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Christmas at the Cabin

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They are going to spend Christmas together. In the cabin in the snow crammed together for one week for better or for worse. Morrigan insists on it. If she’s going to be stuck in snow in the middle of the Night Court, she had best at least get away from the city for a while and she’s taking her family with her. All of them.

The cabin has magically adjusted itself to accommodate the larger number of guests than it’s used to it. Somehow, it knows who will be coupling with whom during this visit. The large fireplace in the living room is already crackling with a warm fire when they bustle through the doors.

The first day is spent looking for a tree. Cassian insists it can’t just be any tree. They have to find the tree. For someone who wanted so badly to have his own space this Christmas without all the pomp and circumstance (mostly so he could chase Nesta around the house in peace), he’s oddly obsessively focused on finding this tree. It has to be at least fifteen feet tall and when Azriel tells him the cabin ceiling doesn’t go that high, he changes his mind and wants twenty feet instead. They’ll cut the ceiling if they have to - they’re getting the damn tree.

Azriel sighs and obediently nods his head. When Cassian finds the tree, grand and covered in pine and sap, the branches thickly ruffled around the sturdy center, Cassian makes a big show of chopping it down, never mind that Nesta already took down a tree of her own and left him behind to go decorate it several minutes ago. Rhys snickers so badly watching her walk away dragging a huge tree behind her entirely on her own that Feyre has to sush him so she can keep watching Cass make a spectacle of himself.

Once the tree is decorated, it’s on to the cabin itself, which Lucien takes meticulous care in decorating. Elain watches from the porch as he stands high up on that ladder hanging lights along the roof and from this view, with the sun glowing behind his head, he looks like a Christmas angel. He has to politely ask her to stop smiling so much at him while he’s up there lest he lose his concentration and fall off. She has to not so politely warn him not to fall off lest she lose her concentration and tumble after him without any clothes on and then what will she do to keep warm in this blasted cold weather? Lucien has a few ideas. They don’t make it in for dinner.

The second day sees an explosion of food coming out of the kitchen. Cassian makes all of the principal food, but Az and Elain handle the baking. They take their time rolling out dough, cutting perfect shapes of stars and Christmas trees out of it, allowing them to bake until they start to brown ever so slightly on the edges. Morrigan wants to help desperately, but Az knows better. The last time she tried to help him with a dessert, the House of Wind nearly burned down. So he settles for letting her chase him around the kitchen taste testing this and that, wrapping her arms around him from behind while he stirs caramel sauces on the burner, licks the tip of the spoon wickedly in his direction when she thinks Elain isn’t looking. But Elain is very much looking. Sometimes she thinks she looks at Mor and Az more than Feyre does. When Mor fails to distract Azriel for about the dozenth time, she perches herself on the counter next to him while he chuckles quietly at his Morrigan’s endearing determination. Elain takes careful aim with her spoon from across the kitchen and Morrigan finds icing for the sugar cookies running down her chest and poor Azriel with his infinite patience just wants to get his caramel sauce right, but that frosting is going lower and lower and Morrigan is smiling wider and wider… With a loud, “Whoops!” Elain skips from the kitchen and finds the door magically sealed shut behind her, a fresh display of desserts laid out on the dining table in front a confused group of friends. Once they hear the cookie sheet clatter to the floor with a loud crash in the kitchen, they decide dessert might best be enjoyed outside on this particular evening.

It takes Azriel a full week to get the flour off his wings.

The third day sees the beginning of the great mistletoe debacle. Rhys started it by catching Feyre at every chance he got with a surprise sprig of mistletoe magically appearing over their heads whenever they stood next to each other. But Feyre’s the one who takes it a step further, putting it over everyone else at the most inconvenient times. When Nesta whispers in her ear that afternoon, Feyre’s grin is positively wicked as she magics the mistletoe over Cassian right when Lucien comes out from the bathroom. The Fox’s cheeks turn brighter than his hair and thankfully Elain is there to save him, stealing the mistletoe from over Cass and putting it over herself.

Cassian is displeased with this and Feyre has no permanent allegiance except to maybe Rhys, this he knows. Next chance he gets, he whispers his own instructions into Feyre’s ear with a Screw you, sweetheart and next thing the cabin knows, there’s a sprig of mistletoe popping over Nesta and Morrigan’s head. Mor snorts. Nesta glares. And then Nesta has pulled Mor to her and the kiss is deep and satisfying, just to piss Cass off. And Cass has no idea what to do with himself because he knew Nesta would never let him win, but this is so not what he expected. It’s like the first time he met her all over again. When the girls break away a few seconds later, Nesta is smirking like a wildcat fresh off the hunt. Mor merrily trots over to the couch and places herself in Az’s lap - Az, who is sitting with a very dazed, wide-eyed expression. They have an interesting conversation later that night while everyone else is asleep about that kiss.

The mistletoe continues to pop over various couples throughout the day, Feyre cackling hysterically at how each one turns out. Rhys is leaning in the doorway to the bedroom watching her debate her next victims when she catches his eye and places the sprig in a very suggestive position over herself that sends Rhys sniffing. It’s at this point that Nesta calls it on the game with a groan and asks Mor and the boys to take her and the non-Illyrians on a hiking tour outdoors while the High Lord and Lady explore their own terrain.

The fourth day brings the first sights of Amren. Holiday cheer isn’t really her thing, but today is the day they wrap the gifts and Amren is all about the gifts. Naturally, her stack is the highest of all when gifts are dished out and every single box with her name on it contains a piece of gold or silver or some kind of precious metal. She piles them around her like a throne while she sips an eggnog spiked with something that is definitely not alcohol.

Azriel and Elain, as it turns out, are the best bakers and the best gift wrappers. They steal away to one of the bedrooms and get lost in a mountain of tissue paper, tape, and ribbon and when they come out, it’s as if the Cauldron itself had put the gifts together, they are immaculately wrapped.

On the fifth day, cabin fever has finally set in so everyone hustles outside and it doesn’t take long until the first ball of snow is being hurtled through the air. Teams are quickly chosen it’s the High Lord and Lady each leading a task force against one another. Amren referees from the porch refusing to get such cold ‘filth’ in her hair.

Feyre thinks she is being fairly clever using her wind powers to knock down the snow barrier Rhys shares with his brothers, melting the snow they hurl at the girls with her fire powers. But Rhys has a shadowsinger and it’s not long before Az has those shadows weaving through the air to stop the return blows of the girls.

Rhys, ever the cheat, descends night and darkness on the camp thinking to sneak up on his mate. But Feyre glows and leads the girls out, ambushing the boys from behind and pummeling them with a downpour of snowballs that quickly turns into mush and laughter on the ground. Feyre finds herself tangled atop of Rhys as he calls the darkness off and brushes snow out of her ear and they both fall apart laughing. Maybe now he’ll chase her across the field like she had imagined the day she decided she would accept him as her mate. The thought makes her smile and glow very much.

Frozen from their fight outside, everyone heads in to warm up and it’s then that Elain complains no one will sing carols with her. Rhys and Feyre are more for instrumental music than actual singing, Az can’t carry a tune, and no one wants to hear Cassian alone singing even if he has a rich baritone voice that’s perfect for just such an occasion. So in a huff, Elain starts singing quietly to herself and within seconds, Lucien’s elegant fingers have found their way to a piano where they delicately accompany his mate’s melodious voice. The songs flow one right into the next - Elain taught her mate all the traditional songs from the mortal realm ages ago so she wouldn’t have to go without now that she’s fae - and it is well past dinnertime before the family realizes they’ve been sitting for hours piled about the living room just listening to Elain and Lucien make music together.

It is on the sixth day that the booze finally kicks in. Cassian intentionally accidentally spiked the eggnog a little extra strong and now he and Nesta are locked in a drinking contest that wages long into the evening. And he has no idea how Nesta is doing it. He’s a big guy. He can hold his liquor. But while Nesta matches him in personality and ego, she is petite and there’s only so much alcohol her body can take before things start to get a little woozy. So when she has downed her fifth straight glass with no side effects, Cass is suspicious. He’s one glass past her and feeling it. By the time he passes out, Feyre is in stitches. “Do you think he noticed me magicking the eggnog out of your glass and into his every time you drank?” she asks her sister. “Nah,” Nesta says finally taking a real sip. “Dumbass is too stupid to see past my tits.” It is an effort to keep Morrigan from snorting eggnog out her nose.

The house is charmingly quiet that night as one by one, everyone drops off. Nesta wraps herself around Cassian in his lap on the lone wing backed chair by the fireplace, not normally one for an open display of affection even as small as this, but after the thing with the eggnog, she couldn’t resist. She may have gotten a little handsy when Cass wakes up in the middle of the night - just to make it up to him.

Morrigan falls asleep underneath the tree looking up at all the lights. Right as she is about to doze off, Az scoops her into his arms and wraps his wings around them both so that they’re left with a perfect little cocoon of just themselves and the steady glow of the Christmas lights against the ornaments. When the cabin provides them with pillows, they both instantly fall asleep.

Elain and Lucien are the only ones who actually make it to a bedroom. Lucien picks Elain off the piano once she starts dozing off in the middle of singing her favorite carol for the fourth time. She wakes up as he’s tucking her in to bed and has time to beg him for just one cup of hot apple cider spiced with cinnamon, just the way Lucien’s mom taught him how to make it, before the two of them top off to sleep.

Rhys and Feyre are the crazy ones, the ones who sneak out after everyone else has gone to bed. Bundled up in thick wooly tunics and coats, they hike outside walking close together through the snow and trees until they crest the tallest hill they can find and all of the Illyrian mountains are swept out before them underneath a canopy of stars. Rhys pulls Feyre in between his legs so that her back is pressed against his chest and kisses her neck. “Happy birthday, Feyre darling,” he whispers. Feyre smiles as she snuggles into her mate enjoying that comforting scent of citrus and sea that rolls off of him. She channels that fire inside her into their skin to keep them warm. “Merry Christmas, Rhysand,” she says and together they wait through the night for the sun to rise on that seventh and final day.

xx