Hello! Can I request andreil Christmas morning with the foxes? Or just them?
Yes, yes you can <33
(Technically I have one more prompt before this one, but consider this my contribution to your asks for happy things~)
Sleepy, cozy mornings were a new thing for Neil. Not that he’d never been tired in the morning, or had never been warm and comfortable. There was a difference. Sleepy, for one, implied a certain level of inherent safety and lack of urgency that even throughout his entire first year with the Foxes he had never had the luxury of. Similarly, cozy was a foreign notion to him that carried a downy reassurance of safety he’d never been privileged enough to even consider.
Right now, though? Right now he was basking in what was decidedly a sleepy, cozy morning.
Light was filtering through the slatted blinds of Andrew’s bedroom in the house in Columbia like ghost-breath, pale and ephemeral in the early morning. Neil’s eyes were open, but only just, and his mind was so peacefully blank that he spent what could have been ten minutes and could have been a full hour just watching the light steadily warm and brighten, igniting the floating specks of dust like tiny fireworks in a celebration of such unfathomable ease. Behind him were the low, steady cadences of Andrew’s breathing against his shoulder and his heartbeat against his spine -- a duet that Neil idly thought he’d be happy to play on repeat for the rest of his life.
So yeah, he was cozy. He was sleepy. He was... happy. And he was content to bask in that for as long as he could. Stray thoughts filtered through the haze of his only half-awake mind, none of them sticking, none of them elevating his own heart rate above its slow, relaxed beat. It was more that he just... noticed things, then let them go. He noticed the shifting of the light, he noticed the creaking of the house, he noticed that warm, pleased feeling that pulsed in his chest and spread all the way down to each finger and each toe when Andrew sighed and nuzzled his face against his shoulder, the arm around his waist tightening slightly.
He allowed himself to wake slowly, and when he did feel alert and fully conscious, he remained in place to bask just a little bit longer anyway.
Behind him, Andrew made a small, sleepy noise of his own and tightened his arm around him again, fully hiding his face against the back of Neil’s neck. Since Andrew couldn’t see him anyway, Neil didn’t bother hiding the smile the action conjured.
“Morning,” he offered in greeting, knowing the difference between Andrew’s unconscious movements and signs that he was actually awake but resisting it.
“Too early.” Andrew’s response was muffled, grumbled as it was against Neil’s skin, but decipherable.
Neil shifted slightly, and Andrew instantly loosened his hold so that Neil could roll onto his side to face him. As much as he enjoyed being held by Andrew sometimes, it was still his favorite to lay facing him. He liked to be able to look at him, to watch his face and see the way light brought out new hues in his hazel eyes. They were almost green this morning, but flecked with brown that flashed gold when he narrowed his eyes into a glare.
“What?” Andrew accused.
Neil debated telling Andrew that he was beautiful, that getting to see his face first thing in the morning was his favorite thing about waking up in Columbia, that if it was the last thing he saw he’d count it worth it every single time.
Instead he shrugged and said, “Nothing.”
Andrew’s glare narrowed and by the accusatory glance at Neil’s mouth, Neil supposed he must be smiling or making some other offensive expression that he knew Andrew must either like more or even less than he said, considering how often he would kiss it away.
Not this morning, though, which was preferable. Neil loved kissing Andrew. He did not like the particular vintage of ass that occurred first thing in the morning before either of them had a chance to brush their teeth.
By the annoyed sigh Andrew made, Neil supposed he had come to the same conclusion. He didn’t resist when Andrew put his whole hand on Neil’s face to push it into the pillow, only humming in an amused way that he knew would annoy the other man. Andrew was already rolling out of bed when Neil heard the scoff that told him he’d succeeded on that point.
Pleased with himself, Neil took an extra few moments to stretch, burying his face into Andrew’s pillow and inhaling deeply, allowing himself to go a little light-headed on the rush he got when his senses were flooded with Andrew’s scent. Andrew was gone by the time he’d fully roused himself and was back by the time Neil had changed out of his pajamas and into some lounge pants and a fresh t-shirt. They didn’t have any real plans for the day that he knew of and he was planning to hold onto this cozy feeling for as long as possible even if the sleepy bit had faded.
Andrew was waiting for him in the hallway when Neil got out of the bathroom, holding a red bundle of knitted fabric in his hands. When Neil only raised an eyebrow, Andrew shoved it at his chest and said, “Nicky’s stupid tradition.”
Neil might have asked, except that he could now see that Andrew had pulled on a sweater over the shirt he’d been wearing when Neil had entered the bathroom. It was dark green with a gold and white tree on it, loopy knitted lettering proclaiming ‘Happy Holidays!’ with aggressive cheer. Now he knew he was grinning, and he didn’t even press a hand to his mouth to hide and cover it, because it felt nothing like his father’s smile. This was something entirely different, born of shock and awe and humor and affection in a combination Neil didn’t think he’d ever actually experienced before.
“Put yours on before you come down,” Andrew ordered with a flat expression Neil didn’t believe for an instant. “I do not want to listen to Nicky’s whining.”
Then he turned and marched down the stairs, where Neil realized he could hear the sounds of quietly chipper holiday music and the rustle of bodies moving around.
Neil looked down at the bundle in his hands and shook it out to see the design. He wasn’t sure whether to laugh or groan at the image, which was probably the ugliest-looking rendition of a reindeer he’d ever seen in his life. Neil would never say that he had an eye for fashion or art, but this was just... sad. The shade of the nose was just slightly darker than the background of the sweater and he was pretty sure the animal was cross-eyed.
Ah well, it wasn’t like he’d have to look at it if he was wearing it. With a shake of his head, he tugged it on and turned to head downstairs. At least it was warm. It was also big on him and knitted with something soft, so if Neil were to call it anything, he might say it was... cozy.
“Neil!” Nicky cheered from the stove when Neil entered the kitchen. He was wearing a bright green sweater with an elf on it. Or at least, he thought it was an elf. To his knowledge, elves didn’t wear purple eyeshadow, but hey -- he wasn’t here to judge. “You wore it! I knew it was the perfect sweater for you.”
Neil raised an eyebrow and tugged on the sweater, looking down at it. “Huh. It’s that Christmas deer, right? Randolph?” he asked, full well knowing the correct name. He’d lived on the run for half his life, not under a rock.
Nicky made a pained, whimpering sound. “Dead. I’m dead. You’ve killed me. Neil, don’t... don’t tell me you’ve never heard of... of Rudolph..?”
Neil looked up at him and affixed something between innocence and confusion on his face. “Isn’t that the guy who makes that snowman. Uh. Freezy or something?”
“Frosty! No, he--”
“Nicky, he’s fucking with you.” This from Aaron, who had no right to ruin his fun when he was sitting there with (a distinctly cross-eyed) Santa Claus on his own sweater. Why did all of these characters have a vision impairment?
Nicky looked from Aaron to Neil, who just shrugged and moved to make himself a cup of coffee.
“Aww Neil, you asshole,” Nicky whined, but the effect was somewhat ruined by the grin on his face as he turned back to the stove, where he was just finishing up the bacon. It appeared to be the last thing on the menu, because the table was already laden with every single breakfast food Neil could fathom. Three different kinds of eggs, toast, waffles, sausages, biscuits -- it was a regular feast and Neil’s stomach rumbled at the sight.
“Wow Nicky, what’s with the spread. Did I forget someone’s birthday or something?” Neil asked as he took his usual spot next to Andrew, who’d been watching the whole previous exchange over the rim of his own coffee cup.
Nicky turned around with the plate of bacon in hand, his expression stricken. “Neil you.. you do know what today is... don’t you?”
Aaron sighed and opened his mouth, then snapped it shut again and glared at Andrew, who must have kicked him. Neil bit back a smirk and frowned instead. “Uh... December twenty-fifth? Probably?” He looked toward the fridge, where Nicky’s calendar hung. The twenty-fifth was circled in green and red marker with two smiley-faces and at least six exclamation points.
“Shit, it’s your birthday isn’t it? Sorry Nicky, I forgot. I’ll make it up to--”
“It’s CHRISTMAS, Neil! Christmas!!” He set the plate down, like he needed to get it out of his hands before he dropped it. Or maybe so he could fee his hands to gesture emphatically at the sweaters they were all wearing. And the paper snowflakes in the window. And the Christmas lights strung around the cabinets. And the little snowman figurines arranged in various places around the kitchen (even the salt and pepper shakers were a Mr. and Mrs. Snowman now).
Neil followed each gesture obediently, then met Nicky’s eyes. “Oh. Is it?”
The sound that came out of Nicky was something between a scream and a sob. Neil reached across the table and pilfered a piece of bacon, munching on it as the twins also started to fill their plates and Nicky pulled himself back together again.
This time, it was Andrew that took pity on his cousin.
“Neil knows what and when Christmas is, Nicky.”
Nicky looked from Andrew to Neil, then to Aaron (who rolled his eyes and took two extra links of sausage), before finally settling his gaze back on Neil.
Neil blinked at him, then smiled -- because.. well, he couldn’t think of a reason not to, and wasn’t that a weird reason to smile? Instead of commenting on any of that he stole two sausages directly off of Aaron’s plate and put them on Nicky’s, ignoring the affronted cursing from the other man.
“Merry Christmas, Nicky,” he said pointedly, then went about loading his own plate.
Neil had never thought much about Christmas before, it just hadn’t been anywhere close to his list of things to worry about. But now... now that he was able to think about things that, well, that weren’t worries he thought that maybe it was something he could kinda get used to. Maybe it was something he could like -- especially if it meant sleepy, cozy mornings and times like this, where he could be so comfortable, so happy, in the circle of his family.
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(this drabble is set in the TLAT universe, but doesn't really have to be)
James sat on his bed with Lily in the cradle of his legs, one foot on the floor and the other bent at the knee behind her back. He, unlike Lily, did not seem at all nervous for their first-ever gift exchange.
“Open that one first,” James instructed, pointing at a small, rectangular package that looked like a book, one of three gifts sitting on the bed beside her. She tore it open to find a beautiful edition of Austen's Persuasion, the cover illustration so pristine and delicately drawn it might’ve been made by hand.
Lily squeezed his hand and smiled wide. “I love it, I love it, I love it, James. It’s gorgeous, it’s…”
“Open it, Snaps.” Shooting him a curious look, she gently opened the book to the first page, the second, the title—there, on the title page, signature scrawled in bold, black, messy ink:
“Oh, my Merlin,” Lily whispered. “How did you…where did you find…I didn’t even know she signed copies. She wasn’t all that famous in her time…” but she trailed off, brow furrowing slightly, when she noticed the copyright date on the verso page: 1975. Lily bit her lip.
She resolved at once not to point out his mistake—it was a lovely, lovely present, and he’d probably done a fair bit of work to get it, even though it turned out to be a fraud. “It’s incredible. How did you find it?” she repeated, and her tone was almost exactly the same.
“I'm magic,” James teased. It was a good thing for him that she was too afraid of revealing herself to make eye contact, because he was doing a terrible job hiding his grin. “Big one, now.”
Setting the book aside (but not without one more loving look at the cover. So beautiful) Lily tore open the larger of the two packages left on the bed beside her. Heavy and oddly-shaped, it proved to be some sort of magical liquor Lily had never seen before, clearly high-quality and aged for two full centuries. This meant, she noted with a smothered laugh, that unlike the book, the liquor would actually have been a contemporary of Jane Austen’s.
“Opaleye Rum,” Lily read aloud. “Thank you, it looks delicious. I’ve never heard of it…?”
“You wouldn’t’ve. It has dragon blood in it—”
“Yum,” James corrected. “But they had to stop making it because Antipodean Opaleyes were about to go extinct, so there's not much left anymore. My dad has a bottle he’s been nursing for a decade, though. He let me taste it once...”
“You and Sirius stole some of it once…”
“And it’s delicious.”
“Well, I’m excited for you to drink it.”
James pinched her thigh. “You’ll like it, Snaps. Or you have terrible taste,” he added with a shrug, and Lily laughed.
She leaned into his bare chest and kissed the column of his throat. “Jane Austen’s autograph, essence of endangered dragon…you must’ve gone all over looking for this stuff.”
“Mmm.” James pressed his lips together tightly, and reached over her lap to grab the last package, small and soft. “Not done yet, Love.”
She didn’t move from his chest, just turned her head to look at the gift, and James slung an arm around her back. His hand slid underneath her (his) Puddlemere United sleep shirt to find skin, thumb drawing circles at her waist, pinky sliding into the crease where her thigh met her hip bone.
Lily tore open her final gift, and her brow furrowed. It was a square of white cloth embroidered with tiny pink flowers, very pretty but too small for any use Lily could imagine. It looked like an old-timey handkerchief…oh, no, did purebloods use…but no, James kept Kleenex by his bed like a normal human being. She turned it over, searching for a clue. Nestled among the flowers in one corner, Lily found the letters “J.A.”
Her boyfriend's thumb stopped moving.
“James Potter, what did you do?”
“Ever heard of a Time Turner, Snaps?”
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