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  • Writer's pictureEdie Montreux

Mpreg Advent Calendar Day 18 - The Beta Days of Christmas

Hello and welcome, Mpreg Advent Calendar followers and thanks so much to Colbie Dunbar for inviting me to join you on Day 18!

For those of you who don't know me, I'm Edie Monte! This is my first year writing mpreg, though some of you may remember my story from last year (Ghost of Yule). This year, I released The Monster at the End of This Pregnancy in June. I was also part of the Mated at the North Pole shared world series with Colbie! My book, Donner, is about reindeer omega Jax Donner meeting golden eagle alpha Beau while on mandatory vacation!

I also write a little bit of everything m/m without mpreg as Edie Montreux!

This is (another) Coz and Grindl Bonus Story (characters from The Monster at the End of This Pregnancy )



The Beta Days of Christmas

by Edie Montreux

Coz

My three little boys sang, "On the beta days of Christmas, my Daddy gave to me ..." non-stop, all the way to our home after school. I was going to kill my neighbor, Punky, even if he was my kids' preschool teacher.

My mate Grindl and I had skipped the babies' first Christmas. We are kobold/human hybrids, after all, and they were too young and lizard-like to comprehend things like trees in the house and opening presents.

I convinced Grindl to skip last Christmas, too. The boys had gone through their first molt and had started to look and act more human, but they wouldn't remember the lights, songs, and presents that came with the season. We'd taken the boys to see Santa in the fortress. That had been enough. Even with the added strings of lights, there were peaks shrouded in darkness above the great hall. Still, even I had to admit it was festive and pretty, especially when Grindl's eyes lit up with a million tiny lights and the children all mirrored his smile.

This year, the kids had come home from nursery school singing carols and asking about trees and lights. As much as I loved Punky, the young omega's enthusiasm for the season was ruining my good cheer.

I loved my children, I did, but I loved my dragonet, Moridin, too. He'd been sick for the last few days. I didn't want to ask him for his help dragging a small sapling back from the woods between our home and our resident dragon's. Moridin got nervous around the dragon, as all dragonets did. I didn't want to stress him even more while he was snuffling and snorting bursts of smoke every few moments.

That's why, the day after the singing incident, I found myself inside the fortress, filling out a purchase request for the items the store didn't have in stock. On a good day, I could take Moridin to earth, transform him into a human vehicle, and bring back all the Christmas junk, I mean decorations, I wanted. With Christmas only two weeks away, I now had to improvise.

Thankfully, they had a tree in stock, one made from glorified pipe cleaners. It was white with an opalescent sheen to it. It would look really pretty with colored lights, or so the beta behind the counter kept telling me as I swiped my card for my purchases. He'd been the one to show me the box of accessories that came with the tree. It contained a twisted ball of lights and a box full of odds and ends with sharp little hooks to pin around the pipe-cleaning branches. I know because I gouged myself on several while trying to juggle the box, the tree, and the door.

Once the clerk helped me trundle outside, I realized why I had so much trouble accepting it was Christmas. The grass here was still vibrant green and lush, same as the rest of the year.

The grotto beneath the fortress had formed from dragon fire and had cooled to the point of being uninhabitable, but now that we could live in the open without fear of more dragons destroying our homes, the scenery never changed. It was always warm and usually sunny, perfect for dragons to sun themselves on the rocks above the tree line.

It was super shitty for Christmasy vibes. I missed air so cold it stung my face, snow, and afternoon darkness. Except I didn't, not really. I remembered them fondly, but I told myself this would be even better.

Our little ones never had to experience getting stuck on the way to Grandma's, or the power going out in a snowstorm, or waking up on Christmas morning to frost on the windows because the fire went out. In my head, those were all the same Christmas, though I doubted that was the case.

Time and the ritual to turn us from human changelings into our kobold/human hybrid selves had warped my memory into nostalgia soup. Our three beta boys, Briar, Sunny, and Rory, would make their own memories here, full of sun, grass, and a shiny white plastic tree.

I arrived home with an hour to spare before Grindl and the boys would leave school. Punky's alpha mate and my co-teacher, Lark, had taken pity on me when the boys had cornered me in the teacher's lounge at lunch and asked if they could have a Christmas tree.

"Where are we gonna put all the birds in the song?" Briar had asked me.

Where, indeed. I wasn't letting any Ignitas birds anywhere near this tree. Earth birds minded their own business. Ignitas birds were assholes with sharp beaks and talons who would swoop out of a tree and attack with the least provocation. Granted, most of the time, they attacked me while I was riding Moridin. They did not take kindly to a dragonet invading their territory.

I could sense Moridin through our bond. He was feeling better, but still not completely free of his cold. I would give him at least one more day of rest before riding him into the forest for boughs of greenery from the nearby forest. The trees weren't pine, and they had more of a citrus scent, but they were as close as we could get.

The jumble of lights took far longer to untangle than I expected. Grindl and the boys came charging in the front door before I'd put the first ornament on the tree.

The boys all squealed in delight. Rory almost knocked over the box of ornaments with his tail. Grindl averted disaster at the last moment by picking him up into an airplane and flying him over to the tree.

"Me next, me next," both boys cried. I gave Briar a lift, and Grindl set Rory down beside the box of ornaments and put him in charge of protecting it from the "landing zone."

Grindl hefted Sunny up so he could see the tree and take a semicircular trip around it before dipping him back to the floor.

"It looks like we got here just in time," Grindl said, staring at the naked tree stringed with colored blinking lights. "This is my favorite part!"

I stood back and let the boys place the ornaments around the tree. When they got too far toward the corner where no one would see them, or too many in the same area, Grindl would take over and place the ornaments higher on the tree, where the boys couldn't reach.

They had the tree decorated in a matter of minutes, when it would have taken me at least a half-hour by myself. At the bottom of the box was another gift, an elf figurine.

"Oh no," Grindl said, frowning at me. "How did one of Santa's elves get in here? Now the boys will have to be especially good this year!"

They all looked up at Grindl with fear. "We are good, Papa! What do you mean?"

Our gazes met, and both of us shook our heads at the same time. "Nope," I said. "Not in my house." I did not want my boys living in fear of a mystical someone judging whether they were good or bad.

"It's not a real elf," Grindl explained, tossing Briar the doll. Instead of catching and playing with it, he flinched and flung it toward the couch. I didn't blame him for that. I didn't want to touch him, either.

"No plastic doll is going to make your Christmas better or worse," I said, hugging Rory and Sunny to me.

"I'm sorry." Grindl's eyes were on me as he lifted Briar to his hip. His apologetic look gave me all kinds of ideas about how he could make it up to me later.

"You're already the best beta boys," I said. "Right?"

"Right, Daddy!" Sunny kissed my cheek and Rory squirmed so he could get down and inspect the tree again.

"We'll need some extra supplies from earth," Grindl said. "The tree still looks a bit bare."

"I ordered a few things." I grinned and shrugged when he asked me for details. I didn't want to ruin the surprise.

***

Trying to hide anything from Grindl was impossible, especially in our little house. I managed to hide the handful of new ornaments in the cupboard for my tea, something Grindl didn't drink. I added one to the tree each day. The first two went unnoticed, but then Briar spotted his favorite action figure hiding in the branches and almost took the tree over in his excitement. the new tree skirt helped, since it was wider around than the tree and provided a good perimeter they couldn't cross.

Presents were another matter. I couldn't hide them in the tunnel beneath the house. Grindl sometimes used it to get to and from the store after dark. There had been a stray dragonet flying around, and while it had only harassed a few of the dire weasels, we weren't taking any chances.

I hid them in the tunnel leading to Punky and Lark's house, instead. We didn't allow our children in the tunnels, so there was no worry of their kids telling our kids what they saw. Both Punky and Lark knew they were there, of course, but they didn't leak a word to Grindl.

Most of the gifts were for Grindl and me, anyway. The boys weren't quite old enough to hold their books carefully in their laps, though they were beginning to figure out how to read some of the words when we pointed to them. They definitely weren't ready for a butterfly terrarium or a projector displaying both Earth's and Ignitas's constellations. The Legos and puzzles were more their speed, but they were also toys we could play with together.

That's what I missed most about Christmas. My adoptive parents had been all about family activities and traditions. My dad always took me to the Christmas tree farm to cut down a tree my mom insisted was too big for our living room, though he always managed to squeeze it beneath the eaves. My mom made the best hot chocolate. Paired with peanut butter cookies, she could turn any disaster into a miracle.

I wanted traditions, too. That's why I talked Moridin into carrying me to the forest's edge to cut down some tree boughs. The dragonet looked at me like I was crazy, which maybe I was, but he didn't mind the extra weight I loaded on his back. As we were leaving, the rumble of a dragon put us both on high alert.

"What are you doing here?" they asked.

"Gathering boughs for the holiday." My voice shook, but only a little.

The dragon sniffed. "Holiday? What holiday?"

"Christmas."

The dragon snorted smoke at us. "A human holiday. Did you know we dragons also have a holiday during the winter solstice?"

"I'm sorry, I didn't know." I bowed my head, hoping that was the polite move. As an alpha who had been raised on Earth, I really didn't know the proper etiquette one should use with a dragon. "How do you celebrate?"

"We burn kobolds and eat them."

I stepped closer to Moridin. "We should be going."

The dragon chortled a laugh that sounded like thunder. My friend Mac stepped out from the shadow of the dragon and stood between us. "They're joking. Right? Joking? Remember how we're supposed to tell our friends when something is a joke?"

The dragon laughed some more, but then they finally acquiesced. "Yes, a joke, alpha. Nothing to worry about. We celebrate by decorating our caves with trinkets and boughs, same as you. They are cheery in the darkness."

I frowned. I hadn't noticed much difference in the length of days here, either. The sun always set around seven in the evening, and rose around six in the morning.

"The length of our days only varies by a few minutes," Mac confirmed. "Wait 'til I take you to Earth. Then, you'll really see what it's like to have summer and winter solstice."

"You're going to Earth?" I asked, intrigued by the thought of taking a dragon to the planet that had hid me from dragons for the first 25 years of my life.

"Disguised as a human, same as you," the dragon said. "I want to know what was so appealing to the kobolds of old that they wanted to combine DNA with these ... humans."

"Have fun with that."

I was done socializing with the dragon. I waved to Mac and eased myself onto Moridin's back. We both let out a sigh as we escaped the dragon's reach. When I looked back over my shoulder, still concerned for the beta, I could swear the dragon was smiling at him.

Decorating the house with tree boughs was anticlimactic after that.

***

The days passed far more quickly on Ignitas than they ever had when I was waiting for Christmas back on Earth. I was older now, with three rambunctious little boys who wanted to attend every seasonal event held at the fortress, thanks to their teacher, Punky. At sundown on the eight days, we went to the Menorah lighting for Hanukkah. We visited the shrines to the Greek pantheon in one corner of the cathedral, and all of the pagan gods and goddesses around the edges.

We even visited a shrine to the dragon goddess, Tiamat. Thanks to Punky's timely teachings, I now knew the winter solstice holiday the dragon celebrated was her feast day. While the dragon had been generous including tree boughs in their ritual, the dragons of old had sacrificed kobolds to the goddess on their feast days. I only hoped they no longer observed that tradition.

After solstice, it was only 4 days until Christmas. We agreed to celebrate on Christmas Eve, since both Grindl and I grew up in households that opened presents that night, went to bed, and then woke up early to play with our new toys the next morning.

Our boys were still too young to experience any real yearning for Christmas, but they could tell we were excited. Rory especially seemed concerned about it. He didn't understand why he wouldn't have preschool for the next two weeks.

"You'll still see your friends," I reassured him as I sat him down for dinner. Punky and Lark lived next door, so our kids would be able to play in the yard with Odessa, Lark's dire weasel, and run and play without the threat of a kobold-eating dragon lurking in the skies. (Or so we all hoped.)

Rory, Briar, and Sunny wore matching black sweaters with white snowflakes on them. They were the best-looking ugly sweaters I'd ever seen.

"I ordered them online," Grindl confessed as he and I finished plating the meal.

"They're adorable," I reassured him.

"There's one for you on the bed," he said. "You should change before we eat."

I looked down at his matching sweater and laughed. Somehow, I'd missed that my mate wore a matching black sweater, only his had a giant white deer in the middle.

"I'll be right back," I said, running to the bedroom. For once, I felt like the saying implied, "like Christmas morning." I couldn't believe I was this excited over a sweater, but I was. My sweater was also black, but it had a giant white Santa face in the middle. I tugged it on over my t-shirt and ran back to the table.

"We match!" Sunny beamed at us with his toothy grin.

"Is this Christmas?" Rory asked again.

"Yum," Briar said, ignoring the rest of us. Grindl and I had cut their small steaks into bitesize pieces, but Briar now shoved three of them in his mouth at once. While our three-year-old kobold hybrids' cognitive abilities were beyond humans their age, table manners were not yet practiced in our house.

Once we had them cleaned up, with only one red stain on the white of Sunny's shirt, we sat them down before the Christmas tree. The wrapped presents looked as delightful as I remembered from my youth, only this time, I knew what was in them.

It was still fun to watch the joy on our boys' faces as they each received a present they loved. Sunny, our musician, got a toy harp and a game for his magical tablet that would teach him how to read music. Rory, our little learner, opened the butterfly terrarium and the star projector. Both were for the boys' room, but Rory was already the most interested in them.

Briar opened his gift and leveled me with a frown. "What is it?"

"It's a fire truck." I hadn't thought this through. I had loved my emergency vehicles when I was a kid, but my son had never seen a fire truck race past on a busy street.

"Like a dragon?" Briar asked.

"Dragons start fires," Grindl said, hiding his smile with a cough. "Fire trucks put them out."

"But we don't have fire trucks here," Briar insisted. "If we did, the dragon wouldn't have melted the fortress."

"That's true," I said.

"I'm going to play dragons and fire trucks with Ernie. Ernie has a dragon."

Once Grindl and Briar reassured me Ernie had a dragon figurine, not a literal dragon (one could never tell with Punky and Lark's kids), I relaxed.

Together, Grindl and I opened the last of the family gifts, including a stack of books, the economy pack of Legos, and the 1,000 piece puzzle that would take us all winter. There were still two presents under the tree.

"What's this?" I asked.

"A little something for us," Grindl said.

"From?"

"Us." Grindl's smile made my stomach flip, same as always. I loved my mate with my entire being, whether he got me gifts or not.

"That wasn't necessary," I said.

"Who said gifts had to be necessary?"

Grindl's heated gaze affected other parts of me. I shook my head and laughed. "No one."

Inside the box was a thick red robe the color of classic cars and my alpha kobold hair. All alphas had jewel-toned hair on their heads, while betas were more neutral colors, and omegas were anywhere from dark brown to black.

"Thank you, mate." I leaned over the empty spot Rory had vacated to play Legos on the floor and kissed Grindl. Fortunately, the kids were all too preoccupied with their toys to notice us making out on the couch.

Once the kids were tucked into bed, I undressed and slipped into the velvety robe. When Grindl emerged from the bathroom wearing a matching robe, I nearly ripped it to shreds with my claws. We kissed and groped like a newly mated pair against the wall of our bedroom.

"Wait," he said. "I want to kiss you under the Christmas tree."

We chuffed and giggled, trying to keep quiet as we got down on our knees and slipped beneath the tree to stare up through the lit branches. It was pretty, but not nearly as gorgeous as my mate.

"Merry Christmas," I said, rolling onto my side and pulling Grindl against me.

"Thank you," he said.

"For what?"

"The beta days of Christmas." He chuckled, and his omega scent filled my nose. "All of it, from the tree, to the presents, to socializing with our friends and celebrating other cultures. I expected you to say the boys were too young again this year. I was beginning to think you hated holidays."

"I don't," I said. "It's not the same here, but it doesn't have to be. I like making our own traditions."

Coz kissed me, and then grazed the side of my neck with his sharp teeth. "Me, too."

Somehow, we escaped the confines of the tree in a tangled mess of limbs and lust without knocking the whole thing over. It was a Christmas miracle.


Want more Coz and Grindl? Join my email list for a free copy of their meet cute, the Coz and Grindl Bonus Story! For their happily ever after, read The Monster at the End of This Pregnancy. This is Punky and Lark's tale, and Coz and Grindl are side characters, but they are part of the happily ever after!


For more holiday mpreg from me, read Donner! It's part of the 9-book shared world series, Mated at the North Pole, where the Santas have sent their reindeer on mandatory vacations (and possibly to meet their fated mates!


Happy holidays, everyone! Thanks so much for reading! I hope to see you all in the new year <3

Edie Monte/Edie Montreux

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