Author: Beer Good
Title: Traditional Christmas Carol
Word count: 872.
Summary: Many Christmas traditions make no sense at all to those who haven't seen them before. As the two surviving members of Angel Investigations are about to discover, however, there are some traditions which are much more pleasant.
Traditional Christmas Carol
December 23rd, 2006
It was two days before Christmas, a holiday of peace, love and goodwill... and consequently, the shopping district was a feverish tangle of stressed-out people shoving, pushing, clawing for bargains and yelling at each other, the smell of sweat and frustration hanging over the city as they fought for every red cent and every single minute to try and get everything done before Sunday.
From a hotel room on the fourth floor, the two last active members of Angel Investigations watched it all with ill-concealed puzzlement.
”I don't understand this.” The blue-haired woman frowned. ”They run around, working extra hard, fighting and hating each other for weeks in order to waste money they cannot afford, all the while being brainwashed by an endless loop of vapid music, only to spend a few measly days arguing with their families before returning to their drudgery, cursing at the amount of work that has piled up while they were busy being miserable and spending the next month trying to rid themselves of the excess fat from their overeating. As if their pitiful lives weren't short enough already.”
Her muscular companion nodded. ”'Tis a season which is most strange, yes. Earlier today a man ran into me, dropping packages everywhere. When I attempted to aid him in picking them up, he cursed at me and called me a name I do not wish to repeat. As I wished him a joyful holiday, he attempted to strike me and once again dropped all of his packages.”
”Such insolence. I would have ripped out his lungs and tied them around his -” She stopped herself as if remembering something and grew quiet.
”I'll freely admit that the thought struck me too. Most unheroic, but there seems to be a curse upon these days that turns even the most peaceful into ruthless berserkers in their hunt for something shiny to carry back to their tribe.”
”Winifred Burkle has memories of this”, Illyria conceded. ”But they are still happy memories. It makes no sense.”
”I think it is traditional. We celebrate the arrival of San'Taclos with the sharing of gifts, to show our honest appreciation for our fellow warriors.” The Groosalugg blushed slightly as he placed the carefully wrapped axe-shaped package on the table in front of her. ”Merry Ksmaas, my lady.”
Illyria cocked her head. ”It is an axe.”
”Why have you gone to the trouble of wrapping it when anyone can clearly see that it is an axe?”
Groo shrugged. ”I did not wrap it myself. The servant at the market where I purchased it wrapped it in this colorful paper without asking me. But I thought it pretty. See how it glitters, like all the stars in the heavens. Almost as much as your-”
”I have been to the stars. They don't glitter. They explode.” She peeled the paper off, lifting the brand-new battle axe and giving it a swing. ”It is a good weapon. You have done well. If I had known of this tradition, I would have brought you something in return; we have fought many battles together these last few years, and for a mortal, you are a capable warrior.”
”I hear that it is the thought that counts, my lady, and I am most grateful. However, if you wish to do me some small favor, might I ask you to take two steps forward and close your eyes?”
She regarded him suspiciously, but she had come to trust him so she put the axe down and did as he asked. When her eyes closed, the Groosalugg leaned in and placed a soft but firm kiss right on her lips, the kind of kiss that lingers just a little bit longer than both kisser and kissee originally intended, the kind of kiss that doesn't turn into frenzied making out yet seems to leave a little extra electricity hovering in the air. At least that's what it felt like to Groo as the kiss finally seemed to run its course and he took a step back.
Illyria stood there blinking in surprise for several seconds, completely stunned at his boldness. ”You... you would dare to... to kiss me?” She brought one hand up to her lips as if to check that they were still there.
The Groosalugg bowed his head. ”A thousand pardons, my lady. But,” he pointed to the ceiling, ”you are standing under a twig of mistletoe. That, too, is tradition. If I have offended you in any way, I can only offer my sincere apologies and, if you so wish, promise never to repeat my actions.”
She looked him straight in the eyes with a stare that could have melted steel. ”You would ask this of me? I am Illyria! For eons, I ruled dimensions whose very age is beyond what your human -”
”Pylean, my lady.”
”- Pylean mind can possibly comprehend. I defined kingdoms, religions, laws of nature by my own ideas and flights of fancy. I was worshipped by multitudes for countless millennia even long after I had been murdered. What makes you think, even for a second,” she smiled and put her arms around him, pulling him closer, ”that I would have a problem with tradition?”