Nine Ladies Dancing

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ANOTHER YEAR LATER

"Ow!" Anna winces as she gets up, rubbing her backside with a pout. 

"Hey," Jonathan is stood at the kitchen counter, arm deep in cookie batter. He shoots her a smile.

"You ever thought of maybe leaving cushions in your fireplace?"  Anna is still rubbing her butt, a woeful expression on her face.

"No, but I will now," Jonathan smirks. "Alternatively, you could just avoid falling down my chimney..."

"I hate you," she scowls, sitting up on the counter beside him. He raises his eyebrows.

"You sure about that?" he says lightly, grinning. "Because I seem to recall - "

"Oh my God, shut up," she cuts him off before he can finish, huffing. "You are insufferable."

"You love it."

"Jonathan, I'm not kidding, I will throw this flour at you," Anna's hand is already half way into the bag of powder.

"You wouldn't," he says, eyes narrowing, but with the way he's paling visibly, she isn't sure he believes it.

"Wouldn't I?" she smirks, but backs off, watching him work. "Great time to be making cookies," she comments with a raised eyebrow. 

"Yeah, I've kind of been up to my eyes in work, lately, so I was hoping I could at least get these in the oven before you showed up," he gives her an apologetic look, reaching up to wipe his cheek but ending up with flour on his face. "Looks like it didn't quite work out."

Anna smiles, leaning in to press a soft kiss to his cheek. "Thank you," she says tenderly. "You didn't have to."

"Of course I did," he grins. "It's Christmas Eve."

She chuckles, and they lapse back into silence. Anna wonders briefly if she should inform Jonathan of the flour smeared across his cheek, but decides against it, concluding that it looks cute and...okay, her only reason is that it looks cute. Super cute.

"So, home for Christmas?" she asks eventually, once Jonathan is spooning out the batter into even blobs on the baking tray.

"Mhm," he hums in affirmation. "I was gonna stay and study, but Mom kinda forced me to come back. Said Flynn was missing me."

"You say that like Flynn isn't missing you," she observes, arching a brow.

"Well," Jonathan pauses, looking up at her. "Flynn is twelve now. I think if it was between who missed me most, Mom or Flynn, we all know who would win the prize."

"You can't fault your mother for missing you," she tells him sternly.

"I don't!" he holds his hands up in surrender, and flour goes everywhere. "I was just saying. Flynn's at that age, you know?"

"Can't say I do," Anna says with amusement.

"Oh, come on, even you went through it, I bet."

"Yeah, a few hundred years ago," she replies wryly.

"Irrelevant," he waves off. "Still counts."

"Okay," she says, trying to suppress her laughter. "What, then, is 'that age'?"

"That age is..." Jonathan begins, then trails off, frowning. "Well, it's, uh..."

"Yes?"

"It's just that age! I don't know how else you want me to explain it!"

"Okay, Jonathan," she says, and she thinks she would come off as complacent if there wasn't a smirk on her face. 

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