Sitting on Miriam’s broom, admiring Delphi’s autumnal leaves from above, Kiwi sang a jovial tune. For the past few months they did this every day. Miriam would pick Kiwi up at Langtree in the morning and take them to her hometown, Delphi.
After they saved the world, Kiwi and Miriam had opened a small flower shop. Customers came all the time, and delighted in the fantastical flora. The bard could take any flower and change its color with his voice, and though Miriam didn't admit it, she really enjoyed listening to him sing. Just hearing his charming songs filled her with an unexplainable joy she didn't find elsewhere. Though she didn't often allow herself to smile, she did every once in a while. Lost in thought, Miriam listened to the Bard’s singing as they soared high above the red and gold painted scene.
“Hey, Miriam? Where are you going?” Kiwi pauses his song and gives a warm laugh. “You’ve passed the shop again.”
Snapping out of her thoughts, Miriam looked below and behind them to see he was right. “Sorry about that, got distracted,” she huffs. This wasn't the first time this has happened.
“Aw don't worry about that, at least I’ve got you covered!” Kiwi teases lightly, and softly nudges Miriam with his elbow. “I’ve been keeping more of an eye out lately!”
She rolls her eyes as she turns them back to their intended destination. “Oh don't patronize me, Kiwi.” Miriam aims for them to land near the shop. The leaves carpeting the ground around their usual landing destination were painted vibrant colors from the bard’s songs.
As they descend, the bard’s musical laughter makes the leaves dance around them, shifting their hues from one shining color to the next. Miriam hops off of her broom and offers her hand to Kiwi.
Taking it in his own and leaping down, Kiwi chirps, “Thanks, Mir! Now let's head inside!” They each had their own key to open the shop. Kiwi kept his on a loop on his belt using a key ring, and he struggled to remove the key.
“Kiwi how many times have I told you that's not a good place to put it? Or at least not how you’re doing it.” Stepping up to the door and using her key that she kept on a lengthy necklace, she unlocked the door while Kiwi still fumbled with his own.
“Why should I when you're always here for me?” Kiwi gives her a cheeky grin and opens the door while Miriam gives him a look. He allows her to enter first before walking in behind.
Flicking on a light in the shop and walking behind the counter, Miriam looks through their preorders for the day, and lists off the first few orders they’ll need to prepare.
Kiwi heads to water the flowers they had hanging by the door before tending to the others, humming softly as they do. They pick two small white flowers and place them in their hat, giggling musically.
Lifting her head from the papers she held, Miriam sees Kiwi carefully adorn themselves. As he looks in the reflection of the window to adjust them, Miriam jokingly scolds, “Kiwi, if you use all the flowers for yourself we won't have any for our customers.”
“Are you just jealous because you don't have one too?” He teases her gently. Kiwi meets her eyes through her reflection in the window and winks. “I could get you one if you’d like!”
Rolling her eyes, Miriam declines. “I’ll pass.” She finds the gesture cute, but doesn't think she’ll look very good with a flower anyways. “You should start setting up the orders, I can water the rest.”
“Sounds good to me!” Kiwi steps away from the window and heads behind the counter. Peering over Miriam’s shoulder to look at the papers, he gently moves her hand from laying on top of them. He examines the first order, a bouquet of purple and pink ordered by Viola.
Miriam’s face feels hot as Kiwi holds her hand to see the paper. His fingers felt warm against hers but as soon as they were there, they were gone. Kiwi released her hand to make the bouquets.
After letting go of Miriam’s hand, Kiwi busies himself with the flowers. He takes a romantic pink ribbon and goes to the back of the room to gather the necessary flora.
Going to water the rest of the flowers, Miriam busies herself for the next half an hour. Many of the flowers were pre-colored to their magical hues, yet there were still lots of them that held their original appearance.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The shop was fairly quiet in the morning. Miriam sat behind the counter and read a book she kept with her for when business was slow.
Turning her gaze to the door when she hears the tinkle of a bell, a sign the door has opened, she sees three people enter, chattering among themselves cheerfully. Three of the coffee pirates were here. Francisco was silently leading the way, followed by Penny and Nina, who were deep in conversation.
Francisco steps up to the counter and begins to speak before Nina cuts him off. “Good morning to you, my crewmates and I were-”
“We’re looking for flowers to spice things up!”
Looking at Nina tiredly before continuing, Francisco says, “Yes. We are looking for flowers so we can-”
“We think that some bright colors around our ship and shop setup may help with sales!” Penny is the one to cut him off this time. She grins at Francisco, causing him to sigh.
Francisco hands Miriam a slip of paper after shooting an irritated glance at his crewmates. Nina smiles in her usual way and Penny gives him a smirk. “Here a list of all the flowers we’d like. I believe you have them in stock, yes?”
Miriam reads through the list and racks her memory to make sure they have flowers the coffee pirates were looking for. “Hey, Kiwi!” She puts the list back on the counter and calls into the back of the store. “Do we still have any gerberas left?”
Popping out of the back to answer, Kiwi cheerfully says, “You betcha! I just saw some back here!” Kiwi takes a hand tied bouquet of purple and violet and places it next to him. When he sees the coffee pirates his face lights up. Excitedly bounding over, Kiwi leans on the counter and greets them. “Hey guys!”
Fransicso nods his head in greeting, and states his purpose. “My crew mates and I have come here so we can decorate our coffee stand.”
Quick as a heartbeat, Kiwi responds, “Well you can't decorate with flowers if you haven't botany yet!”
Miriam turns her head away to snicker, a smile threatening to show itself. “Kiwi oh my gosh.”
After a heavy sigh, Francisco places his head in his hands. “Just as silly as ever I see.” He lets out a low chuckle. “Well I guess now’s the time to buy them.”
Miriam talks with Francisco about the prices for all of the flowers while the bard catches up with Penny. Nina admires the teal geraniums in the corner of the shop, and asks Penny if they can get some of those too.
Once Kiwi finishes talking with the two pirates, they tap on Miriam’s shoulder. “Hey Miriam, can I see their order?”
Still talking with Francisco about prices, Miriam absentmindedly holds the paper to the side for the bard to grab.
Kiwi grabs the paper and gives Miriam a soft hug from the side. “Thanks, Mir! You're the best. I love working with you!”
Oblivious to her situation, Miriam hugs the bard back and nods. “Mhmm. Thanks, love you too.”
He pauses. Staring at Miriam, he wonders if she realized what she said. Even though her reactionless expression says she doesn't, Kiwi still feels his cheeks grow warm and he giggles.
Hearing Kiwi’s suppressed laughter, Miriam looks at him. “What? I just said-” Her eyes widen as she cuts herself off, realizing her mistake. “I- wait- that’s not what-” Her cheeks glow red and she presses her face into the counter. “MMMMMMMMMMMM!”
“I’ll go get the flowers now!” Kiwi gently ruffles her hair and heads back to retrieve the flowers, smiling wildly to himself.
“Are ya good up there?” Nina peers over the counter, standing on her toes to see Miriam. She grabs onto the counter and hoists herself up so she can get a better viewpoint.
“MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM- I messed up so bad!” Miriam mumbles and she places her hands over her head.
“Aw don't worry about it! We all goof up sometimes, hehe!” Giving her encouraging words, Nina places some teal geraniums on the counter and purses her lips. “Now these aren't for the whole crew, I just want these for myself.”
“Ah, yeah. Yeah alright.” Miriam lifts her head from the counter, her nose slightly throbbing from slamming it in the first place. She picks up the bloom and examines it. “Alright, these will be-”
“Twenty three dollars?” Nina rummages through her pocket and puts a smattering of coins and bills on the counter.
“Twenty two actually, but nice guess,” Miriam answers, “Would you like me to put them in a bouquet for you?”
Already putting the flowers behind her ear or in her pockets, Nina pauses. “Yeah sure!”
With a deep sigh, Miriam feels her blush finally beginning to fade and she grabs a small orange ribbon from beneath the counter. Nina hands her the flowers, keeping one in her pocket for ‘safe keeping,’ and Miriam ties the rest together with a bow.
Penny is whispering to Francisco while he mumbles a simple, “Mhmm,” every now and then. Miriam can't help but feel as if they're talking about her embarrassing slip up. She can hardly wait for Kiwi to bring the flowers from the back room, they've been taking a while.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Holding a fragrant maroon rose to his chest, the bard sighs contently and leans against a wall. A brilliant grin is spread upon his face. He holds the rose up to the light and replays what had just happened in his mind. Though Kiwi knew Miriam said it by accident, he feels his heart flutter just thinking about it.
“I love you,” Kiwi whispers to himself, the bloom he holds being the only witness, then is overcome by musical giggles. He’s glad to have ducked away into the back when he did, he was having a hard time controlling his childlike joy.
Setting the rose to the side, Kiwi decides it would be best if he prepared the flowers the Coffee Pirates wanted. Gathering the bright blooms in bunches, Kiwi wraps the stems with a moist towelette to keep them fresh, and then with a decorative wax paper for an easier grip.
When he gathers a bunch of blue and purple, Kiwi’s thoughts trail off to Miriam again. He does his best in trying to stay silent. Nearly lapsing into another fit of giggles, Kiwi hugs the bouquet softly. Maybe he could make a bouquet for Miriam later today.
Kiwi feels as if something has changed between them over the past few months. It was slow, and certainly very subtle, yet there was something different. It seems as if his heart is doing somersaults inside him, and it's the best feeling in the world.
Something felt different today for sure. For now though, Kiwi had bouquets to make and customers to please. He tries his best to distract himself while organizing the flower bunches, but Miriam’s words still linger in his thoughts.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Miriam stares out the window awkwardly, unable to break her train of thought. Nina was dancing around happily holding a bouquet that resembled her quite well. The short yet bright and colorful flowers were a flowery impersonation of her character.
Penny and Francisco are still talking, but Miriam can't hear what they're saying since their voices are hushed. A small smile has begun to show on his previously grouchy face, and she still feels as if they're talking about her. While they probably aren’t, being unable to listen in allows her mind to run wild.
Just as Miriam feels like her face is burning up again, Kiwi’s voice chirps from behind. “I’ve got your flowers, guys and gals!”
Averting her gaze in mild embarrassment, the flustered witch bites her bottom lip as she listens to Kiwi talk with their customers.
Kiwi walks out from behind the counter to hand the crew their flowers. With his arms still full of the hand tied bouquets, he asks, “Have you already paid Mir yet?”
Francisco pulls a worn leather wallet from his pocket and begins to count the needed bills. “We were just about to.” After counting out the required amount, he places them on the counter in front of Miriam. Giving an approving nod at Kiwi, he says, “These flowers look like they'll do nicely.”
“We’re glad you decided to shop with us,” she says as she takes the money. Quickly checking to make sure she’d gotten the right amount, Miriam puts the money away.
After a few more minutes of conversation back and forth, the Coffee Pirates leave with their flowers, and Kiwi and Miriam are alone in the small shop once more.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
They’ve been sitting there in near silence since the pirates left. Kiwi humming a soft tune helped, but Miriam still felt as if the tension could be cut with a knife. The bard flitted in and out from the back room, occasionally grabbing colorful blue or purple flowers from the displays.
The bard can tell Miriam seems on edge. Pulling up a seat next to her, he asks, “Hey, Mir. Whats up?”
She shifts awkwardly before responding. “Nothing. Everything’s fine.” The truth was quite the contrary, Miriam hasn’t been able to stop thinking about her slip up.
“Miriam, if this is about-”
“No! It’s not!.” Her face flushes bright pink and she hides her head in her hands with embarrassment.
“Are you sure?” Kiwi giggles as he moves closer. His heart skips a beat as he looks at her. Just thinking about talking to Miriam about what she said earlier made him fluttery inside.
Pressing her mouth into a thin line, Miriam grumbles, “Yes. I’m sure.” She doesn't like lying to him like this, but she can't just admit it. Peeking at him from between her fingers, and seeing him smile the way he is, her heart races.
Moving his chair even closer, Kiwi gives Miriam a gentle hug from the side. He feels her body stiffen up before she leans into the hug with uncertainty. Kiwi lowers his head to see if he can peer through her fingers. “Hey, Mir?” he says softly.
She lowers her hands from her face and places them on the countertop. “Yeah?” Kiwi’s face is mere inches from hers, and feeling unable to hold eye contact, she instead focuses on the two white flowers still in his hat.
The bard smiles slyly, and takes the hand not around Miriam and brings it to rest on her cheek. His heart is racing as he rests his forehead on hers.
“I love you too.”
Her head begins to spin. Miriam wonders if she heard him right. Lips parting slightly as she thinks of what to say, she awkwardly fumbles with her words. “Do you mean as a friend or-?”
Kiwi was unable to respond because at that moment, the bell rings and someone walks inside.
The two pull apart swiftly, faces flushed red, and they turn to face the newcomer.
Viola pauses and looks at the two. She brings her hand to her mouth and snickers. “I hope I didn't interrupt anything.”
“Ahah. Uhh...” Kiwi stammers for a moment before stepping away. “I’ll get your bouquet from the back!”
Silently cursing Kiwi for leaving her alone to face the customer, Miriam self-consciously faces Viola. “Kiwi should uh... be back with your order soon.”
“Well that's nice to hear.” Viola stands in the middle of the shop with her usual sophisticated manner. She smiles smugly at Miriam, knowing with absolute certainty she just walked in on something.
Hating the current situation, Miriam shifts uncomfortably in her chair as she tries to avert eye contact. She bounces her foot in irritation while crossing her arms, her usual scowl darkening as she watches Viola from the corner of her eye. The violinist’s hands were on her hips as she surveyed the quaint shop.
She walks up to the counter, her form swaying with a certain grace, and looks down at Miriam. With a knowing chuckle, Viola says, “Sorry that I ruined your moment.”
Ready to retaliate, Miriam opens her mouth and is about to shoot out a witty comeback before Viola interrupts her.
“There's no use denying it you know.” She turns her back to the counter and leans against it, looking back at Miriam. “It’s quite obvious that you two are very close.”
“No we’re not!” Miriam shoots back indignantly with a strong defensive tone. She wishes Kiwi would return to back her up. What he said comes back to her, and she wonders if he would actually deny Viola’s claims. Her voice returning to an irritated grumble, she mumbles, “We’re just friends and business partners.”
“The way you act with each other says otherwise.” Viola’s smirk turns to a softer smile and she laughs softly. “It’s alright to like him, you know.”
“Ugh, gross.” Miriam struggles with how she feels, thinking she likes Kiwi back, but uncertain of what to do about it. Wanting to change the topic off herself, she asks, “So what are the flowers for?”
“Oh just for a certain special someone, not that I can tell you who it is of course.” Viola grins coyly. “Though perhaps I could if you told me if you like the bard.”
At a loss for words, Miriam grumbles. This entire day has felt so weird for her, things were happening so quickly that she doesn't know what to do. Wanting to disappear, she jumps when Kiwi walks out from the back, a vibrant pink and purple bouquet in hand.
“Sorry for the wait! I’ve got it right here!” Handing the bouquet over to Viola, they bashfully stand by Miriam’s side, towering over her as she sits.
Examining the flowers, Viola thanks him and places the required money on the counter. “Since I’m short on time, I don't believe I can stay very long. Have a wonderful day, you two. The flowers all look lovely.”
Feeling glad that Viola’s leaving, Miriam watches her walk out the door with satisfaction. She narrows her eyes. Viola didn't walk away from the shop, she instead stood at a short distance, clearly peering inside.
Miriam is just about to mention this to Kiwi when she feels her cape move. Looking behind her, she sees Kiwi holding a flower to it. “What are you doing?”
“You'll see!” The bard sings with a soft lilt. As he sings, the flower changes its hue until he gets it to match her cape. “There we go, this should look great!” He tilts Miriam’s head with one hand, and then he places the flower behind her ear with the other. With a bashful giggle, he steps away to look at her. “You look beautiful.”
Miriam’s heart leaps. She murmurs an awkward thanks and looks out the window. Seeing Viola still watching from a distance, Miriam’s body stiffens and she scowls at her, face turning beet red.
Viola clearly laughs, though their distance prevents Miriam from hearing it. Setting down the bouquet, she holds up her hands to form a heart, before picking it back up and walking off for real.
Flustered, Miriam feels like slamming her head onto the counter again. She hears Kiwi chuckle before they ruffle her hair. In all honesty, Miriam is completely lost with how to handle the situation, so she just sits there and accepts his affectionate hair tousling.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The rest of the day goes by in a blur. Kiwi can tell that Miriam’s been fairly uncertain about everything, so he goes easy with any more adoration. Every time they're in close proximity for the rest of the day, Miriam begins blushing, and when they accidentally brush against each other in the shop’s close proximity, she nearly leaps.
The rest of their customers for the day have come and gone. It’s time to close up shop and the sun has begun to sink in the sky, stretching the shadows of the flowers to the length of small shrubs.
Kiwi is in the back room, holding a blue and purple bouquet, staring at it with pensive bliss. Though it wasn’t much, he didn’t think Miriam would like him using the more expensive flowers, it still looked beautiful. With a smile Kiwi plans how he’ll give it to her.
The bard could carry it behind his back coyly, only revealing it once Miriam questions what he’s holding. Perhaps he could even take a bolder approach, hugging her from behind, the bouquet in his hands, and whisper, “For you,” in her ear. That seemed like too much, he couldn’t let his thoughts run away like that.
Pacing back and forth in the back room, surrounded by the almost sickeningly sweet scent of hundreds of flowers, Kiwi ponders how to give Miriam the bouquet. Staring down at the blooms, he decides he can just wing it. He's always had a knack for that sort of thing.
He walks to the door and prepares to open it. Before he even reaches out to touch the knob, it opens, Miriam standing in its wake.
Miriam was clearly not expecting this. Without a moment's hesitation, Kiwi holds out the bouquet, and gives an awkward bow. “For you!” His face flushes, he’s surprised by her unexpected appearance.
She tenderly takes the bouquet from his hands, unable to say a word. Staring dumbly at the flowers, her previous race of thoughts comes to a standstill, processing the situation.
“While I had some free time today I uh...” Kiwi bashfully shifts his feet, averting eye contact. “I made this for you! One of the bouquets I made earlier today had a really pretty color scheme that made me think of you and so I made one specifically! So... tada?” With a goofy smile, he holds his arms out.
Still at a loss for words, Miriam blushes and takes the opportunity to hug him. Her head lays on his chest, and she holds the bouquet behind his back with both hands. She nuzzles close, able to hear his rapid heartbeat, and she smiles.
Surprised but pleased at this display of affection, Kiwi hugs her back. He lays his head on top of hers. One of his hands are placed in the small of her back, the other on the back of her head, holding her gently. “I really-”
“Shush, Kiwi,” Miriam murmurs to cut him off, “don’t ruin the moment.” She closes her eyes as she hugs him, giving a content sigh.
They stay in each other’s arms for a while. Miriam listens to Kiwi’s heart as it slowly calms, the rhythmic melody soothing her. Feeling that her emotions were better sorted out, she mentally confirms that she does like Kiwi back.
The bard has to keep himself from singing aloud with pure joy, so he suffices with humming a soft melody.
Miriam is the first to pull away, a soft rosy tint painting her cheeks. “I should get you back to Langtree soon.” She holds the bouquet close as she speaks, leading them both to the door. The two close up the shop for good, and exit through the back door.
Miriam grabs her broom and holds onto the bouquet with one hand and her broom with the other.
Hopping on behind her, Kiwi proposes that he can hold the bouquet for her. “I can carry that if you’d like!”
She nods, and passes the bouquet back to him. After giving Kiwi a moment to adjust himself, she asks, “You ready?”
Miriam kicks off, sending them into the chilly evening air. She feels Kiwi lean against her as they rise, and finds his warm pressure comfortable.
The wind whipping past them as she takes Kiwi back home, the witch subtly adjusts her own position to lean back on him. Both of them not saying a word for some time, they’re clearly deep in thought.
Kiwi is smiling broadly as he holds the flowers close to himself. The lengthy hug filled him with unparalleled joy, and he hasn’t stopped thinking about it since it happened. It’s a rare silent moment for him, he’s too deep in thought to sing or even hum.
On the other hand, the unusual silence settles oddly with Miriam. Normally on the way home, she and Kiwi would talk about their day. There was a lot to talk about, but neither of them knows how to approach it. Wanting the nearly unbearable silence to end, she asks, “Hey, Kiwi? Do you think you could sing something?”
He’s shaken from his train of thought. Looking I’ve his shoulder to see Miriam, he replies. “Any requests, or should I decide?”
“Anything works I guess.” She shrugs, still facing forward as she flies them back to Langtree.
Kiwi returns to resting his head on her back before singing. It’s a sweet, slow song and one would almost think it sounds romantic.
Time flies by as they soar over the forest. The trees turn from reds and golds to various greens, showing that they were closing in on their destination. After what feels like forever, Miriam begins her descent as they near Kiwi’s home.
Bringing her broom just a few feet off the ground when they arrive, Miriam allows him to hop off.
Still holding Miriam’s bouquet, Kiwi holds it out to her, smiling as he does so. When she takes it, he holds his arms open for a final hug for the night, wiggling his fingers to encourage her.
Accepting his silent offer, she hugs the bard close, resting her head on his chest as she did before. She let's herself give a light smile as she melts into his warm embrace. It’s getting increasingly later, and she has to get back home to Grandma Saphy, so Miriam pulls her head away to look at the bard. Meeting his eyes, she says, “I guess it’s time for me to go now.”
Kiwi nods. “Today was pretty great. It was uh... nice to... you know.” He giggles and his cheeks turn pink for what seems like the millionth time that day.
“Yeah. It was,” Miriam says. A thought then comes to mind. She leans forward and kisses Kiwi’s cheek. His skin is soft against her lips, and she draws away quickly after she hears him gasp. Shyly pressing her mouth into a thin line, she looks to see how he reacts.
Elated, Kiwi raises his hand to where she kissed him, smiling so wide his face begins to hurt.
Pleased that they didn’t react adversely, Miriam releases the hug. “See you tomorrow?”
Miriam flies off, feeling her heart beat rapidly as she makes the journey back to her home.
His hand still lightly touching the place she kissed him, he sings a few happy notes and dances around, glad that no one's watching. Kiwi goes inside his home, smiling like a goof. Today was a good day.