A/N: The grand finale! AFTER A YEAR. My most sincere apologies to making everyone wait such an absurd amount of time. I was hoping to get it up before Christmas but I had to visit relatives in Atlanta and forgot my laptop. Thanks to all those who reviewed and will. Enjoy!
Fox stared at the falling snow outside from his room.
He was sulking in his own misfortunes from that horrible set of events yesterday. But mostly, he was thinking about Krystal.
She obviously seems to be attracted to him and vice versa but there was a nagging thought in the back of Fox's brain. There was a voice telling him that it would never happen. That he would never find someone to love again. That it would be Fara all over again.
He wanted to tell her exactly what he was feeling but she doesn't even understand most of the things that leave his mouth.
"Good job McCloud. There's an amazing woman a few rooms away who's interested in you and you can't eventell her what's bothering you."
Fox shook his head and turned away from the window. He walked out of his room and into the empty hall. The place was dead silent. Fox made his way to the kitchen and sat down at one of the chairs. It creaked under his weight and the sound echoed through out the room.
Fox played with a napkin, folding it into squares. He kept folding and folding until it was nothing more than a tiny ball. That's what Fox felt like right now. A tiny spec in this empty place.
Only he wasn't really alone.
Krystal was sleeping soundly in the guest room just down the hall. After all the excitement of the mall, it was no surprise that she would want a little nap.
Peppy and Slippy, dragging Falco with them, had left a few hours ago to watch the Christmas parade downtown. They tried to convince Fox to come along but he just wasn't in the mood. That and he didn't have the heart to wake Krystal up.
Sighing, he got up and made his way to the living room. He was greeted by an array of beautiful colored lights that wrapped themselves around the Christmas tree. Fox smirked at the memory of Peppy and Slippy trying to put that thing up. The tree stand had broke and Peppy had to try and hold the weaving tree still while Slippy dove after ornaments that were falling to the floor. Falco all the while sat in a chair laughing at the two.
That is until Slippy threw a candy cane at him and another disaster began.
Fox stared at the tree. All the ornaments and lights reflected in his green eyes and his face suddenly taking a somber tone. It happens every year he looked at that tree. A flood of memories taking over his mind.
All those Christmas's he spent with his parents and then the many he spent without them.
Fox had his team, his friends. But they never could really fill that void inside of him. The deep and powerful loneliness that overcame him every Christmas.
Without even thinking about it, he reached out and softly touched a small ornament on the nearest branch. It was a golden star just a bit smaller than your palm. In the middle of this star was a photo. James and Vixey McCloud, holding an infant Fox.
Fox turned the star around and on the back was an inscription that read, "McCloud's First Family Christmas".
He stared at the words, reading them over and over until he finally let the star go, swinging back into it's original spot.
"Merry Christmas Mom. Merry Christmas Dad." He said softly.
Slowly, his gaze fell down to the presents under the tree and saw all the colorful wrapped packages with the hidden prize inside that would not be revealed until tomorrow morning. Fox's eyes suddenly widened in horror when he realized he still had not got a present for Krystal.
"Stupid! Stupid!" He cursed himself, banging his head against the wall. He had been so caught up in his own self pity that he totally forgot about it. He looked at his watch and let out another set of curses. It was just past ten. No stores were going to open this late on Christmas Eve.
Fox leaned against the wall and slowly sank to the floor. There was nothing he could do now.
"What differences would it make anyway? There's no gift in the world that could make up for what she lost."
That's when Fox looked up, his hands suddenly grabbing his ears in frustration. The necklace. He had promised her he would get it back.
"Smooth move genius." He spat sarcastically. How in the world would he find it? It was probably lost beneath a pile of snow somewhere near the Space Port.
What could he do, go digging through piles of snow at the port?
"I can't believe I'm doing this."
Fox grunted, heaving another shovel full of snow to the side. Luckily for him, the Space Port was closed and the streets were practically barren due to everyone being at the Christmas Parade.
The vulpine wiped some sweat from his brow and leaned on his shovel staring at his progress. There were holes in the snow everywhere. It looked as if someone had dropped a bunch of small bombs in random spots.
Fox threw his shovel down in anger. "What the hell am I doing here?! I'm never going to find it! I might as well try an pull the thing out of my own ass!"
Fox looked up at the night sky, yelling at some unseen presence, "Is that what you want, huh?! To pull it out of my ass?!"
He stuck his hands down the back of his jeans all the while still yelling at the sky.
"Well I'm not feeling it! There's nothing in my ass! I repeat, there is NOTHING in my ASS!"
Fox's yelling was suddenly halted when he noticed a young couple was watching him with puzzled and worried faces. Slowly, he retrieved his hands to his sides and put them in his pockets.
"Uh...I saw Santa. He didn't bring me this train set I wanted one year. It's a long story." He told them.
The couple quickly was on their way, wanting to leave the strange fox to his weird behavior. Fox kicked a pile of snow in frustration. He really blew it. He picked up the shovel and was about to head home when he suddenly bumped into another fox, causing the fellow to drop a bag full of presents into the snow.
"Oh geeze, I'm sorry pal." Fox said, helping the fox pick up the parcels. He chuckled, wiping some snow off his jacket saying, "No harm done."
Fox handed him one parcel when something dropped from between his fingers. He looked down and his eyes grew to the size of saucer's when he saw what was dropped.
It was partially covered by snow but he could see the thin bronze chain that held the large almost triangular sapphire most commonly found around Krystal's elegant neck.
The fox picked it up and Fox had to control every urge in his body to grab it and take off. The vulpine noticed the way Fox was looking at it and grinned.
"She's a beauty huh? And know what the best part is? It didn't cost me a dime. I was picking up my parents yesterday and saw this beautiful piece of jewelry just lying in the snow. It was a miracle that no one picked it up."
Fox could not believe it. Krystal's necklace was found but in the hands of another vulpine. How in the world was he going to get it back?
"I've never seen a piece like it before. I bet I can get some pretty decent coin for it."
"Need the money huh?" Fox asked, still not taking his eyes off the necklace.
"My son's crazy about StarFox and he wanted this remote control Arwing but they cost quite a bit. The pawn shop over there has one brand new." The fox pointed to a store across the street which was the only thing opened. "This should be more than enough. I better get over there before it closes. Well, Merry Christmas."
He started to cross the street but Fox cut him off.
The vulpine gave him a startled and puzzled look. "Sir please. I...I know who that necklace belongs to."
"Oh really?" The fox asked dryly, not believing what he was just told. "Yes. She's a friend of mine and she lost it two days ago and it would mean the world to her if she got it back. Please."
"Nice try buddy."
"I'm not lying. It's a family heirloom and she needs to have it."
"Look pal, I don't have time for this. I need to get my son his Christmas present. Maybe you should of found a replacement before Christmas Eve."
The fox walked past him towards the shop. Fox gritted his teeth in pure frustration. He realized he was going to have to dish out the hard truth.
"Sir please, please, she doesn't have anyone else."
The stranger turned around to let Fox know he wasn't going to listen but the mercenary kept going.
"She lost her whole family. Her entire planet. She's the last of her race. She's all alone here and I promised her I would take care of her. I promised her that I would do whatever it took to get that necklace back to her, the only thing remaining of her culture. Of her loved ones."
The vulpine's look softened as Fox could tell he was maybe starting to get somewhere. "I promise you sir, I'm not making this up. I can't afford to mess this up...you have no idea how much this women means to me. Please."
The fox stood there, looking as if he was pondering on what to do. But he shrugged off what Fox said and headed towards the shop.
Fox's ears sagged in disappointment. Sadly, he turned around to head home. Back to Krystal to break her heart.
Fox turned around to see the stranger jog back up to him. He gave Fox a stern look which then softened to a sad one.
"I'd hate to think I was responsible of giving something so important away like that. Tell her Merry Christmas."
With that, he handed Fox the necklace.
Fox was speechless as he held the piece of jewelry in his hands. He had it. He finally had it. The perfect gift for Krystal.
"You have no idea how much this will mean to her. Thank you sir. Thank you so much." Fox told him.
The stranger nodded and looked over to see the pawn shop's lights go out, signaling it was closed. He sighed sadly and began to walk away. While Fox felt ecstatic about getting the necklace, a feeling of shame and pity came over him for the stranger. That's when he got an idea.
"Sir! Sir!" He called, running after the fox. He caught up to him and said, "Please sir, I need to do something for you."
"Don't worry about it. There's nothing you can do anyway."
"But there is," Fox said stepping in front of him again. "You said your son wanted one of those remote Arwings?"
"Yeah. You got one hidden away somewhere?" The fox asked dryly.
"No. But I think I may have something better."
Fox pulled out a card from his wallet and handed it to the vulpine. The stranger read it out loud.
"Fox McCloud, Mercenary Leader of StarFox." His eye's widened and looked back up to Fox, his mouth slightly agape.
"You...Your Fox McCloud?"
"The one and only I'm afraid." Fox chuckled. "Tomorrow morning, you give that to your son. Tell him to phone the number on the back and I'll personally give him a fly in a real Arwing."
The fox was speechless. He grabbed Fox's hand and shook it hard.
"Thank you Mr. McCloud. Thank you."
"It was the least I could do."
The two set up a time and exchanged information for tomorrow, wishing each other a Merry Christmas.
Fox headed back with an extra bounce in his step. He couldn't wait to see the look on Krystal's face.
Fox opened the door and closed it silently, not wanting to wake anybody up.
Slippy, Peppy and Falco had returned from the parade over an hour and a half ago and were presently sleeping. Fox was glad he kept his room door shut as they probably thought he went to bed early.
He tip toed past the other rooms, trying not to make a sound. Though he probably didn't have to worry too much as Falco's snoring could be heard from space. He finally made it to the guest room and opened the door, shutting it softly. He turned one of the desk lamps and saw the sleeping beauty snuggled in her warm blankets.
Fox smiled and sat down near her feet. Gently he reached over a shook her shoulder. Krystal's eyes fluttered open and she sat up with a yawn and a stretch. She looked over to see Fox sitting at the edge of her bed, a small grin on his muzzle.
She smiled and suddenly crawled over to him, wrapping her arms around his own, nuzzling her head into his neck.
"Xuj Fox semo ke boof mo nuhm?" She purred in his ear. Fox had no idea what she said but he melted just at the sound of her voice.
"I, uh, wanted to give you this. I know we're not suppose to open gifts until morning but I think this can be an exception." He said handing her a small wrapped box.
Krystal stared at it instantly realizing it was a gift. She clapped her hands together in glee and started to unwrap it. What was revealed was a tiny box and Krystal wasted no time in flinging off the lid.
She nearly dropped it when she saw what was inside.
Fox watched as she gently picked up her necklace not really believing it was real. "Ooi veidt ak..."
Fox softly took it from her and placed it around her neck, the latches clicking together. Krystal tenderly touched the sapphire, suddenly feeling whole again. She looked at Fox with watery eyes.
"Told you I would find it." He said. Krystal threw her arms around him, hugging herself tightly to his body. Fox hugged her back, feeling very proud of himself and happy for Krystal.
Krystal wiped the tears from her eyes and stared into Fox's. She leaned in and kissed him, her hands softly caressing his face. Fox returned the kiss but suddenly pulled away, looking down at his feet.
Krystal leaned back, her face overcome with confusion and fear.
"Fox...not want me?"
"No, no, no. I do want you Krystal, believe me. It's just..." Fox began but trailed off. He looked into Krystal's eyes wanting to say everything that was bothering him. But she would have no idea what he was saying.
"Is Fox scared?" She asked him. Fox looked away, embarrassed but nodded.
Fox sighed heavily. "Because I...I don't want to blow it again. Not with you."
"Fox not worry. I want you. You want me. There no blow it. You bring back dosbcuso. You save me from Krazoa. You give me home."
She gently took Fox's face in her hands, making him look at her.
"I want you forever."
Fox just stared at her, his feelings of fear and doubt slowly disappearing with those simple words. Once more she leaned in and kissed him. This time, Fox did not shy away.
Krystal pushed him down on his back and cuddled up to him, feeling the warmth radiate of his body. Fox wrapped his arms around this time, holding her close to him, not wanting to let go. He looked up at the ceiling thinking about everything.
He had Krystal now. He had Peppy, Slippy and Falco. They were all together here on Christmas. Suddenly, that lonely void inside him, didn't feel so big now.
Fox felt his eyelids grow heavy and eventually fell asleep with Krystal still in his arms.
As they slept, a figure made his way into the room and silently turned off the light. Gently patting both foxes on the head, he crept back out and softly shut the door.
Slippy and Falco watched from down the hall, the light go out.
"Heh. I knew it was going to happen." Slippy said.
"Everyone knew it was going to happen slime head." Falco responded. The two stood in the dark as if waiting for something.
"What the hell is taking Peppy so long to get out of there?" Falco wondered out loud.
"Get out of where?"
The two turned around and saw Peppy standing behind them with a flashlight. "Weren't you turning out the light in Fox and Krystal's room?" Slippy asked.
"I was going to but I had to get my glasses first."
"Then who..." Falco began but was cutoff by some thudding on the roof. The three looked at one another, all thinking the same thing and headed for the nearest window. They looked around the night sky and saw nothing until Slippy pointed out, "Look!"
Flying through the night air was a giant red sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer. In the driver's seat was a fat, jolly, white bearded man, dressed in red.
"I don't believe it." Falco awed. The man in red waved to them, shouting,
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"
A/N: FINISHED! Again, a thousand apologies to making you all wait such an absurd amount of time. Thank you to all who read this and to all who will. I'll now be able to focus on finishing my other StarFox story. Cya!