Author's Note: This is a songfic to the second verse of "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear." I wrote it as a Christmas present for my sister Razzle.
And I wonder sometimes - what is Christmas for?
Snowflakes reflected in Ayane's glasses as she walked along with her hands in her pockets. It was near midnight on Christmas Eve, and Ayane had a job to do.
She got out her Invader tracking device and checked it. The Invaders she was hunting were close by, no more than a few blocks away. Ayane put away the device and kept walking.
She stopped in front of a church where the lit windows and voices from within showed that people had gathered here to worship at the beginning of Christmas Day.
Ayane looked around, trying to see through the darkness of the parking lot. The Invaders should be right around here.
"Come on out," she said.
"FUSION..." A black-hatted Invader stepped out from behind a parked car, joined by another and then another until there were dozens of them. At that moment, the church bells began to strike midnight.
Ayane opened her jacket and pulled out a couple of the cellphones that contained her Imitation Gates. She punched buttons on the first one. "Fire Gate" showed on the screen for an instant before she threw it at the group of Invaders.
There was an explosion of swirling flame and several of the Invaders were destroyed, but Ayane knew she would have to do better. She looked around for the ringleader.
"NEW FORMATION..." Even after hearing them hundreds of times, the words sent chills up Ayane's spine. Standing where there had been nothing but ordinary Invaders a moment ago, the red Invader was calling for a combined attack as they always did.
The Invaders formed into a giant spiked ball, with the red Invader staring out from somewhere in the center, and started rolling toward the church.
"You asked for it!" Lightning-fast, Ayane pushed some buttons on her second cell phone. "How about this Gate of Light?" She threw the cellphone into the path of the oncoming ball of Invaders.
Bright rays of yellow light shot out from the cellphone in midair, blowing apart the near half of the ball and targeting the key red Invader. With an inhuman cry of disappointment he fizzled out of existence, followed by all of the other Invaders who disappeared leaving only their crystalline tokens.
The sparkling glasslike stars lay in the snow like an intentional Christmas decoration. Ayane started to pick them up as the people in the church began singing the second verse of a Christmas carol.
Still through the cloven skies they come, with peaceful wings unfurl'd;
And still their heav'nly music floats o'er all the weary world:
Above its sad and lowly plains they bend on hov'ring wing,
And ever o'er its Babel sounds the blessed angels sing.
Ayane finished picking up the tokens. She carefully closed her bag and went to find Reiji.
"How did it go this evening?" Reiji looked out of his car window and gave her a tiny smile.
"I got these," Ayane answered, smiling back even though she usually didn't. She got out her bag of tokens and showed it to Reiji.
"You've done a good night's work this evening," Reiji told her approvingly. "Now I want you to take a break for the day and enjoy the holiday."
Ayane looked at Reiji in silence for a moment, thinking about how often he said things like that and how much he really did care for her.
"You don't have to pay me for these," she said, handing Reiji the bag of Invader tokens. "Merry Christmas."
Whatever else it means - if it means anything - Christmas is for giving.