Tye smiled as Boyd began to pat his pockets, scowling around the cigarette dangling from his lips when his search came up empty.

“You forgot it in the car,” Tye said eventually, relenting, and pulled Boyd’s lighter from his own pocket. He held it up and flicked it, cupping one hand over the flame to guard it from the wind and snow.

Boyd rolled his eyes at himself, and leaned over, bracing the cigarette in his mouth with two fingers. If he leaned over a tad more than was strictly necessary and lingered a bit, well, what was the harm in that? The town was quiet, muffled by at least three feet of snow with more still falling, and for the moment there was not a single other soul outside.

Tye smiled again as Boyd looked up at him through his lashes—lashes far too pretty to belong to a guy, but Tye would never tell him that, just like he’d never Boyd his mouth was prettier still. Some things, even he wouldn’t get away with where Boyd was concerned.

“Thanks,” Boyd said gruffly, and drew back. He held out his hand, palm up, and Tye set the lighter in it, their hands curling briefly together for a moment, before slowly sliding away.

Tye picked up his hot chocolate, specially made by Marcy before they’d even shown up, and sipped at it. He glanced across the street, where you couldn’t see inside to the bakery counter for all the people in the way. Place was packed like sardines in a can, people placing and picking up Christmas orders. Poor Marcy was supposed to have been done a half hour ago, and he’d probably be at least another half hour before Harridan Mary let him go.

In the interests of peace, and their own sanity, they’d retreated outside to wait.

Full-blooded fae hated the cold, the inability to feel the world around them the way they could the rest of the year—and best of all in spring, when everything came back to life. Ma had hidden in bed more than usual once the first frost hit. They rarely saw her again ’til spring.

But being only half-fae, he and Boyd didn’t feel the lack quite as sharp. It still chafed, but it didn’t hurt. They were just human enough they liked the cold, so long as it didn’t go too long like it had that one year they’d gotten three damn blizzards.

That aside, Boyd had a soft spot for Christmas. Full on mushy spot, really, though he’d never in a million years, even on pain of death, ever admit it.

Thoughts of that reminded Tye of his Christmas presents for Boyd and Marcy; he’d had to save every penny, and get creatively sneaky about going off to buy them, but he had them tucked away where even Boyd wouldn’t think to look. It was their first Christmas with Marcy, who they thought they’d never have. That deserved an extra special gift.

Boyd blew smoke out, tilting his head back to gaze up at the cloud-drenched sky, the snow falling relentlessly down. To anyone else, he probably looked like he had all the time in the world and nowhere to be, but Tye knew when Boyd was growing impatient. Not with Marcy, but with the fact Marcy was being held hostage. It was bullshit the way Harridan Mary kept him chained to the bakery.

They were trying to leave well enough alone, because Marcy stood a better chance of getting himself free, but Boyd wouldn’t wait much longer.

The sound of boots crunching in snow drew their attention, and they tensed reflexively at the sight of the sheriff walking towards them.

Boyd finished his cigarette and lit another. As Sheriff Kirby reached them, he greeted tersely, “Sheriff.”

“Boys,” Kirby replied. “Why in the world are you out here in this miserable weather?” He turned automatically at the sound of the bakery door opening, a handful of people spilling out, one slipping a bit on the icy walk. Kirby’s mouth quirked as he took in the crowd packed into the bakery. “Question withdrawn.”

Boyd snorted softly. “What did you really want, Sheriff?”

“Coffee,” Kirby replied. “Sitting on a bench in a public area isn’t a crime, though I’m sure if we wait long enough someone will complain about you doing it.”

Tye hid his amusement in his hot chocolate.

Boyd was silent a moment, then said, “I think you may be waiting a bit for that coffee.”

Kirby smiled faintly. “We’ll see. There isn’t much point in being Sheriff if I can’t use the shiny badge to get coffee when I want it.” With that, he strode carefully across the snow-covered road and pushed his way into the bakery.

The door opened again just as Boyd finished his second cigarette, Sheriff Kirby holding a large coffee and a little box Tye knew held a cinnamon roll.

Marcy came out right behind, smiling briefly and nodding at the Sheriff, before they parted ways.

Tye beamed at him, standing up as Marcy reached them. He cupped Marcy’s face in both hands and gave him a brief, soft kiss.

Then Boyd tugged Marcy close to take a kiss of his own. Tye looked to the Sheriff, who nodded and smiled, then turned and strode off down the street back to the station.

Tye could feel eyes on them, didn’t need to look to know that people were probably plastered to the bakery picture window to gawk at the Withers boys and the baker. He ignored them, and slung an arm across Marcy’s shoulders, pulling him close, hot chocolate in his other hand as they followed Boyd back to the car.