Tavor knew this was coming, but withheld his smile as he turned to Rajan. The fire genie stood next to him with a scowl, arms crossed over his chest.
Tavor placed a hand over his heart, his expression earnest. “I thought you’d be pleased. Weren’t you the one so keen on getting Ali out of her room?” Their little kitten was flitting around the kitchen, humming under her breath as she baked batch after batch of cookies. He’d hoped Ali would be pleased with his gifts but hadn’t expected so strong a reaction from her. It had been surprisingly gratifying to hear her shouts and exclamations as she’d unwrapped her recipe books.
Rajan’s scowl deepened, and he lowered his voice. “You were the one saying we should leave things alone, that Girlie would be fine once the holidays were done. Then you went and did more than the rest of us!”
Tavor shrugged. “You were right, and I was wrong. Ali’s reaction to your little decorations yesterday showed that.” He knew it was more than just the decorations. It was the care Rajan, Illan, and Garan had shown that had touched Ali so deeply. It still irritated him. She’d looked brighter than she had all week over such small actions. So, he’d decided he would join in. Decorating that should have taken minutes took hours as he moved bit by bit in order to prevent trouble, but Ali’s reaction and her current mood made it worth it.
“Right,” Rajan muttered. “You sit back, not caring, then swoop in at the end to take all the credit.” Barely audible, he added, “Typical universal.”
Tavor smiled. “Just trying to do my part. Although, not everyone cares about getting credit.” His gaze moved to Light, who sat on the couch, staring into the fireplace. “I bedecked the tree with strand lights. Mr. Bright over here came in after and replaced them with the pretty stars.” He hoped that meant the genie was finally softening toward Ali. Who knew the light genie could be so stubborn?
Rajan’s eyes widened with surprise, and both he and Tavor stared at Light.
It took a few moments for the light genie to turn and glare between the pair. Finally, he gave an uncomfortable shrug and stared past them at the wall. “Rajan . . . may have a point about how much the human has done for us.” His eyes flickered to Ali for a split second. “I wanted to do something for the girl who gave up her parents for our sakes. That’s all.”
Tavor clasped his hands together and held them over his heart. “Aw, or maybe you just got caught up in the Christmas spirit. How sweet.”
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