Sorry for not updating in a long time. I was so packed with school/work/life last semester. But it looks like it will be a lighter this semester, so I'll actually have some writing time. I haven't forgotten about Free Falling or Jolt's Story and will be updating as soon as I can. As for this short, I actually wrote it last year on my iPod and found it last week. So I thought I'd give you some reading material until I update my other stories. Enjoy! :)
Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers, or the legend of Santa Claus.
Jaime strode into the house. Upon walking into the kitchen, she noticed Sarah's mouth twitching into a scowl.
"I didn't do it," was the first thing that came out of Jaime's mouth. She had learned long ago not to get on the woman's bad side. Even Ironhide dared not anger her. When Sarah didn't smile at her attempt at humor, Jaime changed tactics. "What's wrong?"
"Some stupid boy," she growled, "from Annabelle's school told her Santa isn't real."
"Oh," was all Jaime could say. At the orphanage, that was common knowledge to all the children, regardless of age.
"She got so upset and went straight to her room," Sarah sighed. Jaime bit her lip, debating her next move.
"Should I...talk to her?" she asked.
"I think that might help." Jaime spun on her heel and marched up the stairs. She paused outside Annabelle's door and gave the door a soft knock.
"Who is it?" asked a watery voice.
"It's me, Jaime." There was a pause before the door slowly creaked open.
"What do you want?" she sniffled.
"Can I come in?" Jaime stalled. Moments later, she was sitting cross legged on the floor in Annabelle's room. "So..." And that's when it happened. Little Annabelle latched herself on to Jaime and started bawling.
"H-He...he called me a...a b-baby for believing in Santa Claus!" she blubbered. Jaime stayed quiet, choosing to listen as Annabelle recounted the tale. Apparently she and Sarah had run into a boy from school and his mother at the store. While the moms were talking, the boy had told Annabelle-after saying how she was going to stay up to sneak a peak of Santa Claus-that Santa wasn't real, and she was a big baby to still believe in such childish nonsense. Jaime rolled her eyes. Honestly, she didn't see anything wrong with believing in Santa Claus. In her opinion, it brought a sense of magic and hope, something she missed since she'd had to grow up quickly. When Annabelle had calmed down some, she wiped her checks and looked up at Jaime.
"Is there really a Santa Claus?" she asked. Ah yes, the big question. Her first instinct was to say that no, there was not. After all, she wasn't one to normally sugarcoat things. She didn't have any reason to lie to Annabelle. But as she gazed into those watery blue orbs, she couldn't help but rethink her answer. She didn't know what age kids normally learned this, but she was pretty sure it shouldn't be like this, getting her hope and innocence stomped on by some kid who needed to be taken down a few pegs. And she liked that Annabelle retained the childish innocence she felt she had lost. She didn't want to be the one responsible for bulldozing over that.
"How else would the presents get underneath the tree?" she countered.
"H-he said that...parents put them there," she sniffled.
"And why in the world would they do that? Why wouldn't they just tell you they put it there? Why would they say it's from someone else?"
"I...I don't know." Jaime rubbed her adopted sister's back.
"Just because you haven't seen something, doesn't mean it's not real." Annabelle took a deep breath.
"Yea..." She glanced at Jaime. "Will you stay up with me? I still wanna see him."
"Sure," she agreed, thinking she could be there for damage control when Annabelle didn't see the jolly man. But as the day passed, an idea began to form in her mind. What if Annabelle DID see Santa? Or at least think she saw him?
"You want me to do what? Why?"
"You can do it though, right?"
"But why do you-"
"But why do you want me to do that with my holoform?" asked Sideswipe. "I don't understand why you want me to make my holoform look like a fat old man."
"Shhh!" Jaime hissed, wildly glancing around to make sure no one had overheard.
"Why do creators tell their creations that some old slagger -that lives in the middle of nowhere-goes around breaking into people's homes? Wouldn't that scare them? It should."
"Well" Jaime scratched her head.
"Instead they get all excited. It doesn't make any sense. A complete stranger is-"
"Sideswipe!" Jaime interrupted. He stopped rambling. "It's...a holiday tradition. There really was a Saint Nick. The legend just...evolved over the years."
"Uh huh...and you want me to do this because?..."
"Because," she growled, "some idiot thought they could just crush my little sister's childhood like that. That twerp better hope he never runs into me." She popped her neck, accenting her threat. Sideswipe's mouth plate twitched in amusement at Jaime's protective streak.
"So you're doing this to restore her faith in this story?"
"...Yea...Will you help me?"
"Eh, sure," Sideswipe shrugged, his face breaking into a grin, "sounds like fun."
Jaime woke up with a start.
"Huh? Wha' happened?" she asked as she gained her bearings.
"Jaime!" Annabelle whispered urgently, her blue eyes stretched wide. "I heard something on the roof!"
"Ung..." Jaime rubbed her face. "The roof? There's no one on the roo-" She stopped upon hearing heavy footsteps overhead. She and Annabelle took a moment to stare at each other before silently dashing to the stairs. After an agonizing half minute of creeping down the stairs, the two girls waited behind the living room wall with baited breath as they kept vigil over the fireplace. Jaime listened to Sideswipe's holoform walk across the roof. It stopped for a few seconds before some soot trickled down the chimney. Jaime could feel Annabelle vibrate with anticipation. She would have to thank Sideswipe for agreeing to help. All of a sudden, a rather large man in red had slid down the chimney and was stepping into the living room. Unable to contain herself any further, Annabelle bolted forward.
"No!" Jaime hissed. Annabelle was only supposed to get a glimpse of him. But she was already around the couch and launching herself at the holoform. He must have heard her though because he easily caught her.
"Why hello, Annabelle," he chuckled and tapped her nose. "Shouldn't you be in bed young lady?" Jaime breathed a sigh of relief. Thank God Sideswipe is so good at improvising, she thought. Annabelle flushed at the gentle reprimand.
"I heard you on the roof!" she explained.
"Ah," he nodded and set her down. "You been very good this year." Annabelle beamed. He glanced at Jaime. "And you too, Jaime," he added with a twinkle in his eye.
"Thanks," she smiled, playing along. Was he speaking with a Russian accent?
"But if you want presents, you have to go to bed," he pointed a finger at each of them for emphasis.
"Okay!" Annabelle hugged him as hard as she could before dashing off to bed.
"Thanks," said Jaime. "It means a lot to her."
"Glad to be of help," he smiled down at her.
"Well, guess I should be going back to bed," she turned and padded out of the room. "Night, Sides." When she reached the stairs, she glanced back to see if Sideswipe had disengaged his holoform yet. He seemed to be inspecting the plate of cookies that had been left out and picked up the green Christmas tree shaped cookie. What is he doing? She wondered. Before she could ask him, a small hand grabbed her wrist and tugged her up the rest of the stairs.
"C'mon Jaime!" Annabelle whispered. "We need to go to bed or he won't leave us our presents!"
"Okay okay," Jaime answered forgetting about her previous musings.
Jaime was awoken by a large object landing on her.
"Oof!" she wheezed.
"Wake-up-wake-up-wake-up, Jaime!" Annabelle shouted with glee before jumping off the bed and racing out of the room. The girl was left to blearily open her eyes and glance at the clock. It was barely six. She groaned but got up anyway. She didn't want a repeat of five minutes ago. When she reached down stairs, she could already hear Sarah making coffee in the kitchen. She turned the corner and entered the living room. Annabelle was looking at all the presents and desperately trying to figure out what was inside each box.
"C'mon Jaime!" Annabelle saw her sister enter the room. "You're so slow!" Jaime grunted. She strolled over to the couch that Will was half sprawled on and dropped down next to him. He stirred, cracked his eyes open, and shifted over so Jaime could curl up next to him. Mmm…sleep, the young girl sighed to herself.
"Mommy!" Jaime opened her eyes to see Sarah enter with two steaming cups of coffee. Will sat up, accepting his mug with a tired grin.
"I could kiss you," he murmured.
"Mmm, I wouldn't stop you," Sarah replied, settling on her husband's other side. Annabelle scrunched up her nose as their public display of affection and turned to more interesting matters, like presents. Jaime didn't say anything, her chin resting on her knees. She used to find it gross just like Annabelle. But now, watching the couple, she only felt nostalgia. Her parents used to act like that. There were many times when Will and Sarah had reminded her of her own parents. They broke the kiss and Will glanced in her direction. He suddenly looked more alert.
"You okay?" he asked softly. Sarah was quick to face Jaime as well.
"Yea," she gave him a small smile. He didn't seem to quite believe her. What had her faced looked like?
"Can we open presents now?" an oblivious Annabelle broke the quiet moment.
"Calm down," Sarah chuckled. "You have hours to open your gifts and play with them before the guests show up." That's right, Jaime mused. Many of the Autobots, Sam, Mikaela, and Epps family were all coming over later.
Getting the go ahead, Annabelle began to unwrap her presents in zeal. Jaime watched with both trepidation and respect as wrapping paper flew into the air. Annabelle was in the middle of opening her fourth when Jaime felt a heavy gaze on her, two actually.
"Jaime?" Said girl glanced at Sarah. "You feeling alright honey?"
"Uh…yeah," she was a little thrown off the woman's concern.
"C'mon, Jaime! Aren't you going to open your presents?" Annabelle called to Jaime. She had stopped when she realized her sister had not joined her on the floor. Jaime blinked. Upon further inspection, she realized that Annabelle had stayed on one side of the room. Meaning the other half…
"Oh…uh…yeah." She straightened from her burrowed position, flushing slightly, and slid to the side of the tree with her presents. She gazed at them, surprised at how many there were. "These are all mine?" she murmured to herself.
"That's right," Will confirmed. She glanced back at Will and Sarah who were watching her closely on the couch. And that was when it really sunk in. She had presents and a family to celebrate with. She hadn't really been that excited about Christmas because, for the last few years, there hadn't been anything to be excited about. But now…Jaime straightened and gazed back at the pile of presents once more. She picked a red box with a green bow. She carefully peeled with green bow off and began to peel the red wrapping paper off.
"What…what are you doing?" said a very affronted Annabelle. Jaime glanced up. "That's not how you open gifts!"
"No?" Jaime raised an eyebrow.
"No," Annabelle shook her head quite seriously. "You do it like this!" And before anyone could say anything, she reached over and ripped off a large chunk of the wrapping paper.
"Annabelle!" reprimanded both parents. The girl immediately let go of the paper.
"That's Jaime's present," Sarah continued. "You have plenty—"
"It's fine." All eyes turned to Jaime who had an amused grin on her face. She grasped an edge to the wrapping paper and slowly pulled it away so that it would rip both loudly and obnoxiously. "Like that?"
"Yea!" Annabelle bounced on her knees.
"—and he came down the chimney just like the stories say! He's really tall, and his beard is really long, and he wears a furry black cap!" Annabelle had spent the last hour retelling anyone who would listen of her night adventure. Her current listeners were Epps, Optimus and Mirage.
"Don't you mean a red and white cap?" Epps asked.
"Nuh uh," Annabelle shook her head vehemently. "It was black. And he had black fur on his coat too!" She frowned upon seeing some of the disbelieving looks she was receiving. "It's true! Tell them Jaime!" Jaime—who happened to be passing by the group—turned around upon hearing her name.
"Tell them that we saw Santa last night!" Annabelle demanded. Jaime smiled. She'd have to thank Sides for helping her out. Gone was the doubt and sadness her sister had displayed days earlier. Instead, the girl was reenergized and her faith restored.
"Yea," she smiled. "We heard something on the roof and decided to investigate. Santa came down the chimney and—since someone was unable to contain themselves—" Annabelle didn't look the least bit sorry "—we got to meet him too."
"And then he sent us to bed so he could give us our presents!" Annabelle finished. Jaime nodded.
"Annabelle!" Sarah called from the house. "Pick up the toys you left in the family room!" When Annabelle had left, Mirage turned to Optimus.
"It is incredibilmente stupido (1) for a youngling to be excited about a stranger breaking into their home, no?" He asked with a great deal of skepticism.
"From what I could gather," Optimus replied, "this…Santa Claus…is merely an icon for this season of giving." He looked to Epps and Jaime for confirmation. Jaime nodded.
"There really was a guy named Nicholas that the legend is based on," she explained. "But like any story, it got a little exaggerated over time."
"So…an overweight stranger does not break into sparkling homes every year?"
"Naw," Epps shook his head.
"Jaime," Optimus broke the silence with a contemplative expression. "How did you convince young Annabelle that there is a Santa Claus when you just admitted yourself that there is not a Santa Claus?"
"Because we really did meet him last night," her lips twitched into a smirk.
"But you just said—"
"She thinks she met Santa Claus," Jaime clarified, interrupting a confused Mirage. "It was actually Sideswipe. He changed his holoform into an image that fit Santa's description."
"Sideswipe?" Optimus blinked.
"Yea, I really owe him one. He did an awesome job."
"Where is he anyway?" Jaime glanced around. "I haven't seen him yet." Optimus opened his mouth to reply, but was interrupted by Prowl's arrival. The SIC looked like he was moments away from glitching.
"Prowl?" Optimus was the first to speak.
"I just came from a conversation with young Annabelle," he answered the unspoken question, massaging his temple.
"Ah," Optimus' expression became amused.
"Prime," Prowl warned.
"I did not say anything," Optimus was unable to completely rid the smile from his face. Prowl leveled the Autobot leader a look. Ever the professional, the SIC dropped the conversation.
"What were you saying about Sideswipe?" he asked instead.
"Oh yea! Do you know where Sideswipe is?" Jaime asked.
"Of course," Prowl sounded indignant. "I make it my priority to know that mech's location at all times." He glanced at her expectant face. "He is in the brig." Jaime blinked.
"He tried to shirk his duties last night and then leave base without the proper authorization. So I let him cool off in the brig…Why are you looking at me like that?" Jaime struggled to lift her jaw off the ground. Sideswipe was in the brig? For how long? She glanced at Optimus.
"He has been in the brig since eleven last night," the Prime further elaborated.
"But…but…b-but…" Jaime couldn't string together a coherent sentence. If Sideswipe had been in the brig…then who exactly had she been talking to last night?
"So he got caught sneaking back inside base?" Epps asked.
"No, he never left," Prowl shook his head.
"Perdono (2), you have lost me," Mirage interrupted. "I thought Sideswipe was pretending to be this Santa Claus? But how could he have done so if he were in the brig?"
Jaime, meanwhile, had been thinking back to last night. She thought of all the small details that had struck her as odd, but she had brushed off: a different outfit than they had agreed upon, his ability to talk so easily with Annabelle, the stamping of hooves and bells she had heard before returning to her bed, the Russian accent. And most of all, she remembered the odd twinkle she had seen in his eye. I know something that you don't, it had said. She had written that off as Sideswipe being mischievous. But…
"Oh my God," she breathed, halting the conversation around her. He…he was real? "I met Santa and didn't even know it?" Her response was bewildered silence and Prowl's hologram flickering out.
(1) incredibly stupid
For those of you wondering about my description used for Santa Claus, I was pulling inspiration from Nicholas St. North. You may recognize him from the movie Rise of the Guardians (which I also do not own...this is depressing how much awesomeness I don't own).