Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
“I heard from Mom that our son has been quite indebted to you. Thank you for taking care of him, Yuki-chan,” my Dad smiled.
“No, no, I’m the one being taken care of, Haru’s father.”
“Though, I’ve never seen you without your bandages before. Pretty surprised to see such a wonderful girl below all that wrapping,” he quipped.
“Haha, did I surprise you?”
“Tell me about it. The wee little girl I’ve seen as a daughter just shows up as a grown stunner one day. How could I not be surprised?”
Steaming and fragrant food laid the table as my parents, Yuki, and I sat together. A warm nostalgia wafted along with spice as we talked, and I was reminded of the long years since this had last happened; I was only in elementary school. Since literal ages passed since my father saw Yuki, he beamed livelier than anyone at the table, happy to see her fine and healthy. Perhaps some of his cheeriness came from the wine as well, but who’d blame him?
“But well, Yuki-chan… You were a lil’ cutie even when you were all wrapped up, sure, but now you really stepped up the game. Haru’s a smooth operator, I see.”
Dad’s smirk was unbearable. With a bad feeling in my gut, I stopped my chopsticks and asked him as calmly as I could, “Dad. What do you mean by that?”
“Just, being friendly is nice.”
“We’ve been close since we were little, so yeah. And that’s not what I asked.”
“Um, that’s… I just heard Mom talk about it…”
“About what…? Wait, n-no. Could it be?”
This time, my glance skipped to my Mom. She had the same expression on her face as my father. I could tell from smug alone she’d told my father about what happened in the room a few moments prior. That would explain my father’s grinning.
“Sorry, dear. The sight was just too much for me to keep,” Mom giggled.
“I just wish I had been there for it. It’d be nice to see you two get along with each other,” he rued.
“Do you not have a shred of delicacy, Dad? …Ah, the wine,” I winced at the realization.
“Well, well, calm down now. I’m just happy to see you two get along swimmingly.”
“That’s right, Haru. Mom and Dad are really rooting for you guys to get along swimmingly.”
“I… I appreciate it. Really,” I gave up.
They were right. Sure, Yuki and I were only able to live together as well as we did due to our friendship. However, it was also thanks—in no small part—to the various steps both of our parents took so we could reunite once more.
“We prepared a delicious cake as an apology for all the teasing, so please forgive us, ‘kay?” Mom winked.
“I know you like chocolate cake, Yuki-chan. Look forward to it. I bought the best I could find.”
“I can’t wait for the cake you two have prepared for me,” the Christmas lights were no match for her radiant grin.
Her smiling face told me it was the first time in years she had a Christmas party like this. Sights of our childhood years, happy as they were, overlapped with the present. Surely she was feeling the same, chest swelling with bittersweet nostalgia.
Let’s do this every year, my heart whispered. Yuki may have felt the same. Our hands reached for one another’s under the table, and our fingers intertwined, squeezing every gently.
After our feast, my parents brought the chocolate cake to the table.
There were two layers of fluffy and choc-filled sponge, lined regularly by whipped cream. The top of the dessert had blackberries and raspberries for décor. A neat, handwritten “Merry Christmas” towered above the cake, made of pure white chocolate.
Gorgeous only began to describe it, and its deliciousness was undisputed. The chocolate was soft and sweet, while the cream kept itself in check to complement it. Meanwhile, the berries were sour, and refreshing, and helped down the sweetness, much like water to thirst.
Thus, our first Christmas party in years ended in resounding success. Mom and Dad plopped down on the sofa, relaxing in one another’s presence, while Yuki and I went upstairs together.
My room was decorated to the ceiling for tomorrow’s party. I had taken my TV and console to the apartment, so I thought about how I’d spend the evening. It was then that Yuki entered the room and walked up to the window.
Like feathers, the graceful snow fell as the street lights began dotting the view. Despite it being nighttime, all the lights made it seem brighter than midday. It was so quiet out there, I swore I could hear the tiny footsteps of snow on snow. It was a Holy Night indeed.
Still, my eyes wandered. Her white breath poofed out her smile as she gazed at the palish landscape outside. I couldn’t help but snuggle up to her, wondering if she had reminisced about our days past.
“Today was a good day,” I smiled.
“Yes. It was a really fun day… And the best Christmas present I could’ve ever gotten,” her squinty smile spoke a thousand words.
“I feel the same,” Yuki giggled ticklingly at me as I responded, sincerely.
I watched her profile as her eyes skipped like kids in the snow. Then, my hands reached out unashamedly to touch her, meeting her shoulders. She turned around as her eyes met mine, glistening against the soft light outside. Her blue eyes were like pearls in the ocean, and I felt sucked into them.
“Hey, Haru-kun. We’ll be together next year, and the year after that, and the year after that… And for a long, long time after it, won’t we?”
“Of course. I promise that, no matter what happens, we’ll always be together. And we’ll celebrate the next Christmas just like this one, and the ones to come.”
Her happiness bellowed innocence. “Tomorrow, we’ll party with Akina-san and Rikka-san. I’ve never been able to enjoy a double Christmas like this, so I can’t wait!”
“Me neither. This is the best Holiday I’ve had,” I smiled back.
“Yes. So…” Innocence flickered. “I’d like to enjoy some time alone with you tonight… Can’t I?”
“Yeah. Yeah, you can, Yuki.”
I loosened my arms and grazed her cheek with my hand. My fingers trailed her face, hugging her warm-red ears, and finally reached her head. They ran along her soft hair, smooth and pleasant to the touch. As I caressed Yuki, her face turned to comfortable pleasure.
Our eyes locked for hour-long seconds.
My right hand slid down to touch her neck gently. She leaned in close with an entranced gaze, then whispered the softest whisper, “Haru-kun…”
Her voice startled my poor heart, which skipped as her voice called my name like melting honey. Gently, she let go of me and—Just then, I heard the pat-pats of footsteps through the door, followed by a knocking sound. It was my Mom.
“Haru, Yuki. One of you should take a bath first.”
Unlike the time before dinner, she was not stealthy, nor did she open a little crack to watch us from outside… After a short pause, we looked at each other and giggled like mischievous kids.
“I’m taking it first then, Haru-kun.”
“Mhm. Go ahead and warm yourself up.”
“‘Kay, see you later!”
Her back disappeared out of the room, and she closed the door soon after. Alone, I could only collapse onto the bed and breathe in deeply. I shifted and turned until my eyes met the decorations on the ceiling. The still-warm exchange Yuki and I just had replayed in my mind, and all I could think of was her. Of how lovely she was in this Holy Night.
This was already the best Christmas I’ve had in my life.
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