Saturday, 15 February 2014

Short Story: Valentines Day

Rating: PG
Universe: Unnamed Steampunk
Word Count: 1,128
Summary: Kirill and Niko celebrate Valentine's Day in their own way...

Kirill woke to an empty bed, and did his best to crush his disappointment.  It wasn’t the first time and it wouldn’t be the last, but it didn’t mean he liked it.  Niko had three commissions to work on—three, a headache-inducing amount to keep track of, even for him—and if he’d risen before Kirill, he must be in a particularly determined mood.  He admired his dedication, he really did, but sometimes...

________________________________________________________

      Kirill woke to an empty bed, and did his best to crush his disappointment.  It wasn’t the first time and it wouldn’t be the last, but it didn’t mean he liked it.  Niko had three commissions to work on—three, a headache-inducing amount to keep track of, even for him—and if he’d risen before Kirill, he must be in a particularly determined mood.  He admired his dedication, he really did, but sometimes...

   There was no point in getting upset.  Niko would do what Niko wanted and Kirill had as much chance of changing his mind as a snowflake had of driving a carriage.  He flopped over onto his stomach and let his arm stray onto Niko’s side of the bed.  Still warm, a little bit of comfort.  That would be enough until he rose, which looked like it’d be any time now.

   “Kir?”  The soft voice from the doorway made him start, jerking against the mattress.  “Are you awake?”

   He rolled onto his back again, eyes widening at the sight of the dishevelled blond man with a tray piled high.  “I thought you were working,” he blurted out, then clamped his mouth shut, feeling his cheeks redden.

   “You could say that.”  Niko grinned, padding soundlessly to the bed to sit the tray on its stands over Kirill’s legs.  “You know how difficult it is waking up before you do?”

   He pushed himself up and found his jaw miraculously falling open again.  The tray contained a still-steaming cafetière and two cups, along with a full toast rack and, separately, another slice topped with scrambled eggs.  “I...  But...?”

   Niko took pity on his confusion with a soft kiss.  “It’s Valentine’s day.”

   Kirill just stared at him until faint memories began to return.  Mrs. Gamble had a special breakfast served early once a year; he’d done the serving and paid no attention to the date or meaning attached to the occasion.  “I don’t really understand,” he finally confessed.

   “It’s a day for doing something nice for the person you love.”  Niko sat beside him on the bed and began to pour the coffee.

   Really?  But he had no idea—  “I’m sorry, I didn’t know.”  The heat in his cheeks grew worse; he really was useless after all.

   Niko carefully set the cafetière down, then his hand was cradling Kirill’s cheek and his lips pressed against his own.  It was still unfair, still cheating, how could he argue when he kissed him?  “You do so much for me,” Niko murmured when they parted again.  “So let today be my way of saying thank you and don’t worry about anything.”

   It was ridiculous, but he said it with such sincerity Kirill couldn’t find it in him to argue.  Instead he sipped at his coffee and sneaked a peek at Niko.  He spotted it immediately, of course, and grinned as he drank his own, but Kirill was sure it wasn’t possible for him to blush any harder than he already was.  “What about your work?”

   “It can wait.  Today, you’re the most important person in the world.”  His grin widened; perhaps it was possible to blush harder after all.  “Today we do anything you want.  Absolutely anything.”

   Anything?  He took another sip and eyed the tempting heap of scrambled yellow.  He was pretty sure Niko had already fulfilled every wish he had just by being there.  Even if saying that aloud might just make him finally spontaneously combust from embarrassment.

   From the way Niko smiled as he passed him a knife and fork, he didn’t need to speak it for him to know, and that was the real comfort.

* * *

   “Your wish list for the day was surprisingly short,” Niko said, settling onto the sofa and patting the cushion between his legs.  “I thought you’d have me cleaning the house from top to bottom and serving you sweetmeats from my fingers at the same time.”

   Settling into place with his back against Niko’s chest, he couldn’t help his alarm.  “Really?”

   Niko laughed and pressed a kiss to the top of Kirill’s head.  “Of course not, but I thought you’d want to... I don’t know, do more.  Go shopping, or to the theatre, or something.”

   “We went for a walk,” he said softly, running his hands along Niko’s thighs until his elbows rested comfortably in position.  “I got to spend the day with you, that’s all I wanted.”

   “You spend every day with me,” Niko said, settling his hands over Kirill’s.  “Why is this day better?”

   It was hard to explain and he wasn’t sure he had the words.  “You’re not busy, and neither am I.”  It didn’t sound adequate; he tried again.  “I mean, you’ve got so much work and it’s so hard to keep up, and...”

   Another kiss warmed his crown.  “I know what you mean.  That’s why today was for you.  I know it’s not good enough, but for once I wanted to look  after you, even if it was just one day.  Does that make sense?”

   Maybe that was why Mr. Gamble had arranged for breakfast in bed for the mistress, but for the first time he wondered if it’d have meant more coming from him rather than from her slave.  It certainly meant a lot more coming from Niko than it would have from anyone else under his command.  “Yes, but...”

   “No buts.”  Another kiss tickled his hair.  “Tell me what else you’d like.”

   “It’s late,” he protested.

   “I don’t care.”

   Kirill hesitated.  It was a lot to ask, but it really was his favourite thing...

   “Well?”  Niko began drawing idle shapes over the back of Kirill’s hands.  “Any ideas?”

   It sounded stupid, and was exactly what he didn’t want, but; “could you read to me?”

   Niko’s snort blew warmth over the top of his head, and for a moment he thought he’d say no.  “Any favourites?”

   “No.  I...”  Oh, now this really did sound stupid, but he did said he’d do anything.  “I just like hearing your voice.”

   For one awful moment he thought Niko would laugh, but instead he simply said, “will the principles of engineering do?”

   Kirill nodded, settling more closely against Niko.  “I don’t mind.”

   Niko laughed, only dislodging him slightly to retrieve the book from his coffee table.  “I’ll read it, but only on the proviso you don’t mind getting crumbs in your hair.  I’m a bit peckish, and the biscuit tray is right there.”

   He couldn’t help his own laugh.  “I think I can live with that.  Thank you.”

   Niko kissed his hair again, quite possibly the last un-crumbed one of the night, and snorted softly.  “You won’t be saying that in the morning.”

   He might not be, but in the warm embrace of his lover, he didn’t really think he’d care.


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