In which our heroes just can't help being little gossips...
Slash held up his upside down top hat far above his head and grinned as he heard the scurrying of footsteps. Coming down the stairs, running through the hall, the back door creaking open, Guns coming from all corners of the house, excited and jittery.
Steven, Duff, Axl and Izzy ran into the room and started jumping up and down, trying to pick out one of the names from the top hat. Slash did his best to hold them all back.
"No guys! We're going to do this one by one." He announced.
The eager Guns composed themselves and waited for Slash's instructions.
"Oldest first." Said Slash.
Axl beamed as Slash lowered the top hat towards him. He reached in a hand and picked out a folded up piece of paper. Izzy picked next, then Duff, then Steven and finally Slash took the last piece before putting the top hat back onto his head.
The Gunners waited for Slash to give the signal. He nodded and all at once the five band mates opened up their pieces of paper. Five pairs of eyes lit up and cogs started turning as they each began to think of all the possible presents to buy their friend.
"Now remember," Said Slash, "No telling."
He threw an accusing look to Axl and Izzy who were the main suspects on telling secrets. The pair feigned their best innocent looks.
Slash knew all too well that the guys in his band wouldn't be able to keep their secrets.
Axl and Izzy were sat on the living room couch while the others had all retired to their beds.
"Who did you get?" Asked Axl.
"I'm not telling you, Slash told us not to." Said Izzy.
"I'll tell you if you tell me." Bargained Axl.
"Did you get me?" Asked Steven.
"No." Said Duff.
"Did you get Axl?"
"Did you get Slash?"
"Did you get Izzy?"
"So what are you gonna get Steven?" Asked Axl.
"I dunno. So many possibilities, so little money." Replied Izzy, "What are you gonna get Slash?"
"Hmm," Thought Axl, "I'm not sure yet."
Over the next two weeks the Guns very unsubtly dropped obvious hints about what they wanted for Christmas, now that everyone pretty much knew whom their Secret Santa was.
"Man I Love vodka. Don't you just love vodka?" Said Duff, grinning at Slash.
"I love vodka too," Said Slash, "But I love guitars more than vodka."
He smiled at Axl who turned bright red. There was no way he could afford a guitar.
"Um...I like cheap things that I can afford." Slash turned red this time, "Like um...clothes."
The singer looked over at Steven to see if he had got the hint. He had.
"Clothes are cool, but I like toys." He said and glanced at Izzy.
"I like toys too. But you know what the best thing in the world is? Especially at Christmas?"
Everyone leaned in close, curious as to what the best thing was. Duff got out a pen and paper, ready to jot down a possible present for Izzy.
The guitarist looked around into the eager faces of his band mates and smiled.
It was met with a collective groan and several thrown cushions, empty beer cans and even a lit cigarette, which Izzy batted away with caution.
Christmas day had finally come. It was a warm, sunny afternoon in LA and the orange glow streaming in through the living room windows danced upon the badly wrapped presents under the badly decorated tree.
Five sleepy Guns in their underwear and pyjamas, lazily sauntered into the room, rubbing their eyes and yawning, all except for Steven, whose constant supply of energy still shocked the other Gunners.
They walked over to the tree and waited for someone to tell them what to do.
"Merry Christmas everyone!" Said Izzy cheerfully.
"Shut up Izz, let's open some presents!" Cried Axl.
Like four wild animals, Axl, Izzy, Steven and Duff leapt upon the presents, knocking eachother out of the way to get to their own gifts, animal growls and screeches heard here and there.
The Guns froze and looked up at Slash who was stood looking down at them disapprovingly.
"Let's do this properly. Everyone grab the gift you wrapped and sit to the right of the person you bought it for."
The others shrugged and picked up the gifts and after a few moments five Guns were sat cross-legged on the floor, sitting in a circle.
"What do we do now?" Asked Duff.
"Pass the gift to your left." Instructed Slash and they did as they were told.
"Now what?" Asked Steven.
"Open your present silly!"
The animals were back. Bits of wrapping paper and ribbon flew into the air. The sound of tearing paper and boxes shaking filled the room. When the tearing and unwrapping ceased and the dust settled all that was left was five little Guns with faces lit like Christmas lights and big smiles on their faces.
"Slash! You're the best!" Shrieked Duff, and with a bottle of vodka in each hand he wrapped his arms around the guitarist.
"You're welcome man. I had a weird feeling you'd like them." He said, "Axl, this is the coolest gift anyone's ever got me!"
He set the box down in front of him and gave Axl a huge hug.
"What is it?" Asked Steven, craning his neck to see inside the box.
Slash grinned and reached into it pulling out a small black and gold snake with a big red bow tied around its neck.
Duff, Izzy and Steven leapt back in fear and screeched like girls.
"He's harmless," Giggled Axl, "And remember Slash, a snake isn't just for Christmas, it's for life."
The singer turned to Steven and locked him in a tight embrace.
"This is the coolest present ever Stevie!" Cried Axl holding up the gift.
"Wow Steven where'd you get that?" Asked Duff, unable to take his eyes off the jacket.
"I got it made for Axl." Steven replied smugly.
Axl stood up, donning the white jacket. He turned his back to the other Guns and showed off the large Guns N' Roses logo that Steven had gotten printed on the back.
"You look like a real rockstar now Axl!" Said Slash, letting his new pet curl around his wrist.
"What do you mean now?" Snapped Axl.
"Izzy I love it!" Cried Steven, hugging Izzy tight.
The drummer pulled the large fire engine out of the box and flipped a switch on the back making the lights flash and siren wail, louder than a real fire engine siren.
"Great idea Izz." Groaned Duff, "Hey you haven't opened your present yet!"
Izzy's present was the last to be opened. He had taken the wrapping off and now all that was left was to take the lid off the white box that now sat in front of him but the guitarist seemed slightly reluctant to open it.
He looked around at his confused band mates and sighed.
"I really did mean it about friends being really important at Christmas time. We had so much fun these last few weeks, before we even opened our gifts. I don't want to sound soppy or anything, but I'm glad we're all friends. And I'm not just saying that because it's Christmas." He blushed and waited for the laughter.
But instead, four pairs of arms wrapped around the guitarist and kisses were planted on his face. The Guns all exchanged hugs and kisses and were truly thankful for eachother. It was their first Christmas together and the best any of them had had so far and they didn't take any of it for granted. But there was still one thing left to do.
Izzy carefully pried open the lid of the box and was completely taken aback at what was inside.
"Duff!" He cried, "You got me a...a..."
"He's all yours." Said Duff.
The tiny little puppy poked its head out of the box and looked up at all the Guns before finally resting it's big brown eyes on Izzy's own. The guitarist picked up the puppy and his eyes grew wide and sparkled with delight. It let out the tinniest of barks and wagged its tail excitedly.
The Guns all learned a great lesson that Christmas. Friends are not just for Christmas, friends are for life.