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372 Pages Saves Christmas

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Twas the week before Crimmus and all through the house, only Mike and Conor were stirring, because they still weren’t done with their newest podcast episode. The corgis were napping all bundled in bed, but dammit boy, Sean Penn just couldn’t get out of their head.

“It sure was nice of Alejandro, the cosmic kitten cat, to let us come home for the holidays.” Conor said.

“That’s for sure, Conor.” Mike replied. “I’m going to be glad to be done with this podcast, as Bridget and I have fun family plans for this Crimmus.”

“Lauren and I do as well!” Conor added.

It had been a few weeks since they had met Alejandro the cosmic space cat, who they thought for a time was actually Ernest Cline. It turned out he was so good, Alejandro could fool anyone.

Just then, their doorbell chimed. They both answered the door at the same time and to their surprise stood before them was none other than Santa Claus.

“Ho ho hellow!” Santa said, grabbing his enormous wobbling belly.

Mike and Conor rubbed their eyes with both hands.

“No no, this is no illusion.” Santa reassured them. “However, I do have a small problem I hope you boys could help me out with. You have been making fun of me for years in various films and such, remember?”

Mike and Conor both looked down, ashamed of themselves a little bit. “Gee Santa, it was just work..” Mike said.

Santa had a twinkle in his eye. “I’ll give you a chance to make up for it.”

“Anything, Santa!” Conor said almost peeing himself with excitement.

“Excellent.” Santa nodded. “I need you boys to save Crimmus. But I can’t tell you what’s threatening it, you’ll just have to go to the country and figure that out for yourselves.”

The boys both packed their bags and with a wiggle of his fat nose, Santa sent them magically off to the country.

In seemingly an instant, the boys were transported to a little cabin that was an obvious fixer upper. The cabin had in fact seen better days, and luckily the floors weren’t inhabited by NightHerons or FloorDemons. No, this was a simple ordinary craphole cabin that any holiday romance heroine would inherit from her long-estranged family. The pipes carrying hot and cold water to and from the cabin were rusty, some of the windows were broken or stuck, the floors and walls were all filthy and covered in a strange gunk (that certainly wouldn’t come up later in the plot) and the furniture -- or lack thereof -- was screaming for a decorator. Out of the corner of their eye they spied a lone twerking santa bear doing his thing on a windowsill.

Conor and Mike were beside themselves. What had Santa gotten them into? Was it their mission to fix up this cabin in time for Crimmus?

Just then, Conor and Mike both received texts on their phones. They thought it would be from family or friends but instead it was a bunch of jackals quote-retweeting a news article at them. It read:

ERNEST CLINE, FAMED GREAT AUTHOR AND CLASSIC VIDEO GAME PLAYER, TO RELEASE NEW CHRISTMAS THEMED BOOK ON CHRISTMAS DAY.

Mike threw his phone across the room. Conor threw up a little in his mouth but rallied.

“You know, Mike, this could be really good for us.” Conor reasoned after several minutes had passed.

“But at what cost, Conor? At what… cost..” Mike’s voice faded as he thought of the Crimmus horrors about to be wrought unto them.

They sat in sadness for many minutes before finally realizing they had to do something.

“Mike, it’s up to us to do something.” Conor said defiantly. “We have to save Crimmus.”

“But Conor,” Mike looked up at Conor with defeat already looming in his orbs, “How do we save the people from Ernest Cline?”

Conor stood up and commanded Alexa to turn off the twerking Christmas bear. “We have to stop Ernest Cline from releasing this Crimmus themed book. It’s our duty as PodCasters.”

Mike stood in solidarity with Conor, admiring his forcefulness with Alexa with a manly nod of approval. “For the good of all mankind!”

“And, you know, our sanity.” Conor shrugged.