basically, this is a christmas present to Herkie. it's a fanfic on one of our stories ((which is on herk444's profile)). Merry Christmas, herkie.
Christmas. It's that cheery, festive time of the year devoted to the purging of one's wallet and the swapping of materialistic ideals and products. The mere whisper of the name, that enchanted, sugar-coated name, could explode a child's heart and have a working man's hand quaking over his wallet. However, there is a business end of this holiday. As families scraped their earnings together and lie their way through traditions and society wont, drooling beasts of that same society stand behind the register, hand outstretched and jowls oozing drool.
It was an annual cataclysm that shook households to the core, one often mistaken for both holy occasion and a jubilant family affair. No. Today's "Christmas" is simply a gore-fest. For certain people, however, the blood loss in this frantic time of year is but a minute worry. Those people either rejoice on this day or despair, depending on their general disposition.
They are the homeless, the hobos, those cardboard-toting druggies and alcoholics. Every other day of the year is theirs to anguish, but not Christmas. They have neither friends nor family to empty their money on, and can collect hefty sums of "donations" from the good Christians of the world who hope to cleanse their souls of guilt on one of the holiest of holy days.
Normally, Lucia would be among this throng of revelers who mark the holiday by nothing more than the antics of the other side of society, and of course, by that pungent smell of encroaching snow. She crouched on a bench three days before Christmas, her arms swathed so tightly about her torso as to be a strait-jacket. Thick plumes seeped through her lips, and her eyes darted about through the crowd before her, locking on faces, on hands that clasped parcels. Where were they going, she wondered, and who was waiting for them and their Christmas cheer?
Behind her chattered a mother and a daughter. The tiny girl clawed at the display window of the toy store, whining and moaning over a doll with gusto. Sighing, the mother snapped a mental picture of both the toy and its price, and, gathering up her child, set off down the sidewalk. A sympathetic smile unfolded over Lucia's ashy lips.
Not for twelve years had she ever had to devote a beat of her time to pondering what gift to give who. In her life, in Utopia, poverty was almost a requirement. The most heart-felt gift one could give a Utopian was an ounce or two of weed and, since she was ardent in her hatred for that trash, she mandated that all forms of gift exchange to occur outside of the establishment. And in this way she passed her years with ease, strolling through the streets with Galatea in complete contentment.
It was nice. It was simple.
It was not the same after Twiggy showed up.
He was the antithesis of all she came to stand for, and yet the mere sight of him caught her breath and inflamed her chest. After several discussions with Galatea on her symptoms and some serious personal reflection, Lucia had only one choice, and that was to accept the facts that her body was throwing at her.
She nestled her lower back into the crook of the bench, her eyelids shutting in concentration. 'I l-lo....l-l-lo....' A growl grated out of her throat, causing the old woman next to her to scoot over closer to the edge. It didn't matter if she accepted her feelings, if she acknowledged the truth, because there was no way that she could ever bring herself to utter it. Potent emotions like that are sacrileges to a maiden of the night like herself. Mistresses to lust are empty and hollow, and to be filled only with the lifeless dollars and cents they collect during their sinful trysts.
Not only did Lucia have that going against her, but there was also the sickening addiction that Twiggy clung to against all odds. Every time he rolled a glazed eye in her direction, Lucia felt her soul sink deeper into the part of her that coexisted with her wallet and duties. She hated him so much. And yet, in the most clichÃ© way imaginable, there was no denying the blank pause she felt in her heart whenever his face appeared in a doorway, or the pent up explosion that gathered in that same heart every time he flashed a smile in her direction.
She sighed, melting into the bench. This year was going to be different. Very different. In fact, she had the feeling Christmas was never going to be the same again.
As she watched Twiggy light up joint after joint, his addiction waxing, her own feelings intensified as well. Perhaps this unspeakable phrase that pounded in her ribs was declaring its presence in a paternal and protective way for the druggie. Perhaps it was the possibility of losing someone that she wanted that spurred such reactions. Either way, Lucia understood the dire necessity to contend against the modern antagonist of addiction in order to win Twiggy over for herself.
'But how to go about with my evil plan, I wonder....' The decrepit old woman hovering on the edge of the bench emitted a faint yelp as Lucia pushed herself up from the corroding seat in one sudden motion. "Christmas," she hissed to herself, striding off into the crowds, "think Christmas, damn it." No one paid her any heed within the pulsating confines of this mobile mass; at this she smirked. 'If only they knew that Clopin, the public enemy, was pressed against them. Why, I believe that even this faint of contact would send Irving reeling and-' She stopped moving all at once, causing a collision with those who strode behind her. Apologizing, she slid from that mob, and was instantly swallowed up by another.
'I have to stop this,' she chided herself, 'Right now is "seduce Twiggy" time; not "death to Irving" time. I have to just forget who I am for three seconds so I can come up with a plan.' One of her hands found its way to her temples, and she massaged them gingerly, trying to force an idea out. 'Let's see, I could be sexy.... No, a lot of sexy is expensive. I could be sweet...or not.' Her eyes darted from store window to store window, for a theme if anything. Unfortunately, people like her never made enough to afford the items that the shops she passed were boasting, and there was no way that she would make a gift of weed for Twiggy.
The gurgle of gongs reverberated through the streets, and Lucia tipped her head up just enough to have the town clock settle into her line of sight. "Getting late," she anguished, leaning herself against the mouth of an alley for rest. "Maybe I should turn back before Irving sends out his hounds." A frown sagged on her lips, and she made a move to return home in defeat.
"Ed!" barked a husky voice in the alley, "Pull the truck up in here, and we'll cart the boxes inside."
"Boxes," Lucia whispered. She glanced up to the sign of the building beside her; it was a pompous holiday store that was transmuted with the seasons. Cheesily enough, the title awarded to the capricious establishment was "Holiday Chameleon". The mere sound of the name crinkled her nose, but she had no time to waste on disdain, for this could be a fine solution to her conflict.
As nonchalant as was possible, Lucia pressed her back once more against the brick wall, but played the ruse of fixing her hair. In this charade, she was turning her head sideways to unknot a lock, and in the process Clopin watched the workers pile as many boxes as they could in their arms and hobble inside. The truck at the end of the alley was completely blind to its backside; no one was left to guard it.
Slithering into the darkness, Lucia crept along the blackest of shadows, and strained her ear towards any noises that could alert her to the workers's return. There was a stack of cardboard boxes remaining; she prayed that they were light enough for her to handle. Grabbing the one on top, she shifted the parcel until it settled completely on her arms. To her surprise, the box was relatively insubstantial; a grin slowly blossomed on her lips as she strode towards the sunlight.
But good things never happened to people like her. Damn Murphy and his laws.
"Hey!" Alarm electrified her nerve endings, and Lucia tore out of the alleyway. The cacophonous din of footsteps following her back told of three men on her tail. There was no way that she could flee through the traffic at this time of day and not be scooped up by the police. No, she couldn't think like a thief, or a human; she had to think in the way society thought she lived: like a rat. And where do rats run to?
She shot into the daylight, box beating against her chest and yells in her wake, and sprinted past dazed citizens. Without turning around, she knew the workers were out on the streets. "Catch her!" they screamed to no one in particular. But too bad for them; the rat was already down another alleyway. The ground tilted down slightly, and she knew that there was bound to be a manhole in the center.
A second after Lucia slipped into the sewers, the workers rushed into the alleyway. Pressing herself against the grimy walls, she stared up at the sunlight that poured through the manhole's handles. Curses and shuffling noises reached her ears. "Damn," one man exclaimed, "where'd that bitch go?"
'Under your feet, dumbass,' she sneered at the voices.
After a moment of indecision, the men returned to their jobs, their heads hung in defeat no doubt. Lucia released a suppressed breath when she was sure they were gone. The sewer stole this exhalation and smothered it in the shadows. She squeezed the box lightly against her chest, and edged into the ring of sunlight.
She growled in irritation. The flaps of the cardboard box were held down with the type of duct tape that might as well be fused with the package itself. And there she was, sitting in a filthy sewer, with no knife, scissors, or jagged shard of anything. However, she still fished about in her pockets, hoping to find any tool that could help at least a little bit.
"Ha!" She produced her lighter; its sullied sides glinted in the dim rays.
Should she do it? A sinister smirk flashed in her eyes. Somewhere near at hand Lucia could catch the rush of water; it was putrid water, but a combatant against wild flames nonetheless. 'Well, at least it should put out a fire, unless there's something in it that will actually add to it.... Ew. Nope, I'm not even going to think about it. It's water. Now, light the damn thing.'
Flashing a salute to no one in particular, Lucia clicked a flame to life, and watched the fire petal dance in the darkness, all blues, reds, and oranges. This fire dancer spun closer and closer to the cardboard box, until finally it embraced the surface. "Boom," she muttered.
Gradually the material started to singe, and then little patches of flame manifested. Once a hole was eaten through the top, Lucia smothered the flame with the end of her sweater, and even rubbed spit into it for good measure. She tore the box open and edged further into the sewer's splash of daylight.
"No way." Laughter bubbled in her throat, but she kept it in check, for fear of the noise drawing attention to the alley.
Hugging the parcel to her chest once more, the mother of Utopia made her way home.
"Galatea!" Lucia called, popping up out of the Utopian Tunnels. A few shrills sounded in response to her sudden materialization, and then the people present chuckled to themselves and welcomed their leader. They helped Lucia into the room, and each probed the box with their fingers. She could tell they wanted to ask her the obvious question, but retained enough manners to not do so. And, to reward them for their conscientiousness, she didn't answer.
"Where's Galatea?" she asked a toothless man. He scratched the inside of his elbow for a moment.
"Galatea, Galatea. Well, a few hours ago I think I heard Cindy saying that she heard that Galatea left for-"
"She's on the third floor," interrupted a woman whom everyone affectionately referred to as "Lemon". If there was any doubt to her name's origin, the sour look she was sending the man explained all.
"Thanks guys," Lucia grinned widely at them all before heading towards the main stairwell. Taking the stairs two at a time, Lucia arrived at the third floor minutes later, panting and supporting the box on her hip.
A hairy man, sprawled on the wooden floors, raised a water bottle in her direction in greetings. Sighing in frustration, Lucia strode into the adjoining room, where she found Galatea bent over a long slab of cardboard. A puerile light dawned on Lucia's face, and she shifted the box to the front of her. "Hard at work?"
"Indeed I am, Lucia," the woman never looked up from her work, "Indeed I am." There was no point for titles when it was between the two of them, but even then Galatea spoke her name softly. Not many people knew the true name of Clopin, save Twiggy and Galatea, and Lucia still couldn't imagine how she ever decided to give Twiggy her real name. That anonymous feeling twisted in her stomach again.
"Well," Galatea capped the marker she was using, "what have you found?" She placed the sign she had made on the ground, so that "Homeless, please help me" shone in crimson letters.
"The solution to all of my problems," Lucia replied, shaking the contents of her parcel around slightly so that her friend could hear the noise of it.
Galatea gave a slow, easy smile. "Irving's head?"
"Better: Christmas." Neither of the two moved.
"Are you going to unveil 'Christmas' to me, or am I not worthy of it?"
"Galatea!" Lucia slapped the back of her hand to her forehead dramatically. "If I were to commit such a sacrilege, then what kind of a splendor would I have left for when the time of its use came around?" Her old friend quirked an eyebrow in her direction. "It's not for you," she explained, "it's for...." She widened her eyes and arced her eyebrows in emphasis.
"Oh." Folding her hands together in her lap, Galatea sent a neutral look in Lucia's direction, broken only by a cryptic wink. "So, what's the plan?"
"Just get Twiggy into our room, and I'll finish it out."
"Anything in particular you want me to say?"
Lucia thought for a moment. "I don't know.... Just say something like you need him to go get something for you or something."
"Lucia, you do realize that Christmas is three days away, right?"
"Mm hmm, but I've never celebrated Christmas, and I don't plan to start, so three days early sounds fine to me."
The old woman nodded, and the pair stood for another stretch of silence, each mentally running through their own plan of attack. Then they split, Lucia to go prepare, and Galatea to receive some Christian do-gooding.
'When will he come?' Everything was ready. Everything had been ready for an hour now, but Lucia didn't dare leave the room for a moment. 'Will he even come home tonight?' For about the hundredth time, she made sure her clothes were smooth and unwrinkled, her hair sleek. She had borrowed the top from another of Utopia's whores; it was a midnight silk halter top that cut off a little ways below her bust.
The garment felt strange, the room felt strange, everything that she was doing felt strange. This display of emotions was not in Lucia's niche; she twisted the bedsheet between her hands. 'What if he doesn't show up?' A darker possibility formed in her mind, and she felt her throat clench.
'What if he comes, but doesn't stay?' She bit on a glossy lip. 'What if he doesn't like me? What if-'
A noise sounded from the door: someone was turning the doorknob. Although Lucia started at the noise, she didn't panic, because about twenty minutes ago Galatea entered in exactly this fashion, just to tell a frightened Lucia that there had been no sign of Twiggy.
Still, her heart screamed in her chest, and her blood pulsed in her temple. 'Please be him, please be him, please be him.' This shouldn't scare her as much as it was. Many times a week she was in similar situations and never batted an eyelash at it. But now she could barely breathe as she watched the door slide open.
"Now why would Galatea need a blanket anyway?" She heard Twiggy mutter to himself. "It's not like she's going to nap or anything." And then she smiled. All of her fear melted away unexpectedly, and she was just left with a sense of right. There was nothing to fear anymore; she knew that this is what her life had been building towards for some time now. She stood as Twiggy became completely into view.
Muted surprise gripped his features. "Lucia? What in the world- -" It was then that he witnessed her Christmas for him, and a blush heated on his cheekbones.
The ceiling was gone, obscured by scores of mistletoe, all stuck tightly above the two of them. Other than the soft waves of candle light, the room was cast into shadows. His eyes widened slightly, then shifted down to Lucia. "Lucia?" he whispered, "What is all of this?" Instead of an answer, the woman in question strode over to her conquest in serpentine motions, her hips rolling sensually with each step. Both of their hearts fluttered rapidly, but neither let any notion of it float to the surface.
They were face to face, each gazing deep into the other's eyes, boring as far into their souls as they could. "Christmas," Lucia purred, sliding one arm through his and resting her hand on the small of his back. "My gift to you." Her other hand wrapped around his neck, and she closed the space between them.
Soft lips mashed together, bruising each other in a passion. Twiggy moved one hand to Lucia's waist, while the other one played with her hair. A fire was raging through their hearts and both knew that the only remedy would be to deepen the kiss. Lucia ran her tongue along Twiggy's lip, requesting admittance; he accepted. One of Twiggy's hands trailed along Lucia's spine, and she pulled him so close to her body that there was no air left between them.
They resurfaced from the kiss, both panting lightly, their foreheads resting on each other. Between them lay that special look that held an energy that both pierced and caressed as it penetrated the mind, body, and soul.
This was natural, this was necessary.
Twiggy's mouth began to work through words as he sought for something appropriate to say. As he fought for an expression, Lucia leaned into his neck and started pressing soft kisses into his warm flesh. "L-Lucia?" he gasped.
"Hm?" Lucia returned her eyes to his own.
"How many of those are up there?" The pair glanced upward at the packed ceiling for a beat. Grabbing Twiggy's chin, Lucia folded a chaste kiss over his lips, then moved over to his ear.
"At least an hour's worth," she cooed.
This time it was Twiggy who initiated the kiss, and as the two conjoined, he placed his hands on each of Lucia's thighs, lifted her up, and then carried her to the bed. He placed her down gently, never breaking the kiss, and stroked her cheek with his thumb. After a minute, Lucia pulled away.
"Merry Christmas," she grinned, before plunging back into his lips.
No, Christmas was never going to be the same again.