It was December 25th and the snow just kept tumbling down, fluffy frost cascading delicately from the skies and blanketing the streets and the houses and the cars in a layer of pure white, like gentle angel feathers.
But from where Shuichi stood in his kitchen, heating turned up high, he couldn't feel the cold. He could only feel the mug of freshly-made, steaming hot chocolate between his fingertips and that seemed to be enough to keep his entire system warm.
A content smile found itself on his lips as he stared with glassy eyes out from the shield-like ninth storey window at the sky, chalked an ashy grey. The sight was serene. He was enjoying every moment gazing out at the snowflakes showing off their graceful synchronised dances in his trance-like state.
"Shuichi!" a pleasant voice called. He smiled - it belonged to Kaede.
"Coming!" he called back, and then he picked up the mug and carefully carried it back to the living room where his friends were waiting.
Kaede was crouched beside the Christmas tree and was tinkering with the wires behind it - because of his electricity bill Shuichi had been reluctant to turn the fairy lights on, but Kaede had insisted they were vital for the true Christmas spirit experience, and who could argue against Kaede? Not Shuichi, that was for sure.
By her feet hills of wrapping paper lay scattered beneath the tree, some even getting in her way as her hands maneuvered through the tangle of dark green wires. And then with a click and a sigh of satisfaction the fairy lights blinked on and lit up the already golden glimmering room with joyous glee. Eight wondrous eyes lit up almost as brightly as the Christmas tree itself; Shuichi even set his mug down on the coffee table in order to admire the pale lights properly.
"Now that's what I'm talking about!" Kaito cheered from the side of the sofa. Maki sat beside where he stood on the arm of the couch. She didn't say anything but she was smiling.
Looking at the tree - gold tinsel snaking around its length and dangling elegantly from its branches, baubles hanging comfortably (smallest at the top, biggest at the bottom) like glistening earrings - was a sight - a feeling - so beautiful they could feel themselves sharing the same mutual happiness.
Shuichi placed his hand gently on her shoulder. "Thank you, Kaede." He held out a hand to help her up.
"Aw, it's really no problem." she laughed, "I just thought it'd be sad if you didn't turn them on at least once - besides, it's Christmas!"
She tried to stand but a tree branch snagged her jumper. It was pink with fluffy penguins; Kaito had suggested they have an ugly Christmas jumper competition and no one could refuse (arguing against him proved futile. It was happening and there was nothing anyone could do to deter him). Shuichi's jumper wasn't exactly Christmas themed, but Kokichi had called his MCR merch ugly so so be it. He stuck a Santa hat sticker above the print and that was his contribution to the competition.
Kaito clearly hadn't found it easy to get Maki to participate as they donned matching red sweaters, except Maki's said 'I'm with Mr Claus' and Kaito's said 'I'm with Mrs Claus' in an unintelligible white font. They both had white arrows pointing to the other wearer.
Kaede screeched a laugh as she pulled herself free and went off to grab her drink from the dining table.
Shuichi joined the others and dropped himself onto the sofa. He turned to Maki, "It's great to see you smiling. Especially when you have to wear that." he said jokingly, hushed as if Kaito wouldn't hear though he knew he would. Her smile grew, but Kaito's didn't.
"Hey! What are you trying to say about our fashion?" he gasped, offended. Truly, actually offended.
"It's ugly." said Maki.
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Deceit - The Phantom ThiefFanfiction
**COMPLETED** It is human nature to survive, to cheat death at every opportunity, but what happens when detective Shuichi Saihara is faced with a seemingly simple case that delves far beneath the surface of rationality? It begins as a mission to unm...