"Admiring our tree, I see?"
Having been deep in thought, Mary Ann jumped at the sound of the Professor's voice despite the fact she'd been waiting for him for half an hour.
"If you can call it that," she sighed as she turned back to their little palm tree decked with seashells and starfish.
"I thought you were the one always saying it's better than no tree at all?" he asked.
"I am… It is… I'm sorry. Feeling a bit homesick right now."
Kissing her cheek as he sat down, the Professor said, "I think we all do around Christmas."
"You'd think by now it'd be easier."
He shrugged. "Not necessarily. We all thought we'd be rescued by now. This time of year is a reminder."
"I'd feel so much better if we could let our friends and families know that we're okay."
"I know…" Then nudging her, he said, "But hey, at least you and I have something to celebrate this year."
Mary Ann smiled, shifting on the bench so she faced him. "And I'm so glad of it." She leaned forward to kiss him.
When they pulled apart, the Professor asked, "Are you sure you don't want to tell the others?"
"Part of me does. I hate keeping secrets from them, especially Ginger. But I've also liked the way things have been the last couple of months. What if they don't take it well? Or what if they're angry that we've been keeping to ourselves? I'd hate to spoil anything before Christmas."
"You're right. We should tell them soon after the new year, though. It's getting more and more difficult keeping us hidden. I keep forgetting."
With a chuckle, Mary Ann replied, "So do I. Just tonight when Ginger asked what my plans were I started saying I was going for a walk with you. I wish you could have seen the look on her face when I caught myself and instead said I was going for a walk with the moon and the stars."
The Professor laughed. "Good heavens, did you really?"
"Yes, I'm afraid."
"Well then," he said taking both of her hands as he stood up. "We mustn't keep the moon and the stars waiting."
She rolled her eyes. "You're going to tease me about that for the next week, aren't you?"
"Maybe two," he said with a wink.
Hand in hand, the took off down their usual trail. Between the Professor's company and the oddly chilly night, Mary Ann's homesickness was left back at camp. A new idea took its place. The Professor was right, this was their first Christmas together as a couple. It wasn't a time for moping. It was a time for celebration, even if they were the only ones who would know.
I'm going to call this a multi-chapter ficlet... it was getting too long to be a one-shot. I hope you enjoy!