"You planning on coming to Millhaven for Christmas?"
Mister Smith looked up from his lukewarm coffee, glancing first at Kurdy, of whom the question had been asked, then at Jeremiah, who had done the asking.
When Kurdy looked over at him, Smith lifted one shoulder minutely as if to say ‘up to you, man’. Libby’s death still lay heavy on his conscience, and if Kurdy went to Millhaven for Christmas, well, he supposed he’d spend it here at the Mountain or on the road somewhere.
"Depends, Jeremiah," Kurdy replied, deciding to go for blunt honesty. "I’d love to spend Christmas with you, man; you’re my best friend. But Smith is part of the package, you dig?"
Jeremiah looked from Kurdy to Smith, and nodded. "Yeah, I dig." He then quirked a smile. "So, I just have to get one bed ready for the two of you, right?"
"Unless Kurdy starts to snore," Smith commented. "He does that, his ass is out on the couch."
"Guess again pale face," Kurdy snorted, nudging Smith with his shoulder before finishing the last bite of his breakfast.
Turning to Jeremiah, the black man fought hard to tamp down the shit-eating grin that threatened to take him over. "So, is Markus going to be there too?" he asked as casually as he could. "And if he is, should I requisition a couple of pairs of ear plugs?"
Smith snickered as Jeremiah flushed under his tan and cleared his throat. "Yeah, well, hopefully it’ll drown out the sound of you two snoring." He raised his hands and made quotation marks in the air at the last.
"Hey, he’s the screamer, not me," Kurdy retorted and then burst out laughing at the pained sound that Jeremiah made. "Hey, just correcting the misinformation," the black man smirked. "Now if I were to describe just what I do to make him scream, that would fall under the too much information category, but I haven’t done that, have I?"
Jeremiah looked at Smith as if begging for help, but Smith only grinned. "He’s an inventive man, what can I say, and then there’s that piercing..."
Kurdy smirked and stuck out his tongue, waggling it suggestively, the metal barbell in his tongue winking in the light. "You’re a piercing slut, Smith, admit it," he teased, ignoring Jeremiah and his retching noises. Reaching over with a gloved hand, Kurdy mentally said to hell with keeping up appearances as he wrapped the hand around the base of Smith’s neck and tugged. He was with enigmatic man now, end of story, and he didn’t give a flying fuck who knew. Pressing his lips against Smith’s, Kurdy ran the piercing along the seam of the other man’s mouth, silently asking entry.
Groaning as Smith pulled Kurdy closer, Jeremiah looked away, missing the smirk Smith gave before opening his mouth to Kurdy’s probing tongue.
Kurdy responded enthusiastically; after all they were still in their ‘honeymoon’ phase, and all Smith had to do was smile at him and he was hard. And he liked sex, lots of it, readily available, the black man admitted to himself. However, he also liked the cuddling afterwards.
Finally breaking off the kiss, he glanced over at Jeremiah and had to laugh. "You feeling all right there, pal? You’re looking kinda... feverish. You might wanna have someone check you out, say... Markus?"
Jeremiah groaned as he turned to walk away. "Why do I do this to myself?"
Smith straightened up and laughed. "Because you’re a masochist?"
"And that would make Markus, what, a sadist? Do you even want to go down this road?" Kurdy queried his lover. "That’s just waaaay too much information for me!"
"Christ, just pack up if you want a ride; I’m heading out in two hours."
Smith chuckled as Jeremiah stomped away. "I think you scared him."
"It’ll do him some good. Might help him remember to keep the noise down too," Kurdy smirked as he stood up and grabbed his tray. "C’mon, Smith, let’s get our gear together. We got Christmas in Millhaven to attend."
"Out of the kitchen!" Smith shouted, waving a spoon at Jeremiah and Markus, who kept taste-testing his cooking. "Not you!" He pointed at Kurdy. "You stay here and help."
Grumbling under his breath, Kurdy shot the two sniggering men a dirty look as they fled the kitchen to avoid Smith’s wrath. Just because he happened to be sleeping with Smith didn’t mean he was the man’s go-fer... or did it?
"You realize I burn water, right? We’ve travelled enough together that you know I suck at this."
"Yeah, but you can hand me things while I do the cooking," Smith grinned. "Starting with a beer."
"Would you like me to drink it and then piss it out for you too?" Kurdy snarled without heat.
"Nah, think I can handle it; you can get me the sugar though - and give me a kiss."
"Damn pushy assed bottom," Kurdy sighed as he headed for the cupboard that held the sugar, snagging a beer on the way past the fridge. "I’m almost as owned as Jeremiah is. It’s a fucked up state of affairs."
"Poor baby, and at least Jeremiah doesn’t whine about it as much as you do; I’m thinking of getting you a pacifier for Christmas."
"Try it and die, Smith," Kurdy remarked blandly. "No one will miss you, and I know how to bury a body."
Taking a sip of his own beer, Kurdy lost himself in introspection for a while. "Hey, Smith, did you... wanna have your daughter here for Christmas? I’m sure Jeremiah wouldn’t mind, and we could go get her while the morons make sure nothing burns," the black man offered quietly.
Smith shook his head while he stirred the stew. "No, I talked to her before we left, and she wanted to stay with her friends; apparently they’re less strange than all of us." He grinned at the thought. "But I promised we’d stop by and spend the day with her on the way back."
"Guess I’d better hit Millhaven’s stores for presents for a little girl then. Actually..." Kurdy thought back to the collection of glass figurines that had belonged to Elizabeth and was now his, that had been packed away with a great deal of care.
The swan he’d always keep; it had been the thing that had made it possible for him to woo and win his Elizabeth. But now that he was involved with Smith—and he couldn’t foresee the relationship ending anytime soon except by the death of one or both of them—Kurdy didn’t really need the tiny pieces of carved glass anymore.
Besides, Elizabeth wouldn’t want them kept wrapped in a box; she’d want someone to admire them, and who better than a little girl—someone who was the hope of their future? Kurdy suddenly remembered a crystal butterfly in the collection that would be perfect for a little girl just emerging from her own cocoon.
"Do you think she’d mind it being a few days late, or maybe we could swing by the mountain before heading over there? I think I know what I want to give her, but I don’t have it with me."
"Never heard of driving twelve hours out of the way for a gift, but sure, if you want to, we can; hope you don’t mind most of Christmas day on the road."
"If it brings a smile to your daughter’s face, I’d say it would be worth it, but I’ll just drag you to a shop here in Millhaven and give her the other present the next time we go to visit."
Coming up behind Smith, Kurdy wrapped his hands around the smaller man’s waist and nuzzled his scruffy chin against Smith’s neck before kissing it. "I’m just glad I get to spend a real Christmas with you. It’s been a very, very long time."
There was a loud thump from the other room, then a seductive chuckle. "Might be a bit noisy though."
"Ya think?" Kurdy laughed, kissing Smith one last time before heading to the kitchen door. "Hey you horn dogs, take it upstairs or keep it down! Some of us are trying to get into the holiday spirit and cook y’all a Christmas dinner, so stop trying to eat sausage; we’ve got a turkey in the oven!"
Letting the door swing shut behind him, Kurdy turned and winked at Smith. "Which one do you think will kill me first, my best friend or our fearless leader?" he chuckled as he began to peel the potatoes to go with the dinner.
Pushing away from the table, Kurdy groaned in bliss. "Smith, that was the best Christmas dinner I’ve ever had. You’ve outdone yourself!" he complimented his lover. Looking towards Jeremiah and Markus, the black man grinned. "We cooked; you two have KP duty. Enjoy!"
Listening to the groans that came in answer to that comment, Smith laughed as he stood and stretched. "And to make sure you don’t beg for help, we’re going for a walk."
"Oh, and, guys? KP doesn’t include sex on any kitchen surface, in the kitchen, in the dining room or on the dining room table, so don’t even think about it. Have fun!" Kurdy sniggered, waggling his fingers as he joined Smith at the door, grabbing his winter jacket and tugging on his boots.
Waiting only long enough for Smith to do the same, Kurdy grabbed his hand and dragged him out the door, breathing a sigh of relief as it shut behind him. "Alone at last," he murmured, hauling Smith into his arms and kissing him hungrily. "I was getting seriously frustrated there."
Smith looked up at him and chuckled. "Kurdy, you get frustrated if the wind blows wrong."
"Are you complaining?" the black man asked mildly, an eyebrow quirking in disbelief at Smith’s comment. "It seems to me that you benefit as much as I do when I get like that. In fact, Jeremiah told me the other day that they’d finished restoring the storage shed behind the house. It’s soundproofed, insulated and it’s got a little place in the rafters to hide people from prying eyes in case Jeremiah ever needs a safe house for someone.
"I think we need to go check it out. Jeremiah says it’s supposed to be soundproof, but... we really should verify it before we have to use it in a real situation, don’t you think?"
"Hmm, and I was angling for a nice quiet walk to the edge of town and some star-gazing, but if you want to go with the hot and horny over the romantic, oh well."
"Who says we can’t do both?" Kurdy grinned, taking Smith’s hand in his and tugging the other man down the steps. "Romance first and then horniness to warm us up after we freeze our asses off, cuddling under the stars."
Bringing Smith’s hand up to his lips, Kurdy kissed the palm, showing uncharacteristic gentleness to the man he had chosen as his partner and his lover. "I’m probably tempting fate here, but…this is the happiest I’ve been in… since the Big Death. Oh, I was happy with Elizabeth, but we were still trying to figure things out between us, and then she was dead, and I wasn’t a nice person to be around for a while.
"I hated Jeremiah then; I blamed him for her death. But I got over it, and he has too, about Libby, even though he might not have come right out and said so to you. I guess falling in love again helped the both of us deal with it. Never thought it would go down like this, falling for another guy—for either of us. Jeremiah and Markus… well, that’s about as far out there as you and me, but… you make me happy, Smith. Thank you for that."
Smith stroked his fingers along Kurdy’s cheek, feeling the coarse facial hair under his palm. "Glad to help, and thank you for believing in me, Kurdy; not many do."
"It’s easy," Kurdy admitted. "Now. But I’ve trusted you from the beginning, and you’ve never led me astray. You’ve given me back my faith in something bigger than even the Big Death. You’ve given me hope."
"Everyone needs something to believe in; I found that out the hard way," Smith murmured. "I’m just glad I could do the same to you."
"That you did," Kurdy smiled, wrapping an arm around Smith’s shoulders and tucking him in closer to his body. From inside the house came a crash and a bellow, causing both men to start then snicker. "It’d say that was our cue to get the hell out of here. C’mon, lover, let’s go take a walk in our winter wonderland."