Title: A Kimball-Paxton Christmas
Fandom: Demon Story
Characters: Mauro, Leyna, Kael, Quinn, and Kevin
Prompt: Not of this world
Mauro considered himself very lucky. He had managed to read enough about Christmas that he wasn’t completely taken by surprise the first time he experienced it. Not to say that he wasn’t surprised at all—reading about such a large, flashy, and hectic occasion was quite different from actually experiencing it, but at least he knew what to expect.
His first three years in the human domain he managed to avoid the celebration of the miracle birth of Christ quite well. Leyna was far enough into her pregnancies to be much too exhausted to worry about such things as trees and decorations and even gifts. True, everywhere he went there were stockings and candy canes and the same handful of songs playing over and over, and everyone’s aura was either a wall of frustration or a wave of sickening cheer, but Mauro was able to escape this daily in his own home. When invited to the Christmas party at work, Mauro used the excuse of his pregnant wife to stay home.
However, once his three sons were born, and he and Leyna discussed, understood, and agreed on their family situation, Mauro was plunged straight into the human lifestyle even deeper than he had when he had begun dating and even working. Again, he was lucky, this time because he had a few holidays to practice before Christmas came around.
The first holiday was Easter, which according to Mauro’s research was a day for honoring the death of the man named Jesus Christ, who was supposed to be the son of God, who was supposed to be the one who created the human domain. At one point the Christians, who reminded Mauro of Lord Pyran in their desire to have everyone see things their way, adopted rituals associated with a pagan celebration of fertility. Now on Easter, after Sunday morning mass, chicken eggs were painted and hidden along with chocolate eggs and plastic eggs filled with candy. Children were told that a bunny had hidden them and were sent to look for them. Mauro’s two youngest children, Quinn and Kevin, weren’t quite old enough to enjoy this holiday, though they were given gift baskets filled with chocolate bunnies and plastic grass, but he had to watch as his oldest son Kael tore apart the apartment looking for and smashing eggs that he and Leyna had carefully painted.
The next holiday was Mother’s day, a fairly calm endeavor, where the biggest problem was deciding if Leyna would prefer a mug that said “I love my mom” or a sweater that said “world’s greatest mom.” Father’s day was even easier, the hardest part pretending to be pleased by a tie and a raw pasta collage. These holidays didn’t have much of a point, but they sure filled up restaurants.
Independence Day was probably Mauro’s favorite holiday, for though he didn’t have the power to manipulate fire he had no problem causing the combustion reaction necessary to get fire crackers going. Leyna tried to get him to use a lighter, but he much preferred the rush of channeling his Power through a single finger and through the wick to create the burst of sparks. He didn’t care too much about American Independence –though the story of the revolution had been a great read—but what he was celebrating mattered to him much less than which fire crackers made the highest pillar of sparks, and even less than how he was going to keep Kael away from anything flammable.
After a short break, the next holiday was Halloween, another one that Mauro could really sink his teeth into. It had something to do with people giving food to their dead family members as well as spirits returning from beyond and needing to be scared off with masks, but Mauro was elated that on Halloween night it was acceptable for him to frighten people. While Leyna had her fun dressing her boys in cute costumes, Mauro had his by scaring children, and sometimes even their chaperones. He didn’t even need a costume: his natural form was enough, though he thought his claws were a nice touch.
Thanksgiving came next, and while wondering what any of it had to do with a small group of pilgrims making friends with Native Americans and being taught to survive the upcoming winter, Maruo experienced the chaos that was only practice for the rapidly approaching Christmas season. Rushing from store to store to acquire all of the ingredients that Leyna requested was tiring and almost dangerous since Mauro couldn’t use his Power to defend himself. Helping Leyna prepare the food was no Fourth of July, either, though when Leyna wasn’t looking, Mauro was sure to channel some Power into food items in the form of heat to speed up the cooking process. To make matters worse, she sent him out early on Black Friday to get her some things that she needed and possibly get him started on Christmas shopping.
Shopping was undoubtedly the worst part of Christmas. His list was short- just Leyna and the boys, but while the boys would probably like any gift so long as it was a toy, toys were the hardest gifts of all to get. Every toy store was packed with people, climbing over the mess of toys on the floor that outnumbered the toys on the shelves. The line wound through the store, moved at a snail’s pace, and often times stopped completely because of problems with the register or the customer’s form of payment. And that was only if you managed to find parking.
Leyna was harder to shop for. Mauro didn’t have the slightest clue in Cregon what to get her and returned from several trips empty-handed because he had been ho-ho-ho’ed at by more mechanical Santas than he could stand before he could find anything. After venturing numerous times into the jungle of pushy shoppers, plastic snowmen, and giant stockings, he finally decided on a gold ring that the man at the jewelry store had laboriously convinced him Leyna would love. Mauro hoped that he had made the right choice because if he hadn’t, not only would Leyna be disappointed, but he would have to face the fact that all of the boring romance movies she had made him watch while they were dating had taught him nothing.
Leyna’s shopping list was somewhat longer as she sought out gifts for family she hadn’t spoken to since the birth of her first child. While she was out on her shopping conquests, he was at home with the kids, enduring cartoon carolers and claymation Chris Kringles on TV acting out the same stories and singing the same songs over and over again. When the tree was finally up—another nightmarish venture—he had to make sure the kids didn’t climb or destroy it. The only peace came when the boys were asleep in bed and Maruo had a few moments to unwind with Leyna over cups of hot chocolate. Still, even that wasn’t entirely a break as Leyna wrote up Christmas cards to send to family and had Mauro sign them with meaningless greetings and empty well-wishes.
Christmas Eve had Leyna and Mauro once more taking turns in the kitchen with dinner and in the living room with their children. Thanks to the Christmas specials on TV, Mauro much preferred the kitchen. After the unevenly cooked Thanksgiving turkey, however, Leyna was determined to keep Mauro away from the food for as long as possible. When the strange family finally sat down to ham, scalloped potatoes, steamed vegetables and macaroni salad, Mauro found that it was almost worth chasing Kael while carrying Kevin while shaking Quinn off of his leg while Frosty the Snowman gleefully wished himself a happy birthday. What was worth all of that was the plate of cookies Leyna served after dinner.
Getting the boys to sleep was a hassle, as Kael was old enough to have learned from the television that tonight Santa must be coming to town. What he seemed to have missed was that Santa didn’t bring toys to naughty children. His excitement was infectious, spreading to Quinn, and together the two boys made enough of a racket to keep baby Kevin awake long into the night. When they finally wore themselves out, they all fell asleep in the living room and had to be put into their respective beds. Mauro then helped Leyna fill the stockings and put the presents under the tree before going to bed themselves.
Christmas morning was a loud, messy affair, with the boys tearing open their gifts and getting right to work throwing around their new toys. After cleaning up as much of the mess as they could be bothered to, Leyna and Mauro had their own gift exchange. The man at the jewelry store—as well as most of the movies Mauro had ever seen—had been right. Leyna adored the ring. And Mauro did not have to pretend to be pleased with a subscription to National Geographic under the name Mark Kimball, though he probably could have done without the green fuzzy socks.
There were still a handful of holidays to go before Mauro rounded out the year and experienced them all, but after the pandemonium of Christmas, he was confident that he could handle anything. That was, of course, only because it had completely slipped his mind that there was such a thing as an Anniversary, and that he now had three years of them to make up for.