You know, life's never been easy for me. And even after it's been two years, I keep on recalling those horrid, horrid days when I travelled with Saturos and Menardi. They were, basically, a nightmare; they were nothing short of beasts, and horrible to me.
That was why I was glad those days were over as soon as they died. Yes, I recall me defending them, but it was for good reason – it wasn't because I loved those two, but it had been my mission to light the lighthouses.
And after that, I travelled all of Weyard myself to light all the lighthouses, joined by Sheba, Kraden, and my sister, Jenna. Later, Piers would join us and bring us to Lemuria, and even later, Isaac, Garet, Ivan and Mia would come to our aid to bring light to the final lighthouse.
We were all heroes. And we all got our rewards.
Well, almost all of us.
I'm the only exception.
It had been the third Christmas since that day, that fateful day where we returned to Vale and we found out our parents were still alive – in fact, everyone was. Only the town had disappeared, but we all united our forces to build a new town, which we all called Vale.
I know, it should've been New Vale, but we all agreed that we didn't want a New Vale. It was just the same town, only on a different place. Everyone wanted to feel home in the new town and thus, everyone agreed they'd feel much more home in a town called Vale than they would feel in some town called 'New Vale'.
And every single one of the group who saved the world by releasing Psynergy to everyone agreed to live in Vale. Piers couldn't return home as he was banished, Ivan chose to stay with us as he wanted to be close to his friends; Mia and Isaac were engaged just before the quest ended and therefore, Mia stayed in Vale to stay close to her fiancée and current husband, and Sheba wanted to stay with Ivan and didn't even want to go back to the town where she got horribly spoiled and treated like a goddess. Of course, Garet and Jenna – quite the happy couple now too – Kraden, Isaac and me didn't think twice about staying in Vale either.
I was walking in the snow with my hands in my pockets, greeting everyone I happened to turn into on the way, slightly pained as I was thinking about what had happened two years ago, and one year ago.
You see, most people like Christmas, and so do I, but it also brings much painful memories along. Because every year since the end of our quest, I have been rejected. That's twice so far and it's almost beginning to look as if I'm going to be rejected a third time.
Two years ago, I had a terrible, terrible crush on Sheba. At Christmas Day, I went to her home with flowers and prepared to ask her to be my girlfriend, but she wasn't home. I used some Venus-Psynergy and found out she was at Ivans house – as soon as I got there, Sheba refused to accept my flowers and told me she wasn't blind to my avances, but that she didn't like me as a boyfriend. She wanted to be best of friends with me, sure, but I... I guess I wasn't her type.
She got together with Ivan that same day, and I was left feeling sad and needing all the time I could get to get over Sheba. The entire group held a Christmas-party right then, but I intentionally left myself out as I really didn't feel like seeing them get all touchy-feely.
So the next year, I thought I could be more secure in making avances to my crush. Because on whom did I have a crush then? Kay, Garets older sister.
I thought I'd play it safe. I had spent a long time getting closer to Kay, doing more 'friends'-stuff but never denying that we were dating. I thought that if I spent my time getting close to her, that she would therefore see who I was and fall in love with me. In retrospect, it was very posh of me to assume that she would automatically fall in love with me, but everything's stupid in retrospect.
That Christmas, I asked her to be my girlfriend. I thought it would be nice if I asked her at Christmas, nice and symbolic that the same day I had been rejected, I would get a girlfriend. Only she rejected me, so that was the end of my nice symbolic plan.
I was just heading there, actually, to Kays and Garets home. I had agreed to meet up with Kay today, to go to the annual festival in Vault. Our friendship had healed since the time she rejected me and I got over her, just like I got over Sheba. We were now just friends and in retrospect, it might be better that she rejected me – I don't even remember what I liked in her.
Last year, I went with her to the same annual festival and that was where I asked her. Just before that, I promised her we'd go there next time too, and I'm not a man to break a promise.
I looked up at the hill up above to see a house built in a very Xian-like style and I smiled as I saw someone with purple-ish hair walking around behind a window. I couldn't help myself; I smiled as I thought about her cute dialect.
Fate had been bitter for Feizhi for a while now too.
Six months ago, Xian was startled by an earthquake, destroying most buildings, almost akin to what happened to Vale. The town was almost vanished off the map, but as if by miracle, no-one was harmed.
But all the refugees from Xian had to get somewhere while someone rebuilded their town. Some ran off to Altin, others went up north to Imil.
However, Feizhi and Hsu still remembered the friends they had in Vale and persuaded Master Feh to head south for Vale; he reluctantly complied. Vale was happy to get these new inhabitants and with some help of all the Adepts, they quickly constructed a few homes for Feizhi, Hsu, Master Feh, who reluctantly admitted travelling to Vale wasn't that bad of an idea, and everyone else who travelled from Xian and needed to wait for their old town to be rebuilt.
They had been here for half a year now and had agreed to join us in the Christmas-festivities; I had, in the meanwhile, grown to like the purple-haired girl. In more ways than just one of a friend.
Now, you might be thinking 'oh, you stupid Felix, falling for the same trap again'. Thing is, I wasn't planning to. I had been taught my lesson; if I was ever going to ask Feizhi, it wasn't going to be at Christmas.
If I ever was going to ask her, because I had no plans to; I didn't want to be rejected again.
Finally, I arrived at Garets house and knocked the door a few times before seeing it open up.
"Ah," Kay said, standing in the doorway. "You've come to get me to Vaults annual festival."
"Uh-huh," I nodded and smiled. "Without a confession of love this time."
"Good for you," Kay laughed, putting on her shoes. "I'm all alone."
"Yeah," I replied, dreamily. "Jenna's gone too. I'm still jealous of her."
"You'll find someone," Kay said, putting me at ease.
"Where's Aaron?" I asked and Kay shrugged.
"Going out with some friends. He's currently hitting puberty, so he's not interested in staying home for Christmas at all," Kay said and walked out of the door, shutting it behind her. "And my parents," she continued, "are celebrating Christmas with the Great Healer. So basically, no-one's home."
"Poor you," I laughed. "At least we've got Vault to distract us."
We danced all day, just like we did last time – we danced together and we danced alone. Whenever we danced together, we danced just as friends with no romantic involvement whatsoever; but we really appreciated the festival like we did last year. Vault had been celebrating Christmas this way for a while now, but I'd never come to the festival before last year. Now, I realized how stupid that had been.
In the midst of a happy song the band was playing, I felt someone tapping my shoulder and I looked in the eyes of Sheba, whose mouth had been shaped into a smile. I stopped dancing.
"Hi, Felix! Didn't expect to see you here with Kay. How've you been doing?"
"Yeah, good," I laughed. "You too? Together here with Ivan?"
"Uh-huh," Sheba laughed and gestured at the other Jupiter Adept to come closer. "Ivan insisted to come here, but I don't mind," she laughed.
"It's always been good," Kay laughed. "Or at least, it was last year when Felix and I came here as well."
I stopped listening to my previous crushes talking to look around for a while and see who else had arrived – I was pleasantly surprised.
Of course, it was pretty predictable in retrospect. Feizhi wasn't planning on letting Christmas pass her by this year; in Xian, they celebrated it too. I saw her dance just as vividly with Hsu as we did with each other.
Kay suddenly looked at me, saw me staring and laughed.
"Ah... I think our Venus Adept has got a new crush," she said and nodded in Feizhi's direction.
"Ooh, yeah..." I heard Sheba say. "For... quite some time now, actually. Since... what, since half a year ago?"
"SHEBA!" I shouted angrily. "Stop reading my..."
I was unable to finish my sentence as the band decided the song had ended; I heard one of the musicians say 'this is for the lovers out there' and they started playing a slow, mellow song.
Coincidences don't exist now, do they?
"You know what?" Kay laughed. "Why don't you go dance with Feizhi?" She said and immediately, she pushed me in her direction. I was caught off-guard; I stumbled in Feizhis direction, who was just about to leave the stage with Hsu. However, she saw me coming and immediately came back.
"Hey, Felix, how you doing?" She said when she saw me coming.
"Oh, hey..." I said, my head immediately becoming as red as a beet. "G-good, what about you?" Feizhi replied something I can't recall; I looked over my shoulder and found Sheba and Kay having left the stage and laughing at me, encouraging me to go on.
"I think they want to make us dance," she said, having seen me looking.
"Y-yeah..." I stuttered.
Now, I honestly don't know why I did what I did, and I don't think Feizhi knew it either, but I put my hand on her shoulder and my other hand on her waist as she did the same to me. I only ended up blushing even harder, but we started to dance.
I'm a very good dancer so we just stood there dancing for a while; Feizhi also controlled her feet quite well. I looked back over my shoulder briefly and found both Kay and Sheba beaming at me with happiness.
I'd pay them back later.
We eventually exited the stage and she thanked me, smiling, in her typical Xian-dialect. It was vanishing slowly as she was among Valean people, but she still kept most of it. She wished me a merry Christmas and left, hand-in-hand with Hsu.
I kept on looking at her ponytail, going up and down, for a while.
"She's a nice girl, you've got good taste," Kay startled me by speaking up so suddenly. I jumped up and looked at my left to find Kay looking at the two of them too.
"And you," I replied quasi-angrily, "were not supposed to know about my crush on her." Kay shrugged.
"I know it anyway now, with thanks to Sheba. She's gone back dancing with Ivan, care to join us?"
"No..." I said, shaking my head. "Don't feel like dancing anymore."
"I understand," she said and squeezed my hand.
"She's..." I sighed, "we're probably not meant for each other. I mean, she's got Hsu."
"Hsu is her friend," Kay said, smiling gently. "They're not dating, they're not in love or anything. I... let's say I informed myself beforehand."
"Huh? Why would you do such a thing?" I asked, frowning.
"To figure it out for you?" She said, but I shook my head.
"You couldn't have known before the festival, and during it, I was constantly dancing with Feizhi and I'd have noticed it if you'd started talking to Hsu."
"Well..." Kay said, reddening. "Maybe I knew before..."
I looked her in the eyes for a brief while, trying to guess what they were hiding – suddenly, I realized what was going on and I immediately began to laugh loudly.
"Oh boy..." I said, this having brightened up my day. "You've got a crush on Hsu!"
"Yeah..." Kay said, having become as red as a tomato field. "But... don't tell anyone."
Kay and me returned to the dancing floor after some more talking, Kay making me vow I wouldn't tell anyone. Apparently I hadn't been the only one entranced by the charms of the people from Xian.
Once I had returned, though, Sheba grinned at me and nodded at Kay, indicating she knew too. Discretion had never really been Shebas forte; I knew she had probably read Kays mind already.
In the end, the four of us headed back for Vale – as great as the festival was, we wouldn't want to miss the Christmas party with the other Adepts. Now, though, we didn't just limit ourselves to everyone who had saved Weyard in the past – no, we allowed Kay, Feizhi and Hsu to join in too, an invitation they happily accepted. Of course, that meant more presents, but that wasn't the main reason. We just appreciated their presence a lot.
When the four of us had arrived at Isaacs house – he had gotten a house for him and Mia to live in together now – we turned out to have been the first ones. The others were still getting there; Kay, Sheba and Ivan were in a vivid conversation so I decided to sit down on a chair next to Mia.
"How've you been doing?" I asked her, trying to start a conversation.
"Yeah, good..." Mia said and smiled. "What about you?"
"Fine, I guess," I shrugged. "But... what have I been hearing lately? I've been told that two days ago, you made a suspicious visit to the Great Healer together with Isaac. You were acting very secretive." Mia shook her head and laughed.
"Your sister is very observant. Yes, I am pregnant."
"Congratulations," I smiled at her. "When is the baby expected?"
"In... six months, I believe. I'm still able to do most things," Mia said and beamed at me, full of happiness, once again.
"She's been flying on a cloud for a while now," Isaac said, laughing, coming out of the kitchen. "She's easily distracted and constantly looking at the sky, dreamily, about the baby she's expecting. That's why I've been preparing the bites for today. It's just too dangerous letting her do it in this state," Isaac laughed.
I greeted him and we shook hands before we heard more people coming in.
And indeed, Feizhi and Hsu were knocking on the door – Mia quickly stood up and walked to it to open it; soon, the two Xian inhabitants were in the living room and my stomach made a weird twist as soon as I noticed Feizhi appearing. I tried my best not to show my feelings, though – Kay was less skilled in that as she suddenly shut up in mid-sentence as soon as Hsu entered the room.
"I hope it is cosy?" Feizhi asked Mia.
"Oh yes, it's very cosy in here," Mia smiled. "So feel welcome."
"Thank you," Feizhi said, smiling and sitting right next to me.
I managed to keep a conversation with her running – somehow – when I heard more and more people coming in. First, Kraden arrived with a lot of presents, complaining about how he was too old to carry so many things. Then, Garet and Jenna walked in, hand in hand, and greeted the other two present couples. Piers was the last to arrive; he didn't want to tell us where he had been before, so we didn't know where he had been at all – we were all pretty suspicious, though.
And then, it was present-time; now everyone got no less than eleven presents. After doing some more talking, Mia was the first to open her present – it was a gold-blue necklace from, of course, Isaac. Then, Isaac opened the present Feizhi gave him; a golden ring, with a note saying 'because I could not give it in person last time, but thanks anyway'. We all laughed at that and then Feizhi opened her present, followed by Sheba, and so on.
A lot of laughs were had at several presents; Kraden bought Isaac a book about marriage and what to do as a tease, I had bought Mia a book about how not to raise children and Sheba got a book about cooking as she was terrible in it.
And then, all of a sudden, it was Feizhi choosing – and opening – my present for her. It was a purple necklace, nicely fitting the color of her hair; I was unsure what to buy for her and I knew she really appreciated jewelry, so I ran to Jenna to ask for advice.
Feizhi blushed slightly while she tried on the necklace and smiled weakly once she had it on.
"Thank you," she said, her lips trembling and smiled at me; I was sitting next to her.
"No problem," I said. "I hope you like it."
"It looks very nicely on you," Hsu said; he was facing her and now leant forward to see the necklace better. "I did not know you were so good in the choosing of jewelry, Felix."
"I didn't," I laughed. "But I have a sister."
"You are good in choosing necklaces, Jenna."
"Thanks," Jenna smiled at the compliment of Hsu. "Now, Feizhi, it's your turn to pick a present."
More presents were opened – we had 110 in total so it took a little while – before I got to open another present. I had already gotten Sheba's present; it was decoration for the ship all nine of us had used in the quest to save Weyard and I had taken possession of. Kays present for me was a book about a new style of dancing – I always appreciated dancing. But when I opened this present, I was unsure of to whom it belonged.
It was a box, painted completely red. One of the sides was slightly larger than the rest and was loose, so it was obviously the lid of the box. I tried getting it off but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't lift it off.
"Who made this?" I asked, but everyone shook their heads. I tried once again, but I failed once again; Ivan saw me struggling so he stood up to help me lift the lid, without any success. I tried to use Psynergy, but even that didn't work – it was sealed firmly. I even tried breaking the box because I wanted to know what was in there – but the box was seemingly indestructible. I looked around once more as I asked for assistance.
"Who made this?"
"I did," Feizhi eventually admitted shyly and she raised her hand. "But you can open it not now. Just wait until tonight," she said and smiled weakly. "It's a surprise."
"Oh..." I said, even blushing slightly – Feizhi made this? It did make me curious about what was in the box, though. I gave up, respecting Feizhis decision to make it indestructible. "Thanks anyway,"
I chose the next present – it was a tiny box with my sister's name on it. I handed it over to her and she thanked me before tearing up the gift paper for the present.
It was a tiny black box and everyone was laughing, almost fearing it would be just as unopenable as my present – but Jenna opened it easily.
Nobody but Jenna could see what was in the box, but once Jenna saw it, the happiness just beamed off her face into the room, smiling widely.
"Yes," she said. "Yes. Yes, yes, yes. More than anything."
"What?" I asked. "What's in the box?" But I didn't need to ask as Jenna immediately looked to her right, to Garet having become as red as a beet as she closed the space between their mouths.
Then, she turned around the box and we all could see a ring in it – there was a small note attached to it. It was too tiny to read it, but we didn't need to – you didn't have to be psychic to realize what this was about. Garet had just proposed to Jenna.
We all cheered as soon as we had done the math and wished the two fiancées a very long-lasting relationship as soon as they had broken the kiss – Garet was now really as red as a beet, while Jenna's face was the happiest I had seen for a while.
When it all was over, we all headed for our homes – except for Isaac and Mia since they were already home, and Jenna joined Garet in celebrating Christmas at his place. Therefore, I was all alone in my own house as my parents were on the plaza in a special Christmas ceremony.
Kay immediately felt sorry for me and joined me as we both headed for my home; Kay, too, had recieved such a box from Hsu and we both promised to try and open it once we were at my home.
Once we had gotten there, the first thing that came to our minds was to open our boxes immediately – but they still wouldn't open, no matter how hard we tried. We even tried using each other's Psynergy on the boxes, but they still were unopenable.
We were both angry and Kay, annoyed, headed for the bathroom while I tried to open the box once more; once Kay had left the room, surprisingly, I had no problems whatsoever opening the box. I didn't look in it, though, but I alerted Kay by shouting; she immediately came back into the room and the lid closed itself.
"Ah..." I said. "I think I know what we both need to do now. Shall I go upstairs and open my box there?"
"Sure," Kay laughed and I lifted my box – it was surprisingly light – and went upstairs before opening the lid once more, again without any troubles.
The box was pretty big, but all that was in it was a red cloth with a reddish amulet on it; Feizhi must've really liked the color red. I got the amulet out of the box and looked at it; it had a really big red gem in the middle of it, in which I saw my own reflection.
I really liked the amulet; I turned it around and I saw a little note attached to the backside. I got it off easily and I began to read it.
Dear, dear Felix...
I hope you still read this at Christmas. I know Christmas is not very nice holiday for you, as two people reject you the last years, but I just could not help myself. I wanted to say that, during my time in Vale, I have grown to like you very much and – this very hard to write down – I think I may be a little bit in love with you.
I'm sorry if I have hurt feelings of you, but I cannot keep it secret any longer. Please tell me if you have same feelings for me.
I was nailed to the ground, growing redder and redder as I kept on reading and realized what this meant. Feizhi was in love with me.
It was unexplainable, but Feizhi somehow had fallen completely for me and I absolutely hadn't seen it coming.
I felt a smile slowly creeping up my lips as I heard Kays enthusiastic shouting.
The journey to the Xian-styled house wasn't very rough and both Kay and me got there easily. I knocked the door twice and even then, it took a while before somebody opened the door.
But I easily recognized the hair of Feizhi and – I just couldn't help myself – I fell in her arms and hugged her close to me before I let my mouth find hers as I heard Kay running into the house, trying to find Hsu.
When our mouths parted, I noticed Feizhi was blushing madly. I smiled at her.
"That is my answer," I said, my eyes becoming wet as I was so incredibly happy. Feizhi loved me, my feelings were replied, I still couldn't get it.
"Then I am glad for that being the answer of you," she said and smiled back before we kissed once more.
When our mouths, parted, we said two words in unison.
Author's Note: I really hope I got the Xian-dialect right, since writing in dialects has never been my forte =) I hope you liked it! This is probably going to be my last GS-Christmas-one-shot for a while as everyone has gotten a partner now. Except Piers, but I saw no more room in the story to give him a partner as well - I have hinted in that direction, though.
Maybe I'll do a Golden Sun Dark Dawn-one-shot in the future, who knows?^^ Anyways, Merry Christmas to you all and a very happy new year!