Home for the Holidays

a flash fan fiction piece by Stephannie

The samurai called Jack drew the cup of tea to his lips before exhaling a deep sigh, watching his breath form in the chilly evening. He shuddered a bit, for his kimono did not warm him up from the bitter wind, before unfolding the paper an anonymous messenger had given him and read the note for what must have been the fifth time today.

“To: Jack

No time to explain. Meet us in the cabin at exactly 6 o’clock tonight.

See ya there, laddie!

–The Scotsman”

Jack was not really all that fooled; after all, Aku could have disguised himself as the Scotsman and perhaps was luring him into a trap without Jack’s knowledge. Nothing was too low for the Shogun of Sorrows to stoop to. Still, he did not consider that a possibility, as he had not seen him or The Scotsman all day, which was rather unusual for the former.

“This is there you get off, sir,” the ferryman told Jack, jerking him from his thoughts. He paid the man generously and then, with a simple nod of thanks, turned and headed on down the snow covered path. All the while, he kept his sword unsheathed, aware of the many creatures that inhabited this desolate area; there could be wolves, villagers that were friendly or otherwise, or maybe perhaps a large ice bear that seeks to eliminate all human competition from its territory. Jack thought it best not to think about that right now; the Scotsman, whom Jack considered a friend, could be in huge trouble with either Aku’s minions or just  Aku himself. I hope I’m not too late, Jack thought, sending a silent prayer; though coming from a place where belief in so many gods was commonplace, he could not figure out to whom he was praying to. In a white blanket up to his knees, with the heeled sandals on his feet providing no comfort, he pressed on anyway. “I will find you, old friend!” he called out to the sky amidst the howling wind.

It was only after he reached the destination, shivering, with a grayish tint in his face, that he stopped, gasping for breath. He glanced at the clock that was etched into the cabin– reading 5:58 pm– hurriedly and pounded at the door three times. “H-hello?” he asked, still shivering, profusely.  A long silence answered him; of course it did. Why should anyone answer the door to a perfect stranger? Jack could not know if his friend was there at all, but he was curious on the happenings in the house and noted the strange presence of a bright yellow light coming from the center, so he peeked inside. Almost at once, the door was answered by a small white rabbit with a Cheshire cat-esque grin. “Why, hello there, sir!” the rabbit greeted, the wide smile still attached to his face, “What’s your name?”

“They call me Jack,” he said, as if he recited the greeting all day. “Is my friend, the Scotsman, in today? I have a letter from him.” He handed the rabbit the little slip of paper.

The rabbit took the letter, read it, and then paused for a bit before replying “Yeah, yeah, he’s there,” and then, to some unknown guest in the brightly lit room called out, “He’s here!” before slamming the door in his face.

Annoyed, and a bit chagrined by this act of disrespect, Jack swung open the door again, unsheathing his sword.

The crowd inside took a collective gasp and  stopped their merrymaking for a few heart beats, staring at him, unnerved by the sudden intrusion. Then, all at once, they blew a few horns, whooped, yelled and shouted “MERRY CHRISTMAS, JACK!” A few others, including the small white rabbit added silently, “Ya filthy animal!”

Despite the cold that he came from, Jack began to blush; obviously, he forgot that today was actually Christmas. He was further embarrassed by the celerity in his curt approach to the party. Jack bowed, unsheathing his sword, and, placing his sopping wet sandals by the door, along various fur coats and light jackets hung on the wall, he walked around the cabin, with a roaring fireplace at the hearth– the source of the yellow light from his first meeting– and rooms filled with laughing toons, some of them drinking beverages Jack never even thought possible, to find the Scotsman. As soon as the Scotsman locked eyes with Jack, his eyes brightened and he laughed his usual, raucous laugh. “Jackie, boy!” he boomed, turning to embrace him with a crushing hug. “Glad ya could make it!”

“Yes, I am… and I should like to apologize–” Jack started before the Scotsman clapped him on the back.

“Don’t apologize fer nothin’, laddie!” the Scot replied “After all, it’s Christmas!”

“Yes, but… well…” Jack added nervously, “It is my first Christmas party. I never celebrated it before, nor have I heard of it.”

The Scot was taken aback for a while; the thought had never occurred to him that Jack was not entirely a holiday-celebrating type. But it was of no importance as he nudged him and, after glancing around hurriedly,  whispered, “Ya want ta know somethin’, laddie? It’s my first Christmas too. But nooo, ya still didn’t think I would be an equal, didn’t ya? Noooo…”

Being handed a cup of tea by a short but lanky girl with orange hair, followed closely by a small dog, Jack drew the cup to his lips again and sighed with relief, chuckling a bit as the Scot rambled on with his usual rant. If Christmas was a time of peace, then he would have to enjoy it while it lasted… at least for a while!

Stephannie is a junior.

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