It was one of Grell’s most loved holidays, and one of her most hated. The sight of all that red was wonderful. However, paired with all that green…it was simply atrocious! Just plain, blech! There was also the added the expectation of being on her own for the holiday. No one to snuggle in front of a fire and drink hot cocoa with. Some things from their humans never changed in their new ones it seemed.
She had hoped upon waking in this new life that people would be more accepting of her sexuality, but this was not the case as many reapers still clung the virtues and beliefs drilled into their heads since infancy, hence her sour attitude most of her time at the academy. Her attitude had brightened considerably since meeting and subsequently falling on love with her exam partner, William T. Spears, however, he seemed to have no interest in her. Nor anyone for that matter. And perhaps she didn’t exactly love William at this point in time, she was definitely interested, if only he would give her a chance.
That’s why she was disappointed when she didn’t draw William’s name to be his secret Santa that year during their first Christmas as full fledged reapers. Instead she had drawn some Scotsman’s name who had a silly hair-do. She wondered who had gotten William’s, if she could persuade them to switch with her and if not, get something for William anyway. No one would tell her who they had gotten, so she ended up buying a cheap bottle of Scottish whiskey for her gift recipient. Not very imaginative perhaps, but she had other things on her mind.
She thought of possible gift ideas all day. Other ideas than putting a bow on her head and offering herself to him. She didn’t think that one would go over well.
It was the day of the gift exchange and she hadn’t come up with a single thing to get William. She did however, slip into dispatch early to try to catch her secret Santa leaving her present and see who it was. Alas, her gift was already waiting for her on her desk. Or, she assumed it was her gift. It wasn’t wrapped, but it seemed the person had decided last minute to slap a small red bow from the tree in the lobby on it.
Inside was a note and a (not red) glasses chain with (not red) silver skulls on it that hung just below her temples when she put them on her glasses. A few adjustments as she admired them from her compact mirror and it was perfect. It suited her perfectly. She then turned her attention to the note which said: Thought these might prove useful as you are always jumping about needlessly. Honestly.
William inwardly sighed as he read the name on the slip of paper he had withdrawn. There was no escaping this person, it seemed. Ever since their exam, the redhead had been pestering him. Not only was this whole exchange absurd, a waste of time and money, but he had not an idea of what to buy for that crazy redhead.
He heard many stories concerning Grelle Sutcliffe. He did not necessarily believe them, however, he wouldn’t deny their plausibility from what he had seen. But what had he seen? A flamboyant volatile man who could barely stand to be in his presence turn into this flirty fop at the mere sight of him all because William had what, bested him? Hit him? And now was craving his attention. What utter nonsense. What exactly was he supposed to gift to such a person? Honestly, they barely knew each other. As William wanted.
It was positively absurd. Yet he must conform, therefore, at his next earliest convenience (which it wasn’t) he took a seat in a convenient spot in the thick of a popular shopping district and watched the shoppers for some sort of an idea as to what he might purchase for Sutcliffe. He had thought to make it something useful instead of some meaningless knickknack or bauble that could serve no purpose other than to collect dust.
Daily office supplies were supplied by the Dispatch so it made no sense to purchase something readily supplied to him. He had briefly thought to buy him his own set of pens so he would stop “borrowing” William’s, however Sutcliffe would no doubt find a way around that as well and he could go fetch his own bloody pen. Blast, he was getting nowhere.
Getting up, he went home to sleep on it. As a means to relax, he started stringing together tiny black beads. His family had been in the jewelry business and naturally, he had learned the trade.
A he strung the beads together, he realized he could simply make Sutcliffe something, but he was still plagued with the question of what. Sutcliffe, though biologically male, was insisting lately that people address him as miss Sutcliffe. It stood reason that jewelry be a reasonable gift idea, if he were in fact female, however, he was not and men did not gift men jewelry. To William, such a gift was an intimate, or romantic gesture. To which he was neither intimate nor romantic with Sutcliffe or had any desire to be. He thought.
Yet he still continued to carefully string the beads with Sutcliffe in mind. A necklace perhaps? It was already too long for a bracelet. No. With the way Sutcliffe was always jumping about, he would likely loose the necklace somehow. With all the jumping about he did, William was surprised he hadn’t lost his glasses yet.
Now there was a thought.
William evaluated the length of the strand, and added a few more beads before attaching a tiny silver skull at each end. Ending with the appropriate finishing touches, William took one more look at his finished product. It would suit Sutcliffe perfectly, even though there was no red in it whatsoever. Satisfied, he placed it in a thin, plain jewelry case. There was no sense in purchasing a whole roll of gift wrap for just such a tiny present, so he did not bother wrapping it, but he did include a note inside.
On the morning of the exchange, he left earlier than usual with the present tucked in his pocket. Somebody had erected a large Christmas tree in the lobby and had it all decked out. Among the many decorations were little red bows. As William passed by, he paused and looked at the tree. Impulsively, he took a bow from the tree and when he placed the gift on Grell’s desk, he attached it. He walked away silently to get his morning coffee.
Grell had arrived by the time he mad it back, along with a few others and had already donned them. There was no possible way Sutcliffe could have known William was her secret Santa and yet she kept looking his way all the day long. More than usual it seemed. Someone had gifted William a mug that said, “#1 Prat” on it. Well, it was obvious what his Santa thought of him. Not that he cared much.
The day drew to a close. Thankfully Sutcliffe had left him alone all day despite the looks William had received, but now as they clocked out, Grell approached him.
“Evening, Will-darling,” she greeted.
“Did you know there is not one twig of mistletoe in this place?” she interrupted.
“I did not bother to look,” answered William, warily as he pulled on his overcoat and gloves. He reached for his scarf, but it wasn’t there. He wondered where it could have gone off to. He was certain he had placed it just there.
“Next year, we should rectify that, don’t you think?” she asked with a smile.
William did not answer. Instead he shoved his hands in his pockets and headed for the door, not all surprised when Sutcliffe followed. “Darling, where the devil is your scarf? It’s freezing out!” Grell mothered as they exited the building. Before he could reply, Grell had wrapped her own scarf around his neck. She quickly secured it and pecked him on the cheek. “Merry Christmas, keep warm!” she bid as she took off like a light before William could protest.
William would have taken it off and thrown it on the ground, if it hadn’t been so warm. And soft. And smelled like her, he noticed as he breathed her scent in deeply. He shook his head hard when he realized what he was doing. Besides, it didn’t belong to him and he should return it as soon as possible.
My Valentine’s Day Romione Drabble is a little late and I am sorry for that. This is my V-Day gift for all my awesome followers. Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!
Hermione stared at the partly open bathroom door through which the soothing sound of the shower drifted towards her. However, the morning was anything but soothing and way too early for her liking. She stifled a yawn and moved over to the chair over which Ron’s Auror robes lay, exactly the same way it had been discarded the night before; barely a handful hours ago. She pulled out a fresh set of trousers and dress shirt along with other necessary items and placed them next to his robes. Finally, she moved her wand in a practised motion over the robes. The mud and grime disappeared but some old and darker stains remained. She tried not to think how he had got those while also keeping the familiar jitters away; the same ones that were her constant companion when he was on one of his more dangerous missions.
Her thoughts were thankfully interrupted by the appearance of the man of her thoughts himself. Clad only in a white towel (that she recognised was her) and running his fingers through his wet hair, he looked remarkably like the twenty-year-old she had married.
Hermione was in his embrace even before she realised she had moved at all. His arms wrapped around her waist lifting her off the ground and she felt more than heard the soft sigh as he pressed his lips at her nape. Wrapping her arms tightly around his neck she breathed in deeply, snuggling as close as possible to his slightly damp torso. He smelled like toothpaste, fresh shower and something intrinsically Ron. She closed her eyes, soaking in the bliss of the moment that had become unbearably rare of late.
“I’ll be back sooner this time,” he said, his lips curled slightly in an attempt at a smile, and Hermione chuckled sadly, ignoring the tear that was threatening to spill out.
‘And stay longer?’ she wanted to plead but refrained. He needed her to be strong. Didn’t she know how much he craved to be with his family too?
She let go first because she knew she was only making it harder for him, and he pressed his lips to her forehead before lowering her to the ground gently. As he proceeded to get dressed, Hermione perched herself at the edge of the bed and watched. He had returned late the previous night after a mission that had kept him away from home for more than two weeks. The children had been ecstatic and she didn’t have the heart to separate them from their father. So she had watched instead as Ron helped Rosie with her batch of soft toys sorting them into houses, while at the same time, teaching Hugo how to train his toy dragon. He had pulled her into a hug which had soon become a tumble of sorts when the kids joined them. By the time she had tucked the two in their beds and returned Ron was lying partly on her pillow, snoring softly. She knew he was exhausted. So instead of waking him up she had snuggled in his arms and slept; the first peaceful night in many days.
Her thoughts were interrupted as she was pulled off the bed, her hands clasped firmly in his. Her arms wrapped around his neck urgently as she stood on her toes. Ron hunched a little before their lips melted together. There wasn’t enough time to say all that had to be said, but the kiss spoke a hundred silent words. It spoke of their longing and love. His lips promised her better times, and hers told him that she understood and was proud of him.
He kissed her on the cheek, unwilling to let go, holding on for just a little longer. Finally, she released him but Ron held on allowing his towering height and weight to rest on her for a second. Hermione stumbled backwards and they both chuckled at the familiarity of the action.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Mione. The next year will be better,” he promised. “And I’ll be back before you know.”