Arthur Christmas: Scrooged

Chapter 1: Christmas Lights

Christmas 12:03 A.M. Chicago, Illinois United States of America

Bryony sat in her chair on the upper deck of the EVIE sipping her hot chocolate. This was her one night out of the Gift-wrapping Battalion and she made a point to enjoy it. The huge red chair next to her was empty as per usual, since Santa always made a point of trying to deliver as many of the gifts as he could personally.

Well, Santa was better known to her and the rest as Arthur. In fact, most of the time she forgot to call him by his proper title- not that he minded. Arthur wanted none of the elves to think of him any differently than they did before he took the job. Everyone looked him differently though, because now they had all seen his heart. Arthur was Christmas Spirit embodied. He was-

"Bryony!" one of the elves from below barked over the speaker in the dashboard. She sighed and clicked the intercom button.

"What mess has he got himself wrapped up in this time?"

"We were lifting him out when he got himself strung in some Christmas lights over the street." That sure sounded like Arthur. She had forgotten one important detail- he was as clumsy as could be. She set her hot chocolate on the dashboard (which she technically wasn't supposed to do, but tosh) and rose out of her chair.

Ever since the first- Saint Nicholas- an elf was chosen to travel with Santa and provide him with any assistance he needed. Even though now there was an army all going at once Arthur still had to choose one to be his assistant- oh wait- he insisted it was called equal now. Of course he had chose Bryony after their adventure three years ago. So on Christmas Eve she got to fly with Arthur and essentially bail him out whenever he got in trouble- which happened at least once a year… at least.

"Tell him I'll be down in a minute." She ran back to the elevator, swiftly descending to the drop-zone. He was lucky his brother back in Mission Control, Steve, had allowed time for this sort of thing to happen. She was clicked into a harness and vaulted out of the EVIE down into Chicago ready to help Arthur out yet again.

Christmas 12:07 A.M. Streets of Chicago

"Silent night, holy-"Molly flipped the radio off in annoyance. There had been far too much Christmas music playing for the past two months and she was officially sick of it. She was sick of the whole season in general. Though she never had been one for cheer around the holidays.

Her car cruised through the city and she couldn't help but note how quiet everything was for Chicago. No cars were on the streets, no one was outside, and it even somehow seemed darker than usual. But perhaps it was just the lack of sleep talking. Molly thought back over her week and realized her hours of sleep had been made up entirely of short naps. But she had to close out the case if she was getting that promotion come January. Being a partner at a law firm had been her only goal in life since she got herself straightened out and into college. So she was the girl who worked through Christmas Eve and into Christmas in her empty office to get the job done.

Molly suddenly noticed something peculiar about one of the rows of tacky lights hanging above the street and for some reason felt compelled to pull her car over. She stepped out- her heeled boots sinking into the snow as she clutched her purple coat tightly around her. At least she had her hat and earmuff on. It was freezing! She again looked at the lights and noticed what was odd- there was a person dangling from them.

"Hello," she shouted up. There was a squeak of alarm as the person realized she was there and tried to… hide himself? "I can see you, you know?"

"Just ignore me. Go about your evening," a very high and excited voice came from above.

"Listen, I've had a real long day and want to go home to sleep. But I'm not going to leave some guy in a string of lights. How'd you even get up there?"

"Someone will be coming along very shortly to handle the situation. Go home and have a Happy Christmas!" The sheer amount of joy in his voice left Molly considering driving off, but she held her ground.

"Let me call the police." She pulled out her ever present i-Phone.

"No!" Then came a snap and the lights were sent tumbling to the ground, Molly herself being crushed by the person in the process. As he rose to his feet she finally got a good look at him. He was a very tall gentleman in a red jacket with red pants and big black boots. He had a quite large nose and scruffy brown hair. "Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry." He pulled Molly to her feet and dusted the snow off her. "Are you okay?"

"Peachy. Well, now that you're down I'd best get going." She turned and started back for her car.

"What's your name?" She turned back to look at him as he smiled- exposing a gap in his teeth. "I'm Arthur."

"Molly Scrooge." And then he started giggling uncontrollably. "Ha ha, what is this elementary school all over again?"Molly, I bet Jacob Marley's coming for you tonight!' "Molly, how's Tiny Tim?' 'Oh, Molly that's the reason you hate Christmas!'" His laughter stopped abruptly.

"You… hate Christmas?" The level of hurt in his voice cut her for a moment, but then she shook it off. Why did she care? Why was she even here still talking to this guy? Obviously something was wrong with him if he was strung up there.

"Save me the speech. Good-night," she said in her clipped lawyer voice as she climbed into her car.

"Okay. I hope I see you again!"

"I doubt it," she huffed under her breath as she drove off back towards her apartment- realizing how cold and wet she was. Just chalk that experience up to why Christmas was such a horrible holiday.

Christmas 12:11 A.M.

Arthur let out a huge sigh the moment her car was out of sight. He believed he might have done it. She probably had no clue who he was. Steve would have been so mad at him if he blew it. Think of all the children he would have disappointed!

Still, Arthur couldn't help but feel sorry for the girl he had just met. She seemed to be a very unhappy person who didn't really have anyone to care about her. How else could she hate Christmas? But maybe he was reading too much into the situation… or her name. Molly Scrooge. That was a pretty funny one.

"Arthur- Santa are you okay?" Bryony called as she dropped down behind him. She took in the lights. "I'd better get those fixed and then we need to get moving. We still have a long night ahead of us." She quickly leaped into action and re-secured the lights before handing Arthur his hat. "It looks like this was still caught on them."

"Thank you so much. I'd be lost without you Bryony." He placed the hat on his head. He didn't look much like a Santa yet. In fact, his attempt at growing a beard had failed so far. But hopefully someday he'd look the part. "And you can still call me Arthur."

"Right. Now come along. We have to get you up." Arthur nodded but noticed something on the ground in the snow. He picked up a crushed phone and realized Molly must have dropped it when he fell on her. This was his fault. "Everything okay?"

"Yeah." He pocketed the phone and smiled. He'd just have to replace it and bring her a new one. It was only the right thing to do. It seemed like this was very important to her- almost like Steve. He ran over to Bryony and grabbed the rope as the two were lifted back into the EVIE. As they flew above Chicago he noticed a very lonely car driving along the street. How could someone hate Christmas- the happiest time of the year? Maybe she had a letter buried away in the archives he could look up.

Arthur didn't know why but he was finding himself to very curious about this girl who went by the name of Molly Scrooge- which was still a pretty funny name in his opinion.