ATARU'S CHRISTMAS CAROL

An "Urusei Yatsura" fanfic by Andrew D. Johnson

Disclaimer: None of the following characters are my creations. Therefore, this isn't my fault. At least I don't think so. I'm no legal expert.

Christmas Eve in Tomobiki… Snow was falling, families were spending time with relatives, lovers were smooching under the mistletoe, and a certain lecherous teenage boy named Ataru Moroboshi was dressed in a Santa suit and fake-looking beard, ringing a bell so he could supposedly raise money for the poor. Of course, he was actually raising money to buy a saucy negligee for the cute girl working at the cash register of the department store across the way. "Ho ho ho!" he called out. "Show how generous you are this holiday season! Give so that others may have a merry Christmas!" Especially me, he thought, grinning.

"Ataru?" said a familiar voice. His eyes widened and his back stiffened. It was Shinobu! If she blew his cover, she'd probably tell his parents and even Lum, and then he'd be in real trouble. "What are you doing here? Are you really raising money for the poor?"

Ataru tried his best to hide behind his beard, staring blankly into space. "Ho ho ho, little missy," he boomed in the best Santa voice he could muster. "I don't know who this Ataru fellow is, but I sure hope he's been a good little boy this year, ho ho ho!"

Shinobu rolled her eyes. "You're not fooling anyone, Ataru. I can see through that beard like a window." She unceremoniously grabbed it and yanked it down, leaving the perverted lech standing there with a beet-red face.

"Okay, Shinobu, look, I can explain…"

"Yeah? Explain this, you jerk!" she angrily huffed, pulling several lingerie catalogs out of the backpack next to him. And as Ataru's perpetual bad luck would have it, at that very moment Lum flew up in her tiger-striped winter clothes.

"Darling, your mom told me you'd gone out to work for the Redemption Army, t'cha, and….DARLING!!!! What the HELL are you doing with that filth, t'cha?"

Shinobu sternly pointed across the mall corridor to the department store, where the pretty young salesgirl was handling people's purchases.

"So that's it!!" Lum growled. "It's bad enough that you're buying lingerie for every girl in town except me, but the fact that you're pretending to raise money for the poor makes me SO MAD!!! Eat lightning, t'cha!" And she then unfurled her arms and let fly another electric storm, knocking out Ataru the womanizer. With his suit charred and his beard frizzy like a soldier's buzz cut, Lum dragged her unfortunate beau back home. "Now let's go home. Your mom's serving Christmas dinner, t'cha." As she dragged his smoking, unconcious body away, Shinobu rolled her eyes again in disgust. What the heck did I ever see in him, she asked herself.

The Moroboshi family had gathered around the dinner table for a delectable Christmas dinner of tempura, sashimi, and gyoza, with horseradish in place of garlic for Lum's sake. Of course Lum and Ten were also present, with Lum seated next to her "Darling" and her usual ditzy look on her face. Ten of course had a close eye on Ataru, to make sure that perv didn't try anything funny with his innocent cousin. "We're very glad you two could be present with us for Christmas dinner," Mrs. Moroboshi announced. "I'm sorry the food couldn't be any better, but…"

"Yeah, yeah," muttered Ataru's henpecked dad. "It was all we could afford on your lousy, lazy husband's meager salary! I just can't do anything right, now can I, honey?"

"Oh, just be quiet and let's just try to get through this," snapped Mrs. Moroboshi. "Now before we begin, would anyone like to make a toast, or wishes for the New Year?"

"I would!" Lum joyously offered. Ataru's parents smiled and sat upright for attention, while the hapless boy groaned and put his face in his right hand. "I wrote a poem for this occasion, commemorating all the time we've spent together." She cleared her throat and then began reading.

"Though you always run away

I'll always be by your side.

You've brought me up and let me down

And crushed this heart of mine.

But I will always love you

No matter what you do.

If you're sent up the river

I'll float alongside too.

We'll always be together, my Darling

Until the end of time.

You'll never get away from me

You always will stay mine."

"Bravo!" cheered Mrs. Moroboshi, as she and her husband applauded Lum's labor of love. Ataru, however, was fighting the dry heaves. "How kawaii!"

"Thank you," answered the demure alien, bowing with pride. "And to ensure that my poem stays true to its word, I got these as an early present. Merry Christmas, Darling!" She then pulled from her cleavage a small, black, felt-lined box and opened it. Inside were two gleaming silver rings. Ataru's parents and Ten gasped, and Ataru himself felt like he would puke. "They're engagement rings, Darling!" Lum cooed. "And I got them custom-made on my home planet. See, they have our initials!" To his horror, one ring sure enough had his English initials-AM, and the other had LM-LUM MOROBOSHI!

"Oh, they're gorgeous!" gasped Mrs. Moroboshi. She then looked darkly at the man of the house. "Of course, all my miserable oaf of a husband could afford for my engagement ring was a cubic zirconia." Mr. Moroboshi could only bear a "Just-get-me-through-this" look on his face as she said that, then spoke up.

"Y-yeah, son, go get 'em. Of course, it should have been you proposing to Lum-no real man would let the lady take the upper hand in a case like this-but, as long as she gets you the heck out of my house, then, congratulations!

Ten burst into laughter at Mr. Moroboshi's comment. "Good point about how a real man would do the proposing! But I guess that wouldn't apply to your kid!" The two rolled on the floor laughing before pausing to high-five each other.

Even Ataru's mom was hysterical. "Oh my…I always wanted a girl. I guess you'll just have to do…Ha ha ha ha!!!"

Lum giggled a little, then turned to her unwilling boytoy. "So Darling, will you marry me once we get out of high school?" It was right then and there, watching his parents and Lum's bratty cousin rolling on the floor laughing at how that damned alien had embarrassed him, that Ataru simply couldn't take it any more.

"NOOOOOO!!!!!" he bellowed. "I will never marry you, you space freak! I don't even like spending time with you! I want you out of my life NOW!!!!"

To his surprise, Lum didn't let fly another shower of electric bolts at him. Instead she just sat there with a hurt look on her face. Her lower lip trembled, and Ataru could see some tears streaming down her cheek. "D-do you really mean that, Darling?" she asked, her voice cracking. "I thought you said you were going to marry me, a-after the tag game."

"No, I didn't mean that," Ataru huffed. "Shinobu told me she would marry me if I tagged you! I never meant that I would marry you!"

Lum gritted her teeth to stop herself from bursting into tears. "Y-y- you mean you NEVER loved me, Darling? W-why not?"

Ataru's tone and facial expression turned downright fierce. "I'll tell you why not! Because you're loud, bossy, overbearing, pushy, possessive, obsessive, immature, and just plain annoying! Plus, I've never liked your habit of zapping me with lightning whenever I even glance at another girl!" He rose up out of his chair and announced to his family, "My New Year's wish is for you to just get the hell out of my life! Forever!"

Lum couldn't hold back anymore. "V-very well, Darling. I-I-if that's what you want, then so be it. I'll leave tomorrow. Merry Christmas." With that she began crying heartily, and flew out the window to her spaceship.

Ataru grunted and solemnly sat down to his meal. But his parents were glaring angrily at him. "Don't you think you were rather rough on her?" asked his mom. "Loud and overbearing or not, she was such a sweet girl who really cared for you. Didn't you see the way she broke down crying when you yelled at her like that?"

"Sweet? Ha!" Ataru snorted. "If she was such a sweet, innocent creature, why did she always fry me alive whenever she got mad at me? What about all those dirty tricks she played on me to keep me in the palm of her hand, like the magnetic lipstick, or the time she dressed up as Miss Snow Queen just so she could sneak a kiss on me? Or how that dopey lummox Rei, who she should be marrying anyway, and how he followed her here and now wants to kill me? Ever since she first arrived here, my life has been a living hell! So I don't want anything to do with her!"

"Hey, whether or not you two got along, she was still your ticket out of here!" snapped Ataru's dad. "And now that you dumped her…Let's just say this, son! If you aren't out of here by the end of next year, we're making you a courier!"

"Hey, look, a man can only take so much!" Ataru yelled back. "And with that Oni bitch at your side, your limits aren't very high!" He sighed; the arguing had exhausted him. "Ahh, I'm going to bed," he grumbled. "See you people in the morning."

"Merry Christmas," his parents answered in an unenthusiastic tone.

"Phooey," Ataru muttered as he lay restlessly in his bed. "Who are those jerks downstairs to tell me who to love? Dammit, I just don't have any romance for that Oni bitch! The only feelings I have for her are frustration and annoyance! And what's wrong with being a polygamist? All the greatest emperors in feudal Japan and China had concubines! And King Henry the Eighth of England-he had like eight wives. Hee hee, one for each Henry," he laughed. Just then he heard something like the wind through bare tree limbs. "Hey, what was that?" he gasped.

The sound seemed to grow louder, developing from a rustling sound into something like that of a woman weeping. Oh great, he thought. She's probably outside my window, begging to be let in like a stray dog. Ataru was about to get up and go to the window to tell Lum to get lost when a cloud suddenly materialized in front of his bed. Then, over a few seconds, it took the shape of a melancholy young woman, with long, flowing black hair, a white gown, and tears streaming down her beautiful face. Ataru recognized her immediately. "Tama!" he gasped, rushing over to wrap his arms around her. "You've come to see my place! So I guess that old lodge was a bit too ratty and mildewy for you, eh? Well, don't be shy, make yourself at home and-"

Tama stopped crying for a bit and turned to him. "No, Ataru Moroboshi, I'm not here to stay, I'm here on a mission."

"A mission from God?" he asked.

"How did you guess?" Tama answered. "Anyway, we in Heaven saw your treatment of a girl who no doubt was very much in love with you. Ataru, you don't seem to realize how powerful emotions, especially love, really are. If rejected, love can kill a person. I know this for a fact because (sob) I am the victim of a broken heart, a woman who yearned for a certain man but did not see it returned. I literally saw no…reason for living; I simply wanted to die. And that is why I am a ghost now, doomed to forever wander the earth and tell people of my fate." With tears streaming down her face again, and her voice racked with sobs, she turned to Ataru. "Would you want Lum to die of a broken heart?"

"Well, I probably wouldn't mind it, just as long as she's out of my hair…" He stopped to think about the question for a bit. "No, I wouldn't want Lum dead."

"I see you have some compassion for others left in you," Tama continued. "Perhaps there may be some hope for you yet. Tonight three spirits will visit you, to help show you the error of your ways…"

"Hey wait a minute," Ataru scoffed. "I see where this is going! This is turning into yet another corny rip-off of A Christmas Carol! Jeez, I must've seen about fifteen bad retellings of that tired old story in my life! Why can't Kami-sama come up with something more imaginative if He wants to teach me a lesson?"

"Two reasons: One; overdone it may be, but that story still does offer a good moral lesson that makes as much sense today as it did in Dickens' time. Two; the author of this story was obviously lazy and just decided to rip off two popular fictional creations."

" 'Author?' What the heck are you talking about?" gasped Ataru, flabbergasted. "Are you saying we're just fictional characters in a book?"

"Oh no, no, no," Tama laughed. It was the first time he'd seen her display any emotion besides melancholy. "That's just another slang term I use for God. You know, the Great Author, the 'writer' of all."

"Wow. The universe works in such mysterious ways," Ataru prattled.

"You got that right," answered Tama. "Well, you seem to know how this is going to go. Pleasant dreams." She then faded out.