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six christmases

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On the first Christmas, you learned that you absolutely, well and truly, entirely fucking hated snow.

Why did I ever move to this goddamn side of the country was the one thought that circled your mind like the train tracks that looped around your end of town. Loud, ever so irritably there. White like new tablecloths, duck feather pillow covers, untouched porcelain in dusty cabinets, the walls that held up the house you were beginning to regrettably call home. You despised it in the forms of snowmen and hanging icicles and especially piling knee deep in your driveway. Snow was wet, snow was cold, and therefore snow was fucking terrible.

With another groan, you buried the shovel deep into the tufts of flurry as it continued to fall around your shivering figure, dotting the bare skin of your forearms blue. All irony aside, you were supposed to drive into the city that day to stock up on coats and sweaters, since most of your clothes were still at your old house and the snowfall was not supposed to hit for another whole month anyway, but the horrendous white wall that pressed all the way up to your garage door proved otherwise. So with a string of cusses that you were sure your new neighbours could hear drifting down their puffing chimneys, you grabbed a shovel from the tiny shed and wondered why the hell you managed to send over gardening tools and yet barely a suitcase full of clothes, setting to work in your driveway as profanities continued to be spat at the ice.

“H-How does such a pretty girl have a mouth s-so filthy?”

That was the sentence that had you snapping your head up just in time to see gangly limbs slip and come crashing down. It was worrisome, then comical, then worrisome once again. You gaped in pure shock at the sight before you, unsure of how to respond to the long body that coughed and kicked itself back up into a sitting position. He was barefoot, black jeans and a grey sweater powdered with white flecks, a long jacket that was slung over his arm and now covered in even more ice, he was thick angular eyebrows, he was dishevelled hair the colour of black coffee, he was a dumbfounded grin that almost had you collapsing backwards into the slush he had just ran across. He was Kim Taehyung, I live across the road.

“A-And I noticed you out here shovelling the ice,” He continued after he had found his feet and introduced himself, swooping you up into the deliciously warm fabric that had been toasting by the fireplace before its collection. “I mean, who the hell even goes outside in just jeans and a short sleeve shirt on a day like this? Nonetheless to practically bury yourself in the snow.”

“The kind of person who needs a jacket like this,” You retorted with a gesture to the coat that swung just below your knees, hoping the flush across your cheeks would be mistaken for the cold air. “Because she moved in yesterday without one- Wait, holy shit, your feet are turning blue!”

So no more than half an hour later, you were surrounded by cardboard boxes – some empty, but most of them still full – and a fire that crackled orange light and thawed frozen toes. The living room smelled like melting chocolate, familiarization, a steamy combination of proper introductions and twenty-one questions to learn more about the other beneath separate blankets that soaked your icy skin in warmth, between sips of cocoa that rather pleasantly burned your tongue. You knew the pattern of the eighth panel of the floorboards by the time he was shifting up onto his feet with I should probably go before it gets dark, too hesitant to look him straight in the eye for the past three hours and rather tracing the grooves of the wood over and over, peeking up occasionally and catching him doing the same with a tiny grin of I see you.

“Do you want me to help you unpack this weekend? I promise I am not as clumsy as I appeared upon our first meeting.”

You took the blanket from his offering hand, the threads still holding the warmth of his body as you held it close. Taehyung had such a kind voice, smooth velvet that rolled down waists and hips like waves tumbling onto a calm shore. With a smile that he reciprocated, you nodded.

“Sounds perfect.”

 

On the second Christmas, you walked into the kitchen to find Taehyung on his knees with his dog being wrestled into a reindeer costume.

The groan that sounded from your chest resonated around the room, juxtaposing the smile that was spread across your lips at the ridiculous sight. You drifted past the curve of his grin to the oven that beeped erratically, demanding the gingerbread biscuits inside to be removed, cooled for fifteen minutes.

“I told you to keep that damn dog out of my kitchen.”

Taehyung chuckled as you batted him over the head with an oven mitt, petting his pooch behind the ears once the ridiculously adorable costume was adjusted to his liking. “Not a dog! Reindeer, see?”

Spinning around with the tray of delicious smelling gingerbreads, you glanced down at the dog before flicking your gaze to the boy who had his inquisitive eyes set on you, making your cheeks flush pink. Friends? Interested? the two of you had never set a firm foundation of what you shared, but there was no denying the sudden lightheaded feeling you only experienced when his presence was near, no ignoring how his often wandering eyes always seemed to find you, more often than not when he was not even searching. Shaking your head slightly to disrupt your daze, you looked down at the pup again who was staring up at you expectantly, awaiting the usual recoil.

Fine, you always find a way to win me over anyway,” You grumbled quietly with your brows knitting together, missing the mischievous smile that glanced across Taehyung’s expression as you turned and carefully placed the gingerbreads upon a cooling rack. “You know, I am still convinced you’re a sorcerer casting spells on me so that I bend at your will, until you prove otherwise.”

The chuckle that sounded was right at your ear, making you jump with a squeal soon suffocated by your palm. Taehyung was leaning over you, lips twitching at your sudden outburst of surprise and maybe at the unexpected close proximity and maybe at the way your eyes looked the same as the constellations at two in the morning, but you could not tell, could barely think with his warmth so close that you could feel the exhalations disturb your lashes. He had you so distracted, so easily wound around his finger with a simple look that you hardly noticed the way that his own were slowly inching towards the still too hot gingerbreads.

“Hey! You have to wait until they cool down,” You pouted, smacking his hand away from the treats as his cheeky grin widened. “Fifteen minutes!”

Taehyung groaned overdramatically, expression one that could be described as none other than the all too familiar puppy eyes. “Can I have something else then?”

So without thinking, just mindless movement, you leaned forward and braced your palms against his chest, lips dusting lips. It was brief, a peck that nonetheless sent shooting stars across your vision and awoke the hummingbird of your heart, resting back on your heels after having to balance on your toes to even reach him. But before you could step back, your eyes widening at what you had just done, lips parting to spill apologies, his arm was looping around your waist and pulling you up to meet him once more, and again, and again. 

Taehyung kissed you until you were breathless, until the tip of his tongue knew the thin lines in the rosy flesh of your mouth, until the sugary taste of you was coated onto the back of his throat and the shape of your teeth was marked in his lower lip, swollen red. By the time he was finished with you, the gingerbread was long cooled down to room temperature, your jaw holding a dull ache and a confirmation you had been waiting an entire year for was finally heard.

Lovers.

 

On the third Christmas, you discovered what eggnog tastes like when it is soaked in the grooves of lips that are pressed feverishly to your own.

Friends and family were too drunk on the sickeningly sweet beverage to care that the Christmas dinner ended shockingly early at nine in the evening. The bowl that was positioned at the centre of the table in arms reach for everyone had unknowingly been spiked with two bottles of brandy, but nobody dared to make comment about how the cream was suddenly making their vision delightfully sway. So as they wandered off to spare bedrooms and cramped lounges and camping mattresses sprawled out on the kitchen floor, you caught the suggestive glint through Taehyung’s hooded eyelashes that soon had your chest pressed to the wooden grain of your bedroom door. All rosy cheeks, muffled laughter softening into moans, two fingers deep.

You bastard, it was you were melded into his sheepish grin, the brandy culprit confirmed by a thumb running over a spot so sensitive that your knees buckled with a whimper and had his arm scooping around your waist. Teeth nibbled at your earlobe, a delicious hardness pressing to your rear as you hummed more moans into the lacquered wood, soon into his fingers that wound around your lips because I may be a bastard, but you are going to wake the whole street.

Taehyung had you against the door, the bathroom basin, the cotton sheets still threaded with the loving from the morning. He filled you with every inch, lips finding purchase against yours as he would thrust deeper, hold you tighter while hips bucked for divine pleasure. Giggles and moans and pure, sweet bliss were passed between exhalations and kisses upon collarbones, jaws, thighs. The peculiar memory of how eggnog made you feel godawful sick as a child arose when the swollen flesh of his mouth tilted into an intoxicated grin as you straddled his lap, but in that moment of Taehyung closing the distance to ravish you once more, you could not imagine anything that tastes better, running over your tongue with the faint reminder of gingerbread and peppermint. He was heaven shooting through your veins, the throaty and low voice of faster sweetheart that had you shivering, fingertips pressing into your sides to hunt deeper because all he wanted was more, more, endlessly more of you.

When Christmas became yesterday, bodies lay entwined upon a mattress worn with love, knees nudging and fingers locking. And maybe it was the brandy resurfacing in your eyes, replacing the sweet cream, but you swear Taehyung had never looked more beautiful than in that moment of him softly gazing at you with a devotion that you knew you could not ever find in another being.

And Taehyung realized when your lashes fluttered shut, welcoming dreams and endlessly dark oblivion, that there was simply no other he wished to spend the rest of his life with.

 

On the fourth Christmas, you were not frozen by the chilling air, but rather by four words that were stumbled, rushed, ridiculously perfect.

The driveway was still miraculously clear of the one thing you hate most, scraped clean in the early morning by your hands and his working together. Last minute present hunting was required, and you were not going to let the overnight snowfall stand in your way yet again. With fingers warming from numbness by the fireplace and your mouth brushing against his forehead, you left Taehyung to his thoughts with a be back soon - his peculiar, silent mood not going unnoticed. That was until you arrived home, of course.

When the car door swung open, the cold wind nipping at your cheeks and fluttering the shopping bags in your tight grip, so did the front door of your little cottage. The sudden slam of wood and flywire caught your attention immediately, snapping your head up in surprise at Taehyung, who looked entirely panicked, excited, nervous, all at once as he sprinted down the front porch and onto the icy driveway barefoot, save for a pair of navy blue socks. Before you could get a word in, ask if he was okay, he was skidding into your body with his arms wrapping so tightly around your waist that you were momentarily flooded with delicious warmth until the concern of the situation settled back into your bones.

“Y/N,” Taehyung exhaled your name into the dip of your neck, and you could not tell if he were shivering because of the cold or if it were something much deeper than that.

“Taehyung?” You responded, genuine panic beginning to rise in your voice as you tried to pull back from him, to see his expression. “Is everything okay? What happened?”

He did not fight your fingers sprawled against his chest, pushing him back so that you could be stunned by the brilliance of his smile, curved with a slight edge of nerves. “Everything is perfect. You are absolutely perfect. That’s why I need to get this off my chest, right here, right now.”

What? Oh my god, put on some shoes! was silenced by a finger pressing to your lips, followed by a kiss and fingers curling around the base of your jaw. Your eyebrows were drawn together in confusion, teeth rolling the flesh of your bottom lip as you waited for the suddenly vexatious boy to speak.

“Four years is short but potentially, so could be our lives,” His words were scrambled, spilling from his tongue as if he did not get them out in one breath, he would never be able to release them at all. “And god, Y/N, I know that I will never adore somebody as much as I do you. So please, for your hate of the snow and my eternal love for you, will you marry me?”

The shopping bags were in the powdered ice and so were the two of you.

You could not care about the fact that his presents were rolling out of tissue paper and their paper carriers were now damp, nor the fact that tiny white flakes were clinging to your garments and the strands of your hair, soaking deep to chill your bones. But nothing could possibly have you any less than warm in that moment, not with Taehyung wrapping his arms around your hips and tugging you closer with a smile brighter than the sun, yet still holding that hint of unsureness because is that a yes?

Pushing his hair back from his watering eyes, your grin matched his, succumbing to the taste of your lips and the words that finally, entirely tied the two of you together.

“I would be the stupidest person in the world to say otherwise.”

 

On the fifth Christmas, you held a being so small, so precious that you worried if you rocked her the wrong way or cooed too many affectionate words, she may break.

Taehyung did not arrive bearing flowers or soft toys. He came with nothing but his open palms and fingers that trembled and lips parted into none other than awe, stumbling into the room with miles of running catching up in shallow breaths. Before that day, his eyes would always stray for you the instant that you were within each other’s presence, but when he found his wide open eyes staring back at him around tiny fists and delicate wisps of hair, there was suddenly no other place that he could look, yearn for than the peaceful face of his daughter. The way he crumpled to his knees at your side, happiness gliding streams down his soft pink cheeks, had you not only falling in love with him all over again, but with her cradled gently in your arms.

She was earlier than expected, the two of you preparing for a Friday rather than a Tuesday. But what a beautiful Tuesday it was with her quietly bubbling against your chest, Taehyung with shaking shoulders and his face pressed into the hospital bed sheets as you stroked your fingers methodically through his hair, wearing a tired smile that had not left you since 2.07PM. He peeped up after exhausting his tears, chin resting atop the mattress with a foggy gaze settling upon you and the newfound glow of motherhood that freckled your cheeks and brightened your smile. Hearts swelled, fingers catching fingers that were once lacing through strands of black coffee brown and bringing them to warm lips with whispers of we did it, we did it, we did it.

It did not catch your eye until you traced your gaze from his index finger that was lightly brushing beneath her tiny feet up to see the curve of adoration that had formed upon his lips. But it was undoubtedly there, curiously tapping against the windowpane as though it wished to peek in and see her, to welcome her into the world with layers upon endless layers of-

“Taehyung,” You whispered, averting your eyes to see over his shoulder. “Look.”

And when he did, it was as though the two of you were seeing the same memory cast by a projector, a film tilted five years ago. Arms dotted blue with ice, shovels and stumbles and bare feet sticking in the air, cocoa scalding tongues and smiles only tentatively given. It had come again, the one who had brought you both together, early like the heartbeat that fluttered against your own.

Snowfall. Beautiful, white snowfall.

 

On the sixth Christmas, you had tell your daughter that you had absolutely no clue about what happened to the cookies that she was going to leave out for Santa, all the while Taehyung turned his back and wiped crumbs from the corners of his mouth.

But he made it up to her in the blankets of snow surrounding the house. Never-ending pure white that fluttered from the skies and was marked by footprints both small and large, catching in her tiny eyelashes and the wool of his black knitted beanie. They chased each other down the driveway you had met upon, sheets upon sheets of sleet being carved into angels that matched the shapes of their bodies, that were held in tiny gloved fistfuls to create balls that were always too short of hitting his back. You watched them from the porch, smiling at the beautiful sound of your daughter’s laughter as it rung high and sweet down the street while Taehyung lifted her up into the air and spun until his ankles gave way and they became a giggling heap of thick coats and powdered white and whispers so soft that you could barely hear.

When you thought about how the white sheets of ice made him come scrambling out, covering you in coats and hot cocoa and love and a family, you decided that maybe the snow was not so bad after all.