"I take it you like it, then?" he couldn't help chuckling.
Hanana didn't answer, instead turning around and running back to him, hugged him tight for a few seconds. "Thank you!" she said. "Thank you for showing me this--oh my--!" Suddenly pulling away (her face only burning a little bit when she realized what she did), she stepped further into the garden, turning this way and that to try and take in all of it. The area wasn't too large, one could see all of it from wherever they stood, but there were so many flowers and so close together that one had to look several times to take it all in. Not even her own gardens had that many.
She slowly and carefully made her way around some of the rosebushes, wanting to see all of them at least once before looking again more carefully, Yukiki following. "How did...how did you get all these?" she asked, stopping and turning around. Her cheeks were still a little pink.
"I didn't," he answered, shrugging his shoulders faintly, looking away. "They just--they were here already," he added, catching himself just in time.
Hanana didn't seem to notice, thankfully. Nor did she raise the seemingly-obvious question of how they could have still survived anyway. This area was clearly enchanted, she told herself, roses surviving for centuries was such a trivial thing. "Well, they're all lovely," she said at last, unable to think of anything else to say.
"It's almost funny--" She stopped herself suddenly, much like Yukiki had earlier.
They'd gone around the garden several times now, and now they sat near the center of the garden, by the rosebush that the flower in her hair had come from. It only seemed fitting, somehow.
"Funny?" Yukiki murmured, turning his head just slightly, noting she was blushing again. And then suddenly he knew what she'd been about to say. "Oh, you mean that there's flowers here, and I'm me?"
Hanana blushed even more, nodding sheepishly, hands over her face. "Y-yeah...I'm sorry, that was..." Mean. Foolish. Mean.
He just shrugged his shoulders, looking away again. "It's alright. I can't believe it myself."
He still had no idea why that in-training enchantress had conjured them up. Oh wait, now he had an idea...
"...I have the weirdest feeling about it. Something about flowers. Maybe these will help."
It made a vague sense, he supposed.
"But I don't affect them," he said suddenly, causing Hanana to lower her hands. "Or, I won't."
"Won't?" Hanana blinked. "So the story's true then?" she asked before she could stop herself.
Yukiki turned to look at her fully now, frowning a little. "Story?" he asked, then his face brightened a little. "Ohhh, the villagers are telling stories again, are they?"
To Hanana, he almost looked like one of those gossipy wives she'd had to pass every day prior to coming here. Leaning forward slightly, arms on his knees, eyebrows lifted slightly, faint hint of a smile on his face. Every bit saying "Tell me more." It disarmed her a little; he looked...younger, almost cute like that. She preferred not to dwell on it, lowering her hands back to her lap. "Again?" she asked. "You've heard the story--there's been more?"
"I only know of one. Is it the same one now as when I first...arrived?" (Why did he pause like that, Hanana couldn't help wonder.) "What are they saying?"
Hanana looked away for a moment, sucking on her lower lip and poking her fingers together. "W-Well..." Was it really okay to say this? What if he was hurt by it? It was clearly untrue...But then again, he seemed to genuinely want to know..."They're saying that you like 'tributes,' for starters--like, anyone who sees you has to give you the first living thing they see afterwards--"
"I have no idea where they got that idea," Yukiki deadpanned.
Hanana laughed a little. "It is an odd thing to come up with," she admitted, then went on. "And...they're saying if you get angry or get no tribute, you'll freeze people to death with a mere touch."
Well, at least it was a little more accurate than the last one. Not that he froze people to death willy-nilly, he thought, looking at his gloved hands again, but at least they got a little bit of it right. "Well, it's a bit better than the last story," he mused.
"The last one? What was the last one?"
Yukiki grinned just then, teeth showing, deliberately looking scary. "Last story was that I ate them." Just as quickly, though, that look faded, and he actually looked a bit embarrassed. "I'm not sure where they got that either...and I don't eat anyone, so don't worry. I won't eat you."
Hanana smiled a bit, toying with the flower again. "I know," she said. "You're too nice for that."
It was funny; til she came here, she'd never seen a snowman blush before.
Yukiki suddenly pulled his hood back up--as if he wanted to disappear for a little bit. (Another thing that was actually kind of adorable.) "Th-the rose shouldn't wilt," he said hastily, stuttering only a little. "But if you want a new one any time, just t-tell me. I'll get you another, whichever you want."
Hanana laughed a bit herself, pulling the rose out from behind her ear and twirling it between her fingers. "It's alright; you don't need to do that." She paused a moment, looking over at him again. "But...if it's alright with you, can I come out here again tomorrow?"
That made him look back at her, hood lowering again, apparently meaning he'd gotten over his brief bout of embarrassment. He nodded, reaching towards the rosebush next to them. "You can come here whenever you like. I'll leave the door unlocked for you." He had to smile at the sound of her clapping her hands together and squealing faintly. "And here--let me get you another flower for your ro--Aah!" He suddenly cried out, pulling his hand away from the rose, fingers curling as he brought his hand to his chest.
"Are you alright?" Hanana asked, leaning towards him in concern. "What happened?"
"N...nothing," he answered, voice sounding strangely-distant. "I just...I pricked myself." For a normal person, it wouldn't be a big deal. A little pain, a little prick. A thorn had simply been sharp enough to pierce his glove and prick his finger was all. But then, he wasn't normal, was he?
That had hurt. He wasn't supposed to get hurt, he hadn't felt pain since the spell. So what was that about?
He barely even heard Hanana voicing her concern.
"...need a bandage?"
"What?--No. no, it's fine," Yukiki said hastily, suddenly rising to his feet. He bent down, offering a hand. "It's getting dark. We should get back inside."
"Oh...okay..." Hanana said, frowning a little, letting him help her up. "You're sure you're alright?"
"I'm fine. I heal fast," he answered, voice still distant. He let her go ahead of him, turned to look over his shoulder. He easily found that blue rose--he'd seen it enough times for it to draw his eye naturally by now. Something in his chest twisted and ached again, and he briefly found it hard to breathe, just as he saw another petal detach and fall to the ground to join the others.