Summary: Seasonal bittersweet fluff. Eric and Alan at home together on Christmas Day.
Disclaimer: Kuroshitsuji belongs to Yana Toboso
Reviews always welcome.
Christmas morning had already drifted into Christmas afternoon but the sense of goodwill was clearly still in the air. Gifts had been exchanged, Alan's home-cooked festive dinner with all the trimmings had been consumed and enjoyed, crackers had been pulled and awful jokes groaned over, and now they were just winding down as Eric washed the dishes. A rosy-cheeked Alan was sipping on a little more of the sherry, chatting away about what they could do for the rest of the day, as Eric finally wiped his hands dry, "Actually sweetheart, I've one more gift for ya."
"Oooh Mr. Slingby! Should I go wait in the bedroom?" this was accompanied by a comical raising of eyebrows that would have shocked any of his colleagues at how (relatively) forward and light-hearted this exemplary reaper was... although in fairness the alcohol he rarely drank a lot of probably had something to do with that. As far as Eric, who knew him better, was concerned it just caused him to grin and flick out the towel in Alan's direction.
"Minx. Will take ya up on that later, for now though yer coming with me." Pausing just long enough to allow Alan to put the glass down he took hold of his hand, and led him outside to reveal... nothing. Clearly puzzled, Alan took a few steps further out, "It's just the back garden Eric."
"Take a closer look."
"I can't see anything out of the ordinary apart from that disturbed earth from a while back. I think I'd remember if you bought me a cat."
"Cheeky git. It's got nothing to do with cats unless they've learnt how to use spades," harrumphing good-naturedly the larger reaper-turned-gardener walked over to join him, gesturing to the bank that was still partially covered by melting snow. "Hazard a guess?"
"Well, it's got to be something plant-based unless you've suddenly turned pirate. If so I'll lend you a hand with the map later, with your handwriting nobody, including you, would ever find the treasure again."
"Ya little-" taking a mock-swipe at his giggling lover he grinned as he caught hold of him, ruffling up his hair and letting him go again. "Under there are snowdrops."
"Snowdrops? You've finally lost it."
"Hush yer smart mouth an' listen a moment, managed to plant a thousand of 'em around the garden at various times while ya were on a different shift or overtime or whatever."
"A thousand! Isn't that a bit much?"
"Nah, they're only little just like-" that earned him an elbow in the gut before he could finish the statement. Laughing he continued with an "Ok, ok, let me share the reason for it before I forget the details I learnt specially."
"Hmm, I suppose as it's a day for peace I'll let you off. Teach, teacher." Eric was about to answer back with a risqué comment on their former training link but a passing thought on the reason he would not be sharing for specifically a thousand bulbs sobered him up somewhat. Instead he just took a breath.
"Right, well, considering you taught me about ericas that time I assuming ya already know what snowdrops usually stand for?"
"Yeah. They're one of the first, if not the first, flowers that bloom each year. Ya get a lot of snowdrops around the old monasteries. Humans being humans they've cooked up a lot of stories about 'em too; one says that Eve was weeping after being kicked out of Eden. Since the Fall there were no flowers, only constantly falling snow. So this angel takes pity on her by catching a snowflake in their hand, breathing on it and letting it fall to earth as the first snowdrop. When it bloomed so did hope..."
His heart sank as he realised just how quiet his partner had become. Convinced he must hate the gift Eric started rambling a justification, "I know it's a bit cold to be dragging ya out here but the humans have this superstition that bringing 'em inside is unlucky. I kinda see snowdrops as representing life but some sources actually place the pretty things as an omen of death an'... Alan?"
No mistaking it this time, that was a definite small sob and he started mentally kicking himself for his unthinking last statement. Miserably, he resolved to shut up as he gave the other space to compose himself. Of all the times for something to backfire spectacularly why now when it meant so much? It really was as if fate had it in for-
"Thank you." There were so many layers of meaning within that response and Eric was sure the cold air was now causing his own eyes to water. Still not trusting himself to speak he just wrapped his arms around the frailer man, simply holding him as the moments slipped away.
The spell was broken by the indistinct voices belonging to group of carollers that had apparently met up on the street outside. The opening strains of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" were not enough to distract from Alan shivering despite their embrace.
"C'mon, lets go back into the warm." Eric made to move when a small hand touched his arm, matching a small voice, "Just a little longer..."
In their shared silence the familiar words of the impromptu choir drifted over,
"Yet in thy dark streets shineth, the everlasting Light. The hopes and fears of all the years, are met in thee tonight."
May you and your loved ones have a truly blessed Christmas ~Kat.
The pulling of Christmas "cracker bonbons" was already practiced in England by the early 1840s, although tradition credits Thomas J. Smith of London with their creation in 1847.
General consensus is that the words of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" from Bishop Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) and music from Lewis Henry Redner (1831-1908), both of the USA, came together to create the carol in 1868. It fits rather neatly into the Kuroshitsuji timeline although I'm admittedly making the assumption that it migrated to England fairly quickly... by Victorian standards anyway!