Warning: This Bleach fanfic contains a couple themes for Christianity. If you think you might be offended by the one and only reason for this Christian holiday, don't bother to read it.
"Ichigo!!! Come on, it's almost time for us to go!!" Tatsuki yelled up at Ichigo as she folded her arms that were encased in a deep red satiny shirt that matched perfectly with her black slacks.
"Yeah, yeah. I'm coming."
She waited for a little while not hearing anything coming down the brown carpeted stairs that led to the second story, "I don't hear you coming. I thought girls were supposed to be the ones that take forever."
"Yeah, but you're not a typical girl Tatsuki," finally footsteps were heard coming down the stairs, "Which is why I married you," And then he came around the corner in grey slacks that was tucked over a deep red button up shirt with an evergreen vest over it. Contrasting to his orange hair, but not in a bad way.
Tatsuki smiled when she saw him, "Oh, so you like me beating you up huh?"
"Well, that part I can do without. But I swore to love you forever and take the bad with the good." As he reached the landing where she stood he smiled down at her then kissed her gently on the lips. She kissed back then lightly punched his arm.
"Just get better than me at fighting then you won't have to deal with it, let's go." She grabbed his arm and started running towards the door, dragging Ichigo with her.
They drove for about a half hour back to Ichigo's father's place, and laughed a little as the parked in front of the yard where two snowmen were standing. One was rather a poor excuse that was a little lumpy, and lopsided, while the other was immaculate. It didn't even have snowballs for a body, it seemed to have a real body that was sitting with legs crossed in front of it and a hand held over the head of the other one like it was patting its head.
They continued chuckling as they walked right into the house without knocking. They were greeted by the wonderful smell of turkey cooking, a wonderfully decorated house, complete with a lighted Christmas tree, as well as a couple members of Ichigo's family.
Karin and Toshiro were sitting on a couch by the fireplace cuddling with each other, with Toshiro looking rather pleased with himself in his white shirt and a light teal tie.
"I don't think I even have to ask who built the snowmen outside," Ichigo smirked a little as Toshiro chuckled, and Karin threw a pillow hitting Ichigo's face, but didn't mess up black outfit that was trimmed with red.
"It's not my fault that Toshiro practically is a snow sculpture master, and you know I don't have any artistic skill to speak of."
They all laughed, including Yuzu, who just came through the doorway leading to the kitchen in a cute Mrs. Clause outfit with a skirt that came down to her mid thighs, and complete with a red hat. "Ichigo, it's not fair to tease Karin like that." Yuzu's boyfriend Jinta came up behind her, with an evergreen shirt that had a few buttons open and black jeans.
"Yeah, what kind of brother are you?
"Better than you, you used to pull Ururu's bangs and torment her even though she was your older sister."
Yuzu giggled a little as Jinta blushed a red almost as deep as his hair and glared at Ichigo.
Tatsuki intervened there, "Hi Yuzu, dinner smells delicious. When will it be ready?"
"About half an hour still Tatsuki, so you and Ichigo go sit and visit with Karin and Toshiro while I make the final touches on dinner." Yuzu smiled and turned back into the kitchen pulling a still mad Jinta with her.
So Ichigo sat on the chair that was on the other side of the fireplace and Tatsuki sat on the floor with her back against Ichigo's legs. They stayed there for about 5 minutes chatting and catching up when Isshin came bursting through the door with a red Santa Clause hat on his head with a load of wood in his arms.
"Ichigo my son!!! You have come home to your loving daddy!!!" He dropped the wood and pounced towards Ichigo but was stopped just before he got there with a foot to the gut courtesy of Tatsuki, whose back was now on the floor.
"Back off old man, the only one who's allowed to get that close to Ichigo is me."
Toshiro groaned a little at Isshin's antics while Ichigo and Karin laughed.
"Oh, my third daughter is so cruel to her new daddy!!!!" Fake tears were running down his face, soaking his red shirt that was patterned like Santa Clause.
"Lay off her Goat Chin; also be a little more careful Tatsuki." Ichigo concern for Tatsuki was evident to everyone.
She leaned her head back to look at Ichigo, "Oh I'm fine, that was child's play and you know it."
Isshin put the wood he had brought in into the fireplace, making the room temperature go up, but just to a more comfortable level. Then they all just sat and chatted with each other. Isshin even acted fairly normal after his outburst to Ichigo. Maybe the reason was because it's Christmas Eve.
Yuzu called them all into the dining room to eat and they all sat down at their respectful places. Granted the dinner wasn't as spectacular as it would be tomorrow, but since Yuzu had made it, it was wonderful.
After a prayer offered by Isshin they all dug in heartily, laughing and enjoying the food as Yuzu beamed with pride at everyone's obvious appreciation to the food. During the dinner they once had to beat down Isshin's enthusiastic habits when Ichigo and Tatsuki announced that she was pregnant.
After dinner, they all helped with the cleanup laughing and talking together. And then they sat around the living room listening to "The Real Christmas Story" by Cleon Skousen. They laughed at his little jokes that would pop up occasionally, and heard the seriousness of the significance of that night that brought along the holiday season.
Following that experience, they gathered around the piano that stood in a prominent corner of the living room with Yuzu sitting on the bench, and Jinta standing directly behind her resting his hands on her shoulders.
Yuzu smiled up at him then turned to the piano and lovingly played the beginning cords to Silent Night, their traditional starting song, and every one came in to sing the slow quiet song together. Even with varying proficiency and quality, the singing brought them closer together as a family.
After the first one, Toshiro requested "Let it Snow", and then Tatsuki asked for "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree". After that they all requested their favorites from the more traditional songs like "Oh Holy Night", to the other songs like "Grandma got Ran Over by a Reindeer".
As always, they finished with Masaki's favorite carol, "What Child is this?" and then Yuzu went to the kitchen and came back to find everyone sitting in various places around the living room and provided eggnog for everyone, swatting at Tatsuki's hand as she absent mindedly reached for one of the alcoholic versions and giggled at her surprised expression. "The baby, remember?" she smiled and handed a blushing Tatsuki one that was nonalcoholic.
"Yep, that's right Tatsuki, you're providing for my grandbaby now," Isshin exclaimed exuberantly.
The rest of the family groaned a little but laughed too.
After Yuzu sat next to Jinta, Isshin a more sober look appeared in his eyes.
"Now everyone, like what we did the first time last year this is a time where we say something special to someone in the room. As long as it's pleasant, let's leave anything negative out of the house tonight."
Karin started this part of the night off by looking at Ichigo, "You know, you're sometimes the most exasperating and annoying guy I know, and I have no clue how you could catch a great girl like Tatsuki………."
Tatsuki laughed lightly as Karin just smiled at his outburst, "But there really isn't anyone else in the world I would want as a big brother. I love you Ichigo."
Ichigo smiled tenderly, "Thank you Karin, I love you too."
Tatsuki spoke up smiling, "And I'm really happy to know you think so highly of me Karin. I love both you and Yuzu as if you were my real younger sisters."
Isshin spoke up next before anyone else could say anything, "I just want to say that everyone here together as a family and significant others," he winked at the two un-married couples in the room, "is all I could ever want for Christmas. Even if we were impoverished and had absolutely nothing, I would be happy as long as you were all here."
"Same for us," everyone said at the same time, and they looked at each other and laughed.
"My but you guys are really sentimental."
"Oh yeah Jinta? And who would you like to say something to?" Ichigo asked.
Jinta reddened a little then turned to Yuzu, "I love you Yuzu," he leaned forward and kissed her lightly.
Yuzu kissed him back and smiled, "I love you too Jinta, I'm really happy you could spend your Christmas with us."
"Awww, now isn't that sweet, didn't know you had that in you Jinta," Karin laughed as Jinta blushed again and turned away.
"Well, I'm with dad. I couldn't really ask for more than to have my family with me at any time, let alone the holidays. This may bring down the mood a little, but the only other thing I could ask for is if mom was here."
"We all wish that Ichigo," Karin smiled a little sadly at him as there was a brief pause of slight mourning.
"Well, let's see if I can bring back the mood we were in," Toshiro turned to Karin and she smiled at him. "Karin, I'm not really very good with expressing myself, as I'm sure you know," Karin grinned a little ruefully at that, "So instead of trying to say anything, how about I show you."
After saying that, Toshiro got down on one knee beside the couch and pulled out a little black velvet box. Everyone's expression was one of shock, but he ignored them and concentrated on the young woman in front of him with one of her hands over her mouth.
"Karin Kurosaki, will you marry me?" he opened the box to reveal a simple ring with only as single marquee cut diamond.
At first Karin just sat there, apparently stunned. Then small tears of joy appeared in her eyes and she jumped towards Toshiro and wrapped her arms around his neck as he caught her in his arms.
"Does this mean yes?"
"Yes," Karin whispered.
"WHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! We have another son Masaki!!!!! Our daughter is going to get married!!!!!!"
Isshin flew through the air towards the happy couple, but Ichigo caught him by the collar and pulled him back. "Forget it, I'm not going to let you ruin the moment by squashing either of them to death."
Everyone laughed as Toshiro slipped the ring on Karin's ring finger on her left hand, signaling to everyone that she was Toshiro's.
Each person in the room congratulated the now engaged couple by either handshakes or hugs. Then they all gradually said goodnight and the Kurosaki's went to their bedrooms with Ichigo and Tatsuki sharing Ichigo's old bed, and Toshiro and Jinta sleeping on couches in the living room.
A soft glow seemed to radiate from the house that had nothing to do with the Christmas lights from the Christmas tree, or even the lights from the house outside.
Maybe it was the joy of the season, or maybe it was just the love shared between the affianced couple, perhaps it came from the happiness of each person there. Or it might have been all the above.