Gus balanced an old pair of sunglasses above the cone shell doubling as a nose and turned to Mike, smiling triumphantly. “Ta-da! It’s done!”
He looked so happy and carefree, beaming gleefully as he stood proudly next to his creation, and Mike just had to pull him into his arms.
“Yeah, it sure is,” he laughed and pressed a quick kiss to sun-warmed hair.
Gus had decided that it just wouldn’t be Christmas without building a snowman. Of course, Bermuda was a little short on snow so he’d dragged Mike out to the beach and had proceeded to build a pretty impressive sandman instead. Mike had helped, finding the shells for the features and grudgingly donating one of his floral shirts for it to wear. Gus’s delighted grin and grateful kisses had ensured that he hadn’t minded all that much anyway.
“Thank you,” Gus said, wrapping his arms around Mike’s back and smiling up at him, their bare feet just touching in the warm sand.
“For making this holiday so good,” Gus said. “It’s been a while since I’ve felt like celebrating - losing Kyle and then Tommy and Stu - but you’ve made me feel some of the joy again.”
Mike felt his throat catch. Gus was always so open, just came right out and said these things, whereas he had never found it easy to express his feelings. But he was slowly learning to let go and find the words too. “Me too,” he said, smiling into Gus’s contented blue gaze. “You’ve made me feel that too, babe.”
Gus’s smile widened and he reached into Mike’s hair, pulling him down into a kiss. His lips were soft and mobile and Mike lost himself for a while, the soft rhythmic sound of the ocean and the occasional cry of a solitary gull their only accompaniment.
“We should really be getting back,” Gus murmured eventually. “Turkey’ll be nearly ready.”
“Mmmm,” Mike nodded, not letting go.
“I mean it,” Gus laughed against Mike’s mouth, not exactly struggling to get away. “And there’s that ham Francine got us; don’t think I haven’t noticed the bits going missing from that.”
“Quality control,” Mike muttered, pressing kisses across Gus’s cheeks and neck. “Just making sure it was okay.”
“Uh-huh,” Gus snorted and slid his hands into the pockets of Mike’s cut-offs, the heat from his palms warming Mike’s ass and drawing him in closer. “Besides,” he said, voice dipping low as he squeezed firmly, “there’s still this present that I want to unwrap.”
Mike groaned and nodded quickly. “You’re right, we’d better get back. Can’t let that turkey burn.” He pulled Gus in for a final smack of a kiss and then grabbed his hand. “Home… now!”
Gus’s easy laughter followed them as they ran up the beach.