Tree Star

by Jane Davitt

Snow, wet, chilly and invasive, had found its way inside the collar of Jim's heavy jacket and was trickling (still wet, still cold) down his neck as it melted. He could stop the trickle by letting his head fall back onto the packed snow he was using as a pillow, but then more would work its way -- oh, the hell with it.

It was just water.

Blair smiled down at him and Jim smiled back, perfectly content, despite the snow and the way chunks of it were dropping off the branches of the tree they were lying next to.

"Hey," Blair whispered, the word hanging in the frosty air. "Want to take this inside where it's warm?"

"You're the one who tripped me, Chief." And landed on him, astonishingly warm lips finding Jim's numb ones, incredibly cold hands working their way up inside Jim's sweater. "You could have waited until we were back at the cabin."

Blair snorted. "Waited? Man, we've waited --"

"Too long. I know." Jim picked up a handful of snow, too dry to do more than crumble, and tossed it at Blair, watching it powder his thick hair and blue knitted hat. "But I was worth it."

"Isn't that my line?" Blair pursed his lips reprovingly, which just made Jim want to kiss him again.

He leaned up on one elbow and cupped Blair's face with his hand, intending to do just that. A glimmer of light distracted him; he glanced up and then smiled. "Look."

"Huh?" Blair squinted up at the tree and his face softened. "That's pretty cool."

From where they lay, the fir tree beside them was decorated in festoons of white snow and sparkles of frost -- and at the tip, tangled in the branches by some trick of angles and perspective, was a star, bright and twinkling.

"And since you're under the tree and if I believed in Santa, you'd definitely be at the top of my wish list, does that mean I get to unwrap you?"

The trickle of snow, not noticeably warmer, reached Jim's back and he shivered. "Sure. But you're going to have to do some more waiting."

"Until tomorrow?" Blair sounded flatteringly horrified by the idea.

Jim got to his feet and hauled Blair up. "Are you kidding? Until we're somewhere warmer. So get your ass moving."

"Sir, yes, sir," Blair said smartly, snapping to attention as best he could in six inches of snow.

Jim narrowed his eyes suspiciously and got a look of limpid innocence in return -- followed by a fistful of snow crammed down his collar a moment later.

Chasing Blair back to the cabin warmed them both up nicely, though.

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