DISCLAIMER: A Christmas Carol is a public domain work. However, these vignettes were also inspired by several other works, including the play Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol by Tom Mula, Jacob T. Marley by R. William Bennet, and "A Conspiracy of Spirits: The Love Story of Jacob Marley and Ebenezer Scrooge" by Wolfen M. All these works belong to their respective owners, not to me. This is a not-for-profit work. I am not making any money, nor am I attempting to negatively affect the market for any of the materials shown, or take proceeds from their creators, but rather to expand the fanbase and keep the pre-existing fanbase strong.
RATING: T (for minor suggestive adult themes and ideologically sensitive material)
This series of vignettes contains a portrayal of two men in love. If this upsets or offends you, I highly recommend you move along and find something more to your liking.
Also contains a lot of my own personal beliefs concerning the afterlife, many of which do not mesh with any established religion's teaching, and some of which may be considered offensive. Read at your own risk.
SHIPS: Ebenezer Scrooge x Jacob Marley
FEATURED CHARACTERS: Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley, many other characters from A Christmas Carol in later chapters, various OCs
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This pairing is my ultimate OTP. Because I'm odd like that.
I. A Joyful Reunion
It was Christmas Eve again when a good old man, surrounded by his family and loved ones, breathed his last and departed peacefully from the world, nearly two decades after the events which had changed his life forever.
Having entered that final sleep, from which his mortal form would never wake, Ebenezer Scrooge found himself in a bright, seemingly endless landscape. He could see no landmarks, no sky nor ground, but merely a bright white haze. Yet, it was the most beautiful place he had ever seen.
He felt pleasant and at peace, knowing no hunger nor thirst, no want or pain of any kind, though the body he'd just left behind had been filled with the aches of old age. As he thought this, he realized that his vision was unclouded by cataracts, and, examining his hands with this new clear vision, found his skin smooth and young. He was aware, without knowing how he knew, that what he saw was an echo of a mortal form, rather than a true physical body.
A man appeared before him—or at least a man in shape, though he might as easily have been a woman. Ebenezer understood, once again without knowing how, that this creature was genderless, and had merely taken the form of a man so that he could comprehend it.
The man's face was beautiful and serene, wearing a calm, loving smile. His form and visage were like that of a man in his twenties, but his eyes were ancient and forever. He was cloaked in a bright white light, which flowed off his body in waves, and Ebenezer felt the warmth of it on his skin, like a fireplace in December. The man radiated a pure and perfect peace, so clear it was almost palpable. He had no wings, as angels do in paintings and storybooks, but Ebenezer recognized him for what he was all the same.
Welcome, Ebenezer. The man's lips did not move when he spoke; rather, Ebenezer felt the words echo in his very soul.
Ebenezer merely smiled. He did not need to ask where he was or what had happened, and so, after a moment of shared understanding, the two began to walk together in comfortable silence.
But after a few endless moments, which could have encompassed years or mere seconds, Ebenezer began to feel vaguely troubled, even in that place of perfect, boundless peace. He looked to his companion.
"Spirit," he began hesitantly, knowing not how else to address this great creature, and so, by habit, falling back on the word he had used that long-ago Christmas Eve, now almost twenty years before.
Yes, Ebenezer? the angel prompted gently, smiling.
"Spirit, I know little of your world," he said humbly, and then added, with a slight chuckle, "indeed, I should count myself lucky to be here at all—but I had heard, and hoped, that upon the event of one's death, one would be greeted here by friends and loved ones who had come before. Is this not so?"
The angel stopped, smiling serenely. It is so, he said. But the first to greet the new arrival is always that person or persons whom the soul most wishes, or needs, to see. This person may be a lover, a mother or brother, a dear friend, an old enemy who must be reconciled with, even one whom the soul had never met in life: an honored ancestor or figure from the past who has had great bearing on shaping their life and conscience. But always, it is the person most desired or required by the soul. Have you no such person?
Ebenezer frowned slightly, understanding. "I do, Spirit," he sighed. "But he cannot meet me here." The angel looked upon him steadily, a slight smile on his lips. "And… Spirit, forgive my impertinence, but it isn't fair!" The words burst from his lips in a frustrated cry. He should not speak to this creature in such a way, he knew, but he was unable to help himself. "He is the entire reason I am here, and yet he can never join me! He sacrificed everything for my own happiness, and he will be in misery forever, while I reap the benefits of his kindness! How is that justice?" Ebenezer hung his head in sorrow, feeling tears of desperation sting his eyes.
The angel seemed not at all upset by his outburst; instead, his eyes shone with kindness and sympathy. His name?
"Jacob Marley—" Ebenezer began, but at that very moment, a deep, joyful laugh sounded from behind him. The laugh was rich and free, and it fell like music on Ebenezer's ears.
"Ebenezer!" That voice, much-loved and never forgotten, was as familiar to Ebenezer as his own, and even before he whirled to face its owner, he knew to whom it belonged. Had he still had a beating heart, it would have stopped entirely in that moment.
Jacob Marley stood a short distance away, smiling merrily. He was tall and straight, no chains weighing him down; his pigtail, no longer grey with age, was the rich dark shade it had been when Ebenezer had first met him; his face was youthful, and his blue eyes sparkled happily.
Ebenezer had closed the distance between them in a moment and thrown his arms around his friend, laughing and crying at once. The two men embraced tightly, laughing with pure joy.
"But—I thought—I thought—" Ebenezer stammered, incoherent with delight and wonder. He finally gave up, and cuffed Jacob playfully, laughing, "Don't frighten me like that! I thought I'd never see you again!" His heart was full of joy, his eyes of tears.
Jacob chuckled. "I promise, Ebenezer, I will never frighten you again." His eyes glinted gleefully, and the two burst into fresh laughter as they both remembered that fateful, long-ago night when Jacob had floated through the door, frightening his old friend half to death.
Tears of relief and mirth still in his eyes, Ebenezer grew serious. He looked at Jacob, seeming to steel himself for something. "Jacob," he said, his voice breaking, "there is something I need to tell you. Something I should have told you a long time ago—"
Jacob stopped him, tenderly. "I know."
Ebenezer stared at him, shocked. "You—you do?"
Jacob smiled at him. "I do. Moreover, you are the one who told me."
Ebenezer could merely stare in bewilderment.
Gently, Jacob said, "You don't remember because it was a confession made in the land of dreams, and our time there you could not recall in the waking world. But now that you are here, forever both awake and dreaming, your memory will catch up any moment."
"Wha—?" And then suddenly, as Jacob had said, his memory caught up. It all came crashing into his mind at once—how Jacob had visited him in his dreams every night; Jacob's admission of his love for him, and his own affirmation given in return… their first kiss… their first time together as lovers, and the many times since. Years and years of joy and love, of laughter over old memories that now seemed ridiculous, of lovers' quarrels and tearful reconciliations, of long talks that went on for hours, and other times when they didn't talk at all, merely looked into each others' eyes and communicated through the silent language of love. Tears welled in his eyes and spilled down his cheeks, and before he even knew what he was doing, he was in Jacob's arms, embracing him passionately and kissing him, over and over, repeating his lover's name as if he would never stop, never get enough of speaking that name and knowing that the word was his, as Jacob was his. "Jacob! Jacob, my Jacob…"
Jacob had tears of his own in his eyes as he returned each kiss with equal passion. He held Ebenezer tightly, never wanting to let go, knowing he would never have to again.
It was a long time indeed before the two men parted, and both, as of one accord, turned to the angel, who had been waiting patiently, smiling at them. "Thank you, Spirit," Ebenezer breathed, his words heavy with gratitude.
Fare you well, Ebenezer Scrooge, the angel said. Love and be blessed. Never forget the lessons you have learned, and, when you are ready, you may pass them on to those in the world you have left behind. Then, turning to Jacob, I leave him in your capable hands.
Jacob nodded, smiling. The angel returned the smile, and then the feeling of peace around him intensified as his mantle of light grew brighter and brighter, until he was a blinding, impossible white. The white light enveloped the lovers in a warm blanket of pure peace and boundless, eternal Love. Then, the angel seemed to fade into their surroundings, becoming part of the bright landscape. That landscape, Ebenezer suddenly realized, was Love… nothing less than the perfect and all-encompassing love of the Creator.
Left alone—at least in a sense, though that Love surrounding them never lessened—Jacob and Ebenezer could only stare at one another in speechless joy, both filled with the wonderful knowledge that they need never again be parted. After a long moment, Jacob took Ebenezer's hand to lead him somewhere. "Come, Ebenezer. We have much to do…"
And he led him off through the white haze, to their final destination.