The stars still hung in the skies early christmas morn and everything was peaceful and still much like most of the early songs of yule proclaimed. Nothing stirred, not even mouses who were more then likely snuggled in their little mouse beds. The lights that adorned Graiestones twinkled comfortingly, like a beacon in the night. Darryn Lachesis had spent hours up there on the roof, braving a precarious tumble down its turrets just so that the house would look in his words, "Absolutely gorgeous". And it did in its own right. For Graiestones glittered like an open chest of treasured jewels.
The house was still inside as well, no less glittery for christmas lights sparkled in the front room, strings of holly and tinsel lined edges of the doorways and little memories of Christmas past lay scattered here and there and the homey aromas of cinnamon and evergreen created an ambiance of home, family, love.
It was quiet but yet not -everyone- was sleeping. A soft soft of padded footsteps bounded down the stairs and a head peeked out from around the corner, looking into the front room with keen interest before he dropped to his hands and knees to army crawl toward the living room. Yes Janus Cyrus Zeal hadn't been able to sleep for excitement over what Santa brought him and as much as Darryn harped about him not getting any presents because of the various naughty things he did through the course of the year, he didn't care. I mean he -tried- to be nice for the past month and he was repentant the last week of the holidays. Now it was payback and boy Santa had better dish out for tedious hours of 'being good' that he had faced. He wrinkled his pert nose at the thought of it and then continued his crawl, the jammies that he wore were a fire engine red that clashed completely with his white streaked purple and blue hair. Fortunately he was a child and didn't have to worry about color coordination quite yet.
He scrambled to his feet once he was clear of all the little creaks in the wooden floorboards and then stood there looking at the pile of presents that lay around the sparkling christmas tree, then his eyes darted to the filled stocking that hung from the fireplace.. he could see a few toys peeking out but the darkness didn't help him to discover what they were at the distance which he stood. Very casually he cast his eyes at the coffee table and blinked as he saw that the cookies that he had left were all gone, and the milk glass stood drained. He ran over there as fast as he could and peered at the glass before he caught sight of the form laying asleep on the couch.
Little brown eyes turned grey as he growled just a little and crawled up onto the couch. Keeping his balance firmly on the precarious edge, he looked down at Darryn's sleeping face and then crossed his arms over his small chest and huffed. Yep, the camera lay there on the table, untouched. A casual glance said that the exposures were still there meaning that Darryn fell asleep. That pissed little Janus off and he aimed a careful foot at Darryn's ribcage and then kicked... hard.
From dreams of sugerplums and fairies Darryn was jostled out of sleep by a sharp pain in his side. He woke up immediately and fell off the couch but not before running Janus off the couch with him so that they both fell to the floor but not before knocking the coffee table over.
"Damn Darryn, get your fat ass off me!" Came Janus' muffled little squeak. Darryn groaned and picked himself off the ground and looked down at Janus. He should of known better then to have fallen asleep on Christmas Eve especially considering this was the same routine -every- Yule. Janus waking up to poke around the Christmas tree to see how much he could sneak out of his stocking without his mother finding out.
"You better not let your mother hear you saying that else you are going to get your mouth washed out with soap." Darryn said groggily and then glanced at his expensive italian watch, he then raked his fingers through his hair, mumbling. "It is four in the morning, go back to bed."
Janus just looked up at Darryn with impunity, ignored the threat and put his hands on his hips. "Santa came you didn't come n' get me, ya got no picture specially when I gave you the camera. You fell asleep!!!" Janus brought down his foot on Darryn's own in a childlike rage but it didn't hurt because of the size of his feet in comparison to Janus's
"Well I was tired." Darryn said defensively and sat down on the couch to grab up his pillow and rest his head on it. Janus jumped up onto the couch and yanked the pillow out from under Darryn's head.
"Oh no you don't! If I am stayin up you're stayin up." Janus pouted and then plopped down on the couch beside Darryn, much like the sulky child that he was at least when he didn't get his own way.
"No one is forcing you to stay awake, brat prince." Darryn rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest, mimicing little Janus's mannerisms. "You know I bet you that stocking yonder is stuffed with coal."
"No it ain't." Janus averted his eyes to the stocking hanging on the mantle and squinted just a bit to discern the shadow on top of it. "It looks like the end of a toy truck." Janus guessed and started to wiggle around on the couch, all antsy because he wanted his stocking now.
"That is just to decieve you. He knows he has to work extra hard to con the conman." Darryn said with assurance.
"I ain't a con-man Darryn." Janus glanced over at Darryn as if he was smoking crack.
"You are like your father in more ways then you think."
"Oooooh! I gotta go wake up mommy and daddy!" Janus jumped up from the couch as the idea ran through his mind and he was almost off the couch but he felt Darryn grab the back of his pjs so he was just dangling there in the air while Darryn laughed at him. He attempted to kick Darryn but only got air. "Lemme go Darryn, else I'll kick your ass.. promise." Janus had a mutinous expression on his face.
"You seem to want to kick everyone's ass these days however I am going to go safely deposit and lock you in your room until a more reasonable time.. like nine." Darryn said as he got up from the couch, still holding Janus by the back of his PJs. It was easy considering that Janus was three years old and still very elvish and petite.
"Nine?!?! That is.." Janus started to use his fingers to count away the hours but since he didn't really know how to count that well he improvised, "..tons of hours away!"
Darryn walked up the stairs with Janus in tow and chuckled to himself, "This is your mom and dad's first christmas together, and I am going to make sure that they enjoy it without you waking them up at an ungodly hour of the morning."
"That's nice cuz I don't believe in god!" Janus grimaced as Darryn opened the door to his room and set him down in there and quickly closed the door and turned the key in the lock which they used so that Darryn didn't go down to the living room to watch TV during the night, it was logical especially when Darryn had his little suite of rooms complete with a bathroom. "Darryn lemme out!" He started to bang on the door and then kicked too. "I'll tell mommy on you!"
"You do that but I will laugh when she thanks me." Darryn grinned and then walked off to get a few more hours of sleep down in the living room, of course too dense to wonder how Janus got out of his room in the first place.
Janus smiled and took out of his jammies one of his mother's hair pins, bent it and started to pick the lock much like Uncle Toma taught him to do. Uncle Toma must be good for something he thought to himself as he heard the door click with the familar sound of the lock disengaging. He bounded out of the room and made his way to the stairway leading up to the third story where mommy and daddy's room was. By golly he was going to get his presents now.
Magus held Corrine in his arms and snuggled them even deeper under the covers where the coldness of December could not get to them. It had been a new expirience for him this Christmas and it was the first one that he spent away from Zeal in a long time. Usually a christmas at Zeal had entailed staying around when he would of much rather spent time alone in his lab, meeting people that he cared little less then a fig for and watching Violetta and Setzer do the lovey dovey thing while he sat and watched with acute envy while appearing to act nonchalant. Not this year though and he had the warm body lying next to him to prove it.
There was no more loneliness for him, after all he had a family to share the holidays with. The most beautiful woman on the face of the earth sharing his home, heart and bed as well as a child that he delighted in for in the child he saw incredible magic potential.. that is if he could dig behind the little tyke's mischief making exterior. This is what he had wanted since almost the first time that he laid eyes on Corrine, this had been what he was willing to give up wrecking vengeance on Lavos for. After long last it had come, his time and he wasn't going to give it up for anything.
He burrowed his face against Corrine's neck and in his drowsy half sleep he didn't even hear the door squeaking open. Usually he was so quick to react to little disturbances like these but they didn't surprise him at all now because during storms Janus would hightail it to their bed to snuggle up between them.. and when the door was locked, well it was locked and Janus could very well bug Darryn about anything that he needed.
He then felt the bed move in several different places as a weight fell onto the foot of the bed, he groaned and opened one eye to peek out of the covers and saw Janus's smiling face sitting there. "Shouldn't you be in bed?" He rasped and shot a glance at the clock on the night stand which proudly read 4:30.
"Merry Christmas!" Janus chimed cheerfully and tilted his head to the side. "Mommy wake up, its Christmas. There's presents to open! Hurry up I want my presents." All came out of Janus's mouth in a flurry of good cheer.
Corrine stirred in bed and peeked over the edge over the covers, obviously tired. She smiled ever so slightly and shifted to look up at Magus. "Yes, he does this -every- year. You might as well get used to it." Corrine said softly as she leaned up to place a light kiss on the tip of his nose before attempting to reason with Janus. "I think you should go back down to your room and rest until me and daddy both decide to wake up."
"How can you -sleep- on Christmas?" Janus said with horror and just sat there with his eyes wide in shock. To his child mind he couldn't comprehend the fact that his parent's world didn't revolve around goodies and presents.
"We can sleep because you kept us up til midnight watching Rudolph the Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and all the other Christmas movies that you enjoy." Corrine retorted in that way that she had with dealing with their child. It never failed to impress Magus.
"But I ain't tired." Janus said as if that was a valid reason why they shouldn't be tired either.
"Tell you what imp.. " Corrine said and snuggled back underneath the covers. "You can wake Darryn up and have him get down your stocking for you. That oughta keep you occupied until after breakfast."
"Why can't we wait to have breakfast -after- presents?" Janus said, deciding to argue his point for the hell of it. Magus raised a brow and chuckled slightly.
"Do you -want- your stocking now? I am sure you could always wait until later for that."
Janus's mouth formed an oh and he knew instantly that he had been beat. So he jumped off the bed and bounded out the door with a gleeful grin over at least winning the battle in terms of getting the stocking. Down the stairs he ran loud enough to wake the dead, "Hay Darryn.. mom and dad says I can open my stocking!"
"How the hell did you get out of your room!?" They heard the faint voice of Darryn's echo in the living room. Both Corrine and Magus giggled and then curled underneath the covers to let sleep engulf him however with the racket that Janus was making downstairs it was virtually impossible so they basked in the warmth.
"You know, a few years ago I wouldn't of been able to imagine myself in this atmosphere." Magus nudged at her shoulder and looked into Corrine's sleepy purple eyes with little concealed amusement.
"You couldn't.. but I could. Now your brother is a different story." Corrine inched closer to Magus and wrapped her legs around one of his.
"Let's not talk about Setzer right now." Magus grinned and shifted so that he was staring up at the ceiling. Corrine shifted so that she was looking down at him, her long silvery hair tickling at his nostril, there was a smile on her lips to rival any of the angels in heaven, or at least he thought so.
"Of course not." Corrine murmured and then rested her head into the crook of Magus's arm, tickling the flannel covered underarm because she knew that he was extremely ticklish there.
"Hey hey hey.." Magus murmured and tried to roll away from Corrine however she was lying straight on his arm and thereby prevented his movement.
"You can't escape me." Corrine said with a laughing grin and then Magus paused to look up at Corrine's face and smiled just a bit. Having gotten his heart's desire, it didn't matter for he had no wish nor need to ever escape her.
"I think you have it the other way around." Magus murmured as reversed the tackle and without hesitation held Corrine without mercy nor hope of escape. "-You- can't escape me." He chuckled though there was a bit of seriousness to his voice that shadowed the lightness. Corrine knew what he meant and felt almost remorseful for what she had put him through. Very gently with her free hand she reached up her hand to stroke over his smooth pale cheek.
"You have my promise, Magus. I will never leave you again, call it a Christmas promise if you want. I know we talked about it since and likewise I know how hurt you were at the time."
"That is in the past Corrine. I have you and our son now, we are celebrating Christmas in our own family atmosphere and I couldn't be happier" Sincerity could be read within the depths of Magus's eyes and it made Corrine immensely satisfied to know that he was happy and that she had been instrumental in that happiness.
And so they lay there until the first rays of dawn started to seep through their curtains. They cherished the warmth and intimacy that lay between them, cherishing this christmas as the first of many that they would be together and knowing that this was just the beginning of today and forever