Desmond smiled. "Is everything okay?"

Nodding, the other clumsily fumbled onto the loveseat and sneezed, almost knocking over the two mugs of hot chocolate that sat atop the coffee table. "Y-Y-Yeah: I-I-I-I j-just had to g-go-go fix th-th-th-the hea-hea-heater." A pause. "I-I-I-I g-guess it works."

"Works great: Thanks a lot, man—I appreciate it. It would've taken the tech over an hour to reach the log cabin."

"N-N-Not a pro-probl-blem," said being hastily replied, reaching out to brush snow away from the assassin's brow. "I-I-I-I-I u-used to t-t-tinker with me-mechanical m-matt-tters."

Desmond faintly coughed as a sanguine flush tinged his cheeks, his eyes fluttering shut when the lingering finger traced its way down his temple to the angle of his jaw. The touch was warmer than he expected, and seeing as that the connection included the expanse of his throat, he regained his vision once more and was treated to an inquisitive stare from his companion. As he cocked his head to the side in question, the latter swept his fingertips over his chin and settled them on the scarf around his neck—his lips curved amusedly while the article of clothing was pushed aside to bare nape.

"Um … is something the matter?"

After a moment of observation, the silent male stroked the dip of his clavicle, choosing to speak when he paused in his search. "I-I-I-I-It's n-nearly gone."

Confusion. "What is?"

"Th-Th-The hi-hi-ck-ckey; it's no-no-not v-very visib-b-ble."

Desmond blinked incredulously: never mind that the temperature seemed to creep up in such a short amount of time. "W-W-What?"

"Th-Th-The one I ga-ga-gave you wh-whi-while you we-we-were j-j-jacking o-o-off a-and t-talking to L-Lu-Luc-Lucy o-o-o-over the ph-phone—

"W-Whoa, buddy!" the embarrassed figure interrupted. "L-Let's not … er … get graphic when there are fifty Santa Claus-based merchandise in the room."

A frown. "W-W-What d-does that ha-ha-ha-ha-have to d-d-do with any-anything?"

Seriously, he turned his body and gave the uncomfortable man's thigh a squeeze, bringing his face closer as he closed the gap between them, his lips toying with the bottom of the other's. He initiated a heated exchange on his part, and his impatience ebbed when Desmond was coaxed enough to press back—if the hands that slid around his back attested to anything. Emitting a noise of satisfaction, he mouthed the underside of his counterpart's ear, just the way he liked it, and began to trail his tongue downwards, feeling the reverberations of a breathy groan. He pushed the collar of the long-sleeved t-shirt aside and latched onto the aforementioned mark: The interesting reaction he received brought a sanguine hue to his own cheeks and coerced him to make it darker.

"H-Hey—damn!" Desmond breathily moaned as a nimble finger pinched his nipple through his top. "D-Don't—" Another guttural sound. "Not i-in the clu-clubhouse."

The former said nothing, continuing to teeth the spot, only to run his tongue over it when a low hiss greeted his ears; solely when the assassin tugged on the back of his sweater with enough force did he withdraw in agitation. "Wh-Wh-Wh-What? Wh-Who c-c-c-c-cares? It's Ch-Ch-Ch-Christma-ma-mas."

"That's the problem! Aside from the fact that we were … you know, on public property—and not to mention, having an army of Saint Nick paraphernalia looking at you—"

Bluntly, the other planted a kiss on the apprehensive male's face and blinked. "Y-Y-Y-You th-think too mu-much."

Indignation: "The hell? I do not."

"Y-Yes, you d-do."

"No, I don't."

An arched eyebrow combated his disbelief. "Y-Y-Ye-Ye-Yes, you d-d-do."

"No, I do—"



" … M-M-M-Merry Ch-Ch-Christm-mas-mas."

As if he could win against that expression.

"Merry Christmas to you, too."