Author's Note: This was my first fanfic, which is based on the series where Calvin and Hobbes meet Galaxoid and Nebular, the aliens. When I went back and reread this, I was so embarrassed by how bad (and unoriginal) it was that I rewrote it. It's a little better now, but it's still very obvious that this was my first story. But if you're not deterred by bad writing, then read on, I guess!

"Boy, I hate school assignments! Miss Wormwood is out to destroy my life!"

A short, blond-haired boy thrust his schoolbooks on the floor and groaned, removing his jacket. As he hung it up in the closet, a tiger — walking upright — rounded the corner and approached him. "Miss Wormwood? What do you have to do?" the tiger asked.

"Make a leaf collection! I gotta collect fifty leaves. And, Hobbes, just when I thought of a loophole, the teacher said every leaf has to be a different kind."

"She's got your number," the tiger Hobbes said thoughtfully. "When do you need to present your leaf collection, Calvin?"

"In two weeks," replied Calvin, heading outside again.

"That's not so bad," Hobbes replied cheerfully, following his friend. "You just need—" he did some quick calculating — "three or four leaves a day."

"I'm not working on weekends," replied Calvin, crossing his arms.

"Okay, five leaves a day."

"And my weekdays are booked until next Thursday at 6 P.M.!"

"So you need fifty leaves an hour," Hobbes concluded sarcastically, rolling his eyes.

"See?? It's impossible!" Calvin yelled.

After spending a week and a half exploring his backyard woods (but not collecting any leaves), begging his classmate Susie for some help (she refused), and all-around general procrastinating, Calvin approached his mother hopefully. "Please let this work," he prayed to himself. Out loud, he said, "Mom, I need to collect leaves for a school project. Could we go to the arboretum sometime?"

"Sure, Calvin," his mom replied. "How about this weekend?"

"Um —" Calvin stammered nervously, "It would be better to do it a little sooner."

"When is this due?"

"Well, my notebook's in the car," Calvin stuttered, gesturing, "and the park closes in twenty minutes."

"Calvin, I'm fixing dinner!" his mom yelled. "Now get outside and start collecting!"

Not wanting to be left alone with an exceptionally angry mother, Calvin grabbed his jacket and bolted out the front door. Hobbes tied a scarf around his neck and followed, picking up any leaves that he saw as he and Calvin sprinted toward the forest.

"Darn it! Hobbes, my collection is doomed!" Calvin cried, scrabbling around the ground frantically, picking up leaves. "I can't believe Mom wouldn't take us. No wonder I get bad grades!"

"Well, you did spring the idea on her at the last second," Hobbes replied.

"That's when I thought of it! The problem is that Mom's not flexible," Calvin grumbled. He looked down at the leaves in his hands and counted: Ten. Seven of which had crumbled into powder. And the other three were from the exact same tree.

"What a stupid waste of time this is! I wish there was some way out of this dumb assignment," Calvin sighed.

The two of them remained in the forest for the better half of an hour, collecting leaves in silence. Calvin simmered as he gathered what he had into a pile (it was a very small pile), and Hobbes plucked branches off of different leaves, not saying anything. The tiger knew that if he were to start a conversation, Calvin would go off on another rant, and that would be wasting time. Hobbes looked down at his own pile and counted: Fifteen. Fifteen leaves. And it was getting dark, so they wouldn't be able to hunt for much longer. The tiger looked around him and sighed.

Suddenly his ears twitched. Listening hard, Hobbes cupped a hand over his hear and heard a faint "Wumm ... wumm ... wumm..."

"Calvin, was that you?" Hobbes asked, turning around.

"Was that me what?" Calvin replied, concentrating on leaves.

"I heard a humming sound."

"Might have been your stomach. Dinner's almost ready."

"Har har," Hobbes replied, and then suddenly gasped as a strange, circular contraption with black, ovular wings swept over them and into a clearing. It extended three triangular legs and touched down lightly on the ground, the glittering gadgets on its exterior beeping and whirring as it shut off. Smoke issued lightly from the ventilation on top.

"A UFO!!" Calvin and Hobbes screamed, dropping their leaves.

A hatch on the front of the ship opened up ominously, and two beings descended downward. To Calvin and Hobbes' shock, these aliens had no arms, their legs were like a crab's, and their small, triangular bodies were covered in robes. Their circular heads, which had no nose and only one eye each, had hats on them with symbols of stars and moons.

"Take us to the supreme earthling potentate," they said together, in a robotic voice.

Calvin was so shocked he could only sputter. "Um — well —..." Then he regained his senses. "Speaking," he said, pointing to himself pompously. Hobbes' eyes widened in shock.

"Ah! What luck," one alien said.

"It was I who chose the landing site. Kudos for Navigator Nebular!" the second cried.

"Um ..." Calvin shuffled. "So, uh, what can I do for you?"

"We are taking over your world," the aliens replied simply.

"You are?" Calvin gasped. "What for?"

"Earth is prime real estate. Location, location, location."

"I guess I hadn't thought about that," Calvin murmured thoughtfully.

"Charm, atmosphere, quiet galaxy..." the aliens continued.

"Actually, the atmosphere needs cleaning," Hobbes said.

"A good fixer upper, at least," said Nebular.

"Well, um, as Supreme Earthling Potentate, I'm afraid I can't let you just come in and take over the planet," said Calvin, crossing his arms.

"You make this difficult," the aliens responded angrily. "Prepare for war."

"Let's not be hasty..." Calvin said, thinking. Something had occurred to him. "I'll trade you Earth ... for fifty alien tree leaves. I need them by eight o'clock tonight, and they have to be properly identified and labeled."

"Psst!" one alien whispered to the other, "These primitive fools must use leaves as currency!"

"It's a DEAL!" cried Nebular. "Hurry, Galaxoid, at light speed we can just make it! Our leader will be most pleased!"

And before Calvin and Hobbes had time to blink, the aliens had dashed back into their spaceship, which took off with a roar. In another blink it had gone, vanishing into hyperspace. Once the roar had died down, Hobbes rounded on Calvin. "You're trading the Earth for fifty alien tree leaves?"

"I'll have the coolest project in the whole class!" smiled Calvin, unabashed. "And best of all, now we don't need to waste any more time on this! The aliens are doing all the work; we can goof off the rest of the day!" He glanced around and noticed it had gotten dark. "Okay, the rest of the night."

"But then the aliens take over the Earth," said Hobbes.

"Well, it's not like the grownups have done such a bang-up job," Calvin frowned, crossing his arms. "Anyway, don't worry about it. We still have lots of time to do what we want now..."

At that moment the two of them heard the front door bang open. "Calvin, time for bed!" came Mom's voice.

After much struggling and protesting, Mom had gotten Calvin into the bathtub, washed, and dressed in his PJs. He and Hobbes climbed into bed now; as Hobbes brushed his fur, he heard Calvin muttering under his breath. The tiger rolled his eyes as he caught the last of it:

"...The aliens still haven't shown up. What are we going to do? I've got to turn in my leaf collection tomorrow! I bet those dumb aliens got back to their planet and procrastinated! I'll bet they have no respect for deadlines! I'll bet they put everything off and are doing a lousy job at the last second!"

"How could anyone be so irresponsible?" Hobbes replied, rolling his eyes. Suddenly he gasped, pointing out the window. "Look! I see headlights coming over the trees!"

"The aliens are back!" Calvin shouted. "Man, it's about time! C'mon, let's go get my leaf collection!"

It took a midnight trip that exhausted the two of them, angered their parents and left them feeling groggy the next day, but Calvin and Hobbes had finally gotten the leaves and turned them in. Unfortunately, however, Miss Wormwood hadn't believed Calvin that the leaves were from an alien planet.

"She said it looked like I took fifty maple leaves and cut them into weird shapes," grumbled Calvin to Hobbes the next day, as they careened through the forest on their little red wagon. "She thought it was obvious I did the whole thing last night and I made a mockery of the assignment. She just won't admit it was a pointless project! Who cares about leaves? What useless knowledge!"

The wagon chose this moment to pitch the duo over a rather large cliff; screaming, they hurtled down the gorge, but luckily their fall was broken by soft foliage toward the bottom. Hobbes sat up and brushed himself off. "I believe that's poison sumac we just fell through."

"What, this?" said Calvin, picking off a branch. "What makes you say that?"

Suddenly the two of them went into violent itching fits. "Call it a hunch," Hobbes groaned, scratching.

Four months later, Calvin awoke to waist-deep snow and freezing winter air. "Oh boy," he cried, peering out the window. "Look at all the snow! Christmas is coming! This will be perfect for sledding, or making snowmen, or —"

The doorbell rang. Then again. And again and again and again.

"All right, all right, I'm coming!" Calvin yelled, opening the door.

"What the heck is wrong with this planet you sold us?!" came an angry voice.

"Galaxoid and Nebular!" Calvin cried, peering through the doorway. "The aliens! Hobbes, come quick!"

"This cold white glop covers us and freezes our innards!" Galaxoid said. "You did not tell us that this planet's axis would tilt us away from the sun."

"You didn't ask," Calvin grumbled, crossing his arms.

"This 'stuff' is snow," Hobbes added as he came up behind his friend.

"Yeah," said Calvin. "You'd better get used to it, 'cause we get it every winter."

"We paid fifty leaves for this planet!" Nebular cried. "You greatly overcharged us!"

"Well, how about if we offer you a refund?" Hobbes offered reasonably. Calvin, however, groaned and clutched his head. "Aargh!" he groaned, "I threw the leaf collection away when it got such a bad grade!"

"Then we demand that you bring this planet up to code! We will not leave it until it is fixed!" the aliens shouted.

"Yeah, well, 'let the buyer beware'," Calvin said sarcastically, and slammed the door, ignoring Hobbes' protests.

"DO NOT TRIFLE WITH US, EARTH LEADER!" the aliens shouted through the door.

The aliens' dire warning didn't faze Calvin in the slightest, which proved to be a mistake. That night he was up in bed reading comic books; Hobbes was snoring gently beside him. Engrossed in the gory action of Blendo-Man, Calvin failed to notice the distant hum of the aliens' spaceship. Outside, the hovercraft alighted on top of Calvin's house, not making a sound.

"Now," said Galaxoid from inside, as he used a tentacle to turn the heating up to max, "all we have to do is zap the Potentate with this hypnosis ring, and he will change this planet to fit our needs."

"Are you sure it will work?" asked Nebular, standing over the heating grate to get warm.

"Why not?" Galaxoid scoffed. "We have the technology to change our planet. Why wouldn't they?"

And without waiting for a reply, he pushed a large red button on the control panel.


A bright green ray shot out of the ship and enveloped Calvin through his bedroom window, making his skin glow eerily. "Hey —" the boy shouted, and then he suddenly stilled. Calvin dropped the comic, holding his arms in front of him like a robot — and as he did so, his bright blue eyes became a hypnotic green. With a groan Calvin fell back on his pillow and lost consciousness, though his eyes stayed open. "Must ... fix ... Earth..." he muttered in his sleep. "Must ... fix ... Earth..."

The next morning — Christmas Eve — Hobbes was jolted awake early by a distant crash. "What the —"

Hobbes ran to the window and saw Calvin lying in the rose bushes, a purple hood and cape on his head. He appeared dazed, but immediately jumped back up and began scaling the rain gutter.

"Calvin?" Hobbes shouted. The boy didn't respond. "CALVIN!" Hobbes reached out the window and grabbed his friend as he passed by the window. Yanking him inside, Hobbes slammed the glass shut and spun Calvin around to face him. "What are you doing?"

"Winter must be destroyed!" Calvin chanted back. "The axis is faulty! Impossible to fix for most people. But not for ... STUPENDOUS MAN!"

And he launched into a song, belting out each letter loudly:

"S ... for Super-Strength! T ... for Tiger, ferocity of! U ... for Underwear, red! P ... for Power, incredible! E ... for Excellent physique! N ... for ... um ... something ... hmm, well, I'll come back to that... D ... for Determination! U ... for ... wait, how do you spell this? Is it 'I'??"

"It's 'O'," Hobbes shouted, tightening his grip on Calvin, "as in, 'Oh, good lord, what on Earth do you think you're doing??' You can't even fly, Calvin!"

"Calvin can't," the boy acknowledged, slipping out of Hobbes' grasp and jumping out the window again. "But Stupendous Man can!!"

Contrary to this statement, Calvin immediately fell into the rose bushes again. Hobbes immediately dashed down the stairs and outside, helping the dazed boy up.

"Calvin, what are you talking about? You're not Stupendous Man. And you can't fly!" He shook Calvin's shoulders again just to make this point.

"Hmmm..." Calvin said. "Maybe Stupendous Man can't. But SPACEMAN SPIFF CAN!"

And the boy wrestled away from Hobbes again, dashing into the house and coming out, minutes later, wearing a funny blue space suit with matching goggles.

"Spaceman Spiff! Interplanetary explorer extraordinaire! Rotator of axes and changer of climates!"

"Calvin, what on Earth do you —" Hobbes stopped, suddenly remembering something. "On Earth..." he muttered, thinking. "Hang on, this isn't about the confrontation with the aliens, is it?"

"Winter must be destroyed!" Calvin chanted, preparing to climb up the rain gutter again. He had gotten up about halfway when Hobbes jumped up after him, grabbed him around the waist in midair and landed back on the ground with feline reflexes. "Calvin, what's —"

Then the tiger noticed Calvin's eyes.

"...wrong ... with ... you..." he trailed off, gazing into the hypnotic green.

"MUST REPAIR FAULTY AXIS!" Calvin bellowed.

"Uh — I —" Hobbes stuttered nervously, watching Calvin shimmy up the rain gutter yet again, "I — I'll go get some help!"

Hobbes ran into the house, ignoring the resounding crunching noises coming from outside. "His mom's going to have a fit about those rose bushes," Hobbes muttered to himself. "Where is she, anyway?"

He skidded into the kitchen and noticed a note stuck to the refrigerator:

Calvin — Your dad had to go on an emergency business trip today, so I had to drive him out to the Convention Center. We should be back this evening. Stay safe today, and please don't blow up the house. You and Hobbes just watch TV and be good, okay? Thanks. Love, Mom.

Hobbes smacked himself in the forehead. "Great. Really great," he muttered.

Ten minutes later, Hobbes was back up in Calvin's room, muttering to himself. "I know you're Calvin. You know you're Calvin. At least, you did, initially. So why don't you now?"

"Must ... rotate ... axis..." Calvin muttered in response, struggling furiously against the ropes binding him to his chair. Hobbes had tied them tightly, however, and they did not give.

"The aliens must have done something to you," Hobbes concluded, studying Calvin closely. "You were hypnotized into this ... how do we reverse it?" The tiger continued to think, oblivious to the fact that Calvin was struggling so hard that he flipped the chair over and bonked his head on the hardwood floor. "Ow."

"The aliens didn't know about winter ... we can't offer a refund ... hmm ... well, we should at least help them stay warm then," Hobbes said. "Question is, what could they wear? They don't even have arms. They need, I don't know, huge socks or something..."

"Rrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhh," Calvin groaned, still struggling against the ropes in an awkward sort of headstand.

"Huge socks," Hobbes muttered. Suddenly he brightened and snapped his fingers. "Huge socks! I've got it!"

Hobbes finished cutting holes out of his and Calvin's Christmas stockings, and left the house to find the alien spaceship. Fearing that Calvin would suffer permanent brain damage in his state, the tiger had, appropriately, tied his friend to the rain gutter.

"I'll be back soon!" Hobbes called back in a falsely cheery voice. Calvin wrestled furiously with the ropes, but they didn't give.

Hobbes soon lost sight of his friend as he made his way through the forest. Thinking that a sheltered place would be the best spot for the ship, Hobbes walked deep into the heart of the trees. This proved to be a bad idea, as night had fallen, and the forest was full of the rustling, creaking, hooting and chirping of mysterious little creatures. Trying not to think about his bad experiences as a Tiger Cub, Hobbes pressed on.

Rustle ... creak ... hoot ... howl ... clank.

Hobbes stopped. That last sound seemed familiar —


A large shock wave rippled toward Hobbes, and the tiger was knocked off his feet as a bright glow illuminated the trees in front of him. There was a hissing noise, and the shining yellow ship emerged in front of Hobbes. Galaxoid and Nebular stood in the entranceway, the aliens glowing ominously in the eerie glare. This would have created the perfect illusion had their bodies not been pale and shivering from the cold.

"GAH!" Hobbes shouted, shrinking back anyway.

"What do you want?" growled the aliens.

"I — uh — am a friend of the — uh — Earth leader," Hobbes stammered.

The aliens regarded him pompously, looking him up and down. "And?" they finally asked.

"And I — uh — came to you, in the hopes that you would ... dehypnotise him."

There was silence for a moment as the three of them stared at each other, shivering.

"Sorry," the aliens finally said, and without another word they quickly closed the spaceship door.

"But — wait!" Hobbes shouted after them, holding out the stockings, "I have —"

He was cut off suddenly as the spaceship's engine started up, the lights on the exterior flickering and beeping. With an enormous roaring sound, the hovercraft rose into the air. And before Hobbes could do anything else, the bright green ray shot out again.

Unlike Calvin, however, Hobbes knew what to expect. He dived, avoiding the ray, and crashed headlong into a bunch of bushes.

The aliens didn't give up. The ray swept toward Hobbes again, and the tiger did an awkward kind of barrel roll into a clearing, away from the green light. Hobbes dodged the ray again and again, panting as he ran from the spaceship. He crashed through branches, twigs and leaves, dashing every which way, but the aliens pursued him with ease. Finally Hobbes tripped over a tree root and rolled head over heels, landing in a tangle of foliage.

Panting, Hobbes checked the stockings over. They remained untorn, since he had shielded them with his body. The tiger looked up and struggled to get out of the tangle of leaves — and this delay was all the aliens needed. The ray enveloped Hobbes — and Hobbes resisted.

Raising his hand in a hopeless attempt to stop the ray from reaching him, Hobbes ran. He ran with all his might, struggling against the hypnosis, but the beam was locked onto him now and followed him easily.

Hobbes knew it was hopeless; he had already begun to weaken. In a last, desperate effort, he held up the stockings toward the spaceship, where he hoped the aliens were watching.

"A peace offering," he gasped weakly.

For a moment, nothing happened. Then —

The ray turned off, the spaceship descended, the three legs touched lightly onto the ground, the hatch opened, and — finally — the aliens emerged on the ramp.

"A peace offering?" they asked incredulously, looking at the stockings. "What do you take us for, fools?"

Preferring not to answer that question, Hobbes forced the two stockings over the aliens' shivering, pale bodies. "Hey —" they started, and then suddenly relaxed, looking extremely content.

"Ooh, this is toasty," said Galaxoid.

"Thank you, friend of the Earth leader!" chimed in Nebular.

"You're welcome," Hobbes sighed, finally breaking into a smile.

"Your selflessness is the hope for mankind everywhere," said Galaxoid cheerfully.

Deciding not to point out that he was a tiger, Hobbes asked, "Now will you please dehypnotise the — uh — Supreme Earth Potentate?"

The aliens considered it for a moment, but finally said, "All right."

And so, as Hobbes headed back to Calvin's house, the spaceship flew low ahead of him, humming quietly. As Hobbes reached the house, he saw another beam — this one orange — shoot out of the ship and envelope the still-struggling Calvin. The boy suddenly went limp, his eyes dilating and his tongue hanging out.

Calvin's eyes turned back to blue.

He awoke.

The ray turned off, and the spaceship swept away into the dark night.

"You say my Christmas present from you is outside?" Calvin asked the next morning, hurriedly throwing on a coat, snow pants, and galoshes.

"It's over here," Hobbes said, running as he tied a scarf around his neck. "I wanted to make up for giving away your Christmas stocking..."

The two of them screeched to a halt in the backyard, where they found —

"A pile of ready-made snowballs!" Calvin exclaimed.

"I wanted to give you something practical," Hobbes explained, grinning.

"You're the best, Hobbes ol' buddy! Thanks!" Calvin smiled, hugging his friend. But suddenly, his face fell. "Uh, Hobbes?" he asked guiltily, looking up at his friend. "I forgot to get you a present. I didn't even make you a card ... I'm sorry. I didn't mean to forget," Calvin said, squeezing his eyes shut against tears of guilt.

"It's okay, little buddy," Hobbes replied gently. He smiled and lifted Calvin off the ground, wrapping his arms around him. "You're my best friend. And that's the greatest present of all." Hobbes smiled and squeezed Calvin tight. "That deserves a tiger hug."

Calvin blinked. "Not so hard, you big sissy," he joked, grinning too. "You squeeze my tears out."

Hobbes grinned. "Merry Christmas."