Disclaimer: Lack of ownership of the intellectual property is generally implied by the fact that a work is classified as fanfiction in the first place. Let me however assure those who still feel a bit shaky on the basic logic, that if one writes a fan story based on characters belonging to someone else, it is safe to assume that they do not, in fact do so because the rights to the work are their own.

Summary: When you're dreaming of a white Christmas, be careful what you wish for.

Caution! You are entering unbetaed territory. Here be errors.

Let it Snow

The day started rather pleasantly, all things considered. The morning was a bit on the chilly side and the sky outside could use some blue - the lead-like clouds were definitely not a nice sight first thing in the morning but that was nothing a nice strong cup of steaming coffee wouldn't improve.

Of course, improvement didn't mean the weather actually improved and somebody's impossibly cheerful chirping could not only revert Vicki's feelings but also grant her a headache as a bonus.

"At first, I wasn't sure, you know. But then I thought that it's too easy to go wrong with the perfume and I know the scarf would suit Jenna. And of course, you can have more than one scarf, right?"

"Sure," the PI replied, not really listening. She had a vague feeling that Jenna, whose name she caught, was Coreen's cousin but after an hour of one-sided discussion of the gifts the girl bought her family it was easy to lose track. Where did the girl get money for all that anyway? Vicki was sure the money she was paying her wouldn't cover half of the expenses for the things the girl was enumerating.

"So anyway, once I had the gift for her, I started wondering if I shouldn't buy something for Luke as well..." Only two hours, Vicki reminded herself silently. Only two hours until Malcolm Wills will come. Then the case would be wrapped up and she would be able to send Coreen on her merry way. It was obvious the Christmas brainwashed the goth into some mono-thought creature but Vicki could see no reason why she should suffer just because it was too late for the girl.

"So, after that I had only Suze left but she was always hard to buy for. Do you want some more coffee?"

Vicki blinked as her assistant's stream of consciousness suddenly transformed into something logical. She looked away from the screen.

"Yeah, thanks. Say, Coreen, are you done with all the preparations?"

"Just about. Why?"She suddenly looked worried. "We won't have any case over the holidays, right?"

"Nah, nothing like that. I was just thinking I could let you off early. Not like there will be much to do here this afternoon."

"Are you sure? What if someone comes here?"

Vicki sighed. "I may not be the most personable person in the world but I assure you, I am still capable of not scaring off a potential client."

"Of course," the girl agreed sceptically.

"Watch it. Do you want to sit here till the evening tidying the files? We could arrange that easily if you like."

The goth paled. "Mum would kill me. I promised I would come and help her with the preparations."

"Well, no reason why you can't do that earlier. Just be nice so you won't make me change my mind."

"Of course," the girl grinned "Did I mention you are the best boss ever? I never thought I would have a chance to work with someone as cool as..."

"Nice within reason, Coreen."

"Right."

III

By the time Coreen gathered all her things and was about to leave, it started snowing. Vicki doubtfully looked out of the window.

"Just what we need right now. An opportunity to get wet."

"It's not wet," the goth argued more cheerfully than should be allowed. "It's fluffy. And don't tell me you don't like the idea of white Christmas."

"I don't like the idea of dirty-snow-mud-on-the-sidewalks Christmas, which is what it actually translates to. Besides, that fluffy stuff kills people every year. Ever heard of avalanches?"

"You really see the dark side of everything, don't you? It must be some special talent."

"Yeah, yeah, homicide guys recruited me straight out of primary school because of that, didn't you know?" she retorted sarcastically. "And weren't you supposed to be going? It's Christmas Eve tomorrow, I'm sure you still have a lot to do and such."

The girl laughed. "Sure, Vicki. I'm going. And since we won't be seeing each other for the next couple of days, Merry Christmas."

"Yeah, right back at you."

Soon enough, the goth left, carrying her overstuffed bag and startlingly blue umbrella covered with paw prints of all things, radiating cheer despite the weather conditions.

If Grinch turned out to be real the way everything seemed to, these days, Vicki was sure she had just sent home her secret weapon.

It was only after a moment that Vicki noticed a small gift package sitting on her desk, wrapped in silver paper.

It had red ribbon on it.

She sighed.

III

Vicki busied herself with arranging the files, grateful for the blissfully quiet office, when the room grew darker suddenly. While the shorter winter days weren't any particularly surprising fact of nature and, in fact, since meeting Henry not without their good side either, she doubted she got busy with work to such an enormous extent that she wouldn't have noticed passing time completely. She's been known to do that at times and knew well enough that something more challenging than tidying the file cabinet was required to achieve that particular state.

Still wondering about it, she walked to the window, only to see a moving grey wall outside. A quick search for her glasses later, the grey wall transformed into a mass of swirling snowflakes, working tirelessly (and most likely futilely) on making Toronto white.

She sighed. Her wait for a taxi to get home just tripled. She sincerely doubted many people would choose to walk in this kind of weather. Just brilliant.

III

It was getting late and Vicki promised herself she would call a taxi as soon as she had some hot coffee to fortify herself against the snow waiting outside.

She was on her first sip when the light flickered momentarily. She glanced up, thinking she would need to change the bulb soon and taking the second sip. That was when the power went out completely.

Just to be sure, she flipped the switch a few times, before going to the window. It's been a long time since she could do with poor light but the lights from the street were better than nothing.

Or rather, they would have been, had opening the blinds not revealed the city shrouded in darkness.

She swore.

III

This was getting ridiculous, Vicki decided, as she tried the phone once again. Honestly, she could understand if the signal was cut off. Granted, this was central Toronto, not some hut in the mountains but the phone line getting hit by whatever happened to the power was at least conceivable. Problem was, wherever she tried to call, she was getting a busy signal, while her cell apparently decided to mess the reception, with any call loosing the signal after about two seconds.

She shivered involuntarily. Somehow the room seemed colder when it was dark. Of course, that might have had something to do with the fact that the heating relied on the power supply as well.

Holding her flashlight between her ear and shoulder, she searched the cupboard by the wall, until she found an old blanket. Seeing how there seemed to be no chance to call a taxi to get home (not that the situation was likely to be better there) and she couldn't see much with next to no light, she settled on the couch, deciding she could at the very least get comfortable.

It was a shame she had an electric kettle. She could really use some more hot coffee.

III

She was pretty sure she was drowsing, wrapped tightly in the blanket, when she heard the door open. She sat up straighter, listening. Just in case, she reached for her flashlight, choosing to delay turning it on, in case it alerted whoever it was to her not sleeping.

There were steps in the office, surprisingly fast and confident, taking the lack of any light under consideration.

"Henry?" she voiced in something between question and statement.

"Good evening, Vicki. Though 'good' might be something of an overestimation given the circumstances." She turned on her flashlight, automatically sweeping the room with the light and saw him narrowing his eyes at the sudden brightness.

"That's putting it lightly. What are you doing here? Decided to enjoy a night stroll without all those annoying lights?"

"Actually, it's their lack that is annoying, currently. I was working on dialogues for my new book."

"And that's a problem how? You of all people shouldn't have a problem coping without lights."

"Surprisingly, my computer had a different opinion."

"Oh. Sorry."

"I should be able to restore some of them when the power is back. And to answer your earlier question, once I realised the lights in the city were out, I decided to check on you."

"What? Because I'm some helpless, miserable..." there was a dangerous edge in Vicki's voice

"Not in the least. And I'm not sure you could do helpless if you tried. Still, of the humans I know and care about you were the most likely not to be at home late in the evening, two days before Christmas."

"Not sure if being at home would actually change much. There still would be no heating, no light and no way to make any warm food. I can just as well spend the night here," she shrugged.

"Well, we can't have that, can we?"

"So what do you propose? If I get desperate, I could always call a taxi."

"Now, that is something I would definitely not advise. Driving is almost impossible in this weather. Not to mention, quite risky."

"You mean to tell me that you walked all the way here?"

He sent her a brilliant smile. "I did say 'almost', didn't I? Still, I wouldn't advice driving to someone with experience of less than a couple of decades and very good reflexes."

"Right. So you came here to give me a lift?"

"Originally I intended to do that, yes. Now that you pointed out how flawed your stay in your apartment would be I have another idea."

"Do you?" Somehow she couldn't help a feeling there was something suspicious in the tone of his voice. He almost sounded smug.

"Indeed. And I would be honoured if you agreed to be my guest for tonight."

The smugness was annoying, she had to admit as much. Still, she couldn't see any way in which the idea would actually be worse than staying here. She shrugged.

"Sure, why not? It had better not be some kind of trick though."

"Why would I try to trick you, Vicki? And even if I tried, I honestly have no doubt you would see right through it and call me on it."

"And you'd better remember that."

III

Vicki had initially thought the trip was going to be awful but now she had to admit she was wrong. In reality it had long surpassed 'awful', 'horrible' and 'ghastly', as well as a couple more states that could be described only through a generous use of some rather colourful epithets, and was currently busy establishing a class in itself.

At the same time, she had to admit she felt some admiration towards the expert way in which Henry was dealing with the circumstances, managing to steer the car, slowly but surely, in the direction of his home through the streets that only lunatics and ambulance drivers apparently decided to brave otherwise. Not that she would ever admit to said admiration. Not even at gunpoint with the fate of the world depending on it.

Still, for all driving skills of the vampire she felt a wave of relief when they finally drove into – or slid to, depending on perspective – the underground garage in Henry's building. That was when a realisation hit her.

"The elevator isn't working, is it?"

"I'm afraid not."

"And you expect us to climb all the way up?"

"Using the stairs was the general idea, yes. Are you telling me that despite running several kilometres a day you won't make it up a couple of floors?"

"Oh, shut it, will you?"

III

After finally making it to Henry's apartment, with a few pointed remarks on the way about his need for the top perch, and finally no small frustration when the flashlight battery decided it was time to die on their last flight of stairs, Vicki allowed Henry to lead her to the couch. In all the honesty, she didn't see how agreeing to the whole idea made it any better, aside perhaps from the fact that after climbing a dozen floors she was unlikely to feel cold.

To make it worse, Henry disappeared somewhere, leaving her there listening to the distant sound of him rummaging through some stuff.

"Henry?"

There was a moment of quiet.

"Just a minute, Vicki. I'll be right there," he answered enigmatically before the rummaging sounds resumed. She sighed and rolled his eyes.

Just then, the sound of steps approached her and a moment later some strange and not particularly pleasant scent hit her nose. Then, with a soft crack of a match, she finally understood. There were two kerosene lamps standing on the table, complete with perfectly polished mirrors enhancing and multiplying the light.

"Is that better?" Henry asked her mischievously.

"Marginally," she allowed, making his grin widen.

"I hoped it would be. Now, if you'd excuse me, I hope I will manage to improve the situation even more by making the rest of them operational."

"The rest of them? How many do you have?"

"Let's see, I had at least eight per room back when they were slightly more popular and I liked the light and shadow effects they created for pictures so I never got rid of them. I'm not sure if I didn't see one have a slight crack, so we might need to cope with one less."

"If it lets me see where I'm going and not walk into things I don't think I will care, honestly."

"Excellent. I'll get right to it. And once I'm done, do you think you would be able to see well enough to help me decorate a tree?"

She was very tempted to tell him, in no uncertain terms, what she thought of formulating a question in "if you would be able to see" form and what she thought about all the Christmas decorating in general but something stopped her. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but something about Henry as he proposed it...

"You get those lights on, and we'll talk about it," she told him and saw his expression lighten.

Suddenly it downed on her. It wasn't that Henry was interested in decorating. He was an artist and could certainly handle that not only more efficiently but also with better effect by himself. It was the hope of not needing to do it alone that actually changed decorating into a celebration.

It seemed that now that she got it, she would have no choice but to agree, the silliness of all those cheery feel-good preparations be damned.

III

It seemed that with enough lamps and mirrors the room was well-lit enough to tackle her visual problems, which was quite a success in and of itself. It didn't hurt that in the process of finding the lamps Henry also found some old portable gas heater, so there seemed to be an alternative now to freezing to death should the temperature start falling.

Still, she convinced him they could keep it for later, as she didn't quite trust the contraptions. Oh sure, Henry assured her that it was in good condition and if worse came to worst he could sense carbon monoxide but the possibility of a situation where that skill would actually be needed promptly made her decide she wasn't all that cold just yet.

"Have you decided then?" Henry's voice brought her out of her musings.

"Sorry, what?"

"Have you decided about decorating the tree?" He clarified, looking at her carefully.

Of course, she had decided quite some time earlier, but that wasn't a reason to make it easy for him. She made sure to make herself comfortable on the couch.

"Oh, I don't know. I'm not sure if I feel like moving just yet."

"I'll make you some tea," he offered entreatingly.

"With cold water? Thanks but no thanks."

"I have a whole pack of tea lights and a teapot. I think the chances of that tea being hot are quite good."

Well, she was sold before they even started the conversation but if she wasn't, the offer of a hot drink would have probably done it.

"Well? What are you waiting for? Get me some of that tea and show me where the tree is."

He smiled, much more gently than she would have expected in response to her words.

"Thank you, Vicki."

III

It was hard. It was extremely hard. Still, she had to admit it anyway. The whole decorating the tree business felt surprisingly close to being fun.

And not just because there was something disarming about the smell of a real, 4-feet high, live tree Henry had brought in from the balcony, with droplets of what used to be snow still escaping the branched despite it supposedly being shielded from the worst of the blizzard. Though there was no denying it played some minuscule part as well.

But no, the truth was, it was Henry's company and the possibility to observe him that was the real treat.

"Bettie gave me those when she was twenty-three," he said holding up a small, crocheted angel, with one wing bigger than the other. "Her mother was excellent with all kinds of needlework and Bettie wanted to make ornaments like the ones she made. It turned out harder than she thought, so those six here are her only attempt. She wanted to throw them away but I managed to convince her to give them to me all the same. She still blushes whenever she sees them, despite all the years that passed."

Vicki picked up a lantern-shaped glass ornament from the box, trying to find the angle giving her most light so that she could take a better look. It seemed old, with the colours a bit faded and darkened lines on what must have once been a clear silver finish.

"It was the year of the fiftieth anniversary of Victoria's coronation," she heard him speak. "I was still in London then. The weather was absolutely horrid that day. I stepped into a small shop to wait through the worst of it. It was owned by a lovely elderly lady." He smiled. "She kept insisting on bringing me hot tea because I looked chilled and we talked for over three hours. Trudy was a widow and admitted it's been some time since she had a chance to simply talk to someone. When I was leaving I wanted to repay her for her kindness and have a keepsake of that night so I bought the biggest box of ornaments she had in the shop. There are only three of them left now. They should be in here somewhere."

He reached into the box, fishing out another, differently coloured lantern and gently hanged it from a branch. The old silvered glass showing from under the paint shined proudly as it caught the right light.

Yes, Vicki decided, decorating the tree with Henry was quite a bit more interesting than she would have thought.

III

The tree had long been decorated and Vicki was sitting in the armchair sipping her tea, leading a somewhat distracted conversation with Henry, who at the same time tried to recreate the lost dialogues for his story in a notebook.

"So do you suppose the shops will have big losses because of the power outage?"

He stroke out something emphatically on the page. "That would all depend on whether they manage to restore it by tomorrow. The power went out in the evening today so while they might have been forced to close a bit earlier, if they open tomorrow they should be able to make up for that."

"I suppose you have a point. Still, if they were to restore the power by the morning shouldn't they be working on it right now?"

"For all we know, they are. And it's hard to tell what they would be doing when we don't know what went wrong in the first place."

"Gee, that's helpful."

He wrote something impatiently before striking it out again.

"I'm sorry to disappoint. I might add, if you find it more helpful, that logic would dictate to first work on restoring power to institutions such as hospitals where it's a bit more in demand."

"And the Police. They need the power too."

A slight smile flew over his features. "Of course. Though I would venture that they have it slightly easier to fulfil their duties when they don't need a steady supply of electricity to keep people alive."

"Which is why I'm sure the hospitals, unlike the Police, have their own generators, making it actually easier for them."

He turned a page and wrote something quickly. "Those generators would have a limited capacity, I suppose"

"Maybe."

"And, if you don't mind me saying that, it's an awfully dreary topic when the celebration of the birth of our Lord approaches. Shouldn't there be more anticipation and joy in the air right now?"

She rolled her eyes. "I'll consider being joyful. As soon as I have the power back."

"Have you considered what you'd be doing for Christmas should you not get it back?"

"I have not considered what I would be doing for Christmas, period. Save possibly for calling a few people with Christmas wishes."

He looked up, surprised.

"I assumed you would be going to visit your mother."

"You assumed too much. She is spending Christmas with her sister in Edmonton. I can't stand Aunt Pat and was in no mood for a trip to Alberta."

"You made no mention of preparations of any kind, it seemed logical that it would be because you weren't spending Christmas here."

"Why go to all the effort of preparations for just one person?"

He shook his head. "To celebrate a wonderful holiday for a start. And I'm sure you didn't need to be alone. Have you told anyone you were spending Christmas here and not in Kingston?"

"Sure."

"Really? Whom have you told?"

She shrugged.

"Vicki?"

"Well, I just told you, didn't I?"

"And aside from me?"

When she didn't answer, Henry placed the notebook on the table and approached her slowly, kneeling in front of her armchair.

"Victoria, do you want to spend Christmas alone?"

"I don't mind. I never cared about the holidays all that much. Why would I be forcing myself on people who already had plans?"

"First of all, if they offer, it means they want you there not that you are forcing yourself on them." Vicki opened her mouth to retort but he continued before she had a chance. "And second, I can't recall any plans of mine that would not gain from having your company."

"Henry..." she paused, clearly unsure what to say.

"Yes?"

She took a deep breath before speaking. "How do you suppose that solves the problem of preparing for just one person? I seriously doubt you were planning on some lavish Christmas dinner." She paused and shot him a pointed look. "And if you were, it was probably of the kind that would require me making myself scarce."

"I had no plans of such kind, I assure you," there was some strange strain in his voice for a moment and she wondered if his eyes had not darkened for a second. Still when he spoke next, his expression was completely controlled. "And I doubt preparing a dinner for you would require such big an effort that it would prevent the possibility of us spending Christmas together."

"Easy for you to say."

"Perhaps. Still, if the shops are open tomorrow, I propose that you go and buy whatever you feel you would like to eat for the dinner. I can give you my card to pay for it, seeing how you would be my guest. Of course, if the shops are closed, we might be forced to improvise, but can you honestly tell me you would do something else were you to spend Christmas by yourself? I do have that frozen food you convinced me to keep here for appearances sake that had been disappearing mysteriously during your visits," he finished teasingly.

"I'm not taking your card. I can still pay for my food just fine."

"I don't doubt you can. But with you as my guest, the propriety dictates that you shouldn't have to."

"Sod propriety."

"I suppose that's one view to take. All the same, should you reconsider I'll leave the card on the table."

"Sure, whatever."

He smiled to her standing up but paused, completely still for a moment as Vicki tried to lean past him to set the cup on the table. Then he quickly shook his head and turned away, going back to his notebook. A moment later he was writing, visibly trying to pour all his focus on the task.

Suddenly a thought occurred to her "What about your dinner?"

"What about it? I think you'd know by now what it will consist of."

"Not what I meant. Have you actually had time for it today though? You said you were working before the lights went out."

"I would appreciate it if you left the topic, Vicki."

"Why? It's a simple question."

"Possibly. The topic, however is anything but and I'm certain it would be better left alone," he tried to go back to writing in his notebook.

"Oh, come on, Henry. You know you don't have to be like that with me."

The notebook was placed on the table right next to Vicki's cup.

"It has nothing to do with you, Victoria, I assure you. But I would rather not be reminded about the issue myself, if you don't mind."

"Meaning the answer is no, you didn't have time to feed today."

He sent her a humourless smile. "Congratulations, you figured me out. Excellent display of your detective prowess. I wanted to do some work first and after the power was gone, I realised that between that and the weather it would be a bit hard to find someone to feed from without rising suspicion. Now can we close the topic?"

"Why haven't you said anything?"

"What was there to say, Vicki? It would hardly help the situation."

"Still..."

"I'm not starving just yet, if that's what you are concerned about. I can feed tomorrow night."

"But you're uncomfortable."

"To an extent. A situation, might I add, not particularly helped by your current nagging."

"Why didn't you ask me?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"Why not ask me? You need to feed, I'm here anyway and it's not like I didn't give you my blood before."

"It's not that simple."

"Oh yeah, I'm sure when you feed from your pretty snacks the situation has insane levels of complexity. Who are you trying to kid?"

He was next to her again, looking her straight in the eye.

"Are you sure, Victoria?"

She paused for a moment, caught off guard. If a moment ago this all seemed to be just a simple matter now she was less and less sure about the whole thing. Still, she wasn't about to chicken out like that and Henry needed her. Someone she cared about needing help was always one thing she had hard time turning away from.

"Of course I am," she forced her voice into a tone of annoyed confidence she didn't really feel. "Why else would I offer?"

Henry looked at her for a long while, apparently considering something. She had a hard time guessing what though, seeing how the situation couldn't be more straightforward as far as she was concerned. Finally he nodded slowly, still hardly tearing his gaze from her.

"Very well then," he said quietly before caressing her cheek, brushing the hair away from her neck. He leaned in, inhaled, taking in her scent and placing a gentle kiss on her skin.

Vicki rolled her eyes.

"Are you planning on feeding before the sunrise? It's only a couple of hours away, you know."

He chuckled. "Are you planning to lecture me now? I assure you, I never had any complaints before."

"There has to be the first time," she muttered under her breath, just loud enough for him to hear.

He kept his grin firmly in place.

"Not easy to please, are you? I always welcomed a challenge. Of course, the current setting restricts the possibilities quite a bit. Now, if you didn't mind us moving to the bedroom..."

"In your dreams."

"Sometimes," he agreed wistfully, catching her off-guard. She was still wondering how to respond when he nuzzled her neck again.

III

The funny thing about the whole situation was that while she had let Henry feed from her before it had never been under the circumstances that could be described as normal.

Of course, contemplating something as normal circumstances of feeding vampires was, in itself, a sign that she should probably pick the company in which she talked about her life very carefully if she didn't want to earn herself reputation of a lunatic.

In any case, this was different. There was no urgency to speak of, just Henry's gentle touch and his breath on her neck, before she felt a short pang of pain that almost immediately turned into an electrifying sensation that spread through her body, leaving delicious warmth in its wake. The anticipation was growing inside her at the same time but it was hard to tell if that part was due to the vampire feeding or due to the fact that Henry was still holding her, running his hand along her body. Almost without a conscious thought she shifted, responding to his caress.

She wished, she really did that she could say that it was a vampire charm that had her reacting in such way. Unfortunately not only was she immune to the charm completely but also all too aware of the amount of effort it normally took not to reveal to Henry how his presence made her feel and being this close to him wasn't helping the situation the slightest.

Soon, the electrifying sensation ended and she felt Henry's lips leaving her neck.

"Thank you, Vicki," he said gently before looking at her carefully. "You are aware I can sense your feelings when I'm feeding, are you not?"

She stilled and tried to swallow. Somehow, she was under impression she didn't do a very good job hiding her feelings just now.

"That would have been a nice thing to mention before, you know," she finally managed.

"I suppose on some level I assumed you did know," he admitted quietly. "Which was why I was surprised with how much I was able to feel from you."

"And how much was that?" she managed to ask.

"Enough."

"Really?"

"More than enough, actually."

"Right."

There was a brief silence.

"What are you planning to do about what you learned?" the PI finally spoke.

"Nothing, if you don't want me to. I realise I gained that information for all purposes accidentally and I understand that you might not have felt ready to divulge it to me. Still, I'm glad to know. I have been worried at times if I had not been deluding myself about some signals from you and if my feelings weren't unrequited." Henry reached to gently push a stray hair off her face before purposefully breaking the tender moment, changing the tone completely.

"Let's get you a bit warmer, shall we?" He spoke, before disappearing for a moment, coming back with a light quilt he produced from somewhere. "I'm sorry I can't offer you a spot next to a fireplace but unfortunately I opted not to have one anymore. The idea of a large source of open fire was a bit unnerving."

"I would have thought you've lived long enough to get used to them."

"Actually, it's that I lived long enough to have witnessed the Great Fire of London that is a problem."

She blinked. "Right. I suppose that puts things in perspective a bit."

Henry smiled. "Of course that didn't stop me from using fireplaces for years to come as they didn't really have any good alternative. Still, it was just enough for me not to have a problem giving it up when it was an option."

III

Very slowly Vicki started drifting back to reality. The process of her waking up was, unsurprisingly, not helped in the least by the darkness of the room, more than likely baring a strong likeness to that last seen in Egypt around the Exodus times.

She drowsily tried to make sense of her surrounding, a few key points of it slowly dawning on her. She blinked at the darkness.

Just how tired had she been to let herself be talked into sharing body heat with a vampire to keep warm?

Shaking head at herself, Vicki felt her way out of bed and along the walls, before finally reaching the light switch. She closed her eyes and flipped it with trepidation. Even through closed eyelids she could tell that the room was instantly filled with light. She exhaled and glanced back to the bed.

Henry laid there, his hair sprawled on the pillow, leaning slightly to the side due to just recently holding her in his arms. That, together with the peaceful, gentle look on his face almost made her buy the "sharing heat" thing, again.

"Damned vampire," she muttered, fully aware of the fact that the party the comment was aimed at was currently not able to hear anything. Still, saying it made her feel a bit better about the whole thing.

She dressed quickly, combed her hair with her fingers and went to see if anything in the freezer qualified as potential Christmas dinner.

Five minutes later she concluded that some shopping might indeed be in order. She was glad there was nobody there to confront her about the fact that a vampire's kitchen was stocked better than her own and provided a much better base for emergency holiday meals. Which was definitely a reason to buy something now. Otherwise Henry might think her Christmas standards were ridiculously low.

All the same, she was hoping she would find a good excuse to try those crab cakes.

III

When she stepped out of the building, at the first glance she had trouble believing she was still in Toronto. The streets were actually white with snowploughs only just slowly working their way through the eerily empty lanes. The picture was complete with the almost deserted streets. Only then did it occur to her to actually look at the time.

Any shopping, she decided, would have to wait until the shops actually opened. Still, she could as well go look for some taxi and go home to pack a few things if she was to spend Christmas here as she was pretty sure she promised last night. Besides, she still had to pack the gift for Henry.

III

When she was about to finish the shopping, silently admitting to herself that either she was more susceptible to marketing strategies than she would readily admit or she was subconsciously still buying for two despite knowing all the food was for her, something caught her eye.

There, in a little stand in the corner of the shop, were Christmas tree ornaments. She stepped a bit closer to take a better look. She almost snorted when she saw one of them depicting a cat with thick glasses and boxer gloves.

Before she knew it, she was already paying for the thing. Let Henry have another one to tell stories about.

The End