The wind howled through the cool night air, pummeling the dimly lit apartment building with the sound of every gust. Shingetsu Ernesta Fukami winced every time she heard it roar against the window, as she worried about power failure or broken windows or any other unlikely manner of misfortune. She had never been the type to celebrate holidays, but Mangetsu, her girlfriend, had asked to come over for Christmas Eve, and so she thought it would only be right to give her proper holiday festivities. A freshly cut Christmas tree lit her apartment, throwing small glimmers of light all around the walls and ceiling. Shingetsu admired her handiwork, surprised at how...pretty the tree looked. She truthfully felt she had no idea what she was doing, but the outcome was surprisingly nice. Shingetsu supposed it was a difficult thing to mess up, but felt satisfied nonetheless. A thought entered her mind, unsolicited:
“Is it snowing in Germany?”
The mild climate of Japan had taken quite an adjustment for her. A Japan Winter was on par with an early Autumn in Germany, and the freezing cold of a German winter had absolutely no parallel in this country. If she was being 100% honest with herself, she did get homesick, but Mangetsu and the drive to create a world free of magic made all of this worth it in the end. These were the only presents she could have hoped for this year, with no family around to speak of. Absentmindedly, she wondered what it would have been like had things gone differently, had she not burned bridges with Anna, and had been allowed to spend the holidays with that family. What would they be doing right now? Loneliness set in as she realized exactly how much she yearned for familial bonds and affection.
A knock on the door interrupted her thoughts and concerns, as she took a deep breath in and went to open the door. Mangetsu, bundled up in a fairly heavy coat and scarf stood in front of her.
“It’s so cold, Shingetsu-chan” she blurted out as she quickly came inside.
It was interesting how differently their bodies adjusted to the cold, Shingetsu noted, shutting the door behind her.
“It’s so pretty in here!” Mangetsu exclaimed, desperately trying to warm her hands. “You must have worked hard on it” she added.
“It was nothing, really” Shingetsu stated, trying to downplay it. The truth was, she had worked hard and it felt great to have that appreciated. Mangetsu always made her feel that way, all the insecurities and doubts she felt when she was alone melted away when they were together. She hoped Mangetsu felt the same way. She wanted to make her feel like she had something, something important.
“I brought a couple bentos and stuff to make cocoa, Shingetsu-chan” Mangetsu delightedly announced.
Shingetsu ignored her words and hugged her tightly, hearing her breathing near her neck, and feeling her heart beat against her chest.
“S-Shingetsu-chan?” Mangetsu questioned her companion, nervously. “Is something wrong?”
“Not anymore” Ernesta answered back. “Sorry, I think I’m just...recharging a bit.”
Mangetsu’s warmth, both physically and emotionally had warmed the dull ache in the back of Shingetsu’s emotions. She relaxed and sat at the table as Mangetsu began emptying her bag of the lunch boxes.
They ate together, as Mangetsu admired the decoration of the apartment, while Shingetsu tried her best to downplay it a bit.
“I mean it Shingetsu-chan, it’s wonderful. You’re wonderful”
She blushed as she said the last part, smiling to herself. The reaction was mutual.
“What is your family doing for Christmas?” Shingetsu asked her, trying to change the subject away from such a cute, yet embarrassing statement,
“Nothing all that special, Kibou is visiting Nene-chan and my parents are probably enjoying having the house to themselves.”
“Is this how you imagined you would spend yours?” she asked nervously.
Mangetsu giggled. “Not even a little. But it’s really nice. I’ve never seen such intricate decorations. I feel like I’m at the North Pole. We’re really just missing the sno-.”
Mangetsu paused, as if deep in thought.
“Hey, Shingetsu-chan, you don’t thin-“
“I can’t make it snow. If I were the Princeps mage, it would be simple, but that power is beyond me as merely a mage’s descen-“
“Look!” Mangetsu cut her off, pointing outside.
Tiny flakes had started to fall from the sky outside, each one shimmering against the night sky.
The wind paused long enough for them to fall peacefully down to the ground.
Mangetsu grabbed Shingetsu’s hand and dragged her out onto the balcony to stand in the snowy evening cold.
“Thank you, Shingetsu-chan” Mangetsu exclaimed, clearly ignoring everything she had just said.
“I told you, I can’t do-“
“Maybe you can’t, but maybe you can. Maybe it’s just a miracle. But I’m glad I get to see it with you,”
Mangetsu looked radiant in the soft light coming from inside the apartment, with the snow dancing around her as she held Shingetsu’s hands in hers.
“I’m glad I get to see it with you too, Mangetsu.”
Mangetsu stood on her toes and gave her girlfriend a small kiss on the cheek, bringing a smile to both of their faces.
“Come inside, you’ll catch a cold if we stay out here too long.” Mangetsu teased.
Shingetsu smiled and followed Mangetsu inside the apartment, into an apartment that felt much more like home to her than it did earlier in the evening.