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Happy Holidays

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Two identical snickers whispered from just outside the doorway. Two pairs of eyes, one lavender, one crimson peered through the small crack between the door and the arch, observing the still forms silently lying in the large bed. The sun was still too low on the horizon for any light to shine into the room, the only real illumination coming from the green light of the alarm clock on the side table. They'd been up for only a few minutes, but those minutes had dragged by like hours until they could no longer stand the anticipation. And now, that same anxiety found them huddled outside the bedroom door that lead into their parents room.

Slowly, carefully, the door creaked open, two small forms tip toeing across the carpeted floor towards the gently breathing forms in the bed. One was curled up against the other, arms loosely wrapped around one another, warm and content in their slumber. Both of them breathed in and out, slowly, calmly, giving all signs that the squeak of the opening door had not disturbed them in the slightest. Eventually the two boys crouched at the base of the bed, both gripping the thick comforter as though debating their next move.

Before that move could be made however, two sets of arms shot down grabbing either boy and hauling them each up into the middle of the bed. Both children gave an undignified squak as they were strung upwards between their chuckling parents and soon all four had disolved into giggles.

Matthew smiled over Lukas' head at Gilbert, who was currently preoccupied with Jacques, moving his fingers along the boy's sides to invoke his ticklish laughter. Jacques, himself, was desperately trying to grab at his brother and pull himself away from his father's devious grip. "Help me, Luk!" he giggled, tears forming at the corners of his eyes, a wide laughing smile on his face. Lukas only laughed as Matthew grabbed one of Jacques flailing feet and held it up. "Here, help your daddy, would you, eh?"

Lukas took the invitation happily, tickling along the bottom of his brothers foot who was failingly attempting to kick his captors away. "Traitor!" came the squeal. Finally, Gilbert released his hold on the boy, instead pulling him back against him in a tight bear hug. Lukas, seeing this, sprang forward to be pulled into the hug as well and Matthew's laughter was cut short as he was dragged in by Gilbert's free seeking arm. The Canadian slid forward, wrapping his arms around Gilbert's waist and hugging himself to his family, clutching them to him and smiling down at his twins as they grinned up at him with matching joy in their eyes.

"It's Christmas Papa!"

"Yeah! We get presents now right?"

"Do you think Santa came last night?"

"Does Alberta get gifts too? She's not too small right?"

"Can we have pancakes for breakfast!"

Gilbert laughed heartily as the twins rambled on back and forth before rubbing his large palm over the tops of their small five year old's heads. "Hey, don't forget to breathe there!" came the snicker, "We'll eat first, then you can open gifts." he leaned across the two, who gave squeaks at being squished between their parent's chests, to kiss Matthew breifly on his lips. "Good morning." he mumbled against them, grinning as he pulled away and rolled to sit up, stretching his arms above his head.

As soon as he'd let go, the boys sprang into action, both tumbling out of the bed and in a stumbled attempt to get to their feet, pushed their way from the room and out into the hallways, yelling out cheers of 'It's Christmas!' 'Yay presents!' 'I'm so hungry I could eat a Moose!' 'We should make a snowman!' 'I wonder if Santa ate all the cookies. Dibs on what's left!' all the way down the hall.

Matthew rolled his eyes as not moments after the shouts began, an echoing cry resounded from down the hallway. Of course they would be the ones to wake her with their rambuctious shouting. Gilbert, snickering yet again, leaned over to press a kiss to Matthew's forehead as he finally sat up. "I'll get her and meet you downstairs."

At the younger countries nod, he moved from the room towards the sound of the wailing. Matthew took his time standing from the bed, pulling the blankets up and tucking in the sides to make the bed neat once again. Taking only a moment to pull on the discarded tshirt he'd had the night before and readjusting the twisted bottoms of his sleeping pants, he padded his way out of the room and down the stairs to where the boys were already crowded around the tree, pointing out which gifts were for who and how many they each had. Their parents, of course, being responsible, had made sure that they each had the same number of gifts (though a few were for both of them and a couple were hidden as was tradition) so the boys would not make a fuss over one or the other.

"Hey, what did daddy say. Food first, then presents. Come on. You can help me make breakfast, eh?" he chuckled, ushering both the boys into the kitchen with a hand on the back of each of their heads. He was continually surprised each year at how much they grew. At only five they already stood at his waist and though he knew it wasn't nice to wish for some things, he sometimes hoped that they'd stop their growing streak for a few years at least, allow him the joy of relishing in their youth.

Both boys immediately went for the well-known ingredients, pulling them out and placing them up on the counter for their parent as he pulled out a large round skillet. They were joined moments later by Gilbert and a screaming baby held close to his chest. "Oh, she's definitely hungry this morning." he joked, grabbing a pre-made bottle from the fridge and uncapping the top before sliding it into the microwave.

"Je veux tenir son." Jacques moved towards his father, holding his arms out towards the little girl screaming. Gilbert eyed him warily, raising an eyebrow.

"Kannst du vorsichtig sein und nicht fallen sie?"

"Ja. Bitte?"

"Er wird in Ordnung sein, Gilbert." Came the soft reply of Matthew's voice over the beginning popping sounds of the pancakes Lukas had been stirring together. The shorter of his sons stood next to him, holding the bowl tightly in his small arms to ensure it did not drop. The young country smiled over his shoulder at his husband reassuringly and with a gentle shrug, Gilbert bent down, meeting his son's outstretched arms.

"You remember how, make sure you have her head. She's putting up a fight so make sure you hold on good but not too tightly." he reminded, watching as the five year old cradled his baby sister to his chest making a soft shushing noise and rocking her very gently side to side. Almost instantly the crocodile tears on the infants face ceased and she gazed up blearily at her older brother's smiling face.

"Huh. Well, look at dat." Gilbert snorted, moving to kiss his Canadian on the neck gently. "And you know I love when you speak my language." he chuckled against the soft skin.

"Gilbert, hush." came the slight giggle, swatting the amorous man away with a spatula.

The next hour was spent making and eating pancakes, placing Alberta into her laying swinger (which was pushed the entire meal by both Jacques and Lukas' feet) and excited chatter about the upcoming gift opening.

Canada settled himself on Prussia's lap comfortably, leaning back against his chest with a sigh and taking a sip of the mug of hot cocoa settled in his palms, which was slowly warming them. Abscently passing the cup to his husband, who took his own deep swallow of the delicious drink, he watched as the boys fell to the ground, pulling presents towards them in piles. He cleared his throat, smiling as they paid rapt attention, guilty little faces flushing slightly. Alberta cooed from her spot next to the large plush chair they sat in, distracted by the mirror dangling above her, grubby little fingers grabbing for it.

"Alright. Lukas goes first this year, you know that, so go ahead."

Immediately the smaller of the twins tore into his first large package, cheering as he came across his first gift, a large tower garage for his multitudes of 'Hot Wheels' he had stashed in his room. "Wow! It's even got a car wash!" his hyper self bounced as he turned the box over and over, the contents tumbling around carelessly inside.

Jacques was next, his excitement rivaling the other's as he opened his own first gift, a large blue remote controlled truck. He bounced up and down, both boys oohing and awwing over both toys before diving in for more.

Over the next hour and a half, the four opened their mutual gifts. The mugs of hot cocoa were slowly depleated to varying levels of consumption, candy and present wrappers strewn across the floor. The boys brought in the largest haul with toys, games and electronics from their parents as well as Alfred (who bought them a Captain America tag-team costume set, which was promptly tossed into the top shelf of the closet that evening by a frustrated Gilbert) while both parents were pleased with their own much smaller stack, a pair of watches, some new cooking dishes, an 'Awesome Dad' mug (that Gilbert absolutely loved), a new stereo system for the family (since they rarely watched television anymore, wanting the boys to interact outdoors) and from Alfred a homemade set of 'babysitting coupons' (which were also promptly thrown on the top shelf).

Matthew stood, grinning as Gilbert stretched his legs out to redeem circulation through them, and turned to the boys. "Oh, I almost forgot. One more thing that Santa brought." he grinned, watching as the boys' eyes lit up. "Gil?"

The Prussian stood, moving behind the boys and wrapping a hand over each of their eyes, struggling to walk them through the kitchen as they both squirmed and laughed, attempting to pull at their father's hands, though he was firm in his hold. "Hey Hey, jus chill, okay? It's coming! " he snickered, leading them to the window beside the back door. "Ein, zwei, drei-"

Two equal shouts of joy echoed through the open dining area, the two small bodies jumping up and down in excitement. Settled in the middle of the large back yard area was a dome jungle gym with criss-cross bars for the boys to climb and swing from.

In an instant, the boys were both pulling on their snow boots and rushing towards the door. "Hey! Hey! Coats too! And pants! Boys-" Canada sighed, giving up as they grabbed their jackets having them only half-on their bodies as they ran out through the thick snow blanket in their pajamas to get to the gym. Gilbert laughed, returning from grabbing Alberta's rocker from the living room and sitting her on the floor, wrapping his arms around his exhasperated husband. "They'll be fine, Birdie, let them have their fun. You know they won't last long enough to catch a cold."

And sure enough, not five minutes later, both boys ran back in, dragging large clumps of snow with them as they shook off in the doorway of the kitchen. Gilbert and Matthew helped them pull off their boots and coats, sweeping the snow out the door as the boys were ushered by Matthew to the back to take a warm bath and change into real clothes for the day as Alfred would be stopping by later on, likely with more gifts (that Gilbert would shove in the closet).

The boys had played with their toys until their uncle had arrived, promptly grabbing the two up over his shoulders causing bouts of laughter. He'd endulged them with games and rough housing as Gilbert and Matthew made dinner for the group. They ate Alfred's traditional Turkey and dressing (with some wurst and beer thrown in on the side), chatting comfortably at the dinner table while Gilbert multi-tasked between taking bites and bottle feeding Alberta, something he always enjoyed emensely.

Later in the evening, Alfred bid them all a goodnight, hugging them each in turn and kissing the boys on the cheek before waving himself off towards home as the sun set. The boys were rounded up into their room, toys put away in their proper locations. Alberta had fallen asleep early in the evening, all the excitement of the day wearing the infant out and was sound and snug in her crib. As the evening wore down, Lukas and Jacques slid into their respective beds, listening as their fathers read them a story together, each slowly drifting off into the world of dreams to words of fairy tales, chivalry and valor. With a kiss on the forehead and a brush of fingers through soft blonde hair, the door was closed to their room and the blissful parents strode slowly towards their own room, the haze of the day washing over them and creating a heavy sensation of peace. Hands intertwined, they stopped at the door to their own bedroom, sharing a slow, loving kiss.

"Merry Christmas, Birdie."

"Merry Christmas, Gilbert." A warm smile accompanied the reply, gentle hands pulling the taller man into their room and closing the door quietly behind them.