"I love this time of year." Timmy smiled, taking a deep breath then letting it out slowly. "The trees are beautiful with their fall colors and the air has that crisp clean feel to it that you don't get any other time."
"Those beautiful leaves have to be raked when they all over the front lawn." Donald groused as he shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. He hunched his shoulders under the heavy cable knit sweater he wore even though the temperatures were typical of early fall.
"Yes, but then there is snuggling in front of the fireplace afterwards." Timmy transferred Watson's leash to his other hand and slipped his now unfettered arm through Donald's in a show of amused affection.
"I always catch a cold when I have to spend the day raking the leaves." Despite the grumpiness of his tone a smile tugged at the corners of Donald's lips. They had this conversation every year until it felt as much a tradition of the season as carving pumpkins and sipping mulled wine instead of martinis. "Snuggling is good though. I'm a big fan of snuggling. In fact, if snuggling where an Olympic sport I would be a gold medalist."
"You would indeed. Perhaps we should start a petition to have it brought before the Olympic committee." Timmy chuckled, shifting closer as the pace of their steps slowed. "I thought I could convince you to see the virtues of this lovely season."
"I think I might have given in too soon." Donald pulled his hand from his pocket and entwined his now slightly warmed fingers through Timmy chilly ones. "I'm also a big fan of being convinced and from what I hear you are very good at it."
The depth and timber of Timmy's chuckle changed adding an undertone of promise to the amusement. "Who exactly did you hear that from and what did they say? A man in my position must be ever mindful of his reputation."
Donald drew himself up to his full height and mimed putting his hand on a bible. "I refuse to answer on the grounds that doing so might incriminate me." Relaxing back into his usual slight slouch he added with just a hint of a smirk, "My little pit bull."
"I thought I made it very clear that you and Senator Glassman were not allowed to talk to each other ever again." Timmy frowned though he was not able to maintain it for long. "The two of you sharing notes or God forbid conspiring together is enough to keep me up nights."
"That's my job." There was no mistaking the pride or the small hint of possessiveness behind those words, particularly when Donald's fingers tightened around Timmy's for the space of a moment.
"Yes it is and you do it very well. I've had only glowing comments on your yearly review."
"Is that right?" Donald slowed to a stop pulling Timmy into his arms for a quick kiss. "Is my performance good enough for a raise?"
Laughing softly Timmy bent his head to steal another kiss. "It always has been. Hard work should be rewarded and you are the hardest working man I know."
"Some things are worth working for." Donald ran a hand slowly and up down Timmy back bringing him closer with the guiding pressure of his touch. "Some people are too." The gentle softness in his eyes left no doubt that Timmy was at the top of Donald's some people list.
"Oh, Donald." Timmy's smile was a little wobbly as he reached up to cup the back of Donald's head, holding him close with a tenderness that spoke volumes of how precious he was. "I think I've had my fill of autumn appreciation for the moment. Right now I'd like to go home." Timmy ghosted his fingers over Donald's reddening cheek careful to keep Watson's leash from touching skin. "Maybe have some hot cider to warm up."
"And snuggle in front of the fire?" Donald's eyes twinkled and for a split second Timmy could see the eager little boy that his husband had once been.
"Yes," he said with a matching grin. "That was definitely part of the plan."