Cheers to my lovely, amazingly talented, awesome Secret Santa recipient: Thoughtless7! I was kind of jabbed at from outside the box since I'm not used to writing slash, so I'm praying this will be a good enough gift. Merry Christmas!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything capitalized on this page, including that quote from Elf, and Facebook.
Hey man, how's the city life? Did you forget about us yet? Has the burning bright sun shrunk your brain into raisin-sized tissue?
…Ha, I'm kidding. I hope the skyscrapers and billboards are treating you well. You didn't ask, but I'll pretend you did -- everyone here is great. The fall Music Festival sounded awesome, although they had to pull me in last minute to play the ocarina, which I learned in seventh grade and hadn't touched since…but whatever, ten points for Jack.
Oh yeah, and I won the bet. Mary is CARRYING OFFSPRING in time for old St. Nick. Er…preggo, knocked up in your language…sorry, I don't speak Facebook. But yeah, can you believe it? Told you Gray was the man. The shy chicks are the ones you have to look out for…
…and the incredibly annoying ones are the ones you should stay away from. What in the hell did you say to Popuri last summer that made her obsess over you for the past season and a half? Rick almost impaled her with a chicken foot the other day, and I felt oddly tempted to…to…hell, I don't even know.
It's weird without you here, dude. And I don't know how to say this without sounding A. like Popuri or B. incredibly gay but I miss you. Farming and swimming and screwing around just isn't the same without my best bud. What can I say -- it's almost Christmastime and the holidays make me sentimental and kind of homosexual.
…Kidding, again. Relax. Think you can take the cold and come visit? No? Pansy.
Signed, Jack in the Box
PS, it's ridiculously green here. It sucks.
"Jack!" His name could be heard the instant he pushed open the inn's doors. Ann, the waitress and daughter off the innkeeper -- 70 percent outspoken, 30 percent OCD -- teleported to his side. "I need, need, NEED your help ASAP, no backing out!"
"But I haven't even agreed to --" His voice was abandoned in the doorway as she dragged him over to the counter effortlessly. They'd always had a sort of upfront brother/sister relationship, Ann being the elder sibling, of course.
"Look, my dad decided to sponsor this random place in the city," she began to explain, not noticing that Jack shut up immediately at the mention of the city. "Little kids write to us, and he pretends to be Santa and mails them back."
"So you're basically scamming them?" he surmised.
"Something like that, yeah," she brushed it off. She set him with a stern look. "ANYWAY. My dad and I are way too busy to do this, since we have to prepare for the big Christmas banquet tomorrow and all so -- ooh, are you coming, by the way?"
"Wouldn't miss it for the world. Someone oh-so politely asked me to help send invitations, remember?" Jack raised his eyebrows, telepathically pushing the chaotic memory into her skull. "Go on."
Ann's voice turned soft and pleading suddenly. "I would hate to disappoint those poor children, and, well, Jack, since you're a fantastic writer and all, I was wondering if you could so kindly help us out…"
"Wait." His brown eyes widened, scanning hers for any sign of prank or artifice. To his dismay, there weren't any. "You want me to write the letters to the kids? Are you out of your mind?"
"Pleaase, Jack! The deadline is Christmas Eve!" Ann whined, breaking out of her subtle inquisition. He mentally noted that she did not deny, in any way, that she was out of her mind.
"That's today!" he protested.
Jack groaned; he always got stuck with these dilemmas that seemed to fall out of the sky -- or, more often, out of Ann's mouth. He backtracked on her words and paused for a second. "Wait, what was that part you mentioned about me being a fantastic writer?"
This seemed to catch her off guard. "What're you talking about?" she missed a beat.
"Well, Jack, since you're a fantastic writer and all, I've decided to force you to help me out," he imitated her in a high-pitched voice that could send cracks into the frosty window glass.
"I do not sound like that!" she retorted.
"Ann…" He shot her a levelled glare.
"…I was helping Zack out with the mail one day and a letter fell out," she finally cracked, looking skyward to downplay her story.
Jack slowly caught on. "Ann…did the letter that fell out…happen to be written by me?" He stiffened once she nodded after a moment of hesitation. "And did it happen to be addressed to the Santa Claus of summer?"
At this, she burst out laughing. "You guys have the cutest nicknames for each other," she blurted out, completely exposing herself. "Pineapple Pirate, Jack-in-the-Box, Fresh Prince of Facebook…Hahahaha." She nearly collapsed in a fit of giggles, unaware of Jack's magenta-dyed face and the way he looked like he wanted to throttle her.
"That…was classified," he muttered after almost a minute of laughing (on Ann's part) and deep breaths (on Jack's part). "How many letters of ours did you read exactly…?"
"Um…enough." Ann's business face was back on. "Okay, how about this. You help me out with these letters and I stop reading yours and Kai's."
"Is that supposed to be like a reward?" Jack said incredulously.
"Aaand I won't tell anybody about that one letter you sent the week before the Music Festival about the time you--"
"Deal," he cut in before she could finish her sentence. "When should I begin?"
She smirked. "Now would be lovely."
Dear Children from the City,
Jack's pen halted immediately, blotting the page with a small ink circle. He crossed it out. What kind of kid wanted to be referred to as "child from the city"? He'd personalize each letter if there hadn't been forty-nine; he'd counted. He'd decided at last that one generic letter for each child would be adequate.
Dear Santa's Lovely Children,
…Did that sound pedophiliac? Whatever. It wasn't definite.
Santa would like to thank you very much for writing to him.
He paused again, thinking: did Santa refer to himself in third person? …Again, whatever.
Santa loves to drink a tall, frosty glass of milk and eat the warm chocolate chip cookies Mrs. Claus bakes for him while he reads all the letters he receives.
His pen bled into the final punctuation as he scanned over the sentence. Would little kids who still believed in Santa know what "received" meant? Would the lactose intolerant kids feel bad? Was that to be considered a run-on sentence? Could this be confused with a sexist statement that women were only useful for baking and other household chores that had to do with supporting men?
…Being a writer was hard work.
He continued without pausing, Sometimes I go to the reindeer barn to read all the letters I receive aloud to my reindeer friends. I read them to the elves in the workshop, too, when they're not too busy. They all say hello!
You know, whenever I come home after a long day of sleigh-riding around in the North Pole, winding down and reading letters like yours is such a treat. Children like you make Christmastime such a wonderful, loving, and magical experience!
So, are you excited for the most fantastic day of the year? I know I am! The reindeer can hardly keep still; I keep having to send them out to play in the snow so they can let out all their energy! Even the elves are full of excitement, singing loudly as they work. Remember: the best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear!
Ho, ho, ho! I wish you a very merry Christmas!
With love from the North Pole,
Jack dropped the pen and leaned back in his chair, as if writing this had taken the same taxing amount of strength as plowing ten fields. He'd definitely quoted one of the lines from the movie Elf, but he didn't care. What mattered was he was done.
He set off from his farmhouse and toward the inn, where he'd give Ann the rough draft of the letter so she could copy it out forty-nine times. He was surprised, however, to see plump snowflakes falling from the sky when he opened his front door. They descended onto his barren fields, alive with sweet potatoes and pumpkins just a season ago, but littered with logs and weeds now. White melded in with shades of green and brown.
When he heard the soft sound of bells jingling in the distance, he rendered himself insane -- that is, until he saw Stu running around in nothing but his pyjamas, a bell in hand. When he caught sight of the farmer, he took off toward him. "Jack! Jaaaaaaaaack!"
"Stuuuu," he mimed back, awkwardly throwing his elbows up as Stu hugged his legs. "What's up, little man?"
Stu sprang back and gestured around wildly. "It's snowing!"
"I did not notice."
"Let's make a snowman."
Jack felt a child's burden creeping onto his shoulders. He backed out before he could get hooked in. "Sorry, Stu, I have to go to the inn. Why don't you make one with Elli?"
"Elli's too boring," he said with such bluntness Jack almost winced. "Please, Mr. Jack?"
"Maybe," he gave in at last. Then he caught the full laser of the child's big pleading eyes and crumbled. "Fine! Let me just give this to Ann first! Jeez."
"Yay! Thanks, Jack!" His small face lit up with an enormous smile. "I'll be waiting at the beach."
Building snowmen at the beach…a paradox within itself. "Yeah, yeah." Jack wondered how he got himself into all these situations as he trudged through the rapidly falling snow and to the inn, no more distractions.
Before you make any sun jokes, let me remind you of the huge, appropriately named farmer's tan you got last summer. And how you forgot to apply sunscreen that one time and turned as red as a lobster…and then when I accidentally punched your sunburn and you started crying. Yeah, got you there. But I won't turn this letter into a bunch of "that one time's" as much as I'd love to.
I'd be lying to say I didn't miss you too, you big ball of corn. Argh, why didn't I suspect the kinky librarian? -- and what I said to Popuri is my business. Heh.
Believe it or not, the crazy city life can be a big bore. Sure, you can see some really wild up things over here like flaming trannies parading around and celebrities hooking up at your local Starbucks, and the occasional car chase…but nothing compares to lazy, safe old Mineral Town. Yes, that was supposed to be a compliment, because I can already see you getting personally offended.
I'll see if I can come visit. It's a little late to be asking, though, don't you think? I mean, Christmas is right around the corner and the boat ride is nearly a full day's worth… So as much as I'd love to spend my Christmas on a boat…
Ah, gotta fly. The cashier is eyeballing me and the "no loitering sign" sitting blatantly beside me. Tell everyone I say hi. And tell Gray I said YOU THE MAN!
Love and Eggnog,
PS, it's totally and completely white here. I'd refer to it as a winter wonderland if I didn't hate snow. Seriously, I'm going into hibernation. I might just come visit for the sake of seeing green.
Stu's snowman construction wish had been something of a success. After Ann had heard news of it ("I'll write this out forty-nine times later") she opted to join them. The creation of Frosty, however, had escalated into much more when Jack casually tossed a pellet of snow over his shoulder and got Ann smack in the face. What ensued afterwards had been quite obvious.
And now, Jack was beginning to feel a twinge of regret, for when he woke up the next morning he did not feel filled with Christmas spirit -- he did, however, feel a fever coming on and a gravity-defying urge to sneeze.
His teeth chattered as he pulled himself up in bed; his body felt like it weighed a million tons. His neck turned robotically when he heard a rapt knock on the door. He trudged strenuously toward the door and opened it, blinding himself with colour and joy.
"Jack! Merry Christmas!!" Ann screamed, unaware of his headache that amplified the volume of her words tenfold. She blew into a red and green sound maker. "WOOO! …Um, Jack? You okay? You don't look too good." She suddenly looked ridiculous in her faux reindeer ears, standing in his doorway.
"I think Frosty put a c-curse on me," Jack managed through chattering teeth.
"Oh, no…" Ann invited herself in, shutting the door so the warmth couldn't escape. She ushered his corpse-like body back to bed. "You have to get better, Jack! The Christmas banquet at the inn is tonight!"
"C-can't come. G-gonna d-d-die."
"Not now, Ann," Jack groaned. "I'm going back to b-bed, okay? Merry…C-Christmas." He crawled beneath the covers, shivering like a leaf, not bothering to see her off.
Jack fell asleep instantly, before he even heard her leave. When he awoke again, everything was pitch dark and quiet, so that must've meant the banquet was over. His body still felt heavy and his limbs stiff -- what a way to celebrate Christmas.
The door creaked open, allowing faint moonbeams and the cold winter air to slip in. It was probably Ann, here to rub in how great the banquet was and how he should've come. He burrowed deeper into his blanket, this close to falling asleep again when he felt a hand shake his shoulder.
"Jack," Ann whispered in a low voice, shaking him once more.
"Gooway…" Jack muttered, throwing his arms over his head in the manner of a child. "Don'twannahearitAnn mmf…"
"Dude, you're speaking gibberish. Get up!" He was shaken once again, but this time, he froze. This deep voice definitely did not belong to Ann…
…Of course. He was lucid dreaming.
He shifted over and patted the unoccupied side of his pillow, eyes glued shut tiredly. He loved lucid dreaming. "C'mon," he gargled.
"…Are you thinking straight, man? How many beers did you have tonight?"
"None," Jack answered. He snuggled contentedly into his pillow as the empty space on his bed was filled by another body. "You're warm, Kai."
"Uh…thanks?" The two stayed there for at least a full minute, silent save Jack's heavy breathing and Kai's occasional tongue clicks. "So, uh…merry Christmas," he offered at length.
"Merrry mmf-mas to you too," Jack responded, tentatively sticking his bottom out and effectively forcing Kai to spoon him.
It was growing quite obvious that Jack wouldn't be forming any coherent sentences -- it wasn't even certain that he was fully conscious -- so Kai began to speak. "This was about the crappiest Christmas ever, you know. I woke up at five this morning and lugged my suitcase out of my apartment, took a taxi to the dock, and got onto the boat to Mineral Town. I was the only passenger, the boat smelled like puke, and I was frickin' freezing. Guess how long the ride was?"
"Eighteen bloody hours." Kai let out a long breath. "I took an eighteen-hour boat ride all the way to Mineral Town on Christmas just to see my best friend who is comatose. Now, Jack, I don't know what you've been doing with yourself these past two seasons, but you owe me."
"Kai?" Jack called in a muffled voice a good five minutes later.
"What?" the irritated traveler responded, already settled underneath the layers and layers of blankets.
"This is the best Christmas ever."
Kai shifted uncomfortably. "Your elbows are bony," he commented at length, still annoyed.
"C'monnn, Kai. Say it."
"Say that this is your best Christmas ever." Jack snuggled into his best friend, a bit light-headed. The only thing that ever made him act like this was either alcohol or cough medicine, neither which were currently in his bloodstream. He came to a conclusion a while later that it had been the fault of his cold.
"This is my best Christmas ever. There, you freak."
"Aww. Night, Kai."
A couple hours later, Jack awoke again. He turned his head slightly to ensure it hadn't been a dream, that Kai was really there. And he was, in the flesh -- snoring softly, swallowed by a mound of blankets.
Bells sounded ever so faintly in the distance. Jack rendered himself insane for the second time and fell back asleep, never more content with his state of mind -- and body, which was coincidentally curled around Kai's.