Secret Santa

A Buddha goes shopping

© 2007 by Plantress

This page was last modified: 2007/12/15

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A/N: The hard part for this chapter wasn't thinking up a present for Kanon, it was thinking up a present it would be in character for Shaka to buy. Thanks to all the people in the chatbox who helped me with that.

Shaka did not want to celebrate Christmas. He didn't see the point in having a party for a holiday none of them celebrated, nor did he see why they had to buy presents for each other. was Athena's will. Some of the other Saints seemed to be looking forward to it, so Shaka resigned himself to his fate. At least it didn't affect him as much as it did Deathmask.

He took the piece of paper calmly, then exited with everyone else. As he walked downstairs, he wondered exactly how many of his comrades would actually buy a present. Passing through Scorpio Temple, he noticed Kanon and Milo talking. Hopefully they were only talking about the latest developments and not planning anything else. Those two tended to attract trouble. Once in his temple, Shaka checked the piece of paper. The name written in Athena's script was Kanon. The Virgo Saint wondered what he was supposed to do. Kanon was one of the Gold Saints that he least understood. How was he supposed to buy a present for him? Aside from pulling pranks and chasing girls, Shaka had no idea what the younger Gemini liked or how he spent his free time.

Shaka settled down to meditate. It wouldn't do him any good to worry himself about this. He would participate in the secret Santa, but only because he did not want to disappoint Athena. Perhaps she was using this to try and make the Gold Saints understand each other better. That was a good idea, even though he didn't think it had much chance of succeeding. Aioria came through the temple a few minutes after he had started to relax. He seemed aggravated and Shaka idly wondered what was wrong. Camus and Milo passed through his temple a bit later, Milo humming something under his breath. Camus snapped something at his friend, but Milo had just laughed it off. Usual behavior for the two of them, and it caused Shaka to once again wonder why Camus was even friends with the Scorpio Saint. They had such different, and clashing, personalities that Shaka thought it would be just be easier on them, if they would just find friends who shared their interests. He had suggested this to Camus once, but the Aquarius Saint had replied that things weren't that simple.

Shaka realized that his mind had wandered and forced himself to relax once. He shouldn't let himself get upset over the problems of the other Gold Saints. Unfortunately his calm was shaken when Milo and Camus returned from their trip, this time bearing several bags. The Virgo Saint didn't know what was more shocking, that Camus had actually gone shopping or how exhausted the Aquarius Saint was. Milo seemed to be just fine though, but the Scorpio Saint always seemed to come out of things unaffected. After they had left, Shaka settled back into his meditation, hoping there would be no more interruptions.

The next day stated off rather peacefully. He sensed Shion and Dohko passing through his temple, but since they didn't stop to talk, he assumed they had business in one of the lower temples. A little later Milo passed through, humming under his breath. He returned shortly, a grumbling Aioria in tow. Shaka idly wondered what Milo had dragged the Leo Saint into this time, but decided he didn't want to know and went back to his meditations. Later, Shion and Dohko passed through, only this time the Pope did stop long enough to exchange a brief hello. It startled Shaka slightly when he realized that the Pope had actually gone shopping for a Secret Santa gift. He hadn't thought Shion would take this Secret Santa thing that seriously. It was just a fancy of Athena's after all. Were people really going to go that far with it? Shaka returned to his meditation slightly shaken.

By the next morning Shaka had begun to realize that he might have to go down into town and buy a present. He hadn't actually considered what he was going to do about this secret Santa thing until now. Aiolos had just gone through his temple and called off a cheerful good morning. If the younger Gold Saint came back with a gift, then Shaka realized he was probably one of the few Saints besides Deathmask who hadn't bought a present yet. From what he had heard even the twins had gone, and most of those who hadn't gone shopping yet were at least planning to go. He had heard all about Milo's temple and Aldebaran's promise to bake something for the party. Why was everyone taking Christmas so seriously this year? They hadn't even done anything to acknowledge it's existence before. Did they just grab on the holiday because it was a reason to celebrate, something Sanctuary very rarely did? But they celebrated Athena's birthday day every year...why did they feel the need to celebrate the birth of a Christian icon as well? It made no sense. But when Aiolos returned with the half expected bag and looking triumphant, Shaka came to the reluctant conclusion that it would look bad if he didn't go out and buy a present for Kanon. Although he had no idea what he had been going to do about it, he knew that he had not intended to go into Athens. He hated the noise and confusion in cities and avoided them like the plague, only going into one when it was unavoidable. He supposed this would count as one of the unavoidable times. He could teleport to a smaller city to shop, but he since everyone else was going to Athens, he had better go, too.

But not today. If he went early enough then he could avoid most of the crowds and that was exactly what he intended to do. The Virgo Saint settled back into meditation, knowing that he would need all his strength for the trial tomorrow.

* * *

Shaka made sure to wake up early the next morning, and got ready to head out. The causal clothes that he had bought in case he needed to head into a city were also brand new, and he felt strange wearing them. Perhaps because he had never worn them, he attracted several strange looks on the way down. Saga was in Gemini when he passed through it, and for half a second the Virgo Saint considered asking for advice, but then he decided that he didn't need any help with this. How hard could buying a present be after all?

Noise and confusion, two of the things that Shaka hated in life -- the shopping district seemed to be the birthplace of both. Even though it was early, there were still a lot of people rushing every which way. He had been bumped into and jostled around already and people kept staring at him. It was rude of them but every time he turned to berate someone about it, they quickly melted into the crowd. Why did they feel the need to stare anyway? He didn't look that much different from anyone else. Certainly he couldn't stand out as much here as he had in his native India. There were so many different shops around here that it was confusing. He had no idea which one might have something that would make a suitable present. This was the first time he had to worry about something like that. He was beginning to see why Camus had been so exhausted after coming here. It was draining on the spirit as well as the body.

"Shaka?" A familiar voice was the last thing that he had expected to hear. He turned slightly.

"Shura, what are you doing here?" he asked the Capricorn Saint. Shura smiled slightly.

"Probably the same thing you are." the older Saint said warily. "Are you alright, though? You look a little ...pale."

"I'm fine." Shaka said. "I just haven't been to this area before, so I don't know where to start."

"I just picked some place and went in." Shura said and looked at him worriedly. "You sure you're alright?"

"I'm perfectly fine." Shaka said sharply. He turned and headed toward one of the smaller shops he had noticed with confidence. Shura hesitated for a second, then shrugged and continued on his own quest.

Inside the shop, Shaka relaxed a bit as the door closed and the noise outside was muted. Aside from more Christmas carols being played from speakers, the inside of the store was much quieter. He started to search the shelves for anything that he thought might suit Kanon. On one aisle there was a variety of puzzles. Not just traditional ones either, but also the wooden and metal puzzles he had seen that were designed to be brainteasers. He paused, then started to go through the latter. Puzzles were entertaining weren't they?

After a bit of searching he found a metal start that was enclosed in what looked like a too small cage. The goal was to get it out of the cage, and Shaka decided it would be a nice challenge for Kanon. He picked it up and headed toward the front of the store, slightly relieved. For some reason, even though he knew he hadn't been in this place very long, it still felt like hours to him. He hoped that this was the last time he would ever have to deal with Christmas shopping again.

* * *

This is similar to the puzzle I had Shaka buy.

* * *

Next Chapter: What Dohko bought for Aiolos

The End of Chapter 8 -- Continued in Chapter 9

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