The scent of gingerbread and peppermint wafted through the air of the house, along with the slight smell of beer as well. People crowded in the living room as well as the kitchen, couples hanging around the fireplace, some leaning against the walls of the long, large hallways as the party continued on.
Despite all the excitement going on inside, Alfred was standing outside at the front porch of his house, leaning against the wooden railing of the large house, a steaming mug of cocoa in his hands, settled carefully on the wooden beam as he stared off into the distance. Although it was his own party, and it was rather right in the middle of all its excitement for the holidays, he wasn't interested at the moment. He hung out front, huddled up in his large jacket, followed by a cozy scarf wrapped comfortably around his neck, quietly sipping his hot beverage.
Why was he waiting outside while everyone else was inside the warmth of the house, having fun, drinking, or even just enjoying the party?
Simple, he was waiting for someone.
He didn't feel like the party was complete without her there, since he had literally been counting down the hours till the party since early that morning when he had woken up, maybe the happiest person on earth. He was no longer as happy at the moment though since she had not yet shown up. It was certainly getting late, and although his parties usually went on for quite a while, it almost seemed dull and boring, pointless perhaps if she wasn't there.
Becoming very worried for _(Name)'s_ sake and health, he quickly pulled out his phone, opening up a new message before scrolling down to find her name in his contacts, texting her quickly.
_(Name)_? R U OK? Do U need a ride over here? I can come pick U up if you want…
I saved U some hot cocoa and a piece of cake, I know how much U were probably looking forward to it, so I wanted to make sure U'd get some.
Hitting Send, the blonde sighed, creating an icy cloud of white to form in the air around him. He glanced at his clock at the corner of his phone, noticing it was twelve after nine. Stuffing his phone back into his pocket to wait for a reply he grabbed his mug, finished off with the American flag on it, before walking back inside for a moment to empty it out.
Instantly being enveloped in warmth, he made his way over to the large kitchen, passing by the many people greeting him, squeezing past others who were standing around, enjoying the sweets that were set out, or just helping themselves to the beer. Rinsing out his mug quickly with warm water, he set in into the sink to clean off later, most likely tomorrow after everyone was gone and there was the mess left to clean. The only downside to a part was having to clean up the party afterwards.
As he finished up, he felt his phone in his pocket vibrate, indicating a new message. In a few seconds he had hastily pulled the cell phone out once more, reading over the new message.
Hey! So I'm at the store, what kind of beer did you want me to buy?! Ah, whatever, I guess I'll just buy whatever sounds good. Maybe Gilbert will even pay for it this time if I say he can have whatever kind he wants..!
Alfred's hopes dropped from the message as he exited out of it quickly before he stuffed the phone back into his pocket, squeezing his way back out through the mob of people, the blaring music in the house, along with the people singing karaoke in the living room blocked out of his ears as he made his way back out to the front porch.
Without second thought he bounded down the set of wooden stairs after shutting the door behind him, grabbing his keys out of his pocket as he opened his car door, ducking his head in before starting the engine. He was still getting even more worried by the minute, and in haste of his instincts to make sure _(Name)_ was alright, pulled out of his driveway, starting down the road towards _(Name)'s_ house.
It was cold even in his car, sure, but he didn't mind. He just turned on the air conditioner, setting it to warm as he drove down the forgotten streets, empty completely, not a car in sight, only his headlights and the streetlamps lighting up the road.
As he neared closer and closer towards _(Name)'s_ home, he glanced over the right of the street after stopping in front of a red light in a four way lane. The part cemetery was located near the middle of the city, and it seemed dark and abandoned today, that is for one bright, single light that he noticed near the tree off to the left corner. It looked like candles, maybe lanterns placed all around the small corner, two headstones visible slightly in the midst of the white snow. There was a bouquet of flowers on the top of each grave, along with a figure situated in front of both headstones.
From where he was, he could make out the back of a head covered by a beanie, along with a thick scarf strewn around the figure's neck. Although all he could see was the person's back, he assumed it was a girl. Looking a bit closer, in more detail, he noticed the way the light reflected off of the girl's (h/c), the deep lavender color of the jacket she was wearing along with the grey and black scarf.
The very same one that _(Name)_ always wore during the winter time. It was her favorite scarf that she absolutely adored and no matter what would always be seen with it during the winter season.
_(Name)_ smiled warmly to herself as she set the second of the two bouquets on her father's grave. Both bouquets were simple, yet elegant, complete with roses and white lilies, along with some mistletoe for the sake of the holidays to finish it off. She knew both her parents must miss spending Christmas together as a family as they always had in the past. Even after _(Name)_ had grown up and moved out she still came to visit her parents usually during the Christmas. It was a nice reunion to have.
It always brought back fond memories. For two years after turning seventeen and deciding to share an apartment with a close friend, she had continued to come back to her parents welcoming home for the holidays, enjoying making gingerbread cookies and the various sweets she'd make, then later happily consume while winding down, watching movies late into the night.
But it was also two years after coming back every year that she stopped. Her parents sudden departing had separated her from the one time of the year she really stopped and spent time with her parents, who always welcomed her back home, happy to see their daughter come back for the holidays.
Even so, she tried to make up for it this year by spending some of the holidays with them, getting as close as she could. So she had bundled herself up, and set out with some lanterns, matches, two bouquets for them both, and even a thermos with hot chocolate inside to keep both her hands and her heart warm. The only thing she had forgotten was her phone.
Turning to look over her shoulder, a wave of confusion washing over her face as she glanced up to the dimly lit figure, instantly recognizable from his blonde cowlick on the side of his hair, to the deep, honest blue pools of his eyes, _(Name)_ glanced up wearily to the person who had all this time been waiting for her to come to his house, but had never showed up. And there she was, right in front of him now, bundled up and sitting comfortably in front of two headstones.
A solemn, almost saddened expression settled in his azure eyes, his eyebrows drooping somewhat and knitting together, a kindhearted look spreading across his face. He did not even need to glance at the headstones, nor the printing on them, to know why she was here.
He simply crouched down beside her, looking her straight in the eyes.
"O-Oh, that's right. I forgot about the party didn't I? I'm sorry-"
"It's fine, _(Name)_."
Said girl simply lifted her gaze to meet his own, his blue eyes giving her a sense of comfort and warmth, despite the cold weather and snow she was sitting in. It sparked in her heart, while the blonde male simply came up behind her, resting his back against the trunk of the tree before quietly pulling her to his own chest, cradling her carefully against him. _(Name)_ simply began to stutter slightly, but quickly stopped as she let it go, relaxing in his arms, resting her head against him carefully.
Watching her rest against him, Alfred quietly slid something out from the pocket of his jacket before carefully setting it silently into _(Name)'s_ hands, so she was cupping the small box between her hands gently.
At the touch of his hands against her own, along with the feel of something solid and square being placed in her hands, said girl reopened her eyes, glancing to the box she was holding before tilting her head back to look up at her close friend, who only smiled warmly to her, grinning lightly to her.
"Go on, open it, it's for you."
With his encouraging words, the girl did so, carefully tearing away at the dotted green wrapping paper, complete with a small red bow on the top. Sliding the top off of it, she gazed down inside of the small box, before her eyes sparkled slightly with surprise and curiosity.
And curiosity got the better of her.
"A-Al…?" _(Name)_ stumbled with her words, at loss of words at the same time as she stared in awe.
As she turned to face him once more to ask him a new question, feeling her voice starting to come back, her lips were soon locked with the blonde's own soft lips, her words disappearing as she melted into the kiss. Pulling away, she was about to say something before the American teasingly waved the small thing of mistletoe in front of her.
When had he..!?
"Come on, _(Name)_," Alfred soothed as he stood, helping her up as well, his warm smile returning back to his lips. "Let's go back to my place. We go watch the best movie the world knows in my room. There's still lots of gingerbread and cake left..!" He replied lightly, a large grin washing over his features.
About to say something, _(Name)_ stopped as Alfred began tugging at her hand, pulling her away, at the same time holding her hand in his own carefully.
"Come on, _(Name)_! We can't just let Captain America and all that gingerbread wait for us slow-pokes!" He exclaimed proudly, pulling her over to his car that was parked on the side of the road.
Suddenly, the girl being pulled by the blonde closed her mouth, a smile forming its way onto her lips as she stopped trying to protest and just caved in. It was way too pointless to try and argue with Alfred, it was rather quiet impossible sometimes. Even so, _(Name)_ didn't mind. She had one of the best friends in the world, and she was even happier to have fallen in love with that friend who had stayed by her side, defended her, and cared for her for many years.
But he was even luckier to have fallen for her, or so it seemed from his perspective. Stopping him abruptly, _(Name)_ turned the blonde to face her, before their lips met once more, this time with more focus, more conscious of what was happening, and more confidence from the female.
And it was Alfred this time to be a bit surprised, but in haste of the moment quickly adapted. After pulling away once more, Alfred merely pulled her close, his cold nose brushing against her equally frozen cheek as he pressed a simple kiss to the cold, flushed skin.
"So is that a 'Yes'?" he asked, hope finding its way through his hushed whispers, though his breathing still creating small puffs of white clouds in the air around him.
His question only made _(Name)_ laugh quietly, grinning lightly to him as she hugged him close.
"What do you think, Mr. America?" She replied with a cute smile placed on her lips, her eyes sparkling with happiness and reflecting her joyful, slightly child-like smile she wore, while poking him playfully in the chest.
Chuckling at the new nickname she had given to him, he only picked her up, carrying her over to the car once more before setting her down carefully.
"I think it's going to be a very nice Christmas next year," he replied softly before climbing into the driver's seat beside _(Name)_.
Indeed it would be a good Christmas in the following year.
And it was going to be the first of many, many holidays that she would never have to spend alone ever again. Not as long as Alfred was with her, she wouldn't have to be alone next year, nor the next. Instead she might hopefully be nestled beside him, wrapped in a bundle of blankets with many varieties of junk food and sweets laid out in front of them while they watched Captain America.