A/N: Hey there, and welcome to this odd little musically-inspired Christmas one-shot. I'm giving out free virtual mince pies and Christmas puddings to anyone who spots my very sneaky Hunger Games reference. Enjoy.
watch?v=vxK1NcAC_d4 – Drift Away: Rameses B ft. Veela
user/veelabeats - Veela's channel
user/ramesesb - Rameses B's channel
Jeb's enormous brown leather hiking books crunched into the frost under Max as she walked along the lonely street. Five or six brightly-coloured shopping bags weighed her down on either side, and the frost nipped adamantly at her ears, but a small and wistful smile graced her lips as she stared into the inky sky.
Christmas Eve: one of Max's favourite times. Better than Christmas itself. The hassle of finding gifts for everyone, then walking into your house and remembering you forgot something for Mom. The smell of freshly baked cookies drifting through from the kitchen made especially for Santa. The bubbly feeling you get in the pit of your stomach as you settle down to bed, unable to sleep for wondering what tomorrow will bring. The little giggles you hear from your younger siblings' bedroom as they set up a stake-out for Santa, a tradition which ultimately fails.
Her feet left wonky tracks in the snow and she looked at each unknown footprint as it passed, examining the tread and grip. She found some dog prints, the beeline a cat had made for a trashcan, and even the marks of a few birds who had decided to hop instead of fly.
Max had always wondered what it felt like to fly. She imagined that the wind would drown out all the other noises, and the air would flow through her T-shirt, and it would just be incredible to see everything like a bird. Oh, how she envied them. There could be nothing better than having wings. How insane and amazing and beautiful it would be to just… drift away.
Of course, birds weren't Max's only passion. Max was an artist, but not like a painter or a sketcher. She was a graffiti artist, her paintbrush was a spray can and her canvas was a brick wall. She didn't do it illegally. It wasn't a statement or an antisocial act; it wasn't so she would look bad or impress people.
She did it because it was her release. Nobody ever really understood Max. But when she painted, she felt like she was connecting with something like she couldn't do with a person. Max didn't think she was beautiful, and she believed that nobody else would think she was beautiful either. Nothing in her life was really as beautiful as she wished it could have been. But when she painted, she was creating something beautiful, and that was good enough.
Max was brought suddenly back to reality when she knocked into something very hard, and when she shook her dirty blonde locks back to see what it was, it turned out to be a boy about the same age as her. He looked down at her in surprise; it seemed that he had been looking into the sky and neither of them had noticed that they were about to collide.
"Sorry! I wasn't watching." She apologised hastily, glad that neither the boy nor she had dropped anything and caused one of those awkward moments where they both tried to pick it up.
"That's good, because I wasn't either." He hardly smiled, but his compelling onyx eyes sparkled with amusement. Max looked down at her father's boots, grinning embarrassedly. "Nice bags, hunchback. Need some help?" Max looked up through her eyelashes to see him outstretch a hand and a corner of his mouth curve upwards. She huffed her tufty side-fringe out of the way.
"Not going to run off with them are you, Your Majesty?" she questioned suspiciously.
"Your Majesty?" his right eyebrow quirked upwards.
"Oh, sorry. I just assumed by your outfit that you were the Prince of Darkness." It was true; he really did look like that. He was wearing a black button-down with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows (though Max didn't have a clue how he wasn't cold), black jeans, black combat boots, and a couple of dog tags. Guess what colour they were? Yep, that's right. They were yellow. Hah, jokes. They were black.
His outfit even matched his messy raven hair, sticking up at odd angles from the wind and paired with small, buzzed triangular sideburns. To be honest with herself, she thought he was kind of cute, with his chiselled yet somewhat juvenile features.
He scoffed disbelievingly. "Royalty? I wish. Now give me that." He slid a red paper bag gently from her right arm and a multi-colour striped bag from her left arm. The weight lifted considerably. He turned and began walking in the opposite direction to which he had come. Max followed quickly, curious. "Do you like coffee?" he asked her as they came close to a Mr Beenies Happy Hot House.
"No, but I do like a good hot chocolate."
Fang (the boy had introduced himself as this over a steaming cappuccino) laughed loudly, resting one arm on the arm of the sofa and the other on the back. He had one leg crossed over the other in a relaxed position. "Are you kidding? So, you've never seen any Star Wars?"
Max made a sound of dismissal. She was curled up on an armchair next to the sofa, wearing a fluffy Santa hat so big that it wouldn't even fit Rubeus Hagrid. "No, and I don't need to. You are such a dork."
The two sat in Max's living room, discussing various sci-fi movies. Within five minutes of their time at the coffee house, it had been clear that they would have a solid friendship.
"Millions of people like Star Wars!" Fang defended himself.
"I guess millions of people are dorks then, aren't they?" Max retorted.
"I'd not say that if I were you. I could tell them all where you live and we'll come for you…" Fang leaned towards her menacingly. "…in your sleep."
Max put on a stoic mask and replied in a very monotone voice, "Oh dear. I am so scared. I am quaking in my little booties. What ever shall I do?" Her companion couldn't hold back his laughter. Despite being determined to remain straight-faced, Max started giggling too when her colossal hat fell off.
"Whatever. One day, I'm bringing round the box set–"
"You have the box set?"
Fang pretended like he hadn't heard her. "– and we're going to make a massive bowl of salty popcorn and we're going to watch the WHOLE thing."
"You like salty popcorn?" Max bit her bottom lip hard, trying not to laugh. "That's really weird. Salt it bad for you, too."
"Sugar is bad for you." Fang pointed out.
"Touché." Max muttered grudgingly, snatching her hat on the floor and shoving it onto her head. Unfortunately, she pulled it down a bit far and it covered the whole of her face. They both went into stitches after that, until a thick rectangle in Fang's pocket started vibrating. He pulled out his phone and flipped it open; his thumb could be seen moving rapidly for a few silent moments, then he looked up disappointedly at his new friend.
"I've gotta get home. Sorry, Max. See you soon, yeah?" he shrugged and got up. Max nodded and followed him out to the hallway, where she stood under the door frame, watching him put on his shoes. As he got up, he glanced a little above Max, and his eyes locked onto something. He began to slowly walk closer to her. Curious, Max looked up, and instantly realised what had captured his attention. A sprig of mistletoe.
To her surprise, when she looked back at Fang, he was much too close for comfort, and his hands were settled on her hips. "Fang, what are you –" her sentence was cut short as he turned away from the mistletoe and leaned in fast. What happened next was a real shock.
Max found her arms around his neck and her lips against his. She didn't know why she did it; it just happened naturally. She would have expected that kissing this boy she met a few hours ago (who she thought she was totally in the friend zone with) to be an awkward experience. But it was incredible. His eyes sparkled for a few seconds before they snapped shut. His lips heated up quickly, and she noticed that his soft hair smelled like oranges as she tangled her hands into it.
For once in her life, Max was connecting with something that wasn't an object. She was connecting with a real person – in ways she never could have dreamed of. She felt like she was flying. And she no longer had to wonder how insane and amazing and beautiful it would be to just… drift away.