Title: Secret Santa
Pairing: Reds, maybe, if you squint super-hard and enjoy guessing at THE FUTURE
Rating: G. No kidding, I have (for once) written a totally, completely G fic.
Parts: One-shot.
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, but I sure do like to make 'em bleed.
Summary: Brick knows she hates him.
Notes: Written for Somewei's birthday back in 2009. Yep, more holiday fic. Unbeta'd.

Secret Santa
-sbj-

"That wasn't even for you." Blossom has wandered away from the rest of her classmates during free time at Pokey Oaks to engage in her favorite activity: annoying Brick.

"I know," he says, a little viciously. He stares at the corner Ms. Keane has planted him in, plucks haphazardly at the thing in his hands, and wishes this stupid girl would just leave him alone.

"I mean, even though it had your name on it, I had a totally different Secret Santa gift for you—"

"I know—"

"I mixed yours and the Professor's up," she mutters, more to herself than to Brick. "I grabbed the wrong one when I was leaving the house for school. I should've used different wrapping paper..."

"Yeah, you should've," Brick scoffs, and notices the stuffing he's unwittingly turned out onto the carpet. He picks it up and stuffs it back in the head.

Blossom doesn't notice. She's too wrapped up in listening to herself talk. When she speaks next, Brick can hear her voice waver.

"You ruined it. It's almost Christmas and I don't have a present for the Professor and it's all because you ruined it."

Brick stares at the beady little eyes of the head in his hands and remembers how embarrassing it had been to have this sickeningly cute little toy bear gazing dewily up at him when he'd torn into the box, clutching a stuffed I Love You heart to its chest. The whole class, including their siblings, had gone into a riot—even Ms. Keane had been hiding a smile—while Blossom and Brick had been horrified. Even though he'd heard Blossom trying to explain, had seen her dashing up to wrench the thing out of his hands, because he was Brick and because he was a boy and a Rowdyruff to boot, he'd shredded that stupid little toy into pieces and blasted Blossom into the wall before she had the chance.

Predictably, Ms. Keane had given him The Corner, for messing up the wall, yes (now there was a bit of a cold draft seeping in through the crack), but mostly for being rude to his Secret Santa—Blossom.

"I wish I'd never picked your stupid name in the first place," she mumbles, sounding angry and hurt and like Christmas is ruined forever and ever. Brick wonders what her real present for him was, but doesn't want to ask.

He hears her shift, then she asks, "What are you picking at?"

He crushes the head of the Professor's stupid little bear to his chest and twists away from her. "None of your business! Go away!"

"Brick!" Ms. Keane's voice rings out, clear as a bell. "Corner! Blossom, leave him alone."

Brick grumbles and turns back to the wall with a sullen face. He can still feel Blossom behind him.

"You're a jerk, Brick," she whispers. "You're a big, dumb, jerk and you always mess everything up and I hate you."

"Good," he grumbles back, not looking at her.

"Blossom! Leave him be!"

Brick hears her scurry off (Finally, he thinks) and listens for a bit as she gets pulled into playing with some building blocks with Mary and Julie. He uncurls his arms from his midsection and looks at the stuffed bear head again. Its stupid face is all crushed up and it looks kind of sad.

It's such a dumb girl gift.

He still can't help the angry flush that rises up when he looks at it; it recalls the moment of discovery, when he'd first laid eyes on it. He'd thought it was some kind of joke. Thank God it hadn't really been for him.

He suddenly hears Mitch's voice singing, "Blossom and Brick, sitting in a tree—"

"Shut up, Mitch!" Blossom screams, silencing the entire class. "It wasn't even for him! I hate him! He's a big, dumb, stupid jerk and I hate him!"

"Blossom!" Ms. Keane cries, and Brick stops listening after that. He finds a loose thread and starts picking at it. He can sort of kind of hear Ms. Keane making Mitch apologize for teasing and explaining to everyone that Blossom's having a bad day and it's still not okay to use those words. The loose thread goes all the way around the bottom of the frayed head; he pulls until he's got a whole head's length of it bunched up in his mitt.

"Brick," Ms. Keane says, right behind him, and he hides the head in his arms. "Blossom has something to say to you."

He doesn't turn around. "What?"

"I'm sorry, Brick," Blossom mumbles. "You're not a big, dumb, stupid jerk. I don't hate you."

Her words don't mean anything to him. Brick may be five but he can tell when someone's only saying something because they're being forced to say it.

He hmphs, which is the best reaction Ms. Keane knows to hope for, and they leave.

After a while he pulls the bear away from his body again and studies the bundle of thread in his hand. Some of the stuffing has moved around, and he jams his hand in there to try and even it out.

He hears something way back behind him that makes him turn around and discovers it's Blossom laughing. Her sister Bubbles is trying to cheer her up with a drawing that Brick can't quite make out from here.

Eventually Brick turns back to his corner, that hot flush rising to his face long before he resumes picking at the remnants of that stupid toy bear.

-fin-