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Snowflakes drifted in lazy spirals past the window as he stared, their unique patterns and shapes lost as they mingled. It was cold inside, the heater working in fits and starts since early that morning, but that didn't bother him. He'd had years of living on the streets, in old, abandoned and condemned buildings, and even sleeping under fire escapes so that the cold bothered him little now. 

A steaming cup of coffee appeared under his nose, a strong hand wrapped around the cracked handle. He blinked.

A slow smile spread across his face as he let the mug warm his numbing fingers and he turned to the one who'd offered it. Striking blue eyes beneath severe, dark brows met his own.


A sharp nod was his only reply, and with a small chuckle, he turned his violet gaze back out to the snow. Expecting nothing more from his silent partner, Duo started at the feel of warm fingers brushing against his cheek and under his chin, turning his face.


A distinctly uncomfortable look passed across the other boy's face as they watched each other. Duo waited patiently, knowing his companion would speak when he was ready, and not before.
Heero surprised him.

"I don't know much about your Christmas holiday, but I do know one thing." Heero reached down and took Duo's hand in his own, turning it palm-side up.

Duo quirked a puzzled frown at his words, spoken without preamble. Before he even had time to ask Heero what he'd meant, a small box, wrapped in plain white paper, was dropped into his hand. He turned it over, somewhat suspicious of it, not having received a Christmas present since his time at the Maxwell Church. 

With a shuddering breath, Duo tore into the paper. With his bright eyes shut tight, he lifted the lid, uncertain as to why he was nervous. He found that couldn't move. Memories of Father
Maxwell placing a glittering golden cross around his neck on his first Christmas morning that wasn't filled with the cries of the sick and hungry froze him where he stood, each muscle rigid
with tension.

At first, he was startled by how real the memory was. He could feel Father Maxwell's careful hands, sweeping his braid away from the nape of his neck, and brushing across his sensitive skin, so unaccustomed to gentle touches that he shivered. He could just hear the barely discernable click of the clasp springing back into place, and he could feel a light weight against his chest.

The huskily whispered "Merry Christmas" in his ear jolted him back to the present. His eyes snapped open and met deep blue that watched him for the slightest reaction. The weight he had
thought he'd imagined, hung from his neck, cool metal against his skin, and he looked down.

There, dangling on a thin gold chain against the stark black of his customary clothing, a new golden cross gleamed, one to replace the one that had been lost in the last base infiltration. He hadn't thought anyone had noticed it missing. Duo had been careful to conceal his searing heartache at its loss, and yet... and yet, Heero had known. Somehow. 

Duo's hand crept up to feel the simple cross, the gold warming quickly in his palm, and he managed a trembling smile. A soft, heartfelt kiss said 'thank you,' the only way he knew how, as they wrapped their arms around each other and watched the snow continue to fall.



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