Day 4

Title: Day 4
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Strokes (Original Characters)
Rating: PG
Pairing: Jamie/Sweetie, Sin/Ducky
Summary: A tale with four different Christmases
Notes: Written during my 12 Ficlets in 12 Days in 2013 project for SomethingClever


Christmas 2006


Sin glanced at Coach Tim, who was doing a last look over the locker room to be sure none of the boys had left any gear behind. Tim gave Sin a sympathetic look. Sin returned the look with a shrug. They’d lost the game tonight. The last thing they needed to deal with tonight was a head cold.

“Jamie said he’d lock up. You all right getting home?”

Sin nodded. “Thanks, Coach Tim. Hope you have a good Christmas. See you after the break.”

“You, too, Sinclair. Stay warm out there. And be careful. The streets are getting icy.”

“Yes sir.”

Sin pulled his coat out of his locker and put it on. In the pocket, he found his cell phone and turned it on. Cell phones weren’t allowed in the locker room before or during games, but now he needed his. He waited for its little startup jingle then started to dial home.

“Are we going?”

Quickly, Sin closed the phone and turned his hand so Jamie couldn’t see it. “Uh, yeah. Sure. Only…”


Sin stood up, slinging his heavy duffle bag of gear over one shoulder. “Gimmie your keys, Coach.”


“You heard me.” Sin extended his hand. “I want your car keys. I’m driving us home.”

Chuckling, “I’m not drunk, Sin. And you’re not driving my car—”

“Fine.” He held up his cell phone. “Then I’m calling Sweetie to come pick us up, because I’m not letting you drive home when you’re sneezing every two minutes from that cold. I swear it’s gotten worse since the game started.”

Jamie sighed and shoved his hand into his pocket. Out it came with a set of car keys and several balled-up tissues. Sin’s lip curled. He pulled on gloves and took the keys, leaving the tissues for Jamie, who immediately put them to good use. “hahh-KIShooo!



Christmas 2007

Hhnnxxxxt!” Ducky put down the Scotch tape and plucked a Kleenex from the pack in his pocket. He blew his nose, then dropped the tissue into a paper bag at his side. At this rate, wrapping Christmas presents was going to take twice as long as planned. He was supposed to head over to the house in an hour to exchange gifts.

A knock on the door made him jump. Probably just the postman leaving a package that was too big to fit in the tiny little apartment building mailboxes. Then came another knock. And another, more insistent. “Duck? You there?”

Ducky knew that voice. “Oh shit.” He scrambled to stuff the presents—both the wrapped ones and the unwrapped ones—back in bags and boxes. He kicked wrapping paper rolls under the couch and stashed the scissors and tape out of sight. Then he ran for the door, just as his phone rang.

Ignoring the phone, Ducky threw open the door to find Sin standing there. Sin had one arm bent, elbow resting against the doorframe while his forehead rested against the back of his hand. He straightened up as soon as Ducky opened the door. “Hey there. Can I come in?”

Ducky nodded and stepped aside, looking back at his living room floor to make sure all traces of what he’d been up to were gone. Horrified, he stared at what was there. Presents overflowed from gift bags now turned on their sides. Brown mailing boxes with unwrapped presents inside them sat open, flaps revealing all. Bits of ribbon and the adhesive backings of sticky bows littered the floor. The wrapping paper peeked out from under the couch, but rolling under the couch had caused them to unroll, leaving whole feet of designs visible. And the bag he’d been throwing his tissues into had overturned as well, spilling balled-up tissues everywhere.

Sin smirked. “Um, did I catch you at a bad time?”

Swearing, Ducky tried to tidy up, at least hide the presents. He scooped up some and took them into his bedroom, shutting the door behind. Then he flopped down on the couch and just about shrieked. He reached between couch cushions and produced the now crushed tape dispenser and the scissors, which had been sticking straight up and might have impaled him if he had sat down two inches from the right.

“M’sorry,” Sin said, leaning back against Ducky’s door. “But you sounded so sniffly on the phone earlier and you said you get a little needy when you get sick. I thought I’d come over and see if you were okay, if I could help with anything. I guess I should have called. I promise I didn’t see anything.”

Ducky dragged a tissue out of his pocket and rubbed at his nose. Then he patted the couch next to him. Sin had barely finished sitting down before Ducky threw himself at the man. He latched onto Sin’s arm and snuggled into Sin’s side, sniffling pathetically all the while. “I really don’t feel good.”

“I know.” He reached into Ducky’s pocket and pulled a Kleenex out of the pack there. He rubbed it against Ducky’s nose for him. “But I’m here now, and not going anywhere. I told the guys you wouldn’t be over tonight and I wouldn’t be back until tomorrow. Consider that just one part of my Christmas gift to you.” Ducky felt a light kiss on his cheek for just a moment before he snapped forward with another sneeze. “ehhh-INNXxxxxxt!



Christmas 2008


There was a cold going around the house. Auntie Al and Sin had spent the week being as diligent as possible, disinfecting every shared surface, but if it had helped, Sin couldn’t see it. “Bless you, Sweetie. Can I get you anything?”

Sweetie coughed into a couch pillow, then lifted his head and nodded. “Jabie.”

Sin checked his watch. Jamie would be on his way home from the airport by now. “I’ll give him a call and see where he is. I’m sure he’ll be home soon.”

Sin didn’t have his cell phone on him. It was winter break at school, and he hadn’t left the house in two days, so there wasn’t anyone who needed to get in touch with him. Therefore, he headed down the hall to the kitchen to use the house phone there. He could hear Pit sneezing and coughing from the basement and knew Auntie Al had gone down to give him some tea the big guy would probably refuse to drink. Sin shook his head, glad he wasn’t the one down there.

He made it as far as the second digit in Jamie’s phone number when he heard the garage door open. Immediately, Sin hung up and raced over to see Jamie heading in with his suitcase. “I’ll take that,” Sin said, grabbing the handle and then wrapping one arm around Jamie in a hug. “Welcome home, Coach.”

“Glad to be here.” Jamie sounded exhausted, like he could use the short Christmas break away from hockey as much as Sin needed his break at school. “Even if I hear that it’s a little chaotic around here. How are you holding up?”

“I’m fine. Nik’s better, and so is Olly, thank goodness. But Pit’s a mess and Sweetie came down with the cold this afternoon.”

Jamie’s face fell. “Oh. Is he upstairs in bed? He’d better be. Hell, tell me he isn’t at Strokes.”

“No,” Sin shook his head. “But he’d not in bed, either. He’s in the entertainment room going through every Christmas movie Olly’s got.”

“That should last him a few days.” Jamie laughed and went straight for the entertainment room. Sweetie was stretched out beneath two blankets, tissues bunched at his nose, watching Scrooged on the giant television screen. He coughed and looked over at the door, perhaps seeing movement there out of the corner of his eye.

At once, his face brightened. He reached out a hand, flexing his fingers.  “You’re hobe!”

“Yep.” Jamie went to him, sitting down on the edge of the couch, running his fingers over Sweetie’s forehead then his cheek. “I hear you caught yourself a bad cold.”

His shoulders peeked out from under the blankets, rising as he shrugged. “It’s dot really that bad. I just bissed you.”

“Well, I’m here now.”

From the doorway, Sin watched as Jamie leaned over to kiss Sweetie hello. He saw the love and caring intensify between them. But he also saw the way Sweetie’s nose wrinkled, nostrils flaring against Jamie’s cheek. And Sin knew it was only a matter of time before Jamie caught the cold too. Uncontrollably, Sweetie sneezed right on him. “Yitchuhhh!



Christmas 2009

huh-Shoo!” Sin wiped his nose for the four hundredth time today, noting in the bathroom mirror how painfully red it both looked and felt.

“Hurry up, Sin!” Pit’s voice travelled through the door. “We’re all waiting on you!”

Sin quickly downed another cup of Dayquil then washed his hands before returning to the living room.  All the guys had assembled there, but with the giant Christmas tree, stockings hung on the mantle above the fireplace, and the greenery and tinsel hanging around the top of the room, the large room felt smaller than usual.

He sat down on the floor, leaning back against one of the couches, and let the nerves settle in him. Drawing names for the house’s Not-so-secret Santa exchange always rattled him. He might have lived with the guys for years, but Sin still felt like the new kid there. And everyone always gave such great gifts. That was a lot of pressure, especially with his head all stuffed up with a cold.

Nik walked the Santa Claus hat around, and they each drew a name out of it then showed it to the rest of the group. There really wasn’t much use in trying to keep their picks a secret; these guys weren’t good at keeping secrets and the house was just too small for any secret to last long.

When it was his turn, he closed his eyes and hoped for someone he would be able to come up with a good gift for. ‘Not Nik. Not Pit either but definitely not Nick. Please, not Nik,’ Sin chanted in his head as his fingers caught hold of a slip of paper. Then he pulled out Jamie’s name. Thank goodness. He sat back, relieved, and watched the others draw names.

Nik was the last, pulling out the last slip of paper and laughing. “Merry Christhtmasth, Sthin. I’m getting you stho much Kleenexth.”

As everyone laughed, Sin blushed fiercely from the attention. Jamie leaned over and ruffled his hair like he was a kid, even. Sin wished he could crawl up the stairs and into bed unnoticed. Or maybe just turn invisible so they’d all quit looking at him and his cold.

The house members disbanded, taking the tray of crumbs that had once been Christmas cookies and the now empty eggnog glasses back to the kitchen. Sin shrunk back against the couch so he could be the last out and so no one would notice how he went dizzy when he stood up.

But then he saw Nik holding a hand out to him to help him up. He took it and Nik patted his arm once he was on his feet. “Actually, I know the perfect thing for you. You’re going to love it. But you’ll have to wait until Christhmasth. And, in the meantime, get better, all right?”

Sin nodded, kind of wishing he’d drawn Nik’s name after all. He smiled and lifted his arm to sneeze into the crook. “heh-Shooo!