and feel the scent of snow

January 24, 2014 in one-shot, superricelol by superRiCElol

“You ever wonder if there’s ever been a heart-shaped snowflake?”

The light wind carried snow with it. Taeyeon could tell, didn’t need to see, just by the clean coldness that cut straight to her lungs. Unlike the rain, dry snow was pleasant. Also pleasant was the mug in her hands – giant marshmallows and a small hint of peppermint. But she didn’t need the scent of the hot chocolate to know what was in it, when it was the exact same every time, every year.

So she paused, the mug almost up to her lips – steam making the tip of her nose warm – because she hadn’t. Hadn’t ever wondered. And the more she thought about it, the more she wondered why she should.

“Isn’t that impossible?”

“Nothing’s impossible.”

“Snowflakes have radial symmetry.”

“But you never know – there could be a mutant snowflake or something.”

“A mutant snowflake?”

“A mutant snowflake.”

“In the shape of a heart.”

“In the shape of a heart,” the confirmation came, a low, articulated chuckle rumbling from behind her.

Maybe she would continue the conversation just to hear those chuckles – the ones that melded speech and mirth together, the ones she loved to hear the most. She felt a nod, a pressure as a chin lighted on the top of her head. It was pleasant, but even then she wondered what it would be like, to watch as her eyes curved and the corners of her lips tugged upwards.

“It’s gonna get cold, you know. Drink it while it’s still warm, at least.” The arms around her waist tightened but not uncomfortably, pulling her closer and snug. “And while we’re on the subject of cold, we should go in soon.”

Taeyeon wanted to shake her head, because it wasn’t cold – the mug wasn’t cold either, small remnants of steam still trickling up, undeterred by the air’s cutting edge – but she would go in if she was cold.

“Why, are you cold?” She finally fully lifted the mug and sipped, waiting for the answer, that small hint of peppermint in her senses. It was small, not enough to taste, but just enough to smell. The second-best thing to actually tasting it for herself.

The thought saddened her a bit – she could feel the weight of the idea weighing in the pit of her stomach, where the peppermint lay. But then she felt a shake of the head, and her attention was directed away.

“I’m not. But you are.”

“I’m not,” she corrected, and felt another shake of the head.

“You are now. Come on, we can still cuddle on the couch if that’s what you’re worried about.”

The left corner of her lips quirked up. Trust her to say two, completely different-toned phrases in the same breath.

“I’m not cold.”

A short pause, and she could almost hear the tiny little clockwork cogs running in the other girl’s mind – worked by tiny little yellow minions, as they liked to say.

“Hm, you’re not cold, anymore.” She almost snorted at the ridiculous tone of incredulity – are you making fun of me? “But we’re still going inside. I want to cuddle on the couch and make fun of bad, cheesy Christmas shows.”

Before she could make to move, she was hoisted up, sort-of bridal style. And a moment after, put down, those warm arms back around her waist.

“Never mind, I’m not strong enough, even though you’re extremely light.”

All Taeyeon could do was laugh a bit. “I almost spilled the rest of this,” she said, referring to the mug. The remaining heat of the liquid had come dangerously close to the top, and she did not like the idea of having to change her sweater if it spilled. A chuckle – the chuckle – met her ears, and she shook her head in response – what is with you today?

“Are you like this because Christmas is in two days? This happy and… weird?”

She already knew the answer, but it was all she could say in her exasperation. There was no answer of course, but she could feel the gentle smile in the air, directed at her.

Oh, Taeyeon…”

But that was new. She’d never heard her say that before, with that kind of inflection. A gentle tug at both her temples, slender fingers brushing her cheeks – her sunglasses were being taken off. Why?

“Why are you…” her voice trailed off, cut short by a soft peck on the lips. And she could tell it was there, could smell that – that damned peppermint. Her hands clenched, fingers itched to trace every contour of her face; where her brows tapered off; the bridge of her nose; the shape of her lips she knew to be peculiar. But she knew that was all she could do, the second-best thing.

It was the second-best thing, so she settled with a slight frown even as her hands clenched tighter.

All there was in response was a low chuckle – she knows.

“Well, how else am I gonna be able to kiss you, with your shades on? No thanks. Besides,” she felt thumbs tracing her cheeks, down to her jaw line, “I like your eyes.”

A bit of silence, a bit of time before she worked her jaw, her throat, her tongue, well enough to speak.

“Yeah. Yeah, I know.”

The ambience in front of her changed so much, so much that she closed her eyes – it was a wonder she didn’t close them before as her shades were being taken off, as she was apt to do every other time they were removed. Closed her eyes to the bright change, a light that she could see, and held in a smile.

“Good! You should love them, too.”

When she thought they were going to go to the couch (though sometimes Tiffany would just roll over the back and flop into the cushions, and then laugh at her as she got lost and slowly made her way to sit down), she was led to the kitchen. Cold, the tiles. Then she remembered why they were cold, and almost shook her head at herself.

“Okay, smile!” The click, whirr, and hum of a Polaroid camera.

It was nice, really, that the brightness of the air changed. She didn’t think she would be able to smile if the air was cold, cold and cutting into her chest. Laughter filled the air, and she couldn’t help but smile even more. Click, whirr, hum.

“Another Christmas, another one for the fridge, Taeyeon-ah. Aren’t you excited?”

She thought for a bit, really thought for a bit, and almost shook her head again. No, she was not excited, because they were about to make fun of the same horrible Christmas shows again.

“Oh come on. I know you don’t like listening to me talk and having all that bad acting, but isn’t it funny?”

It wasn’t that it wasn’t funny (because it still was), but she didn’t care for the terrible Christmas shows so much as the commentary that went with it, the fingers that threaded through her hair and absently scratched at her scalp as she listened with full attention – memorizing the comments that were already memorized, because they were the same every year. The exact same, so she easily knew them by heart.

She hummed noncommittally, her focus more on the nails that grazed along her hair part than the lines of confession coming from the noise box. The legs underneath her head shifted a bit and she moved to adjust accordingly, wrapping her arms around whatever was closest to her and burying her face into it. And then she realized her mistake when she felt the rumblings of that – that chuckle.

“Taeyeon-ah, that tickles.”

The laughing intensified when she pulled away, sitting up as best as she could even when arms looped around her neck.

“I know you don’t like hearing the sappy confessions, but is it that intolerable this year?”

It wasn’t that. Even she didn’t know how she could have mistaken Tiffany’s waist for something else, but she did. Today was the only day that could happen, she told herself, reassured herself, because everything smelled of peppermint.

Maybe she should ask, just to make sure.

“Have you ever wondered if there’s ever been a heart-shaped snowflake?”

Taeyeon could feel the curiosity aimed in her direction – amused curiosity, not judging, not an are you kidding me?, but a so you’re bringing it up, now?

The noise box was turned off – cut off mid-sentence, something that confused her because it had never happened before. There were still three shows after this one, each one she knew by memory, and their commentaries she knew by heart. She didn’t ask again as arms gently pulled her in and then snugly wrapped around her waist. Even if the question would sit in the pit of her stomach, even if she still smelled peppermint, she wouldn’t ask again.

“Once. I did, once.”

She couldn’t help it. Body shifting, arms lifting, her fingers traced whatever was closest to her – collarbones, judging by the way her breath hitched in surprise and then steadied again.

“Only once?” Slowly made her way up – jaw line, lips, tip of the nose, brow line, curling around the back of her head.

“Only once. And then I didn’t need to wonder about it anymore.”

Her eyes moved, searching for something they couldn’t find, because they wouldn’t know if they’d spotted this something or not. This something that she wanted to know – if it would only take her once as well before she didn’t need to wonder.

“Why?”

A hum. A teasing hum that was dying to tell her the answer but refrained from it, just for the heck of it. But it was such an important answer she wanted to know that she was willing to do almost, almost anything to hear it. She felt a finger on her lips, and knew the bargain.

“Kiss and then tell,” came the reply, confirming her dreaded suspicions.

“Isn’t that the opposite…” Her skepticism was only met with more chuckling.

“Not for you and me, it isn’t. Kiss!”

She shook her head. “You know why I can’t.”

“No, I don’t.”

“You do.”

They both knew. And she was scared, terrified, that she wouldn’t be able to give a proper kiss – which she would never voice aloud because Tiffany would just laugh and smile – and it was important. But how was she to – to give back for all the affections Tiffany’s showed her all these years when she was still afraid, sight or no sig—

“Hey. Come here.” A gentle hand pulled at her wrist, off the couch. “You’re cold again – and this doesn’t really make sense, but come here.” And it didn’t make sense, to be led to the balcony again when it was still snowing – a bit heavier even; the winds had picked up.

Funny, how even the winds seemed to carry that stupid, stupid scent of peppermint instead of the clean, fresh snow.

“No good, you’re even colder now. Hm…”

She couldn’t help the tiny squeak that escaped her when she was swept up in a giant hug from behind and spun around, coming to a stop near the railing.

“Yah, Fany-ah!”

“Whoa whoa whoa, you feel that?! Right there, right there!”

And she felt it, right in the center of her palm, the impossible.

“I… I guess I do, huh.” She closed her hand, turned her head around and upwards, and gave the smallest but most grateful of kisses.  A soft, feathery chuckle.

“So? Still want my answer?”

Her lips curved into a small smile as she leaned back, feeling warm. Another mug of hot chocolate, the same one they have every year, sounded really nice right about now – even if they’d just had some, the peppermint still pleasantly settled in her stomach.

She could smell it, the clean snow.

“No, I think I know.”

And she’d only had to wonder once.

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hi stay warm when it’s cold errone