Protector Christmas by MacKenzie Kennedy

"This one?"

Fenny sighed. "Re'yen, this is the sixth bird you've brought me. Pick one."

"I just want-"

She turned and put her hands on her hips. "You are being infuriating. You've been in and out of the house all day, letting the heat out. There's a draft whenever you open the door. Now pick a bird for me to cook and stay inside!"

He shrank away at her words, but now smirked and touched his lips to hers. "I love you always, but this mood of yours is appealing." He dropped the bird on the counter. "That one is fine, isn't it, Sk'lou?"

The young boy knew what was good for him. He agreed. He'd already been scolded by Fenny for being underfoot.

"Good," Fenny said. "Now move out of the kitchen so I can cook."

MMM

The creatures didn't have a midwinter holiday, but once Fenny had told Re'yen and Fenny about it, they had insisted. Complete with a bird to cook, presents, and a tree.

She sighed. Re'yen hadn't considered the height of the first tree. Or where it was going to go once it was inside.

She'd sent Sk'lou out to find berries and pinecones. He'd returned with the pinecones, but no berries. Re'yen had gone out with him and found some holly.

The tree was decorated with holly and pinecones. The bird was cooking and the presents were under the tree.

Fenny gritted her teeth. Now if she could just keep the men in her life from sticking their fingers in the pots. Sk'lou from poking at his presents. Re'yen from asking every five minutes if she needed help.

MMM

The bird finally finished, Fenny put it and the rest of dinner on the table. Re'yen reached for her hand and smiled as he squeezed lightly. She smiled back and they ate.

After dinner was put away, they opened the presents. Midwinter presents were about getting things you normally wouldn't. Sk'lou had a large bag of candy that she'd put away and a blanket of his own. He said it was extra special because it smelled like Fenny.

Re'yen gave Fenny more glass from the creature who lived not far from them and a bag of roots they'd had to look very hard for. They were important for one of her medicines.

Fenny had made something that Sk'lou said he needed for hunting and Re'yen seemed happy over it. Sk'lou handed him a carving and Re'yen found a place for it in the house.

Later, Re'yen put a hand on Fenny's shoulder. "Was it a good midwinter holiday?" he asked.

She smiled and rolled into his warmth. "A very good holiday."