“Oh, c’mon Gus.” Gilles groaned, looking over at the Parisian. “What do you mean you don’t want to go sledding?”
“I want to go sledding, but not like that.” Gus pointed at their ‘sled’. By the door, Le Roc was waiting for them.
Every once in a while, Gilles went on a streak, where he became the biggest man child known to humanity. The whole of the GIGN crew had been subject to its effects at one point or another, and this was no exception.
The giant shield bearer was grinning, ear to ear, looking very much like a kid, waiting at the top of the stairs to go rushing down and open their presents on Christmas morning. He just needed to hear those sweet words of permission, and his dear husband, Gus, was the one holding him back.
“I promise it will be fun! I even put some board wax on it, and buffed up the scuffs so we have a fighting chance of it actually working.” Gilles told him, trying so hard to convince their physician.
“You went through all that effort for this?” Emma piped up, walking out into the living room of the shared cabin.
“I did.” Gilles confirmed, looking back at her. “If I’m going to be crazy enough to do this, even once, I figured I would give us the best chance.”
By now, Julien had come out of the kitchen, munching on a piece of toast with jam. He headed straight for the shield and spun it around. Sure enough, it looked like it had been buffed in spots, the paint missing, but it was smooth as butter.
“Damn Gilles… aside from the lack of paint, I don’t think the old girl has looked this good in a long time.”
Gilles just snorted a laugh, looking back at Gus, who had his face in his palm, sighing loudly. “Alright. We’ll go. But just once!” He conceded, nearly against his better judgement. “But I’m wearing my helmet, and you should too.”
The shield bearer was grinning again. “I can handle that.”
The two headed off to get dressed and geared up. Being on leave, even for a couple of days, didn’t mean they were off the hook for being called in. So their gear was stowed in a corner of the basement. Both of them retrieved their helmets. Gus’ with the telltale white front and Gilles’ with that signature beaver tail.
Wrapped in scarves and gloves, jackets and boots, the helmets looked oddly oversized for their attire, but it hardly mattered. Function, not fashion.
Emma and Julien got dressed too. Like hell were they going to miss this. Instead of standing at the top of the hill though, they split up and headed halfway down the medium length slope.
Julien pulled out his phone and checked the battery. Full charge and ready to record. “I’m not gonna miss this, and I’m sure it will be good for a laugh after they get to the bottom.”
Emma laughed. “IF they get to the bottom.”
Julien looked at her with a smirk. “Right…”
Back at the top, Gilles had hauled Le Roc up the rest of the way from the cabin, while Gustave trudged through the snow behind him.
“I’ll have to extend it to have enough room, but once we start, we’re in this till the end.” Gilles warned, still boasting a mild smile.
“I swear Gilles… if we make it out of this without a few bruises, we’ll be lucky.”
“Oh ye of little faith.” Gilles snorted, extending the shield, locking it in place and letting it fall into the snow front side down. The angled piece of ballistic glass even made it look like a tactical toboggan. “See? It’s like she was made for this.”
“I highly doubt that.” Gus mumbled, getting onto the shield, being careful not to hit the lock switch, or sit unfomfortably on the carry handles.
Gilles leaned down, and gave the physician a kiss. “Thank you for indulging me. It’s one of the things I love about you.”
“Thank me again if we survive this.” Gus replied, a small smile pulling at his lips with the kiss.
“You ready?” Gilles asked, prepping to give them a huge push and jump on at the same time.
“No, but we’re doing this.” Gus replied, looking back at Gilles over his shoulder. “Let’s go.”
“Three, two, one!” Gilles huffed and power pushed the shield to get them going. Then, as he felt the shield start to gain momentum of its own, he jumped on, straddling Gus and holding on as best he could.
It was a slow go at first, but the slope of the hill was the only thing that was letting this happen. It was steep, but it had to be. Their combined weight and the shield itself were fighting them.
Gilles was chuckling lowly, unable to contain himself. Meanwhile, Gus was shitting bricks, a blur of French curses started streaming from him as they careened down to the hill.
This only made the giant laugh louder, trying to control the direction of the shield as it made its way down. There were trees close by, and he really didn’t want to hit any of them. “Lean left, Gus!” He bellowed, pulling his body to the left to try to angle the shield away from the tree line.
They were nearing the point where Emma and Julien were standing. As the two got closer, Emma smacked Julien to start recording. “Don’t stop until they get to the bottom either.”
“I got this Em.” He replied and hit record.
As the duo passed Emma and Julien, Gilles let out a whoop, and kicked his legs in the air while Gus was actually laughing. Julien followed them as they passed, a split second happening, and kept it running.
They had about 150m to go before the bottom, and Gilles had to figure out a way to stop, quickly.
He threw his feet out, heels first and started digging in. “Hang on Gus! I didn’t really think the stopping part through.” He told his husband, nervously, as snow started flying up around his feet.
“You what?!” Gus sputtered, eyes wide.
With his attention focused on stopping, Gilles wasn’t able to keep on top of steering. They got too close to a tree, and Gilles right foot caught a bit of an exposed root and caused the shield to veer.
“BAIL!” Gilles called out, already pushing off the shield and trying to grab Gustave at the same time.
He failed, and the shield slid off without them while they were thrown into the pillowy snow off the side of the hill. Neither of them managed to hit anything else, thankfully.
Gus’ profanity returned as he pulled himself to a sitting position, once he came to rest. “My coat is FULL of snow!” He complained, with a crinkled up face as he got up to try and shake the snow from himself as quickly as he could.
“But you’re alright?” Gilles asked, clambering over to Gus. His own gear was full of snow too, but he was fine. The giant was more worried about Gus.
Meanwhile, Emma and Julien were running down the hill, both laughing. Well, Julien was roaring, but Emma was trying to hold back. It wasn’t working well.
“You guys ok!?” Julien managed to squeak, in between heaving breaths of laughter.
“We’re fine.” Gilles reported, helping Gus dust off.
“Speak for yourself.” Gus grumbled and half glared at Gilles.
“C’mon.” Gilles wrapped his arm around Gus, and started back up the hill to the cabin. “Jules, can you get Le Roc for me? I’m going to get him inside before more than his personality freezes on me.”
Gus was full on glaring now, but followed his husband up the hill.
By the time Julien and Emma got back with the shield, Gilles was already cuddled up with Gus in front of the living room fireplace. There was a blanket around them both, and all but their boxers were strewn about the floor.
Emma laughed again, and put a hand on Gilles' shoulder. “I’ll make some hot chocolate while you two warm up.”
“Then we can do the secret Santa exchange?!” Asked Julien as he set Le Roc down and took his boots off at the door.
“Yes, to both of you.” Gilles smiled as he looked over his shoulder. Then he leaned in to kiss Gus’ cheek. “Thank you again… for indulging me.”
“It was stupid.” Gus harrumphed, but he leaned his head back against Gilles. “But it was fun.”
“Told you it would be.” Gilles replied, placing another kiss to the physician's cheek, then set his head on his shoulder.
He loved this man to the ends of the earth, and he loved his team.
Emma came back not long after, with four mugs of piping hot, hot chocolate.
“You guys want to see the video?” Julien asked, pulling up the clip on his phone.
“Of course I do!” Gilles was already laughing as he turned to look.
The echo of Gilles booming laugher rang clear through the cabin, followed by the others. They’d never forget this Christmas leave for as long as they lived.