The holidays aren't quite the same for Elliot anymore.

His brothers are gone, his mother might as well be gone already, no matter how she still attempts to walk the earth. The manor is quiet for those reasons, void of any holiday parties that he could recall from when he was a small child – all made of glistening, glittering decorations and flickering candles late into the night.

No – now, it's all simply quiet, and he supposes he isn't too terribly bothered by that until there isn't even a ghost to tuck him in on Christmas Eve.

He's an adult now, though. He's too old for such dependencies. He doesn't needthat attachment, doesn't need that reassuring pat on the shoulder or kiss to the forehead.

That doesn't mean, of course, that he wouldn't like to have it all the same.


But instead of that, there's Leo – sleepy-eyed, tousle-haired Leo, crawling into bed with him in the dark of night while winter storms outside of his bedroom window, rattling the shutters and making Elliot contemplate starting up another fire. That's unnecessary, though, when Leo finally curls up against him – warm as a furnace in his own right, especially when he nuzzles his face into Elliot's shoulder, exhales warmly into his neck.

"You should be sleeping," Leo tells him, eyes glowing, glittering even in the darkness of the room, and Elliot sighs, smiles, winds his arms around him, drags him closer, presses a kiss to the corner of his mouth and savors the way that Leo practically purrs with his grasp.

"Sleep with me, then."

"Mm," his servant sleepily agrees, and Elliot feels safe again – safe, warm, and so very, very far from alone.