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Free Fiction: Advent 2010 – Day Twenty-Two

December 23, 2010

Advent 2010: Day Twenty-Two

Title: White Christmas
Characters: Aric, Nikola
From: Rachmaninoff (spoilers!)
Word Count: 735
Rating: PG

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Aric couldn’t stop taking in deep breaths, even if the icy night air made his lungs ache and the little hairs inside his nose freeze. He blew a stream of warm breath out in front of him and watched the spire of fog rise into the falling snow with a grin.

“Content now?” Nikola asked from beside him, and Aric tightened his hold on the taller vampire’s arm.

“Yeah,” Aric admitted, leaning against Nikola’s arm as they walked down the deserted streets of Novi Sad. Home was the first place they had thought of where there was a better chance of snow this time of year, and that’s exactly what he’d craved while lounging in the warm nights Australia had to offer.

Try as he might, Aric couldn’t imagine a Christmas without snow, or at least the dreary wetness of London. When he’d grown restless in Australia with Nikola, he’d been damn lucky Nikola was willing to pack up at his silly whim. He’d also been lucky that Mishka picked up the phone when they’d called to check on the weather.

“Thank you, Nikola,” he murmured. “I’m spoiled rotten by you, and I don’t say it nearly as often as you deserve it. Thank you for bringing me home for Christmas. First thing tomorrow evening, I’ll head out to the store for supplies. We’ll deck the halls just like the carol says.”

Nikola chuckled, looking down at him with amused, cool blue eyes. “You do realize we have a very large estate, right? While expense is not a concern, you only have one more night before Christmas Eve.”

“So?” Aric asked stubbornly.

“The entire manor?” Nikola persisted with a raised eyebrow.

Aric glared, but dammit, Nikola was right. There wasn’t enough time to decorate the whole place, even if he enlisted the help of Josef’s entire family, and that just wouldn’t be right, taking Josef and his kids and grandkids away from home to work when they should be celebrating. He sighed, and his breath formed a cloud around him that they slowly walked through.

“Okay, fine,” Aric relented. “Just the sitting room with the fireplace, then. I’ll rearrange a few things so we can at least have a Christmas tree with lights, tinsel, and ornaments. Oh, and stockings! We have to put up stockings again and that centerpiece for the mantel.”

Nikola laughed softly, and Aric peered up at him. “What?”

“Nothing,” Nikola insisted. “The Christmas season still brings you joy, after nearly a decade with me.”

Aric looked away, his pale cheeks blushing just a little with borrowed warmth. “I thought I might grow out of it, that being in Australia would be a fun change. I figured I’m not human anymore, so I should ween myself off the traditions, but…”

“But the traditions are what makes us who we are,” Nikola finished when Aric’s voice faded. “You might be set on still changing with the times, but part of you will always be bound to your generation, Aric. It’s what keeps the human parts of us alive after the change.”

Aric smirked. “Which is why you still wear that old-fashioned garb when we’re home.”

“And why you will always want a snowy Christmas with all the shimmering silver, the vibrant green and red, and the star atop your indoor tree,” Nikola quipped with a smile, drawing him close as they paused outside their home.

Aric blinked back the snowflakes that stuck to his eyelashes when he looked up. “And the scent of pine and gingerbread. Don’t forget those,” he breathed up as Nikola dipped down.

“How could I forget?” Nikola purred before sealing their lips in a sweet kiss that lent a warmth to Aric’s spirit that rivaled any warmth human blood could bring his body.

When the kiss drew to a close, Aric smiled warmly. “And you,” he added. “Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without you.”

“Then I can expect to be pulled under the mistletoe every winter?” Nikola asked, a gleam in his pale eyes that sent shivers down Aric’s spine.

“Until the plant goes extinct,” Aric laughed, claiming Nikola’s lips again. This was exactly what he’d wanted. The decorations were a plus, the holiday music a fun distraction from his other piano pieces, but the kisses in the snow were more important than anything else. He had Nikola, he had a home, and that was the real essence of Christmas.

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