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Partner Dance

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“Hey now, Wanderer.” Mask lifts his head to look at Kiwi as they approach. “You wanted to meet me here?” They stood and waved at the bard, inviting them closer.

Kiwi walks to the edge of the graveyard where Mask was waiting. “Yeah! I’m so glad you could come!”

Giving a low and friendly chuckle, Mask asks, “So you said you wanted to learn a new dance?”

The Bard shuffles his feet and gives a friendly giggle before responding. “Heheh, yeah.” He pauses for a moment and gives an awkward smile. “I was wondering if you could teach me how to partner dance.”

Tapping his sandaled foot on the ground, making his pinata pants swish, Mask thinks about this for a moment. “I can’t teach you what you already know inside, but I can help you bring it out.” He gave a wry smile beneath his mask. “It sounds like fun.”

“Oh thank you, Mask!” Kiwi gave Mask an energetic hug.

Returning the hug, Mask tilts their head to the side and laughs. “No problem, Wanderer, it’d be my pleasure”

Kiwi releases the embrace and sings a few jovial notes. “When do we begin?”

“Now if you’d like.” Mask gives a nonchalant shrug. “I have all the time in the world.” He steps away from the graveyard gates and leads Kiwi to an open space. “I guess you’ll want to be the lead?”

“Uhh... I guess so!” Kiwi nods with energetic uncertainty.

“First things first, hold my hand as such.” Mask shows them the proper positioning. “And then your other hand goes here.” Directing the Bard’s hands, Mask moves on to the dance. “Take your left foot and step forward, then step to the side with your right before bringing your left foot to meet it.”

Kiwi obliges, and his face lights up with joy. “This is fun! Thank you so much for teaching me!”

Nodding his head, Mask gives a light laugh. “Anytime, Wanderer.” They continue to practice the dance, Mask giving Kiwi bits of advice on their posture or how big of a step to take.

“Where did you learn this dance, Mask?” Kiwi asks with awe. Mask knew so many dances, but he never seemed to share where he learned them.

“I had a teacher just like you do now.” Smugly refusing to elaborate any more, much to the Bard’s dismay, Mask changes the topic back to their own dance. “And now as we continue the box step we can begin to turn as such.”

The two begin to spin as they dance in the clearing. As time goes on, Kiwi’s dancing becomes more refined and soon he and Mask dance in perfect synchrony.

“Well then, Wanderer, I think it's safe to say you got a new dance!”

Excitedly bouncing, Kiwi gives a happy musical squeal and hugs Mask again. “Thank you so much!” They release the hug, and the two go to sit at the base of a nearby tree while chattering happily.

With a knowing chuckle, Mask poses the question, “So why did you want to learn a partner dance?” he leans back against the tree, both arms behind his head, and gives a sideways glance at the bard.

He blushed. “I was uhh...” Kiwi giggles shyly, “wanting to learn one so I could dance with my friend, Miriam.”

“That witch friend of yours? I’ve never met her personally but I can tell she has a hidden dancing spirit. It's wonderful that you're helping her show it.”

“Aww, thanks, Mask!” he hugs his knees to his body and gives a goofy smile. “I think it would be amazing to see her dance again”

“You two certainly seem very close.” Mask gives a wide grin, invisible beneath his veneer. “I wish you the best of luck.”

~~~~~

A while later, Kiwi busied himself at his house with making sandwiches. Miriam was going to be coming over soon and he wanted to prepare an easy meal for them both. He laughs softly to himself as he thinks about it. Making sandwiches for his best friend, a witch. When he finishes making their meal, he goes to his drawers and looks inside. Rummaging through the bottom he pulls out a small silver music box. While it appears unassuming, the little music box was enchanted and could play much more detailed music than the normal soft tinkling of its counterparts.

He turns the crank and steps back after setting it on the windowsill, letting the music play. The mellow tune sounds like a soft symphony. It was amazing something so small could reach out to every corner of the room with its harmonious notes. Kiwi began to harmonize with the notes when a knock sounded on the door. Pausing the music before answering, he opens the door to see Miriam.

“Hey, Kiwi.” Miriam was standing at the door, holding her broom by her side. She bore her usual grouchy expression, but it softened when she saw him. “Nice seeing you tonight.”

“Nice to see you too!” He leads her inside his small yet quaint home. They sit on the edge of his bed since he doesn't have any table or chairs, something Miriam has lectured him on in the past.

“You really should get some more furniture you know,” Miriam chides, “There's enough room.”

Taking the plate with their sandwiches and handing one to Miriam, he sheepishly responds, “I know, I know, I’ve been meaning to get some eventually.”

Kiwi takes a bite of his sandwich as he looks out the window and smiles. After swallowing, he pipes up, “It's really nice to have you here!”

Miriam mumbles a thanks with her mouth full. She’s careful not to get crumbs on Kiwi’s bed since the sandwich bread is soft. A moment passes and Miriam speaks up. “It's nice to be here I guess.”

The two talk until after the sun sets. Their sandwiches long gone, and moonlight now peering through the window to illuminate them both, They look outside and admire the view.

“The sky is so beautiful!” Kiwi exclaims with gentle awe, “The moon’s so bright tonight!” The moon indeed was shining strong, sending its clear silvery light to flood the world with a pale glow.

Miriam sighs softly as she gazes out the window. “The skies have been much clearer since we saved the world.”

“You really think so?” Kiwi turns to look at her and smiles serenely.

She shrugs. Feeling Kiwi’s gaze, she turns to face him and she almost smiles back. “Yeah I guess. It must be, seeing as you sung it in place.” Miriam blushes as she realizes what she said.

Kiwi’s chest swells with joy. “Thank you Miriam, it really means a lot!”

“I’m uhm... glad to have helped you with all that world saving stuff.”

“I’m glad too. It was really nice to have you with me then, it wasn't always fun, but I like having you by my side!”

She turns away and a soft tint of pink lights up her already flushed cheeks. “Thanks.”

“Hey Miriam?”

She pauses for a moment, not looking back at Kiwi just yet. “Yeah?”

Kiwi clears his throat and shyly asks, “Remember the Crater in Mohabumi?”

Instantly knowing where this was going, Miriam stammers and hides her head in her hands. “Kiwi, no.” She thought it was embarrassing that Kiwi saw her dancing. Though she didn't care in the moment, time had passed since then and now she did.

Letting out a musical laugh, Kiwi stands up. “I know you wouldn't want me to shower you in compliments, though your dancing was really good, but uhh...” Kiwi trails and his jovial chuckle turns into a soft and bashful giggle.

“But what?” Miriam isn't sure what to expect next so she lifts her head in curiosity.

Kiwi reaches over his bed to the windowsill and winds up the music box. After setting it back, he stands before Miriam, holding his hand out. “May I have this dance?”

Stunned, Miriam’s lips part slightly as she stares at the bard’s inviting hand. Unsure of what to say, she lightly places her hand in his.

He helps her to her feet, and thinks back on his lesson from earlier that day. Kiwi’s hand grips hers gently and his other hand fits on the small of her back.

Miriam’s seen people dance like this before, but she’s never tried it. She places her free hand on Kiwi’s shoulder and gives him an embarrassed half smile. Looking up at him and meeting his eyes she feels a warmth rise inside her.

“Do you know this dance?” Kiwi asks as he pulls her close. “If not I would love to teach you.”

Opening her mouth to speak, Miriam finds the words stuck in her throat. She shakes her head.

Repeating Mask’s words yet altering them slightly for Miriam, Kiwi assists her. “I’ll take the lead, alright?”

Still speechless, Miriam nods slowly.

“You want to take your right foot and step back, then step to the side with your left before bringing your right foot to meet it.”

She does this, and Kiwi follows in turn with his own steps. He smiles softly at her when they do so. Finally able to speak with a wavering voice, she asks how she’s doing. “Was that alright?”

“It was perfect.” Kiwi gives a content sigh and he leads her to the second part of the dance. The part where he’s the one to step back.

And so they danced.

The witch and the bard sway back and forth as they boxstep around the room to the tune of the enchanted music box. After the instructions, not a word is spoken as they stare into the other’s eyes. As they slowly spin, what little gap there was between them soon closes.

They hold each other close and Kiwi rests his forehead on Miriam’s. She can't help herself but to awkwardly smile up at him. Eventually the swaying stops and they just stand there hand in hand, hand on shoulder, and hand around waist.

Being the first to break the silence with his musical laugh, Kiwi softly whispers, “This was really fun.”

“It was.” Miriam knows she should leave soon before her Grandma Saphy worries about her. “I should probably head out soon though.” She really enjoyed her time with the bard though, and was sad to leave. Their close interaction felt so soft and pleasant.

“Alrighty then.” Kiwi let go of Miriam’s hand and he hangs both his arms at his sides. “I loved having you over today!”

Rather than step away to leave, Miriam stands on her toes so she’s level with Kiwi. Wrapping her arms around his shoulders, she gives him a final hug for the night. “See ya.”

Kiwi wraps his arms around her. “Bye, Mir. It was so nice having you.”

Rather than pull away from the hug, Miriam pulls back only slightly so she can get a good look at the bard. Her lips slightly parted as she looked at them. “It was nice being here.”

Wondering why Miriam was lingering so long, yet certainly not complaining, Kiwi suddenly had an idea come to mind. With a sheepish grin, he makes sure to have a good grip on Miriam before dipping her as if they were still dancing. His face just an inch away from hers, he whispers, “May I?”

Not even responding, Miriam pulls herself forward and lightly places her lips on his. It's slow and soft as the music that still drifted through the room.

They both melt into each other’s embrace, and it's a magical feeling. Eyes closed, lips lightly pressed against each other, they kiss.

After what feels like an eternity, their lips part ways. A deep red hue comes forth on both of their cheeks and they nervously smile.

Being the first to speak up, Kiwi places a second soft kiss on her forehead before bringing her back to a standing position. “I guess it's time for you to go?”

“Yeah... should I come over some time tomorrow?” Miriam gives him a wide and genuine smile.

“I’d love that! I can make more sandwiches!” Kiwi giggles lightly.

“Sandwi- Oh my gosh Kiwi did you make them as a pun?” Miriam realizes the correlation between witch and sandwich after Kiwi’s snickering gave it away.

Unable to restrain his laughter, Kiwi manages to confirm.

Miriam rolls her eyes. “Well goodnight, you goof. I’ll see you tomorrow!” With that, she steps outside and hops on her broom.

Waving at Kiwi before flying off into the dark sky, they say their last goodbyes for the night