The small box sat in his jacket pocket for weeks.
Before, whenever he thought of Zane, his hand went to the compass he wore around his neck, a gift so unexpected and thoughtful, it made Ty’s heart skip a beat even months later. But now, Ty’s hand automatically went to wrap around the box, holding it as a lifeline whenever the noise inside his head became too much. It was an impulsive buy one day on Ty’s part, seeing the item and knowing Zane had to have it. And with Christmas only a week away now, Ty knew exactly when he would give it to him.
Of course, during the next week, a bomb threat gone wrong, a quick trip to Knoxville, and several bruised ribs threw off all of his plans; and by the time they collapsed - still mostly dressed - onto the bed at home, Ty almost forgot it was Christmas at all. Most years he was in West Virgina for the holiday, so the latest case was throwing him off. Only glancing down at his watch told him it was still the twenty-fifth of December for the next seventeen minutes.
Exhausted as they were, adrenaline still pumped through both their veins so it wasn’t a surprise to feel Zane’s lips at his neck, his fingers tugging at the hem of his shirt, urging it up and off so he could get to the skin underneath that he knew so well.
“Baby,” Ty whispered, sitting up enough to get both their shirts off before falling back to the mattress and pulling Zane down to him for a possessive kiss. He needed to feel Zane next to him, to feel warm skin and solid muscle reminding him that this was real. That they had nearly died again and yet, here they were.
And here they would always be if Ty had anything to say about it.
Zane paused, staring down at Ty’s chest, the compass pendant he always wore laying there, shining in the dim light of the room. As Zane’s fingers ran over the cool metal disc, Ty remembered the present he still had for his lover, tucked safely into the jacket that now lay on the floor next to the bed.
Zane started to kiss down his chest and while most of Ty was on board with where this was going, he knew he needed to stop it - just for a moment - so he could give Zane his Christmas present, while it was still Christmas.
“Garrett, hold that thought,” Ty said. Zane growled, a sound that sent liquid heat down Ty’s spine and he briefly considered forgetting all about it for now and calling it a New Year’s present instead.
Ty gave him a quick kiss before slipping out from under him. Rummaging through the pockets of his discarded jacket, he retrieved the item in question and handed it to his lover the moment he was back in bed. “Merry Christmas, Zane.”
Zane blinked, obviously confused by the change in topic though Ty didn’t understand why. Surely he’d be used to Ty’s changing moods by now. His mind often went a thousand and one directions and not even Ty knew which would win out. “I didn’t realize we were doing presents, doll. I didn’t get you anything.”
The apologetic tone made Ty’s heart hurt, the thought that he might actually be upset not to get anything from Zane. “Baby, I don’t need anything. I have you. But if it makes you feel better, we can wait five minutes until Christmas is over so it’s just some random gift.”
Zane snatched the box from Ty’s hand before he’d even finished talking, pulling a soft chuckle from him. He opened the box, rectangular, black velvet, similar enough to one Zane had given him months ago that there was no way his lover hadn’t made the connection. Ty held his breath, waiting for his reaction.
“Beaumont.” The name was barely more than a whisper and he watched Zane pull the necklace from the box. Like Ty’s, the black cord held a silver pendant; but where Ty’s was a compass, Zane’s was an anchor. Simple and clean, Ty could almost feel the weight of it in his palm, as he had the day he impulsively bought it from the shop.
Ty smiled self-consciously, hoping that since Zane gave him one of his own, it meant he didn’t find it ridiculous. “I thought you might like one as well,” he explained, giving his lover a small smile. “You don’t have to wear it if you don’t want...”
“Put it on me?” Zane held out the necklace to Ty who slipped it easily around his neck and clasped it. When he saw it there on Zane’s chest, his heart nearly beat through his chest. I did that. I put that there . The thoughts came unbidden and Ty couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to give Zane another piece of jewelry. Someday.
Running his fingers over it, the silver heating up now that it rested on Zane’s skin, Ty couldn’t stop the words from tumbling out. “When you gave me mine, you explained to me why, and it might have been the most romantic thing you’d ever said. I won’t do it justice, but I want you to know.” He lifted his eyes from the necklace, meeting Zane’s gaze, molten with the love he knew they shared. “You’re my anchor, Zane. You’re the one who keeps me grounded, stops me from moving off in directions neither of us want to go. You’re my impulse control, more often than not.” That got a chuckle from his lover and Ty grinned at him. “I love you, Zane. I will always love you, for the rest of our lives.”
Zane wrapped his hand around the back of Ty’s head and pulled him in for a kiss, letting their lips speak in other ways about the love they shared between them. “You may say you don’t have a way with words, doll, but you could charm anyone if you put your mind to it.”
“The only one I want is you.”
Some of the heat from earlier had worn off and the two of them laid back onto the pillows, lying on their sides to face one another. Ty touched his own necklace, then reached out to touch the one he just placed around his lover’s neck. “A compass to guide you home, and an anchor to keep me there. Seems like us, don’t you think?”
“Yes it does, Ty. Sounds exactly like us.” Zane kissed him once more. “Merry Christmas, Grady.”
“Merry Christmas, Garrett.”