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It's December 23rd when the first flakes of snow start to fall. Loki rushes out to cover the plants while Sif just laughs as the old sheets he's using billow around him. You could help, you know he shouts from the balcony of their apartment, but it's lost to the wind and the cloud of steam that escapes as he breathes.

She takes pity on him when a corner of the blanket hits him in the face and helps him tie down the ends. She admires his dedication to the greenery on their balcony considering she has the opposite of a green thumb.

When his task is done he snakes his arm around her waist, drawing her into his loose embrace. He sneaks his hands beneath her shirt and she hisses when the icicles his hands have become touch her skin.

She leans into him, warming him though she knows it won't do much good. He is perpetually colder than her by several degrees much to her chagrin. There have been many nights when he crawls into bed hours after her and wakes her with his ice cold toes.

I've made some cocoa she says into his sweater. His only reply is a whispered okay but he doesn't drop his hands from her waist. He's never been one for hot chocolate, for chocolate at all really. That is her vice. But still, Sif makes extra any time she makes it. It usually sits on the kitchen counter, growing colder by the minute until she admits defeat and rinses out the cup until next time. Sometimes she takes it into his studio where she'll find it later with several paintbrushes sticking out of it. She imagines his face when he realizes he's taken a sip from his water cup instead and laughs into the softness of his chest.

They stand on the balcony for several more moments before she almost can't stand it anymore and tugs him inside. The temperature is dropping rapidly and the weather person on the news is calling for record numbers of snow during the next few days.

You should call your mother Sif says, grabbing her cocoa from the counter. The cup is a bright red with dancing reindeer on it, a gift from an over eager coworker two years ago. Loki hates it and glares whenever she brings it out. Sif laughs every time.

For what reason? he asks as he closes the sliding doors. She watches him for a moment, the way the outdoor lights shine along his profile, so pale against the inky blackness of the night sky.

To tell her we most likely won't be round tomorrow evening on account of the snow she replies, nodding towards the still airing weather report on the television. Loki follows her line of sight and sighs as the weather person again mentions the record snow.

It's too late now, love. I'll call her in the morning he says with a sigh and turns away from the television. He is not looking forward to the disappointment he knows he will hear in his mother's voice. Frigga had been pushing for Loki and Sif to come home this year, to visit with Thor and Jane, to see his father while Odin was still alive. Loki, however, is secretly thrilled that there is a possibility he wouldn't have to go to his parents'. Though they love Sif and welcome the both of them with loving arms, he still struggles with his lingering feelings for his family members.

Sif watches him as she sips her cocoa, watches the emotions play on his face as he thinks about talking to his mother in the morning. She knows how he feels about spending holiday time with them, how those childhood memories play in his head when he thinks about them. She can see it on his face that he is slightly nervous and already knows she'll be the one to call Frigga in the morning. She understands his hesitation but knows there is not much she can do for him other than let him be for the moment.

So it comes as no surprise to her when he looks over his shoulder at her an tells her he'll be in his studio. Knowing him he will be in there the rest of the night, will come to bed in the early hours of the morning, fingers covered in paint, feet frozen from being barefoot on the concrete floor. His skin will be cool and clammy from where the sweat has cooled against his skin but she will still turn in his arms and bury her face in his chest and it will be the only thing to calm his racing heart until the next time.

Goodnight, Loki Sif says to his retreating back.

 

On December 24th, she wakes up with her head on his chest and their hands intertwined. He's still asleep when she finally looks up after blinking out the sleep from her eyes. There's still paint on his nose from where he must have rubbed it, but he looks peaceful and she watches him for several moments.

Sif never gets to see him like this, relaxed and with nothing weighing on his mind like it does so often when he's awake. The morning sun reflecting off his pale skin, a stark contrast to his dark hair, makes him look younger than he is. She wishes, sometimes, that they could go back to those years, before he knew about his family and his heritage, back when Loki and Thor and she were all still able to be friends, to be with each other without the awkwardness and stiltedness of conversation. She knows that Loki loves his brother, but the relationships between him and Thor, between him and his father, struggle to be repaired.

She watches him in the morning light, his pink lips parted slightly and his breath slow to pass between them. She remembers their first kiss, angry and fearful and passionate. She'll never regret that moment.

She feels him wake, slowly and then all at once, his heartbeat stuttering when he feels her against his chest. Sif smiles when she hears it, smirking up at him as he blinks open his eyes.

Morning he whispers and his voice is gruff and deep, sending a jolt down into the pit of her stomach. She unlaces their fingers and pushes herself up until she's hovering over his face. She greets him good morning in return and then presses her mouth to his, humming when he sinks further into the pillows.

Eventually, he slides away from her, leaving her alone in the bed with a pout on her face. She stretches, listens to him making coffee and toast, opening windows. She never tires of their routines, is glad of it really.

He comes back into the bedroom before the coffee is done, a grin on his face that reminds Sif of the cat that got the canary. She's wary of him at once and glares at him as he goes towards the window. What's got you in such a mood? she asks. Loki huffs a laugh as he turns towards the curtains, drawing them apart. Sif has to blink away the stars in her eyes from the brightness that comes trailing in. Everything she can see from her vantage point in bed is covered in pure white snow.

We won't be going anywhere today he says, throwing a smirk over his shoulder as he heads back into the kitchen. She yells back at him to call his mother, even as she's dialing the number herself.

Frigga is understanding, as is Thor when Sif talks to him as well. She's off the phone by the time Loki comes back with two steaming mugs of coffee and a pile of buttered toast on a plate. Looks like it's your lucky day, Loki she says around a bite of toast.

In a rare act of romance he replies Every day's a lucky day with you.

 

It's still snowing on December 25th, but this morning Sif wakes to find Loki has already gotten out of bed. She stretches before flinging the covers back from the bed, instantly chilled as the cold air hits her bare legs. She calls for Loki, listening for his answer as she turns the heat on.

She finds him in his studio, barefoot and in sleep pants, his sweatshirt hanging off his thin frame. He's got a paintbrush clenched between his teeth, one hanging from his right hand and his left hand pushing his hair out of his face.

Sif watches him for a moment, the way his eyes rake over his canvas with a ferocity she hardly sees anymore. She watches the way his jaw flexes as he works out the next brush stroke. She watches how strong his fingers move across the painting.

As she steps into the studio she glances out the window to the even higher layer of snow that covers the city. Really won't be going anywhere now she says as she walks over to him. She watches him carefully as she approaches, waiting for him to stop her like he used to do.

It had been months since he'd been comfortable enough with himself to let her join him in the studio, but she was still cautious when coming in without an invitation. But this morning he doesn't say or do anything as she comes in.

In fact, it's as if he relaxes more and more with every step she takes into the room. When she's next to him and slips her arm across his back and around his waist, he leans into her embrace and she can feel the tension melt away under her hands.

Morning he says around the paintbrush before gathering them all up and dropping them into his water cup. He leans over her to press and kiss to her mouth, huffing a laugh when he pulls away to find a spot of paint on her upper lip. Sif returns his greeting and turns to look at his painting.

What she sees gorgeous, an explosion of color that makes her heart soar as her eyes travel over the canvas. Loki she whispers and she can't take her eyes off the work of art. His artwork always takes her breath away, but this is something else.

She wants to ask him what it is, who it's inspired by, but she can already tell. The blend of colors, the way they move together as if pushing away from each other while pulling into themselves. The way each stroke is working with and against the next in a wild fight for space on the canvas. Sif knows exactly what these are, who they represent.

She finally breaks her gaze from the painting, turning in Loki's arms as they come around her and burying herself in his chest. It's beautiful she says. It's us he replies.