"Hey Chaos. What's new with you?"
"Oh, not much. Just got this sequel to Eight Mercenaries and A Toddler right here."
"Does it have babies in it?"
"Then I don't want to read it."
"Oh, come on! Give it a chance!"
"Well, what's it about?"
"You remember the Road to El Dorado?"
"It's just like that. Only completely different."
"N-never mind. Just read on."
I'll Be Home for the Holidays
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia."~ Charles Schulz
"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…it has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival." ~ C.S. Lewis
Prologue: The Machinations of the Mind of Lawrence Mundy Sr.
The grandfather clock struck noon. The gentle 'bong-bong-bong' rang through the modest red house on the left of Adelaide Street, Australia, and then faded into silence once more.
Everything was calm. Everything was quiet. Until….
Happy Holiday/Happy Holiday/While the merry bells keep ringing/May your every wish come true…
"DOTTY! WHO TURNED ON THAT NONSENSE?!"
"It's not nonsense, Lawrence, it's Bing Crosby."
"Hm. I hate Bing Crosby. He's too—"
The tune became more upbeat, a chorus of girls joining Bing Crosby's smooth tone. Lawrence Mundy Sr. stomped around the corner, leaning heavily on his walking stick as he did so. He muttered something under his breath as he flicked the radio off.
"Dear," Dorothy Mundy poked her head around the corner with a frown, "I was listening to that."
"Dotty, if I hear one more holly-jolly Christmas song I will go on a murderous rampage."
She clucked her tongue in disapproval. "You say that every year. I like listening to music while I clean."
Lawrence collapsed down into his easy chair, rubbing at his stiff leg. "Why are you cleaning anyway? It's just the children coming over. They don't care if the house is clean."
"No," Dotty's voice replied from the kitchen, "but Lizzie is bringing Jack over and oooh, well, Junior called this morning and he's bringing a friend!"
"A friend! Junior is bringing a friend to stay for Christmas!"
Lawrence Sr. settled back in his chair, thinking. "What sort of friend?"
"What do you mean by that, dear?"
"A female friend?"
"Well…" Dotty fell silent for a moment, "he didn't rightly say. He was in a bit of a rush to catch his plane, I think. Oooh, I certainly hope so, though!" Her tone perked right up. "It'd be nice for Lizzie to have some company—"
"And it'd be nice to know our son isn't a proper wanker."
"Lawrence, what did I say about using such language? Besides, I'm fairly certain our son isn't gay."
"There's something funny about that boy," Lawrence Sr. growled as he pulled his pipe out of his vest pocket, "he's hidin' something from us, Dotty. Read between the lines in his letters. There's somethin' he doesn't want us knowing."
"Silly old fool," Dotty chided.
Lawrence Sr. began to shove tobacco into his pipe as he replied: "He's forty-two years old, a successful doctor—or so he claims—and he still hasn't found a sheila to settle down with. The evidence is right there, Dotty!"
The agitated sound of pots and pans being dumped unceremoniously into the sink was Dotty's answer. She had started humming, the signal that the conversation was over as far as she was concerned.
Lawrence puffed at his pipe furiously, drumming his fingers against his leg.
Maybe…maybe he was being too hard on the boy. Maybe he was just overreacting. Innocent until proven guilty, so the saying went. He and Junior had never seen eye-to-eye…and he wasn't getting any younger…maybe it was time to set aside his differences with his son and enjoy what time he had left, instead of bickering uselessly. Junior was a smart, capable lad. Maybe they just needed a good heart-to-heart…
The wild screech of tires made Lawrence Sr. jump, scrambling up out of his chair with a swiftness that didn't match his age. The screech was followed by a car door slamming shut and the wild, inarticulate shouts of two men.
Lawrence Sr. peeked out the window, eyes narrowing at the sight of an all-too-familiar camper van parked haphazardly in the driveway. He knew that damn van all too well. And he knew the tall, gangly man stalking around the front of the van and waving his arms wildly at a second, smaller…man.
Maybe he was right after all. Maybe his son was exactly what he thought he was, this whole damn time.
"CHAOS YOU BETTER NOT BE GETTING YOUR SLASH IN MY TF2-"
"Relax, relax, it's marked Friendship for a reason."
Up next: In which Chaos pulls a "How We Got Here" and takes everyone back in time~