Once Upon a December in Ravka
This little fanfiction is about a dream I made a few nights ago. I listened to Once Upon a December before going to bed and I woke up in the middle of the night with the image of Kaz and Inej dancing. The feeling of this dream was so peaceful and happy I wanted to share it. And if you feel so, listen to the song while reading.
This fiction takes place years after SoC and CK and both Inej and Kaz have healed a lot form their trauma. So, here come the fluff.
Once Upon a December in Ravka
It was a cold, windy Ravkan winter but Kaz never felt so warm in the middle of December. Inej wanted to spend the winter holiday with her family and he came with her, only for business as he said when she asked him to come.
They had joined the Suli caravan after a long trip on a raging sea and, when Inej fell in her parents’ arms, she was shining with happiness. Now, they were sitting around a crackling fire under a big top, singing and laughing. Kaz stood still in a corner but he couldn’t keep his eyes off Inej’s smile. She was telling one of her adventures to her family, one of her cousins curled up on her lap. The little girl looked at her in awe, stars in her dark brown eyes and a dimple on her chubby face. And Kaz remembered.
He saw himself, at the same age as this little girl, curled on his dad’s lap. Jordie was sitting next to the fireplace, a mug of hot chocolate in his hand and a wide smile across his childish face. They just had decorated the Christmas tree with apples, gingerbread men and candles, following the family tradition. There were also delicate lace snowflakes made by his mom before Jordie’s birth. Kaz, Jordie and their dad were a happy, peaceful family. The snow was falling outside the windows. Da was telling the boys favourite story, the day he met their mom. He always had a nostalgic smile when telling this memory.
After the cosy and warm afternoon, it was time for a good and comforting meal. And, while waiting for midnight and the gifts, Kaz and Jordie listened to their Da singing. He was a fantastic singer and a quite good dancer. He danced with his sons, making them twirling around the living room until they fall because of dizziness. The room was full of laughter and the warm feeling of a loving family. Kaz also remembered the song his Da used to hum on cold winter nights, when he thought nobody could hear him. It was a dreamy, nostalgic melody. Kaz knew it was his mom’s favourite song.
Inej’s laugh brought Kaz back to the present. Her dad had invited her for a dance and the two were twirling around the fire at the rhythm of a cheerful melody. Other people started to dance but Kaz stood on his bench, staring at Inej, mesmerized by her laughter. He hadn’t drunk a single drop of alcohol but he was feeling drunk solely by listening at her. She was smiling, the dark hair that escaped her braid flowing around her head while she danced wildly. Kaz had never seen her so happy and it almost hurt him. He wasn’t made for so much happiness.
A small voice interrupted his contemplation. “Come dance with me!” It was Inej’s little cousin. At first, Kaz said no. He couldn’t dance because of his bad leg. But the girl’s puppy eyes and the memory of him and Jordie dancing on Christmas night made him change his mind. “Ok, just one dance, little girl. Then I have business.” He said while standing up and letting his cane against the bench he was sitting. “Does business means staring at Inej, in Kerch?” asked the little girl taking his gloved hand. Kaz shivered but the waters didn’t come. They came less and less these years. “Just show me the steps.” he groaned.
The little girl was a good dancer and Kaz wasn’t able to follow her. He was clumsy and off rhythm but the girl asked him for another dance, smiling. She missed two teeth. Song after song, Kaz gave up with the idea of going back to sit on the bench but, weird enough, he wasn’t that bothered.
After a while, the little girl had to go to bed and Kaz could finally sit down. His leg was hurting and he was sweating. The memories of his childhood came back. He remembered a gentle smile and a pale hand, the only images he had from his mom. She died when he was so young. He saw him and Jordie running in a filed with a kite, their Da laughing behind them. It was too much for one day. Seeing Inej’s happy and big family was too much for him.
Kaz decided to go outside, hoping the freezing wind would help him to push the past back.
He was laying against a tree, humming a traditional Kerch song, when he felt a presence next to him. “Hi Inej.”
“Do you have time to dance with me or you have some business to run?” she asked with a small laughter.
“I think I can take a few minutes for a dance with you, Captain Ghafa.” he said putting his cane aside.
They didn’t come inside the big top and started dancing under the starry sky. At first, Kaz was barely moving, feeling very awkward, but Inej didn’t seem to mind. She whirled around him, as impalpable as breeze. She was smiling. He started moving too, feeling clumsier than ever compared to Inej’s gracefulness. But after a while, he was more comfortable and he had forgotten his bad leg. They danced for a long time without music, just them, the wind and some occasional laughter. They were two children having fun while waiting for midnight.
After some time, Kaz stopped and hesitated a second before taking off his gloves. “May I have the honour to dance with you, my lady?” he asked Inej. She took his hands and started teaching him another dance step, a waltz if he remembered well. They were so close to each other yet, the only thing Kaz was feeling was a warm sense of peace. Not a sign of the waters. He started humming the song his Da used to sing, his mom’s favourite song. She started singing with him, with a clear voice.
Inej laughed again when he tried to twirl her around him and almost lost his balance on the frozen ground. She stopped dancing and took a step closer to him, laying her head against his shoulder.
Kaz didn’t move, not even a flinch. Inej smelled of gingerbread and leather, her hair was flowing in the wind. They stood here in silence; hands intertwined.
And for the first time in years, in the cold of a Ravkan december, Kaz felt at home.