Just a short Christmas one shot because I'm terrible at finishing multi-chapters. (SO undisciplined. ) Merry Christmas all! Special love to my two GI buddies who keep me going when the well runs dry. You are Team Awesome!
The characterizations of George and Martha Summers and the name of Mary Ann's pony, 'Flower', are borrowed from the wonderful JWood201, with heartfelt thanks xx
Look at the Moon
Somewhere in the South Pacific
Christmas was approaching, and the final full moon of the year was rising. Gilligan and Mary Ann sat on a tussock on top of the cliff, watching the buttery orb climb slowly into the sky.
"Isn't it beautiful?" Mary Ann dug shiny pink fingernails into the grass. "So silent and serene... makes you feel like the only person alive."
"Yeah," Gilligan agreed, shifting his hat to the back of his head. "I like to come up here after a hard day of being yelled at by Skipper."
Mary Ann smiled. "You know he loves you, Gilligan. Just like a father would. He's always afraid you'll get hurt, with your crazy schemes and all."
"My crazy schemes? I'm not the one who makes guillotines for coconuts!"
They laughed with affection at the thought of their dear friend the Professor slicing coconuts clean in half. The diabolical look on his face as the razor sharp blade descended. Roy Hinkley went to great lengths to perfect his experiments, even if only for cutting fruit. Everything he did was for the team, and they knew they couldn't have survived without his knowledge and skills. They also knew that he secretly enjoyed his status on the island, that it motivated him to do his very best because he loved to see the looks on their faces when they pumped clean, fresh water, were able to wash clothes, and knew what to do when the tide was high. They also knew that nothing made him happier than a smile and a kiss from Ginger.
The moon inched higher, lifting from the sea to cast a dim glow upon the waves. It was a calm night, a warm night, everything peaceful and still. Night insects chirped and buzzed their soothing lullabies. Gilligan folded his arms around his knees and rested his chin on his hands. Mary Ann studied his profile cut sharp against the night, his white hat glowing almost as brightly as the moon.
"You look miles away," she said gently.
Gilligan glanced sideways at her. "Have you been eating those radioactive carrots again, Mary Ann?"
Mary Ann laughed. "No, silly. I meant you look lost in thought."
"Oh, yeah. I guess so." The first mate grinned sheepishly. "I was thinking of home."
Mary Ann let out a puff of breath. "Me too. I always get so homesick at Christmas. I miss Uncle George and Aunt Martha. I miss Flower, my pony. I miss walking in the snow, stamping it off your boots and drinking hot chocolate in front of a roaring log fire." She rubbed her upper arms and shivered, even though it was a tropical night and she was wearing her gingham blouse tied under her bosom, and shorts.
"With marshmallows," Gilligan said longingly.
"Oh yes! And sprinkles."
"Lots of sprinkles." Gilligan licked his lips.
"What do you miss, Gilligan?"
"My mom," he answered simply, but his pain was evident in just two words. Mary Ann bit her lip- Gilligan looked as though he were going to cry.
She reached for one of his hands, pulling it from his knees and curling her fingers around his. "Gilligan, let's try something." She laughed at his look of shock. "No, not that. Something else. An experiment, like one of the Professor's." She held his hand and nudged his shoulder. "Look at the moon."
Gilligan followed her gaze. The moon was higher now, losing its buttery color, appearing to grow smaller, but that was an optical illusion, according to the Professor. "Okay, I'm looking," he said.
"Now. Concentrate your thoughts. Do it with me. Look at the moon and think of your mom. Wish for her to look at the moon. I'll do the same... I'll will my folks to look at the moon. It's the one thing we can all share, right?"
Gilligan seemed thoughtful, then his face broke into a wide grin. "Mom likes the moon," he said, eagerly.
"Well, there you go. It's a full moon tonight and she's sure to look at it. Let's send all our thoughts and love to our families via the moon."
"That's a great idea, Mary Ann!" Gilligan fell silent for a moment. He looked at Mary Ann with awe and wonder, his blue eyes gleaming in the moonlight, two little worlds of their own. He looked like a man who had suddenly grown wise. But Mary Ann distracted him again, pointing at the moon.
"Look at the moon, Gilligan, and send love. We'll help each other."
Gilligan looked at the moon, scrunching up his face like he did when Skipper tried to read his mind. He concentrated on sending love to his mother. More love than he'd ever known; selfless love, unconditional love, a child's love, and heartfelt wishes for a happy Christmas.
Somewhere in Pennsylvania
Mrs. Gilligan was washing dishes in the kitchen, idly gazing at the full moon through a gap she had wiped in the steamed up window. Suddenly her heart skipped a beat. She put her hand over her chest, damp fingers imprinting on the flowered pattern of her apron. The moon seemed to swell and grow brighter, and then she heard a voice. An unmistakable voice, Willy's voice, as clear as though he were standing right beside her.
"I love you, Mom. Happy Christmas."
Mrs. Gilligan could hardly believe it. She wanted to cry out for her husband, but something told her that the message was meant for her and her alone. Willy had always been her baby, her little angel sent from heaven. She leaned forward over the sink and wiped the window pane clean, and Mother of God if that wasn't his cherub's face in the moon, his cheeky dimpled grin, that unruly mop of black hair that broke every tooth on her comb falling into his deep blue eyes.
"Willy?" she whispered tentatively. "Willy? Is that you, sweetheart?"
She waited and waited, but there was no reply. His face faded from the moon as quickly as it had appeared, her heartbeat returned to normal, and the world clicked back into place. Water dripped from the faucet, plop, plop, plop. The window steamed up again, and her husband's voice drifted through from the front room. He was talking to the television, as usual.
But she had heard Willy. She knew she had. It wasn't her imagination. He had communicated with her, from wherever he was. She saw a vision of moonlight dancing on water. And then that was gone, too. It didn't matter. Willy was alive- somewhere out there, just as she'd always known.
She plunged her hands into the water and continued washing dishes. She began to sing softly, her love for the season renewed.
"God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas day,
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray-
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy-
O tidings of comfort and joy."
The sounds of some silly game show jingled in her ears: bells, alarms and wild applause. Her husband exclaimed, "Oh, you blasted idiot, have you not got an ounce of brain in your head!"
Mrs. Gilligan smiled as she put the last clean plate in the rack and pulled off her soggy Marigolds. She took a last look at the moon as she turned to make a cup of tea for herself. "You see your father hasn't changed," she said with a soft laugh.
"Jaysus, man, what a waste of money sending you to college!" Mr. Gilligan bellowed at a hapless contestant.
Mrs. Gilligan sat down at the kitchen table to wait for the kettle to boil. The moon was now just a fuzzy blur through the misted up window. "Merry Christmas, Willy. Wherever you are. I love you, darling, and I can't wait for the day when I see you again."
As for her husband-
"For the love of all things holy, the California Redwood is not found in Florida! The clue is in the question, you almighty fool!"
- she would tell him later, when he'd calmed down. She imagined Willy smirking at his father's ridiculous anger, and her heart swelled with love as she began to sing again.
"And when they came to Bethlehem
Where our dear Savior lay,
They found Him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His Mother Mary kneeling down,
Unto the Lord did pray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy."
Somewhere in the South Pacific
"So? Did you feel anything?" Mary Ann had budged closer to Gilligan and now had her arms around his shoulders, her head pressed against his.
"I dunno... I think so. I mean, I think I saw Mom's face in the moon. But- I can't be sure."
"Well, I believe that you did, Gilligan. I believe your mom knows you were trying to connect with her."
Gilligan wiped his eye with a bony knuckle. "Sometimes Mom knew if I was hurt, even when I was out in the woods playing with Skinny Mulligan. I'd come home with a cut head or a bloody elbow and she'd already be waiting with the First Aid box. I didn't even think it was weird until I got older. I thought it was part of a mom's magic."
Mary Ann smiled gently. "Moms don't lose their magic," she said, giving Gilligan a hug. "Even when they're... " she hesitated, "even when they're gone. They just pass the magic to someone else." She thought of her loving Aunt Martha and could almost smell the floury kitchen, the warm scent of apple pie that suffused the entire house and made everyone's mouths fill with water. She looked at the moon and suddenly she saw Uncle George stamping his way in from the fields, kicking snow off his boots at the back door, then wrapping his arms around Martha and planting a loud kiss on her neck. Poor Aunt Martha screamed from the touch of his winter-cold lips, then smacked him playfully with her wooden spoon. The image was so vivid that Mary Ann laughed out loud, and had to explain what she'd seen to a curious Gilligan.
"You'd love Aunt Martha and Uncle George," she said, brushing a lock of hair out of Gilligan's eyes.
"And you'd love my mom," Gilligan replied with a sweet smile. "And my dad. And my brother, and my sister, and Skinny Mulligan- and Billy Maguire and Fatso Flanagan and Walter Stuckmeyer and Florence Oppenheimer and cousin Rudolph- we always teased him for his name at Christmas- and my aunts and uncles, and my cousins, and their cousins, and... "
Mary Ann cut him off by placing her finger against his lips. "I get it, Gilligan. I'd love your family and everyone you know."
"Am bey'd wub you," Gilligan mumbled.
They sat shoulder to shoulder and gazed at the moon, lulled by its twinkling reflection on the ocean.
"I'm pretty sure we'll see our folks again," Mary Ann said. "On nights like this, it seems as though everything's possible."
"I hope so," Gilligan murmured. "I miss my mom more than anyone."
"I miss mine too," Mary Ann said in a quiet whisper. "But you know what? They're always with us, wherever we go. Just like the moon."
Gilligan sat back so that he could look at Mary Ann properly. "Mary Ann, you always know what to say. I think you're my second favorite person after my mom. Girl person, I mean. 'Cause I wouldn't wanna forget about Skipper, he'd be sore if he thought I didn't think he was my first favorite person."
Mary Ann blushed intensely. "Why, Gilligan! That's the sweetest thing anyone's ever said to me."
"Yes, it is. And guess what? You're my second favorite person after Uncle George. Boy person, I mean. Because I don't want Ginger to think I don't think that she thinks that I think that she... oh, you know what I mean!" She laughed and gave Gilligan a playful swat, just as Martha had done to George.
"Merry Christmas, Mary Ann," Gilligan said, giggling.
"Merry Christmas, Gilligan," said Mary Ann. Then she kissed her fingertip and placed it on his nose, and he squirmed and giggled some more.
Somewhere in Kansas
"I'm tellin' you, George. I swear I saw our Mary Ann's face in that there moon."
"I believe ya, honey! I know you wouldn't make up a thing like that."
George and Martha looked through the kitchen window at the glowing orb nestled in the dark Midwestern night. Martha was baking apple and cinnamon cookies and the house smelled deliciously sweet and spicy.
"I wish she was here right now," Martha sighed.
George gave her a hug. "Well, maybe she is."
"I know she's alive, George. I just know it. She's out there somewhere." Martha fretted with her pinafore, tugging at a loose thread until it snapped.
"Maybe she's looking at the moon, too. You know, like some kind of psycho connection."
Martha gave a snort of laughter. "Psychic, George, psychic. A psycho is a crazy person."
George grinned. "I ain't sayin' nothin'."
"I'll ignore that, George Summers. Listen to your Uncle, Mary Ann. As bullheaded as always."
George swept his wife into a great big loving embrace. "Dry your tears, Martha. Wherever she is, Mary Ann will be making people happy. She was always good at that."
"Yes she was," Martha replied, burying a muffled sob into George's shoulder. "She was always our little angel, she could brighten a room with just a smile."
George rocked his wife gently, hushing her while she sniffled. "How's about I set the table tonight without you having to nag me?" he suggested.
Martha's sobs turned to giggles. "First Mary Ann, and now this? I am truly blessed."
George let her go with a gentle pat on her behind. "I'll set a place for Mary Ann too. Reserve the biggest cookie for her before one o' the other brats gets their hands on it." He turned to leave the kitchen, but stopped at the door and scratched his head. "You know, I just remembered. When I was feeding Flower, she seemed restless, like she was expecting someone to show up. Maybe Mary Ann is around us tonight. I mean, animals always know, don't they?"
Martha nodded. "I reckon so, George. I reckon the moon is passing on messages this Christmas. Thank you, Mr. Moon."
"Yeah, well don't get too friendly with ol' Mister Moon, okay? Remember you're a married woman."
Martha threw a balled up dishcloth at him. "Oh, you git from here, George Summers. Go set the table and be useful for once."
"Yes, ma'am." George laughed heartily and disappeared into the house.
The cookies were almost ready. Martha slipped on her oven gloves and took another look at the moon, hovering outside like an old friend. "Merry Christmas, Mary Ann," she said, opening the oven door to release a glorious waft of spicy cinnamon and baked apples into the air. "Merry Christmas, angel."