This novel takes place after my novella; Timetraveler. For the better understanding of the characters and their backgrounds, it is advisable to read the original novella first. You can find it by clicking here.
“What are you reading? Your eyes have been glued to that screen for hours now.”
The voice cut so unexpectedly in his little bubble of wisdom and longing, Louis almost fell off the chair he has been sitting on for the last few hours. Contemplating the numbness in his legs and the tingling – as if ants were running up an down – under his skin when he tried to stretch his limbs after sitting still for so long. He looked up at Kim and couldn’t quite stifle his grin, even if he wanted to feel grumpy over his disturbed research.
“I—I was just reading some stuff…” he answered not looking Kim in the eye.
“Some stuff? Sounds interesting” Kim was grinning with his usual Cheshire cat grin at Louis. “Care to share?”
“If you promise you won’t laugh at me.” Kim adored the shyness expressed on Louis’ face, his gentle voice laced with a bit of insecurity and a slight bit of stutter.
“Why would I?” The astonishment in his in voice was genuine. “I’m just curious what got your interest so much you even forgot to attend dinner.”
“Is it that time already?” Louis’ eyes went as big and round like saucers.
“It is past that time already” Kim snickered putting a foil covered plate in front of Louis right next to the touch-keypad. “But don’t worry I saved you one portion of your favorite burger.”
Louis turned his shining hungry eyes towards the burger. He grabbed the plate, unwrapped the foil, and dug in his food.
“I’m starving actually” he declared his mouth full.
“Eat up. And while you stuff your head, I check what absorbed all your attentions in the last few hours.”
“I was on some research about Christmas” Louis said after swallowing a huge bite, the size almost the half of his head.
“On Christmas? Why?” Louis couldn’t decipher the expression on Kim’s handsome face.
“You don’t like Christmas?” He half asked, half declared warily.
“It’s not really ‘bout not liking it” Kim explained. “Where I came from we did not celebrate Christmas. We didn’t even have a religion either. We had a leader though to worship. Worshiping anything or anyone else easily could get you killed. But we are free to follow any traditions or beliefs in here. I just never cared, I think.”
“I see.” He swallowed yet another bite, and Kim was fairly sure that Louis tried to swallow all his curiosity and disquieting questions along with the mouthful of food.
“As far as I know, the 16th century France was pretty much religious. What were your Christmases like?” Kim asked finally deciding to try enlighten the mood. “Is that what you’re missing? Or is it something else?”
“I— It’s something else. I think I became quite obsessed with the end of 20th century’s Christmas traditions. The sparkling lights, the merriment, the presents, the music and everything. It’s nothing like it was back in the 16th century. And I really like the Christmas trees. In my time, we didn’t decorate pine trees, there was no joyful feelings in the festive season – no one called it like that either. It was an occasion for celebrations though. We had nativity scenes, but other decorations – it would certainly be considered pagan and heretic and punished mercilessly without any doubt. We went to the holy Mass, it was mandatory. But at that time it didn’t feel as an obligation. It was natural like breathing. Nobody dared to skip the Mass, it was unthinkable. Being absent from the Services also could get you killed in false pretenses like being a heretic.
He took a deep breath. “But we had richer supper with my mother – I mean… before her disappearance. I said ‘richer’ but that meal was still laughable compared to the food in here. But unlike as it may seem, Christmas wasn’t a big deal really. Easter or Annunciation were more important” seeing the blank expression on Kim’s face Louis helpfully added, “Annunciation was celebrated on the 25th of March. That’s when God conceived in Mary’s womb. And to make Christmas less festive, it was preceded by a month of fast. We were poor with my mother, so you can imagine how miserable that month was — no meat only watery soup. Sometimes when my mother feared that I would fall ill, she made me soup so thick it was almost a stew. She could get punished for it for defying God’s orders, but she never cared. Those soups were my favorites.”
Louis chuckled at the memories. Kim looked at him in wonder and pure adoration. He explained to Louis before that his mother stole him from the sickbay’s midwifery right after he was born. Seemingly Louis had understood what kind of a woman his mother was, but in times like this, when he reveled bits of his past with
Katerine, it was hard to believe – even for Kim – that the woman wasn’t really anything than a crazy bitch causing uproars here and there in the time-flow.
“What do you want for Christmas, then?” Kim asked Louis genuinely wanting to give him anything to fulfill all his wishes in the festive season.
“I want an enchanted Christmas, the 20th century kind” his smile was wistful, “I asked the Petersons, but they like their Christmas kept closed off for family members only. I understand, but I hoped they would let me in… for just a tiny bit of their evening.”
Kim pondered it. The Petersons were among the few religious members of the Station crew. They were rescued from the first third of the 21st century. They kept their faith even on the Station at the end of the time. Although they never wanted to convert anyone, they were forthcoming with information and answers if anyone bothered to ask, like Louis did apparently.
“Let me think about it. I’ll come up with something, I promise. This will be your best Christmas ever.”
“Is it selfish to wish for it to be my first best Christmas ever?” Louis asked innocently.
“Of course not. Is it selfish of me to wish to be part of each and every one of your best Christmases?”
“Of course not.”
They laughed at each other. Then Kim leaned in, cupped Louis chiseled jaw, and crushed their lips together in an intense kiss.
One week had passed, and Kim and Louis barely could see each other during those excruciatingly long seven days. Kim was sent to missions, and Louis’ presence was needed in the History Observatory, the Seniors needed his insight to save a traveller team from a mission that went to hell. Their team walked right into an undocumented incursion caused by knights cut loose by their liege.
Louis was the only one, who knew something about those events. Even if it was just rumors the survivors or the wandering priests or minstrels regaled during the village fairs. That little Louis remembered, proved to be enough to save the team. Not long after they got back, Kim arrived to fetch him.
“Our leave request has been approved” he swept Louis off his feet and spun him around in the hallway.
“I never requested leave” Louis looked up at Kim dumbfounded.
“You may never done, but I did for you” he winked. “Come, I have something to show you.”
He led Louis to their room – first it was only Kim’s, but after a few weeks of Louis regularly crashing there, they decided to move in together. And they were living together ever since. In their room Kim booted up the computer, and opened the time-flow control menu. Every timetraveler was authorized to check on the time-flow, or monitor the past’s event. Since the Station was built at the end of time, everything was past at the verge of time standing still. No future just the present stretching for eternity. No growing older for the crew either. How would you be supposed to grow old without the time passing?
Louis watched Kim as he opened images of different places, all seemed to be from the end of the 20th century. All showed different Christmas scenes; Christmas markets, busy streets with people preparing for the celebrations to come, festively decorated restaurants. All the merriment Louis ever wanted to have.
“Pick one or two destinations, Sweetheart” Kim stepped behind Louis, snaking his arms around his waist from behind, turning his head towards the monitor.
“Destination?” Louis barely could believe what he was seeing. “Did the higher ups really approve this trip?”
“Yep. Of course. I wouldn’t be showing you this if I hadn’t got all the necessary approvals.” Kim kissed him behind the ear forcing a desire-filled whimper out of Louis’ throat. “I checked the best Christmas destinations. I may have asked the Petersons’ opinion.” He beamed at the monitor from behind Louis’ back – even if the other couldn’t see his dopey grin. “We can go to Wien, Prague, Budapest or if you were OK with a much bigger crowd, we can got to London or Paris, but I have a feeling you don’t want to go to France.”
“No. I don’t want to.” Louis whispered. “Wherever we go, will there be snow? I want to see the Christmas lights sparkling on the snow.”
“There certainly will be snow. I was careful with my choice. I searched for years before the warming.”
“But…” Was it uncertainty in Louis’s tone? “Could we be affectionate there?”
“We don’t have to be afraid, just be a bit cautious. We could stand close to each other, at some places even hold hands, but it might be for the better not to give anyone any public displays.”
“Do you mean kissing, or some other displays requiring a lot more closeness? Because I think I’m not lewd enough for the latter.”
“No you, Goof, I meant kissing. But I wouldn’t be against some of your private displays only for me.” Kim’s arms tightened a fraction around Louis’ waist, while he kissed along his neck affectionately. When he felt Louis’ knees go weak under him, Kim held him closer against his chest whispering in his ears. “So where do you want to go?”
Answering wasn’t an easy task with his mind foggy with lust, and desiring Kim to climb into his body leaving the marks of his love on him.
“I want to… I want to go to bed.” Louis was especially proud at himself for managing to utter those words.
Kim stepped from behind him snickering, he grabbed Louis’ hand and started to lead him to their bed chamber – it was a little cabin separated with walls from the other parts of their accommodation. Kim ushered Louis in the small cabin where shiny, flittering Christmas lights and decorations greeted them.
Louis for a moment forgot why they came into the bed-cabin in the first place. His gaze was glued to the farther end of the cabin where a tiny Christmas tree stood proud and seemed to buckle under the various baubles and tinsel it was decorated with. Led lamps were placed on its tiny branches among the baubles. This was the most beautiful Christmas decoration he ever had laid eyes on.
“Kim… It’s—” Louis couldn’t speak anymore through the lump settled in his throat all due to his emotionally overwhelmed state.
“Beautiful? Perfect?” Kim supported him with the necessary words.
“Everything” Louis managed to breath.
Kim put his hands on Louis’ shoulder and turned him until they were face to face. Louis was much shorter than Kim, so he had to look up when Kim needed to tilt his head to make their eyes meet. Kim dipped his head down to capture Louis’ lips in a heated kiss. His tongue brushed over the shorter man’s lower lip, and Louis opened up for him inviting Kim in, giving his everything to his chosen one.
Kim guided Louis backwards, towards their bed, until the back of Louis’ leg gently bumped into the bedframe. Then he pushed the other to make him fall on the comforter. In a few minutes they were wrestling in the mingled bedclothes and comforter trying to swallow them whole. Louis handed over all the power over himself to Kim, to rule over him. He was stuck under the hard planes of Kim’s body, he was encased between his strong arms, and God, it was the sweetest kind of prison, punishing him with heavenly pleasure.
Kim’s pale blue eyes reflected all the colors of the Christmas lights, and those colors were dancing on his rippling muscles making the pleasures more intense. Surely this sight should be banned for every men’s own good. And the love shining from those incredibly toned blue eyes… What did he do to deserve this, and everything Kim ever did for him.
The all his thoughts flew away when the final wave of pleasures hit him and raced through his body. His vision went white and later he could swear he saw fireworks behind his closed lids, until he forced his eyes open to lose himself in Kim’s clouded gaze and pleasure contorted face. Oh, how much he loved those love-forced grimaces on the other. He didn’t even try to bite back his cries of ecstasy, neither did Kim.
After their pleasures spent Kim dropped down beside Louis and pulled him into his arms against his chest. For a few minutes they were floating, basking in the afterglow trying to catch their breaths. Louis was never so sated or content. Kim was the best present he ever got.
“You know” whispered Kim beside him, “I couldn’t be sure if my travel request would be approved, but I wanted to give you an almost perfect Christmas. So I prepared this room as a substitute.”
“It’s no substitute” Louis disagreed. “With or without the trip it is my first best Christmas. I’m so grateful, Kim…”
When the first tears of happiness run down on Louis’ cheeks, Kim readily kissed away all of them whispering words of undying love in his beloved’s ears.