By Shunhades aka Female Heero Yuy (on Fanfiction.net)
Disclaimer: If I owned Gatchaman this would be in the anime.
"The tree looks lovely this year Dr. Nambu." Came Jun's voice from the room.
"Thank you, I spent alot of time looking for the right tree."
"Think big brother got us anything?" Jinpei asked.
"If he did, you'd of probably been the one to pay for it." Joe responded. Ken had stopped on hearing those words.
"That's true. He doesn't even pay his tab at the Snack J." Jun added.
"That's cause you go easy on him." Jinpei snickered.
"I do not!" she defended herself.
"Either way I wouldn't expect anything from him. And even if he got you something it's probably not gonna be all that great anyway." Joe added.
"That's true. Ken's terrible with gifts." Jun agreed.
Suddenly he didn't want go to go in the room anymore. Nor did he even want to put the gifts he had in his arms under the tree. He felt utter guilt, and very ashamed of the things he had been holding. Sure he didn't make alot of money. It was hard at times to even get so much as a loaf of bread since he had alot of duties being Gatchaman. His work schedule was limited. But he supposed there were plenty of times he could of tried to squeeze in more work time. Feeling down, he went back to his room. Looking hard at the items in his hands that he'd just wrapped only a short time ago. Taking them, he tossed them in his wastebin, and laid down on his bed. Feeling he had no right to even show his face to anyone. It was humiliating. To think he even dared to try to show the ones he held dear how much he cared with the little he'd managed to get. He should of known better, he thought. He should of known he was doomed to fail. Simply because of how things ended up. His mind raced on how many times they must of just pretended to enjoy anything he'd given. He felt like a fool. A complete and utter fool.
When they knocked on his door to tell him breakfast was ready, he'd told them he wasn't hungry. He'd simply stated he was working on something when they knocked on his door and told him it was time for lunch.
He simply laid in his bed, utterably depressed, in the dark, with his sheets pulled over himself. Another knock sounded on his door.
"Big brother, Dr. Nambu wants us all downstairs now." he peeked into the dark room. "Are you sleeping? It's nearly time for dinner."
His eyes trembled, and he hoped he could keep the despair out of his voice when he replied. "I'm not hungry Jinpei."
"Really? You haven't eaten anything all day though."
"It's fine....." he spoke softly.
"Well....okay." he looked at Ken's form one last time before he left.
Waiting a few minutes, he sat up and looked at his door. It would only be a matter of time before Jinpei gave Dr. Nambu the message. After that, he was sure he'd come and ask for an explaination. An explaination he wasn't feeling up to giving. Grabbing his coat and scarf, he put them on, on the way down the stairs. Sneaking out the front door before anyone noticed him.
"What do you mean he said he's not hungry?" Dr. Nambu asked calmly.
"That's what he said. He wasn't hungry."
"What's the matter with that boy today?" he folded his newspaper he'd been reading and got up. 'It's like he's purposefully avoiding us." he headed up the stairs. Without knocking he entered the room, and turned on the light. "Ken....." he looked about.
"He's not here." Jun stood behind him. "Did he go to the bathroom?"
"Nope. I just looked." Joe put his hands on his hips.
"Well he has to be here somewhere right?" Jinpei looked at them, "He wouldn't just leave. It's Christmas."
Ryu was looking in Ken's waste bin, since the shiney wrapping had caught his attention. "What are these?" he pulled them out.
"They look like presents, but why were they in the trash?" Jun picked one up and read the tag. Her stomach dropped a moment after.
"What's wrong? You look like you just ate your own cooking." Joe teased.
"Shut up." she swipped at him half heartily. Guilt clearly on her features. "I think Ken heard us earlier." she held the gift between her hands. Feeling awful, and knowing he'd probably heard what they said.
"You think?" Ryu looked at her with a frown. Though he hadn't said anything, he couldn't help but feel bad since he hadn't exactly done anything about it either.
"Why else would these be in the trash?" She responded. "I just feel awful."
"We were just teasing. It's not like we don't know what goes on in his life." Joe crossed his arms.
"Lets look around the house, he's probably hiding somewhere." Dr. Nambu started the search. And after a while, and no sign of him, they figured he'd of left the villa entirely.
"Where could he have gone?" Jun asked with worry.
"Do you really have to ask?" Joe eyed her.
He sat on his bed at his airfield. Hugging his knees to his chest with his face hidden by them. Needless to say it was obviously cold. But the tiny electric heater he was using was keeping it at a more tolerable level. Though even that made him feel guilty. The money he'd spent on it, he couldn't help but think he should of instead of used to get better presents for his friends. Granted it was a cheap thing. Only costing about 2000 yen. But that 2000 yen definately would of helped him get something better. Instead he'd made gifts this year. Using any little spare money he'd have left for supplies. His hands were covered in bandages since he'd been rushing to finish in time. He couldn't help but cry. He was a failure. A true utter failure. He'd never done anything right. But he supposed it was obvious. Anything he'd done ended in failure. His airmail business. Being a test pilot from time to time. Unless gave him specific instructions on how to do something, he seemed he was just no good. He briefly wondered if he should even just stop being Gatchaman before he embarrassed the world with his failure. Though it was only brief due to people knocking on his door.
"Ken, are you in there?" Joe's voice sounded as he'd knocked on the door. "Stop trying to hide, you know we all have keys."
'Obviously. How else would you have gotten in?' he thought to himself bitterly. They all had keys to everyones places. Dr. Nambu's villa, his main home. Jun's Snack J. Ryu's home at the warf. Of course they had keys to his home at the airfield. He felt rather stupid at not snagging them before leaving. But he hadn't thought on it. Another failure on his part.
The door opened. Bringing in light to his dark bedroom. Dr. Nambu walked in first and sat on the bed beside him. "Ken...."
He simply held himself tighter, and didn't dare to look up. Even curling his toes slightly when his name had been called.
"Come here." he pulled him into a hug. Knowing fully well why Ken refused to respond. Rubbing his back gently. "Why didn't you just tell us?"
"I don't have to, you already know." he whimpered.
"Ken...." he sighed. "They didn't mean it like that. They were only teasing."
"It's true......" he felt tears fall down his face. "All of it....it's true." his voice quivered.
"No...no it's not Ken. Everyone knows how hard you work."
"Stop trying to cheer me up." he pushed him away and laid on his side. "I know i'ma failure."
"Since when?" Joe asked as he munched on an apple he'd found in Ken's kitchen.
"Forever. Now go away and leave me alone." he hugged his pillow.
Joe chewed on his apple and sighed heavily. Rolling his eyes as he did what he thought he'd never do in his life. Show how much he honestly cared. "Look Ken. Yeah we said those things, we don't deny it, and we can't take them back."
"Joe!" Jun looked at him in horror.
"Jun, shut up." he turned to her, before looking back at the bed. "As I was saying before I was so RUDELY interrupted. We can't take what we said back. But you know what, even with what we said. We do appreciate your cruddy gifts."
"I just feel soooooo much better. Thank you Joe...really." Ken replied sarcastically.
"No, it's true, cause you know what. You give us a gift everyday." he walked around so he could see his foster brothers face and point at him. He had a habit of talking with his hands when he was truly serious. "Your Ken the Eagle, Gatchaman."
"Congradulations Joe. That only took two minutes of my life for you to realize that."
"No. Really. I mean honestly. I've seen your paperwork stacks. And frankly I thank God that i'm not the leader of the team. My paperwork alone gives me migraines. And it's not nearly as much as yours. To think everytime we mess up, you're the one who ends up with the mountain of paperwork and not me. Man that's just like the greatest gift of all. Even if you do finish your work before me by some sort of magic or something that I do not understand."
"It's called not procrastinating."
"Even when I don't procrastinate you finish before me!"
"Yay me. I'm good with paperwork."
"I know! Your simply amazing. Even though you have less time to work than the rest of us to earn money for better gifts. The fact that you take that little money you earn to get us cruddy gifts says how much you love us."
Ken made a face as though he were just trying to grasp was Joe said. Most made sense, but part of him wasn't sure if it was making him feel worse or better. "So...your saying....you like my...cruddy gifts?"
"Heck no! But shouldn't the fact that i've kept them and didn't say a thing about it say something to you?"
"You've kept them?"
"Everyone since we were eight!" Joe proudly announced. "I have a drawer in my trailer filled with everything you've ever given me."
"Oh god....!" he curled into a ball and shoved his face into his pillow. He didn't want anyone to see the embarrassed smile on his face. "Even the macaroni card Dr. Nambu made us make for each other?"
"Yeap. Though honestly most of the noodles have fallen off of it. But hey, that thing is ten years old."
"Dr. Nambu made you make macaroni cards for one another?" Jinpei looked on with amusement.
"Shut up Jinpei!" Joe glared at him. Twarting any jokes the boy may have had stirring in his mind. "The point is, you gave us the best gift of all. Taking the crappy deal by being our team leader."
"Your not gonna let this go are you?"
He sighed. "You need a place to park your trailer soon don't you?"
"At the beginning of spring." he intertwined his fingers sheepishly with a smile.
"I hate you."
"Love you too bro. So please. Stop being upset and let us have a happy Christmas. Otherwise we're gonna turn off your floor heater on the way out. And trust me. It's below zero out there." He pointed to the window.
"Uggh..fine. Just.....go...do whatever it is you do when i'm not in the room."
"Okay." Joe smirked as Jun tossed a box at him.
"What are you doing?" he raised a brow at him.
"Doing what I do when your not in the room. Open my presents before everyone else. Think Dr. Nambu will yell at me this time?"
"I dunno, why don't you ask me since i'm in the room." Dr. Nambu crossed his arms.
Joe cringed slightly, "Sorry." he tore the wrapping off his gift. "So in anycase, i'll just open my gift from you. Pretend I like it and......" he looked into the box. "Oh my god...." he stated with shock.
"I know it sucks, you don't have to say it like that."
Joe was trying to come up with what to say, but all that came out was. "I.....love you...."
"You don't have be a jerk Joe. Just say how much you hate it so we can move on."
He pulled the item out from it's box and hugged it. "Oh my god......this....is like...the most..amazing....gift...EVAR!!" he squeeled at the end.
"Joe I think your over playing it."
"NO!! REALLY!!!" he was bouncing. "I've always wanted a racer coat!!!"
"Yeah well....it was all I could think to make you considering you are a racer."
"And you even put a condor on the back! Oh my god!!! I think i'm gonna cry!!!" he had light tears in his eyes.
"Wait you made that?!" Ryu looked at Joe's coat in shock. Even as he put it on to find that it fit him perfectly.
"Yeah." he made circles on his bed with his finger.
"That thing looks so....professional!" Ryu simply just could not believe his eyes.
"Really?" Ken looked at it. "It was kinda a rush job though." he muttered.
"If that's a rush job. Then I don't wanna know what a regular job is for you." Ryu opened his gift. His eyes went wide, and like Joe, he hugged his gift. He'd also received a coat, but it had an owl on back. Jun and Jinpei also had coats, each with their own colors and styles. Jun's was a pink fashionable trenchcoat, while Jinpei and Ryu had sports jackets that were black.
"It's beautiful! Ken I love it!" Jun hugged him on his bed. Then put it on. "Ahhh....it's so form fitting! And warm!" she hugged herself. "How ever did you know our sizes?"
He blushed lightly as he averted his gaze. "I kinda snuck a peek at everyones medical files."
Jun started blushing profusely. Knowing what her medical files entailed. And knowing fully well Ken knew what the mass majority of it was. There was even a few things in there that Dr. Nambu didn't know about. "I...."
"I only saw your measurements." Ken clarified. Though the light blush on his face stated otherwise. It meant he wasn't gonna tell a soul.
"Thank you." she hugged him again.
Joe on the otherhand was glaring at him. His happiness long forgotten the moment he'd found out how Ken knew their sizes. "You tell anyone what you saw. And i'll kill you."
"Love you too Joe." He rolled his eyes. Finally feeling better for the most part. He had to admit. Joe's file had been interesting. And opened many doors for future blackmail.
"Alright if we're done. Can we go back to the villa? It's freezing in here." Dr. Nambu looked between them all. "Plus, I want dinner."
"Ahh..." Ken put a hand to his stomach when it growled. "Sorry." he put on his shoes and coat. Everyone piled into the car, and were once again in the warmth of a home that had a working heater. Even without having a single meal all day. Ken ate like a bird. But more than he usually did. And drinking lots of hot chocolate. When he'd opened his gifts, he was excited. He'd gotten a new comforter, a new pillow, a pilots coat, much to his utter delight, the plush toy he'd been eyeing. Yes. Ken Washio. Otherwise known as Gatchaman. Had a great love for plush toys. Especially large ones that he had to carry with two hands and could be used as pillows. And this one was of one of his favorite animals of all time. A wolf. A white wolf at that.
"Only Ken would squeal over a plush toy." Joe remarked with amusement.
"Says the man who cried over his gift." Jun responded with a smirk.
"Say what you want. It's still the best gift ever."
"Even better than what I got you?" she asked.
"Yeap. Even better than that."
"You jerk." she lightly slapped his arm.
"Call me what you want, but it's still the best coat ever. I'ma so be buried in it!"
"It's so squishy!!!" Ken cooed as he laid on his plush.
"I will be okay with his love of plush toys so long as he doesn't name them." Joe decided then and there.
"What? But I already named him. His name is Fang."
"Oh lord help me." he looked up. "And thank you for not making us blood related."
"You might not be blood related Joe. But many people have assumed I had an italian wife." Dr. Nambu sipped at his coffee. Really thankful everything had worked out in the end.
"Waaaahhhhhaatttttt??" Joe looked at him with an odd look.
"How does that work?" Ryu asked after finishing off some cookies.
"Well there are some people who know i've raised Ken, Joe and Jun since they were young. Some have assumed that because of my job, I was simply a busy man and a wife I don't have was raising them. So whenever those people see me, they think Ken and Jun are half italian and Joe half japanese."
"That's funny." Ryu smirked. "Especially since none of them have any features of the other."
"It was not helping that Ken and Joe have brown hair and blue eyes. Some thought they were twins because they are the same age." he took another sip of his coffee. "And it didn't help that I had them learn japanese, italian and english."
"Sis and big brother can speak italian?!" Jinpei stopped playing with his new toys. Shocked at the new information. Sure he knew Joe could speak japanese. But it never crossed his mind that they could speak italian.
"Dr. Nambu made it a requirement for us to communicate." Jun replied. "Ken's better at it than I am though."
"That's cause he had to learn it before you did. Otherwise he and I wouldn't be able to talk." Joe took a sip of his own coffee.
"I preferred it when you couldn't talk to me." Ken muttered under his breath. "Because then I didn't have to listen."
"What was that?" Joe looked at him.
"Nothing!!" he continued to hug his plush.
Joe put his mug down and grabbed him by his ankles. "I doubt it was nothing!" he pulled him and started tickling him mercilessly. Making him shreek as the onslaught continued.
"IIE!!! IIE!!!" he tried to push him away. But it was useless. Joe had him and would tickle him until he saw fit to stop. Even though his Christmas had started rather poorly. In the end it was rather nice. But still it would be listed as one of his least happy Christmas's of all.
Hope everyone had a good Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Reviews and comments appreciated. =>