A/N: Obviously this is derived from the great Charles Dickens classic Christmas tale. Interestingly enough, as I continued to immerse myself in writing this, I discovered that Jason Morgan was a prime subject for this timeless story of despair, redemption and hope. If anyone needs to have a night like this, it's Jason! As usual, I don't have any rights to GH or its characters. Also, I believe Mr. Dickens would forgive my imitation as he was a pragmatic man of letters who wrote a wonderfully resonant human story which has been reinvented over and over again for more than a century and a half. Anyway, I know full well who is the master between the two of us and it isn't me!

Christmas Eve

Jason grumbled under his breath as he got off the elevator and headed for the front door of the penthouse. As soon as he opened that door he was going to slam it shut and neither leave the penthouse himself nor admit anyone into it for the next twenty four hours. 'Well, maybe Spinelli,' he thought to himself, grudgingly acknowledging that his roommate lived here also and therefore ought to have the right to egress and ingress. He opened the door and stepped into the living room where the subject of his recent thoughts was sprawled across the couch with a bowl of popcorn in his lap watching some old black and white movie on TV.

"Stone Cold," he said, his greeting lacking its usual animation as it had ever since his and Maxie's split last month, somewhere around Thanksgiving. That meant the kid had been moping around the place for over a month now. He was more underfoot than usual, always looking at Jason with some undefined expression of need that made Jason uncomfortable as he snapped at him to go find something useful to do.

Tonight Jason was even in less of a mood than usual to tolerate his hangdog attitude. He wasn't exactly in a great temper himself and what precisely did the kid think he could do about it anyway? Anyone could tell it had always just been a matter of time before his relationship with Maxie imploded. Sure, he was furious with the chit of a girl but that didn't necessarily translate into his being a kinder, gentler Stone Cold toward Spinelli. After all, the hacker had awarded him the nickname, didn't he get all the implications contained therein?

"Why don't you come and watch 'A Christmas Carol' with the Jackal," Spinelli shyly asked him. "It is the most acclaimed version of the classic tale with Alastair Sim portraying an inimitable characterization of the crotchety Ebenezer Scrooge. It is still early in the film, the ghost of Christmas Past has but arrived."

Jason snorted irritably. "Christmas! Hah! It's a holiday meant for little kids and even then they overdose on sugar highs and get too many presents and always end up playing with the boxes instead of the actual toys. I'm going to bed." He was stomping toward the stairs after flinging his leather jacket carelessly toward the desk chair. He didn't even bother to pick it up from the floor where it had descended with a soft sigh of liberation after being relieved of the unpleasant duty of covering Jason's hunched, tense shoulders.

A forlornly uttered "Merry Christmas, Stone Cold," floated up the stairwell behind him but Jason didn't hear it.

He was too busy muttering to himself about how much he hated this time of year. "It might be okay if it was actually just three days-Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's but no they draw it all out for a month and of a half of sheer hell. People run around grinning like idiots and acting like total strangers are their best friends." He had reached his bedroom and flinging open the door stormed into the room while still itemizing his grievances. "It's all just an endless round of parties, presents, food, and people getting drunk and caroling. Seriously, who the hell goes caroling in 2009?"

A few minutes later Jason was in the bathroom furiously brushing his teeth. He scowled at his image in the mirror, the foaming toothpaste and glaring look in his eyes making him appear like some crazed rabies victim. He spit out into the sink and continued grumbling as he wiped his mouth. "Carly wanting me to be all cheerful and full of…what the hell did she call it-Yuletide spirit-for God's sake! Ten months out of the year she's a sensible woman. She knows I don't do crowds that I don't celebrate things. Then the holidays hit and she turns into a crazy person! Her house looks like Christmas exploded. Tinsel, breakable things everywhere, gingerbread houses and the whole place smells like cinnamon and eggnog. Eggnog…doesn't she know that's a heart attack waiting to happen? Anyway, if the clogged arteries don't get you the salmonella might as well."

He had returned to his bedroom and was currently sitting on the edge of his bed, dressed in a soft pair of flannel pants and a ragged t-shirt. His irate monologue continued unabated, people who thought Jason couldn't string two words together would be astounded at his impromptu diatribe. "She's got Jax and Sonny. They love this crap. There's Jax dressing up as Santa, making a complete idiot of himself as he hands out presents and Sonny off in the kitchen cooking his famous lasagna. That should be enough for her, two men at her beck and call. I guess not though. Oh no, she's all, 'I need you, Jason. It wouldn't be Christmas without you and the kids would miss their Uncle Jason.'" He was performing a spot on imitation of Carly's voice as she half bullied, half coaxed him into doing what she wanted him to do regardless of his preferences in the matter. "Not a single word of it was true either." His tone was aggrieved as he continued his ranting. "Michael spent the night whispering to Kristina while Molly and Morgan were playing games with that wee or whatever it's called that Sonny gave them. Josslyn was the only sensible one, she was sleeping."

He grunted irritably as he reached toward the alarm, his hand poised to push the button which would set it. "Still, it would have been okay if Sam was there. Carly went crazy with the mistletoe this year but she's not going to be back until New Year's. Hope I can make it that long!" His lips curled up wolfishly as he envisioned their reunion next week. "Nope," now his attention was on the alarm clock, "Not going to set it. Be just as happy if I slept through tomorrow."

He pulled back the bedcovers and turned off the light on the nightstand. Feeling marginally better after his extended tirade, he lay down and closing his eyes tried to relax. The last words he uttered were, "I hate the holidays!"

Downstairs, Spinelli sat disconsolately on the sofa. Not even the henceforth never failing magic of the classic Christmas movie could cheer him up. He had lost Maximista, his soul mate, the light of his dreary existence. He couldn't fool himself any longer, obviously Jason didn't care either. As irascible as he usually was, his current temper was beyond the bounds of anything Spinelli could remember from all the years of living with him. What a miserable Christmas this was going to be. There wasn't a single strand of lights, any type of decorations, nor an item of holiday food within the entirety of the penthouse to bring him the slightest inkling of Christmas cheer.

Miserably, he gathered the multicolored fuzzy afghan he had brought with him from Tennessee off the back of the couch and wrapped it around himself. He lay down full length on the sofa and watched the flickering screen of the television, the grayish light perfectly complementing his despondent mood. "Merry Christmas, Spinelli," he murmured forlornly to himself, tears of self pity slowly spilling from his eyes and trickling down his face.

A/N: Reviews are appreciated