"Kite?" Cerridwen called from where she stood by the Christmas tree. It was almost completely decorated, save for two ornaments. "Come over here and put yourself on the tree."
Kite turned to face her, turning his attention away from the large picture window he had been stringing lights and garland around. She was standing in front of the tree, staring at it with a very perplexed expression. Confused, he made his way over to her.
"I'm sorry, what?" he inquired, arching an eyebrow and resting a hand on her shoulder.
Not looking away from the tree, Cerridwen raised her arm and held the glass snowflake ornament in front of his face.
"Put yourself on the tree," she repeated. "I figure it's only fitting."
"But you found the ornament; I think you should do it. I leave myself in your capable hands," Kite smirked.
Cerridwen huffed, withdrawing her arm and saying, "Fine, but then you get to put the purple flower on the tree."
"Sounds fair," Kite replied, reaching over and taking the delicate glass violet out of her other hand. He held it up for a moment, inspecting it thoughtfully, before scanning the tree for a suitable spot.
"Right there," he said, pointing at a surprisingly bare spot on the front of the tree. "There's room enough there for us to hang them next to each other."
Cerridwen turned to him, tilting her head. "Why next to each other?"
"Well," Kite began, shrugging, "you and I have been inseparable since the day we met. Why should these ornaments be any different?"
Cerridwen blushed slightly, before nodding in agreement.
"Okay, yeah, good call," she said.
They both reached out at the same time, hanging the ornaments next to each other in one synchronized motion. They stood there for a moment, silently admiring the way the multicolored lights twinkled on the smooth glass shapes.
Cerridwen smiled warmly as she felt Kite wrap an arm around her, gently pulling her closer against his side. She let out a quiet sigh, leaning against him. The tree was absolutely beautiful; she couldn't tear her eyes from it. Shivering, she tried to pull herself closer to Kite.
Kite let out a quiet gasp of surprise, feeling Cerridwen's sudden shaking. Chuckling, he wound his other arm around her and pulled her into a warm embrace.
"Yes, the fire is dying down a bit," he commented, just realizing how cold it was becoming.
"Mm-hm," Cerridwen mumbled, resting her head against his chest.
"You add some more wood to the fire," Kite said, kissing the top of her head. "I'll gather blankets and pillows from the bedrooms. I think we should sleep in here, by the fire; it's too cold to sleep in our rooms tonight."
"Good idea," Cerridwen replied, reluctantly breaking away from him and crouching down in front of the fireplace. "Warmth. Need."
Kite laughed, turning and heading toward his bedroom.
Cerridwen gradually added three more logs to the fire, being careful to not smother the flames. She knelt there, cautiously stoking the fire with the metal poker, until it reached a satisfactory level. Smiling at her work, she set the poker back in its stand and rose to her feet. She took a moment to admire the lights and garland that Kite had draped on the mantle. There was also a red-and-green pillar candle resting on either end. Slowly, her gaze traveled up the side of the chimney, until it fell upon something hanging halfway up its height.
She tilted her head, unsure of what she was looking at.
"Kite?" she called, not moving from where she stood below the mysterious object. "What is this?"
Kite wandered from Cerridwen's room back into the livingroom, his arms piled high with pillows and blankets.
"What's what?" he inquired, setting the bundle on the couch.
"That," Cerridwen answered, pointing up.
Kite followed the direction of her finger to see a small bunch of green leaves and delicate white berries that he had affixed to the stones. Involuntarily, he felt himself start to blush.
Why did I even buy that? he thought, eyes wide. What the hell was I thinking?
"...Kite?" Cerridwen queried, looking at him with concern.
"It's mistletoe," he managed, trying to regain composure. "I just got it for decoration; I hear it's more or less a dead tradition anyway."
"What's the tradition?" Cerridwen probed, arching an eyebrow.
"It started in ancient times," Kite explained, unconsciously pulling his braid over his shoulder. "People would hang mistletoe in doorways, and if someone was standing beneath it, it was customary to kiss them."
"Kiss them?" Cerridwen repeated, surprised.
Kite nodded. "On the lips."
"Oh," Cerridwen said, glancing away from Kite and back up at the mistletoe.
"Yeah," Kite laughed nervously, rubbing the back of his neck. "Kind of a dumb tradition, righ-"
Kite froze, looking up to see that Cerridwen was looking straight at him, her gaze unwavering. "What?"
"You heard me, silly," she giggled. "Kiss me."
"C-Carrie?" he stuttered, his eyes widening. "Are you sure?"
Cerridwen smiled sweetly. "Yes. It's a Christmas tradition, right? Let's go all-out. It'll be fun."
"Come here," Cerridwen smirked, waving him over to her. After a moment, he complied, walking over and standing in front of her, the fireplace to his right.
Kite looked at Cerridwen, the firelight dancing playfully in the lavender glass stone in her pendant, casting a warm lustre upon her skin. He felt his heart skip a beat as he let his gaze travel to her emerald eyes, which were regarding him expectantly. Feeling his ears grow hot, he quickly leaned forward and planted the lightest of kisses on Cerridwen's lips, pulling back just as rapidly.
Cerridwen let out a breathy chuckle, crossing her arms across her chest.
"Aww, come on Kite," she said playfully. "Like you mean it."
Kite smiled nervously, reaching out and gently taking hold of Cerridwen's hand. He wanted to kiss her like he meant it, but truth be told he was afraid. Afraid that if he did, he wouldn't want to stop...or wouldn't be able to stop. What if it made things awkward between them? He couldn't stand the idea of their relationship deteriorating. She had been the one constant in his life for so long; he didn't want to lose her. Gazing into her eyes, he brought his other hand up and tucked a stray hair behind her ear.
Cerridwen smiled gently, her heart fluttering as she met Kite's surprisingly intense stare. Until Ging came along, Kite was the closest thing to family that Cerridwen had. Recently, however, her feelings for him had blossomed into something more. She had to admit, she had been looking for an excuse to kiss Kite for a while...but she was frankly too scared to act on the impulse. What if it weirded him out? Or worse, made him angry? No, it was better to wait and see if Kite would kiss her instead. This whole mistletoe thing proved to be just the opportunity she needed, and she wasn't about to pass the chance up.
"Kite," Cerridwen began in a whisper as he placed a hand on her cheek.
Wordlessly, Kite took a step closer to her, leaving only a minuscule distance between them. He could feel his heart racing as he looked down at her, the firelight glowing in her eyes, her lips parted ever so slightly.
"Carrie," he breathed after a moment, feeling his cheeks begin to turn a faint pink.
Cerridwen looked up at Kite, her pulse pounding in her ears. She had heard him call her that countless times before, but something about the way he said it just then made her go weak. The firelight reflected in his hazel eyes, seeming to ignite something within them.
Kite bridged the gap between them, closing his eyes, his lips embracing Cerridwen's tenderly, yet firmly. Cerridwen's eyelids fluttered shut as she leaned into his kiss, feeling herself blushing like wild. Kite felt his cheeks flush as well, one hand caressing the side of her face just below her jaw, the other with its fingers entwined with hers. Cerridwen let her free hand wander up to the hand Kite had on her face, gliding up his arm to rest on his shoulder. They stayed like that for roughly half a minute, both their hearts racing in unison, their temperatures high.
Opening their eyes, they slowly broke apart, neither one letting go of the other's hand.
"So..." Cerridwen said after a few moments, "that was...that was a mistletoe kiss, huh?"
Kite looked at his feet anxiously, afraid that they had just driven a wedge between themselves.
"Yeah," he muttered with a nervous sigh.
Cerridwen took a step closer to him, standing on her tiptoes and wrapping her arms around his neck. Kite gasped in surprise as she moved so her lips were brushing against his ear.
"Not so dumb of a tradition after all," she whispered, kissing his cheek.
With that, she broke away from him and, grinning, made her way to her bedroom.
Kite brought a hand up to rest on his cheek, staring after her in shock.