Christmas Countdown: December 25
Poltergeist: The Legacy

By Juli

December 2006

 Derek Rayne carefully balanced the tray as he used his hip to push the door open. Luckily, he hadnít shut it completely on his way out, knowing his hands would be full when he returned.

It was Christmas morning and Nick Boyle remained in the bed, curled up in a ball. He hadnít woken up when Derek had slipped out a half hour earlier, a sign of trust that the older man cherished. Nick had moved, however, into the space Derek had lain in and also had the older manís pillow cuddled close, as though it were a substitute.

After setting the tray on the dresser, Derek returned to the bed. He perched on the edge of the mattress and ran one hand up Nickís bare back. The sleeping man shivered and slowly opened his eyes.


"Good morning, love," Derek greeted him. "Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas," Nick returned the sentiment as he sat up. "Whatís all this?"

"Iíve made us breakfast," Derek explained as he got up and retrieved the tray. "Youíll not do one of those runs of yours, not on Christmas." Nickís runs had less to do with training, Derek felt, than in punishing himself. For what, Derek didnít know, but he wouldnít have it, not on this day of days.

"Iím gonna have breakfast in bed instead?" Nick grinned. "I think I can handle that. Whatís on the menu?"

"An omelet with oysters for you," Derek turned the tray so that the appropriate plate was near Nick. "An omelet without oysters for me."

"Coward," Nick teased, eyes dancing with mischief.

Derek had included some finger foods as well, like cut up fruit. As each man ate their main meal, they also took pleasure in feeding each other particularly tasty morsels. Despite his joking, Nick was careful that Derek didnít get any of the oysters. Not that Derek didnít like them, but not with his eggs. Even Nick had been known to admit that it was an acquired taste.

When their lazy breakfast was over, Derek simply set the tray on the floor and slid back under the covers with Nick.

"I could get used to this," Nick sighed and stretched.

Derek smiled and rested one hand on Nickís chest. If he had his way, Nick would not only get used to such pampering, but would come to expect it. Unfortunately for Derekís piece of mind, it wasnít to be. Nick was not the type of man who would be willing to sit on the sidelines, no matter how badly Derek would prefer that he be out of the line of fire.

But there were other ways Derek could pamper Nick.

"I have one more gift for you," Derek kissed Nick quickly and turned from him long enough to fish something out from under the bed.

"But we exchanged presents last night," Nick looked confused.

Derek smiled at the memory. Theyíd had a family-style gathering the night before with presents being opened and wrapping paper flying with abandon. Although the whole thing had ostensibly been for Katís benefit, theyíd all enjoyed it. Derek knew heíd cherish the memory of Nick sitting on the floor in front of the Christmas tree, surrounded by boxes and shreds of paper, laughing with happiness.

"Just one last one," Derek coaxed. "This was more of a private gift and I didnít want to share giving it to you with the others."

Nick threw Derek a curious look, but accepted the wrapped box. Without further ado, he opened it. Inside there was a book of sheet music for the piano. From the picture on the cover, it was intended for beginners.

"Whatís this?" Nick asked. Derek couldnít help but notice the way the younger manís fingers caressed the pages as he flipped through. "Derek, you play the piano, not me."

"But you will," Derek covered Nickís hands with his own. "Iíve noticed how frequently you loiter in the area when Rachel or I play. I thought you might enjoy learning, so Iíve arranged for you to have lessons."

"Piano lessons?" Nick sounded like he was having a hard time understanding. "Me?"

"Yes, you," Derek stated firmly. "I know now how you were raised, Nick, and that your father never would have allowed such a thing." He smiled encouragingly at the younger man. "But I think you would enjoy it. Please, let me share music with you."

Nick hesitated, but when he finally met Derekís gaze again, he was smiling. "Sure." His smile faltered. "But I didnít get you anything else."

Derek kissed him before answering. "You most certainly did. This morning, you let me leave our bed and then come back into the room without waking. You donít give your trust or loyalty easily, Nick, and thatís a level trust that I doubt you share with anyone else. It means the world to me."

Not comfortable with the emotional tone, Nick ducked his head. "Youíre a cheap date, Derek Rayne. Iíll keep that in mind."

Not fooled for a minute, Derek grinned. "Cheap and easy. Or are you forgetting last night?"

That did the trick. Nick lifted his head and the two men shared a grin. "So, whatíre we going to do today?"

"I was thinking of staying in bed all day," Derek suggested. "Or at least for a few more hours."

"Sounds like a plan to me," Nick agreed, snuggling close. Derek had found that his lover enjoyed being touched, but only when no one was around to see.

As he felt the warm weight of Nick in his arms, Derek knew what heíd told his lover had been true. Derek Rayne had enough material things to last a lifetime, but the love and trust of the young man in his embrace was the most precious thing in the world.

He could ask for no better gift.

~the end~


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