It's another Holiday-Fic-A-Thon story!

I actually had this idea kicking around for awhile, all based off of Cuore's...weird-ness...

I was glad to get to put it into a story at last!

Prompt: Gifts

Characters: Rydia. Edge. Cuore.

"What should I say?" Rydia muttered, staring up at the ceiling, "Just, tell her directly? Or should I try to lead up to it with something else?"

Obviously the roof gave no answers, so she sighed and continued, "She won't understand any hints I leave, I'll have to just come out and tell her, but…"

"Who are you talking too?" Edge finally asked, looking up from the papers he was reviewing at her prompting. "If you're talking to me, I wasn't listening. All my concentration is being used to not fall asleep while reading these reports."

Rydia ignored his complaint and sighed once more, "No, I was trying to decide how I should tell Cuore…well, you know."

The summoner turned her head to look at him, "Maybe we should wait to tell her."

He raised an eyebrow, "Wait?"

"Just until after the holidays," Rydia explained defensively.

"We've waited as long as we can to tell her. It's been months." he replied, "She's going to notice now that your getting fat."

Rydia rolled onto her side so she could fix him with an annoyed look.

"…That…came out wrong," Edge realized, looking sheepish.

She rolled her eyes and then sighed, "I'm just…concerned she won't take the news well. I don't think she reacts well to change."

"She doesn't do well with change?" he repeated dubiously, "Rydia, her life has been turned upside-down at least three times in less then a year. From the moon to Mist to here to new parents. She's doing remarkable well, I think."

Rydia picked at non-existent treads on the bedcover, "Yes, but…"

There was an awkward pause, and Rydia finally heaved another sigh, "I'm just worried!"

"I noticed." he said dryly.

She glared at him, and he just shrugged, "Hey, if you make me actually do my job, then I make you go talk to your daughter."

"If you thought marrying me would make me listen to you, you were mistaken." she replied sarcastically.

"It was worth a try. But if you don't tell her, I will." he countered.

"Fine, I'll go tell her." Rydia muttered, sitting up.

Edge blinked at her, "Don't you mean we?"

"You don't have to come with me," she said, flicking a green hair out of her face.

He frowned, "You don't want me to come?"

"No," she retorted, standing, "It's just…well, Cuore and I…we share a special bond."

Edge averted his gaze, "Oh,"

"I didn't mean that you couldn't, it's just, well…it's Cuore." she tried to explain.

The little Maenad girl was more than a little particular, and one had to be careful how they dealt with her.

"No, its fine, I get it." he sighed.

Rydia rolled her eyes and opened the door, "Ugh, fine, come on."

She knew he had just tricked her into inviting him, but she was having a mood swing anyway and so didn't want to waste anymore time.

Besides, she had to think on how she was going to bring the topic up anyway.

Despite what Edge seemed to think, Cuore despised change. She liked order, precision, perfection.

This news could be received rather poorly, and Cuore's breakdowns and tantrums were anything but easy to handle.

Rydia wanted to desperately hope that none of this would change anything, but she knew that was a lie.

Everything would change in Cuore's expanding world, and the little girl would have to adjust.

Scratch that; they would all have to adjust.

All too soon they were outside Cuore's door and Rydia hesitated, glancing at Edge, who fixed her with a look.

He wasn't kidding. If she took too long he'd just do it for her, and that was not something Rydia could see going well.

It wasn't that Cuore didn't like him, she did, very much, but she was such a delicate little creature…

The summoner knocked on the door and it was promptly opened, revealing the little teal hair girl who looked up at them and blinked.

"Yes?" she asked.

Rydia smiled hesitantly, "Cuore is it alright if we talk to you for a bit?"

Cuore raised an eyebrow, gaze switching between the two of them while she observed, "You have something important too tell me."

Edge grinned at her, "Aren't you smart,"

Cuore nodded and skipped into her room, hopping to sit on the bed, "This is good timing. I have something I wish to speak to you about as well."

Rydia steeled herself for the coming conversation and sat down on the bed, taking a deep breath before realizing she had no idea what to say.

Cuore just stared at her and waited patiently.

Edge gave Rydia a look, sitting next to her but she shrugged helplessly.

He rolled his eyes at her and turned his attention to the little Maenad girl.

"Cuore, we wanted to tell you that you're going to have a little brother or sister soon."

Rydia jumped in before the upset could occur and added, "I know this must be a surprise for you, but I am with child."

Cuore just stared at them.

Her reaction did not bode well.

Rydia swallowed, "Cuore, I…don't want you to worry about anything, alright? Having a little sibling will be fun, I'm sure. There's nothing to get upset about. Even if things will change with this new baby, nothing will change how we feel about you, or how we take care of you, alright?"

Edge nodded agreement, "I'm sure you'll be a great big sister too. But Rydia's right, everything will be fine."

Cuore tipped her head to one side, "Neither of you have the basis for such comments as you do not have siblings."

"Well," Edge said, diverting his gaze, "The whole trying to destroy and save the world thing was a pretty good example of the bad side of this,"

Rydia smacked his arm lightly and replied, "I know, Cuore, but I don't want you to think that this is a bad thing."

The girl looked puzzled, "Why would I think that?"

"Well, because…things will be different," Rydia tried to explained awkwardly, "but not bad. Just…different."

Cuore blinked, "I am uncertain what you are trying to convey. However, I feel I should let you know that I desired to ask for a younger sibling in the upcoming festivities. I have heard that exchanging gifts is a common practice at such an event?"

She frowned slightly and looked off to the side as if considering her next words, "Despite the likelihood that a child would be born considering your recent union-"

Here Rydia coughed nervously although her adopted daughter didn't notice her anxiety and continued calmly.

"-I wasn't sure it would be a sensible gift to request." she finished, sighing before adding, "After all, there is a great deal of chance involved when dealing with the creation of human offspring."

The summoner wasn't sure if she should be impressed or worried about how this talk was going, and she blinked a couple of times before opening her mouth, only to be cut off as the girl looked back up at her with a bright, shrewd expression, "It seems that genetic cloning would be far more practical. It would remove the chance element of successful conception and would remove the possible risks to the host. Besides, memories and skills could be implanted rather then taught, thus saving time."

"Risks?" Rydia asked apprehensively, not even touching on the fact that her own daughter had just called her a 'host'.

Cuore nodded, "There is a fifty-four point nine-five percent chance that the host or the sub-unit will die from this condition. This is not surprising. Human offspring seem to imitate parasites in that they require a host and are dependent upon that host's wellbeing to survive until the host can no longer support them and expels the parasite."

Cuore tapped her chin thoughtfully, leaving no time for Rydia to recover from her last tirade.

"In fact, the risks seem to outweigh the benefit in having such an offspring. How incomprehensible that anyone would willingly go through the danger and pain of such a practice."

She suddenly grinned, "Not that I am complaining. I look forward to seeing this sub-unit and being able to influence its growth."

She hopped off the bed and pattered to the door, turning back at the threshold to smile at her parents, "This is a most wonderful gift, thank you!"

She ran out of the room, most likely to go tell people she'd gotten exactly what she wanted for Christmas.

Rydia, however, just slapped a hand to her face and cradled her head for a moment, going back over what had just been said.

She glanced sideways and promptly scowled at Edge.

"Your trying not to laugh, aren't you?"

He nodded, "Uh huh."

"It isn't funny!" she insisted angrily, dropping her hands into her lap.

He chuckled, "Oh, but it is! The look on your face!"

Rydia glared at him, "She likened our unborn child to a parasite and called me a host!"

"Well…you have to admit, she has a point…"

She groaned and stood, starting to pace, "She just had to put it that way, didn't she? And what was all that about dying?!"

Rydia shook her head, "I wasn't worried about this until I talked to her!"

"It will be fine," Edge told her, although she barely heard him and continued to pace, "At least she didn't freak out, but she didn't have to…I mean, she shouldn't even known all of that!"

Edge sighed and caught her arm as she walked by, "Rydia, sit."

She sat with a huff and glanced at him, only to have her expression fall into a scowl at the look on his face.

"Your still trying not to laugh, aren't you?"

Edge chuckled and then waved a hand apologetically, "Sorry, sorry, I just…weren't you pretty much expecting that reaction? This is Cuore we're talking about."

"I didn't know what to expect!" she snapped, crossing her arms.

Her mood was rapidly disintegrating and she was beginning to crave salted apples again.

"Well, look on the bright side. It's over and she's happy so everything is fine." he said, shrugging.

Rydia glared at him, "Everything is not fine,"

"Yes, it is."

"I could die," she said, drawing out the word, "because apparently that's what happens to hosts!"

Edge groaned, "You are not dying, she didn't even say that."

"I suppose you know this for certain," she accused.

He held up his hands, "You should trust me on this one. Remember, I was right both times when I said the world wasn't going to end. You will be fine, Cuore will be fine, everything will be fine."

Rydia sighed, "Fine."


There was a long pause and Rydia finally giggled, "Okay, it was a little funny."

"Genetic cloning." Edge repeated.

"Sub-unit!" she added.

They both laughed, and Rydia shook her head, "What's going to happen when it's Cuore's turn to have kids?"

"Who's she going to marry?" Edge asked dubiously.

The summoner laughed lightly, and then grinned at him, "How many people do you think she's gossiped about this too while we've been sitting here?"

"The whole castle, probably half the town." he replied.

She smiled before asking, "Damage control?"

"Damage control." he agreed, sighing.

The word of the day is 'fine'.

Also, Cuore would. You know she would.

Sheesh...these Christmas fics are so sappy...

Until next time all! (And don't forget to read the other holiday fics and write some yourself!)