„It's over. Finally.“ Adrian slumped on a chair, his forehead coming to rest on the top of its backrest.
„You mean the press conference?“ Dan was reclining on the couch, his legs dangling over the armrest. He had been idly flipping through the channels, finding nothing to hold his interest in the dozens of stations Adrian's TV could receive. He had even tried the Japanese ones, but the novelty value had worn off after a while.
„No.“ Adrian straightened up, stretching, and that was a sight that always grabbed Dan's interest. Adrian stretched like a cat, his back arching, linked hands pushing towards the ceiling. Well, a winged cat. Which, Dan had to admit, only added to the appeal. He would never get enough of those huge wings, currently fanning out as if on display.
Adrain half-turned, rolling his head to relax his neck muscles. „I'm talking about Christmas. I swear, if I would have to have suffered through another „Hark the herald angels sing“ or „Angels we have heard on high“ I would have lost it. Not to mention all the ornaments and pageants and... do you even know how many people asked me to appear in their pageants?“
Dan chuckled, more at Adrian's incredulous, put-upon face than at the question. „I do, actually. I am your publicity guy when it comes to this, after all.“
„For which I am eternally grateful,“ Adrian said and got up, walking over to the couch to kiss Dan's forehead. „Thank you for keeping all those people away from me. Can you imagine, me in a Christmas pageant?“ He rolled his eyes.
Dan looked up at him, tilting his head: „Actually, I can.” He chuckled, a grin spreading over his face: “You, dressed in some old granny nightgown, with one of those plastic halos over your head...”
“That's not funny,” Adrian said, snorting, but from the slight twitching of the corners of Adrian's mouth, Dan could see that yeah, it was funny.
“Surrounded by a group of elementary school kids singing carols...” Dan was giggling now, his mind conjuring up the most precious and hilarious image of Adrian surrounded by a gaggle of kids dressed up as Joseph, Mary and a bunch of shepherds.
“Please, no more.” Adrian pulled a face: “You know I'm not good with children.”
“That's not true. Kids adore you. Half of them want to be you when they grow up!” It was true. Adrian got a lot of fan mail from children, sometimes even with adorable little drawings. Dan had put the best of them up on his office walls.
“Well, if they knew of the price that comes with it, I'm pretty sure they would reconsider wanting to be a winged superhero.” Adrian frowned, turning towards the huge windows that overlooked the Manhattan skyline. At this time of day, the city looked like an inverted sky, a million lights glittering in the darkness. “Do you want to know why I really dislike Christmas so much?”
“It reminds me that I am completely, utterly alone. I have always felt alone, disconnected from other people, but seeing how the only things that look even remotely like myself are nothing but plastic and wood? Dead, hollow things that are adored for a while and then put back into the box again? That really drives the point home.”
“But you're not alone.” Adrian's words had stung, and Dan couldn't keep the hurt out of his voice.
Adrian turned and closed the distance between them with a few steps, reaching out to take Dan's hand: “I didn't mean it like that. It's just... how to explain.” Adrian ran a hand through his hair, then shook his head: “I am the only one there is. I've always been. I try to connect by helping people, but in the end, there is always an invisible barrier that stands between me and most of humanity.”
“Did you ever stop to think that maybe you raised that barrier yourself?” Dan said, raising an eyebrow.
Adrian smirked: “Psychoanalyzing me again, Daniel?”
“More like taking a shot in the dark and still hitting something.”
“You do have quite a big target with me.” Adrian heaved a sigh, shaking his head, a smile slowly lighting up his features. “You know me all too well.” The smile turned into a playful grin: “You know that means that I can't let you go again? Who knows which one of my deep dark secrets you would use to blackmail me with.”
“I hope that's not the only reason you keep me around,” Dan chuckled, then flashed Adrian a cheeky grin: “As for blackmail, I don't need deep, dark secrets. I have a lifetime's worth of saucy bedroom stories.”
Chuckling, Adrian leaned forward until his hands were resting to both sides of Dan's head. Slowly, almost teasingly, he spread his wings, blocking out the light from the overhead lamp. “Not quite a lifetime yet, I think.”
“Oh, it's a work in progress,” Dan smirked, reaching up to pull Adrian into a kiss.