This is for K, awesome artist and Noli+Fili fangirl. prompt: Basigani. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: historical accuracy is shot to the roof. ^^;;
Isagani’s quiet friend Basilio, for once, spoke many words in close succession, sourly, as they walked through the streets of Intramuros. He frowned at all the shops selling chorizo, ham, and gift items. Isagani listened, nodding his head in turns, while his friend continued to ramble.
“Christmas. It is a foreign concept brought to us by our Spanish Catholic colonizers.”
This time Isagani intervened. “Keep your voice down, my friend,” he said, patting his shoulder. “There are many people around.”
Basilio lowered his voice, but continued, bitterly. “Its objective is to help us remember the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ. This is done by listening to boring sermons about how gracious God has been through the Spanish; by giving gifts to people we barely know, in order to look good before them; and finally by eating food that is bad for the heart and damaging to the stomach in such large amounts.”
They turned the corner into Isagani’s apartment. The medical student continued to speak. “Its origins are not even Spanish, but Anglo-saxon. A tradition of feasting was converted into a religious affair by the Catholics of that region, in order to win said Anglo-saxon’s…”
“My friend…you’re being really worrisome,” Isagani said, patting him again and walking faster toward his apartment.
Basilio continued as they entered the apartment building. “I don’t understand why us humble folk have to play along with these festivities, when they are not even ours to begin with. Why should we impose it on a populace who do not have the means…”
Isagani paused at the stairs. “Oh, get off your high horse, Basilio,” he said. “You have no money.”
The young man kept silent.
“Your allowance has not arrived.”
“And because you just paid tuition from the last mailing of the allowance, you are flat broke.”
Basilio bowed his head, but his lips curved slightly upward as he sighed. “Touche’.”
Isagani gaped at his friend. “You know French, too?” It would not be surprising, knowing his studious ways and his capacity for learning.
“No, just that word,” Basilio grinned. “A fencing term.”
Isagani smiled at him. Always he would be so smart. Always he would be very broke. “Come, come, my friend. Stay for a while. Then come with me for noche buena tonight at our house.”
The medical student sighed. “I would be an intrusion…”
“Introductions are quickly made. Don’t worry.” Isagani shrugged and smiled. He was familiar with this chain of events by now. He closed the door behind him.
Basilio looked around at the festive decorations the student already had. A small creche of the holy family. Cards arriving early from more distant friends. Some gold paper. Some greens. He pointed at one of the doors. “Ah. Mistletoe. A derivative from an American tradition.”
“It is?” Isagani asked. “I just thought it looked pretty on the door.”
The medical student stepped closer to him. “It too comes from an old Anglo-saxon tradition that was carried over by Europeans to that country, wherein it then became a symbol for good luck.” He came up even closer, until he was inches away from him. “Especially, when this is done.”
The medical student held Isagani’s hands firmly inside his own, so he could not push him away as Basilio reached over and planted a long kiss. His breath got caught between his heart and his stomach, as he stared into the eyes of the smart and financially-incapacitated friend.
Well. That was one Christmas gift he would not easily forget.