AUTHOR'S NOTE: Dedicated to the beloved Norkia of LiveJournal, who has been kind enough to share her fandom with me. XD
And before anyone asks, it DOES snow on the Planet of Endless Illusion. Watch episodes 15-16, that's enough proof.
Credit for the Brownie-huggling-Dann image goes to my twisted imagination.
Snow was falling gently outside the store, borne by passing winds, but inside, it was so comfortably warm that more people were simply hanging around instead of actually shopping for the holidays. At first, the guards had calmly coaxed the non-shoppers to either buy something or leave to make way for people who had real business, but eventually, they had given up.
Such were the winter holidays on the Planet of Endless Illusion.
And at that moment, a pink-haired young woman wandered outside, away from the crowd, still grinning from ear to ear despite the cold and the packages stacked high in her arms and crammed into several shopping bags dangling from her arms. People who knew her from armor competitions waved at her; she just as enthusiastically waved back and wished them many happy holidays, sometimes calling them by name if she knew them. Quite a few groupies even came to wish her luck on her upcoming contests and strike up a bit of conversation, before she gently told them that she had something important to do.
Wrapping her violet scarf tighter, she sat down on a nearby bench and began taking inventory of the things, counting them mentally, whispering their recipients to herself and placing them on her other side. "Okay, I've got one each for the kids…one for Johanna, for Yukiko, Joshua, Carmen, Wendy, the El Dorado Folks, and…"
There was one last present at the very bottom of the pile, one wrapped in somber yet somehow stylish black and silver wrapping, and tied up with a matching, glistening ribbon. The card was customized, depicting a pink, cat-eared armor clinging to the free arm of a lanky white armor clutching a sword, both against a sunny yet snowy background. On the blade were the words, written in delicate script,
Her white-gloved finger traced the curling tips of the V in his name as the last present sat on her lap, and she sighed, a pure cloud forming before her. For a fleeting moment, she was lost in a pool of memories, every last one of them involving her and the one who called himself Van…she almost found herself in her armor once again, facing him before a mob of cheering fans and onlookers…
The sound of her name jerked her back into reality. There was someone now sitting on the only vacant spot on the bench, someone who was bundled up in a dark blue jacket and who was smiling at her.
"Joshua!" Priscilla turned to rummage around in her bags and scanned the stack of presents before thrusting an entire shopping bag in his hands. "You're still with Yukiko and the El Dora Four, right? Their gifts are in here…and yours, too. Happy holidays!"
The blond boy nodded eagerly. "Yeah…and wow, thanks! And here's your gift, Priscilla…I can still sort of remember your armor's settings and upgrades, so hopefully it'll fit Brownie. You'll see what it is!" He winked – and then caught sight of the lone present decked out in black on her lap.
"That's for Van, isn't it?"
"Yeah…I never knew what his favorite color was…" Her grin began to fade.
Joshua pointed to the card, oblivious to her gradual change in expression. "That's Brownie and Dann, right?"
"The one who designed the card was at our competition, so he remembered," said Priscilla, managing to save her smile. "Which reminds me…Joshua, have any of you seen Van lately? I…wanted to give him this…"
"I wanted to give him something too," he answered, shaking his head. "I'm sorry."
"That's all right…"
Priscilla stared up into the bright sky. The snow had ceased falling, and the wind was reduced to a gentle breeze. "I hope that wherever he is, he's having a good time." She reached into her jacket and found her locket, turning to the photo of her latched onto Van's arm.
Joshua gave her a reassuring smile. "I'm sure he is." But that smile flickered and died when he stood up and said, "It was nice seeing you…but I have to go. Someone's asked me to take care of their armor, which he's going to give to his sister on her birthday. Happy holidays again, Priscilla!"
And with that, he disappeared into a passing crowd, which dissipated in no time at all. She was once again alone with her presents, especially that black one still on her lap.
The sky stayed bright despite the cold, cloudless and blue. It almost reminded her of a tamer, cooler version of the morning when she last saw Van.
She agreed with Joshua; now that Van had finished his quest for vengeance, he was probably in a much lighter mood and could enjoy the holidays…wherever he was. After all, everyone, including Wendy, had lost touch with him…
Still, it would be nice to give him his present.