For rix_scaedu‘s commissioned prompt.
Stranded world, after The Unexpected Gift (LJ) and A Christmas of Melancholy (LJ)
Autumn turned to Gregor, still reeling. “If you,” she said firmly, “have any world-shaking gifts, could you, I dunno, wait until July or something?”
He chuckled. “I’m flattered, luv, but I’m not the man in your life the way the Tattered one or your late father are. I’m just a friend.”
“You shouldn’t say that,” Autumn’s mother tsk’ed. “There’s no ‘just’ about your friendship, Gregor, not when you’re here with her, supporting her through all of this, when you could be doing holidays with your own – well, I know you have trouble with your family, but surely there’s a young man?”
“I have about as much luck in love as your daughter does,” he answered dryly. “If there was someone…”
“Then you’d be welcome to bring him here for the holidays. I hope you know that, Gregor.”
From the look on his face, he hadn’t. “I, uh.”
“Gregor,” she said, a little exasperated, “do I have to name you a season to have you believe me? Fine, Gregor-the Equinox, you are counted as family here.”
“An Equinox isn’t a season,” he protested weakly.
“Well, it is now.” She bapped him gently on the nose, while Autumn watched bemusedly. “You’re part of the family, son, get used to it.”
“I, ah.” Autumn hugged him tightly, silencing his uncertain protests.
“You,” she told him, glad to have something else to focus on, “are family. You’ve known that for years, Gregor.”
“But my parents…”
“Are not me. Clearly.” Autumn’s mother joined in the hug. “Since I haven’t said it yet, welcome to the family, Gregor. Equinox. And, while my late husband may not have left you a present – well, I got you a couple, and Spring and Summer each sent one.”
“Sends his regards, which is about all he does for anyone. You’re family,” she repeated firmly.
“Wow.” He looked down at the two of them uncertainly. “Well… Merry Christmas, every one,” he misquoted. “I guess now I gotta get a boyfriend and make Autumn bring a real boy home?”
“Well…” Autumn’s mother’s gaze fixed on her again. “There is this young man sending her jewelry.”
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