So, I was reading a Christmassy fanfiction by
.com/ and loved that. So this is my answer to a Reanimator fanfiction . Enjoy, and Merry Christmas! (Or Solstice/Yule, if you're oriented that way!)
DISCLAIMER: Characters owned by H.P. Lovecraft, Stuart Gordon, Brian Yuzna, Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, &c.
Christmas at 666 Darkmore Street
"No, I was referring to Nadi; hence, the use of French."
Dan Cain sighed, smiling, falling down on the bed next to Herbert West, both young men wearied after the long but jovial day. They had lived together for over a year now, in the spacious one-floored surburban house they called hom, and lots had changed.
Their school records were above average; well, Dan's was above average. Herbert's was, as Dan called it, 'in a league of its own.' He also had a notable notoriety amongst the staff and students of Miskatonic Medical School and Dean Halsey was often cautioning him, letting him know full well that the only thing stopping him from dropping him altogether was his undeniable genius in his various subjects. Neither of the two had time for relationships, save the rapidly strengthening one they shared together; their radically growing experiments took up most of their time.
After the first few months of their living together, they began staying up at nights to talk rather than to study, or test stolen subjects, and they both realised that they enjoyed this private time immensely, making a regular habit of their late conversations. At first Herbert had been somewhat dismayed, 'wasting' his time in such a manner; but after a while he didn't see it as a waste. Rather, a brief break. Besides; it was Dan. That changed things. Dan Cain was his friend, roommate, work partner; and thanks to several drunken kisses, something more.
They both remembered the first time it had happened, and it varied drastically from the second. Dan drank moderately – only the set amount of units – with the exception of one of those two consecutive days; December the 24th.
Christmas Eve, 666 Darkmore Street, 1985:
"So; your first Christmas Eve in New England," Dan noted. Herbert nodded, sat at his feet with a book about surgical errors and things to watch for in procedures. The tree was set up in the corner of the room, sparkling and twinkling with the alternating lights, the tinsel radiating a glow of its own when it caught the blue and silver glints. The entire building had accumulated a warmth and homeliness over the past few months and the festive decorations added to the cheer.
Herbert had seen it as merely a convenience, at first; just another place, another somewhere to test his subjects. But after a while it had grown on him, and it was the only place he felt he belonged. Granted, it was one of three places he ever spent any notable time in, but regardless; he felt happy there.
He looked up at Dan, smiling, placing his book down after anticipating a conversation.
"Yes," he agreed. Of course, it was his first Christmas Eve with Dan Cain, and he was looking forward to it. "Do you do anything special?" he said. They'd gotten the Jesus thing out of the way; they both agreed to accept the day as a time for celebration of friends and family, since Herbert was a firm atheist and Dan wavered somewhere in the middle; and for them, that meant each other. Well; and Dan's family, who were going to visit for Christmas dinner. Herbert was nervous about meeting them, but he had to at some point. He just hoped he wouldn't drive them away; from their own son…
"Actually, I do have one custom," Dan said. He instructed Herbert to close his eyes and he did so, Dan picking him up abruptly by his slender waist and placing him on the sofa. They both laughed at Herbert's surprise and Dan re-emerged from the kitchen seconds later. Herbert could hear clinking and opened his eyes dubiously. Dan held a bottle of crimson wine and two large crystal glasses aloof, looking proud. "I drink."
Herbert shook his head, giving Dan a 'You should know better' look as soon as he saw the wine. "I don't drink alcohol, Dan," he said, smiling warmly. "But knock yourself out."
"Come on, West," Dan groaned, dismayed, sitting down beside him and pouring two almost overflowing glasses of the scarlet liquid. The colour reminded Dan of holly berries, and cherries; it reminded Herbert of…something else. "It's Christmas Eve, Christ's sake."
Herbert gave him a coy look. "Don't blaspheme on such a sacred day, Dan," he chastised. Dan scoffed.
"Oh, so now you side with the Messiah," he grumbled. Herbert laughed, patting him reassuringly.
"I promise I'll have a drink tomorrow…just not tonight," he said. He didn't care for the drug that countless others lost so much as a consequence of; the scent even slightly repulsed him. Dan nodded, relenting.
"Fine," he agreed, nodding, Herbert relaxing into the couch. "But this means that I have to have your share. And I haven't had a drink in a while, so I might get a bit crazy."
He gave Herbert a suggestive wink; Herbert blushed acutely and shook his head, rolling his eyes. "I've handled reanimated corpses quite well on my own, Dan," he reminded him. Dan shrugged, taking a large gulp of the drink. "So I think I can fare against you…" he tried to think of something to say. He shook his head again, waving a hand at the Christmas centrepiece. "Trying to dance seductively in front of the tree."
Dan laughed, a little incredulous. He turned to Herbert, drinking steadily but quickly.
"Trying?" he questioned. "You've obviously never seen my seductive dance."
Herbert smiled; Dan was so giddy sometimes, like a perpetual teenager.
"Unfortunately I haven't," Herbert went along, faking disappointment. Dan was about to get up and Herbert pulled him back down, looking at him seriously. "No," he barked. Dan laughed, and sunk into the warm folds of the sofa, taking another drink. Herbert watched him, thinking, and then shook his head, smiling.
"Come on, Herbert…"
Herbert shook his head, taking the bottle from Dan before he could finish what was left. There was barely anything remaining; but still, as he knew all too well, even the smallest amounts can make a huge difference.
"It's for your own good, Daniel," he said firmly, about to hide it somewhere in the kitchen. Dan followed him, Christmas songs playing in the background. Dan reached out to him, trying to grab the bottle. Herbert laughed. "You've had enough, trust me," he said, unable to grasp how Dan could have been so foolish. He sighed; alcohol. He had always been right to distrust it. It lures you in, and then it creeps up on you suddenly and without any warning, you can barely stand up straight.
"Just the last bit," Dan begged. Herbert didn't know whether he looked adorable or pathetic, but he grinned nevertheless.
"No," he said, with a tone of finality. "Don't whine."
Dan looked around, eager to find something to hold over him. His eyes fell on some mistletoe in the corner of the room, hanging from the ceiling near the tree, and he turned back to Herbert, looking triumphant.
"I'll kiss you," he threatened, looking pleased with himself and his drunken cunning. Herbert was a little shocked to hear those words, but he understood their context. He looked up at Dan challengingly, holding the neck of the clear glass more tightly.
"Kiss me," he dared. He didn't think there was anything in his friend's threat.
Even the most intellectual people can make mistakes, though.
Dan took a single, large step towards him, taking hold of his shoulders. Herbert tried to interject but he wasn't strong enough; not against Dan, and definitely not against alcohol-infused Dan.
His tall friend led them to the mistletoe and positioned Herbert somewhere roughly underneath it, though his spatial judgement wasn't as sharp now. In a second he had pressed his hands to his small and slender companion's chest, clutching his crisp shirt and tie. He brought his lips down with alarming precision, considering his state, and Herbert could do nothing about it. Part of him was horrified, that his friend was kissing him, albeit gently; and another part of him enjoyed it; so warm, and personal, even with he taste of the fruity wine. He had never really thought about this too much, but now it was happening he realised it was nowhere near as bad as he'd expected. It was…pleasant. It was more than pleasant. His hands loosened around the bottle and it fell to the floor, but Dan didn't move to pick it up. Herbert let his hands snake around his neck; that was when Dan realised what he was doing and pulled away. Herbert blushed furiously, letting his eyes fall. He picked up the bottle, a red stain marking the white carpet. Dan bit his lower lip, wobbling a little.
"Shit," he muttered, clutching his head. Herbert led him over to the couch and sat him down, Dan smiling up at him apologetically. "I warned you," he laughed weakly, his eyes a little unfocused. Herbert told him to sit still and hurriedly tried to wipe up the stain. He sighed.
"I'll make you some coffee," he announced, and left the room, Dan staring disbelievingly. All the time Herbert was thinking Well, that's going to be awkward in the morning, followed by mental instructions pertaining to the making of the coffee, just to keep his brain occupied. Dan sat thinking different words, over and over again;
Did he really kiss me back?
Christmas Eve, 666 Darkmore Street, 23:53:
They had both set alarms for around the same time; Dan overslept, as a consequence of the drink, and Herbert made elaborate knockings on his door to wake him up, clutching a bag of presents in a red felt sack. He heard Dan hit his head as he woke up, cursing. Herbert laughed and proceeded into the living room.
He began to artfully arrange the parcels beneath the tree, the dark of the room making it harder to see. Dan emerged, with his own bag of presents, and Herbert hid behind the far side hurriedly. Dan took the first presents out and placed them under the tree, wiping his eyes; Herbert waited a few seconds and pounced with underestimated agility, bringing Dan down to the floor with one swift motion. They both began to laugh hysterically, Dan knocking Herbert playfully, both trapped as children for a merry, care-free second. They went about placing the presents under the tree again until both bags were void of fillers; they looked at their work as they would a reanimated corpse. Pleased, and with a gratifying sense of fulfilled duty.
"Good work," Dan congratulated Herbert. "Thanks for waking me up and almost killing me."
Herbert laughed, returning his congratulation. Dan peered at the clock in the dark; 00:00.
"Merry Christmas, Herbert West," he smiled. Herbert grinned up at him in the darkness, both men stood across from the Christmas tree, the mistletoe hanging somewhere to the side.
"Merry Christmas, Daniel Cain," he beamed. He was a little taken aback to find Dan wrapping his arms around him and pulling him into a warm embrace, but it was a pleasant surprise, and one of pure friendship. Content, and very much at peace, he rested his head in the crook of Dan's neck, sighing happily, revelling in the moment while it was there.
Christmas Day, 666 Darkmore Street:
Dan and Herbert had cooked the meal; it was simple, but it looked appealing. Herbert didn't eat much so his plate was smaller, but Dan's father's plate was piled high and coated with a thick cranberry sauce courtesy of Dan's seemingly endless knowledge of his mother's home cooking.
They took the plates through to the living room where Dan's parents were sat, along with a few of his aunts, uncles, and six cousins. Herbert felt a little out of place, what with the strangers surrounding him everywhere he looked, but he was determined not to freak anyone out. This was about Dan; and it wouldn't be fair, in any case. Just for today, he was going to get through whatever he was faced with without making any inappropriate comments about autopsies, dead people, or both combined with a serving of strange artificial afterlife.
"Oh, that looks wonderful," Dan's mother exclaimed, her short hair curled and her good-looking face clearly related to her handsome son. His father sat beside her, broad and merry, and the rest of the family sat around them, the cousins on the floor. There was a broad scope of ages; 3, 9, 13, 16, 19, and 23. The 16 year old Holden seemed to take an instant disliking of Herbert and Herbert was always aware of snide looks originating from his cruel face, framed by the sharp crew cut. He tried not to say something, but it was becoming more and more difficult.
"Thanks, son," his father said, "and…Mr West."
"Herbert," he smiled, politely. Dan's father nodded, a little unsure. They all began eating. Herbert was bemused and irritated; what was it about him that made him so alien to the rest?
When the meal was finished they began exchanging presents. Herbert sat a little away from the crowd, eventually picking up a book. Dan plucked it away, noticing that he was distancing himself. He smiled warmly, Herbert relaxing slightly.
"Come on; I spent money on you, West, you're at least going to do me the courtesy of opening your presents," he said, laughing airily. Herbert smiled, nodding, Holden muttering something to his parents. They shushed him, giving Herbert a bad feeling, and his little 9-year old sister Agatha laughed uproariously.
"This is one of yours," Herbert announced, finding a thick but small parcel tied with ribbon. Dan shook it, reading the label. He chuckled; Herbert blushed, but Dan shook his head, grinning, hugging him for a quick second.
"Aw; 'Love H. West'," Dan laughed. "What – 'Love' is find, but we aren't on first-name terms anymore?"
Herbert shuffled uncomfortably, sensing everyone staring at him. He ran a hand through his thick brown hair, trying to explain himself articulately, realising how much he hated social gatherings.
"Well…you know I'm incompetent when it comes to what I have to do in certain…situations…and I didn't want to…" He didn't know what to day. He stared at Dan imploringly. "I didn't want…"
Dan took one of his hands, shaking it lightly. "It's fine," he promised, Herbert looking at him almost as though he were seeking approval. Dan smiled, and opened the present. It was a small brown-leather bound book, with yellowed parchment pages sewn to the spine. He flicked over them all carefully, lingering on some more than others.
"It's a photo album," Dan said.
"Of course," Herbert nodded. "Is it…ample?"
Dan laughed. "It's perfect. Honestly, Herbert; it's really, honestly perfect."
Herbert sighed in relief, allowing Dan to pass him one of his own presents. He opened up a leather box; inside with a beautifully intricate-looking needle. He looked up at Dan a smile hanging on his pastel lips.
"If a job's worth doing, do it in style," Dan joked. Herbert laughed, shaking his head.
Herbert had been worried about this bit. He'd made a promise, and he was going to keep it, but he was still worried. He'd never had alcohol in his life. He had 0 tolerance. Dan had higher tolerance to the putrid stuff than he did, and he had been tipsy after a few glasses. What would one glass do? What would he end up doing?
"Here we go," Dan said, everyone taking a synchronised sip of their drinks. The younger kids had fruit juice; the 13-year old Sam had wine, along with Holden, and everyone above that had a somewhat stronger concoction. Herbert stared at his wine, uncertain, eying it nervously. He inhaled deeply.
"What – you don't drink?" Holden snorted at his side, his sharp crew cut and snide face almost repugnant. Herbert pursed his lips, trying to keep his cool.
"No; I don't have the time," he answered emotionlessly, staring at the drink. Holden scoffed.
"I knew it; you're a virgin."
If Herbert would have taken a sip he would have spat it back out.
"Excuse me!" he exclaimed, insulted that so personal an accusation was being thrown out at him. His eyes snapped to Holden hastily and he shrugged, smiling evilly.
"It's true, though."
Herbert hesitated. "Well…yes…"
Holden laughed. "Seriously, you're a freak. I popped my cherry before you did, you weirdo. Then again," he said, his eyes trailing off to the corner. "Dan seems a lot more queer now you're here, so maybe you'll get lucky."
"Be quiet!" Herbert's mother hissed, Agatha snickering at his side. Herbert looked at the three faces; the mother wouldn't look at him, Holden was crying with laughter, and Agatha was sniggering coldly at him. He shook his head, turned away, and took a huge gulp of the drink. He gasped; it was sharp, and fruity, but it wasn't unpleasant. Or maybe that was his fury and embarrassment that urged him on.
"Whoa, slow down," Dan warned worriedly, taking the glass away from Herbert. He'd sat and almost drank a full bottle to himself, and he was drunk. He was hopelessly, irrevocably drunk.
"I would if I could but I can't, so I…shan't," Herbert argued, seeming happy that he'd managed to rhyme his words. Dan laughed at him, leading him into the kitchen to find something to sober him up. Herbert swayed near the doorway, completely out of it, blinking and holding his head one minute and then singing the next as though he were ecstatic. Dan boiled the kettle, filling a mug with coffee, sugar, milk, and another spoonful of coffee.
"I'm not drunk, Daaaaaan," Herbert insisted. Dan raised an eyebrow, smiling, folding his arms over his chest.
"OK; what day is it?"
Herbert looked around the kitchen, like it would give him a clue. He saw a few egg shells smashed near the sink and some unused eggnog beside it and turned to Dan defiantly, his upturned nose stuck in the air childishly and his hands placed on his hips.
"Easter," he slurred.
Dan nodded. "Sure it is," he said, waiting for the water to boil. He could hear the voices in the next room drop to whispers and he listened, holding a cup to the door. He was surprised it actually worked, but he could have heard them anyway. He sighed, pulling away, Herbert watching things that only he could see in his stupor.
"They think you're my boyfriend," he sighed, though there was a delighted, burning glee in his eyes. Herbert feigned insult.
"I though you cared about me that way," he said, shaking a little. Dan stepped forward, catching him, holding him securely. "Quite clearly you have betrayed my heart."
Dan laughed at that. He nodded.
"I'm very sorry for betraying your heart," he said. "How on earth can I make it up to you?"
Without warning Herbert fell into him, Dan stumbling back a little. The moment he had managed to keep them upright Herbert's lips met his and he moaned; from the shock, firstly, and after that the simple fact that it felt amazing even with the taste of the fruity wine.
He allowed his lips to open and for the next moment their tongues wrestled frantically, both wondering why they hadn't learnt about this sooner. Herbert pushed Dan up against the kitchen worktop, the kettle finished with its task of boiling, Dan gently biting Herbert's bottom lip. Herbert ran his hands through his hair passionately and Dan eventually pressed him up against the kitchen door.
"You're in trouble if they hear this, Herbert…" Dan breathed, between kisses. Herbert returned his lips to his every time he broke up to speak.
"Shut up," he murmured, Dan moaning quietly as Herbert slightly bent his head to the side and deepened the kiss, something Dan hadn't conceived as being possible.
"I'll try my—"
At that moment the door was thrown open; Herbert stumbled backwards, Dan quickly grasping his shirt and pulling him close to his chest, snaking an arm around his waist. They noticed Holden at the side of them with his hand on the door-knob and his eyes wide open, everyone else sporting slack jaws and shocked expressions.
"Uh…" Dan didn't know what to say. He couldn't push Herbert away; they'd seen enough, and if he didn't toss him aside (which he didn't want to in the first place) his smaller, drunken friend would simply fall over. So he held him, looking at his parents, trying to work out how horrified they were on a scale of 1 to 10. His father could have swallowed a semi and his mother…could have regurgitated a semi.
"I have an annoucemement…announcemenme…I have something very pressing to say," Herbert said, everyone else in the room silent. Dan tried to clasp a hand to his mouth but it was no use. He turned to Dan's parents, brazen, his small, pale form shaking and trembling. "I, Mr and Mrs Cain, am very much in love with your son." They stared at each other, and then at Dan, mortified. He hid his face in Herbert's back, inhaling his scent and keeping his hands around him securely. Herbert continued without missing a beat, Dan's arms still like concrete around his waist. "I am also drunk," he went on. "And lastly, I have created a reagent that can bring the things we all thought dead back to life. And I'm very much in…no, I said that…wait…" His brow furrowed in confusion.
"Come on," Dan said, hoisting Herbert up a little so he was easier to move. He pulled him to his own room, placing him on the bed. Herbert made no effort to fight; the only thing he did do was grab Dan by his collar and pull him down to kiss him drunkenly. Dan smiled, kissing him gently and then locking the door behind him. He stood before his family and nodded awkwardly, resuming his seat by the base of the tree. Nobody said anything; even Holden kept his peace. He simply took another sip of his wine and took a look at the photos of him and Herbert, smiling.
Just Turned Boxing Day Morning, 666 Darkmore Street, 1986:
"Well, I don't know what the French is for it, but I'm tired. My family is screwed up."
Herbert laughed. "They still don't like me," he sighed. Dan turned to him on the bed, so they both lay side by side. "But that is understandable, I suppose." He looked at Dan dubiously, a little anxious, taking his glasses off and placing them on the bedside table. "You did…tell them..?"
Dan nodded. Herbert sighed again. "Yeah, they know. We didn't do a very good job of hiding it, though; I'm sure that prick Holden saw us at least once, and that's why he said—"
Herbert pulled Dan on top of him, kissing him sweetly. He pulled away, smiling. It didn't matter. "Shut up."