Ryan was sick of Christmas - and the fucking day hadn’t even arrived yet.
He still had more than a week of this shit left to deal with - all the people rushing about like headless chickens, the terrible Christmas songs, everyone he came across asking him what his plans for the holidays were - and it was pissing him right off. Why did people have to get so worked up over what was, for most of them, just another day? Ryan didn’t understand why people who weren’t involved in the religious side of things got so wrapped up in all this shit. He got that America was a Christian country, but it wasn’t as if people went this crazy for Easter.
It was, frankly, baffling - and Ryan hated it. He knew that made him a grouch in some people’s eyes (if Chris called him the Grinch one more time, Ryan was going to deck the lanky fucker) but he didn’t care. He hated Christmas, and that was the end of it…
…At least, he’d like it to be.
But it wasn’t.
Normally, it was fine that Ryan hated Christmas, because he could just to retreat to his apartment and ignore it all until the twenty-seventh and things started going back to normal…but this year Ryan couldn’t do that, because this year he was spending his time off (which just happened to coincide with the Christmas season) with his girlfriend Faith. And Faith loved Christmas.
More than Valentines Day, more than Halloween, even more than her birthday: she loved Christmas more than them all. Usually, Ryan would dump someone for that shit - he could not stress enough how much he hated Christmas - but the way Faith was approaching the season made him feel like enough of a dick already without even thinking about breaking up with her at her favourite time of year.
Because were other people - Chris - tried to foist their love of Christmas onto Ryan, Faith was trying her hardest to hide it from him, even though it was making her sad. She wasn’t asking for them to do anything Christmas-y - they hadn’t even decorated their apartment. She didn’t say anything about it, hadn’t brought up the situation at all, but Ryan could see it every time they walked past a Christmas-y window display, or in the split second before they changed the channel away from some terrible Christmas film, or whenever she put another wrapped present, for one of the hundred people she’d gotten one for, away: out of his (and her) sight.
Faith was sad, and Ryan felt like a complete dick.
Which was how he found himself carrying boxes of decorations through his apartment, with Vinny and Ricky carrying a tree through his front door, while Justin was putting fairy lights up in the kitchen window, and Chris stood in the middle of the living room, looking at all the Christmas bullshit Ryan had bought and wearing an expression that was usually reserved for when he was trying to get the lyrics for a new song just right while his girlfriend, Holly, was carefully unwrapping even more fairy lights.
Holly was the only one to look up to smile at Ryan, the expression sympathetic but somehow supportive. She was, right now, Ryan’s favourite person in the apartment; she might love Christmas almost as much as her insane boyfriend, but she was a lot more reserved about it, and she was the only one not making a big deal out of him asking them all for help decorating the apartment for Faith. She was also the only one he trusted not to cock this up…
Speaking of which…
“Justin, you better not be drawing a fucking dick out of Christmas lights.” Ryan shouted, seeing Vinny standing in the kitchen doorway and snickering.
“I’m not!” Justin shouted back…before it was followed by a quiet: “Anymore.”
Ryan sighed, already regretting this whole idea, before Holly consoled him with a hand on his shoulder: “I can go supervise them, if you can handle Chris.”
Looking over to where Chris was now pulling out tree decorations with the intensity of a serial killer, Ryan shook his head: “I can’t handle Chris.”
“Then go and take over in the kitchen, and send Justin in here. I’ll keep him in line.” Holly promised.
And Ryan believed her.
Justin went meekly when he was told Holly had summoned him, and honestly Ryan kind of had to laugh at how much control the British woman had managed to exert over the band since she’d meet Chris around this time last year. It was a good thing she only used her powers for good, otherwise they all would have been majorly fucked.
As it was, Ryan was only minorly fucked as he and Vinny set about picking up where Justin had left off, with Ricky directing them from where he was leaning on the counters nearest the door.
He was the person Ryan had the second most about of belief in. Ricky didn’t really give that much of a fuck about Christmas, but he had an amazing eye for detail, and with his instructions, soon the kitchen was looking like something out of a Christmas magazine.
A thick pine garland ran the length of the windowsill, dotted with warm white lights that echoed the string of lights tapped around the window. Three gold candle stands were arranged in the center of the windowsill, all with a glittering gold pillar candle on top, matching the golden stand in the middle of the kitchen table, with its own glittering gold candle on.
The living room was looking similarly amazing. Holly had taken his vague request of ‘blue’ (the only thing he could think of when she’d asked if he had any ideas) and somehow managed a full-on Christmas miracle by turning his living room into something out of a film. And not just any film - the most high-budget, best-put-together Christmas film anyone had ever put together.
Blue fairy lights were neatly tapped around both windows, and on the one not taken up by books and the bowl Ryan and Faith threw their keys into, there was a gold battery-candle menorah that was throwing out warm yellow light.
Candles of all shapes and sizes filled the grate of the fire place, from small tea-lights to votives to chunky pillar candles, in all shades of blue, teal, and gold, next to a dark blue reindeer statue that had glittering golden antlers.
It was beautiful - and, more importantly, Faith was going to love it.
Ryan, for the first time since he was a kid, felt like he was starting to feel something like the joy of Christmas…especially when Holly pointed him to the tree they’d placed in one corner of the room, wrapped in the same blue lights as were in the windows, but otherwise bare.
“We thought you and Faith might like to decorate the tree together. I know you said she loves Christmas decorating.” Holly explained gently.
“I still think we could’ve - ” Chris was cut off by a whimper and a pained look, while Holly - who had just stamped on his foot like she would a spider running towards her - continued to smile sweetly.
She really was Ryan’s favourite person in this apartment…at least until Faith came in.
Which would be any minute now…
Ricky, continuing to live up to his status as Ryan’s second favourite person in the apartment, started ushering everyone out. He and Holly had to all but drag Chris out, but they managed it, and soon enough Ryan was left alone in his and Faith’s home, waiting for her to get home and see her surprise.
He hoped she liked it.
There was no doubt that she would love the decorations; Chris, Holly, and Ricky really had put together something that managed to look both professional but still personal, and Ryan knew Faith would adore it…but he also hoped that she didn’t mind not being able to decorate herself. He knew she loved that aspect of getting ready for Christmas, but he’d also really wanted to surprise her with a decorated apartment.
It had seemed like a wonderful idea at the time, but now he was feeling nervous about it.
The look on her face, though, when she walked in a moment later, made those nerves melt away: “Ryan…”
“Surprise.” he replied softly, unable to help the smile that curled at his mouth.
Faith was still looking around the room in shock - jaw dropped but eyes sparkling in the reflection of all the lights: “But…you hate this kind of thing…”
“You don’t, though. And…maybe I don’t hate it.” Ryan admitted, closing the distance between them and wrapping an arm around Faith’s waist, pulling her in to drop a kiss on the crown of her head: “Not when it’s with you, anyway.”
“Oh, Ryan…” Faith breathed, her face still painted with shock and awe…but slowly turning into a smile that was wide enough to make Ryan’s cheeks hurt in response…or maybe that was just his own smile over seeing her so happy: “Thank you, Ryan. I think this is the sweetest thing someone’s ever done for me.”
Ryan just leaned down to kiss her, taking his time before pulling back only enough to say: “I love you so much that I don’t think I hate Christmas anymore. I don’t know what I’m going to do without my Grinch status anymore.”
“We’ll just have to tell everyone that you’re a lovely one, Mr. Grinch.” Faith teased.
“I think I can live with that.”