You giggled as you watched Allistor and the twins struggle inside with the large Christmas tree. “Okay, lads, a bit more to the left.” The redhead grunted with the effort it took to lift his side of the pine tree. You winced as you heard a crash.
“The other left you idiots!”
It took a bit longer, but after a while they managed to fit the tree into a corner of the living room. The twins high-fived each other, grinning as they poked the other with the pine needles that were stuck to their sleeves. Allistor sighed in relief, ruffling his hair. A cascade of dark green needles fell to the floor with a distinct tinkle as he did so.
“I can’t believe you guys only bought it now.” You sighed. They grinned at you and shrugged. “Well the important thing is that we got one.”
“And just in the nick of time too!”
“Time to decorateeee!” Peter sang, skipping into the room after Dylan, each carrying different sizes of boxes.
You sat down with Peter, smiling as you hung a couple of baubles around his ears. He grinned and shook his head, one of the bells hanging from him chiming quietly. “Help me Pete!” Dylan cried, strings of lights entwined around his arms.
“Honestly, I think we’re going to need more lights than that.” Allistor commented, judging it by the size of the tree. “Naw, we’ll make it fit!” Dylan replied, his lilting accent making it sound like he was singing.
“You can never have enough lights.” A voice said, easily identifiable due to its British accent and its surliness. “Finally coming to help us?” The blond snorted as if that was the most absurd proposition he’d heard all year.
“Of course not, I’ve almost finished my book.” He told you, sitting down with a fresh cup of tea he poured from a black teapot. The twins rubbed their hands together, a bag of tinsel rustling in between the two of them. They disappeared to decorate other places in the house, mischievous grins on their faces.
Shrugging and shaking your head at them, you turned when a sudden light caught your eye. “Look! Look! I’m a Christmas tree!” Peter’s high voice made you examine said boy a little closer. He stood with his chest puffed out proudly, the Christmas lights tangled all around his body.
A string of glinting red tinsel crowned his head, the baubles you’d hung from his ears clinking as he turned this way and that to give you a prime view of him. The lights clung to his form, making his blue eyes shine even more than they used to and made his hair light up.
“Now, now Pete. We need to get those onto the tree.” You told him, slightly wagging your finger. “But it wasn’t me! Al and Dyl wanted to try it!” He complained, grinning like a maniac.
You sighed. “Really guys?” The two of them smiled and stuck up their fingers in a peace-sign as they stuck out their tongues playfully. “Besides!” You said, giving them a sly look. “If you’re going to do it, do it properly!” On that note, you held up a silver star behind Peter’s head, nodding at yourself in self-satisfaction.
Well, after a moment or two, during which Arthur who was covered head to toe in tinsel chased the twins around the house, you succeeded in untangling Peter from all of the decorations and placing them on the tree.
“It’s a lot better than last year’s.” Dylan commented, his hands on his hips as he admired your handiwork. “Tell me about it! Also let’s not leave Arthur in the kitchen like last year.”
Peter muttered and you winced knowing they probably didn’t have anything to eat that day.
“On that subject!” Dylan pulled on a red apron, pulling his redhaired brother into the kitchen with him. “Let’s get started!”
They washed the golden potatoes, the pale parsnips, top and tailed the green beans and crossed the sprouts. And of course, they stuffed the turkey, putting it in the oven as it still had a long time to go before it was ready.
After they’d cleaned up the vegetable leftovers, it was time for Peter to take the stage. “Allrighty then!” He cried, getting out the Christmas cake from the tin he’d been preparing it in since autumn. The aroma from the soft fruit drifted over to where you sat, the chair next to the counters.
That way you could be with the boys, but not get in the their way. Peter rolled up his sleeves, leaving them to crinkle around his elbows and dusted the marble counter-top with icing sugar. Ever so gently he rolled out the marzipan he’d well, where had he gotten that?
When you questioned him about it, he put his finger to his lips. “Just between you and me,” he whispered, leaning across the counter to you. “I bought this.” He told you with a wink, turning to the stove to heat up the apricot jam he was using as makeshift, tasty glue.
Using a cracked wooden spoon he covered the cake with the orange gloopy stuff, neatly making sure every bit was sticky. A cloth in hand, he quickly erased all the parts that had gone wrong, either going on the crystal-clear glass cake stand or on his hands. Though he just licked those parts off.
Peter didn’t exactly grow silent as he worked, though his humming did falter when he had to concentrate a bit more. In fact he was concentrating so much that a little crinkle appeared on his forehead and his tongue peeked out of his mouth as he rolled the icing.
Wanting to get it completely even and smooth, he narrowed his eyes, a grin of triumph growing on his face when he flipped the edge over the wooden rolling-pin. Ever so gently, he lifted the snowy white layer off the counter and draped it over the cake.
Instantly, he started pressing it around the circle of the dessert, his fingertips leaving tiny round marks around the bottom. With a shiny knife, he swiftly cut off the excess edges, nibbling on a piece as he did so.
“Almost ready...” he muttered to himself, the corners of his mouth pulled up in a smile. Rolling the last pieces of icing into small balls, rolling out the largest one again. “Know what I’m doing yet?” He asked you, glancing up from his meticulous work.
You cocked your head slightly, trying to make sense of what he was going to do. After a moment of thought, it struck you. “Holly.” You breathed and he pouted, searching in the cupboard for a cutter. “Yeaaaah.”
With the plastic cutter he made two leaves, using the knife to cut the lines in them. Then, using some of the leftover jam, he dabbed a spot in the upper left part of the cake to stick the leaves and the berries down.
“There we go!” You stared at the cake in disbelief. It looked so pure, stunningly white as if it was snow one had yet to walk over and cover in footprints.
“That looks amazing Peter.” You told him and you got a hug in return. “I’ll put it away safely.” He said and with that he displayed the cake on the cupboard next to the dining table, the one you kept the nicer plates and cups in.
“So can we...” Peter returned to your side and looked at you pleadingly. “Can we what?” You asked, though you knew what he wanted.
“Can we open the presents now?” His question was exasperated, his underlying tone implying that you knew exactly what he was talking about. Ruffling his hair, you nodded and he crowed in delight, bouncing into the room with the tree.
During the time you’d watched Peter prepare the Christmas cake, the older siblings had gotten the presents out of their hiding places and had crowded them around the base of the tree.
The boys were sitting there as well, the twins next to the tree and the other three squashed onto the sofa.
Dylan, in the middle, was trying to stop Allistor from blowing a fuse due to Arthur’s behaviour. “You didn’t even help, so you have no right to complain!”
Arthur’s bushy eyebrow twitched in response. “For the record, I was doing some work the rest of you have been procrastinating! So just lay off!”
The moment you stepped into the room, they glared at each other, folded their arms and turned their backs to each other.
Rolling your eyes, you sat on the floor in front of the sofa, your legs crossed. Peter sat on the arm of it, patting Allistor’s red hair.
“Pass us a present then.” Dylan told the twins and they immediately started digging around for the tags. “Okay, this one’s for you, Peter.” They handed him a rectangular package. “And it’s from Dyl. Thanks!”
He dug into it, revealing a book. “ 'Different cakes and how to make them'.” He read, then leaned over Allistor to give him a hug. “It’s okay, enjoy it.” Dylan said, patting his back.
“Al!” The twins chucked a couple of presents at him and he growled. “Careful! Okay so....” he pulled off the paper to reveal a CD of ‘four shades of awesome’. “Brilliant! I was looking for this one Dyl!” He cried, ruffling his brother’s hair. You stomach flipped a little at the sight of the all too familiar cover, but you shrugged it off.
You weren’t going to let that ruin your Christmas, not this time. “And this is...” He held up a small keychain and chortled loudly. A miniature bag-pipe was attached to it and when he pinched it a squeaky tune started playing. “Cheers!” He said, nodding at the twins who grinned at him.
“Dyl!” They called, passing another pair of presents up to him. The Welshman smiled gratefully, holding up a DVD. “ ‘How to train your dragon’.” He read. “Maybe it’d been better if it was ‘How to train your brothers’.” He teased, looking at his next present.
A silvery medallion was in his hand and he examined the carvings closely. “Thanks Al, Pete! And you two as well of course.”
“Artie! Watch out this one is big!” Arthur struggled to hold the present, tearing the paper at the top. Shaking his head, he showed you all the red fire-extinguisher. “Honestly?”
“Hey I’m not joking!” Allistor replied, a mischievous grin on his face. By this time the present giving started to speed up. You ended up with new strings for your bass from Dylan, which you thanked him gratefully for; you’d been needing to replace your current ones.
A collection of lacy and revealing underwear from the twins, who’d wiggled their eyebrows suggestively at you. “Wouldn’t mind seeing you model ‘em for us.” They said to your huge embarrassment. They’d even got the size right!
Peter had handed you quite a heavy present, wrapped up prettily. “I hope you enjoy!” He said as you took off the paper. The jar in your hands was filled to the brim with multi-coloured sweeties in all shapes and sizes. “Home-made and everything!”
Allistor tapped your present on your head, giving it to you sheepishly. “Hope you like ‘em.” He muttered, his cheeks slightly pink. It was obvious he hadn’t given a lot of girls presents, so you smiled happily up at him.
Under his watchful eye, you unwrapped the wireless headphones he’d bought you and you’d hugged him tightly, even kissing his cheek, which made his face turn redder than his hair.
Even Arthur handed you a present, a hand-knit jumper in your favourite colour at that. “Thank you.” You told him warmly, the smile on your face enough to make him grin in success.
As you were receiving your presents, the others were also getting theirs. You fistpumped mentally at your choice as the boys unwrapped their gifts.Each one of them held up a pair of boxers, a different print on them.
Peter had ones with robot-print, Allistor, whose face was beyond red by now, had sea-monster print, Dylan dragon-print, the twins beermugs and Arthur had unicorn-print.
They all looked at you and at that moment there was no doubt that they were related. The look of embarrassment on their faces was so similar it made you laugh. “Th-thank you.” They said at the same time, looking away from you in unison.
After all the presents were done, the wrapping paper being thrown away, the oven timer went off. Allistor rubbed his hands together and Dylan followed him into the kitchen.
Iain and Flynn sat down at the table eagerly, Peter happily on the seat next to them and Arthur trailed behind them, claiming a seat at the head of the table.
“Alright then!” The eldest brothers returned from the kitchen, a silver platter in their hands with the steaming turkey on it. They had to make several trips to get all the bowls and various bits to the table. Once they did and filled their glasses, they sat down and toasted loudly.
The twins started fidgeting and pulled a cracker loudly in between the two of them, the crack making you jump in surprise.
Laughing, they put the paper crowns on and as Flynn was the winner he got the little green yoyo that was hidden inside. Dylan offered you the end of the one he was holding and grinning you pulled.
The snap was echoed by the others pulling theirs as well. Looking around at them, each one with their own paper crown, you smiled.
Now this was a proper Christmas. One to remember.
The dinner was delicious as was expected and there weren’t too many fights. As you all managed to get on the sofa, well you were sandwiched in between Dylan and Arthur with the twins sitting in front of you on the floor and resting their backs against your legs, whilst Peter was spread out over the four of you, his head on Allistor’s lap.
This was the first time, you felt so warm. Both physically and mentally. The Doctor Who special started on the screen as per Arthur’s request and ability to keep the remote control away from his brothers.
As soon as the titles began to play, you were asleep however, having eaten your fill and feeling more than complete.
The boys smiled when you leaned on Arthur’s shoulder and in turn they kissed you on the forehead.