Winter's Past By P.A. Lovas

***This ficlet is a following to Shattered Pieces***

The bitter winter air nipped coldly at his exposed skin, but his shivering seemed to come from the inside, his heart frozen in his chest. His fist balled strongly around the small, yellow flowers, his nails biting into the crisp stems while his mind spiraled like a broken record, replaying the same melodies over and over again. .all of it, so unfair.

He bent down, placing the flowers into the small cup, pulling off a glove to run his hand over the cold, grey marble. "Hey kid," Aaron whispered, his voice catching as he brushed away the powdery snow. What remained of the grass was now frosted over, crunching loudly under his knees as he kneeled before the grave.

He turned his head away, unable to look at the name and date etched into the stone. As cold as the air. As cold as his heart.

I hate winter, He grumbled to himself. He turned back to the grave and smiled lightly as he held out his left hand, the silver band on his finger winking at him. "Well, maybe not all of winter."

He closed his eyes, remembering the previous year. Remembering Christmas.

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"Aaron, what are you doing? It's too cold to be walking around outside!"

Aaron laughed, tossing a look over his shoulder at the small blond stumbling to keep up. "I'm being spontaneous. Just try to enjoy it."

"It's hard to enjoy anything when my fingers are going to crack off," Donovan whined, a pout forming on blue tinted lips. He yelped suddenly as Aaron spun around, catching him off guard with a sultry kiss. "Wha-" Donovan started, his face darkening a few shades.

Aaron nodded approvingly as he ran his thumb over Donovan's bottom lip. "Much better." He smiled, dropping a quick wink as he turned back around, and began his quick strides once more. He chuckled at the blond's heated grumblings, knowing that that might keep him warm for the time.

"You can stop grousing now," Aaron announced a few moments later, letting his hand fall from Donovan's wrist to awkwardly hold his mittened hand. "We're here."

Blue eyes sparkled brilliantly as he looked around the snow covered park that they had strolled through together in the early peaking autumn. "Oh, Aaron," Donovan breathed, his sigh tangible in the frosty air. "Our park..."

"That's only phase one," Aaron laughed, scooping Donovan into his arms, laughing at the dark blush on the elfin face as he dropped his gently onto a bench.

"Well," Donovan said, turning his face away to hide his blush. "Who am I to argue with phase one?"

Aaron laughed as the memory of that day seemed to superimpose itself over the night. "Ok," he said, dropping down beside Donovan. "You first."

"Me first what?" Donovan asked, blinking at Aaron in confusion.

"It's your question first."

Donovan laughed, his mind obviously flooded with memories of that day as well. " ...Wha-"

"And no asking about Christmas presents. You'll get them tomorrow like a good boy."

"Oooooh," Donovan whimpered, his question foiled. "Fine. Be stingy."

"How is that stingy? It's tradition!"

"Tradition and stingy are the same thing."

"No they're not."

"Yeah well," Donovan smirked, poking Aaron in the nose. "Now I get two questions."

Aaron raised an eyebrow, remembering this particular game well, and how he bested Donovan the last time he tried that. "Why would you want two questions when you can't even come up with one?"

"Uh, good point," Donovan laughed, scratching his head. "I guess I don't."

Aaron laughed as he watched Donovan's face scrunch in thought. "Ok. Got one." He laid his head on Aaron's shoulder, wrapping himself around his arm. "Will I like my presents?"

Aaron shook his head lightly as he rolled his eyes. "What did I tell you about asking about presents?"

"But, I didn't ask what they were. I asked if they were good. It's still keeping with your monarchy traditionalism."

"You and your loopholes," he laughed, brushing his dark bangs from his eyes. "Fine, I'll buy that. Yes you will like most of them. One, I'm not so sure of, but I really hope you do."

Donovan picked up his head, cocking it slightly as he looked at Aaron. "And why's that?"

"Well," Aaron coughed, his heart hammering in his chest. "I guess that leads me to my first question." He swallowed hard, trying to gain strength in Donovan's confusion laced eyes, sparkling with anticipation. "Donovan, I know things aren't always so cut and dry. You taught me that. So, my question's going to be strictly of the hypothetical nature."

"Um, oookay," Donovan said, raising an eyebrow. "Sure."

Aaron rose to his feet, his back to the blond as he willed his heart and mind to calm as he fumbled anxiously in his pocket. "If this was another place, and another time, another world, or realm even where anything and everything was possible." He turned around, his eyes meeting Donovan's with a nervous intensity. "Would-"

"Aaron?" Donovan whispered, his confusion and intrigue apparent on his face.

Aaron closed his eyes for a second, took a deep breath and sat beside Donovan, taking his hand in his own. "I want to know," he started as he pulled the mitten from Donovan's hand, and slipped a silver band onto his left hand. "Would you marry me?" Aaron asked, his gaze rising to meet Donovan's. "Hypothetically, that is."

"Oh my God," Donovan whispered, his eyes pulling reluctantly from his hand resting lovingly on Aaron's face. "Oh my God," he repeated as he threw his arms around Aaron's neck, tears streaming from his face to soak in Aaron's jacket. "I love you so much, Aaron Richardson. And yes, hypothetically, I will marry you. Hypothetically," he laughed through his tears.

Aaron pushed Donovan back slightly, tilting his chin up as he stared deeply into his eyes. "I love you too, Donovan Haies. Merry Christmas." He lowered his head, catching Donovan's mouth in a sweet, passionate kiss that warmed their souls, making the chilly eve seem welcoming.

Donovan pulled back and rested his forehead against Aaron's lightly, crystiline tears falling from his eyes as he smiled brilliantly. "Merry Christmas."

**************************************************************************** **************************************************************** A chilly breeze picked up, seeming to jar the memory from Aaron's mind, reminding him exactly where he was. I guess not every winter evening could be so sweet, he thought bitterly as he fought the tears that pricked the corner of his eyes, squinting them shut. He bowed his head, whispering kind words to his mind, hoping that a stray spirit might pick it up and carry to the correct person.

A fuzzy hand was placed over his own on the stone, causing Aaron to break his trance. "What did you say?"

Aaron turned, his chills fading as he stared into pure blue eyes framed by snow dappled lashes. "I was asking that if she sees a strange blond girl in Heaven, tell her I said 'Hello'."

Donovan's eyes lightened, a few tears spilling over his face. "Oh Aaron." His eyes fluttered closed as Aaron lifted a frozen hand to wipe away the tears as he drew in a deep breath to calm himself.

"Come on," Aaron said, rising to his feet, extending a hand to Donovan. "Let's go home."

Donovan nodded slowly, placing his fuzzy, mittened hand in Aaron's. He turned around, looking at the grave stone, bending down once more to straighten the bow around the Teddy Bear's neck. "Watch over her Rodger," he whispered into the bear's plush ear, and tapped its nose with his thumb. "Goodbye, Melanie. Sleep well, Angel." Fresh tears rolled down his face, his eyes closing as Aaron wrapped his arms around him from behind. They stood there in silence, talking to the past, while clinging to the present.

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AN: Hey again. I think it's been about a year since I've posted anything new here. I was feeling a little nostalgic about Aaron and Donovan, and decided to write a ficlet about them, involving a particularly favorite mental scene of mine that was never touched upon in Shattered Pieces.

On that note, I'm sad to say after much much MUCH mulling, I have to give up on Shattered Pieces. I wrote myself somewhere I didn't want to be, and so, with a tear and a smile, I close the file on that. However, I refuse to give up on Aaron and Donovan completely, and they may appear in other ficlets, or, of I can get a freakin fic-muse, a new story of their own. I'm not too hopeful for the latter, but, we'll see. :3

Thank you all for the support, and I'm sorry for letting everybody down. But, sometimes these things happen. Oh, and I'm sorry if anybody's upset how I decided to f**k with everybody with this story, but, come ON, you people have to expect this of me by now. : P