I will leave all that right here and hope 2010 is better -- for me, for all of you, and all your loved ones.
As a parting gift (or parting shot, depending on your perspective), I have three ficlets from my main fandoms. These were written under the influence of champagne (we start celebrating at midnight Moscow time, so I've had a fair few already XD) so please excuse any extreme silliness.
May you have brighter tomorrows
The past you had was shrouded in deceit
May you be eternally beautiful
The way you are to me.
Uryū sat at the window of his apartment watching the revellers below stream towards the nearby shrine. His mind wanted to compare them to ants, but that would have been an insult to the noble, hardworking insects. These people didn't proceed in an orderly fashion; they stumbled and zigzagged, most of them too drunk to know what was even going on. About half of them, he suspected uncharitably, were this drunk every day.
He knew he was being unreasonable: the recession had hit Karakura Town pretty hard, and many of these people drank themselves into oblivion just to keep from jumping off a bridge. It was better that they drank, really: with work and dedication, families could recover from addiction. Death was less kind.
Since becoming a surgeon, Uryū had come to hate death. Every operation was a silent stand-off between bitter enemies. There was also no better way to score points against the jumped-up idiots from Soul Society than to keep death away from as many humans as possible. If there are no souls to reap, Hollows wouldn't appear, and Shinigami wouldn't be needed.
The walls shook suddenly, and Uryū was halfway to the nearest corner before he realised that it wasn't an earthquake: someone was knocking on the door. He walked over and peered out into the corridor: it was Kurosaki, looking like a bit of a prat in the new suit he'd bought last week. Uryū opened the door.
"Why aren't you answering your phone?" Kurosaki demanded, striding in.
"It's on silent," said Uryū with a shrug. "What's so urgent it couldn't wait until tomorrow? Shouldn't you be at home with your family? It's nearly midnight."
"You're kind of an idiot," said Kurosaki with a disbelieving shake of his head. "I told you to come over, didn't I?"
"I thought you were being polite," replied Uryū.
Kurosaki grinned, and Uryū reflected that no man should be allowed to have a smile like that: so devastatingly sincere and open that it would make a ninety-year-old tremble. Uryū had really never had a chance, much as he liked to pretend he was unperturbed. He couldn't even think of Kurosaki as a Shinigami anymore; Kurosaki was just Kurosaki.
"I'm flattered you think I'm capable of such refined politeness, Ishida-dono," Kurosaki murmured with a mock little bow.
"Oh, fine. I thought I would be imposing."
"Don't be ridiculous. My old man loves company, and I love you. We'll sleep in my old room, and we'll all visit Inoue and the twins tomorrow."
"Her name's Sado, not Inoue, you dumbass." I love you.
"Don't change the subject." Kurosaki grabbed a fistful of Uryū's shirt and pulled him close. "Doesn't it sound good?"
Like his smile, Kurosaki's kisses claimed Uryū's breath and made him lose all perspective, and there was nothing he could do -- not the first time, not the many times after that, and certainly not now. Even though he still thought this relationship... thing would turn out to be a spectacular mistake.
Uryū pulled away, panting, intending to say that if they kept this up, they would ring in the New Year in the bedroom next door, not at the Kurosaki clinic. But all he could manage was, "Kurosaki..."
"Stop being dumb and come with me," Kurosaki whispered against his mouth. "And call me Ichigo."
Of the seven Vongola Guardians, Yamamoto Takeshi and Gokudera Hayato were the only ones still unmarried -- for so long now that even Haru stopped asking when they'd finally settle down.
Hayato lived on the outskirts of Rome, in a house so tiny it looked like some mansion's storage shed. Official documents cited the Vongola estate as his residence, but with the tension between prominent families on the rise, it wasn't safe to live there.
The kotatsu Takeshi had given him stood in the middle of the living room rug as it usually did on this day, though there was no need for it: winter hadn't even arrived properly yet, despite December being almost over. Hayato had complained greatly and at length that he needed a special converter just to power the damned thing, but in truth he rather liked it: it made him feel connected to Japan in more than memory.
The door to the bedroom slid aside, and Takeshi walked out, his hair still wet. Hayato's heart did that ridiculous thing it always did whenever he saw the idiot, and he scowled to mask it. The grimacing didn't fool Takeshi anymore, but it was a part of their lives as much as their daily phone calls, biweekly trips to see each other, and celebrating New Year's together.
Takeshi took a seat next to Hayato. Uri, who had been napping amidst the lacquered food trays atop the kotatsu, jumped into his lap and settled there instead.
"Let's turn on the TV," Takeshi suggested.
"You wouldn't understand anything anyway," Hayato said, but reached for the remote. The lights and music of Piazza del Popolo filled the room. The city had brought in a huge pile of fake snow, and the camera panned to show people flinging great handfuls of it at each other.
"They're smiling," Takeshi murmured. "I understand that." Underneath the kotatsu, their knees were touching.
Like every other year, there was an empty space for Takeshi's old man on his left, and another for Bianchi on Hayato's right. They had died on New Year's Day four years ago, in the bomb attack on Takezushi that had also maimed the boss's baby son and cost Hibari his eyesight.
An explosion of delighted shouts came from the screen as the countdown began.
Hayato raised his glass, but Takeshi leaned over and made him put it down. "We always drink. This year, let me kiss you."
Would there ever come a day when this man didn't throw Hayato off-balance with his ridiculous, earnest ways? As he put his arms around Takeshi's neck, ignoring Uri's warning growls, he didn't think so. Nor did he want that day to come.
...and that's all she wrote. See you on the other side.