Episode 1:1- A Christmas Tail
Jackie Tyler looked up from a steaming hot cup of tea when a loud crash echoed throughout the Powell Estates. She groaned. It was entirely too early for this. She listened carefully for the inevitable gaggle of gossipping neighbours that would most definitely stampede down the stairs to see what the latest scandal was, and heard nothing.
Five days until Christmas. She could do without this.
Groaning once more, she got to her feet, and threw a white terry-cloth dressing gown over her nightie. Cup of tea still in hand, she went to the door, unlocked it, and headed down the metal staircase behind the apartment block. The loud crash had come from somewhere down there.
Looking around curiously, Jackie saw a cardboard box that sat to the side, smoking slightly, but thought nothing of it, looking instead for whatever had caused the crash.
The top flaps of the cardboard box flew open, and a hand shot out, gripping the side of the box tightly.
Pink nail polish.
"Rose?" Jackie asked tentatively. "Rose, sweetie? Is that you?"
Hello, humble readers, and welcome to Season 2 of this insane little series that everyone seems to like. Sorry for the one year wait...? Uh, it's worth mentioning that I don't know if I can update too consistently with this story. There's a lot of stuff going on at the moment.
Anyway, Calvin, Hobbes, Rose, Sentience, Ace, and a whole cast of others are back! Be prepared for lots of things like explosions, pop culture references, plans that are likely to go horribly wrong, and weird timey-wimey stuff. Also, I'm currently very obsessed with Undertale, so you might see quite a bit of that in later chapters.
Credit for the discussion in the console room next chapter goes to Grizzmon, who was bouncing ideas off me. Thanks for that. ^-^
Actually, I'd like to say on that note that it would be great if people could stop sending me ideas and snippets to include in the story, since I have a plan and I really don't want to derail it any more than it already has gone. :) However, I'm completely okay with people sending in Omakes for me to put after the story, since I enjoy reading those very much!
No cover art for this story, so I'm using a random image I found. :(
Some of these episodes might be a little shorter than normal, and others might be longer. I'm sorry if some things don't make much sense. There's a lot of talking and dealing with stuff this episode. Sorry 'bout that. Onwards with the story!
"Gah!" Rose flew out entirely, landing on the ground. "All clear! Come on out!"
"All right!" A feline form pounced out, hit the asphalt gracefully, and began checking itself for battle wounds. "Nice flying skills, Sentience!"
"I wasn't trying," came an American accent. "I just let the Time Machine go where ever it felt like."
"You are the Time Machine," said another unfamiliar voice. A woman that looked to be about in her twenties flew out as well. She straightened her black bomber jacket apologetically. "Sorry about this. We'll be out of your hair soon."
"Rose?" Jackie repeated. "Are these your friends? Where's that Calvin boy?"
Rose got up carefully, as if afraid to break bones. "Yeah, these are my... friends."
"And Calvin..." Hobbes grimaced slightly. "He's... indisposed."
Something that looked like a forklift slowly protruded out of the top of the cardboard box. On top of the three forks was the unconscious figure of Calvin.
Ace tilted her head. "Yeah, a rescue mission got... slightly out of hand."
Jackie stared. "You're telling me. What on earth are you wearing?"
Ace scowled. "These are my normal clothes."
Rose helped Hobbes lift Calvin off the forklift, which retreated back into the Time Machine. She held him up, looking momentarily conflicted. "What do we do with him?"
Jackie sighed. "We'd better take him into the apartment, or the neighbours will talk."
"Nice place," Ace said dryly, swinging her satchel from her shoulder and throwing it to the ground. Hobbes eyed it with some trepidation, knowing what was inside.
"I don't remember inviting you inside," scowled Jackie, and locked the door. She had taken an instant dislike to Ace, for some unknown reason.
"I invited myself," said Ace primly. "Besides, I'm Calvin's friend. I deserve to be here."
"Rose, sweetie, what do you think?" Jackie asked.
Rose nodded listlessly. "Yeah, fine. Whatever."
Hobbes sighed. "This is the worst position I've ever been in. I'm trapped in a house until my friend recovers with a woman who once threw me out the window. What did I do to deserve this?"
"Maybe you were Vlad the Impaler in a previous life," suggested Ace.
Hobbes looked slightly disgusted for some reason.
Rose sat next to where Calvin lay on the couch, and brushed his spiky hair back from his face. "Is he going to be okay, do you think?"
Hobbes laughed, actually laughed out loud. "Of course he's going to be okay. Calvin's fallen off more cliffs than you could ever believe!"
"He didn't fall off a cliff," Rose said. "He shot himself."
Jackie mouthed the words he shot himself in slight shock, staring at Rose. Hobbes looked uncomfortable. It was Ace who spoke. "He got better, right?"
Rose smiled thinly. "Yeah. I guess he did."
Jackie exited the room, and came back a moment later with several steaming cups of tea. She sent a nervous glance at Hobbes. "Wasn't sure what you tigers like to drink, so I made Earl Grey. Is that-?"
"It's fine," Hobbes said with a smile, which seemed to reassure her slightly. He took his cup carefully, and sipped. "That's great tea."
"Thank you," Jackie said, handing out the rest of the mugs. Rose took hers, and downed it in one go, not even seeming to notice how hot it was.
"So what do we do now?" Ace asked. "You said I could rebuild my motorbike."
Hobbes shrugged. "Sure. Whenever you feel like it. There's a bunch of workshops in the Time Machine."
"Ta," Ace nodded.
Jackie looked, if possible, even more horrified than before. "You have a motorbike?"
Rose sighed. "Leave her alone, Mum."
"I will not!" snapped Jackie, suddenly angry. "You come in here after weeks and weeks of tramping across who knows where with people that you barely know, and you expect me to just let you in here?"
Rose looked at her.
"And," Jackie continued. "what's more, you broke poor Mickey's heart! He comes round here every few days, and the poor dear just drinks tea! I think that's all he does at the moment! How could you just dump him like that?"
"We drifted apart!" Rose said, with a touch of anger. "We weren't right for each other, you can see that now, can't you? Just because you have dreams of lots of grandchildren doesn't mean I need to make them come true right now! I have a life, you know!"
Hobbes began looking distinctly uncomfortable, and edged away on the sofa a bit, dragging Calvin with him. Ace, on the other hand, leaned in, slightly curious.
"I'm afraid you won't get a chance, sweetie!" Jackie snapped. "I care about you, is all! If you die, you won't ever be able to have children!"
"Maybe I don't want children!" Rose threw her arms up in exasperation. "You know, I don't really care what you think. If it weren't for..." she looked over at Hobbes and Ace. "...something that happened, I'd still be out there! Having fun! Going on adventures! Not needing to worry about my own bloody mother, trying to convince me not to!"
She stared around at all of them, hair still disheveled from the events of last season. She nodded at Hobbes and Ace. "I'll be in my room, if you need me."
So saying, she turned on her heel, and stormed down the hallway.
"I won't be going in there!" Jackie called.
"Don't worry!" came the retort. "I didn't want you in there anyway!"
Ace got up, drinking her tea in one gulp. It had gone cold minutes ago. "I'll go after her," she said, and left. Hobbes looked nervously at the still-furious Jackie.
"Uh... are you all right?" he asked slowly.
Rose's mother snatched up a handkerchief from the table, and blew her nose loudly into it. She sniffed a bit. "No, I'm not."
Hobbes felt extremely awkward. "Uh..."
"No one wants their little girl to grow up," Jackie continued. "And mine did. So fast. I'm proud of her, but I... I want her to be six again, so I can braid her hair and choose her clothes and make her lasagne."
The tiger fell upon the right thing to say at last.
"You can do one of those," he said, stroking Calvin's hair.
Jackie frowned. "Yeah... I guess I can."
Hobbes grinned, and curled up on the couch, while Jackie went into the kitchen to make herself busy.
"Hey, Blondie," Ace greeted, throwing open the door with carelessness. Rose's room was almost entirely muted shades of pink and purple, lit with a faint yellow light. Rose lay, face down on her bed.
"Leave me alone," she said, voice muffled by the cushions.
Ace raised an eyebrow. "Oh, you're just going to sulk? Of course, that's the only obvious thing to do. When life goes wrong, storm off to your room, and cry."
"I'm not crying!" snapped Rose, flipping over and flinging her covers off. Her eyes were rimmed with red.
"Really," said Ace, unconvinced.
"Shut up," scowled Rose, and buried her face in her pillow once more. Silence reigned for a few minutes.
"Jack asked you out," Ace said casually. It wasn't a question. Rose punched her pillow in response.
"And you said yes," Ace added.
"I did," Rose said, emotionlessly.
"And now he's dead."
"You don't have to sound cheerful."
"I'm not attempting to. I really am sorry. He was a nice bloke."
Rose rolled over. "I don't even feel sad, that's the problem. I should feel something, I know, but the only reason I'm crying is because I know I have to."
Ace thought for a moment. "Get over it," she said finally.
Rose boggled. "Excuse me?"
"You don't need to forget him, but get on with your life. Stop moping."
"It's not just that," Rose said. "Calvin's still half-dead, and my bloody mother keeps trying to hook me back up with my ex-boyfriend."
Ace shrugged. "It's life. Deal with it."
Rose glared at Ace. "You know what? I hate you. You aren't even attempting to be sympathetic."
"I know it won't do any good if I try to be. It would be completely out of character if I try to comfort you."
Rose almost laughed. Almost. "Fair point, I guess."
The only sound in the room was the ticking of a clock, which seemed abnormally loud.
"Your mom made lasagne!" Hobbes yelled, bounding into the room, almost insane with happiness. He yelled it once more for effect, and then sped out of Rose's room. Ace raised both of her eyebrows.
"Mum hasn't made lasagne since I was six," Rose said, swinging her legs off of her bed, and beginning to pick the bedsheets up of the floor so she could remake them.
"Really?" asked Ace. "That's weird."
After dinner (which was amazingly good, as a matter of fact), the discussion about where everyone was going to sleep took place. It was suitably chaotic. Jackie thought that Hobbes, Ace and the still unconscious Calvin should go to sleep in the Time Machine. Rose refused, on the grounds that she'd go with them if that happened. Finally, it was decided that Calvin and Hobbes could go on the sofa, and Ace could find the softest bit of carpet. She wasn't at all happy about that.
Rose curled up underneath her covers, wrapping her sheets tightly around herself. It was cold, even though it wasn't exactly snowing yet. She briefly considered going down the hallway to get a hot water bottle, but decided not to. It would be too much effort.
Down in the living room, Hobbes was equally uncomfortable. He shifted from side to side, looking at the still comatose body of his friend and Ace, who was sleeping quite peacefully.
"This sucks," he said aloud.
"I was thinking the same thing," came a soft voice from the door. Hobbes turned over. Rose was standing in the doorway, clutching a blanket around herself. She looked slightly pale. "Do you mind if I sleep in here?"
"Sure," said Hobbes. "Pull up a bit of... uh, floor."
She smiled a bit, and sat on the floor next to the couch, pulling her knees up to her chin. "My day has been really-"
"I know," Hobbes said. "Mine has, too."
She stared at the ceiling. "Jack is dead."
Hobbes paused. "Don't think too hard about it."
Rose laughed bitterly. "That's what Ace said. It's not working."
Hobbes looked at her. "Do you need a hug?"
She looked quizzically at him. "Why would I need a hug?"
"I don't know. It just looks like you need one or something-"
"Well, I don't."
"So don't try to give me any sneak hugs."
"Fine by me."
There was a long pause. Rose shuffled around, and attempted to get to sleep, before very quickly launching herself across the floor, towards Hobbes, and wrapping him in a massive hug.
Hobbes squirmed. "I thought you said-"
"That applies to you, not me," she said, gripping him tightly. "Plus, you're like a furry soft toy. Cuddly."
"Uh... thanks. I think?"
When Jackie found them the next morning, Hobbes and Rose were still tangled in a hug. Calvin had somehow slipped off the couch to land next to them, and his head was resting on Hobbes's furry stomach. Ace was there, too, her arm wrapped around Rose's back. None of them seemed to mind the awkward positioning.
Jackie considered waking them up, but instead just left to make breakfast.
Four days to Christmas. She could manage.
When Ace, Rose, and Hobbes all woke up, got dressed, and accomplished the major task of actually getting ready on a holiday, Ace decided to go out to the Time Machine to begin work on her motorbike. Sentience would probably help her with finding parts. Maybe.
"Let's set up the Christmas tree," said Rose after a moment of indecision.
Hobbes's face lit up with delight. "Heck yes!"
He helped Rose drag the closed-up tree to the living room. It was plastic, but it was the biggest tree the tiger had ever seen. They set it down in its plastic base, and separated the branches.
Rose frowned, and looked at it more closely. "It needs decorations." She turned to the hallway, and yelled out of the room. "Mum, where did you put the Christmas ornaments?"
"I threw them out, sweetie," Jackie called back. "You're too old for Christmas, now."
Rose fumed quietly. "I'm never too old for Christmas."
Hobbes perked up. "We have decorations in the Time Machine."
The screen door crashed as Rose charged outside, and slammed again when Hobbes followed her at about double speed.
Five seconds later, they were back in the living room, with a slightly bemused Ace helping them carry boxes full of ornaments into the living room. Hobbes flew into action, sticking stars and miniature baubles onto the green pine needles with reckless abandon. Rose helped quite a bit, too.
"Christmas is right on schedule!" Rose declared proudly, looking at their (frankly awesome) tree.
Hobbes connected two wires together, and the tree lit up with a rosy red glow, which smoothly faded to yellow, then green, and to blue.
"I haven't seen a Christmas tree for ages," Ace said, sounding rather melancholy.
Rose beamed. "You like it?"
Hobbes paused. "I wish Calvin was here to see this."
Another crash, twice as loud as the one the day before, sounded from out the front. All three of them glanced at each other.
"Alien invasion?" Rose wondered.
"Probably," Ace said.
"Let's go and stop it," said Hobbes.
And they ran out the front door, letting in several more flies that would add to the collection they had accumulated within the house thus far.
In actuality, the crash outside wasn't an alien invasion. It was Calvin, in his pajamas, looking rather stunned after falling off the roof.
"You're awake!" Hobbes yelled in delight, and pounced him. They rolled over across the parking lot for a while.
"I heard the words 'Christmas tree'," Calvin said, spitting out a mouthful of gravel, and scrubbing at his face.
Rose stepped up to him, and slapped him across his face.
"I guess I deserved that," he admitted, rubbing his red cheeks.
She then burst into tears, and hugged him tightly.
"And," he continued, smothered a bit. "I'm fairly certain I didn't deserve that."
Rose squeezed a bit harder.
"Mph," said Calvin, which meant, I would really appreciate it if you stopped hugging me to death, thank you.
"Eck," said Rose, which meant, I missed you so much, you arrogant moron.
Ace smiled slightly, which meant, this is a really cute moment between two people who are usually arguing, so I'm not going to ruin it by interrupting or anything.
So she didn't. The hug carried on until Rose's mum called them in because she had made dinner, and screamed because Calvin was awake.
The next morning, Rose was underneath her covers, head buried under a pile of pillows, and trying to get some sleep. She shifted.
"Go away, Calvin," she mumbled. "It's five-thirty, it's too early for this."
"But, Ro-sie," he moaned. "It snowed last night!"
She half opened an eyelid, and considered it. Snow was a tempting suggestion. But it was early, and she was tired. She pulled her duvet over her head. "Go play in it by yourself."
The door burst open, and Calvin tumbled in, already in his snow gear. He blinked at her. "Please?"
In response, she threw one of her pillows at him. It missed, but the point was made.
"Aw," he complained, and scrambled up onto her bed, leaning in close to her.
"What is it?" Rose muttered. "I said no."
"Do you," he said, practically bouncing with excitement. "want to build a snowman?"
Her eyes opened fully, and she shoved the covers off, Calvin with them, before bounding to her cupboard to get her jacket.
"She said yes!" cheered Hobbes, who was already rolling a ball of snow. It was about the size of a really huge marshmallow. And by really huge, I mean enormous.
"Against my better instincts, yeah," Rose grinned. Her cheeks were already becoming red from the cold, and she wrapped her red-and-gold scarf around herself tightly. "Should I make the head?"
"I've got a carrot," volunteered Calvin happily. They got to work, rolling the balls so that they'd slot together well. Rose's snowhead was stuck on top of it. She frowned at it.
"Calvin," she said. "Did you give it an extra eye?"
"No," he said. "Hobbes?"
"It wasn't me!"
Rose frowned again. "That is... really bizarre."
Calvin shrugged, and added another carrot, giving it two noses. "It can be a mutant snowman. Come on, let's make a snow dragon!"
They formed several arching loops from the snow, making it look like the dragon was rearing up from beneath the ground, and began to add scales and spines, as well as a head. Calvin shoved himself into the dragon's mouth, and began to scream dramatically. Several neighbourhood kids looked across the street curiously. Rose shook her head.
"Ignore him," she said in a weary sort of voice. "He's just insane."
The kids across the street nodded wisely, and went back to building perfectly ordinary snowmen. Hobbes was making a snow-tiger.
"I'm calling him Byakko," he said confidentially to Rose.
"That's nice," said Rose, and built a Dalek.
"Hey!" came a voice from across the yard. All three of them looked up. Ace was carving her way through the thick piles of the snow towards them, with a big grin on her face. "Snow!"
"What is that around your neck?" Calvin demanded as if he was somehow offended.
"It's a scarf," said Ace, nuzzling deeply into it. "A friend gave it to me before he left."
Calvin scowled. "It's huge!"
The words 'technicolor monstrosity' came to mind.
"And warm," Ace said. "Don't judge. Hey, is that a Dalek?"
Within minutes, she had constructed a snowman that looked suspiciously like a younger version of her standing over the Dalek with a vicious look on its face. She frowned at it. "It's missing something..."
By this time, Rose was starting to build another fairly ordinary snowman. She turned away for a moment to look at Ace's work. "Uh... that's nice."
Rose looked back at her snowman. It had eight eyes around its head, making it look a bit like a spider. "Calvin!" she yelled, automatically accusing the person most likely to have committed the crime.
"It wasn't me!" he screamed from across the yard. "I'm over here, Tyler. No use accusing me of a thing that I didn't do."
Rose glanced over at her snowman, which was now grinning devilishly at her. "Then... who?"
She screamed, and immediately shut up, having learnt by now that screaming isn't always the best solution. Instead, she tried the fairly reliable method of running away as freaking fast as you can manage, which worked nine times out of ten as far as she was concerned.
"The snowmen are moving," called Ace loudly, noticing. "CALVIN!" She scooped up a massive amount of snow in one hand and chucked it at one of the snow creatures, who had just sat up, given itself another head, and started to stagger after her. The snowball knocked it back a few paces, but it quickly recovered.
"Why does everyone blame things that go wrong on me?" Calvin moaned, as the snow dragon began to swim smoothly across the yard, looping in and out of the snow. It roared, and a gust of fire blew from its mouth. "I had nothing to do with this...!"
Hobbes darted back and forth, dodging a snowman with an AK47 air rifle that had just began to shoot wildly, mainly at him. "We've met these things before," he added before they could all begin to play the Blame Game.
"What are they?" Rose dived behind a copse of trees, dragging Calvin with her. Hobbes and Ace followed
Hobbes looked stonily at her. "Deranged mutant killer monster snow goons. Again."