InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ A Purity Short: The Un-Christmas ❯ The Christmas That Never Was ( Chapter 2 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]
Chapter Two
The Christmas That Never Was


"Oh, come on, Roka!  You can't say something like that and expect me to drop it, now can you?" Valerie complained as she followed Evan into the kitchen with her arms crossed over her chest and a petulant scowl on her face.

Evan chuckled as he retrieved a bottle of water out of the refrigerator and popped the seal around the plastic cap.  "Sorry, V, baby."

She snorted indelicately as her frown deepened, obviously unwilling to let the subject drop.  "Can't you at least give me a hint?"

"You can do that sexy little pout all you want, but that doesn't mean I'm going to give in—not this time, anyway," Evan pointed out, leaning back against the pristine marble counter and crossing his ankles casually as he sipped the water and shook his head in a blatantly fake show of feigned remorse.

Valerie snorted in response, but didn't press the issue.  "Hmph."

Evan laughed as Gin slipped into the kitchen with a heavy sigh.  She smiled at Evan, reaching into the refrigerator and reaching for a bottle of water, only to grimace when Cain's voice called out from somewhere in the living room.  "Milk, baby girl—you're still nursing, you know."

Gin made a face and shifted her hand up and over toward the container of the much-hated drink.  "That's what I was getting, Zelig-sensei," she called back, bumping the door closed with her hip before retrieving a glass out of the cupboard beside the fridge.  "Not a word!" she hissed in a stage whisper at Evan as she poured a full glass, her face registering her disdain for the milk.

Evan raised his eyebrows, protesting his innocence, and set down his water bottle to take the milk carton from Gin instead.  "I didn't see a thing," he assured Gin with a wink and a kiss on the cheek before filling another glass for Valerie.

Gin heaved a sigh in protest but quickly drained the glass of milk in a series of large gulps and without coming up for air in the process.  "Ugh . . . can't they do something to make this stuff taste better?"

"Why don't you get some chocolate syrup?" Evan suggested as he handed Valerie the glass of milk and slipped the carton back into the refrigerator.  "You like chocolate, don't you?"

Gin snorted—a rather uncharacteristic kind of sound from her.  "Oh, but chocolate isn't really good for the babies," she pointed out with a longsuffering sigh.  "That means no Reese's peanut butter cups, either."

Evan chuckled again since Gin really did look upset at that statement.  "It's just for a little while, Mama," he reassured her.  "When they're older, I swear I'll buy you all the peanut butter cups you can eat."

That promise seemed to cheer Gin up considerably, and she positively beamed at her youngest son.  "You're such a sweet boy!" she gushed, reaching up to pat his cheek lovingly.   "You're just the most thoughtful man in the world, like your father!"

"Cain's not that thoughtful," Evan quipped, only half-teasing.

Gin just laughed, as though Evan had just told the best joke, ever.   "Of course he is, and you are, too!" she insisted.  "Valerie's such a lucky woman!"

"I know," he agreed, probably figuring that it wouldn't do any good to argue with his mother about his father, in any case.  He caught Gin's hand and brought her knuckles to his lips.  "She really is, isn't she?"

Valerie snorted and rolled her eyes.  "You forgot 'modest'," she muttered, her voice muffled by the glass that she still held to her lips.

Gin giggled and crossed the kitchen to refill the dwindling cookies in the tiered server on the counter.   "So were you two going to go to bed soon?  You must be tired, aren't you, Valerie?  It's a long drive up from the city."

"Oh, I'm fine," Valerie insisted with a wave of her hand.  She rinsed the glass and stuck it in the dishwasher.

"Are you sure?  Your room's all ready," Gin went on, carefully arranging cookies on the shining levels of plates.

"I made sure she took a nap on the drive up," Evan confessed.  "Besides, it's Christmas Eve!  Who the hell sleeps on Christmas Eve?"

Gin smiled.  "Oh, in that case, I guess I should let the two of you get back to your conversation.  You looked pretty serious when I came in."

"Eh, it's all right, Mama," Evan assured her with a flick of his wrist.  "V was just trying to get me to spill the beans."

Gin blinked and shook her head in confusion.  "Spill the beans?  What beans?"

Valerie wrinkled her nose.  "I was just curious as to why you'd all refer to that year as the Un-Christmas; that's all."

Gin's mouth dropped open for a moment, then she snapped it closed.  "O-O-Oh . . ." she breathed, looking decidedly uncomfortable as her gaze shifted from Valerie to Evan and back again.  Definitely nervous . . .

"I mean, really, could anything that bad have happened?  You're all here, and no one has been permanently scarred or maimed, so is what happened back then really so bad that you can never talk about it, ever again?" Valerie went on, her tone carefully controlled, light.

Evan chuckled while Gin shifted from one foot to the other in a pained effort to keep her expression as blank as she possibly could.

"W-Well," Gin hedged slowly, still shifting her glance from Valerie to Evan in quick succession.  "It's not really that anyone was permanently maimed, and . . . and it was an accident, but . . ."

"An accident?" Valerie echoed, unable to hide the heightened glint in her eyes as she took on the expression of a lawyer, getting ready to swoop in for the kill.

Evan slipped an arm around her shoulders.  "Easy, Councilor," he crooned, giving her a gentle squeeze.  "This isn't a courtroom, remember?  Take it easy on my mama."

She snorted and shot him a look that stated plainly that she already knew that, but she did seem to relax just a little, even as she heaved a sigh and settled into the crook of his arm.

"Why does everyone look so serious?"

Valerie blinked and shifted her gaze to the doorway when Sydnie Zelig casually sauntered into the room.  Clad in a cute little red velvet Santa dress trimmed in luxurious white fur, she looked every bit the diminutive elf, right down to the plush red cap perched atop her fiery hair.  "The Un-Christmas," Valerie said simply in answer to Sydnie's question.

That got the cat-youkai's attention easily enough, and her green eyes sparkled mischievously as she slowly broke into a very feline grin.  "The Un-Christmas?  Is that right?"

"We weren't really talking about it," Evan supplied helpfully.

"How about some eggnog?" Gin suddenly blurted.

"You know, every time I ask my puppy about it, he gets this little smile on his face and says that he cannot talk about it—that he's been sworn to secrecy," Sydnie went on as though she hadn't heard Evan or Gin at all.

"It's got lots of cream in it, Sydnie—you love that, don't you?" Gin tried again, her pitch escalating into a decidedly nervous twitter.

"Why doesn't it surprise me that Bubby thinks it's funny?" Evan mused to himself.

Sydnie crossed her arms over her chest as she slowly regarded Evan.  "So, why don't you tell us, hmm?  After all, you've never been big on rules, have you, Evan?"

Valerie bit her lip and tried not to smile at the silky quality that had entered Sydnie's already sing-song voice.

Evan chuckled.  "Sorry, pussums, but I can't break the solemn oath of the Zeligs."

"I can add extra cream, Sydnie—you'd like it even more then, right?" Gin chimed in as she yanked open the refrigerator and started rummaging around.

"Your eggnog is always wonderful, Gin, though I wouldn't say no to extra cream," Sydnie stated with a bright smile at her mother-in-law.

Gin giggled and looked decidedly relieved, apparently thinking that the subject was dropped, though Valerie wasn't as sure.  After all, Sydnie was nothing if not stubborn, and somehow, Valerie just didn't think that the cat would be satisfied to give up.

"So what is it about that year that no one wants to talk about?" Sydnie went on as Gin hurried to gather the things to make the eggnog.

"Nothing, really," Gin hedged as she made quick work of measuring ingredients for the drink.

"Come to think of it," Sydnie went on, almost more to herself than to anyone in particular, "all the pictures and videos of that year are missing, aren't they?"

"A-Are they?"  Gin's conversational tone was definitely wearing thin.

"It's almost like it never happened," Sydnie deduced with a simplistic shrug.

"That's right," Gin murmured, frowning in concentration as she reached for the small bottle of rum extract.  "Now, don't worry, Valerie, this is non-alcoholic extract, so you can drink some, too."

"Thank you," Valerie replied with a warm smile.  "You know, Sydnie, I never noticed that before, but now that I think about it, you're right.  There is a year missing from Evan's scrapbooks and photo albums, too . . ."

"The Un-Christmas," Sydnie stated.  "Gin . . ."

"Now, come on, ladies.  It's not Mama's fault.  Cain's the one who decided that Christmas never happened," Evan pointed out, "and since it never happened, then I guess you'll never get to hear the story."

Valerie frowned thoughtfully, but Sydnie wasn't done arguing.  "But we're a part of this family now, too.  Do you really want to keep such a secret from your wife—your mate—and me, your wonderful sister-in-law?"

"There isn't really much to tell," Gin hurried on to say, her overly bright smile solidly back in place.  "It . . . It's like it just never happened, right?"

Valerie nodded slowly.  "But," she began in a cautious tone of voice, "if it never happened, then . . ."

Evan grinned.  "That's kind of true," he allowed philosophically.  "If it never happened, then there isn't really a story to tell, after all."

Valerie stared at him for a moment then slowly shook her head.  "Well, that's not really what I was thinking, no," she replied.

"Oh?  Then what were you thinking, V?" he parried.

Valerie smiled sweetly.  "I was thinking that you could just tell us a story then, Roka: a story about what could have happened that year—if something had happened, after all."

Gin bit her lip and shook her head.  "Oh, I don't think that's a good idea.  Cain said—"

"What could have happened if something had happened, after all," Evan repeated, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.

Sydnie's eyes positively sparkled at the idea being presented.  "Cain never said you couldn't tell us a story based upon what might have happened—a theoretical story—did he?"

"Well, no," Evan drawled.  "Right, Mama?"

"No, he never said anything about telling a story . . ." Gin mused though she still didn't look entirely convinced.  "But . . ."

Evan leaned over to kiss Gin's cheek loudly.  "Aw, c'mon, Mama!  It'll be fun!  It's just a story, right?  I mean, a story can be about anything, can't it?  And any similarities to anyone, living or implied, will be purely coincidental."

Biting her lip, Gin frowned at her son thoughtfully for several long moments before finally sighing and slowly, slowly giving one nod.  "Oh . . . okay," she relented.  "After all, it's just a story—and Cain never said we couldn't tell stories, did he?"

Evan chuckled and took Valerie's hand to lead her back toward the living room once more.  "That's right, Mama," he called over his shoulder.  "Gather 'round, and I'll tell you ladies a story about a Christmas that never was."



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Final Thought from Valerie:
A story, huh …?
Blanket disclaimer for The Un-Christmas:  I do not claim any rights to InuYasha or the characters associated with the anime/manga.  Those rights belong to Rumiko Takahashi, et al.  I do offer my thanks to her for creating such vivid characters for me to terrorize.