Notes: For the 25 Day Christmas/Holiday OTP challenge on tumblr.
Title: Call Us From Far
Fandom: Tiger & Bunny
Pairing: Kotetsu/Barnaby
Prompt: getting out/putting up decorations
Words: 845 words

Call Us From Far

The entire apartment is very modern. And very empty. Kaede's only been inside of it once or twice before and it's usually only when she spends the night with her father while she's in Sternbild. Despite that, it's still sparsely furnished, although Barnaby has said that he and her father are planning on getting more furniture eventually.

Still, the entire place is rather empty aside from the huge boxes now stacked along the wall and the Christmas tree that's set up in the corner. Kaede thinks that it brings some warmth to the space.

Her father and Barnaby are bickering back and forth about something, but Kaede's gotten used to it by now. It's just how they are. She's already set herself up on the floor with a box of decorations that she's unpacking and laying out on the sheet in front of her.

It's her first Christmas in Sternbild. She knows her father wants it to be special and most of the decorations are her choice, although the tinsel that's been strung up along the walls was her father's idea. And she knows that there's been some mistletoe hung somewhere, though she hasn't quite figured out where that is yet. She thinks it's supposed to be a surprise.

She's unpacked the lights and laid them out on the floor in straight, neat lines when she breaks into their argument, "Who's going to put on the lights?"

"I'll do it," Barnaby says. Her father rolls her eyes and says something quietly that Kaede can't quite make out, but it makes Barnaby roll his eyes and smile, saying something back to him.

Barnaby takes the lights and carefully places them on the tree. It takes a lot longer than it takes her uncle to do it, but Barnaby keeps undoing and redoing his work until he deems it perfect. She has to admit, it does look perfect; like one of those trees she sees in store displays.

She has to swat her father's hands away from the decorations. "Those are breakable, butterfingers. I'll take care of this."

Her father pouts at her and crosses his arms. She takes the bait and sticks her tongue out, digging through the boxes in search of the star that goes on top. It doesn't take her long to find it and she takes it out of its packaging, holding it up for inspection. Under the light, it glitters prettily and throws little shards of golden light on the floor and her hands. It's perfect.

"I'm putting it on the tree!" she declares, hopping to her feet. Her father is seconds behind her.

He scoops her up into his arms before she can say anything and there's a smile on his face and a glitter in his eyes that she'd missed, but she's happy to see that it's back now. She's used to too many Christmases where there's a sad look in his eye that he can't quite keep out. It's gone now and she's happy about that.

Her father holds her up so that she can put the star on the top of the tree. It takes her a few seconds to adjust it until it's just right.

"Okay! You can put me down now, dad."

He doesn't put her straight back on her feet, though. Instead, he takes her in a bear hug before he lets her go to admire her work.

The tree is almost perfect. Now it just needs its decorations.

The three of them fall into a comfortable silence as they set about decorating the tree. Kaede takes out the decorations from their boxes – almost all of them are new with the exception of a few that she brought with her for this special occasions – and gets her father or Barnaby to lift her up when she can't quite reach the branches.

She notices that her father isn't the only one with a warm look in his eyes. Barnaby has a near identical one in his and Kaede only knows that because she's lucky enough to know the real Barnaby; this one, not the one splashed across magazines and the TV and her walls back home. Although, Wild Tiger has made his way onto her walls now too.

It's late in the evening when they finally finish and sit back to take in their work. Kaede's sitting in between them. Behind her, she knows that her father's hand is resting on top of Barnaby's and she leans back a little against their arms. She hasn't felt quite this happy and content in a long time.

The tree is beautiful. It glitters and glows with the lights strung up on its branches, which reflects off the ornaments. The warmth of the tree fills up the apartment and it suddenly feels more like a home. There's still only the solitary chair, but there will be more furniture soon.

There are still boxes of decorations to be put up and sorted through, but Kaede doesn't want to move quite yet. It's been too long since she's felt like this. Besides, not every girl gets to decorate their Christmas tree with Barnaby Brooks, Jr., and Wild Tiger.

FIN.