The Warmth of Your Love's
Like the Warmth of the Sun
And This Will Be Our Year
Took a Long Time to Com.
Don't Let Go of My Hand
Now the Darkness is Gone
And This Will Be Our Year,
Took a Long Time to Come.
This Will Be Our Year~ Ok Go
As predicted, Christmas Eve arrived the next day with all its usual fanfare and last minute panic. Despite the ordeal of the previous night, the factory was pretty much business as usual. All the elves were in a remarkably good mood given what had happened and, with the boogie threat under control, were completely focused on the last remaining Christmas prep at hand. The slack that had accumulated was quickly picked up, thanks to the majority of the departments being ahead of schedule, and the factory was on track to a timely finish to the season.
Fiona walked down the main hallway of the factory, humming nothing in particular, and ignoring the limp in her step. She had just finished talking with Curtis and was given the good news on the status of the work left. Soon, the sprite reached her destination and couldn't help but laugh at what she saw. Posted in front of the door she had intended to walk through was a surly looking elf in a blue and white uniform. When he saw Fiona he smiled and unfolded his arms. "So, Santa assigned you to watch so the patient wouldn't try to escape, eh, Mitch?" She asked
Mitch, the elficer in question, shrugged. "Apparently, Big Red got worried that's what he'd do."
"Can I go in and see him? I mean, am I on the authorized guest list?" she said, with a hint of sarcasm. "I promise I won't try to bust him out. I didn't bring a cake with a file in it or anything like that"
"Besides the big guy, you're the only other name on my list." Mitch smiled, opening the door and letting Fiona into the head elf's bedroom.
Fiona thanked him and closed the door behind her. Before she turned around she heard Bernard's voice but he wasn't addressing her. "I don't care what he said Curtis, he needs to be done."
Fiona rolled her eyes as he continued ranting. She calmly made her across the room eyes darting about, only resting momentarily on the various gadgets and gizmos that inhabited the space. The room screamed Bernard from the bold but natural color scheme to the carefully arranged curios to the blueprints in various stages tacked on the walls. Bored with the scenery, Fiona turned her gaze toward Bernard who was still jabbering away to Curtis.
Bernard saw her coming, his eyes getting big for a moment with a flash of sudden doom, but he continued ranting into the walkie talkie headset he had connected to his number two elf. He was sitting up in his bed with papers strewn across him like an extra layer of blanket. Fiona walked closer, her arms folded behind her back and her face blank. When she reached the side of his bed she sat down next to him.
Bernard suddenly shrunk under the weight of the glare she bestowed upon him. "Hold on a second Curtis," he squeaked out. Bernard cleared his throat and lamely said, "This isn't what it looks like."
Fiona's eyebrow quirked as she continued to glare at him. "Give me that," she calmly said, holding out her hand to him.
The elf's eyes flicked back and forth between her face and her hand several times before he slowly reached for his ear earpiece. He took it off, careful to not make any sudden movements, and placed the walkie in her outstretched hand. Fiona curled her fingers around the device as if to simply crush it in a vice grip. Instead, she brought it up to her own pointed ear, attached it soundly and spoke into the mouth piece. "Curtis, it's Fi."
The elf on the other line gulped audibly. "Hi Fiona…"
"Curtis, what did I tell you about bugging Bernard?" she cut him off. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Bernard looking at her worriedly.
"But I didn't do it Fi!" Curtis spouted. "You told me not to bug him and I wasn't going to and then he got a radio somehow and told me he wanted to know what was going on and I couldn't stop him."
Fiona let him prattle on a few more seconds about how he wasn't at fault before she decided to stop him. "That's what I figured," she sighed, rubbing at her left temple and trying not to roll her eyes. Not being able to hear the other side of the conversation, Bernard simply smiled nervously and waited in anticipation. "Don't worry about it Curtis," Fiona continued. "I'm taking over the airwaves for a bit so just relax and only call me if there's an emergency."
When she had finished she looked at Bernard with her arms crossed over her chest. "So what's your side of this?"
"I didn't, I tried to, and he…" he faltered, knowing he was trapped.
"You just what?" she chided. "You can only give orders, can't follow them? Histmas told you to relax!"
He looked down despondently at his hands, fiddling with them like a child being scolded. "I know that, Fi, it's just," he looked up at her with sad brown eyes, "It's Christmas Eve."
He didn't have to explain it further than that. After working tirelessly for almost twelve straight months, it was terribly twisted for him not to get to participate in the big day. It would be like if Cupid missed Valentine's Day or the Easter Bunny missed Easter. Though Bernard wasn't the legendary figure behind the holiday he was one of its most integral parts. Between this and all the other boogie escapades it was as if the fates had conspired not to let him see the fruits of his labors. With a sympathetic nod, Fiona moved over next to him, putting her arm around him and letting him rest his head on her chest. She stroked his arm reassuringly and said, "I know, B. I'm sorry."
Nothing else was said and they sat quietly for a while, resigned to their individual thoughts. Eventually, Bernard asked Fiona about the current state of the factory. She teased him figuring he'd already gotten all the information from Curtis but then told him what little she knew. Everyone was recovering well. The wrapping elves that had been misplaced during the fight had been found in one of the supply closets, teleported by the boogie. They were all shaken but no worse for wear. Angelica had recovered almost as soon as Terrance had been dispensed with thanks to the proximity of the holiday and its' magic. She had taken off soon after, having holiday cheer to spread in preparation for Christmas Eve and day. The spirit had promised to be back in time for the big holiday feast the next day.
As Fiona began to tell him about the most recent productivity projections, the device in her ear called out to her. She answered it calmly but Bernard still reacted with worry, lifting his head and staring at her imploringly. The whole thing might have been cute if she wasn't sure he was going to have a heart attack from stressing himself out. Luckily, the question had been a simple one about where the excess coral colored ribbon was and there was soon radio silence again. Fiona looked down at Bernard, waiting for him to start another upset rant about not being able to do anything but it didn't come. She continued to stare at the top of his head until he finally broke. "Can I just run a few numbers?"
Fiona rolled her eyes pulling away from him. "What is it with you and numbers?" she muttered, standing up from the bed and handing him back his earpiece. "Go ahead. Stress yourself out. See if I care!" She threw her arms up in the air in mock disgust.
He smiled despite her rant. "Thanks Fi."
"Just know this, Mr. Head Elf," she said, a wicked grin playing across her features. "If you insist on not listening to me, then you will be punished."
Bernard looked at her questioningly. "How so?"
Fiona's Cheshire smile remained in tact as she leaned close to him, fixing her turquoise eyes on his face and making him wary for even asking. "If you're not going to relax than I'm not going to kiss you anymore."
"Seriously?" he asked. Bernard began to wonder if he was in fact dating a 14 yr old girl rather than a centuries old spirit of spring. She nodded her head, gaze not wavering and face showing just how proud she was of her idea. "I'll believe it when I see it," he said, attempting to close the distance between them.
Fiona moved away with a triumphant laugh letting him fall forward. "Believe it, B. Calm down and I'm all yours, otherwise… well it'll be a cold cold Christmas for you won't it." Bernard frowned, as she ran a far to gentle hand across his cheek. "I have to help Carol with the party. I'll see you later," She said and flitted out of the room knowing that while her plan wouldn't stop him entirely it might at least slow him down a bit. That alone might stop him from giving himself an aneurism and that was enough for her.
"Fi, I know you're tired," Carol said, walking over to the spring spite. The sprite in question was currently perched atop a medium sized ladder leaning on the top wrung and staring at a blank wall. Fiona blinked herself back into the present and looked down at the blonde a few feet below her as she continued speaking, "You really don't have to worry about doing that."
Fiona shook her head. She and Carol had been working for the last hour to ready the ballroom for the annual Christmas Eve party. The room was large and between decorating and getting all the refreshments and snacks ready it had become an arduous process despite the use of magic. Righting herself on the ladder, Fiona traced a large circle onto the wall in front of her. As it was completed, green leaves formed a large wreath along the trail that had been traced. Fiona pointed to a few choice spots and red flowers sprung to life at her touch. Happy with her work, she dusted her hands off and descended the ladder. "Now I'm done," She told Carol with a triumphant smile. "What else is left?"
Carol grabbed a long list from the buffet table next to her and quickly perused it. "Well, that's the last of the decorations. I think the last thing is just to helping Judy bring over the other desserts"
"I can do that."
"Are you sure?"
"It's no problem Carol. Plus, you need to go spend some time with your husband before he leaves for the night. It is your anniversary after all." Carol smiled sheepishly and thanked the sprite before leaving. Fiona folded up and moved the ladder back against the wall, did a final check of the room then headed for the kitchen. When she made her last turn before reaching the kitchen she was surprised to see Jack walking toward her.
"Hey," she said simply. "I thought…"
"You thought I left again, I know," he finished, with a grin. "I did actually, but I realized I need to talk to you."
It hardly ever happened and she had only witnessed it twice before, but Fiona knew Jack was at a loss for words. He surprised her, taking her hands in his own. They were cold, but not unpleasant. "Fiona, I just need you to know. You have to know that I didn't set that boogie on you. I wasn't trying to hurt you or the elf or even trying to take over Christmas for once."
Fiona shook her head. "I didn't think that for a second. If I recall, I told Terrance just that when he insinuated you did."
"I know but I…"
"Jack, I know you well enough to know you wouldn't have done something like that. You're a frozen jerk but you're not that evil," she teased then placed a hand on his chin, tilting his head so his blue eyes finally met hers. "Aside from that, if you had been at fault, you wouldn't have tried to help save us."
Jack finally smiled giving her hand a reassuring squeeze. "Thank you for understanding."
"You're welcome," Fiona said, hugging the nymph. "Now hurry up and go bring winter to the world. A lot of people aren't going to be happy if they don't have a white Christmas."
Jack shook his head and turned around as if to leave. "Oh but Fi," he called over his shoulder making the sprite pause. "Just because I was on relatively good behavior this year doesn't mean I'm not going to try even harder to get myself a holiday next year." He smiled over his shoulder at her with a signature wink and then disappeared.
The day continued uneventfully which was a relief to all those involved. Soon it was time for Santa to take his traditional flight. The elves all gathered in the town square where the sleigh sat ready to go. Santa gave a rousing speech, thanking everyone for their efforts in both bringing Christmas to the world and saving the factory. He kissed Carol promising not to be home too late and then he and his eight reindeer took off into the sky to thunderous cheers.
As everyone continued mulling about, Carol grabbed Fiona and Judy and the three hurried to the ballroom. Fiona waited outside while the kitchen elf and Mrs. Clause put the finishing touches on the décor. Leaning against the door, Fiona adjusted the straps of her emerald dress wondering if it and her red hair fit the Christmas party theme well enough. When she looked up she realized that almost every elf in the factory was standing in front of her waiting patiently.
Carol slid out of the ballroom with impeccable timing and quickly welcomed the elves reiterating what her husband had said earlier. She motioned to Fiona and they flung the doors open wide letting the elves into the end of season Christmas party.
The elves took to the festivities immediately, excited to get to celebrate their work. There was dancing, a live band, a few games and plenty of food for the small army. Fiona crept along the outskirts of the party, smiling to herself. Especially with everything else that had befallen them this year, everyone in attendance deserved this. It was a relief to see a happy, work free, stress free environment.
"Just the person I was looking for," Fiona heard a voice behind her say. She turned around to see Mother Nature.
"Hi Nat," She greeted the legendary figure. "Merry Christmas."
"And the same to you. I believe you have something for me."
Fiona nodded and reached into the side of her dress pulling out the light stone; the woman looked at her questioningly. "I didn't have any pockets." She explained as Mother Nature took the stone from her with a smirk. "Can you do me a favor and get that out of here as soon as possible. Now would be more preferable."
Mother Nature obliged, waving her hand and vanishing in a poof of her usual green and gold glitter. Within seconds she was back standing in front of Fiona. "It's taken care of."
"Good," Fiona said, continuing to meander along the perimeter of the room; Mother Nature followed her. "I don't think I can handle fighting him a third time."
Mother Nature put a hand on Fiona's shoulder stopping her in her track. "Fiona, I'm sorry you had to go through all this. If I had known it was going to go this way, I wouldn't have asked you to help in the first place."
Fiona shrugged her off, attempting a playful smile. "Hey, you didn't know. It's not like I thought you were trying to off me or anything." Mother Nature looked at her pointedly, not quite appreciating the humor. "Nat, it's not a big deal. We stopped him and we made it through Christmas. Everyone's all right and that's all we can ask for, right?"
Mother Nature sighed. "When did you start taking such a positive outlook on life?"
"It doesn't have something to do with a certain elf by any chance, does it?"
Fiona looked away. "So you heard about that?"
"Fiona, I'm Mother Nature, I know everything!" the woman laughed. "Plus Cupid's been going on about it ever since the council meeting. He can't affect other Council members with his magic, but he can spot love from a mile away and he won't shut up about it."
Fiona stifled a giggle. "I'm sorry you had to put up with that."
Mother Nature waved her off, "I'm just glad you're happy, Fiona.
"I most definitely am!"
"Well maybe you should tell him that," Mother Nature said, indication someone behind Fiona.
The spring sprite spun around and smiled when she saw Bernard waiting behind her. It was rare to see him at the season end party as he and Curtis were the only elves still busy on Christmas Eve. They usually spent the night in the radar room keeping in contact with Santa to make sure nothing went wrong with his flight. Fiona excused herself from Mother Nature's company and hurried over to him. "What are you doing here?"
Bernard's eyebrow rose. "Just because I'm head elf I'm not allowed to join the party?"
"I didn't mean that," Fiona said, shaking her head furiously, her curled red hair bouncing. "It's just you hardly ever come by."
"I don't usually have a reason," He said, offering her his hand.
A smirk played across her face as she accepted the hand, "If I'd know all I had to do was date you to get you to ask me to dance than I would have done it years ago."
She couldn't see his face but she knew Bernard was rolling his eyes as he led her to the dance floor just in time for the band to start the next number. It was a Christmas song, naturally, in three quarter time and the couples on the floor quickly fell into a simple but elegant waltz. Fiona laughed in pure delight as Bernard spun her in a tight circle before pulling her back close to him. Her hand rested on his shoulder, his on her waist, their other hands intertwined. Their eyes locked on each other their feet not missing a beat. They had danced together before but something was different about this time; it was the first time their real feelings for each other were known. Fiona leaned closer, resting her head on his chest and kicking herself for how stupid she had been to put off being this close to him for so long.
The song began to end and they pulled inches apart looking back into each others eyes. Not caring who was watching and ignoring any kind of decorum or the "no affection" decree she had made earlier, Fiona threw her arms around Bernard's neck and kissed him passionately. They reluctantly broke apart and hurried off the floor so as not to cause a roadblock for the other dancers.
"I probably should go check on, Curtis," Bernard grumbled, when they reached the doors of the ballroom. "I'm sure he's freaking out I've been gone this long."
"I figured you were going to say that," Fiona said, making a face to show her distain for his need to leave. "Thanks for the dance."
Bernard smiled. "No thanks needed. It's not like I want you dancing with anyone else. It's my job to fill up your dance card from now on."
"I really really like that idea," Fiona said. "I'll come bug you guys once this all starts winding down."
Bernard nodded, took her hand and kissed it lightly before opening the door and making his exit. Fiona watched the doors swing shut and let out a small, content sigh. She turned around, still smiling, only to see Carol and Mother Nature watching her. "Seems the rumors weren't exaggerated all that much." Mother Nature playfully chided, as Fiona joined the women. "I definitely need the full story now." And with that Fiona began answering the head Legendary Figure's questions about her new beau.
Fiona stifled a yawn as she walked the deserted halls of the factory a few hours later. She covered her mouth with her free hand, the other busy holding the black heels she had, moments ago, mercifully freed her tired feet from. Opening the door to the radar room, she blinked several times, trying not to let her brain overload from the lights and sounds coming from the various electronics. She shook her head and looked around spotting Curtis sitting in a large, plush green chair near the middle of the room. "Where's Bernard?" she asked, assuming he had gone on a cocoa run or something similar.
Curtis rolled his eyes and pointed across the circle of furniture around him at a sofa. There was the head elf, curled up with a colorful afghan blanket and sleeping soundly. "I think the exhaustion finally won out." Curtis commented, as Fiona walked to the couch and sat down next to Bernard's head. "We were just talking about some improvements for next year and he konked out."
"You're telling me I tried all day to get him to sleep and you talk to him for five minutes and he finally gets bored enough he listens," Fiona teased.
Curtis started to retort, but the radio next to him buzzed to life with Santa's voice. As he attended to it, the situation dubbed "laughing all the way", Fiona looked down at Bernard. She lightly brushed his dark curls from his face causing him to stir ever so slightly. He didn't actually wake up, but readjusted himself so his head was in her lap. This is going to be another long night Fiona thought, leaning back against the couch and trying not to let sleep overcome her as well.
The night wore on, slowly but surely. After a while Carol joined Curtis, Fiona and the unconscious Bernard making the usual Christmas Eve group complete. The three made small talk for a while their topics ranging from how the party had ended to a more detailed account of the previous day's boogie disaster to factory productivity. When a purposeful lull hit the conversation Curtis turned to Fiona. "Can I ask you something, Fi?"
"What are you guys going to do when spring comes?" Fiona's face fell and Curtis quickly back peddled. "I'm sorry! I've just been curious. I didn't mean to upset you!"
Fiona shook her head. "No, it's all right," she tried to assure him. "We just…we haven't really talked about it much. Postponing the inevitable I guess. I think for now, the plan is I'll stay here as long as possible, leave in March for spring and come back around September."
"And I'm sure Bernard can visit you during spring," Carol added. "It's not like it gets crazy busy around her until August at the earliest."
"Right," Fiona said, absentmindedly playing with the sleeve of Bernard's shirt. "It won't be too bad. We'll just play it by ear." Saying it out loud made it actually sound bearable and she was okay with that.
"Well good!" Curtis proclaimed, wiping his brow in an overdramatic fashion. "That plan sounds like a good one to me and if it'll keep Bernard happy. And if he's happy than everyone around here is happy. Plus he won't be randomly and irrationally mad at me for no reason."
"Well, I'm glad our plans are also beneficial to you, Curtis." Fiona said, with a smirk.
Bernard didn't rejoin the waking world until the night shift was almost over. The others were deep in a third round of Go Fish when he finally began stirring. When he did come to, they had to quickly calm him down; assuring him he hadn't missed anything of great importance.
With yet another premature heart attack averted, everything continued in its normal uneventful manner. They burned through several card games from canasta to gin and drank enough cocoa to give a mortal diabetes.
Around six am Scott's voice crackled through the radio with a call of "To all a goodnight". The signal meant he was coming in for a landing and the late night vigil could come to an end. Carol left the room first, excited to see her husband after his big night. Bernard told Curtis he would catch up with him and the number two elf left as well. Once he was gone, Bernard helped Fiona up to her feet. She yawned, covering her face with her hands. "When did you sleep last?" Bernard asked, his concerned tendencies always at the forefront.
Fiona shook her head. "I figured since you were getting all the sleep around here, I'd try a roll reversal."
"You didn't answer my question."
"Cause you're not going to like the answer. I slept for about three hours after the boogie thing and I haven't slept since then."
"You weren't kidding! Go get some sleep." Bernard ordered.
"Yes, sir," she said, giving him a mock salute.
"Nice to know sleep deprivation doesn't affect your sense of humor, Fi." He said, before kissing her on the cheek. "If I'm done here quick, I'll stop by."
Fiona hadn't found herself more excited by the idea of her suite in a very long time. It and the gateway to the sleeping world it supplied were far too exciting an idea to her tired mind and body. She changed out of her party dress and got ready for bed before practically diving into the blanketed oasis. As she began to pull the covers over herself, she nearly jumped out of her skin as Bernard appeared out of thin air a few feet away from her. He stumbled and fell onto the bed. "Bernard," the sprite cried out, scrabbling over to him, "What are you doing?"
He mumbled something unintelligible into the comforter that Fiona managed to decipher after a bit of thinking. "I don't care if you were trying to get here before I fell asleep. Your magic's not 100% yet!"
Shakily getting up on his own accord, Bernard sat on the edge of the bed and looked at her guiltily. "Does that mean you don't want your Christmas present?" he asked, pulling a small box from behind his back and placing it in front of her.
Fiona rolled her eyes. "I didn't say that," she said, grabbing a small bag from off her nightstand and handing it to the elf.
It had been a tradition for longer than they could remember for Bernard and Fiona to exchange gifts on Christmas morning. It always happened after "Santa Watch" had ended and it never mattered how tired either of them were; tradition was tradition. This year it was Bernard's turn to go first. He opened the bag, pulling out various colored tissue paper and the actual gift inside. It was a long scarf of deep burgundy and gold and matched his favorite shirt perfectly. "You made this?" he asked.
Fiona nodded. "Didn't know I could knit, did you?"
"No, I did not," Bernard said, tossing the scarf around his neck. "Thank you."
"My pleasure," Fiona said, taking the box he had placed in front of her and starting to unwrap the purple and blue paper. Inside was a small black jewelry box. Fiona eyed him suspiciously as she opened the box and extracted its contents. In her hands she held a black chocker necklace. Hanging from the middle of it was a silver charm in the shape of a rose. The petals were inlaid with ruby colored stones and the leaves with green. "You made this." She stated.
"Guilty as charged." He said, putting his hands up in defeat. Bernard stood up stretching his arms over his head and glancing at the door.
"Thank you," Fiona said replacing the necklace in the box and then crossing her arms over her chest. "But where do you think you're going?"
"I was just…" he sputtered to no avail.
"No, you're staying here tonight." She watched as his eyebrow rose and tried not to let on how much she loved that perplexed expression. "Look, it's late, you barely got over here was it was. I don't want you walking home and passing out in the snow and then never being found again. And I don't want you teleporting again and something going wrong and your legs ending up detached from your body because I'm sorry, I'm superficial and I just don't think I can deal with half a boyfriend."
"All right, all right, you convinced me," he laughed, sitting back down in the empty space on the bed.
Fiona, smiled, pleased with herself as Bernard lay down next to her. She moved closer to him, putting her arm across his chest. "Plus it's our first Christmas together and I'll be darned if I'm spending it alone."
He chuckled, kissing the top of her head. "Merry Christmas, Fi."
"Merry Christmas, Bernard," She sleepily replied, snuggling closer to his chest and quickly falling asleep. Bernard stayed awake a while longer. He held Fiona close, listening to her heart beat, her slow breathing and the steady ticking of an unseen clock.
The seasons would change soon and with spring would come new uncertainty for the two of them. He didn't see it mattering that much. Even if they weren't together physically they were finally together on a far deeper level and that was enough. With that thought calming his mind, Bernard pulled Fiona closer ready to sleep and ready for whatever might come next.
AN: Sweet fancy Moses it's done! It's actually finally done! I cannot believe it. I know I'm like a month later than I told you all I'd be with it and for that I apologize. I think it was a combination of not knowing how to end this and not wanting it to be over (oh and trying to post for the last week and having freak out on me). As I've said before, I've been working on this story off and on for 3+ years now so it's kind of a big deal!
This may be the end of the story, but it's not the end per say. I actually have a lot of wacky ideas that I've cooked up for these characters, but I have to actually write them and I can promise you nothing on that front. I also might get around to that interesting fact thing I talked about a few chapters back. I love this fandom a lot and I'm reluctant to let it go so if you'll all have me, I'd like to stick around some more :D
On another note: I really appreciate every one of you that took the time to read and/or review this little tale of mine and I sincerely hope you enjoyed it. I hope you forgive the cliché's, the non-beta-ed mistakes, the semi-Mary sue-ness, and anything else of that nature and that you just had fun reading it. I know I loved writing it!
With that I bid you ado and til next time ^_^