Up Your Chimney
Eventually the festivities ended. Everyone for sale was sold and the happy new owners of C-Sec's best (or at least most philanthropic) went to collect their new elves.
"Excuse me," Oriana said to various elbows and shoulders as she navigated her way through the crowd.
"Sorry," Kolyat said instinctively when she navigated right into his chest with a soft, "Oof."
Looking at each other as they both stepped back, the two of them said an awkward, "Oh. Hi," at the same time.
Oriana laughed, when the older boy dusted off invisible dust from arms. "Are you ticket 23-14?" he asked, fighting the urge to smile and doing a good job of it.
"You should know," the girl said, "You made the sale."
Kolyat nictated his inner eyelids. "I forgot," he lied.
Oriana decided not to call him on it though she knew he was lying. After he'd left that first day they'd met, she'd looked up his species on the extranet. She knew all about his memory.
"Do you remember my name?" she asked, sure she'd never introduced herself.
"It's 'Oriana,' right," he said, phrasing it as a question.
"Yeah," she replied, pleased. "And you're Kolyat Krios. I got your name in the auction."
"You, uh. You look nice," he said, rubbing the back of his neck, "I like your flower."
Oriana adjusted a petal that wasn't out of place and asked, "What do you like about it?"
You're pushing your luck, is what Kolyat wanted to say. Instead, grasping at straws he replied, "You don't see a lot of black ones around this time of year. It matches your hair, I guess."
Again Oriana didn't correct him. She'd read about the colourblindness too.
"You know," she said, "your costume isn't half bad either. I mean, yeah, green is so not your colour, but the hat is kind of cute."
Kolyat huffed. "If you like it so much, you can have it," he said, taking it off and twisting it in his hands.
"No. It's C-Sec property. They probably need it to torture people next year or something."
"And here I was getting all excited," the girl said with an exaggerated pout.
"Really?" Kolyat asked, grimacing. "I'm pretty sure I saw some at a gift shop on the Presidium. I don't think they're too expensive or anything..." He trailed off before saying accusingly, "You're only joking, aren't you?"
"Maybe a little," Oriana admitted.
The young man scoffed and rubbed his arms. "Can you wait right here?" he asked, "I need to go grab the waiver forms and I kind of want to put on a shirt. It's fucking cold in this place."
"I love a man in uniform," Oriana said, sitting down in an abandoned chair.
"Yeah. Right," Kolyat said, "You're joking again."
The drell shook his head and walked away, but not before Oriana caught him cracking a smile. The guy could actually be kind of cute, she though, you know, if you tilted your head and kinda squinted.
While she waited, Oriana looked around the room hoping to catch sight of her sister. Instead, she saw two officers who were coming straight at her. She recognized them both from the auction – a turian wearing a bunch of antlers and an asari that somehow managed to be less sexy than the universal average.
"You 23-14?" the turian asked, standing over her.
"Yes, I am," Oriana said, suppressing the urge to add, And whatever it was, I didn't do it.
"Well congratulations little lady, you've just won yourself an extra pair of elves courtesy of one 'Mrs. Lawson'. Sign here please," he said, pulling out a pen and a tablet.
"Are you sure?" Oriana asked, still a little startled.
"Check your messages, Sweetheart," the asari said, curling a slim blue finger into her beard, "I think she might have left you one."
"Oh. Uh. Sure, right." Hastily, the young woman booted up her omnitool and checked her inbox. Sure enough, there was a new message waiting for her.
I thought you might appreciate a little variety.
Oriana smiled down at the text. She was unsure of what to write in response, but felt happy all the same.
The turian interrupted her thoughts. "If it's all good," he said, waving the tablet at her, "you should sign this before we're both stolen away."
"Okay," Oriana said as she signed her name.
"Hey, what are you doing?" a reedy voice demanded as Kolyat approached the group, now fully dressed in his uniform. Looking at the girl, he said, "You're signing the wrong thing."
"Cool your jets, Tiger," the turian said, throwing an arm around the boy's shoulder, "We're a special delivery for the human. It's all very legit."
Kolyat made a face and shrugged off the man's arm. In a voice that was equal parts dismay and annoyance, he asked, "Why would she buy you.?"
"That's what I asked," the asari said, "Why would anyone buy him?"
Kolyat looked like he had something to add, but then thinking better of it, closed his mouth. This gave the turian time to wink at Oriana, and bobbing his head like a duck, offer, "What can I say? Ladies love 'em jingle-balls."
"They're bells," the asari said, as she pulled the bottom of her very short, very shiny latex dress down a few inches. "We've been over this." She then pulled the top of her dress back up a few inches.
"Are you going to be okay?" Oriana asked her, eyeing the tight red tube she was wearing.
The asari gave a strange, but almost ladylike grunt before saying, "I'll be fine, Sweetheart, thanks for asking. It's just a shame we apparently didn't have the budget for a couple more inches of fabric but were completely down with paying for all this extra catering bullshit. I mean honestly, is a chandelier really necessary?" She gave her dress another tug. "Goddess," she said huffily, adjusting the top of her dress again, "I swear one of the girls is going to escape."
"What?" Kolyat asked, sounding startled. He'd since stepped to Oriana's side, as if he didn't want to be associated with the other pair. "I didn't know you had daughters."
The two women both exchanged a look before bursting out into laughter. The turian joined in only seconds later, snorting, and filling the air with a cheery jingling as his head shook.
"Hey!" Kolyat said sharply, unsure of what was going on but acutely aware that he was the butt of some sort of joke. "Shut up."
This only made the three of them laugh harder. Eventually, when the giggle fit had run its course, the turian turned his attention to Oriana.
"You know," he said, propping his elbow on Kolyat's shoulder and leaning up against the boy, "by human standards, you're a pretty decent looking young lady."
Kolyat's arms went up and he shoved the other man off of him again. "Don't do that," he said frowning.
"God, Celsus, you're even creeping me out. Lay off the poor kid," the asari said, giving her dress another stern tug. "And your lines are awful, by the way."
"Some people just don't appreciate class anymore," the turian said with a sniff. Then looking back at the human, added, "the drell's a good kid. A crap shot, but still a good kid. Don't worry about his bad attitude, he's decent enough once you get to know him."
"I don't think he's so bad," Oriana said with a little smile, looking up at the drell. Kolyat didn't return the look; he was too busy staring at the fascinating patterns that weren't in the wallpaper.
The turian grinned. "Well then! If everything's settled, me and the cranky lady here are going to go hand in your forms. You need anything?"
"No, I'll be fine," Oriana replied, "Thanks."
"Great. We'll leave you two aliens alone then." The turian winked. "Try to keep your hands to yourself while Mommy and Daddy are gone." The wink soon turned into a wince when the asari hit him.
Oriana looked at Kolyat who had his jaw set and was staring very intently into the chandelier now. He didn't say anything until the the two bickering officers had left and were out of earshot.
"They're crazy," he finally said scornfully.
"Aw, I think they're fine. Kind of funny actually," Oriana said while fixing her hair and accidentally bumping her arm against his side, "Oops,"
Kolyat looked at her and blinked his double eyelids again, "Don't worry about it," he said, not bothering to move away.
"You know," the girl offered, looking sideways at him, "I think they could be kind of cute together actually"
"Now you sound crazy," he said, probably only kidding.
There was a pause when having run out of things to say, both teens went quiet and looked everywhere but at each other. Eventually Kolyat broke the silence, asking, "Are you rich or anything? Or is it that you really just like supporting security on the Citadel?"
"What?" Oriana asked, not following at all.
"Even though you got the weird ones, buying all of us couldn't have been cheap. How did you afford it?"
"Oh that," Oriana said, waving her hand dismissively, "No, my sister bought them. But you? That was totally all me."
"Really?" Kolyat felt his ego beginning to swell.
"Don't let it get to your head," she said, poking his arm playfully, "Of the three, you were cheapest."
"Would you've paid more?"
"You say that a lot."
This earned him another playful poke and another simple, "Maybe."
Kolyat snorted. "So what's the plan? How are you going to have us help out the 'community slash charity organization of your choice?'"
"We're going to be spreading good cheer," Oriana informed him, beaming.
"What? How?" Kolyat demanded, suddenly sounding so incredibly suspicious that she wanted to pinch the cheeks he didn't have.
"Well, my Mom is part of this church group. They go carolling through the wards around this time of year, and Ireally don't want to have to go with her. So that's where you all come in."
"Hold it," Kolyat said frowning and holding up his hands. "I do not sing."
"Don't worry about it," Oriana said, "neither can anyone else in the group."
"Oh gods. And I have to do this all day? "
"You get hot chocolate after," the girl offered enticingly.
"Why would I want melted chocolate? That sounds disgusting."
"Oh my god. You've never had it? You're going to love it. Seriously. It's like, literally the best thing ever!"
"'Literally?' I kind of doubt that."
"No, really. I will personally serve you, and be there when you realise you can't live without it."
"What do I get when you're wrong, and I hate it?"
"I'm never wrong," Oriana said, unknowingly sounding a lot like her sister.
"We'll see." the boy said, looking down at her.
"Good," she said, "It's a date."
"Yeah it is." Kolyat gave her a confident grin, "You're gonna to be sorry."
"Oh I don't think so," Oriana said, returning the smile.