12 Days

Recipient:slashababy dropout
Author: violettefemme
Pairing: Dominic Monaghan/ Orlando Bloom
Rating: R for bad language
Summary:Orlando and Dom have just moved in together. This is what happens when a thirty year old man with an irrational fear of Santa Claus is forced to deal with Christmas for the first time in years.
Notes: I took a little license with the Twelve Days of Christmas. I realize that they actually begin at Christmas and stretch into January, but I really wanted to use that theme. So I fudged with reality a little bit. Also, While I am friends with many Jewish people, I know only a little about the holiday of Hanukkah and how Jewish people feel about Christmas. If I got something drastically wrong or I offended anyone in anyway it was completely unintentional. Finally, I apologize to [the recipient] if this is not what she wanted. I had an extraordinarily difficult time coming up with something cracky-horror-different... I did the best I could! Author's Notes: Thank you to lisabellex for the quick and wonderful beta work and to often_adamanta and kissing_athelas for being my sounding boards. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Mild panic was a polite way to describe the reaction that Orlando had as he stepped through the front door that cold and blustery December eve. Freaked-the-fuck-out would have been a far less polite way to illustrate his state of mind. The brown paper bag filled with groceries slipped slowly from his frozen fingertips and landed with a thud. Orlando barely noticed the apples rolling from the overturned sack, nor the eggs that couldn't possibly have survived the fall, their carton balanced precariously on its side.

There, in his strictly kosher living room, right in front of the window, in view of God and everyone, was a pine tree. And not just any pine tree, mind you, but a pine tree strung with colored fairy lights and topped with a bright yellow star. To make matters even more grievous, standing alongside, with a Santa hat tipped jauntily over one eye, was his newly-moved-in boyfriend, Dominic.

Orlando stepped into the living room, taking care to maintain a wide arc around the foreign and most unwelcome entity that Dom was currently hanging tinsel upon.

"Dom?" He began cautiously, not once taking his eyes off his coniferous foe. "What the hell is this?"

Dom peered over his shoulder and flashed his biggest, most lopsided grin at his handsome lover. "This, my love, is a blue spruce fir tree! Beautiful, isn't it?"

Dom spun around on his heel and nearly skipped across the room, silver strands merrily clinging to his fingers. Up on tiptoe, he tilted his head slightly and pressed his warm lips to his boyfriend's cool ones.

"Still cold from outside?" Dom's voice took on a husky edge, rough and eager. "Let me see if I can warm you up."

Dom's eyes slid closed as his lips pressed insistently against Orlando's. He licked the loose seam of his lover's lips until they opened for him, allowing his tongue to venture in to rediscover the warmth he knew so well. Orlando was momentarily swayed off-course as Dominic devoured his mouth. He felt his heart speed up and his palms become sweaty, and his fingers twitched, itching to bury themselves in Dom's short blond hair. But as tempting as it was to give in, Orlando couldn't relax into the kiss. He couldn't take his eyes off the garish nightmare that now stood so smug in his loving room.

He pulled back reluctantly and licked the excess moisture from his lips. "Dom, why is there a Christmas tree in my living room?"

Dom, his arms still looped around Orlando's neck, looked behind him as if to confirm that that was the tree in question. "Well, Orlilove, it's Christmas time."

"Yeesss," Orlando began, looking at Dom patiently as one would when explaining something complicated to a child. "But, I'm Jewish."

"I know that, love. But I'm not." Dom laughed and kissed Orlando quickly on the cheek and turned back to the nearly finished tree. He plucked an ornament from a branch and brought it over to Orlando. His eyes were lit with excitement and love as he held up the colorful wooden decoration for his boyfriend's inspection. "Look! I found these tiny Menorah ornaments. Aren't they beautiful?"

Orlando's eyes lost their focus. He couldn't see the tiny ornament being shown to him. All he could see was the most well known symbol of Christmas stood tall and merry in his living room. Fear wrapped its slight and bony fingers around his heart and squeezed, while a deep gut-wrenching nausea settled in his stomach.

His house was now a target.

See, it all started when Orlando was eight...

** ** ** **

His best friend Steward, a Christian, had asked Orlando if he wanted to spend the weekend with his family during the school holidays. They were going to have a Christmas party with lots of friends and family and he wanted to have someone to play with when his grandma and grandpa gave him the new board games that they did every year. Orlando, eager to spend time with his friend and also see how Stew's family celebrated the holiday, eagerly accepted.

Everything was going splendidly. There were cookies and cakes, piles of food on the table. Everyone was laughing, talking, and eating until they groaned. Garlands were wrapped around the spokes of the banister and Orlando couldn't help but pet them every time he walked past.

After dinner was finished, everyone gathered in the living room around the brightly-decorated tree with cups of eggnog and warm cider to sing Christmas carols. He knew some of the tunes, but hadn't heard them often enough to learn the words, so little Orlando hummed along with the others, munching happily on gingersnaps and letting the crumbs fall where they may.

Mostly, Orlando thought the songs were cheerful and beautiful. Some of them were clearly flawed in their understanding of religious doctrine, but the ones about snowmen and children and presents sounded very nice to his ears. However, among the generally benign and joyful songs there was one that struck a particular chord of discomfort in Orlando. He sat listening as the others sang with large smiles on their faces and couldn't help but be just a bit horrified by the lyrics.

You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
He's making a list
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out Who's naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town
He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!
Oh! You better watch out!
You better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town

That song sounded like a warning to Orlando. Attention children of the world! A big, fat elf was going to come creeping around your house and look at you through your windows one night each year. Then he was going to break in, snoop around, and eat your food. Normally, he would be arrested for such a thing, but because he left presents, no one really got angry.

He knew what a Peeping Tom was. Last year, Miss Rosa from temple had had one. He'd heard her and his mom talking about how she'd caught him looking into her house and staring through the window when she was in the shower. She had called the police, but they had never caught him.

Orlando felt a shiver run down his spine. He found himself looking, as subtly as possible, at the windows. He studied the little cracks in the blinds and wondered... is he looking at me right now?

Later on, Stew's dad read a book called, "The Night Before Christmas." Orlando thought it sounded more like the scary stories you told around the campfire than anything his mother would read to him before sending him to bed. He suddenly missed his own house and family very much indeed.

This being the case, it wasn't surprising that just as it was coming close to the time to get ready for bed that night, Orlando developed a very serious stomach ache and had to be taken home.

Strangely enough, by the time he shut his front door behind him and was wrapped up tightly in a hug from his mother Orlando was feeling much better. And when his eyes rested lovingly on the partially lit Menorah on the mantelpiece, he was suddenly in the mood to have a few cookies before settling down for the night.

Orlando never told anyone of his fear, but he never again visited any of his Christian friends in December. At eight he decided that the holidays were for family and temple friends only and much better and more safely celebrated without fat, merry, Peeping Tom elves...

** ** ** ** **

Orlando blinked and saw the tiny Menorah with gold string attached to it, so that it could hang from the tree. He allowed Dom to pull him towards the tree and saw that there were dozens of little Menorahs, Dreidels, and tiny little wooden present boxes all over the tree. Dom hung the last ornament onto a bare limb near the top. He smiled at Orlando and tried to explain. "I thought it would be a nice way to bring both of our holidays together."

"Yes, yes... but right in front of the window?" Orlando gestured loosely to his left, directing Dom's attention out the bay window and over their lawn. "Fully visible? Lit up like a bloody fucking beacon? Like a tractor beam inviting him in?"

"Inviting who in?" Dom slid the Santa hat off of his head and seated himself on the ottoman. He looked up at his lover with sad, confused eyes. "I didn't think for a minute that you would mind."

"I just don't want it in my house, Dom. It doesn't belong here!" Orlando bit the inside of his cheek and tried to school his face into serene lines. He knew it was absolutely ridiculous that he should act this way... but he couldn't help it. There was a reason they called these things irrational fears. If they made any sense they would just be fears.

"Christmas is... really important to me Orlando," Dom started, tears gathering in his eyes. "I don't know why you are so against this... but, it's just, since my family is so far away, it helps me to feel a little closer to them. I love you Orlando, but if my tree doesn't belong here, and you are so unwilling to compromise, then maybe I don't belong here either."

Orlando's mouth went completely dry. His throat closed up when he saw Dom's shoulders slump and his head fall so that his chin nearly rested on his chest. His heart constricted as he watched the man in front of him wipe hastily at his eyes and then unfold himself from the couch, to walk slowly out of the room. Orlando switched his panicked gaze between the back of his retreating lover and the gaily lit up tree. Finally, his stomach turned violently, as his brain signaled what he should do.

"Dom, wait!" he choked out, fighting against his own self preservation instincts. Dom stopped but did not turn. He stood still, feeling defeated and staying silent, listening for whatever his lover might have to say. Orlando crossed the room quickly and rested a shaking hand on Dom's shoulder. "I'm sorry."

Orlando tugged on Dom's shoulder to pull him around and felt gutted to see the tears running down his face. It made him look like a heartbroken little boy. He swallowed around the lump in his throat. "I'm so sorry, love. Please don't leave. I just... you just caught me by surprise. I've never come home to find a giant tree in my living room before..."

Dom huffed out a laugh through his tears, as Orlando continued. "Of course we can celebrate Christmas too. It was selfish of me to expect that you would celebrate Hanukkah with me, while I wouldn't share any of your holiday traditions with you. I'm sorry..."

"Thank you, Orli." Dom smiled as Orlando brushed away his tears with the tips of his fingers. "I understand that you're a lot more religious than me. Christmas for me, is more a time about family than religion. I'm excited to learn all about your traditions and what they mean. From what we've talked about they sound very beautiful. I want to share that with you. But it makes me happy to have a tree up and sing Christmas carols, make cookies... all those sorts of things during this time of year."

"Of course, you'll have all of that, love. We'll find the right mix of both of our traditions. We might even start a few new ones of our own. As a matter of fact, I've thought of what the first new one should be." Orlando draped his arms around his boyfriend's neck and buried his fingers in Dom's hair. As he leaned down to kiss his lover senseless and begin the First Annual Holiday Sex-A-Thon, only one thought lingered in the back of his mind...

He had twelve days to prepare.

On the first day of Christmas Orlando wrote a letter.

Dear Mr. Claus,

Dom is all taken care of this year. We don't need anything from you and I would prefer if you and your stupid reindeer stayed away from my roof and my chimney. I intend to have a roaring fire in that fireplace all night long on Christmas Eve so don't even bother unless you're comfortable with providing us roast elf for Christmas dinner.

No love,

Orlando Bloom (Jew)

Orlando addressed the letter to Santa at the North Pole, put ten stamps on it to make sure it got to wherever letters to Santa had to go and dropped it in the mail. The knot in his stomach released just a tiny bit as he imagined that fat fucking elf getting his holiday greeting.

On the second day of Christmas Orlando went to the Holiday store.

Where he bought the biggest, most obnoxious light-up plastic menorah he could find. It stood five feet tall, and featured fake wax dripping down the sides of plastic candles. Each candle came with a separate switch, so that he could light each one individually. When he got home he set it up on the front lawn, right in front of the window where the Christmas tree was displayed. Of course after a few moments he set it off to the side just a little bit. He wasn't out to hurt Dom's feeling again... he just wanted to make sure that if anyone saw the monstrosity in the window, they'd see the Menorah too.

On the third day of Christmas Orlando spent over two hours and three hundred dollars at Home Depot.

He left with more bags than he could carry and the promise of delivery for the items that he could not fit into his car. Upon arriving home, he sat wild-eyed and giddy in his now pine-fresh living room with his loot spread all around him, plotting.

On the fourth day of Christmas Orlando nearly fell off the roof.

Thank goodness he had had the presence of mind to attach that bungee cord to the chimney.

It was worth the scare though. When he stepped back to survey his work, a smile of pride and devious pleasure spread across his face.

The chimney was completely closed off. He had stuffed chicken wire inside it and laid some over the top, securing it down with nails and rope and glue. There were blue tarpaulins tightly covering the entire surface of the roof. A green garden hose ran the length of the peak. If you looked closely, you could see the holes punched all the way along the length of it. Orlando figured that if he attached it to the back garden hose and turned it to a very slow trickle, the roof would be a solid sheet of ice in no time. That is, if it ever got cold enough for the water to freeze.

As he began his descent down the ladder, Orlando couldn't help singing to himself, "You're a vile one, Mr. Grinch..."

On the fifth day of Christmas Orlando cursed out the weatherman.

Dom came into the den, following the foul outbursts to their source. He found Orlando in front of the television set, pacing and flailing his arms.

"Bloody, bollocking Christ! 54 degrees? This is fucking New York, in fucking December, you fucking wanker! It's not supposed to be 54 bloody degrees outside." Orlando tired of his rant and threw himself onto the couch in full pout.

Dom laughed to see his lover acting so childishly. He walked over and slid next to Orlando, and leaned his head on the back of the couch, slightly behind Orlando's head and breathed in the scent of Orlando's shampoo. "Doesn't seem right does it, love? Holiday time and no snow on the ground? No roaring fire to cuddle by and roast chestnuts and marshmallows in? No snowmen?"

"Ehhrtft." Orlando grumbled incoherently, leaning his head back far enough for Dom's lips to touch his neck. "M'still holding out hope for a deep freeze. We still have time..."

On the sixth day of Christmas Orlando replaced all the blinds with blackout shades and shutters.

Yes, yes. He knew that supposedly Santa didn't exist. That almost certainly no ancient elf would be peeping through his blinds. But he also knew that legends and myths have to come from somewhere. And what if everyone was wrong? What if the eight year olds of the world were right and Santa did exist? Orlando just felt better not taking the chance. After they were all hung and closed he went outside to make sure they were doing their job. He did his best to see into their house, but he couldn't even get a glimpse. Orlando breathed a sigh of relief.

If Dom noticed the changes when he came home he said nothing about it to Orlando.

On the seventh day of Christmas Orlando said an extra prayer when he and Dom lit the candles on his grandmother's Menorah.

He prayed that they would be kept safe and happy this holiday season. He thanked God for bringing Dom into his life and for allowing him to find such love. He prayed for the health of his family and friends and for peace on earth and goodwill towards men.

He also prayed for the end of this freakish warm front and the return of the freezing wintery weather.

On the eighth day of Christmas Orlando insisted that they switch to soy milk.

Surely Santa was not health conscious. The elf looked like he weighed 300 pounds if he weighed an ounce. He ate cookies and drank milk. His belly shook like a bowl full of jelly. Surely he would be repelled by a house that left a nice tall frothy glass of soymilk out for him, instead of the full-fat cow juice he was used to.

On the ninth day of Christmas Orlando called Brinks Home Security.

They installed that same day a top-of-the-line home security system, complete with motion sensors, window monitors and emergency help keypads. Orlando set the code as a combination of his and Dom's birthdays. When Dom came home Orlando showed him in great detail all the ins and outs of the system and was thrilled when Dom was pleased. Dom had indicated a few months before that he thought they should look into getting a security system, but Orlando had thought the expense was unnecessary. Dom wasn't sure why Orlando had changed his mind, but he wasn't about to start asking questions either.

As he and Orlando set the alarm that night, before they went to bed, Dom felt safer than he ever had in his life. Secure in a well guarded house, safely wrapped up in the protective arms of his lover.

As he neared sleep, Orlando also felt safer than he had in the last couple of weeks. At least he had a back up plan. If all else failed he would know.

On the tenth day of Christmas Orlando cheered when he opened the front door.

The air that hit him was bitterly cold. Frost covered the ground and large fat snowflakes were falling from the sky and beginning to coat the grass. Hurriedly, he donned his coat and gloves and went into the back garden. He screwed the green hose from the roof onto the one attached to the outside faucet and turned the water on just barely.

When he was finished he went inside the house and changed into clothes more appropriate for temple. He decided he needed to make an impromptu visit to properly thank God for the prayer he had answered.

As he drove he watched the rapidly whitening countyside and laughed as he pictured a sleigh sliding right off the side of the house when it tried to land...

On the eleventh day of Christmas Dom got called in to work.

He was absolutely delighted when Orlando volunteered to finish baking the "Santa's special Biscuits"TM, that Dom had started. Orlando was glad to do it, he knew how important it was to Dom that there be a dozen cookies baked each year for Santa alone. No one was to eat the cookies except Santa, and Dom got a special childlike joy out of sitting them on the mantelpiece with a large glass of milk on Christmas Eve.

With a bit of sadistic glee, Orlando replaced half of the sugar in Dom's mother's special biscuit recipe with salt. They looked good enough to eat when he pulled them out of the oven and placed them on a holiday tray. In fact, they looked so good that Orlando made another batch the right way for Dom and him to share.

On the twelfth day of Christmas Orlando caved and went to the mall.

He had given Dom loads of Hanukah gifts, but ultimately he couldn't bear the thought of not having a special present for his boyfriend to unwrap on a day that was so important to him.

He also stayed up nearly all night. He couldn't help it. No matter how much he berated himself for acting childish and ultimately being afraid of someone that even Christians and children over the age of 12 did not believe existed, he couldn't seem to sleep. In the very earliest hours of Christmas morning, Dom, who had awoken and found his lover missing, curled up on the couch with Orlando and watched the fire lick and curl and crackle around the logs. It wasn't until Dom pressed Orlando's head gently to his shoulder and wrapped his arms around him tightly, that Orlando finally relented and fell into an exhausted sleep.

Dom sighed and settled himself more comfortably on the couch. He took pleasure in stroking his fingers across Orlando's back and threading them lightly through the dark curls at the nape of his neck. After several minutes, Dom, too, fell asleep in front of the fire.

Several hours later, when the sunlight hit his face, Orlando's eyes shot open. He looked around, quickly taking in his surroundings. The fire was nearly dead in the grate, Dom was lying behind him on the couch, his fingers wrapped in Orlando's shirt, and the plate of cookies and glass of soymilk sat blessedly untouched on the mantle. Orlando felt his body let go of the tension it had been carrying. He closed his eyes, feeling ridiculous for allowing himself to indulge in such a childish fear. He felt Dom's arms tighten around him and breathed a sigh of relief. At last it was over.

Still... Orlando thought with a small grimace, as he snuggled deeper into the arms surrounding him. It would come again, as long as he kept Dom around, and he intended to keep Dom around for a very long time.

With a deep, resigned sigh Orlando drifted back to sleep with one thought lingering on his mind...

Only three hundred and sixty four days left to prepare.


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