Originally started for the 2010 FrUK December Lovefest on the what_the_fruk lj comm


One Christmas Eve in no particular year, the doorbell of the Kirkland-Bonnefoy household rang. All through the house, the tune of 'Ding Dong Merrily On High' echoed, alerting two very excitable occupants of the household to the return of their father.

Alfred and Matthew ran down the stairs, their cries of "Dad!" and "Daddy!" letting Francis know they had the door covered. Francis chuckled to himself in the kitchen, quickly wiping down the last of the bench counter so he could watch the seemingly important door opening.

The door was flung open, only not to reveal Arthur Kirkland, but rather a jolly man in red with a beard and a sack slung over his back.

He would have passed off as Santa Claus to anyone else had he gained a few extra kilos or actually made the effort to stuff his suit, bought a more convincing beard and plucked his eyebrows more so than he usually did.

Nevertheless, Alfred and Matthew seemed convinced enough. "Santa?" they gasped in unison.

"Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!" Was 'Santa's' reply before he was tackled by the two very excitable boys and knocked backwards into the snow.

Alfred sat atop Santa's stomach and shook him by his collar in delight, "Didja get me the Mega-cool UltraRobo Deluxe 3000? Didjya? Didjya? Didjya? Did-?"

A disgruntled Santa pried Alfred off his suit. "Ho ho ho, well young man, we'll just have to wait until we're out of the snow and in the house to find out."

Alfred crossed his arms when Santa placed him on his feet, "Dad says never to let strangers into the house. But I'll make an exception- only because you're Santa!"


When they made their way into the house-

-after Santa accidentally closed the door on Matthew and Francis asked where he was and after the three members of the house who were inside and not in the cold went on a wild goose chase searching for Matthew before Alfred spotted him from a second floor window shivering on the front step, and after Francis snatched Matthew back inside and smothered him in a towel and changed him into dry clothes-

-everyone found themselves in the living room.

Alfred propped himself on Santa's lap straight away, grinning up at him and giving the sweetest smile he could muster. "Santa," he began, working his cheeks so his dimples caught the light, "I've been a very good boy this year. I believe I was good for at least three hundred days, which is more than half of the year and so my present size and the number should be doubled."

Santa raised his eyebrows and looked over at Francis. He just snickered, cuddling Matthew tighter to warm him up, "He makes a good argument 'Santa'."

A sigh. "I see. Well, little Alfred, I've got you down on the naughty list this year."

The whole house shook when Alfred's jaw hit the floor. "R-Really?" His lip quivered. "B-But I've been such a good boy and I saved one of Mr Karpusi's cats from next door and and I got a gold star for my project on my diorama on Ancient Egypt- and I only spat out Dad's cooking once! Just once!"

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU- I mean, yes, you did do all those things, but I have it written on my list that you've been sneaking in hamburgers between meals."

Alfred gasped, "How did you know?"

Santa laughed mechanically, "Ho ho ho, Santa has his ways." Bloody Gilbert supplying them to him. I should sue.

The two continued arguing. Alfred talked quickly and efficiently, laying down his case of why he should get the 'Mega-cool UltraRobo Deluxe 3000' and promised that the next time he saw Onkel Gilbert, he'd stomp on his foot and tell him to get laid. Francis scolded him for that, but Alfred retaliated with "But that's what Dad always does!" Santa, of course, agreed/

All the time, Matthew had sat on Francis' lap quietly, listening with some interest to Alfred's testimony. He shifted, cuddling his stuffed polar bear ("His name is… Kruno… Kruno Kars.") Francis had brought down from upstairs to his chest and snuggling closer to Francis'.

The human chair looked down and smiled, "Matthieu? What is it that you wished for this Christmas?"

Matthew replied, voice muffled by Kilimanjaro. "I just wanted a book on the Arctic… and maybe a maple syrup fountain, eh?" he added quietly.

Francis blinked, pausing before laughing and patting Matthew's hair, "Haha, oh mon petit, we shall see."


"Oh boy!"

Alfred held up the box he had just enthusiastically torn the wrapping paper off, "I can't believe you actually got it for me! Thanks Santa!"

The wrapping had only just come off Matthew's present when Alfred opened his box. "Oh cool! You can even look through its eyes!"

Santa shook his head, chuckling. Fondly, he watched Alfred zoom around the room. Then he remembered there was another boy in the room. So he fondly watched Matthew too. Then he scolded Alfred for running into the couch and hurting himself.

There was a tug at his pant leg and looking down revealed Matthew staring up at him with bright eyes. "Thank you," he said, stars shining behind his glasses, "It's just the book I asked for. I really like it."

Santa rubbed the back of his head, "Uh, you're welcome Ma- little Matthew." He crouched down and ruffled the boy's hair, "You were very good this year. Now run along, I think it's nearly your bed time."

Francis clapped his hands together, "Okay boys, you heard Santa. Time for bed!"

Both boys 'awwed' in disappointment, Alfred a little (see: a lot) louder than Matthew. "But I want to play some more! And Santa's still here!"

"You can both play tomorrow morning. I'm sure Santa will leave a few more presents under the tree if you go to bed right this instant."

Quick as a flash, Alfred and Matthew disappeared upstairs, a 'Night Papa/Pa! Night Santa! Thanks Santa!' called over their shoulders. "Don't forget I wanted the remote controlled motorbike too!" Alfred added.

"Make sure you brush your teeth!" 'Santa' called up the stairs before sighing, a little exhausted. He rolled his shoulders and massaged his neck. "Bloody hell, they get more and more expectant each year."

Francis chuckled, "Arthur, I think you mean Alfred gets more and more vocal each year."

There was a moment in which Arthur stood rubbing his neck with his back turned to Francis. It seemed he really was exhausted since he had let his guard down and forgotten one of his 'Golden Rules of Living with Francis'. It existed, oh yes; Arthur printed and bond it when they first started living together.

Never turn your back on him, less you want your ass grabbed.

So when Arthur's butt cheeks were firmly molded in two warm hands, he shouted in surprise and whipped around. He stumbled on a heap of wrapping paper in the process and fell flat on his rump.

"Blasted frog!" he said angrily, "what the fuck are you playing at?"

Francis shushed him and got on his knees. Arthur was suddenly very interested in Francis was planning, especially as he began crawling towards him.

"Santa," he said, voice husky and intention so very clear, "I've been a very naughty boy this year."

Arthur smirked, novelty beard still covering most of his mouth. He began to take it off but Francis stopped him, tsk-ing and trailing a fingertip down the Santa suit, "It would be a shame for you to shave now. How will you kiss me properly without your beard?"

Arthur furrowed his brow, "Francis, we are not doing anything here."

An elegant finger was pointed upwards and Francis just smiled. Arthur followed the direction of the digit to find a lone sprig of mistletoe hanging from the ceiling light.

"Oh," he said.

Francis reached Arthur and placed his hands on the other's knees. "Aren't you going to punish me, Père Noël?"

"Of course you sodding frog. But don't ruin the suit, it's a rental."


"So what do you think Santa's going to get Papa and Daddy?" asked Matthew, setting his tooth brush back into its cup. "I think Papa'll get something like a cook book since he likes cooking."

"I gueff," Alfred said through a mouthful of foam. He spit, "but I think it'll be one of those, uh, 'Karma Su-Su- Karma Stewtrah' books he's always reading."

"But I thought Daddy was the one who read that."

"Oh yeah… well Dad will get the Karma Stewtrah book and Pa will get a cook book. Then they can share, 'cause Dad really wants to cook for us all the time and Pa likes hugging and stuff."

"Oh, that makes sense."

Alfred finished brushing his teeth and Matthew quickly wiped down the vanity, less Francis throw a tantrum the next time he cleaned the bathroom. They hopped down from the stool they were standing on and made their way to their bedrooms.

"I really want that motorbike…" said Alfred, pouting.

"Well I really want a maple syrup fountain, but I don't think Santa can get something so big."

Alfred gasped, "You mean I can wish for something like that? Oh then I want a spaceship! Then Tony and I can fly anywhere we want! And we can-"

"Shhh… Alfred look."

Huffing Alfred toddled over to where Matthew was half way down the stairs. "What?" he asked, "Come on, we gotta-"

"No, look!" Matthew whispered. He pointed through the railings to the living room, "Santa's still here, and Papa is sitting on his lap."

Alfred blew a raspberry as if to brush the matter off, "He's probably just telling Santa what he wants for Christmas- quick! Let's go back before he starts getting mushy or somethi-!"

"No wait listen, they're talking."

They kept quiet, Matthew's hand automatically clamping over Alfred's mouth. He scowled, but accepted it and watched with wide eyes.

"Mon-Mon Dieu," they heard Francis say, voice higher than usual, "S-Sant –ah- Santa, what will my husband think?"

'Santa', whose hands were currently full of Francis' ass (not that the children could see, obviously Santa's out of view hands were wrapping presents or something similar – he was magic like that, and always working, what a nice guy!), grinned cockily and tried his best to keep the smug expression intact and not give in to the wonderful warmth surrounding him. "Well Francis," he managed to breathe out, "your husband's not here now is he?"

Francis' eyes fluttered, eventually falling shut as something rocked through him and made his thighs quiver. He let his hands travel around Santa's body, thread themselves in his stark white hair, hook themselves under his red suit until they finally rested on Santa's shoulders.

Santa himself let his hands roam upwards into Francis' hair to coax his head down for a kiss as something rocked through him as well. He met Francis halfway, their lips hungrily melding together. Francis spat out the strands of plastic hair that managed to get between them. Opened mouth kisses were pressed all over Francis' face until 'Santa' found purchase on his neck and sucked there, earning him a rather loud noise of appreciation from Francis.

They stayed like that for a while, the beginnings of a red spot appearing on Francis' neck when Santa pulled away.

Francis panted, trying to bring his breathing back to normal, "S-So… am I still on the naughty list?"

Santa breathed in deeply, exhaling nosily. He seemed to ponder the question for a moment, before smirking a smirk only Francis could see, "Yeah, you'll have to convince me with that angel outfit with the fluffy wings. I like the fluffy wings."

"But I bought that for you!"

Back on the staircase, two set of eyes were very wide, one slightly wet and the other dry from staying open too long.

Alfred blinked multiple times, trying to will away the pain of his dry eyes, "Did you see that Mattie?"

Matthew sniffled, "Yeah…"

"What's wrong?" asked Alfred, slinging an arm around Matthew's shoulder and bringing him in for a one handed hug.

Matthew continued sniffling, wiping his eyes on the paw of Kebbecablack. "Well… we just s-saw Papa kiss Santa Claus. I don't think Daddy would like that..."

"Oh yeah…" Alfred cocked his head thoughtfully. "But Pa kisses Tío Antonio all the time."

"Yeah but- but- but not on the lips-"

"Sure he does, remember last Christmas? 'Member we thought they were gonna eat each other like that time Dad and Pa tried to eat each other 'cos they're cannonballs and stuff and we got in trouble for going in their room? I remember, Pa and Tío Antonio looked really hungry but Dad got angry but I don't know why he'd get angry because Papa doesn't like his cooking so he's probably hungry all the time… I don't get it."

"Oh… I guess that's okay but…"

"What, Mattie?"

Matthew swallowed the lump in his throat. "Papa was… 'tickling' Santa Claus."

"Tickling?"

"Like when Papa tickles Daddy."

Alfred looked like he was going to be sick. "Eeeeew gross, Mattie."

"No listen! He only tickles Daddy! Why was he tickling Santa Claus? Papa always says when you're married, you only get to do that to one person and his person is Daddy!"

Alfred thought about it and gasped. "Pa is a hippocrite!"

They shifted uncomfortably on the staircase, trying to decide how to go about their current dilemma when 'Santa' decided for them.

"Fuck Francis, did you have to come all over the suit?"

Alfred bolted upright and grabbed Matthew's arm. Together they ran back to Alfred's bedroom, diving under the covers and laying as still as they could.

They could hear their Papa and Santa, who they weren't very fond of anymore, the whole presents-once-a-year deal? Yeah, that was getting old fast- they could hear them arguing in front of Alfred's door before it was opened a crack. They stopped breathing, until Francis cooed "Matthew's in there, how cute," and the door was closed.

Remaining still, Alfred peeked over at Matthew. "Mattie, you okay?" he asked, searching the bed with his hand for his toy alien, Tony.

"Yeah, but I don't know if Daddy will be. I wonder where he is anyways."


At precisely eleven o'clock the next morning, Arthur rolled over in bed and opened his eyes to the sight of two dinner plates.

He jerked back in shock, easing back into the pillow when he realised it was just Francis's wide eyes and that he hadn't fallen asleep drunk in the kitchen again like last Christmas.

"What've you got that look for?" he asked, drowsily.

Francis bit his lip, looking down before going back to staring Arthur in the eye.

"I'm worried," he replied.

Arthur inhaled, deeply, holding for a moment and exhaling nosily, making it obvious to Francis that he really didn't give a shit at the moment. "Why?"

Francis punched him in the arm, not hard enough since Arthur barely flinched. "I'm serious. It's eleven on Christmas Day and the boys haven't come in yet. Something must be wrong."

"Yes well…" Mentally, Arthur tried to come up with an excuse. Maybe the chilly morning coaxed the boys to sleep in… a couple of hours. Or maybe he and Francis had slept through the ritual 'awakening' and the boys were already tearing into the presents… but they would never open their gifts without them, Alfred and Matthew always liked having everyone together.

Or- Or maybe the brownie that lived under Alfred's bed, because that child was so wary of the things that lived under his bed and oh, if only he knew the many general assemblies the brownies held under his bed – yes the brownie that had taken up residence under Alfred's bed must have invited too many of his friends over and revealed himself to Alfred. Then Alfred would have got scared, but they're such helpful fellows- but Alfred would have shrieked and run into Matthew's room – ah but Matthew was in Alfred's room last night. Oh well Alfred would have shrieked and hid under the blankets and – oh but Arthur heard no shriek…

Arthur groaned and rolled over, slid his legs out of bed and made to get up. The chill of the room made the hairs on his legs stand up and he shuddered.

"I suppose I'll go check on them."

"Okay, you go do that."

"What? You're the one who-."

"Zzzzzzzzzzzz-"

"I know you're not sleeping!"


Alfred and Matthew sat up in bed. They had been since seven o' clock when the initial excitement had woken them up.

"It doesn't feel like Christmas," said Matthew morosely, glassy eyes staring out the window at the grey sky, polar bear forgotten beside him.

Alfred nodded in agreement. At first when he woke up he had been so excited, but then he remembered what had happened last night and he couldn't even bring himself to get out of bed, not even to go to the bathroom.

"…I need to pee, Mattie."

"…Me too… Maple."

So, the two of them climbed out of bed to begin their journey to the bathroom. The task was much more cumbersome than usual, especially as compared to other Christmas' when cementing them to the headboards couldn't keep them in bed.

"This sucks," said Alfred as he slammed open the bathroom door once he and Matthew had relieved themselves and washed their hands. He felt a little bit guilty when he checked behind the wood and saw the mark the doorknob had left in the wall- but heck, "Christmas is ruined! And it's all Pa's fault!"

"What's Papa's fault?"

Matthew squeaked as Arthur appeared in front of them, rubbing his face tiredly.

Alfred stomped his foot and pointed at Arthur. "Christmas!"

Fuck it was too early in the morning to be dealing with children. Never mind that noon was now around half an hour away, just… children. He loved his boys but… children.

Arthur looked at Alfred from between his fingers. "Christmas."

"Christmas!"

"Is Papa's fault."

"No! Christmas being ruined is Pa's fault!"

"…Alfred, what are you talking about?"

Alfred puffed out his chest. Heroes always had big chests and it made them look so cool and manly… something to do with mussels. He'd eaten so many mussels (much to the delight of his Pa) but his chest never got any bigger. I'll just have to eat more!

"Mattie and I saw Pa tickle Santa Claus last night!"

Oh yes, there was Matthew, what a good lad he was, all quiet and pleasant unlike Alfred. "Alfred, lower your vol-"

Hold on a minute. Santa Claus. Tickle.

Shit Alfred and Matthew had seen them last night.

"He-Hey," Arthur stuttered, trying to form some sort of coherent and believable excuse, "You-You see… Sometimes Daddy-"

But Alfred hadn't finished yet. "Pa's a hippocrite!"

"-and when we do 'these things' we- a huh- a 'hippocrite'?"

"Yeah! 'Cos Pa says that when you get married you only get to do things with that person and he means 'tickling' 'cos that's what you and Pa do all the time- it's really gross! But you're only supposed to do it with each other and he did it with Santa so he's a hippocrite and-" and what was that word he heard on T.V.? Oh yeah, "an adulterator!"

It took a tense moment of silence for all of that to sink into Arthur's brain. First he had to process what he had heard, then translate it, and finally think about what exactly Alfred had said. An adulterator? What- oh.

Oh.

Oh so… oh hypocrite, okay, yes, gotcha… I must tell Francis no more sugar for Alfred. Ever… God how much of the Yule block did he eat?

He crouched down in front of Alfred and stared at him until the boy let out the breath he had been holding. It was very difficult looking tough and defiant, but Alfred tried so hard.

"Alfred," Arthur began. He heard a quiet shuffling, like the sound of a mouse scurrying along the skirting- oh right, Matthew. "Matthew," he added, and gathered both closer with his arms, "Your father is not an adulterer."

"Adulterator."

"Adulterer, Alfred, adulterer is the correct term." Arthur sighed, bringing the boys even closer so all they could breathe were his pyjamas. "You see, your father is a dishonest man, but he would never cheat."

"Cheawff?"

Arthur brought the boys away and chose to ignore their heaving gasps. Instead, he kissed both tenderly on the forehead and hugged them properly, happy when they reciprocated. "By that I mean… 'tickle' other people. He's a lying, no-good, half-wit Frenchie who needs to shave his face more often or I'm going to do it myself… but he wouldn't tickle other people."

Matthew sniffed. "How do you know?"

"Because, Matthew," Arthur chuckled, "your papa knows what will happen to his 'willy' if he does."

"What?" Matthew gasped.

"You'll learn about that when you're older. Let's say he'll have to learn how to go to the loo like a lady."

Alfred scrunched up his nose. "How do ladies do it?"

"It doesn't matter- now, let's go open your presents." Arthur stood up, taking both boys into his arms as he did so, each resting on a hip. Aw yeah, he still had it in him, take that bad-back Francis. "I think Santa was extra generous because you were both such good boys this year."

Alfred looked a little sheepish, but Matthew still had something bothering him.

"Daddy?"

"…"

"Daddy?"

"… Oh wow! Look at all-!"

"DAD! Mattie's talking to ya."

"Oh, yes, Matthew?"

"Daddy…" Arthur set them down on the couch and sat between them. "Daddy… I don't understand, we saw Papa tickle Santa Claus last nigh-"

"Mattie's right! I saw it too!"

"Shh Alfred, let Matthew talk."

"Well… we saw him, so how could he… not… have tickled Santa Claus?"

Now, Arthur thought very hard for a moment. There were two options presented to him.

The first; tell the truth about how he was the one to leave their presents under the tree and that Francis was the one that snapped the carrot left for the reindeer in two and put one half back in the fridge, and that the real reason they had to change cookies and milk for Santa to cookies and whiskey was because Arthur thought the milk was too fattening. He was getting a bit… 'softer' around the middle and he had to set a good example for Alfred. Plus, Francis spent too much time cooing over that area during foreplay, the bastard. The cookies weren't fattening, no, the whiskey cut it all out, yes.

He could crush their fragile hopes and dreams.

The second, of course; lie; lie his pants off and protect their precious imaginations.

Imagination was a terrible thing to waste. He was already miffed that Alfred and Matthew couldn't see the good fairies, the ones that protected them and manifested from babies' laughs. Or even see glimpses of the brownies that tended to the house while they slept and be grateful, all because stupid Francis was… French and tainted their minds with the real world. What a bastard.

He didn't want to destroy Santa Claus.

Second choice it was then.

"You see, that wasn't Santa Claus last night."

Alfred gasped. Arthur also heard something akin to a slight breeze. Matthew must have gasped too.

"See, sometimes your dad- I, sometimes I have to help Santa Claus." It wasn't a complete lie. It was indeed him last night, he was merely stretching the truth.

"No way!" said Alfred excitedly, already buying the story.

Arthur chuckled. "Yes way. There are many countries that Santa has to travel to, and he has to do it all in one night. So, sometimes he has 'helpers' all over the world so he can deliver all the presents to the good children in the world- and the not-always-good children." Arthur looked pointedly at Alfred.

Alfred pretended not to notice. "Sosososo- you're one of Santa's helpers? That was you last night?"

Arthur cleared his throat, "Ho ho ho!"

"That's Santa's laugh!" Alfred looked at Matthew; grinning so hard Arthur considered how the dental costs would factor into their bill. "Mattie! Mattie! Dad really is one of Santa's helpers!"

Matthew took a moment to process everything. "So… Papa was tickling Santa Claus, but it was actually Daddy."

"Yeah! This is great!" Alfred paused and looked up at Arthur sweetly. "Can I open my presents now?"

"Oh… I don't know, Alfre-"

"Pleeeeaaaaaseeeeee?"

"Oh, alright." Alfred had already opened his first present by the time Arthur had finished.

Matthew shifted next to Arthur.

He looked down. "Aren't you going to open your presents, Matthew?"

"Hmmm, yeah but… Papa's not here."

Arthur sighed, smiling. "I'll go get him, but you go open your presents okay?"

"Alright."

Matthew picked himself off the couch and accepted a gift Alfred handed him. "This one's for you Mattie!"

"Thanks Alfie."

Arthur lingered in the hallway, watching his boys –God they're so cute- interact before heading back to his bedroom to wake up Francis. It was a toss up between a wake up slap, a wake up kick, and a wake up full body slam.

Oh choices.

When he finally reached the bedroom, Francis really was asleep.

Typical.

He threw himself onto the bed, satisfied when Francis nearly screamed.

"Arthur! What is wrong? Are the boys alright? Did they see you naked again-?"

"NO!" Arthur took a deep breath. "No, the boys are fine. There was just a little misunderstanding, that's all."

"Oh…" Francis shook his bed head out and yawned. "So… that is the reason they slept in? What misunderstanding is this?"

"They thought that-" Arthur suddenly got a brilliant idea. He bit the inside of his cheek to stop his Cheshire grin exploding onto his face. "You see… They saw us last night."

"Oh but Arthur, they've seen us many times-"

"No, they saw you and Santa Claus."

"-and they know we like to role-play- Santa Claus? Why- Oh…" Francis tried to rub the sleep from his eyes, brain only just catching up with Arthur's words.

"They called you an adulterer."

Francis gasped, suddenly wide awake. "An adulterer? How do they know such a word?"

"Oh they know, just looking at you they know. They see you and they think 'gosh, papa's an adulterer. He must not love us at all-'"

"NON! MES PETITS!" Arthur blinked at the space Francis had previously occupied, hearing his voice echo down the hall. "I didn't cheat on daddy!"

Arthur laughed and shook his head. Getting off the bed he made his way back to the living room where Francis was most likely strangling Alfred in a hu- and Matthew, in a hug with tears falling down his face.


"So, guess Pa isn't a hippocrite or an adulter-…rator."

Alfred nodded in agreement at Matthew's conclusion. "Yep! How cool is it that Dad's one of Santa's helpers? Move over Superman, Dad's my new hero!" Alfred stroked his chin, like an evil bad guy. "I wonder if I can get him to tell Santa how good I will be next year, hm."

Matthew laughed. "I'm happy that-"

"MES PETITS!"

Alfred and Matthew suddenly found themselves in the tender clutches of their papa. From the hallway, they heard the strangest echoes of someone laughing.

"Oh mes petits," Francis sobbed, burying his nose into the tops of their heads, "I did not cheat! I am not an adulterer! I love your father and his horrible fashion sense and horrible cooking and horrible eyebrows!"

Alfred pushed away with a giggle. "Eeeeew Pa likes Dad's eyebrows!"

"Oui! Oui! I do!" Francis squeezed them tighter and Matthew could swear something important inside him burst. "Oh Alfred, Matthieu, I am sorry! That was not Santa that was-" Francis gasped at his outburst.

Matthew patted his papa on the side, the only place he could pat with his arms glued to his body with Francis-strength-cement. "It's okay, Papa, Daddy told us everything."

Francis sniffed. "He-He did? What did he say?"

Alfred had no trouble releasing himself from Francis' hold. He hugged Francis' arm and looked up at him with a brilliant smile. "He told us he's one of Santa's helpers! 'Cos you know how there's a bazillion countries in the world, so he helps Santa out! How cool is that?"

Francis' heart skipped a beat, partly at Alfred's dazzling smile and partly at the thought that Arthur made up a load of bullshit to save his hide.

"Yes, très cool." Francis smiled.

"Oh oh and, we know that you would never tickle anyone else but dad!"

Francis looked at Alfred curiously. "Tickle?"

"Oui," supplied Matthew, "tickle, it's what you and dad do all the time."

"Ah yes," Francis nodded knowingly, "tickle." He was going to tickle Arthur for all his worth tonight; that and a few other things. He grinned and scooped Alfred back into a hug, crushing him against Matthew. "Oh boys I love you so much. Matthieu, one day I will find you a maple syrup fountain- and Alfred. Alfred, I will find you a spaceship."

"Wow! How did you know I wanted one?"

"Papa always knows!" said Francis, and proceeded to smother the two of them in kisses.

When both Alfred and Matthew were thoroughly well kissed, cheeks absolutely shining, he released them and looked at them seriously. His reputation was nearly ruined and it was all Arthur's fault. Never mind that he had been the one to insist they get to it under the mistletoe- it was still Arthur's fault!

"Boys, this is serious." They huddled together and listened intently.

"If anything, daddy would be the one to cheat on papa! Boys, you must know that your father is terribly unfaithful and gives 'looks' to pretty boys and girls on the subway and-"

"FRANCIS!"


Yule block - what English living in the Midlands and West Country call(ed) Yule logs, French version is Bûche de Noël

Brownies are similar to hobgoblins. They help out around the house but usually only at night because they don't like being seen (but are very affectionate to one another) and will often sleep in unoccupied parts of the house. The Kirkland-Bonnefoy brownie lives under Alfred's bed because he's scared of what's under there and he doesn't dare store anything there. Their general assemblies are usually held on rocky shores, but since there's so much space under Alfred's bed, I like to think their brownie entertains his guests there. They work for food or gifts, but will leave if these are called 'payments'. I kind of want to write a story exploring the Kirkland-Bonnefoy brownie lol.

The fairies referenced in this are sort of based off the ones found in The Little White Bird by J. M. Barrie (1902) about Peter Pan. "When the first baby laughed for the first time, his laugh broke into a million pieces, and they all went skipping about. That was the beginning of fairies." -other folklore often portray the origin of fairies as demons or something that had died.