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a christmas ficlet by mitsukaii.

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" I can't help but love you, no?
Can't help but love, you know. "
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Two bodies detached from one another, falling back breathless onto the mattress they shared, perspiration glistening on their naked skin in the weak lighting of the bedroom. A crystal snow globe in the corner played a weak, sweet holiday melody, in total contrast with the 'sin' the couple had just committed. He reached out for more, but she drew back, rejecting him. She rolled off the bed and onto her feet, pulling the sheets along with her, messily wrapping them around her petite frame.

"Stop it," she hissed, clearly exasperated. "How long are we going to keep this up, Sora? This is all we do, nowadays. It's Christmas Eve—we've been in bed for days, I haven't seen my friends in weeks." She dropped the stained bed sheets to her feet, crouching down in the cold darkness and groping around the shadowy ground for her clothes.

"You're no fun, Kai…" Sora replied simply, turning over on the bed and pulling a pillow over his head.

"No, you're no fun. Not anymore." Kairi donned her clothes, from bottom to top. Panties, jeans, bra—she was midway tugging on her cashmere sweater when she peered at Sora's slender, bare back and growled, "What happened to the Sora I moved in with?"

"He's… sleeping…"

"Well… f-fine! Be that way!" Kairi let out a long, frustrated groan as she yanked down on her top, hiding her flat, empty stomach behind the soft material. She lifted her nose into the air snobbishly, shoving her white feet into her UGG boots before grabbing her purse and storming toward the door. "You're going to be lucky if I come back. Have a Merry effin' Christmas—without me!"

Sora winced when he heard a distant door violently slam shut.

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Kairi paced madly upon the cracked sidewalks of the town center. As she stepped quickly, she wiped at the flow of hot tears dripping from her swollen, pink eyes. She paid no heed to the outrageous sales going on within the stores that she breezed past. She didn't pay attention to the friendly-faced, warmhearted carolers, who stood out in the icy snow just to grace Christmas Eve's night air with Yuletide music. She ignored the old men ringing their bells and shaking their empty, cracked cans, meekly pleading for a dollar or two for a slight meal.

No, she didn't notice any of it.

She was focusing too much on her own pain.

She was focusing too much on her own pain, that she had collided into another body in her melancholy thoughts and haste.

"S-Sorry," she muttered, about to continue on her not-so-merry way when the person she had bumped into grabbed her shoulder to stare at her right in the face. "Hey—!"

"Kairi…?"

Kairi was obviously perturbed and disturbed that someone had dared to take a hold of her like that. She swiftly cast her periwinkle eyes upwards to glare up at sweet cobalt and jagged gold. Then, her gaze softened. He knows my name. He knows me? And I… She blinked several stray tears from her eyes, shaking her throbbing head a few times to identify the dashing young man in front of her. And I know him.

"Kairi," he said again, smiling widely this time. "That you? Whoa, it's been ages!"

The redhead took a moment to gape at who had once been her best friend in middle school. Her silence was purely because of bittersweet shock, not because she needed a moment to remember his name. Oh, no, she definitely remembered his name.

"Roxas!" she laughed, her mood brightening as she sniffled noisily. "Whoa!"

"Whoa!"

"Whoa!" they both shouted out in unison, before bursting out into laughter that caused some passersby to glance questionably at such odd behavior. They both jumped up and down like the thirteen-year-olds they once were, grabbing each other by the arms and continuing to laugh. After six long years that had followed a sudden separation, they had finally been reunited.

"What the hell are you doing here, Roxas?" Kairi demanded excitedly, detaching herself from him and punching him gently in the arm. "I've missed you so much, you jerkwad!"

Roxas took the hit, rubbing his arm. A goofy grin had been plastered onto his face, until Kairi's question came up. His expression mellowed down, though a small smile remained on his pale lips. He took a moment before answering. "I'm here, doin' stuff for the holidays. It's great. Sad to say I'll probably be gone soon, though."

Kairi's smile faded. "Oh… I see… at least… at least you're back for a little while."

"Yeah." Roxas nodded. "For… for a little while." He stopped, staring straight into Kairi's eyes, noticing the puffiness and the redness for the first time. "Hey, um, anything wrong?"

"Ah, no, uh—" Kairi covered her face with her hands for a moment, sniffing hard. She dropped her hands to her sides, looking back up at Roxas. "It's just Sora." She chuckled bitterly. "He has become a horndog."

Roxas' eyes widened. "You're dating—"

"—Sora. Surprising? Or predictable?" Kairi gave a shrug of her slight shoulders. "The worst thing is, I have no idea if we're over or not, and if I have somewhere to sleep tonight."

Roxas' eyes filled with a sympathetic emotion. Kairi felt her cheeks heat up.

"Tell me all about it," he said softly. He brought a warm arm around her shivering shoulders. They started walking.

Kairi let Roxas lead her to whatever destination he fancied.

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"You don't deserve to be treated like that," Roxas mumbled, his arm now linked with Kairi's. During the whole duration of their walk across the town center, he had deeply impressed Kairi. Roxas had wished good luck to the stressed employees in the stores with huge sales. He had waved gallantly at the trembling carolers, sometimes making Kairi stop so that they could listen to a song or two. He had donated generously to the poor, aging men and women beggars on the streets.

Kairi just had to smile.

Roxas had grown into a good man.

"I… I like to think that he's going through something." Kairi's reply was soft, her tone accompanied with a slight strain filled with hope that things in her relationship with Sora would get better, one day. "He's patient with me when I have troubles. I guess… I guess I have to understand…"

"Don't force yourself to understand if you don't want to. But, I really think he does love you."

"W-What?"

"Stop," Roxas suddenly halted, causing Kairi—who was pretty much connected to his arm—to stumble forward a bit. She looked up at him curiously. He merely nodded at the restaurant doors they had stopped in front of. Kairi's eyes widened.

"Oh, no! No! Heck no! I'm not letting you buy me dinner!"

"Oh, yes, you are." He began pulling her toward the fancy, red ribbon-bound and golden bell-graced glass doors.

"Roxas! No, I won't let you! This is too much, it really is—"

Roxas stopped, his grip on Kairi's arm loosening so that he could trail his fingers down the rest of her forearm to take a firm yet sure hold of her hand. His eyes locked against hers. "You're hungry. You haven't really eaten in days. You've been in bed with him all this time." He leaned forward enough to whisper in her ear, "A Christmas gift. From me to you."

Kairi's eyes almost filled up with tears right then and there. When was the last time she had felt like this…?

Roxas pulled back, as if he was almost satisfied at Kairi's silence. He smirked slightly. "It'd be a shame… if you rejected my present…"

Kairi's stomach did a flip-flop, and it soon emitted a gross, loud roar-like sound. She instantly reddened, and bowed her head. "F-Fine…"

Hand in hand, they entered the restaurant, and for the first time in a long time, Kairi felt full.

Funny, since she hadn't ordered yet.

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It was well past midnight.

Roxas and Kairi sat on a bench in the park near the town center. They were staring up at the night sky. It looked as if someone had painted a huge canvas overhead pitch black, and afterwards sprayed it with glitter. The moon was skinny and barely there, just like the sadness Kairi had so strongly harbored several hours ago.

Then their eyes met. Roxas was the first to snap out of the trance.

"You should head b-back," Roxas stammered, jerking his head away. "Bye, Kairi."

Kairi shook her head, gently resting a hand on Roxas' shoulder, surprising herself a little. Her blue eyes held a pleading look comparable to a puppy's.

"You're going to make me leave you, just like that?" she asked, her mouth forming an adorable pout. Roxas gazed at her once again. His insides crumbled.

"Sora's waiting for you back at home."

"No, he's not."

A moment of silence followed, and they simply sat there, staring at each other, as if they were mentally asking the other what was to happen next. Roxas' eyes were gleaming. Kairi's lips were parted. Roxas blinked his bangs away from his eyes, his mouth twitching into a frown. And, in an almost-spontaneous movement—or perhaps she'd been borderline all night—Kairi's heart did a leap, and she suddenly fell forward into Roxas' arms, choking out a dry sob.

"… Why did you leave in the first place?" Her lower lids were decorated with unshed tears, twinkling in the starlight. "Why did you just leave, all those years ago… without saying goodbye…?"

Roxas didn't answer. He held Kairi close against his chest.

"If you hadn't left… if you hadn't left me…"

Roxas closed his eyes, his chin resting against her poinsettia-red hair—fragranced with peppermint and sex.

"You and I, we could have both been… something…" Kairi continued sobbing into Roxas' warm body, frightened when his hold on her seemed to loosen. "Say something! Say anything! Give me an explanation… why did you disappear? I spent so much time worrying—and worrying—and—and it drove me crazy—"

"Kairi… don't you remember…?"

Kairi hiccupped and choked. "W-What are you talking about…? You didn't give me anything to remember—just a memory—of you—leaving—" She exhaled shakily, her eyes squeezed shut tight. "—I loved you."

Silence.

The stars above them turned off.

"Kairi…"

Kairi fell back against the bench, unconscious.

"… Merry Christmas."

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It was dawn. The sky was an array of amethyst and powder blue. The park was completely empty, with the exception of twittering morning birds hopping along the dew-kissed grass. Kairi was sprawled over the bench, one of her cheeks pressed against the wood of the seat. Something white and icy landed softly onto her exposed cheek—a snowflake, a snowflake that had immediately melted when it came in contact with her slightly warm skin.

The melted snowflake dripped down her cheek. Kairi's sore eyes slowly lifted open at half-mast. She flinched when she felt a tender hand come down steadily on her quivering shoulder. She took a deep breath, inhaling the captivating scent of coffee tainting the air.

Someone helped her weak body to sit up on the bench. Kairi was sore and freezing cold all over. She turned to the one who had held her, the one who had a mug of coffee ready for her. Her cheeks flushed a deep pink, and she slowly let herself be drawn comfortingly into his lap.

"Here," Sora murmured, a hand bringing the steamy coffee to her dry mouth, his other arm around her slim waist, steadying her. "You're crazy, you know that?"

Kairi took several small sips of the peppermint mocha, holding it for herself, her face continuing to regain its color. "Merry Christmas to you, too, Sora." She paused, resting her head on his upper chest and staring up at him with bleary eyes. "How'd you find me?"

"I followed you all the way to the restaurant, but I lost track of you after you paid your check. Took me a while to find you again."

Kairi felt instant annoyance. "Who do you think you are, following us around like a spy?"

"… Us?"

"Roxas and I. I was with him all night."

"No, you weren't."

"Yes, I was."

"You were all alone last night. Wishing good luck to storekeepers, listening to carolers, giving old men money, eating at that restaurant. Kai, Roxas died back in seventh grade," Sora told her straightforwardly.

Silence.

The sun behind them began to lift into the sky, ever so slowly.

All the energy Kairi had begun to regain was quickly drained out of her. She did not cry or protest. She merely dropped the coffee mug in her hands, causing it to shatter and splatter at their feet. Neither of them moved to clean up the mess.

" What the hell are you doing here, Roxas? "

"Oh," Kairi simply whispered in realization, closing her eyes, falling asleep in Sora's arms.

Sora carried her home because he really did love her.

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" I'm here, doin' stuff for the holidays. It's great.
Sad to say I'll probably be gone soon, though. "
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he came upon a midnight clear.
t h e - e n d .

Ack…! Why does this remind me so much of my other oneshot, 'BHK'?
Oh, well. Roxas was the Christmas spirit coming to visit Kairi. Anyway,
I'm back! Kinda… sorta. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and I hope
you all have a Happy New Year's! Be safe, guys, Binki loves you all. :D
Oh, and I don't own anything yet.

E› mitsubinki .