The prompt I received was "Patton's first birthday after Lena left the pond," and well… inspiration struck. I hope you enjoy this one about Patton and Lena! This comes out of several of my headcanons. If Margaret seems like a b-word… well… she has reservations toward Lena after the Marshall/Ephira problems.
"I don't understand," Lena stated. She looked confused. "What is the celebration for this evening?"
"Patton's birthday is today," Margaret answered. "And every year that foolish man gains is truly an accomplishment worthy of celebration."
"Birthday," Lena tried the word out, noticing how the syllables felt on her tongue.
There was a momentary pause until Lena asked, "What is a birthday?"
It was Margaret's turn for confusion. "The anniversary of one's birth. Have you never celebrated a birthday before?"
Lena had only been out of the pond for a scant month and a half. She was eager to learn everything she could about humans and mortal life, however she was also coming to the conclusion that she disliked it when Margaret would explain things to her. The woman had a way of making Lena feel stupid for being understandably ignorant of human traditions. Lena often left their conversations with the impression that Margaret disapproved of her, although the other woman had never stated as much.
"Life in the water is very different than life on land," Lena replied. She made to leave the kitchen in search of her new husband but before she could exit, Charles walked in while carrying little Christina in his arms. Christina's face lit up as she reached for Lena, who took the child from Charles with a bright smile.
Charles chuckled at the sight of his daughter and sister-in-law, then turned and addressed his wife. "Margaret, dearest," he began, "I've hung the decorations and freshly diapered Christina a few moments ago. Would you care for me to assist in another way before I complete my regular chores for the day?"
"Please set the table for supper," Margaret said, finishing the latticework on the pies she had prepared for dessert that evening. They were cherry pies – Patton's favorite. Lena watched as her brother-in-law bowed to his wife.
"Oh, and Charles," Margaret called. He made eye contact with her and paused in front of the cabinets which held dishes inside of them. When she was certain she had his attention, she smiled broadly at him and said, "Thank you."
He returned her smile and continued with his task.
They were an interesting couple, in Lena's opinion. She enjoyed observing their interactions.
"Lena, would you be a dear and accompany me to the dining room?" Lena looked up at the mention of her name and realized it was Charles who had addressed her.
"Of course," she said. "Are you coming with us, lecha Christiana?"
Christina grinned and pulled at Lena's hair.
"Ahh, no no," Lena cooed, tapping the baby's nose in a soft reprimand. Christina let go of her auntie's hair, however the same sweet smile continued to grace her countenance. They both followed Charles into the dining room, Lena carrying Christina securely in her arms.
"I heard Margaret explaining the term birthday earlier," Charles started once the ladies had joined him. Lena took a handful of silverware and assisted with setting the table while he spoke. Christina tried to steal a spoon.
"Yes, she said it was the anniversary of one's birth," Lena replied.
"That's true. Do you understand it, though?"
She shook her head, her brow furrowing. "I have not celebrated a birthday before, nor have I heard of such a thing."
"I thought you mightn't have known." He gathered glasses in his hands and disbursed them around the table, one for each plate. "You already understand that humans are mortal beings. As mortal beings, we age. Quickly, in comparison to immortal beings such as yourself."
"I am mortal now."
"Indeed. And as such, you will also begin to age, although none of us knows how quickly." Charles reached for napkins next while Lena grabbed another handful of silverware and continued her trek around the table. "At any rate, one common human tradition is to celebrate the anniversaries of the births of our loved ones. Our family members and friends. We take the time to reflect on how we have enjoyed having them in our lives, and to express our gratitude, happiness and other good feelings toward them. A day for showing appreciation. And, in Patton's case… a day to celebrate the accomplishment he's reached by managing to achieve one more year of life." He chuckled to himself under his breath. "Bloody idiot."
"That's a lovely sentiment," Lena said, choosing to ignore his last comment. She knew that her husband had a tendency to be a bit... adventurous.
"Yes," Charles agreed. "Tonight we celebrate Patton's birthday. And tomorrow we will try to keep him alive so that he can celebrate his next birthday with us as well."
Lena laughed a little at that, then thanked Charles for taking the time to explain the significance of the day to her. He simply smiled in response.
The evening found them outdoors with Patton playing his fiddle while Lena, Margaret, Charles, and quite a few of Patton's other family members danced. Four satyrs had stopped by when they heard the music playing, and brought their own instruments so as to join in the romp. Fairies rested on plants or flew overhead, curiously observing the scene in front of them while simultaneously trying to feign disinterest. (It was a failed effort on their part.)
At one point, Patton stopped his fiddle-playing and addressed his family and guests. "Thank you all for this lovely evening," he said. "I have enjoyed myself very much. Margaret, thank you for providing such a wonderful meal and dessert!"
"You're very welcome," she replied with fondness in her voice.
"It has come to my attention, however, that my wife does not know when her own birthday is."
Lena suddenly felt rooted to the ground. Her eyes widened. What was he up to? She looked at him with interest, and perhaps felt a smidgen of self-consciousness.
"I simply cannot condone this injustice," he continued on. "Therefore, I declare that today shall be known as the birthday for both of us, starting today and continuing for every year from now on."
"What? Patton-" Lena opened her mouth to protest, or at least question him, but she was cut off before she could finish her sentence.
"A wonderful idea," Charles supported, winking at Lena. The rest of the family either nodded their agreement or vocalized similar sentiments, while the satyrs grumbled that they ought to choose a different day so as to create more occasions to celebrate.
"Peace, brothers," Margaret chided the satyrs. "I daresay you have plenty of holidays."
"You're not our mother," they stated, folding their arms across their chests. Lena, for her part, wasn't sure how she should feel.
The music started up again shortly thereafter, this time with one of Patton's younger relatives picking up the fiddle so that he could take a turn at dancing. He made a beeline for his wife as soon as he could, bowed to her while she curtsied, then swept her up in a dance.
"Happy birthday, my love," he said to her as they moved about on top of the lawn.
"This was supposed to be your special day," she stated.
"And I choose to share it with you."
"But – but Margaret and Charles told me that it is a special day-"
"Oh, posh," he stated. "It's no matter to them whether or not we share this day. Little Christina shares a birth date with Nicholas. Our family will honor them both when their birthday comes in November." Nicholas was the cousin who was presently playing the fiddle.
"Are you sure you don't mind?"
"Mind? Why would I mind?" Patton asked. "My wife's life is worth celebrating as much as my own is, if not moreso. You are the most important person to me – of course I don't mind sharing my birthday with you." He stopped dancing and pulled Lena into his arms in a tight embrace, then sweetly kissed her.
She smiled at him, her eyes filled with happiness. "Alright, I accept," she nodded her head before kissing him again. "Thank you for the opportunity."
"Darling, I love you with all of my heart. Happy birthday. Thank you for being a part of my life."
"And I love you with all of mine. Happy birthday to you as well."
They each glanced over as a couple of Patton's young cousins started making retching noises.
"Will they ever stop being so mushy?" the ten-year-old complained.
Lena laughed when Patton suddenly dipped her and kissed her more deeply than before, clearly putting on a show for the children who ran away amid protests and giggles. Once the children had left, he lifted her back up and they both laughed before resuming their dance.
Surrounded by family, forming and strengthening existing bonds… Lena could get used to this 'birthday' idea.