titled And yet the heart sings
squickers mpreg, wrote this while listening to Shakira, casual name-switching like nobody's business.
notes Written for gohanisyummy over at giripan_xmas. I've never written mpreg before, so I hope it's not too awful. ;w; Happy holidays. =D
summary There are stars in the garden.
And yet the heart sings
But it's not as if he didn't think Santa Claus was real. He had just never been presented with a susceptible opportunity to find sooty footprints on the rug. Yao had criticized Western-style fireplaces before, complained about their inefficiency and how easily Kiku could catch a cold from a chimney with a draft. The news reports on NHK rarely mention aliens and flashing lights in the sky, and anything can seem semi-tangible after being run through CGI. Since Day One, the other children in the playground had slipped off the swings and asked him before he could tell them himself, curious faces and sticky fingers and childlike innocence wrapped up in a bundle of thoughts, "You don't believe in Santa Claus, do you? Do you, Honda-kun? Because that's impossible. No real Japanese men believe in Santa Claus."
And Kiku, of course, was a real Japanese man.
"It's OK," Herakles tells him, "I don't believe in Santa Claus either. He's just the guy who stands outside the shopping center. My mother took me there one day and he gave me caramels and chocolates. And so I know he isn't real, because no real mythical being gives out candy for free."
"But that's only because you're Eastern Orthodox," Kiku says tartly, because Greece shouldn't be allowed to agree with him today. "You can still play the God card."
"No, it's because Santa Claus lives in the shopping center. He doesn't live in the universe. Besides, it doesn't make much sense, does it?"
"That's what you think."
"Don't be stubborn. Did you take your prenatal vitamins yet?"
Kiku frowns. "I told you, I'm not pregnant."
"That wasn't what the doctor said."
"The doctor was American."
Herakles smiles, but it only bothers Kiku more. "What are you going to do? Even the Japanese doctors adhere to Western practices these days."
"You should go now," Kiku snaps, and then he slams the door in Greece's face and somehow they're fighting, there's a thunderstorm over the waves and the boat is rocking on both sides.
So Kiku wakes up on Sunday evening with a growl in his stomach and a cat on his lap; the fur on the cat's back is caked in brown mud and her paws have little round burrs picked-up from the garden at half-past four after the sun had gone down. There are small clouds that puff up from the windows behind the fireplace into her fur and she jumps when Kiku lets out a soft yawn; her nails leave two neat lines of mud across Kiku's blanket and a frown on his face.
"How are you today?" Kiku asks the cat, almost irritably but not quite because he really isn't all that angry anymore, just hungry and a little cold. He'd missed dinner and slept all the way through breakfast and lunch, although he'd heard through the crack of the door that America-san had come over and made pink pancakes. Maybe he'll get out of bed, but maybe he won't. There aren't many stars in the garden at this hour, and somewhere off in the distance he can hear the owls hooting. Who is going to light the way?
"Not very talkative, are you?" Kiku murmurs, scratches the cat's belly with one hand.
"Not much. I'm tired now," the cat replies, arches its back against Kiku's belly with a little purr. There are splatters of mud of her belly, too. "Could you possibly give me a bath? I'm awfully itchy on my paws."
"Oh," Kiku says. "I-I suppose I could. Do you use a certain brand of shampoo?"
"I prefer Irish soap, the kind they make from goat's milk," the cat licks its paws, "If it's not too troublesome."
"Of course not," Kiku tells the cat, but that's only the beginning of the first month.
"Can I tell you a story," Heracles asks him on Monday morning in the middle of the conference, while America and England are arguing about global warming and shitting on each other's health care reforms and France is coming on to Prussia with the help of a book of German pick-up lines and Italy is drowning himself in foie gras and Russia is cutting sunflowers two inches from the stem, the birds don't sing and the grass isn't that green and the poetry in the books protests from overuse. "I think it's important we tell each other stories."
Greece doesn't tell him why. "It's a story about how I beat Turkey in a game."
Kiku blinks. "Is it a story with sides?"
"I mean, if I were to hear the story from Turkey-san, would it be the same story, or would it portray you in a possibly less-flattering light?"
Greece scratches his head. "I don't know."
"Could you try telling it to me, then?"
"Yes," Herakles says, except then he stops and considers the story. Kiku considers the story, too. "On second thought, it concerns you and it's not very exciting."
"Am I unexciting? Is that what you're saying?"
"You are not unexciting."
"What are you trying to tell me, anyway?"
So Kiku had never believed in Santa Claus. He had never believed that he could believe in Santa Claus, and he could have told everyone that he did believe in Santa Claus to get them off his back, but then he'd have another spell where he might scratch Yao in the back with his sword and tell Ivan that he needn't bother faking niceties to anyone and Gilbert to go fuck himself, and maybe he might have wanted to kiss Herakles like that, but he didn't believe in Santa Claus, so maybe that was the issue here, that and not because he gets dark and angry sometimes and he wishes he were a real boy.
"Are you refuting my existence?" Tino had asked him, very politely but his smile was strained, just like Kiku's face was strained and the windows and the clouds and the air was strained.
"You represent the Republic of Finland. A nation-state bordered by Sweden, Norway, Estonia and Russia. Scarcely populated, sovereign under the European Union. That is all."
"Thanks, I guess," Tino said. "I'm not going to force you to believe in me, you know."
"You're a nice person," Kiku said matter-of-factly.
"I'm glad you think so."
The weather outside makes him tired, Kiku concludes, that must be what's bothering him.
Herakles has a nice smile on his face when they look at the Christmas lights. The television on the display is broadcasting a mecha cartoon and Kiku is interested enough to lose his next words. Someone is jumping inside a robot and he's fighting for the love of his life; it's never interested him any more than now but maybe he's just a boy, his heart stops anyway when Herakles grabs his hand, "It's almost Christmas Eve in America. Shall we go and celebrate?"
(But he succumbs to it. Something beats in his heart and there's a bird singing and Tino's voice is loud in his ear, so he succumbs to it and Kiku decides to believe in Santa Claus for one more time.)
"I-I went to the hospital today," Kiku tells Greece, his voice is light and there's no tune to it. "The doctor was very kind to me. Very kind. I didn't think he would be, especially because I wasn't exactly sure what was wrong with me. I hope you understand, but it's a delicate situation for me and it's entirely different from the other day when I let you take pictures of the cat with me. I don't want to cause you any trouble, Girisha-san, I hope I don't, I promised you I would get rid of it and I did it, didn't I?"
"What did he say?" Heracles says softly.
"He told me it would be another two weeks," Kiku bites his lip. "Two weeks, and it'll be all gone. Honestly, I wasn't sure how it happened anyway; I am biologically and physiologically masculine, there was n-no chance of it occurring. And it's not as if w-we're-"
Kiku says it tightly. He's not going to cry, he's never cried before. "I-I mean. I wouldn't have minded seeing a boy. Or a girl, I mean. A c-child. I wouldn't have minded. I wouldn't have minded being pregnant, okay? Even if it seemed unnatural. I-In some way."
Greece's smile is slight. "I know," he says, and now he's got an arm wrapped around Kiku and the Christmas lights are bright in the shopping center, Tino is wearing a fake beard but they both pretend they don't recognize it's him. America-san trips over his feet delivering his multi-colored platter to the food table. "I know."
He's babbling, but he can't stop himself, and he feels Greece curl another arm around him but he's past caring, he just wants the stars to start blinking in the garden already. "I-I didn't want to cause you trouble. I like you a lot, I-I guess, and maybe that's why. You have to take responsibility, but I don't want to make it too hard for you, a-and I guess I just d-"
"Shh," Herakles whispers in his ear. "There's mistletoe above us."
...because boys can have miscarriages too? ;w; /dying
and that's it for giripan this year. happy holidays, everyone! :)