It was that time of the year again...
That fucking time of the year.
Kei was doing his best to ignore the fact as December rolled in, marked by lights filling the city, irritably happy music playing. Fat asses in red suits, spoiled little brats, along with bitter thoughts of his own that usually came around this time of year. He didn't want to think about it. He didn't like the reminder of what went wrong, way back when hitting him in the face the last month of the year, every year.
Then, of course...
There was the kid.
Little ten-year-old Seth was strolling through the street to find food. The streets were lively, filled with groups of happy people with their loved ones. In every shop window, there was a small evergreen tree glittered in Christmas lights. It felt like the city was at it's happiest, making Seth feel emptier when he made his way back to the theater.
"Kei..?" He called out.
"What?" Kei yelled back in a snappy tone.
The sound echoed in the theatre halls. He had been unreasonably irritable lately, holiday season or not, and the reason remained unknown. From the sound of his voice, he was locked in his room, likely cleaning his guns, or tinkering with his other weaponry. He came out a minute or so later, wiping off his hands with a rag.
Seth followed Kei at a distance. "H-How come...we d-don't put a tree up?" He asked in a quiet voice, his gaze remained on the ground. "W-We could give..e-each other presents...right?"
Paying little attention to the kid, Kei was down the other side of the hallway to the supply room, ears flicking some at his footsteps heard behind him. He snorted.
"Yeah, and why the hell would I waste time with that?"
Seth shrugged. "We could...try s-something new. Don't f-families celebrate...Christmas?" He frowned. Seth really wanted to try this out, at least with Kei.
At a few keywords within his response, Kei's shoulders had tightened a little. He didn't make eye contact as he dug in the closet for something, crouched down. He stood, a couple new rags in his hand.
"I ain't your parent. I ain't your friend, either, kid. Go ask your dearest mom, maybe she'll celebrate it with you."
As cold as the statement was, there was not a single drop or remorse in his tone. Sure, he was a bastard to Seth. This was a bit much even for him.
Kei would hear him whimper, hitting a nerve."W-What if I bought a tree?" He asked quietly, being persistent on the idea of trying to celebrate.
Kei turned to face him now, hollow sockets staring back at him. He answered bluntly. His harsh tone alone was a warning to 'drop it'.
Seth hung his head with a sigh, there was no point in begging. If he couldn't celebrate, the next best thing he could do was observe. So Seth did just that and left the theater to walk into downtown. He watched kids giggle and run around trying to tag each other. One of them saw Seth watching them and invited him over, but he shied away immediately to the point he ran away. All he wanted to do was watch people be happy, and imagine himself in their place, but he didn't know that through interaction that could be possible. He attempted to remain hidden so adults wouldn't give him looks of concern, eyes boring in on him made Seth feel trapped.
Eventually, Seth returned to the theater, shaking from the cold and climbed into bed, whimpering into his pillow.
Meanwhile, Kei had gone back to whatever he had been doing, unbothered by it, yet still irritable. It was going to be a long remainder of the month.
For the next five years, the same conversation came in December every year, to which the mercenary turned Seth down bitterly, sending the kid sniveling with whatever toxic comments came out of his mouth. Year after year. By the time he was fifteen, the kid didn't even bother to persuade the demon, much to Kei's enjoyment.
There were no lights.
No music playing.
No "fat asses" in red suits.
Certainly, no gifts are given to Seth from Kei.
For Kei the holidays were just a reminder of what went wrong way back when, year after year.
"...Merry fuckin' Christmas."