“Why does that bloody Christmas tree make so much sodding noise?” Kallisti the Friar drew her staff and threatened the glowing, humming, buzzing tree that occupied a corner of the lounge in their flat. She was wearing her green pyjamas with white highlights along the cuffs and pockets.

“Its those arcane glowie things, I think they are semi-sentient and are talking to each other.” Kallisti the Fae, the diminutive fairy Kallisti flew up to the upper levels of the tree and pointed at the green and red glowing balls. She had resisted their request to sit on top of the tree – she had called it insulting and had thrown tree decorations at the Kallistis who laughed.

“Well it keeps waking me up and I’m getting fed up of it!” Friar stomped over to the kitchen to get a drink.

“Oh so its the TREE that’s keeping you wake is it, nothing to do with Gold eh?” Red was lounging on the sofa glugging from a bottle of beer. She wore a Christmas elf hat and had added white fur trim to her usual red leather biker jacket. Friar grinned at her with a glint in her eye.

“Well we had a bit of catching up to do after I’d been away for so long.”

“Uh huh, yes we heard!” Red laughed. “So did they do Christmas on your world?”

“No, we didn’t have Jesus as the Christ figure in our theology, which is odd since Bronze reckons the Arcanium was derived from the Catholic church about 600 years ago. A lot of the rituals we undertook were based upon Catholic rituals but the belief was the saviour that would give us victory over the demons was yet to come.” Friar sat on the couch opposite Red and opened her own bottle of beer she’d taken from the fridge.

It was the evening of Christmas Eve and many of the Kallistis were out partying or chasing frostlings. There was a planned mass snowball fight under the Atlas Statue which many had gone to take part in. Kallisti the Janitor, now promoted to Kallisti the Facilities Manager was working in City Hall, organising the snow ploughs that were keeping the roads open.

“So what has Santa brought her for Christmas?” Red gestured to the pile of presents under the noisy tree.

“Well you’ll see the one under the tree tomorrow… the other one none of you lot get to see!” Friar winked. Red laughed.

“You two are so cute! You going to regrow your hair now you aren’t an evil villain any more?”

“Hey, I never was a villain… a bit villainous maybe…” Friar shrugged. “It had to be done and being all goody goody wouldn’t have worked. To be honest I was never really cut out for the pure hero thing… there are some people who should be taken out permanently. Its a bit hypocritical of the heroic ideal when its okay to kill aliens and monsters but you’re supposed to arrest the villains behind them, it just doesn’t make sense.”

“Phut, that’s civilisation for you, we’re both from worlds where it was all about survival and no room for namby pamby moralistic angst. So how come our are out here and not being all golden?”

“She’s sleeping, worn out, she is a blaster after all and doesn’t have the stamina” Friar grinned wickedly. Red offered her bottle and they toasted each other, clinking the bottles together.

There was the sound of the front door opening down the other end of the hall and Kallisti Flame came in, steam rising from her coat as her body heat melted then evaporated the snow. “Gave up on the snowball fight, even with insulating gloves on, I was mostly throwing soggy slushballs!” she hung the coat on the rack which continued to steam. “At least I could keep the mulled wine warm.”

“Now you know how I feel in the summer ‘Can you cool my drink?’ Then again the ice cream is handy.” Red clicked her fingers together and an ice cream cone appeared from nowhere. Bronze had so far never been able to explain this minor extra power possessed by Red that on the surface was entirely trivial, but when it came to practicality, made Red a very popular person during the summer.

“Someone down in the lobby was talking about a Winter Lord sighting just up the road. Apparently the Crey guards are fighting it and making a right mess” Flame slipped on an insulated glove and took a cold beer from the fridge. “Should we give them a hand?”

“Nah, they’d just try to sue us for damages again probably, let them do something useful for a change. I also heard that there was another Rikti Mothership raid on the cards – do those things ever achieve anything apart from lots of Rikti casualties? Its almost as if they had an infinite supply of splods fighting for them.” Red drank from her bottle.

“Was it Boy Band? His raids are usually fun as he takes a sound system and plays music while everyone is fighting, its quite bizarre but they sometime play this great song Ballroom Blitz by a band called Sweetie or something like that, its quite catchy!” Friar tapped her foot to the music in her head.

“I prefer Murder on the Dance floor”

“…and you accused me of being a villain! When did you go purple?”

“I’ve always been purple… Red and blue… purple darling!” Red threw her hands in the air, narrowly avoiding spilling the beer. “Oh look at the time, its just gone midnight, Merry Christmas girls, especially for Friar’s first Christmas!”

“Merry Christmas! Wheeeeee!” Fae flew over them all scattering fairy dust.

“I wish she wouldn’t do that, I’m sure she’s peeing on us or something, can’t be healthy!” Flame brushed the dust away, incinerating it with a wave of her hand.

“I know we are doing presents later, but I’ve got a special one for you Friar, since you were away from us for so long.” Red rummaged around the back of the tree and came out with a flat, gift-wrapped package. “Here, you can open it now.” she gave it to Friar who excitedly ripped open the package to reveal a picture frame with a photo of her and Gold from a while back when her hair was still long. In the photo, Friar is looking directly at the camera, saying something to the person taking the photo, but Gold is standing slightly behind her and to the side and is looking directly at Friar. The photo has caught a moment where her expression shows a look of such tenderness and love that Friar felt a lump grow in her throat and her eyes fill up. “I found it on my phone and thought it was a perfect way to show you the difference you’ve made since you came to us.” Friar reached for a tissue then reached out to her sister who wasn’t her sister and hugged her fiercely.

“Underneath that foul-mouthed ruffty-tuffty exterior you are a softie at heart you big red-haired tart!” she whispered in her ear.

“You betcha!” replied Red, hugging her in return, “Merry fucking Christmas!”

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