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Dark Sage
11th December 2008, 09:25 PM
No Friend Left Behind



A short story by Dark Sage



Old Fred was a man who had lived a long life, and didn’t have many people to spend his golden years with. His wife had passed away a long time ago, and he had lost touch with his children. For the last few years, his best friend was his faithful dog, Abe.

One summer day, Fred went on his morning walk, with Abe trotting along beside him, and he strangely lost track of the time. He looked around, and found that he was on a road that he had never walked down before.

As he continued to walk down the road, he suddenly realized that it was high noon. The summer sun was hot, and he started to feel very thirsty. He looked down and saw that Abe was panting heavily. Clearly, he wasn’t the only one who was thirsty.

As he went up the next hill, Fred came to a walled-in enclosure, where a large gate that seemed to be made of pure gold offered an entrance. A man in a formal suit stood beside the gate.

“Uhm, excuse me,” said Fred. “What sort of place is this?”

“This is Heaven,” said the man.

“Really?” said Fred. “Uhm… Do you have anything to drink?”

“Of course,” said the man. “I’ll have someone bring a pitcher of water right away.”

“Can you bring some for my friend here too?” asked Fred.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” said the man. “We don’t allow pets.”

Well, Old Fred didn’t like that. He figured he had best find a place where his dog would be welcome, so he turned and left, with Abe still faithfully following him.

About a half-mile up the road, Fred came to a farm with rolling hills. Out front, an old farmer wearing overalls and a straw hat was sitting on a stump, whittling a piece of wood.

“Excuse me,” said Fred. “Is there anywhere I can get something to drink around here?”

“Sure,” said the farmer. “Right over there’s a water pump. You’re welcome to it.”

“And can I get some for my friend here?” asked Fred.

“Course you can,” replied the farmer. “There should be a dish over there that he can use.”

Fred found the pump without difficulty, and it was easy to use. After he and Abe had quenched their thirst, they went back to where the farmer was sitting.

“So what place is this?” asked Fred.

“This place?” replied the farmer. “This is Heaven.”

“Oh?” asked Fred. “That’s what the guy back down the road said.”

“You mean that walled-in place with the golden gate?” asked the farmer. “Nah. That’s Hell.”

Fred raised an eyebrow.

“Really?” he said. “You must be upset that they claim to be you.”

“Nah,” said the farmer. “It doesn’t bother us much…”

Then the farmer reached over and gave Abe a friendly pat on the head.

“…we’re just glad that they keep away folks who would actually leave their best friend behind.”


This holiday season, keep everyone you love close. Good friends are as precious as gold. Cherish them. Because if you lose them, they are truly irreplaceable. Even if you make new friends in your long journey through life, they will never be the same as the ones you lost and left behind…

classy_cat18
11th December 2008, 09:31 PM
Cool. It's so...Aesop. Thanks a lot.

PancaKe
11th December 2008, 09:59 PM
I know it's not my secret santa, but I read it anyway, and I cried. I hate you for making me cry. It was so so sad.

:(

That is all

PancaKe
11th December 2008, 10:22 PM
Well, merry christmas B4. Sorry your present is 1, a little early, 2, very poorly done - I think this is one of the first christmases ive ever kept to the secret santa thing! But yeah, so here you go :) I hope you dont take it too seriously :P


B is for beautiful, because that’s what everyone thinks you are

U is for ugly…NOT, because from it you are far

L is for lolcats, and your crazy sigs

B is for bubbly and the joy that it gives

A is for artist, of all types and forms

S is for sketching, sculpting, spriting and more

A is for ancient, since May two thousand

U is for usually here on demand

R is for royalblue text, and reliable mod all the time

And the 4 has always been there, though were not quite sure why

May over this season you stay safe and well

Enjoy every second, and make them all swell

Remember to give as much as you get

Relax and enjoy the presents you share

Yule time is quick, so don’t waste a sec

Celebrate it fully, don’t worry about rest

Hang out with family, with friends and the like

Remember us here, don’t forget to write

I guess I am really stretching this rhyme

Spose it’s okay, because it’s Christmas time

Tomorrow will soon be past Christmas this year

May next year bring peace, and lots of good beer

Also spirits and wines, whichever you like to drink

So that’s all for secret santa, I’ve written way too much and cant be bothered to write any more or rhyme either. Merry Christmas bulbasaur4. J

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v646/helga_the_strong/b4.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v646/helga_the_strong/DSC01424.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v646/helga_the_strong/DSC00009.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v646/helga_the_strong/B42.jpg

Sorry the lolcats pics are so fuzzy and blurry, some of them anyway. They're of my cats a few years ago when I was taking pics with my video camera in night vision. :) Merry christmas xoxox <3

classy_cat18
11th December 2008, 11:41 PM
I thought I would do some reciting. The greatest Christmas poem ever!

It was the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring…

Static: Yo!

Me: *sighs* Except for this mouse. Static, get back in bed.

Static: No way! You’re up in th’ middle of the night waitin’ for Santa! I wanna stay up wit’ youse!

Me: There is no—

Artemis: Don’t say it!

Me: Can I finish the poem or not?

Static: Dat poem’s so lame. Youse need to jazz it up.

Me: Why don’t you do that?

Artemis: He can’t even remember the poem. I’ll do it.

It was the night before Christmas and all through Riku’s place,
Riku was following Shonta and pleading his case.
He tricked her with mistletoe and leaned in for a kiss,
I’d say from the red handprint that he didn’t miss.

The Pokemon were snoring all snug on the floor,
While visions of battling kept them from bore.
With trainer in PJs and I in my ball,
I got out within minutes and went out in the hall.

When down towards the tree there rose such a ruckus.
I tumbled down the stairs and fell on my tuckus.

Static: Tuckus?

Artemis: Butt. Rump. Ass.

Static: Okay, I get it.

Away to the tree I flew like a rocket,

Static: Tripped over a cord and removed it from the socket.

Artemis: Shut. Up.

But it wasn’t Santa Claus but he still was red,
He was shiny, he was metal, and me? I was dead.
He said, “You know my secret, now you must die.”
Being a drama queen instead of trying to lie.

Ripper: I wouldn’t say something like that.

Artemis: I’m trying to rhyme here!

I told him, “You were shaking your gift, it’s no big deal.
I’ll go back to bed and pretend it’s not real.
But if you’re curious, Shonta got you coal,
From dunking Cinder in his water bowl.”

Cinder and Static: Oooooooh…

Ripper: Stool pigeon.

And he mumbled as I turned in for the night.
“Merry Christmas to you, now get outta my sight.”

Ripper: Now that’s me.

Static: I thought the poem was longer.

Artemis: I didn’t have a lot of prep time for that.

Asilynne
12th December 2008, 02:23 AM
Whats that I see
In the distance it looms
could it be
a Lover of Houndoom?

How joyful you bounce,
how happy you gape!
How quickly you pounce
on the Spider of Rape! :O

You say you are lazy
but make no mistake!
Your bound to go crazy
for some delicious cake.

I dont know you well
and I dont know your plans.
But I heard someone tell
that you like Jackie Chan....s

Some may think your hyper play
is a recipe for disaster
But nothing ever takes away
your love for Blademaster. <3

I know this isnt a lot
and its not pancakes or waffles
but I hope you like the thought!
(And I hope it gave you some lol-fuls XD)


I hope you like it :D I dont really know you cept from what Ive seen around the boards and I figured youd appreciate a comedic lil something dedicated to you <333 merry Christmas!!!!! :D

mistysakura
12th December 2008, 08:01 AM
Awesome! I'm catching up with Scattered Lights, so it's perfect timing. Hehe, great job on making everything rhyme. I just love how Static interjected right in the second line -- wasn't expecting that. And all the characters are so spot on (of course, they're yours :)) Expecially the "get out of my sight" bit.

My favourite bits (to nick Sike Saner's response style):


Static: Tuckus?

Artemis: Butt. Rump. Ass.

Static: Okay, I get it.

Ripper: I wouldn’t say something like that.

Artemis: I’m trying to rhyme here!

But if you’re curious, Shonta got you coal,
From dunking Cinder in his water bowl.”

Thanks so much! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside :) How do you guys get these done so quickly, anyway?

Shuppet Master
12th December 2008, 10:36 AM
A Battle Of Wills
A Secret Santa story for Blademaster

(A generic stadium. A green-skinned woman with pupiless black eyes stands on one end. A teenaged ninja girl with short black hair stands on the other.)

Referee: This is a three-on-three Pokémon battle to determine who will be focused on in the next year. On the left is Empyrea Dragonquest T.O.B.O.R, foundress of a matriarch legacy, representing the legacies in Shuppet Master's Sims 2 game. On the right is Yuffie Fusterman, the co-star of the neglected fanfic Poké-Odyssey GX.

For sake of time, this is a one-on-one battle to the death. BEGIN!

Empyrea: Go, Porygon-Z! (A Porygon-Z appears. It appears to be a shiny blue one.)

Yuffie: Grrr... go Croagunk! (The frog-fu fighter appears.)

Me: Is she insane? Porygon-Z has...

Empyrea: PSYBEAM! (Porygon-Z shoots the rainbow energy from its beak.)

Yuffie: Croagunk, dodge it and use Mud Bomb!

Croagunk: CroaGUNK! (Leaps into the air and spits mud into its opponnet's swirly eyes. It shakes its head.)

Empyrea: Porygon-Z!

Yuffie: Now use Cross Chop! (Croagunk dives and chops the Porygon-Z, doing major damage.)

Empyrea: Quick, use Conversion-2! (Porygon-Z glowes and turns pink.)

Yuffie: Great, now it's a psychic-type. Hmmm...

Empyrea: Psybeam again! (Porygon-Z fires its beam.)

Yuffie: Sucker Punch! (Croagunk fades out and backstabs Porygon-Z with a dark glowing fist, but screams as the beam hits it. The two Pokémon faint.)

Referee: Uh... it's a tie.

Empyrea: Grrr, I hate these stupid creatures.

Yuffie: *giggles* The pot is calling the kettle black, you being an alien spawn.

Empyrea: Why you! (Lunges at Yuffie and the two disappear into a dust cloud.)

Me: *groan* I can't believe I let this happen. (Watches in pain as Yuffie wins the fight and dusts off her hands as Empyrea slowly gets up in pain.)

Moral of the story: Don't think your characters will ignore their neglect of you... make sure you work on all your stories equally or else! Also, boolprop.com is evil because The Sims 2 stories are far more interesting than anything here because they have PICTURES! If you want to end up neglecting the fanfics here, go to boolprop.com and enter the forums, but don't say I didn't warn you!

Sorry if that was sucky, but it's my first secret Santa entry. :(

classy_cat18
12th December 2008, 01:15 PM
I'm not really sure how I was able to think this up so fast. Probably because I focused most (if not all) of my brainpower on this. Anyway, I'm glad that you liked it. I remembered that you liked my short on the writing sprint, so more comedy for Christmas!

Bulbasaur4
12th December 2008, 02:31 PM
The Summoning


"So... remind me why I am here again?" Dark Sage's forehead twitched slightly as he mechanically rifled through his hand of cards.

"Because I willed you here, silly. By the power that is all and... umm... Christmasy!" Bulbasaur4 declared, flinging her arms up dramatically and also exposing the Yu Gi Oh cards that were in her hand. At this, Dark Sage sighed loudly and smacked his forehead into his palm.

"You just showed me your hand... you know that, right?"

"Oh, did I? Whoops! Oh well, that doesn't matter much, right? Sorta like playing Kings in the Corner?"

".... You've never played Yu Gi Oh before, have you."

"Well... I played a Gameboy game once..." Bulbasaur4, whom now will be referred to as Bulbie4, fidgeted uncomfortably. "In truth, for your Christmas gift I wasn't sure what to get you. So I figured if I willed you here and played Yu Gi Oh... maybe that'd suffice!"

"You really didn't have to-"

"But ALAS I fail! I'm really no good at this card game sort of thing! Well... I did play World of Warcraft cards at one point... and I'm alright at that, but that's just because I-"

"Bulbasaur4! It's okay, really! I'm ju-"

"Oh call me Bulbie! It's more informal, Dark Sage!"

More silence ensued between the two, as Dark Sage picked up his cards and handed them back to Bulbie. She had brought along two starter decks that she claimed to have "found" and the two had been attempting to play the Yu Gi Oh card game in a rather dusty looking gaming store. The chairs were awfully uncomfortable and the tables felt like they could buckle downward at the slightest pressure. Not to mention it was a tad bit chilly, being that they were sitting right next to a large open window that showed the blizzard world outside.

"So, where are we?" Dark Sage broke the silence.

"Oh! We're in Wisconsin! This is the town I live in while I'm at college. Cozy, isn't it?"

"... well, I suppose so. Don't you think that I should, you know, be getting back home? It's really close to Christmas and people probably are worried about me."

"But I didn't get you a gift!"

"It's okay, really!"

"NO! I MUST GET YOU A GIFT!!" Bulbie suddenly rose out of her chair and struck a rather animated pose of determination. Then with a snap of her fingers, her eyes widened and she gazed down at Dark Sage with a wild gleam in her eyes. "I got it! TO TARGET!"

Unfortunately, the two of them only ended up getting five feet outside the front door (Dark Sage mostly being dragged) as the realization fell upon Bulbasaur4 that she had no car to get them to Target. Dark Sage dually noted in his mind that even if she were to have a car there, he would not ride along with her during such an angry blizzard. (Indeed the blizzard was angry, as the snowflakes seemed to stab him in the face like tiny icicle daggers. A bad side effect of being in a town right next to Lake Michigan.)

"I'm freezing! Can we go back inside?" Dark Sage asked, hugging his arms slightly. Indeed, during whatever summoning process Bulbie had done, it had failed to properly dress him for cold temperatures such as this.

"No, no! I got this!" Swiftly, Bulbie reached behind her head and dug around in the hood of her red, hoodie sweatshirt. Promptly, she plucked a shining pokeball from it. Dark Sage perhaps thought that she was insane at this point- carrying around pokeball models with her and using them to solve problems, but if he did he was kind enough to keep quiet about it.

"Go Fenrir!" Bulbie threw the pokeball.

She really is insane...

The pokeball hit the ground and instantly opened up, a large glowing blob erupting from the tiny sphere to form into the large, impressive figure of a large, silken furred Arcanine. The wolfish pokemon wagged his large tail eagerly, giving a rough howl of approval. Fenrir then promptly dove into the nearest snow bank out of glee.

"What the... how did... am I dreaming?" Dark Sage stammered, to which Bulbie shook her head.

"Nope!"

"But the pokemon... real..."

"OH! Sorry! This is an alternate dimension of mine that I escape to from time to time. That was the only way I could summon you to me!"

"... Oh, that makes sense..." Dark Sage was thoroughly confused, but promptly decided that it was best to play along. "Do I get a pokemon?"

"Sure!" Bulbie reached into her hoodie once more and pulled out a pokeball. "You might wanna wait before trying it out though."

"Why?"

"Because we're going to TARGET!" With that, Bulbie gave a loud whistle and immediately Fenrir leapt out of the bank with a snowful explosion. Eagerly he ran up to Bulbie's side and grabbed her by the hoodie and effortlessly threw her on his back. Bulbie giggled gleefully and before Dark Sage could react, he also was thrown onto the back of the fluffy dog. "AWAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!"



~***~***~***~***~***~


Dark Sage found it odd that Bulbie wanted to go to Target so badly, when clearly there was more amusement in using pokemon in her "alternate universe." He found it even stranger that apparently, even in her "alternate universe", people clearly were shocked at the sight of pokemon- let alone the sight of the massive Fenrir-sized pokemon.

"I'm dreaming..." Dark Sage clearly had decided this for himself, even as he walked into the Target. Bulbie had recalled Fenrir and now was leading the charge into the large, unsuspecting store.

"You can let her out now!" Bulbie whirled around as she reached the shopping carts. Dark Sage hesitated for a moment, before looking down at the shiny red and white sphere in his hands. With a shrug and figuring there wasn't much to lose, he threw it to the ground.

"Eeeeessspeeeeooon!" The cat-like fluff ball cried, glancing up at Dark Sage with curious eyes.

"ACK! I meant to give you the other one! CRAP!" Bulbie cried as she made a diving tackle at the Espeon, as if the poor little creature was the doom incarnate.

"It's just an Espeon..." Dark Sage commented, as it easily leapt out of the way and Bulbie crashed into the hard floor.

"Oh no no... you see... she's afraid of large groups of people... and toys... and electronics..." Bulbie began to say, but was interrupted at the sound of a large explosion. Both of them turned to see that indeed, the Espeon had managed to fire off a beam of some sort at the hotdog machine, thoroughly blowing it up. Hotdogs flew everywhere, splattering promptly on the two of them.

"I suppose we need to catch her before something else-" Dark Sage was cut off by another large explosion. Looking over to the electronics, he saw that several televisions were now missing vital parts. "-how the heck did she get all the way over there so quickly?!" Dark Sage gaped, but quickly he shook his head at Bulbie. "Let's go."




~***~***~***~***~***~

It took over the course of an hour, but eventually the two of them were running out of Target. Dark Sage had the Espeon in his arms as Bulbie gleefully ran out with a plastic target bag in tow.

"Hurrah! We did it! Team work for the win!" Bulbie declared as they reached the back of the parking lot.

The wailing sound of fire trucks was heard off in the distance, as Dark Sage raised a brow at the flames that roared from within the Target store. He sighed and then looked at Bulbie, eyeing the plastic bag.

"When did you have time to buy anything?! Were there even cash registers left?!"

"Oh, I bought it before we started."

"But I didn't see you... were right by...-"

"ANYWAY! Here! Happy Secret Santa Christmas Gift!" She promptly presented the plastic bag in front of Dark Sage's face. Blinking in surprise, he let the Espeon hop to the ground as he warily took the plastic bag. Opening it up, immediately he let out a sigh and his forehead once again twitched. He was about to open his mouth and declare that he didn't need the gift and in fact, he didn't really desire it- but looking at Bulbie's bright-eyed, eager face made him falter.

"Do yah like it?! Do yah do yah?!" She eagerly bounced around, the Espeon oddly following suit.

"... yes... it is... wonderful..." Dark Sage said, as he clutched a very common pre-formed Yu Gi Oh deck in hand.



Hope that's okay Dark Sage! I don't know you very well so this was the idea that popped into my head. ^_^ Happy Holidays!!

Dark Sage
12th December 2008, 03:18 PM
Well, it's the thought that counts.

Seriously, I've seen people much worse that you when it comes to figuring out how the game works. Your little story made me smile as I remembered all of them.

Happy holidays.

Blademaster
12th December 2008, 03:22 PM
I'm not quite sure what I just read...

But, thanks Shup. :sweat2: Merry Chris-miss to you too.

Houndoom_Lover
12th December 2008, 04:55 PM
Hahahaha! That was awesome! ^_^ And it rythmed too! *folds it up and sticks it in my pocket* ^w^ Instant new bio

Thanks for the gift! *hugs*

Goodnight Seadra
13th December 2008, 02:44 AM
Sorry that I can't do a very detailed review...busy with that Secret Santa gift thing. ^^;

Yeah, like everyone else I too thought it's interesting Dawn used sign language to communicate. Don't see characters that used sign language that often.

Well, I thought Shay's emotions were protrayed well and I actually felt sorry for him when he got heartbroken, but it's kind of hard for me to believe he was able to be so intelligent in a months time. Then again, I guess some beings learn quicker than others? ^^; You don't have to change that, though.

One thing I'm confused is how Justin and Dawn were able to communicate if Justin speaks. You didn't mention anything about Justin using sign language. Might've missed something, though.

Well, nothing else to say but good job on the piece! ^_^

Lady Vulpix
13th December 2008, 06:52 AM
This Secret Santa has been reported as plagiarism by the Supreme Mugwumps of the Fanfiction Council of Modly Mods.

Dark Sage, I hope the infraction serves you as a lesson.

Sorry, Shonta, you deserved better than that.

Dark Sage
13th December 2008, 07:52 AM
I would like to make a public apology.

The story was sent to me as a Christmas greeting from my father, who told me to share it, and I did not know its source. However, I know that ignorance is no excuse.

I am deeply sorry for this, and I am especially sorry to classy_cat18. I was simply trying to share a nice story that my father shared with me, but I guess I should have stated that.

If classy_cat18 desires, I will make amends any way that is desired. I have plenty of time on my hands, and I could do anything that involved writing. I know that it wouldn't excuse this, but the very least I could do was try to make up for such an act. Believe me, I will be wary from now on of anything my family sends me.

Once again, I'm sorry. I would like the fanfic mods to delete this post once they are sure everyone has read this message.

classy_cat18
13th December 2008, 09:26 AM
Hmm...I actually had a sneaking suspicion that I've read this before. But it was nice to read it again, even though it was in this way.

Now to make amends...sounds like I'm punishing you...

I just woke up. I don't feel like punishing anyone.

Read Doolittle of Pokemon, Knights to Remember, and Scattered Lights, then give me your opinion of them. If you haven't read them already, that is. Nothing long, but I've been curious to see what you think.

Dark Sage
13th December 2008, 05:38 PM
I'll put them on my "To Read" list. I'll make sure to read them next week when I have a few days off.

Dark Sage
14th December 2008, 12:42 PM
Sorry for the double post, but I felt I had to add something.

I want to add that I do not deny having committed plagiarism. I realize due to the fact that the fact that the story was not mine, and I posted it while not saying so and did not give due credit to anyone else, it was plagiarism, an abominable act for any writer. I won't pretend to blame anyone but myself.

Once again, I apologize profusely. I assure everyone on fanfiction that this will not happen again. If I ever obtain a prexisting story that I want to share, I will make sure to say that it is not mine.

Thank you for your time.

- DS

mario72486
24th December 2008, 10:58 PM
*in Bob Ross-style voice* Welcome back. Certainly glad you could join me today, because today I thought we’d just to a happy little painting, and I hope you enjoy it. So I tell you what, let’s start out today and have them run all the colors across the screen that you need to paint along with me. While they’re doing that, let me show you what I’ve got done up here already…

*get bashed in the head by a mallet*

Ow, I needed that - and I need to limit how much “The Joy of Painting” I watch…

Anyway, this is my Secret Santa gift to you, Shuppet Master, and I hope you like it.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Finally, some me-time!”

Such was what Leo Vertua was thinking out loud. He had decided to take a little stroll outside the fortified sanctuary of the Sacred Three, who had been guiding him and the other Chosen during their journey. It was one of the rare chances he had to be by himself and get a breather; not that being away from his friends was a bad thing, of course. It was just that sometimes he needed an opportunity to think on his own every once in a while.

He had been walking through the canyon just outside of the sanctuary, where he had acquired his Spirit and gained the power to evolve into Samuraimon, the Knight of Fire. The memory wasn’t an overall pleasant one - considering a Digimon by the name of Meramon tried to kill him and the other Chosen before the Spirit could be found - and he couldn’t help but let out a sigh. But that was a quite a while ago, and at the moment things were looking up.

…until it started to snow.

This mini blizzard caught Leo by surprise. It came through more like an ocean wave than a winter storm. In less than a minute after it started, there was already an inch of snow on the ground.

“Man, this sucks…since when does it snow in the desert?! Oh, wait a minute…” He quickly remembered being in the Arahas Desert several months back, and conditions there were much worse.

…or so he thought.

As if cue, the wind began to howl, and the snow began to pile higher and higher until it reached up to the Knight’s knees.

“This BITES!” Leo called out as he tried to make his way through the rising drifts. Peering through the near-blinding snow, he saw what looked like a cave at the base of one of the canyon’s walls. With no other options in sight, he decided to go for it. As he entered the sheltered abode and shrugged the snow off of his clothes, he heard the D-5 in his pocket beeping. He pulled it out and activated its communication feature.

“Leo, you alright out there?” He heard Aaron’s - fellow Chosen and Knight of Wind - voice ring out. “The S-3 detected this freak blizzard the moment it started.”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Leo replied. “I found a nice little cave out here in the canyon. I think I’ll gonna have to stick around and wait out this Nor’easter.”

“You sure you’ll be ok out there?” Aaron asked. “You’ve said you’d be ‘okay’ plenty of times before, and each of those times you ended up battered or bruised by whoever decides to pick a fight with us…”

“Sheesh, you’re starting to sound like Asuka,” Leo replied, holding his temples. “You’re worrying too much. And hey, there’s a first time for everything, right? Besides, I have my D-5 handy. If something does happen, I’ll be sure to let you guys know.”

He heard Aaron sigh on the other end. “Fine, but you be careful out there. Your little angel would never forgive me if I let something bad happen to you.”

Leo was about to give a ‘will do’ statement until he heard that last remark. “Huh? Hang on, whaddya mean ‘little angel?’” He didn’t get a reply - only a standard cut-off of the com-link. “Damn him,” he huffed, stuffing the D-5 back into his pocket.

He gripped his shoulders for warmth, but then slapped his forehead. “What the heck am I doing? I don’t have a be this cold!” Pulling the D-5 out again, he raised it over his head and called upon his evolution.

“EXECUTE! KNIGHT SPIRIT EVOLUTION! SAMURAIMON!”

As the Fractal Code dissipated, the Knight of Fire could immediately notice the positive results. Already his body was warming up, and he felt far more comfortable than moments before. “Much better,” he said to himself. He got a good look at his surroundings, and noticed that the cavern went a bit deeper than he originally thought. “Well, it’s not like I have anything else better to do right now.” Deciding to do a bit of exploration, he snapped a finger, and a ball of fire burst to life in his extended hand. With a competent light source, he ventured deeper into the cave.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A twenty-minute trek down into the depths made Leo notice a particular trend: it was a single path, with no other interconnecting tunnels. And in several instances, he saw how some of the sand and rock on the tunnel’s floor was fresh, as if they had recently been churned up.

Before he could continue on this thought, he found the tunnel opened up into a massive cavern. The walls were lined with strange crystal-like structures that glowed brightly, illuminating the area. At the center of the room was what appeared to be a hot spring; a quick feel of the water confirmed this assumption. As he was pulling his hand back out, his mind clicked when he realized there were snowflakes coming down, even though there were no openings in the cavern’s ceiling.

As he tried to figure out how that would be possible, a massive gust of wind came through the cavern from its entrance, sending snow in Samuraimon’s direction. The Knight shielded himself and groaned as the warmth he had felt earlier was whisked away by this freak of nature.

“Ho…Ho…Ho…”

The deep voice made the Knight of Fire shudder. He lowered his arm and saw a strange-looking Digimon, who had appeared out of the gust of ice and snow. It was a ten-foot-tall giant of a creature. Someone a good distance away might have mistook it for a polar bear, given its teddy bear-like features. However, someone close by would have seen it more as a snowman of sorts. It was wearing a large black top-hat, and had a red and green scarf around its neck. A corncob pipe was stuck in place where its mouth would be.

Samuraimon pulled out his D-5 and used its newly acquired Description function. “Frigimon, an Icy Digimon at the Champion level. While normally docile, it will mercilessly use its Subzero Ice Punch and Snowball Fight attacks if threatened.”

“And where do you think you’re going, little boy?” The Frigimon asked in an overly-annoying voice.

“Uh…I was actually about to leave, if you don’t mind,” Samuraimon said, taking a step back.

“Oh, I’m afraid I can’t let you go anywhere,” the Icy Digimon stated, gathering some snow from the ground. “The boss wouldn’t like it if I let you go…”

“The boss? Hang on…you couldn’t possibly be working with the Dark One, could you?”

“Mind your own business!” The Frigimon snapped in an agonizingly poor French accent. “That doesn’t matter right now. What does matter is that I put you on ice so no one will squeal.”

Samuraimon drew his katana and held it out. “I’m warning you, you’d better not provoke me. You wouldn’t like me when I’m provoked.”

“Hey!” Frigimon yelled. “That’s MY line! Alright, you’re gonna pay for stealing my thunder!” He formed a snowball and hurled it at the Knight.

Samuraimon didn’t think anything of it, and let the snowball hit him in his left shoulder armor. “Is that the best you can do?” He asked.

Frigimon giggled like an idiot. “Look again, silly.”

Samuraimon suddenly felt his left shoulder freeze up. “What the hell?” Looking over, he saw that ice had formed where the snow had hit him, reaching all the way down to his elbow.

“Ha ha, got you!” The Icy Digimon laughed. “Now to finish the job! SNOWBALL FIGHT!” In a flurry, Frigimon launched a barrage of snowballs at his target.

Despite his partly-frozen arm, the Knight of Fire was able to dodge the onslaught of snowballs, rushing in with katana at the ready. “Time to trim the tree!” He called, slashing at the Icy Digimon’s stomach. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to work, as the wounds were covered by the snow from other parts of his body. Growling, the Knight tried again and again as Frigimon just took it. Each time, the damage was essentially negated.

Frigimon chuckled. “That won’t work on me! But this will work on you! SUBZERO ICE PUNCH!” He brought down a balled fist with one mighty swing. Samuraimon dodged just in time, Frigimon’s fist impacting on the ground where he was standing. The area was immediately covered in ice.

“Crap, that was a close call,” the Knight said out loud.

“Come on,” Frigimon said, punching like an amateur boxer, “you need to chill out for me.”

“I think I’ll go with getting fired up! Incendiary Stream!” Samuraimon unleashed his main attack; a blast of pure fire raced towards the lummox.

“Where’s your holiday spirit?” Frigimon asked as he gave a wave of his arm, a small wall of ice was formed, blocking the fire attack. “You need it before I can officially kill you cold turkey!”

“Ugh, you’re getting on my nerves!”

Frigimon turned around just in time to see the Knight of Fire in the air above him. He unleashed another Subzero Ice Punch at the same time his adversary fired a second Incendiary Stream. The attacks collided in a good sized explosion, sending both combatants back a good distance away from each other.

As the steam dissipated, Samuraimon barely dodged another snowball. He could see Frigimon blocking the exit, packing more of the icy projectiles into a pile in front of him. He then took two larger ones and stuck them on his biceps, as if to bulk himself up in more ways than one. “I’m the best! You’re the worst! Let’s run and we’ll have some fun now before I melt away!”

“Fat chance, Frosty!” Samuraimon melted the ice on his arm, then launched a volley of fireballs at an alarming rate.

“I resent that!” Frigimon replied, hurling a volley of snowballs to meet the fireballs. Each projectile collided head-on. “We do not discuss my dad’s side of the family!”

Both sides continued their volleys, but pretty soon there were more snowballs hurtling through the air than fireballs. The Knight of Fire was slowly but surely getting tired. Eventually he had to choice but to run for it. A quick dash was all it took to get out of range of Frigimon’s throwing arm.

“You’re no fun at all,” Frigimon commented, taking the time to make some more snowballs. “At this rate you’ll be dead from exhaustion. That won’t make for a good snow-samurai!”

Samuraimon wasn’t just getting tired. He was slowly getting colder. He could feel the heat escaping his body faster than normal. “Damn it, why is this more difficult than usual?” He quietly asked himself as he dropped his katana and tried to catch his breath. “He’s only a Champion! I shouldn’t have any problems with him at all…

“Wait…hang on…maybe I’m the one making it more difficult. I just need to find a way to make it easier for me…” He turned his head slightly and remembered the hot spring. “Before you melt away, eh? That gives me an idea…” As he looked back at the Icy Digimon, he nearly got pelted in the face with yet another snowball.

“Boring!” Frigimon called. “I can do this all day with the snow I’m making in here. Make it easy on yourself and let me make an snow-samurai out of you.”

“Oh really?” Samuraimon asked, picking up his katana. “I doubt you even have the snowballs for that.”

Frigimon looked confused. “Of course I do! I got a pile of them right here!”

The Knight shook a finger, then pointed at him. “That’s not the kind I’m talking about. You’re so childish, I doubt you even have a pair right now.”

The Icy Digimon’s eyes seemed to narrow as his fists balled up. “Shut up! You don’t know me at all!”

“Oh, sure I do,” Samuraimon said coolly, as he went up and down the blade of his katana with his other hand. “You’re just a sad excuse for a snowman who’s blindly following a meaningless cause.”

The pieces of coals that made up Frigimon’s eyes and buttons appeared to be burning red as his anger went up even higher. “I SAID SHUT UP!” He took the pile of snowballs and quickly mashed them together until they made one giant sphere. He hurled it with all his might.

“Just what I was hoping for,” Samuraimon commented. He fired a stronger version of his Incendiary Stream, destroying the giant snowball before it could even come close to hitting him. Frigimon was so fixated on his projectile that he didn’t see the Knight charging towards him.

“Sword of Salamandra!” The Knight cried out, slashing much harder than before. As he was taunting the Icy Digimon, he was using the energy he could spare to superheat the blade of his katana, making it much hotter than normal.

The end result: it cut through Frigimon’s arm with no problem at all.

“ARGH!” Frigimon howled as the limb fell away from his body. “YOU NAUGHTY LITTLE SKUNK!” He threw a Subzero Ice Punch with his remaining arm, but Samuraimon dodged easily.

“What’s the matter, Frosty?” The Knight of Fire asked. “I thought you liked cutting ice sculptures!”

“Santa says you’ve been a bad boy this year!” Frigimon snarled as he flung more snowballs at the Knight. “You’re getting nothing but a heaping pile of coal!”

“Cool,” Samuraimon replied with a smile, “more fuel for the fire.” Frigimon kept throwing snowballs, eventually having to resort to pulling off snow from his own girth to provide material. The Knight continued to dodge the projectiles, leading the Digimon closer and closer to the hot spring.

Soon it was the Frigimon’s turn to tire. He tried to hurl another snowball, but his arm gave out as he faltered, going down to one knee.

The Knight saw his chance. Superheating his blade again he zipped in and sliced off the Icy Digimon’s remaining arm. Ignoring the screams of agony, he did the same to his legs, cutting them off the knees. Now Frigimon looked more like a snowman - if there were any large sticks in the cavern, he could have easily completed the look.

“Ah……….come on, I was only kidding about making a snow-samurai out of you!” Frigimon cried out in near desperation. “I’m only here to spread the cheer! You know, the Dark One’s influence on all the Digital World? The One who will strike you all down and make everything his own?”

“You know,” Samuraimon said exasperatedly, “your jokes have become old. So has this talk of the big guy taking over the world. The odds of that happening is just like your odds of survival...” He clenched his fists and gathered energy for his special ability.

“…a snowball’s chance in Hell. BURNING BIG BANG!”

The explosion of power sent Frigimon flying, landing in the middle of the hot spring. His cries of pain were indescribable as he slowly but surely melted away. In mere moments, all that remained was his hat, scarf and pipe, while residue from the pieces of coal began to float to the surface of the spring. All of the leftovers eventually dissolved into Fractal Code

The Knight of Fire used his D-5 to absorb the Fractal Code. “I’ve heard of a low melting point, but that…was pretty pathetic.” Sheathing his katana and devolving to human form, he made his way towards the exit.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The trip out was longer than the trip in, but Leo was glad he was even able to make it out at all. He did notice that the so-called Nor’easter was over. The sun was shining brightly overhead, and all the clouds had disappeared. One would never have guessed that there was a storm less than an hour ago.

Leo sighed as he scratched the back of his head. “Well, that wasn’t exactly the way I wanted to spend my me-time...” With that, he began his trek back up to the sanctuary, where his friends would surely be waiting for him…

mistysakura
25th December 2008, 03:00 AM
Well, strictly speaking, two Secret Santas. Although one's more of a debt than a gift. Here it is. (http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/showthread.php?p=381981&postcount=14) Sorry it's a bit rough; had a deadline to meet :P Although the fic hasn't been posted in a year, I hope it still helps somehow. The second Secret Santa is a little more interesting (I hope). I tried to write something you'd enjoy, and realised that I was really out of my knowledge zone, but I ploughed on anyway (with lots of help from Wikipedia). So please forgive me if it's factually inaccurate. And also for the lack of action (action writing is my nemesis). Without further ado, here it is. Merry Christmas!



Post

20 December 1941: 0900 hours: Sheffield

Officer George Stevens sighed. The grainy morning coffee ration was yet to slop its way through his system, and ahead of him was another long day. He looked out the window, where grey clouds bulged overhead like indulged bloodsuckers. Any time now, Air Force squads could burst out of the gloom, their sleek bodies piercing the monotony… or Stukas could buzz overhead like swollen flies, and raid sirens would blast throughout the town. And all he could do was cram into the shelter like every civilian, and pray for his friends’ lives. Like a sardine waiting to be eaten, when he should have been out there, an eagle pursuing the hunt. Ahead of him was another long day.

Another bag of mail heaved off the end of the conveyor belt, thumping onto the ground. They were piling up like sandbags, and if Stevens didn’t move them out of the way soon, the whole pile would collapse like a failed blockade. He tried to urge some energy into his puny arms, covered by green shirtsleeves. The coarse cotton sleeves were made for a far bulkier build than him, and the ill fit mocked him. The uniform of the Royal Engineers (Postal Section) was a second-rate imitation of the armed forces’, and being swathed in it only served to remind Stevens of his ineptitude. Even the name of his section mocked him. The Royal Engineers sounded like a name that would make any young chest puff up with pride, until acquaintances realized that his post was little more than that of a glorified postman. A postman who could barely lift the sacks of mail he was now moving across the floor to be sorted.

Untying the first sack, he had to be careful that it stayed upright, so the envelopes didn’t spill out onto the cracked tiled floor. He remembered making that mistake often as a rookie, and having to scramble to stuff every piece of mail back into the sack before his superiors came around for inspection. To think that a year ago, he wasn’t even competent enough to handle mail, and now, he could do it with his eyes closed. He ought to give himself a pat on the back, he thought, sighing.

A quick inspection of the postcode told him that this particular orange sack hailed from the shores of Hong Kong, the port colony the Royal Army was striving to defend thousands of miles away. He imagined little sampans sheltering at harbor, and the inhabitants of the little village burning incense, praying for their souls, while the Army dug in with anti-air regiments and anti-tank artillery, holding the fort against Japanese invaders. And here he was, stuck in old Sheffield, not a stone’s throw from where he grew up.

His job was to open every bag of mail that came through and sort it according to destination, slotting each into its one of scores of pigeonholes, where they would be picked up and carted off to be delivered. When he started at this job, he would fancy himself a basketballer and send the envelopes sailing through the air to land in their respective pigeonholes. He kept score, trying to beat his personal best each day. He had quickly realized his mistake when his commander stormed into the room, filling it with his bulk, demanding to know why the rate of misfiled mail had sharply risen since the last recruitment.

Deprived of his one entertainment, all Officer Stevens could do was keep his head down and sort through the rough standard-issue envelopes, all identical to the touch, each containing a standard blank card. This time of the year, they would be scrawled with soldiers’ Christmas greetings for those back home. Occasionally, he recognized familiar names: Lieutenant Jack Mitchell, with whom he had grown up, had written home, and so had Commander Sandy Brennan, who was on his high school basketball team. The three of them had made a pact to enlist together, and by luck, Mitchell and Brennan had ended up stationed at the same port. Seeing their names next to foreign-looking, but identical, stamps and seals sent a familiar twinge of envy through Stevens’ heart.

“Stevens! What are you doing? Stop daydreaming and get back to your job!” his commander barked, standing at the door. Hurriedly, Stevens placed his friends’ letters in the same pigeonhole, double-checking that it was the correct one. They zoomed down the chute together, to make their way home.


7 December 1941: 2000 hours: Hong Kong

“I. Hate. Mail.” Lieutenant Jack Mitchell grunted, as he poised his pencil over a standard-issue blank card. His friends, sitting around the table at base camp, nodded in sympathy. After the cursory “How are you” and “I hope you are well”s, there was so little to say. Or rather, there was so much to say, but so little that he wanted to say. Things like illnesses and rations seemed insignificant, and surely his family didn’t need him to articulate how much he missed them. As for the battlefield itself, he could barely express his thoughts to himself, let alone explain… everything… to those who were dear but a thousand miles away. They would never understand – only those who lived it, breathed it, could ever understand – but he wasn’t sure he wanted them to anyway.

It was only by forcing away everything that bore down on his mind for a moment, by squeezing his feet into his family’s shoes, that he managed to scrawl something he hoped passed as thoughtful. And it was letting his guard down for this moment that he hated the most. Remembering that once there was an alternative to gritting his teeth every day and concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other. Remembering that his children were growing up away from him, their smiles fading from his memory, crowded out by the endless terrain of masks and lips pressed together, tight. Remembering that he didn’t remember, and perhaps he ought to. He licked the adhesive with a dry tongue and sealed the envelope. This part he liked – closing up the wound. It was all in there now, all contained in a little white envelope.


8 December 1941: 1200 hours: Hong Kong

When Commander Sandy Brennan looked out from the porthole next to his desk, it was raining bombs. The Japanese squadrons had already been in the past twenty-four hours, and this raid did not look as if it would end any time soon. Soon, the planes would be overhead, and the navy fleet, moored at the open coastline of Victoria Harbour, was dangerously vulnerable. The series of explosions, not so far away, hacked into Brennan’s eardrums, interrupting his thoughts like clattering telegrams.

On his desk lay one such telegram. Its message was simple: LEAVE FOR SINGAPORE IMMEDIATELY.

“Commander?” the lieutenant in front of him said hesitatingly. He stood still as a pole, waiting for his orders. Were it not for the urgent summons, indicating that there was no time for the commander to be lost completely in his train of thought, the lieutenant would never have interrupted; he would have continued waiting, his face blank as stone.

Commander Brennan shook his head, attempting to wring out his frustrations. The lieutenant was a good officer. Hell, his entire team were excellent. They did not deserve to be pulled out like this – if only the powers that be could see the efforts to which his men had gone to protect this base… But even then, this fleet was ill-equipped for anti-aircraft missions, and the Royal Navy was spread ever thinner among its colonies, just like their diminishing ration of butter. Outside the window, the rumbling of bombs rolled closer and closer. One wrong move, and his men would never live to see another day.

And they said that sitting behind the desk was the cushy job. If only they knew how “lucky” he really was.

“Come back in five minutes.” He dismissed the lieutenant with a wave of his hand. The lieutenant saluted, did an about turn, and left. Once the lieutenant turned his back, Brennan’s shoulders slumped, and he rested his head on his hands.

His eyes came to rest on the standard-issue greeting card that had been lying on his table for days. It was still blank, and if he left it for much longer, he would miss the posting deadline. Deciding that there was no better time to confront this lesser demon, to take his mind off the greater dilemma, he picked up a fountain pen.

Dear Carol,

How are you? I am well. We are about to retreat…

Brennan stopped. That was no good. He remembered his wife’s proud face as he boarded the ship back at England, and how she straightened his lapels and polished his boots until he could see his own reflection in the black gloss. There was no need to trouble her with this information. Besides, the word “retreat”, in ink, looked so… pitiful. He censored his own sentence with a black marker, and began again.

Dear Carol,

How are you? I am well. Our defense of the harbor is going just as planned. We won’t be back this Christmas, but I hope to see you next year at this festive season! I can smell the pine trees already. The Japs are no match for us, don’t you worry about that. Send our dear Rose my love (or can she read this card already? Children seem to grow up in the blink of an eye!) Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sandy

Brennan sighed, replacing the pen in its holder. That would do. He carefully inserted the card into its envelope and sealed it, placing it in his out-tray. He looked at his watch – it was five minutes after he had dismissed his lieutenant. Sure enough, the lieutenant appeared in front of his desk as if on cue. He saluted sharply. “As you were,” the commander muttered.

Well, the fantasy amused him while it lasted. “Prepare to leave in an hour,” he ordered.


18 December 1941: 1800 hours: Hong Kong

The smoke was too damned thick to see. The battery and its surrounding areas had been bombarded for days, and fires still flared from jungles of wires. Occasionally, a flame would snake its way to a fuel tank, and a bonfire would erupt like a mushroom-shaped cloud. The heat wave would hit the army like a wall, searing their every nerve – but it was the ashes that were the most troublesome. It was as though the heavens were raining coal.

It was why Lieutenant Jack Mitchell could almost convince himself that it was an illusion when the man next to him crawled out from their hiding place beneath the 3 inch AA guns. But when men began to crawl like ants out of the bunkers, straight into the barrels of the Japs’ rifles, he was forced to believe what he was seeing. The man who led the motley crew – Mitchell couldn’t recognize him, his face was so spattered with blood – looked around at the Japanese troops surrounding them, outnumbering them five to one. Mitchell waited to see what would happen next, as if the whole maneuver might be an elaborate trick. The man put his rifle down on the grenade-cratered ground with a clatter. He raised his hands, palms still miraculously white, where everyone could see him. The calm bastard, Mitchell thought.

And then it happened again. And again. Slowly, each man fell, almost to his knees, as he surrendered his rifle to the ground. A fireball flared up in the distance, but its roar could not mute the clatters as each weapon went down. Then the hands went up, one by one. Volunteering to die.

Mitchell’s jugular vein throbbed. He gnashed his teeth as he took aim with his own rifle and pulled the trigger to fire into the sea of Japs. Hell, he didn’t even need to aim, there were so many of them. He would show them that the last line of defense still stood and it would never back down.

The trigger clicked. Nothing happened. He was out of ammunition.

That was when he lost it. Throwing his useless weapon to the ground, he emerged from beneath the cover of the AA guns. He dashed to the first man he could reach, the man who had been next to him, who had covered him while he ducked from position to position, who always had his back – until now. He stared right at where his eyes would have been were they not shaded by impenetrable goggles. “Are you fucking insane? Is this how you want to go down? You’re all cowards. Think of your folks back home… think of… oh god…” He fell silent, thoughts clouding words.

The smoke didn’t do much good for Lieutenant Jack Mitchell in the end. Before his mouth could shut, the Japanese opened fire on the line of surrendered troops. Easy targets. From left to right, like a training exercise, or a firing squad executing a line of criminals. Mitchell was the first to go down, and as he hit the ground, the folded photo he kept in his breast pocket fell out. Through the accumulating soot, Mitchell could still see the smiles of his wife and boys beaming at him. He smiled back. He would do them proud; he had never surrendered.

The corpses were eventually towed away to be burnt in a mass grave. The photograph lay forgotten, disintegrated at the folds, fading away.


25 December 2008: 1500 hours: Sheffield

George Stevens counted down the hours until the end of his shift, thinking of the turkey which would be slowly roasting in the oven by now, turning a golden brown. His mouth watered – his wife was a mean cook. But before that, there were at least five sacks of mail to be sorted. His head ached from reading the small print, and at this point, the letters could be incinerated for all he cared.

He continued to dip his hand into the sack, wallowing in self-pity. The seconds were still ticking down in his head when he saw a familiar name. He froze. The envelope was addressed to Lieutenant Jack Mitchell, 1st Battalion, Middlesex Regiment. It had been returned. On top of the address, one word was stamped: DECEASED.

For a moment, he stopped breathing. Then, when he was sure that no one was looking, he slipped the letter into his breast pocket, and continued working as if nothing had happened.


25 December 2008: 1800 hours: Sheffield

Anne Mitchell’s house was no more than a ten-minute bike ride away from where Stevens was stationed. Stevens parked his bike at the fence and walked up the cleanly-swept white steps to the front door, resolutely. At least, that was what he told himself. As he rested his finger on the doorbell, he hesitated. His heart sank. In a few seconds, the door would open to reveal Anne Mitchell, who would be in her flowered apron as usual, and her twin boys, toddlers still unsteady on their legs. He had not called since Jack was deployed, and now he wondered if he should have. At any rate, he had never seen Anne and her sons in the absence of their father, who was always giving piggyback rides to the young ones, or showing Anne how this or that gadget in his collection worked. It would be too… strange. His head drooped. He shuffled away from the door, limping down the steps. His foot was on the bottom step when the door opened.

Anne Mitchell faced him, her boys tugging at her dress. Wrinkles, which he did not remember seeing on her before, were etched into her forehead. Her face was pale, with no trace of rouge, and her eyes were slightly puffy. Her long blonde hair was brushed but not tied into its usual knot, as if its owner could not make any more than the minimal effort to present herself. Letting go of the doorknob, her hand fell to her side. She raised her chin just slightly. “Hello, George,” she said.

“You know already.” He had not meant for it to come out so bluntly, but there was ridiculously little space to skirt around what fully occupied both of their minds.

She nodded. “The telegram came yesterday. Come in.” She beckoned, and although Stevens was not sure he wanted to intrude, there was nothing else for him to do, and he did not wish to go against her will. Once he stepped into the house, he saw that he was not alone. Carol Brennan sat at the polished cedar table, nursing a cup of tea. Her daughter, Rose, fiddled with the buttons on the little black radio which took the place of pride on the table, right where a centerpiece would be.

Anne invited him to sit. He took a sip of tea. “I’m sorry,” he began, then stopped, not knowing how to continue.

“It’s all right,” Anne answered simply. Silence ensued. Stevens looked around, and saw that on the side table were piled cakes and pastries and pies of every kind. Some were even sprinkled with sugar; in this day and age, icing was impossible to obtain, but even the sugar on each pastry took up a family’s daily ration. Stevens suddenly realized that he was far from the only visitor to turn up unannounced on the Mitchells’ doorstep parading sympathy. He looked straight down at the table, not meeting Anne’s eye.

“I can’t stay long,” he mumbled. “I just came to deliver this.” He took the crumpled card, which he had folded to fit in his pocket, smoothed out the creases, and lay it in front of her.

There was more silence. Stevens looked up, and saw that her eyes were lowered. Her hands, with their bitten nails, were trembling. A tear slid off her eyelashes to rest on the table. Carol came around to put an arm around her, and glared at Stevens, who shrank back involuntarily. Perhaps it was too soon for him to have come. He noticed that his hands were shaking, too.

“Thank you.”

The words surprised him. “I… I thought…” he started, but trailed off, realizing he did not know himself what he was thinking.

“I wish… I wish that my card had gotten to him before… it happened. I wish he knew before he… died” – she swallowed to stop her voice from cracking – “how much we all loved him. I hope he knew… that we were… I mean are,” she corrected, “so proud of him. It’s hard when all you get is a telegram, not even a chance to say goodbye, to just be there…”

Stevens noticed that she was smoothing out something clutched in her hands. It was a yellow slip of paper, looking so worn around the edges that it seemed that Anne carried it around everywhere with her. “May I?” he asked, grasping the sheet with finger and thumb. He regretted his indelicacy immediately, but to his surprise, Anne let go. He took the slip from her hands.

THE SECRETARY OF WAR DESIRES ME TO EXPRESS HIS DEEP REGRET THAT YOUR HUSBAND LIEU. JACK MITCHELL HAS BEEN REPORTED KILLED IN ACTION ON 18 DECEMBER IN HONG KONG THE SECRETARY EXTENDS HIS DEEPEST SYMPATHY TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY IN YOUR TRAGIC LOSS

“It’s… rather cold, isn’t it?” Stevens sighed. Anne buried her head in her hands, fingers clutching her scalp.

“Rose, put that back,” Carol said, watching her daughter fiddle with the radio. Stevens know Carol to be a rather boisterous woman, but now, her voice was strangely hushed. Rose stuck her lower lip out at her mother and continued fiddling with the buttons. A blast of static later, the radio blared back to life.

“There, I’ve fixed it now,” Rose said proudly before putting the radio back on the table.

“Good girl,” Carol whispered, but her heart did not seem to be in it. Stevens focused on what the radio was saying.

“Commonwealth forces have completely surrendered Hong Kong to the invading Japanese forces. The Battle of Hong Kong had been waged for seventeen days, and today the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Mark Aitchison Young, surrendered in person at Japanese headquarters. The defense campaign was deemed unsustainable due to the imbalance of artillery and the capture of key strategic positions and supplies. The Royal Navy had previously relocated to Singapore on the 8th of December. Many find the surrender on Christmas Day ironic. In other news…”

Carol Brennan stared at the radio in silence, as if it in itself were the enemy, gaining on her by stealth. Finally, she spoke. “Sandy… he never mentioned that in his card. He said the campaign was going just as planned. I’m sure he would have told us if things were as bad as that…” She smoothed out her dress, placing her hands in her lap, determined to remain composed. Her eyes slowly lit up as she thought of something. “No, it can’t be that bad. I’m sure the relocation was all part of their plan,” she said, talking to herself. “They’re preparing for a comeback, I see now. Sandy knows more than those silly reporters… If he says things are fine, they’ll be fine.”

Stevens knew better than that. He almost shook his head in futility, but stopped himself just in time. As long as Sandy’s family was happy, it was all that mattered… it was why he had sent the card in the first place.

Unexpectedly, Anne Mitchell raised her head from her hands and spoke up. “Yes, it’s what we hear from them that counts… our card may have never gotten through to him” – for a moment she looked as if she would cry again – “but he was thinking of us the whole time. He even sent us a card – I’ve never seen Jack seriously put a pencil to paper my whole life! I just hope he wasn’t worrying about us, that he knew we’d always be there for him…”

Tremors sounded in her voice again, and Stevens looked away. It was now that he noticed something he had not seen before, behind the radio. Strictly speaking, he had seen it before, when it passed through his hands a few days ago… He picked up the card from its place of pride and began to read.

Dear Anne,

Merry Christmas! We’re still in Hong Kong. It’s going to be a tough winter. How are the boys? You said they had the flu last time. I hope they’re better. I wish I could be there with you so I didn’t have to write. You know I can’t write. But I’m still carrying that photo around with me. You know what I mean. Take care.

Jack

A rueful chuckle escaped Stevens’ lips before he realized what he was doing. That was Jack all right. He looked across the table, where the two women had their arms around each other, their heads rested on each other’s shoulders for support. He smiled, looking forward to tomorrow’s work.



A/N: Pretty much anything military related is from Wikipedia, stuff about the Battle of Hong Kong is from Wikipedia and here (http://www.hkvca.ca/historical/banham.htm), and I got part of the KIA note from here (http://www.3ad.com/history/wwll/feature.pages/western.union.1.htm).

Shuppet Master
25th December 2008, 09:24 AM
*laugh* You're lucky as heck I watched a few episodes of the first seasons of Digimon, or I would have no idea what you were talking about. Still, I've done worse with my Secret Santa to Blademaster, so I forgive you, especially since you PM me a lot. Especially since you gave me a really kick-ass Digimon battle. ^_^

Happy holidays, and have a Digitastic New Year, mario72846. :D

mario72486
25th December 2008, 10:59 AM
:keke: Wow, you definitely put plenty of effort into this. I couldn't tell you how inaccurate it was, since I personally don't dive this deep into history unless I absolutely have to.

I was not expecting a story like this; heck, this is far more than I could have asked for. Thank you for this gift, mistysakura. A Happy Holiday to ya!

mistysakura
25th December 2008, 09:02 PM
Glad you liked it! :) Hehe, I didn't realise how much effort I had to put into this thing -- I'm really bad at estimating how long fics will turn out when I start writing. Happy Holidays!

mario72486
25th December 2008, 10:39 PM
I'm glad you liked it.

And no, no prior knowledge of the actual Digimon series is really necessary to enjoy it, although it can help a great deal.

I've been wanting to do a holiday chapter of sorts for my fic, and if things go well this will be one cog in an even larger machine. Of course, I need to get back on track and work on what I have already...... :sweat:

Hope your new year is just as 'Digitastic.'