friendship, AU 1+2 - humorous chibi angst.
Santa Claus came to
the orphanage on Christmas Eve. Duo didn't remember, because he hadn't
lived there before that year, but the other kids said, so he knew it was
Santa came and there was a big dinner and the food was all special, and
Santa ate with them right in the big room in the basement of the church.
There were even special plates. And even better... a very special dessert.
A was a tradition, the older kids said, all serious. There was a special
pudding and if you got the pudding cup with the little charm in it, you
got to be the first to sit on Santa's lap and you could ask for your most
special wish. All the kids would get to sit on Santa's lap, but only the
charm let you ask for something extra special.
Duo knew it was true because all the older kids said so. Heero had doubts,
but he was only a month older than Duo, so Duo didn't think that should
count as really being older. Even Quatre remembered the charm from last
Christmas, though all he really remembered was the squealing and excitement
when Otto found it.
Duo would have asked Otto, but he didn't live there any more. Which just
made Duo even more sure that the charm worked. Otto must have asked for
a home, right?
So Duo was determined to get the pudding with the charm so that he would
get to be first to sit on Santa's lap and could ask for the most specialest
of all wishes.
He wouldn't tell, of course, because if you told your wishes they didn't
come true... everybody knew that, even Wufei who didn't believe in the
charm, or Santa, or even Otto really.
Wufei said Otto was a plant who was supposed to make the other kids think
it was possible to get adopted, when it never really happened. Duo didn't
understand about Otto being a plant, because he hadn't really been green,
but then... Wufei was kind of grumpy and Duo thought he made a lot of
stories up. Like the one about not having recess any more when you got
to the big kid's school. Because that was just crazy.
But it was Christmas Eve and Santa was there, eating dinner with the kids
just like the older kids had said, so Duo was just as sure as he could
be, and so excited he could hardly eat. He was sitting next to Heero,
who was his bestest friend, and Heero was eating his vegetables for him
because his tummy wasn't happy about the green beans. He was too 'wound
up' Sister Helen would say and she would ruffle his hair and tell him
to calm down and eat his dinner if he ever wanted to grow any bigger than
a minute. Which didn't make much sense to Duo, but sometimes Sister Helen
was kind of like Wufei... you just nodded and hoped they didn't try to
Heero ate all his vegetables for him, and most of his ham too, because
Duo was scared he wouldn't get his dish of pudding if his plate wasn't
cleaned. And if he didn't get his pudding, then he wouldn't get his chance
at the charm, and if he didn't get the charm he'd never be able to ask
for his special, secret wish.
And then the dessert came and when the nice kitchen lady put it down in
front of him, Duo was too scared to pick his spoon up. He closed his eyes
tight and with his hands holding each other tight under the table, he
asked God and the angels and just for good measure, Superman too, for
the charm to be in his cup.
But then he couldn't open his eyes. He was just sure that any minute somebody
would call out that they had found the charm, but nobody did, but still
Duo couldn't open his eyes and dig in the pudding cup. He could hear the
clink of spoons on glass all around him... but... he was afraid.
An elbow nudged him, and Heero grabbed his hand and shook him. 'Duo!'
he whispered from real close. 'Look! I think you have it!'
And Duo's eyes snapped open and there really was a funny looking lump
sitting in the middle of his cup. Duo stared at it and then stared at
it some more and his heart hurt in his chest and he looked up at Heero.
'You really think so?' he whispered back.
'I know so,' Heero told him with a bright smile. 'Now get it out and show
In the end, Heero had to get it for him and wipe it off on his napkin
and press it into Duo's hand and call Sister over to show her.
Sister Helen laughed happily and patted Duo's head. 'That means you get
to go see Santa first, Duo,' she told him.
Somewhere across the table, Quatre whispered, 'I knew it!' and something
else, but Heero shushed him and then nudged Duo with his elbow again.
'Go on,' he said. 'Don't make Santa wait!'
Duo looked up at Sister Helen and she nodded to him and that was finally
all it took. Duo scrambled out of his chair and ran down the aisle between
the tables to the chair set up special for Santa. The charm was clutched
tight in his hand, his other hand wrapped around to make double sure he
didn't lose it.
When he got to the end of the row and stopped, Santa caught him under
the arms and lifted him up into his lap. 'So, little Duo... are you ready
for your present from Santa?'
Duo nodded his head until his upset tummy started to feel worse and he
stopped. Carefully, he opened his hand and showed Santa the magic charm.
'I got the charm,' Duo proclaimed. 'So I get to ask my special wish.'
Santa blinked at him for a minute before asking, 'Special wish?'
'Yeah,' Duo explained, kind of confused about Santa not knowing already.
'If you find the charm you get to ask for something special.'
'Well,' Santa told him, sounding kind of funny. 'All Santa's presents
are special, Duo.'
That didn't sound quite right to Duo and he started to feel that icky
prickle in his eyes that meant he was going to cry. He hated doing that
because the older boys laughed at him. Well... they used to, until Heero
punched Milly and gave him a black-eye. 'But I get to ask?' he pushed,
the charm laying on his palm and suddenly looking kind of small and silly.
For the first time, Duo noticed it looked like a little heart.
'Well,' Santa said kind of gentle like. 'Why don't you ask, and we'll
see what we can do.'
Duo wasn't happy with the sound of Santa's voice... it was like that one
that Father Maxwell used when the answer to something was going to be
no. But Santa had said to ask, so Duo closed the charm in his fist again,
as though the power came from holding on tight and he said, as clear as
he could, the words he'd practiced really hard for months and months.
Just in case.
'I want my Momma to be alive again.'
The room was really kind of quiet then, as though everyone was holding
their breaths to hear better, like you did when you were listening outside
windows that you weren't supposed to be. It took Santa a long time to
answer and Duo had a bad feeling, but he just squeezed the charm as tight
as tight could be and didn't even care that it hurt his palm.
'Oh Duo,' Santa finally said, and his voice didn't sound jolly any more.
'Even Santa can't do that. I'm... sorry, but... Santa is in charge of
toys and... things like that. I can't bring your Momma back. Nobody can.'
'Oh,' Duo said and he said it very carefully, because the prickles were
worse and he really didn't want to cry in the middle of the dinner hall
in front of everybody, especially with it so quiet.
'Would... would you like to ask for something else?' Santa asked him,
sort of gentle and kind, but Duo just shook his head. There hadn't been
any room in his head for another wish, so he didn't have one. He opened
his hand and looked at the charm and then squirmed off Santa's lap and
ran back toward his seat. Santa said something, and Sister Helen said
something, but Duo didn't hear them over the prickles that were in more
than his eyes now. Breathless, he stopped next to Heero's chair and grabbing
his wrist, pressed the charm into his hand.
Duo tried to tell Heero to take it. He tried to tell him not to let it
go to waste. He tried to tell him all kinds of stuff that wouldn't come
out. But Heero just nodded and Duo guessed he got it anyway, because he
took the charm and held it tight like you're supposed to. Heero didn't
run back to Santa, but he marched. Marched like Sister Helen when she
was after the kid who broke the front window with a baseball. Only Heero's
sneakers didn't make that clack-clack noise like Sister's shoes did.
Heero marched up to Santa, showed him the charm like it was a magic thing
like in the movies, and said clear and loud what his special wish was.
'I want Duo to have a new Momma, then.'
And Santa... buried his face in his hands.
The prickles got real bad then, until they weren't just prickles anymore
and Duo had to run back up to Santa's chair, because he wasn't real sure
just how much trouble you got into for making Santa Claus cry, but he
figured it was probably worse than tracking mud into the church. Maybe
even worse than the kid that broke that window.
Duo figured his bestest friend was in, what Trowa called deep do-do, and
he ought to be there beside him. Especially since Heero had used his magic
charm special wish for him.
The whole room was quieter than Father could make the church be on Sunday
when he said 'let us pray', and when Duo got to Heero, his best friend
looked scared too so Duo reached out and took his hand.
'Uh oh,' Duo whispered, wide-eyed and not even upset that the prickles
had spilled down his cheeks. If anybody laughed, Heero would hit them
'What'd I do?' Heero whispered back and they just stared at each other
until Sister Helen came and put a hand on each of their shoulders. Duo
knew they were in really big trouble when he saw Sister Helen was wiping
her eyes too and he took a deep breath when she steered them out of the
She took them down the hall and sat them on the bench outside Father's
office, which was always bad, but then she tousled their hair... which
was usually good.
'You two just wait here for a minute, ok?' she told them and Duo was happy
she didn't sound mad. She walked away making that clack-clack noise and
Heero looked at Duo with wide eyes.
'Do you think the elves will come and punish me for making Santa cry?'
Heero whispered, and Duo squeezed his hand tight.
'But elves are short... aren't they?' Duo said, trying to reassure, but
Heero just frowned.
'We're short too.'
'Oh yeah,' Duo had to agree and they were quiet, listening for the clack-clack
of Sister Helen coming back. Duo sighed.
'We should have eaten the pudding first, now we won't get any.'
Heero sighed too and began to swing his legs. 'Yeah. Guess so. Maybe Quatre
will save us some?'
Duo swung his legs too and the bench squeaked beneath them. 'Nah. He'll
just eat it.'
'Maybe,' Heero conceded and for a minute they just listened to the creak
of the bench.
'You're my bestest friend,' Duo blurted, the best he knew how to say thank
you, when he wasn't sure about the what for part.
'Yeah,' Heero said and rubbed at his nose with the back of his hand. 'Me
Duo nodded and changed the swinging of his legs so that he was backward
from Heero and the squeak changed. Heero grinned at him but then they
heard the clack-clack of shoes and they stopped grinning and stopped swinging
and held on tight to each other's hands.
Sometimes when a kid was bad, they had to read from the bible until they
could say the verse without the book. And sometimes they had to sweep
the whole floor of the church. And sometimes, if they were really bad,
they didn't get dessert for a whole week.
Duo kinda figured they'd be in for all three and he really wished they'd
gotten to eat their pudding.
At least when Sister knelt down in front of them, she wasn't crying anymore,
and Duo figured that might be good.
Figured it was even better when she actually smiled. When she held her
hand out for the charm, they turned it over, and when she asked about
the magic part they talked over each other to tell how it was supposed
to work. She wanted to know who had told them the story, but Duo and Heero
weren't sure about that part at all and didn't say. Sister didn't seem
too upset, and Duo felt better that he hadn't been a rat. Being a rat
'The charm was just an old church tradition,' she explained, 'to decide
who got to sit on Santa's lap first. It isn't magic at all, and there
is no special wish. I'm... sorry you thought there was.'
Duo hung his head while the prickles came back and Heero patted his back
the way Father did sometimes when somebody fell and got hurt.
'I'm so sorry, Duo,' Sister said to him and stroked a hand over his hair
again. 'I know you miss your Momma, but nobody can bring her back.' Duo
nodded, and kind of wished they could stop talking about it. He was pretty
sure they weren't in trouble any more and he kind of just wanted to go
back and see if his pudding was still there.
But then Sister's voice changed a little and she was slipping something
over Duo's head. 'But you know what? Santa can't give people for Christmas...
they have to come from God. And I think God gave you somebody pretty special
right here.' And she slipped something over Heero's head too. When Duo
looked at the little necklace, he was surprised and couldn't help blurting
out, 'But it's broken!'
Sister Helen laughed softly and took his little necklace and held it up
to Heero's. They fit together and made a heart just like the charm! And
there were words, but they were too big for Duo to read. 'What's it say,
Sister?' he asked, but it was Heero who answered.
'Best friends,' he said and grinned wide. Duo grinned back because it
was truer than true.
'Now why don't you two go back to the dining hall, I think Santa has some
toys waiting for you,' Sister smiled, patting them both on the head again.
Duo hated it when Relena did that, but he liked it when Sister did it.
Relena patted too hard.
'And the elves aren't coming to punish me?' Heero asked, and Sister made
a funny noise like Duo had never heard. She rubbed a hand over her face
and for a minute Duo thought she was doing that funny thing she called
But all she said was, 'No elves. I promise.'
'Ok!' Heero grinned and jumped up from the bench, tugging Duo down the
hall. 'Let's go eat our pudding!'
'What if Quatre ate it already?' Duo wanted to know, and Heero got that
look like just before Milly ended up on the floor.
'Then I'll punch him,' Heero said and Duo grinned happily.
Behind them, Duo heard Sister sigh and say something about strength, but
he figured it was one of those things that he didn't really want explained.
He had pudding waiting, after all. And maybe a new toy. And best of all...
a bestest friend who would always be there to punch people who needed
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