Author note: Jacobyte and Jonathan are my young Jack Harkness and John Hart from the now complete novel And Then Some. This is a prompt from Carrie (AKA HuckingHarkness) who wanted to see Jack and John doing something seasonal/festive in the time loop.
All the Bells Ring Out
Jonathan stopped in the kitchen doorway. "Jacobyte, what are you doing?" Took a step closer. "Are those the case files for the Rogue?"
"And... why are you ripping them up?"
"Making Solstice decorations."
Jacobyte shot him a withering look. "Back on Boeshane. Around this time. Celebration of the start of a new year and such. Rebirth. Season change. That sort of thing." Jacobyte put down the decoration he'd just made, which looked like some odd form of fruit, and frowned at Jonathan. "You didn't have anything like that?"
"Nope. Not from where I was spawned." Jonathan wandered over. Picked up the paper decoration. Twirled it between his fingers. "Sounds nice, though."
"It was," said Jacobyte. "Me and Gray used to—" Jonathan's hands stopped. Jacobyte stared at them. Blinked. "No," he said, shaking his head. "Forget it. Doesn't matter." He took back the folded paper and crushed it before Jonathan could stop him. "Not important."
Jonathan's hand clutched his, and Jonathan pulled him up to standing. "Jacobyte," he said, tone chiding. "What have we said about the 'it doesn't matter' business?"
Jacobyte rolled his eyes.
"Come on, Jacobyte. You've made such good progress since your last session. Don't let us down now."
Jacobyte snorted. "Group therapy doesn't work if it's just me on my own, Jonathan."
"It would work if you tried! Put some effort into it!" Jonathan slapped Jacobyte's knuckles. "You've got to feel the emotions!"
Jonathan tightened his hold, eyes hopeful. "Yeah?"
Jacobyte turned their hands over. "I feel grease. Did you wash your hands after cooking?"
Jonathan's turn to roll his eyes. "Scrap that," he said, flicking away Jacobyte's picky fingers. "Tell me more about this damned Solstice thingummy."
"I don't feel like sharing with the group, if it's all the same to you." Jacobyte pulled his best puppy dog eyes. "I'm fwightened they'll laugh at me, Jonafan. Pwease don't let them laugh at me!"
Jonathan hit him on the head.
"Okay fine," said Jacobyte. He picked up the decoration, smoothed down the folds and handed it to Jonathan. "That's a huryun berry."
"Say that again? Hurry on?"
"Hur. Yun." Jacobyte pointed along the side of the folded shape. "See those flanges? They fall off only on Solstice day. Strange but true. So you can only eat them then. When the daylight is at its shortest all year round and the night longest."
"They say—" Jacobyte stopped. "They said. They said if you kissed someone under a huryun tree as the flanges, the berries fell off, then that'd be your true love for the next year."
"Did this longest night factor into that True Love equation anywhere?"
Jacobyte laughed. "Sometimes it did, yeah." He turned wistful again, staring past Jonathan.
"You meet Crispin under one of those trees?"
"And Yami," Jacobyte said with a wry grin. He took the folded paper from Jonathan's unresisting hands. "They were both so beautiful."
"Both?" Jonathan chuckled. "You sly dog."
Jacobyte batted his lashes. "Jealous?"
"Always." He reclaimed the paper huryun fruit and dangled it in the air between them. "A year, you say?"
"Well, I've got the time, Solstice Boy, if you want to—"
Silence for the kiss, disturbed only by a few gasping pants. The paper decoration drifted to the ground, where later Jonathan's discarded boots would crush it flat. When Jacobyte found it in the morning, he smiled and tucked it into his pocket.
A year passed.
Twenty six and a half cycles of the time loop. Jacobyte woke up on the mattress by the window to find the floor surrounding him covered in tiny paper huryun fruit, and Jonathan lying stretched out beside him, grinning his face off.
"Thank you," whispered Jacobyte.
"No problem," Jonathan told him. "No problem at all."