A/N: And here we are. The 12th day of Christmas. The Final Chapter. The END. I didn't think I'd ever make it this far...but I did. It may be March, but I finished it! :D
Now I know in the summary and in the first chapter I said each chapter would be a semi-related one-shot, and that you could pretty much read each chapter as a stand alone, but as it turns out this chapter isn't. It'll have a few references to chapters past, plus it's a continuation with the Christmas party from last chapter. And even though the title says Amelie and Claire, only about half of the chapter really is.
But anyway, here we go. Hope everyone enjoys it! ^_^
Me: Okay, guys, it's time for the last line.
Me: I want you to sing it!
Claire: All of us?
Eve: I thought someone new was coming?
Me: Nope, just you guys. I want you all to sing together.
Sam: That's a great idea!
Me: I thought so. So, are you ready?
Myrnin: Of course!
Richard: Got it.
Morley: On your word!
Sam: I'm ready!
Me: Okay, all together then!
On the twelfth day of Christmas, the Founder gave to me...A party with friends laughing
Claire scowled at the stain spreading across her blouse. Right on the front of her chest, too. She should have known better than to go for the red punch when she was wearing a white shirt, but she hadn't been 100% sure the eggnog wasn't spiked. She would have been fine if whoever had been standing behind her hadn't bumped into her.
She sighed and looked around, desperately trying to find a napkin or something to dab at the spot, which had grown to about the size of her hand. She found one at the edge of a table a few feet away, picked it up and wiped uselessly at the spot.
'I need Eve.' Claire thought, giving up on the napkin. Unfortunately, Eve had disappeared to parts unknown shortly after the mistletoe incident, and Claire hadn't seen her since.
"Having problems?" someone asked beside her.
"Oh, uh, I just spilled my drink, I'm fine-" Claire started, then looked up and realized who she was talking to.
"I can see that." Amelie said, inspecting Claire's front with mild distaste. "It rather looks like someone tried to stab you and failed." She frowned and tsked, looking at the napkin in Claire's hand. "I don't think that's helping much, either."
"It isn't." Claire said glumly, wondering if she could find Michael and the others and get an early ride home. She really wasn't in the mood to have ancient vampires criticize her wardrobe.
"We'll have to see what we can do," said Amelie, nodding slightly to herself. "You can't really carry on with the party like this."
Claire looked up quickly. "No, I'm fine. I'll just see if I can find the others and head home..."
"Nonsense, you don't have to leave." Amelie said briskly.
"Uh, but like you said, I can't, um, really stay like this." Claire replied, looking down at her ruined shirt. God, she could even make out her bra underneath it.
"Then we'll find you something else to wear." Amelie said, businesslike.
Claire tried not to gape. "Um, where...?"
Amelie sighed. "There was an entire wardrobe for all of the actors here, was there not? I'm sure we can borrow something suitable for you there." she said, turning around and walking purposefully towards one of the exits. She looked over her shoulder when Claire didn't follow her right away. "Come along now."
Claire hoped she didn't look too dumbfounded. But Amelie really wasn't leaving much room for argument. She sighed in resignation and followed Amelie, before she made it into an order.
Oliver scowled at the small parcel in his hand. He had been planning on handing it to Claire with the suggestion that someone had left it backstage for her, but it had been awkward after the little stunt Eve and that fool Myrnin had pulled.
He cursed silently to himself. Damn Amelie and her little points.
What purpose did it serve for him to have to participate in this stupid 'Secret Santa' charade? Her personal amusement?
He glanced around the room. He might as well give this to the girl and be done with it. He didn't want to know what Amelie would do to make things difficult for him if he didn't. She had been getting quite inventive as of late.
He clenched his jaw and headed in the direction he had last seen Claire, determined to get this over with.
"I-I'm not sure they're going to be too happy with me, when they found out I took something from here." Claire protested as Amelie glanced up and down the racks of clothes.
They were currently backstage in the dressing room, where the surprisingly large assortment of clothes and costumes the actors used for the various productions Morganville had throughout the year were located. There was everything from period clothing and dresses to some more modern looking pieces, and a dress that looked like something a 1920's flapper would wear.
Amelie looked up at Claire's words. "Since these are in my theater, I do believe it makes them essentially mine. If they want to make an issue of me taking something out of this vast collection, they can bring it up with me. They won't be bothering you about it." she said calmly, turning back to the rack.
Claire gulped. She supposed Amelie had a point, but she still felt weird walking in and just taking something from here.
Then again, it wasn't as though she had much of a choice.
"Ah, I think this will do." Amelie said suddenly, pulling out a dress that didn't look too dated.
"Er, but I only really need a shirt..." Claire protested lightly. Amelie raised her eyebrows at her.
"It's more than appropriate for the party, and it looks to be about your size." she said, holding it out. "Besides, it suits your figure and coloring."
Claire took it from her hesitantly. Amelie smiled warmly at her. "Just try it on, and see if it's to your tastes. I think it will look splendid, but if you don't like it, we'll find something else." she said.
Claire nodded, feeling a little blush creeping up her cheeks. To say it felt odd to have the most powerful vampire in Morganville giving her fashion advice was an understatement.
Myrnin made his way over to one of the refreshment tables. Though the whole event had Amelie's extravagant touch to it, he found it a little boring, to be honest. He had lost Amelie some time ago, and hadn't been able to locate Claire either. He had been hoping to tease her a little more about her part in the play, which he could tell embarrassed her a little.
He was trying to decide where to start when he saw a familiar face staring down at one of the plates of snacks.
"Dr. Goldman," said Myrnin pleasantly. "Nice to see you."
Theo looked up and smiled at him. "Ah, good to see you as well." he said with warmth. "Did you come see the production, too?"
Myrnin nodded. "Yes, of course, to my assistant's dismay. And you?"
Theo chuckled. "Amelie invited me. You don't say no to the Founder, of course."
Myrnin nodded gravely, then stared down at the plate of cookies Theo was inspecting. "Is there a problem?" he asked the doctor, who wore a slightly troubled look.
"Hmm? Oh, it's nothing, just...do these cookies look odd to you?" Theo asked hesitantly. Myrnin looked at them intently. They didn't really look like the rest of the catering. In fact, they sort of resembled...
Myrnin looked up quickly at Theo, who had an embarrassed expression on his face.
"I see." Myrnin said gravely. Theo looked a little relieved.
"I thought maybe it was just me..." he said sheepishly. Before Myrnin could reply, he saw Oliver out of the corner of his eye, heading in their direction. He appeared to be looking for someone.
"Oliver! We would like your opinion on something!" Myrnin called. He saw Oliver visibly flinch at his name, which made Myrnin grin, before he turned around slowly.
He scowled at Myrnin and gave a curt nod towards Theo. "What?" he snapped.
Myrnin grinned. "Dr. Goldman and I were just wondering where these particular cookies came from. Have a look, what do you think?" he asked innocently.
Oliver rolled his eyes. "Is that why you're bothering me now, fool? Don't you have better things to do with your time?" he demanded.
Myrnin shrugged. "It was just a question. They're not from the catering, and a little oddly shaped. See?"
Oliver gave Myrnin another scathing look, but did look down at the cookies. "I don't see what you're-" he began, but stopped as he got a better look at them. Myrnin saw it on Oliver's face as it dawned on him what they looked like.
His expression really was priceless.
"Really though, where do you think they came from...?" Theo asked.
Oliver's eyes widened a little. "This looks like the plate Claire brought in earlier." he said.
Myrnin no longer felt like laughing.
They all stared at each other for a minute, then back at the plate, all wondering why Claire would have such things.
Mr. Ransom, the old vampire that ran the funeral parlor, walked up while they were in their daze, picking up one of the cookies and biting it in half.
"Er, pardon?" he asked, a little startled as the three old vampires all gave him disturbed looks.
They were going to have a hard time looking Claire in the eye, now.
"Do you need some help?" Amelie asked.
Claire peaked around the rack she was changing behind. She had been having trouble with the back of the dress, and Amelie must have noticed her delay.
"Uh, er, yes, please." Claire said awkwardly. Amelie nodded and walked around the rack, making quick work of the dress.
"There," she said pleasantly. "Have a look, now."
Claire gulped and nodded, walking over to one of the full-length mirrors. She blinked at her reflection in surprise.
It really did look good on her. Really good, in fact. Nice and elegant, but not too dressy, either.
"Ah, perfect. It looks wonderful on you, don't you think?" Amelie said, sounding pleased.
Claire nodded, blushing again. Amelie smiled.
"Shall we return to the party?" she asked warmly. "I think you're ready now."
Claire took a deep breath and smiled back at her. "Yeah, I think so too." she said. "Thank you."
Amelie bowed her head a little in acknowledgement. "You're very welcome, Claire."
"Hey, nice dress. Where'd it come from?" Eve asked some time later. After nearly an hour of absence Claire had finally tracked her and Michael down, sitting curled up on one of the cushy bench seats against the wall.
Claire looked down at herself. "The dressing room, my shirt got ruined. Apparently I can keep it."
When Eve raised her eyebrows questioningly, Claire added "Early Christmas present from the Founder."
This seemed to satisfy Eve, who shrugged and rested her head on Micheal's shoulder.
"Oh yeah, speaking of Christmas presents from vampires..." Michael said, picking up a small, wrapped parcel that was beside him. "Oliver asked me to give this too you."
Claire stared at him. "Uh, pardon?"
Michael shrugged. "He was standing at one of the refreshment tables with a weird look on his face. When he saw me, he handed me this and mumbled something about a Secret Santa. Then he walked off. It had your name on it, so I'm assuming it's your gift for the drawing, and somebody asked him to give it to you."
"Oh, okay..." Claire said slowly, nodding and taking the gift. That made sense. It would just be weird if Oliver was giving her something. "Hey, where's Shane?"
Michael grimaced at that. "Last I checked, he was arguing with Myrnin over cookies or something. I don't know."
Claire sighed. She'd have to find them and break them up before they started anything.
"Aren't you going to open your present?" Eve asked, pointing at the package still in Claire's hands.
"Oh, right." Claire started at the corner and ripped the festive paper aside. When she opened the box, she blinked.
Inside was a coffee thermos, with a design like a tie-dyed t-shirt. She pulled it out and showed Michael and Eve.
"Er, cool." said Michael, a little confused.
"It is useful. I've been saying I needed one." Claire pointed out. Eve frowned at it.
"You know, I think we sell ones like that at Common Grounds." she said.
They all looked at each other. "No way," they said in unison.
"Nah, he wouldn't." said Michael.
"I mean, it's Oliver." added Claire.
"But then again..." Eve said slowly. "It DOES look like something he would give..."
They all stared at the thermos a minute.
" 'Tis the season," said Claire, her cheeks pink.
"Good will towards man." Eve pointed out, grinning.
"And vampires," Michael added seriously. They all started laughing.
Mistletoe for kissing
Christmas cookies baking
A Christmas tree for trimming
Two roommates shopping
Many gifts for wrapping
Lots of lights a-blinking
One crazy boss!
Four stubborn men
Three ancient vamps
Two nosy boys
And a play I hope no one will see!
Everyone: Merry Christmas everybody!
Me: And Happy New Year, Happy Valentine's day, and Happy Any-Other-Holiday-That-Happened-During-The-Writing-Of-This-Story. Thanks for sticking around everyone!
A/N: And there it is. The end. It finally happened! Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who stuck by through it all, everyone who followed and added to their favorites and reviewed, you guys are all beyond awesome! :D And special thanks to ZombiesloveMangoes, for suggesting I make this one an Amelie-Claire, and letting me toss ideas around and putting up with my mad ramblings and whining that I was never going to get this done...Dude, you rock! :)
Song Suggestion: I said I'd do this one for the last chapter regardless, so: "There's no Place like Home for the Holidays". :)
Thanks to everyone who reviewed: ZombiesloveMangoes, Kitkattie, Sobia, Flora, 3verose, Vampirebaby 18, bekah-lauren'.D, Annie Bespoke, Claire Collins, OtakuIsLove, kindaxx4myrnin, jalex07, Becky, Blr, clairebear97, Proudhollow, and all Guests. Thanks for the support! ^_^ I'm glad you all liked it!
Edit (December 2014): Just a few very minor edits. I once again want to thank everyone who has read this and left a review, I really appreciate it and am glad I could write a story you guys could enjoy. ^_^ And on that note, I'd like to respond to a particular guest who left a review on Nov 11: For starters, thank you so much for your kind words! I was quite floored when said you read this at least once a month; to have a story people repeatedly come back to is an author's dream, and to here you say that? It is the absolute highest compliment I could possibly receive as an author. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you. :') As to your question on whether I was going to write another Christmas comedy this season, I'm afraid the answer right now is no. I've actually always intended to write another Morganville Christmas fic (possibly as a semi-sequel to my Thanksgiving story), but between real life and the countless other half-finished writing projects I've been trying to juggle, it just hasn't happened. I'm not saying never, though; just not this year.
Thanks again, and I hope you continue to enjoy the story! ~NarutoRox