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Richard sat on the ornately carved wooden bed, propped up on pillows, reading the case file for the fifteenth time. He didn't think he had missed anything the first fourteen times, it was just he was bored out of his skull and there was nothing else to do.

He and Craig were on a mission in a tiny village in Bavaria. It was two weeks before Christmas so the only inn in the village was nearly full, forcing Craig and Richard to take the last room; the Honeymoon Suite.

The mission should have been a simple and quick one; they were to observe a meet between two suspected arms dealers and report back to Tremayne. But neither target had appeared on schedule and heavy snowfall meant that they were now stuck in the village indefinitely.

All they could do was sit and wait until the snow cleared. There was no radio or television, and both men had finished the few books available so they re-read the mission reports, played cards and talked.

After four days they got bored of cards; they were both too good at counting and it took all the fun out of things. After so many years working together, they had little new to say to each other so the conversation soon dried up as well.

"Feel like taking a walk down to the lake? Or maybe see if any of the shops in the square are open today?" Craig asked as he flopped down beside Richard.

"Again?" Richard replied without looking up. "Besides, hasn't it started snowing again?" It was a rhetorical question; they both could clearly hear the gentle splat of each flake against the window.

"So?" Craig answered and Richard could *hear* the pout. He sighed and placed the file on the bedside table before turning to give Craig his full attention.

"I know you're a man of action, Craig, but you know as well as I that a lot of what we do involves waiting in rooms," he said, his mouth quirking into a smile at the corner.

"I know, but it's nearly Christmas and we're stuck in this backwater with nothing to do instead of being at home. I don't like it."

The puppy dog look on Craig's face was so adorable it was all Richard could do not to laugh, so he faced forward again.

"We could see if the shops are open, buy presents."

"We already bought for Sharron and Tremayne."


They lapsed into silence, both staring at the opposite wall, neither knowing what to say or do. It was the most uncomfortable they'd been in each other's company since the first day they met. Richard turned back to Craig, a sly grin forming.

"Some people might consider this situation romantic," he suggested coyly. "Beautiful lakeside retreat, snow outside, a roaring fire and a big, comfy bed…"

Craig grinned.

"I thought you had a rule?"

"Technically, the mission is over," Richard reasoned. Craig looked thoughtful for a moment and then nodded in agreement before leaning in toward Richard.

As the snow piled up around the inn, Craig decided it wasn't so bad, after all.