Author's Note: Welcome to the first story I've published in a long time. I wrote this around Christmas, and just because people probably need a back story if you're not in the TNC or a part of the roleplay this is based off of, Mush was fifteen when Dutchy and Bumlets, who were older, "officially" adopted him. Then they found and adopted Dominic as well. Mush is only about three years younger than his new parents. Basically, Dutchlets and Blush and Dominic galore. And ducks. Because Mush likes ducks.

The first thing Mush noticed when he woke up was that it his little brother Dominic was poking him repeatedly in the forehead. Mush took a minute to figure out if this was in fact actually happening. When he felt a few more finger jabs between his eyes he decided that it was true. So he opened his eyes and batted Dominic's hand away from his face.

"Leave me alone," Mush muttered before rolling over and burying his face in his pillow. Dominic started whining about Christmas and how Mush needed to wake up to open presents before Mush finally got annoyed and got out of bed. He leveled a glare at his little brother and grabbed for a shirt to pull over his head.

Dominic grinned at him widely, bouncing excitedly as he waited for Mush to get dressed. "We have presents under the tree, Mush! They're downstairs and there are a lot of presents!" he yelped. Mush smiled sleepily at him and let Dominic basically drag him downstairs. Dutchy and Bumlets were already sitting downstairs, cups of coffee in their hands, and Mush waved at them as he went to basically collapse on the couch.

"Someone's still out of it, huh, kiddo?" Dutchy asked, smirking at his eldest son. Mush stuck his tongue out at him, resisting the urge to curse him since there were presents under the tree... for him... for the first time in several, several years. So he just went back to resting his head in his arms and trying not to fall asleep. Dominic was already shaking the presents with his name on it, with Mush's name on it, and the few with Dutchy and Bumlets' names on it.

"If you break one of my presents I will personally come into your room in the middle of the night and smother you with a pillow," Mush threatened. Dominic turned to look at him with wide eyes and Bumlets frowned at him.

"No you won't. Apologize to your brother," he demanded in what Mush had come to think of as his 'I'm actually your father and I can make you do things if I want to and no you can't run away you already saw how that worked out so fear me MWHAHAHAHA' voice. Dutchy didn't have one of those.

Mush scowled and turned back to Dominic. "Sorry," he said softly. Dominic just smiled and went back to the presents. Finally Dutchy and Bumlets said they could start opening presents and Dominic basically ripped into his. Mush watched with a small smile on his face before something was shoved into his hands. He looked down at it and opened it while Dominic focused on something else. It was a pair of new gloves, and then he got another present, Alice Through the Looking Glass. He opened a few more presents before he ran out. He smiled brightly at his family, before Dominic told him to sit still and brought in his last present.

"I didn't want Jonathan to get lonely when you go out selling and things... and I know you can't take him with you so... Here." His little brother said before pulling his hands out from behind his back. In his hands was a baby duckling, about the size Jonathan had been when he had first gotten him. Mush's face lit up. Dominic handed him the duck and he brought it to his cheek.

"Oh my God, it's so cute, I love it, thank you Dominic!" he said with something that sounded quite like a squeal. Except manly. A manly squeal. Full of manliness. The duck in his hands quacked and Mush nuzzled it gently. Dutchy and Bumlets watched him with matching smiles on their faces, and Mush ran through the names in his head to name the little duckling.

"What's it's name?" Dominic asked, basically reading Mush's mind.

"Peter," Mush said with a decisive nod. He stood up and took his new baby Peter to his bedroom to introduce him to Jonathan. The older duck squacked in protest when Mush woke him up but he seemed to get along fine with Peter. Mush put his new gloves on, grabbed for his hat, and made his way back downstairs.

"I'm going to go out, I'll be back in awhile," Mush said as he walked out the door before Dutchy or Bumlets could ask him where he was going. He made his way to the lodging house as quickly as possible, realizing that he was late already. He stood by the door and waited until the person he was here to meet came out to meet him.

"Hey," Blink muttered as he walked up beside him, "I missed you." Mush smiled brightly up at Blink and shoved his hands in the pocket of his coat.

"I missed you, too," Mush admitted. The two started walking down the street, Mush fingering the small box in his pocket. Blink smiled at him again, his hair falling in his eyes. Mush itched with wanting to brush it out of his face. He just gripped the box tighter. Blink and Mush ended up at the duck pond Mush first found Jonathan at. It was iced over and Mush worried his lip.

"Where do you think the ducks go during winter?" he asked, leaning against the taller boy. Blink hesitantly wrapped an arm around him, shrugging.

"Somewhere warm, I guess. I bet they're all happy and warm while we're stuck here freezing," Blink said with a laugh. Mush nodded and pressed his face into Blink's shoulder. Blink tightened his grip and Mush grinned.

"Dominic got me a baby duckling. I named it Peter," Mush said when he pulled his face away. Blink grinned down at him.

"That was probably the perfect Christmas present for you, Mushy. I bet you're just overjoyed right now," Blink said with a fond smile at him. Mush nodded and snuggled closer to him.

"I got you a present," Mush said with a small grin. Blink made grabby hands and Mush snickered. He pulled the box out of his pocket and handed it to Blink. Mush watched as Blink unwrapped it and pulled out a brand new scarf that Mush had been saving to buy for a few weeks.

"Aw, Mush... thank you," Blink said with large eyes, He pulled Mush into a hug and Mush relished in the warmth. Mush smiled and Blink pushed Mush's hair back from his eyes. Mush grinned at him, and Blink smiled back. Mush pulled the scarf out of the box and wrapped it around Blink's neck. Blink straightened it and then wrapped his arms around Mush again.

"I couldn't get you anything," Blink started. Mush didn't let him finish.

"That's okay. I got enough from my family, I don't need more," he said with a smile. Blink smiled back at him, perhaps a little sadly, and moved away a little, so only one arm was wrapped around Mush.

"Come on, I'll take you home," Blink said as they started walking again. They walked mostly in silence but it wasn't uncomfortable, it was companionable. They reached Mush's new house and Mush tugged on Blink's scarf gently.

"Merry Christmas, Blink," he said quietly.

"Merry Christmas, Mushy. I really wish I could have gotten you something," he said. Mush just shook his head, opening his mouth to speak. Before he could, Blink ducked his head and pressed his lips to Mush's quickly. Mush's face turned bright red and he looked up at Blink with wide eyes. "G'bye, Mush," Blink muttered with a smile. He pressed his fingers to Mush's bright red cheek for a minute before turning around to walk away.

"Blink!" Mush called out. Blink turned back around and Mush scanned the street. He couldn't see anyone and he tugged Blink back to him by his scarf, pressing their mouths together once more. The two broke apart and Mush grinned brightly. "Goodbye," he breathed out.

Blink looked at him for a few more minutes before his face broke out in a bright grin. "I love you," Blink said softly. Mush smile grew even larger.

"I love you, too," he said back before opening the door. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"Bright and early, Michael Cortez. I'll be waiting," Blink called out as he turned to walk away. Mush watched him until he disappeared before slipping inside the warmth of his house and his family.