Well, here it is, just in time. My entry for the tumblr blog, Sorato Season!
My prompt was 2002 AU, and... I took the AU quite literally XD.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!
Discclaimer: The usual.
"the thing about wishes"
(2002!AU / In which Yamato makes a wish and gets more than what he bargained for.)
Sora puzzled him.
The brief summary she'd given him when they'd met implied that her sole purpose was to grant him a wish in exchange of his eternal damnation, in replacing her and allowing her to pass on. Said wish would come with a set of conditions and restrictions and a bunch of other stuff that muddled his already muddled mind. He got the impression that even that wish was not going to be exactly how he wanted it, but it mattered little to him.
He remembered little of that incident, anyway, except that he'd begged her to save his dying little brother. Pleaded and she had sighed, and granted him that wish. And for a moment, Yamato had thought whatever the prize to pay was, it had been worth it.
Only she had demanded no prize. She'd demanded no prize and had even helped him get his little brother to where the adults were. Had stayed with him when Takeru was taken to the hospital and had pulled him into talking about everything and anything until his mind was distracted enough not to worry.
Sora had smiled at him, comforted and reassured him; the usual, empty words of "it's going to be okay" sounding sincere and full of tangible promises.
Yet she had demanded no prize. Instead, she'd become a permanent part of his life.
That had been three years ago.
Yamato looked across his room, finding his companion entirely entertained with the white little fur ball he'd found on his way home.
A bunch of kids were hitting the puppy and after he had chased them off, Yamato had picked it up and brought it home with him. A whim, really, he'd never thought of having a pet before, and while his initial intention was to prevent those kids from finding the little fur ball again, as soon as he saw Sora's reaction he knew he'd acquired a pet (it was a he).
Seeing the white little fur ball, Sora did something she'd never done before and asked him to demand for a wish. He hadn't understood until she'd taken the little puppy into her arms and told him she couldn't heal him unless he, himself, asked it of her.
"I can't use my powers unless it's to grant you a wish," she'd said.
The way she looked at him then… it was impossible to say no. Not that Yamato would, he had brought the puppy home with him so Sora could heal him. So, it all did turn out how he wanted. Now she was happy, playing with the equally happy puppy which had promptly been named Shiro.
Yamato sighed and looked back at the empty sheet of paper on his desk, trying to come up with some lyrics for his latest song. The melodies, those always came easily to him. Not so the lyrics. And lately, he'd been having extra trouble coming up with those.
The sudden barking of Shiro made him glance across his room again; he had every intention to snap at the disruptive pair but the sight made him stop. He smirked.
Sora smiled amusedly, lifting a chew toy to chest level, but that was enough for Shiro to have more than enough problems reaching it. The little guy kept barking, high-pitched and, as Sora liked to point out, cute; then he jumped on Sora's lap but even that wasn't enough.
Sora laughed then; head thrown back, eyes closed—happy and carefree. The sunlight filtering through his curtains shone on her hair, highlighting her unique red hair. She must have sensed him then, because her eyes blinked open and focused on him. The light made them shine too, bright red and the question left his lips before he could stop it.
"Have you always looked like this?"
Whatever mortification he might have felt, vanished upon her curious expression. Inwardly, Yamato felt relieved that he'd not offended her, though, with Sora it was hard to tell (and he did remember that one time, over a year ago, when he'd said something thoughtless and she had disappeared for weeks on end).
"Like what?" she asked, genuinely curious.
Yamato blushed, but didn't avoid her inquiry. "Like… this," he said, motioning with his hand in her general direction. "Red hair and red eyes, bronzed skin… like this."
"Oh," she said, and then smiled, mischievously. "Don't you like it? Because you can always wish for me to change my appearance to fix that."
"I didn't say that!" he almost choked on his words, with how fast he tried to force them out and, God, his face felt on fire; she laughed again and that only made it worse. "Sora!"
After she calmed down, she took a deep breath. "Yes, I've always looked like this. Even when I was a mortal."
She smiled at him for little while longer and then turned back to the still barking Shiro. Sora chuckled, finally handing over the chew toy, and loosing herself in the joy of having a puppy's complete attention.
Yamato watched her for a while before turning to his empty sheet of paper. Letting out a frustrated sigh, he stood up and walked over the happy pair, plopping himself next to Sora.
"Do you wish me to grant you inspiration, Yamato-sama?"
The cheeky grin accompanying that question made him snort; the emphasis on the suffix a joke in light of their familiarity. Almost three years, it's been, since he told her she didn't need to call him that. Yamato pushed her shoulder, shoving her lightly to the side and prompting another laugh out of her. She'd been laughing a lot lately.
He liked that.
"It's not inspiration I lack. Motivation… or rather, getting my ideas in order," he paused, looking at her attentively. "I want to ask you something, Sora."
She nodded, straightening up. Shiro must've sensed the end of their play-time, because he climbed on Sora's lap and curled up to take a nap.
"Why… haven't you made me take your place as a Daemon, as the initial Agreement stated?"
Her smile vanished slowly, but the gentleness in her eyes remained. "I wouldn't wish this curse on anyone, Yamato, least of all you."
He frowned. "But don't you want to move on? Maybe… find peace?"
"I'm fine as I am now," Sora said, smiling.
Her sincerity compelled him to drop the matter. After all, it's not like he wanted her gone anyway.
"Christmas is coming."
He didn't react at her words, but at the wet and cold little nose pressing against his cheek, sniffing around. Yamato grunted and tried to inch away from Shiro, but the puppy was persistent; barking a few times, Shiro suddenly fell on his chest and only then did Yamato open his eyes.
Sora was hovering right above him, her face only centimeters away from his; she was grinning, obviously excited about the prospect of Christmas. She was also the reason Shiro managed to land on his chest and was now licking his chin.
"Okay," he said at last, acknowledging her statement, but otherwise did nothing else.
Sora hovered closer, pouting at him for a long while. His right eyebrow twitched; she looked all too enticing like that—pouty lips and bright eyes and dammit all but he just couldn't stop himself from wondering… wondering…
What'd it feel like to kiss her?
"Won't you like to celebrate? Spend it with your whole family and such?"
"It's optional, really. Much of Christmas is an excuse to commercialize some new products and try to make people waste as much money as possible now, very little has to do with family anymore. It's one of the many foreign holydays our country has taken a liking to, you see," Yamato explained, but then paused, looking at her curiously. "Shouldn't you know?"
Sora blinked in confusion, eyes wide and mouth hanging open—forming a perfect 'o'. As enticing as she looked, she was clearly more shocked at his question and he was more interested in her answer.
"What makes you think that?"
Yamato shifted slowly on the spot, he tried not to move too much lest he woke Shiro up. And the little guy needed his rest after spending the day playing with Sora. He shifted again, fisting his hands on the blankets—it was getting hard to think… She was too close, her face looked too cute and her smile too sweet, her lips…
So very tempting.
Yamato struggled to keep the blush at bay. "Didn't you celebrated it when you were… alive?"
She grinned. "I'm not dead. Per se."
"When you were a mortal?"
Her grinning stopped, gradually fading to a simple smile. She didn't look sad nor yearning for something, but contemplative. Sora hovered over him for a few more minutes, before slowly drifting to his left; her body made a soft thumping sound when she landed on the bed next to him. She hummed softly as her fingers traced random patterns on the blankets between their bodies.
His red-haired Daemon smiled then, and turned to face him. "I can't remember."
Three simple words, yet Yamato felt the inexplicable need to pull her into his arms and protect her from something. There was no sadness or sense of longing he could perceive, but her expression was… worryingly devoid of anything. He didn't like it, he wasn't used to it. His Sora was not supposed to be like this, her smiles were never supposed to look this empty.
Reaching over, he grabbed her hand.
Sora blinked a couple of times and stared, her hand twitched and then she entwined their fingers together. Slowly, her smile turned genuine if a little pained; Sora shifted until she was lying on her side, and scooted until she was curled up next to him.
"I don't really remember much of my life before becoming a Daemon," she began, her voice soft. "I remember the days leading up to it, but not much before that to be honest."
He gave her hand a little squeeze, earning a smile in return. Yamato held Shiro to his chest as he moved to lay on his side, facing her. Shiro whined in his sleep as he was placed between them, but did not wake. Taking a moment to ponder whether his next action would be well received or not, he decided to go ahead anyway. His now freed arm lifted and wrapped around her waist, and waited for her reaction.
It took a while, but Sora went from looking at him curiously to smiling and moving a little bit closer, until her head could rest more or less comfortably against his shoulder.
"Do you remember why you made the Agreement?" Yamato asked.
"Not really," said Sora. "I have this vague feeling that I was trying to save someone, when the previous Daemon showed up. Then I just remember those days before… the Daemon had given me a chance to avoid taking its place, but…"
"But the truth is there was no chance. It was all a set up," Sora paused, taking a deep breath, her voice, then dropped to a mere whisper. "The Daemon tricked me and it enjoyed seeing me struggling. That's why… that's why I chose not to do the same, even if I have to be stuck being this for eternity."
"So, our Agreement…?"
"Is not exactly done, you see."
There's a pause, in which Sora pressed herself closer to him; this was, Yamato surmised, the closest they've been while she was corporeal (as opposed to the times she was just a whisper in his ear, or ghost-like companion). And the longest too.
"I granted your wish, and many more in fact, "she giggles a little, because that's an understatement; she had insisted on granting many wishes for him after the incident with Shiro, knowing he wouldn't refuse her. "Now I'm supposed to give you a chance to keep your life, to escape the curse that is becoming a Daemon. But if I do that, I'll be compelled to sabotage your chance so you do take my place."
Yamato hummed in understanding and for the next several minutes neither dared to break the peaceful silence that surrounded them. Sora shifted a little and suddenly her face was right in front of his—close, too close. She gave him one of those brilliant smiles and Yamato had to stomp down the blush attempting to climb up his neck. Or least he tried, knowing he was failing.
God, she smelled good.
"So," Sora began, "Christmas?"
There was this thing about him—Yamato never felt that comfortable around girls.
Always giggling too much, batting their eyelashes, flirting and trying to cling to him. Invading his personal space even when he made it clear it made him uncomfortable. He didn't like it, he liked it even less knowing their interest was merely superficial.
He'd heard the rumors around school; they liked him because of his looks, because he was in a band—because, in their eyes, he was cool.
It was worse when older girls came to him, behaving exactly the same as those girls of his age, and for the same reasons. Disturbing (like that girl from high school, Jun something, who had taken to stalk the place where the band rehearsed).
Not to say he didn't like girls, he certainly did; he appreciated their differences to boys and most definitely looked at them on occasion.
But, apparently, he had a type.
Flirty, clingy and loud—no, he didn't think… But comprehensive, someone who wouldn't resent him for wanting to be alone sometimes, someone who wouldn't mind spending time in silence—someone who got him, who connected with him…
Yamato didn't think he'd be able to find someone like that for a long while, not until he was an adult. As complicated as he could be, perhaps never.
But then Sora came along.
And became his type.
Winter, it seemed, was not a favorite for Daemons. Not when they were corporeal. So Sora had taken it upon her hands to make him wish for some clothes for her, the warmest he could think of. Ankle boots, leg warmers, a thick sweater, mittens, a scarf, and the thickest, comfiest, longest coat he could think of; all of it topped off with a knitted hat he gave her, an old thing he had stuffed in one of his drawers but that Sora had loved upon seeing it. He had, however, in her opinion, let his hormones take over when he'd wished a skirt for her, instead of pants.
He had apologized profusely for that, cheeks ablaze.
Her whole apparel was a series of different shades of red, except for the scarf, which was a soft yellow, and his hat, which was a light blue. Seeing her now… it was a damn good sight. Good and cute, what with the way she pulled the scarf to cover the lower half of her face and with her hands stuffed in her pockets.
We're not even out of the apartment yet.
And he was staring, Yamato knew he was staring, but Sora had added a pair of light blue stockings—wool stockings at that, to cover her legs and it looked lovely on her and—
"Sorry," he said, quickly and guiltily, looking away to try and hide his reddening cheeks.
Sora chuckled a little. "It's okay," she said. "I like how you look too."
Oh, well. He didn't really think he looked that nice (not compared to her). He'd pretty much dressed as he always did in winters: black jeans, black boots, and a simple blue sweater. The only additions to that were a dark blue parka and a light purple scarf.
And a pair of gloves. Sora had given him a pair of gloves she swore were the color of his eyes as an early Christmas present.
"Shall we go now?"
Yamato snapped out of his thoughts and smiled. "Yeah, let's go."
They needed to hurry, thought Yamato, if they wanted to buy a good Christmas tree, some decorations and be back in time to start on tonight's dinner. The first Christmas dinner in which both his parents and his brother would be with him, since… the first one in years. So, he was going to make special, and happy. And Sora, of course, she'd offered to help him with everything.
Walking through the streets, Yamato could feel his companion shivering by his side. With rueful sigh, he nudged her with his arm, offering it to her when she turned curious eyes on him. She didn't quite get it.
"Take it, you're shivering," he said, and when her response was to tilt her head to the side, still curious, he sighed again, because of course, he should've know there were many thing about this world that Sora had forgotten, or never got to learn when she was human. "Take—wrap your arms around mine. It'd help keep the cold at bay a little."
"Oh!" She smiled sheepishly, but took his offer gladly. "Sorry, I didn't quite get that. And thank you, Yamato."
"Yeah, no problem."
His cheeks felt too warm again, and Sora's smiling face was not helping any. Yamato tried to ignore what he was feeling, pass it off as something unimportant, but it got harder with every passing day now.
Honestly, it was getting to the point of ridiculous, he couldn't possibly be—
"Are you sure you want me there tonight?"
Her question threw him off, derailing his train of thought, but amidst the chaos that was his mind right now the answer came pretty quickly to him. And it showed, with how fast he replied.
"Of course I do," he said, his eyes resting on hers. "You're important to me too, Sora. I want to spend this Christmas with all those who are dear to me."
The implications of his answer didn't quite hit him until much, much later.
The evening was turning out to be a major success.
After arriving from their shopping, they had tried to assemble and decorate their tree, as quickly as possible because dinner couldn't wait much longer (and they had spent some extra time buying gifts for his parents and brother).
They failed as the tree refused to stay up (and Yamato later, begrudgingly at that, admitted to never having really helped with the tree when his parents were still together, choosing to look after his little brother—his father took to buying a small, ready-made tree after the divorce), and after several minutes, Sora had laughed and told him to just wish for her to set it up.
Time, after all, was of essence.
So Yamato had let out a frustrated sigh, and asked her to get the tree and decorations in place. And she had outdid herself, really. Not satisfied with the tree, Sora had added several more decorations around the small apartment—trying to replicate what she'd seen in the television, she'd said.
For the first time in a while, it felt like Christmas.
(Even if it was Christmas' Eve.)
Preparing dinner had been easier in many way, funnier, more relaxing.
Yamato knew his way around the kitchen and seeing the look of wonder on Sora's face every time she saw him kind of bolstered his confidence in his abilities. Oh, his father praised him a lot about it, but Yamato sometimes wondered if he actually took the time to savor it—as he was always rushing. Still, he appreciated his father's praise, very much… but Sora's enthusiastic wonderment made him feel elated.
It also made his stomach flutter annoyingly.
From their talks, from what little she remembered, they'd surmised Sora had been a child when she had become a Daemon, so it was safe to assume she had no experience with cooking beyond appreciating someone's cooking.
So, while he had done most of the job, she had helped a little, setting the table and keeping Shiro out of his way—the little guy seemed to enjoy tripping up people, his father could testify to that.
And the evening was a success. His parents managed to avoid any topic that might get them arguing, they remained very amicable around each other, even when he and Takeru went to the kitchen with the dirty dishes—remaining firm in that Sora had helped enough (and she had) and thus should take the time to enjoy herself. And, okay, he knew his parents were like that because Sora was there and they chose to spend their time sharing tales (embarrassing tales at that!) of his childhood, from the moment he was born up until the divorce.
Any animosity was pleasantly absent from their voices. It was a good night, even if their good humor and the pleasant atmosphere was at his expense.
Takeru's voice snapped him out of his thoughts, and he turned to his little brother curiously.
The youngest blonde grinned at him. "Sora-san. She's cute."
"Yes, she is," agreed Yamato after a while, and then turned back to finish washing the dishes.
Takeru followed his example.
"Have… you told her that?"
"On occasions," said Yamato, thinking that yes, he had told her occasionally that he found her very cute (leaving out that he also found her lovely and beautiful and just so—).
"Have you told her you like her yet?" The sneaky little thing that was his brother waited until he opened his mouth to retort to keep going. "Don't deny it, brother. I saw the disappointment when she only kissed your cheek. Plus, you really are too obvious."
Yamato scoffed and focused on the dishes. He said nothing really; what was there to say? He was going to deny, but Takeru saw right through that and… well, he was a little disappointed about the kiss. But at the same time he hadn't wanted the kiss because Takeru had instigated that by placing a mistletoe right over the kitchen's doorway and he had urged Sora to help him bring dessert, timing it just right so they'd be stuck under it.
Sora hadn't known what it all meant, until Takeru explained. And as no specifications were made, she kissed his cheek.
So, yeah, maybe he did want to kiss her. A little. But no in front of his parents and little brother, and not before being sure wanted him to kiss her.
Which was the problem, because he knew that if he asked, Sora wouldn't deny him, regardless of her wanting it or not.
He wanted her to want the kiss as much as he did.
There were some things that Yamato tried, and failed, to avoid.
Yes, she was a friend (true). Yes, he was sure (true). Of course they weren't hiding a relationship, geez dad (true)! They met a couple of years ago (true). No, she didn't go to the same school (also true). Yeah, she lived close by; in the building next door (not true).
And the teasing.
Sora had been very nice about it, agreeing with his answers, adding up a bit of her own. Laughing a little to everything his brother said (and he was debating whether to strangle Takeru or not).It was awkward and it showed from time to time in the way she would shift on her seat, smiling sheepishly. Lucky them, his mother realized it was getting late, and promptly told him he should take Sora home.
Funny that, considering she was home.
Sharing a quick grin, Yamato went to get their coats, and not much later, they were exiting the building.
"Let's take a walk on the park," Sora said, smiling and looking hopefully at him.
This time, Sora didn't need encouraging to take his arm, as soon as the first gust of wind hit them she clung to him with a mumbled apology. He didn't even care to wonder why that didn't bother him, honestly, it was pretty obvious.
"Tonight was nice."
"It was," he said, "and mostly thanks to you, Sora."
"Oh! No, no, I did nothing—"
"Just being there was enough, Sora. They had to behave around you… they tend to forget about me and Takeru pretty quick when they argue," he paused, pushing away the unwanted memories that began creeping up. "So, yes, Sora, it was thanks to you."
"I'm glad," she whispered, hugging his arm tighter.
They took a few more steps, coming to realize they'd walked around in a circle and came to a stop where they started. Across the street, they building where Yamato lived could be spotted easily.
Sora squeezed his arm before turning to grin at him. "I have something for you!"
"Another present?" Yamato blinked, confused as he rose his gloved hands. "But you already gave me these."
The red-haired Daemon shook her head, the smile never dimming. "Come on! Ask me to give it to you."
Yamato rolled his eyes at her excessive enthusiasm, but nodded. "Okay, would you please give me the present?"
The last word had barely left his lips when she snapped her fingers, and a perfectly wrapped box appeared in her awaiting hands. However having the present in her hands suddenly made her shift on her spot nervously.
She looked away.
"So, um… tonight is Christmas' Eve," she said after a while.
"I read… tonight is…" her cheeks turned red, slowly, which surprised him because Sora had never, ever blushed before; she frowned. "It's… here!"
She handed him the box quickly, so quickly in fact that Yamato had to hasten to keep hold of it lest it fell. He rather thought that'd be disastrous.
"So… what is it?"
Her cheeks glowed a brighter red, but this time she looked up, into his eyes, and smiled. "A Christmas Cake."
Yamato blinked, looked at the present in his hand and back at her.
He smiled too.
:B Happy (belated) Sorato Day people!