Disclaimer: Marvel owns almost all of them. I own none. No money is being made.
Rating: PG (bit of the ol' SI -- Sexual Innuendo, and one or two Bad Words)

Dedication: This one's for Timey. I believe I said something vaguely about revenge, but I've been up for 22 hours, so I could be wrong.

Merry Christmas.

The Elf Who Lived Next Door
by Ana Lyssie Cotton

"I can't believe I'm awake at this ungodly hour."

The muttered growl didn't faze Nathan Dayspring at all. He was used to Domino being grouchy in the morning. His normal way of dealing with it was being put on hold.

"Why am I awake? Oh. Right." She opened one violet eye to glare at him, then closed it and continued. "And it's such a stupid reason."

Steam rose from the mug of coffee she clutched in her hands, the lifeline of the double mocha espresso blend keeping her from doing something rash. Like strangling Nathan.

"...haven't even had more than half of the pot of coffee, either. Honestly, how am I supposed to function?"

Ignoring her continued ranting, Nathan wondered if he should tell her he was on his third pot.

"Honestly, I don't give a fuck who lives next door. And when you think it's one of them--" she paused. "And I flonqing *hate* elves. But that's beside the point."

Nathan turned back to watch out the window. It let out onto the backyard of the small suburban house they were currently living in. A place for rest and recuperation, keeping the mind on an even keel. And a place where no one would think to look for them. Snow had been falling steadily on Cedarburg since the night before, and the thick blanket turned everything into a pristine haven.

Moonlight danced through the crystals, turning the powdery substance into something magical.

"Just because you're a suspicious bastard," Domino was saying, "Doesn't mean--"

She paused as Nate caught her arm and opened both eyes to glare down at the offending appendage. "Ahem."

He held up his free hand and put a finger to his lips. "Sshh."

A sound came to her ears; hoofbeats, maybe. She snorted, "Hey, it's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."

Nathan met her eyes and for a moment she caught an odd glimpse of a happy bouncy boy, awaiting something marvelous. Then he was gone. "I hear bells."

"That's the wind in your skull," she replied as he removed his hand from her arm.

He hrmphed and stood. "If you're going to be this way, I'll go to the roof."

"Try not to fall off." As he went out the door, a blast of cold air sneaking in around his large frame, she added, "It might snap your brain sane."

"Can't have that, can we..."

She hrmphed at the closed door and huddled around the mug, wondering if it would be worth it to get up for a refill. "Ornery old goat."

"Are you referring to me?"

Domino jumped at the voice, spilling hot coffee on her hands, "Damn."

"Because," The male and amused voice continued, "I really don't think I am a goat."

Glaring around the room while she set the mug down, Domino finally located the speaker when he materialised next to the stove. He cast it a fastidious look and adjusted the white lawn decorating his bright red cuffs.

"Who the fuck are you?" She demanded, sliding a hand down to the pocket of her robe. The weight of the Firestar in her palm was comforting.

"Really, I should think that was obvious."

She snorted, "Right. And I'm Mother Teresa."

"Lovely woman." He mused, "But you aren't. You see, I know you."

"Do you. Have I been naughty or nice?" She enquired sarcastically.

"Both." He smiled, "But you already knew that," and he said her name. It wasn't an uncommon name, but it was one she hadn't been known by for a very long time.

Domino, who had been wondering if this was a mental projection of Nate's gaped. For all of a second, "How--"

"Yes, yes, no worries my dear. I don't plan on telling anyone." He glanced up at the ceiling, "Especially not him. It shall be our little secret."

She snorted, but let the gun go, and retrieved her now cold coffee. "So. What can I do for you?"

He shrugged, "Your humour has been enough."

"Sarcasm."

"Indeed." He reached up and twirled one of the white mustaches. "Do you know, I think it's time for me to leave. Your overly-endowed partner has just slipped for the fourth time. He could fall off the roof soon."

Domino shrugged, downing the last of her coffee, "He's the one who wanted to meet you. Me, I hate---"

"Yes. Dermott made a slight mustake. It shall be rectified shortly."

"What--"

A loud *whump* came from the back along with a string of Askani curses. She turned from the man to witness Nathan dragging himself out of the snowdrift and stalking towards the door. It banged inwards and she glared. "Idiot."

He hrmphed and closed the door, then came over and shook his head, showering her with snowflakes.

"Lout."

"But you like me anyway."

"Maybe." She stood and meandered towards the coffee pot. "So, any luck on seeing the Easter Bunny?"

"On Christmas?"

"You never know."

He snorted and caught her as she went by, pulling her into his arms. She shivered at the cold emenating from him. "I guess there's always next year." Absently, he stroked a hand down her back.

"Yes." She shuddered, "Now I'm freezing."

"I'm sure I can find a way to warm you up." He leered.

"You'd better, it's your fault."

"Mmm." He kissed her neck, then stood and scooped her into his arms. "I shall rectify it, then, madame."

-finis-
Note: Gee. You don't have any clue what could happen next, do you? */sarcasm*