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This Christmas Day


by queen_starshine

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Laughter and music filled the air. Serenity looked up with sparkling eyes and snuggled against her owner, who patted the small baby Aisha on the head, looking into the shimmering Christmas tree, a small smile on her face. She watched as a royal Kyrii placed brightly wrapped presents under the tree, straightening and adjusting her crown.

     "I can't wait 'till morning!" Serenity sighed, feeling lazy and sleepy in the light of the tree and the warmth of the crackling fireplace.

     "You'll have to." Jasmine chuckled, sitting beside the girl and her younger sister.

     The owner smiled at the two, putting her other arm around Jasmine and pulling them close. "Nothing could ruin this moment," she whispered.

     ~*~

     "Mama!" Serenity snapped up in bed, sweat beading down her fur. It had been a dream... another dream, a dream of last Christmas Eve... Tears sparked the Aisha's eyes, but she blinked them back. Nervously, the Aisha touched her stalks, and stared out the window, where a light snow was falling on the ground. A fresh snow, she thought wistfully. Tomorrow will be a white Christmas.

     Jasmine stuck her head inside Serenity's room, a hairbrush in one hand and her crown - a paper one that Serenity had made in school for her - in the other. "Serenity, are you all right? I heard you yell."

     The baby Aisha looked at her sister. "I'm fine. Really." Jasmine gave Serenity a look, obviously unconvinced. Serenity managed a shaky smile. "Really, Jasmine. I'll be right down." The royal Kyrii nodded, then left Serenity's room and walked downstairs.

     Serenity sighed and tried to cheer herself. It was, after all, Christmas Eve, and why should she let a dismal mood depress the spirits of the joyous holiday? Clambering out of bed (and not minding to make it), Serenity padded over to her closet, rummaged through it, and slapped a Santa Kaus hat on her head, modeled in front of her mirror, and clambered downstairs, where she could smell delicious aromas from the kitchen.

     Jasmine cracked a grin when Serenity came bounding into the kitchen. An apron draped over her delicate frame, the Kyrii turned to the stove, where she was frying up Faerie Pancakes and humming Christmas tunes to herself.

     When breakfast was done and Jasmine began to clear the table, she said almost absentmindedly, "Well, Serenity, what would you say to getting decorating the Christmas tree now?"

     Serenity could hardly contain her glee, her eyes alighting and a toothy grin splitting across her youthful face. "Yeah!"

     ~*~

     Serenity leaned back, letting the lights of the Christmas tree wash over her. Jasmine made a fire, and then came to sit next to her. They were both oddly silent, deep in thought. Last time we were here, Serenity thought to herself, choking back tears, Ma was here, too.

     Jasmine stared moodily into the fire. She, too, was mulling over the sticky subject of their owner. She had disappeared a month after Christmas, without a word. The two pets had no trouble living by themselves, but the pain never really went away. How can I make this Christmas like all the other ones for Serenity? she wondered, shaking her head. Serenity hadn't adjusted well when their owner had left... she often had dreams and thought constantly about it. Poor darling!

     ~*~

      That night, Jasmine and Serenity went on their traditional walk through the neighborhood, oohing and aahing over the dazzling Christmas lights on the other families' homes. The snow was falling even harder now, and a crescent moon shone eerily on the dancing snowflakes, bright enough to be seen patchily through the fluffy snow clouds.

      It was late that night when Jasmine emerged from her room, and Serenity from hers, both holding a present for each other, with secret smiles on their faces as they clambered downstairs and placed them under their own sparkling tree, decorated with the little projects from Serenity's Neoschool and lights and other beautiful ornaments from a box in the attic.

      Serenity hesitated a moment before leaving the living room, where Jasmine was just about to put the fire out, and the milk and cookies were laid out for Santa Kaus, the tree left on, glimmering in the dark corner. "Hey, wait!" she suddenly exclaimed, hurrying over to her sister.

      Jasmine looked at her in inquiring eyes. "What is it, Serenity?"

      Serenity held up an envelope. "My friend, Polly, said that her family sends their letters up the chimney and into the air on Christmas Eve so Santa Kaus will grant their deepest wishes. Can we do that?"

      A warm smile fell over Jasmine's face. "Of course." Taking Serenity's letter, she held it over the fire, where the smoke and wind carried it up the chimney. Serenity rushed to the window, searching vainly for her letter amidst the snow that was almost a blizzard in force by now.

      "Do you think Santa Kaus will get my wish?" she asked Jasmine.

      Jasmine knelt and hugged her little sister. "Of course."

     ~*~

      A bang awakened Jasmine. She sat up in bed, eyes wide. She glanced out the window. Even the moon was down now; it was very late... or very early. The snow was still falling heavily from the clouded sky. Maybe the wind had blown the door open... or perhaps a poor soul was trying to get out of the frigid night! Or maybe... but no. Who would rob someone's house on Christmas?

      Jasmine glanced into the hallway. A figure was tiptoeing down the hallway - Serenity! She must have been wakened by the bang. Jasmine quickly scrambled out of bed, but her sister was already down the staircase. Hurrying down as fast as she could, a scream suddenly reached Jasmine's ears. She broke into a gallop towards the door.

      A stranger stood in the doorway, and had Serenity in its arms! Serenity was rolled against the stranger's chest, sobbing. "Serenity!" Jasmine yelled, running towards her sister and the stranger. Then suddenly, the stranger tossed back its fuzzy hood, blanketed white by the snow.

      "Jasmine?" a hoarse voice asked, which stopped the royal Kyrii right in her tracks.

      The Kyrii's jaw dropped. The face was thinner than she remembered, and the eyes were aged, and there was the lightest hint of blue in the cheeks from the howling wind and snow. But there was no mistaking it... "Mother!"

      Jasmine ran into the outstretched arms of her owner, bursting into tears just like her sister. The girl patted their heads, holding them close, even though the snow was still swirling through the door and coating the hallway in a dusty white powder.

      When the family had composed themselves, they made their way into the living room, where Jasmine quickly prepared a fire. Serenity squealed, but still held on tight to her mother, when her eyes landed on the shining packages under the Christmas tree.

      Jasmine left Serenity and the teenage girl for a moment, making her way into the kitchen. The cookies had been eaten, and the milk was drunk down to the last drop. A little note was left by the plate, too, which read, "On this night, it never is too late." And below the note, spotted with snow and opened, but intact, was Serenity's envelope, the one that held her wish that she had sent up the chimney just that night. Jasmine delicately picked up the letter, on which was scribbled in Serenity's uneven hand, "I wish Mommy would be home for Christmas."

      Jasmine stared, openmouthed, but quickly set down the letter and returned to the living room to bask in the glow of the Christmas tree with her owner and Serenity. Cuddled together, it seemed like a miracle.

      For on Christmas Night, it's easier to believe.

The End

 
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