A/N: Just a little holiday fun to wrap up the Christmas season.
"Holy mother of God," Zelos gawked at the tangle of wires and colorful bulbs.
Sheena chuckled beside him, "Looks like you have your work cut out for you."
"How did they get that way?" The red head asked, despondent. All he could do was stare at the mess, praying to Martel that it'd undo itself. Unfortunately, nothing happened.
"Something to do with Lloyd decorating Noishe last Christmas if memory serves."
The image of the brunette chasing the dog through piles of snow to attach blinking orbs to the poor animal flashed in his mind. Oh yeah, he'd almost forgotten about that… he kind of wished he had forgotten about that.
Shaking his head, he turned towards the dark haired woman, "You're going to help, right?"
Her amber eyes widened in humor, "Help? No way."
"But Sheena, what if I fall and land on my beautiful face?"
"Then I'll be over there," she pointed towards a tree further away from the mansion, "laughing off my beautiful ass." She gave a smile and a wink and walked off, leaving the exChosen alone.
He glanced at the wires, a chilly wind whistling through the air.
God, he did not want to do this. He had no experience when it came to setting up lights, yet Sheena had been appalled that her boyfriend didn't want to set up holiday decorations.
"Sure we don't share the same beliefs," She stated, "But that doesn't mean we can't celebrate together."
So, she'd manhandled him into decorating the mansion. She'd stated, batting her eyelashes, that it'd be "highly romantic" and "entirely manly" if Zelos would decorate the mansion by himself. The red head had proceeded to tell her that making passionate love would be both of those things too and got slapped.
Sighing, he glared at the mess of wires; green, red and white bulbs reciprocating the look.
"I don't like this as much as you don't," he told the wires. There was silence. Obviously. And the exChosen snatched up one of the wires, yanking it and unraveling it from the others. He twisted the wires, slipping it through holes and maneuvering it through complicated knots. Sometimes he tugged sharply; almost scared he'd break something, just to free a wire from another's grasp.
It took a good twenty minutes, but he finally got one cord loose.
Triumphant, Zelos gave a small cheer, holding the wire up as if it was proof of his accomplishments… and then looked down.
There, waiting, were a hundred more wires. He could hear their evil chuckles.
"Whatcha' doing?" Zelos jumped at the sound of Lloyd's voice, turning to see the teen standing and staring at him. The teen tilted his head to one side, "Are you putting up Christmas lights?" He sounded astonished, "What's possessed you? The ghost of Christmas past?"
The red head chuckled dryly, "For your information, I'm putting up lights for my darling."
God, Lloyd, who else would I be talking about? Sometimes he questioned the intelligence of his best friend.
"Yes, Sheena. I'm doing it because I love her."
"I'm sure you're threatening life and limb because you love her."
The red head felt a bit of irritation sink in at the teen's playful tone, "As a matter of fact, yes. Yes I am."
"Zelos, you don't even know how to use a ladder."
Waving a hand dismissively in the air, he gave an obnoxious chuckle, "Details. Besides, it's not as hard as it looks."
"If it 'looks' hard to use a ladder, you're going to have some major issues."
"Thank you, ."
"I could always help, you know."
"The King of the Lights won't need any help, thank you very much."
"You're a self proclaimed king now?"
Kneeling back over the crate of evil lights, the red head shushed his friend. He was going to do this by himself, or damn it all, he was going to die trying.
"What your majesty?"
"Now isn't the time to be sarcastic, Lloyd."
"I'm sorry your highness, I'll work on that," the light humor in his voice was staring to irritate the red head. However, now was also not the time for irritation. Standing on one of the highest rungs of the ladder, lights clenched in his fists, he forced himself to remain calm.
Bad things happen if you panic.
His task was simple: hang the lights from the roof and climb down the ladder faster than if the devil was chasing him.
"Don't worry Zelos!" Lloyd called from below. He could practically hear the smile in the words, "Just don't look down."
Easy enough. Keeping his blue eyes trained ahead of him, he carefully balanced a hammer in one hand and the wire in the other. Sure enough, he managed to nail into the room and loop the wire along the hook, the dull bulbs almost mocking him at his slow but steady! pace.
Ah! So that was… nail number two.
Man, he was making progress. Look out Volt, because I'm faster than lightning, baby!
Chuckling to himself, he glanced down to spout off his achievement to Lloyd and then realized his mistake.
He'd looked down.
"Oh my God! I'm going to die!" He squeezed his eyes shut, wrapping his arms tightly around the rungs of the ladder and nearly gluing himself to the metal. "Martel, save me! Good Lord, save me!"
"The heck, Zelos?" Lloyd called up.
"I looked down," he muttered.
"Oh, for the love of Martel."
"Martel won't save me now!" The exChosen cried, "I can see it! The tunnel! The white light! Everything! For the love of all things holy, Lloyd, please tell Sheena I love her!"
Sheena's annoyed voice came from below, "I'm right here."
The red head felt a small smile cross his face, "Babe, you're here in my last hour…" He heard her mutter something like last hour, my ass but shook his head, red curls twisting in his face, "I love you, honey. Always have… now I can die in peace."
Still clinging to the ladder, he awaited his fate. After a moment though, with nothing happening, he opened his tightly closed eyes and glanced around. He saw the demonic lights staring at him, the two nails he'd successful hammered in…
Zelos called out, "Why aren't I dead yet?"
"What?" Lloyd questioned.
God, he really is an idiot.
"Why am I," he gestured as well as he could to himself, "Not dead," he made an 'X' with his fingers, "Yet?" He shrugged his shoulders, glancing down at Lloyd and Sheena, who stared at him like he'd gained one hundred and twenty pounds and grew a white beard. "What?"
"Why would you be dead?" Sheena placed a hand on her hip.
Chortling, the exChosen spoke, "Honestly, babe?" He shook his head at her, "I looked down, remember?"
The two of them froze and then, slowly, they both started chuckling. It was low at first, but then started growing, penetrating his ears as his friend and girlfriend hunched over, laughing. He had no idea what they found hysterical, but he hardly found it appropriate given the circumstances.
"Couldn't you guys wait till I was dead or something before laughing?"
Lloyd managed, between breaths, "Zelos, there's nothing wrong with looking down."
"But you told me," he tried, but was cut off by the brunette's laughter.
"I can't believe," Sheena chocked out, "You literally believed him! You thought you'd die just by looking down? Oh, that's priceless!"
Zelos watched as the two of them continued laughing at his pain. There was nothing wrong with looking down? Well then, why the hell had the teen made such a big deal out of it? A small bout of frustration went through him and he glared down at his friend.
"You are a freaking-" The red head leaned over to yell at the brunette, only then noticing the problem. The ladder swayed in the air, the sound of the metal bending as the ladder tilted the air and he screamed before the rush of wind took it away.
He landed painfully against the ground, the ladder crashing over him.
"No, no, no," Sheena assured, "I think it's cute."
"No, you think it's stupid," Zelos stated.
"I think it makes a statement towards all of those gaudy houses across the way."
The two of them stood outside his mansion, the dark haired woman's arm around the exChosen's waist. He had several bandages across his body, the major damage healed by a bemused Raine. She'd had to hold back laughing as she healed him as Lloyd relayed the story of how it'd happened.
Sheena squeezed him, pulling him from his thoughts.
He let his blue eyes stare at the completely dark mansion. One string of lights, attached by a few nails to the roof with the rest dangling in the air, shone alone through the black night. The multicolored bulbs were brilliant shades of red, green and white, bravely mocking the darkness.
Zelos spoke, "It's pathetic."
"No, it's beautiful."
"I agree with Zelos," Lloyd chimed in.
Sheena shot him a glare, "Shut up, peanut gallery." She turned her attention back to the house and then kissed the red head on the cheek, "It's romantic."
Zelos felt his heart warm a little. He supposed that if Sheena was happy, then he could deal with how ridiculous it looked. It wasn't like it was his fault that he refused to touch the ladder after it'd fallen on him. That thing was a death trap. No wonder Sebastian had always kept him away from the things.
His kissed her cheek back, content with standing in the gentle silence of the night. Even Lloyd was silent, probably soaking in the glory of the light display.
After a few more seconds, he reconsidered it again. It really was beautiful. The strand of lights hanging off the side of the house, the simple way it lit up the night… it spoke of the true meaning of Christmas. It didn't matter what his mansion was decorated with, he could enjoy the season without the fancy trimmings. Especially if he had Sheena by his side.
"That sucks," Genis spoke, stepping up behind Lloyd.
The teen agreed, "I know, right?"
Zelos retorted, "It doesn't suck, it's beautiful."
"No," Genis spoke, as if pointing out the obvious, "Noishe is beautiful."
All heads turned towards the green and silver dog. It sat, sparkling with dozens of Christmas lights circled around its body. Bushy tail flopping back and forth, Zelos could only stare, partially blinded.
"Noishe!" Lloyd admonished, "You got into the lights again?"
The dog gave a happy woof and Zelos formally decided all of the other crap he'd just thought was wrong. The reason: his lighting skills had been outdone by a dog.
Zelos gave a sigh, "It really does suck."
Lloyd smirked, "Just stick Noishe on the roof."
The red head gave a dry laugh, "You going to put him up there?"
"Of course not," the brunette smiled broadly, "I'll leave that to you, your highness."
"I'm not touching a ladder ever again," Zelos retorted, glaring daggers in his friend's direction.
"Touching it isn't what kills you," Lloyd stated with a smirk.
Zelos rolled his eyes, "Bud, if you don't shut up now, I'm going to tie you up and hang you from the house."
"You'd have to touch the ladder to do that," the teen teased.
The red head glared over at his friend, putting on his most sinister grin, "I'd make an exception for you."
Lloyd merely shrugged at the comment, smirking back, "Alright, just don't look down."