A Picture of Christmas

The night was dark and cold, as December nights tend to be. But the fire was warm and bright, as it danced before a pair of chocolate brown eyes, wide and engaged as an animated teen related an age-old tale.

Beyond the pair two lovers chatted quietly. Those who would never admit they loved the other, but who took a break from their…violent flirting, to enjoy the holiday cheer surrounding them all. A mother was working in the kitchen, very, very hard, getting ready for a very important holiday.

A twin-tailed fox, remembering the same story told to him many years before, and a pink hedgehog admiring the teen animating the story to young eyes so brown and wide, drank hot chocolate and sat in unsung silence. Christmas melodies tittered throughout the house like mice on tiptoe.

"And then, Santa Claus mounted his sleigh of eight reindeer…I told you the names. Do you remember?" He asked her, pausing to bite the head off a gingerbread man.

"Hmmm…Dasher, and Dancer!" The little rabbit pounced on the names, pointing at him. Sonic nodded, holding up two gloved fingers.

"Prancer…and Vixen! And Comet!" Cream continued happily, watching as Sonic chalked up three more fingers. Tails giggled into his hot chocolate, and Amy rolled her eyes. Truthfully, it was so cute to see Sonic abandon his duties, and come hang out with them at Vanilla's house.

"One of them, I'm sure, is responsible for mistletoe…" Rouge hinted, leaning towards an echidna more beat red than usual.

"Hey, no giveaways!" Sonic protested angrily, furrowing his brow at the same time Cream yelled in triumph: "Cupid!" The blue hedgehog sighed, and reluctantly raised another finger. He popped the rest of the cookie into his mouth, and glanced at Cream. "Three more." He encouraged.

"Hmmm…" Cream tapped her chin, rocking back and forth on her knees. She was wearing a warm red nightdress, trimmed with sewed-on green holly. An early present from her mother, and Amy, who had sewed the design and lace around the bottom of the dress' skirt. "Comet…Cupid…" she giggled as Sonic wriggled the fingers meant to represent Comet and Cupid. Suddenly, she gasped, grabbing his hand with both her own. "Donor and Blitzen!"

"There! And…" He held up his other hand, two already counted.

"Ummm…ummmmmmm…" Cream bit her lip, her eyes searching for the answer in her head.

"D'ya want a hint?" Sonic wondered, leaning close. Cream nodded. Sonic chuckled and reached for the cookie plate. He selected a gingerbread reindeer from the mix. Only…this one was different from the others. "Bonus cookie if you can guess…" He began to make the reindeer prance around in the air. "And if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows. All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. They never let poor--join in any reindeer games!"

"Rudolph the red nosed reindeer!" Cream cried excitedly, grabbing for the cookie. True to form, this one had a "red nose"—a small touch of red icing on the tip of its gingerbread nose. Sonic laughed.

"Why didn't you just say he had a nose the color of my fur?" Knuckles accused from an armchair, submitting to Rouge snuggling in his lap. She, too, was dressed more casually in warm sweatpants and cozy slipper-boots, a sweater replacing her usual choice of top.

"Because that was a given, and this is more fun for her." Sonic presented Cream, happily munching on the cookie.

"You wanted to make it 'fly', didn't you?" Knuckles wondered with a wise eye. Rouge's laughter, and Tails' giggling, filled the room. Finally, Tails joined in at full volume.

Sonic's ears shrunk back. "I…yes. I wanted to make it…'fly'…" He admitted sheepishly.

Amy used her voice to defend him. "Well, Cream's having fun." She pointed out. "That's all that matters." Everyone agreed. Sonic's bacon was saved.

"Story!" Cream demanded, grabbing his hands.

"Wha--? Oh, yes! Right, right!" Sonic settled in to continue his story, and Cream sat back on her ankles. "Santa mounted his sleigh, and he called all of his reindeer by name." Sonic theatrically lowered his voice, pointing out to imaginary reindeer. " 'Now, Dasher, now Dancer, now Prancer and Vixen! On Comet! On Cupid! On Donor and Blitzen!' "

"Did he call Rudolph, too?" Cream wondered, transferring her weight to one side of her, leaning on her arm.

"I'm getting there." Sonic chuckled. " 'And, on Rudolph! Lead my team through the fog!' Santa called at last to the leader of his team, the brightest reindeer of them all, my man Rudolph! And Rudolph shook his head of reindeer horns, and began to run across the ground. Santa lifted the reins, to make the reindeer jump up. Rudolph went first, and then two by two, the whole team was flying!"

"Were they lined up just how the song goes?" Cream asked excitedly, her chocolate brown eyes lighting up with a glow all their own.

Sonic nodded. "Yes. And then, Santa called out all over the world: 'Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas to all…!' "

" 'And to all a good night!' " Cream concluded, clapping as Sonic bowed theatrically.

"Thank, you, thank you! You're too kind!" Sonic announced all over the room. Everyone eventually began to laugh and clap too, even those who might've felt themselves too old to partake in childish fun. Vanilla popped in to see what all the commotion was about.

"Sonic, Cream? Are you finished with the story?" She asked, smiling.

"Yeah, we're done, mom. Did you hear how Sonic told it?!" Cream jumped up from the floor and danced over to her mother. Sonic didn't even bother to conceal his tired yawn from his other friends surrounding him. They could understand him being exhausted.

Even on Christmas, Eggman was still trying to conquer the world! And yet, Sonic had kept up the energy he was so well-known for. At least…for a while. But, even the Blue Blur deserved a bit of rest, to enjoy some warm hot chocolate, and to curl up by the fire and sleep. Sonic yawned again, and the others politely looked the other way as Amy went to sit on the floor beside him.

Very gently, she pressed her lips against his cheek. "Merry Christmas, Sonic."

Sonic ruffled her quills, her red headband accompanied by silver bells which jingled lightly as he moved them. "It ain't Christmas till midnight, but the words are appreciated all the same." He smiled cockily. "Thanks."

"No problem. So…how did Eggman's present go over?"

"A bit of a white elephant, I'm afraid. I mean, honestly. What is he going to do with a Sonic Spin that will ruin all his machines?" Sonic joked, laughing.

Amy laughed, too. "Well, I can't argue with that logic…I think."

"Logic? What logic?" Sonic snagged another cookie and licked a bit of icing off of it. "There is very little logic on Christmas."

"Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, had a very shiny nose," Amy began.

"And if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows." Sonic picked it up, smiling as he rested his head on his knee.

"All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names."

"They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games."

"Then one foggy Christmas Even, Santa came to say:"

" 'Rudolph, with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?' "

"Then how the reindeer loved him! As they shouted out with glee:"

"Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, you'll go down in history!" Sonic's grin was beyond massive at this point, and he looked to Amy with warmth. "I love Christmas." He told her.

Amy snorted. "Why? Because of ham and gingerbread?" She teased.

"What? No!" Sonic protested. Amy gave him a knowing look, and Sonic's ears flattened. "Okay…" he admitted. "Maybe a little. But, that's not the whole story."

"Oh?" Amy was genuinely surprised, as anyone would be, to find out Sonic was not just a superfast stomach; that he actually was capable of feeling.

"Yeah, see…" Sonic stretched out as far as he could without putting his feet in the fire, working the muscles in his arms to uncramp them. "Even Eggman won't start any trouble tomorrow. It's Christmas, after all! Christmas makes everyone really happy—have you ever noticed that? I mean, just look at Knux and Rouge." Amy glanced back at the two Sonic had mentioned. Rouge had gone to sleep against Knuckles' chest, and the echidna was holding her close.

"Yeah," Amy mused. "Usually they'd be fighting."

Sonic nodded. "Everyone seems a bit softer. There's less and less of a tight mental guard. That's why I like Christmas."

"Do you?" Amy wondered, swiveling her head to gaze in wonder at the shadows of the fire dancing over his face.

"Hmmm? Do I what?" Sonic's eyes never left the roaring blaze. He looked very tired now. His ears had never fully straightened out again after he'd folded them back a few minutes before, and no matter what his body (or he himself, for that matter) said, this is how you could really tell Sonic was worn down. His eyes became half lidded as he spoke.

"Do you let down your guard? I mean… you did let me kiss you."

The blue hero shrugged, scooting closer towards her. "I dunno, it's hard to tell, but…" He rested his head on her shoulder, and it became heavy in an instant. "…I think I do. Just a little."

" 'Just a little', huh?" Amy mocked him. But then, she saw that she was really getting the opportunity of a lifetime. Sonic was going to sleep on her shoulder!

"Merry Christmas, Amy." Sonic murmured before he drifted off into slumber.


--A Christmas fluff! How does you like?