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Roasted Chestnut #4; Coffee #26

Author: Regret
Rating: PG
Story: Unnamed Steampunk [if I carry on like this that will end up being its name]
Challenge: Roasted Chestnut #4 - Tinsel; Coffee #26 - Hook
Word Count: 1,152
Summary: Kirill asks Niko about Christmas decorations, only to find he has none—except it turns out that's no impediment to actually having any, when your lover is a talented mechanic.
Notes: I give in, I want to write Christmas stories and I do love these two, even with their complicated past. Also, this is the story loitering in my head that inspired the Unravel AU... turns out it probably made more sense to just write this.


Kirill waited until Niko finished hammering the sheet of metal until he tried speaking, and even then it came out more quietly tentative than he’d hoped. “Um, Niko, where do you keep your Christmas decorations?”

Since he was working, he’d expected a distracted but direct answer, not for Niko to push his goggles up to his forehead and give Kirill a blank stare. “Decorations?”

Perhaps he’d been even quieter than he thought, or maybe Niko’s ears were still ringing. “Your Christmas decorations... are they in the attic?”

Niko looked from Kirill to the beaten metal on the table, then back again with a sigh. “Even if I thought they’d have survived the explosion,” he said, smiling faintly, “I never really bothered decorating the house anyway. I didn’t have any.”

“Oh...” Of course. There were so many things that had needed rescuing, those would have been at the bottom of the list even if they’d existed in the first place. He felt suddenly foolish, letting his gaze slide from Niko to the floor. “I’m sorry.”

Niko snorted. “If I didn’t need this panel I’d whack you over the head with it. Why are you apologising?”

“It was a stupid question.” He raised his eyes again, and hurriedly continued before Niko could open his mouth to admonish him. “If you’d wanted me to... to do anything, you’d have told me so.”

Laying down both the hammer and the tool he was using to grasp the sheet, the older man padded across the workroom floor and pulled Kirill through the door, wrapping him in a tight hug before he could object. “I wouldn’t tell you to do anything,” he murmured into Kirill’s thick hair, “you know how I feel about that.”

Kirill mouthed I’m sorry against Niko’s shoulder; judging from the way the arms around him tightened, it hadn’t gone unnoticed. He found his arms wrapped around Niko’s waist without realising it, nestling closer and breathing in the heady scent of warm man and the tang of metal. “It wouldn’t be appropriate anyway, would it? If you don’t celebrate it, and this isn’t your house, and—”

His eyes widened as hands gripped his shoulders, not too hard but enough to startle, and pushed him back a step until he squirmed under Niko’s golden stare. “I didn’t say I don’t celebrate it,” he said gently. “I just don’t decorate, it’s not fun on my own. But now there’s you and I can’t think of anything I’d like more.”

There was that tightness in his chest again, the one that gripped his heart every time Niko looked at him like that. The one that he had the odd feeling might be love. “But you don’t have anything...”

When Niko grinned it lit up his face and rendered him almost childlike. “Then we’re just going to have to make our own, aren’t we?”

“What about your project—?”

“It can wait. Come on.” Niko grabbed his hand and pulled him deeper into the recesses of the workshop.

* * *

“That’s it, you’re getting the hang of it now.” The pride in Niko’s voice heated Kirill’s cheeks. “I know making small ones is throwing you in at the deep end but you’re doing so well.”

It didn’t feel like it but he’d take any praise Niko offered, especially while he was struggling with the ever-growing length of chain snaking across the worktop. The dull copper colour didn’t look particularly festive, not compared with the lavish decorations he’d helped arrange in the Gamble’s household—one of the few highlights of the season there—but Niko had assured him that once there was enough they could work on that.

“Okay, I think that’s long enough now.” Niko picked up his own grip and a pair of fine pliers and expertly twisted a hook onto the end of his own delicate chain. Like everything else he did, he made it look so effortless it was breathtaking.

It was conspicuously less effortless when Kirill did it, and his chain was rather less delicate, but he couldn’t help the small surge of pride at his first attempt nonetheless. There was just one thing... “Um, Niko? What’s it actually for?”

Niko lifted Kirill’s chain, balancing the hook on his forefinger, and grinned at his lover. “It’s tinsel.”

He prided himself on not openly gaping, no matter how weird the phrases he was met with. He almost didn’t succeed in keeping his composure this time. “Isn’t tinsel usually made out of paper?”

The grin never faltered. If anything, it grew. “I’m a mechanic, what better than decorative chains made by me and my gorgeous apprentice?”

Warmth flooded his cheeks again; he ducked his head, looking at the tools rather than his lover. “That... I mean, that makes sense... but...”

An arm circled his neck, tugging him sideways against the comforting wall of Niko’s chest. “Don’t you dare disagree with me.” A kiss pressed against his temple and he felt his face heat again. “You know I love you.”

Kirill nodded, burying his face against Niko’s neck to hide his embarrassment and managed to murmur, muffled against the older man’s skin, “I love you too.”

Niko gently nuzzled against him, then let his arm slide down to Kirill’s shoulder. “You do realise we’ve got a lot more of these to make if we’re going to decorate the tree with them?”

“Tree?” He mumbled, not wanting to tear himself away from Niko.

“It wouldn’t be Christmas without a tree, would it?” Niko squeezed his shoulder gently. “Are you going to help me pick one?”

His heart sank. “I don’t know anything about trees.” But why would Niko know that? He was careful not to ask about Kirill’s previous owners unless absolutely necessary, and Kirill never volunteered anything.

Far from sounding disappointed in him, Niko sounded decisive. “Then I’ll teach you. It’s pretty simple. But before then,” he added reluctantly, his hand dropping away from the younger man, “we should carry on making these.”

Kirill stepped back with a nod and reaching for his tools— only to hesitate as a light hand caught his chin, turning his head to meet Niko’s warm, soft lips. It wasn’t fair how much power these kisses had over him, but he wouldn’t stop them for the world.

“If we can get another ten of these done each,” Niko said breathlessly as they separated again, “then we’ll take a break. Does that sound good?”

He nodded, licking tentatively at his lips and the taste of Niko on them, and returned his attention to the short cylinders of soft metal scattered across the work desk. The heat radiating from the man beside him was a reassuring presence as he began working, unable to stop the faint smile tugging at the corners of his lips. At least with practice he’d get better at making these intricate metal ribbons. Maybe ten chains wasn’t so long to wait after all.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
roisin_farrell
Dec. 17th, 2013 10:19 pm (UTC)
These two are so cute!
nothingtoregret
Dec. 27th, 2013 09:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you! But I'm worried, even I find them cute! I started out writing a novella with them both and it takes a while for them to meet. I worried that when they did, they wouldn't get along... I guess I didn't need to, even with all Kir's shyness.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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