I'll Be Home for Christmas by Lbilover

Written for the 2013 Tol Eressëa Stocking Stuffer celebration prompt 'Journey'.


December 24, 1944


Elijah carefully lifted a corner of the blackout curtain, ducked his head and peered outside. Nothing. With a sigh, he let the cheap cotton fall back into place. Even late on Christmas Eve, the ARP warden would be patrolling, and he didn't dare linger at the window. What did it matter anyway? Sean wasn't coming. He was fooling himself if he thought he was.


The last time they'd seen each other - one of a few precious rendezvous they'd managed to steal at the cottage, which belonged to a university friend of Elijah's who was serving in the RAF - Sean had promised that by hook or by crook they'd be together for Christmas. And Elijah desperately wanted to believe him, although the list of reasons to prevent it was longer than a child's letter to St. Nick.


He didn't even know if Sean had made it safely back from his most recent bombing missions. His plane could have been shot down in the Channel or in enemy territory. Sean could be a prisoner of the Germans right now, or worst of all, he could be dead. They kept their relationship a zealously guarded secret, and no one would notify Elijah if Sean were killed in action. Being Sean's sweetheart, as much as any girl whose photo was pinned above a soldier's bunk, didn't qualify him for diddly-squat, as Sean would say.


You have to stay positive, he told himself. He'll come. He said he would and he will.


Was it coincidence that right then I'll Be Home for Christmas started playing over the Murphy wireless? Elijah stood stock still, head bowed, hand clenched at his breast, as Bing Crosby's velvet croon filled the room.


I am dreaming tonight of a place I loveEven more than I usually doAnd although I know it's a long road backI promise you


I'll be home for ChristmasYou can count on mePlease have snow and mistletoeAnd presents under the tree


Christmas Eve will find youWhere the love light gleamsI'll be home for ChristmasIf only in my dreams


Christmas Eve will find meWhere the love light gleamsI'll be home for ChristmasIf only in my dreams


If only in my dreams


He had everything ready for Sean. There was snow, there was mistletoe, there was a small tree and a few simple presents under it, the best he could manage with the strict rationing in force.


"Oh Sean," he whispered. "Please don't let it be only in your dreams. Please come home for Christmas. To me."


~*~


The Jeep was traveling well in excess of the 20 mph limit as it barreled along a rutted lane that ran between tall hedgerows cloaked in ghostly white. It was dangerous as hell, for the slitted masks over the headlights made them about as effective as if he were aiming a flashlight through the windshield. But Sean was familiar with this particular country road and he was in a hurry. It had taken every spare dollar he possessed, plus cigarettes and chocolate, not to mention the promise of favors returned, to wangle this precious twenty-four hours of leave. He didn't intend to waste a second of it.


Sean's sole companion on the drive up to Melton Mowbray from Duxford was the radio, staticky and apt to fade in and out. Still, it worked just well enough for him to hear the Christmas music that was playing, and he hummed or sang along, his voice occasionally rising to a whoops when the Jeep bounced over a particularly large rut and he had to grab his crusher cap to keep it from taking flight.


He knew he was playing with fire, not from his reckless driving but from the consequences if his relationship with Elijah were discovered, but to Sean the risk was no less worthy than the bombing raids he and his crew flew. His plans for the future didn't include getting himself killed, but the odds were against him; he'd seen too many of his buddies buy it to have any illusions on that score. So nothing was getting in the way of this Christmas with Elijah. It could well be the only one they shared.


The radio that had faded out in the middle of Santa Claus Is Coming to Town crackled back to life as Sean neared Melton Mowbray. Bing Crosby's distinctive voice rose into the winter night, singing the song that in one short year had become the anthem for war-weary soldiers everywhere.


Sean sang along, an uninhibited, slightly off-key warble that would have had his crew teasing him mercilessly if they heard it. He didn't care. God, he was nearly there. He pictured Elijah's face when he saw Sean, how those soul-shaking blue eyes would widen and he'd say 'Sean' in that upper crust English way he had that drove a working class steel mill worker's son from Detroit mad with desire. His dick grew pleasurably hard behind the placket of his serge wool trousers as he pictured what would happen next.


The Jeep fishtailed wildly as Sean took the turn in the drive with reckless abandon. The thatch roofed cottage, looking perfect as a picture postcard in its wintry setting, was the most beautiful sight he'd ever seen, only to be topped by what, or rather who, waited for him inside. He swung around the back, out of sight of prying eyes, and brought the Jeep to a skidding stop. He shut off the engine and leaped out, cutting Bing off in the middle of If only in my dreams.


He didn't notice.


~*~


When banging came at the back door, Elijah was certain it would be the ARP warden, looking severe and threatening to report him for allowing that brief glimmer of light to show. "I'm sorry," he began as he opened the door, and then gasped as a gust of cold air swirled through the gap, followed by a very familiar figure. "Sean!" he exclaimed, tears of joy springing to his eyes. "You came, oh you came."


"Didn't I tell you I would?" Sean said, kicking the door closed. He flung his cap exuberantly away, shrugged out of his overcoat and let it fall unheeded to the stone flags. Then he scooped Elijah up like an armful of fluffy snow and strode toward the bedroom.


Elijah's lips moved warmly over Sean's chilled face. "You're cold."


"Not where it counts, baby," Sean replied, grinning. "Trust me."


~*~


Later, they shared a cigarette and lazy kisses. Sean had his head pillowed on an arm, while Elijah played with his crisp chest hair, threading his fingers through it, or toyed with the dog tags hanging around his neck. Neither spoke, not wanting to disturb the magic of this moment or raise the specter of the parting that would come far too soon.


A clock on the mantelpiece began to chime. On the twelfth stroke, Elijah finally broke their silence. "Happy Christmas, Sean," he said softly.


But Sean shook his head. "Not 'Happy' Christmas, Elijah. Merry Christmas. That's what we say in the States. If you're gonna be an American, you'll have to learn our lingo."


"Then Merry Christmas, Sean," Elijah said. He loved when Sean talked about their future like that, as something inevitable and certain. Sean wanted Elijah to move to America with him when the war was over, to California. He said he'd heard that homosexuals could live safely there if they were careful and discreet. "Tell me more about Los Angeles."


"Sure thing." Sean leaned over and stubbed out the cigarette in a glass ashtray on the nightstand. "C'mere." He drew Elijah tightly to him with his free arm and settled in. "It's funny, but even though I've never been to LA, I can see it so clearly, Elijah. I can see us so clearly."


"What do you see?" Elijah asked, watching him with rapt fascination. Before the war, a man like Sean had been entirely beyond his ken. His family spoke condescendingly of American brashness, meaning they found it vulgar, but Elijah adored Sean's openness, his enthusiasm, his zest for life. He was like a dazzlingly bright light in the gloom, and when Elijah was with him, he felt optimistic that this endless war would end at last, in victory. How could Sean, and the other 'brash' American soldiers, possibly fail?


"We-ell." Sean drew the word out. "This is how I see us. You're a famous movie star, like Jimmy Stewart or Clark Gable, raking in the bucks, and we're living in a big mansion with a swimming pool and a dozen servants to wait on us hand and foot."


"Sean," Elijah protested, and giggled.


"A looker like you and one with a posh accent? It's guaranteed to happen. I'll just parade you up and down Sunset Boulevard until some Hollywood bigwig spots you, and bam! Instant stardom. I'm telling you, you're our ticket to Easy Street, baby."


By the end of this 'prediction' Elijah was laughing helplessly. "What?" Sean said in mock outrage. "You think I'm funny, do you? Just for that..." He started to tickle Elijah mercilessly. They wrestled until both were breathless and Sean had Elijah pinned beneath him, wrists lightly pinioned beside his head. "Elijah," he said, completely serious now. "I believe we're gonna survive this war. But I don't care what you do or where we live after it as long as we're together. You're my home now. Got it?"


"Got it." I'll be home for Christmas. And so Sean was. But the thought reminded Elijah of preparations made. "I have some things for you," he said. "Nothing much, but..."


Sean released one wrist and lay his forefinger over Elijah's lips. "Later." He released Elijah's other wrist and wriggled lower. "Because, baby, right now Santa's coming down the chimney and he's got a special delivery, just for you."


~end~