Disclaimer: I have retired to a hotel nearby. Moon in a Cup is a fair distance away and I must say, their mochas are heaven. - Of course, Luis didn't find a foriegn person near his darling comforting. They are ever so adorable! In case someone hasn't been keeping up with my adventures, I have pursued the ownership of Ironside because I do not own it. Being me, I got distracted...

Anyway, have a merry, white Christmas!

A half used candle they lit from a power shortage.

An old pillowcase they commonly slept on.

A red plastic comb they brushed each other's hair on slow mornings.

Out of date magazines they read on rainy nights.

Sock puppets they made on a glorious spur of the moment. He remembered a bout of laughter bursting from his throat so uncontrollably he had to stifle it against a welcoming chest and hearing a responding laugh; their arms surrounding each other possessively.

But they were over. Done. Finished. Ended. 'Broken up'. There will never be a 'Corny and Luis' again. With renewed anger and hurt, Corny threw a photo book along with the sock puppets.

The photo book accidentally opened up to a certain page. A pressed rose Luis gave him on their first date.

He snapped the book shut.

Curse it all. It seemed every item Corny saw reminded him of Luis.

Luis. Luis. Luis.

Why did they have a fight again? Oh yes, it began with a foolish dispute.

They were in the 'junk' room Luis had fondly called it; Corny had just finished one of his projects, flushed with an afterglow of accomplishment. Luis enveloped him in a familiar embrace from behind and began to stroke his arms lovingly and nuzzle the sweet indentation behind Corny's ear. Those curse-removing hands slowly lifted the sleeves to divulge Corny's arm.

He froze in mid-stroke.

Corny chose to wear long sleeves even under the summer heat. Luis had never commented on it, thinking it was one of the many quirks his boyfriend had. He had never seen Corny's bare arm before, their encounters always under dim light or pure darkness. But now under the blare of light, Luis can now clearly see scars marring the exposed left arm.

Reverently, he traced the longest of these on the forearm and asked in a whisper, "Where did these come from?"

Corny answered calmly, "I was emotionally damaged, so I attempted suicide a few times. I'm over it. Now kiss me." He slammed his mouth over the others to stop the questions.

But Luis was not to be deterred. He held the arms securely, "These cuts aren't made with the intention to kill. You aren't ambidextrous; the cuts on your right arm are too clean and controlled for it. Besides, you don't die by getting cut on the elbow."

"I was an idiot!" Corny gave up trying to distract Luis with kisses, instead trying for the first time to wiggle out of Luis's grasp.

"No, you're not," Luis hissed, holding more tightly. "I can tell some of these are recent. Stop lying to me."

They commenced a staring contest neither wished to back out of.

"You want to know?" Corny began in a low voice, a hint of a sneer creeping into his expression. "I was—am not proud of what I did succumb to in that period of time shortly before I met you." He seemed to shrink within himself, "Kaye had finally realized herself as a faerie; my sister had died; the tithe had failed. You remember this?"

A sharp nod.

"Do you know," Corny continued, "Of the short lived, self-proclaimed King of the Night Court, Nephamael?" Luis gave a sharp intake of breath, already dreading the outcome of this story.

"He seduced me, enchanted me." He gave me a dry chuckle, tilting his head to gaze at the ceiling, unknowingly exposing a vulnerable, white neck.

"Fuck, in your words I was a little Night Court lackey," Luis grimaced. "I didn't have your Sight to be immune to his charms. I allowed him to hold me, command me, and humiliate me.

"I killed him, you know."

Corny frowned, "I killed Nephamael. I killed Adair. I'm a murderer."

Luis snarled not a bit perturbed, frightened or disgusted as Corny thought he would be, "If you hadn't, I would have. You did it to protect yourself and me. Compare their lives to ours; I would pick us any day."

He pulled Corny more firmly onto his lap, burying his face into Corny's neck, breathing in his scent. They sat in a comfortable silence, and then Luis croaked out, "He gave you these scars?"

"Being held by a porcupine can do things to you." He answered mirthlessly.

Luis gave a startled laugh at the sinister faerie being called a rodent. Luis reached for the right arm, tracing a feverishly red line, "And the fresh ones?"

Corny pursed his lips, refusing to respond to the tingle up his arm where soft fingers played. "It is getting less frequent, I assure you. I did it in the beginning to quell my unhealthy longing to feel thorns against my skin. The desire is slowly getting weaker."

Corny reached and cupped Luis's cheek to engage them into a kiss, "Don't worry, Luis."

Luis being Luis, undoubtedly, worried.

Corny had not stopped however. It could have been an accidental nick with the knife as he sliced a fruit or a small paper cut. Either way, Luis saw the way Corny was fascinated with the sight of his own blood. Saw the unhealthy stare as the life blood trailed down his skin from the wound.

He pampered him, soothed him, and then scolded him. But after a series of these events, they had The Fight.

The Fight deserved the capitals. Corny had screamed at Luis to quit babying him and worrying. Luis shouted back his insecurities. Was it his blind eye? Was he merely a replacement for that faerie? Was he just not good enough; an enough of a lover to stop him from cutting himself?

A few misplaced words had brought them to the conclusion of separation.

Luis was packing his things downstairs to move back to Maubry's house and Corny to go back to the Stone household. They just wanted out of Moon in a Cup.

Corny fished out more tossed out items they had never bothered to organize and tossed them into his trunk.

His hand caught onto a piece of rope. Daggling from the rope was a neon green whistle they had gotten as a trinket at the May Festival. He held the whistle between his fore finger and thumb. Corny could remember the whistle made a distinct sharp sound when blown.

His fondest memory, however, did not come from the merciless victory of Corny pulverizing Luis had horseshoe tossing, but surprisingly when he was gravely sick.

He hated being sick.

His stuffy nose throbbed from constant scrapping of Kleenex that was slowly over flowing in the trash can. His throat hurts from coughing all afternoon, morning, and night. He felt cold, but Luis insisted he was burning up. How does one get sick in the summer?

Damn it, he was bored. The words swam around the pages when he tried to read. They didn't have a television in the room and he was forbidden to get out of bed. His mp3 was broken and he never had a chance to repair it. God, did he mention he hated being sick?

Where was Luis, anyways?

"Luis?" He croaked out with his hoarse, hurting throat. Immediately, the sound of sock covered feet padded up the stairs. He long understood that from this room, one can hear anyone approaching. He long figured out Luis manipulated him for kisses while doing math.

"Corny? What's wrong?" called the warm, concerned voice. Cool hands felt his humid forehead as he sat down on the bed beside him.

"I'm bored." Corny whined, "There's nothing to do up here."

The braided haired boy smiled fondly, "The shop closes in three hours, can you wait that long?"

"I suppose," Corny looked put out. "Can I have coffee, then?"

"How can you still be up to coffee?" The other boy looked at him peculiarly.

"Can I?"

"No, after you're better. How do you feel about milk?"

"Can I have a kiss beforehand?" He asked hopefully. Luis smiled agreeably and leaned into kiss him on the cheek.

Corny scowled, "Let me guess. No more mind-blowing make out sessions till I'm better. Worried about getting my germs?"

Luis flushed, very well remembering the very same phrase used when Corny stole his mozzarella sticks that time in the gas station with Ethine as prisoner. He had been so shy and fearful in terms of relationships.

He tucked Corny deeper within the covers, and answered with a kiss to his forehead before going to fetch the beverage.

Corny was fast asleep when Luis came back with a glass of warm milk. His long lashes caressed feverish cheeks.

He set the glass on a stand within reaching distance and took one last look at the closet genius before returning to attend the customers visiting Val was serving, Kaye being absent.

Kaye divided her year with the mortal realm and the fey as Persephone in Greek mythology did. With a small twist. She spent the extreme seasons, blistering summers in Bright Court, frosty winters with the Night Court, and spent the milder of the seasons, spring and autumn, in Ironside.

He found it quite humorous that Kaye had Roiben wrapped around her (inhumanly long) pinky. Truly, you can't date the Lord of the Night Court.

Only 30 minutes had passed when Luis heard the faintest of croaking upstairs. Excusing himself, he jumped two steps at a time to reach his beloved.

"Luis?" Corny moaned groggily from his short nap, sheets warm with his body heat, pooled around his waist in his sitting position beckoning Luis.

"I'm here." Luis, out of habit, stroked sweaty locks from the still heated forehead. "I'm sorry. I just had an atrocious dream. Well, horrible dreams would be classified as a nightmare and can no longer be called a dream because dreams are fit to be pleasant and—"

"You're rambling, Corny."

"Sorry," The fever induced boy said.

"What was it about?"

He paused before answering, "It was about you and my imaginary version of that Loli girl," Luis had briefly described her to Corny when Val made a smartass crack about how gay Luis turned out to be.

"And she was clinging all over you and petting your hair and leering—" The boy with braids smiled triumphantly when he realized again how possessive his boyfriend was. "—then you let her kiss you and you turned into an eggplant and she started peeling and stroking—"

"Corny, calm down. Relax." Luis said soothingly, gently guided sweaty forehead onto his shoulder and stroked black hair. "Sh… Corny, you know it's only a dream. First of all, you must recall that I did not tolerate Loli's touch then and it's not going to start now. No one will hold me other than you. No one will kiss me other than you. No one's turning into an eggplant."

It brought an enthralling smile on Corny's face. And Luis said without hesitancy, "I love you."

Corny, eyes half closed bashfully murmured back with a small smile, "You're so cheesy."

Arms briefly hugged Luis's form in a lover's embrace, "I would like my milk now."

Luis gave a final soothing stroke of Corny's hair before reaching over to grab the milk. Corny took a sip and grimaced. "It's cold."

"Ah, I'll have to warm it up for you then." Luis disentangled himself with the cup and exited.

At the door, Corny called him back, "Yes, Corny?" He turned fully to inspect his boyfriend who was under the covers, back facing him.

"I love you, too."

Cornelius Stone had utterly and ruthlessly abused this mutual love. The first few times, Corny croaked for his medication or extra blankets. Hungry, he would ask for chicken soup. Later on he would call Luis up just to keep him company and lure him into a few more kisses. Most of the time he just needed an ear to complain to.

Luis didn't mind. He understood that being sick was no fun but was steadily getting annoyed at how much sicker Corny sounded after each call. So he concocted the brilliant idea of a whistle.

"Sort of like beckoning a dog."

"Except I'm way sexier."

"Less slobbery, I'll give you that much."

"You know you love it when I slobber over you." Luis as if to prove his point, flicked the seal of Corny's lips and teasingly backed off when lips parted in invitation.

"I wouldn't want to get sick now. Who's going to nurse both of us, then?" He gave a kiss to Corny's ear at the pout decorating his boyfriend's features, and whispered heatedly, "Whistle and I will come."

Indeed Luis would come. He pounded up the stairs each and every time the sharp sound pierced through the building and would ask, "How are you feeling?"

Luis. Luis. Luis.

Corny curled against the trunk, the whistle cradled in his hands. He really didn't want to leave. He didn't want to return to the loneliness he endured throughout his childhood. He longed to run fingers through Luis's hair, to hold and be held, to be wanted.

God, Luis was just down the hallway, in the other room. He would hear if he blew the whistle.

Could he meet Luis's demands? Does he still want him? Does he care?

Yes, yes, yes! He still fucking cares. Cared from the time Luis answered the door and saw each other for the first time to the death of Dave and their relationship began.

Resolutely, Cornelius placed the whistle to his lips. He was willing to try again. Try harder to compromise. They had made it through flesh hungry mermaids and evil faerie queens, didn't they?

He blew, letting the sound pierce through the silent building. There was no sound in the café below, having closed the shop early.

He held his breath, not daring to move from his fetal position as he waited.

Then what he thought was figments of his imagination were really familiar steps of sock covered feet.