Mistletoe '06: Heedless Of

Buck kicked the snow off his boots at the door and handed Chris a twelve-pack of beer as he crossed the threshold. "Lookee what I found," he said, and proudly held aloft a fistful of mistletoe.

"It's only the team here today, Buck," Chris said warily, shutting the door against the wind blowing Buck's snow over the doorstep and onto his rug.

"I know." Buck slapped him in the chest with his gloves and made a beeline for the kitchen where all the lovely smells were congregating. "But I figure on bringing it to the office tomorrow," he announced.

"Bringing what, Buck?" JD was foolish enough to ask.

Chris hid his head in the fridge, stowing the beer. A loud smack of a kiss preceded an outraged yelp and a delighted chortle. JD was still wiping his cheek when Chris felt it was safe to come out.

"It's colder than a witch's tit out there. Had to call Nathan, have him jump start my truck. He oughtta be here soon."

"If he makes the turn," Josiah said, stirring something bubbly on the stove.

"Well some of us have more sense than others," Chris said, leaning against the counter, "and know better than to drive sports cars in Colorado in December."

"Yes, well, some of us refuse to drive carbon copy American gas- guzzling death traps," Ezra said, arch, refusing to admit defeat even though Chris and Josiah had been called out to push his car from a snow drift half a mile from the house. "You know that's a parasite, don't you?"


"The mistletoe. It's a parasite that sucks the life out of trees. Enough of it kills them altogether," Ezra said airily. "Merry Christmas."

Buck frowned, and looked to Chris for confirmation. Chris nodded and shrugged. Who could ever know why Ezra went to such lengths to disillusion people?

"Spoilsport," Buck grumbled and began to show signs of pouting.

"I don't know why," Ezra continued, unasked, "people persist in celebrating what was once a pagan holiday by window-dressing it with religiosity and using it as an excuse to plunge deeper into debt and carouse beneath desiccated vegetation." He sat back, apparently pleased with himself and his choice of words.

"God, you really do know how to suck the fun out of everything," JD griped and joined in the pouting.

"Yeah," Buck said, "can't you just let other people enjoy something for the sake of it? This is the season of good will and brotherly love and, and" he turned to JD for help.

"And generosity of spirit," JD chimed in.

"And the baby Jesus," Josiah said, smirking at his chili.

"And the baby Jesus," Buck echoed, punctuating this winning point with a nod.

Chris ignored them as the bickering continued and turned his attention to Vin putting the finishing touches on a lop-sided snowman in the front yard. He stepped back when pleased, and patted the showman on his bald head before adding a genuine corn-cob pipe and a Broncos baseball cap.

Vin's face was red and his hands were ice cold, of which he made gratuitous proof by touching everyone's necks when he bustled into the kitchen. "Isn't it amazing out there?" He asked of no one in particular. "I love it. I love the smell of snow." He grabbed a beer from the fridge and made no show of kissing Chris hello as he went to toss his coat into the den. "And the silence that happens when it first starts to snow," he carried on, whipping back into the kitchen as swiftly as he'd exited. "And the way dawn turns it pink. Who brought the mistletoe? You know that stuff kills trees, don't you?"

"I give up," Buck said, and went elsewhere to sulk.

"Isn't is great out?" Vin said again, seeking agreement.

"I believe only you would think so," Ezra sneered.

"You get stuck in the snow again?" Vin asked cheerily, bumping hips with Chris.

Chris let the banter drift out of his range of focus, sliding an arm around Vin's waist to share a little body heat. He hadn't thought that he'd ever enjoy the Holidays again. Any holiday. But Vin enjoyed all of them, for whatever reason, for any reason. He lived in the moment more than anyone Chris had ever known, happy just for the sake of it , because it was preferable to the alternative, because he wasn't the kind of man who would go down without a fight.

"You want to hang some dead weed around the house just for fun?" Chris asked him quietly, nodding at the mistletoe.

Vin grinned with cheeks still ruddy. "Nah. We don't need the excuse."

That was true enough. All his life Chris had always concentrated on all the reasons he shouldn't be happy, all the loss and frustrations in his life. And Vin, who had a comparatively longer list of reasons, always seemed to beg the question. Why shouldn't he be happy? He had everything he needed right here in his kitchen, fighting over the merits of mistletoe and the true meaning of the season.

Well, he had almost everything. When Buck came back in to take sides with JD in the fight against Ezra's hard-line agenda of Yule defamation, then Chris was satisfied.

Hearth and home, family and friends, everything he loved under one roof. Chris didn't need a holiday to remind him of that. Not anymore.