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Kiwi Gets Hugged

Chapter Text

In a small, somewhat isolated house, just outside the town of Langtree, Kiwi, the Bard that had united the world in song, was busy cleaning their house and packing some supplies in a modest knapsack, singing all the while. Dance and song were mixed into their work as they traveled around the house, picking up garbage, tending to the flowers, and sorting their wardrobe, excited for the day and the joy it will bring. Miriam, their best friend on the entire earth, was planning on picking them up to prepare for a Dinner later that evening.

In the days following the great restoration of the earth, The strange bard and the irritable witch’s friendship had greatly strengthened, becoming more open with each other than ever, particularly Kiwi, who found that while releasing their negative emotions felt alienating and unnatural, it also felt liberating and comforting to know someone would still be there to listen and care. This afternoon the two of them had made plans to meet up, and Kiwi couldn’t be more excited.
As fate would have it, Kiwi was just putting the finishing touches on arranging a collection of neat novelties they obtained from their various adventures, when they heard a knock at the door.

As they opened it, they saw Miriam in the doorway, broomstick in one hand, and a half-hearted wave in the other. Her expression had quietly softened over time, but still carried a certain amount of impatience and grumpiness. “Hey. Ready to go? There’s a few things I wanted you to pick up for tonight.” she said. “Sure am!” replied Kiwi, practically bouncing with energy. “You double checked your bag, right? I do NOT want to come back here because you forgot something again.” questioned Miriam, crossing her arms while simmering with annoyance at the notion. “Yep! Made double sure this time!” reassured the Bard, adding a Thumbs up motion. Miriam gets on her broom and motions to them to get on. “Wonderful, let’s get going.” Kiwi assumed their usual “seat” on the broom, and the duo took off into the air. After a few minutes of being airborne, Kiwi suddenly shouts “Wait, I forgot my clothes!” Their flight grinds to a halt, nearly flinging Kiwi off of the broom entirely. Miriam’s anger starts to boil over as she groans, gripping her broomstick with great force. Kiwi then pats her head gently and starts giggling. “hee-hee, just kidding, Miriam.” She is clearly not amused. “Oh, ha ha ha. Maybe comedy is your real calling.” she grumbled sarcastically, clear annoyance in her voice.

The rest of the trip was mostly quiet, which was unusual for the both of them. Usually, Miriam would go on and on about whatever latest job she did for money, anything from escorts to potion-making. Eventually, they arrived at Miriam and her grandmother’s house. After a quick exchange of hellos with Saphy and dropping the contents of their knapsack off, Miriam leads Kiwi to the side of the house, where the two of them had made a small garden. An assortment of vegetables were planted, some ready to be harvested, others still needing time and care. After properly tending to the area together, Miriam hands Kiwi a list.

“I’m going to go get some of this stuff ready, see if you can track down these things while in town. You're better at the whole talking thing." She tosses them a bag of assorted coins. "This should cover just about everything we need." "Will do!" Kiwi replied as they gave a quick saluting motion, then began leaping and twirling through the air, their trademark singing accompanying them.

"AND DON'T TAKE ALL DAY, OR I'LL MAKE DINNER WITHOUT YOU!" the witch shouted, piercing the sounds of the elated singer's solo like a knife through butter. As soon as they arrived in town, Kiwi began asking around for the items on their list. After a short time of purchasing the odds and ends, and a moderate time chatting it up with the locals and the occasional tourist, Kiwi returned to Miriam’s house, all items in their recently emptied knapsack. They already could pick up the scent of freshly cut and peeled vegetables as they began climbing the hill where their house stood. Miriam gives a sigh and a small “finally.” to herself as she sees them approach. Using the various seasonings they just obtained, Kiwi quickly begins cooking the veggies in a small pot hung over a fire pit in their backyard. They weren’t the best at it, but they were definitely learning.

Once the cooking was done, Kiwi brought the pot into the house. As they ate, sitting closely around a small circular table, Saphy would ask about Kiwi’s recent events, and they’d reply with all the stuff they and Miriam did together recently. Anything from just taking simple trips to venues to encouraging Miriam as she practiced her piccolo playing skills, to Kiwi introducing her to the locals. Even now, her grandmother knowing this much about her life is pretty embarrassing for her, not helped by her teasing Miriam about coming out of her shell.

“Well, I’m so happy to see my precious girl is finally opening up to people.” Saphy replied, gently grabbing her granddaughter's face and rubbing her cheek with her thumb. Miriam was still pretty red from all the compliments and praise from the both of them, but secretly enjoyed the reassurance. “Well, It’s getting rather late. I’ll be off to bed now. You two enjoy yourselves, hoo hoo!” Saphy said, getting up and slowly retiring to her room for the night. As the sun set, The two changed into their usual casual wear, Kiwi into a set of light blue pajamas, Miriam into a looser shirt she bought from a gift shop, black pajama pants, and purple slippers. Not quite wanting to sleep yet, the 2 retired to the couch.

Miriam sat down on the right corner of the couch, quietly reading a book, while Kiwi laid down the width of the couch on their back, head resting on her lap, quietly humming in between yawns. Both had a small smile on their face as they simply enjoyed each other’s company. Occasionally, they’d find something to talk about for a little while, like, what her book was about, or how that silly novelty collection of theirs was going, but eventually, the conversations would drift away back into nothing but the sounds of a tired bard’s crooning and the turning of pages. Despite this, it didn’t feel awkward for either of them. Conversation felt more like an option they could choose when they were ready, and at the end of a long day, they both appreciated that greatly.

“Alright, I’m gonna go to sleep.” Miriam said with a yawn. After a bit of fidgeting, Kiwi got up from the couch, standing up to let her leave. “Good night, Miriam.” they said weakly, overcome with tiredness themselves. As she got up to leave, she saw her friend, barely keeping balance, eyes half closed. The sight made her smile just a bit wider. Feeling oddly flooded with emotion, Miriam approached the sleepy bard and gently wrapped her arms around their torso.

"It's really nice having you over, Kiwi."

Kiwi was uncharacteristically silent and still. Normally, they'd jump at the opportunity for a hug, but all of a sudden, this felt different. THEY felt different. Nevertheless, they eventually returned the gesture awkwardly. Silence once again filled the room until Miriam started letting go, which Kiwi quickly mirrored. She noticed Kiwi was sort of spacing out, looking in her general direction, a small blush on their cheeks.

"Hey, you okay?"

...No response, though their eyes shifted away from her a bit more.

"I...didn't make you uncomfortable, did I?" She asked, thoughts already swimming through her mind about how she might have underestimated Kiwi's need for personal space.

"No!" Kiwi shouted, getting a "shh" from Miriam in response. "It's just… I guess I'm not used to GETTING hugged, heh heh…"

Silence filled the room again, but this time, it was haunting, choking.

"...I guess it kinda sounds silly when I say it out loud."

"Okay. Well, see you in the morning. If something's on your mind, you know where to find me." She walked away, still unsure if she made a mistake or not.

Kiwi returned to being lost in their own mind. Why did they start feeling so different all of a sudden? Why did they have this reaction to a hug, something they did often with no problems in the past? Why can't they stop blushing when they think about it? Why can't they stop thinking about it?

Even by the time sleep had finally claimed them, they hadn't come up with a good answer.

Chapter Text

Kiwi awoke as the sun just began to rise. Shuffling around, they felt something light on top of them. As they opened their eyes and sat up, they found that a blanket had been placed on top of them as they slept. Smiling, their heart warms at the idea that Miriam took the time to make sure they weren’t cold, even if said blanket was well within reach. They were so deep in thought the previous night, that they completely forgot about it. The bard then began to feel guilty; They could tell she went to bed as confused as they were, but they couldn’t be there for her. They wanted to tell her what was wrong, but they didn’t know themselves. Trying once more to sort their mind, it all kept coming back to that late-night embrace. Eventually, Kiwi gets frustrated over thinking about it so much. “It was just a stupid hug” the bard grumbled to themselves. “What’s going on with me?”

“Hey.”

They didn’t have time to try and answer, as when they turned to their side, they saw Miriam, still in her bed wear. “Didn’t sleep well, either?”, she asked. Kiwi shook their head in response. She sat down next to them. “Anything you need to talk about?” She was met with the same response. “I’m fine now, thanks.”, they lied. “I think I might have been under the weather, or something.”

Miriam, still unconvinced, decided to let it go. She wanted to press them on it, but she didn’t have the time today. “I gotta get a lot of work done today, so I’m gonna get dressed, and I’ll take you home, okay?” said Miriam gently, to which Kiwi nodded in agreement.
Kiwi quickly got up and left her room, electing to get dressed in their bathroom so as to give her privacy. After they changed back into their regular attire, and packed up what they brought, the two of them flew into the sky. After what seemed like an eternity of silence, Kiwi spoke up: “So, what exactly do you have to do today?” “Well I have to return a book I borrowed from the library, make some Speed Potions for a few clients, make a delivery for that band of yours, perfect my new plant growth spell…” She sighs. “...get a coffee.” she grumbles out, rubbing her tired eyes. “To keep it short, I’m gonna be swamped for a while.” “Oh. Sorry.” Kiwi muttered, unsure of what to say. “I’ll manage.”, assured Miriam.

Both of them were silent for a bit, but to Kiwi’s surprise, she eventually continued. “Ugh, this is gonna sound so mushy, but sometimes I think us spending all this time together is the only thing keeping me from just throwing everything into the garbage and going back to being just an angry witch girl that nobody knows or cares about.” Kiwi struggled to respond as Miriam’s face heated up. “Miriam, I-” The bard was interjected by yet another sigh. “Yeah, I know. And…thanks. You know, for caring.” Miriam, still incredibly red, flashed an awkward smile at her strange, but kind friend. Kiwi’s heart skipped a beat. “You’re welcome, Miriam” They stammered out awkwardly.

Eventually, they arrived at Kiwi’s place, the sun not quite fully risen yet. “Well, here we are.” said Miriam. Kiwi hopped off at once, and waved goodbye. “Later, Miriam!” Said the bard, smiling. She simply gave a wave and took off, with a look of both embarrassment and turmoil, with a slight dash of odd happiness. As soon as their friend was clearly out of sight, Kiwi let out the biggest groan they had ever made. “What is going ON with me?” They shouted into the air, storming into the house.

After they finished keeping their house tidy, Kiwi went to the Coffee shop in Delphi, where they ordered a Coffee (decaf, of course) and a croissant. The sad little music maker dropped in here on occasion when things were bothering them. They were just about to finish eating when they heard a very quiet voice call to them:

“...Kiwi?”

They turned around to see their good friend and occasional bandmate, Ash. They waved shyly, face still as expressionless as ever, as they took a seat next to Kiwi. “What are you doing here?” Asked the pink-colored musician. Kiwi looked away slightly. “Thinking. About stuff.” Ash turned more in their direction. “....Seems like some heavy stuff you’re thinking about. I’ve never seen you like this before.” replied Ash. Kiwi responded with a quiet “yeah…” before the sounds in the room returned to nothing but the gentle clink of plates being moved around and sipping noises of various intensity.

“I… I’ve started feeling weird lately. Around my friend.”, Kiwi eventually elaborated.
“Your Witch friend? The one that flew you around everywhere? The one that’s super angry all the time?” questioned Ash quietly.
“Yeah… but she’s not like that all the time!” they said, perking up slightly. “She can also be super friendly, and sweet, and caring, and cuddly and…” They trailed off, suddenly feeling self-conscious.
Their self-consciousness quickly turned into anger as they groaned loudly again “UUUGH, I can’t even talk about her without everything being weird all of a sudden.”
“Sounds like you two are very close. It’s… kinda cute, honestly.” Kiwi looked at their friend and, bizarrely enough, they were genuinely smiling. A rare event Kiwi would be genuinely excited about, if they had any excitement to give at the moment. Instead, Kiwi put their head down on the table, ignoring it completely.
“We have been, but now, I’m scared I might mess it all up. It feels like I don’t want to be near her, but I also really want to be near her all the time, too. Almost like my mind is fighting itself over what I should be doing around her.”

Ash was rather surprised by the response. Despite being increasingly nervous about the suggestion they were thinking, they eventually ran it past them: “Um, I hope it’s not out of my place to say this, but I think you’re kinda… in love with her... maybe?...” The bard’s face grew redder than ever, as it all clicked into place. The weird little songmaker genuinely hadn’t considered that before, but everything made total sense now. Somehow, that seemingly uninteresting event had awoken emotions they had never felt before, emotions they didn’t know they were capable of feeling. Kiwi was quickly overwhelmed by their own thoughts. “Oh… Oh, no!” Kiwi’s nervousness reached an all time high. “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO!? If Miriam finds out, we may never speak again!” Ash waved frantically in their direction, trying to get their attention long enough to try and calm them down. “Uh… you should probably tell her about it.”, Ash nervously replied with a forced smile, looking around to see if anyone other than their server witnessed the distressed musician’s hysterical display. The Bard’s expression quickly returned to one of pensiveness as they went from panicking back to sulking in their seat.. “I...I can’t. If I do that, she might not feel the same way. And then…” Kiwi trailed off again, as the thought of their best friend leaving their life forever made tears begin to well up in their eyes. Ash quickly put a hand on their shoulder. "Hey, could we talk outside?” Kiwi nodded silently, still very emotional, as they quickly left the store. Ash attempted to pay Kiwi’s server, but he refused. “On the house”, he said. “It’s the least I could do for what you guys did for us. For me.” Ash gave him a respectful nod and left.

Kiwi was hanging around the back of the store, hugging their legs, quietly sobbing. When Ash approached them, they took a deep breath, wrapping their arm around their sobbing friend. “Look, I’m no expert on this love stuff. Actually, I’m pretty bad at it. Like, really bad. But… I know how you’re feeling, and I know that it’s not something you can just keep inside forever.” The bard said nothing, just remained motionless, head down. “It is really scary to really open yourself up, to show how you feel, knowing everything that can go wrong, but just because something might be scary, doesn’t mean it’ll turn out bad. It’s one of the first things I learned when starting to play for people. One of the things you, Manny, and Viola taught me.”
After a period of silence, Kiwi poked their head up. Once again, Ash was smiling, with some redness on their face to boot. “I guess you’re right. Thanks for listening, Ash.” said Kiwi quietly, a small smile on their face.
Ash breathed a sigh of relief as their troubled friend gave them a quick squeeze.“Uh… you’re welcome, I guess.” they borderline whispered, slowly letting go of them.

As they started to stand up, beginning to move again, a question quickly pierced the heap of thoughts in the troubled singer's mind.
“Wait, if you said you felt the same way I do, does that mean you’re also in Lo-”

“ASH! WHERE ARE YA?”

In no time, a familiar face in a suit approached them. “Oh, there ya are! And Ace! I was hoping I’d see ya again! Hope ya been well, pal!” Getting a good look at their face reddened with tears, Manny’s boisterous demeanor quickly turned into one of concern. “You okay there, Ace? Somethin’ happen to ya?”
“I’m fine. I just… have a lot to think about right now.” They replied, trudging away. “If you need to talk, we’re in town for the next couple days!” He shouted. He turns to Ash. “I’m worried about that kid, they’re too good for this world to start giving them reasons to feel like that.” He gives a sigh, and Ash follows suit. "Yeah, I hope they'll be okay." They both stare for just a bit longer, watching their friend leave. At last, Manny spoke up: “By the way, Viola finally got that letter you’ve been trying to send for a while.” he said, mood perking up. A chill went down Ash’s spine at the very thought, as their embarrassment and nervousness returned stronger than ever. The response got a chuckle out of Manny. “You would not BELIEVE it, she was totally-” a swift hand to his mouth gave him the message Ash wanted to give him. “Later.”, their now incredibly embarrassed bandmate whispered, looking around for possible witnesses. Manny stepped away to unmuzzle himself. “Alright, alright, I get it. I’ll let you hear it for yourself when we get back. But uh, let’s skedaddle before it gets dark.” Said Manny, slightly annoyed. They began walking back to their room, and it wasn’t too long after they were moving that Manny decided to continue. “But, uh, I gotta say. That letter had some VOCABULARY!" He exclaimed, giving Ash a firm, but not too firm pat on the back. "I didn't even KNOW half of those words, and her reading it was making me red in the face! I can’t imagine anyone not swooning on the spot if someone said that kinda stuff to them. Not unless they were the type to not date anyone.” Ash flat out didn’t respond any further as they made their way back to their room.

As Kiwi finally approached their home, they were still torn on what their next move was. They knew Ash was right, but they found themselves increasingly unable to imagine themselves going through with it. They couldn’t bear the thought of going back to living without their best friend. Completely exhausted from lack of sleep, the days events, and the walk home, they collapsed on their bed, fully clothed.

A town away, Miriam, also thoroughly exhausted both physically and mentally, slammed into her bed. Her work finally done, she breathed a sigh of relief. As she lay in the midst of silence, with only her thoughts, her mind drifted back to Kiwi. She was still concerned over how they were doing. Without much deliberation, The tired witch decided she was gonna go over there tomorrow, and she was gonna MAKE them tell her what’s wrong, whether they liked it or not. She was not gonna let her friend suffer because she didn’t want to push them, especially… if it was something she might have done. Her newfound resolve was carried with her through her sleep, which came to her not long after. Tomorrow, she WAS helping her friend.

Chapter Text

In a small, somewhat isolated house, just outside the town of Langtree, Kiwi, the Bard that had united the world in song, was MISERABLE. Anxiety came to them in an endless sea of waves. The weather reflected their mood, as it had been storming ever since they woke up. It was as if the rain, wind and thunder were attempting to break in and torment them further.
While they were still torn on what they should do about how they feel about their best friend, they at least breathed a sigh of relief that it seemed like, at least for today, their actions had been decided for them.

Grabbing a small bag of assorted nuts from their cupboard, they settled back on the bed and quietly let their mind drift. The internal back and forth continued, as their attempts to get what Ash had said to them out of their mind proved fruitless. It didn’t feel fair, having to put their entire friendship in jeopardy, just because of something they couldn’t control. Something they didn’t even want. After what felt like hours of brewing in their own thoughts, Frustration once again erupted from their mouth in the form of an agonized yell. In the midst of their commotion, they heard a knock on the door. Normally, they’d happily greet whoever was knocking with a song and a smile, but neither they nor this day were normal. They kept quiet, hoping whoever it is would decide to leave them alone, when they heard someone call their name from the other side of the door.

Of course, it was Miriam.

Quickly, they rushed out of bed and opened the door, finding their friend soaked in rainwater.
“Miriam!” Shouted the Bard as without a moment’s hesitation, they grabbed their friend by the arm and pulled her in the house. Despite bringing an umbrella with her, she was soaked from head to toe. Kiwi instructed her to take one of their towels and sit on the bed. She rubbed the towel all over herself to get dry, shivering all the while. Kiwi eventually came out with a fresh change of clothes for her. It was some of their older, much less used clothing. They didn’t QUITE fit, but they were dry, and dry was what Miriam needed right now. She quietly changed, using the towel to dry off what moisture remained on her.

“What on earth happened, Miriam? Why are you outside in a storm like this?” They inquired, in a voice somewhere between angry and concerned.
“Uh, I was running some tourist to Langtree when the storm started making its way over here. By the time I finished up, it was too stormy to fly, so I hurried over here to try and not get a cold, or worse.” Miriam replied nervously, the cold still clearly affecting her speech.
A bizarre silence followed.

“I also… wanted to see you again. We hadn’t seen each other since you started acting weird.” she added, a slight blush filling her face, a response that her friend copied. “What do you mean weird?” they replied. “I don’t know, WEIRD. You seemed different since you stayed over. You were so quiet, you barely sang or danced. As I said goodbye last time, I could have sworn I heard your voice screaming in anger. Even your friends pulled me aside and asked about you. they said last time they saw you, you were sad and frustrated, and you had a lot to think about.”

Kiwi fell silent as the roar of the storm attempted to fill the room with sound. They dejectedly looked away from their friend, unable to bear the fact that all they were going through was concerning her, yet they still couldn’t open up and just give her the situation. The two sat there, silence once again battling the elements just outside the abode.
“Kiwi, did I do something wrong? Have I been making you uncomfortable?” Miriam finally spoke,
a great sadness in her voice. Kiwi, without a second thought, turned to her. “Miriam, no! You’d never make me uncomfortable! I love the time we spend together!” Now unable to look away, they watched as the sadness on Miriam’s face boiled into anger, as her hands balled into fists. “Then WHAT!?” she screamed, surprising Kiwi with a sudden outburst. “I’ve been worried SICK because of something YOU aren’t telling me. I can’t just stand here and watch my friend wither away emotionally! Something is clearly going on with you. I don’t care what it is, just TELL ME so I can help you!”

Kiwi once again said nothing, turning away, tears filling their eyes. They hated this. They hated every single moment of this. Their best friend was angry, their other friends were concerned, everything was falling apart.

But still they couldn’t tell her.

“I…I’m sorry, Miriam. But I can’t. It might ruin our friendship.” they squeaked out, still unable to even look their friend in the face. “What do you MEAN “It might ruin our friendship”? It’s not like it’s getting much better right now.” She took a couple of deep breaths, then continued gently as she could. “Please, I really just want to know. I promise there’s nothing you would have done that could force us to stop being friends.” Kiwi struggled to respond, keeping their head down, face beginning to puff up with tears. “I...I…”

Miriam’s anger reached its peak as she growled loudly in frustration. “I thought we were past this, Kiwi! You were keeping yourself open for such a long time, and I was HAPPY! Because I CARE about you! But now you just wanna keep whatever’s going on to yourself, and for what?! So you can sit here and continue suffering while the people that worry about you are just supposed to stand and watch?"

Kiwi couldn’t handle it anymore, they resolved to finally admit what was keeping them like this as they heard footsteps, followed by their door opening, the roar of the storm reaching a crescendo. Miriam stood in the doorway, umbrella in hand, about to walk back outside. “Miriam! What are you doing? You’ll get really sick if you go out again!” Kiwi screamed, scrambling up to try and stop her. In between flashes of light, they could clearly see tears filling her frustrated-looking face, occasionally streaking down her cheek. “I can’t be here. You’re being so… STUPID right now!” she said, starting to turn back towards outside. She feels Kiwi grabbing her arm. “Miriam, wait!” Kiwi said desperately. “What do you want from me!? Why are you insisting I stay here WHEN YOU DON’T WANT ME TO HELP YOU!?”

“Because.” Kiwi said, taking a deep breath. “I’m in love with you.”

Miriam was completely hit out of left field by the statement. She stood there, completely breathless. Kiwi used the opportunity to shut the door. Both of their faces sported the brightest blush they’ve ever had as they both struggled to recover from the confession. Kiwi sat back down on the ground, hugging their legs, occasionally looking up at the object of their affection.
“That… was what I was so upset about.” they finally gathered the courage to say, in a voice barely audible next to the storm just outside. Their words snapped her out of the strange emotional trance she had been in. “Ever since that one night where you hugged me, I felt different around you. I felt a lot of different things, and I was so confused. Eventually, through talking about it, I found out they all meant the same thing: That I had very deep feelings for you.”

Miriam, still silent, could barely believe what was going on. Feeling dizzy from a combination of all of this new information and being slightly reintroduced to the elements outside, she sat down next to Kiwi as they continued. “I wanted to tell you, but I was so scared of what would happen if you didn’t feel the same way. I do really love you, but I also love our friendship and-”

“You didn’t want to lose it.”

They found their speech interrupted by Miriam, who was now staring in their direction. When their eyes met, however, she quickly looked away, still very red. Regardless, she began to speak again, preceded by a deep breath.

“I feel the same way. About a lot of it.”

Now it was Kiwi’s turn to be stunned and speechless as much as it was Miriam’s turn to talk.

“I’ve felt… like that for a long time. Pretty much ever since that day we- everyone saved the world, I’ve felt things I couldn’t explain. For a time, as we got used to just doing things with each other without some big looming countdown threatening to wipe out everything we know and love, I was happy just being closer to you. Being there when something was too much for you, and being comforted and encouraged when something was too much for me. I thought I could just be happy like that forever, but then I started wanting to be even closer. I wanted to be all feelsy and sappy around you, and have you be the same to me. But, you didn’t seem like you had feelings for ANYONE, at least not that kind, so I tried containing it, not thinking about it. Pretending I didn’t really feel like that. But it never went away.”

“I don’t think it ever does.” replied Kiwi quietly.

For a time, that was all they said. They didn’t know what to do next. This was new territory for them. The two’s nervousness was at an absolute peak, but they were also happy. Excited, even. The thought that their feelings were mutual made their minds race in ways they never experienced before. Eventually, Miriam felt a warm presence rub up against them. Kiwi had taken the opportunity to sit as close to Miriam as possible, gently resting their head on her shoulder, a big goofy grin adorning their face. It brought back feelings of shyness and reluctance, but she also wanted more. A lot more. With a little hesitation, she wrapped her arms around their shoulders.
“I’m not too cold or wet, am I?” she asked, stuttering like crazy.
Kiwi leaned more into the hug. “This is the warmest I’ve been in a while.”, they said contentedly.
With a gentle squeeze, Miriam replied: “Me too.”
They both kept the embrace for a couple minutes, one occasionally nuzzling the other with their cheek. Their worries slowly faded as they became more comfortable with each other’s touch, feeling their affection pouring out of them in one big torrent neither thought they’d see fully unleashed.

“So, what do we do now?” questioned Kiwi, opening their eyes.
“Well, I don’t really know, I guess we do going out stuff or something.” replied Miriam awkwardly. Kiwi started giggling at the statement. “Going out stuff? It sounds so silly when you put it like that.” Miriam got a bit annoyed at this response. “Well, what would you call it, since you obviously know everything?”
“Um…” Kiwi hummed with no real ideas, face once again slowly returning to a reddish hue. Their confusion made Miriam quietly chuckle. “You know, I thought you’d kinda be an expert on lovey-dovey stuff, since you’re… you, but you’re as hopeless as I am”. She replied playfully.
Kiwi chuckled a bit in return. “Yeah, I guess we’re a pair of hopeless weirdos.” they said with a yawn. “You tired?” she asked, noting the sleepiness in their voice. They nodded yes, still eager to cuddle closer when she let go and stood up, with Kiwi nearly falling over from a sudden lack of support.

She extended a hand to them. “We could take a nap or something. This isn’t gonna let up anytime soon, and I’m kinda tired, too. Being freezing kinda takes a lot out of you.” Kiwi took her hand eagerly as they gave each other a big smile before walking to the bed together. As they crawled under the covers, they shuffled around until they were close and comfortable. Miriam nestled right on top of Kiwi as they wrapped her arms around her waist. It was nice to lay there, exchanging warmth and gently having their back rubbed, but it was just as nice to talk so casually while it happened. They surprisingly talked about an assortment of topics. About what they wanted to do with their new relationship, all the new things they could try as a couple, how everyone in their lives will react to being told they were a thing now. (Miriam particularly shuddered to think how her grandmother would react, as she already suspected her feelings towards Kiwi before this point.) It was clear that they had a lot to work out, but they were ecstatic to try. Eventually, the room grew quieter, as more conversations trailed off more quickly. Kiwi, after some searching under the covers, gently rested one of their hands on Miriam’s, still keeping the other around her. They looked at each other for a moment, saying nothing, before smiling once more and returning to their positions, just happy to be here, in the moment. Quietly, despite the storm still furious outside, they drifted off to a very content sleep.

When they awoke, it seemed as if the storm had finally passed over them. Everything was still soaking wet outside, but the clouds were gone, and the sun’s warmth even made its way into the room. Kiwi got up first, then gently nudged Miriam awake. “Ugh, what?” she annoyingly muttered out, fidgeting. “The storm’s over. We can finally leave the house.” they replied quietly, smiling excitedly.

“Well, that’s great and all, but I’ve had a very feelsy day so far, and I’m kinda fine staying right here, where it’s nice and warm and I can be as sappy as I wanna be without other people finding out.” Miriam said. “I mean, it’s really nice being together like this, but think about all the NEW stuff we can do now, too!” They leapt out of bed, sliding away from Miriam completely. “Hey! What was that for?” she replied angrily.
“Miriam, what about all those things we were talking about doing? I wanna go to that Café in town with you, and tell my friends about us, and watch the stars with you, and-”

“UGH, FINE!” they heard Miriam say with a groan. “But before we do any of that, we gotta check out our garden, get me another set of clothing, let Saphy know I’m okay, and…” she kinda trailed off as Kiwi decided to embrace her. “Thanks, Miriam. I promise, we’ll do some more “feelsy” stuff later. It was really nice.” Miriam gave a long sigh, seeing their big, goofy smile as they said that. “I can’t believe I had to like someone so wound up.” she said as she hugged them back, her playfulness returning.

After gathering some food and other assorted supplies, the two of them walked out the door of Kiwi’s house. “Hey, Miriam?” Kiwi asked as Miriam readied herself to fly. “Could we just… walk there? I really just feel like taking my time right now.” they held out their hand again towards them. Miriam grumbled something about how Kiwi had to be so difficult while taking their hand, trying to hide the blush creeping on their face as they walked. As they started moving towards the next town over, the new couple was locked in wonder as they imagined everything the rest of today had for them. Some possibilities made them a bit scared, but they faced whatever was in store anyway, hand firmly in hand.