Two emotions were having a consistent battle inside of him all throughout December.
On one side, he was ecstatic. His first Christmas is going to be with his little brother, their first Christmas was going to be spent together. After all his trials and tribulations, after all those nights spent alone, spent beaten and bruised, spent unsavoury; he finally had his chance at a normal home, with normal traditions. So Saeyoung immediately began brainstorming. He talked with everyone in the RFA trying to gather whatever ideas he could jump onto; only to discover how boring his friends actually were.
Zen said he would take his girlfriend out to celebrate but since he doesn’t have one he just works himself to death all day. Jaehee says she doesn’t have the time for anything that isn’t her work (though he has a sneaking suspicion as to what her holiday tradition actually is.) Jumin and his father exchange gifts over dinner at some restaurant Saeyoung was sure even he couldn’t afford. And Yoosung brought up the Christmas party they had once before mentioning he’d be visiting his family.
And so he went onto Naver to rectify this awful tragedy he was in. He found somewhere that sells abnormally large Christmas trees and he travelled several hours just to be the one who gets the biggest tree possible; which then blew up in his face when it didn’t fit inside the bunker. Saeran sure had a field day with this tiny mistake of his.
(“Well this was worth waking up for.”)
(“This tree needs so much space we should be calling NASA.”)
(“What made you think this would even fit through the door!?” “...Perseverance.” “And that’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever said to me, yep.”)
He ended up having to cut numerous inches off the top of the tree.
(“Parting is such sweet sorrow…” “It’s already a dead tree, idiot.”)
After that adventurous endeavour, he shopped. One might say (Saeran) it was “too much” and “utterly useless” but he didn’t see it like that, he saw it as “an investment for joy.” Maybe the one piece reindeer suit was a little unnecessary, and maybe buying enough for Saeran and Iseul was too optimistic, but it was worth it just to see Saeran’s immediate contempt and Iseul’s disbelief quickly morph into ecstatic laughter.
On the other hand… he was incredibly anxious. Iseul was frankly invited to her family’s annual get together for the holidays and after everything between them… she figured it was a good way to help break the ice. Which he completely understood and was encouraging about, it just had never occurred to him he wouldn’t be going with her. Saeran was still pretty uncomfortable around him he definitely would’ve broken down around numerous strangers; and he wasn’t about to leave him alone on their Christmas.
Which meant Iseul was going by herself. And he and Saeran were going to be alone.
Although it didn’t turn out half as bad as his worst case scenarios lead him to believe. Impatience lead Saeyoung into Saeran’s room, shoving his hastily wrapped presents into Saeran’s hands. He opened the more-tape-than-wrapping gift to reveal multiple new shirts, all neutral coloured, a pair of gloves that can be used on touch screens, and a necklace of the Linnaea flower. He didn’t say anything while looking through his gifts until he lifted his head up, patted him on the shoulder a total of two times before mumbling out a “thank you.” Even Saeran had a gift for him, Iseul apparently helped him make red and blue frosted muffins that (kind of) taste like Dr Pepper. Saeran couldn’t even get past a bite and found it heathenist to find Saeyoung actually liked them.
The rest of the day went calmly (if you count blasting Christmas carols through every speaker in your home calm,) they spent their day together relaxing in the lounge with conversations here and there but it felt like such a dream to Saeyoung. Actually being able to spend the holidays, to celebrate those holidays, with his brother. A dream where one detail feels off.
“Saeyoung… Are you awake?”
He shot his eyes open to see nothing but colourful blurs, his glasses must have fallen off sometime during his erratic sleep. He was sure he was still in the lounge, laying on the same couch with that bright blue slushie stain on the arm, he looked for Saeran’s red hair across the room still sitting upright against the wall seemingly dead asleep from the day’s festivities. A single poke to his cheek sent a vicious jolt through his still very lethargic body.
“Saeyoung~” they sang.
He turned his head to see long brown hair, reaching past shoulders, swing around as the crouched figure bounces on her ankles, he recognises the pink hoodie his girlfriend left in, and he spots his pair of warning tape glasses placed on the end of her sharp nose. He swiped them off her as a giggle fled his mouth.
He placed them on wonkily. “What time is it…?”
She took a moment to groggily blink before checking her wristwatch. “4:17.”
Which didn’t make a lick of sense to his currently frazzled state of mind. “Day?”
He shot up, clumsily reworking his limbs, feeling as if someone injected him with a heavy dose of adrenaline. “You were supposed to be back a couple days from now, not now, now! Did something happen? Anything bad? Did they bully you? Were they just acting like utter assholes to you? Why are you back? Not that I’m unhappy you’re back, I’m just… confused and lightheaded…” He stared into her hazel eyes, searching into their vast nebula for answers.
Iseul reached out and placed her hand softly on top of his head, playing with the strands; she gave him a goofy kind of smile. “I felt bad.”
He could feel the blood rush to his face so he brought a hand up to cover it. “Oh, Iseul. Sweet, darling Iseul. Your poor little bleeding heart can’t have much blood left in it.”
“Stop making fun of me,” she chided.
“Would you believe me if I said I wasn’t?” He could feel her sigh against his burning cheeks, before she moved her figure to fit against his. She placed herself between him and the couch cushions, burying her head directly into his shoulder. He felt his facial muscles pull into a frown.
“Was it that bad?” She shook her head, mussing up her fringe against his jacket.
Placing her chin on his chest she began speaking. “No, not really. It had its moments. The kids were great, the kids are always great. Me and Grandma… had a rough start but I think we’re actually getting somewhere! Back to how we used to be. My uncle however was… just how I expected him to be.” She rubbed her eyes in exhaustion or sadness, he couldn’t tell. “I’m just… glad to be back already.”
“Worth it though?”
“Yeah… definitely worth it. Didn’t miss me too much yesterday, did you?” Saeyoung had to love her for the attempt of bringing her smile back so quickly.
“No, no. The day went about as well as you would expect, a couple disagreements, with only one attempted murder-”
She gave him a knowing smile. “Sounds like I missed a hell of a day.”
He shook his head. “I’m sure yours was much more exciting.”
“I wouldn’t say that. Although, my family does think you’re greedy.”
He blanched. “What?”
“You kept me away for my birthday AND my Christmas, as well as for the rest of December. It was a really bad way to introduce you.” Any sentiment that could’ve been gathered from her sentence was thrown out the window once she showed her patent wide eyes along with the shit-eating grin pulled at her lips.
A scowl worked onto his face before replacing itself with an exuberant smile. “Oh, well, considering I’ll be their in-law soon enough… I suggest they get over it.”
“That is not how you win them over.” she grinned against his chest. “But it’d be fun to watch.”
“Glad I can always be a source of entertainment for you, Iseul.”
She grinned. “It’s what I keep you around for.”
Grinning, he planted an all too quick kiss on her lips and buried himself into her embrace. This is what he wanted his Christmas to be. With his whole family, Saeran AND Iseul. It wouldn’t be complete without the either of them.
He found his missing little detail.