Advent Calendar, part 22

A little late today, because I decided to sleep until noon. Sorry for keeping you waiting~

22

“Can’t sleep?”
Mizuki stirred. He hadn’t been aware Settia was still awake. Although he had wanted to continue their discussion, it was as if the courage had left him once they got back home. Instead, they had sat in silence for most of the night. Mizuki had done some reading and taken a few notes for his thesis, before going to bed early. Now it was past midnight, and he still couldn’t sleep.
“What about you?” he didn’t turn around. They were lying back to back. They hadn’t even done that on the first night they’d been in bed together. It felt strange and unfamiliar, like there was an invisible wall between them.
“No, I can’t.” Settia’s voice was quiet. “Mizuki…? Turn around?”
He sighed, and then turned over on his side, supporting himself on his elbow. “Can we talk?”
“Yeah,” Settia nodded. “We can talk. I think it’s time.”
Silence fell between them. Mizuki didn’t know what to say, not really. He had gone from being utterly confused, to just going along with whatever was happening, quietly accepting whatever was happening. Now he didn’t know what to feel.
“I didn’t mean to hurt you…” Settia started.
“I know that you didn’t. I just… it’s hard to understand you know? You’re always so secretive.” His voice was a low whisper, fading out at the end of the statement.
“I know… I was meaning to tell you earlier, but it’s difficult. After all, you don’t believe in me.”
“I don’t…know?”
“What I came here for,” Settia continued, “was to show you all the good things this season has to offer. I wanted you to see that there’s good in people, that there’s gratitude, and a will to reach out to others. I wanted you to see that Christmas is magical, even if you don’t believe in it.”
“Why me?” Mizuki countered. “There are many others just like me. So why me? And how did you even find me? Don’t tell me that that man was—“
Something glinted deep in Settia’s emerald eyes. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
“What about the decorations at the Soup Kitchen? The old lady said that she couldn’t remember having that much stored away..?”
Settia smiled secretively.
“That was you…? But how? I was watching you all the time, so unless you…. But there’s no such thing as magic!”
Mizuki felt like his nerves were getting slightly frazzled. They had agreed to talk, but he didn’t feel like he was getting any more clarity. Settia was being vague, and he wasn’t exactly pressing too hard himself. Maybe he was worried about the answers.
“Christmas,” Settia said again. “Is magical.”
“What. You’re honestly telling me that the old guy in the costume was the real Santa?” Mizuki shook his head. “He knew my name but— It’s impossible.”
Settia continued to regard him silently.
“And you? Where did you come from? Has it occurred to you how crazy it is for me to….That I allowed a complete stranger to stay with me after breaking into my house?”
“Mizuki,” Settia reached out a slender hand, tugging at his hair in a teasing manner. “Has it occurred to you that I may have been telling the truth all along? That maybe I am an enchanted Prince, sent to you by Santa?”
He was playing on what Mizuki had said when they put up the gingerbread house.
Mizuki glowered. “Are you?”
“No,” Settia snickered. “I’m a plant.”
Are you though?”
Settia nodded. “Yes. Regardless of what you believe, I am Poinsettia, the Christmas Flower.”
It did make sense…. Settia’s colors, the scent, the way the remedy had worked, the way his hair seemed to perk up whenever he drank water… But it was too far-fetched. His logic was protesting vehemently.
“How can you be..?” he mumbled. “How can you be a plant, and yet so…”
He looked up, their gazes meeting. “So amazing?”
“So you think I am?” Settia honestly looked surprised. “Even after what I did?”
“You haven’t done anything wrong.” Mizuki admitted. “It’s true that you’ve shown me things I didn’t know about. Your very existence is apparently beyond me, but… I didn’t mean to get angry. Actually, I’m sorry. You’ve shown me this amazing warmth and kindness, and I’ve been…”
He paused, looking for the words. “A real Scrooge.”
“No you haven’t.” Settia cooed, placing his hand on Mizuki’s upper arm, beckoning for him to come closer. “You’ve been so open-minded, and so sweet… I’m really proud of you.”
“I’m sure you are,” Mizuki failed to hold back a wry smile, “Now that I’ve virtually blown off a month’s worth of school work?”
“Silly,” Settia smirked.
“Are you making fun of me..?” Mizuki tugged at the other man’s hoodie, pulling on the strings to the hood.
“I’d never dream of it.”
“Maybe we should try dreaming..?” Mizuki replied softly.
“Maybe.” Settia agreed. “Unless you’re still mad?”
“It doesn’t matter,” he replied, shaking his head. “It was all good when I was just going with the flow. Let’s just stick with that, okay?”
“Alright,” Settia nodded. His hand wandered down Mizuki’s arm, finding his hand. Their fingers entwined. Settia led their clasped hands up to his mouth, and kissed Mizuki’s hand gently.

It really didn’t matter, Mizuki thought. Christmas was three days away, and although he had been more actively involved in the season than ever before, he had never felt less bothered by it. The reason was the man next to him, holding his hand. Regardless of who this man claimed to be, or what his true form was… Mizuki was beginning to realize how he felt about him.

He scooted closer, heart beating hard in his chest, his hand still held Settia’s.
“This is so strange…” he whispered. “I don’t even know what you…what we are.”
“Does it matter?” Settia replied, nuzzling in against him, his nose burrowing into stray tousles of dark hair.
“You’re not human…” Mizuki mumbled, “and still I’m…”
The hand holding his lead his palm downwards, pressing it against Settia’s chest. Beneath the hooded sweater, and the man’s warm skin, he could feel distinct heartbeats.
Settia leaned in, capturing Mizuki’s lips with his own, kissing him in a far more demanding and possessive way than ever before.
“I’m human now.” He whispered, breaking the kiss.
Mizuki nodded, wrapping his arms around him, and accepting the next meeting of their lips, and the tingles shooting through his body. Sleep didn’t seem as important anymore, nor did anything else.

**TBC**

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