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Christmas Bonus Medly


December 30, 2012 by Lyn


Tuesday, December 22, 2003

Something was different in Thorburn’s dreams.  He was quiet, at peace.  There were less chains every time they slept, but this morning, there were none at all.  Just a ribbon.

Curious, Ceinwen tugged on it.  Ribbons were new, and this one was green and red.

The tugged a bit more, and the whole package unraveled – the bow, the ribbon, the sleeping shadow.  A pile of string tangled around Ceinwen’s feet, wrapped around her ankles, slid up her legs.

Where the sleeping shadow had been, there was a single golden key, gleaming in the dark, shining brightly with her light.


Tuesday, December 22, 2003

“It won’t be that bad,” Fafnir coaxed.

He was in a coaxing mood, and Æowyn was inclined to take it.  “Can I call, at least?”

“Yeah.  Yeah, you can call.  Maybe I should, too.”  He looked at the phone, and then back at her.  “I got you a present.”  Almost too hurriedly, he tacked a disclaimer onto the end.  “You don’t have to get me anything.”

Cynara.  Always Cynara.

“I got you something, you goof.”  She wrinkled her nose at him.  “I do like you some days.”

“Only some days?”

Wordlessly, she tugged on her collar.

“Okay, I’ll take that.”


Tuesday, December 22, 2003

“Are you sure?”  Basalt was frowning again.  Ahouva still didn’t like the frowning.  But this time, she was pretty sure it was okay.

“Are you going home?”

“Me? No.  Not really any place to go home to.”  He couldn’t quite meet her eyes when he said it.

“Then I want to stay with you.  It’s no time to be alone, Christmas.”

“But your family…”

She shrugged. Her feelings about her family were complicated.  “I sent them a nice card.  And gifts.  It’ll be fine.”

“If you’re sure…”  He picked her up, something she had yet to acclimate to.  “Thank you.”


Tuesday, December 22, 2003

“Do you ever go home for the holidays?”  A glance at Amadeus made her modify her question.  “Do you ever go home at all?”

He rolled his shoulders, looking anywhere but her face. “It’s hard, being home. Pretending to be human, to be normal.”

“When’s the last time you tried?”

“My first summer,” he admitted.  “I lasted three weeks.  Shit, Ciara…”

“Come home with me.”

“Please!”  He didn’t often say please without prompting.  “I don’t know if I could handle it, acting like your pet in front of people who didn’t get it.”

She squeezed his hand.  “It’ll be okay.”


Tuesday, December 22, 2003

“I’ll miss you.”

“You could come with me again, you know.”

“Or you could come with me.  My family’s nice.”

Bel paused.  She could.  She should.  He was, after all, her Keeper, and she wanted to meet his family.  “My parents…”

“I know, beautiful.”  Porter kissed Bel on the cheek.  “I know.  I’ll live without you for a few days.  But come home safely to me, all right?”

“Is that an order, Mr. Porter?”

“That’s an order, Miss Belfreja.”

His kiss was beautiful, romantic, and chaste.  Bel held to him – and the kiss – as long as she could.


Tuesday, December 22, 2003

“You should go home for Christmas.”  Adelheid was actually packing Llew’s bag for him while she packed her own.  “Did you get your folks anything?”

“No?  My parents sent me to a magical prison full of fairies.  And slavery. Why would I want to give them things?”

“…oh.”  She looked at the packed bags.  “Really?”


“But the magic…”

“Yeah. And the graduation requirements.”  He tugged on his collar.  “And everything.”

“Hunh.  I…”  She shook her head.  “Well.  How about my mom?”

“She didn’t do anything to me, as far as I know.”

“Come home with me, then?”



Wednesday, December 23, 2003

“It’ll be fun.  Everyone else is going home, but we have a tree here, and we can decorate it, and I bought you some presents.  Won’t that be nice?”

Evie was in a weird mood, and it was worrying Eluned.  “Yes, Mistress.”  She usually couldn’t go wrong with yes, mistress.

Usually.  Evie turned and frowned at her.  “Luna, this is going to be fun.


“Are you still sulking?”


“Kept don’t go home for the holidays. It wouldn’t be right.”

“Okay?”  What was the right answer?

Evie hugged her, squished her. “I want you to be happy, Luna.”



Wednesday, December 23, 2003

Ever since Thanksgiving, Sylvia had been being weird about Christmas.  Yesterday, she had pushed Gar’s bags into his hands.  “You will visit your family for the holidays.”

Gar had been surprised at how much he didn’t want to go, and the collar’s so-called explanations hadn’t helped at all.  “You shouldn’t be here alone.”

“I will not be alone.”

“You shouldn’t be… without me.”

“You, on the other hand, should be with family who love you.”

That had stung.  But stepping off the plane, looking at his parents and his kid sister, he had to admit for once, she’d been right.


Wednesday, December 23, 2003

Lee had been tied up in a bow – and not a whole lot else – and left tied to a doorknob.

He wasn’t really sure what to think about that.

“Smile.  Be good.  Do what she tells you until tomorrow morning, and then come home.” What to do was easy.  Once he figured out who she was.

“Oh.  Oh!”  She turned out to be a pretty, short girl with big floppy doggy ears and a tail wagging.  “Is this Tess’s idea of paying off that debt?”

Her hand hovered an inch from his chest.  “Uh.”  Lee coughed.  “Merry Christmas?”


Wednesday, December 23, 2003

“I can do this part right.”  Arnbjorg had a tree set up in her room, a little one, and naked.  She handed Jovanna a box.  “I’m going home for a couple days, but I can do this for you, first.”

The box was piled with garlands and lights.  Jovanna smiled, trying to make it a sulk and failing.  There was so much more she wanted – but this was a very nice start.

As she stood on a chair to get the horned angel placed just so, she couldn’t help the grin across her face.  “Thanks, Arna.”

“Thank you, Jo.”


Wednesday, December 23, 2003

“Good girl.” Agravain patted Kay’s head.  “You may have dinner now.”

The knock on the door interrupted her nightly humiliation.  Kay waited for permission before rising to answer.  There went dinner.  Probably Agra’s friends.

The door opened on Adelheid and Lady Maureen.  “Agravain!”  Maureen’s voice carried in a sing-song.  “Could I borrow my Student for a couple hours?”

Borrow… what…  She glanced back at Agra, afraid to show any opinion at all.

“What for?”

“Cy’ree business, of course.  She is still my student.”

“…fine.  Kat, go with them.”

“Wonderful!”  Adelheid and Maureen grabbed an arm each.  “Party time,” Maureen whispered.


Wednesday, December 23, 2003

“Wait, what?”  Kheper looked at the bag in his hands, and the bow attached to the top of it.

“I like you.  But your family is important.  Go, hurry, the shuttle for the plane leaves soon.”

Go, hurry got him out the door and down the hall, before he looked back at the bag.  “But I thought…”

She had followed him, and, with a hand on the small of his back, was pushing him forward.  “You were sad.  I asked my power what the best Christmas gift for you was.”  Her smile wasn’t thrilled-looking.  “It Found you a ticket home.”


Thursday, December 24, 2003

“♪…wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.♫”

Addy, Kyle had discovered, not only had a lovely voice, but she loved singing.  So they were wandering down the halls caroling.

“Do you know ‘Silent Night?'” Hemlock had a mistletoe stuck in his magenta hair.

“…Yes?”  Kyle waited for the inevitable joke.

“Cool.  I can do the bass line pretty well.  ‘♪Silent Night…♫'”

There was something, Kyle thought, a little weird about singing “Holy Night” in Addergoole.  But it felt right, somehow.

“♪All is calm.  All is bright.♫”

By “Joy to the World,” they had a group of ten.  This, he decided, was proper Christmas.


Thursday, December 24, 2003

“You’re staying over the holidays?”

Mike had a present under his tree for Miryam – and a little gift-wrapped package, as well.

What had started out as a reasonable expedient had turned into one of the most pleasant parts of her week, and this week she got to have that twice. As a bonus, her crew thought it was good.

“My crew is staying, so I am.” She leaned against him, her antennae brushing his chin.  “And you?”

“There’s a friend I visit. But not until New Year’s Eve.”

“Then I have a little while?”

“You have a long while.”


Thursday, December 24, 2003

He had worked – and Worked – for weeks on Margherita’s present. He’d talked to his own Mentor and three others, and even talked to Ciara about what ‘Deus thought his Keeper might like.  ‘Deus had been surprisingly forthcoming and knowledgeable.

But now that it was made, he couldn’t watch her open it.  If she hated it – if she even just didn’t care – he was pretty sure he was going to go off the deep end.

So he’d hid it under a short-term Working and fled to the Store.

Of course, now he was afraid to go home.


Thursday, December 24, 2003

It had been surprisingly easy to catch their prey.

It was almost as if he’d wanted to be caught.  Noam wasn’t sure what to feel about that – a little relieved, he thought.  Not that they were Keeping the guy, but, still.  Put someone at the mouth of a trap, blindfolded, you’re still responsible if they fall in.

Noam held him, dazed as he was, while Brenna wrapped a ribbon around his wrists.  He was surprised when the guy made eye contact with him, and more surprised when he spoke.



A moment paused.  Another.

“Hunh.” A nod.  “Thanks.”


Thursday, December 24, 2003

“Aaah, there you are!”

Efrosin’s father was a big guy, almost a lumberjack, nearly a foot taller than his son.  His mother, in comparison, was a tiny woman, shorter than Pania by a few inches.

And he hugged.  They both hugged.  Efrosin, first, and then they turned it on Pania.

“You must be the girl Eff hasn’t been telling us anything at all about.”  Mr. MacCon’s voice was a boom.  Now the whole airport knew… well, nothing, really.  “I’m glad he brought you with him.”

“Mom, Dad, this is Pania.  Pania… these are my parents.”

“Welcome, Pania.  And Merry Christmas.”


Thursday, December 24, 2003

“This.  Was the best idea.”

Quintus was panting, but it was a good sort of utterly worn out.  They’d been on the slopes for hours, and every muscle in his body was starting to hurt.

Zeke grinned at him.  “I told you it would be.”

“And, as always, you were correct.  This is pretty awesome.”

“Joff brought me here, our first year.”  Zeke’s voice was soft.  “He wanted to erase bad memories.”

“…oh…”  He peeked up at his boyfriend.  “And you?  Nothing you want to erase?”

“Mmm? No.” He leaned down and stole a kiss. “But new memories are nice, too.”


Friday, December 25, 2003

He was trying to enjoy Christmas.

His parents had gone all out.  Music he liked.  A new speaker system.  New clothes.  Everything they could think of that he might enjoy.  Even – from his father – an illicit bottle of brandy.

But every time he tried to talk about school, it was like they were deaf and blind.  His father started talking about the weather. His mother started gossiping about kids he’d been in school with, B.A., Before Addergoole.

“I just want to come home.  It’s really not my sort of place.”

“Did you hear Annie Markov is pregnant?”

“Again?  Mom, dad…”

“I’m sorry son.”  And that was that.


Friday, December 25, 2003

Gregori had Worked up a tree in the suite common room: a tinsel tree, all silver metal, draped in red garlands.

His private gift to Speed had come earlier.  Speed would be feeling those marks for days.  His Keeper was very good to him, in all the ways nobody else seemed to get.

The crew had gone all out with gifts; the little tree was nearly buried.  A frying pan. Jewelry.  A short-sword with inlaid rowan.  Handcuffs.

The one that caught Speed’s breath, though, was a tiny present from Gregori, a drawing kit.

“Time to learn a new skill?” his lover rumbled.


Friday, December 25, 2003

“I thought about getting you horseshoes.”  Arundel’s wings were twitching, and he was pacing.  “And I thought about jewelry and about clothes.”

Timora watched him, wondering.  He had gotten her jewelry – a pair of bracelets – and clothes – a pretty dress, just like she liked.

“And I thought about, you know, lingerie.”  His cheeks flushed.  So did hers; he’d gotten her that, too.

“But I really want this to be a good Christmas for you.  A really good one.  So…”  He pushed the box towards her.  “Here.”

She opened it carefully, a little nervous.  What had he… “Oh.”

“Is it…”




Friday, December 25, 2003

“And for Niassa…”  Wylie’s mom passed over a brightly-wrapped box.

“Mrs. Jenkins, you didn’t have to get me anything.  I know you weren’t expecting me.”

“Nonsense.  You’ve been good for our son, however you did it. And, besides, you’re company on Christmas.  That makes you family.”

“Mom…” Wylie wasn’t sure about family.

“And since you’re pregnant,” his mom plowed on, “that makes you doubly family.”

“Mom… since she’s what?”

“Ah.”  His Keeper and he-supposed-probably-girlfriend looked, for the first time, embarrassed. “Yeah, about that…. Merry Christmas?”

“Um.”  He looked at the box she was holding, and the one his mother had just handed him.  “Um?”


Friday, December 25, 2003

“Professor…”  Xanthia wasn’t sure what to say.  “I….”

“It is Christmas, after all, and everyone else has someone to share it with.  Come down to Professor Reid’s, and we can lift a glass to surviving the cold.”

Surviving the cold.  “Ah.  Let me change, first?”

The Panida professor smirked at her.  “Yes, go ahead.”

Xanthia changed hurriedly.  Surviving the cold.  They had gotten past the longest night of the year.  She had gotten past Hell Night.  And the Professor wanted to spend Christmas with her.

Something nice. Velvet pants.  Green sweater.  We made it through.  Of course… she hooked earrings into her lobes… the shortest day only meant the coldest was yet to come.

She’d celebrate now anyway.  And then light a bigger fire against the frozen nights still ahead.


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  1. Rix says:

    Maureen and Heidi are going to feed Kay properly, aren’t they?

    And Wylie’s life is all bombshells this Christmas, isn’t it?

    Llew, Eluned & Shang – sort of sucky for different reasons.

    But I liked them all!

  2. GreenGlass says:

    I’m dizzy.

  3. AlpineBob says:

    Not too depressing? “Wordlessly, she tugged on her collar.”
    And that was one of the better ones. Another heart-warming moment:
    “My parents sent me to a magical prison full of fairies. And slavery.”

    I found myself frowning unhappily multiple times as I read through this. The Ceinwen bit started it off with a bit of brightness, then I continued on through the rest of the 23 little bits.
    So we have at lest twice that many “main” characters.
    No wonder I have trouble remembering who the heck is who!

    re: Shang
    If I was him I probably would have been planning from halloween or earlier how to run away at Xmas break. It seems too late for the rest.
    I don’t even like Shang, especially, but he’s one of the few characters with whom I can identify.

    re: Celia
    I was respecting her quite a it, but here she is giving unconscious orders to her Kept. I thought she was going to try to be better than that. Or maybe she is? Is one of her standing orders that her conversation is not to be taken as an order unless she adds, “that’s an order”?

    re: Porter
    Porter is one of the few who I liked. Last time we saw him and Belfreja, they were on a second date, as he explained why he missed their first date.
    Now, sometime offscreen, they became Keeper and Kept. I was hoping they would try to model a different behavior, actual dating, but it seems peer pressure was too much for them.


    I feel like Scrooge, going “Bah, Humbug” when you are gifting us with your words. But, like Shang, although I find the magic intriguing, I don’t think it is worth all the zombies and ghouls.

    • Inventrix says:

      To be fair re: Porter and Bel, I am 100% certain that they agreed to it (probably with limitations) to prevent someone nasty from, say, mind-controlling her into Belonging to someone less savory.

      re: Ciara, why do you think it was unconscious? She’s trying to repair some of the damage from his own Keeping and upbringing in probably the only way he’d let her. (unless I missed my guess on who you meant by Celia, in which case, my bad!)

      And to be perfectly honest? You’re right. Addergoole is not a nice place, or a happy place, or a good place. There’s no pretense of it being such, or indication anywhere that it is going to be such. It has a very clear purpose and, while the general well-being of the students is in fact a consideration, their happiness is not.

      They are there to learn about Ellehemaei culture, to gain some experience in the Law, to get a taste of what the Bad Guys can do in a relatively safe environment.

      They are not there for fun happy faerie games, although some of them manage well enough.

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