A promise is a promise
« But Yuki, you promised. Don't tell me forgot about it. We planned this vacation weeks ago.» Shuichi stood in the door to his study probably with this sad look in his eyes which he couldn't see since his eyes were glued to his laptop.
Yuki sighed. It wasn't that he had forgotten their vacation over the Christmas holidays it was just there was no way he'd finish the novel in time if he'd go off to the mountains now. The blonde sighed and tried to explain himself for about the 150th time.
"I didn't forget about, okay?! I told you that I just can't go right now I need to finish this first. You know Mizuki is breathing down my neck already because I'm already delayed. And you know why?"
Yuki turned and looked at his upset lover who pressed stubbornly his lips together.
"Because you dragged me to every tourist agency available in Tokyo. So it's not entirely my fault. And if I remember we had a deal about our job's." Yuki gave him a look but since Shuichi didn't answer he returned to typing.
"This is not fair Yuki. I've been looking forward to this trip for weeks. It's the only free time in one length I'm going to have for a couple of months so why do you have to mess that up now?" Shuichi tried hard not to sound whiny but it was not easy to hold back his frustration with his uncomprehending lover.
"I'm not messing up anything. What's so great about being stuck somewhere on a mountain in the middle of nowhere anyway? You can have a good time here as well."
"But Yuki, it's Christmas Eve in a couple of hours. We have no food, no decoration, no nothing. Everything is at the cabin." Shuichi was close to tears.
"It's not gonna be that bad. I don't need a stupid tree that it's Christmas you've been telling me that a hundred times already each day."
Okay, that was enough now for Shuichi. If Yuki didn't want to understand than please so be it. He angrily wiped tears out of his eyes stomping his foot as he cried out.
"It's not always about what you need, Yuki Eiri. Your stupid work is always more important than me. Thanks for ruining my Christmas."
The appartment door slammed shut with a loud bang and it was then that Yuki realized that Shuichi wasn't standing any longer behind him.
Eiri turned around and frowned. It was a bit unfair of Shu to say him being less important than his work. That wasn't true at all. He loved the pink haired singer but they both had agreed on respecting the other's work since they both didn't have an every day job which came with a fix time schedule.
Yuki sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He had also been looking forward to spend some time alone with Shu but in contrary to his lover it didn't matter at all where he was as long as Shuichi was with him.
Silly baka, he couldn't just tell his publisher to shove his money up his ass. It's not that he needed it anymore but his current publisher could get his books to the European continent and this was a totally new chance. A chance Yuki wanted to use.
The blonde shook his head. Shuichi would just have to deal with it. They'll do it another time. Right now he'd give Shu some time to calm down and then they'll make themselves a nice cozy evening together. He'll be back latest in a couple of hours when he's cold and hungry. Yuki looked out of the window where it was still snowing.
'Well hopefully he'd thought about running out on me with the heavy coat and not only that flimsy jacket of his.' With these thoughts in mind Yuki Eiri returned to his typing.
Shuichi raced down the streets without a look or care where he was going. He didn't feel the snow soaking his jacket nor the angry glares of the late shoppers he strived while running through the packed streets. It was late afternoon and as every year people had forgotten to buy something. To Shuichi though this Chistmas was supposed to be special. Their first vacation. Only Yuki and him. And he had forgotten.
Shuichi stopped and pressed his eyes together not wanting to cry about something he couldn't change anyway. 'It's not worth it.' He berated himself. 'Yuki will never change.' Almost a year they've been living together now. It was supposed to be a peaceful evening after the desastrous Christmas last year in NYC.
Shuichi looked up. Where was he anyway? Ah, yes the main avenue. He looked around and noted all the happy faces even the stressed mothers with their bags had something to look forward for. But not him. He would spend the evening rather alone than with Yuki and this stupid laptop of his. Shuichi knew he sounded childish. But have you ever been looking forward to something for months and then out of the blue someone says it's cancelled? Someone you care a lot by the way. Well, let me tell you it's not funny and you feel damn shitty.
The pink haired singer kicked the snow in a huff.
"Hey hey my son. No good in kicking the snow all over me. It's not me who made you upset. So don't let it out on me."
Shuichi looked up and saw that he had kicked the snow on some unfortunate old man –obviously a beggar- who sat on the ground next to an illuminated shop window. Shuichi scratched his head in embaressment.
"Oh, good afternoon, I didn't see you there."
"Nah, it's okay my boy. Obviously you're a bit preoccupied. Why don't you sit down with me for a while and tell me what's upsetting you on such a nice day?"
The man put some cardboard next to him and patted invitingly on it. Shuichi shrugged and settled beside the old man. Well, one couldn't really say how old he was. You see, hard labor and a hard life did things like that to people. Besides it was bitter cold and all he was dressed in was some ragged coat, some cut of gloves and worn boots. Shuichi hoped the man had some more decent stuff below it otherwise he'd probably not live to see the next day. But one shouldn't have thoughts like that.
"What my boy?"
Shuichi blinked. Now he had been caught staring. "Aren't you any cold?"
The man laughed. "No not really. You'll get used to it and after awhile you don't even feel it anymore. The only thing that maybe is a bit bothersome is the wind. It hurts my ears you know." He pointed to his hatless head.
Shuichi nodded thoughtfully.
"Now my boy. Tell me what's bothering you. On Christmas Eve everybody should be happy."
Shuichi sighed and propped his chin into his hands. "I know but I don't think I can manage right now." He was silent thinking about what had happened back in the appartment.
"Now now boy, I'm telling you once you shared your problems with someone it won't be half as bad as it was before."
Shuichi glanced at the old man. "Okay. If you think so though I don't know if it'll help my disappointment any."
"We'll see about that later."
"Well, my boyfriend and I had two very rough years behind us. We're both very busy and so we decided in summer to go away to the mountains for Christmas. Only for a week. I've been so looking forward to it." Shuichi sighed dreamily. "But today Yuki said he can't go because suddenly he has to finish his stupid book. How come he couldn't tell me this earlier? Why today? You see we have this agreement about our jobs. We both admit each other all the time it takes to do what we have to do but here I thought Christmas was special. But no to Yuki it's just a day like all the others." Shuichi let his head drop back in his hands.
"That's really hard to take." The old man admitted. "Unfortunately there will be always people who can't get into the Christmas spirit. But it's no wonder nowadays everything is so commercial it's only natural that some people start to ignore it."
Shuichi sighed deeply. The old man patted his covered head. "Now now, I'm sure you're lover will at least realize that it's not at all funny to spend this special evening all alone. He will come looking for you." He nodded encouragingly at Shu.
"But we are in the center of Tokyo. He'll never find me. It's going to be cold it won't be fun and romantic at all."
"Now you wait there. See this big light there down the avenue."
"Yeah, it's the plaza with the Christmas tree."
"Exactly. I'm telling you all you have to do is wait at the tree I'm sure he'll go looking for you there."
Shuichi looked thoughtful. "Are you sure he'll come? He's not the type to suddenly sweep me off my feet if you know what I mean."
The old man's eyes twinkled. "Trust me he will come. Who wouldn't miss someone as cute as you?" He clapped Shuichi on his back who promptly fell nose first into the snow causing the old man to laugh. "Well you should go now. It's starting to get dark. You don't want to miss him, ne?!"
Shuichi who had been busy brushing of the snow grinned at the man. He bowed quickly. "Thank you. I don't know how to express my thanks butoh I have an idea!" Shu beamed and pulled of his woolen hat and gave it to the man. "Here. It's a present for you. I think you need it more then I need. Merry Christmas!" He waved and raced off down the avenue. The old man laughed and pulled on the hat. It fit perfectly.
Yuki leaned back into his chair stretching his tired muscles. He was almost done. Thanks to the silence he needed to write only one more chapter before he could start revising the book. Pushing the chair back he walked over to the living room. Two things crossed his mind while preparing a strong cup of coffee. One it was already twilight and two Shuichi still wasn't back. 'Looks like the baka is still pouting. Well I'll make it all up to him as soon as he comes back.' With that he went back to working.
'This is no fun at all. Where is he?' Shuichi stood bored at the ice rink gazing at all the people who seemed to be much happier than him. He had been waiting an hour now but no Yuki. 'Looks like the old man had more faith in Yuki than he's worth.' Shu thought angrily surpressing hot tears of disappointment.
"Hey what's wrong with you? Why so sad on a day like this?"
Shuichi swirled around startled and came face to face with deep blue eyes in a rosy face. A young girl of maybe nine stood beside him peering up from her a bit too long bangs she constantly tried to swipe out of her eyes. Shu stared for a moment unbelievingly at her before asking. "Aren't you clad a bit eh too lightly for such a time of the year?" Eyeing her white dress and thin stockings. At least she was wearing soft white leather boots but somehow she missed to take a hat and a coat.
"Why? Am I not pretty? I'm waiting for my Daddy you know and I really really wanted to look nice tonight. My Mommy always said I looked pretty in white and it's my favorite color." She flashed him a toothy smile while doing a twirl for Shuichi.
"You sure are very pretty. But why not take a coat? You'll catch a cold like that." Shuichi eyed her worriedly. Indeed she was a pretty thing. One could almost say she was going to a ball with all that curly golden brown hair piled up on her head and that long white dress.
"Nah. Don't worry. I'm not cold at all besides I didn't had a coat and a hat in a matching color."
Shuichi nodded understandingly at this kind of logic it reminded him eerily at something his sister would say.
"So are you waiting for someone too?" The girl asked him happily interrupting his thoughts.
Shuichi gave her a searching look. Did he? "I'm not sure if it's making any sense in waiting for someone who obviously won't come anyway." He said with a sigh.
"How do you know he or she won't come?"
"Well, probably because I'm waiting for an eternity already and he didn't show up."
"Oh so it's a he. Is he your prince?"
Shuichi almost choked on his next breath. 'My what??' He casted a look at her but she seemed dead serious. 'Girls.' "I guess but definitely not Prince Charming." He snorted.
The girl looked nonplussed. "But if he's your prince why don't you have any faith in him?"
'Yeah why don't I? Cuz he keeps disappointing you, you fool.' A voice in Shuichi's head answered promptly.
Seeing Shu's expression the girl stemmed her hands on her hips. "Look. I'm sure he'll come. I always have to wait a long time until my Daddy comes but in the end he always comes and he even brings me flowers." She giggled behind her hand. "He's my prince charming."
Shuichi smiled. How typical of a small girl to say that. Kinda Cute. He only wished that she was right and Yuki would show up. If he remembered correctly the old man had said something about having faith in Yuki as well.
"Ahhh, look it's starting to snow. Yippie!!!" The girl shrieked with pleasure and started do pirouettes with her arms wide open. Shuichi had to smile at that she almost looked like an angel especially with those wide long sleeves. Suddenly he felt much better. The anger was gone and all what was left was yearning to curl up into Yuki's arms.
"I think I'm going home."
The girl stopped and looked up at him. "Already? Don't you want to wait anymore?"
"No, I'm sure Yuki is waiting for me already." - 'He won't ever admit it but I'm sure he is waiting.' - "If I don't go now he'll be angry with me since he couldn't concentrate on writing his book." Shuichi said with a shrug and a half smile on his lips.
The girl laughed. "He sounds like someone special. So you won't be keeping me company any longer?"
Shuichi shook his head. "No. I'm sorry. I hope you're Daddy is coming soon though."
The girl waved her hand. "Don't worry. He will be here shortly. It's almost time."
Shuichi turned to go but stopped. "You know. Why don't you take these?" He took off his white leather gloves. "Let's say it's a small Christmas gift for you and it even matches your clothing."
The girl beamed at him. "Really? You are soooo sweet. I think one day I'm gonna marry someone like you."
She put the white gloves on and marveled at them.
"They look good on you." Shuichi said with a smile at her happy expression. The girl laughed and did a twirl before dropping a small cool kiss on Shuichi's cheek. "Merry Christmas!" She said before dancing off trying to catch the snowflakes falling from the night's sky.
"Merry Christmas little girl!" Shu mumbled. He gave her one last smile before walking off. Not soon after he broke into a run suddenly feeling very happy. In his rush he almost knocked over a middle aged man. But being Shuichi he only apologized hastily not seeing the bouquet of white lilies on the snow covered ground.
Yuki put the last wine glass on the table. Everything was ready. The table set, the food ready, he even had found some things to decorate the apartment and he was dressed in his favorite clothing knowing he'd please his younger lover with his choice. The question that kept nagging him was only where was Shuichi?
It was past eight and he still wasn't back. His lover had left in the afternoon and Yuki had appreciated the silence for being able to work peacefully but only once he had realized that Shuichi hadn't been back at 6pm he couldn't really concentrate anymore on writing and began instead to prepare the Christmas dinner he had ordered via internet. But the baka was still missing. Yuki sighed it looked like he had to go and find his missing lover himself. 'Well so be it. I deserve it for blowing our vacation.' The blonde had tried to finish the book in time but as life plays or rather his muse it didn't work out and his publisher didn't want to give him another delay. Yuki sighed, grabbed his coat and left the apartment.
Shuichi had stopped running a while ago. The wind was biting his ears and his hair was soaked with snow flakes. He had his fists stuffed into his pockets but since it was only one of his concert jackets it was light and not very warm. He yawned. All this exercise definitely had made him tired. He was hungry, too. Shu had no money either so he was stuck on walking back home. On the way into the city it hadn't seem that long. If he was lucky he'd be home in an hour with the shortcut.
Shuichi turned around the corner and frowned. He had left the bustling inner city department behind. Yuki's apartment was a bit out of the city in a quieter area and it was quicker through this quarter. Not the safest way but the shortest. Shuichi prayed he'd arrive home in one piece. With a shrug he continued his way.
Yuki had left his car close to the commercial district. He guessed Shuichi would go the big plaza where most of the people went during the Christmas holidays. It was late so it was a bit easier to make his way through the late shoppers. He wasn't far from the big Christmas tree and the skating rink when he spotted something odd at the other side of the street. He was on this big avenue so he couldn't really see it properly.
So Yuki crossed the street and what he saw made him wonder. There was a big illuminated shop window and next to it at the wall just a bit over the side walk was a simple plain wooden cross. And to his astonishment hang a small woolen hat from it.
Yuki frowned. How had the hat gotten there? Did Shu pass here? He took the had and revealed a tiny inscription which was carved into the wooden cross. It said ~Have Faith In Each Other~.
Yuki stared at the cross for a moment and then shook his head. For a moment he had thought it was a symbol of kind, a message for him. But no it was just this Christmas spirit that was hanging in the air. It was finally getting to him. He stuffed the hat into his pocket and stood up. 'People and their simple believes.' He shook his head and walked down the main avenue.
Shuichi stopped. There was definitely someone behind him. He huddled into his jacket. That really wasn't funny. Him all alone in that dark street and those street lights bathed everything in those scary shadows on the snow.
'Okay now Shuichi. Just turn around. It's probably just your imagination anyway.' He took a last deep breath and turned abruptly and came face to face with icy blue eyes who seemed to look straight through him. For a moment he was frozen before he let out a shriek and stumbled backwards.
"Gahhh! Get away from me!" In his haste he fall on his butt and thought panicked. "Oh my god, this is it. Oh Yuki I'm so sorry! I love you." He closed his eyes probably expecting to be jumped and murdered every minute. After nothing happened Shuichi slowly opened his eyes.
The guy was still there but he was now crouching in front of him regarding him with an amused look. "What? Are you intending to stay in the snow forever? You could get sick you know." The blonde flashed him a smile.
Shuichi looked at him confused. He still didn't know who the guy was but somehow he seemed oddly familiar. He just couldn't place the face. One could almost say he resembled Yuki a bit but still in his opinion no one could beat Yuki's looks. 'Better stay on your guard. Who knows who that guy is...' He slowly stood up brushing the snow of him. "Hi. You kind of scared me. Were you following me?"
The blonde had gotten up as well. Obviously he didn't care for clothing much as well since he didn't mind on putting a coat but only pullover. Weird people he was meeting today. "I'm sorry for scaring you that was not my intention only following you."
"Aha. Okay." Shuichi nodded before the last bit registered in his mind. He jumped back. "What???? You were following me?" His mind was racing a mile a second supplying him with horrible images.
"Whoa. Stop right there. Your imagination is way too wild. I've been send to look for you and make sure that you get home in one piece."
Shuichi looked at him doubtfully. "And just who send you?" 'Who knew that he ran away anyway? Well besides Prince Charming."
The blonde laughed. "Well Eiri of course. Who else?"
Shuichi stared dumbfounded at him. The prince had sent out a search party for him? Impossible. And where was the prince anyway?
"What? Do I have something on my face? Let's go already. I don't have all night to play babysitter." With that he dragged a very confused Shuichi down the street.
Yuki sighed. So far he hadn't been able to spot his lover. He had been so sure he'd be here at the Christmas tree close to the ice rink. But nothing. He turned around intending to walk back to his car as something odd crossed his line of vision. Determined he made his way through the people and came to a stop next to a kneeling middle aged man who had been whispering something but looked up when he felt Yuki's shadow looming over him.
"Can I help you?" He asked somewhat somberly.
"Yes." Yuki grounded out. "I'd like to know where did you find those gloves." He pointed at the white leather gloves the man clutched in his hands.
"Oh those? Actually I found them right here at the edge of the tree."
Yuki frowned. How had they gotten there? That was the second time already he found something of Shu's clothing. Odd.
"You know it's kind of surprising for myself as well. I've never found something here before. But I'm sure she would have liked them. She loved white things dearly." The man sighed dreamily.
"She?" Yuki asked distracted.
The man nodded caressing the soft material of the leather. "My daughter. I'm coming each year to visit her." He smiled sadly.
Yuki froze. His gaze dropped to the white lilies resting under the tree branches on the white snow. "She's dead isn't she?"
The man nodded slowly.
"Don't be. I'm sure she's happy where she is now. I just want to remember. That's all."
Yuki nodded. In a way he could understand the man.
"Each year I'm coming here to bring her flowers. Faith loved white lilies and she loved this place. The Christmas tree, the ice skating rink, the snow. We came here each year. Only us two." The man fell silent sinking into old memories with his young daughter.
Yuki retreated silently as the man called out to him. "The gloves. If they are important to you. Take them." He held them out to Yuki.
The blonde stared at the gloves for a while before shaking his head. "No. Keep them. I'm sure they were intended for her. I have no need for them." He then turned and walked off into the night.
Shuichi panted. "Do you have to run like that?"
The blonde smirked at him and said. "No, not really but I thought you wanted to get home as soon as possible."
The pink haired young man caught up to him. "I do but that doesn't mean we have run like that." Shuichi protested.
"Well whatever." The blonde shrugged and continued in a slightly slower pace.
"Hey you still didn't tell me your name."
"Does that matter?"
"Of course. How I'm supposed to tell Yuki who found me? By the way did he send the others out too?"
"Just tell him an old friend and no it's only me."
Shuichi frowned. "Does that mean he didn't really asked you for help?"
The blonde turned to look at him. "No. Not really." He crossed the street. They were now out of the darker parts of the city and close to Yuki's apartment.
"But why are you helping me then?" Shuichi prodded out of curiosity.
The blonde sighed. "Let's just say to try to make up to him. And trust me without me you'd never have reached the apartment."
Shuichi thought about it. "We're not there yet."
The older man rolled his eyes. "Just how can he put up with you?" He ignored Shuichi and continued walking.
"Hey. Wait for me!" Shu yelled and sprinted after him.
Yuki drove down the streets for once with a rather normal speed. He still hoped to catch a glimpse of Shuichi. But nothing. Maybe his lover was already home again. Yuki turned and almost forgot to stop at the red light.
There he was.
His Shuichi bouncing over the cross walk on the other side of the intersection not even glancing into his direction and behind him...
'Omg, that can't be. He's dead. Dead.' Yuki stared frozen at the man trailing behind Shuichi hands gripping the steering wheel tightly.
'It can't be. I'm dreaming.' He closed his eyes trying to slow down his heart beat.
'When I'll open my eyes he'll be gone. Please let him be gone. I'm not going mad now.'
Shaken he took a deep breath and opened his eyes.
He let out a sigh of relief but his eyes snapped open in panic as he realized that Shuichi was gone too.
'No.' He slammed his foot on the gas and raced to his apartment in record time.
'Please let him be there. Please Shu be home.' He hastily opened the door and was greeted by silence.
'No.' Shuichi wasn't there. Yuki slumped disappointed on the sofa. 'Where are you, you silly baka?'
"So we're here. I have the feeling he's waiting for you." The blonde said with a small grin. "Better hurry up."
Shuichi grinned back at him. He still didn't know the name of Yuki's friend but he came to like the guy. "Thanks." Shuichi wiped his wet bangs out of his eyes.
"Like I said before. I have my reasons. Just..." The blonde had a pained expression in his eyes. He swallowed. "Take care of him will you? Do a better job than I did."
Shuichi nodded not fully understanding the last bit but decided not to ask any questions. "Don't worry. I will."
The blonde gave him his soft smile again. "I know you will. Thank you. But now it's time for me to go. It's late."
Shuichi nodded. "Yeah. Safe trip home. Goodbye!"
The blonde smiled at Shuichi's words. "I guess I will. Goodbye, Shuichi!" He turned to go.
"No wait!" Shuichi hold him back on his sleeve. "I know it's silly but I kinda developed this tradition tonight so here take it." He wrapped his scarf around the blondes neck.
The blonde gave him a lopsided smile and ruffled his hair.
"Merry Christmas!" Shuichi whispered.
"Thank you, Shu-chan! Thank you!" He then gave him a last smile and walked off into the darkness.
He hadn't the nerve to wait for the elevator instead he just raced up the stairs and came to a stop out of breath in front of his and Yuki's home. Would he be there?
Shuichi carefully opened the door. It was dark. He closed the door and looked around. No Yuki.
No, there he was. He was on the sofa asleep. His lover looked so peaceful when he slept Shuichi marveled. He sat beside him and put his head on Yuki's chest. To hear his lovers heartbeat was always calming him down. Shu closed his eyes as two arms engulfed him.
"You came back." Yuki said quietly.
"Of course I did. I'd never leave you." Yuki hugged him more tightly.
Shuichi looked up then into his lovers eyes. "I'm sorry for earlier. I was disappointed and didn't think clearly."
Yuki shook his head. "No. It's me who should apologize for ruining Christmas like that for you. I'm sorry Shu. I'll make it up to you."
"Promise." Yuki smirked then. "And sealed with a kiss." He pulled Shuichi down for a kiss.
He wrinkled his nose.
"You're all wet baka. Next time you're deciding to run out on me in a huff make sure you're wearing proper clothes. Common let's take a bath and after that we'll have finally our Christmas dinner."
Shuichi sat up and realized that Yuki had put up decorations and even prepared a dinner for them.
Seeing the look of surprise Yuki asked quietly. "You wouldn't really have thought I'd skip Christmas when I know how much you were looking forward to it."
Shuichi looked back at Yuki. "Thank you, Yuki! Thank you so much!" He hugged the blonde.
Yuki dropped a tender kiss on top of Shuichi's head rubbing his back. "Common now Shu. Let's take bath or you'll catch a cold." He dragged the pink haired singer with him.
"Do you believe in having faith?"
The blonde turned surprised. "What brings this on?" Shuichi scratched his head embarrassed. "Let's say I just had some really weird encounters this evening."
They climbed into the tub. "You too?"
Shuichi looked up in surprise.
Yuki pulled him into his arms. "Yeah, one could say so and believe me or not. I do believe in faith but above everything I believe in you, Shuichi."
Yuki kissed gently his lovers shoulder. Shuichi smiled leaning back into the blonde to look up at him. "I believe in you too, Yuki."
Far away on one of the many cemeteries in the city was a silent grave. Lonely and cold on Christmas Eve in the midst of thousands but on top of the cold stone rested a soft woolen scarf caressed by the midnight wind. Keeping him warm.
Merry Christmas everyone!
The story concept is based on an old tale of the brother Grimm (I think). Can you guess which one? And what are your theories on the old man, the young girl and the young guy? I love to hear your opinion.