John stepped out of the transporter and into the warm night air of New Lantea. It was a beautiful night, with a bright moon and millions of stars to illuminate the path all the way to the figure at the end of the pier. Rodney was already waiting for him.
John smiled. Perfect.
Adjusting his grip on the basket he was carrying, John started walking. He took his time, relishing the weather, the night, the sight of Rodney waiting for him, and the anticipation of giving Rodney the best Christmas ever.
Rodney was scowling by the time John reached him. “What was that? Were you actually trying to meet me or did I interrupt your little meander around the city?”
“Next time I walk down an aisle toward you I promise to speed things up,” John said, bracing himself on Rodney’s shoulder and leaning down to steal a kiss from Rodney’s grumbling lips.
“What?” Rodney’s face scrunched up in confusion. “Aisle?”
“Besides,” John continued, ignoring Rodney, “I wanted to give you a chance to admire the view.”
Rodney gave him a once over. “It is a pretty spectacular one.” His eyes caught on the basket John was carrying. “Did you bring food? Because I don’t think I could possibly eat another bite - unless you brought more of that fudge? With the butterscotch chips?”
John placed the basket carefully on Rodney’s lap, not letting go until he was sure Rodney had a firm grip on it. “Merry Christmas, buddy.”
After giving John a surprised look, Rodney slowly opened the flap on the basket and gasped. A tiny kitten poked her head out to see what the commotion was about. She was mostly black, with a white belly and a triangle of white over her nose and extending to just between her ears. She was wearing a red bow with a little bell on it jingling as she crawled out of the basket and into Rodney’s lap.
“How? What? Oh, John,” Rodney babbled distractedly, already lost in stroking the now-purring kitten.
“Change in regulations,” John said simply.
Rodney tore his eyes away briefly to look up at John. “Thank you.” He turned his attention back to the kitten. “Does she have a name?”
“Not yet. I was thinking Puddlejumper.”
Rodney was no longer paying any attention to John. “What’s this?” he asked, picking up the still-nameless kitten (John was going to call her Puddlejumper regardless of what Rodney decided) and peering at the bell on her bow.
Tied on the bow, nestled tight against the bell, was a simple silver ring. John sat down next to Rodney, and leaned over to pull the ring off of the wiggling kitten. “It’s the other half of your Christmas present,” John said, holding the ring out to Rodney. “If you want it.” If you want me. he added silently, holding his breath.
“Well, damn,” Rodney said. John’s heart skipped a beat, but Rodney was smiling and holding his left hand out. John, feeling more relief than anything else, slipped it onto Rodney’s finger.
Rodney used his newly adorned hand to pull John into a bruising kiss until Puddlejumper interrupted with an annoyed mewling sound. John smiled - jealous, demanding little thing. She was definitely Rodney’s kitten.
“Damn?” he asked.
Rodney shrugged and smiled. “It’s still in my room, but I got you the exact same thing.”
John surged forward for another kiss as the sky glowed overhead, the ocean lapped quietly below and Puddlejumper purred out her blessing on the best Christmas ever.