“Why do we have to do this every year?” Sam muttered, leaning against Henry in the car as they fucking finally drove home. He was already taking his tie off and unbuttoning his shirt.
“Because we’re criminals and if we don’t occasionally do a charity benefit then it makes us look bad,” Henry told him, putting an arm around Sam.
“Fuck that. Next year I’m taking over the world so that it doesn’t matter if people think we’re evil.”
“I think you’d be very surprised,” Henry said. “If you took over the world, what people thought of you would be even more important, or your whole tenure would just be people rebelling against you.”
“Ugh,” Sam decided. Henry was probably right. People were fucking annoying like that. “Fine. Next year you’re going to the Christmas thing for me and you can just tell everyone I’m out giving coats to starving babies or something.”
Now Henry kissed him, like he always fucking did before he was about to tell Sam no. “No,” he said.
Sam sighed and wrenched his shoes off, then his socks. “I hate Christmas.”
“No, you don’t,” Henry told him immediately. “You just think you should hate Christmas because you’re grumpy and mean and other grumpy and mean people hate Christmas. And you hate feeling obligated to buy people things because you don’t like shopping.”
“I don’t feel obligated to buy people things,” said Sam. He’d gotten Henry a new tablet and some leather-bound notebooks, but only because he kept bitching about how his tablet wasn’t working properly and about being out of paper. He’d also gotten Henry a new coat, because he didn’t like how Henry’s current coat felt when he touched it. Nobody had made him do that.
“Which reminds me, we still need to buy the last of our stuff.”
“No we don’t. I’m not buying anything for anyone else,” Sam said. What the fuck?
“I know, but we’re getting stuff for Derek and Todd, and Levi too.”
“What the fuck, I’m not getting stuff for them. Who the fuck cares about them?”
Belatedly, Sam remembered that Arty was driving the car. But whatever, if he wanted people to care about his boyfriend, then he shouldn’t be dating Todd, what the fuck.
“We do. I already did most of their shopping, but it’s too late to order the last few things online, so I’m going to the mall tomorrow.”
“Arty,” Sam said. “Stop the car. Henry’s going to walk home.”
“Yes, sir,” said Arty, not stopping the car, because nobody listened to Sam.
“I didn’t say you had to come,” Henry told him, chuckling in his chest.
Oh. Sam elbowed him. “You said we had to buy things.”
“I promise it’s just because I’m using our credit card. I wouldn’t make you go to the mall when you behaved so well tonight.”
“I want a divorce.”
“Sorry, I finished shopping for you last week.”
Sam just sighed, because there was no point in talking to Henry when he was like this. They got home not long after and Sam got out of the car, scowling as the coldness of the concrete seeped up into his feet. He’d left his shoes in the car and it wasn’t his fucking job to go back and get them, so he just tolerated it and stepped into the elevator, which was also fucking cold.
Henry rubbed his shoulders as the elevator went up, and they got off, stepping into the main part of the house. “I’m not going to bed without having a bath, my feet are cold,” he complained, heading for the bedroom.
“Whose fault is that?”
“Todd’s,” Sam said, because he could hear Todd over there breathing like an idiot. Then he heard Arty kiss him, also like an idiot. “What did you fuckheads do all night?”
“Played video games,” Todd said, not even in his usual sullen grumble.
“How productive of you,” Sam yawned.
“It was productive,” Levi told him. “We didn’t play all night, we actually talked a lot about writing, and…”
“Hey, Sam doesn’t fucking care,” Todd said, voice high and embarrassed.
“He might,” said Derek, from the other side of the room. “It was a good conversation.”
“Okay I heard Sam say he wants a bath so I’m going to run it, Derek’s texting Castor about coming over for Christmas so it’s his fault if there are more thugs here than usual, bye,” Todd said, and he was gone, which made the room better, because he wasn’t in it.
Sam sighed. “I don’t care if your boyfriend comes over for Christmas. I’m not getting him anything.”
“That’s okay, I bought him stuff and some of it I’ll say was from you,” Derek said cheerfully. “And he’s bringing you a present.”
Ugh. “Levi, you’re my favourite.”
“Yes.” He didn’t have an annoying boyfriend. Yet. “You can sleep with me and Henry tonight.”
“Go take a shower first,” Sam grumbled. “And don’t use that gross smelling soap.”
“I bought a new one to try,” Levi promised. “I think this one isn’t as bad.”
He always thought that, but Sam let him go. Derek sighed and got up. “I got you out of the dinner party with those yakuza guys,” he told Sam.
“Oh. How?” Sam had been sure he was going to have to spend hours tomorrow doing that.
“I sent them a gift and told them your grandfather was sick.”
“I don’t have…”
“I didn’t tell them that part. They’re happy to just have a short meeting with you after the holidays instead.”
“Okay.” Derek was annoyingly useful. “Thank you.”
“No big deal. I’m going out in the morning to see Castor, I’ll be back for supper. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight.” Sam headed upstairs, mildly annoyed that Henry didn’t follow him. “Henry?”
“Just have a few emails to send from you thanking people. I’ll be up in fifteen minutes.”
Ugh. “Whatever.” Sam went up to their bedroom, where he could hear the bathtub running in the adjoining bathroom. He started to undress, sitting down on the bed and trying to find his slippers, ignoring Todd when he came into the bedroom.
“Hey,” Todd said, refusing to be ignored like a smart butt-boy. “So how was your stupid charity thing?”
“It was stupid. We gave like a million turkeys to people with avian flu or something. Like that actually helps anyone. But none of them pointed out that we’re a pharmaceutical company that didn’t just fucking invent the cure for avian flu, so I guess it was fine.” Sam sighed. “You’re better at video games than Levi, right?”
“Obviously. I made him play Rocket League.”
“That’s the one with the spaceships, right?”
“No,” Todd said. He sounded awkward. “Hey, you were bitching about your feet being cold when you got in.”
“Yeah, that’s why I’m having a bath, genius.”
“Uh-huh,” Todd agreed. “I, uh. Fuck, whatever. Here.”
He pressed a small box into Sam’s hands, and Sam scowled. “What is it?”
“It’s a fucking box. Open it.”
Ugh. This was a fucking Christmas thing. Sam should have tossed the box at Todd, but he ripped the paper off and opened it, reaching inside. He found fabric, and pulled it out. “You got me socks?” he asked, feeling them.
“Yeah. You always fucking complain that your feet are cold and I know that it’s because you always fucking take your socks off, and…whatever, I figure it’s because you don’t like how socks feel on your feet or something.” He made a vague noise. “So I thought if you had some ones that felt nice you’d get over it and stop being so cold all the time.”
Sam almost told Todd to go to hell, but…the fabric of the socks did feel nice on his hands. He held out a pair to Todd, then held out his foot without saying anything. Todd knelt on the floor and pulled the socks on him, one at a time. Sam stood up.
Oh. They were… “They’re nice,” Sam admitted. “They feel better than other socks.” He could feel wearing these without being forced to. Sometimes.
“I know, I have some too. They have patterns on them. I know you don’t care, I’m just telling you so you don’t think I’m tricking you. It’s like knives and shit. I thought you’d like knowing that.” He sounded so awkward. Not in the way Todd usually sounded.
Sam didn’t know what to fucking say to that. “I can’t believe you wasted money on me,” he muttered, going over to his bedside table. His slippers were there but he kicked them out of the way and opened the drawer.
“Whatever, my friend’s dad owns the company that makes them.” Todd’s voice was distant again. The bathtub stopped running.
“I can’t believe you have friends.”
“I can’t believe you do either.”
Sam snorted. Henry had better not have fucking gotten presents for James and Ron. He found what he was looking for and went over to where he could hear Todd breathing. “Here.”
“To the compound,” Sam said, going into the bathroom. “It’s stupid that you live here and can’t get into a third of the rooms.”
“What, you’re letting me into your confidential rooms because I gave you some socks?”
“No,” said Sam, sitting on the toilet and carefully taking them off. “You’re just one of the only fucking people in this family that I trust.”
Sam was hot in the face and it wasn’t from the steam. “Go away unless you’re going to help me bathe.”
“Fuck that.” Todd fucked off, but only a few steps. “Thanks.”
“Whatever,” Sam said, stepping into the bathtub now. It was just the right temperature. “Merry Christmas, okay?”
“Yeah, okay. You too.”
Todd left, and Sam sank into the bath, his feet stinging at the temperature change. They’d get over it. When Henry came into the bathroom a few minutes later, Sam turned his head. “I’m coming with you to the mall tomorrow,” he said.
“To make it harder for you,” he muttered. “I want to make sure you get them stuff that I approve of. I gave Todd a master key but that’s a stupid gift.”
“That is a stupid gift,” Henry agreed, sitting on the side of the tub and touching Sam’s shoulder. “What made your heart grow three sizes today?”
“Fuck off, people like you assuming I hate Christmas is why I can’t be bothered most of the time,” Sam grumbled, sinking lower and blowing some bubbles in the water with his last words.
Henry laughed, giving Sam another touch. “Okay. I’ll be in the bedroom, shout if you need anything.”
Sam didn’t need anything. He had everything he needed and had for a while. And now his feet weren’t even cold.
He really didn’t hate Christmas, actually.