Disclaimer: I don't own Vassalord …I'm sorry my Christmas fic was so late coming up
And since only one person offered a name for "Father Richard" Johnny's full name is now "Father Aaron Richard".
Christopher had been looking forward and dreading this day all month; December 25; Christmas Day. The church had been decorated by both the orphans and the clergymen and a large tree stood in a corner in both the girl and boy's dormitory. The church's choir had been practicing Christmas songs since November and were ready for their performance; every year the Church held a Christmas party for the town with a buffet, prayers, and of course presents. Due to the war, the Church had been unable to get someone to dress up and pretend to be Saint Nicholas (that could pass as Santa anyways). The party would start around sunset and not end until midnight. It usually started with prayers, dinner, a service, presents, and then mingling and dancing. He couldn't wait to take part in the festivities but was worried about Father Richard, Christmas was a holy holiday and his beloved priest was a vampire.
The young boy had managed to escape unnoticed from the priest watching them make Christmas trees out of construction paper to go visit with Father Richard until the sun set. Chris remembered to knock on the door this time and heard the lock click open; giving the priest time to get out of the sun's path, he opened the door. Father Richard was sitting on the lid of his coffin hold a pair of ear plugs. "What are the ear plugs for, Father Richard?" Chris asked.
"It's so my ears don't start bleeding while the prayers and service is going on," Aaron Richard answered, "a vampire can't listen to scripture…or say it. That's why I don't ever do services or prayers."
The blonde boy sat on the lid next to the priest and looked up at him with wide questioning eyes, "what happens if you say it?"
"My lungs and throat have tissue disintegrate and blood starts to fill my lungs and throat," the priest answered and Chris looks queasy. Father Aaron laughed and ruffled the boy's hair, "you shouldn't have asked if you didn't want to hear the answer."
Morbid curiosity got the better of the young boy, "…what happens if you hear it?"
"My ear drums implode and indescribable pain shoots up the side of my head," he answered and showed the plugs to Chris, "that's what these are for, if I can't hear the scripture, it can't affect me."
"But what about when we all have to answer with scripture?" Christopher Michael asked.
"I just mouth the words. As long I don't say any of it, I'm fine. So many people are talking that no one even notices that I'm not," the priest chuckled and looked over at the door, "the sun has set, let's get going to the festivities, Christopher." The boy nodded enthusiastically and followed Father Richard out the door.
They arrived at the main room of the Church and Christopher sat down in a pew and Father Richard, with ear plugs firmly in place and hidden, sat with the other clergymen. Once the prayers were over, Father Aaron discreetly tucked the ear plugs into his robe's pocket and joined everyone for the potluck buffet. Since the Church relied on donations from the people and money from the government, everyone from the town had to bring something for the buffet so there was always a lot to choose from. Chris grabbed a plate and joined the line up to get some food. He spotted the Father at the end of the line and called over to him, "Father Richard! Over here!" The priest left his spot in line to join the young boy. Chris watched as the Father put some food on his plate as he put some on his own; the vampire didn't seem to care what food he put on his plate and would grab random bits of food. Father Richard left to join with the priests and looked at Chris' forlorn face.
"Come along, Christopher, I'm sure the Bishop won't mind if it's just this once you join me," he called and the nine year nearly flew back to the vampiric priest's side. The other priests were shocked when the blonde boy sat down beside the priest.
"Aaron, is there any reason why Christopher Michael is here?" A newer priest asked.
"I invited him over, he wanted to sit with me and it would be inappropriate for me to sit at a table alone with him," he answered, slightly off put by the fact the new priest dared to use his first name so informally.
The Bishop raised his hand at the young priest and shook his head before he could retaliate, "that's enough, Father Isaac, it is Christmas and if Christopher Michael wants to sit beside Father Richard for dinner tonight, I will allow it." The old man looked at the boy, "but just this once."
Chris nodded vehemently, "yes, Bishop O'Bryan!" The Bishop laughed at the boy's enthusiasm and went back to his food.
One of the other priests noticed Father Richard picking at his plate and moving food around with his fork but not really eating anything. "Do vampires not have a sense of taste?" The man asked.
Father Richard shrugged, "I've never met a vampire but I would think not, they drink blood, not solid food. This would more than likely taste like cardboard to a vampire."
One of the older patrons of the church had been walking by and smacked the two priests' in the back of the head. "Such talk from holy men on the holiest night of the year! You should be ashamed!" She scolded and stormed off with her food, leaving the baffled priests to burst out laughing.
Chris looked at the priests, "vampires can't taste food?"
Father Richard shook his head, "normal food like this tastes like cardboard to them."
"Why would they eat normal food then if they can't taste it?" He asked.
"To be polite and to help them blend into human society better; people would get suspicious of someone who was rarely seen during the day and didn't eat. It wouldn't matter if he lived in the church or not, people would eventually get curious," Aaron answered. Chris nodded and saved whatever questions he had for after the dinner and everyone wasn't in such a small area.
After dinner, everyone returned to the main room and sat in the pews for the Christmas Service and once more Father Richard had his ear plugs in. Chris watched his favorite priest closely and noticed that he was indeed just mouthing the words and because he couldn't hear anything, he was sometimes off on his response; the priest beside him even had to secretly nudge him once because he hadn't been paying attention.
Once the service was over, Father Richard and Christopher walked to a quieter area of the yard to talk about whatever was on Chris' mind. They stopped under the familiar oak tree and Father Richard pulled out a small package wrapped in brightly colored, festive paper with a bright red bow on it, "Merry Christmas, Christopher."
The boy let out a cry of surprise and tore open the paper to reveal a little blue box. He carefully lifted the lid to see a sterling silver rosary with Mother of Pearl Hail Mary beads and Freshwater Pearl Our Father beads. The young child was speechless and continuously switched between looking at the priest and back at his gift. "How…" he didn't know how to finish his sentence. The wars made everyone poor, how could a simple priest-even a vampire one- afford such a gift?
"I didn't. It's something I picked up a while ago and kept it; boxes and wrapping paper are cheap," he smiled. Chris didn't bother asking anymore questions.
"I don't have anything for you, Father," he looked at the ground suddenly. The boy thought hard for a moment and suddenly wrapped his arms around the vampire's waist, "but this." He squeezed as tight as he could and buried his face in the man's robes, "Merry Christmas, Father Richard." The rest of the night passed with Chris sitting next to the priest, under his arm, snuggled up as close as he could get until he fell asleep. Never since living with Master had he felt to at peace.
Father Richard looked down at the boy and pulled out the ribbon in his hair and let it tumble around his face, "Merry Christmas, Chris."
Merry Christmas everyone!