Knives is going to destroy the world. Romance isn't going to stop him. Christmas has got to go, too. Just you wait. No, seriously. Nothing's going to stand in the way. Really. AU, SLASH, OOC.
Destroying Christmas: A Romantic Tale Set on the Eve of Doomsday
Part One, in which we Meet the Villain
Knives Millions was going to destroy the world. The fact that it was almost Christmas wasn't going to make him change his mind.
Because Knives hated Christmas. True, he hated the world /more/. But Christmas was a close second. So why not kill two birds with one stone? Besides, it was the world that was responsible the wretchedness of holiday cheer that surrounded him. Like a cursed goat giving birth to the antichrist, Christmas was the bastard child of Earth.
Yes, Christmas, and the world that spawned it, had to go. The list of reasons why kept getting bigger. He kept it on a little, yellow, sticky-note on his favorite refrigerator. The one that held his collection of grenades and armor-piercing ammunition.
Number One on the list was the children.
All the little children in their knitted, floppy hats, grinning like idiots. Perching on Santa's knee, asking for things they didn't deserve.
Then came all the appeasing, obliging adults running around buying these things for those idiot children and then hurrying off to get drunk on eggnog at the office Christmas party where they would go unpunished for photocopying their bums. Again.
Next was the music. The awful, awful Christmas music.
Every old favorite, rising star, has-been, never-would-be, and tween queen had a new single this year. All of them were suspiciously singing about chest/nuts/ roasting on an open fire and Knives was fairly certain there were hidden messages there. And if they weren't singing about chestnuts, they were singing about mommy kissing Santa, which was equally lewd. He couldn't escape the swooners and the crooners. Bing, Frank, Nat, and even Barbara and Wham! chased him through supermarket aisles and gave him no peace. They hounded him at the Post Office as he mailed threats to world leaders. The sent him running from artillery shops, desperate to escape the catchy refrain...
Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day, you gave it away...
Sometimes he invented his own lyrics. They were usually violent.
This year, to save me from tears
I'll go to your house and shoot you, shoot you
But when festive shoppers caught him singing his rendition, they got scared, pulled their children close to them and usually called the police.
Ah, yes, how could he forget Number Four on his list of Why Christmas Deserves to Burn in the Fiery Pits of Hell?
The hurry, the frenzy, the/ craze/ of Christmas shoppers. They all had this kill-or-be killed look in their eyes. They were willing to punch, maim or decapitate you for a Throttle-Me Binky, or whatever it was called. And then once they got the thing home, odds were that little Timmy didn't even like Binky and really wanted a Slaughter-Me Sharp-Fang the Malcontent and Snappish.
Still they advertised-/they being the establishment of networks and cable stations. The Root of All Evil. Every five minutes viewers were bombarded with images of Throttle-Me Binky and his Binky Little Friends as they Frolicked in Happy-Time Forest and tried their best to Get Along at Christmas. /They squeezed these in around equally nauseating Holiday Programming for the Whole Family.
Which brought him to Big Number Five: the blasted television specials. They perpetuated the false Love, and Peace, and Good Will Towards Man that made the entire season reek. This time of year, everyone pretended to be nice. Everyone worked at soup kitchens for a whole, bloody day so that they could look at the world through the eyes of the Samaritan for a brief, golden moment. Christmas only served to bring into sharp focus the flaws of humanity by forcing them to act like humans for an entire day. It nearly broke them to pieces so that the only way they could survive was to only do it once a year. Twice a year would kill them. The televisions programs served as a guide for every would-be Holiday Do-Gooder. It kept them in-line and reminded them of the things that made this time of year /special/.
"God bless us, everyone!" said Tiny Tim.
"Christmas time, Christmas time, a giving, giving, giving time," said Dave to Alvin and the rest of the testosterone challenged Chipmunks.
"Every time a bell rings an angel drops dead out of pure anger at the stupidity of the world!" said that one kid with the dumb name in "It's a Wonderfully Short Existence."
Knives paused in the middle of his rant. He couldn't remember what really happened when a bell rang, but he liked his version better. And he had quite forgotten the name of the movie entirely.
In fact, from all the dozens and dozens of over-played specials, only one spoke to him. Only one Christmas special had ever been made with, what seemed to Knives, specifically his wants and desires in mind.
By chance, he had seen five minutes of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" when window shopping for plutonium one foggy "God it's still Christmas" eve (he hadn't been able to find any in stores, not even Wal-Mart, which was just another reason why the world was toast once he did). A big, bright display of televisions facing the fairy-lit lane had caught his eye. One had been playing that damn movie about the chubby angel and the guy with the funny voice wishing he had never been born. A wide-screen near the top of the stack had shown lingerie models in Santa hats prancing around. Knives hadn't been sure exactly what they were selling. His eye had drifted and stopped. From that moment on, he had watched one screen in the corner, mesmerized.
Here it was, at last, someone else who felt as he felt. It was better even than Scrooge (which Knives was rather fond of) because Scrooge hadn't tried to wreck the holiday; he had just gone around in his nightshirt being grumpy. How/ that/ was going to make anything explode, Knives didn't understand. But this one, this /Grinch/, he had the right idea.
He hadn't even been able to blink as the little green man went about the merry business of shoving Christmas trees up fireplaces and stealing stockings, lying to children and spreading misery. And all to a catchy musical number.
You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch.
Your heart's an empty hole.
Your brain is full of spiders.
You've got garlic in your soul.
I wouldn't touch you with a
Knives, was enthralled. Fascinated. He silently proclaimed himself a life-long fan of this genius, the Grinch. But at the moment of the Grinch's greatest triumph-with Knives watching eagerly to see all the festive joy crushed beneath the heavy boot of misery-someone had bought the floor model. The image on the television had fizzled away and then the television had been /carried /away. Knives had been left unsatisfied before that display, like Charlie before the candy store window, penniless.
Left with no answers, Knives imagined.
And, oh! How he imagined! He imagined that after conquering Christmas, the Grinch went on to South America and then...the World!
But how was he to know for sure? He wondered for days after /exactly /how the story ended. It bothered him so much that one day he stopped working on his Doomsday Device just long enough to hop over to Wal-Mart.
"I'm looking for the Grinch, puny human," he said to the clerk.
"Aisle eleven, Merry Christmas," she answered. And wouldn't it just figure? They had the video, but not plutonium. What a tragically flawed world.
With the video stashed under his coat, he hurried home to his fortress, popped some popcorn and sat in front of the set like a kid. He didn't remember what being a kid felt like, but he was sure it was something like this. He cheered for the Grinch through it all. The Grinch was different from everyone else in the cartoon. He wasn't wide-eyed and optimistic and cheerful. He lived alone, secluded from the rest of the saccharine world.
His heart was two sizes too small.
Knives sympathized with the Grinch. He bloody understood /the Grinch. That is, until the end when everything went /wrong/. He turned off the television feeling oddly betrayed. Strangely empty. As if the whole world was filled with people who loved Christmas, knew that he didn't, and were out to make him /pay for it.
After the glow of the screen faded, he sat and thought and pondered and puzzled. The Grinch had had the right idea. He had been so close. He had stolen Christmas beautifully...
If only he hadn't changed his mind at the last, crucial moment.
When the Whos down in Who-Ville with their really bad hair started singing "Fah who for-aze! Dah who dor-aze! Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day!" the Grinch should have looked down on the lot of them, thought, "They're singing. Sing, sing, singing," and then incinerated them.
That whole heart-growing-three-sizes-and-bringing-back-the-toys-and-the-stokings-and-slicing-the-roast-beast nonsense was just that: nonsense.
All nonsense that the Grinch could be changed with something as simple as a song when everything was bleak. Nonsense that someone with a shriveled, one-size-fits-none heart could mend his ways and suddenly say, "Sorry about the mix up, let's all be friends! Look, I brought a Throttle-Me Binky for Cindy-Lou Who!"
Nonsense to the core.
But ultimately nothing that a high-powered weapon of five couldn't fix. Which was exactly what Knives planned to do. He supposed Dr. Seuss would be rolling in his grave if he knew that the destruction of the earth and all life on it had been inspired by a cartoon based on his book.
Ah, well/, thought Knives. /These things happen.
And so he set to work as the season got colder and the whole of society got cheerful.
He drew diagrams large enough to take up every wall in his fortress. Teetering on a ladder forty-five feetabove the air, he scratched his head and wondered at the logistics of containing a thermonuclear device in something small enough to carry.
Something that wouldn't attract the police. He loved a challenge and so he plotted and schemed. Outside, the snow began to fall. The moon changed shape, looking like an ornament in the star-filled sky.
Piles of crumbled paper littered his floor.
Things had become difficult. It was the details that were killing him. Because even though his mind was willing to work nonstop, his body kept telling him to go to the bathroom or to
buy kitty litter for the damn cat he had accidentally adopted. Sometimes it unreasonably demanded that he eat.
One night, not so far from Christmas, he placed his Ionic Catalytic Ionizing Catalyzer on the table and stared at it. It blurred before his eyes into a remarkable likeness of a turkey leg. His stomach let out a seismic growl. Down the street, a few happy children in knitted hats wondered if an elephant was being tortured and if they should call the Humane Society.
Knives was starving. But leaving the fortress at such a critical moment...?
So it was decided. For the Glory of his Great Plan! For the Destiny of the Universe!
He, Knives, Future Destroyer of the World, would order pizza. Extra cheese, olives, and sausage, if you were wondering. With a side order of breadsticks. And you mean to say that, if I buy any regular-priced large pizza I get the second one and third one for just four bucks, four bucks? I'll take it.
Order placed, he felt better about the future of the world. What was left of it.
The telephone was put down, the Ionic Catalytic Ionizing Catalyzer was picked up and the termination of the world resumed without a hitch. Knives sang his favorite Christmas songs to drown out the sound of his stomach eating itself while he waited.
"Bombs and grenades ring,
Making spirits bright!
What fun it is to blow up things,
De-stroy the world tonight!
Oh, boom, boom, boom!
Boom, boom, boom!
Boom, boom, bang, bang, boom!"
The doorbell rang darkly.
Knives descended his ladder and stalked to the door. Had he been listening to the voice of the narrator, he would have known that Bells of Fate-quite unlike the kind that make angels get their wings or drop dead or, in fact, do anything to angels at all-were ringing. Ringalingalingaling went the bells. And had Knives known that he was currently starring in a slash fanfiction, he would have worried that unavoidable romance was about to deliver him pizza.
Or, at the very least, the pizza guy was.
Knives lifted the goggles off his eyes and onto his forehead and answered the Door to Destiny and olives. With extra cheese. And there stood Pizza Guy, like the angel Gabriel come down from heaven, bearing tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy. Hunger let Knives imagine that Cherubs fluttered around his head.
Pizza Guy had golden eyes and a smile like melted ice cream. Sweet, lickable...
Pizza guy was tall and lean and broad-shouldered and exactly the kind of thing straight women, bisexuals and gay men across the world wanted under their tree for Christmas, naked save for a bow. Or wait...forget the bow.
"Did you call for a pizza?" asked Pizza Guy
Knives blinked and wondered exactly where these suspicious, out-of-character thoughts were coming from. The narrator whistled innocently.
Yes, thought Knives, Pizza Guy looks like a Calvin Klein model, but now was hardly the time to be thinking about /that/. After all, the world still existed. People were living on it and everything.
"Yes," said Knives smartly, "I ordered a pizza. Two in fact, because one of them was only four bucks with the purchase of the first, which was regular price. I also ordered bread sticks. They come with four different sauces."
It was Pizza Guy's turn to blink. "Riiiight," he said. He fished into the pouch on his apron and pulled out a bill. "That's twenty-two, fifty-two," he said.
Knives frowned. Yet again, he had forgotten to bring his wallet to the door. Three days before he had left the Chinese Food Delivery Guy waiting in the cold for ten minutes while he rearranged his munitions to find it. Now where did he put that thing?
"Just a minute," he said and then turned on his heels and went stomping into the fortress. Maybe he had left it under the bazookas...
"Whoa! Geez, man. What do you do for a living?" Knives whirled on his feet to see that Pizza Guy had followed him into the room, shiny eyes shining beneath his grubby hat. Knives scowled at him.
"Sorry, it's cold out there," Pizza Guy explained and then continued to be amazed. His neck craned back, he spun around as he looked about him at all the steel and space age polymers and...explosives.
Knives did the same, trying to see the place with new eyes. He had always believed that the fortress made his profession self-evident. It screamed, "Evil Genius Bent on World Destruction" as far as he could tell. If the throne didn't give it away, then certainly the Laboratory of Chaos and the schematics for the Doomsday Device would do the trick.
"What does it/ look/ like I do?"
"Guess again," Knives said devilishly. His wallet was lodged beneath the Ionic Catalytic Ionizing Catalyzer, right where he'd left it. He fished out two tens, a five, and two ones. He accepted his pizzas (and the breadsticks), and sat them down somewhere "safe."
"Do you need change?" asked Pizza Guy in that smooth voice of his.
"No," Knives said. Their fingers brushed as he handed over the money. Ringalingalingalinglingling!
Let's hypothesize that things like eternity and destiny and love can squeeze themselves into tiny places. The cracks in the sidewalk that send you tripping into the waiting arms of a charming stranger are crammed full of destiny. And the space between an old couple on the train who sit alike and yawn alike and even rather look alike, that space is filled up with an eternity of love. Love like that, the kind that doesn't notice when pretty smiles turn into toothless ones or that the hair that was once on a head has now moved to the ears-love like that can make time stop. Eternity has wormed its way into the creaking bones of that old couple so that every minute they spent together was a lifetime. Even those times when they couldn't stand being in each other's company and were contemplating murder with blunt objects. And especially those moments when the sight of the other was all it took to make heat and light and all the songs of the angels bloom in their hearts. And when one of them fades into nothingness one night in their sleep, the other will follow soon after.
That kind of eternity was working its magic on Knives and one Pizza Delivery Stud. The second and a half when their fingers touched was filled with all the promise of years of hot sex, cuddles under the cover, violent fights over mundane things like the garbage and control of the TV remote. It was filled with the crotchety years when sex was no longer an option, or anything of particular interest. The nothing-but-hand-holding, denture-wearing, muttering years.
And it was this eternity that pried open Knives' jaw just as Pizza Guy was turning to walk away, out of the plot of the story and the life of our villain entirely. It was eternity that made Knives ask in a stilted voice, uncertain of exactly what had caused the words, "You wouldn't happen to be seeking alternative employment, would you?"
Pizza Guy looked just as surprised. "Well, yes, I am."
"I see. You wouldn't happen to have any particular attachment to the world, would you?"
Pizza Guy scratched his chin. "Um...in what sense?"
"Ah, let's hypothesize, shall we? Were it to go missing tomorrow, you wouldn't miss it terribly, would you?"
Pizza Guy looked confused. The negative questions were throwing his brain for a loop.
"Good!" said Knives, honestly pleased and unsure of why. "Can you start tomorrow?"
"Then you're hired." They shook on it-Pizza Guy still looking as if his house had been sold from underneath him while he had tea-and little holly-jolly jolts of electricity went up Knives' arm. /Troublesome/, he thought, and wrenched his hand away.
Pizza Guy shook off the daze that seemed to have settled over him. "What exactly will I be doing?"
"Oh, fetching this, fetching that. Helping me destroy the world."
Pizza Guy looked about fit to faint. Or fit to run and fetch the police.
What he said instead of, "You're insane, I'm calling the cops," was, "My name's Legato. Legato Bluesummers."
Knives nodded slowly. The name fit so perfectly with the pale, striking figure before him, looking so handsome in his Pizza Palace uniform and smelling like...sausage.
"Well, I expect to see you first thing tomorrow morning. We have a lot of work to do."
"Destroying the world?"
"Yes, weren't you listening? You'll be my first acting minion and errand boy. Do be careful not to be the shortest lived as well. And remember, if you ever find some peevish moral issues popping up to bother you, you can ease your mind with the knowledge that you didn't do it yourself. You just helped the guy who did."
To Be Continued...?