Author's Note: This is the last chappie of my story...a little long, but worth it!

Chapter 5: Nowadays, a new chance

Martin woke up, with a silent scream. He was hugging his pillow, and suddenly he woke up.

"Oh, Gosh! What a night it has been" he said, as he looked at his nightstand clock "What?! 12 a.m. of December 25th?! But...it's been only 3 hours?! Can't believe it!"

He couldn't explain what had happened, but he was happy. At least, he had a chance to change everything...

"Yes...tomorrow will be a new day...a brand-new day for me..." he said, as he lied down in his bed, again. He slept quietly. The night was still cold, but this time there was no cold breeze...

------------------------------------------------------

David was the first person to wake up at the snowy morning of December 25th. He jumped out of his bed, straightened his red pyjama, put on a cute red Santa hat, and ran out of Monica's sewing room (which, indeed, was his bedroom), followed by his inseparable fellow Teddy.

"It's Christmas! It's Christmas!" David yelled cheerfully, as he ran faster than a rocket, passing by the holographic snowflakes in the halls ceilings and the Belladerma Christmas tree which was in the living room.

As he ran through the house, he and Teddy opened all the doors, waking up the sleeping people in the rooms. He entered to the master bedroom (where Monica and Henry were sleeping), and jumped into the bed.

"Hanyaaaaaaaaaaan!!" he said, jumping "Mommy! Daddy! It's Christmas!" he laughed, still jumping in the bed (remember "Home Alone 2", the scene where the little boy wakes up the entire family on Christmas morning? Well, it's almost like that).

"David!" Monica said, hugging the little boy.

Henry grumped, because David and Teddy interrupted his sleep due to their constant jumping...

------------------------------------------------------

*BEEEP!! BEEEP!! (alarm clock rings)*

"Mmmh...what time is it...?" Martin asked, and watched the clock "Jeez, it's 8 o'clock. Gotta hurry"

Martin shove away his furry green blanket and woke up. After a quick shower, he put on a red sweater, a pair of jeans, brown shoes, black gloves and a brown jacket. He opened his window and breathed the cold air from outside.

"I have to hurry" he said, and smiled "This will be a great day" he added, and climbed out of the window.

------------------------------------------------------

David and Teddy kept running, humming a Christmas song (I think "Jingle Bells" would fit here) until they reached Martin's room, which was closed.

"Let's get Martin" David said, and put his hand on the door knob. But Teddy stopped him, putting his tiny furry hand on top of the child's hand.

"Are you sure, David?" the bear asked "You know he would yell at you"

"Neeeh, it's Christmas, Teddy! He can yell at me in common days, but not at Christmas!" he said innocently, and opened the door.

When they entered the room, all they could see was Martin's closet door open, the bed neatly arranged; everything in order. But...

"Where's Martin?" David asked. Teddy used his electronic radar (a new advanced tool installed on him by Dr. Hobby itself, in case he got lost) and, according to the system data, Martin wasn't anywhere near them.

"He's not in the house" Teddy said.

"Where can he be?" David said.

"I don't know. Let's tell Mommy" the bear suggested.

"Good idea, Teddy" David agreed, and they ran back to the master bedroom.

------------------------------------------------------

"Wha...Martin's not here?!" Monica screamed.

"Are you sure, David?" Henry said. "Monica saw him coming late last night, and I swear I saw him sleeping at midnight"

"Maybe he's in the bathroom, and if the door is closed, maybe you didn't see him, honey" Monica said.

"No, Mommy" David said "I opened all the doors, and we used Teddy's radar...he's not anywhere in the house"

"Oh, my God..." his mommy said, now really worried "Where can he be?"

"Don't worry, Monica" Henry comforted her "He's a smart guy, he won't get in trouble"

"I hope so..."

"If he doesn't come back at evening, we'll call the police" he said.

------------------------------------------------------

At noon, the centre of Haddonfield was crowded with tons of people walking by, mostly families: mothers carrying their babies on carriages, kids besides their moms, even a young father taking his little daughter's hand, with his other hand taking three bags full of presents. There also were bunches of kids in every corner, singing Christmas carols.

The Haddonfield Department Store was full, even more crowded than the previous days. The presents, especially in the Toys Department, were hard to find...well, not too hard for the clever (but few!) parents who had reserved their purchases days before...

The main door opened, and a mysterious brown-haired young man, wearing a big brown jacket, entered the store.

------------------------------------------------------

Monica and David were making the food for the Christmas dinner. David had already put the chicken on the oven, and now was helping Monica to make a Chocolate cake. They had already baked it, and now started the decoration.

"Mommy, do we need more of this?" he asked her, showing her a chocolate fudge package.

"No, honey, it's enough chocolate" she said, as she covered the cake with the fudge she had on the spoon "We don't want them to get a toothache!" she added, and both of them giggled.

"Mommy, what about this?" Teddy asked, handing her a bag of Christmas cake decorations (the little coloured candies you put in the cakes) but they were little green trees and yellow stars, instead of the traditional balls.

"That's a great idea, Teddy!" she smiled "Okay, David, you open the bag and spread the candies over the cake, as I go check the kitchen, okay?"

"Sure, Mommy" he said, and started his duty.

Monica checked the chicken, and returned it to the oven, because it was half-done.

"It needs a little time" she said "Where's Martin?, now I'm getting worried" she half-whispered, as she looked at the window, looking the falling snowflakes...

------------------------------------------------------

By now, indeed, the sun started dying. The sunset painted the sky in pink as the people went back to their homes to celebrate Christmas with their families.

The Haddonfield Dep Store started emptying, as a mysterious young man arrived to the cashier with some purchases.

"How are you going to pay, sir?" the cashier asked "By cash or by credit card?"

"By credit card" he answered, and paid.

Then the mysterious man got out of the store, with 2 bags in his hands.

------------------------------------------------------

"WELCOME HOME!!" Monica and David said, as Henry arrived with some relatives of the Swinton family.

"Hi, Monica!" a red-haired woman in her 30s said.

"Sabrina! It's good to see you" Monica said.

"Oh, here you are, David, my boy!" a brown-haired man in his 50s said.

"Uncle Anthony!" David said happily, climbing on the old man's back. When they met, David had already conquered Anthony's heart, and he was already smitten with his 'uncle'

Anthony was Henry's older brother, and worked as a security guard in Cybertronics. His wife Sabrina was a journalist in the Haddonfield's "Dispatch", along with Cecie Martin.

Anthony carried a huge bag full of presents, and David almost confused him with Santa Claus, because he was wearing a red coat and red pants.

"Well, what do we have here, eh?" Anthony said "What a beautiful house!" he added, looking at the Belladerma Christmas tree in the living room, the holographic snowflakes falling from the ceiling, and all sorts of decorations the house had. Monica was wearing a red dress, and David had a green suit, a white shirt, a green tie with matching green pants, and black shoes. Even Teddy looked adorable with a red Santa-Claus hat on his head, and nice big velvet bow around his neck.

"Thank you, Tony" Henry said "But David and Monica did all the job"

"Hey David, wanna see your presents?" Anthony said.

"Sure!" he said with a big smile, and sat with Anthony in the sofa, as he opened the bag.

"Where's Martin?" Sabrina asked Monica.

"I don't know" she answered "He got out at morning and we haven't seen him during the day...wonder where he can be"

"I think you should call the police" her sister-in-law suggested.

"Yeah, that's what I'll do...Martin has never done this before...I'm getting worried"

------------------------------------------------------

The mysterious young man walked through the city, and saw all the Christmas trees, the kids singing, even some of them selling Christmas flowers (red flowers, dunno how're they called in English). He stopped in one flower stand and bought a flower.

"Thanks, sir" the saleslady said "And Merry Christmas!"

"Merry Christmas to you too" he smiled, and walked away.

------------------------------------------------------

While Monica and Sabrina were chatting, Henry lit up the tree. Anthony was sitting with David in the sofa, showing him all the presents he'd brought for the little boy. David's eyes widened and his smile grew wider when he saw all the presents his relatives had given him.

"This is from your aunt Melissa" Anthony said, as he gave David a toy-helicopter "She says she hopes you'll enjoy it. And this..." now he gave David a mini-piano "This is from your uncle Thomas. He says music is food for the heart...and this one..." now he gave David a Video-game console (an A.I. version of the X-Box!) "is from Sabrina and me. Merry Christmas, sonny" he said, and gave David a big hug.

Monica lifted the phone to call the police, still worried because Martin hadn't arrived yet...

"Good evening...police station?" Monica said "Yeah, I want to report a missing person..."

------------------------------------------------------

The mysterious young man stopped at a house, and walked to the doorway. Then he pulled out a key, and put it into the lock, to open the door...

------------------------------------------------------

When Monica was waiting for the police operator to fill in the report, the doorknob of the main entrance giggled a little, and somebody entered the room...when the mysterious visitor entered, everybody gasped.

"Oh...my...God" Monica said. The stranger smiled at her.

"Too late to join the party?" he asked. Monica almost cried in joy, and hugged him.

"Martin! Oh, God, where have you been? We were so worried!!" she said, as Martin patted her back in a comforting way.

"Sorry Mom, I didn't mean to worry you" he said, then he turned to the rest of the family "Well, what are we waiting for? Let's celebrate!" he added in a cheerful voice, when he saw the wide-open mouths of his relatives "Ummm...why are you looking at me like that?" he asked, confused.

"Ehhh don't worry, Martin" his dad said "Let's go have dinner"

Henry's suggestion was eagerly accepted by the rest of the family, because by that time, more than one stomach started making familiar sounds, reminding their owners they needed some food...

------------------------------------------------------

"Hey, guys, what about a toast?" Anthony said, after they had finished the dessert.

"That's a clever idea, Tony" his wife said "Who starts?"

"Uncle Tony...what about me?" Martin said, shyly.

"Well, that sounds fine" Henry said.

"Go ahead, sonny" Monica said.

Martin cleared his throat a couple of times, and raised his glass a bit.

"I'd like to make a toast for...Christmas" he said slowly "Christmas is the time when you get together with your family, when you remember how important it is...it's not about how many presents you get, or how many parties will you be invited to...what's really important is the time you spend with the ones you really care about"

Everybody was silent, and Martin kept speaking.

"That's why I want to make a toast for this day, and the people who is with me, sharing this holiday...it was hard for me to learn that important lesson...but better late than never" he smiled at his mom, who was in tears, then he raised his glass fully "For Christmas!"

Although everybody was quite shocked by his words, they joined the toast by raising their glasses.

"For Christmas!" they said.

------------------------------------------------------

"Okay, time to open your presents!" Monica said.

Everybody started opening the presents they'd gotten. David opened the presents he had gotten from his relatives, along with the blue L.A. Lakers sweater he had gotten from Henry and the furry green slippers (with a white ball in the front) his Mommy gave him. Even Teddy had gotten a new green hat and a matching green sweater with tiny green slippers, gift from Monica.

Martin shyly approached to his mom.

"Mom..." he said, and gave her a small box and a flower "This is for you. Merry Christmas"

Monica surprised a lot, and opened the box. Her eyes opened wider when she saw a golden necklace with a little heart hanging on it.

"Oh, Marty!" she said, with happy tears in her eyes "Merry Christmas to you too!" she added, as she hugged him.

"Mom...I'm sorry for behaving so bad these days" he apologized.

"Don't worry about that" she said "You're here, that's all that matters"

"Thanks, Mom...I love you"

"I love you too, sweetie"

David was playing with the new mini-piano he had gotten, when Martin approached him.

"D-David?" Martin called him, and the little boy turned around and stood up to face him.

"Yes, Martin?" his sweet voice asked.

"Here, this is for you" Martin said, giving him a box "Merry Christmas, David"

David surprised a lot, and looked at the box curiously with an odd, confused look in his big blue eyes. Then he opened it, and he found an artist set, with a white painting robe with a bear on the front, some crayons, paint colours, a paint brush, coloured pencils, markers and a big scrapbook. David smiled, and hugged Martin.

"Thank you, Martin" he said "Merry Christmas"

Martin passed a nervous arm around the little boy's back...

"CUUUUUUUUUUTE!!" everybody said.

Martin and David looked at each other, and giggled.

------------------------------------------------------

That night, after all the relatives had left, Martin was helping Monica and David to clean up the house.

"Hey Martin" Monica asked "I'm really happy you finally decided to join us...what made you change your mind?"

"Your mom's right, Marty" Henry said from the kitchen "What happened?"

"Nothing, really" Martin answered.

"It seems like the Christmas Ghosts had paid you a visit" his dad joked from the kitchen, as he drank a glass of water.

"Oh, Henry..." Monica rolled her eyes.

"C'mon honey" Henry said "Christmas is the ideal time for miracles, y'know"

"Maybe" she finally said "At least Christmas brought you a wonderful gift" she added, looking at Martin.

"It sure did" he smiled, and winked at David. David smiled, with a thumb up.

Martin thought about the visions the Christmas Ghosts had shown him. Those incredible visions...had been an illusion? Martin couldn't tell. But all he knew was that it was a miracle...a wonderful Christmas miracle...

*Meanwhile, in another universe...*

Danielle, Tatiana and Teenage David looked satisfied at the scene.

"Awwww I'm soooo happy everything ended up so well" Tatiana said with a smile.

"Of course it did!" Danielle said "Marty had the BEST help he could have. If it weren't for ME, everything would be screwed" she added cockily.

"Ohhhhhhh wait a minute, miss know-it-all!" Tatiana frowned "I DID show him something important!"

"Why don't you guys calm down..." Teenage David said, embarrassed.

"She was the one who started it!" Tatiana said, pointing to Danielle.

"Shut up, you stupid old hag!" Danielle said.

"You called me OLD HAG?!" Tatiana said "I'll show you a HAG!!!!" she added, as she pulled the younger girl to a fight...

Teenage David just rolled his eyes...

THE END.

************************************

Author's Note: Hi, people! This fic is wrapped! I hope it wasn't too tiring to read, since it's one of my largest fics.

As you can see, the fic has some elements that aren't present in the Dickens's story, and I put them to add some uniqueness and a particular flavour to my story.

I'd also like to thank to all my reviewers in the Yahoo A.I. Fanfiction Group (especially Matrix Refugee!), who helped me a lot with their wonderful ideas. I'm sorry I couldn't use all of them, but I can tell for sure they've been seriously considered...

I hope you really liked this adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", I did it with all my heart and all my love for you, guys.

Well, I guess I have nothing else to say but THANKS A LOT for reading my story, and I hopw you enjoyed reading it as I did writing it!

Have a kiss, a bunch of cookies and a Teddybear hug from Danielle.

David: Hey Dannie, let's play horsy! *climbs on Danielle's back*

Danielle: OOOOOOWWWWWW!! *falls down*

David, Teddy and Danielle: MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!!! (Or Hanukkah, Kwanza, or whatever you call it!)