Arthur never really considered himself a “festive” person.
Not to say he didn’t go through the motions. Heart-shaped lanterns for Valentine’s Day, green on St. Patrick’s Day, and a nice big swig of a Earl Grey once the clock chimed 12 on New Year’s. It felt almost like an obligation, being apart of these traditions. Whether or not they were enjoyable never really seemed to be apart of the equation. It was just something that you do, so Arthur did.
Christmas, though supposedly the most special of the major holidays, was just another day to go through the motions for Arthur. He, of course, exchanged pleasantries with other countries and got a gift or two for close friends or political allies, but there wasn’t much put into it, not in the way that Alfred or Tino did. It was just another holiday, that was it. And this year in particular, there wasn’t anyone he’d be spending it with. Everyone was busy, off tending to their own affairs. Arthur wasn’t complaining, not at all, but it just proved even more that this year wouldn’t be that special.
It’d just be another night spent drinking warm tea and reading a good book by the fire, content and alone.
…Which is why it came as such a shock when his phone rang at 10pm on Christmas Eve to reveal a very excited sounding Matthew telling him he was coming over right away with his gift.
Ah, yes. Arthur had nearly forgotten that he wasn’t going to be alone this holiday.
Matthew’s feet were cold where they were pressed against his ankles, but Arthur didn’t complain. The rest of his body was warm though, seemingly enveloping him in an almost sunny ray all over.
“It’s such a nice night, isn’t it?” Matthew mumbled beside him, head rolling to lean on Arthur’s shoulder lazily.
Arthur could feel where Matthew’s cold nose chilled against his neck. “Nice? If you call all this snow and freezing cold nice, I suppose,” he scoffed, but a smile was playing at the edges of his mouth.
Matthew snorted and mumbled something Arthur doesn’t quite catch, but his feet were starting to heat up and his hands had found their way around Arthur’s wrists, so it didn’t matter what he said, really.
They lay there like that, endlessly tangled together, feet bare and noses cold, for what felt like hours, but really must have only be a few minutes. Arthur’s was just settling in, just starting to feel comfortable despite Matthew’s elbow digging in his side, so it was only natural that would be the exact moment Matthew jumped up.
Arthur, flailed out, a sudden wave of cold hitting the now Matthew-less space beside him. “What the bloody—”
Matthew beamed, a childlike grin and glow about him that made it increasingly difficult for Arthur to act indignant. “It’s 12! Know what that means? It’s officially Christmas!”
And Arthur couldn’t help but smile, because Matthew was really fucking excited about this, and damn if that excitement wasn’t contagious.
Arthur untangled himself from the blankets, grumbling all the while (because while he’s a slave to the charms and whims of Matthew, the boy doesn’t have to know about that), and allowed himself to be led to the tiny, wilting tree he’d managed to pull out of the antics moments for Matthew arrived (“It’s…lost some of its luster, but it’s still cute, yeah?” Matthew had attempted to salvage the situation, but that had only made it worse).
Still, it was a cute little thing, with branches drooping slightly under the weight of dusty old lights and tiny ornaments. Arthur and Matthew sat around it, kneeling on the floor, to reach under the tree for the presents they’d brought each other.
And then went the anxiety.
Arthur honestly hadn’t had a lot of time to get Matthew’s gift together. What with parliamentary duties and such short periods between meetings and international get-togethers, Christmas gifts had been the very last thing on his mind. The only thing that jogged his memory was the item he’d seen in a shop window two weeks ago down in Brighton. Something that just screamed Matthew.
Arthur cleared his throat, trying to keep his eyes off the brightly wrapped gift in Matthew hands. “I, uh, I didn’t have a lot of time, mind you. I—I’ve just been so busy with work and meetings and all those useless—,” Arthur caught himself when he noticed Matthew smiling at him in that way that told him he was rambling again. He sniffed indignantly and extended the gift toward the blond. “Ahem, anyway. Merry Christmas, Matthew.”
Matthew took the gift softly, almost as if it were made of porcelain, and smiled at Arthur, making his chest tighten and flutter all at once. His heart hammered hard in his chest as Matthew slowly (too slowly) tore off the cheap festive wrapping Arthur’d managed to pick up last minute (he didn’t have a lot of time, dammit).
When he’d finally ripped away the last shreds of paper, Arthur’s breath cut short as Matthew’s eyes widened with wonder.
“It’s a jacket,” Matthew said, pulling out a long blue coat from the packaging.
In an instant, Arthur snapped out of his daze and was began rambling again. “It’s—well, I mean, I’ve never really seen the point of giving gifts that are essential. And I—-when I saw it in the shop window, you see, I just thought of how the blue matched you so well. If you don’t like, it’s fine. I can take it back. The store has a no return policy but I can definitely make them—”
“I love it.” Matthew said, smiling that damn glowing smile at him again, and Arthur was reduced back to goop.
Arthur helped Matthew slip it on (half because it seemed courteous, half just to get a chance to touch) and the grin on his face wouldn’t drop when Matthew opened his arms wide and twirled to give Arthur a good view.
Yeah, it definitely screamed Matthew.
Still grinning from ear to ear, Matthew quickly swooped down to grab Arthur’s gift, suddenly looking as sheepish as he normally did with people (people who weren’t Arthur).
“Ah, now my gift feels kind of lame,” he mumbled, awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck. “but I thought you might like it. I kind of thought of you when I saw this, too.”
Arthur smiled, chest warming up again as he gently took the gift from Matthew’s hands. Normally with wrapping paper, Arthur would take the time to gently fold back the tape and peel away the paper without attacking it like an animal, but the excitement had gotten to him and busy fingers quickly tore at the paper until—
Until he was looking at the single greatest gift he’d ever received.
“It’s a teapot,” Arthur said in awe, holding up the pristine white, porcelain teapot in his hands. “It’s a teapot and it’s got my initials on it.”
Matthew perked up at that, though he still looked uncertain. “Y-Yeah, I had it added. Y’know, just a little personal touch?”
Arthur sat the teapot down (very gently, mind you) and wrapped his arms around Matthew in a crushing hug. “I absolutely love it.”
Arthur could physically feel the tension leaving Matthew’s body as he hugged back, enveloping him in such warmth and love and, Christ, this was. This was—
“Best Christmas ever,” Matthew mumbled against his lips, as if he’d read his mind.
Arthur smiled and kissed Matthew again, trying to press all the love and warmth and feeling of tonight into a single press of lips.
“Yes,” he breathed out quietly once they’d pulled apart. Matthew’s eyes shined like tiny diamonds from where they were gazing into him. “Best Christmas ever.”