Cerridwen squinted, stepping out onto the bright, snowy deck. Small, feathery snowflakes were drifting lazily down from the cloudy sky. Kite was in the gravel driveway, brushing the snow off the car with an old broom. His hat and navy blue coat made him stand out against the snow, but Cerridwen was just realizing for the first time exactly how pale he was.
Giggling, she looked past him and mused, "Where did Kite go?"
Kite set down the broom, turning and looking at her in bewilderment. "What are you talking about? I'm right here."
"Oh, I'm sorry," Cerridwen forced, trying not to giggle. "I thought you were just some snowflake wearing a weird blue hat."
Kite huffed, smirking and rolling his eyes. "Really, Carrie?"
She gave in and erupted into a fit of giggles, leaning against the railing as she made her way down the steps.
"I'm sorry," she managed, gesturing to the snow-coated ground, "it's just, your hair is white, and you're pale, and with all this...you kind of blend in."
Kite put his hands on his hips, fighting back a full-blown smile.
"Like a snowflake," Cerridwen added, her fit of giggles over. "My tall, protective snowflake."
Kite chuckled, slipping his hands into his pockets and making his way over to her.
"Well, you stick out like a sore thumb," he declared, looking her up and down. She wore a huge black coat and a bright green scarf, her violet hair cascading down past her waist.
She arched an eyebrow. "Oh, do I?"
"Oh yes, incredibly so," he said emphatically.
She chortled. "Like what, a neon sign?"
"No," he replied with a faint smile. "Like a wildflower."
Cerridwen let out a small gasp, taken aback by how serious he seemed.
"An incredibly stubborn wildflower," he clarified with a grin, "not willing to let a little blizzard put an end to its beauty."
Cerridwen felt her ears turn red, and was suddenly very happy her hair was covering them.
"My delightful, determined wildflower," he finished, a tender smile gracing his lips.
Cerridwen's cheeks flushed a bright pink, and Kite resisted the urge to laugh; he wondered if she knew how adorable she looked.
Cerridwen scrunched her face up indignantly, then reached out and snatched Kite's hat off his head. With a mischievous grin, she whipped around and started to run away from him, into the snowy field behind the cottage.
"Hey!" Kite shouted, chasing after her, alabaster hair flying behind him. "Carrie, get back here!"
"No way! You gotta catch me first!" she laughed, glancing over her shoulder to see that he was quickly catching up to her. In a moment of panic, she started to lose her balance. She pivoted around, trying to right herself. "Oh, shit!"
Kite reached her and grabbed on to her wrist, but she fell backward into the snow anyway, pulling him down on top of her.
"...ouch," Cerridwen mumbled, wiping a clump of snow off her cheek.
Kite propped himself up with one arm, using his other hand to brush Cerridwen's bangs out of her eyes.
"Carrie, are you alright?" he asked, concern flooding his face.
"I'm fine, Kite," she replied, arching her back as she stretched beneath him, before reaching up and putting his hat back on his head. Looking into his eyes, she smirked and said, "Here, I think this belongs to -"
Cerridwen froze, seeing something in Kite's gaze that she had never seen before. It was similar to the way he looked at her when she smiled, or sang, or laughed, or drank her tea, and yet there was something more behind it. Was it fear? Was it joy? And why was it making her heart threaten to burst out of her chest?
"...to you," she breathed, not able to tear her eyes from his.
Kite stared at Cerridwen's face, unable to move. He could tell from her expression: apprehension in her gaze, her lips ever so slightly parted, that she could see the difference behind his eyes. But he wasn't sure if she knew what to make of it. Up until quite recently, he hadn't known what to make of the feeling either. But as they laid there in the snow, his heart racing uncontrollably, he figured it out.
He was falling in love with her.
"Kite," Cerridwen began, tucking his hair behind his ear and arching an eyebrow, "are you okay?"
Kite snapped out of his trance, clearing his throat and jumping to his feet.
"Yes, of course," he declared in a somewhat flustered manner, holding a hand down to Cerridwen and helping her stand.
"So, are we gonna get going?" Cerridwen asked, a hopeful smile on her face. "The sooner we get back, the sooner we can start decorating!"
Kite smirked, his heart warming at how excited this whole Christmas thing was making her.
"Sure, let's go," he grinned, turning and heading for the car. Reaching it and opening the passenger door for Cerridwen, he added, "Ging left us more than enough 'emergency money' to where we should be able to get a tree and a decent amount of ornaments for it, and still have plenty left over in case of an actual emergency."
Cerridwen giggled, climbing into the car.
"It's almost like he knew," she commented as he closed the door behind her.
Kite paused, furrowing his brow. It was almost like Ging knew...but he couldn't have...could he?
Shrugging, Kite walked around the car and opened the driver's side door.