I was reading some Christmas stories, and I figured it'd been a while since I posted anything here, so here's a short, completely unedited, Christmas story from me.
Here is the picture that inspired it:
A Family Christmas
"I want to stay," Ren promised. And it was the truth. But he wasn't always great at knowing what was best for himself.
"So that's why you have your bag packed?" Steve was pissed. Hurt. As he had every right to be. Ren winced and tightened his grip on the handle of his overnight bag.
"Just going home for Christmas Eve."
"For the night?" Steve said, but was asking, Are you coming back to me?
"I thought you said we could spend this year together."
Ren bit his lip, the conversation with his family playing in his ears:
"But he's so much older than you! What could you possibly have in common?"
"Don't sell yourself to him just because he's rich; you can do better!"
"Just wait, you'll see how fast he drops you when the next young thing comes by."
It was as insulting to Ren as it was to Steve. That his family would think so poorly of him. That he would sell himself. That he was settling for beneath him just because Steve was 12 years older. Obviously all he had was money. It had nothing to do with his huge heart, charming humor, and the way he looked at Ren like he could hang the fucking moon. And he was fantastic in bed.
So why was he leaving again?
"I did. My family...isn't happy with it."
"We'll head over first thing. Well, second thing. You need to open your present first." Steve's smile visibly cost him. The ache trembled his lips. Ren was hurting him. Hurting them both.
He stepped forward, wrapping Steve in his arms and crushing him to his chest. "I love you."
"I love you too."
He buried his face against Steve's. Screw his family, this is where he wanted to be. Even if Steve dropped him down the line, he wanted to have this, now. "Okay, okay, I'll stay."
"Good.” The tension drained out of Steve’s body. Out of Ren’s. “Now let's get to bed, we have a long and early day tomorrow."
"It's only eight..."
“Yeah.” Steve grinned, and Ren led them to their room.
The next morning, Ren woke to an empty bed. Which was annoying when all he wanted to do was curl up and sleep in with his boyfriend. Of course, his alarm clock going off and the smell of coffee reminded him that he had places to be. And a man who was a morning person and got the coffee ready. Thank god.
He figured they'd open presents and then shower, so he shuffled down the hall in his pajama pants with the little Santas that Steve had gotten him last year. And nearly tripped over the baby gate blocking the kitchen. “Wha?”
“You’re up.” A warm smile, joined by an even warmer kiss and a hand guiding him over the gate. “I have your coffee and present ready.”
“Why is there a baby gate? Are you pregnant?”
Steve chuckled. “It’s not a baby gate.”
He eyed the wood frame and plastic fencing. “Looks identical to the baby gates Lola had for Sammy.”
“Yeah, but these aren’t for a baby.” Steve bent down. When he stood, he had an armful of wrinkly gray-and-white puppy with giant paws and pale-green eyes. “The gates are for this little guy.”
Ren’s jaw dropped. Steve looked up from the pup, his blue eyes hopeful. “Merry Christmas.”
“Mine?” His voice cracked and he swallowed, staring at the floppy-eared little beast. It was a mutt, that was obvious, but it had visible strains of boxer terrier in it. Just like Ren had always wanted.
“Yes. Well…” Steve moved closer, since Ren seemed unable to, and Ren raised his hand to pet, only to be licked instead. “It’s your present, but its our dog.”
“Yeah. To walk and potty train and dote upon.”
“And dress up in embarrassing holiday outfits?”
Steve snorted. “Holiday collars.”
Ren grinned. “Deal.” When the puppy had gotten a good enough taste, Ren was finally able to get a few good strokes in. “He’s lovely.”
“You like him?”
“Want to hold him?”
Ren held out his arms in a blatant “give me” motion, and found himself taking a squirming, delightful pup in arms. The little monster wasn’t light for how small he was. But he was perfect. He kissed the dog’s ear. “What’s his name?”
Steve laughed. “He’s your present, you get to name him.”
Ren peeked up, nose still buried in the scent of clean puppy. “But he’s ours. We should both name him.”
A beatific smile broke across Steve’s face. “I’d like that. You got any ideas?”
“A few.” He set down the squirming puppy and pulled Steve into his arms instead. The dog ran a lap around their legs, then headed for the bowl of water Ren hadn’t noticed in the corner. “Sebastian.”
“Not a traditional dog name?”
Ren kissed his temple. “We could call him Bassy. But...I mean...He’s ours.”
“So he should have a proper name.”
Steve kissed his jaw, his chin, his lips. “Sebastian is a lovely name.”
Ren grinned. “Good.” He broke the embrace to crouch down. “Come here, Bassy!”
The pup, drawn by the pitch in his voice and finding someone at his level, raced over.
“Good boy, Bassy!”
Steve’s fingers ran through Ren’s hair.