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Happy Holidays

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Peter doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but neither does she. This isn’t the main reason that he chose to date her, this isn’t the main reason that he’s found himself slowly falling in love with her, but it is one of them. They follow the same routine every year, they’ve realized—they get Chinese food with their families and watch movies throughout the night. 

Hanukah ended a little over two weeks ago when December 25 rolls around. Peter knows that they didn’t give each other gifts; that was something they’d agreed upon and Peter never wanted to break that promise in attempts to make her feel as if she matters to him. He loves her too much to disrespect her like that.

So, they’re sitting together in his bed on December 25 as they would any other day. Her arm is slung around his torso as he holds her close to his chest with an arm wrapped around her shoulders. Her head is buried in the fabric of his jumper that covers his chest and her eyes are slipping closed, expression gentle as she slowly begins to fall asleep. Their legs are tangled together and Peter’s marveling in how much daintier she is compared to him. She feels so fragile in his hold—even though she’s really one of the strongest people that he’s ever met—that it terrifies him to even hold her wrong. He knows that he won’t break her, but what if he does? What if he did?

Peter’s never truly known his own strength. There’s been times where he’s gone to hug her or May and he winds up squeezing too tight, knocking the air out of their lungs. It always makes him feel bad, horrible even, to know that he could hurt his girlfriend in such a way. It feels awful for him to even think about, so he tries not to. Instead, he tries to focus on the movie on the screen of his laptop while he tries to move his focus from how much pain he could cause her without even knowing.

There’s some Christmas movie playing on his laptop that rests next to him. He has to crane his neck a bit awkwardly to see it, but she can see it perfectly so he’s not going to say anything. If she’s happy, Peter reasons, he’s happy.

He can feel her breathing evening out as she stays wrapped in his embrace. He can feel how gentle her breath is and how it’s fanning against his chest in the softest of ways. He wants to say something, to let her know that he’s still there and that he doesn’t mind if she falls asleep. He doesn’t mind what she does, so long as she feels safe enough and comfortable enough to do it with him.

On instinct, he reaches down to push some unruly strands of hair back from her face. He presses a soft kiss to her forehead as he does, and the combination of these things must have woken her up or stirred her back from the brink of sleep to the point that he can see her clearly. 

“Hey,” he murmurs, voice raspy from the lack of use its been experiencing over the past few hours. 

Comfortable silence broken, she stretches in his embrace and leans up to press a soft kiss to the underside of his jaw. “Hello…”

“Tired?” His voice cracks a bit on the word, and he can feel his cheeks darken as it does. He lets out a shaky breath at the sound of her quiet laughter; at least she’s trying to hold it back for him. At least she’s not outright laughing at him.

She nods against his chest and lets out a tender breath. Her eyes are wide and sleepy, a sure sign that she’s struggling to stay awake in his embrace. Her eyes don’t close when she’s tired, they open wide in attempts to focus better. He sees it in class, he sees her in moments like these. Peter knows her signs so intimately, her personality so well, that he knows what all of these signs mean. That thought makes his heart swell, makes his cheeks flush in adoration for the girl lying on his chest.

“You can sleep,” Peter assures her after a moment of watching her struggle to stay awake.

“But you wanted to watch movies tonight…You wanted to stay up with me, didn’t you…?” Her eyes are soft and sad as she looks up at him, apologetic as she tries to force herself awake. And it’s all for him.

“I did,” Peter admits to her, not wanting her to think that she’s not wanted, that he doesn’t want to be with her. “But I think that you’re tired and that you deserve some rest, hm?”

Her sleepy nod is lost against his chest and he presses a tender kiss to the top of her head. His expression softens as she begins to fall asleep once more, warm and safe in his embrace as he carefully reaches over to turn off his laptop so that she can get some sleep. Really, Peter is content to lay in silence with her for as long as she needs, for as long as she wants him to. 

He doesn’t remember a Christmas that he’s ever celebrated before, aside from the usual Chinese food runs with May. He doesn’t remember a Christmas where he’s ever felt so safe and loved as this one, right now, with his girlfriend.