Author's Note: This was dying to be written the moment I noticed how some commercials hint that you can't have a true Christmas without buying really expensive things like high-definition TV sets and gold/diamond-studded jewelry. At first I fumed and fussed...then I pulled out my pen and notebook and started writing this one-shot down, so...hope it's a good one. =Weasley=

A Different Sort of Christmas

I was never much of an artist growing up.

When the other malchicks and ptitsas were drawing dobby, happy veshches like sunbeams and green green grass and blue ponds loaded with all sorts of fish, and like getting all kinds of malenky compliments from the teachers, I was the lone malchick who drew veshches exactly the way I viddied 'em. My ponds were always full of green, yellow, or reddish bubbly sewage; my green green grass littered with half-used oil barrels and the skeletons of various dead animals; and any sunbeams I put into my skies were very nearly covered up by so many storm-clouds.

That never failed to make my teachers poogly to death of me, because I didn't go along with all of their like pretending that nothing was wrong with the world, or rather how they viddied their world to be like. They didn't have to gooly past dens full of druggies and crasters and molesters to get to skolliwoll every day, and so they would have loved nothing better than force us all to lie and claim we never viddied such baddiwad veshches, either. But, as I govoreeted before, I couldn't go along with these ideas even if I wanted to. I felt the extreme need to tell all veshches exactly as I viddied 'em whenever, wherever, and whatever these veshches might be.

Nothing and no one would ever make me want to govoreet it any other way, at least not until the time in which I was seventeen, taken away from my flatblock on the waterfront, and made to live in a detention center whilst waiting for my further imprisonment over my attempted rape of one 'Miss Lydia Walker'. That was the time when, a few days before the twenty-fifth of December, Little Sister Meggie sent me a malenky drawing of penciled colors, and hinted that she might want something like how she'd drawn our flat decorated for this Big Season in return.

I had no idea if I could give her that sort of veshch as her official present, not just because of my not-so-dobby drawing skills, but also because there was nothing impressive to viddy in this Center where Christmas decorations were concerned. We had a tree, all right, but it was neither bolshy nor covered with lights nor like sheltering a dobby rookerful of lovely wrapped surprises. The only decorations this one had included a few rookerfuls of tinsel and an empty shoebox wrapped to smot like it could have been a present, because us delinquent juveniles weren't allowed to receive any shiny new veshches from home due to the idea that our families might try to help us escape the wardens and official correctives. There would also be no bolshy evening feasts in the cafeteria because it would muck up our ration schedule, and definitely no seasonal warbles outside of what we did at Sunday services because the wardens were all outspoken Secularists.

How could I lie to my own sister and tell her our Christmas would be exactly the same as hers when it really wasn't? How could I tell 'em all back home that I was doing just horrorshow over here, when I would have been even better in our flat surrounded by 'em and all our friends? On the other hand, how would I go about like keeping 'em from worrying about me, especially whilst I was in a shady sort of mesto like this one?

I have to admit, I stayed in a bolshy sort of blur for about a day and a half, part of me not like knowing what to draw and the other part grumbling about why I couldn't have just made her a card with no malenky pictures attached at all instead. It wasn't until I found myself standing by a box of colored pencils during free time that I finally threw up my rookers and muttered to myself that I would try such veshches just this once, if only to keep it from gnawing at my rasoodock any longer. Once I had a blank sheet of paper in front of me, only then did a malenky idea shove its way into my gulliver at last, and so allow me to get to work.

First things first, I used a dark shade of green to sketch up a baddiwad imitation of tree branches, and then to lightly fill in a background before adding yellow over the top to show off the sickish color of the detention center walls. There was a malenky bit of white space left behind on purpose, though, and to this I added a lone figure with gray platties on and a shaggy mess of black voloss, which I knew Meggie would pony to be yours truly, standing by the tree and looking very sad indeed to be on his oddy-knocky. Once that part was done, I then used the gray pencil to scribble wavy lines here and there over the green tree branches to hint at tinsel, followed by that lone present in white paper and red ribbon, although I would never tell Meggie it was nothing but an empty shoebox.

What I did tell her, I told with a short sort of caption at the bottom of this not-so-masterful masterpiece. "It's Not The Same Without You", and so it wasn't, because no one back at home could have come to live with me here, and so I could also not go back home, either, because I had been deemed much too baddiwad for all that. I could only fold this malenky picture up real horrorshow and send it out with the next day's mail messages, hope that I hadn't disappointed poor Little Sister with my not-so-dobby talents, and that maybe she might have liked my drawing to be there with her even if myself could not.

It wasn't until the nochy after next that I finally received my answer...and what a very very interesting answer it was. At first I viddied the same picture that I had done for Meggie, and felt a malenky bit odd that she would have sent it back to me so skorry. Then, when I leaned in to viddy it a bit better, I noticed that there were a lot more wrapped surprises under that tree, drawn in pink and blue and orange and green and purple and yellow by Meggie herself. She'd also taken the time to scribble in malenky shiny ornaments and garlands around my squiggly silver tinsel, and then draw a sparkly golden star at the tree's very top. And if that wasn't enough to please my poor weak glazzies, what else should I viddy then but a tiny version of Em, Meggie, and Liam standing around my former lonesome self, followed by three bolshy slovos in bright red down below, "We're Here, Too"...?

Yes, I was never much of an artist growing up, and if I live to be a starry veck, I might never get any better than I was now. On the other hand, thanks to the efforts of our Megs and the creation of a different sort of Christmas, I might never have to.