It's that time of year again! Enjoy the goofiness!


1st Day of Christmas
Those Funny Things They Do in (Celes)

Flickering light at the bottom of the door woke him. Kurogane sat up silently, one hand dropping to his ever-present sword. Nothing had attacked them yet in this world, but he was always prudent.

The door creaked slightly under his hand, and he moved swiftly to the edge of the hallway to avoid the well-worn and squeaky boards in the center before descending the stairs to the main room.

The room was empty save for Fai, curled in a chair by the fire with a book propped open in his lap and a steaming mug balanced in one hand.

Kurogane moved closer, picking up the unmistakable smell of hot alcohol wafting out from the mug. "Do you have any idea what time it is?" Fai's head snapped up, and for a moment Kurogane saw focused intelligence behind those eyes, only to be quickly replaced.

"Kuro-tan! Did I wake you?" Fai looked upwards at him, eyes sparkling with false merriment. "Did you miss me?"

Their room had been preternaturally quiet without Fai in it. That may have been what woke him. "Why are you awake?" He didn't bother to point out that they would all have to be up early looking for Sakura's feather in the morning.

Fai closed the book, all teasing expressions dropping from his face. "You should go back to bed, Kuro-sama."

"Don't change the subject, mage."

After a long moment, he answered the question. "It's midwinter."

He remembered their host mentioning that earlier today - or yesterday, given the time - along with something about it being the shortest day of the year.

Words began to tumble from Fai's mouth, but he stared fixedly at the cup in his hands. "Winter brings darkness. Days get shorter until you barely have any time of true daylight. It's like the world is being swallowed and the next time the sun goes down, it won't ever rise again, but that all reverses at mid-winter."

The verbosity surprised him. He would have blamed it on the alcohol, except that Fai didn't get drunk.

"If you can just stay awake and wait for the sun to rise again at midwinter, you'll know that the light is coming back and everything will go back to the way it was."

"You want to go home."

"I can't!" Fai started and bit his lip.

Kurogane wondered how long he's been sitting here thinking those thoughts. Hours, probably. Certainly long enough for the words to be wound so tightly into Fai's mind that he would accidentally blurt them out. He propped his sword in the corner - easily within arm's reach because he was prudent and still not entirely certain they were safe here - and collapsed into the adjacent chair.

"W-what are you doing, Kuroi?" Fai stumbled on the first word, surprise plastered across his face.

"Waiting for the sun." The serious gaze he fixed on Fai carried all of the meaning he didn't put into words.