Shrancher Drabble Collection @thylekshran
Mistletoe

“Perfect!” Hoshi exclaims as she finishes tying the sprig of mistletoe to the base of Shran’s left antennae. “You look great. Very festive.”

“What is it for, again?” He tries to look up at it, but it’s just at the edge of his vision and he starts going cross-eyed from the effort. Hoshi laughs.

“It represents good tidings for the new Earth solar year,” she says. Shran is sure she’s lying, but he can’t figure out what her angle is. He decides he’ll ask Archer what it means instead.

“Well, thank you. I have been feeling quite confused by the various goings on recently, I’m glad I can participate in this holiday party.” Last week there had been an event called Hanukkah, and then suddenly this week a large number of inefficient lights had been hung about the ship in various places. Shran is losing track of things, but appreciates the variety in humans’ cultural customs.

“Of course! Let’s go!” Hoshi all but pushes him into the mess hall, where a number of the crew have gathered for drinks. As soon as they enter, she vanishes, and Shran has to make his way alone through the crowd looking for someone to speak to. He hasn’t been on the ship that long and has never been comfortable striking up conversations with strangers.

Luckily, Archer is tall, and Shran quickly spots him near the kitchen doors. He squeezes by people but before he gets very far they begin to part for him, clearing a path and giggling under their breath. Worried he’s been pranked, Shran blushes and ducks his head as he clears the distance between himself and the Captain. He didn’t take Hoshi for the type to haze him but it appears he’s fallen for something.

“Hello, Pinkskin,” he says as he finally reaches the other side. Behind him, people are still whispering, and he tries not to visibly react.

Archer stares at him for a moment that seems to stretch on too long. Shran shifts his weight slightly and puts on his most unflinching smile, trying to brace for the punchline. What he isn’t prepared for is Archer stepping in close and taking his face in his hands. He’s even less prepared for the sweet, passionate kiss that follows.

The crew cheers. Shran’s consciousness sinks into a pleasant daze, baser instincts and powerful emotion drowning his anxiety, and he kisses Archer back. He thought Archer had forgotten their previous romantic encounter, or had chosen not to pursue him further, and it’s an incredible relief to know his continued affections were not misplaced.

Finally letting him go, Archer grins broadly as Shran blinks his way back to the surface. “I take it you don’t know what mistletoe is actually for.”

“I believe Ensign Sato set me up,” Shran replies, a little embarrassed, but mostly glad for her insight.

“Remind me to thank her. Tomorrow.” Archer hands him a drink and wraps an arm around him, resting a hand on his hip. He turns to the crew and raises his glass. “To old friends and new allies! Merry Christmas!”

Shran toasts, then leans into Archer’s broad frame, content. He’ll find his place here yet.

1. Parenthood 194 0 0 2. Climate Change 238 0 0 3. whole again 385 0 0 4. Escape 303 0 0 5. Mistletoe 550 0 0 6. Protocol 406 0 0 7. the light 199 0 0 8. A Beagle and a Too Big Hoodie 253 0 0 9. The Tale of the Breaking 441 0 0 10. Sealed With a Kiss 303 0 0