Of Silence: A Home for the Holidays: Part Three
III: Sing for Me
K anrik definitely should have expected this. It’s how the stories always go, right?
The thief was so enraptured by Simeon’s writing that he didn’t even feel Katydid leaving his shoulder to greet her owner. He didn’t hear Simeon’s footsteps as he made his way up the stairwell. He didn’t hear the gentle whooshing of teleportation magic immediately landing the assassin in the centre of the room. He didn’t feel the hostile pressure of the blade that is no doubt pointed towards the back of his neck right now.
Well, he’s lived a good life.
Kanrik gently closes the journal and places it back down on the nightstand, leaning forward slightly before turning around to keep his body angled away from the sword that he’s certain is behind him. He takes the deepest breath he can force through his still-tight throat, wipes his eyes dry to try to erase any evidence of what he’d been reading, slowly and nervously turns around, and...
And is absolutely shocked to see Simeon merely standing behind him, no weapons at the ready, nor spells charged in his hands, still dressed very casually, and with his arms simply crossed. The glare that he’s currently giving the thief is nothing short of pure murder, sure, but... well, he doesn’t seem to have the actual desire to back that threat up. Maybe Kanrik really is safe on Christmas...
It takes the thief a few seconds to remember how to speak — and remember his own personality — though he does finally manage to force a dry laugh and stand straight when he realises that there’s no current threat. Feigning confidence — and, oddly enough, rather convincingly so — he then answers Simeon’s question with a snide, “Why, I’m stealing your stuff, of course.”
It’s a lie, though a believable one, especially considering that a bit of midnight thievery is usually the only reason that one would find Kanrik snooping around their home in the dead of night. And, luckily — maybe...? — for the thief, Simeon seems to believe it. The assassin narrows his amber eyes, drumming his fingers against his arm, but doesn’t do or say anything else other than give a disapproving shake of his head.
Kanrik isn’t at all liking the look of such genuine disappointment that he’s being given, especially coming from someone who acts as obnoxiously fatherly as this supposedly ruthless assassin, so the thief forces another chuckle, then rests his hands on the nightstand behind him, leaning back casually as if he had all the confidence in the world. “I’m, ah... surprised you’re not holding a sword to my throat,” he says, trying to keep Simeon’s focus on anything but the journals — and also, honestly, because he’s just too darn curious as to why he isn’t currently dead where he stands.
Once again, though — and still by sheer will of luck — Simeon doesn’t do anything other than hold his posture and further narrow his golden glare.
There is silence for a few painful seconds.
Then, Simeon shakes his head again, giving a long, frustrated exhale — loud enough to be considered its own word, almost. “Well,” the assassin slowly begins to say, his tone more scathing than anything Kanrik feels he’s ever heard before, “you’re lucky that you’re not the only occupant of this house who gets a say in the decision making, Kanrik.”
And this is when Kanrik becomes suddenly aware of Katydid sitting proudly on the floor in front of him, as if she were his own personal guard; her posture that of a king’s pompous pet, and her fluffy purple chest puffed high to the heavens.
Simeon meets eyes with the Gallion — his rebellious little child — though he’s finally giving some semblance of a smile at the sight of her heroic disobedience. “You are a terrible house-sitter, Katydid,” he says, his tone still dark and hostile, though his eyes are now full of nothing but love.
The Gallion simply gives a little sneeze-snort, then further straightens her posture.
Kanrik gives a genuinely relieved chuckle this time, glad that he was lucky enough to befriend the one creature in this world that Simeon would never dare cross before the assassin came home from wherever-he-just-was. The thief gently nudges Katy’s hip with the side of his foot. “You’re my best friend right now, little one,” he whispers down to her as she whips her head around to look at him.
Katy gives Kanrik a slow, smug blink of her seafoam eyes, then turns and stands proud once more.
Thankfully, and all thanks to Katy’s brave act of defiance, this less-than-fortunate situation still hasn’t left the realm of, well... just really, really awkward. Kanrik is now totally confident in his security in this moment, since he has faith that Simeon won’t strike him so long as Katy is on his side. The thief leans further back against the nightstand, crosses his ankles, then sniffles a bit as the last few hints of residual stress from what he’s just read finally begin to be replaced by deeper thoughts. It’s... strange, actually, seeing Simeon once again now that Kanrik... knows. Despite all the rather deep heart-to-heart conversations that the two of them have had over the years, Kanrik never fully realised just how deeply this man’s heartache ran. During their early morning talks in the shadows of the guild’s fires, Simeon had always forced a sense of pride into his words when talking about his past. He always acted as if that pompousness was keeping him alive. Even when his voice would crack, he never seemed anything short of self-centred. Even when his lips would tremble, he would always boast about what he’d overcome. But in this writing — something that no one else was ever, ever meant to see — the true lens of sorrow through which he views the world — sorrow that honestly borders on self-hate — was detailed so openly, and so thoughtfully, and, well... Simeon feels almost like a stranger to Kanrik now. It’s odd for the thief to know that the man he once thought was so stoic is actually so broken throughout. All the pride has been a lie. All the confidence had concealed self-hate.
What else doesn’t Kanrik know about him?
“Well, if you’re just going to stay so silent,” Simeon suddenly says, his tone agonizingly sarcastic, snapping Kanrik out of an odd daydream of consideration, “I suppose then I will need to ask: what did you have your sights set on, and where on your person did you hide it?”
Kanrik smiles a bit again, though it’s completely out of nervousness this time — an awkward, toothy sort of grin. He knows that he needs to keep running with this lie... probably. Or, well... maybe he doesn’t. After all, the sole reason that he came here was so he could learn what was wrong and try to help; and, well, he’s definitely done the learning part — more than he had anticipated to — so now comes the helping, right?
What in Neopia is he supposed to say?
For now, Kanrik decides to just keep running with the lie, if only to buy himself more time to think of a proper way to broach the subject of Simeon’s winter reveries. “Just... books,” the thief says, which isn’t completely untrue. “Honestly, my friend, I always knew that you were a huge nerd, but this place is bigger than any library that I’ve ever seen.” Kanrik is glad to see Simeon let slip a genuine smirk at the sound of the silly snipe, since that hopefully means that his temper is cooling... but the smile quickly fades, and then everything starts to go wrong. At the end of the thief’s phrase, Simeon’s eyes begin to travel over every inch of Kanrik’s body — he’s clearly trying to figure out where the thief could possibly be hiding whatever it is he’s “stolen.” When the thief realises that he’s being scrutinised, he shifts slightly out of nervousness — nervousness surrounding his fear of Simeon noticing what he’d just been reading — and desperately tries to continue speaking to keep the grey Gelert distracted. “You’d be surprised what outrageous prices those snobby Brightvale scholars will pay for a simple textbook,” he tries to explain, “so...”
Kanrik’s sentence, unfortunately, trails off into a more-than-suspicious squeak of panic when he sees Simeon lean slightly to the side to look at the nightstand that Kanrik still leans against — and that the journals still rest upon. The fact that the thief instinctively — stupidly — shifts to the side to hide what’s behind him only makes it more obvious what he was doing. His voice now rushed — his pitch now heightened — he desperately tries to keep talking to keep the assassin from looking any closer. “So I was just... trying to find the most fancy-looking tomes to, you know—”
But, of course, it’s too late for any trick to work. “Were you just reading my journals...” Simeon suddenly says, his tone that of the purest threat, the words coming out as more of a statement than a question.
The look in Kanrik’s eyes is unmistakably that of panic, though he tries his best to play coy, refusing to make any shift in position that would further imply his guilt. Unfortunately, though, his words are far less inconspicuous, as all he manages to say is, “U-um...”
Simeon looks up from the books on the nightstand to meet Kanrik’s now-widened jade gaze, his own glare seeming just as panicked as the thief’s, if not actually more so. Honestly, the golden light that swirls there is impossible to decipher — a churning mess of fear, and anger, and betrayal, and wrath — though the assassin seems like his breath’s been completely stolen away by shock... if only for a second longer.
“You...” Simeon’s voice cracks immediately. From beside Kanrik’s feet, Katy gives a whine, like she knows what’s about to happen. “What... what in Fyora’s name was the reason?!” And Simeon’s suddenly shouting. “Those... that writing is private! Those books hold absolutely no monetary value at all!”
The assassin has begun a menacing approach now, his footsteps falling heavy, though clumsy, it seems, from the overwhelm of his emotions. Kanrik instinctively tries to back away, forgetting that he’d already pressed himself against what’s directly behind him. He has nowhere to go. All he can do is keep staring into the eyes of this now-enraged murderer.
The thief’s still got his personal guard for the day, though, it seems, for the second that Simeon starts raising his voice, Katydid, too, begins yapping out threats. She frantically runs behind Simeon, grabbing the tip of his tail in her jaws, attempting to pull him away from the thief with all of her teeny tiny might.
Simeon seems completely unfazed by the sting from her bite, though... and now there’s nothing standing in his way. The assassin points one clawed finger in Kanrik’s direction, more threatening than ever before, though his hand also seems to tremble. “You have always taken things too far, Kanrik. You are always crossing peoples’ boundaries, no matter how much they care about you. You are always acting like a child, but... but this has gone too far! You’ve broken into my home, you’ve rifled through my things, you’ve read my most private journals, you’ve... y-you...” He’s clearly at a loss for words. He’s just sputtering furious, senseless syllables. Finally, though, he just starts shouting again. “Why?! Why did you come here?! What do you want from me?!”
Katydid is still desperately trying to get Simeon’s attention through loud barks and hard bites, but he refuses to pay her any mind — his every ounce of focus is dead set on the thief before him. Despite all that’s happening around him, Kanrik still just stays perfectly still, trying to force the knot in his throat down so that he can give some semblance of an explanation. All he manages to say, though, when he finally remembers how to speak is a soft, scared, “I’m here... because... I’m just nosy, I guess...”
Which is probably the worst thing he could have possibly said. “That’s... that’s all?!” Simeon yells, still somehow growing angrier. “That’s the only excuse you’ve got?!”
“I’m... I’m sorry.”
“I thought you said you cared, Kanrik!”
The frantic Gallion at their feet just won’t stop yipping.
And Kanrik is too shocked by those last few words to even think of attempting to reply.
Simeon takes another step closer. “Y-you... I thought I could trust you! Stupidly, stupidly — I believed you when you said that you cared! I thought... I just thought, maybe... just...”
It only takes one more hopeless, now-hoarse-sounding bark from the small, panicked petpet at their feet before Simeon finally snaps, although... it’s more of a thankful sort of thing than anything else, honestly. Furious both from the ceaseless noise and from all of the thoughts of betrayal that are now wreaking havoc in his head, Simeon gives one violent stomp of his foot against the ground, just beside the Gallion’s flank, careful to not hurt her or touch her at all, but still loudly and suddenly enough to give her a good startle. “I am not going to hurt him!” Simeon suddenly shouts down to the Gallion, finally letting his eyelids fall closed and his breath to catch in his throat, the sound of which could only be described as the ghost of a stifled sob.
The Gallion immediately recoils from the noise with a whimper, giving Simeon a worried glance, but... well, this seems to be exactly what she had wanted to happen, actually, for the second that her initial surprise wears off, she’s got a proud but strict look in her eyes, and she sits calmly on the floor to look up at him. Once again proving that she must be completely fluent in their language, the little Gallion sneeze-snorts until Simeon finally meets her eyes, then gives him a stern glare that clearly reads, Do you promise?
If Kanrik weren’t still so terrified, he would probably find this all fascinating; but, well...
Simeon clenches his hands into fists, then lets them drop to his sides. “I’m... I’m not going to hurt him,” Simeon repeats slowly, keeping his head turned down and away from the thief, and now also averting his eyes from the gaze of the strict seeming Gallion.
Katydid slowly looks from Simeon’s face to Kanrik’s, then back to Simeon once more, then finally decides that she can trust him. She takes a few slow, apologetic seeming steps to Simeon’s side, then lovingly nudges his ankles with her nose, as if to say, Alright. I’m sorry I panicked.
Kanrik has never seen Simeon look so... vulnerable. Hopeless, even. Just completely, utterly lost. He’s an absolute stranger in this moment, and the thief is at a loss for words. He’s never felt so guilty in his life...
Simeon, surprisingly enough, is the first to break the hush, though his words are whispered and littered with cracking chords. “What do you want from me.” It’s phrased as a statement, though his tone is that of the purest pleading. “Just... why couldn’t you just leave me alone...”
Kanrik tries to swallow his nerves — is forced to cough when he chokes on his fears — then swallows hard once more. “I’m... I w-was just...” Should I keep lying? Should I tell him the truth? “I was just... trying to find something that I knew I could sell,” he decides to lie, “but... but I found your journals while searching, and got caught up in your writing, and... i-it was an accident, and—”
“Don’t lie to me, Kanrik,” Simeon interrupts, raising his voice ever so slightly, then clenching his eyes further shut. His next breath is shuddered. He refuses to look up. “Just...” And he’s suddenly whispering again. “Just tell me the truth, Kanrik,” he says. “I’m... I’m powerless here, okay? I’m not going to hurt you. I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I just...” Another shuddered breath. His shoulders heave. Finally, he finds the strength to stand straighter, then holds himself tight, raising his pained amber eyes to meet Kanrik’s once more. “Please, just... be honest, Kanrik,” he sighs, then looks back down to the ground. Oddly enough, though, the next sound he manages to make is some sort of uncomfortable snort of laughter. “I mean... by this point, I’m sure that you’ve read about a more honest side of me than I ever wanted anyone else to know, so...” He raises his eyes once more. “Well... your turn.”
And Kanrik knows full well that... he’s probably right.
As silence fills the room once more, the thief suddenly realises that he’s been digging his fingernails far too deeply into the table behind him from stress, so he first relaxes his tense muscles to prepare for... whatever. He crosses his arms, more embarrassedly than anything else, then looks back over to the painting on the wall to distract himself. “Honestly...” He still isn’t sure if he really wants to tell the truth, but... he, too, then sighs. “I was... telling the truth the first time,” he eventually admits. “I’m honestly just really, really nosy.”
Simeon can tell that this is finally the truth, but also knows that there must be more to it, so he simply tries to take deep breaths and waits for Kanrik to continue.
The thief takes a few more seconds to gather his thoughts, but then finally continues to speak. “You were... acting very strange,” he says, “and so I just... got curious. I wanted to know what was wrong, but you said that you didn’t want to talk about it, and... and so I asked the courier where you lived, and then came here to just... I dunno, to look for, just... some sort of explanation...”
This time, Simeon holds his silence out of sheer disbelief.
And when Kanrik finally looks back to meet his friend’s honeycomb eyes, he can immediately tell that that’s the reason he’s staying so silent. Purely embarrassed now, the thief swallows hard once more, then shakes his head at his own self’s rashness. He’s only just now starting to fully realise how little he’d thought this stupid idea through; but, he’s come this far, and there’s truly no turning back now, so... “The truth is that I do care about you a lot,” Kanrik admits, “and that I was very, very worried.” He shifts his position nervously after that confession — rests his weight against the nightstand again — and huffs a bit to try to exhale his not wanting to be talking about such soppy-sounding garbage. His tone then turns a touch more casual — more sarcastic — as he continues to explain. “But, well, I’m not exactly known as one to respect other people’s personal belongings, so the thought of trying to solve the mystery of your mood swings through courteous means never even crossed my mind.” He lightly flicks his wrist in no particular direction, though keeps his arms crossed in doing so. “Not to mention,” he adds, “you yourself had said that you weren’t going to talk about whatever it was that was bothering you, but, um...” Pause. “I guess, um... I guess that I could tell that... maybe, despite that, you still, y’know... needed to.”
The Gallion by Simeon’s feet is overly aware of the sudden surge of something that her owner is now feeling, and the way that it’s only continuing to intensify as Kanrik continues with his speech. She begins to wind her way lovingly around Simeon’s ankles, trying to help keep him calm, and to make sure that he knows that she cares about him too.
Again, Kanrik continues, though he decides now to slightly change the topic. He smiles just the slightest bit — though it’s a melancholy sort of expression — as the words that he’d just read in Simeon’s journal become present in his mind once more, and the tightness behind his eyes returns. “Your poetry is beautiful, Simeon,” Kanrik says, more to himself than to anyone else, though he hears Simeon exhale loudly in what is presumably anger, or embarrassment, or... something like that... from the sound of the words. Still, the assassin says nothing in response, so Kanrik simply continues on once more. “I, uhm... I had no idea that this was how you really felt,” he says. “That the winter — that... that Christmas... — was so — or, uhm, is so... — filled with all these memories o—”
“Don’t say it,” Simeon commands, interrupting before Kanrik can finish the thought, his tone somehow both dark as pitch and light as a desperate prayer.
But Kanrik isn’t one to listen to commands, even if it is a murderous one. “You never told me that it happened in winter,” Kanrik says quickly, not wanting to be interrupted again, looking back to meet Simeon’s still-crestfallen eyes. “You never told me it was... so close to the holiday.”
Simeon is honestly shocked that Kanrik is being so bold as to keep talking.
There’s another moment of silence as the two simply meet eyes, as if they’ve made some sort of uncomfortable understanding, though a hesitant one, for sure, at that.
Finally, though, Simeon laughs darkly once more — not out of any sort of amusement, though, but rather out of sheer disbelief. “You say that as if it is your business to know,” Simeon threatens, his tone still hostile, though his eyes, oddly enough, are now beginning to read acceptance.
Kanrik matches the fake smile — though his is rooted in amusement — then gives a gentle shrug. “Well, the world does revolves around me, after all, doesn’t it?” he attempts to joke.
Simeon gives an impassive snort. “You wish.”
“I don’t need to wish it,” Kanrik replies, “it just does.”
Well, at least with that, they both discover that they can laugh genuinely once again.
Kanrik’s eyes begin to travel around the room when the silence turns awkward once more. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t think of anything else to say. There’s just nothing he can think of that could possibly help. He still feels as though doing this wasn’t a complete waste of time, but...
Eh, well, at least he’s not dead, or whatever.
The thief decides to change topic when absolutely no more ideas for a solution come to him. “This place is beautiful,” he says, lazily gesturing around the room with one hand, though still keeping his arms crossed. “I must admit, I never expected you to live in such luxury.”
Simeon is more than relieved that he doesn’t need to say anything more on the previous subject. He takes a deep breath, trying to clear his head with the action, then decides to pretend that this all never happened — that Kanrik was invited over as a guest, and didn’t just break in and go through his most private things. “Well,” Simeon slowly starts to say, his voice finally beginning to return to its usual, proud-sounding warmth, “I am a very busy man with very high prices who is very good at his job.”
Kanrik would snicker at Simeon’s boasting if it weren’t for the fact that the proof was literally all around him. “Apparently so,” Kanrik muses, still eyeing all the trinkets on the walls. “It... it really feels like a home in here.”
He had more to say, but he can’t even begin forming the words in his head before Simeon interrupts with a stern, “That’s easy for you to say. You haven’t lived here for close to eighteen years.”
Kanrik looks back to meet his friend’s eyes, but finds that he’s just looked away.
The thief decides to make a joke of it all, though, since it seems that the both of them are finally starting to find their calm once again, and he’s always been a firm believer in sarcasm being the best medicine. “Well then,” Kanrik says, his tone turning somewhat mocking, “if you don’t like it here anymore then I will gladly take the estate off your hands.”
Simeon’s laugh is full and genuine. It’s the most beautiful sound that Kanrik feels he’s heard in years. “You wish,” the assassin says, shaking his head lightly as Katy finally curls up beside him, glad that everyone has finally calmed down. “I do need a place to sleep, after all.”
Kanrik gives an exaggerated shrug. “Well, since you’re just so expensive and so good at your job,” he teases, “you could just rent out the fanciest inn in the realm and call that your home for the rest of your life.”
Simeon scoffs condescendingly. “Right,” he says, “because I can just sign my name in some random innkeeper’s guestbook.”
Kanrik snickers. “At least nobody will know that the name that belongs to you, right?”
Simeon gives Kanrik a half-frustrated grin. “You know, you’re starting to sound like you actually are trying to take my house,” he says, the entire phrase sparkling with undertones of genuine laughter.
And Kanrik snickers again. “Well, since we’re both being so honest today, I will admit that I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t want to.”
Then, they both laugh brightly.
Then, the wind howls outside.
Then, there is a moment of silence.
Simeon sighs loudly when the hush holds for too long. He may be finally finding the ability to smile again, but... well, it takes a lot more than just a few bad jokes to get his mind to clear of all his past troubles. “Kanrik, I really, um...” Pause. Kanrik’s gaze turns more attentive. Simeon tries to speak again. “Kanrik, I’m... flattered, truly, that you were so intent on ‘helping’ ” — he puts a gross, mocking emphasis on the word, and quotes around it with his fingers — “that you would go to these sorts of extremes — extremes that... that not even the bravest of mercenaries have ever dared to try when attempting to learn about me — but...”
Well, it seems like he didn’t really have a conclusion to that sentence.
But Kanrik, his pride now tripled from the sound of being praised, decides to prod. “But...?”
Simeon sighs loudly again. He’s getting really sick of all of this obnoxious earnestness, but... he finally straightens his posture, then raises his eyes from the floor, though still keeps looking away from Kanrik. “The holidays are... difficult for me, Kanrik,” he sheepishly admits. “I am flattered, and thankful, but... but I just want to be left alone, and—”
“Are you sure that what you need isn’t someone to stay with instead?” Kanrik suddenly interrupts.
And Simeon whips his head around so quick that he nearly makes himself dizzy.
Wait... what the heck am I saying...? Kanrik had let the thought burst out even before he had realised he was thinking it... and he isn’t sure yet whether or not he regrets that. Still though, at the sight of the assassin’s surprise, Kanrik decides to just... keep talking... and hope that something useful comes out. “If, uh... if the holidays are so difficult for you because of those... horrible memories, then... then maybe it would help if you, y’know... tried to make some better ones.”
Simeon suddenly feels his face start to flush. Is he really suggesting that...? “What on Neopia are you talking about, Kanrik...”
“I’m... I’m asking you over for Christmas, I guess,” Kanrik says with a little laugh, honestly shocked that he’s doing this at all. “If, uhm... Well, Christmas is a busy time for the guild, as I’m sure you can imagine, and... well, we hardly treat it as anything more than just a really busy day of the year. But, I mean...” He gives a light shrug. “Maybe... maybe it would be fun, y’know?” he says. “To, um... to actually celebrate the holidays again, and in the way that they were meant to be celebrated. I mean, it’s supposed to be a time for family and love and all that garbage, and... and, well...” When Simeon’s face suddenly falls once more — as predicted, at the sound of the word “family” — Kanrik decides, well... maybe it’s time that he, too, brings up something difficult to talk about, and that is secret to all those who know him. “None of us in the guild really have family anymore,” he begins to explain, “and... the last happy Christmas I can remember that actually felt like Christmas was... was back when I was a child, and... and my s-sister was still... still, um...”
He can’t bring himself to acknowledge the name of it, either.
Now he fully understands what Simeon was writing about.
But, well, Kanrik doesn’t really need to finish the thought for Simeon’s shock to return thousandfold. After all, though Simeon had heard rumours of Kanrik once having a sister that he loved almost more than life, the thief had never actually mentioned any of it to him before in person. The mere thought of it all — of his family, and of his childhood — was something that Kanrik was determined to keep hidden, only ever bringing it up in the form of cryptic half-riddles during their sleepy, too-personal, four-in-the-morning conversations. It’s here, though, that Simeon finally realises that the way Kanrik so adamantly avoids discussing his childhood is incredibly similar to the way that he himself always avoids talking about...
He’s... really serious about this, isn’t he?
The thief continues babbling at a bit of a faster tempo when he finally looks back up and sees Simeon’s now-shocked expression. He blushes a bit, embarrassed to be admitting this after so many years of keeping it secret, but also partially because of the sudden flooding of remembrance through his chest of those memories that he’d thought he’d tucked away for good. Kanrik chuckles nervously, anxiously runs his fingers through his hair, then gives another light, uncomfortable shrug. “I guess, just... why don’t we both just try to have a happy holiday for once,” he suggests, keeping eye contact in the hopes that the assassin sees just how genuine he’s being. “I mean, it’s just barely broken Christmas morning, so there’s plenty of time to plan and prepare. We could, uhm... oh, I could tell the guild that this year’s holiday task is to find the best foods in the realm so that we can all prepare a big feast! We could... we could decorate the headquarters! Oh Fyora, I used to love doing that as a kid. And... and it could be a big event, like a really big party, where we can sit around and... and sing silly holiday carols, and tell stories of our... our pleasant pasts, and... and we could, uhm... we could...”
Kanrik is suddenly interrupted as Simeon lets out a genuine, sparkling laugh, making the Gallion who still rests at his feet purr happily at the sound of her owner’s cheer. The thief was honestly out of ideas for things to say, anyway, so he isn’t upset at having his speech cut short. That, plus, well... the sound of Simeon’s joy is much more pleasant than the sound of his own voice, in his opinion.
Simeon covers his snaggletoothed smile with his hands to try to hold back the rest of his snickering. “You are such an enigma, Kani,” he says through what can only be described as a giggle fit. “You’re really serious about this, aren’t you?”
Kanrik looks almost offended. “Hey now,” he says, standing straight and looking down his nose, “I think it’s a pretty fun idea.”
Simeon still just can’t stop laughing. “Well, that’s the funny thing, Kani,” he then says, his voice half muted by his fingers, “I, uhm... I think that it’s a pretty fun idea, too.”
The smile that then finds its way to Kanrik’s scarred cheeks feels more genuine than anything else he’s felt in years. “So... is that a yes, then?” he asks, seeming as excited as... well, as a kid on Christmas morning. “You’ll — oh, and Katy, of course” — he looks down at the now-sleeping Gallion as he says this — “will stay over the night for an impromptu Christmas party?”
Never in a million years would Simeon have thought he’d find himself in such a position — being invited somewhere to celebrate the holidays once more, far away from his memories, far away from his empty house, far away from everything that troubles him, surrounded instead by laughter and joy, and with a real, true friend beside him...
Simeon meets eyes with the thief once more, then gives a slow nod of his head. “Sure,” he says softly, though his tone is as warm as the fire. “Let’s have us a happy Christmas.”
And the thought of the winter once again feels like home.
Happy holidays, everyone~! :3