won’t hurt, right?” Maka’s lips curved upward in a smirk.

Soul was cornered. If he objected, what were the chances that she’d walk back into her room and leave him to starve? Not that he wouldn’t be able to pop something in the microwave or call for pizza, but neither appealed to him at the moment. And if he admitted he hadn’t studied at all whatsoever, he’d just be proving her suspicions right. His head hung in defeat, he shuffled over to the kitchen table, where Maka was already setting bowls and silverware for the two of them, a set of note cards sticking out slightly from her pocket. Had she planned this further in advance than he realized? Or were they a mere scare-tactic…? He couldn’t however deny that he had seen her use some kind of note-card set with Tsubaki before class to quiz each other over the past few weeks, so for all he knew they could be the same ones. Either way, he knew he wasn’t prepared to answer any of the questions written on them. Time to use the distraction tactic. But what…? An idea sparked in his head as Maka plugged in the radio and turned the tuning dial to that one station of all the radio stations within airway range of Death City that was known to play continuous Christmas music at this time of year.

“Hey Maka?” Soul addressed her as she was pulling out a large pot, the one that came complete with a strainer. Pasta was likely to be the name of the game that night.

“What?”

“Why do we celebrate Christmas if we’re not even Christians?”

This question left Maka dumbfounded, and it showed. Soul continued to look at her intently. There was no way around his question – and why was he asking it in the first place?

“Well,” she started. “I think it’s because of the traditions that go along with it, or that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with them. Or maybe it’s just for the presents and an excuse to pig out on December 25th, I don’t know.”

“And you’re supposed to spend it with your family, right?” The last response Maka wanted to hear.

“If you’re suggesting I do anything with my Dad this Christmas, you’re insane.” As though on cue, the phone rang with her father’s name on the caller ID. She picked up the receiver and hung it up within half a second. Almost as quickly she quieted Soul’s snickering with a swift Maka-chop. “Why don’t you just admit you haven’t even thought about studying yet?”

“Whatever, you got me,” Soul replied practically on the drop of a pin. What was the use of hiding it, after all? She would’ve figured out sooner or later anyway.

“Then it’s your own fault if you fail the exams.” She flipped the faucet knob in the opposite direction to stop the water flow into the pot and placed the pot on the stove, setting the heat to high and leaving the water to boil as she took out two cans of sauce and a few fresh tomatoes. Maka figured she was still hungry anyway; there was no point in denying Soul a good dinner that night just because he hadn’t studied. As she had stated, he’d reap the rewards of his behavior in due time. That didn’t however mean she wouldn’t quiz him on certain concepts now and again throughout the night.

Kid, Liz and Patty

“It’s not possible…” Death the Kid stammered in shock at the sight. The tinsel hanging above the doorway to the living room was just a tenth of a smidgen off. The wreath on the door looked lopsided, and to some extents he thought there might be one too many decorations on one side than the other. On top of all that, Patty constantly burning the candles on the coffee table for her pure enjoyment made them uneven. “This is a disaster!” He hastily grabbed a ladder from a random closet and propped it up so he could reach, and hopefully fix, the tinsel. In the meantime, Patty was still burning the gingerbread-scented candles purely for the sake of blowing them out again when enough of the wax had melted… and then proceeding to stick her finger in the melted candle wax.

“You know, one of these days you’re gonna burn yourself doing that,” Liz remarked to her sister as she continued in her mindless activity with another candle after the wax in the other one had begun to solidify again. To Liz, at least, the warning had fallen on deaf ears. But then not even Kid’s countless pleadings before to at the very least burn both at the same rate were yielded to. While Kid proceeded to freak out and attempt to remedy any small minute detail about the Christmas decorations that wasn’t absolutely perfect, Patty was completely oblivious. He rearranged the lights on the Christmas tree ten times over to get just the right amount of lights on each side, took off all the ornaments and placed them on the tree again twice to ensure an even balance of lights and ornaments, and for one reason or another, he removed the star and did not at that time put it back on again. He hung the stockings in such a way that they would still appear to be symmetrical despite the uneven sum that was the number three, though it took him five times to get it just the way he wanted. The good thing about this all though was that it kept him sidetracked from what she was doing with the candles again, and the inevitable symmetry of his hair – or lack thereof.

As for Liz, she was honestly bored. To some extent, she felt as though she were forgetting something, something vitally important that needed to be done that day. It couldn’t be the Christmas shopping; she had taken care of that ages ago… but maybe she should double-check Kid’s gift to make sure it won’t make him freak out because of one thing or another. She sat up from the couch and went to her room to do so. Everything was in order there. Then what could she be forgetting? Decorations? Kid was handling that right now – he was the only one he’d allow to put up the decorations, and such would be keeping him busy for quite a while. She looked in the mirror to see if there was anything relating to personal grooming that she may have forgotten. Other than having broken a nail, which there wasn’t anything to be done about, there wasn’t anything of extreme concern there. If it was none of these, then what was she forgetting…? She walked back into the living room where Kid was still frantically working about the decorations, finally setting to the task of putting the star back on the tree. And on the mantle right next to the Christmas tree sat a strange structure that Liz had only seen on a Rugrats TV special back in her early youth. It was a candlestick with eight placeholders, eight unlit, perfectly even candles set in these places. While she didn’t quite recall what the strange device was called, she knew it had nothing to do with Christmas, but another holiday altogether. What was it called again, though? That she couldn’t entirely recall. It didn’t take long for Patty to notice what could be her next plaything, however. She quickly blew out the candle she had already lit and didn’t even bother to play with the wax before she ran over to the candlestick, lighter in hand.

“Patty!” Kid shouted at her from the top of the ladder where he was propping the star for the fifteenth time that night. “Don’t even think about touching any of those candles! Take the others in your room for all I care, as long as they’re out of my sight. But whatever you do, don’t touch that Menorah!” Menorah! Liz finally remembered the name. But she still was confused. Weren’t Menorahs for the Jewish Hanukkah?!

“Ohh…” Patty mused. “Okay!” She left the Menorah as is and took the candles with her lighter into her room. Now was the only time Liz could see that she could question him on his rather odd addition of decoration.

“Kid, why is there a Menorah on the mantle?” Liz asked bluntly. “You know that Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday, right?”

“So, Christmas is a Christian holiday and we still celebrate it,” Kid replied as he stepped down from the ladder. Apparently the star was finally arranged to his satisfaction. “Besides, look at the symmetry of it! Eight candles in perfect order! Besides, just because we have a Menorah doesn’t mean we celebrate Hanukkah.”

“Typically, to other people it would seem so.”

“Well let them think what they will! It’s symmetrical, so it stays.” He then proceeded to fold up the ladder and place it back where it was before. “Now that I’ve finished decorating, I can study for the exams and type up that term paper.”

It was then that it dawned on Liz what she had forgotten that she needed to do.

Black Star and Tsubaki

“Ya-Hoo!” Black Star shouted in triumph into the rainy night. He had successfully obtained the answers to the exams, and this time nothing had gotten in his way. But as he hopped from rooftop to rooftop to get back home with his loot, he began to actually think for maybe the fifth time in his entire life. His mission was too easy to accomplish. Last time, one of the teachers had beaten him to a bloody pulp and used him as a public example to the rest of the class the day of the test. This time, no one was in sight at all. He shrugged and assumed it was his greatness that had pulled him through this time around and continued roof-hopping through the rain. Yet something was nagging at the back of his mind. Not on the easiness of obtaining the answers, but something else that he had forgotten to do. A man in a red suit with white, fluffy trimming standing outside a supermarket was all it took to spark his memory.

“Crap, I’ve still gotta get Tsubaki’s Christmas present!” He exclaimed in panic. How could he, the great Black Star, the man who would one day surpass God, have forgotten something so simple as purchasing a Christmas gift for his partner? No less, he jumped down from the roof in what he thought to be a discreet manner (but really drew everyone’s attention to him) and pocketed the exam answers before entering the nearest store. When he discovered it was the supermarket and only sold food and tabloids with little credibility, he exited and continued to walk down the street in search of a store that sold the item he was looking for. While he didn’t know particularly just what he was looking for, or if he had the money, neither of these crossed his mind until he finished scanning every store in town, without finding anything that Tsubaki might particularly like.

Well that was sad… he didn’t even know his partner well enough to be able to buy her a simple gift in a traditional holiday gesture. He searched his pockets to see if he even had money and felt a folded piece of paper. It then dawned on him… the test answers? Would he share his knowledge with her? Nah, she wouldn’t accept that kind of gift. On top of that, it would be almost a week earlier than the gift is traditionally to be received. And to make matters worse, he didn’t even have enough money on him to buy an item from the dollar store. So he had to give up, for the time being. Still, he swore to the heavens, “I will get that present before December 25th! Just you wait!”

“Just a couple more paragraphs and I’ll be finished,” Tsubaki thought aloud as she sat at her desk, fingers clacking away at the keyboard working on the same term paper that Maka had just finished. As she did so, a set of notes she had taken in class the past few days sat on a clip-board as her reference material. The printer was plugged into her laptop and had just recently had the paper feeder filled after Black Star used the last of what was there before to “pass out autographs,” and the printer also had a brand-new ink cartridge installed just for the occasion. She managed to finish one of the two paragraphs remaining to conclude her paper when she heard the front door slam. “You mean he actually got the test answers without getting caught?” She asked herself as she turned her head in curiosity. Something like this happening was not likely for him, and she knew it just as well as everyone else who knew the boy. Her suspicions of something fishy going on were confirmed by a surprised yelp of shock. Sighing in annoyance, she sat up from her chair and went out into the front room to see what had occurred now. There he was, staring in utter confusion at the sheet of paper he held in his hands. Tsubaki, now curious as to what could have gone wrong, walked over to read over his shoulder. Surely enough, it was not the test answers that the two beheld, but a blurred mass of incomprehensible scribbles in smudged splotches of ink.

“Maybe that’s a sign you shouldn’t cheat on the tests anymore,” Tsubaki finally broke the steady silence that was merely dented by the sound of the drizzling rain as she headed back in the direction of her room to finish the term paper.