“Are there any more presents?” Your son clapped his hands and looked eagerly at you and Kiro, a cheesy grin that mirrored his father’s was etched on his face. His sister next to him sat sleepily, her head bobbing up and down as she tried to keep herself awake.
Looking under the tree, you sighed out and shook your head. “I think that’s it for tonight, kiddos. You gotta get to sleep or else Santa won’t come!” With the mention of the big guy, your son immediately bolted up, jumping into Kiro’s lap.
“Daddy! Can you tuck me and Edie in so Santa will come?” Kiro laughed as he ran his fingers through Peter’s hair, the dark hair completely opposite of his father’s. Eurydice - nicknamed Edie - was the one with the blond hair, much like Kiro’s.
Kiro picked up Peter as you grabbed Edie, nuzzling your nose against her cheek as she leaned her head on your shoulder. For a two year old, the excitement of Christmas had worn her out and even though she tried to keep up with Peter’s energy, Edie was crashing quickly.
Putting her in her toddler bed, she immediately curled in on herself and shut her eyes, her breathing evening out shortly after. Peter climbed in his own bed and pulled his covers up to his chin, his bright blue eyes full of excitement. You knew that look, his father had given it to you many times before.
“Can you tell me a story daddy?” Kiro’s hand soothed over Peter’s forehead and the young boy leaned his head into his pillow and sighed contentedly.
“Hmm… What type of story would you like to hear?” Kiro asked, moving to sit down on the edge of the bed. You sat down next to him and he smiled warmly at you before taking your hand in his own.
“Something Christmas!” He whisper-yelled. Even high off the excitement of Christmas, Peter was careful not to wake his baby sister.
Kiro then glanced playfully over at you and your stomach flipped. Even after 12 years together, he could put your stomach in knots with just one look. “I have a good Christmas story.” His eyes never left yours and the way he was looking at you was so intimate that you couldn’t help the fact that your cheeks flushed red. “It’s about the first Christmas Mommy and I spent together.”
“Really? That must have been so long ago! Like a hundred and ten years!” You giggled at Peter as he grabbed Kiro’s hand and hugged it to him. Ever since he was younger than Edie he had fallen asleep cuddling his daddy’s hand. Even going on eight years old he still did it every night and Kiro was all too happy to oblige.
“Once upon a time, a hundred and ten years ago, Mommy and Daddy had planned on celebrating Christmas together. It was before we got married, and Mommy didn’t even know I loved her back then! But, Savin had called me and told me I had to work on Christmas--”
“Savin’s always ruining our fun!” Peter interjected, opening one eye to gauge both yours and Kiro’s reactions.
“Peter, hush! Let Daddy tell the story!” You covered up your laugh with your hand as you told him as much.
“Anyways, Savin told me I had to work on Christmas! And I was so sad because I had this whole elaborate Christmas present set up for Mommy and I couldn’t give it to her since I had to go to the studio.” Kiro smiled down adoringly at Peter as he snuggled into his hand more. “So even though I couldn’t give her the gift the way I wanted, I still planned out a way to have her get it.”
You leaned your head on Kiro’s shoulder, smiling at the memories as you continued the story. “Daddy sent me on a huge scavenger hunt, all over Loveland City and at each spot was another little present wrapped for me. There was a new scarf, since I had lost my old one when I was out with Daddy one time, there was some hot chocolate mix with marshmallows that he had promised we would make together sometime, and the final destination was the recording studio. I showed up and was so nervous! Savin was so mad at me for interrupting!”
“You were nervous? I could never tell, you just marched in there like you owned the place! Meanwhile, I was in the recording booth sweating buckets!” You thought back to that night, where you found a tired and overworked Kiro sat on a stool and crooning his newest song into the mic. His hair was sticky and wet against his forehead and he looked exhausted, but as soon as you walked in, his face lit up and that smile that made your insides gooey settled on his face.
“You really were! I remember seeing you and thinking you had just showered!” You laughed, nudging his side and making Kiro squeal before you covered his mouth with your hand and peered over at Edie, grateful that she slept through the noise.
Kiro turned to Peter, ready to tell the next part but instead found Peter fast asleep, his previous iron tight grip on Kiro’s hand now loose enough that Kiro could easily wriggle out of his hold. Silently standing up, Kiro stretched out his hand and you took it. He pulled you up and into his arms, holding you tightly to his chest. “I love you, thank you.”
Pulling your head away from resting on his heart, you looked up at him quizzically. “Whatever are you thanking me for?”
“For giving me a home, a family. I’ve never felt like I had any of that before I met you.” Kiro brushed his lips against your forehead. “You gave me a safe place to be completely myself, and two wonderful children and I will forever be indebted to you.”
“Then I must thank you for the exact same reason.” You replied, raising up on your tippy toes. Just as you were about to press your lips to Kiro’s, Peter shifted in his sleep and you paused, putting your hand to Kiro’s lips instead. “We should get out of here.” You whispered and without responding, Kiro grabbed your hand and pulled you out of Peter and Edie’s shared room.
You quietly closed the door and once you turned around, Kiro pressed you against the wall, his lips meeting yours in a sweet kiss. “Happy anniversary.”
Smiling against his lips before pressing another lingering kiss, you responded. “Happy anniversary I love you.”
Kiro released his hold on your hips to cradle your face in his hands, like you were fine china and if he held you too tightly you’d break. He used to hold you as tight as he could, almost afraid if he didn’t keep his hold that you’d vanish from his grip. Now, after years of holding you tightly, he still held you with as much love and affection, he just wasn’t afraid you’d disappear anymore.
“I love you more than I can even express.” Kiro said sincerely, each word broken up by a kiss pressed to your forehead, cheeks, nose, chin, and eventually your lips. “I could stay here forever, or even take you into our bedroom and show you just how much I love you, but we’ve got to play Santa for a little bit.”
You released your grip on Kiro and he dropped his hands, his cerulean eyes still light with the boyish excitement that you came to love when you first met him. “You go on and grab the gifts, I’ll go down and start on the milk and cookies!”
“You better save some for me, Miss Chips! Or else you’ll have to face the wrath of the tickle monster!” Kiro’s long fingers prodded your side, as if to prove his point, and you squirmed out of his reach, ready to bolt down the stairs.
“Better be quick then!” You teased and Kiro saluted you before turning and quickly making his way to your shared bedroom, where all the other gifts were stowed away.
You made your way down the steps and over to the beat up coffee table that had a glass of milk with a plate of two cookies sitting in the center. You picked up the gingerbread man with pink clothes, the one you and Edie had decorated together, and broke off it’s arm, popping the delicious treat in your mouth.
“Nooo! Don’t eat me!” Kiro’s voice, raised an octave and a half, called out softly behind you and you turned to face him, trying to hide your smile as you giggled. “Was I at least delicious?” He asked in the same voice and this time you did laugh out loud. Kiro’s whole face lit up into a gorgeous smile as he heard your laugh.
“Very,” you replied before setting down your cookie. Pressing a kiss to Kiro’s cheek, you stood up and grabbed some of the presents he was juggling in his hands, arranging them nicely around the tree. As Kiro knelt on the other side of the tree, you took the time to study him.
After retiring from his career as an idol, Kiro had put on a few pounds because of his love for sweets. His hair had grown out a bit as well, but every time you looked at him, all you could see was the 22 year old you fell in love with. His boyish charm, his cheekiness, and his vulnerabilities. That’s what made him the man you loved and those things would never change even if his physical appearance might have.
“Can I ask you something?” Kiro’s hand faltered as you said that and he pulled his hand back from trying to rearrange the presents under the tree. He nodded for you to continue. “On Christmas Eve, all those years ago, did you ever think things would end up like this?”
Kiro motioned for you to come closer to him and you crawled over before settling yourself on his lap. “Honestly, I hoped it would. We’d been friends for so long and I fell so in love with you in that time. But also knew that you had 3 other guys completely head over heels for you and… they could all give you a lot more than I could have back then. But, it didn’t stop me from daydreaming about what being with you would be like. There was a time where you consumed my thoughts, day and night.” He kissed your temple, wrapping his arms tighter around your waist. “What about you?”
“I was dying to tell you just how I felt, how in love with you I was. My plan was to tell you that night when I walked into the recording studio, you just beat me to it.”
“I don’t think you’ve ever told me that part before.” Kiro reached over and grabbed a blanket that was sitting on the couch and pulled it over the two of you, cocooning you in the heat. “No matter what we thought would happen back then, I’m glad life’s ended up this way.”
You hummed in agreement, leaning back against Kiro and taking in that green apple scent that’s become so comforting to you, you both sat in the peace and quiet, watching the light snowfall sprinkle down over Loveland City.
“Hey sleepyhead,” Kiro’s hands rubbed up and down your sides, pulling you from your slumber-like state. “I have a present for you, if you want it?”
“Did I fall asleep?” You stretched out, starting to get off Kiro’s lap. His arms tightened around you. “Isn’t your lap numb by now?”
“I’ll take a numb lap with you in it any day over a normal lap without you in my arms.” Kiro reached over and grabbed a small box under the tree. “Anyways, present?”
He offered the small box to you and you took it, raising your eyebrow at Kiro before lifting the lid off the box. Inside was a gorgeous charm bracelet, adorned with a microphone, teddy bear, sunflower, baby bottle, and space to add on more later on. “Kiro…”
“I was going to give this to you 12 years ago, but I chickened out. So, I added on the baby bottle this year to signify our two little monsters sleeping upstairs. Every year from now on, I want to get you a new charm until the whole thing is filled.” Kiro spoke as he unclasped the bracelet and secured it around your wrist. His baby blue eyes met yours, so full of love and honesty in that moment. “Do you like it?”
“Kiro… I love it. Each charm means so much to me. I still remember that day we ran around Loveland City, you in a bear costume. I remember thinking that if I could do that with you forever, I’d be the happiest girl alive!”
“Or the day we laid in the sunflower field and watched the clouds for hours! When you fell asleep, I could only think about seeing your sleeping face next to me forever.”
“Looks like we both got our wish.” You leaned over and kissed him and then gestured to the big box next to him. “Okay, open mine!”
Kiro’s impish grin sent the butterflies into a whirlwind in your stomach. He tore at the wrapping paper, much like how Peter and Edie had done a bit earlier. Once he had uncovered the box, Kiro’s mouth dropped open and he stopped to look at you. “You didn’t!”
“I did!” You exclaimed. “I wasn’t sure which games you’d like, but I’ll buy you a few for Christmas if you pick out which ones you want.”
Kiro set the new gaming system aside and hugged you tightly, his bright blond hair brushing against your cheeks which in turn made you giggle. “I love you so much! Thank you, thank you!”
“You’re welcome. Now, we should be getting to bed soon. Tomorrow will be a busy day and Edie and Peter will be up before the sun’s even out.” Kiro in turn held out his hand to you and led you to your shared bedroom. Collapsing on the bed, both of you were asleep before you could even say your goodnights.
“Mommy!” Peter bounded into your room, jumping on top of your bed. You heard an ‘oof’ from Kiro next to you. “Santa came!”
“Oh, did he?” You asked, rubbing your eyes. “We have to go check and see what he brought you. How about you and Daddy head down and I’ll grab Edie.” Peter agreed, poking at his father’s cheek and you laughed at the whine that came from Kiro.
When you had reached the bedroom, Edie was sitting up in her bed, rubbing her eyes sleepily. “Santa come?”
“Yes hun, Santa came last night! We have to go see what he brought you!” Edie clung to your neck and sighed out. “Uncle Victor, Uncle Gavin, and Uncle Lucien are coming over later. They’re bringing you presents too!”
“Uncle Gav Gav?” Edie immediately perked up. Ever since she was aware of her surroundings, she had favored Gavin greatly. He always accepted her relentless love with open arms too.
You carried her down the stairs where you already found Peter sitting in the middle of a pile of wrapping paper, some new toy cars surrounding him as well as a new Nintendo Switch. He’d been asking for one for a while now and you and Kiro had agreed that he’d been exceptionally good this year and deserved it. “Mommy, look what Santa brought!”
“Wow Peter! Look at that! You and Daddy will have to set it up later!” You raised your eyebrow at Kiro and he nodded in agreement. “Edie! Look, you’ve got two presents from Santa!”
Edie squealed in delight and you set her down and watched her toddle over to her first box. Peter helped her unwrap it and she gasped when she saw what was inside. “Baby!”
“Yes! You got a little babydoll!” Kiro cooed, picking her up and kissing her on the cheek. As she moved to open the other one, there was a knock on the front door. You got up to open it, brushing a hand over Peter’s head as you passed him. When you reached the door and opened it, your mouth dropped.
Standing in front of you was Victor, fully dressed in a Santa suit with an obscene amount of presents in a huge bag hung over his shoulder. “Victor… you’re here early.”
“I knew the kids were going to be up as early as they could and I wanted to be the first one to get here so they knew I was the best uncle.” You laughed and opened the door for Victor to come in and as soon as he stomped the snow off his boots, he was bombarded by Peter yelling his name and attacking him in a hug. “Hi there bud, I brought presents!”
“You’re the best, Uncle Victor! Thank you!” Peter said, stroking the velvety fabric of Victor’s Santa suit. “Why are you dressed as Santa? He already came last night.”
“I thought it’d be fun!” Victor smirked at the young boy, ruffling his dark hair. “Do you not like it?”
“It’s a little weird…. But you brought presents so it’s okay!” Peter took hold of Victor’s hand and led him to the living room. You followed the pair and sat down next to Kiro on the couch. His arm went around your shoulders and your head fell against his. As you watched Victor spoil your children rotten, you found yourself drifting off, exhausted from all the Christmas craziness.
You awoke later when Gavin and Lucien let themselves in. Edie was in Kiro’s lap, snacking on some string cheese and Peter was on the floor in front of the TV playing with the Switch that Kiro or Victor must have helped set up.
“I told you not to dress in a Santa suit.” Lucien said to Gavin, gesturing at Victor. “Now you just look dumb.”
“Oh yeah,” you joked. “It’s because he’s matching with Victor that he looks dumb, not because he’s wearing a Santa suit.”
“Joke all you want!” Gavin grumbled. “I’m not the one who screamed like a girl on the back of a motorcycle today.”
You looked at Lucien, one eyebrow raised in a question. “In my defense, I thought as a police officer, you were supposed to follow the speed limit laws. My mistake though, since we went 80 in a 30 miles per hour zone.”
“Well I had to get here in record time to see my sweet little girl.” Edie had been making grabby hands at Gavin since he walked in and since then has resorted to screaming his name over and over again. “Isn’t that right, pumpkin?” Gavin picked her up out of Kiro’s lap and walked her to the tree, talking about all the different types of ornaments hung on it.
As Gavin entertained Edie, Lucien made his way to Peter and sat down. “What are you playing?”
“Santa brought me this! I’m playing Smash Bros. Do you want to play?” Peter offered the second remote to Lucien and you smiled as he calmly explained all the controls and how to play the game.
“You look happy,” Victor noted as he sat on the couch next to you. He shrugged off the velvet jacket he was wearing and revealed the plain white tee underneath.
“I was just thinking about how much I love this little family, despite how dysfunctional it may be.” You responded, pulling your eyes away from your son and Lucien to watch Gavin with Edie. “It’s not perfect, but it’s perfectly ours.”
Kiro gripped your hand as you said that and you turned your head to look at Victor. “Merry Christmas, everyone.”
Everyone responded in kind and you sat back into the couch, snuggling into Kiro’s side. You touched the bear charm on your new bracelet and smiled to yourself before returning back to watching Lucien and Gavin with your children.
Your Christmas wasn’t a normal family Christmas, but nothing about your life had been completely normal. All that mattered on this day was that you were with the people you loved the most, and that was worth more than anything you could ask for.